Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Battle of Badr (غزوة بدر)

The Battle of Badr (Arabic: غزوة بدر‎), 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), was a key battle in the early days of Islam and a turning point in Muhammad's struggle with his opponents among the Quraish[1] in Mecca. The battle has been passed down in Islamic history as a decisive victory attributable to divine intervention, or by secular sources to the strategic genius of Muhammad. It is one of the few battles specifically mentioned in the Quran. Most contemporary knowledge of the battle at Badr comes from traditional Islamic accounts, both hadiths and biographies of Muhammad, recorded in written form some time after the battle.[2]


Prior to the battle, the Muslims and Meccans had fought several smaller skirmishes in late 623 and early 624, as the Muslim ghazawāt (prophet-led battles) had become more frequent. Badr, however, was the first large-scale engagement between the two forces. Advancing to a strong defensive position, Muhammad's well-disciplined force broke the Meccan lines, killing several important Quraishi leaders including Muhammad's chief antagonist, 'Amr ibn Hishām.[citation needed] For the early Muslims the battle was the first sign that they might eventually defeat their enemies among the Meccans. Mecca at that time was one of the richest and most powerful cities in Arabia, fielding an army three times larger than that of the Muslims.[citation needed] The Muslim victory also signalled other tribes that a new power had arisen in Arabia and strengthened Muhammad’s position as leader of the often fractious community in Medina.[citation needed]


The battle of Badr was the most important among the Islamic battles of Destiny. For the first time the followers of the new faith were put into a serious test. Had victory been the lot of the pagan army while the Islamic Forces were still at the beginning of their developments, the faith of Islam could have come to an end.
No one was aware of the importance of the outcome of the Battle as the Prophet (S.A.W.) himself. We might read the depth of his anxiety in his prayerbefore the beginning of the Battle when he stood up supplicating 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. [1]
At this battle in which the pagan army consisted of 950 fighters and 314 (including the Messenger S.A.W.), the Islamic defense was a combination of three defensive lines :
  1. The personality of the Messenger, his leadership and his unequalled firmness. He (S.A.W.) was to the Muslims the final refuge at Badr and at every battle he attended.
  2. The Hashmites (the clan of the Prophet S.A.W.), led by Ali Ibn 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.
  3. 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 (S.A.W.) used to stand. Thet were the attackers and the defenders.
As to the clan of the Messenger they were the ones that he used to call before any one else, to offer the heavy sacrifice. They used to stand in the first line of defense opening for the army the way through their thrusts in the line of the enemies. When the general offensives began and every companion participated, the clan of the Messenger (S.A.W.) were the most damaging to the enemies. They were so at Badr and at the following battles.
The battle began when Utbah Ibn Rabi-ah, his son Al Walid and his brother Sheibah (all from the Ommayad) stood in front of the pagan army and asked the Prophet (S.A.W.) to send to them their equals for a dual. Hundreds ofcompanions were around him and many of them were expecting to be called upon by the Prophet (S.A.W.) but he choose 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 Ali, Al Hamza and Obeidah Al Harith (all from the clan of the Prophet) to face the three warriors. Ali 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.
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 Messenger (S.A.W.) distinguised themselves. Ali's endeavour was unique at this battle. When Hanthala Ibn Abu Sufyan faced him, Ali 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."
The Messsnger (S.A.W.) took a handful of gravel when the battle was extremely heated. He threw it at the faces of the pagans saying " May Your faces be disfigured. God, terrify their hearts and invalidated their feet. " The pagans ran away, turning their faces to no one.
The Muslims went on killing them and taking prisoners. 70 pagans met their death, and the Muslims took from them 70 prisoners. History preserved in its records only fifth of the names out of the 70 pagan loses. Twenty [2] or twenty two [3] of them died at Ali's hand.
This battle 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.