VI- Prophet's Biography
Battle of Badr
Quraysh used to go to Ash-Shâm (The Levant, Syria) for trade. During such a trip, they used to pass by Al-Madînah. One of these trips was in the month of Jumâdâ of the year 2 A.H. (After Hijrah), when their largest caravan was led by Abu-Sufyân ibn Harb, accompanied by more than 30 Qurayshis.
The news reached the Muslims in Al-Madînah, so they found it a good opportunity to take back some of what Quraysh fortified from them when they migrated from Makkah to Al-Madînah The Prophet (SAWS) went out to meet them, accompanied by 150 men from Al-Muhâjirîn (emigrsants). However, he could not catch up with them. This expedition is called Al-`Ashîrah, after the name of a valley near to Badr.
Later, when the Prophet (SAWS) heard that the caravan was on its way back, he decided to meet. Therefore in one day of the first 10 days of Ramadan, the prophet went out again to meet them. with 314 men from the Al-Muhâjirîn (emigrants) and Al-Ansâr (supporters), The Muslims had two horses and 70 camels then.
When Abu-Sufiyân cautiously approached Al-Hijâz (the Western part of the Arabian Peninsula), he knew about the Muslim army and their intention. Therefore, he left the main route and took an alternative one, parallel to the coast. Then he sent a man to Makkah to ask Quraysh for help if they want to save their goods and profits. Quraysh prepared 950 men to march and meet the Prophet (SAWS) and his companions. The army of Quraysh included 100 horsemen and 700 camels.
When the Prophet (SAWS) knew about the huge army coming to face them, he gathered his followers and asked for their advice. They all agreed to march out to meet them. On reaching near the valley of Badr, the Prophet (SAWS) was informed that Abu-Sufyân has averted them with the caravan, and that the army of Quraysh behind the Badr valley.
After hearing that the caravan was safe, Abu-Jahl sent word to the army that they should not return to Makkah until they reach Badr. They should stay there and slaughter animals for food, distribute it together with wine among other Arabs, so they would fear them and take heed of them.
The disbelievers' (associators') army camped on the far side of the valley, whereas the Muslim army with the Prophet (SAWS) were on the near side. There was no water on the Muslims side. Therefore, Allah (SWT) sent down rain so the Muslims could drink and so that the earth would become more firm. This made it easy for the Muslim army to move. On the opposite side, where Quraysh army was, the land has changed into mud.
The Prophet (SAWS) with his army came to the nearest wet land to where Quraysh were camping and ordered for a basin to be built. He (SAWS) also ordered his army to destroy the wells behind. This way the disbelievers will loose hope to get water from behind them. Then he allowed his followers to build a hut of palm branches, where he could stay in. They did so and built it on an elevation overlooking the battle field.
In the morning of Tuesday the 17th of Ramadan, year 2 A.H., the two armies came face to face. The Prophet (SAWS) was setting the ranks of his army until it was in order. Then he looked at Quraysh and said, “O Allah this is Quraysh came here to challenge you with its pride and horses. It also came to belie your Prophet. O Allah I pray for your victory which you have promised me”.
From the opposing army of disbelievers, three came out to the middle of the battlefield for the first challenge: Utbah ibn Rabî`ah, his son Al-Walîd, and his brother Shaybah. This was the custom of battles in the old times, where notable warriors from each side step up for a one-to-one challenge at the start. In response, three of the Al-Ansâr from the Muslim army went out to face them. The first three stubbornly refused this challenge, saying: “We would rather fight someone more qualified, someone from our cousins [i.e. Qurayshis]”. And out came Hamzah ibn `Abdul-Muttalib, `Ubaydah ibn ul-Hârith and `Ali ibn Abu-Tâlib, to accept this renewed challenge. Hamzah took on Shaybah, as `Ubaydah took on `Utbah, and `Ali faced Al-Walîd. While Hamzah and `Ali defeated their opponents, the third challenge ended up with `Ubaydah and his opponent both seriously injured. Seeing this, Hamzah and `Ali helped `Ubaydah win, and carried him, wounded, back to their side. The injury was unfortunately too serious and he passed away later, may Allah be pleased with him.
The full scale attack then started, and the Prophet (SAWS) came out of his hut, encouraging his army by saying: "Soon the gathering will be routed and (they) will turn their backs." (TMQ, Al-Qamar: 45). Then he picked up a handful of dust and threw it in the enemy’s direction calling: “May confusion seize their faces" (criticizing their ugly faces that are filled with hatred and disbelief). He then turned back to his companions and went on encouraging them, saying: “Fight them with all your power”.
The battle was getting tougher and tougher; reaching its climax while the two sides engaged fiercely against each other. It seemed that the Muslims were highly outnumbered, but Allah had his way of changing the odds. Being on Muhammad’s side (SAWS), Allah gracefully helped the Muslims and supplied them with the angels of Victory (Malâ'ikat un-Nasr), that were sent to fight along their side. Barely an hour passed before the enemies fled for their lives, and the Muslims were victorious. The Muslims took 70 prisoners, and killed 70 fighters, many of which were from Quraysh’s best men.
As soon as the battle ended, the Prophet (SAWS) ordered that the Muslim martyrs (only 14!) be buried, and that the dead among the disbelievers be thrown into the pit of Badr.
The next thing the Prophet (SAWS) ordered was the collection of the winnings from the battlefield, and he sent a messenger to the people back in Al-Madînah to pass on the news of victory.
Upon returning to Al-Madînah, the Prophet (SAWS) distributed the booty between the returning soldiers, as well as the Muslims who stayed behind in the city for certain necessities, putting aside the share of those who were martyred, to give it later to their (inheriting) families. After seeking the advice of his companions about the prisoners, the Prophet came to a decision: They were to be kept safe, and traded with Quraysh for a ransom.
Quraysh later started to send ransom money in return for the captives. The amount they paid ranged between 1000 to 4000 dirhams (dirham: a silver coin ~ 3.11 gm) per captive, depending on his rank in the tribe. Some of the captives were not so lucky and did not get ransomed, but the Prophet (SAWS) found the wise way out. He made it possible for the literate between them to pay their own ransom by teaching 10 Muslim children how to read and write.
Among the captives was Al-`Abbâs ibn `Abdul-Muttalib, the Prophet (SAWS)’s uncle. He was not exempt from paying ransom, even though he fought with the disbelievers against his own will. Al-`Abbâs later embraced Islam but he did not announce it until the conquest of Makkah.
Abul-`Âs ibn ur-Rabî`, who was Zaynab’s [the Prophet (SAWS)’s daughter] husband, also was among the captives. Zaynab sent her necklace to the Prophet (SAWS) as ransom for Abul-`Âs’s release. However, the necklace was returned to her and the Prophet (SAWS) instead asked Abul-`Âs to allow Zaynab to immigrate to Al-Madînah in return for his freedom. Abul-`Âs fulfilled his promise after returning to Makkah. He embraced Islam before the conquest of Makkah. Only then the Prophet (SAWS) allowed Zaynab to return to Abul-`Âs.
There were few prisoners of war who were released by the Prohet’s (SAWS) generoisty without a ransom, like what happened in the case of Abu-`Azzah Al-Jumahy who was released without ransom but with the promise to the Prophet (SAWS) that he will quit using his poems against Islam. Once he was back in Makkah, he did not fulfil his promise. He was killed later on after the Battle of Uhud.
Among the dead of the enemy were: Abu-Jahl ibn Hishâm, Umayyah ibn Khalaf, `Utbah and Shaybah ibn Rabî`ah, Handhalah ibn Abu-Sufyân, Al-Walîd ibn `Utbah, Al-Jarrâh [Abu-`Ubaydah’s father] who was killed by his son Abu-`Ubaydah.
Among the Muslim martyrs of Badr were 14. Of them, were 6 of Al-Muhâjirîn and 8 of Al-Ansâr. Some of the Muhâjirîn were: `Ubaydah ibn ul-H â rith and `Umayr ibn Abu-Waqqâs, and of the Ansâr were: `Awf and Mu`awwith sons of `Afrâ' of Al-Khazraj [they killed Abu-Jahl], and Sa`d ibn Khuzaymah of Al-Aws, who was one of the men of the Pledge of Al-`Aqabah.
This great battle concluded with the Muslim’s great victory against many odds. They were few in number against great masses of their enemy. This was one of the great proofs of Allah’s support and care for the Muslims who were true in will and full with tranquillity in their hearts. They also had complete trust in what the Prophet (SAWS) have promised them, victory and triumph. After this battle, respect and awe for Muslims spread between the Arabs. The Muslims came out of it with lots of honor, charisma and might. Thanks be to Allah, Lord of `Âlamîn (Lord of mankind, jinn and all that exists.