|Badr is located about 80 miles from Madina|
When the battle was fought :
|Friday, 17th Ramzan 2 AH, 13th March 624 AD.|
|313 men, mainly infantry with 2 horses & 70 camels|
|1000 men, mainly riders with 100 horses and 700 camels|
|Vary between 14 and 100 according to different traditions|
|72 out of which 36 killed by Imam Ali(a.s.)|
|Battle won by Muslims|
|And 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..”
Sura Aal-e-Imran 3:123 & 124
A Historical Perspective
The battle of Badr was the first of the great battles of Islam. The faithfuls were put to the first real test during this battle. Badr is the name of a celebrated well and a market-place of Arabia, and is so named after a certain Badr bin Quraish bin Mukhlad bin an-Nadr bin Kananah, who hailed from the clan of Ghaffar.
From the start of Ramzan, a report reached to Madina that a large trading caravan of Quraish was returning to Mecca from Syria under the leadership of Abu Sufyan bin Harb accompanied by fifty armed guards. It has been pointed out that this richly loaded caravan constituted a grave threat to the security of Madina, therefore, Prophet Mohammad(pbuh&hf) dispatched Talha bin Ubaidullah and Saeed bin Zaid, to gather intelligence about the caravan and to report back. It was discovered that it was a large caravan in which all the Makkans had shares. The Quraish had decided to put all their savings into it and use the profits on arms, horses and other items of war to use against the Muslims.
The news was highly disturbing. The Prophet (S.A.W) left Madina and decided to meet the caravan in Badr with 313 men. Among them only 2 were on horses and 70 had camels and the rest were on foot. There were only 6 men with protective gear (zirah). Imam Ali(a.s.) was the standard bearer of the Muslim army.
Abu Sufyan feared an attack from the Muslims and sent a messenger to Makkah telling them of his fears. On receiving the message, an army of 1000 men, 100 horses and 700 camels under the leadership of Abu Jahl left Makkah to go to Badr. Meanwhile Abu Sufyan took a different route back to Makkah avoiding Badr. When the army of Abu Jahl reached at Jahfah, a little half-way to Badr, an emissary of Abu Sufyan – or Abu Sufyan himslef according to some traditions – met with the army of Abu Jahl and informed them that the caravan had passed through the danger zone safely and that it was not necessary to march towards Madina. On hearing this, some of them counselled that they should go back, but Abu Jahl and his party rejected the suggestion violently in their proudness and the lust of power and their desire to crush the Muslim army and proceeded towards Badr.
The importance of the first great battle of Islam
The personality of the Messenger(pbuh&hf), his leadership and his unequalled firmness. He was to the Muslims the final refuge at Badr and at every battle he attended. The Hashmites (the clan of the Prophet(pbuh&hf)), led by Imam Ali ibn-e-Abu Talib(a.s..) who entered this battle relatively obscure and came out with unequalled military fame. His military performances became the popular subject of the Arab caravans conversations throughout the Arabic Peninsula.
The hundreds of companions of the Messenger whose hearts were filled with the faith and readiness for sacrifice. Many of them viewed matrydom to be a gain, equal to life and victory. These good companions were the army of Islam, its first line of defense and thick wall behind which the Messenger(pbuh&hf) used to stand. They were the attackers and the defenders.
The importance of the outcome of the battle were evident from the prayers of the Prophet(pbuh&hf) himself. Abdul Malik ibn-e-Hushham narrates in his book As-Seerah An-Nabawiyah that the Prophet(pbuh&hf) prayed to his Lord : ” God this is Quraish. It has come with all its arrogance and boastfulness, trying to discredit Thy Apostle. God, I ask Thee to humiliate them tomorrow. God, if this Muslim band will perish today, Thou shall not be worshipped.”
The two armies meet at Badr on 17th Ramzan 2 A.H.
In the beginning as per Arab custom, single combat (one to one) took place. The famous Quraysh warriors Utbah ibn-e-Rabi’ah – the father-in-law of Abu Sufyan -, his son Walid ibn-e-Utbah and his brother Shebah ibn-e-Rabi’ah came to challenge the Muslim warriors. Hundreds of companions were around the Prophet(pbuh&hf) and many of them were expecting to be called upon to start the battle but the Prophet(pbuh&hf) chose to start from his own family. The load was heavy and the heavy load could be carried only by the people to whom it belonged as he called upon Imam Ali(a.s.), Al-Hamza and Obeidah Al Harith (all from the clan of the Prophet(pbuh&hf)) to face the three warriors. Imam Ali(a.s.) destroyed Al-Walid and Al-Hamza killed Utbah; then they both assisted Obeidah against his opponent Sheibah. Sheibah died immediately and Obeidah was the first martyr at this battle. He died after he lost his leg.
The Quraysh got disturbed and began attacking en masse. When the general offensive began, hundreds of companions participated in the battle and offered sacrifices and pleased their Lord. But the members of the house of the Prophet(pbuh&hf) distinguised themselves. Imam Ali(a.s.)’s endeavour was unique at this battle. When Hanthala Ibn Abu Sufyan faced him, Imam Ali(a.s.) liquified his eyes with one blow from his sword. He annihilated Al Auss Ibn Saeed, and met Tuaima Ibn Oday and transfixed him with his spear, saying “You shall not dispute with us in God after today.”
In the thick of the battle, the Prophet(pbuh&hf) 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”.
Sura Anfa’al 8:9
According to authentic tradition, Allah(swt) had already promised victory to the muslims following the prayers of the Phophet Mohammad(pbuh&hf) and during the battle, Allah(swt) sent down first one thousand then three thousand and then five thousand angels to help the Muslim army. According to some narrators of the army of infidels, they saw these warriors having a sword in one hand and a whip in the other and whoever got stuck by the whip was instantly killed.
The mushrakeen army 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 no less that 20 of them , though some historians give his credit of killing 36 of them. 14 muslims were martyred.
70 prisoners were taken by the Muslims. This was the first opportunity of the Muslims after their long and bitter sufferings at the hands of the Meccans to wreak vengeance on them, if they chose. However, 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.
The battle of Badr strengthened the faith of the Muslims and laid the foundation of the Islamic State and made out of the Muslims a force to be reckoned with by the dwellers of the Arabic Peninsula.