In a tradition quoted by Abd al-Razzaq al- San’ani (R.A), the Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W) mentioned that Uhud is a “waterway from paradise and a waterway is a gate (a passage, bab).” Uhud, a barren mountain, attains the rich and high stature of a unique threshold between this realm and the absolute (paradise).
Today, this vertical threshold overlooks the verges of al-Madinah’s concrete landscape from the north.
The mountain’s, which attains this shape from a group of smaller mountains, a shadow looms large with the sun spilling from between its rugged peaks at sunrise. The cracks and crevices adorn the face of the mountain that exhibits certain domination by a deep red shade (a testament to its formation from red granite), along with waves of black and green. The path that must have been quite treacherous in the past is a rocky-trail mapped by the unforgiving sharp contours of the mountain’s natural texture that’s draped with its own material.
It’s riddled with deep creases and holes that are filled with water. On sweltering summer days, air exhales and rasps from these fissures gradually and curls along the uneven rocks that remain deeply embedded in its coarse surface.
The unusually straggling city that stands to bustle at the foot of this gargantuan mountain was once small, and this mountain, a witness to war and strife. The decisive battle of Uhud was waged with vengeance from Meccans against the Prophet and his believers. This mountain, back then and even now, had become a quiet grave for as many as seventy of his devout companions, martyred in the valley before Uhud.
Gravely injured, the Prophet withdrew to the cave—a solitary place for his respite. The Meccans, chanting songs of victory, didn’t give pursuit; and thus, it became more than a mountain—it was a sheltering abode, a place of miracles, for a Prophet who faced a grave defeat in his mission.
As a pilgrimage itinerary, a pathway made sacred for the “suspension of profane time” by the Prophet, Mount Uhud enjoys a unique status as a “Sacred Space” that holds great history and story in the Islamic tradition; it’s truly symbolic geography of al-Madinah.
On behalf of Ibn Abi Yahya, seventy-three accounts have been communicated in various sources that span a wide range of themes, each with its own value of “sacredness”, that concern al-Madinah and Uhud as “sacred spaces”: the places the Prophet visited on the mountain; the paths he took; enumeration of mountains, caves, and gardens where he prayed; wells he drank from (which granted them ‘abundant good’, Baraka); places where he laid down, performed the ritual ablution, and invoked God; so on and so forth.
All of these sacred spaces serve to heighten the spiritual cleansing of the pilgrims, who come in hopes of treading the paths the prophet took in his journey. And whilst the significance of the mountain’s name remains shrouded in an impenetrable air of mystery, it remains to be a gateway to paradise; In Sahih al-Bukhari, the Prophet said: “Verily, the Mountain of Uhud loves us and we love it, it is upon the Gate of Heaven.”