(2nd Year of Hijrah, Ramadan / 13 March 624, Friday)
The Trade Caravan of Quraysh
In the 2nd year of Hijrah, the Qurayshi polytheists prepared a trade caravan. Almost everybody, men and women, in Makkah had shares in this caravan, which was going to be sent to Damascus. The money to be obtained from this big trade caravan, which consisted of one thousand camels and whose capital was fifty thousand dinars, was going to be used to buy weapons in preparation for the war.
That was the main aim of the caravan. The Qurayshis appointed about thirty or forty guards under the command of Abu Sufyan to accompany the caravan. (1)
The Prophet is informed about the Caravan
The Messenger of God was informed about the caravan. He decided to prevent this big caravan of trade led by Abu Sufyan from returning to Makkah. He got ready to set off with more than 300 (305 or 315) Companions.
Sa’d and his father
The Companions wanted to take part in the military expedition of Badr. Some people even drew lots to join it. Sa’d from Ansar said to his father, Haythama, “If the reward for this expedition were something other than Paradise, I would not come with you! I expect to be a martyr in this expedition”, expressing his wish to take part in the expedition. His father said to him, “Stay with your wife, who is ill; I will go.” However, Sa’d did not accept it and they decided to draw lots. Sa’d won the draw and joined the expedition. He became a martyr in Badr, attaining his goal. (2)
Let alone men, women also had a great desire to join the expedition. Umm Waraqa bint Abdullah went to the presence of Messenger of God and said, “O Messenger of God! Let me come with you. I will treat your wounds and look after the ill people. Maybe God will let me become a martyr. The Messenger of God said to this self-sacrificing woman, “Stay at home and read the Quran! God will definitely let you become a martyr.”
After that incident, the Messenger of God always called her as “shahidah” (female martyr).
As a matter of fact, Umm Waraqa, who had memorized the whole Quran, was martyred by two of her servants, one male and one female, at night; they suffocated her by pressing a velvet covering onto her. The murderers were caught and hanged. They were the first people that were punished by being hanged in Madinah. (3)
Setting off from Madinah
The Prophet appointed Abdullah ibn Umm Maktum to lead the prayers in the mosque in his absence. He also appointed Abu Lubaba from Ansar as his deputy for the administration of the city. In the month of Ramadan, after twelve nights passed, he set off from Madinah with mujahids on a hot Saturday. (4)
Musab b. Umayr was carrying the white standard of the Messenger of God. Hazrat Ali was carrying one of the black flags which was called Uqab and Sa’d b. Muadh from Ansar carried the other. (5)
The caravan was going to be met near the place called Badr (6) because it was a strategic place where the roads leading to Makkah, Madinah and Syria intersected.
Mujahids set off from Madinah on one of the hottest days of the summer; besides, they were fasting because it was Ramadan. It was very difficult to continue the journey in the scorching heat and on the blazing desert while fasting. Therefore, the Messenger of God ordered the mujahids to break their fasts. (7)
Young People are not Allowed
They had not moved far away from Madinah very much. The Messenger of God picked those who were too young and wanted to send them back to Madinah. The eight young mujahids became very sad because they were separated from the army. Thereupon, the Messenger of God allowed two of them to join the army again. Hazrat Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas narrates:
“Just before the Messenger of God started to pick the young mujahids and send them back, I saw my brother Umayr trying not to be seen. I asked him,
‘O my brother! What is the matter?’ He said,
‘I fear that the Messenger of God will think I am too young and send me back. However, I want to join this expedition and I expect to be martyr.’
When the Messenger of God saw him, he regarded Umayr as too young and said to him, ‘Return’.
Umayr started to cry. Thereupon, the Messenger of God allowed him to stay. Umayr could not tie his sword because he was too short; so, I helped him tie his sword.” (8)
Umayr, who wanted to attain the rank of martyrdom by fighting in the way of God, was hit by the arrows of the polytheists during the battle and reached his goal.
Riding the Camels in Turns
There were two horses and seventy camels with the Muslims. They rode the camels in turns. The Prophet did not want to regard himself different from others. He rode a camel in turns with Ali and Marsad b. Abi Marsad. When it was the Prophet’s turn to walk, both of them said to the Prophet, “O Messenger of God! You ride the camel we will walk instead of you.”
However, the Prophet did not accept their offers and said, “You are not stronger than me in terms of walking and I am not in less need than you in terms of rewards.” (9)
With this act, the Messenger of God applied the principle of equality and justice introduced by Islam himself.
The Caravan of Quraysh Changes its Way
The Islamic army proceeded in the scorching heat. Abu Sufyan received the news that he had been concerned about before reaching Badr: “Muslims set off to capture the caravan!”
He sent a messenger to Makkah at once and he changed the route of the caravan without stopping over; he proceeded toward Makkah through the Red Sea coast without going to Badr.
Quraysh Prepares for the War
Damdam, the messenger, who reached Makkah before Abu Sufyan, shouted on his camel with his strange clothes as follows: “O Quraysh! Muhammad and his friends attacked your caravan and your belongings with Abu Sufyan! I do not think that you can reach it. Help! Help!”
Naturally, this news caused indignation among Qurayshis because almost every family had possessions in the caravan. Qurayshis gathered. They started to make preparations. They prepared an army quickly consisting of 950 people. One hundred of them had horses and seven hundred had camels. This number was about threefold of the number of the Muslims who were out to follow the caravan. In addition, the Qurayshi army was superior to the Muslim army in terms of weapons.
Some Makkans did not want to join the army of the polytheists. However, they had to join the army as a result of the pressure by Abu Jahl and other notables of Quraysh. However, Abu Lahab said that he was ill and sent someone else instead of him by paying him some money.
The army of the polytheists set off from Makkah toward Badr with the enthusiasm caused by the songs of the woman singers and the music of the tambourines.
On the way, they received this news from Abu Sufyan, who led his caravan without any incidents:
“You set off to protect your men and possessions in the caravan. God protected them. Now you can return!”
However, Abu Jahl did not want to return. He did not want the others to return, either. He said,
“By God, we shall not return until we reach Badr. We will stay there for three days. We will slaughter some camels and eat them. We will drink wine. We will make female slaves sing and we will enjoy ourselves. The Arabs around will see and listen to us. They will fear us from now on. Let us proceed!” (10)
When he started to move toward Badr, the messenger went to Abu Sufyan and told him what had happened. Abu Sufyan did not like what he heard. He said, “It is a pity for my tribe. This is the act of Amr b. Hisham (Abu Jahl). He did not want to return. He did it to become the leader of the people. Ambition causes incompleteness and bad luck.”
He expressed his concern as follows:
“If Muhammad and his friends meet them, they are finished!” (11)
Despite all of the aggression and provocation of Abu Jahl, some people left the army. Ahnas b. Sharik dissuaded Banu Zuhra, who were his allies, and returned to Makkah with them. Then, Banu Adiyy b. Ka’b, the tribe of Hazrat Umar returned.
Banu Hashim had also joined the army. When some Qurayshis said to them, O Banu Hashim! You have joined this army, but we know very well that your hearts are with Muhammad”, Talib, the son of Abu Talib, returned with a group.
The Islamic Army is in Zafiran
When the Prophet reached a place called Zafiran near Safra with mujahids, he was informed that Qurayshis were coming with a big army. They did not expect something like that; therefore, they could not decide what to do at once. Their aim was not to fight. They did not have any preparations. Besides, according to the news they received, the army of the polytheists consisted of more people than the Islamic army and they had more weapons.
Consultation with Mujahids
The Messenger of God gathered the Companions. He asked them whether it was more appropriate to follow the caravan or to fight the army of the polytheists. Some mujahids said it was more appropriate to follow the caravan. The Messenger of God did not like this idea. Meanwhile, Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Umar got permission to speak and said that it was more appropriate to proceed against the army of the polytheists and to fight them. The Prophet was glad to hear this thought.
Then, Miqdat b. Aswad from Ansar said, “O Messenger of God! Do whatever your Lord ordered you to do. We will not say as Banu Israil, who said to Moses, ‘Go thou, and thy Lord and fight ye two, while we sit here’. We will obey you.” (12)
The Prophet was very glad to hear this Companion, who was a symbol of altruism and courage; he prayed for this Companion.
After these talks, the decision was almost certain. However, it was necessary to ask the view of Ansar because they had promised to protect the Prophet and Muslims in Madinah. Now, they were outside Madinah. The Messenger of God asked their view about the issue.
Sa’d b. Muadh got permission to speak on behalf of Ansar and said,
“O Messenger of God! We believed in you and confirmed you. We witnessed that whatever you brought was right. We promised to listen to you and to obey you.
O Messenger of God! Do whatever you want to do; we are together with you. I swear by God, who sent you with the true religion, that if you showed us this sea and jumped into it, we would jump with you! Not even one person from us will remain behind. We will not avoid fighting the enemy. We will not return during the battle. Lead us with the blessing of God!” (13)
The decision was certain: A handful of mujahids were going to fight against the army of the polytheists, which was much superior to them in terms of number and weapons. Their superiority in number and weapons did not intimidate the heroic Companions.
They risked, as it was stated in the Quran, “being driven to death and they (actually) saw it.” (14) They trusted in the help of God. They knew that they were going to struggle for God, and they believed heartily that the Owner of the religion would help them.
The mujahids were few in number but their belief and courage were like mountain chains. Their reliance point was the owner of the Universe; their leader was the master of the Universe, Hz Muhammad (pbuh). Such an army would definitely risk everything and would not avoid or fear from fighting the army of the polytheists!
The Messenger of God, who was very pleased with the speech Sa’d b. Muadh (may God be pleased with him) made, addressed the mujahids as follows: “Proceed and be happy with the grace of God! I already see the places where the Qurayshis will fall one by one and lie!” (15)
This speech affected the mujahids more deeply and increased their excitement. They started to move toward Badr enthusiastically.
Estimating the number of the Soldiers of the Enemies
The Islamic army approached Badr on Thursday night, at the time of night prayer.
The Messenger of God said, “I hope we can get some information next to the well near that small hill.” Then, he sent some Companions like Hazrat Ali, Zubayr b. Awwam and Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas to that direction.
Meanwhile, the watercarriers of the polytheists were near the well with their camels that carried water. The mujahids captured some of them.
When they were taken to the presence of the Prophet, he said to them, “Give me some information about Quraysh!”
They said, “They are in the highest and farthest side of that sand hill.”
The Messenger of God asked, “How many people are there?”
They answered, “A lot.”
The Prophet asked again, “What can be their number?”
They said, “We do not know.”
This time, the Prophet asked, “How many camels do they slaughter every day?”
They said, “One day, nine camels and one day, ten…”
Then he asked, “Who are among them from the notables of Quraysh?”.
When the water carriers mentioned most of the names of the Qurayshi notables, the Messenger of God turned toward his Companions and said,
“Makkah sacrificed its most beloved people for you!”
Then, he asked the men, “Did any Qurayshis return on the way?”
They said, “Yes. Banu Zuhra returned together with Ahnas b. Sharik.”
Then, the Prophet said, “God showed Banu Zuhra the right path although they did not know the hereafter, God and the Book.” (16)
The Places Where the Notables of Quraysh will be Shot
When the Prophet reached Badr at night, he said, “Insha’Allah, this is the place where such and such a person will be shot and fall! That is the place! This is the place.” He showed one by one where the leaders of the polytheists would be shot and fall by putting his hand on those places.
Hazrat Umar said,
“All of them were shot and fell at exactly where the Messenger of God had shown, neither forward nor backward!” (17)
Islamic Army Reaches Badr Before
The Messenger of God reached Badr before the polytheists and settled in a place very close to Badr well. He talked to his Companions about where to set up the headquarters.
Hubab b. Mundhir, who was about thirty-three years old then, stood up and said, “O Messenger of God! We are warriors. I regard it appropriate to close all of the wells except one and set up the headquarters there.” Then he said, “O Messenger of God! Is this place somewhere that God ordered you to settle and is it not permissible to go forward or backward? Or did you choose it personally as a precaution of war?”
The Messenger of God said, “No! I chose it personally as a precaution of war.”
Thereupon, Hubab said, “O Messenger of God! It is not appropriate to set up the headquarters here. Make people stand up at once! Let us go and settle near the well where the Qurayshis plan to settle. I know that place. There is a well with very nice and plenty of water. Let us close all of the wells behind that well. Then, let us make a big pool and fill it with water; then we will fight the polytheists. We will drink water from our pool as we get thirsty. They will not be able to find water and will be in a difficult situation.”
The Messenger of God said, “O Hubab! Your view is the right one” and stood up. The mujahids stood up, too. They went near the well where Qurayshis planned to settle.
All of the wells were closed upon the order of the Prophet. A pool was built, and it was filled with water; then a receptacle was put in it. (18)
A Shade is built for the Prophet
Meanwhile, upon the offer of Sa’d b. Muadh, a shade, that is, a tent was built with date branches. The Prophet went under the shade together with Hazrat Abu Bakr.
Sa’d b. Muadh girded on his sword and started to keep guard with a few Companions in front of the shade. (19)
The Army is Put in Position
The Messenger of God put the army in position as soon as he arrived at Badr. He checked the ranks carefully. The Muslim forces had been divided into three: The Muhajirs, the Aws tribe the and Khazraj tribe. Each group gathered under their own standard. Musab b. Umayr was holding the standard of the Muhajirs; Sa’d b. Muadh was holding the standard of the Aws tribe and Hubab b. Mundhir was holding the standard of the Khazraj tribe. (20)
After the organization, the Messenger of God instructed the army as follows:
“Do not leave your lines! Stay firmly in your places without moving! Do not start fighting before I order you to do so. Do not waste your arrows by shooting them before the enemy approaches. Shoot your arrows when the enemy opens the shield. When the enemy approaches very near, throw stones. If the enemy approaches too much, use your spears and pikes. Use your swords when you are face to face with the enemy.” (21)
Every mujahid made a pile of stones where they were. It would be useful for them since they were going to be in the position of defense. The enemy was deprived of it because they were going to attack. Therefore, they could throw only a few stones when they attacked.
Muslims spend the Night Praying and Worshipping
It was one night before the battle.
The Prophet was in the shade built for him. He spent the whole night worshipping the Lord of Majesty. Then, he opened his hands toward his Merciful Lord and uttered the following supplication, which was so sorrowful as to make the universe cry and so effective as to make the earth and sky cry:
“O God! Keep the promise you have made me!
O God! If this handful of mujahids is destroyed, there will be nobody left to worship you on earth.” (22)
The Messenger of God repeated the same supplication in the prayers. The mujahids who heard this supplement could not stand still due to their excitement.
Two Armies Confront
The Messenger of God completed the preparations of the army. Meanwhile the army of the polytheists reached Badr.
The scene was very thought-provoking. Most of the soldiers to fight against one another were relatives. Brothers, fathers and sons, uncles and nephews would fight against each other.
The army of the enemies had organized their ranks.
The Prophet came out of his shade and checked the army for the last time. Everything was in order, as he wanted. However, the enemy was superior in terms of the number of the soldiers and weapons. Seemingly, it was not going to be an equal struggle. However, the mujahids never lost hope and believed heartily that the battle would end with their victory despite everything.
The First Martyr from Mujahids
In accordance with the tradition of battles, individuals from both armies would fight one on one. However, Amr b. Khadrami came forward in order to excite the polytheists and shot an arrow against the mujahids, which was contrary to the customs of battles. The arrow shot Mihja and he became the first martyr of the Islamic army. The Messenger of God said, “Mihja is the master of the martyrs”, blessing Mihja.
The martyrdom of Mihja electrified the atmosphere. Meanwhile Utba and Shayba from Banu Rabia and Walid, the son of Utba came forward and asked for three individuals to fight against them.
A woman called Afra from Banu Najjar had seven sons and all of them were present in Badr. Two of her sons, Muadh and Awf and Abdullah b. Rawaha, the poet of the Prophet, came forward to fight against them.
The Messenger of God did not want Ansar to fight against the polytheists in the first individual fights between the Muslims and polytheists.
The polytheists asked, “Who are you?”
They said, “We are from Ansar.”
The polytheists said, “We have nothing to do with you. We want to fight our cousins from Banu Abdulmuttalib.” Then, they addressed the Prophet, “O Muhammad! Let our equivalents come against us!”
Thereupon, the Prophet ordered the youths of Ansar to return to their ranks and prayed for them. Then he said, “Stand up, O Ubayda! Stand up, O Hamza! Stand up, O Ali!” (23)
The Polytheists Lick the Dust
The three heroic Companions who were called by the Prophet stood up and came forward. Utba could not recognize them because they were wearing helmets.
He said, “Introduce yourselves so that we will know whether you are our equivalents or not. If you are our equivalents, we will fight you.
When the three heroic Companions uttered their names and fames, the polytheists said, “Yes, you are our honorable equivalents. Let us start”, drawing their swords.
Ubayda b. Harith was going to fight Utba b. Rabia, Hazrat Hamza with his equivalent Shayba b. Rabia and Hazrat Ali with Walid b. Utba.
The encounters of the six notables of Quraysh who were famous with their courage were worth watching. Thus, the soldiers of both armies who were ready to fight started to watch them, some holding their arrows and some their swords.
The one-on-one fighting started like a lightning. Hazrat Hamza and Hz Ali killed their opponents with their first blows. Then, they went to help Hazrat Ubayda; they killed Utba and took him to the presence of the Prophet.
Hazrat Ubayda, who was wounded in his leg and was in blood all over, asked the Prophet, “O Messenger of God! Am I a martyr?”
The Messenger of God said, “Yes, you are a martyr” and gave him the good news that his place was the Paradise of Firdaws. (24)
Upon receiving this good news, Ubayda did not mind his leg being amputated and uttered nice lines of poetry stating that he was pleased and was not sad for the troubles and pains he was exposed to. His wound was severe; so, he died on the way while returning from Badr. He was buried there. (25)
When they saw that their men were killed one by one, the polytheists were terrified. They did not know what to do. Abu Jahl tried to console them and to organize them.
The Muslim mujahids who regarded fighting in the way of God as “the greatest honor” could not sit still due to their excitement. They wanted to start the battle at once and to defeat the polytheists.
The Messenger of God looked at the situation of that handful of mujahids, who were like concrete symbols of belief, and uttered the following supplication:
“O God! They are on foot and barefoot; give them animals to ride!
O God! They are naked; give them clothes to wear.
O God! They are hungry; give them food to make them full!
O God! They are poor; make them rich with your grace and generosity!” (26)
Then, he repeated the supplication that he always uttered: “O God! Keep the promise you have made me! O God! If this handful of mujahids is destroyed, there will be nobody left to worship you on earth!”
Hazrat Abu Bakr and his son
The scene was very noteworthy.
Mus’ab b. Umayr was the standard-bearer of the muhajirs in the rank of Muslims while his brother, Abu Aziz Ibn Umayr was the first flag-bearer of the army of the polytheists.
There was something stranger: Hazrat Abu Bakr and his son, Abdullah were in the ranks of Muslims but Abu Bakr’s other son, Abdurrahman, was among the polytheists of Quraysh. When Abdurrahman, who was famous for his courage and sharp archery, came forward and asked for an opponent, Hazrat Abu Bakr stood up and wanted permission from the Messenger of God to fight against his son.
However, the Messenger of God said, “O Abu Bakr! Do you not know that you are like my eyes that see and my ears that hear!” and did not give him permission to fight.
When Hazrat Abu Bakr could not get the permission from the Messenger of God to fight his son with swords, he shouted at his son angrily, “O Abdurrahman! What about your relation to me?”
Abdurrahman answered, “There is nothing between us but weapons, horses and swords.” (27)
It was 17th of Ramadan, Friday morning…
The two armies started to attack each other with all of their strength.
The Messenger of God encouraged the mujahids to fight in the way of God and gave them the good news that those who would be martyred would go to Paradise. He always tried to maintain their efforts and hopes active by saying, “Victory belongs to us!” He sometimes fought in front of the army showing his courage and increasing the courage of the mujahids.
Hazrat Ali said,
“When the battle got very intense, we took refuge in the Messenger of God on the day of Badr! He was the most courageous one among us that day. There was nobody closer to the ranks of the polytheists than him!” (28)
Harith b. Suraka is Martyred
Harith b. Suraka, a young man from the tribe of Khazraj, was at the back of the army, standing near the water pool and watching the fight. An arrow shot by the enemy passed through the mujahids in the front ranks and hit him at the back; he was martyred. He was the first Muslim martyred among Ansar.
It was a lesson to drawn for everybody that the arrow passed through the mujahids in the front ranks and hit Harith, who was at the back, martyring him.
The Prophet Encourages the Mujahids to Fight
The battle was going on intensely. The Messenger of God constantly called the mujahids to be steadfast: “I swear by God, in whose hand of power is Muhammad’s existence, that God will definitely put those who fight by expecting the consent of God and by showing patience and steadfastness and who are killed while proceeding without turning back into Paradise!”
Umayr is Martyred
Umayr b. Humam from Ansar heard this glad tiding of the Messenger of God while eating dates and said, “It is very nice! In order to go to Paradise, it is necessary to be killed by those people”. He threw the dates away and drew his sword; he uttered some effective couplets regarding the virtue of martyrdom and the importance of the hereafter; then, he attacked the enemy. That was all. Umayr did not return. He killed many polytheists and then he was martyred.
While the battle was going on, the Messenger of God picked a handful of fine sand from the ground, threw it toward the army of the polytheists and prayed as follows: “Let their faces be black! O God! Put fear in their hearts; make their feet tremble!” (29)
Each one of them heard the sentence, “Let their faces be black!” and the sand he threw went to the eyes of each polytheist. They stopped attacking and started to be busy with their eyes.
The Quran declares that miracle as follows:
“It is not ye who slew them; it was Allah: when thou threwest (a handful of dust) it was not thy act, but Allah’s!” (30)
Yes, the small stones that Messenger of God had in his hands mentioned the names of God and glorified God; similarly, the fine sand and small grits that he threw at the enemy were like hand grenades and terrified the enemy!
The Supplication of the Prophet and the Help of Angels
On the one hand, the Prophet was walking among mujahids, making speeches to increase their love and enthusiasm of jihad; on the other hand, he was turning toward the Qibla and praying his Lord: “O God! Send me the help You have promised me!”
During his supplication, he was so concentrated that he did not notice when his garment on his shoulder fell down. Hazrat Abu Bakr, who never left him alone, picked the garment and put it back on his shoulder saying, “O Messenger of God! That supplication is enough. Doubtlessly, He will keep His promise He has made you.” (31)
After a while the Messenger of God said, “Glad tidings, O Abu Bakr! God’s help has arrived. That is Jibril. He is equipped with weapons on his horse, holding the reigns of his horse on the sand hills, waiting for orders!”
The Quran narrates the incident as follows:
“Allah had helped you at Badr, when ye were a contemptible little force; then fear Allah; thus, may ye show your gratitude.
Remember thou saidst to the Faithful: Is it not enough for you that Allah should help you with three thousand angels (specially) sent down?” (32)
It is narrated that a very strong wind that had never seen before occurred. It was impossible to see. Then, the wind died away. Then, another wind occurred; and it died away, too.
It was the manifestation of Jibril coming with three thousand angels under his command and standing near the Prophet, on his right and left.
The angels had white turbans around their heads and the tips of the turbans were hanging down at the back. Only the turban of Jibril (pbuh) was yellow. All of the angels were riding multicolored horses.
Mujahids Fight Heroically
The watchword of the mujahids was, “Ya Mansur! Amit”; they fought against the enemy heroically and split the ranks of the enemy with their attacks and blows.
Especially Hazrat Hamza and Hz. Ali (may God be pleased with them) attacked the polytheists heroically and bravely; they always got through the any enemy rank they attacked. Hazrat Hamza knocked down anyone in front of him with a sword in both of his hands. Those two heroic Companions killed many notables of the polytheists with their swords.
Abu Jahl is Killed
It would be a source of pride to kill Abu Jahl, the greatest enemy of the Muslims; therefore, every mujahid wanted to find and kill him. Hazrat Hamza killed Abu Qays ibn Walid, who was the bother-in-law of Khalid b. Walid from Banu Mahzum and who was one of the leaders of the polytheists, thinking that he was Abu Jahl; similarly, Hazrat Ali killed Abdullah Ibn Mundhir from Banu Mahzum, thinking that he was Abu Jahl.
Abu Jahl, who was seventy years old, was a ferocious and steadfast enemy of Islam; he had a terrible face. He said, “My mother bore me for today!” showing his courage and leading his soldiers to the fight.
When Banu Mahzum saw that many polytheists had been killed, they surrounded Abu Jahl like a herd of camels. They were going to protect him at any cost.
The battle was going on intensely.
When Hazrat Abdurrahman b. Awf looked around in his rank, he saw two Ansar youths.
One of them approached him and asked, “Do you know Abu Jahl?”
Abdurrahman b. Awf said, “Yes, I know him. What are you going to do to him?” The young man answered,
“I promised God. When I see Abu Jahl, I am going to walk toward him; I am going to kill him or I am going to be a martyr!”
Abdurrahman b. Awf admired this young man and appreciated his determination and courage. Meanwhile, the other youth approached and said the same things.
Abdurrahman b. Awf first had said to himself, “I ended up between two children in the rank!” Then, he was amazed by their brave talks.
Those two young men were Muadh and Muawwidh, two of the seven children of Afra that took part in the battle.
Meanwhile, Abdurrahman b. Awf (may God be pleased with him) saw Abu Jahl, who was wandering among the polytheists and who was guarded by the members of Banu Mahzum. He showed him to the two young men, saying, “There he is! Abu Jahl!”
The two brave young men drew their swords and walked toward that direction.
Many mujahids were looking for Abu Jahl to kill him just like those two young men. Before the two young men reached Abu Jahl, Muadh b. Amr b. Jamuh from Ansar, who was following Abu Jahl, hit Abu Jahl on the leg with his sword. Ikrima, the son of Abu Jahl wounded his hand and arm with his sword in return. This heroic Companion said,
“My hand was hanging down with its skin. I forgot about my hand due to the severity of the battle. I held my wounded hand at the back and continued fighting. When my hand started to give me a lot of trouble, I stepped on it with my foot and cut off my hanging hand!” (33)
After Muadh b. Amr b. Jamuh was wounded, the two young brothers approached Abu Jahl. They hit him with their swords and knocked him down. They thought he was dead and left him.
“Abu Jahl is the Pharaoh of this Ummah!”
Meanwhile, the Messenger of God said, “I wonder what Abu Jahl did? What happened to him? Who will go and find out?”
The mujahids looked for him but could not find him.
The Prophet repeated his order, saying, “Look for him! I have a word about him. If you cannot identify him, look at the scar on his knee.” Then, he added,
“Once, we were at the feast of Abdullah b. Jud’a together. I was a bit heavier and larger than him. When I was squeezed, I pushed him. He fell on his knees. One of his knees was injured and the scar never disappeared.” (34)
Thereupon, Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud went to look for him. He saw Abu Jahl in the throes of death. Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud asked him, “Are you Abu Jahl?” Then, he stepped on his neck, saying, “O enemy of God! Eventually God humiliated and ruined you! See?”
The graveyard in which the martyrs of the Battle of Badr are buried
Although he was in the throes of death, Abu Jahl said to Ibn Mas’ud, “O shepherd! You are on a very steep place. It is not something that happened now for a great man to be killed by his own tribe. Now tell me which party is victorious today.”
Ibn Mas’ud said, “The victory belongs to God and His messenger!”, making him desperate in his last seconds. Abu Bakr, who became very sorrowful, expressed his unbelief again:
“Say to Muhammad, I was his enemy up to now; my enmity has increased twofold from now on!”
Thereupon, Ibn Mas’ud cut off his head.
Thus, Abu Jahl did not become a believer even in his last breath; he insisted on unbelief and heresy and went to Hell.
Ibn Mas’ud (may God be pleased with him) took his head to the presence of the Prophet. He said,
“Here is the head of Abu Jahl, the enemy of God!”
Thereupon, the Messenger of God said, “Praise be to God, who helped His slave and made His religion superior!” Then he said, “This is the Pharaoh of this ummah!” (35)
After the death of Abu Jahl, there were not many people who could oppose the Muslims. Meanwhile, Umayya bin Khalaf, the ferocious polytheist, was killed by Bilal al-Habashi (may God be pleased with him), whom Umayya had tortured mercilessly; the army of the polytheists panicked. They started to run away. Those who ran away saved themselves; the others were taken captives.
After the ruthless struggle that lasted a few hours, the army of the Islam led by the Messenger of God gained a bright victory. Fourteen of the mujahids were martyred. About seventy polytheists were killed and about seventy of them were taken captives. Twenty-four of those who were killed among the polytheists were the notables. The mujahids buried all of the dead bodies of the notables of the polytheists in a big hole upon the order of the Prophet.
The Messenger of God led the Janazah =Funeral prayer of the mujahids martyred during the battle of Badr in Badr.
Thanks to this bright victory, the clouds of doubt and hesitation were dispersed; the courage of the Muslims increased. The Prophet immediately sent two messengers to Madinah to inform the people there about the bright victory. The messengers conveyed the magnificent, good news to the people of Madinah; one of them entered the city from the upper side, the other from the lower side.
The Captives and the Booty
The Qurayshi army, which was completely defeated, left a lot of booty and seventy captives. The booty consisted of one hundred and fifty camels, ten horses, a lot of red velvet, war equipment, Morocco leather, household goods and garments.
Among the captives were Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet, Uqayl b. Abu Talib and Nawfal b. Ab¬dul¬mut¬ta¬lib, his cousins, Abu’l-As Ibn ar-Rabi, the husband of the Prophet’s daughter Zaynab, Abu Aziz Ibn Umayr, the brother of Musab bin Umayr and the standard-bearer of the polytheistic army.
Hazrat Umar was appointed to tie the captives so that they will not flee.
Abbas was tied very tightly because he was the most important one among them. Therefore, he started to moan in pain at night. The Prophet could not sleep at night when he heard Abbas’s moan.
They asked him, “O Messenger of God! Why are you not sleeping?”
He said, “Due to the moaning of Abbas…”
Some of the Companions who did not want the Messenger of God to be disturbed untied Abbas.
When the Prophet noticed that the moaning stopped, he asked, “Why do I not here the moaning of Abbas?”
They said, “We untied him.”
Thereupon, the Prophet said, “Untie the other captives, too!” Then, he fell asleep. (36)
The Booty is Distributed
The Messenger of God, who left Badr three days after the battle ended, stopped over under a tree near the sand hill called Sayar after the Pass of Safra on the way to Madinah. He divided the booty equally among the Muslims there.
The Prophet took the camel of Abu Jahl as the share of the commander. He gave two shares to cavalries and one share to infantries. He also allocated shares to the eight people who stayed in Madinah because they had taken permission or because they had been appointed by the Prophet and to those who were martyred in Badr.
The sword of Munabbih b. Hajjaj called “Dhulfiqar” was given to the Prophet. Later the Messenger of God gave this sword to Hazrat Ali as a present. (37)
Consultation about Captives
No divine revelation had been sent about what to do with the captives. Therefore, it was necessary to decide about them by expressing opinions.
Regarding the issues to be decided by expressing opinions, the Messenger of God always had consultations with the Companions. In the consultation meetings, everybody could express their views freely and openly.
The Prophet asked the Companions about what to do with the captives.
Hazrat Abu Bakr said, “O Messenger of God! They are our relatives. My view is to free them in return for ransom. The ransom we will receive will be strength for us against the unbelievers. I hope God will guide them and they will help us.”
The Messenger of God asked Hazrat Umar, “O Khattab’s son! What is your view?”
Hazrat Umar said, “O Messenger of God! They denied you; they exiled you. Kill all of them!”
The compassion and mercy of the Messenger of God did not consent to such treatment; therefore, he asked again. However, Hazrat Umar insisted on his view and said, “They are the leaders of the polytheists. All of them must be killed!”
The Prophet kept silent, without answering any of them. Then, he went to his tent and sat there for a while.
Some of the Companions agreed with the view of Hazrat Abu Bakr and others with the view of Hazrat Umar.
After a while, the Messenger of God came out of his tent and said to Hazrat Abu Bakr, “O Abu Bakr! You are like Hazrat Ibrahim, who said to God, ‘He who follows me is one of us, and he who disobeys me, then, you are gracious enough to forgive’. And Abu Bakr you are also like Jesus who said to God, ‘If you punish them, they are Your servants, and if You forgive them, you are All Powerful, Mighty and Wise.”
Then turning to Hazrat Umar, the Prophet said, “O Umar! You are like Noah who said, to God ‘O my Lord! Do not leave on the earth a single unbeliever.’ And Umar you are also like Moses who said, ‘O God! Destroy their properties and harden their hearts so that they are not converted till they have suffered punishment!’”
After these talks, the Messenger of God agreed with the view of Hazrat Abu Bakr. He ordered the captives to be released in return for a ransom of four thousand dirhams for each. Some of them were released for three thousand, two thousand or one thousand dirhams based on their situations.
The most important one was this:
The Messenger of God also decided that the captives who could read and write and who could not afford to pay ransom would be released if they taught ten children of Ansar each to read and write. (38) Zayd b. Thabit was one of those children who learned to read and write like that. Thus, the number of the literate people in Madinah increased.
Verses That Were Sent Down
When the decision above was made about the captives, the following verses were sent down:
“It is not fitting for an apostle that he should have prisoners of war until he hath thoroughly subdued the land. Ye look for the temporal goods of this world; but Allah looketh to the Hereafter; and Allah is Exalted in might Wise.
Had it not been for a previous ordainment from Allah, a severe punishment would have reached you for the (ransom) that ye took.
But (now) enjoy what ye took in war, lawful and good: but fear Allah: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (39)
Hazrat Umar narrates an event regarding the issue as follows:
“When I went to the presence of the Messenger of God, I saw him and Hazrat Abu Bakr weeping.
I said, ‘O Messenger of God! Why are you and your friend weeping? What makes you weep? If there is something to weep for, let me weep, too. Even if there is nothing to weep for, I will weep with you!’
The Messenger of God said, ‘Woe on me due to the ransom your friends received for the captives! I was shown that the torture you will suffer was closer than that tree near you.’” (40)
The Advice of the Prophet to Muslims regarding Captives
The Prophet reached Madinah with mujahids one day before the captives.
The next day, he distributed the captives to his Companions and said to them, “Advice good deeds to one another regarding the captives.”
Abu Aziz, who was the brother of Mus’ab b. Umayr’ (may God be pleased with him) and who was among the captives said,
“When the captives were brought to Madinah, I was given to a family from Ansar. The Messenger of God gave some advice to Muslims about us. Therefore, they gave me the bread at breakfast and dinner and ate the dates themselves. When one of them found a piece of bread, he would give it to me. I would return the bread to the person who gave it to me because I would feel embarrassed. However, he would return it to me without touching it!” (41)
The Prophet Informs Abbas about the Gold he has Hidden!
Abbas, who was the uncle of the Prophet and who was among the captives, was quite rich.
The Messenger of God said to him, “O Abbas! Pay ransom for yourself, Aqil b. Abi Talib, your nephew, and Nawfal b. Harith, because you have wealth.”
Hazrat Abbas had brought eight hundred dirhams of gold while going to Badr with polytheists to spend for the soldiers. During the battle, this gold was captured from him and was put among the booty. Therefore, he said to the Prophet, “Let us regard that gold as ransom.”
The Prophet said, “No… That is something that you carried in order to spend against us; God gave it to us. We cannot give it back to you.”
Hazrat Abbas said, “I have no money other than that. Will you make me a beggar?”
Thereupon, the Prophet said, “O Abbas! Where is that gold?”
Hazrat Abbas said, “Which gold?”
The Messenger of God said,
“The gold that you entrusted to Umm Fadl, your wife, on the day when you left Makkah! There was nobody else but you and your wife when you gave her the gold. You said to Umm Fadl, ‘I do not know what will happen in this expedition. If something happens to me and I cannot return, this amount of gold is for you, this part is for Fadl, this part is for Abdullah, this part is for and this part Qusam!’ I mean that gold!”
Hazrat Abbas asked in astonishment, “Who told you about it?”
The Prophet said, “God did!”
Thereupon, Hazrat Abbas uttered the kalima ash-shahada and became a Muslim. He returned to Makkah after paying the ransom.
Hazrat Abbas did not declare that he was a Muslim when he returned to Makkah; he informed the Prophet about Makkah secretly and helped the Muslims there. (42)
Hazrat Zaynab Sends her Necklace
Abu As b. Rabi, the son-in-law of the Prophet and the husband of Hazrat Zay¬nab was also among the captives.
Hazrat Zaynab (may God be pleased with her) took off her necklace and sent it as ransom for her husband, Abu As, to Madinah. Hazrat Khadijah, her mother, had given it to her as a present when she married.
That the daughter of the Messenger of God sent her necklace as ransom affected the Companions of the Prophet deeply.
The Prophet was also moved and said to the Companions, “If you regard it appropriate, release Zaynab’s husband and return her the necklace.”
Thereupon, the Companions released Abu As and returned the necklace to Zaynab, pleasing the heart of the Prophet. (43)
Reactions about the Victory of Badr
The Victory of Badr caused many positive and negative reactions both inside and outside Madinah. The Jews and idolaters in Madinah were terrified. Some of the Jews said, “He is the person whose attributes we read in our books. Nobody can resist him. He will always be victorious” and embraced Islam. Some of them seemingly believed. However, they did not give up causing mischief and seditions.
The Negus of Ethiopia was also informed about the victory. He said to the Muslim migrants in his country, “God helped His Messenger in Badr. I praise God for it”, expressing his pleasure and joy.
There was festive air among the Muslims in Madinah while the polytheists in Makkah had a mourning atmosphere.
The tribes around were intimidated by the victory of Badr.
Death of Abu Lahab
Abu Lahab had not participated in the expedition of Badr and stayed in Makkah, sending Asi b. Hisham instead of him.
When the Qurayshi army was defeated by the Islamic army and returned to Makkah, Abu Lahab called Abu Suf¬yan b. Harith and said to him, “O my nephew! What happened in Badr? Tell me”
Abu Suf¬yan b. Harith said, “By God, we were completely defeated when we faced them. They killed some of us and took some of us captives. However, I cannot blame or condemn people because we saw a regiment of cavalries on dapple grey horses; it was impossible to fight against them!”
Meanwhile, Umm Fadl, the wife of Hazrat Abbas and Abu Rafi, his slave, were there, too. Abu Rafi said, “By God, the cavalries you saw were angels!” Abu Lahab got very angry and slapped Abu Rafi severely; then, he started to beat him by swooping down on him.
Umm Fadl was moved and said,
“You are beating a poor slave because his master is not here!” Then, she hit the head of Abu Lahab with a tent pole.
Abu Lahab was wounded and left that place in a terrible situation.
He got very ill due to his sorrow and grief. He died a week later without being accounted for his severe enmity against the Messenger of God and Muslims in this world.
His sons kept his dead body for two or three days. The dead body started to stink. Nobody wanted to approach him because they were afraid that they would be infected.
One day, a Qurayshi man said to his sons, “Woe on you! Shame on you! Your father’s dead body is in your house but you do not go near him.”
They said, “We are afraid of his disease!” The man said, “Come on! I will help you.” They went to the house.
However, it was impossible to approach him.
They neither washed nor touched his dead body. They sprinkled some water on the dead body. Then, they dragged it to the upper part of Makkah and buried the body there. Then, they covered it with stones. (44)
1. Ibn Hisham, Sirah, V. 2, p. 257; Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, V. 11, p. 11.
2. Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, V. 3, p. 482.
3. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 8, p. 457; Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, V. 6, p. 405.
4. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2, p. 12; Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 263.
5. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 264.
6. Badr is the name of a plain 120 parasangs (abou 145 km) far from Madinah in the southwest of Madinah. It is surrounded by high mountains. In the Era of Jahiliyya, it was used as a place of fairground. It has plenty of water, and fruits like bananas and grapes.
7. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 3, p. 149-150.
8. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2, p. 21.
9. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2, p. 21.
10. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 270
11. Vaqidi, Maghazi, p. 30.
12. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 266.
13. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 267; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2, p. 14.
14. al-Anfal, 5-6.
15. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 267.
16. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 268; Vaqidi, ibid, p. 37-38.
17. Muslim, Sahih, V. 5. p. 170.
18. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 272; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 3, p. 567-568.
19. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2, p. 15.
20. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2, p. 14.
21. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2, p. 15; Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 272; Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba, V. 2, p. 235.
22. Tabari, Tarikh, V. 2, p. 269.
23. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 277; Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2, p. 17.
24. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2. p. 17.
25. Ibn Abdi’l-Barr, al-Istiab, V. 3, p. 1021.
26. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2, p. 20.
27. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 291.
28. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2, p. 23.
29. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2. p. 280.
30. al-Anfal, 17.
31. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 3, p. 601-602; Muslim, Sahih, V. 5. p. 156-157.
32. Aal-i Imran, 123-124.
33. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 287-288; Tabari, Tarikh, V. 2, p. 284.
34. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 288; Tabari,ibid, V. 2, p. 284.
35. adh-Dhahabi, A’lamu’n-Nubala, V. 1, p. 346.
36. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 4. p. 13; Tabari, ibid, V. 2, p. 288.
37. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 1, p. 286.
38. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 2, p. 22; Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, V. 1, p. 246.
39. al-Anfal, 67-69.
40. Muslim, Sahih, V. 5. p. 157.
41. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 300.
42. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 4, p. 13-15; Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, Mektubat, p. 112.
43. Ibn Hisham, ibid, V. 2, p. 308.
44. Ibn Sa’d, ibid, V. 4, p. 74; Tabari, ibid, V. 2, p. 288.