The Archers’ Fatal Mistake
while the small army of islam were recording the second absolute and clear victory over the makkans — which was no less in splendour and glory than the first one at badr — the majority of the archers on the mountainside committed a fatal mistake that turned the whole situation upside down, and constituted a source of heavy losses amongst the muslims. it has almost brought about the murder of the prophet [pbuh], and left a very bad impression on the fame and dignity they deservedly earned at badr battle.
we have already spoken about the positive orders given to the archers to hold on to their position whatever the course of the main engagement. in spite of those strict orders, and their leader’s — ‘abdullah bin jubair — warning, forty archers deserted their posts, enticed by the too soon roar of victory as well as worldly avarice for the spoils of war.[sahih al-bukhari 1/426] the others, however, nine in number and ‘abdullah, their leader, decided to abide by the prophet [pbuh]’s order and stay where they were until they were given leave or killed to the last. consequently the cleft was left inadequately defended .