The First Decisive Battle in the History of Islam
We have already spoken about Al-Ushairah
Invasion when a caravan belonging to Quraish had escaped an imminent military encounter
with the Prophet [pbuh] and his men. When their return from Syria approached, the Prophet
[pbuh] despatched Talhah bin Ubaidullâh and Said bin Zaid northward to scout
around for any 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 to the Prophet [pbuh] their findings. Great wealth amounting to 50
thousand gold Dinars guarded by 40 men moving relatively close to 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
The Prophet [pbuh] immediately exhorted the Muslims
to rush out and waylay 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 an errand on a
The Muslim army was made up of 300-317 men, 82-86
Emigrants, 61 from Aws and 170 from Khazraj. They were not well-equipped nor adequately
prepared. They had only two horses belonging to Az-Zubair bin Al-Awwam and
bin Al-Aswad Al-Kindi, 70 camels, one for two or three men to ride alternatively. The
Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] himself, Ali and Murthid bin Abi Murthid Al-Ghanawi had
only one camel. Disposition of the affairs of Madinah was entrusted to Ibn Umm Maktum but
later to Abu Lubabah bin Abdul Mundhir. The general leadership was given to
Musab bin Umair Al-Qurashi Al-Abdari, and their standard was white in
colour. The little army was divided into two battalions, the Emigrants with a standard
raised by Ali bin Abi Talib, and the Helpers whose standard was in the hand of
Sad bin Muadh. Az-Zubair bin Al-Awwam was appointed to the leadership of
the right flank, Al-Miqdad bin Amr to lead the left flank, and the rear of the army
was at the command of Qais bin Abi Sasaah. The General Commander-in-Chief was
the Prophet [pbuh], of course.
The Prophet [pbuh], 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-Safrâ, he despatched two men to scout about for the camels of
Abu Sufyan, on the other hand, was on the utmost
alert. He had already been aware that the route he was following was attended with
dangers. He was also anxious to know about the movements of Muhammad [pbuh]. His scouting
men submitted to him 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. Felling himself from his camel, he stood dramatically before Al-Kabah,
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 Muhammad [pbuh] and his companions. I
cannot say what would have happened to them. Help! Help!"
The effect of this hue and cry was instantaneous and
the news stunned Quraish and they immediately remembered their pride that was wounded when
the Muslims had intercepted Al-Hadrami caravan. They therefore swiftly mustered 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
Prophet [pbuh]. All the clans of Quraish gave their consent except Banu Adi. Soon an
excited throng of 1300 soldiers including 100 horsemen and 600 mailed soldiers with a
large number of camels, was clamouring to proceed to fight the Muslims. For food supplies,
they used to slaughter an alternate number of camels of ten and nine every day. They were
however afraid that Banu Bakr, on account of old long deep-seated animosity, would attack
their rear. At that critical moment, Iblis (Satan) appeared to them in the guise of
Suraqa bin Malik bin Jusham Al-Mudlaji chief of Bani Kinana saying to
them: "I guarantee that no harm will happen from behind."
They set out burning with indignation, motivated by
a horrible desire for revenge and exterminating anyone that might jeopardize the routes of
and to be seen of men, and hinder (men) from the path of Allâh. "
Or as the Prophet [pbuh] said:
"O Allâh these are the
haughty and conceited; they have come defying Allâh and defying His Messenger."
They moved swiftly northward to Badr. On the way
they received another message from Abu Sufyan asking them to go back home because the
caravan had escaped the Muslims. Incidentally, Abu Sufyan, on learning the intention of
the Muslims, led his caravan off the main route, and inclined it towards the Red Sea. By
this manoeuvre, he was able to slip past the Madinese ambush and was out of their reach.
On receiving Abu Sufyans message, the Makkan
army showed a desire to return home. The tyrant Abu Jahl, however haughtily 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 Quraish still had the upper hand and enjoyed supremacy in that
Abu Jahls threats and insistence
notwithstanding, 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 Jahls threats made them desist from that idea.
The rest of the army, now 1000 soldiers, approached
Badr and encamped themselves beyond a sand dune at Al-Udwat Al-Quswa.
The intelligence corps of the Madinese
army reported to the Prophet [pbuh] that a bloody encounter with the Makkans was
inescapable, 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 the Islam and tread upon its faithful adherents. 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 stance of the Muslims.
On account of the new grave developments, the
Prophet [pbuh] 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 [pbuh]) to 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)." [Al-Qur'an 8:5, 6]
The Prophet [pbuh] apprised his men of the gravity
of the situation and asked for their advice. Abu Bakr was the first who spoke on the
occasion and assured the Prophet [pbuh] of the unreserved obedience to his command.
Umar was the next to stand up and supported the views expressed by his noble friend.
Then Al-Miqdad bin Amr got up and said: "O Messenger of Allâh! Proceed where
Allâh directs you to, for we are with you. We will not say as the Children of Israel said
to Moses [AWS]:
"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 Bark Al-Ghimad,
we will still fight resolutely with you against its defenders until you gained it."
The Prophet [pbuh] thanked him and blessed him.
The three leaders who spoke were from the Emigrants,
who only constituted a minor section of the army. The Prophet [pbuh] wanted, and for the
more reason, to hear the Helpers view because they were the majority of the soldiers
and were expected to shoulder the brunt of the war activities. Moreover, the clauses of
Al-Aqabah Pledge did not commit them to fighting beyond their territories.
The Prophet [pbuh] then said:
"Advise me my
by which he meant the Helpers, in particular. Upon
this Sad bin Muadh stood up and said: "By Allâh, I feel you want us (the
Helpers) to speak." The Prophet [pbuh] directly said: "Oh, yes!" Sad
said: "O Prophet of Allâh! We believe in you and we bear witness to what you have
vouchsafed to us and we declare in unequivocal 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 us, and by Allâh, Who has sent you with the Truth, if
you were to ask us to plunge into the sea, we will do that most readily and not a man of
us will stay behind. We do not grudge the idea of encounter with the enemy. We are
experienced in war and we are trustworthy in combat. We hope that Allâh will show you
through our hands those deeds of valour which will please your eyes. Kindly lead us to the
battlefield in the Name of Allâh."
The Prophet [pbuh] was impressed with the fidelity
and the spirit of sacrifice which his companions showed at this critical juncture. Then he
said to them: "Forward and be of cheer, for Allâh has promised me one of the two
(the lucrative 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."
In the immediate vicinity of Badr, the Prophet
[pbuh] and his cavemate 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
manipulated and managed to extract from him the exact location of the army of the
polytheists. In the evening of the same day, he despatched three Emigrant leaders,
Ali bin Abi Talib, Az-Zubair bin Al-Awwam and Sad bin Abi Waqqas to
scout about for news about the enemy. They saw two men drawing water for the Makkan army.
On interrogation, they admitted that they were water carriers working for
that answer did not please some Muslims and they beat the two boys severely in order to
exact from them an answer, even if it isnt true, alluding to the caravan laden with
wealth. The two boys thus lied, and so they were released. The Prophet [pbuh] was angry
with those men and censured them saying: "On telling the truth, you beat them, and on
telling a lie, you released them!" He then addressed the two boys and after a little
conversation with them he learned a lot about the enemy: number of soldiers, their exact
location and names of some of their notables.
He then turned to the Muslims and said:
"Hearken, Quraish has sent you their 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. They marched a little forward and
encamped at the farther bank of the valley. Muhammad [pbuh] stopped at the nearest spring
of Badr. Al-Hubab bin Mundhir asked him, "Has Allâh inspired you to choose this very
spot or is it stratagem of war and the product of consultation?" The Prophet
replied "It is stratagem of war and consultation." Al-Hubab said: "This
place is no good; let us go and encamp on 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 [pbuh] approved of his plan and agreed to carry it out, which
they actually did at midnight.
Sad bin Muadh suggested that a trellis
be built for the Prophet [pbuh] to function as headquarters for the Muslim army and a
place providing reasonable protection for the leader. Sad began to justify his
proposal and said that if they had been victorious, then everything would be satisfactory.
In case of defeat, the Prophet [pbuh] would 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 amongst the
Helpers under the leadership of the same man, Sad bin Muadh, in order to
defend the Prophet [pbuh] in his headquarters.
The Prophet [pbuh] spent the whole night preceding
the day of the battle in prayer and supplication. The Muslim army, wearied with their long
march, enjoyed sound and refreshing sleep, a mark of the Divine favour and of the state of
their undisturbed minds.
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." [Al-Qur'an 8:11]
That was Friday night, Ramadan 17th., the year 2
In the morning, the Prophet [pbuh] called his men to
offer the prayers and then urged them to fight in the way of Allâh. As the sun rose over
the desert, the Prophet [pbuh] drew up his little army, and pointing with an arrow which
he held in his hand, arranged the ranks.
Quraish, on the other hand, positioned their forces
in Al-Udwat Al-Quswa opposite the Muslim lines. A few of them approached, in a
provocative deed, to draw water from the wells of Badr, but were all shot dead except one,
Hakeem bin Hizam, who later became a devoted Muslim. Umair bin Wahab Al-Jumahi, in
an attempt to reconnoiter the power of the Muslims, made a scouting errand and submitted a
report saying that the Muslim army numbered as many as 300 men keen on fighting to the
last man. On another reconnaissance mission he came to the conclusion that neither
reinforcements were 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 belligerent parties together, slackened the desire to fight among some of
the Quraishites. To counteract this reason-based opposition advocated by a rival of his,
Utbah bin Rabia and others, Abu Jahl started an anti-campaign seeking
vengeance on Muhammad [pbuh]s followers for the Quraishites killed at
this way, he managed to thwart the opposite orientation, and manipulated the people to see
his evil views only.
When the two parties approached closer and were
visible to each other, the Prophet [pbuh] began supplicating Allâh "O Allâh! The
conceited and haughty Quraishites are already here defying You and belying Your Messenger.
O Allâh! I am waiting for Your victory which You have promised me. I beseech You Allâh
to defeat them (the enemies)." He 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 sparingly[Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/568] and never
resort to sword unless the enemies came too close.[Abu Da'ud 2/13]
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. The Noble Qurân, with a play on
the word, told them that the decision had come, and the victory but not in the
sense they had hoped for:
if you ask for a judgement, now has the judgement 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." [Al-Qur'an 8:19]
The first disbeliever to trigger 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 Hamzah bin Abdul
Muttalib, who struck his leg with his sword and dealt him another blow that finished him
off inside the basin.
The battle had actually started. Protected by armour
and shields, Utbah bin Rabia stepped forth between his brother Shaibah and his
son Al-Waleed bin Utbah from the lines of Quraish and hurled maledictions at the
Muslims. Three young men of the Helpers came out against them: Awf and Muwwadh
the sons of Harith, and Abdullah bin Rawaha. But the Makkans yelled that they
had nothing to do with them. They wanted the heads of their cousins. Upon this the Prophet
[pbuh] asked Ubaidah bin Al-Harith, Hamzah his uncle, and his cousin
Ali [R] to go forward for the combat. The three duels were rapid. Hamzah killed
Shaibah, while Ali killed Al-Waleed.[Mishkat 2/343]
Ubaidah was seriously wounded but, before he fell, Hamzah fell upon Utbah and
with a sweep of his sword, cut off his head. Ali and Hamzah carried Ubaidah
back with his leg cut off. He died four or five days later of a disease in the bile duct.
Ali was possessed of a deep conviction that
Allâhs Words were revealed:
opponents (believers and disbelievers) dispute with each other about their Lord."
These verses were revealed in connection with men of
Faith who confess their Lord and seek to carry out His Will (i.e. Muhammad [pbuh]s
followers at Badr Battle), and men who deny their Lord and defy Him (the people of
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 exasperated and enraged and fell upon the Muslims to exterminate
them once and for all. The Muslims, however, after supplicating their Lord, calling upon
Him for assistance, 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
used to pray to his Lord ceaselessly persistently and day and night to come to their
succour. When the fierce engagement grew too hot he again began to supplicate his Lord
"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 came, picked up the cloak, and put it back on his shoulders and said: "O
Prophet of Allâh, you have cried out enough to your Lord. He will surely fulfill what He
has promised you."
Immediate was the response from Allâh, Who sent
down angels from the heavens for the help and assistance of the Prophet [pbuh] and his
companions. The Noble Qurân 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." [Al-Qur'an 8:12]
Allâh, the All-Mighty, also inspired another
message to His Messenger, saying:
"I will help you
with a thousand of the angels each behind the other (following one another) in
succession." [Al-Qur'an 8:9]
The Prophet [pbuh], in his trellis, dozed off a
little and then raised his head joyfully crying:
"O Abu Bakr, glad
tidings are there for you: Allâhs victory has approached, by Allâh, I can see
Gabriel on his mare in the thick of a sandstorm."
He then jumped out crying:
will be put to flight, and they will show their backs." [Al-Qur'an
At the instance of Gabriel, the Prophet [pbuh] took
a handful of gravel, cast it at the enemy and said: "Confusion seize their
faces!" As he flung the dust, a violent sandstorm blew like furnace blast into the
eyes of the enemies. With respect to this, Allâh says:
"And you (i.e.
Muhammad [pbuh]) threw not when you did throw but Allâh threw."
Only then did he give clear orders to launch a
counter-attack. He was commanding the army, inspiring confidence among his men and
exhorting them to fight manfully for the sake of their Lord, reciting the Words of Allâh:
"And be quick for
forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the
earth." [Al-Qur'an 3:133]
The spirit he infused into his men was clearly
witnessed by the valour of Umair, a lad of sixteen, who flung away some dates he was
eating crying out: "These (the dates) are holding me back from Paradise." So
saying he plunged into the thick of the battle and died fighting bravely. Unique deeds of
valour, deep devotion and full obedience to the Prophet [pbuh] were exhibited in the
process of the battle. The army of the faithfuls was borne forward by the power of
enthusiasm which the half-hearted warriors of Makkah miserably lacked. A large number of
the polytheists were killed and the others began to waver. No wonder! The standard-bearers
of Truth were given immediate help, and supernatural agencies (the angels), were sent to
their assistance by their Lord to help them defeat the forces of evil.
The records of Hadith speak eloquently of the
fact that the angels did appear on that day and fought on the side of the Muslims. Ibn
Abbas said: "While on that day a Muslim was chasing a disbeliever and he heard
over him the swashing of a whip and the voice of the rider saying: Go ahead
Haizum. He glanced at the polytheist who had (now) fallen down on his back. The
Helper came to the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] and related that event to him. The Prophet
[pbuh] replied: You have told the truth. This was the help from the third
heaven."[Sahih Muslim 2/93]
One of the Helpers captured Abbas bin
Abdul Muttalib, who said: "O Messenger of Allâh, by Allâh this man did not
capture me. I was captured by a man who was bald and had the most handsome face, and who
was riding a piebald horse, I cannot see him here among the people." The Helper
interrupted: "I captured him, O Messenger of Allâh." The Prophet [pbuh]
"Be quiet, Allâh the
All-Mighty strengthened you with the help of a noble angel."
archsatan, in the guise of Suraqah
bin Malik bin Jusham Al-Mudlaji, on seeing angels working in favour of the Muslims,
and Quraish rapidly losing ground on the battlefield, made a quick retreat despite the
polytheists pleas to stay on. He ran off and plunged into the sea.
The ranks of Quraish began to give way and their
numbers added nothing but confusion. The Muslims followed eagerly their retreating steps,
slaying or taking captive all that fell within their reach. Retreat soon turned into
ignominious rout; and they flied in haste, casting away their armour, abandoned beasts of
burden, camp and equipage.
The great tyrant Abu Jahl, however, on seeing the
adverse course of the battle, tried to stop the tidal wave of the Islamic victory by
nerving the polytheists and encouraging them by all means available and adjuring them by
Al-Lat and Uzza and all symbols of paganism to stand firm in place and retaliate
against the Muslims, but to no avail. Their morale had already been drastically reduced to
zero, and their lines broken down. He then began to realize the reality of his arrogance
and haughtiness. None remained around him except a gang of doomed polytheists whose
resistance was also quelled by an Islamic irresistible storm of true devotion-based valour
and Islam-orientated pursuit of martyrdom. Abu Jahl was deserted and left by himself on
his horse waiting for death at the hand of two courageous lads of the Helpers.
Abdur-Rahman bin Awf related the
following interesting story in this regard: I was in the thick of the battle when two
youths, still seemingly inexperienced in the art of fighting, one on the right and the
second on the left. One of them spoke in a secret voice asking me to show him Abu
asked about his intention, to which he replied, that he had a strong desire to engage with
him in a combat until either of them was killed. It was something incredible to me. I
turned left and the other said something to the same effect and showed a similar desire. I
acceded to their earnest pleas and pointed directly at their target. They both rushed
swiftly towards the spot, and without a moments hesitation struck him simultaneously
with their swords and finished him off. They went back to the Messenger of Allâh
each claiming that he had killed Abu Jahl to the exclusion of the other. The Prophet
[pbuh] asked if they had wiped the blood off their swords and they answered that they had
not. He then examined both swords and assured them that they both had killed him. When the
battle concluded, Abu Jahls spoils were given to Muadh bin Amr bin
Al-Jumuh, because the other Muawwadh bin Al-Afrâ[Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/444,2/568; Mishkat 2/352] was later killed in
the course of the same battle. At the termination of the battle, the Prophet [pbuh] wanted
to look for this archenemy of Islam, Abu Jahl. Abdullah bin Masud found him on
the verge of death breathing his last. He stepped on his neck addressing him: "Have
you seen how Allâh has disgraced you?" The enemy of Islam still defiantly answered:
"I am not disgraced. I am no more than a man killed by his own people on the
battlefield." And then inquired "Who has won the battle?" Ibn Masud
replied "Allâh and His Messenger." Abu Jahl then said with a heart full of
grudge "You have followed difficult ways, you shepherd!" Ibn Masud used to
be a shepherd working for the Makkan aristocrats.
Ibn Masud then cut off his head and took it to
the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] who, on seeing it, began to entertain Allâhs praise:
"Allâh is Great,
praise is to Allâh, Who has fulfilled His Promise, assisted His servant and defeated the
He then set out to have a look at the corpse. There
"This is the Pharaoh of
- The Prophet [pbuh] advised his companions to preserve the lives of
Banu Hashim who had gone out to Badr with the polytheists unwillingly because they had
feared the censure of their people. Among them, he named Al-Abbas bin Abdul
Muttalib and Abu Bukhtari bin Hisham. He ordered the Muslims to capture, but not to kill
them. Abu Hudhaifah bin Utbah showed great surprise and commented saying: "We
kill our fathers, children, brothers and members of our clan, and then come to spare
Al-Abbas? By Allâh! If I see him I will surely strike him with my sword." On
hearing these words, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh], addressing Umar bin
said "Is it fair that the face of the Messengers uncle be struck with
sword?" Umar got indignant and threatened to kill Abu Hudhaifah; the latter
later said that extreme fear had taken firm grip of him and felt that nothing except
martyrdom could expiate for his mistake. He was actually killed later on during
- Abu Al-Bukhtari bin Hisham had already done his best to restrain his
people, the Makkans, from committing any act of folly against the Prophet [pbuh] while the
latter was still in Makkah. He also neither hurt nor was reported to have uttered anything
repugnant with regard to the Prophet [pbuh]. He had as well been among the people who
tried to invalidate the boycott alliance taken against Banu Hashim and Banu Abdul
Here, however, in the battle of
Badr he insisted on fighting unless his compatriot was spared. Al-Mujdhir bin Ziyad
Al-Balwi, with whom he was engaged in combat, replied that the other was not included in
the Prophet [pbuh]s recommendation. The combat went on to end in Al-Bukhtaris
- Abdur-Rahman bin Awf and Omaiyah bin Khalaf had been
close friends during the pre-Islamic era. When the battle of Badr ended,
Abdur-Rahman saw Omaiyah and his son among the captives. He threw away the armour he
had as spoils, and walked with them both. Bilal, the Prophet [pbuh]s caller for
prayer, saw Omaiyah and soon all the torture he had been put to at the hand of this man
dawned upon him, and swore he would have revenge on Omaiyah. Abdur-Rahman tried to
ease the tension and address embarrassing situation amicably but with no success. The
Muslims gathered around and struck Omaiyahs son with swords. At this point,
Abdur-Rahman called upon his old friend to run for his life but he was put to swords
from different people and lay down dead. Abdur-Rahman, completely helpless and
resigned said: May Allâh have mercy on Bilal, for he deprived me of the spoils, and I
have been stricken by the death of my two captives.
- On the moral level, the battle of Badr was an inescapable conflict
between the forces of good and those of evil. In this context, Umar bin
did not spare the life of any polytheist even his uncle on the maternal side Al-As
bin Hisham bin Al-Mugheerah.
- Abu Bakr shouted at his son Abdur-Rahman, still a polytheist
and fighting with them, "Where is my wealth, you wicked boy?" The son answered
that it was gone with the wind.
- When the battle ended, the Muslims began to hold some polytheists in
captivity. The Prophet [pbuh] looked into the face of Sad bin Muadh, the Head
of the Prophet [pbuh]s guards, and understood that he was hateful to taking the
enemy elements as prisoners. Sad agreed to what the Prophet [pbuh] said and added
that it was the first victory for the Muslims over the forces of polytheism, and he had
more liking for slaying them than sparing their lives.
- On the day of Badr, the sword of Ukashah bin Mihsan
broke down so the Prophet [pbuh] gave him a log of wood which he shook and it immediately
turned into a long strong white sword. Ukashah went on using that same sword in most
of the Islamic conquests until he died in the process of the apostasy wars.
- When the war activities had been concluded, Musab bin
Umair Al-Abdari saw his brother, still a polytheist, being handcuffed by a
Ansari. Musab recommended that the Helper tighten the knot for the prisoners
mother was wealthy enough to ransom her son. Abu Aziz, Musabs
brother, tried to appeal to his brother through the family ties, but the latter firmly
replied that the Helper was more eligible for brotherhood than him.
- When the Prophet [pbuh] ordered that the corpses of the polytheists
be dropped into an empty well, Abu Hudhaifah bin Utbah looked sadly at his dead
father, who fought on the side of the polytheists. The Prophet [pbuh] noticed that and
asked him about it. Hudhaifah said that he had never held the least doubt that his father
met his fate deservedly, but added that he wished he had been guided to the path of Islam,
and that is why he felt sad. The Prophet [pbuh] whispered in his ears some comforting
The outcome of the battle was as aforementioned an
ignominious rout for the polytheists and a manifest victory for the Muslims. Fourteen
Muslims were killed, of whom six were from the Emigrants and eight from the Helpers. The
polytheists sustained heavy casualties, seventy were killed and a like number taken
prisoners. Many of the principal men of Makkah, and some of Muhammad [pbuh]s
bitterest opponents, were among the slain. Chief of these was Abu Jahl.
On the third day, the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh]
went out to look at the slain polytheists, and said:
"What an evil tribe you
were as regards your Prophet, you belied me but the others have believed; you let me down
while the others have supported me; you expelled me, whereas the others have sheltered
He stood over the bodies of twenty-four leaders of
Quraish who had been thrown into one of the wells, and started to call them by name and by
the names of their fathers, saying: "Would it not have been much better for you if
you had obeyed Allâh and His Messenger? Behold, we have found that our Lords
promise do come true; did you (also) find that the promises of your Lord came true?"
Thereupon, Umar bin Al-Khattab said: "O Messenger of Allâh! Why you speak to
bodies that have no souls in them?" The Prophet [pbuh] answered: "By Him in
Whose hand is Muhammad [pbuh]s soul! You do not hear better what I am saying than
The polytheists having received a large dose of
disciplining and heavy defeat, fled away in great disorder in the vales and hillocks
heading for Makkah panicked and too ashamed to see their people.
Ibn Ishaq related that the first herald of bad
tidings was Al-Haisaman bin Abdullah Al-Khuzai. He narrated to them how their
notables were killed. People there did not believe him at first and thought that he had
gone mad, but soon the news was confirmed and a state of incredible bewilderment
overwhelmed the whole Makkan scene. Abu Sufyan bin Al-Harith gave Abu Lahab a full account
of the massacre and the disgraceful rout they sustained, with emphasis on the role that
the angels played in bringing about their tragic end. Abu Lahab could not contain himself
and gave vent to his feelings of resentment in beating, abusing and slapping Abu
Rafi, a Muslim, but reticent on his conversion, for reiterating the role of the
angels. Umm Al-Fadl, another Muslim woman, greatly exasperated by Abu Lahabs
thoughtless behaviour, struck him with a log and cracked his head. Seven days later, he
died of an ominous ulcer and was left for three days unburied. His sons, however, for fear
of shameful rumours, drove him to a pit and keeping their distance, hurled stones and dust
The defeat was a matter of great shame and grief for
the Makkans. In almost every house there were silent tears for the dead and the captives.
They were burning with humiliation and were thirsting for revenge. Wailing, lamenting and
crying however were decreed strictly forbidden lest the Muslims should rejoice at their
Two heralds, Abdullah bin Rawahah and Zaid bin
Harithah were despatched to Madinah, to convey the glad tidings of victory to the Muslims
The multi-ethnic and ideological structure of
Madinah featured different respective reactions. Rumour-mongers amongst the Jews and
hypocrites spread news to the effect that the Prophet [pbuh] had been killed, and tried to
impress their false assumption on the fact that Zaid bin Harithah was riding Al-Qaswâ, the Prophet
[pbuh]s she-camel. Having reached, the two messengers
imparted to the Muslims the happy news of victory, and furnished accurate information
about the course of events in order to establish the sense of reassurance deep in the
hearts of the anxious, but now, joyous Muslims. They immediately started acclaiming
Allâhs Name and entertaining His praise at the top of their voices. Their chiefs
went out of the city to wait and receive the Prophet [pbuh] on the road leading to
Usamah bin Zaid related that they received the news
of the manifest victory shortly after Ruqaiyah, the Prophet [pbuh]s daughter, and
the wife of Uthman bin Affan had been committed to earth. She had been
terminally ill and the Prophet [pbuh] had asked Uthman to stay in Madinah and look
Before leaving the scene of the battle, dispute
concerning the spoils of war arose among the Muslim warriors, as the rule relating to
their distribution had not yet been legislated. When the difference grew wider, the
Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] suspended any solution whereof until the Revelation was sent
Ubadah bin As-Samit said: "We went out
with the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] and I witnessed Badr with him. The battle started and
Allâh, the Exalted, defeated the enemy. Some of the Muslims sought and pursued the enemy,
some were intent on collecting the spoils from the enemy camp, and others were guarding
the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] and were on the alert for any emergency or surprise attack.
When night came and the Muslims gathered together, those who had collected the booty said:
"We collected it, so no one else has any right to it." Those who had pursued the
enemy said: "You do not have more right to it than we do; we held the enemy at bay
and then defeated them." As for the men who had been guarding the Prophet [pbuh],
they also made similar claims to the spoils.
At that very time, a Qurânic verse was
"They ask you (O
Muhammad [pbuh]) about the spoils of war. Say: The spoils are for Allâh and the
Messenger. So fear Allâh and adjust all matters of difference among you, and obey
Allâh and His Messenger (Muhammad [pbuh]), if you are believers."
On their way back to Madinah, at a large sand hill,
the Prophet [pbuh] divided the spoils equally among the fighters after he had taken Al-Khums
(one-fifth). When they reached As-Safra, he ordered that two of the prisoners should
be killed. They were An-Nadr bin Al-Harith and Uqbah bin Abi Muait, because they had
persecuted the Muslims in Makkah, and harboured deep hatred towards Allâh and His
Messenger [pbuh]. In a nutshell, they were criminals of war in modern terminology, and
their execution was an awesome lesson to oppressors. Uqbah forgot his pride and
cried out, "Who will look after my children O Messenger of Allâh?" The Prophet
[pbuh] answered, "The fire (of Hell).[Sunan Abu Da'ud
with 'Aun-ul-Ma'bood 3/12]" Did Uqbah not remember the day when he had
thrown the entrails of a sheep onto the head of the Prophet [pbuh] while he was
prostrating himself in prayer, and Fatimah had come and washed it off him? He had also
strangled the Prophet [pbuh] with his cloak if it had not been for Abu Bakr to intervene
and release the Prophet [pbuh]. The heads of both criminals were struck off by Ali
bin Abi Talib.
At Ar-Rawhâ, a suburb of Madinah, the Muslim
army was received by the joyous Madinese who had come to congratulate the Prophet
on the manifest victory that Allâh had granted him. Usaid bin Hudair, acting as a
mouthpiece of the other true believers, after entertaining Allâhs praise, he
excused himself for not having joined them on grounds that the Prophet [pbuh]s
intention was presumably, an errand aiming to intercept a caravan of camels only, he added
that if it had occurred to him that it would be real war, he would have never tarried. The
Prophet [pbuh] assured Usaid that he had believed him.
The Prophet [pbuh] now entered Madinah as a man to
be counted for in a new dimension the military field. In consequence, a large
number of the people of Madinah embraced Islam, which added a lot to the strength, power
and moral standing of the true religion.
The Prophet [pbuh] exhorted the Muslims to treat the
prisoners so well to such an extent that the captors used to give the captives their bread
(the more valued part of the meal) and keep the dates for themselves.
Prisoners of war constituted a problem awaiting
resolution because it was a new phenomenon in the history of Islam. The Prophet
consulted Abu Bakr and Umar bin Al-Khattab as to what he should do with the
prisoners. Abu Bakr suggested that he should ransom them, explaining this by saying:
"They are after all our relatives, and this money would give us strength against the
disbelievers, moreover, Allâh could guide them to Islam." Umar advised killing
them, saying, "They are the leaders of Kufr (disbelief)." The Prophet
[pbuh] preferred Abu Bakrs suggestion to that of Umars. The following
day, Umar called on the Prophet [pbuh] and Abu Bakr to see them weeping. He showed
extreme astonishment and inquired about the situation so that he might weep if it was
worth weeping for, or else he would feign weeping.
The Prophet [pbuh] said that a Qurânic verse
had been revealed rebuking them for taking ransom from the captives rather than slaying
"It is not for a
Prophet that he should have prisoners of war (and free them with ransom) until he had made
a great slaughter (among his enemies) in the land. You desire the good of this world (i.e.
the money of ransom for freeing the captives), but Allâh desires (for you) the Hereafter.
And Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise. Were it not a previous ordainment from Allâh, a
severe torment would have touched you for what you took." [Al-Qur'an
The previous Divine ordainment went as follows,
the time) either for generosity (i.e. free them without ransom) or ransom."
Which included an area providing permission to take
ransom, that is why no penalty was imposed. They were rebuked only for taking prisoners
before subduing all the land of disbelief. Apart from this, the polytheists taken to
Madinah were not only prisoners of war but rather archcriminals of war whom modern war
penal law brings to justice to receive their due sentence of death or prison for life.
The ransom for the prisoners ranged between 4000 and
1000 Dirhams in accordance with the captives financial situation. Another
form of ransom assumed an educational dimension; most of the Makkans, unlike the
were literate and so each prisoner who could not afford the ransom was entrusted with ten
children to teach them the art of writing and reading. Once the child had been proficient
enough, the instructor would be set free. Another clan of prisoners were released
unransomed on grounds of being hard up. Zainab, the daughter of the Prophet [pbuh], paid
the ransom of her husband Abul-As with a necklace. The Muslims released her prisoner
and returned the necklace in deference to the Prophet [pbuh] but on condition that
Abul-As allow Zainab to migrate to Madinah, which he actually did.
In captivity, there was also an eloquent orator
called Suhail bin Amr. Umar suggested that they pull out his front teeth to
disable him from speaking, but the Prophet [pbuh] turned down his suggestion for fear
Quraish should retaliate in the same manner on one hand, and on the other for fear of
Allâhs wrath on the Day of Resurrection.
Sad bin An-Numan, a lesser pilgrim
detained in Makkah, was released in return for setting Abu Sufyans son, a captive,
The Chapter of Al-Anfal (spoils of war) was
revealed on the occasion of the battle of Badr, Ramadan 17th 2 A.H. It constituted a
unique Divine commentary on this battle.
Allâh, the All-High, in the context of this Chapter
draws on major issues relating to the whole process of Islamization. Allâh, here draws
the attention of the Muslims to the still lingering moral shortcomings in their character.
He wants them to build an integrated, purified society. He speaks about the invisible
assistance he sent down to His obedient servants to enable them to accomplish their noble
objectives. He wants the Muslims to rid themselves of any trait of haughtiness or
arrogance that might sneak in. He wants them to turn to Him for help, obey Him and His
After that He delineated the noble objectives for
which the Messenger [pbuh] launched that bloody battle, and directed them to the merits
and qualities that brought about the great victory.
The polytheists, hypocrites, the Jews and prisoners
of war were also mentioned, being admonished to surrender to the Truth and adhere to it
The question of the spoils of war was resolved and
the principles and basics relevant to this issue were clearly defined.
The laws and rules pertinent to war and peace were
legalized and codified, especially at this advanced stage of the Islamic action. Allâh
wanted the Muslims to follow war ethics dissimilar to those of pre-Islamic practices. The
Muslims are deemed to outdo the others in ethics, values and fine ideals. He wants to
impress on the world that Islam is not merely a theoretical code of life, it is rather
mind cultivation-orientated practical principles. In this context, He established inter
and intra-state relations.
The fast of Ramadan was established as an obligatory
observance in the year 2 A.H., appended by the duty imposed upon Muslims of paying Zakat
(alms tax, poor-due) in order to alleviate the burden of the needy Emigrants.
A wonderful and striking coincidence was the
establishment of Shawwal Eid (the Festival of the Fast-Breaking) directly
after the manifest victory of Badr. It was actually the finest spectacle ever witnessed of
Muslims leaving their houses praying, acclaiming Allâhs Name and entertaining His
praise at the top of their voices in recognition of His favour and grace, and last but not
least, the support He rendered them and through which the forces of the Truth overpowered
those of evil.
when you were few and were reckoned weak in the land, and were afraid that men might
kidnap you, but He provided a safe place for you, strengthened you with His help, and
provided you with good things so that you might be grateful."