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The Battle of Badr


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God sent down rain during the night, which caused the infidels great inconvenience by hindering their movement, yet, it revived the vanishing spirits of the Muslims by making the weather pleasant and turning the soft sand of the wadi (valley) into a compact surface.

This was a sign of victory which God disclosed in the following verse of the Qur’an: “And he sent down water from the sky upon you, that thereby he might purify you, and remove from you the fear of Satan, and make strong your hearts and firm (your) feet thereby.” [Qur'an 8:11]


We find, on this occasion, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) exhibiting the marvelous qualities of an experienced military tactician, which complemented his eternal mission of delivering the universal guidance to mankind, providing yet another indication that the inspiration received by him could have only been from Almighty God.(3) The way in which he organized his troops for battle, as well as his reactions to the sudden and surprise attacks by the superior enemy forces despite the limited number of soldiers needs to be studied to truly appreciate the prodigious military genius of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam).


A booth of palm-branches was erected for the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) on a hill overlooking the battlefield. Thereafter, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) traversed the plain and pointed out the spots to his companions where the enemy chiefs were to fall dead. As it was found later on, his predictions proved entirely correct for not a single Quraish chief was found slain at a place different from that indicated by the Prophet of God (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam).

When the two contending forces met, the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said: “O God, here come the Quraish in their vanity and pride: they contend with Thee calling Thy Prophet a liar.”

This was the night of Friday, the seventeenth of Ramadan. At the first manifestation of the morning, the entire force of the Quraish streamed out into the valley and distributed themselves in the battlefield while the Muslims positioned before them in the foreground. (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. pp. 343-344)


The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) set the ranks of his force in order and returned to the hut with Abu Bakr. Putting his head against the earth, he supplicated and beseeched God for divine assistance. He knew fully well that if the victory in the battle was to be gauged by sheer numbers and strength, prowess and weapons of the two forces, the result was a foregone conclusion. He had no illusion for he fully realized that the Muslims were weak and few, and the enemy strong and numerous. He clearly saw the situation in favour of the Quraish; and now he sought to counteract it with a heavier weapon. Despondently, he supplicated to the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Who engineers all ends and means, to come to the assistance of Muslims in their hour of difficulty. He appealed to God; “O God! If thou were to exterminate this small group of Muslims, Thou will not be worshipped on Earth any more!” In a state of extreme exaltation, his hands raised in prayer and on bent knees supplicated the prayer: “O God! Fulfill what thou had promised to me! Help us Thou, O God!” So lost was he in the prayer that the mantle on his shoulder fell on the ground. Abu Bakr, who was too distressed to see the Prophet of God (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) in tears, consoled and comforted him.(4)


The prayer of the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam), although brief, speaks volumes of his pure-hearted companions, his unflinching confidence in the assistance of God in the hour of crisis, his feelings of humility and meekness before God and the serenity of his own heart. At the same time, the prayer sets forth, in crystal- clear terms, the true position and stature of the Muslims amidst the nations of the world; it brings out the value and necessity of the people who are charged with the responsibility of taking his mission ahead. It is, in fact, a plain and clear admission and declaration of the responsibility lying ahead against these people to submit in obedience to God.

And so the Prophet’s (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) prayer was answered by God with a resounding victory which was beyond the bounds of every reason and probability. It was but a demonstration of the truth as well as affirmation of the true character of his followers.

The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) returned to his men before the battle and delivered a short speech stressing the merits of fighting in the way of God. In the meantime ‘Utbah b. Rabi’a, together with his brother and son, Shayba and Waleed, stepped forward in a fashion typical of the Arabs. Three of the Ansaar came forward to contest them, but the three Quraishites asked, “Who are you?” “We are Ansaar,” they answered. “You are of noble blood,” said the Quraish, “But send our peers, the men of our own tribe.”

The Prophet then said, “Go ahead, O ‘Ubayda b. al-Harith, Hamza and ‘Ali, advance all three of you and grapple with them.”

The Quraish then said, “Yes. You are noble and our peers.”

Now ‘Ubayda being the eldest, confronted ‘Utbah b.Rabi’a. Hamza faced Shayba and ‘Ali came full blast against Waleed. With a swift dispatch, Hamza and ‘Ali slew their opponents, but ‘Ubayda and ‘Utba struggled with one another. Hamza and ‘Ali then charged at ‘Utba and got away with him. They defeated him and brought ‘Ubayda back to their ranks for he had been badly injured. Later on ‘Ubayda died due to excessive loss of blood. (Ibn Hisham, Vol. I, p. 625)


The Quraish were now filled with a renewed fury. With a cry of rage, they darted and assailed the Muslim champions whereupon the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) cried, “Rise for the Paradise which breadth is equal to the heveans and the earth!”


“Umayr b. al-Hunaim heard the Prophet’s (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) call and asked, “Is the Paradise equal to the heavens and the earth, O Prophet of God?” “Yes”, replied the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam). “How great it is”, he said and when the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) asked what had made him say that, he replied, “Nothing, O Prophet of God, but I hope that I might be amongst its inhabitants.” The Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) told him that he would be among them. ‘Umayr then took some dates out of his quiver and began to eat them, but suddenly he said, “If I live till my date last, it would mean delaying it for long.” So he threw away the dates in his hand and ran to the battlefield and fought wit the enemy until he was dead. He was the first martyr on the day of Badr. (Zad al-Ma’ad, Vol. I, p. 345 and Ibn Hisham, Vol. II, p. 215)

The Muslims fought the Makkans like a firm, united and disciplined army with the name of God on their lips. Up to that moment the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) had remained quiet and collected, but now he charged into the ranks of the enemy. None was now braver than he, none dared engage the enemy so closely. (Ibn Kathir , Vol. II, p. 425) God then sent down his angels to assist the Muslims. The enemy suddenly seemed to be tamed down and appeared to be driven back by a fierce charge of invisible warriors.

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