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The Great Battle of Badr

Since the beginning of the blessed Islamic da'wah until the eighth year after Hijra, Mecca stood firmly in the face of Islam. The well-to-do and influential leaders of the city worked hard to keep the status quo, to serve their interests, syphoning off more wealth and wielding more power.

That is why these pre-Islamic leaders did their utmost to stem the emergence of the da'wah, stifle its voice, and extinguish its radian light. They tortured the Muslims beyond endurance, inflicted unspeakable atrocities on them and created a reign of terror, in Mecca, to prevent the great process of converting people to Islam which was initiated by the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.)

The most glorious of the victories of Islam was the accomplishment of liberating Mecca, as it didn't change its position towards Islam and its leaders did not change their attitudes.

For such consideration, the Message of Allah the Exalted, saw the pre-Islamic rulers of Mecca as the sworn enemy to be destroyed in order to put an end to their arrogance and conceit.

Strong and mighty in opposing to the Divine Message though Mecca was, it had nothing other than trade and trade routes. The leaders of Mecca reviled the Message and appointed themselves the defenders of the pre-Islamic entity in defense of their vested material wealth ever-swelled by commercial caravans.

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) focused on pounding the Quraishi positions directly through laying an economic siege on Mecca by ambushing the Quraish's commercial caravans and threatening its strategic trade routes. Accordingly, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), started sending armed units to damage the Quraish's interests in the first year of Hijra. This was carried out both inside the city itself and on the trade routes used by the Quraishi-commercial caravans.

During the year, the Prophet (s.a.w.) sent a military expedition led by his uncle Hamzah, another led by Ubaidah bin al-Harith, a third by led by himself and a fourth led by Abdullah bin Jahsh....and others.

Though these attempts were not conclusive in themselves and no direct skirmishes ever took place, except once, they struck fear in the Quraishis by the threat they represented economically.

One could easily imagine the scope of the Quraish's fears and annoyance at the Muslims when recalling the fact that the commercial caravans were the life-blood of Mecca. Furthermore moving military units strengthened the Muslims' confidence in themselves and their ability to face the enemy.

In the second year of Hijra, during the month of Ramadan, the Muslims learnt that a caravan of the Quraish was en route to Mecca, led by Abu-Sufyan. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) lost no time in dispatching a small army of 300 Muslims with little equipment. They had only 70 camels making every two, three or four people to take turns to ride on each.

News of the Prophet's expedition leaked out and Abu-Sufyan directed the caravan to another route to keep it out of danger. Furthermore, he also asked for help and the Quraish responded by sending an army three times greater than the total number of the faithful.

The matter, for the Muslims, turned to be a face-to-face confrontation with the Quraish. They had either to confront the Quraish or retreat back. It was no longer the question of being able to ambush the commercial caravan.

With the sudden change in the situation, the Prophet (s.a.w.) consulted his companions, putting responsibility directly with them, when explaining the challenge.

Al-Muqdad bin Amru declared:

By Allah, if you ordered us to walk on the embers of tamarisk 66 or the thorns of al- haras 67 we would walk with you. By Allah we will not say to you what the Israelites had said to Musa (Moses), 'Go you and your Lord, then fight you both, surely we will here sit down' but, 'Go and carry out your Lord's order, surely we are fighting with you.

The representative of the Ansar, Sa'd bin Ma'ath also expressed his views by saying:

...just order us to do whatever you want, take from our money whatever amount you need and leave whatever amount you wish. By Allah, if you ordered us to cross this sea we would go with you. May Allah show you what delights your eyes. Advance under the blessing of Allah. 68

The Prophet (s.a.w.) said at length:

Advance under the blessing of Allah, for Allah promised to grant me one of two things. Allah never breaks His promise. By Allah, it is as if I look at the death of Abu-Jahl, Utbah, Shaiba, so-and-so and so-and-so.

Then he ordered them to advance to the well of Badr. There, the two armies faced each other. The Prophet (s.a.w.) and Muslims invoked Allah for help. Allah aided them with angels from heaven:

When you sought aid from your Lord, so He answered you: I will assist you with a thousand of the angels following one another.

Holy Qur'an {(8:9)

Allah granted victory to His Messenger and the faithful. The Quraish were severely defeated. Their noses were rubbed in the dust and they were dishonored.

The battlefield witnessed the head-rolling of the polytheists and deviants. Only the traces of their shame and disgrace were the legacy on the pages of history and across the life of their followers.


66. Tamarisk's embres remain red-hot for a long time

67. Al-Haras is a kind of bush with long thorns.

68. Al-Bihar, vol. 19, p.218; Al-Mizan, exegesis of the surah of al-An'fal.

Adapted from the book: "Muhammad; The Messenger of Allah"

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