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Anniversary of the Battle of Ohod: Disobedience

The striking defeat of the pagans in the battle of Badr was reinforcing the sense of retaliation in them. The blockade of the trade rout of the people of Mecca, which stretched from Media and Iraq, had seriously frustrated them. Therefore they saw it prudent to stand against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) with an arranged military made up of featuring powerful warriors from most Arab tribes. After an enormous effort they gathered an army of 4000 soldiers for the battle.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) after being informed, in a great gathering that hosted many commanders and brave soldiers, consulted about the best way for defense. Most of them suggested exiting the city. Therefore the Prophet of God (PBUH&HP) accepted the view of the majority, and preferred exiting from the city to resorting to the city fortress and the individual face to face battle.

Then he came to his house, wore an armor, hanged his sword and took a shield, and placed a bow and arrow on his shoulder, and took his spear, then exited his house. He performed the Friday Salat, and with an army of more than a thousand left Medina for Ohod.

The army of Muslims chose a point in front of a natural obstacle i.e. the Ohod Mountain. In the middle of the mountain there was a gap that gave the enemy the possibility of an offensive strike provided they could make a detour around the mountain and attack the Muslims from the behind.

The Great Prophet (PBUH&HP) positioned two groups of archers as a remedy for this threat, and told their commander: “use your arrows to keep the enemy away, and don’t let them to attack us unexpectedly by entering the battle field from the behind. Whether we win or we lose, don’t leave this spot empty.”

The battle started, and the Muslims were forcing the pagans to retreat. When the enemy left their weaponry on the ground to save their lives most of the Muslims did not pursue them, and took their weapons on the ground to gather trophies, and thought that the defeat is done. 

In this instant the guards of the gap saw the opportunity to gather trophies, and thought to themselves that their stay near the gap is no more necessary and they should gather trophies. Their commander said: “the Prophet of God has ordered us to stay here whether we win or lose.”

But most of them didn’t obey the order and almost 40 of them left their position, and only 10 remained.

At this moment, Khalid ibn Walid used the opportunity and led his forces to the behind of the forces of Islam, and by making a detour attacked the Muslims. The resistance of the few numbers of Muslim soldiers at the gap was not enough, and the result was disastrous unexpected attack to the army of Muslims.

Khalid, after conquering the strategic spot invited the escaping pagans to fight back, and with shouts and screams blew the spirit of resistance in them.

An unprecedented anarchy and chaos was dominating the army of Islam, and there were many casualties. Among the casualties was Hamzah (PBUH), the noble uncle of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) whom was unjustly martyred by the spear of Wahshi who was hiding behind a stone.

In these difficult moments, Leithi, the brave commander of the pagans, attacked the pennant bearer of Islam army “Mos’ab ibn Umair” and martyred him. He thought that he had killed Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), so he shouted: “O people! Muhammad (PBUH&HP) is killed.”

This false news spread among the Muslims and harmed their spiritual strength; many of the fighters from both the Ansar (helpers) and the Muhajirin (Immigrants), Omar ibn Khattab being among them, stopped fighting and escaped to the mountain, and only a few (less than 10 people) kept fighting.(1)

Thus the Great Prophet (PBUH&HP) was attacked from all sides by the soldiers of enemy. When a group attacked him, Ali (PBUH), with the order of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) attacked them, and with killing some of them forced them to disperse. This pattern was repeated for a couple of times. In reaction to this bravery, Gabriel descended and praised the bravery of Ali (PBUH): “this is the apex of self-sacrifice that this commander is demonstrating.” The Prophet of God confirmed the praise of the revelation angel and said: “I am from Ali, and Ali is from me.” Then a voice was heard from the skies: “Bravery is all in Ali, and there is no sword except that of his.”(2)

Finally the Great Prophet reached to the edge of the valley. The Muslims who were around delighted as they found him alive and they felt ashamed. Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH) filled his shield with water, and the Prophet of God washed his face and head, and said: “the anger of God exceeded at the people who bloodied the face of their prophet.”

With the analysis of the historical facts, it becomes evident that we cannot recognize all the Muslims who accompanied the Prophet as just and pious because those who left their position or ascended the mountain in the decisive moments and disregarded the call of the Prophet were all the the companions of the Prophet (PBUH&HP).

Yes, the defeat in this battle was rooted in the fact that the aim and purpose of most Muslims was changed. Looking at the trophies of the Quraish after their escape took away the purity and sincerity from their hearts, and they forgot the order of the Prophet of God (PBUH&HP), and became greedy.

(The above is a selection taken from,” The Master of Prophets (PBUH&HP)”, by Ayatullah Ja’far Subhani (with summarization))

The Roshd Website commemorates the 15th of Shawwal, the anniversary of Battle of Ohod, battle of faith and disbelieve and the exam of hypocrisy and sincerity.

Footnotes:

1. Sire ibn Hishaam, vol. 2, p. 83

2. Tarikh Kamel ibn Athir, vol. 2, p. 107

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