21.9 Pursuing the Enemy
The next morning a herald went around the streets of Medina, calling all those who had fought with the Prophet the day before to get ready to pursue the enemy again. No one who had not fought at Uhud the day before had a right to join this army. The Muslims took up their swords and rose to fight, eager to redeem themselves. They were now less than seven hundred and many were wounded, tired, and weary, and they had to pursue an enemy over four times their number - an enemy with high morale and hopes, fresh from victory. But with their wounds and in their grief, the Muslims still rallied to the call. Not a single one of them stayed behind.
Abu Sufyan, learning of their approach, and fearing they had brought reinforcements from Medina and were hungry for revenge, sought information about them. A man who had seen them confirmed his fears, saying he had never seen such numbers or such readiness, all burning for revenge. In order to weaken their morale, Abu Sufyan sent a message to them at Hamra Al-Asad where they had dismounted; threatening that he was coming to finish them off. So every night Mohamed lit a great bonfire as a signal that he had received the message and was waiting for Quraysh. For three nights in succession he waited, but Abu Sufyan never came. Quraysh saw the fire, as all the Arabs saw the fire, but the Quraysh did not move. Then on the third day, deciding that they had seen enough of war for the moment, they headed towards Mecca.
Mohamed's dauntless spirit and his firm belief that Allah would grant them victory against all odds, provided they did not trespass, mitigated the defeat at Uhud. The Muslims felt that they had answered the call of duty, which attenuated their feelings of remorse; while those who wished them ill realized that they were still a power to be reckoned with.
In spite of their courage and perseverance in pursuing the enemy, some of the tribes, who were biding their time, thought this was the moment to attack the Muslims while they were still weak after Uhud. Some two months after Uhud, news came that Banu Asad, stirred by some of its leaders, were coming to raid Medina. The Prophet prepared an army group of one hundred and fifty men and put Abu Salama in charge. He commanded them to travel by night and hide by day and to take an unfrequented route in order to surprise the enemy which was far greater in numbers.
They fell upon the enemy in the fog of an early dawn. Surprised, the tribesmen did not resist. Abu Salama sent one group of men to pursue the enemy and another to bring in the booty while he remained with a third group until they returned.
Abu Salama did not live long after that, for he was suffering from a wound he had received at Uhud. It had not healed completely and this new exertion re-opened it. The Messenger sat by his deathbed until the last moment for he had been one of the first Muslims.