The Battle of Badr
The Seerah of: Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
The Battle of Badr
The Battle of Badr (Arabic: غزوة 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 Muhammad’s struggle with his opponents among the Quraish in Mecca. The battle has been passed down in Islamic history as a decisive victory attributable to divine intervention, or by secular sources to the strategic genius of Muhammad.
It is one of the few battles specifically mentioned in the Quran. Most contemporary knowledge of the battle at Badr comes from traditional Islamic accounts, both hadiths and biographies of Muhammad, recorded in written form some time after the battle.
Prior to the battle, the Muslims and Meccans had fought several smaller skirmishes in late 623 and early 624, as the Muslim ghazawāt (prophet-led battles) had become more frequent. Badr, however, was the first large-scale engagement between the two forces. Advancing to a strong defensive position, Muhammad’s well-disciplined force broke the Meccan lines, killing several important Quraishi leaders including Muhammad’s chief antagonist, ‘Amr ibn Hishām.
For the early Muslims the battle was the first sign that they might eventually defeat their enemies among the Meccans. Mecca at that time was one of the richest and most powerful cities in Arabia, fielding an army three times larger than that of the Muslims. The Muslim victory also signalled other tribes that a new power had arisen in Arabia and strengthened Muhammad’s position as leader of the often fractious community in Medina.
Battle of Badr: Part of the Muslim-Quraish Wars
- Date: 13 March 624 CE/17 Ramadan, 2 AH
- Location: At the wells of Badr, 80 miles (130 km) southwest of Medina
- Result: Decisive Muslim victory
- Muslims of Medina: Quraish of Mecca
Commanders and leaders
- Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib
- Ali ibn Abi Talib
- Abu Jahl
- Utba ibn Rabi’ah
- Umayyah ibn Khalaf
- Hind al-Hunnud
- 313 Infantry & Cavalry: 2
- Horses and 70 camels
- 950 Infantry & Cavalry: 100
- Horses and 170 Camels
Casualties and losses
- 14 killed
- 70 killed
- 70 captured
Muhammad was born in Mecca around 571 CE into the Quraish tribe. In 622, to escape persecution of Muslims by the Meccans, Muhammad and many of his followers migrated from Mecca to the neighboring city of Medina. This migration is called the Hijra.
Following the hijra, tensions between Mecca and Medina escalated and hostilities broke out in 623 when the Muslims began a series of raids (called ghazawāt in Arabic) on Quraishi caravans. Ghazawāt (s. ghazw) were plundering raids organized by nomadic Bedouin warriors against either rival tribes or wealthier, sedentary neighbors.
Since Medina was located just off Mecca’s main trade route, the Muslims were in an ideal position to do this. Even though many Muslims were Quraish themselves, they believed that they were entitled to such raids because the Meccans had expelled them from their property, homes and tribes, a serious offense in hospitality-oriented Arabia
Also, there was a tradition in Arabia of poor tribes raiding richer tribes. It also provided a means for the Muslim community to carve out an independent economic position at Medina, where their political position was far from secure. The Meccans obviously took a different view, seeing the Muslim raids as banditry at best, as well as a potential threat to their livelihood and prestige.
In late 623 and early 624, the Muslim ghazawāt grew increasingly brazen and commonplace. In September 623, Muhammad himself led a force of 200 in an unsuccessful raid against a large caravan. Shortly thereafter, the Meccans launched their own “raid” against Medina, although its purpose was just to steal some livestock which belonged to the Muslims. In January 624, the Muslims ambushed a Meccan caravan near Nakhlah, only forty kilometers outside of Mecca, killing one of the guards and formally inaugurating a blood feud with the Meccans. Worse, from a Meccan standpoint, the raid occurred in the month of Rajab, a truce month sacred to the Meccans in which fighting was prohibited and a clear affront to their pagan traditions.
A map of the Badr campaign
In the spring of 624, Muhammad received word from his intelligence sources that one of the richest trade caravans of the year, commanded by Abu Sufyan and guarded by thirty to forty men, was travelling from Syria to Mecca. Because of the caravan’s size, or perhaps because of the previous failures to intercept a caravan, Muhammad gathered an army of over 313 men, the largest army the Muslims had ever put in the field. The goods contained in the caravan were the belongings of the Muslims which were taken by the Meccans following the migration to Madinah.
The March to Badr
Muhammad’s forces included Abu Bakr, Umar, Ali, Hamza, Mus`ab ibn `Umair, Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam, Ammar ibn Yasir, and Abu Dharr al-Ghifari. The Muslims also brought seventy camels and two horses, meaning that they either had to walk or fit three to four men per camel. However, many early Muslim sources indicate that no serious fighting was expected, and the future Caliph Uthman stayed behind to care for his sick wife Ruqayyah, the daughter of the Prophet. Salman the Persian also couldn’t join the battle, as he was still not a free man.
Many of the Quraishi nobles, including Amr ibn Hishām, Walid ibn Utba, Shaiba, and Umayah ibn Khalaf, joined the Meccan army. Their reasons varied: some were out to protect their financial interests in the caravan; others wanted to avenge Ibn al-Hadrami, the guard killed at Nakhlah; finally, a few must have wanted to take part in what was expected to be an easy victory against the Muslims. Amr ibn Hishām is described as shaming at least one noble, Umayah ibn Khalaf, into joining the expedition.
By this time Muhammad’s companions were approaching the wells where he planned to either waylay the caravan, or to fight the Meccan army at Badr, along the Syrian trade route where the caravan would be expected to stop or the Meccan army to come for its protection. However, several Muslim scouts were discovered by scouts from the caravan and Abu Sufyan made a hasty turn towards Yanbu.
The Meccan plan
By contrast, while little is known about the progress of the Quraishi army from the time it left Mecca until its arrival just outside Badr, several things are worth noting: although many Arab armies brought their women and children along on campaigns both to motivate and care for the men, the Meccan army did not. Also, the Quraish apparently made little or no effort to contact the many tribes allies they had scattered throughout the Hijaz. Both facts suggest the Quraish lacked the time to prepare for a proper campaign in their haste to protect the caravan. Besides it is believed since they knew they had outnumbered the Muslims by three to one, they expected an easy victory.
When the Quraishi reached Juhfah, just south of Badr, they received a message from Abu Sufyan telling them the caravan was safely behind them, and that they could therefore return to Mecca. At this point, according to Karen Armstrong, a power struggle broke out in the Meccan army. Abu Jahl wanted to continue, but several of the clans present, including Banu Zuhrah and Banu Adi, promptly went home.
Armstrong suggests they may have been concerned about the power that Abu Jahl would gain from crushing the Muslims. The Banu Hashim tribe wanted to leave, but was threatened by Abu Jahl to stay. Despite these losses, Abu Jahl was still determined to fight, boasting “We will not go back until we have been to Badr.” During this period, Abu Sufyan and several other men from the caravan joined the main army.
‘’Behold! Allah Promised you one of the two (enemy) parties, that it should be yours: Ye wished that the one unarmed should be yours, but Allah Willed to justify the Truth according to His Words and to cut off the roots of the Unbelievers.’’ [Qur’an: Al-Anfal 8:7]
[The] Arabs will hear how we marched forth and of our mighty gathering, and they will stand in awe of us forever.Abu Jahl.
The Day of Battle
Further information: List of participants at the Battle of Badr
At midnight on 13 March, the Quraish broke camp and marched into the valley of Badr. It had rained the previous day and they struggled to move their horses and camels up the hill of ‘Aqanqal.
After they descended from ‘Aqanqal, the Meccans set up another camp inside the valley. While they rested, they sent out a scout, Umayr ibn Wahb to reconnoitre the Muslim lines. Umayr reported that Muhammad’s army was small, and that there were no other Muslim reinforcements which might join the battle.
However, he also predicted extremely heavy Quraishi casualties in the event of an attack (One hadith refers to him seeing “the camels of [Medina] laden with certain death”). This further demoralized the Quraish, as Arab battles were traditionally low-casualty affairs, and set off another round of bickering among the Quraishi leadership.
However, according to Arab traditions Amr ibn Hishām quashed the remaining dissent by appealing to the Quraishi’s sense of honor and demanding that they fulfill their blood vengeance.
The battle began with champions from both armies emerging to engage in combat. Three of the Ansar emerged from the Muslim ranks, only to be shouted back by the Meccans, who were nervous about starting any unnecessary feuds and only wanted to fight the Quraishi Muslims. So Hamza approached forward and called on Ubayda and Ali to join him.
The Muslims dispatched the Meccan champions in a three-on-three melee. Hamza killed his opponent Utba; Ali killed his opponent Walid ibn Utba; Ubayda was wounded by his opponent Shayba, but eventually killed him. So this was a victorious traditional 3 on 3 combat for the Muslims.
Now both armies began striking arrows at each other. A few Muslims and an unknown number of Quraish warriors were killed. Before the real attack began, Muhammad had given orders for the Muslims to attack with their ranged weapons, and only engage the Quraish with melee weapons when they advanced.
Now he gave the order to charge, throwing a handful of pebbles at the Meccans in what was probably a traditional Arabian gesture while yelling “Defaced be those faces!” The Muslim army yelled “Yā manṣūr amit!” “O thou whom God hath made victorious, slay!” and rushed the Quraishi lines. The Meccans, understrength and unenthusiastic about fighting, promptly broke and ran. The battle itself only lasted a few hours and was over by the early afternoon.
The Qur’an describes the force of the Muslim attack in many verses, which refer to thousands of angels descending from Heaven at Badr to terrify the Quraish. It should be noted that Muslim sources take this account literally, and there are several hadith where Muhammad discusses the Angel Jibreel and the role he played in the battle.
The Battle of Badr was extremely influential in the rise of two men who would determine the course of history on the Arabian peninsula for the next century. The first was Muhammad, who was transformed overnight from a Meccan outcast into a major leader. Marshall Hodgson adds that Badr forced the other Arabs to “regard the Muslims as challengers and potential inheritors to the prestige and the political role of the [Quraish].”
Shortly thereafter he expelled the Banu Qaynuqa, one of the Jewish tribes at Medina that had been threatening his political position, and who had assaulted a Muslim woman which led to their expulsion for breaking the peace treaty. At the same time Abd-Allah ibn Ubayy, Muhammad’s chief opponent in Medina, found his own position seriously weakened. Henceforth, he would only be able to mount limited challenges to Muhammad.
The other major beneficiary of the Battle of Badr was Abu Sufyan. The death of Amr ibn Hashim, as well as many other Quraishi nobles gave Abu Sufyan the opportunity, almost by default, to become chief of the Quraish. As a result, when Muhammad marched into Mecca six years later, it was Abu Sufyan who helped negotiate its peaceful surrender. Abu Sufyan subsequently became a high-ranking official in the Muslim Empire, and his son Muawiya would later go on to found the Umayyad Caliphate.
In later days having fought at Badr became so significant that Ibn Ishaq included a complete name-by-name roster of the Muslim army in his biography of Muhammad. In many hadiths, individuals who fought at Badr are identified as such as a formality, and they may have even received a stipend in later years. The death of the last of the Badr veterans occurred during the First Islamic civil war.
As Paul K. Davis sums up, “Mohammed’s victory confirmed his authority as leader of Islam; by impressing local tribes that joined him, the expansion of Islam began.”
Badr in the Qur’an
The Battle of Badr is one of the few battles explicitly discussed in the Qur’an. It is even mentioned by name as part of a comparison with the Battle of Uhud.
Qur’an: [Al-i-Imran 3:123–125]
“Allah had helped you at Badr, when ye were a contemptible little force; then fear Allah; thus May ye show your gratitude. Remember thou saidst to the Faithful: “Is it not enough for you that Allah should help you with three thousand angels (Specially) sent down? “Yea, – if ye remain firm, and act aright, even if the enemy should rush here on you in hot haste, your Lord would help you with five thousand angels Making a terrific onslaught.”
According to Abdullah Yusuf Ali, the term “gratitude” may be a reference to discipline. At Badr, the Muslim forces had allegedly maintained firm discipline, whereas at Uhud they broke ranks to pursue the Meccans, allowing Meccan cavalry to flank and rout their army. The idea of Badr as a furqan, an Islamic miracle, is mentioned again in the same surah.
Qur’an: Al-i-Imran 3:13:
“There has already been for you a Sign in the two armies that met (in combat): One was fighting in the cause of Allah, the other resisting Allah; these saw with their own eyes Twice their number. But Allah doth support with His aid whom He pleaseth. In this is a warning for such as have eyes to see.”
Badr is also the subject of Sura 8: Al-Anfal, which details military conduct and operations. “Al-Anfal” means “the spoils” and is a reference to the post-battle discussion in the Muslim army over how to divide up the plunder from the Quraishi army. Though the Sura does not name Badr, it describes the battle, and several of the verses are commonly thought to have been from or shortly after the battle.
Traditional Muslim accounts
Historiography of early Islam
Most knowledge of the Battle of Badr comes either from the traditional Islamic accounts, Quran and Hadiths (records of the life and times of Muhammad). In the English speaking world, it is not known if there are earlier written records other than the traditional Islamic accounts since Arabic at that time in the Hijaz was primarily an oral language. People relied mostly on oral traditions.
Muslim exegs interpret the Book of Isaiah 21:13–17 as a prophecy of the Battle of Badr:(13) The oracle concerning Arabia. In the thickets in Arabia you will lodge, O caravans of Dedanites. (14) To the thirsty bring water, meet the fugitive with bread, O inhabitants of the land of Tema. (15) For they have fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow, and from the press of battle. (16) For thus the Lord said to me, “Within a year, according to the years of a hireling, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end; (17) and the remainder of the archers of the mighty men of the sons of Kedar will be few; for the LORD, the God of Israel, has spoken.”
After the battle Muhammad decided to return to Medina. While Muhammad was returning to Medina, he reportedly received a revelation regarding the distribution of war booty.
According to Muslim scholar “Saifur Rahman al Mubarakpuri”, a Quran verse was revealed ordering the execution of one of the captives, Nadr bin Harith. After this revelation, Nadr bin Harith was subsequently beheaded by Ali.
Later the command to kill Uqba bin Abu Muayt was given, and he was subsequently beheaded by Asim Bin Thabit Ansari (some sources say Ali beheaded him).
In modern culture “Badr” has become popular among Muslim armies and paramilitary organizations. “Operation Badr” was used to describe Egypt’s offensive in the 1973 Yom Kippur War as well as Pakistan’s actions in the 1999 Kargil War. Iranian offensive operations against Iraq in the late 1980s were also named after Badr. During the 2011 Libyan civil war, the rebel leadership stated that they selected the date of the assault on Tripoli to be the 20th of Ramadan, marking the anniversary of the Battle of Badr.
The Battle of Badr was featured in the 1976 film The Message, and the 2004 animated movie Muhammad: The Last Prophet.
Studying the battles of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is of great importance. ‘ Ali Ibn Al-Husain (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “We used to teach the battles of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) equally as we used to teach the of the Glorious Qur’an.”
Az-Zuhari, likewise, said, “In studying the battles (of the Prophet) lies the knowledge of this world as well as the Hereafter.”
Mu’amar narrated that Az-Zuhari said,
“After the migration of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to Madinah, the first Qur’anic verse revealed regarding fighting in the way of Allah, Most High, was.
‘’To those against whom war is made, permission is given to fight, because they are wronged, and verily Allah is Most Powerful for their aid.’’ (Al-Hajj: 39)
Then, the first battle the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fought was Badr on Friday, 17th Ramadan,
- Then Banu An-Nadir;
- Then Uhud (3 AH);
- Then Khaibar (6 AH);
- Then the conquest of Makkah (8 AH); and
- Then Hunain (8 AH).
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) launched 11 battles in which he did not set out with the fighters, those battles are:
- Al-Abwa’ (the first battle of the Prophet),
- Banu Sulaim
- the first Badr
- At- Al-Hudaibiyyah
According to Al-Bukhari, Ibn Ishaq said, “The first battle the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) fought was the battle of:
- then Buwat; and
- then Al-‘Ashira.”
Al-Bukhari narrated also on the authority of Abu Ishaq who said, “Once, I was sitting beside Zaid Ibn Al-Arqam, he was asked, ‘How many battles did the Prophet undertake? Zaid replied, ‘Nineteen.’ They said, “In how many battles did you join him? He replied, ‘Seventeen.’ I asked, ‘Which of these was the first?’ He replied, ‘Al-‘Ashira or Al-‘Ashirau.'”
Buraida narrated that he fought sixteen battles with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
In his Sahih, Muslim narrated that Buraida said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) undertook nineteen battles and participated in fighting in eight battles.
Moreover, Buraida said that his father narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) undertook seventeen battles and participated in fighting in eight battles:
- the conquest of Makkah,
The Exedition of ‘ Abdullah Ibn Jahsh: A Root- Cause of the Great Battle of Badr
Ibn Ibn Ishaq narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) sent ‘Abdullah Ibn Jahsh Ibn Ri’ab Al-Asdi in the month of Rajab on his return from the first Badr. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) sent with him eight men from Al-Muhajreen.
The names of the eight Muhajreen were:
- Abu Huzaifah Ibn ‘Utbah,
- ‘Akashah Ibn Mihsin,
- ‘Utbah Ibn Ghazwan,
- Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas,
- ‘Amir Ibn Rabi’ah Al-Wa’ili, Waqid,
- Ibn ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abd Manaf,
- Khalid Ibn Al-Bakir, and
- Sahl Ibn Baida’ Al-Fihri.
Ibn Ishaq continued saying that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) wrote for Ibn Jahsh a letter and ordered him not to look at it until he had journeyed for two days, to carry out what he was ordered to do, and not to compel any one of his companions to do so. Having journeyed for two days, Ibn Jahsh opened the letter which said:
“When you read my letter proceed forward until you reach Nakhlah between Makkah and At-Ta’if so as to lie in wait there for Quraish and find out to us their news.” When he read the letter he said, “I’m the one who listens (the orders of his leader) and obeys.”
Then he told his companions what the letter said and declared, “He – the Messenger of Allah – has forbidden me to force any one of you do so; thus if anyone wishes for the martyrdom, let him proceed forward; and he who does not, let him go back; as for me I’m going to carry out what the Messenger of Allah has ordered me.”
He, Subsequently, proceeded forward and so did all his companions. He journeyed along the Hijaz until at a mine called Bahran above Al-Furu’, Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas and ‘Utbah Ibn Ghazwan lost the camel which they were riding by turns, so they stayed behind to look for it, while ‘Abdullah and the rest of his companions proceeded until they reachcd Nakhlah. A caravan of Quraish, in the meanwhile, passed by them.
The Quraishi men in that caravan were:
- ‘Amr Ibn Al-Hadrami,
- ‘Uthman Ibn
- ‘Abdullah Ibn Al-Mughirah Al-Makhzumi and his brother,
- Naufal, and
- Al-Hakam Ibn Kaisan,
- freedman of Hisham Ibn Al-Mughirah.
When the caravan saw them – Ibn Jahsh and his companions – they were afraid of them because they had camped near them. ‘Akashah, however, appeared to them with his shaved hair, and when they saw him they felt safe and ‘ Ammar said, “They would cause you no harm – he thought that they were pilgrims.”
On their part, they Companions took council among themselves, for this was the last day of Rajab, and they said, “If you leave them alone tonight they will get into the prohibited Area and will be safe from you; and if you kill them, you will kill them in the prohibited Month.”
Consequently, they were hesitant and feared to attack them. Then, they encouraged each other and decided to kill as many as they could of them and take what they had. Waqid Ibn ‘Abdullah shot Amr Ibn Al-Hadrami with an arrow which caused the latter to die; ‘Uthman Ibn ‘Abdullah and Al-Hakim Ibn Kisan were captured while Naufal Ibn ‘Abdullah escaped.
‘Abdullah Ibn Jahsh and his proceeded back to Madinah with the caravan and the two prisoners until they reached the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
Someone of Abdullah’s family reported that he said to his companions, “A fifth of what we have taken belongs to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).” This was before the revelation of the Qur’anic verse that decides the way of dividing the booty. Therefore, ‘Abdullah set apart for the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), a fifth of the caravan, and divided the rest among his companions.
When the Qur’an came down with the way that should adhered to in dividing the booty, it was in agreement with what ‘Abdullah Ibn Jahsh had done.
When they came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), he said, “I have not commanded you to fight in the prohibited Month.” Thereupon, he held the caravan and the two prisoners in suspense and refused to take anything from. When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said this, the men were in despair and thought that they were doomed.
Their Muslim brothers reproached them for what they had done. Quraish, likewise, said that Muhammad and his Companions have violated the prohibited Month, shed blood therein, taken booty, and captured men. Muslims, who were in Makkah, defended them, saying, “They had done it in the month of Sha’ban.”
The Jews turned this raid into an omen against the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) by saying that ‘Amr Ibn Al-Hadrami whom Waqid Ibn ‘Abdullah had killed meant ‘Amaratul-harb (war has come to life), Al-Hadrami meant Hadaratul-harb (war is present), and Waqid meant Waqadatul-harb (war is kindled).
Allah, Most High, turned this against them, not for them; and when there was much talk about it, Allah sent down to His Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) the following Qur’anic verse,
‘’They ask thee concerning fighting in prohibited Month. Say, ‘Fighting therein is a grave (offence). But graver is it in the sight of Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent access to the sacred Mosque, and drive out its members. Tumult and oppression is worse than slaughter. Nor will they cease fighting you until they turn you back from your faith if they can.’’ [Al-Baqarah: 217]
This Qur’anic verse means that if you have killed in the prohibited Month, they have kept you back from the way of Allah with their unbelief in Him, and from the sacred Mosque, and have driven you from it when you were its people. This is a more serious matter in the sight of Allah than the killing of those of them whom you have slai.
Tumult and oppression is worse than slaughter, means that the unbelievers used to seduce the Muslim in his religion until they made him return to unbelief after believing, and that is worse in the sight of Allah than killing. They used to persist in doing so without repentance.
Allah, Most High, says,
‘’Nor will they ceasefighting you until they turn you back from your faith if they can.’’
Ibn Ishaq continued saying that when the Glorious. Qur’an came down about that and Allah relieved the Muslims of their anxiety in the matter, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) took the caravan and the prisoners. Quraish sent to him to redeem ‘Uthman and Al-Hakam, and the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,
“We will not let you redeem them until our two companions come, meaning Sa’d and ‘Utbah, for we fear on them on your account. If you kill them, we will kill your two friends.”
So, when Sa’d and ‘ Utbah turned up, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) let them redeem them.
As for Al-Hakam, he became a good Muslim and stayed with the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) until he was killed a martyr at Bi’r Ma’unah. ‘Utheman went back to Makkah and died there as unbeliever.
Ibn Ishaq added that when ‘Abdullah and his companions were relieved of their anxiety when the Qur’an came down, they were anxious for reward and therefore asked the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saying, “Oh Messenger of Allah, can we hope that it will count as a raid for which we shall be given the reward of the Mujahideen..?” Then, Allah, Most High, revealed the following Qur’anic verse.
‘’Those who believe and those who suffered exiles and fought (and strove and struggled) in the path of Allah, – they have the hope of the Mercy of Allah: and Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.’’ [Surat: Al-Baqarah, 218]
In this verse, Allah gave them the greatest hopes therein.
The Occasion of the Battle
In more than one Qur’anic verse, Allah, Most High, refers to the Battle of Badr. For example. He, Most High, says.
‘’And Allah had helped you at Badr, when ye were helpless: then fear Allah: thus may ye show your gratitude.’’ [Surat: Al-‘Imran, 123]
‘’Just as thy Lord ordered thee out of thy house in truth, even though a party among the believers disliked it, disputing with thee concerning the truth after it was made manifest, as if they were being driven to death while they see it. Behold!
”Allah promised you one of the two parties, that it should be yours: Ye wished that the one unarmed should be yours, but Allah willed to establish the truth according to His words, and to cut off the roots of the unbelievers; that He might establish Truth and prove Falsehood false, distasteful though it be to those in guilt.’’ [Surat: Al-Anfal, 5-8]
Ibn Ishaq (may Allah bestow mercy on him) said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) heard that Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb was coming from Syria with a large caravan of Quraish, containing their money and merchandise, accompanied by some thirty or forty men, of whom were Makhramah Ibn Naoufal and ‘Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) summoned the Muslims and said,
“This is the caravan of Quraish which contains their money. Go out to attack it; perhaps Allah will give it as a prey.”
People answered his call; some eagerly, others reluctantly, because they had not thought that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would go to war.
When he got near Al-Hijaz, Abu Sufyan was seeking news from the riders, he went until he got news that Muhammad has called his Companions against him and his caravan. He took alarm at that and hired Damdam Ibn ‘Amr Al-Ghifari to go to Makkah, ordering him to call out Quraish in defense of their property, and to tell them that Muhammad was laying in wait for it with his Companions. So Damdam left for Makkhah at full speed.
In this context, AI-Bukhari narrated the following narration:
‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud narrated from Sa’d Ibn Mu’adh that the latter was an intimate friend of Umaiyah Ibn Khalaf and whenever Umaiyah passed through Madinah, he used to stay with Sa’d, and whenever Sa’d went to Makkah, he used to stay with Umaiyah. When Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) arrived at Madinah, Sa’d went to perform ‘ Umrah and stayed at Umaiyah’s home in Makkah.
He said to Umaiyah, “Tell me of a time when (the mosque) is empty so that I may be able to perform Tawaf around the Ka’ bah.”
So Umaiyah went with him about midday. Abu Jahl met them and said, “O Abu Safwan! Who is this man accompanying you?” He said, “He is Sa’d.” Abu Jahl addressed Sa’d, saying, “I see you wandering about safely in Makkah in spite of the fact that you have given shelter to the people who have changed their religion (i.e., became Muslims) and have claimed that you will help them and support them.
By Allah, if you were not in the company of Abu Safwan, you would not be able to go your family safely.”
Sa’d, raising his voice, said to him, “By Allah, if you should stop me from doing this (i.e., performing Tawaf) I would certainly prevent you from something which is more valuable for yon, that is, your passage through Madinah.” On this, Umaiyah said to him,
“O Sa’d do not raise your voice before Abu-l-Hakam, the chief of the people of the valley (of Makkah).” Sa’d said, “O Umaiyah, stop that! By Allah, I have heard Allah’s Messenger predicting that the Muslims will kill you.” Umaiyah asked, “In Makkah?”
Sa’d said, “I do not know.” Umaiyah was greatly scared by that news.
When Umaiyah returned to his family, he said to his wife, Safwan! Don’t you know what Sa’d told me?” She said, “What has he told you?” He replied, “He claims that Muhammad has informed them (i.e.. Companions) that they will kill me. I asked him, ‘In Makkah?’ He replied, ‘I do not know.’ Then Umaiyah added, “By Allah, I will never go out of Makkah.”
But when the day of (the Ghazwah of) Badr came, Abu Jahl called the people to war, spying, “Go and protect your caravan.” But Umaiyah disliked to go out (of Makkah).
Abu Jahl came to him and said, “O Abu Safwan! If the people see you staying behind though you are the chief of the people of the valley, then they will remain behind wrth you.” Abu Jahl kept on urging him to go until he (i.e., Umaiyah) said, “As you have forced me to change my mind, by Allah, I will buy the best camel in Makkah. Then Umaiyah said (to his wife). ‘O Umm Safwan, prepare what I need (for the journey).”
She said to him, “O Abu Safwan! Have you forgotten what your Yathribi brother told you?” He said, “No, but I do not want to go with them but for a short distance.” So when Umaiyah went out, he used to tie his camel wherever he camped. He kept on doing that until Allah caused him to be killed at Badr.”
On reaching Quraish, Damdam cried out, “O Quraish, the transport camels, the transport camels! Muhammad and his Companions are lying in wait for your property, which is with Abu Sufyan. I do not think that you will overtake it. Help؛ Help!”
Answering the call of Damdam, the Quraishi men said, “Do Muhammad and his Companions think this is going to be like the caravan of lbn Hadrami.”
Every man of them either went himself or sent someone in his place. So all went; not one of their nobles remained behind except Abu Lahab Ibn ‘Abdul-Mutalib.
There were nine hundred fifty men and two hundred horses; the women also went along to cheer the men on with their singing.
On the other side, according to Ibn Ishaq, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) set out with his followers. It was the month of Ramadan. Ibn Umm Maktum was ordered by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to lead the Muslims in prayer and Abu Lubabah was appointed as the ruler of Madinah until the return of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) gave the flag, which was a white flag, to Mus’ab Ibn ‘ Umair.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was proceeded by black flags, one with ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib called Al-‘Uqab, and tire other with one of the Ansar. According to Ibn Hisham, the latter was Sa’d lbn Mu’adh. The Muslim army had seventy camels on whieh men rode turns. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) with ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib and Marthad Ibn Abi Marthad rode one camel in turns.
Muslims Goes out to Meet the Caravan
Al-Bukhari narrated on the authority of Ka’ b Ibn Malik that Ka’b said, “I never failed to join the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in any of his battles except in Tabuk. However, I did not take part in the Battle of Badr, but none, who failed to take part in it, was blamed, for the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had gone out to meet the caravan of Quraish, but Allah caused them (i.e., Muslims) to meet their enemy unexpectedly (with no pervious intention).”
Ibn Ishaq said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) took the road to Makkah by the upper route from Madinah, then by Al-‘Aqiq, Dhul-Hulaifah, and Ulat Al-Jaish. Then he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) passed Turban, Malal, Ghamisu’l-Hamam, Sukhayratu ‘al-Yamam, As-Sayalah, then by the ravine of Ar-Rauha to Shunakah, which is the direct route, until at ‘ Irqu-l-Zabyah he met a nomad.
The Companions asked him about the news of Quraish, but found that he had no news. People, then, said to him, “Salute the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)The man asked, “Have you got the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) with you?” When they answered him that they had, he said, “If you are the Messenger of Allah, then tell me what is in the belly of my she-camel here.”
Salamah Ibn Salamah Waqsh said to the nomad: “Don’t question the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), but come to me and I will tell you about it. have leapt upon her and she has in her belly a little goat from you!’ The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Enough! have spoken obscenely to the man.’ Then he turned away from Salamah.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stopped at Sajsaj which is the well of Ar-Rauha’; then went on to Al-Munsaraf, leaving the Makkan road on the left and went to the right to Al-Naziyah making for Badr. Arrived in its neighborhood, he crossed a valley called Ruhqan between Al-Naziyah and the pass of Safra’; then along the pass; then he debauched from it until when near Al-Safra’ he sent Basbas Ibn ‘Amr Al-Juhani, an ally of Ibn Sa’idah, and ‘Adi Ibn Abi Az- Zughaba’ Al-Juhani, an ally of Ibn An-Najjar, to Badr to scout for news about Abu Sufyan and his caravan,
Ibn Ishaq continued saying that having sent them on ahead, he moved off and when he got to Al-Safra’, which is a village between two mountains, he asked what their names were. He was told that they, were Muslih and Mukhri. He asked about their inhabitants and was told that they were Banul-Nar and Banul-Hruq, two clans of Banul-Ghifar.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) drew ill omen from their names and so disliked them that he refused to pass between them, so he lift them and Al-Safra’ on his left and went to the right to a valley called Dhafiran which he crossed and then halted.
News came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that Quraish had set out to protect their caravan. Having delivered these news to his Companions, he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked their advice. Abu Bakr and then ‘Umar (may Alia be pleased with them) got up and spoke well. Then, Al-Miqdad got up and said, “O Messenger of Allah! Go where Allah orders you for we are with you.
We will not say as the children of Israel said to Moses, ‘You and your Lord go and we will home, ‘but you and your Lard go and fight, and we will fight with you. By Allah! If you were to take us to Bark Al-Ghimad, we would fight resolutely with you against its defenders until you gained it.” The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) thanked him and prayed Allah on his behalf.
Then, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “O people! Give me advice,” by which he meant the Ansar, this is because they formed the majority, and because when they had paid homage to him in Al-‘Aqabah they stipulated that they were not responsible for his safety until he entered their territory, and that when he was there they would protect him as they did their wives and children.
So, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was afraid that the Ansar would not feel obliged to help him unless he was attacked by an enemy in Madinah, and that they would not feel it incumbent upon them to go with him against an enemy outside their territory.
Having heard this, Sa’d Ibn Mu’adh said,
“It seems as if you mean us,” and when he said that he did, Sa’d said, “We believe in you, we declare your truth, and we witness that what you have brought is the truth, and we have given you our word and agreement to hear and obey; so go where you wish, we are with you; and by Allah, if you were to ask us to cross this sea and you plunged into it, we would plunge into it with you, not a man would stay behind.
We do not hate that you might order us to face your enemy tomorrow. We, in fact, are patient in war and trustworthy in combat. It may be that Allah will make you see what pleases you from us; so take us along with Allah’s blessing.”
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was delighted Sa’d’s swords which greatly encouraged him. Then he said,
“Go forward; I give you glad tiding that Allah has promised me one of the two good things: martyrdom or victory. By Allah, it is as though I see the place where the people (enemies) would be killed.”
Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him), commented on the above scene, saying, “I witnessed Al-Miqdad Ibn Al-Aswad in a scene which would have been dearer to me than anything had I been the hero of that scene. He (i.e., Al-Miqdad) came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) while the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was urging the Muslims to fight with the pagans.
Al-Miqdad said, ‘We will not say as the People of Moses said: Go you and your Lord and fight you two. But we shall fight on your right and on your left and in front of you and behind you.’ I saw the face of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) getting bright with happiness, for that saying delighted him.”
Afterwards, as Ibn Isaq reported, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) journeyed from Dhafran and went over passes called Asafir. Then he dropped down from them to a town called Ad-Diyah and left Al-Hanan on the right. This was a sand-hill like a large mountain.
Then he (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) stopped near Badr and he and one of his Companions – Ibn Hisham said this Companion was Abu Bakr – went until he stopped by an old man of the Bedouin and inquired about Quraish and about Muhammad and his Companions, and what he had heard about them. The old man said, “I won’t tell you before you tell me which party you belong to.” The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,
“If you tell us we will tell you.
“The man said, “Should this be for that?’ “Yes,” he replied.
The man said, “I have heard that Muhammad and his Companions went out on such-and-such a day. If that is true, today they are in such-and-such a place, referring to the place in which the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) actually was and I heard that Quraish went out in such-and-such a day, and if this is true, today they are in such-and-such a place,’ meaning the one in which they actually were.” When he had finished he said, “Of whom are you?”
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,
“We are from Ma.”
Ma’ is an Arabic word that means water. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not tell lie for man is created from water (semen) as Allah says in Surat At-Tariq, verse number 6.
Then he left him, while the old man was saying, “What does ‘from Ma’ mean? Is it from the water of Iraq?” Ibn Hisham said, “This man was known as Sheikh Sufyan Ad-Dimiri.”
Then the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) returned to his Companions; and when night fell he sent ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib, Az-Zubair Ibn Al-‘Awam and Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas with a number of his Companions to the well at Badr in quest of news of both parties, according to what Ibn Ishaq narrated.
Ibn Ishaq added that they fell in with some water-camels of Quraish, among whom were Aslam, a slave of Banu Al-Hajaj, and ‘Arid Abu Yassar, a slave of Banu Al-‘Aas Ibn Sa’id, and they brought them along and questioned them while the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was standing praying.
They said, “We are the water-men of Quraish; they sent us to get them water.” The Companions were displeased at their report, for they hoped that they would belong to Abu Sufyan, so they beat them. When they had beaten them. The two men said, “We belong to Abu Sufyan;” so the Companions let them go.
Having completed his Prayer, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “When they told you the truth, you beat them; and when they lied, you freed them. They told the truth; they do belong to Quraish. Tell me you two about Quraish!” The two men replied, “They are behind this hill which you see on the farthest side.” The hill was Al-‘Aqnaqal.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked them how many they were, and when they said, “Many,” he asked for number, but they did not know; so he asked them how many camels they slaughtered every day, and they said nine or ten, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,
“The people are between nine hundred and a thousand.”
Then he asked how many nobles of Quraish were among them.
They said, “’
- Abu Al-Bukhtari Ibn Hisham;
- Hakim Ibn Hizam,
- Nawfal Ibn Khuwalid,
- Al-Harith Ibn ‘Amir Ibn Nawfal,
- Al-Nadr Ibn Al-Harith,
- Zam’ah Ibn Al-Aswad,
- Abu Jahl Ibn Hisham,
- Umaiyyah Ibn Khalaf,
- Nabih and
- the two sons of Al-Hajaj,
- Sahil Ibn ‘Amr, and’Amrlbn Wudd
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went to the people and said,
“This Makkah has thrown to you the pieces of its liver!”
Basbas and ‘Adi has gone on until they reached Badr, and halted on a hill near the water, then they took an old skin to fetch water while Majdi Ibn ‘Amr Al-Juhani was by the water. ‘Adi and Basbas heard two girls from the village discussing a debt, and one said to the other,
“The caravan will come tomorrow or the day after and I will work for them and pay you what I owe you.” Majdi said, “You are right,” and he made arrangements with them. ‘Adi and Basbab overheard this and rode off to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and told him what they had overheard.
Ibn Ishaq continued saying that Abu Sufyan went forward to get in front of the caravan as ة precautionary measure until he came down to the water and asked Majdi if he had noticed anything. He replied that he has seen nothing untoward: merely two riders had stopped on the hill and taken water away in a skin.
Abu Sufyan came to the spot where they has halted, picked up some camel dung and broke it in pieces and found that it contained date-stones. “By Allah,” he said, “This is the fodder of Yathrib.” He returned at once to his companions and changed the caravan’s direction from the road to the seashore leaving Badr on the left, traveling as quickly as possible. Quraish, on the other hand, advanced forward until Al-Juhafah.
On his part, when Abu Sufyan saw that he has saved his caravan he sent word to Quraish, “Since you came out to save your caravan, your men, and your property, and Allah has delivered them, go back.” Abu Jahl said, “By Allah, we will not go back until we have been to Badr – Badr was the site of one of the Arab fairs where they used to hold a market every year – for we will spend three days there, slaughter camels and feast and drink wine, and the girls shall play for us. The Arabs will hear that we have come and gathered together, and will respect us in future! So come on!”
However, Al-Akhnas Ibn Shuraiq Al-Thaqafi, an ally of Banu Zuhrah, refused to join Quraish in doing this since Allah had saved the caravan. Therefore, Banu Zuhrah returned with Al-Akhnas and these two tribes were not represented at all. Also, there was some discussion between Talib Ibn Abu Talib, who was with the army, and some of Quraish. The latter said, “We know, O Banu Hashim, that if you have come out with us, your heart is with Muhammad.” So, Talib and some others returned to Makkah.
Quraish went on until they halted on the farther side of the valley behind Al-‘Aqanqal. The bed of the valley – Yalyal – was between Badr and Al-‘Aqanqal, the hill behind which lay Quraish, while the wells at Badr were on the side of the valley bed nearest to Madinah.
The Glorious Qur’an describes that situation, saying:
‘’Remember ye were on the hither side of the valley, and they on the farther side, and the caravan on the lower ground than ye. Even if ye had made it a mutual appointment to meet, ye would certainly have failed in the appointment.’’ [Surat: Al-Anfal, 42]
Allah, Most High, sent rain which turned the soft sand of the valley into a compact surface which did not hinder the Messenger’s movements, but gravely restricted the movements of Quraish.
The Qur’an speaks about that situation, saying:
‘’He caused rain to descend on you from heaven, to clean you therewith, to remove from you the stain of Satan, to strengthen your hearts, and to plant your feet firmly therewith.’’ [Surat: Al-Anfal, 11]
Moreover, Allah, Most High, sent down victory upon them in Iris saying:
‘’Remember thy Lord inspired the angles (with the message): I’m with you give firmness to the believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: Smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them. That is because they contended against Allah and His Messenger: If any contend against Allah and His Messenger, Allah is strict in punishment.’’ [Surat: Al-Anfal, 12-13]
This was on the night of Friday, 17 Ramadan, 2 AH. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings ol’ Allah be upon him) passed the whole night praying and invoking Allah in prostration saying mostly,
“O the Living, the Eternal,”
He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) persisted in calling Allah with this Du’a’.
Ibn Ishaq said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went forth to hasten his Companions to the water and when he got to the nearest water of Badr he halted. Al-Hubab Ibn Mundhir Ibn Al-Jamuh said, “O Messenger of Allah! Is this a place which Allah has ordered you to occupy, so that we can neither advance nor withdraw from it, or is it a matter of opinion and military tactics?”
When he replied that it was the latter he pointed out that it was not the place to stop but that they should go on to the water nearest to the enemy and halt there, stop up the wells beyond it, and construct a cistern so that they would have plenty of water; then they could fight their enemy who would have nothing to drink. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) agreed that this was an excellent plan and they acted accordingly.
Ibn Ishaq added that Sa’d Ibn Mu’adh said, “O Prophet of Allah, let us make a booth (of palm- branches) for you to occupy and have your riding camels standing by; then we will meet the enemy and if Allah gives us the victory that is what we desire; if
the worst occurs you can mount you camel and join our people who are left behind, for they are just as deeply attached to you as we are. Had they thought that you would be fighting they would not have stayed behind. Allah will protect you by them; they will give you counsel and fight with you.”
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) thanked him and blessed him. Then a booth was constructed for the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and he remained there.
Quraish, having marched forth at daybreak, now came on. When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saw them descending from the hill ‘ Aqanqal into the valley he cried,
“O Allah! Here come Quraish in their vanity and pride contending with you and calling your Messenger a liar. ‘O Allah! Grant the help, which you have promised me. Destroy them this morning!”
Before uttering these words he had seen among the enemy ‘ Utbah Ibn Rabi’ah, mounted on a red camel of his, and said,
“If there is any good in any of them, it will be with !he man on the red cancel: If they obey him, they will take the right way.’’
When Quraish encamped, some of them, Hakim !bn Hizam was one of them, went to the cistern of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to drink. “Let them be!” he said; and all men that drank of it on that day was killed, except Hakim, who afterwards became a good Muslim and used to say., when he was earnest in his oath, “Nay, by Him who saved me on the day of Badr.”
Regarding the number of Muslims at Badr, AI- Bakhari reported that Al-Bara’ said that the Companions of (the Prophet) Muhammad who took part in Badr told me that their number was that of Saul’s (i.e., Talut’s) companions who crossed the river (of Jordan) with him and they were over three- hundred-and-ten men. By Allah, none crossed the river with him but a believer.”
Al-Bara’ also narrated that I and Ibn ‘Umar were considered too young (to take part) in the battle of Badr, and the number of the Al-Muhajirrun worriers were over sixty (men) and the Ansar were over 249.
About Badr, the Glorious Qur’an speaks, saying:
‘’Remember in thy dream Allah showed them to thee as few: if He had shown them to thee as many, ye would surely have disputed in (your) decision: but Allah saved (you): for He knoweth well the (secrets) of (all) hearts. And remember when ye met. He showed them to you as few in your eyes, and He made you appear as contemptible in their eyes: that Allah might accomplish a matter already decided.’’ [Surat: Al-Anfal, 43-44]
Al-Amaui commented on the above Qur’anic verse saying that on the night of Badr, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) slept and ordered his men not to fight until he permit them to do so. Then Abu Bakr (my Allah be pleased with him) woke him up, saying, “They (Quraish) became so nears!” The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) got up after Allah had made him to see the army of Quraish in a vision.
Out of divine wisdom, both parties saw the other as small in number This is clear in the aforementioned Qura’nic verses.
According to Ibn Ishaq and other scholars of Siyrah, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) preferred the men to fight in ranks. As they prepared to march he noticed that someone had stepped out in front of the others; the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prodded him in the side with an arrow, saying, “Stand in line!” The man, Sawad (may Allah be pleased with him), exelaimed, “You have hurt me, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Allah has sent you to be just and good.”
On his part, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) lifted his shirt and said, “Then do the same to me.” The man approached and kissed him on the spot instead, saying, “O Messenger of Allah, you see what is before us and I may not survive the battle. If this is my last time with you, I want the last thing I do in life to be this.” Shortly after he went into battle, Sawad died a martyr.
Having examined the ranks, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) then went to the booth, Abu Bakr stayed with him, while Sa’d Ibn Mu’adh, with several of the Ansar, stood outside guarding the booth.
The Kindle of War
According to the scholars of Siyrah, the battle began in a single combat when one of Quraish, Al- Aswad Ibn ‘ Abd Al-Asad Al-Makhzumi, swore that he would drink ftom the Muslims’ reservoir and then destroy it, or die in the attempt. Hamzah, the Prophet’s uncle, came forward to face him and killed him. Three of the most important men of Quraish.
‘Utbah Ibn Rabi’ ah, his brother Shaibah and his son Al-Walid – stepped forward and gave out a challenge for a single combat. Three men of the Ansar came out against them: ‘Awfand Mu’adh, the sons of Al-Harith, as well as’Abudullah Ibn Rawahah.
The Quraishi men said, “Who are you?” They answered, “Some of the Ansar,” whereupon the Quraishi men shouted, “O Muhammad! Send forth against us our peers of our tribe!” Therefore, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) sent out ‘Ali, Hamzah and ‘Ubaidah Ibn Al- Harith to face them. It was not long before Hamzah and ‘Ali had killed their opponents. As for ‘Ubaidah, he had wounded his enemy but was wounded himself, and so his two companions killed the Quraishi man and cried, “‘Ubaidah back to the safety of the Muslim ranks.”
In this context, Al-Bukhari narrated on the authority of Abu Dharr who said,
The following Qur’anic verse that reads:
‘’These two opponents (believers and unbelievers) dispute with each other about their Lord.’’ [Surat; Al-Hajj,19]
was revealed concerning six men from Quraish, namely,
- ‘Ubaidah Ibn Al-Harith;
- Shaibah Ibn Rabi’ah,
- ‘Utbah IbnRabi’ah
- Al- Walid Ibn’Utbah.
Likewise, Abu Mijlaz narrated from Qais Ibn ‘Ubadd that ‘ Ali Ibn Abi Talib said, “I shall be the first man to kneel down before (Allah), the Merciful to receive His judgment on the day of Judgment (in my favor).” Qais Ibn ‘Ubadd also said,
The following Qur’anic verse was revealed in their connection:
‘’These two opponents (believers and unbelievers) dispute with each other about their Lord.’’ [Surat; Al-Hajj,19]
(I refer to) those who fought on the day of Badr, namely, ‘Ali, Hamzah, ‘Ubaidah Ibn Al-Harith; Shaibah Ibn Rabi’ah ‘Utbah Ibn Rabi’ahand Al- Walid Ibn ‘Utbah.”
The first one of the Muslim army who died a martyr was Mahja’, the slave of ‘Umar Ibn AI- Khattab; the second was Harithah Ibn Suraqah. Both Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated on the authority of Anas that Harithah was martyred on the day (of the battle) of Badr, and he was a young boy then. His mother eame to the Prophet and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! You know how dear Harithah is to me. If he is in Paradise, I shall remain patient, and hope for reward from Allah, but if it is not so, then you shall see what I do?” He said,
“May Allah be merciful to you! Have you lost your senses? Do you think there is only one Paradise? There are many Paradises and your son is in the (most superior) Paradise of Al-Firdaus.”
Ibn Ishaq said that the two armies advanced and drew near to one another. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) ordered his Companions not to attack until he gave the word, and if the enemy should surround them, they were to keep them off with showers of arrows. Al-Bukhari narrated on the authority of Abu Usaid who said, “On the day of (the battle of) Badr, Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to us,
‘’When your enemy comes near to you (i.e., overcome you by sheer number), shoot at them but use your arrows sparingly.’’
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) remained in the hut with Abu Bakr praying earnestly to Allah to protect Muslims and grant them victory. In this context, Allah.
Most High, says in the Glorious Qur’an:
‘’Remember ye implored the assistance of your Lord. And He answered you: ‘I will assist you with a thousand ofthe angels, ranks on ranks. Allah made it but a message of hope, and an assurance to your hearts: (in any case) there is no help except from Allah: and Allah is Exalted in power, Wise.’’ [Surat: Al-Anfal, 9-10]
Al-Bukhari narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) who said, “On the day of the battle of Badr, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,
‘O Allah! I appeal to You (to fulfill) Your Covenant and Promise. ‘O Allah! If Your Will is that none should worship You (then give victory to the pagans)!’
Then Abu Bakr took hold of him by the hand and said, “This is sufficient for you.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came out saying:
‘’Their multitude will be put to flight and they will show their backs.’’ [Surat: Al-Qamar, 45]
Ibn Ishaq said that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) persisted in praying to Allah to grant him victory, which He had promised to him, and among his words were these:
“O Allah! If this band perish today, you will be worshiped no more.”
But Abu Bakr said, “O Prophet of Allah, your Lord will fulfill His promise to you.” While the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was in the hut he slept a light sleep; then he awoke and said:
“Be of good cheer, O Abu Bakr. Allah ‘s help is coming to you. Here is Gabriel holding the rein of a horse and leading it. The dust is upon his front teeth.”
Then the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went forth to the people and incited them, saying,
“By the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Muhammad, no man will be slain this day fighting against them with steadfast courage advancing not retreating but Allah will cause him to enter Paradise.”
‘ Umair Ibn Al-Humam was eating some dates, which he had in his hand. “Fine, fine!” said he, “Is there nothing between me and my entering Paradise save to be killed by these men?” He flung the dates from his hand, seized his sword and fought against them until he was slain.
At Badr, the angels participated in fighting. Al-Bukhari narrated on authority of Rafi’ Al-Zurqi who was one of the Badr warriors that Gabriel came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said,
“How do you look upon the warriors of Badr among yourselves?” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, as the best of the Muslims.” Or said a similar statement. On that, Gabriel said, “And so are the Angels who participated in the Badr.”
In this context, Ibn Ishaq reported that waqid Al-Laith said that I was pursuing a polytheist at Badr to smite him, when his head fell off before I could get at him with my sword, and I knew that someone else had killed him. Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) said that the Angels did not fight in any battle but Badr. In the other battles they were there as reinforcements, but they did not fight.
Athough the Muslims were mueh fewer in number, they gained a great victory, destroyed the army of Quraish and killed most of its leaders. Among the leading men of Quraish who killed were Abu Jahl and Umayyah Ibn Khalaf, who was killed by his former slave, Bilal.
Abu Talhah narrated that on the day of Badr the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, that whenever he conquered some people, he used to stay at the battlefield 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 Quraishi 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 Messenger?
We have found true what our Lord promised us. Have you too found true what your Lord promised you?”
‘Umar said, “O Allah’s Messenger! You are speaking to bodies that have no souls!”
Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “By Him in Whose Hand Muhammad’s soul is, you do not hear, what I say better than they do.”
Commenting on this narration, Qatadah 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.”
Moreover, 70 men of Quraish had been taken prisoners. On his part, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) consulted his Companions regarding the captives.
Muslim narrated on the authority of ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab who said that when it was the day on which the Battle of was fought, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) cast a glance at the infidels, and they were one thousand while his own Companions were three hundred nineteen. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) turned (his face) towards the Qiblah. Then he stretched his hands and began his supplication to his Lord,
“O Allah, accomplish for me what You have promised tome. O Allah, bring about what You have promised to me. O Allah, if this small band of Muslims is destroyed, You will not be worshiped on this earth.”
He continued his supplication to his Lord, stretching his hands, facing the Qiblah, until his mantle slipped down from his shoulders. So Abu Bakr came to him, picked up his mantle and put it on his shoulders. Then he embraced him from behind and said, “O Prophet of Allah, this prayer of yours to your Lord will suffice you, and He will fulfil for you what He has promised you.’
So Allah, the Glorious and Exalted, revealed (the Qur’anic verse)
‘’Remember ye implored the assistance of your Lord. And He answered you: ‘I will assist you with a thousand of the Angels, ranks on ranks. ‘So Allah helped him with angels.’’ [Surat: Al-Anfal, 9]
Abu Zumail said that this hadith was narrated to him by Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) who said that while on that day a Muslim was chasing a disbeliever who was going ahead of him, he heard over him the swishing of the whip and the voice of the rider saying: Go ahead, Haizi’m! He glanced at the polytheist who had (now) fallen down on his back.
When he looked at him (carefully he found that) there was a scar on his nose and his face was torn as if it had been lashed with a whip, and had turned green with its poison. An Ansari came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and related this (event) to him. He said,
“You have told the truth. This was the help from the third heaven.”
The Muslims on that day (i.e., the day of the Battle of Badr) killed seventy persons and captured seventy. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to Abu Bakr and ‘ Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both), “What is your opinion about these captives?” Abu Bakr said,
“They are our kith and kin. I think you should release them after getting from them a ransom. This will be a source of strength to us against the infidels. It is quite possible that Allah may guide them to Islam.”
Then the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “What is your opinion, Ibn Khattab?”
He said, “Messenger of Allah, I do not hold the same opinion as Abu Bakr. I am of the opinion that you should hand them over to us so that we may cut off their heads. Hand over ‘Aqil to ‘Ali that he may cut off his head, and hand over such and such relative to me that I may cut off his head. They are leaders of the disbelievers and veterans among them.” ‘Umar said, “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) approved the opinion of Abu Bakr and did not approve what I said.
The next day when I came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), I found that both he and Abu Bakr were sitting shedding tears. I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, why are you and your Companion shedding tears? Tell me the reason. For I will weep too, if not, I will at least pretend to weep in sympathy with you.’
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,‘I weep for what has happened to your companions for taking ransom (from the prisoners). I was shown the torture to which they were subjected, It was brought to me as close as this tree (he pointed to a tree close to him).
Then Allah revealed the Qur’anic verse:
‘’It is not fitting for a prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he hath subdued the land . . . but now enjoy what ye took in war, lawful and good.’’ [Surat: Al-Anfal, 67-69]
The Division of the Spoils of War
According to the scholars of Siyrah, Muslims who to tool part in Badr differed on dividing the booty. At Badr, Muslims were three parties, namely, a group defended the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him); a group fought and pursued the enemy and a group collected the spoils. Each group claimed that it had the right to take the booty.
When they quarreled about the booty, Allah took it out of their hands and gave it to the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and he divided it equally among them.
In this context, Allah, Most High, says:
‘’They ask thee concerning (tings taken as) spoils of war. Say: ‘(Such) spoils are at the disposal of Allah and the Messenger: so fear Allah and keep straight the relations between yourselves: Obey Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe.’’ [Surat: Al-Anfal, 1]