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The Battle of Ohod Shawwal A.H. III. January, A.D. 625.
Ętat 56.

The Coreish resolve to avenge their defeat at Badr

THE year 625 A.D. opened stormfly on Mahomet. Twelve months had elapsed since the battle of Badr. The cry of revenge ever since had resounded in the valley of Mecca; and the long suspended threat was now put into execution.

Mahomet receives intimation from his uncle Abbas

Rumours of preparation by the Coreish for a grand attack upon Medina had for some time been reaching Mahomet: but the first authentic notice of the impending invasion was a sealed letter placed in his hands, while at the Mosque in Coba, by a messenger from Mecca. It was from his uncle Abbas, who had engaged the courier, by a high reward, to deliver it in three days 1. Obey, the son of Kab, who was standing by, read the despatch aloud; it contained the startling news that the Coreish, three

1 K. Wackidi, 106; Wackidi, 202. The latter professes to give a copy of the letter, but it is not reliable. In it Abbas assures Mahomet that he had no hand in the enterprise. As usual, he was trying to hold with both sides.


thousand strong, were on the point of starting. Mahomet enjoined secrecy; but the tidings could not be suppressed. The prophet communicated them privately to Sad, son of Rabi, a "Leader" of the Bani Khazraj, and his wife overheard the conversation 2. Whether thus, or otherwse, the coming attack was soon noised abroad, and caused great excitement, especially among the Jews and those who sympathized with them.

The Coreish march from Mecca: Ramadhan, A.H. III. Middle of January, 625.

The movement at Mecca did, indeed, justify alarm. The Coreish had unanimously agreed to devote the profits of the caravan, for which so much blood had been shed at Badr, towards avenging that defeat 3. These amply sufficed for the equipment and provisioning of a great army. Emissaries were despatched amongst the Bedonin tribes, connected with the Coreish by alliance or descent, inviting them to join the enterprise. At length, near the

2 Wackidi, 203. Mahomet communicated the intelligence, in an inner chamber, to Sad, whose wife shortly after told him that she had heard it all. Sad seized her by the hair, and dragged her to Mahomet, who bade him let her go.

3 The only exception is said to have been the Bani Zohra (who it will be remembered turned back from the battle of Badr); also the poorer citizens who owned but small ventures in the caravan. One version states that Abu Sofian kept the caravan as it were in bond till the army was equipped from its proceeds; and that he himself excluded the Bani Zohra, because they had had no share in Badr. The gross value was 1,000 camels and 50,000 dirhems. One half constituted the profit; the other half, representing the principal, was returned to the several sharers. The chief expense of the campaign was in providing camels for consumption on the march. Wackidi, 205.

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close of Shawwal or beginning of Ramadhan,4 they commenced their march, three thousand in number; seven hundred were mailed warriors, and two hundred well mounted cavalry 5. The chiefs of the Coreish accompanied the force. Many took their women with them, who enkindled the fury of the army by verses, which were chanted to the stirring cadence of the timbrel, and which invoked vengeance on the Moslems for friends and kinsmen slain at Badr 6. Foremost amongst these was Hind, the wife of Abu Sofian, who, thirsting for the blood of Hamza, had engaged an Ethiopian, with his deadly javelin, to secure her victim 7. There was also with the army a band of Medina citizens, under Abu Aamir "the Monk," who, it will be remembered, went over to Mecca in disgust at the enthusiastic reception of Mahomet, and now boasted that his presence in the ranks of the Coreish would of itself disarm the opposition of his fellow citizens 8.

4 The chronology will be given in a note below.

5 There were 3,000 camels. One hundred soldiers of the Bani Thackif (of Tayif) were with the army.

6 The Secretary of Wackidi mentions fifteen; and Wackidi enumerates fourteen chief women. There were, no doubt, others of less note. Abu Sofian took his two wives with him, Hind and Omeima. Wackidi, 201.

7 She is represented as exhorting him, every time she passed, not to fail of his object. But there is a good deal of embellishment in the painting of her animosity. The Abasside traditionists rejoice in the blackest pictures of the house of Abu Sofian. Wahshi, the Ethiopian, is also called "Abu Dusma" the Negro. Tabari, 358.

8 See above, p.27.

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And encamp near Medina, Thursday

The Meccan army, taking the ordinary route by by the sea-shore, after a march of ten days, reached Dzul Huleifa, a halting place in the valley of Ackick, about five miles west of Medina 9. It was Thursday morning; and the same day, striking off by a valley to the left, they marched northward for a few miles, and encamped in an extensive and fertile plain to the west of Ohod 10. The luxuriant fields were cut own as forage for the horses; and the camels, set loose to graze, trampled the crops in all directions. Friday. Friday was passed inactively. Between this low

9 A party of the Bani Khozan, who had quitted Mecca only four days before, told Mahomet that they had left the Coreishite army at Dzu Towa, the first stage from Mecca; on their return they met them at Rabigh, on the road by the sea-shore. Wackidi, 202.

It is related that at Abwa some of the Coreish proposed to dig up the bones of Mahomet's mother, as a guarantee, in case of defeat, against any insult to the women who accompanied the army. Aba Sofian objected, lest the Bani Bakr and Klnozaa (left behind at Mecca) should, in retaliation, dig up the bones of their dead. The story is unlikely, but it marks the route. Wackidid, 206. For Dzul Huleifa, see Burton, ii. 144.

10 It was called Al Wata, , which may have been its proper name, but which also signifies generally a depressed plain between high ground. The plain, extending front Ohod to Al Jorf was cultivated by the inhabitants of the city. It sloped off northwards into the Ghaba, the lowest spot or basin for the drainage of the whole vale of Medina. The surplus water from thence passes west, between the hills. Burckhardt, 328; Burton, ii. 117, 169, 285. In the days of Wackidi it was called "the plain of beans or vegetables." Oseid ibn Hodheir is mentioned as having twenty camels employed in irrigating his barley there. Wackidi; 207. The barley harvest is in March, and the crop would be now in green luxuriance. Burckhardt, 855.

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plain and Medina were several rocky ridges, which, closing down upon the city on the north, rendered it secure from any direct attack on that side; but the road, Sweeping eastward under Ohod, and then south, reached the northern suburbs by an easy circuit. The Coreish feared to advance by this route upon the city, as the houses on the road would have afforded their enemy a strong position. They hoped rather to draw them to the outskirts and overpower them, upon equal ground, by their superior numbers. Perhaps by delay, it was also expected that the party unfavourable to Mahomet might have time to gain heart, and create in the city a dangerous diversion.

Proceedings in Medina

Meanwhile Mahomet, by his spies, was kept apprised of the enemy's movements 11. Hobab ibn al Mundzir reconnoitred their camp on Thursday, and brought back an alarming estimate of its strength, which the Prophet desired him to keep secret 12. The farmers of the plain had withdrawn in time their labourers, cattle, and implements of husbandry; but the complete destruction of their fields was severely felt. The bold which Mahomet had already attained over the people of Medina is remarkable. There was no ebullition of resentment

11 Two of these spies ventured into the enemy's camp on the evening of Wednesday, and accompanied them from the valley of Ackick to their encampment at Al Wata, returning thence to Mahomet on Thursday. K. Wackidi, 105; Wackidi, 206.

12 Wackidi, 208.

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against him as the cause of their losses; and, amidst all the elements of disaffection, he is at once recognized as the leader and director of every defensive measure. Several chief men, both of the Aws and Khazraj, with a strong party of armed adherents posted themselves at the great Mosque, and kept watch over the Prophet's door throughout the night of Thursday 13. The sleep of Mahomet was troubled. He dreamed, tradition tells us, that he was clad in mail, that his sword was broken at its point, that a cow was being slaughtered, and that he rode upon a ram 14.

Resolution to remain within the city

The next day, Friday, the people came together, and Mahomet discussed with them the course to be pursued. He told them of his dream. "The fracture in my sword portendeth some injury to my own person,15" he said; "and the slaughtering of the cow, damage to my people; riding upon the rain signifieth slaughter amongst the enemy; and the being covered with a coat of mail is a type of, Medina fortified and secure. Within the city then, he argued, " we are safe: without it, loss and disaster may await us." In this opinion coincided the

13 The two Sads, Oseid, &c., are named as with this party.

14 Reff. as before. The dream is given consistently by all our authorities; and there is nothing violently improbable in it, though it bears too much the cast of traditional fiction to be received unhesitatingly. Supposing it founded on fact, it might either be a real dream, or a similitude intended by Mahomet to enforce his views.

15 Or, as others say, "to some one of my house." Wackidi, 209.

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men of years and wisdom, both citizens and refugees. Abdallah ibn Obey, who, notwithstanding his jealousy of Mahomet, was equally concerned in the protection of Medina from insult and violence, strongly supported the views of Mahomet : - "O Prophet!" he said, "our city is a virgin, inviolate. We have never gone forth to our enemies, but we have suffered loss: remaining within our walls, we have beaten them off with slaughter. Leave the Coreish alone. If they remain, it will be in evil case; when they retire, it will be disappointed and frustrated in their designs." So it was determined that the women and children of the suburbs and surrounding hamlets should be brought within the city, and that the enemy, if they approached, should be met with arrows, stones, and other missiles from the house-tops, and pursued in confusion through tl)e streets and narrow passages of the town 16.

set aside by the ardour of the younger converts

The decision was displeasing to the younger and more impetuous citizens. "Shall we sit quietly here;" they asked indignantly, "and see our fair possessions ravaged all around? The disgrace will cleave to us irretrievably, and the Arab tribes will be emboldened to repeat the insult. Let us go forth and smite our foes, even as we did at Badr!"17 There

16 K. Wackidi, 109; Wackidi, 210.

17 As usual, we are overwhelmed with anecdotes of Believers bent on martyrdom, and of dreams and pious anticipations of the rewards to be shortly enjoyed in Paradise. These I take to be the growth of after years ;--- the halo, in fact, pictured by tradition

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were not wanting men among the refugees who sided with this party, and their ardour was so great that Mahomet at last gave way. He announced his resolution to give battle to the Coreish. Ascending the pulpit for the weekly service, he stirred up the people, in his discourse, to fight courageously: - "If ye be stedfast," he said "the Lord will grant you victory." Then he commanded them to make ready for the battle. The most part rejoiced greatly; but some were grieved that the first decision had been set aside.

around the martyr's head. There were worldly motives enough to justify this party in their desire to go forth. The citizens were grieved at the occupation of their fields; the barley crops were being destroyed, and the season for sowing was passing away. Wackidi, 211. Even Hamza joined them on political considerations. "We fear" he said, "lest the Coreish should attribute our backwardness to cowardice, and that it will embolden them ever after. We were but three hundred at Badr, and now we are many. Verily, this is the day we have longed and prayed to the Lord for; and now he hath driven the enemy as a prey into the midst of our habitations." Wackidi, 210.

As specimens of the martyr spirit, I may mention these. One said, - "The slaughtered cow which thou sawest was an emblem of the dead amongst thy followers, and verily I shall be of the number; wherefor hinder me not from Paradise. Let us go foirth, surely, by the name of God! I shall enter quickly therein." Wackidi, 211. Khaithama (who had cast lots with Sad, his son, which should go to Badr, p. 84) told Mahomet that his son had risen before him in his sleep : - "A goodly appearance he had: he described to me the blessedness of Paradise, - all is true that our Lord hath promised; and he besought me to come quickly, and be his companion there. And now, verily, I am old, and long for the meeting with my Lord. Pray, therefore, that God will grant me martyrdom and reunion with my son." So Mahomet prayed; and Khaithama was slain at Ohod. Wackidi, 212. Such is the kind of story which tradition delights to embellish or create.

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Mahomet puts on his armour

By the time the afternoon prayer was ended, the people had assembled in the court of the Mosque, . armed for battle. Mahomet then retire with Abu Bakr and Omar, to make ready. In a little while he issued from his chamber, clad in mail and helmet, ills sword hanging from a leathern girdle,18 and a shield slung over his shoulder. His followers now repented that they had importuned to go forth, and prayed that he would even now do as seemed good to him. But it was too late : - "I invited you to this," he said, "and ye would not. It doth not become a Prophet, when once he hath put oil his helmet, to lay it down again until the Lord hath decided betwixt him and his enemies. Wait, therefore, on the Lord. Only be stedfast, and he will send victory to you.

marches a little way out of Medina, and halts for the night of Friday

Then he called for three lances, and fixed banners upon them. One of the refugees he gave to Musab, the second to a Leader of the Bani Aws, the third to a Leader of the Bani Khazraj 19. Abdallah ibn Omm Maktum he appointed to command the city, and lead the public prayers, during his absence. Just then the bier of a citizen was brought, as was customary, to the Mosque. Mahomet pronounced over it the usual service; then mounting his horse,

18 It was preserved and handed down in the family of Abu Rafi, Mahomet's servant. Wackidi, 213.

19 Instead of Mussab some name Ali. The Awsite standard was held by Oseid ibn Hodheir; the Khazrajite, by Hobah ibn Mundzir; others say by Sad ibn Obada. Wackidi, 214; K. Wackidi, 105 ½.

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and surrounded by his followers, he took the road to Obod. There was but one other horse with the Moslem army. Arrived at an eminence, the Prophet turned round and saw following, amid the palm plantations on the right, a rude and disorderly band of men. Being told that they were the Jewish confederates of Abdallah ibn Obey, he commanded that they should go back, "for," said he, "ye shall not seek the aid of idolaters to fight against idolaters."20 He then passed onwards to a place called Al Shaikhain, where he reviewed the force, and halted for the night 21. Abdallah ibn Obey,

20 Wackidi, 216; K. Wackidi 105 ½. It is commonly supposed that the order was at once obeyed, and that the Jews went back accordingly; but this is nowhere, that I find, expressly stated; and it is quite a possible alternative that they stayed on with Abdallah, and formed part of the force which seceded at the field of Ohod; and this seems to be the view of H. von Hammer. Weil holds, but on later authorities, that the Jews, five hundred in number, went back at this time, and Abdallah's force afterwards.

The Secretary of Wackdid has a tradition that Mahomet, seeing Abdallah on the road with seven hundred confederate Jews of the Bani Cainucaa, asked whether they were converts to Islam or not; and, on being informed that they were not, said, "Let them return, for ye shall not seek aid of idolaters;" &c. In most traditions the words "Let them return" are not given.

On the whole, I consider the difference an open question.

21 Burckhardt, p. 365, notices it as "a ruined edifice of stones or bricks," a mile from the town, "where Mahomet put on his coat of mail, i.e. on Saturday morning. "Farther on" is a stone where the Prophet "leaned for a few minutes on his way to Ohod."

The edifice is apparently that noted by Burton (ii. 234) as the Mustarah, or resting-place." It is half an hour's ride from

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with his followers, encamped near at hand; but, dis- pleased at his advice being cast aside, and at the unfriendly treatment of his Jewish adherents, he kept sullenly aloof. Muhammad, son of Maslama, patrolled the camp with fifty men 22. A similar duty was performed for the Coreish by Ikrima, with a troop of horse, which approached close enough to alarm the Moslems by their neighing, but did not venture over the ridge which separated the two armies 23.

Mahomet advances to Ohod, and draws up his line of battle

By the first dawn, the army of Medina was again in motion, advancing upon Ohod 24. A guide was procured, who, in the dim light of early morning,

Medina, "and has a newly built square or enclosure of dwarf whitewashed walls, within which devotees pray."

In the time of Mahomet two buildings stood on the spot called Sheckhani (the two aged persons), in memory of an aged and blind Jew and Jewess who used to live there. Wackidi, 214; Tabari, 868.

22 Mahomet slept that night in the encampment of the Bani Najjar. A person named Dzakwan watched over him. Mahomet awoke several times during the night, and asked who was on guard. Dzakwan answered each time by a different name (according to the Arab custom of patronymics, &c.), and Mahomet therefore supposed that the guard had been several times relieved. In the morning Dzakwan explained the artifice, and Mahomet was amused at it. The same story is related of Badr. Wackidi, 216, and 107.

23 The Harrat. Wackidi, 216; Burton ii. 286.

24 All authorities agree that the battle was fought upon a Saturday; and the day of the month is ordinarily given as the seventh of Shawwal; but M. C. de Perceval calculates that the seventh fell on a Tuesday. By the same calculation, the eleventh falls on Saturday; and the eleventh is one of the days named, but on inferior authority, by tradition. Others give the fifteenth.

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Saturday morning, 7th (11th) Shawwal, A.H. III. 26th January, A.D. 624.

led Mahomet by the nearest path, through the fields and and gardens which occupied intervening space 25. The vicinity owes its verdure to a water-course, which carries off the drainage of the country lying to the south and east. The hill of Ohod, three miles distant from Medina, is a rugged and almost insulated offshoot of the great mountain range, and projects for three or four miles into the eastern plain 26. The torrent, sometimes swollen so as quite to inundate the adjacent tract 27, sweeps along its southern and western face, and discharges its flood into the Ghaba, or low basin lying beyond. It was now dry, and its course marked only by deep sand and scattered stones. On the farther bank, upon a slightly sloping plain, bare and stony, over which "the seared and jagged flanks of Ohod rose like

25 As he passed through one of these gardens, its owner, a blind man, murmured at the injury to his property, and east dust at Mahomet. One of the Bani Aws sprang up and beat him. A chief of the Bani Kharraj resented the affront, and a fierce contention arose. It was ended by a savage threat from Oseid, the Awsite "Leader;" who said that unless he knew that it would not be pleasing to Mahomet, he would have cut off the blind man's head!

There must, no doubt, have been difficulty in keeping down these intestine quarrels and jealousies, though in the hands of a skilfull administrator like Mahomet they were really elements of power. Wackidi, 217.

26 Burckhardt, 364, 366.

27 Ibid. 365. Mahomet crossed the water-course at a place where there was subsequently a bridge Wackidi 105 ½. I do not find the notice of this bridge, or its remains, in any modern work.

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masses of iron," Mahomet halted his army 28. By this time it was full daylight, and although the columns of the enemy were ill sight, the cry for morning prayers was raised by Bilal, and the whole army, led by the Prophet, prostrated itself. in worship. Abdallah ibn Obey at this moment wheeled suddenly round, and deserting the army with his three hundred followers, took the road back to the city. Mahomet was thus left with only seven hundred followers: but they were all true men; and, fighting in what they believed to be the cause of God, they boldly faced an enemy four times their number. The rear was protected by the frowning heights of Ohod, excepting on the left, where the rocks receded, and afforded an opening, the more dangerous because suited to the movements of the enemy's horse. Mahomet, therefore, posted on an adjoining eminence the flower of his archery, and gave their leader a stringent injunction to hold fast, and check the attempts which he expected the Coreish would here make to turn his flank : - "Guard our rear," he said, "and stir not from this spot: if ye see us pursuing and plundering the enemy, join not with us: if we be pursued, and worsted, move not to our aid." Then he drew out his line, facing towards Medina; - Musab, with the Refugee standard, being in the centre, and the Aws and Khazraj allies forming either wing 29. He commanded

28 Burton, ii. 237.

29 The received account is that the army faced southwards, towards Medina, its left resting on the eminence of Ainain ("the

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the army not to engage the enemy till he gave command; for he knew that the strength of his position would be sacrificed by a premature advance. Having thus disposed his force, Mahomet put on a second coat of mail, and calmly awaited the enemy's approach.

The army of Mecca advance

Meanwhile Aba Sofian, as hereditary leader, brought up the Meccan army; and, facing Ohod, marshalled them in front of Mahomet. The banner, which had been duly bound upon the standard in the Council Hall at Mecca, was borne by Talha, son of Abd al Ozza 30. The right wing was commanded

two springs"); another version, not accepted by Wackidi, makes it face to the west, with its rear on Ainain, the enemy facing east, towards the rising sun. Wackidi, 218. It is probable that Mahomet's front, though looking south, was slightly turned west, to suit the ground which formed the north-eastern bank of the torrent. Burckhardt (p.365) makes the field of action lie east of the watercourse: Burton (ii. 285), north. Both are probably right in part, if; as I suppose, the torrent here inclines to the north-west.

30 This Talha is to be distinguished from Talha son of Obeidallah, who stood by Mahomet in the battle. The Talha in the text was of the family of Abd al Dar, which retained the right of carrying the Coreishite standard. Vol. i. p. ccxlvii. note. Abu Sofian desired not only to lead the army, but to carry the standard, or at least to raise a second banner; but the descendants of Abd al Dar would hear of no encroachment on their ancestral privilege. Wackidi, 219. There is a tradition that, as the enemy drew near, Mahomet inquired who bore their standard: on being told that it was one of the Bani Abd al Dar, he exclaimed, - "Our side is more worthy of that honour; and, calling for Musab (who was of the same lineage), placed the standard in his hands. It would appear, however, that Mahomet had already given the standard to Musab in the great Mosque.

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by Khalid; the left by Ikrima, soil of Abu Jahl 31. The women at first kept to the front, sounding their timbrels and singing martial verses; but as the line advanced, they fell to the rear.

The battle opens with single combats

The battle opened 32 by the inglorious advance of Abu Aamir, "the Monk;" who vainly expected his fellow-citizens of Medina to fraternize with him. He was received by them with a shower of stones, and forced to retire. Talha cried out indignantly to him and his followers,-- "Get to the rear, ye slaves! Guard the camp, - a fitting employment for you!" Flourishing the Coreishite banner, Talha now advanced alone, and challenged the enemy to single combat. All stepped forth, and rushing on him, with one blow of his sword, brought him to the ground. Mahomet, who had watched the rapid combat with intense anxiety, exclaimed with a loud voice, -- Great is the Lord! and the same cry arose in an overwhelming shout from the whole of the Moslem army 33. Talha's brother, Othman, who was in charge of the women, then ran forward and seized the banner which lay by the lifeless

31 Over the Coreishite horse was Safwan, son of Orneya; others say Amr ibn al Aas (the famous Amru); but the horse was apparently divided between the two wings. One hundred archers were placed under Abdallah ibu Abi Rabia. Wackidi, 219.

32 Wackidi gives an harangue, supposed to have been pronounced by Mahomet just before the battle; but it is evidently spurious Wackidi, 220.

33 Mahomet declared that thus was fulfilled that part of his vision in which he appeared to ride upon a ram. Talha was the ram.

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body. The women beat their timbrels loudly, and sang:-

"We are the Daughters or the Brave:34
On carpets we step delicately;
Boldly advanced we shall embrace you!
Turn back, and we will shun you,"
Shun you with disgust!"

Hamza responded to Othman's challenge, and after a brief encounter, brought him lifeless to the ground. Then walking proudly back to the Moslem ranks, Hamza shouted, - "I am the son of him who gave drink to the pilgrims;" - meaning of Abd al Mottalib, who had held that office. One after another, the family of Talha, two brothers and three sons, seized the standard; one after another, they fell in single combat 34.

The Coreish are pressed and waver.

The rapid destruction of their standard-bearers carried dismay into the ranks of the Coreish. A

34 daughters of the morning star, or of those who fall upon their enemy before dawn. K.W. 106; W. 223.

35 One of the sons was wounded by an arrow, shot by Aasim. The wounded lad was carried to his mother Sulafa, at the rear. She asked him, as he was breathing his last, who killed him. He said he did not recognize him; but as his foe shot the arrow, he heard him cry, - "Take that from me, the son of Al Aclah!" "By the Lord!" Sulafa said, "it was Aasim, one of our own kin;" and she vowed she would yet drink wine out of Aasim's skull. The vow was nearly being fulfilled, as we shall see below. Wackidi, 225.

The Arab custom of single combats put the two armies on an equality for a time. So long as these combats went on, the Coreish derived no advantage from their superior numbers; and were disheartened by the loss of their chiefs before the battle began.

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general engagement ensued; and, pressed by the fierce ardour of the Mussulmans, the Meccan began to waver. Their horse sought repeatedly to turn the left flank of Mahomet; but they were each time forced back by the galling archery of the little band posted on the neighbouring height. The same daring contempt of danger was displayed as at Badr. The Meccan ranks might be seen to quiver as Abu Dujana, distinguished by the red kerchief wound round his helmet, swept along, and, with a sword given him by Mahomet, dealt death on every side 36. Hamza, conspicuous from his waving ostrich feather; Ali, marked by his long white plume; and Zobeir, known by his bright yellow turban - like heroes in the battles of the Iliad - carried confusion wherever they appeared 37.

36 There is a mass of tradition about the prodigies of bravery shewn by Abu Dujana with this sword of Mahomet.

At the Commencement or the action Mahomet held up his sword, and said, - "who will take thin sword, and give to it its due?" Omar, Zobeir, &C one after another, came forward and were rejected; last Abu Dujana offered, and Mahomet gave it to him ; - "And he clave therewith the heads of the Unbelievers." - K. Wackidi,288; Wackidi, 255 et seq Hishami, 255; Tabair; 395.

After the battle, Ali, giving his sword to Fatima to wash, said, - "Take this sword, for it is not a despicable one," - alluding to his own acts of prowess that day. Mahomet added, - "If thou hast done well, O, Ali! verily Harith ibn Simma and Abu Dujana have done well also."

37 But the actual loss inflicted by these heroes was comparatively small; since only twenty fell altogether on the Meccan side, and a considerable number of these lost their lives in single combat. Indeed there is to be suspected a magnifying of the first advantages

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The day changed by the charge or Khalid. The army of Medina routed

But the advance was pressed too hotly by the army of Mahomet. Their own line became irregular and confused; and a portion, piercing through the ranks of the enemy, fell to plundering their camp and baggage. The archers, from their eminence, perceived this, and could not resist the temptation; casting to the winds the injunction of the Prophet and the earnest expostulation of their leader, they hurried to the spoil. The ready eye of Khalid saw the opportunity, and he hastened to retrieve the day. Gathering the Coreishite horse at his extreme right, he wheeled round the enemy's left wing, now uncovered, swept off the few remaining archers from the rising ground, and appearing suddenly in rear of the Moslems, charged down into their ranks. The surprise was fatal, the discomfiture complete. Musab was slain, and the standard of the Refugees disappeared 38. The wild negro, Wahshi,

gained by the Moslems, in order to counterbalance the ignominy of the subsequent defeat. A small body of heroes may hare pierced through to the rear without much affecting the main line of the Coreish. had that been thrown into general confusion, one would hare expected the loss on their side to have been much greater.

The Secretary gives the enemy's loss at twenty-three, but this includes the prisoner Aba Ozza, and also Muavia, killed some days after.

38 It was seized by an angel. Wackidi, 231. The angles, though present, the traditionists add naively, did not fight that day. K. Wackidi, 106. But if the believers had stood fast the angels would have fought. Wackidi, 232.

There is a tradition that a descendant of Abdal Dar, Abdul Rum, caught the banner as it fell from Musab's hands, and brought it back to Medina; but it is unsupported. Wackidi, 230.

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watched for Hamza and, swinging his javelin with unerring aim, brought him lifeless to the ground. The Coreish flow raised their war cries of OZZA and HOBAL, and advanced with rapid step. The Moslem army, pressed on every side, broke; and fled in dismay. They did not stop till they had found refuge on the heights of Ohod.

Mahomet wounded

It was a moment of extreme peril for Mahomet. At the first success, he kept behind, watching the wounded; advance of his troops, and, remaining in that position, had narrowly escaped the sweeping charge of Khalid's cavalry 39. Some marvellous but improbable stories are told of his prowess, as well as of his signal escapes. With the staff of followers who surrounded him, he joined in discharging arrows, till his bow was broken; and then he betook himself to casting stones. At one period, he is said to have inflicted a deadly wound on Obey ibn Khalf, who pressed madly forward to cut him down 40.

39 The spot of Mahomet's misfortunes is still marked by a Cupola, Cubbat at Sanaya, the dome of the teeth, - "nearer the foot of the mountain" than the graves of Hamza, &C The print of a tooth is shewn there. Burckhardt, 365; Burton, ii. 244.

40 The feat is surrounded with so much fabrication and discrepancy that I at first hesitated to admit it into the text. Accordmg to the Secretary, Obey was one of the prisoners taken at Badr; when ransomed, he left Medina, telling Mahomet that he had a horse which he was feeding up, in the hopes of killing Mahomet from its back. Mahomet replied, - "Nay! if the Lord will, I shall slay thee as thou art seated on that horse." Now, at Ohod, Obey urged forward the horse, and drew near to Mahomet. His followers interposed, but Mahomet bade them stand aside. Then

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When the Moslem ranks were broken and forced back, he tried to stay their fliglit, crying aloud, - Whither away? Come back! I am the Apostle of God! Return! But the call was not heeded; the retreat went on unchecked 40. The enemy soon bore down in force upon the Prophet himself, and if a party of devoted fifliowers had not rallied round his person, escape had been impossible 41. The Coreish scoured the field in special quest of their arch enemy. Suddenly, Ibn Camia, the hero who had just slain Musab, joined by Otba 42 and others, came upon the little group. Stones and arrows flew thick around them. A stone wounded the Prophet's under lip and broke one of his front teeth. Another severe blow upon the face drove the rings of the helmet

taking a weapon, he cast it at Obey, and broke one of his ribs. Obey retired, and his comrades told him the wound would be of no consequence : - "Not so," replied he, "for did not Mahomet say that he would slay me, if it were the will of the Lord?" So they carried him back, and he was buried on tho road to Mecca. K. Wackidi, 107; Wackidi, 247. In Wackidis list of killed (p. 299), he is entered as slain by Mahomet's own hand. Two other accounts are given at p.248; according to one of which Musab would seem to have been the chief actor. See further discrepancies in Hishami, p. 262.

Othman ibn Abdallah, apparently one of Klalid's horsemen, is said to have galloped after Mahomet, but was unhorsed, and his horse maimed, by the Moslems. K. Wackidi, 248.

41 Wackidi, 234.

42 Fourteen persons are ordinarily named as having stood fast by Mahomet; one half of them refugees, and the other half citizens. Wackidi, 237.

43 Son of Abu Wackkas.

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deep into his cheek, and made a gash in his fore- head. The sword of Ibn Camia was barely warded from the head of Mahomet by the naked hand of Talha son of Obeidallah, whose fingers were thereby disabled 43. Mahomet fell to the ground 44, and Ibn Camia went back to his comrades exclaiming that

cry that he is slaim

he had killed him. The cry was taken up all around, and resounded from the rocks of Ohod 45. It spread consternation among the Prophet's followers. "Where now," they asked, "is the promise of his Lord?"46 But at the same time, the rumour checked the ardour of the enemy's pursuit. Their controversy was with Mahomet rather than with Medina. If he were killed, their object was accomplished, their revenge fulfilled 47.

44 Wackidi, 221.

45 Some accounts say that he was knocked over into a ditch, which was dug as a snare for the Medina army by Abu Aamir; as if Abu Aamir knew what spot Mahomet was about to select for the battle-field! Wackidi, 241. There may have been a natural declivity into which Mahomet fell; but even this does not appear from the best traditions.

46 As usual, it is the devil who is accused of this piece of malice. ln the shape of Jual ibn Suraca (see above, p.125 note), he screamed aloud that Mahomet was dead. K. Wackidi, 106; Wackidi, 229.

47 Some traditions assert, that on the cry of Mahomet's death going abroad, the staunch believers exclaimed, - "What if Mahomet be dead! The Lord dieth not; and verily his Apostle hath finished his work. Fight on for your Faith!" Whereas the disaffected said, - "Since Mahomet is dead, let us go back to our homes!" Wackidi, 274. The latter speech is likely enough. The former is an evident anticipation of tile scene at the Prophet's death seven years afterwards.

48 One of their objects, Wackidi states, was to take Mahomet prisoner. Wackidi, 256.

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Mahomet takes refuge behind the rocks of Ohod.

But Mahomet was only stunned. The cliffs of Ohod were close behind. Talha (himself in several places severely wounded) raised him gently, and with one or two others affording support, hastened to make him climb the defile where the greater part of his army had already found a secure retreat. The joy of his followers was unbounded at finding their Prophet still alive. Kab met him on the way, and began to call aloud the good news; but Mahomet, feeling that he was not yet beyond the reach of danger, motioned him to be silent 48. When they were sheltered behind the rocks 49, the first care of his followers was to remove the helmet from his head. Two of its rings were so firmly imbedded in his cheek, that Abu Obeida, who extracted them with his mouth, lost two teeth in the operation. The blood 50 flowed copiously from the Prophet's

48 The same story is told of sonic of the women who came out after the battle, to meet Mahomet; but that was at a much later period of the day, when there could have been no cause for sileince. The circumstance has been added apparently to enhance the danger and the merit of the females. K. Wackidi, 107; Wackidi, 233, 286; Tabari, 375.

49 The very "cave" is professed to he shewn to the pilgrims in which Mahomet hid himself. Burton, ii. 248. There are some stories of Mahomet's party having been pursued up the hill. Wackidi, 288; Hishami, 263. Also that they were ill danger or being shot upon by their own people, who mistook them for the enemy. Wackidi, 287. But they seem embellishments.

50 Wackidi, 244. Abu Malik licked the blood; thereupon Mabomet said,-" Whosesoever blood touclieth 'inine tbc SUWC shall be safe from hell fire:" a favorite type of tradition).

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wounds. Ali ran to a hollow in the rock, and brought some water in his shield. Mahomet could not drink of it, but only rinsed his mouth. As the blood was being washed off his face, he exclaimed - How shall the people prosper, that have treated thus their Prophet, who calleth them unto their Lord! Let the wrath of God burn against the men that have besprinkled the face of his Apostle with blood!51 He then put on the yellow helm of Kab, in place of his own broken one; and, joining the rest of his followers, watched the movements of the Coreish in the plains below. Many of the warriors, wearied with the struggle, fell thus asleep. In this manner, mid-day passed away 52.

After a colloquy between Abu Sofian and Omar, the Coreish retire

The leaders of the Coreish were now busy in the field of battle. They sought for the body of Mahomet, and, not finding it, began to doubt his

50 Wackidi, 242; K. Wackidi, 107. "He cursed those that inflicted the wounds, saying, - Let not the year pass over them alive; and it came to pass that not one of those that shot at the Prophet survived beyond the year."

Fatima is said to have been present at the washing; but there is no good tradition to shew that any women from Medina came up till after the Coreish had retired. Some subsequent washing of the wounds has been confounded with this first washing. The tales of women fighting, &C have all the air of fiction, and do not correspond with the course and tenor of the narrative.

51 See Sura, iii. 155. It was only the true believers who slept: the hypocrites and disaffected were troubled in mind. Wackidi, 289.

52 The mid-day prayers were performed sitting, in consequence of the wounds and fatigue of the congregation. Wackidi, 287.

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death. Many acts of barbarous mutilation were committed on the slain. Hind gloated over the body of her victim Hamza. She tore out his liver and chewed it; she strung his nails and pieces of his skin together to bedeck her arms and legs 53. When the Coreish had spent some time thus, and had leisurely disposed of their own dead, Abu Sofia drew near to the foot of the hill, and, raising his voice, called aloud the names of Mahomet, Abu Bakr, and Omar. Receiving no reply (for the Prophet enjoined silence), he cried out again : - "Then all these are slain, and ye are rid of them!" Omar could contain himself no longer;-" Thou liest!" he exclaimed;" they are all alive, thou enemy of God, and will requite thee yet." "Then," continued Abu Sofian, "this day shall be a return for Badr. Fortune alternates, even as a bucket. Hearken! ye will find amongst the dead some that are mutilated:- this was not by my counsel; but neither am I displeased thereat. Glory to OZZA! Glory to HOBAL! Ozza 54 is ours; it is not yours!" At the bidding of Mahomet, Omar replied, - "God is our Lord; he is not yours." Abu Sofian said, - "We shall meet again; let it be after a year, at Badr."

53 This is probably a good deal exaggerated. Tradition, as I have had occasion to repeat before, delights to abuse hind, as it did Abu Jahl.

54 A play is intended on this word, which signifies Glory as well as the idol Ozza.

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"Be it so," answered Omar 55. On this Abu Sofian turned away, and the Meccan army began its home-ward march.

Number of the slain

As soon as the enemy was out of sight, Mahomet and his followers descended into the field of battle. The full extent of their ignominious overthrow was now apparent. Seventy-four corpses were strewn upon the plain: four of these were Refugees 56, whilst three score and ten were citizens of Medina. Indeed, it was evident that the destruction of the whole force was only averted by the foresight of Mahomet in keeping a secure place of refuge in his rear. On the enemy's side the loss was only twenty.

The news reaches Medina

The news of the discomfiture soon reached Medina, with rumours of the death of Mahomet; and the road was covered with men and women hastening to the scene of the action, to nurse the wounded,

55 K. Wackidi, 107 ½; Waskidi, 289; Hishami 266.

56 The four Refugees were Hamza, Abdallah ibn Jash, Musab, and Shamas ibn Othman. The latter, being mortally wounded, was carried to Upper Medina, where he died. His body, in accordance with a general order of Mahomet, was carried back to Ohod, and buried there; Wackidi, 292. The tombs of the four Refugees are still maintained in repair. Burckhardt, 365.

A number of Arab strangers, who came to Medina during a famine in the Caliphate of Omar, were buried at Ohod. Wackidi cautions his readers against confounding these with the graves of the martyrs. Besides the tombs of the four Refugees, he mentions only those of four Medina martyrs as being kept up in his day. Wackidi, 308; see also, Burton, ii. 287. The seventy heaps pointed out to the latter as being tombs of martyrs are probably the graves of the Bedouin strangers mentioned by Wackidi.

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or search for the dead 57. The disaffected citizens did not conceal their satisfaction, and some even talked of ait embassy to Abu Sofian 58.

Dressing of Mahomet's wounds

Arrived at the field of battle, Fatima helped to dress the gash on her father's temple, the bleeding from which could only be staunched by applying the cinder of a piece of burned matting 59. This added to the ghastly appearance of the wound, which was deep, and did not fully heal for above a month 60.

Safia mourns over her brother Hamza

Safia, the Prophet's aunt, now came up 61. She was fondly attached to her brother Hamza; and Mahomet, fearful of the effect which the sight of his mangled remains might have upon her, desired Zobeir, her son, to keep her aside till the corpse was buried; but she insisted on going forward to

57 Fourteen are mentioned; Wackidi, 246. As I have intimated above, this was the first appearance of the women at Obod. The picture of the defence of Mahomet on the field of battle by a woman called Nasiba, or Omm Omara, who was severely wounded in twelve places fighting by his side, and received a savage blessing from the Prophet for bringing one of her adversaries to the ground, appears to me to be the growth of after days. She is represented as leaving Medina early in the morning with a bag of water for the wounded; Wackidi, 264 et seq. She was present, it is said, and again fought fiercely, at Yemana.

58 Tabari, 378.

59 others say burnt wool; others again, ground bones.

60 K. Wackidi, 107 ½; Wackidi, 246.

61 As she came up she asked after Mahomet, "and Ali pointed to him briefly and cautiously, for fear of the enemy ;" - an evident fiction to enhance the danger of the occasion. The Meccan army was far off by this time, though there was of course the risk of its making a detour on Medina by another road. Wackidi, 282.

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the spot : - "Where is my brother?" she eagerly inquired of Mahomet :--" Among the people," he replied. "I will not go back;" she said, "until I see him." So he led her to the body, saying,-- "Leave her to her grief alone." She sat down by it and wept: then she sobbed aloud, and Mahomet sobbed also: Fatima, too, sat by weeping. Mahomet's spirit was stirred within him at the sight of Safia's anguish, and the disfigured corpse of his noble uncle; pulling his beard angrily, as when grieved and agitated he was wont to do, he swore that he would mutilate the bodies of thirty of the Coreish in the stead of Hamza 62. To comfort Safia, he told her that her brother's name was recorded, among the dwellers in the highest Paradise, as the Lion of God and the Lion of his Apostle. He spoke kindly also to the women of Medina, who were wailing over their dead.

Mahomet returns to Medina

When the graves were ready, and the bodies laid out in order, he prayed over them, and commanded that they should be buried by twos and

62 Some say seventy; K. Wackidi, 180 ½; Wackidi, 284; Tabari, 389. But he afterwards affected to receive a revelation forbidding the savage practice. The verse quoted for' this order is at the end or Sura xvi., which, however, is a Meccan one; and the passage itself does not bear very plainly on the occasion here referred to; however, there is no doubt that Mahomet abolished the practice altogether, and it is to the credit of his humanity that he did so. His followers in India have shewn of late that this injunction has little check upon their passions. For assassination, they might have pleaded the example, though not the precept, of their prophet; against mutilation, there was both his precept and example.

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threes in each grave 63. He then mounted his horse, and the whole company, turning from Ohod, began their homeward march.

The Coreish, after some hesitation, take the route to Mecca

The Meccan army, though withdrawn from the field of battle, might have fallen by another route upon Medina, uncovered as it still was by the absence of the Moslem army. Mahomet and his followers trembled for the, safety of their families 64 Immediately after descending the hill, the Prophet had despatched Sad, son of Abu Wackkas, to watch the movements of the Coreish 65. These, when they reached the valley of Ackick, paused there awhile. Their counsels were divided. Some urged to follow up the blow on the defenceless city. Others pointed to the danger of entanglement and loss in the out- skirts and narrow streets, and contended that they should rest content with their signal victory. The opinions of the latter prevailed; mounting their

63 Some say that Mahomet prayed over them by nines; Wackidi 300; and others, again, that he did not pray over the corpses at all; K. Wackidi, 106 ½. They were not washed; - "Wind them," said the Prophet, " as they are, in their wounds and in their blood. I will be surety for them," - alluding to the necessity otherwise of washing for legal impurity. Hence the angels washed Hamza. Wackidi, 300; and Hantzala, 269. Some of the traditions, to prove that the latter was in a state of legal impurity, are too coarse and indelicate to be quoted.

64 Wackidi, 290. It seems to me quite possible that the risk of such a contingency was the cause of Abdallah ibn Obey deserting Mahomet and turning back for the protection of Medina.

65 Others say Ali.

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camels, and leading their horses,66 they slowly wended their way through the defiles that lead down the road to Mecca. Sad, hurrying back to Mahomet, called aloud the joyful news. "Gently;" said Mahomet ; - "Let us not appear before the people to rejoice at the departure of the enemy!"67 The intelligence brought, nevertheless, intense relief both to Mahomet and his people; for the crestfallen, crippled army of Medina could ill have afforded to undergo a second struggle.

Night of distress and insecurity at Medina

As Mahomet and his followers reached the foot of the intervening ridge, the whole company at his command, fell into two lines, with the women ranged behind, and there they offered up prayer and thanksgiving to God 68. Drawing near to Medina, they passed the habitations of the Bani Al Ashal, whose females wailed loudly for their dead ; - "And Hamza!" - cried Mahomet, - "Alas, who is there to weep for him!" The wounded men here received permission

66 This was the sign given by Mahomet to Sad.- "If they mount their horses," said he, "and lead their camels, then they meditate a return on Medina; if they mount the camels, and lead the horses, then they are going home;" Wackidi, 290. The camel was their working animal.

67 Others say that Sad approached with a downcast look; and that on Mahomet asking why he looked downcast, he replied that he would not have the people think he rejoiced at the intelligence he brought.

68 Wackidi, 305. The words of the prayer are there given; but they are evidently apocryphal. It contains a large share of cursing for the Jews, quite irrelevant to the occasion. The prayer, indeed, casts some suspicion on the incident altogether.

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to go to their homes 69. The rest followed Mahomet to the great Mosque, which they readied in time for the sunset prayer 70. It was a night of mourning at Medina. A sense of insecurity still pervaded the city; the chief men again kept watch over the Prophet's door, for fear of a night attack from the Coreish 71. Some of the wounded remained near the Mosque, and the fires kindled for them cast a fitful and lurid light around its courts. Mahomet slept heavily, and did not answer the call of Bilal for the second evening prayer. Shortly after he awoke, and walking forth, asked who it was that wailed so loudly near the Mosque. It was the women of Medina, who had heard his pathetic words regarding Hamza, and came to mourn for him. Mahoinet blessed them, and sent them to their homes. Ever after, it was the custom at Medina for the women, when they mourned for their dead, first to wail for Hamza 72.

Mahomet makes a demonstration as far as Hamra al Asad, in pursuit of the Coreish

On the morrow, Mahomet commanded Bilal to proclaim through the city that he was about to start in pursuit of the Coreish, but that none should

69 At p. 808, Wackidi mentions thirty as wounded; but there must have been many more. At p. 326, forty of the Bani Salma are said to have been wounded; but this estimate again is excessive, caused probably by the tendency to magnify the suffurings and merit of each tribe or family.

70 Wackidi, 308.

71 K. Wackidi, 107; Wackidi, 245.

72 Wackidi, 245, 308; K. Wackidi, 106, 181; Hishami, 268; Tabari, 393.

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accompany him excepting those who had been present at the battle of Ohod. The movement was intended to raise the spirits of his followers, to remove the impression of defeat, and to show the Coreish that an advance upon Medina would have been vigorously repelled. As the warriors in their armour began to assemble at the Mosque, Talha came up ; - "What thinkest thou"- inquired Mahomet of him, "how far have the Coreish by this time reached on their journey homewards?" - "To the valley of Sayyala," he said, which is one long march from Medina 73. "So I was thinking also," rejoined Mahomet ;-" but, Talha! they will never again inflict upon us such a disaster as we suffered yesterday, - no, not till we wrest Mecca from them." Then he placed one of the banners, which stood yet unfurled, in the hands of Abu Bakr 74; and, stiff and

73 Wackidi (p. 317) makes this march to follow on a council held by Mahomet with Omeir and Abu Bakr, upon intelligence said to have been brought by a Mozeinite spy, that Abu Sofian, encamped at Milal, was now advising a return upon Medina; but this is unsupported. The expedition to Hamra al Asad has all the appearance of having been a mere bravado. Once well on their way back to Mecca, the enemy were not likely to think of re- turning. Indeed, the object of the march as explained by Hishami himself is pretty much of this character.

The tradition, above noticed, has probably originated in a passage in the Coran (S. ii. 173), which blesses those who went forth "notwithstanding the report that the Coreish had assembled against them." But those commentators who refer this passage not to the present occasion, but to the second expedition to Badr in the following year, are evidently in the right. See Sale, in loco

74 Others say in the hands of Ali. The tradition reads as if it

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disfigured as he was from the wounds of the previous day, mounted his horse, and set out on the Meccan road. Two scouts whom he had sent in advance, fell into the enemy's hands, and were put to death at Hamra al Asad. The army of Mahomet, which advanced by forced marches, reached this spot the day after it was evacuated by the Coreish, and found the dead bodies there. At Hamra al Asad, (a little way short of Safra,) Mahomet spent three days, and regaled himself and his followers with fresh dates, a plentiful harvest of which had just been gathered. He commanded five hundred fires to be kindled on the adjoining heights, to make the Coreish believe that the pursuing force was very large. And, contenting himself with this demonstration, he returned to Medina, after an absence of five or six days.75 was the great flag of the Refugees; but the balance of the evidence is against the supposition of that having been recovered from the field of battle. Wackidi, 327.

75 The Secretary of Wackidi says that he returned on Friday after an absence of five days. Some add that he halted three days (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday) at Hamra al Asad. K. Wackidi, 108; Wackidi, 325; Hishami, 270; Tabari, 305.

Hamra al Asad is said by the Secretary to be ten, and by Hishami to be eight Arabian miles from Medina. Burkhardt and Burton both make it a little above thirty hours' journey - say somewhat above sixty miles. "It receives its name from the redness (hamra) of the sands near which it is built. It is also called Wasita, being the half way station between Medina and Yenbo." Burton. The mountains rise to a great height in the neighbourhood, and there are watch towers on them. Mahomet's fires

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Abu Ozza made prisoner, and put to death

At Hamra al Asad Mahomet made prisoner one of the enemy, who had loitered behind the rest. This was the poet Abu Ozza, one of the prisoners of Badr, who had been freely released, on the promise that he would not again bear arms in the war against the Prophet. He now sought for mercy:— "O Mahomet!" he prayed, "forgive me of thy grace!" "Nay, verily," said the Prophet, "a believer may not twice be bitten from the same hole. Thou shalt never return to Mecca. Stroke thy beard, and say, I have again deceived Mahomet. Lead him forth to execution!" So saying, he motioned to a bystander, who at one blow struck off the captive's head.76

Othman ibn Mughira, after a truce of three days, pursued and killed

Another Coreishite, Othmhn, son of Mughira, perished by a too great confidence in the generosity of his enemy. When quitting Ohod, he missed his way, and passed the night near Medina. Next morning, he ventured to the house of Othman, the Prophet's son-in-law, who procured for him a three days' truce, and having found him a camel and provisions for the way, departed with Mahomet for Hamra al Asad. The Coreishite incautiously lingered at Medina till the last day of his term of grace, when he set out for Mecca. In the endeavour

would be seen a great way off. Burckbardt speaks of the "gardens of date-trees," still in the vicinity of this hamlet. Burckhardt, 311; Burton, i. 372.

76 K. Wackidi, 106½; Wackidi, 299; Hishami, 272. Aasim was the executioner.

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to avoid the returning Moslem force, he again lost his way ; and Mahomet, hearing of his delay, sent men upon his track, who came up with him, and put him to death 77.

Execution of Harith ibn Suweid for the murder of Al Mujaddzir.

The next public act of Mahomet was the execution of a stern judicial sentence, which, if the facts are given correctly by tradition, was strictly just. Al Mujaddzir, a 9Cdhaite, allied to the Bani Aws at Medina, had, nine or ten years previously, slain Suweid, a chief of the Bani Khazraj. The battle of Boath ensued 78; but the blood there shed did not efface the memory of the murder. Harith, the son of Suweid, had long sought to avenge his father's death; at last, he found his opportunity at Ohod. In the confusion of that reverse, he treacherously drew near to Al Mujaddzir, and killed him. A comrade, who was witness to the deed, reported it to Mahomet. An investigation was held, and the crime was brought home to Harith 79. Shortly

77 Wackidi, 324; Hishami, 272. The story is told most circumstantially by Wackidi. Mahomet is represented as receiving supernatural information of the presence of the refugee in Othan's home, just before Othman came up to ask quarter for him.

78 See vol. i. p. ccxxxiii.

79 As usual, Mahomet receives supernatural intelligence regarding the crime, and a command to execute the criminal, from Gabriel. But a more reasonable tradition is added by Wackidi, viz. that Khobeib, ion of Yusuf, was witness of the act at Ohod, and told Mahomet; and that Mahomet was on his way to make a judicial investigation when Gabriel brought him confirmation of the charge. It is quite possible that Mahomet may have fortified himself in his decree by saying that he had the orders of Gabriel to carry it into execution; but Gabriel is so constantly, and often so absurdly,

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after his return from Hamra al Asad, the Prophet called for his ass, and rode forth to Coba. It was not one of the days (Saturday and Monday), on which he ordinarily visited that suburb, and the men of Upper Medina boded evil from his unusual arrival. He entered the Mosque and received the salutation of the chief inhabitants of the vicinity. At length the culprit himself, clothed in a yellow dress, little anticipating the event, came up. Perceiving him approach, Mahomet called aloud to Oweim, a chief of the Bani Aws 80 : Take Harith, the son of Suweid, unto the gate of the Mosque, and there strike off his head, because of Al Mujaddzir, the son of Dziad; for verily he slew him on the day of Ohod. Oweim was preparing to obey the command, when Harith desired leave to speak, and hastening towards Mahomet laid hold of his stirrup as he was about to mount his ass. He begged for mercy, and promised to expiate the crime by any sacrifice or penance the Prophet might direct. Mahomet turned from him, and reiterated the order of execution. Seeing the decree to be irrevocable, Oweim dragged Harith back to the gate, and there beheaded him, in the presence of Mahomet, the sons of Mujaddzir, and the assembled chiefs 81.

introduced by tradition, that it is difficult to determine where Mahomet really brought forward the Archangel's authority, and where it is mere traditional fiction. Wackidi, 296.

80 A chief man of the Bani Amr ibn Awf. K Wackidi, 270 ½. He was one of the six first Medina converts at Mecca Vol. ii. 210.

81 Wackidi, 294; K. Wackidi, 287 ½. Harith and his brother Jallas are numbered by Hishami (p. 185) among the "disaffected;"

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Halo of glory cast by the tradition around the martyrs of Ohod

The field of Olrod was ever after invested for the Moslems with a peculiar interest. Mahomet used to visit it once a year, and to bless the martyrs buried there. "Peace be on you!" he would say: "for all that ye endured, and a blessed Futurity!" The citizens, as they passed to and fro, visiting their fields at Al Ghaba, invoked peace upon the souls of the warriors who lay buried by the way; And their imagination conjured up the audible response, " and on you be peace!" from the lips of the dead. Strange stories were also propagated that, nearly half a century after, a great flood having ploughed up the banks of the torrent and uncovered the graves, the bodies of the martyrs were seen reclining in the attitude of sleep, fresh as the day they were interred, and blood still trickling from their wounds 82.

But Mahomet's prestige affected at the time, by the defeat

The future victories of Islam invested the heroes of Ohod with a halo of glory. But at this time their memories were far from receiving at Medina universal homage. Murmurs at the inglorious retreat were rife throughout the city. Tradition passes

but there seems to have been no abnegation of Mahomet's authority on their part, or indeed any disposition to question his power of life and death.

82 K. Wackidi, 282, 289; Wackidi, 262, 803, et seq. There are a mass of marvellous stories of this tenor. A similar tradition, dictated apparently by animosity against the Omeyad dynasty, is related by the Secretary, p.180. When Muavia projected an aqueduct at Ohod, he was told that its course lay through the graves. He sacrilegiously ordered the bodies of the martyrs to he disinterred. The narrator saw the corpses carried on men's shoulders as if asleep; and a pickaxe having wounded the leg of Hamza, fresh blood flowed forth!

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lightly over this uncongenial subject, and dwells complacently on the ignominious manner in which Abdallah ibn Obey, and the Jews who hazarded remarks disparaging to the Prophet, were treated, and on the boastful threats of Omar against, them. But the Coran tells us a different story. We there find that even the adherents of Mahomet were staggered by the reverse. it was natural that it should be so. The success at Badr had been assumed as a proof of divine support; and, by parity of reasoning, the defeat at Ohod was subversive of the prophetic claim. The Jews broadly advanced this stubborn argument 83, It required all the address of Mahomet to avert the dangerous imputation, sustain the credit of his cause, and reanimate his followers. This he did mainly by means of that portion of the Coran which appears in the latter half of the third Sura 84.

Line of argument by which Mahomet seeks to obviate it ill effect

A lofty tone of assurance pervades the studied explanation and remonstrance of the Prophet, which, like the rest of the Coran, are in the form of a direct effect, address from the Deity. Much stress is adroitly laid on the marvellous interposition which brought victory at Badr. The reverse at Ohod was necessary

83 "How can Mahomet pretend now," they asked, "to be anything more than an aspirant to the kingly office? No true claimant of the prophetic dignity both ever been beaten in the field, or suffered loss in his own person, and that of his followers, as he hath." Wackidi, 309.

84 The third Sura is a congeries of passages given forth at various periods. We have in it passages revealed shortly after Badr, A.H. II; after Ohod, AH. III; after the second Badr, A.H. IV; also after the interview with the Najran Christians, A.H. IX.

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to sift the true believers from those who were infidels at heart. The light afflictions there sustained, were a meet prelude to the eternal glories of Paradise. The faithful had coveted the happy state of the martyrs at Badr, and longed for the same blessed fortune; now when death presented itself they fled before its terrors! The slaughter, anywise, could not have been averted by following the counsels of those who stayed at home; for the hour of death is fixed for every one, and is inevitable. Future success is largely promised, if the believers will but remain stedfast and be courageous. The Lord had already at Ohod placed victory within their reach, when by cowardice and disobedience they drew defeat upon themselves. Even if Mahomet had been killed in battle, what then? he is but the Messenger of God like other Apostles that have died before him. The cause itself is immortal and divine. Such was his line of argument, mingled with comfort, reproof, and exhortation. It had its full effect in reassuring the true adherents of the Prophet; and so long as these were heart and soul upon Mahomet's side, his position at Medina was secure.

The style and tenor of these passages are so fully and curiously illustrative of the situation of Mahomet at this time, that the reader will not, I think, object to peruse the following extracts from them:-

Passages from Sura iii on the subject

"Remember when thou wentest forth from thy Family in the early I morning to secure for the Faithful an encampment for the Battle; and God heareth and knoweth ;-

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"And when two companies of you became anxious, so that ye lost heart;85 and God is the Patron of both, and in God let the Believers put their trust.

"And, truly, God helped you at Badr, when ye were fewer in number;86 fear God, therefore, that haply ye may be thankful.

"When thou saidst to the believers: What doth it not suffice you that your Lord should aid you with 3,000 Angels sent down? Nay, if ye persevere, and fear God, and this Enemy were to come suddenly upon you, your Lord would help you with five thousand Angels arrayed in uniform ; -

"And God made this (promise) none otherwise than as glad tiding. for you, and that your hearts might be stayed. Victory cometh from GOD alone, the GLORIOUS, the WISE, that he may cut off the uttermost part of the unbelievers."87

"Be not cast down, neither be ye grieved. Ye shall be victorious, if ye are true Believers.

"If a wound hath befallen you, verily a wound like unto it hath befallen your enemy. This various Success WE cause to alternate among men, that God may know those that believe, and may have Witnesses amongst you (God loveth not the Transgressor.) ;- that God 'night prove them that believe, and annihilate the infidels.

"What! did ye think to enter Paradise, while as yet God knew not those that fight for him, and knew not the persevering amongst you?

"And truly ye were longing for death before ye faced it. And verily ye saw it and looked on.

"Mahomet is no more than an Apostle, as other Apostles that have gone before him. What! if he were to die or be killed,

85 The commentators refer this to an ill impression, created by the desertion of Abdallah in the minds of the two wings, of Mahomet's army, composed of the Aws and Khazraj; but the expression seems rather to refer to the general loss of heart in the army (the " two companies" being the Refugees and Citizens) which occasioned the flight. The same word, fashal, is again, in v.152, applied to the army generally.

86 i.e. than the enemy.

87 Sura, ii. vv. 121-127.

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must ye needs turn back upon your heels? He that turneth back upon his heels injureth not God in the least degree; but God will reward the thankful.

"Furthermore, no soul dieth but by the permission of God, as it is written and predestined.

"How many Prophets have fought against those that had multitudes on their side. And they were not cast down at that which befell them fighting in the way of God, neither did they become weak, nor make themselves abject; and God loveth the persevering.88

"We will sui~y cast Tenor into the hearts of the Infidels, because they have associated with God that which he hath no-wise authorized; Their resting-place shall be the Fire: wretched is the abode of the transgressors!

"And truly the Lord had made good unto you his promise at what time ye were, by his permission, cutting them to pieces;- until ye lost? heart and fell to variance in the matter 89, and disobeyed, after that he had showed unto you that which ye longed for.

"Amongst you were those that desired the present Life, and amongst you those that desired the Life to come.

"Then he caused you to flee from before them, that he might prove you (but now he hath pardoned you, for God is gracious unto the believers), when ye made for the Mountain, and looked not back on any one, though the Apostle was calling unto you,- even unto those of you that were behind.

"Wherefore he caused grief to overtake you upon grief, that ye may not be afflicted hereafter at that which ye lose, nor at that which shall befall you: for God knoweth what ye do.

"Then he caused to descend upon you after the grief, Security, even slumber which covered a part of you; and a part of you were troubled by your own souls,-questioning about God that which is not the truth,- a questioning of ignorance;-

88 Sura, in. vv. 139-146.

89 This word is ordinarily rendered order as referring to Mahomet's command that the archers should hold fast on the eminence. I prefer to leave it as in the original, capable of a more general construction.

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"In that ye said, What! Is there any reality in this matter unto us?90 SAY - Verily the matter belongeth wholly to God.

"They concealed in their hearts that which they had not open unto thee. They say,- Had there been any reality in the matter, we had not been slain here.

"Say, - If ye had been in your own houses, verily those would have gone forth for whom fighting was decreed, unto the places of their death ;-and (so it came to pass) that the Lord might prove what is in your hearts, for God knoweth the breast of man.

"Verily they amongst you who turned their backs in the day when the two armies met, Satan caused them to slip for some part of that which they had wrought: but God hath forgiven them, for God is Forgiving and Merciful."91

Blessedness of the Martyrs

The blessed state of the Martyrs is thus described: -

"Think not in anywise of those who were killed in the way of the Lord, as if they were dead. Yea, they are alive, and are nourished with their Lord, - exulting in that which God hath given them of his Favour, and rejoicing on behalf of those who have not yet joined them, but are following after. No terror afflicteth them, neither are they grieved."92

90 i.e. questioning the truth of Mahomet's mission, and his promise of Divine interposition and victory.

91 Sura iii. vv. 151,156. See also vv. 166-169, which being pretty much to the same purport, I do not choose to weary the reader with. In one place, the Disaffected are represented as replying hypocritically when they were called out to fight at Ohod:

"Had we known there would be any fighting, we would have followed you." The natural meaning is, that they pretended to suppose that Mahomet was about to take up a position to watch or check the Coreish, and not to fight. It is true, however, that this sentiment is nowhere attributed by tradition to the Disaffected. The ordinary interpretation that "they would have gone" if they had thought there was any chance of success, is forced and unlikely. See Sale, on Sura iii. v. 168.

92 Sura, iii. v. 170. To secure the crown of martyrdom, the simplest and most formal profession sufficed, of faith in the one

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Mahomet addressing his people in the Mosque

The reader may picture to himself the now venerable Prophet delivering, as the spokesman of the Almighty, these pregnant messages. He is about to issue from one of the apartments which, built for his increasing harem, form the eastern side of the Mosque. Under its rude but spacious roof of palm branches, the Citizens and Refugees, assembled before mid-day for the weekly service, throng around the pulpit, and occupy the long space in front of it. As Mahomet appears, the hum and bustle cease (for it was the hail of business and politics, as well as the house of worship), and the whole congregation fall into their ranks for prayer. Mahomet advances to the foot of the pulpit and with his face turned toward the holy temple of Mecca, and his back to the people, goes

God and Mahomet. Thus Amr ibn Thabit had, up to the day of Ohod, been an open unbeliever. He accompanied the Moslem army and was mortally wounded on the field. His comrades asked him regarding his creed; he whispered in reply that it was for Islam he had fought, and that he believed in God and in his Prophet. When this was told to Mahomet, he blessed his memory, and said that he was already an inheritor of Paradise. Wackidi, 258.

On the other hand, any amount of bravery without such formal profession was of no avail. Thus Cozmun, who was numbered among the Disaffected, shewed incredible valour at Ohod, killing with his own hand seven or eight of the Coreish. But when, expiring on the field, he was congratulated on the prospect of Paradise, he said, with his last breath, that he had been fighting not for the faith, but for his people, and in defence of his native city. Mahomet, when told of it, declared that in spite of his services he was "a child of hell fire." Wackidi, 222, 256, 250, 298; Hishami, 186, 264.

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through the stated ritual. The assembly, arrayed in rows behind, follow every motion of their leader, just as a Moslem congregation at the present day follow the genuflexions and prostrations of their imam. The prayers ended, the Prophet, with, grave step, ascends the slightly elevated pulpit, and in a solemn voice, and accents suited to the still measured though irregular cadence of the oracle,, delivers to the audience the message which he says that he has received from above. Fear creeps over the heart. It is as if the Deity were present by some visible token, like the cloud overshadowing the Tabernacle. The Disaffected may scoff elsewhere, and the Jew in his own assembly may curse the upstart Prophet; but at this moment, disaffection and treason vanish away, for the dread sense of immediate communication with the Almighty overwhelms all other feelings. And now the rhetoric of Mahomet comes into play. In his oration, are mingled rebuke, exhortation, encouragement, in pure and nervous eloquence, such as no Arab could hear without emotion. Hell with its flaming gates, and the gardens and joys of Paradise, are conjured up as vivid and close realities before the hearer; for the hour, the present life fades into insignificance, excepting as the means of escaping the one, and of winning the other. Thus did Mahomet wield at his will the awe-stricken assembly; and wind in inextricable folds around them the enchantments of faith or of superstition. It was thus that he moulded to his own

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purpose the various elements around him, and even under adversity and misfortune maintained his influence supreme.

The widow of Sad ibn Rabi entertains Mahomet at a feast

A scene which occurred shortly after the battle of Ohod, illustrates the manner in which the oracles of Mahomet were given forth, and the incidental way in which the political and social code that still rules the Moslem world grew up. Among the slain was Sad the son of Rabi, a leader of the Bani Khazraj. He left a widow and two daughters;93 but his brother, according to the practice of the times, took possession of the whole inheritance. The widow was grieved at this; and, being a discreet and prudent person, pondered how she might obtain redress. She invited Mahomet to a feast, with about twenty of his chief companions. He agreed to go. A retired spot among the palm-trees of her garden was sprinkled with water, and the repast was spread. Mahomet arrived, and with his followers seated himself upon the carpets prepared for them. He spoke kindly to the widow of her husband's memory, so that all the women wept, and the eyes of the Prophet himself filled with tears. The supper was then eaten, and a feast of fresh dates followed. When the repast was over, the widow arose, and thus disclosed her grief: "Sad, as thou well knowest, was slain at

93 He had had two wives, but allowed Abdal Rahman, who lodged with him on his arrival from Mecca, to choose which of them he liked best. Vol. ii. p. 272.

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Ohod. His brother hath seized the inheritance. There is nothing left for the two daughters; and how shall they be married without a portion?" Mahomet, moved by the simple tale, replied:

Origin of the law of female inheritance

"The Lord shall decide regarding the inheritance; for no command hath been yet revealed to me in this matter. Come again unto me, when I shall have returned home." So he departed. Shortly after, as he sat with his companions at the door of his own house, symptoms of inspiration came upon him ; - he was oppressed, and the drops of sweat fell like pearls from his forehead. Then he commanded that the widow of Sad and his brother should be summoned. When they were brought before him, he thus addressed the brother: "Restore unto the daughters of Sad two-thirds of that which he hath left behind him, and one-eighth part unto his widow: the remainder is for thee." The widow was overjoyed and uttered a loud takbir, "Great is the Lord!"

Such was the origin of one of the main provisions of the Mahometan law of Inheritance.94

94 See Sura, iv. v.10, et seq. Supplementary rules are added at the close of the Sura. These administrative parts of Mahomet's Revelation were not, I conceive, used for recitation on devotional occasions, though the record of them was placed together with the leaves on which the rest of the Coran was transcribed.

The story of Sad's widow is taken from Wackidi, p. 280; and the Secretary, p.282. There is a good deal of the marvellous in the former, which I have omitted.

The Life of Mahomet, Volume III [Table of Contents]