I Left My Heart in Madinah : Lessons from Uhud

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Dua upon visiting the grave: ‘Peace be upon you all, O inhabitants of the graves, amongst the believers and the Muslims. Verily we will, Allaah willing, be united with you, we ask Allaah for well-being for us and you.’ Ameen!

When we named our first son Hamzah, I remember one reaction we received from someone in Malaysia (I don’t remember who).

“Hamzah?  That’s it?”

It’s not normal to name your child with just one name, and with a name that is considered not unique and even old fashioned by today’s standard in Malaysia. But yes, we named him Hamzah. Just Hamzah.

When I think of Uhud, I think of Hamzah Ibn Abdul Mutallib, and I think of the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam‘s grief over the way his beloved uncle was mutilated, and it pains me too.

“Where they’re standing, that’s not Mount Uhud, but many people think they’re standing on Mount Uhud. That’s Roomi,” Sh Omar said over the intercom, as our bus approached the site. I saw people standing on a relatively smaller hill situated in front of a huge mountain or mountain range which is the actual Mount Uhud.

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The temperature that day at Uhud, was about 126 degrees Fahrenheit, and we didn’t know it until we felt its after effects later in the day. Sh Omar led us to the Roomi, where there were two smaller hills upon which a lot of people were standing on. We gathered around Sh Omar as he proceeded to tell us about Uhud.

The Roomi hill is now two small rocky hills, but as Sh Omar explained, it used to be one big hill, but the wind and time has eroded it such that it is now two rocky hills. This was the hill on which the 50 archers, led by Abdullah Ibn Jubayr ra. were stationed by the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam. He sallallaahu alayhi wasallam  gave them clear instructions not to  leave the hill,

“Abandon not your position”, he commanded them sternly, “Even if the birds snatch up these men.” *

There we stood, under the glaring heat of the sun, in that 126 degree Fahrenheit temperature, listening to Sh Omar recount the incidents in the Battle of Uhud. I have read and listened to the story of Uhud many times, from different speakers, and even listened to it together with my children for their Seerah lessons, yet on that day, I took personally for myself a powerful lesson that Sh Omar had extracted from the whole visit.

The reason why the Muslims suffered such a tragic moment during the battle of Uhud after things were going well, was because those archers on the hill of Roomi disobeyed the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam. Instead of listening to their immediate leader on that hill, Abdullah Ibn Jubayr r.a., who told them to remain on it, they all fled down the hill towards the booty in sight. From this point onwards, things went downhill for the Muslims. Khalid Ibn Waleed r.a. saw the opportunity and took it and attacked the Muslim army from this unguarded position.  Mus’ab Ibn Umayr r.a., the standard-bearer, who resembled the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam, was slain. Rumor went around that the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam was killed and chaos ensued. Hamzah r.a. came into sight of Wahshi r.a., the spear expert, and so Hamzah r.a. met his  martyrdom there and then, but not before putting all his remaining strength and vigor into trying to continue fighting, even as the spear was lodged in his body. Many were martyred and the whole Muslim army were basically dispersed and driven to the slopes of Mount Uhud.

All this, because those 50 archers chose to disobey the Prophet’s sallallaahu alayhi wasallam orders, and chose to follow the inclination of their desires for worldly wealth which was beseeching them on the ground in plain sight. Because of this, the whole army was affected. Many of them were martyred. The Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam himself suffered major wounds as his face was struck such that a piece of the weapon had to be extracted from his cheek. Talhah Ibn Ubaydullah r.a. on that day earned the title ‘The Living Martyr’ because he defended the injured Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam and had so many cuts and wounds on his body that he lay unconscious in a ditch. His hand was paralyzed from shielding the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam.

Look at the impact of disobedience of a few men on a whole army. The trigger was disobedience. Disobedience to the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam nonetheless. Apply it to our times. Syria, Burma, Egypt, Palestine. Could it be that our brothers and sisters in deen are suffering because of the disobedience of some of us, or all of us, to Allah and His messenger sallallaahu alayhi wasallam? We mourn our brothers and sisters in Syria. We cry for our brothers and sisters in Egypt. We feel grieved by the conditions of our brothers and sisters in Burma and elsewhere. We launch protests and talks and fundraising for our brothers and sisters in these places. We are very passionate about helping them. Yet, if we look back to our own selves, to our relationship and obedience to Allah, can we say that we are definitely not part of the problem? Can we??

We are one body. When one part of it has dead cells, pretty soon, the whole body follows. Disobedience to Allah and His messenger is akin to death, for life is in obedience to Allah and Rasulullah sallallaahu alayhi wasallam. Subhanallah….this was one lesson I personally took from that visit to Uhud. I have  been made aware of this before, but on that day, as Sh Omar mentioned this, I knew that I would never forget this point. So, may Allah grant me the tawfeeq to act on this lesson for the rest of my life and spread it. Ameen.

I cannot express how I feel about Madinah, and when I try, I know I am not doing it justice. Sh Omar talked about the virtues of Mount Uhud, and subhanallah, when he mentioned what the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam had said about it,

“This is Uhud, the mountain which loves us and which we love,”

I felt something stir in my heart as I looked on at this huge reddish mountain range.

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When the sahabah were laughing at the skinny legs of Abdullah Ibn Masood, the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam said,

“What are you laughing at? At the legs of ‘Abdullah that will be heavier on the scale on the Day of Qiyaamah than the weight of mount Uhud?”

And what Sh Omar said next shook me. This was something I wasn’t aware of before, and as I was looking at Mount Uhud while he was saying this, I understood why Mount Uhud was used so much as an analogy and point of comparison by the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam when teaching the sahabah r.a.

Some of the inhabitants of hellfire will be made so big that his molars will be as big as Mount Uhud, and the distance between his shoulders will be equivalent to 3 days walking.

May Allah protect us, Ameen!

On that same day, we also visited Masjid Quba, which is mentioned in the Quran, in Surah Tawbah 9:108

9:108
Sahih International

Do not stand [for prayer] within it – ever. A mosque founded on righteousness from the first day is more worthy for you to stand in. Within it are men who love to purify themselves; and Allah loves those who purify themselves.

We had halaqas every night in Madinah with Sh Omar, and on one of them, Sh Omar tried to tell us about the virtue of visiting Masjid Quba. I said tried, because we kept asking questions about logistics in Aziziyah that he ended up saying to us,

“I guess no one wants to hear about Quba.”

What Sh Omar was trying to tell us was this:-

In Sahih Muslim it is narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to go to the mosque of Quba’ every Saturday, walking or riding, and he would pray two rak’ahs there. Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 1191; Muslim, 1399

[ Taken from Etiquettes of Ziyaarah – by Imâm al-Madîna al-Munawarrah Salâh al-Budayr ]

It is prescribed for the visitor to Madeenah and for the one who lives there to go to the Mosque of Quba’ and pray there, following the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and seeking the reward of ‘Umrah.

So, even though we had not yet gone to Makkah for our Umrah, we grabbed the opportunity to get the reward of Umrah by making wudhu before we left and praying at Masjid Quba that day. The Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam built that masjid with his own hands, carrying two bricks at once where everyone else carried one brick at a time.

The masjid was literally white and looks like one of those masajid you would see in Muslim countries, except that it has specific virtues. We were told to make it quick and just pray 2 rakaah sunnah and get back to the bus. So in order not to get lost or delay the group, us sisters went in a group and made sure no one was left behind. Those who were not praying guarded our shoes (May Allah reward them, Ameen! because one sister actually protected my shoes from being stolen while I was praying), and the rest of us went upstairs to pray. When we got to the second floor, it was as empty as could be! No one was there. We found our spots in the most front row and prayed our 2 rakaah sunnah.

At that moment, I almost couldn’t fathom the fact that Allah had given us that opportunity to pray in yet another blessed place, and all I can say is…Alhamdulillah, Allahu Akbar.

By the time we gave salam, the whole area on that second floor was crowded with groups from buses that just arrived. We had to make our way through that crowd, get downstairs, find our shoes, find our fellow sisters and make our way back to the bus. We revisited kindergarten then, because in order not to get lost in oncoming crowds on our way back to the bus, we formed a human train back to the bus. We didn’t get lost alhamdulillah, but the brothers had been waiting for us for a while. In the bus, as they were checking if everyone was on the bus, the brother asked,

“Do you have your husband with you?”

A chuckle escaped me when a sister behind me replied, “My husband is in America!”

All throughout the time we were in Madinah and Makkah, the group leaders made sure all couples stayed together because as Mrs. Hussain said,

“If we lose a couple who is together, that’s fine, but if someone loses his or her spouse, that’s a problem.”

On the way back to out hotel, we passed by an area called the ‘Awaali, which was the date palm garden where Salman Al Farsi r.a. was at when he was looking for the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wasallam. The story of Salman r.a. is another sahabah story that melts and deeply touches my heart, subhaanallah. I recently learned, from listening to Sh Yasir Qadhi’s Seerah lecture on the Battle of Khandaq, that Salman r.a. was actually around 70 years old at the time of the Battle of Khandaq, because in his journey towards the truth, he had spent time with several priests and each of those time took about 10-15 years each! All the movies on him that we’ve watched however, depicts him as a young man! Subhanallah. It just goes to show that if you want to learn Seerah, don’t rely solely on the movies. You need to really learn it from the authentic sources.

One of the things that I had come across, that I took to heart, before I went to hajj, was Sh Yaser Birjas’ FB status:

A loud whisper to all the brothers and sisters who are going for hajj:

Read a book of Seerah before you embark on your journey. Believe it or not, it will bring Makkah and Madinah back to life for you.
When you remember the stories you read happened there where you will be standing and walking, echoes of the past will overwhelm you with beautiful memories and emotions.

Bring back the past in 3D+ and read the Seerah. Makkah and Madinah have much more to tell you than just a story of Islam. It has the spirit and living history of this ummah and its great first generation. History that goes back as far as our forefather Ibrahim alayhisalam.

وَأَذِّن فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ يَأْتُوكَ رِجَالًا وَعَلَىٰ كُلِّ ضَامِرٍ يَأْتِينَ مِن كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيقٍ

“And proclaim to the people the Hajj [pilgrimage]; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass” – al-Hajj 22:27 – Sh Yaser Birjas

I’ve always had trouble remembering the names of people whenever I learn Seerah, and for me, what I’ve realized is that I need to listen, learn and re listen and re learn it again and again. It’s a lot like reading your favorite book again and again. The more you are exposed to it, the more things are ingrained in you and before long, those sahabah become one of the most beloved people to you that just the mention of their stories will soften your hearts again and again.

May Allah grant us the invitation to Madinah and Makkah again, ameen!

*(Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, p. 349 and Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Maghazi, Section ‘Battle of Uhud’)

Photos courtesy of Dr. Farhan Abdul Azeez

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