Battle of Badr

Battle of Badr

Battle of Badr is a subject that has been touched upon in the Quran. This battle was the first battle that the Muslims fought against the polytheists of Mecca. The Muslims won a decisive victory in this battle.

In this article on Islam4u, we will take a look at:

How the Battle of Badr Happened

When the Muslims were in Mecca, they were harassed and persecuted by the polytheists. As a result, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and his progeny, migrated to Medina, a migration known as Hijrah or Hegira (هِجرَة). Later, this incident became the starting point of the Islamic calendar. The people of Medina were supporters of the Prophet and that was why the Prophet decided to migrate there.

They were known as the Anṣār (انصار), meaning friends or helpers. Moreover, the group of people who migrated along with the prophet from Mecca came to be known as the Muhājirūn (مُهاجِرون). Unfortunately, the possessions of the Muhājirūn were confiscated in Mecca by the polytheists. Therefore, the Muslims were under a lot of pressure at the hands of the polytheists who had imposed a strict economic embargo on them. Thereupon, Allah, while mentioning the oppression the Muslims had to suffer at the hands of the polytheists in the Quran, ordered the Muslims to fight the polytheists of Quraysh:

أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَاتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُوا ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلَىٰ نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ ﴿39﴾

Those who are fought against are permitted [to fight] because they have been wronged, and Allah is indeed able to help them

الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِن دِيَارِهِم بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ إِلَّا أَن يَقُولُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّـهُ ۗ وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ اللَّـهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُم بِبَعْضٍ لَّهُدِّمَتْ صَوَامِعُ وَبِيَعٌ وَصَلَوَاتٌ وَمَسَاجِدُ يُذْكَرُ فِيهَا اسْمُ اللَّـهِ كَثِيرًا ۗ وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ اللَّـهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ ﴿40﴾

—those who were expelled from their homes unjustly, only because they said, ‘Allah is our Lord.’ Had not Allah repulsed the people from one another, ruin would have befallen the monasteries, churches, synagogues and mosques in which Allah’s Name is much invoked. Allah will surely help those who help Him. Indeed Allah is all-strong, all-mighty. 1

Where Was Battle of Badr Fought?

Badr was a region in between Mecca and Medina that was lush and had a well. Because Badr had water, it was considered as a resting place for the caravans that were coming from Mecca and Medina. At the moment, Badr is a small town that is inhabited by a few tribes of the Hejaz.

Muslims Leave Medina to Fight the Battle of Badr

God ordered His prophet to leave Medina in order to defeat the caravan or army of the polytheists:

وَإِذْ يَعِدُكُمُ اللَّـهُ إِحْدَى الطَّائِفَتَيْنِ أَنَّهَا لَكُمْ وَتَوَدُّونَ أَنَّ غَيْرَ ذَاتِ الشَّوْكَةِ تَكُونُ لَكُمْ وَيُرِيدُ اللَّـهُ أَن يُحِقَّ الْحَقَّ بِكَلِمَاتِهِ وَيَقْطَعَ دَابِرَ الْكَافِرِينَ ﴿7﴾

When Allah promised you [victory over] one of the two companies, [saying], ‘It is for you,’ you were eager that it should be the one that was unarmed. But Allah desires to confirm the truth with His words, and to root out the faithless, 2

Because the polytheists of Mecca had confiscated the possessions of the Muhājirūn, it was only logical that they halt the caravan of Abu Sufyan who was returning to Mecca from the Levant (شام). However, Abu Sufyan somehow had discovered that he was being pursued, therefore, he deviated his path and managed to inform the Meccans of the Prophet’s army. That is when an army of over a thousand troops was prepared by the polytheists to fight against the army of the Prophet that only consisted of 313 forces.

The Muslim Army Settles at Badr

On the fifteenth of Ramadan, the Muslims reached the region of Badr. According to historical accounts, when they got close to the wells of Badr, Gabriel (جبرائیل) told the Prophet that the army of Quraysh is approaching them. At this moment, Miqdad (مِقداد) who was among the Muhājirūn stood up and said, “O Apostle of God! Carry out whatever God has commanded you.

We are not like the people of Moses who said, ‘You go and your God fight them and we will sit here,’ but rather, we will fight alongside you.” Likewise, Sa‘d ibn Ma‘ādh who was from the Anṣār stood up and declared his support for the Prophet. The Prophet got very happy and said, “God has informed me of our victory against one of the two groups (either the caravan or the army).”

The Muslims Win a Decisive Victory at the Battle of Badr

Even though the number of Muslims was much less than the polytheists, God sent thousands of angels to aid them:

وَلَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمُ اللَّـهُ بِبَدْرٍ وَأَنتُمْ أَذِلَّةٌ ۖ فَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ ﴿123﴾

Certainly Allah helped you at Badr, when you were weak [in the enemy’s eyes]. So be wary of Allah so that you may give thanks.

إِذْ تَقُولُ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَلَن يَكْفِيَكُمْ أَن يُمِدَّكُمْ رَبُّكُم بِثَلَاثَةِ آلَافٍ مِّنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ مُنزَلِينَ ﴿124﴾

When you were saying to the faithful, ‘Is it not enough for you that your Lord should aid you with three thousand angels sent down?’

بَلَىٰ ۚ إِن تَصْبِرُوا وَتَتَّقُوا وَيَأْتُوكُم مِّن فَوْرِهِمْ هَـٰذَا يُمْدِدْكُمْ رَبُّكُم بِخَمْسَةِ آلَافٍ مِّنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ مُسَوِّمِينَ ﴿125﴾

Yes, if you are steadfast and Godwary, and should they come at you suddenly, your Lord will aid you with five thousand angels sent in [to the scene of battle].

وَمَا جَعَلَهُ اللَّـهُ إِلَّا بُشْرَىٰ لَكُمْ وَلِتَطْمَئِنَّ قُلُوبُكُم بِهِ ۗ وَمَا النَّصْرُ إِلَّا مِنْ عِندِ اللَّـهِ الْعَزِيزِ الْحَكِيمِ ﴿126﴾

Allah did not appoint it but as a good news for you and to reassure with it your hearts; and victory comes only from Allah, the All-mighty, the All-wise, 3

God also caused the number of the polytheists appear little in their eyes and the number of Muslims to be twice as much to the polytheists:

قَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ آيَةٌ فِي فِئَتَيْنِ الْتَقَتَا ۖ فِئَةٌ تُقَاتِلُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ وَأُخْرَىٰ كَافِرَةٌ يَرَوْنَهُم مِّثْلَيْهِمْ رَأْيَ الْعَيْنِ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ يُؤَيِّدُ بِنَصْرِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۗ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَعِبْرَةً لِّأُولِي الْأَبْصَارِ ﴿ ﴿13﴾

There was certainly a sign for you in the two hosts that met: one host fighting in the way of Allah and the other faithless, who saw them as visibly twice as many. Allah strengthens whomever He wishes with His help. There is indeed a moral in that for those who have insight. 4

Historians say that during the battle, the Prophet grabbed a handful of pebbles and threw them at the enemies. Then they were routed. The Quran says in this regard:

فَلَمْ تَقْتُلُوهُمْ وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّـهَ قَتَلَهُمْ ۚ وَمَا رَمَيْتَ إِذْ رَمَيْتَ وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّـهَ رَمَىٰ ۚ وَلِيُبْلِيَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْهُ بَلَاءً حَسَنًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ ﴿17﴾

You did not kill them; rather, it was Allah who killed them; and you did not throw when you threw, rather, it was Allah who threw, that He might test the faithful with a good test from Himself. Indeed Allah is all-hearing, all-knowing. 5

Conclusion

The Battle of Badr was the very first battle that was fought against the polytheists. It was somewhat of a pre-emptive battle in that God had given the leave to the Prophet to fight the polytheists for the injustice they used to commit against them. The Battle of Badr was a battle in which God sent His angels to help the Muslim warriors. If it were not for God’s grace, the Muslims would not have been victorious in this battle as their number was much less than their enemies. One can learn from this battle that God can make anything happen if He wills it, and that God’s promises will always be fulfilled.


References

  1. Quran 22:39-40 (Qara’i).
  2. Quran 8:7 (Qara’i).
  3. Quran 3:123-126 (Qara’i).
  4. Quran 3:13 (Qara’i).
  5. Quran 8:17 (Qara’i).

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Abu Mahdi
Abu Mahdi
I'm Abu Mahdi, one of the writers of this blog. I have a BA in English literature and an MA in English language teaching. I am also a teacher and reciter of the Quran in the field of reading the Quran, tajweed, and maqamat. Currently, we are working on a course for learning tajweed of the Quran here on Islam4u.

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