AR-RaheeQ Al-Makhtum (THE
SEALED NECTAR)- Memoirs of the Noble Prophet
Author: Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri - Jamia Salafia - India-
Translated by : Issam Diab
Pages : 1. 2. 3.4.5 .6 .7 .8 .9.10 .11 .12 .13 .14 .15.16 .17
The Battle of
The First Decisive Battle in the History of Islam
Reason of the Battle:
We have already spoken about Al-‘Ushairah
Invasion when a caravan belonging to Quraish had escaped an
imminent military encounter with the Prophet
and his men. When their return from Syria approached, the Prophet
despatched Talhah bin ‘Ubaidullâh and Sa‘id 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
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 polytheists.
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 small scale.
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 Al-Miqdad
bin Al-Aswad Al-Kindi, 70 camels, one for two or three men to
ride alternatively. The Messenger of Allâh
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 Mus‘ab 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 Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh. 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 Sa‘sa‘ah. The General Commander-in-Chief
was the Prophet , of course.
The Prophet ,
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
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 .
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-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 Muhammad
and his companions. I cannot say what would have happened to them.
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 .
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 Ju‘sham 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 their
"…boastfully and to
be seen of men, and hinder (men) from the path of Allâh.
Or as the Prophet
"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 Sufyan’s
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
Abu Jahl’s 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 Jahl’s threats made them desist from
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
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
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 ) 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)." [8:5, 6]
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
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 ?- peace
be upon him - :
"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."
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 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.
"Advise me my men!"
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 directly said: "Oh, yes!" Sa‘d
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."
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 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 Sa‘d 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 Quraish. But 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 isn’t true, alluding to the
caravan laden with wealth. The two boys thus lied, and so they
were released. The Prophet
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
He then turned to the Muslims
and said: "Hearken, Quraish has sent you their most precious
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 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
approved of his plan and agreed to carry it out, which they
actually did at midnight.
Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh suggested
that a trellis be built for the Prophet
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 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
A squad of guards was also
chosen from amongst the Helpers under the leadership of the same
man, Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh, in order to defend the Prophet
in his headquarters.
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.
"(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 Friday night, Ramadan
17th., the year 2 A.H.
In the morning, the Prophet
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 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 Rabi‘a and others, Abu Jahl
started an anti-campaign seeking vengeance on Muhammad
’s followers for the Quraishites killed at Nakhlah. In 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
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 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. The
Noble Qur’ân, 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:
"(O disbelievers) 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
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 Rabi‘a 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
Mu‘wwadh — 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 asked
‘Ubaidah bin Al-Harith, Hamzah — his uncle, and his cousin
‘Ali - may Allah be pleased with him - to go forward for the
combat. The three duels were rapid. Hamzah killed Shaibah, while
‘Ali killed Al-Waleed. ‘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 Allâh’s Words were revealed
"These two opponents (believers
and disbelievers) dispute with each other about their
These verses were revealed in
connection with men of Faith who confess their Lord and seek to
carry out His Will (i.e. Muhammad ’s
followers at Badr Battle), and men who deny their Lord and defy
Him (the people of Quraish).
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 saying:
"O Allâh! Should this
group (of Muslims) be defeated today, You will no longer
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
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."
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." [8:9]
The Prophet ,
in his trellis, dozed off a little and then raised his head
"O Abu Bakr, glad
tidings are there for you: Allâh’s victory has
approached, by Allâh, I can see Gabriel on his mare in
the thick of a sandstorm."
He then jumped out crying:
"Their multitude will
be put to flight, and they will show their backs." [54:45]
At the instance of Gabriel, the
Prophet 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 ) threw not when you did throw but
Allâh threw." [8:17]
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." [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
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 and related that event to him. The
Prophet replied: ‘You have told the truth. This was the
help from the third heaven."
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 replied:
"Be quiet, Allâh the
All-Mighty strengthened you with the help of a noble
Iblîs, the archsatan, in
the guise of Suraqah bin Malik bin Ju‘sham 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 Jahl. I 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 moment’s
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 ? 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 Jahl’s spoils were given to
Mu‘adh bin ‘Amr bin Al-Jumuh, because the other Mu‘awwadh
bin Al-‘Afrâ’ was later killed in the course of the
same battle. At the termination of the battle, the Prophet
wanted to look for this archenemy of Islam, Abu Jahl. ‘Abdullah
bin Mas‘ud 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 Mas‘ud replied
"Allâh and His Messenger." Abu Jahl then said with a
heart full of grudge "You have followed difficult ways, you
shepherd!" Ibn Mas‘ud used to be a shepherd working for
the Makkan aristocrats.
Ibn Mas‘ud then cut off his
head and took it to the Messenger of Allâh
who, on seeing it, began to entertain Allâh’s praise:
"Allâh is Great,
praise is to Allâh, Who has fulfilled His Promise,
assisted His servant and defeated the confederates alone."
He then set out to have a look
at the corpse. There he said:
"This is the Pharaoh
of this nation."
Some Significant Instances of
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 ’s recommendation. The combat went on to
end in Al-Bukhtari’s death.
- The Prophet 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 , addressing ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, said
"Is it fair that the face of the Messenger’s 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 Al-Yamamah
- 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 while the latter was still in
Makkah. He also neither hurt nor was reported to have
uttered anything repugnant with regard to the Prophet . He had as well been among the people who
tried to invalidate the boycott alliance taken against
Banu Hashim and Banu ‘Abdul Muttalib.
- ‘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 ’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 Omaiyah’s
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 Al-Khattab did not spare the life of any polytheist
even his uncle on the maternal side Al-‘As bin Hisham
- 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 looked into the face of Sa‘d
bin Mu‘adh, the Head of the Prophet ’s guards, and understood that he was
hateful to taking the enemy elements as prisoners. Sa‘d
agreed to what the Prophet 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 Al-Asdi broke down so the
Prophet 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, Mus‘ab bin ‘Umair Al-‘Abdari saw
his brother, still a polytheist, being handcuffed by a
Ansari. Mus‘ab recommended that the Helper tighten the
knot for the prisoner’s mother was wealthy enough to
ransom her son. ‘Abu ‘Aziz, Mus‘ab’s 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 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 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 whispered in his ears some comforting words.
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
’s bitterest opponents, were among the slain. Chief of these
was Abu Jahl.
On the third day, the Messenger
of Allâh 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 me."
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 Lord’s 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
answered: "By Him in Whose hand is Muhammad ’s
soul! You do not hear better what I am saying than they do."
Reaction in Makkah:
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-Khuza‘i.
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 Lahab’s 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 at him.
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 affliction.
Madinah receives the News of
Two heralds, ‘Abdullah bin
Rawahah and Zaid bin Harithah were despatched to Madinah, to
convey the glad tidings of victory to the Muslims there.
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
had been killed, and tried to impress their false assumption on
the fact that Zaid bin Harithah was riding Al-Qaswâ’, the
Prophet ’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 Allâh’s Name and entertaining His praise at the top
of their voices. Their chiefs went out of the city to wait and
receive the Prophet on the road leading to Badr.
Usamah bin Zaid related that
they received the news of the manifest victory shortly after
Ruqaiyah, the Prophet ’s
daughter, and the wife of ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan had been
committed to earth. She had been terminally ill and the Prophet
had asked ‘Uthman to stay in Madinah and look after her.
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 suspended any solution whereof until the
Revelation was sent down.
‘Ubadah bin As-Samit said:
"We went out with the Messenger of Allâh
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
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 ,
they also made similar claims to the spoils.
At that very time, a Qur’ânic
verse was revealed saying:
"They ask you (O
Muhammad ) 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 ), if you are believers." [8:1]
On their way back to Madinah, at
a large sand hill, the Prophet
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 . 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 answered, "The fire
(of Hell)." Did ‘Uqbah not remember the day
when he had thrown the entrails of a sheep onto the head of the
Prophet while he was
prostrating himself in prayer, and Fatimah had come and washed it
off him? He had also strangled the Prophet with his cloak if it had
not been for Abu Bakr to intervene and release the Prophet . 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 Allâh’s
praise, he excused himself for not having joined them on grounds
that the Prophet ’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 assured Usaid that he
had believed him.
The Prophet 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 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)."
preferred Abu Bakr’s suggestion to that of ‘Umar’s. The
following day, ‘Umar called on the Prophet 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 said that a Qur’ânic
verse had been revealed rebuking them for taking ransom from the
captives rather than slaying them:
"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." [8:67,68]
The previous Divine ordainment
went as follows,
"Thereafter (is the
time) either for generosity (i.e. free them without
ransom) or ransom." [47:4]
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 captive’s financial situation. Another form of ransom
assumed an educational dimension; most of the Makkans, unlike the
Madinese, 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 , 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 but on condition that
Abul-‘As allow Zainab to migrate to Madinah, which he actually
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 turned
down his suggestion for fear Quraish should retaliate in the same
manner on one hand, and on the other for fear of Allâh’s wrath
on the Day of Resurrection.
Sa‘d bin An-Nu‘man, a lesser
pilgrim detained in Makkah, was released in return for setting
Abu Sufyan’s son, a captive, free.
The Battle of Badr in its Qur’ânic
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
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 Messenger .
After that He delineated the
noble objectives for which the Messenger 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 only.
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
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
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 Allâh’s
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.
"And remember 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
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