The Battle of Uhud was the second battle the Muslims fought against the disbelievers. The believers went into the battle on a high after victory at Badr. However, the result this time around wasn’t entirely as they had foreseen. As a result, the lessons that we can gain from the ghazwa of Uhud are of immense importance. There is always an opportunity for Muslims to take lessons from events when things don’t quite go to plan, and Uhud is no different.
In the first battle fought by the Muslims, they faced the disbelievers at Badr. In this ghazwa, 313 Muslims faced off against around 1000 from the Quraish.
The Muslims fought with heart, and with Allah’s grace, they defeated the disbelievers comprehensively. Muslims eliminated much of the Quraish’s top leadership in this battle. Hence, the Meccans were thirsty for revenge.
They planned to avenge the deaths of their fallen comrades. To do this, they gathered up an army of around 3000 fighters and headed toward Madinah. They stopped short near Mount Uhud, giving the Muslims a choice to encounter them there or to be invaded. The Muslims opted for the former, heading toward Mount Uhud. The Muslim army contained around 1000 people, but 300 were part of the hypocrites and withdrew.
Still, the Muslims had high morale and began the fight with the upper hand. However, the archer regiment of the Muslim army deserted their positions at a critical point, opening up the way for a counter-attack. The Muslims suffered heavy losses and had to retreat. They didn’t lose the battle outrightly, but the disbelievers would have been happier. Hence, there are many lessons that Muslims can learn by looking at what happened during the Battle of Uhud.
The lesson about the hypocrites at Uhud (Ghazwa Uhud)
The first lesson that the Muslims learned was even before the battle began. The Muslims went toward the battlefield with a 1000-strong army. That included Muslims from all parts of society, including the Muhajiroon, Ansaar, and others. Among there was the presence of Abdullah bin Ubayy and his followers.
When the Muslims were on their way to the battlefield, these hypocrites pulled out of the battle. They were approximately 300 in number, and that left the Muslims with around 700 men remaining. After Badr, these hypocrites tried to ride the wave of success with the Muslims. However, on the day of Uhud, Allah made the difference clear between the real believers and the hypocrites.
Allah would continue to expose the hypocrites during the rest of the life of the Prophet (PBUH). This was a warning for the Muslims of all time regarding those who are true believers, in comparison to those who are opportunists and don’t really follow Islam.
We must always obey Allah and His Messenger (PBUH)
When the Prophet (PBUH) surveyed the battlefield, he knew what the Muslims must do to gain the upper hand. Therefore, he directed the Muslims to position themselves in a specific way. One of the things he did was to station a group of archers on one side. He posted them there to prevent the disbelievers from attacking from the side or rear. This was the key strategic position for the battle.
When the Muslims eventually gained the upper hand, the archers left their positions, going after the fleeing disbelievers’ belongings. It was at this moment that the tide of the battle changed against the Muslims. The Quraish gained the upper hand, and after this, it was all downhill for the believers.
Allah described this event (Battle of Uhud) in Surah aal’ Imran. He said that He fulfilled His promise to the Muslims, which led to them gaining the upper hand. However, some of the Muslims disobeyed the orders. Allah says that some of the Muslims desire the things of this world, whereas others are more focused on the hereafter.
This taught a great lesson to the Muslims at Uhud. They learned that obeying Allah and His Prophet are the paramount factors for success. This also enabled them to be stronger in the future. This was visible in the spread of Islam and the Muslim state’s growth in the coming years.
While it may have seemed like a massive setback at the time, it was actually more of a lesson for Muslims. We must also take disappointments in life in the same way. We must learn from them and always focus on obeying Allah. That is the key to success in this world and the hereafter.
Allah does not simply guarantee victory to the Muslims
Muslims nowadays often wonder why Muslim countries are mostly in dire straits. We must understand the reason behind this. Allah does not merely provide success to Muslims because of their identity. We must practice Islam and obey Allah and His Prophet (PBUH) in all aspects. We cannot be disobedient or negligent in worship and then expect to gain success.
The Muslims committed a mistake during Uhud that taught them a valuable lesson. It was a small mistake, but a very impactful one in its consequences. It leaves us all with an important lesson. We can never take anything for granted, and we must always work hard and strive for success. Allah only helps those who help themselves.
When we do strive hard for victory and obey Allah and His Prophet (PBUH) in everything, even the impossible can become possible. We saw this during the Muslims’ stunning victory against the disbelievers in the Battle of Badr.
The lesson from Uhud (Ghazwa-e-Uhud) of how to react to defeat
After the Muslims lost their advantageous position, the Quraish led by Khalid bin Walid quickly pounced. They exposed the Muslims’ vulnerability at that moment and pushed the Muslims back. There was chaos in the camp of the believers with the companions of the Prophet (PBUH) in disarray.
Some of the close companions stayed close to the Prophet (PBUH) during this time and protected him. Despite the panic, they stayed together and helped to devise a strategy to counter the attack. The Muslims suffered quite a bit of loss of life, but it could have been worse. The plan to withdraw and retreat to the mountain allowed them to seek some safety and helped the Muslims to regroup, and the battle was brought to an end.
We must never give up hope and accept defeat. That is not the way of a Muslim on the battlefield. Once you are in a battle, you must always do your best to carry out your duty and fight for Allah’s sake. Withdrawing and losing hope are not acceptable traits, which is one of the crucial lessons of Uhud.
How to deal with tragedy and loss
Around 70–85 Muslims lost their lives in this battle. However, the Muslims who remained didn’t lose hope. They didn’t lose focus on the fact that they were in the midst of a struggle and must fight back. They effectively formulated a strategy to do so and minimized the losses as much as they could.
After the battle, the depraved fighters of the Quraish and their companions even mutilated the martyrs’ bodies. When the Muslims were finally able to access the bodies, they ensured that they gave them a respectful burial according to Islam’s rites. Despite the loss, everything has an exact response, and the Muslims did that in a dignified manner. This is an important lesson we can take away from the Uhud battle.
Avoid greed because it will cause you to lose
Alongside disobedience, greed was the biggest reason for the Muslims’ downfall in the Battle of Uhud. When the Muslims were on the front foot, they began to be complacent. Some of them thought of victory as a foregone conclusion. They started looking too far ahead.
This was plainly obvious from the actions of the archers. Besides a handful, the others left their position and went after the material things of this life. They saw that the fleeing Quraish were leaving behind valuable belongings and other items of value. They lost the bigger perspective of the battle, and greed and ambition took over.
The Muslims suffered as a result and had to learn this lesson from Uhud the hard way. Greed is a negative characteristic in Islam, as it is. Combine that with something as crucial as Jihad for the cause of Allah and greed completely obliterated the goals of the Muslims.
The lesson from Uhud of always being kind to people
Once the battle was over, the Prophet (PBUH) and his companions did the needful with the bodies of the martyrs. Then, they retreated back to Madinah. The Muslims had finished the battle on the back foot and could be considered to have been defeated, though the Quraish didn’t achieve their broader objectives during this battle.
Against this backdrop, we must note that Muhammad (PBUH) did not berate his companions. He knew that they had committed mistakes. However, he also had the bigger picture in front of him, of them being true Muslims who would be ashamed of their actions. They realized their mistakes straight away. Some of them would have even realized that amid the battle.
When Allah sent down the verses pertaining to this event, He also did not react harshly. Allah being the All-Knowing, would be aware that the Muslims were hurting and had learned their lesson. Hence, He stated that He had forgiven the Muslims for their actions. Indeed, an essential lesson for the Muslims from Uhud.
Allah always tests the believers
We must always remember that life is not going to be simple. It won’t be smooth sailing, and there will be bumps along the ride. Allah asks in Surah Ankabut, that do people of belief think they will claim to have faith and be left to themselves? That is not the case. The Almighty puts everyone to a test as He has promised in the Quran.
Allah also said in Surah al-Baqarah that He will put tests in the lives of Muslims. He will put danger, hunger, loss of goods, life, etc., in our lives. Our response to these adverse circumstances will dictate our success. Allah says that He sends glad tidings upon those Muslims who are patient in the face of adversities.
If there is one lesson we can gain from the Battle of Uhud, it is this. If Allah can test the best of believers and the ones who were most beloved to him, such as the companions, we will inevitably face tests too. We must be aware of the Islamically allowed ways to react to these tests and ensure that we behave accordingly. Patience is of the most fruitful traits to have, and we would be well served to be amongst the sabiroon.