The battle of Badr was the most important and the first major battle the Muslims fought. On Friday 17th Ramadhan 2 AH, the Muslim army, which numbered around 313, faced an army of 1,000 of the Quraysh. Through the help of Allah, the Muslims emerged victorious.[Read about the previous landmark associated with the Battle of Badr: al-Aqanqal]
- On the morning of the battle, the Prophet (ﷺ) called his men to offer salah and then urged them to fight in the way of Allah. As the sun rose over the desert, he drew up his small army, and pointing with an arrow which he held in his hand, arranged the ranks.
- Abu Jahl also prayed saying, “Our Lord, whichever of the two parties was less kind to his relatives, and brought us what we do not know, then destroy him tomorrow.” Allah (ﷻ) says about this supplication of Abu Jahl in Surah Anfal: “(Tell the unbelievers:) If you have sought a judgement, then surely a judgement has come to you…” [8:19]
This is how the same area looks today:
- The Quraysh were positioned opposite the Muslim lines their forces at Al-Udwat Al-Quswa. A few of them approached, in a provocative manner, to draw water from the wells of Badr, but were all shot dead except Hakeem bin Hizam, who later became a devoted Muslim. The first of the disbelievers to instigate the battle was Al-Aswad bin Abdul Asad Al-Makhzumi, a fierce bad-tempered idolater. He stepped out swearing he would drink from the water basin of the Muslims, or to destroy or die for it. He engaged in combat with Hamza (رضي الله عنه), who struck his leg with his sword and dealt him another blow that finished him off.
Challenge to single combat
- The Quraysh’s three best horseman, Utbah bin Rabi’a, his brother Shayba bin Rabi’a, and his son Waleed bin Utbah, stepped forward and challenged the Muslims to single combat. In response, three members of the Ansar came forward, but the challengers were thirsty for the blood of the Makkan exiles and cried out, “We want our cousins.” The Ansar withdrew, and Ubaydah bin Harith, Hamzah and Ali (رضي الله عنهم) stepped forward to meet their challenge.
- Hamza (رضي الله عنه) faced Shayba, Ali (رضي الله عنه) stood before Waleed, and Ubaydah (رضي الله عنه) accepted Utbah’s challenge. Hamza and Ali (رضي الله عنهم) both killed their opponents with ease, but Ubaydah (رضي الله عنه) and Utbah had wounded each another, and neither had the upper hand. The other two ran to their companion’s aid and killed his opponent, and then brought Ubaydah (رضي الله عنه), who had lost his leg, back to their ranks. He later died of his injury at Safra’a on the way back to Madinah.
The Battle of Badr begins
- The Quraysh smarted at having lost several men before the battle had even begun. They charged at the Muslims, who, encouraged by their early success, faced the onslaught without flinching. Proclaiming Allah’s Oneness, the Muslims cried out: “Ahad! Ahad!” [One! One!]
- The Prophet (ﷺ) was engaged in dua and Allah (ﷻ) responded to his prayers by sending an army of one thousand Angels.
- These supernatural allies were visible to the Prophet (ﷺ) who turned to Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) and said, “Rejoice, O Abu Bakr, Allah’s help has come. This is Jibraeel, moving ahead with his horse’s bridle in his hand. His garments are besmeared with dirt and dust.”
- The Prophet (ﷺ) then marched forward toward the fray, and at that moment the following verse was revealed: “Soon will the multitude be put to fight, and they will show their backs.” [54:45]
- He then took a handful of dust and threw it at the Quraysh saying, “Let their faces be disfigured.” The dust flew into the eyes and noses of the Quraysh, as mentioned in the Quran: “It was not you who threw, but Allah.” [8:17]
- The Prophet (ﷺ) ordered his men to attack, crying out, “Rise!”. The Muslims, outnumbered three to one, were inspired when they saw that the Prophet (ﷺ) himself was present among them and ready to fight. Supported by the invisible army of angels, the Muslims swarmed over the Quraysh. The Quraysh fell one after another, and soon they retreated in disarray. The Muslims followed in pursuit, slaying some and capturing others.
- Satan, who was also present in the guise of Suraqa bin Malik, saw the army of angels, and escaped by plunging into the Red Sea.
- Badr lies 130 km (80 miles) from Madinah.
References: When the Moon Split – Shaykh Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri, Muhammad (s.a.w.) the Last Prophet – Moulana Sayyed Hasan Ali Nadwi, The Life of Muhammad (s.a.w) – Tahia Al-Ismail, Qalam Seerah notes – Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda