Following are the Causes of Battle of Ohud:
The key cause of the battle was the Battle of Badr itself which had generated intense animosity among the Quraish. They lost their prestige, leaders, and at some extent trade.
Another chief cause was Abu Sufyan’s raid in the outskirts of Madinah, which came to be known as Ghazwat as-Sawiq. Upon hearing of the raid, the Prophet along with some men reached the spot. The Makkans in confusion fled leaving behind their bags filled with meal which is called ‘sawiq’ in Arabic.
In addition, Safwan bin Umayya sent his caravan to the North well to the East of Madinah to avoid the blockade by Muslims on coastal route on the West. But Muslims somehow came to know of this and on orders of the Prophet raided the caravan with 100 men. They captured the merchandise worth 100,000 dirhams.
For all of these reasons, the Makkans set out to Madinah with 3000 men under the leadership of Abu Sufyan. Women also accompanied the army. Among them one was Hind bin Utbah, daughter of Utba bin Rabia and wife of Abu Sufyan. She had vowed to avenge her father.
The Main Event
The Makkan army reached oasis near a hill called Ohud, North of Madinah. Whereas in Madinah, key leaders were discussing the strategy to be adopted. the Holy Prophet was in favor of defence position and not leave Madinah. But the young warriors were energetic and wanted to fight. Finally, the Muslim army left Madinah to face the opponent at Ohud.
The army had 1000 mean, of which 300 were Abu Sufyan’s. Half way through the road, Sufyan deserted the Muslim army along with his 300 men, leaving Muslims only 700 in number.
Next morning, the Holy Prophet set out to station the army strategically. Army was placed on the western slope of Ohud. This had few advantages, but there was a rear passage on the hill. the Holy Prophet put 50 men there to protect the passage so that the Quraish couldn’t cross it.
According to the Arabic tradition, as was mentioned in the last battle, the Muslims were winning decisively till the second stage. They were on advance even in the third stage. The Quraish upon seeing their losses retreated a bit.
Seeing them retreating, few Muslims started plundering the camps, more and more Muslims joined the plundering. The turning point occurred when the Muslims stationed at the passage joined the raiding too. Only 12 remained there.
Seeing this, Khalid bin Waleed hurried to passage rallying an army behind him. From here on, Muslims were now in defence position and their defeat was largely inevitable. In the fighting, the Holy Prophet got injured too. Someone, probably among the Muslims, started rumor that the Holy Prophet had died which further declined the morale of Muslim army.
The Makkans upon hearing the news also retreated a bit and finally decided to return to Makkah.
Results & Impact
70 Muslim warriors were martyred. Among them one was Hamza, uncle of the Holy Prophet. He was killed by Hind bin Utbah. The Makkans mutilated the martyrs of the war. In fact, Hind ate Hamza’s liver.
The chief reason behind the defeat was desertion of archers stationed at the rear passage.
Due to the defeat, certain Bedouin tribes started leaving the fold of Islam. Some of them were being bribed by the Makkans. They resorted to evil schemes. Once, they invited 70 Muslims for preaching. The clan killed them upon their arrival.
If Badr brought them prestige, confidence, and bounty, Ohud brought them the realization that discipline, were obedience necessary. They knew now that it was their greed that turned the victory into a defeat.
Some Muslims were now even more resolute. Their faith was now strengthened.
The Makkans were definitely victorious. But for them the war was not ideological but personal. They had set out to avenge their near and dear ones, which they did. They returned without further marching towards Madinah. Had they done so, Islam might not have spread.
There was no single objective among their ranks. It was every man for himself. Victory or no victory, their defeat was inevitable in the coming times.
For complete Islamic history notes click here.