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Battle of Hamra' al-Asad

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The Battle of Ḥamrāʾ al-Asad (Arabic: غزوة حمراء الأسد) took place only a day after the Battle of Uhud in the third year after Hijra. In this battle, Prophet Muhammad (s) tried to prevent Quraysh army from their new attack to Muslims' army.

In the Battle of Hamra' al-Asad no fight started between the two sides, as a result some do not regard this incident as a Ghazwa.

Time and Geography

The Battle of Hamra al-Asad took place on Sunday, Shawwal 8, 3/March 24, 625. The activities started only one day after the Battle of Uhud, in which Muslims' army was defeated. They stayed firmly in Hamra' al-Asad region, 20 kilometers in the south of Medina.[1]

Primary Actions

The day after the Battle of Uhud, when Muslims' soldiers were taking care of their injured, Prophet Muhammad (s) told Bilal al-Habashi to state: "Prophet ordered to chase after the enemies and only those who attended the battle yesterday should come with us, no one else."[2]

In another narration, it is told that Prophet Muhammad (s) only ordered and allowed the injured soldiers to attend this battle.[3]

According to the first narration, seventy out of more than seven hundred Muslim soldiers attended the Battle of Uhud were martyred[4] and the survivors were ordered to take part in the Battle of Hamra' al-Asad.[5]

On the other hand, according to the second narration, Muslims' army included sixty[6] to seventy[7] soldiers the same number of the martyred soldiers in the Battle of Uhud. The 172nd verse of the Qur'an 3[8] and the statement of Prophet Muhammad (s), "those who follow the orders of Allah relentlessly and chase after your enemy, it would be destructive for them and it would be even recognized more.", both confirm the second narration.

Also there is another weak narration: Prophet Muhammad (s) prepared an army including a number of participants of the Battle of Uhud and also a number of soldiers who did not attend in the Battle of Uhud.[9]

However the injured from the Battle of Uhud followed the order of Prophet (s) and took part in the Battle of Hamra al-Asad. Forty members of Banu Salama who were badly injured also accompanied Prophet (s) in this battle. Some including 'Abd Allah b. Sahl and his brother, Rafi', joined Prophet's army as well, although they did not have any ride. Jabir b. 'Abd Allah al-Ansari was the only person who did not attend the Battle of Uhud[10] but he was allowed to attend the Battle of Hamra all-Asad by Prophet (s).

Prophet Muhammad (s) gave the flag of Muslims' army to 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) (or according to another narration Abu Bakr), then went to the mosque and said prayer, got ready and set out for the battle.[11]

The Goal of This Battle

The goal of this battle which was ordered by Allah,[12] was preventing Muslims' enemies to start a new attack to Medina in which Muslims showed their strength and power to their enemies. As Muslims were defeated in the Battle of Uhud, they were even stronger and more strong-willed to defend themselves.[13]

When Prophet Muhammad (s) was preparing his army, he said: "Then it would be more destructive for our enemy and it would be even recognized more."[14]

Based on another narration, when Prophet Muhammad (s) was informed that their enemies stayed in Rawha' region and there were planning to attack Muslims again, he ordered Muslims to chase after them.

Chasing after the Enemies

Prophet Muhammad (s) sent three members of Banu Aslam tribe to chase the enemies. They reached Quraysh army in Hamra' al-Asad region but two of them were martyred. Then Quraysh leaders were discussing about attacking Muslims again. Safwan b. Umayya warned them not to seek revenge and advised them to refrain from another attack as they would face a setback. Afterwards Quraysh army continued their way and they stayed in Rawha' region twenty kilometers off Medina.[15]

Also Prophet Muhammad (s) and his army stayed in Hamra' al-Asad. Prophet (s) ordered his soldiers to set a lot of fire so that Quraysh army would believe the number of Muslims' soldiers is near five hundred.[16]

Fear of Quraysh

When Muslims' army were staying in Hamra' al-Asad, Abu Sufyan were thinking of a new attack to Muslims and he was trying to convince other Quraysh leaders. He sent a letter to the Prophet (s) in which he expressed his wish to attack Muslims again and perish the rest of them. Prophet Muhammad (s) replied: "Hasbuna Allah wa ni'm al-wakil: Allah is sufficient for us, and He is the best Disposer of affairs."[17]

Meanwhile Ma'bad b. Abi Ma'bad al-Khuza'i who was aficionado of the prophet and confederate with him, as well as other members of his tribe, held a meeting with Abu Sufyan, in which Ma'bad convinced Abu Sufyan and other leaders of Quraysh through his statements and poems to refrain from another attack to Medina. He told Abu Sufyan: "Muhammad (s) has come to Hamra' al-Asad with soldiers who are incandescent with rage; I have never seen such furious men before." As a result, Quraysh army happy with their previous victory and scared of angered Muslims quickly returned Mecca. Then, Ma'bad al-Khuza'i sent a letter to Prophet Muhammad (s) and informed him about their return to Mecca.

Muslims Returned Medina

After five days, Prophet Muhammad (s) and his army returned Medina.[18] Meanwhile 'Abd Allah b. Umm Maktum was Prophet's deputy in Medina while he was gone.[19] The Battle of Hamra' al-Asad was a mental defeat which damaged morale of Quraysh army, oppositions and Jews in Medina; it also strengthened morale and wills of Muslims.[20] The verses 172 to 175 of the Qur'an 3 were descended on this incident.[21]

Because in Hamra' al-Asad no battles started between the sides, some did not regard it as a Ghazwa.[22]

Notes

  1. Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya, vol. 3, p. 107-108; Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 2, p. 49.
  2. Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī, vol. 1, p. 300; Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 2, p. 37-38.
  3. Qummī, Tafsīr al-Qummī, vol. 1, p. 124-125.
  4. Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī, vol. 1, p. 300; Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 2, p. 39, 42-43.
  5. Ibn Kathīr al-Dimashqī, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 2, part 4, p. 51-52.
  6. Maqdisī, al-Bidaʾ wa tārīkh, vol. 4, p. 205.
  7. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, under the Qur'an 3:172-174.
  8. Those who responded to Allah and the Apostle [even] after they had been wounded—for those of them who have been virtuous and Godwary there shall be a great reward.
  9. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 1, p. 403.
  10. Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī, vol. 1, p. 334-336.
  11. Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī, vol. 1, p. 336-337; Ṭabrisī, Iʿlām al-warā, vol. 1, p. 183-184; Ibn Shahrāshūb, Manāqib Āl Abī Ṭālib, vol. 1, p. 167.
  12. Qummī, Tafsīr al-Qummī and Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, under the Qur'an 3:172-174.
  13. Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya, vol. 3, p. 107; Ibn Ḥazm al-Andulīsī, Jawāmiʿ al-sīra, p. 175.
  14. Ṭabrisī, Majmaʿ al-bayān, under the Qur'an 3:172-174; Ṭabarī, Jāmiʾ al-bayān, under the Qur'an 3:172.
  15. Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī, vol. 1, p. 337-339; Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 2, p. 49.
  16. Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī, vol. 1, p. 337-339; Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 2, p. 49.
  17. Qur'an 3:173.
  18. Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī, vol. 1, p. 334; Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya, vol. 3, p. 108; Bakrī, Muʿjam mā istaʿjam, vol. 1, p. 468.
  19. Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, vol. 2, p. 49.
  20. ʿĀmilī, al-Ṣaḥīḥ min sīrat al-nabīyy al-aʿẓam, vol. 4, p. 339-341.
  21. Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī, vol. 1, p. 340; Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra al-nabawīyya, vol. 3, p. 128; Ṣāliḥī Shāmī, Subul al-hudā wa al-rashād, vol. 4, p. 444-445.
  22. Masʿūdī, al-Tanbīh wa al-ishrāf, p. 245.

See Also

References

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