The Battle of Uhud
The defeat at Badr was an ignominy which the Quraishites pride could not leave unavenged. Revenge was, therefore, the catchword all over Makkah. The Makkans even forbade lamenting over their murdered people, or ransoming their captives at Badr Battle lest the Muslims should realize the grave degree of sadness and feeling of tragedy they were experiencing.
In the wake of Badr event, Quraish was in common consent and started fresh preparations to launch an overall war against the Muslims in order to restore their blemished prestige and wounded pride. The most enthusiastic polytheists desiring to go into a new battle were ‘Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl, Safwan bin Omaiyah, Abu Sufyan bin Harb, and ‘Abdullah bin Abi Rabi‘a. They were determined to crush the commonwealth of Islam once and for all. Emissaries were sent to all the tribes to make common cause against the rising Faith. As a consequence of this, they managed to enlist the support of two well-known tribes Kinana and Tihamah besides some desert bedouins Ahabish. It was also decided that the profits of the escaped caravan headed by Abu Sufyan, which amounted to 1000 camels and 50 thousand Dinars, should be devoted for providing equipment to the army. The Noble Qur’ân has alluded to this decision of theirs in the following words:
They also devised other ways of recruitment including hiring poets to entice the tribes into fighting the Muslims. Safwan bin Omaiyah allured Abu ‘Azza, the poet to work in this context in return for riches after the war or supporting his daughters if killed. Incidentally, this poet was prisoner of war (in the context of the Badr events) in the hands of the Muslims and the Prophet [pbuh] was gracious enough to release him unransomed provided he would not engage in fight against him.
Abu Sufyan nursed the most grudge against Muslims because he had lost most of his supplies in As-Sawiq invasion, let alone the heavy economic losses that Quraish had sustained in the aftermath of the events that featured the platoon of Zaid bin Harithah.
In the light of these successive failures, Quraish precipitated and accelerated their preparations for a decisive battle with the Muslims. At the turn of the year everything was ready for the move. The Makkans also decided to take their women along with them for they might arouse them to fight manfully. Thus a contingent of three thousand pitched warriors, of whom seven hundred were mailed soldiers and two hundred well-mounted [Za'd Al-Ma'ad 2/92; Fath Al-Bari 7/346] cavalry with three thousand camels and fifteen women marched towards Madinah. The general leader was Abu Sufyan bin Harb, the cavalry under the leadership of Khalid bin Al-Waleed assisted by ‘Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl, and Bani ‘Abd Ad-Dar were entrusted with the flag.
Old deep-seated feelings of hatred, with heart-based grudge enveloped the whole process foreshadowing bitter, bloody revenge-instigated fighting between the two parties.
Meanwhile Al-‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul Muttalib, was closely watching the military movements and preparations for war, and these were all included in an urgent message sent by him to Prophet [pbuh] who received it while he was in Qubâ’ Mosque. Ubai bin Ka‘b read the letter to the Prophet [pbuh], who asked him to be reticent with respect to its serious contents. He hurried back to Madinah, convened a meeting with the Helpers and Emigrants and conducted with them serious consultations as regards the measures to be taken.
The whole of Madinah was put on the alert and all men were heavily armed even during prayer in anticipation of any emergency. A group of Helpers volunteered to guard the Prophet [pbuh] and kept watchful eye all night at his door, amongst whom there were Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh, Usaid bin Hudair and Sa‘d bin ‘Ubadah. Lest they should be taken by surprise, armed groups of the Madinese began to police the entrances and roads leading to the city. To reconnoitre the movements of the polytheists, Muslim platoons began to patrol the routes for any probable enemy raids.
The Makkan army, on the other hand, continued the march along the usual western road. On reaching Al-Abwâ’, Hind bint ‘Utbah, Abu Sufyan’s wife, suggested that they dig up the grave of the Prophet [pbuh]’s mother, but the leaders of the army refused to do so for fear of the consequent results. The army then followed Wadi Al-‘Aqeeq and turned right to encamp themselves at a place called ‘Ainain near Uhud Mountain. That was on Friday, 6th Shawwal, 3 A.H.