After the victory of the Muslims at the battle of Badr, the Quraysh were ashamed and wanted revenge. They were unwilling to return to their homes without either avenging themselves or at least die trying. Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan, suggested that their defeat was as a result of having no women to cheer the men on. After arguments, they resolved to go along with the women, even though most them disapproved of this. Hence they prepared for what was to be a ‘victoriuos battle’.
Before this battle began, Al Abbas ibn Abd al Muttalib, Prophet Muhammad’s (SAW) loyal uncle, had an insight on what the Quraysh were planning and sent a note to the Prophet (SAW) to tip him off on the whole preparation of the Makkan army, with information of the number soldiers and military equipment. The Prophet (SAW) sent four people to confirm this, after which he became gravely perplexed, because of the might and equipment of the enemy. Some companions even had to guard the Prophet (SAW) with their swords through out the night. The next day, the Prophet (SAW) called on his army to plan on how to defend themselves. A Madina native suggested that they fight the way they usually did and, go out and fight till the end. After a lot of discussions, even though the Prophet (SAW) was initially against it, he agreed with them.
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) led the prayer the day before the battle and told the congregation that that their victory depended on careful preparation and patience. The people realised that they might come in the way of the Prophet and Allah (SWT) , by disagreeing with him earlier, and so they approached him (SAW) and said that they did not mean to disagree with his opinion. He (SAW) agreed with them earlier because he (SAW) was trying to show the importance of community consensus, but when they approached him, he asked them to obey him and Allah (SWT) , and told them that victory would be theirs if they had patience.
Thus, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) led an army of seven hundred against the three thousand (3000) Makkan fighters of the Quraysh tribe. He ordered his companions in rows and placed 50 archers on the side of the Mountain of Uhud and ordered them to protect that side no matter what, fearing that the enemy might surprise them from the rear. He (SAW) specifically ordered them not to leave the area even if the muslims had plunged into the enemy camp and won, it was the duty of the archers to repel the enemy should they charge. The Prophet (SAW) asked his men not to begin unless he commanded them to, but to attack once they sighted the enemy and before they reached the Muslim ranks.
The fight began. Prophet Mohammad’s (SAW) uncle was killed by a Makkan slave who was promised freedom if they were to be victorious. The fight went on until the bearer of the Makkan flag was killed and the Makkans realised their defeat and began to run for their lives. In the morning, it was victory for Muslims, but it was soon to become futile when the Muslims became preoccupied with what booty was left on the field and forgot to take their positions on the mountain sides. Khalid ibn al Walid noticed the Muslims carefree attitude and ventured an attack on them; he signalled his men, who took advantage of the opportunity and took a toll of Muslim lives. At that moment, they thought they had struck Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and rejoiced, but the Prophet (SAW) was only injured and was covered by a circle of his men. He made them keep quiet to let the Quraysh believe they had actually killed him, until a Muslim cried in happiness as he noticed the Prophet (SAW) was not dead, which led the Quraysh to believe it was a hoax. Meanwhile, Ali ibn Abi Talib attended to the Prophet’s (SAW) wound. In the end, the Quraysh left victoriously and the Muslims were disappointed.
The Prophet (SAW) wanted to go back to the field, in order to recapture the Muslims’ lost prestige, sending word to Abu Suffyan that it was not over. Abu Sufyan tricked them and agreed, but he was afraid he would lose and so he fled. The Muslims waited for 3 days and 3 nights with huge bonfires to show the world that the Muslims were there to stay, but the Quraysh didn’t show up, deciding to savour their victory at Uhud. Thereafter Prophet Muhammad (SAW) returned to Madinah with more faith in the Muslim power.