~ The First Decisive Battle In The History of Islam ~
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allah The most Gracious The Most Merciful
The Battle of Badr (Arabic: المعركة بدر), fought 13 March 624 CE (17 Ramadan, 2 AH in the Islamic calendar) in the Hejaz region of western Arabia (present-day Saudi Arabia), was a key battle in the early days of Islam and a turning point in Prophet Muhammad’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) struggle with his opponents among the Quraish in Mecca. The Muslim army was made up of 300-317 men, 82-86 Emigrants, 61 from Aws and 170 from Khazraj. They were not well-equipped nor adequately prepared. They had only two horses belonging to Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam and Al-Miqdad bin Al-Aswad Al-Kindi, 70 camels, one for two or three men to ride alternatively. When the two parties approached closer and were visible to each other, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) began supplicating to Allâh “O Allâh! The conceited and haughty Quraishites are already here defying You and belying Your Messenger. O Allâh! I am waiting for Your victory which You have promised me. I beseech You Allâh to defeat them (the enemies).” He continued to call out to his Lord, stretching forth his hands and facing Al-Qiblah, until his cloak fell off his shoulders. Then Abu Bakr came, picked up the cloak, and put it back on his shoulders and said: “O Prophet of Allâh, you have cried out enough to your Lord. He will surely fulfill what He has promised you.” Immediate was the response from Allâh, Who sent down angels from the heavens for the help and assistance of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and his companions. The Noble Qur’ân observes: “Verily, I am with you, so keep firm those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved.” (Surah Al-Anfal 8:12)
“I will help you with a thousand of the angels each behind the other (following one another) in succession.” (Surah Al-Anfal 8:9). The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), in his trellis, dozed off a little and then raised his head joyfully crying: “O Abu Bakr, glad tidings are there for you: Allâh’s victory has approached, by Allâh, I can see Gabriel on his mare in the thick of a sandstorm.” He then jumped out crying: “Their multitude will be put to flight, and they will show their backs.” (Surah Al-Qamar 54:45). At the instance of Gabriel, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) took a handful of gravel, cast it at the enemy and said: “Confusion seize their faces!” As he flung the dust, a violent sandstorm blew like furnace blast into the eyes of the enemies. With respect to this, Allâh says: “And you [i.e. Muhammad (Peace be upon him) ] threw not when you did throw but Allâh threw.” (Surah Al-Anfal 8:17) Only then did he give clear orders to launch a counter-attack. He was commanding the army, inspiring confidence among his men and exhorting them to fight manfully for the sake of their Lord, reciting the Words of Allâh: “And be quick for forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth.” (Surah Aali-‘Imran 3:133).
The records of Hadith speak eloquently of the fact that the angels did appear on that day and fought on the side of the Muslims. Ibn ‘Abbas said: “While on that day a Muslim was chasing a disbeliever and he heard over him the swashing of a whip and the voice of the rider saying: ‘Go ahead Haizum’. He glanced at the polytheist who had (now) fallen down on his back. The Helper came to the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and related that event to him. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) replied: ‘You have told the truth. This was the help from the third heaven.”
‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Awf related: I was in the thick of the battle when two youths, still seemingly inexperienced in the art of fighting, One of them spoke in a secret voice asking me to show him Abu Jahl. I asked about his intention, to which he replied, that he had a strong desire to engage with him in a combat until either of them was killed. I acceded to their earnest pleas and pointed directly at their target. They both rushed swiftly towards the spot, and without a moment’s hesitation struck him simultaneously with their swords and finished him off. They went back to the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم), each claiming that he had killed Abu Jahl to the exclusion of the other. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) asked if they had wiped the blood off their swords and they answered that they had not. He then examined both swords and assured them that they both had killed him. When the battle concluded, At the termination of the battle, the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) wanted to look for this archenemy of Islam, Abu Jahl. ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ud found him on the verge of death breathing his last. He stepped on his neck addressing him: “Have you seen how Allâh has disgraced you?” The enemy of Islam still defiantly answered: “I am not disgraced. I am no more than a man killed by his own people on the battlefield.” And then inquired “Who has won the battle?” Ibn Mas‘ud replied “Allâh and His Messenger.” Abu Jahl then said with a heart full of grudge “You have followed difficult ways, you shepherd!” Ibn Mas‘ud used to be a shepherd working for the Makkan aristocrats. Ibn Mas‘ud then cut off his head and took it to the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) who, on seeing it, began to entertain Allah’s praise: “Allah is Great, praise is to Allâh, Who has fulfilled His Promise, assisted His servant and defeated the confederates alone.” He then set out to have a look at the corpse. There he said: “This is the Pharaoh of this nation.”
The outcome of the battle was as aforementioned an ignominious rout for the polytheists and a manifest victory for the Muslims. Fourteen Muslims were killed, of whom six were from the Emigrants and eight from the Helpers. The polytheists sustained heavy casualties, seventy were killed and a like number taken prisoners. Many of the principal men of Makkah, and some of Prophet Muhammad ’s (صلى الله عليه وسلم) bitterest opponents.
On the third day, the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) went out to look at the slain polytheists, and said:
“What an evil tribe you were as regards your Prophet, you belied me but the others have believed; you let me down while the others have supported me; you expelled me whereas the others have sheltered me.”
Narrated Abu Talha: On the day of Badr, the Prophet ordered that the corpses of twenty four leaders of Quraish should be thrown into one of the dirty dry wells of Badr. (It was a habit of the Prophet that whenever he conquered some people, he used to stay at the battle-field for three nights. So, on the third day of the battle of Badr, he ordered that his she-camel be saddled, then he set out, and his companions followed him saying among themselves.” “Definitely he (i.e. the Prophet) is proceeding for some great purpose.” When he halted at the edge of the well, he addressed the corpses of the Quraish infidels by their names and their fathers’ names, “O so-and-so, son of so-and-so and O so-and-so, son of so-and-so! Would it have pleased you if you had obeyed Allah and His Apostle? We have found true what our Lord promised us. Have you too found true what your Lord promised you? “‘Umar said, “O Allah’s Apostle! You are speaking to bodies that have no souls!” Allah’s Apostle said, “By Him in Whose Hand Muhammad’s soul is, you do not hear, what I say better than they do.” (Qatada said, “Allah brought them to life (again) to let them hear him, to reprimand them and slight them and take revenge over them and caused them to feel remorseful and regretful.” Sahih al-bukhari, book: Military Expeditions led by the Prophet, Hadith 314)
Usamah bin Zaid related that they received the news of the manifest victory shortly after Ruqaiyah, the Prophet ’s daughter, and the wife of ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan had been committed to earth. She had been terminally ill and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) had asked ‘Uthman to stay in Madinah and look after her.
The Chapter of Al-Anfal (spoils of war) was revealed on the occasion of the battle of Badr, Ramadan 17th 2 A.H. It constituted a unique Divine commentary on this battle. “And remember when you were few and were reckoned weak in the land, and were afraid that men might kidnap you, but He provided a safe place for you, strengthened you with His help, and provided you with good things so that you might be grateful.” (Surah Al-Anfal 8:26)