Resumption of Fighting on the Morrow

on the morrow, which fell on sunday the 16th of shawwal, the mu'adhdhin of the prophet called upon the muslims to regroup and pursue the enemy. only those who had participated in the previous day's battle were, however, allowed to proceed. when the muslims set out toward the makkan force, abu sufyan immediately learned that his enemies had returned from madinah with new reinforcements. muhammad reached hamra' al asad while abu sufyan and his companions were still at al rawha'. since he passed by both camps, ma'bad al khuza`i, who was still an associationist, was asked by abu sufyan about muhammad and his forces. he replied that "muhammad and his companions are coming after you with such a large army that i have never seen the like of it. those who were not present yesterday are all with him today shouting with anger and seeking revenge." abu sufyan, on the other hand, though he wanted to run away from any more confrontations with muhammad, pondered the consequences of such a flight. would not the arabs say of quraysh in such an eventuality what he himself would have liked to say of muhammad and his companions? but then, were he to return to muhammad and the muslims defeat them this time, would not the quraysh be destroyed once and for all? he therefore made recourse to a trick. with some riders of `abd al qays proceeding to madinah, he sent a message to muhammad that the quraysh had decided to pursue the muslims in order to finish them off. when this message reached muhammad at hamra' al asad, his will and determination remained constant and his decision unchanged. the whole muslim force, which remained in place for three days and three nights, made large bonfires during the night in order to show the world that they were there to stay. finally, disagreeing with abu sufyan, the quraysh preferred to save the memory of their victory of uhud and to return to makkah. thereafter, muhammad returned to madinah with more confidence in muslim power, though the insincere believers began to raise their heads in derision of the muslims and asked

"if the battle of badr was a sign from god proving the veracity of muhammad's prophethood, what was the sign of the battle of uhud ?"[significantly, this is the same question which western islamicist wilfred cantwell smith thinks confutes muslims in modern times because of its novelty. see his islam in modern history , princeton, new jersey, princeton university press, 1957, ch. ii, where he argues that the view that islam's movement in history is god willed and god-incepted-such as islam holds-leads in case of frustration, loss or defeat, to the absurdity either that god's will is being frustrated or that the movement in question is not god-willed. smith omits here to consider that the unfolding of god's will in history is, in islam, not the working of blind necessity but that of free men whose responsible decisions are the very stuff of divine will, so that defeat or victory are attributable to them rather than to god. it was this moralism of the muslims that saved them after their defeat at uhud and at the hands of crusaders and tatars in the middle ages. and it is likely to save them, too, after their defeat by an imperialist west in modern times. -tr.]

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