Desperate Defense of the Prophet's Person

in a moment, however, a number of other muslims joined the circle of the prophet, and these were so determined and desperate in their defense that they formed an impregnable barrier between the prophet and the enemy. umm `amarah al ansariyyah, the madinese, had been on the battlefield since the morning to give water to the muslim fighters to drink. when the muslims suffered defeat, she threw down her water jug, drew her sword, and joined the other fighters around the prophet for his protection. she shot a number of arrows until she herself was wounded. abu dujanah placed himself as a shield before the prophet and even exposed his back to the falling arrows lest they should hit the prophet. sa'd ibn abu waqqas shot arrows which muhammad passed to him while lending him encouragement. a little earlier, muhammad himself was using his bow and shot at the enemy until the string of his bow broke. those who thought that muhammad had perished, including abu bakr and `umar, went toward the mountain and sat down. when anas ibn al nadr inquired why they were giving up so soon, and was told that the prophet of god had been killed, he retorted: "and what would you do with yourselves and your lives after muhammad died? rise, and die like he did." he turned, charged against the enemy, and fought gallantly. he kept on fighting despite his wounds and did not give up until he was hit seventy times. his body was so torn up with wounds that only his sister could identify it by means of his fingers alone.

the prophet's escape

quraysh took the news of muhammad's death with exhilaration and joy, and abu sufyan began a search for his body on the battlefield. the muslims around muhammad did not deny the news of his death in obedience to muhammad's own commandment designed to prevent any new onslaught by the quraysh against him. ka'b ibn malik, however, came close to the circle and, bending himself over abu dujanah, noticed that the prophet was there and still alive. he proclaimed at the top of his voice: "o believers, be glad, for the prophet of god is here and still alive." the prophet, however, asked him to keep quiet. the muslims then reinforced the protective circle around the prophet and moved with him farther up toward the mountain; they were led by abu bakr, `umar, 'ali ibn abu talib, al zubayr ibn al `awwam and others. the cry of ka'b brought about a different effect upon the quraysh. most of the latter did not believe it but regarded it as an enemy trick designed to rally the muslims to fight again. a few makkans ran toward the muslims shouting, "where is muhammad? death to me if he lives!" the prophet hurled the javelin of al harith ibn al simmah at the oncoming party. it hit the leader, threw him off his horse, and killed him. when the muslims reached the entrance to the valley on the other side, 'ali filled his shield with water, washed muhammad's face and poured some water on his head. abu `ubaydah ibn al jarrah pulled out the two links of chain from muhammad's wound, and his two front teeth fell off in the process. while this was taking place, khalid ibn al walid pursued the muslims on the hillside with a small force of makkan cavalry. but they were repelled by `umar ibn al khattab and a number of the prophet's companions. the muslims continued their retreat. so great was their exhaustion that when it was noon, the prophet led the prayer seated, suffering as he was from his wounds, and the muslims prayed behind him seated also.

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