The two parties approached and grew very close to each another. The phases of fight started. The first combatant was the standard-bearer, Talha bin Abi Talha Al-‘Abdari, who was the most distinguished idolater. He was one of the bravest men of Quraish fighters. Muslims nicknamed him ‘the ram of the battalion.’ He came forth riding a camel and challenged the Muslims to a single combat. People refrained from fighting him due to his bravery; but Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam advanced for the fight. He did not give the ‘Ram’ any chance to fight but fell on him like a lion on his camel’s back, pulled him down to the ground and slaughtered him with his sword.
The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] who was watching that wonderful incident exclaimed: Allâhu Akbar that is ‘Allâh is the Greatest’ and the Muslims exclaimed Allâhu Akbar too. He praised Az-Zubair when he said:
Soon the general engagement ensued and the fight of the two parties grew fierce everywhere on the battlefield. The strain of the fight was centred round the carriers of the standard. After the death of their leader Talha bin Abi Talha, Banu ‘Abd Ad-Dar alternated the mission successively. Talha’s brother, ‘Uthman, ran forward and seized the standard which lay by the lifeless body of his brother, chanting: "The standard-bearer has the right to dye its shaft in blood, till it be beaten in his hand." Hamzah bin ‘Abdul Muttalib attacked and dealt him a blow that cut his arm and shoulder and went down to his navel to uncover his lung.
The standard was raised up again by Abu Sa‘d bin Abi Talha; but Sa‘d bin Abi Waqqas shot him with a deadly arrow that hit him at his throat and made his tongue hang out breathing his last.
In another version it was narrated that Abu Sa‘d lifted the standard up and challenged the Muslims to fight him. ‘Ali bin Abi Talib went forth. They exchanged two blows. Then ‘Ali gave him a terminal blow that finished him off.
Musafi‘ bin Talha bin Abi Talha then hoisted the standard, but was soon shot with an arrow by ‘Asim bin Thabit bin Abi Al-Aqlah. His brother Kilab bin Talha bin Abi Talha followed him picked the banner and lifted it up; but Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam attacked him and managed to kill him. Their brother Al-Jallas bin Talha bin Abi Talha lifted the banner up but Talha bin ‘Ubaidu-Allâh stabbed him to death. They also said that it was ‘Asim bin Thabit who managed to deal a terminal blow to him.
All those six people killed round and in defence of the standard, belonged to one house, the house of Abi Talha ‘Abdullah bin ‘Uthman bin ‘Abd Ad-Dar. Another man from Bani ‘Abd Ad-Dar, called Artat bin Sharhabeel carried the standard but he also was killed by ‘Ali bin Abi Talib. Others said it was Hamzah who killed him not ‘Ali.
Then it was Shuraih bin Qariz who was killed by Quzman — he was a hypocrite who fought for prestige only, not in defence of Islam. Abu Zaid ‘Amr bin ‘Abd Munaf Al-‘Abdari lifted the standard up but he was killed by Quzman too. A son of Sharhabeel bin Hashim Al-‘Abdari hoisted it again and was also killed by Quzman.
So we see that ten fighters of Bani ‘Abd Ad-Dar — the standard-bearers — were annihilated. Seeing that none of ‘Abd Ad-Dars survived to carry the standard, a slave of theirs — called Sawab — came to raise it. The slave showed more admirable sorts of bravery and steadfastness than his former masters. Sawab, the slave went on fighting till his hand was cut off. So he knelt down and embraced the banner, leant it against his chest and neck lest it should fall down to the ground. He remained fighting steadily and steadfastly till he was killed. In the meanwhile he did not stop saying: "O Allâh, have I been excused?" After the death of the slave Sawab, the standard fell down to the ground, and remained there as there was no one to carry it.
Whilst the brunt of the battle centred around the standard, bitter fighting was going on everywhere on the battlefield. The spirit of Faith overwhelmed the Muslims’ ranks; so they rushed among the idolaters as if they had been an outbreak of a destructive flood that overflowed and knocked down all dams and barriers standing in its way "I seek death, I seek death." That was their announced motto on Uhud Day.
Abu Dujana, recognized by the red band worn round his head, came forth, fighting with the sword of the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh]. He was determined to pay its price at all costs. He killed all the idolaters that stood on his way splitting and dispersing their ranks. Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam said:
"I felt angry and discouraged when the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] refused to give me the sword but gave it to Abu Dujana. I said to myself: ‘I am his paternal cousin — the cousin of his aunt Safiya — a Quraishite, besides, I was the first who demanded it and yet he favoured him to me. By Allâh, I will watch how he will use it.’ So I followed him, I saw him take out his red band and wear it round his head. Seeing him like that, the Helpers said, ‘Abu Dujana had worn the band of death.’ Then he set out saying loudly:
No one stood the way of Abu Dujana but was killed. There was a man among the idolaters whose only target was to finish off the wounded Muslims. During the fight Abu Dujana drew near that man; so I implored Allâh that they might engage in combat. They in fact did and exchanged two sword-strokes. The idolater struck Abu Dujana, but he escaped it and it pierced into his leather shield. The idolater’s sword now stuck to it, Abu Dujana struck him with the sword and killed him. [Ibn Hisham 2/68,69] Into the thick of the battle, he rushed to kill a person who was inciting the enemy to fight the Muslims. Upon this the person shrieked and lo! it was a woman. Abu Dujana spared her saying: ‘I respect the Prophet [pbuh]’s sword too much to use it on a woman.’ The woman was Hind bint ‘Utbah."
Describing the same incident, Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam said: "I saw Abu Dujana raising a sword over the parting part of Hind bint ‘Utba’s head then he moved it off. I said to myself: ‘Allâh and His Messenger know best.’ (i.e. know why he acted like that). [bn Hisham 2/69]"
Hamzah bin ‘Abdul Muttalib displayed wonderful feats of gallantry against the overwhelming odds which stood unparalled and created consternation and confusion in the disbelieving hosts. Heroes dispersed off his way as if they had been tree-leaves blown away by strong wind. In addition to his effective contribution to the annihilation of the idolaters who stood in defence of the standard, he was even of much greater effect at fighting against men of bravery and distinguished horsemen. It was Allâh’s Will that he be murdered when he was at the top. He was not killed in a face-to-face fight on the battlefield — in the normal way by which heroes die — but rather assassinated in the dead-dark as was the custom of killing generous and noble men that were impossible to kill in an honourable fight.