indeed adroitly used this argument and said: 'How can Muhammad pretend to be anything more than an aspirant to the kingly office? No true claimant of the prophetic dignity hath ever been beaten on the field, or suffered loss in his own person and that of his followers, as he hath.'1 It required all the skill and address of the Prophet to meet the objections of the Jews and to remove the latent doubt in the minds of some of his followers. This he did by a very skillful production of revelations to explain that the defeat at Uhud was due partly to their own dissensions, partly to disobedience to orders and their desire for personal safety. Thus he says:—

Already had God made good to you His promise, when by His permission ye destroyed your foes, until your courage failed you and ye disputed about the order2 and disobeyed, after that the Prophet had brought you within view of that for which ye longed.
Some of you were for this world and some for the next.3 Then, in order to make trial of you, He turned you to flight from them. Sura Al-'Imran (iii) 145-6.

The defeat was said to have been sent as a test of their sincerity and of the soundness of their belief. Thus:—

If a wound hath befallen you, a wound like it hath already befallen others.4 We alternate these days

1 Waqidi, quoted in Muir's Life of Mahomet, vol. iii, p. 189.
حكم رسول كى يا حكم سرداركى عبد الله بن جبير‭—
'Order of the Prophet or order of the chief 'Abdu'llah bin Jabir.' Khalasatu't-Tafasir, vol. i, p. 311.
3 Baidawi says: 'Some left their stations for plunder; some kept their places, observing the command of the Prophet.' Vol. i, p. 180
4 Baidawi, explains this thus: 'If they overcame you at Uhud, you overcame them at Badr.' Vol. i, p. 177.

of success and reverses amongst men that God may know those who have believed, and that He may take martyrs from among you; but God loveth not them that do injury.1
And that God may test those who believe and destroy the infidels. Sura Al-'Imran (iii) 134-5.
That which befell you on the day when the armies met was certainly by the will of God, and that He might know the faithful and that He might know the hypocrites. Sura Al-'Imran (iii) 160.2

With regard to the taunt of the Jews, a revelation came to show that other prophets had suffered reverses and that Muhammad was no exception to this rule:—

Muhammad is no more than an apostle: other apostles have already passed away before him; if he die, therefore, or be slain, will ye turn upon your heels? But he who turneth on his heels shall not injure God at all; and God will certainly reward the thankful.
No one can die except by God's permission, written down for an appointed time.3 Sura Al-'Imran (iii) 138-9.

1 Baidawi says: 'God does not really help the unbelievers but gives them the victory sometimes to tempt them and to try the believers.' Vol. i, p. 177.
2 Baidawi explains this verse thus: 'The day, that of Uhud; the armies are those of the Muslims and the Meccans: the will of God, this ordinance or the leaving of the believers free; and all this that he might discriminate between the true Believers and the Hypocrites.' Vol. i, p. 183.
3 These verses refer to the supposed death of Muhammad at the battle of Uhud, and the argument is that even had it been so they should not depart from Islam. Other apostles had passed away, but their religions remained. The Traditionists relate that when Muhammad fell to the ground wounded, the believers cried out 'What if Muhammad be dead! the Lord dieth not and verily His Apostle hath finished his work. Fight on for your Faith.' But the Munafiqun said, 'Since Muhammad is dead let us go back to our homes' (Waqidi, quoted by Muir, Life of Mahomet, vol. iii, p. 173). Baidawi says that Mus'ab bin 'Umair, the Prophet's standard-bearer, was slain by Ibn Qami'a, who thinking he had slain the Prophet said: 'I have slain Muhammad,' at which his followers took to flight, till recalled by the Prophet's voice, saying, 'Servants of God, to me.'
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