Jamila’s Dream VIII 14 May 2007Posted by MOZAFFAR in History, MOZAFFAR.
The Muslims’ experience in Yathrib was quite different than their experience in Mecca. In Mecca, they were a small (but growing) oppressed class of people. Their only call was to a unified, single, God, and it was a potent enough call to inspire members from all classes and circles within Mecca to join them. As the conversions to this fledgling call for Submission (to God) increased, the political, economic, and social order of Mecca was more and more shaken.
In Yathrib, however, life was a bit different. Geographically Yathrib was a serene, peaceful oasis. The hills painted along the horizon of the very wide blue sky. In Mecca, you were locked in the chaos of the tight valley.
In Yathrib, the Muslims were no long a minority class, but the equivalent of their own quasi-tribe, headed by their Prophet, Muhammad -p. While this new Muslim polity absorbed the warring Aws and Khazraj — thus ending their bloodshed — the Muslims engaged in treaties with the local Jewish tribes.
But, the distance from Mecca did not end the conflict with its leaders. The oppressors in Mecca remained in Mecca. Muhammad’s job — to establish God’s system of life — was not nearly finished.
Muhammad’s -p- next move departs from our modern notions of religion. He announced that he would raid and confiscate Meccan caravans within his reach. While in the past, only conversion (and the consequences of these conversions) threatened the oppressors of Mecca, now, Muhammad would hit them directly with these raids. And, thus he did.
But, one particular caravan was trouble. Mecca’s leader, Abu Sufyan, had a huge caravan heading from Syria, to Mecca, by way of Yathrib. It would be Muhammad’s -p.
Abu Sufyan did not want to lose his huge caravan, but his co-residents in Mecca wanted to use this opportunity to finish off the Muslims before they grew too large.
The rest is history. Confrontation. We know that the Muslims faced the Meccans. We know that ~300 Muslims faced ~1000 Meccans.
We know that, as the Meccans looked across the battlefield, they did not see 300 men. They saw 2000. We know that, as the Muslims looked across the battlefield, they did not see 1000 fighters, they saw 2000.
Thus, the Meccans had nothing but their weapons and their determination. The Muslims had nothing, but their faith and their own determination. Their own weapons were useless.
The rest is history. The Meccans pledged another fight, a year later, at Uhud, to avenge their loss.
And now, at Uhud, the Muslims again seemed to rout their opponents. They started from a position of advantage, holding the upper ground on the hill at Uhud.
They quickly broke through the Meccan lines and it looked as though we would see yet another Muslim victory against these oppressors.
Many Muslims, however, would not witness the end of this battle.
Nevertheless, the battle was almost at its end. But, a few unexpected things happened.
Ibn Ubay, the father-in-law of Hanzala, broke ranks. The man who would be king, (again) retreated from battle. With him, one third of the Muslim forces also retreated. It was not that he wanted peace. Rather, he feared death. Too often, our calls for peace are actually statements of fear.
In addition, Muhammad -p- was knocked down. In any normal society, suspicions have the habit of morphing into larger rumors, and those rumors have the habit of changing shape. Though Muhammad -p- was knocked down, news travelled quickly through the Muslim forces that Muhammad -p- was killed.
What to do? In desperation, many Muslims ran to help him.
Meanwhile, Muslim archers stood firm on the Uhud hill throughout the battle. They were ordered to keep their posts until and unless they were ordered to move.
But these archers watched as the other Muslims ran.
Was the battle complete? It was clear that the Muslims, even without Ibn Ubay and his followers, the Muslims easily routed their opponents.
If the battle was indeed complete, then it was feared that these Muslims would miss out on the booty.
And, thus, they ran.
Understandably, these Muslims were new. They did not experience the years of molding and training that many of their co-religionists experienced. They did not experience the boycott against the Muslims in Mecca. They did not experience the sanctuary under the King Negus. They were new. And at that moment, and perhaps only for that moment, they loved the earth and its temporary ornaments. And, sometimes it takes just a moment, a momentary lapse of reason, for cataclysm.
And, at that moment, they were themselves routed. Khalid b. Walid, the Meccan general stood his ground, hiding his own forces from the archers. When the Muslims ran, he attacked and slaughtered them.
Khalid’s forces plowed through the Muslims.
The battle ends.
The Muslims were defeated. Muhammad -p- was injured.
Now, the two forces were now even. A day for a day. The Muslims defeated the Meccan oppressors at Badr. Now, the Muslims were themselves defeated. But, the dead Meccans were in hell, and the dead Muslims were living in the comforts of Paradise.
And, among them was Hanzala. Hanzala was no more.
During the battle, Hanzala found Abu Sufyan. Ready to kill him, Hanzala was himself suddenly struck down by a Meccan. And, if you were there, you may have noticed for a moment that a few men in white were surrounding his body.
To be concluded…