Pondering the Battle of Uhud within A Quranist Vision

آحمد صبحي منصور في السبت 27 يونيو 2020


Pondering the Battle of Uhud within A Quranist Vision

 

Published in June 24, 2020

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

Introduction:

 Our dear Quranist friend, Mr. Abdullah Amin, asked our person about this Quranic verse: "Remember when you fled, not caring for anyone, even though the messenger was calling you from your rear. Then He repaid you with sorrow upon sorrow, so that you would not grieve over what you missed, or for what afflicted you. God is Informed of what you do." (3:153). This requires from us a Quranist pondering regarding the battle of Uhud, expressed in this article you are reading now. We invoke the Dominant Lord God to aid our person and guide our reasoning mind in such pondering within our Quranist vision.

 

Firstly: spoils/money is the main issue here:

 We trace the topic of the battle of Uhud in history in the following points.

1- The Meccan aggressors of Qorayish drove Muhammad and the early believers out of their homes and money/assets in Mecca: this is about some immigrants who settled in Yathreb who were impoverished since they left their assets, wealth, and homes in Mecca as they immigrated to flee persecution and also for the Lord God's sake while serving His cause: "To the poor immigrants who were driven out of their homes and their possessions, as they sought the favor of God and His approval, and came to the aid of God and His messenger. These are the truthful ones." (59:8).

2- The Meccan aggressors of Qorayish confiscated homes, assets, and wealth of those who were forced to leave Mecca to settle in Yathreb; such wealth included their shares in the trade caravans of the winter and summer journey (mentioned in the Quranic Chapter 106). This means that the Meccan aggressors of Qorayish traded using the money stolen from Muhammad and the other immigrants; besides, the Meccan military raids against Yathreb never ceased; the early believers who were settlers in Yathreb were commanded at first never to resist or fight the Meccan aggressors who robbed them there.    

3- After the military preparations were done, the permission to engage into self-defense fighting has been revealed in the Quranic context 22:39-41. The very first battle (i.e., the battle of Badr) occurred as the Yathreb troops attacked a Qorayish caravan which carried goods of trade bought by the money which was stolen from the immigrants by Qorayish.   

4- The Yathreb troops achieved their very first victory in the battle of Badr and gained spoils for the very first time as well. We imagine that a debate/dispute took place about how to distribute such spoils and Muhammad was asked about what to do; the Lord God has settled such a dispute in the Quranic Chapter Eight.

5- The Quranic Chapter Eight commands the believers to adhere to piety regarding spoils and never to dispute about them if they are true believers: "They ask you about the spoils. Say, “The spoils are for God and the Messenger.” So be mindful of God, and settle your differences, and obey God and His Messenger, if you are believers." (8:1); "And know that whatever spoils you gain, to God belongs its fifth, and to the Messenger, and the relatives, and the orphans, and the poor, and to the wayfarer, provided you believe in God and in what We revealed to Our servant on the Day of Distinction, the day when the two armies met. God is Capable of everything." (8:41); "So consume the spoils you have gained, legitimate and wholesome; and remain conscious of God within piety. God is Forgiving and Merciful." (8:69).

6- Later on, within the battle of Uhud, the Meccan troops of Qorayish attacked the Yathreb troops to avenge for the defeat they experienced in the battle of Badr; some believers who were not among the soldiers in the battle of Badr participated in the second battle while seeking to gratify their Lord God and to gain the reward in the Hereafter; some believers desired only to gain spoils as their focus was on this transient world; this means that they forgot about the divine commands in the Quranic Chapter Eight; such spoils-seeking ones were the cause of the defeat within the battle of Uhud as per the testimony given by the Omniscient Lord God here: "God has fulfilled His promise to you, and you defeated them by His leave; until when you faltered, and disputed the command, and disobeyed after He had shown you what you like. Some of you want this world, and some of you want the Hereafter. Then He turned you away from them, to test you; but He pardoned you. God is Gracious towards the believers." (3:152).

 

Secondly: Quranic details about the battle of Uhud in the Quranic Chapter Three:

The moral lessons to be drawn:

1- As per the Quranic methodology within the Quranic stories, the focus is on the moral lessons to be drawn within the details mentioned in the Quranic stories and some other details are never mentioned; e.g., the time and place of the battle, the name of the battle (i.e., Uhud) which is known only from history books, and the names of men (doers + interlocutors).

2- At the beginning, the Lord God says the following in the Holy Quran: "This is a proclamation to humanity, and guidance, and advice for the righteous ones." (3:138).

3- The moral lessons to be drawn are here: "No soul can die except by God’s leave, at a predetermined time. Whoever desires the reward of the world, We will give him some of it; and whoever desires the reward of the Hereafter, We will give him some of it; and We will reward the appreciative. How many a prophet fought alongside him numerous godly people? They did not waver for what afflicted them in the cause of God, nor did they weaken, nor did they give in. God loves those who endure. Their only words were, “Our Lord, forgive us our offences, and our excesses in our conduct, and strengthen our foothold, and help us against the disbelieving people.” So God gave them the reward of this world, and the excellent reward of the Hereafter. God loves the doers of good. O you who believe! If you obey those who disbelieve, they will turn you back on your heels, and you end up losers. God is your Master, and He is the Best of Helpers." (3:145-150).

4- "And when a calamity befell you, even after you had inflicted twice as much, you said, “How is this?” Say, “It is from your own selves.” God is Able to do all things." (3:165). They were responsible for the defeat because they forgot what has been revealed in the Quranic Chapter Eight.

Some details about the battle of Uhud:

1- Victory is granted by the Lord God ONLY within one condition; namely, when fighting is for His sake (i.e., within self-defense to stop religious persecution and to deter persecutors/aggressors) and NOT for the sake of getting money/spoils: "...God supports whoever supports Him. God is Strong and Mighty." (22:40); "O you who believe! If you support God, He will support you, and will strengthen your foothold." (47:7); "If God supports you, there is none who can overcome you. But if He fails you, who is there to help you after Him? So in God let the believers put their trust." (3:160).

2- The above point is the context through which we understand the Quranic details of the battle of Uhud: "God has fulfilled His promise to you, and you defeated them by His leave; until when you faltered, and disputed the command, and disobeyed after He had shown you what you like. Some of you want this world, and some of you want the Hereafter. Then He turned you away from them, to test you; but He pardoned you. God is Gracious towards the believers." (3:152).

3- This is about the state of the believers after the defeat: "Remember when you fled, not caring for anyone, even though the Messenger was calling you from your rear. Then He repaid you with sorrow upon sorrow, so that you would not grieve over what you missed, or for what afflicted you. God is Informed of what you do. Then after the setback, He sent down security upon you. Slumber overcame some of you, while others cared only for themselves, thinking of God thoughts that were untrue - thoughts of ignorance - saying, “Is anything up to us?” Say, “Everything is up to God.” They conceal within themselves what they do not reveal to you. And they say, “If it was up to us, none of us would have been killed here.” Say, “Even if you Had stayed in your homes, those destined to be killed would have marched into their death beds.” God thus tests what is in your minds, and purifies what is in your hearts. God knows what the hearts contain." (3:153-154); their sorrow and fear increased since their retreat was unorganized; they disregarded the words of Muhammad. Later on, the Lord God caused slumber/sleep to descend upon them to allow them to have some rest.

4- The cause of the defeat was those who ran away and sought to collect spoils; Satan the Devil deceived them and made them disobey the commands of Muhammad the messenger of Allah; later on, the Lord God has pardoned them and accepted their repentance: "Those of you who turned back on the day when the two armies clashed - it was Satan who caused them to backslide, on account of some of what they have earned. But God has forgiven them. God is Forgiving and Clement." (3:155).

5- Muhammad did not run away during the battle; he called those who ran away to return; polytheistic aggressors surrounded Muhammad; rumors spread that Muhammad got killed; some men of the Yathreb troops felt despair; the Lord God asserts that the time of the death of Muhammad has not come yet; the Divine Religion of the Lord God is never linked to the death or life of any mortals (including Muhammad); it is linked to the Quranic Message which will remain until the end of days and the advent of the Hour: "Muhammad is no more than a messenger. Messengers have passed on before him. If he dies or gets killed, will you turn on your heels? He who turns on his heels will not harm God in any way. And God will reward the appreciative. No soul can die except by God’s leave, at a predetermined time. Whoever desires the reward of the world, We will give him some of it; and whoever desires the reward of the Hereafter, We will give him some of it; and We will reward the appreciative." (3:144-145).

6- When some of the runaway men of the Yathreb troops returned and re-attacked the Meccan Qorayish troops, the Meccan troops of aggressors retreated so as not to allow their victory to turn into a defeat; some injured men of the Yathreb troops chased the Meccan troops and they were never harmed by the Meccan aggressors: "Those who responded to God and the Messenger, despite the persecution they had suffered. For the virtuous and the pious among them is a great reward. Those to whom the people have said, “The people have mobilized against you, so fear them.” But this only increased them in faith, and they said, “God is enough for us; He is the Excellent Guardian.” So they came back with grace from God, and bounty, and no harm having touched them. They pursued what pleases God. God possesses immense grace. That is only Satan frightening his allies; so do not fear them, but fear Me, if you are believers." (3:172-175).

After the defeat of the Yathreb troops in the battle of Uhud:

1- The Lord God has told the believers the following after their being defeated: "And do not waver, nor feel remorse. You are the superior ones, if you are believers. If a wound afflicts you, a similar wound has afflicted the others. Such days We alternate between the people, that God may know those who believe, and take martyrs from among you. God does not love the evildoers. So that God may prove those who believe, and eliminate the disbelievers. Or do you expect to enter Paradise, before God has distinguished those among you who strive, and before He has distinguished the steadfast? You used to wish for death before you have faced it. Now you have seen it before your own eyes." (3:139-143).

2- This is about the reluctance of the disbelieving hypocrites of Yathreb who never intended to join the self-defense forces: "And that He may know the hypocrites. And it was said to them, “Come, fight in the cause of God, or contribute.” They said, “If we knew how to fight, we would have followed you.” On that day they were closer to disbelief than they were to belief. They say with their mouths what is not in their hearts; but God knows what they hide." (3:167).

3- After the battle of Uhud and the defeat, some hypocrites of Yathreb seized the chance to spread evil rumors.

3/1: They remained in Yathreb as they were too reluctant to participate in the military self-defense endeavors; when the defeat occurred in the battle of Uhud, they said that if the killed believers had obeyed them and stayed in Yathreb like them, they would not have been killed: the Lord God refutes them here: "Then after the setback, He sent down security upon you. Slumber overcame some of you, while others cared only for themselves, thinking of God thoughts that were untrue - thoughts of ignorance - saying, “Is anything up to us?” Say, “Everything is up to God.” They conceal within themselves what they do not reveal to you. And they say, “If it was up to us, none of us would have been killed here.” Say, “Even if you Had stayed in your homes, those destined to be killed would have marched into their death beds.” God thus tests what is in your minds, and purifies what is in your hearts. God knows what the hearts contain." (3:154)

3/2: "Those who said of their brethren, as they stayed behind, “Had they obeyed us, they would not have been killed.” Say, “Then avert death from yourselves, if you are truthful.”" (3:168)

3/3: Some believers were influenced by such rumors spread by the hypocrites; the Lord God says the following in the Holy Quran: "O you who believe! Do not be like those who disbelieved, and said of their brethren who marched in the land, or went to the battle, “Had they stayed with us, they would not have died or been killed.” So that God may make it a cause of regret in their hearts. God gives life and causes death. God is Seeing of what you do. If you are killed in the cause of God, or die - forgiveness and mercy from God are better than what they hoard. If you die, or are killed - to God you will be gathered up." (3:156-158).

4- This is the Lord God's response for those who lamented those who were killed, for God's sake, in the battle of Uhud: "Do not consider those killed in the cause of God as dead. In fact, they are alive, at their Lord, well provided for. Delighting in what God has given them out of His grace, and happy for those who have not yet joined them; that they have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve. They rejoice in grace from God, and bounty, and that God will not waste the reward of the believers." (3:169-171).

5- Islam is the religion of absolute religious freedom; i.e., it has no penalty at all (by being put to death or any other penalties) for apostasy or rejection of the Quran; hence, the only reaction of Muhammad regarding the words and deeds of the disbelieving hypocrites of Yathreb is to feel saddened as their fate is Hell; the Lord God has told him the following in a direct mode of address: "And do not be saddened by those who rush into disbelief. They will not harm God in the least. God desires to give them no share in the Hereafter. A terrible torment awaits them. Those who exchange blasphemy for faith will not harm God in the least. A painful torment awaits them. Those who disbelieve should not assume that We respite them for their own good. In fact, We only respite them so that they may increase in sinfulness. A humiliating torment awaits them." (3:176-178).

6- The defeat within the battle of Uhud was a test for all of the Yathreb believers: "God will not leave the believers as you are, without distinguishing the wicked from the sincere..." (3:179).

7- This is about the stingy ones: "Those who withhold what God has given them of his bounty should not assume that is good for them. In fact, it is bad for them. They will be encircled by their hoardings on the Day of Resurrection. To God belongs the inheritance of the heavens and the earth, and God is well acquainted with what you do." (3:180).

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