Such a clear and concise overview of this great battle and a spot on closing paragraph.
Whilst many are familiar with the events of the battle of Badr its wider political context and the values that drove the Ummah to achieve this first battle of the Muslims, against all odds, makes the victory of Badr a seminal event.
After 13 years of struggling in Mecca, following numerous meetings with various tribes and after much persecution and boycott, Allah (swt) blessed Prophet Mohammad (saw) with nusra (victory) with the establishment of dawla Islamiyyah in Madina, at the heart of the Arabian Peninsula.
The Quraysh did not give up their pursuit of the Muslims and the establishment of the Islamic state in Madina only infuriated them further. The Prophet (saw) not content with merely establishing Islam, organised expeditions to strengthen the Islamic state, and thus Islam. These expeditions included sending military expeditions; signing treaties with warring tribes; and securing key trade routes all of which contributed to strengthening Muslims and keeping the Quraysh of Mecca at bay.
The Prophet (saw) organised 8 expeditions within a year of establishing the Islamic state in medina. The last included a key trade route which was used by the Quraysh to traverse the deserts of Arabia to Al sham in order to transport its largest caravans – essential for the economies at the time. It was the interception of this caravan by the Muslims that turned into the now famous battle of Badr.
In the second year of the Hijrah, the Messenger of Allah PBUH set out on the 8th of Ramadhan with three hundred and five of his Sahabah mounted on seventy camels. ‘Amr ibn Umm Maktum was assigned to lead the prayer while Abu Lubabah was left in charge of Madinah.
They rode the camels in turn heading towards a caravan led by Abu Sufyan. As they marched on, they sought news of the caravan until they had reached the valley of Dafran where they settled, and news reached them there that the Quraysh had set out from Makkah to protect their caravan. The whole affair then assumed different proportions for it was no longer the caravan, the question was whether to confront the Quraysh or not. So Allah’s Messenger PBUH consulted the Muslims. Abu Bakr RA and then ‘Umar RA voiced their opinions, then al-Miqdad ibn ‘Amr arose and said,
“O Messenger of Allah! Go where Allah tells you, for we are with you. We shall not say as the children of Israel said to Moses ‘You and your Lord go and fight and we will stay at home’, but you and your Lord go and fight and we will fight with you.”
The Muslims then went silent, and he PBUH said, “Give me advice O men!” by which he meant the Ansar who had paid allegiance to him at al-‘Aqabah. They had pledged to protect him as they protected their wives and children, with the stipulation that they were not responsible to fight with him outside Madinah. When the Ansar sensed that he PBUH meant them, Sa’d ibn Mu’adh who was holding their banner said, “It seems as if you mean us, O Messenger of Allah.” He PBUH said, “Yes.” Sa’d said, “We believe in you, we declare your truth, and we witness that what you have brought us 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 He who sent you, 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 dislike the idea of meeting our enemy tomorrow. We are experienced in war, capable of fighting. It may well be that Allah will let us show you something which will bring you joy, so take us along with Allah’s blessing.” The Messenger of Allah PBUH was delighted with Sa’d’s words and said, “Proceed with full confidence, for Allah has promised me one of the two parties, and by Allah, it is as though I can now see the place where they will be killed.”
The Messenger of Allah PBUH and his Sahabah journeyed until they had nearly reached Badr. They realized that the Quraysh’s troops were nearby and so ‘Ali, al-Zubayr ibn ‘Awwam, and Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas with a number of his Sahabah were sent to the well at Badr in search of news. They returned with two young men whom they questioned. They disclosed the number of the Quraysh at between nine hundred to a thousand men and that the nobles of the Quraysh were out in force to protect the caravan. The Messenger of Allah PBUH realized that they were facing a force which was three times the size of his own and that he would be in for a fierce battle. He PBUH informed the Muslims that Makkah had thrown out the pieces of its liver (or the best of her sons) into the battle and that they should harden their resolve.
The Muslims vowed to stand up to the enemy, they settled by the well of Badr where they built a cistern and filled it with water. Then they stopped up all the other wells so that they would have plenty of water and the enemy would have nothing to drink, at the same time they also built a canopy for the Messenger of Allah PBUH to reside in. The Quraysh took up their positions and the skirmishes of battle began. Al-Aswad ibn ‘Abd al-Asad stepped forward to destroy the cistern that the Muslims had built. Hamzah dealt with him by smiting him and sending his foot flying. He fell on his back with blood streaming from his foot and Hamzah followed him and struck him, killing him near the cistern. Then, ‘Utbah ibn Rabi’ah stepped forth between his brother Shayba and his son al-Walid. Hamzah, ‘Ali and ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Harith stepped forward to meet them. Hamzah quickly dealt Shayba a blow and ‘Ali soon disposed of al-Walid. Hamzah and ‘Ali turned on ‘Utbah who stood firm against ‘Ubaydah and they dispatched him, carrying off their injured companion afterwards.
Then the two sides advanced and drew near each other on Friday morning on the 17th of Ramadhan. The Messenger of Allah PBUH straightened the ranks and incited the Muslims to fight. The Muslims were encouraged by Allah’s Messenger’s words and went forward. The fighting broke out fiercely and Qurayshi heads went flying from their bodies, the Muslims becoming stronger in belief all the time chanting ‘Ahad! Ahad!’ (the One! the One!). Allah’s Messenger PBUH stood in the middle of the melee, took a handful of pebbles and threw them at the Quraysh saying, “Foul be those faces!” Then he PBUH ordered his Sahabah to charge and they duly obliged. In the thick of the battle, the Prophet PBUH prayed to Allah SWT. In Surat-ul Anfal Allah SWT gave the answer: “When you asked for help from your Lord, He answered you. Indeed I will aid you with a thousand of the angels in rows behind rows“. [Anfal 8:9]
The enemies got frightened and began to retreat. The skill of Imam Ali (A.S), the other Muslim soldiers and the sight of so many angels struck terror in the enemies’ hearts. 72 Kuffar were killed including their leader Abu Jahl. Imam Ali (A.S) killed 36 of them. 14 Muslims were martyred. 70 prisoners were taken by the Muslims.
The prisoners were treated with kindness and some became Muslims. In later days some of the prisoners said:“blessed be the men of Medina, they made us ride whilst they walked, they gave us wheat and bread to eat when there was little of it contenting themselves with plain dates.” The rich prisoners paid ransom and were set free. Others were asked to gain their freedom by teaching 10 Muslims to read and write.
Regarding the battle of Badr Allah (swt) said in the Qur’an “indeed Allah assisted you at Badr when you were weak, so be careful (to your duty) to Allah so that you may be of the thankful ones. When you said to the believers ‘Does it not suffice you that your Lord should assist you with three thousand angels sent down.” [Al-Imran 3:123]
This victory led the Ummah to make Ramadan the month of great change. Whilst much literature has been written by Muslims and non-Muslims on Islamic conquests focusing on strategy, many victories occurred during Ramadan due to the focus of the Ummah on Allah (swt) and this removed fear from the hearts of the Muslims. This is why some of the Muslims’ greatest victories occurred during Ramadan such as the conquest of Makkah (8 Hijri), the conquest of Persia (8 Hijri) the conquest of Rhodes (53 Hijri), the successful landing of Muslims on the coast of Spain (91 Hijri), the victory by Tarik Ibn Zayed against the King of Spain (92 Hijri), the victory of Salahuddin against invading crusaders (584 Hijri), and Mamluk’s victory versus invading Tatars in the battle of Ain jiloot (650 Hijri).
The battle today for Muslims living in the West is an intellectual one against ideologically driven states who have made it their raison d’être to take the Ummah away from her deen and secularise Islam so that it is no longer distinguishable from the disbelievers. Our beliefs, history and values are subjected to reform so that the next generation of Muslim children are unable to conceive the idea of the Khilafah and contextualise the original place of Jihad in Islam which is forms part of the foreign policy of the Khilafah. We must therefore, engage in this intellectual battle with full submission to Allah SWT as the Sahaba RA fought in the Battle of Badr. May Allah SWT restore the status of the Ummah in this month of Ramadhan and grant us the victory to re-establish the Khilafah and expel the blood-thirsty colonialists from our lands. Ameen.
Ibn Rajab said: ❝How can a believer not shed tears at the departure of Ramaḍān, when he doesn’t even know whether he’ll be alive for its return or not?❞