Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Battle of Mount Uhud

When we were in Madinah last month, I got excited when it was announced that we would be going to “the mountain.” I had visions of a picnic, lots of tall shady trees and fresh air. Well, that’s not exactly what I got. The “mountain” would be labeled in MY book more under the “hill” category, and there was no picnic or shade trees in sight.

Instead, Mount Uhud turned out to be the historical site of a famous Islamic battle which took place in the year 625 between a small force of Muslims from Madinah and a much larger force of non-believers from Mecca.

This historic mountain is located just north of Madinah. It’s an easy walk up the hill, which was defended mightily by the smaller Muslim army of arrow shooting warriors from Madinah. The surviving Meccans retreated. The seemingly victorious followers of Mohammed disobeyed his command not to leave their posts on top of the hill, where they could see for miles in every direction.

Instead, they hastily descended the hill, some say, to greedily confiscate the spoils of their short lived victory. The Meccans seized the opportunity and returned, much to the surprise of the Muslims, and managed to turn their embarrassing loss into a victory.

At the base of the mountain is the burial site of some 70 fallen Muslim fighters, including Mohammed’s brave uncle, Hamza. He is considered a martyr in Islam. The graves are unmarked, which is typical of Islamic burial sites, but it has been preserved by the construction of a large fence around it.

Later in the evening of that same day, we were watching TV and there was a movie on which depicted the Battle of Mount Uhud. The dialogue was all in Arabic, so I couldn't understand most of what was said, but others kept pointing out various characters to me and some of what was being said, so I was able to keep up with what was happening in the movie. It was pretty cool that we had just been to the site earlier that day and I was somewhat familiar with the story.

Madinah is the second holiest city of Islam because it was chosen by the Prophet Mohammed as the location for the very first mosque ever built. This mosque is called the Quba Mosque. (See photo at right.) The original structure was torn down and completely rebuilt in the 20th century, but still stands on the very same spot that the Prophet chose for it initially.

Another very famous mosque in Madinah is called the Prophet's Mosque. This mosque is visited by millions of Muslims every year because it is where the remains of the Prophet himself lie buried in a tomb there.


  1. I think it is shame that they tore down the old original mosque - I am sure it would be much more interesting to see and give one more of a feeling of a connection with the past and the first Muslims than a brand new one would. Why did they demolish it?

  2. Hi Susie,You're getting to see and learn so much!
    I wish I could find a good Islamic history book for the kids.Usually we get one or two chapters dedicated to "The East".It's a shame really when there's so much more to learn.

  3. Hi DesertMonsoon - I read that the initial plans were to incorporate the old structure with the new building, but it must not have been possible, maybe due to the condition of the old mosque. I'm sure they would have done it had they been able to.

    Hi Always - There are so many stories like this one that are related to the history of Islam. I don't know of a good book to recommend, but maybe someone else could?

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Maybe the Muslims of old had to battle against armed enemies on that mountain...but now days they just have to battle knick knack sellers every step up the path. Not to mention the graffiti and trash everywhere...its a shame that such a momentous historical sight in the Muslim world is left to fall into such ruins.

    *of course Im referring to when I was there about 2 years ago...if it looks different/better now...thats wonderful.

  6. enjoyed post...and looked up some more info regarding.
    as always enjoy your blog so much.
    until later.


  7. Always in the Kitchen, I don't know where you live, but around these parts DC, MD, VA there's a big place in Falls Church called Halalco. I've been out there a few times for this and that.

    Here's a link for books:

    Hope this helps somewhat

  8. Forgot to add, Susie, I love history ... thanks for posting this. :)

  9. aha! the history. in your eyes. loving it. keep goin :)

  10. susie forgot to mention something .... or may be you mentioned it but i didnt notice ....
    that getting into Madinah and Mekka is not allowed for non-muslims :o

    by the way ...
    im really enjoying reading your blog

    our American English teacher told us about it during the English class

    it is so interesting .... although that im saudi and from Madina :) ... i still like it

  11. Its awesome all of the time to view how folks can compose wonderful stuff about people topics! Thank you and I ve bookmarked you

  12. Its awesome post in your blog. I like it. Really very useful and very informative post. Thanks a lot for sharing.