|Valley of Badr|
The Battle of Badr, fought Saturday, March 13, 624 AD (17 Ramadan, 2 AH in the Islamic calendar) in the Hejaz region of western Arabia (present-day Saudi Arabia). The wells of Badr, 80 miles (130 km) southwest of Madinah, witnessed the first battle which was proved to be a turning point in Islam's struggle against the Kuffar Quraish in Makkah. For the first time the Muslim were put into a serious test of jihad.
The Battle of Badr, among the Islamic battles of Destiny, was a key battle in the early days of Islam. Most contemporary knowledge of the battle at Badr comes from traditional Islamic accounts, both hadiths and biographies of Prophet Muhammad سصلى الله عليه وسلم recorded in written form sometime after the battle.
For 10 years, while in Makkah, the Muslims were prohibited to openly fight the Kuffar because the disbelievers were greater in number and the Muslims were very few. The disbelievers went to extremes in their transgression that they forced Allah's Messenger سصلى الله عليه وسلم and his companions to leave the most sacred place, resolved to kill the Prophet and sent threats to the Muslims in Madinah. The emigration of Prophet Muhammad سصلى الله عليه وسلم to Madinah had turned the enemies from Makkah more hostile and started to bring their raids to the very outskirts of Madinah, destroying the fruit trees of the Muslims and carrying away their flocks.
As Quraish had confiscated the property of Muslim Muhajirins residing in Madinah, it was only appropriate that the Muslims should also confiscate their merchandise and if they persisted in withholding the property of the Muhajirin Muslims on account of their enmity and obstinacy, the Muslims should, as a retaliatory measure, divide their merchandise amongst themselves as war booty.
Allâh revealed first Madani verses of the Qur'an giving permission to the Muslims to fight the disbelievers. Now the Muslims had the support of the Ansaar, they had a place where Islam prevailed and where they could retreat. It was an appropriate time for Jihad.
Prophet Muhammad سصلى الله عليه وسلم stood up and said: "What is your view in the matter?"
Miqdad stood up and said: "O Prophet of Allah! Our hearts are with you and you should act according tothe orders given to you by Allâh. By Allâh! We shall not tell you what Bani Israel told Musa عليه السلام. When Musa عليه السلامasked them to perform Jihad they said to him: 'O Musa! You and your Lord should go and perform Jihad and we shall sit here'. We, however, tell you quite the reverse of it and say: Perform Jihad under the auspices of the blessings of Allâh and we are also with you and shall fight". Prophet Muhammad سصلى الله عليه وسلم was very much pleased to hear Miqdad's words and prayed for him.
Following the orders of Allâh, the Prophet سصلى الله عليه وسلم decided:
a. To control the commercial routes to Makkah.
b. To sign peace treaty with the Jews and neighbouring tribes.
c. To caution and discourage the disbelievers by ambushing the caravans along the commercial routes.
Prophet Muhammad سصلى الله عليه وسلم collected information about the strength of the enemy and his location. The information received was as under were :
a. The leader of the caravan is Abu Sufyan and there are about forty persons who guard it.
b. The merchandise is loaded on one thousand camels and its value is about fifty thousand dinars.
c. It is a big caravan and all Makkans have shares in its merchandise.
The Battle Ground
The Badr wells were located on the gentle slope of the eastern side of a valley called "Yalyal". The western side of the valley was hemmed in by a large hill called 'Aqanqal. When the Muslim army arrived from the east, Muhammad سصلى الله عليه وسلم initially chose to form his army at the first well he encountered. Hubab ibn al-Muhdir, however, asked him if this choice was divine instruction or Muhammad's own opinion. When Muhammad سصلى الله عليه وسلم responded in the latter, Hubab suggested that the Muslims occupy the well closest to the Quraishi army, and block off the other ones. Muhammad سصلى الله عليه وسلم accepted this decision and moved right away.
At midnight on March 13, the Quraish broke camp and marched into the valley of Badr. It had rained the previous day and they struggled to move their horses and camels up the hill of 'Aqanqal. After they descended from 'Aqanqal, the Quraish set up another camp inside the valley. While they rested, they sent out a scout, Umayr ibn Wahb to reconnoitre the Muslim lines. Umayr reported that Muhammad's army was small, and that there were no other Muslim reinforcements which might join the battle.
Seeing the Quraish in the distance, Prophet Muhammad سصلى الله عليه وسلم prayed for help from Allâh. The help from Allâh came through the following revealation :
إِذْ تَسْتَغِيثُونَ رَبَّكُمْ فَاسْتَجَابَ لَكُمْ أَنِّي مُمِدُّكُمْ بِأَلْفٍ مِنَ الْمَلائِكَةِ مُرْدِفِينَ (٩)
Remember when you sought help of your Lord and He answered you (saying): “ I will help you with a thousand the angels each behind the other (following one another) in succession. ( Al-Anfâl 8 : 9 )
It was an old custom of the Arabs that in the beginning of a battle single combats were resorted to, and later general fighting began.
a. Three famous warriors of Quraish came out of their ranks and challenged for a fight. They were two brothers Utbah and Shaybah, sons of Rabiyyah, and Walid bin Utbah and all of them were fully armed. Three brave men from amongst the Ansars named Awf, Ma'uz and Abdullah Rawahah came out of the ranks of the Muslims. Utbah, however, realized that they were from Madinah and said to them: "We have nothing to do with you".
b. Then a man (from amongst Quraish) shouted: "O Muhammad! Send our equals to fight with us!" Prophet Muhammad سصلى الله عليه وسلم send the following :
(1) Ali, who was the youngest of them, met Walid (maternal uncle of Mu'awiyah).
(2) Hamzah faced Utbah (maternal grandfather of Mu'awiyah).
(3) Ubaydah fought with Shaybah.
Hamzah killed his opponent Utbah, Ali killed his opponent Walid ibn Utbah, then after Ubayda was wounded by his opponent Shayba, Ubayda then killed him. So this was a victorious traditional 3 on 3 combat for the Muslims.
Then both armies began striking arrows at each other. A few Muslims and an unknown number of Quraish warriors were killed. Before the real attack began, Muhammad had given orders for the Muslims to attack with their ranged weapons, and only engage the Quraish with melee weapons when they advanced.
Then Prophet Muhammad سصلى الله عليه وسلم picked up some dust and throwing it towards Quraish, said: "May your faces be metamorphosed!" Thereafter he gave orders for general attack.
The signs of victory of the Muslims began to appear soon. The enemies were stricken with terror and began to flee. The Muslims, who were fighting with the help of their faith, and knew that both killing and being killed were blessings of Allâh , were perfectly undaunted and nothing stopped their advance.
In the Battle of Badr, Bilal's (the Ethiopian) encounter on Umayyah ibn Khalaf and he realized that Abdur Rahman wanted to favour him. He, therefore, cried aloud: "O friends of Allah! Umayyah ibn Khalaf is one of the chiefs of unbelievers. He should not be allowed to live". The Muslims encircled Umayyah ibn Khalaf from all sides and put him and his son to death.
The Makkah Quraishi, understrength and unenthusiastic about fighting, promptly broke and ran. The battle itself only lasted a few hours and was over by the early afternoon.
Battle of the Figures
Commanders and Leaders
313 Infantry & Cavalry: 2 Horses and 70 camels
950 Infantry & Cavalry: 100 Horses and 700 Camels
Casualties and Losses
The Messenger of Allah pardoned the captives and accepted ransom from them. He was gracious to those who had nothing and set them free. The Quraish sent money to ransom the captives and he set them free too.
Among the captives were those who had nothing with which to ransom themselves. The Messenger of Allah allowed them to earn their freedom by teaching the children of the Ansar to write. Each prisoner taught ten Muslims. Zayd ibn Thabit was one of those who learned in this way from the captives of Badr.
The Quranic Verses Related to Battle of Badr
The first Quran revealation in Madinah is pertaining the permission to fight against the disbelievers :
أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَاتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُوا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ (٣٩)
"Permission to fight ( against disbelievers) is given to those (believers) who are fought against, because they have been wronged, and surely Allâh is Able to give them (believers) victory." (Al Hajj 22: 39)
وَلَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ بِبَدْرٍ وَأَنْتُمْ أَذِلَّةٌ فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ (١٢٣)
And Allâh has already made you victorious at Badr, when you were a weak little force. So fear Allâh much that you may be grateful. ( Ăl ‘Imrân 3 : 123 )
إِذْ تَقُولُ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَلَنْ يَكْفِيَكُمْ أَنْ يُمِدَّكُمْ رَبُّكُمْ بِثَلاثَةِ آلافٍ مِنَ الْمَلائِكَةِ مُنْزَلِينَ (١٢٤)
(Remember) when you (Muhammad saw) said to the believers, “Is it not enough for you that your lord (Allâh) should help you with three thousand angels sent down?” . ( Ăl ‘Imrân 3 : 124 )
Factors within Battles
Battles are decided by various factors. The number and quality of combatants and equipment, the skill of the commanders of each army, and the terrain advantages are among the most prominent factors :
a. Generals and commanders also play a decisive role during combat. An army that can trust the commands of their leaders with conviction in its success invariably has a higher morale than an army that doubts its every move. The courage and leadership traits were portrayed through the Prophet Muhammad سصلى الله عليه وسلم and the three companions :- Hamzah, Ali and Ubaydah رضي الله عنه .
b. Battles can also be determined by terrain. Capturing high ground, for example, has been the central strategy in innumerable battles. An army that holds the high ground forces the enemy to climb, and thus wear themselves down. Areas of dense vegetation, such as jungles and forest, act as force-multipliers, of benefit to inferior armies. The Muslim army reached the battlefield of Badr first and took control of the stream there, so that the enemy could not face the Muslim army for long without water. Arguably, terrain is of less importance in modern warfare, due to the advent of aircraft, though terrain is still vital for camouflage, especially for guerrilla warfare.
c. The employment of men and weapons were planned accordingly to it capabilities :
(1) Engaging distanced enemy with arrows as per the use of artillery during conventional warfare.
(2) Horsemen or Cavalry was the second line of defence.
(3) Followed with closed combat fighting.
d. The numeric ratio 3 : 1 of an attacking force in conventional war may had been deprived from the Battle of Badr.
e. One of the praiseworthy policies adopted by Prophet Muhammad سصلى الله عليه وسلم in all the battles was that he used to collect information about the strength of the enemy and his location.
f. Prayers and request for help from Allâh is a weapon which were seldom used by the Muslims nowadays.
Categories: Historical Battles of Islam