The Battle of Badr
The First Decisive Battle in the History of Islam
Reason of the Battle The have already spoken about Al-‘Ushairah Invasion when a caravan belonging to the Quraish escaped an imminent military encounter with the Prophet ﷺ and his men. When their return from Syria approached, the Prophetﷺ dispatched Talhah bin Ubaidullah and Sa’id bin Zaid Radiallahu anhoo northward to scout around for movements of this sort. The two scouts stayed at Al-Hawra for some days until Abu Sufyan, the leader of the caravan, passed by them. The two men hurried back to Madinah and reported findings to the Prophetﷺ Great wealth amounting to 50 thousand gold dinars guarded by 40 men moving relatively close • Madinah constituted a tempting target for the Muslim military. and provided a potentially heavy economic, political and military strike that was bound to shake the entire structure of the Makkan polytheists. The Prophetﷺ immediately encouraged the Muslims to rush out and intercept the caravan to make up for their property and wealth they were forced to give up in Makkah. He did not give orders binding to everyone, but rather gave them full liberty to go out or stay back, thinking that it would be just a task on a small scale,
The Size and Strength of the Muslim Army The Muslim army was made up of 300-317 men. 82-86 Emigrants. and 61 men from the Aws and 170 from the Khazraj tribes. They were not well-equipped nor adequately prepared. They had only 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 side alternatively. Allâh’s Messengerﷺ himself. ‘Hazrat Ali AlaihisSalam and Marthad bin Abi Marthad Al-Ghanawi had only one
camel. Administration of the affairs of Madinah was entrusted to Ibn Umm Maktum at but later to Abu Lubabah bin ‘Abdul. Mundhir The head flag was given to Mus’ab bin ‘Umair AlQurashi Al-‘Abdari aihes, and their standard was white in color. The little army was divided into two battalions, the Emigrants with a standard raised by Hazrat ‘Ali bin Abi Talib AlahisSalam and the Helpers whose standard was in the hand of Sa’d bin Mu’adh ainis. Az-Zubair bin Al”Awwam was appointed to the leadership of the right flank, AlMiqdad bin ‘Amr cities to lead the left flank, and the rear of the
army was at the command of Qais bin Abi Sa’sa’ah ditems. The General Commander-in-Chief was the Prophet ﷺof course.
The Muslim Army moves near Badr
The Prophetﷺ center at the head of his army, marched out along the main road leading to Makkah. He then turned left towards Badr and when he reached As-Safra’, he dispatched Basbas bin ‘Amr AlJuhani and ‘Adi bin Abi Az-Zaghba’ Al-Juhani screen to scout about for the camels of the Quraish.
Abu Sufyan, on the other hand, was on the utmost alert. He had already been aware that the route he was following was full of dangers. He was also anxious to know about the movements of Hazrar Muhammad ﷺ
. His scouting men submitted reports to the effect that the Muslims were lying in ambush for his caravan. To be on the safe side, he hired Damdam bin ‘Amr Al-Ghifari to communicate a message asking for help from the Quraishites. The messenger rode fast and reached Makkah in frenzy. Dismounting his camel, he stood dramatically before Al-Ka’bah, cut off the nose and the ears of the camel, turned its saddle upside down, tore off his own shirt from front and behind, and cried: “O Quraish! Your merchandise! It is with Abu Sufyan. The caravan
is being intercepted by Hazrat Muhammad ﷺand his companions. I cannot say what would have happened to them. Help! Help!”
The People of Makkah hasten for Battle
The effect of this hue and cry was instantaneous and the news stunned the Quraish and they immediately remembered their pride that was wounded when the Muslims had intercepted the Hadrami.caravan. They therefore swiftly gathered almost all of their forces and none stayed behind except Abu Lahab, who delegated someone who owed him some money. They also mobilized some Arab tribes to contribute to the war against the Prophetﷺ centre. All the clans of Quraish gave their consent except Banu ‘Adi.
Preparing the Makkan Army
Soon an excited group of 1300 soldiers including 100 horsemen and 600 soldiers in mail armor, with a large number of camels, was shouting to proceed to fight the Muslims. For supplies, they would slaughter an alternate number of camels of ten and nine every day.
The Problem of Banu Bakr
They were however afraid that Banu Bakr, on account of old long deep-seated hostility, would attack their rear. At that critical moment, Iblis (Satan) appeared to them in the guise of Suraqah bin Malik bin Ju’sham Al-Mudliji – chief of Bani Kinanah – saying to them: “I guarantee that no harm will happen from behind.”
The Army of Makkah begins its Movement
They set out burning with anger, motivated by a horrible desire for revenge and exterminating anyone that might put in danger the routes of their caravans:
“…boastfully and to be seen of men, and hinder (men) from
the path of Allah.” [8:47] Or as the Prophet ﷺsaid:
“O Allâh these are the proud and arrogant; they have come
to fight Allâh and to fight His Messengerﷺ.”
“And they went in the morning with strong intention,
thinking that they have power.” [68:25) They moved swiftly northward to Badr, passing the valley of Ustan, Qadid, then Al-Juhafah. Here they received another message from Abu Sufyan asking them to go back home because the caravan had escaped the Muslims.
The Caravan escapes
Incidentally, Abu Sufyan, on learning the intention of the Muslims, led his caravan off the main route, and headed towards the Red Sea. By this move, he was able to slip past the Madinese ambush and was out of their reach.
The Makkan Army considers returning
On receiving Abu Sufyan’s message, the Makkan army
showed desire to return home. The tyrant Abu Jahl, however proudly and arrogantly insisted that they proceed to Badr, stay three nights there for making festivities. Now they wanted to punish the Muslims and prevent them from intercepting their caravans, and impress on the Arabs that the Quraish still had the upper hand and enjoyed supremacy in that area, In spite of Abu Jahl’s threats and insistence, Banu Zahrah, acting on the advice of Al-Akhnas bin Shuraiq. broke away and returned to Makkah. Thenceforth Al-Akhnas remained ‘the well-rubbed palm tree’ for Bani Zahrah and was blindly obeyed in all relevant matters, Banu Hashim were also inclined to break away, but Abu Jahl’s threats made them give up that idea. The rest of the army, now 1000 soldiers, approached Badr and encamped themselves beyond a sand dune at Al-‘Udwatul-Quswa.
The Difficult Position of the Muslim Army
The intelligence corps’ of the Madinese army reported to the Prophetﷺ that a bloody encounter with the Makkans was escapable, and that a daring step in this context had to be taken. or else the forces of evil would violate the inviolable and would consequently manage to undermine the noble cause of Islam and tread upon its faithful believers. The Muslims were afraid that the pagan Makkans would march on and start the war activities within the headquarters of Islam, Madinah. A move of such nature would certainly damage and produce an infamous impact on the dignity and position of the Muslims.
A Meeting for Consultation
On account of the new grave developments, the Prophet held an advisory military emergency meeting to review the ongoing situation and exchange viewpoints with the army leaders. Admittedly, some Muslims feared the horrible encounter and their courage began to waver; in this regard, Allâh says:
. “As your Lord caused you (O Muhammad ﷺto go out from your home with the Truth, and verily, a party among the believers disliked it, disputing with you concerning the Truth after it was made manifest, as if they were being
driven to death while they were looking (at it).” [8:5, 6] The Prophet ﷺapprised his men of the gravity of the situation and asked for their advice. Abu Bakr was the first who spoke and assured the Prophetﷺ of the unreserved obedience to his command. ‘Umar was the next. Then Al-Miqdad bin ‘Amr got up and said: “O Messenger of Alláh! Proceed where Allâh directs you to, for we are with you. We will not say as the Children of Israel said to Moses:
‘Go you and your Lord and fight and we will stay here;’ rather we shall say:
‘Go you and your Lord and fight and we will fight along with
you.’ By Allâh! If you were to take us to Birk Al-Ghimad, we will still fight resolutely with you against its defenders until you gained it.” The Prophet ﷺthen spoke well to him and supplicated for him. The three leaders who spoke were from the Emigrants, who only constituted a minor section of the army. The Prophet ﷺwanted, and for the more reason, to hear the Helpers’ view because they were the majority of the soldiers and were expected to shoulder the burden of the war activities. Moreover, the clauses of Al’Aqabah Pledge did not commit them to fighting beyond their territories. The Prophetﷺ then said:
“O people! Advise me!” by which he meant the Helpers, in particular. Upon this Sa’d bin Mu’adh stood up and said: “By Allâh, I feel you want us (the Helpers) to speak.” The Prophet ﷺdirectly said: “Oh, yes!” Sa’d said: “O Prophet ﷺ of Allâh! We believe in you and we bear witness to what you have granted to us and we declare in clear terms that what you have brought is the Truth. We give you our firm pledge of obedience and sacrifice. We will obey you most willingly in whatever you
command and by Allâh, Who has sent you with the Truth, if you were to ask us to throw ourselves into the sea we will do that most readily and not a man of us will stay behind. We do not deny the idea of encounter with the enemy. We are experienced in war and we are trustworthy in combat. We hope that Allah will show you through our hands those deeds of bravery which will please your eyes. Kindly lead us to the battlefield in the Name of Allâh.”
The Prophet ﷺwas impressed with the loyalty and the spirit of sacrifice which his Companions showed at this critical point. Then he said to them
“Move ahead and receive good news, for Allâh has promised me one of the two (the rewarding course through capturing the booty or strife in the cause of Allâh against the polytheists), and by Allâh it is as if I now saw the enemy lying prostrate.”
The Messengerﷺ and the Survey of the Enemy
In the immediate vicinity of Badr, the Prophetﷺ and his Companion Abu Bakr conducted a scouting operation during which they managed to locate the camp of Quraish. They came across an old bedouin nearby whom they managed skillfully to extract the exact location of the army of the polytheists. In the evening of the same day, he dispatched three Emigrant leaders. Hazrat Ali bin Abi Talib AlahisSalam, Az-Zubair bin Al-‘Awwam and Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas Radiallahu anhoo to scout about for news about the enemy. They saw two men drawing water for the Makkan army. So they brought them back with them. Upon interrogation, they admitted that they were water carriers working for Quraish. But that answer did not please some of the Muslims and they beat the two boys severely in order to exact from them an answer, even if it isn’t true, referring to the caravan laden with wealth. The two boys thus lied. and so they were released. The Prophet ﷺwho had been busy in prayer was angry with those men and censured them saying:
“On telling the truth, you beat them, and on telling a lie. you released them! By Allâh the truth is that they were from
the Quraish!” He then addressed the two boys, and after a little conversation with them he learned a lot about the enemy: the number of soldiers, their exact location and the names of some of their notables. He then turned to the Muslims and said:
“This is Makkah sending to you its most precious lives.”
The same night it rained on both sides. For the polytheists it obstructed further progress, whereas it was a blessing for the Muslims. It cleaned them and removed from them the stain of Satan. Allâh sent rain to strengthen their hearts and to plant their feet firmly therewith.
The Muslim Army marches ahead
They marched a little forward and encamped at the farther bank of the valley. Hazrat Muhammad ﷺ stopped at the nearest spring of Badr. Al-Hubab bin Mundhir its asked him, “Has Allâh inspired you to choose this very spot or is it strategy of war and the product of consultation?” The Prophet replied “It is strategy of war and consultation.” Al-Hubab said: “This place is no good; let us go and encamp at the nearest water well and make a basin or reservoir full of water, then destroy all the other wells so that they will be deprived of the water.” The Prophet ﷺ approved of his plan and agreed to carry it out, which they actually did at midnight.
Preparing the Trellis for the Headquarters
Sa’d bin Mu’adh to suggested that a trellis be built for the Prophet ﷺin to function as headquarters for the Muslim army and a place providing reasonable protection for the leader. Sa’d began to justify his proposal and said that if they had been victorious, then everything would be satisfactory. In case of defeat, the Prophet ﷺwould not be harmed and he could go back to Madinah where there were more people who loved him and who would have come for help if they had known that he was in that difficult situation, so that he would resume his job, hold counsel with them and they would strive in the cause of Allâh with him again and again. A squad of guards was also chosen from among the Helpers under the leadership of the same man, Sa’d bin Mu’adh. in order to defend the Prophet ﷺ in his headquarters,
Allah’s Messengerﷺ planned the positions of his army, walking throughout the place of the planned confrontation, pointing with his hand saying:
“This is the position of so-and-so tomorrow, if Allâh wills, and this is the position of so-and-so tomorrow, if Allah wills
The Prophet ﷺcontains then spent the whole night in prayer near a tree. The Muslim army, tired from their long march, enjoyed sound and refreshing sleep, a mark of the Divine favor and of the state of their undisturbed minds.
“(Remember) when He covered you with a slumber as a security from Him, and He caused rain to descend on you from the sky, to clean you thereby and to remove from you the Rijz (whispering, evil suggestions, etc.) of Satan, and to strengthen your hearts, and make your feet firm thereby.”
[8:11] That was the night preceding Friday, Ramadan 17th, the year 2 AH, and they had originally left for battle on the 8th or the 12th.
Positioning the Makkan Army
The Quraish, on the other hand, positioned their forces at AlUdwatul-Quswa opposite the Muslim lines. A few of them approachied, in a provocative deed, to draw water from the wells of Badr, but were all shot dead except one, Hakim bin Hizam, who later became a devoted Muslim. ‘Umair bin Wahb Al-Jumahi, in an attempt to explore the power of the Muslims, made a survey and submitted a report saying that the Muslim army numbered as many as 300 men keen on fighting to the last man,
On another investigation mission he came to the conclusion that neither more force was coming nor ambushes laid. He understood that they were too brave to surrender and too intent on carrying out their military duties to withdraw without slaying the largest number possible of the polytheists. This report as well as kindred relations binding the two confronting parties together, lessened the desire to fight among some of the Quraishites. To counteract this reason-based opposition advocated by a rival of his, ‘Utbah bin Rabi’ah and others, Abu Jahl started an anti-campaign seeking revenge on Hazrat Muhammad’s ﷺfollowers for the Quraishites killed at Nakhlah. In this way, he managed to ruin the opposite orientation, and manipulated the people to see his evil views only.
The Two Armies meet
When the two parties approached closer and were visible to each other, the Prophetﷺ began supplicating Allâh:
“O Allâh! The proud and arrogant Quraishites are already here rebelling against you and belying Your Messenger. O Allâh! I am waiting for Your victory which You have
promised me. I beg You Allâh to defeat them (the enemies).” He also gave strict orders that his men would not start fighting until he gave them his final word. He recommended that they use their arrows carefully) and never resort to sword unless the enemies came too close. Abu Jahl also prayed for victory, saying: “Our Lord, whichever of the two parties was less kind to his relatives, and brought us what we do not know, then destroy him tomorrow.” They were confident that their superior number, equipment and experience would be decisive. Allâh revealed:
“O disbelievers) if you ask for a judgment, now has the judgment come unto you and if you cease (to do wrong), it will be better for you, and if you return (to the attack), so shall We return, and your forces will be of no avail to you, however numerous it be, and verily, Allâh is with the believers.” (8:19]
The First Clash
The first disbeliever to start the fire of the battle and be its first victim was Al-Aswad bin ‘Abdul-Asad Al-Makhzumi, a fierce bad tempered idolater. He stepped out swearing he would drink from the water basin of the Muslims, otherwise, destroy it or die for it. He engaged with Hazrat Hamzah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib Radiallahu anhoo who struck his leg with his sword and dealt him another blow that finished him off inside the basin.
The Dueling begins
The battle had actually started. Protected by armor and shields, ‘Utbah bin Rabi’ah stepped forth between his brother Shaibah and his son Al-Walid bin ‘Utbah from the lines of Quraish and cursed the Muslims. Three young men of the Helpers came out against them: ‘Awf and Mu’awwidh the sons of Harith, and ‘Abdullah bin Rawahah. But the Makkans shouted that they had nothing to do with them. They wanted the heads of their cousins. Upon this the Prophetﷺ asked ‘Ubaidah bin Al-Harith, Hazrat Hamzah – his uncle. and his cousin ‘Hazrat Ali AlaihisSalam to go forward for the combat. The three duels were rapid. Hamzah + killed Shaibah, while ‘Ali killed AlWalid, ‘I ‘Ubaidah was seriously wounded but, before he fell. Hamzah fell upon ‘Utbah and with a sweep of his sword, cut off his head, ‘Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Hamzah carried ‘Ubaidah back with his leg cut off. He Recieve Shadaat four or five days later of a disease in the bile duct.
used to swear that Allâh’s Words were revealed about
er “These two opponents (believers and disbelievers) dispute
with each other about their Lord.” (22:19) The duel was followed by a few more duels but the Makkans suffered terrible defeats in all the combats and lost some of their most precious lives. They were too much frustrated and angry and tell upon the Muslims to destroy them once and for all. The Muslims, however, after supplicating their Lord, calling upon Him for help, were made to hold to their position and conduct a defensive war plan that was successful enough to inflict heavy losses on the attackers. The Prophet ﷺ his used to pray to his Lord persistently day and night to come to their help. When the fierce engagement grew too hot he again began to supplicate his Lord saying:
“O Allâh! Should this group (of Muslims) be defeated today,
You will no longer be worshipped.” 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 Radiallahu anhoo came, picked up the cloak, and put it back on his shoulders and said: “O Prophet of Allâh,ﷺ 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 ﷺ 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.” (8:12] Allâh the All-Mighty also inspired another message to His Messenger ﷺsaying:
“I will help you with a thousand of the angels each behind the other (following one another) in succession.” (8:9]