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Lessons derived from the Battle of Uhud

In the aftermath of the Battle of Uhud, the Holy Quran criticizes and evaluates the stands of Muslims during this Battle, for Allah says: "And be not infirm, and be not grieving, and you shall have the upper hand if you are believers.If a wound has afflicted you (at Uhud), a wound like it has also afflicted the (unbelieving) people; and We bring these days to men by turns, and that Allah may know those who believe and take witnesses from among you; and Allah does not love the unjust." (03: 139-140). The defeat in this Battle led to such a state of severe weakness, vulnerability and grief in the Islamic body that everyone wondered in awe: How could this happen and why? However, the Quran rejects this state and this stand of the Muslims: "And be not infirm, and be not grieving, and you shall have the upper hand," for weakness and grief are the features of the state of internal breakdown, demonstrated in a spiritual seclusion that results in the loss of the feeling of dignity and poise. Allah aims to ignite in the hearts of Muslims the spark of belief and points out to its significations in the position of a true believer from life, for he occupies the utmost level in life. Actually, his connection to Allah empowers him with sublime strength, and basing his acts on belief inspires him with the sublime thought, and his movement for sake of life lifts him up high in the course of the movement. Thus, belief would turn into an element of strength that drives him to surpass all the elements of weakness, fear and grief and be flourished with the feelings of strength, spiritual joy, even by the pain he feels and the sacrifices he offers in the course of Jihad.

It must be noted that, through these Ayahs, the Quran does not suggest to the believers that they enjoy a higher rank in the egocentric selfish sense. Nay, it actually signifies the spiritual and missionary ascension on the forces of disbelief, oppression and tyranny, through the concepts, feelings and suggestions that the term "if you are believers" embodies.

Then the Quran approaches them in a realistic manner that aims to make the issue of victory or defeat a result of the various elements and laws which Allah has subjugated all what lies in the cosmic and human phenomena to. Actually, the issue of defeat and victory in the life of individuals and groups is not related to the metaphysical factors, so that man would handle his issues from this position driving him to doubt the bases of his faith. On the contrary, it is related to the realistic aspect of things, in the sense that if people make use of the means and factors that secure victory, they will be victorious even if they were disbelievers, and if they resort to defeatist means they shall be defeated even if they were believers. Allah does not tend to fight in the place of the believers; but rather, He wants them to grasp His laws and conform to His rules, so that they would embark on the arenas of struggle fully aware of such arenas and their moral and materialistic requirements. In the meantime, nothing can prevent Allah from interfering in tough situations where the state of defeat would actually result in the fall of Islam and Muslims, just as what happened on the Battle of Badr; however, these are only exceptional cases that cannot be deemed as a constant or general rule.

Thus, Allah called on the believers, after he prohibited them from surrendering to the feelings of grief and weakness, to feel the ascension in the line of belief, and He explained to them: "If a wound has afflicted you (at Uhud), a wound like it has also afflicted the (unbelieving) people," reminding them that although they were defeated in the Battle of Uhud and they were wounded, disbelievers were afflicted with the same in the Battle of Badr. Defeat is not the constant state for those who are defeated in certain battles, just as victory is not an inevitable permanent state in the life of those who achieve victory in certain battles, for he who is defeated might end up in achieving victory in new battles and he who has achieved victory might end up in being defeated in new battles, for Allah says: "and We bring these days to men by turns." Strength might be on the side of a group of people; however, things might turn the other way round and weakness might become on the side of the strong. This is the decree of Allah on earth, which always seeks to create a state of balance, so the defeated must never lose hope in victory, but rather, he ought to pursue all what could lead him to it. In the same sense, the triumphed should not be overwhelmed by his victory and consequently surrender to its results; but rather, he should always fear any defeat lurking around, so that he would be able to face  the future with a balanced spirit. In this course, life would grow and prosper, its opportunities would integrate, its movement would be balanced and the line of struggle would take the right way.

Tough situations that inflict people with defeats might plant the seeds of suspicion, doubt and withdrawal in the hearts of believers, and they might arm others with more consistency, strength, motivation and determination against all odds. In this way, we would reveal the fake belief from the constant, true and pure belief, which is demonstrated in the following Ayah: "and that Allah may know those who believe." Actually, the states of restfulness, safety and tenderness embody therein all the models of good and evil, for the general atmosphere does not necessitate a social separation on the basis of belief as long as it possible to contain and enclose everyone without negative aspects.

One of the scenes of the Battle of Uhud, towards its end that witnessed a state of defeat after victory and demonstrated many intellectual and spiritual negativities in the diverse models found in the battlefield is the scene that was pictured in the following Ayahs: "When you ran off precipitately and did not wait for any one, and the Messenger was calling you from your rear, so He gave you another sorrow instead of (your) sorrow, so that you might not grieve at what had escaped you, nor (at) what befell you; and Allah is aware of what you do.Then after sorrow He sent down security upon you, a calm coming upon a party of you, and (there was) another party whom their own souls had rendered anxious; they entertained about Allah thoughts of ignorance quite unjustly, saying: We have no hand in the affair. Say: Surely the affair is wholly (in the hands) of Allah. They conceal within their souls what they would not reveal to you. They say: Had we any hand in the affair, we would not have been slain here. Say: Had you remained in your houses, those for whom slaughter was ordained would certainly have gone forth to the places where they would be slain, and that Allah might test what was in your breasts and that He might purge what was in your hearts; and Allah knows what is in the breasts." (03: 153-154).

These Ayahs clearly demonstrate how the Muslims experienced psychological sorrow and grief, which Allah has planted in their souls due to the state of internal breakdown and bitter regret for what they have done, and woke up on a reality that they had not taken into consideration, as a reaction on the sorrow and grief they brought about to the Messenger (p.), Muslims and Islam.

Actually, Allah wanted them to know how to establish a connection between the results and their causes, so that they would not rush into taking a stand except after thoroughly examining and deeply considering the repercussions, for their rush into a certain situation reveals that they enjoy a naive mentality before the problems, pains, and defeats of life. Therefore, they should acquire a mentality that stands in every turn of life to analyze, discuss and conclude so as turn the points of weakness into points of strength, and the negativities into positivities, which we derive from the following Ayah: "So that you might not grieve at what had escaped you, nor (at) what befell you; and Allah is aware of what you do." (03:153). Allah wanted them to actually be in this psychological distress that represents a form of a shock that is meant to be an experience from which they derive lessons that teach them to forbear tragedies and losses.

The Islamic line in such tough situations that the Muslims go through in the negative reality resulting from a military defeat in certain battles necessitates not falling before this bitter experience and indulging in emotional distress and grief that eventually lead to a devastating psychological state, rendering defeat or failure as the end of the road with no possibility to achieve victory or success afterwards. Grief is a noble humanitarian emotion which man should know how to direct in the right path so as to be able to comprehend the experience and derive lessons from it, in order to embark on a new experience anytime in the future. Therefore, this sorrow that results in distress and pains might turn into an act of openness on all the negative denotations of the issue, so as to understand their nature and details at the level of the moral and materialistic losses and the losses in lives. Allah does not wish that grief accompany the striving Mujahids (freedom fighters) as a result of the complicated situations in their lives; but rather they ought to stay focused on Allah knowing that He is aware of what they do, whether implicitly or openly. In this way, they would open up on the positions of the right by making an overall review over the complicated past awaiting the bright future. Thus, the feeling of grief over any loss would be replaced by awareness and hope awaiting victory in the near future.

Going back to the course and events of the Battle of Uhud, we notice that a group of believers were aware of what had happened and they returned to the Messenger of Allah (p.) unable to take the big shock in. They started to evaluate the reasons of the defeat and its results after they were overwhelmed with remorse and the feeling of falling short, and to make plans for the future. However, they had to have a relaxation phase in which they relax from the distresses of the battle and the feelings of remorse, so as to regain the ability to think clearly. Thus, Allah sent down upon them sleepiness to make them feel safe and reassured, and to enable them to recharge their energy that was worn out with strains, contemplate about clear thoughts that were disturbed with pains, relax their nerves that were overburdened with sensitive reactions; thus, they went into a deep sleep that relieved them of the atmospheres of tension, fear and sensitive reactions. Actually, this comprises the group of true believers who never lose their mind, doubt their belief or take unstable stands in the face of shocks, challenges and defeats. But rather, they rise, once again, making use of today's lessons to roam in the future and pursue the journey, considering that what had happened constitutes an experience, a test and a trial in which man can fail or succeed. However, the issue in both cases represents the lesson that the one who has failed should make use of to avoid failure in the future and that the successful should learn from to increase his opportunities of success in life.

This is what those who are concerned with the call for the sake of Allah and those who work in the field of Islamic education should face the obstacles and struggles with, for it is best not to be defeated in the face of difficulties or be complicated from them. It is even preferred that they assign difficult and tough issues, at some stages, to those who work with them, aiming to build their Islamic character and shield it by the means of strong shocks that wakes in them the sense of the need to face mistakes and deviations, and drives them to stand strong in the face of any coming storms.