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December 31, 2021

The Truth and Lies about the Battle of Badr

The first two years in the life of the newly established Islamic community in Madeenah were naturally very difficult and trying times for its citizens and its leader, Allaah’s messenger Muhammad ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (ŜA‘WS). They are also the years that have been, along with the battle of Badr, subjected to a systematic campaign of misinformation and distortion, so much so that even Muslim historians have fallen prey to the false propaganda. This article briefly overviews some events of these two years and then critically reviews some of the distortions that have crept into the history.

Background

Remember that Prophet Muĥammad (ŜA‘WS), the Messenger of Allaah SWT, like other messengers in the past, such as Moosa (Moses) and ‘Eesa (Jesus), Muĥammad ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (ŜAʻWS) the Messenger was assigned the mission to invite people to Islam, and establish a society of believers where Islam was fully practised in all aspects and spheres of life, whether pertaining to individuals or collectively to society. For that purpose, the Messenger presented various rational and logical signs, arguments and evidence in an effort to convince the people of the Truth about the oneness and uniqueness of Allaah SWT and the need for people to submit to Him completely. Some people opened their minds, and using their intellect and common sense, became Muslims. The majority of the Makkans, however, refused to reflect objectively upon the rational ideas that were being presented to them. Instead, they violently and aggressively opposed the mission of the Messenger and persecuted and terrorized those who believed in him. Along with logic and admonition, they were warned of the punishment from Allaah in this world and in the Hereafter. To drive the point home about the inevitability of the punishment, they were given many examples of the nations who were destroyed for opposing the messengers in the past. Instead of heeding the message of Truth presented to them, they plotted to kill the Messenger. That is when Allaah SWT allowed him to migrate to Yathrib where people were more open to listen to the Islamic message.

The people of Yathrib pledged to accept the Messenger as their guide and leader and to protect him from his enemies even if the whole world turned against them and they were required to make huge sacrifices for that purpose. The Makkans in the meantime decided to kill him before he had a chance to leave for Yathrib. The night his house was surrounded for that purpose, he was able to escape and reach Yathrib safely with the help of Allaah SWT. The people of Yathrib welcomed him and celebrated his arrival with festivities. Then, people started calling Yathrib “Madeenatun-Nabi” – the city of the Prophet; which was shortened over time to Al-Madeenah (the City).

When the Prophet (ŜAʻWS) managed to reach Madeenah safely and was fervently welcomed, the Makkan chiefs were extremely dismayed by his safe exit from Makkah and by his unprecedented welcome in Madeenah. Also, the news of the spread of Islam in Madeenah was very disconcerting to the Makkans. They felt belittled and frustrated by the Prophet’s success. While the Prophet was busy promoting human excellence and developing a kind, compassionate, generous, charitable loving society in Madeenah, the Makkans were preoccupied with hatching plots to destroy him and kill his mission. The chiefs of Quraish met to determine what to do with the Prophet now that he was out of their immediate reach, and was leading a growing body of the believers. Their antagonism to the Prophet’s noble mission and their frustration at his success was driving them crazy with frustration and hatred. They immediately set about conjuring up the different ways to dismantle the society the Prophet had started to build. They wanted to attack Madeenah and annihilate the Muslims but were worried about the backlash from other Arabian tribes because they had no legitimate reason to justify their attack. The Prophet and the Muslim immigrants were their own kith and kin who should be protected, not attacked. Neither the Prophet nor any of his followers owed the Makkans anything. There was no financial or blood claim against any of them. How could they find a reason to attack them or to kill them? An attack on their own relatives without a valid claim would destroy the reputation of the Quraish in the whole of Arabia.

Aboo Jahl, however, came up with an idea: The Aows and Khazraj, after their devastating war, were considering coronating ‘Abdullaah ibn Ubayy as their king. Muĥammad’s (ŜAʻWS) migration had dashed his chances of becoming a king. He was not happy to lose that opportunity. As he still had a fair amount of support in Madeenah among the remaining idolaters (polytheists), they (Makkans) could exploit his psychological condition and use him and his people for their purpose.

The suggestion was adopted with the understanding that if it failed, Madeenah would be attacked and the fledgling polity completely crushed.

Quraish’s Threat of an All-out War

To incite ‘Abdullaah and to provide him a good excuse, an ambassador was sent from the Quraish with the following message:

“You have given refuge to our man. You must fight with him and throw him out of your city. Otherwise, we swear by God, that we will attack you with our full force, kill your males, and enslave your women.”

‘Abdullaah received the message, called a secret meeting of his supporters and told them about his intention of taking action to force the Prophet ŜAʻWS to leave Madeenah. His supporters were leaning towards going along with him. Although it was a secret gathering, Allaah SWT informed the Prophet about it and he rushed to the meeting place. He arrived there just as the decision to throw the Muslims out was being considered. His sudden and unexpected entry flabbergasted everyone present. He brought them to their senses by explaining the game the Quraish were playing with them; i.e. if ‘Abdullaah and his group fought with the Muslims, they would be fighting against their own kith and kin (Muslims from Aows and Khazraj). The loss of lives from both sides would be their own loss. The Quraish would be the only beneficiaries at their cost. Then, why kill each other at the behest of a third party? He told them:

“The threat from the Quraish is clouding your judgment. You cannot be trapped more than you yourselves want to fall into the trap by intending to fight your own sons and brothers.”

The participants at the meeting realized the truth of what Muĥammad ŜAʻWS had said and decided against falling into the Quraish’s trap. However, this meant that the Quraish’s threat of attack became instantly applicable and the indirect declaration of war by the most powerful of the Arab tribes (the Quraish) against a small community of Madeenah came into effect.

Declaration of Territorial Closures

The Anŝaar (1) were being pressured in multiple ways by the Makkans to abandon the Prophet. In addition to the threats of direct attack, social and economic isolation and the usurpation of pilgrimage rights were all used as pressure tactics. Sa‘d ibn Mu‘aadz, a Muslim leader of the Anŝaar went for pilgrimage to the Holy Kaʻbah as a guest of his long-time friend, Umayyah ibn Khalf, a prominent Makkan chief. Aboo Jahl told Sa‘d, “Had you not been a guest of Umayyah, you would not have gone back alive. How dare you provide refuge to Muĥammad and then expect that we will allow you pilgrimage to the Kaʻbah?” This threat from Aboo Jahl had broken the well-entrenched Arab tradition of open access to the Holy Kaʻbah for every friend and foe. It meant that, from then on, the Muslims were banned from the pilgrimage to the Holy Kaʻbah. If any Muslim attempted, he would be killed. Saʻd responded to Aboo Jahl’s threat by saying, “If you stop us from the pilgrimage, we will stop you from something that will be tougher for you to bear, i.e. your trade route through Madeenah (to Syria).” This exchange of threats between the two leaders was the de facto declaration that both parties were banned from each other’s territories and that they were essentially in a state of cold war.

1  The Helpers – the Muslims of Madeenah who supported the Prophet and the Muslims who immigrated to Madeenah from Makkah and vicinity.

Terrorism let loose on Madeenah

After the failure of the Quraish’s plot to incite insurgency in Madeenah through ‘Abdullaah ibn Ubayy and his followers, the Makkan chiefs made a direct threat to attack Madeenah and destroy the Muslims once and for all. They sent a harshly worded threat to the Muhaajireen (2):

“Don’t deceive yourselves assuming you have gone beyond our reach to Yathrib. We will come out there right into your homes, uproot you completely and annihilate you utterly.”

2  The Immigrants – Those Muslims who migrated to Madeenah from Makkah and its vicinity.

They started actively planning the war and arranging for its financing. A big fund-raising drive was carried out to which Makkans contributed generously. The funds thus raised were invested in a trade caravan so that the profit from the trade could be used to finance the war. This caravan was to be led by Aboo Sufyaan and was destined for Syria, passing through the territory of Madeenah that the Makkans had no right to enter or pass through as per earlier declarations.

In the meantime, they aggressively engaged in terror tactics. Gangs of raiders were sent to attack and rob the farmers and shepherds in the suburban areas around Madeenah. Multiple expeditions containing 200-300 troops led by notable chiefs were also dispatched to scout the vicinity of Madeenah. The objectives of these incursions were multi-fold: To undermine the influence of the Islamic government in those areas; to scare the people of Madeenah with the possibility of a surprise attack; to resist Madeenah’s assertion of its authority over the trade route; and, to incite the Muslims to react so that a justification for an all-out war could be created which could be sold to the Arabs in general and which would give them an opportunity to blame the war on the Muslims.

The Makkan aggressions and their declared intention of destroying the Muslims robbed the people in Madeenah of their peace and relaxation. Every night there was a possibility of attack. People were sleeping with their weapons so that in case of a surprise attack, they could react quickly. Because of the constant threat of an attack always looming over this small community, the hypocrites (3) had a heyday in spreading rumours and waging psychological warfare.

3  Those people who declared themselves to be Muslims along with their tribes, but in their hearts they did not want to do so because they remained loyal to the idolaters and they were not ready to make the sacrifices and face the hardships that the sincere faith required in those circumstances. They acted as a fifth column among the Muslims.

One night, a rumour was spread that Madeenah was being attacked. The people of Madeenah came out of their homes, worried and trying to find out what the case was. They saw a rider coming in on a bare horseback. It was Muĥammad ŜAʻWS himself. He assured the people that there was no danger that night. Hearing the first word about the attack, he had taken it upon himself to get out and determine if the city was really under attack. He had gone out to survey the city outskirts. Among all the people in Madeenah, he was open to the highest degree of danger. But, he was such a brave and fearless person that even the most dangerous of circumstances would not deter him from doing what was needed. People, overawed by his bravery and fearlessness, felt relaxed on his assurance and went home to sleep.

Such rumours were becoming a common occurrence. But the only reason rumours persisted was because there was, in fact, a real danger of an attack at any time. The Prophet would himself spend nights keeping watch. Sometimes, he would appoint someone else to keep the watch, so that he could have some rest. He had also established an intelligence network to keep him informed of any significant movements of the enemy. Because he had a few followers or sympathizers in almost every tribe around Makkah and Madeenah, they could help by keeping him informed of the developments in their areas. His best source, however, was Allaah SWT Himself to provide him with any critical news through Jibreel (4).

4  Angel Gabriel

Madeenah’s Response

So far, the Muslims had not been allowed to respond to or retaliate to any cruelty, terrorism or persecution they were subjected to. At this juncture, in Dzul-Ĥijjah, the 12th month of the calendar, about 8 months after Hijrah, Allaah SWT revealed the following verses of the Qur-aan to allow the Muslims to fight back:

39 Permission to fight is hereby granted to those who are being fought because they have been wronged; and most surely Allaah is fully Able to assist them. 40 They are those who have been expelled from their homes unjustly, only because they say, “Our Lord is Allaah.” If it were not for Allaah's repelling some people by others, then monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which Allaah's name is frequently mentioned would certainly have been demolished. Allaah shall certainly help those who help Him; most surely Allaah is Ever-Powerful, All-Mighty. 41 They are those who, if We give them authority in the land, they establish Ŝalaah (5), pay Zakaah (6), enjoin decencies and forbid wrong; and with Allaah rests the outcome of all matters. (Al-Ĥajj 22:39-41)

5  They keep Muslims organized as a unified polity through the system of congregational Ŝalaah
6 Finance the operation and projects of the Islamic polity.

Now that the Muslims were permitted to defend themselves against the Makkan aggressions, they had to be trained to fight in an organized manner. Also, the Makkans’ progress in preparation of war had to be monitored so that Muslims were not taken by surprise. It was known that the Makkan war machine would be financed by the profits of the trade, hence monitoring of the trade caravans to both Syria (North) and Yemen (South) was also needed to gauge their readiness and to estimate the timing of their attack. In addition, the following work needed to be done:

  • Expanding the influence of the federation and enhancing its security through treaties with different tribes in the neighbouring areas and building close relationships and friendships with them.
  • Putting the Makkan trade caravans practically on notice that the Muslims intend to enforce the stoppage of the Makkan caravans passing through the Islamic government’s territory according to the declaration made by Sa‘d in reaction to Aboo Jahl’s ban on Muslims’ pilgrimage to Makkah. As this trade was the main source of their prosperity, the danger of losing access to the trade route could deter them from attacking the Muslims.
  • Making the governmental authority accepted by making its presence felt as well as establishing its ability to reach out and implement its authority on all of its territory, including the trade routes.
  • Establishing law and order in the federated territory and its vicinity including enforcing law and order on the Bedouins living around Madeenah so that they ceased their raids.
  • Establishing a network of informants to keep the Prophet informed of the enemy movements and other developments relating to the security of the territory.
  • Monitoring the area and its borders to prevent Makkan infiltrations and to defend the citizens and their property from their raids.

For all of the above-mentioned purposes, the following missions were undertaken:

1.   In the 2nd month (Ŝafar) of the year 2 HE, about 10 months after Hijrah, the Prophet went on his first diplomatic expedition as the head of government with 60 Muhaajireen to the shore of the Red Sea and entered into a written treaty with the Banoo Dhamrah tribe wherein the Prophet promised peace and protection for that tribe as well as help in case they were attacked by an enemy. They, in return, had promised to help and support the Muslims whenever called upon to do so. This treaty effectively made them part of the federation of Madeenah. This extended the Prophet’s authority and control effectively over the trade route area. He stayed in that area for fifteen days. During the same journey, an agreement was reached with a tribe called Banoo Juhainah that they would remain neutral in case of a war between the Quraish and the government of Madeenah. This trip opened the doors for subsequent reconnaissance missions to be sent to the area without fear of reprisal or problems from the tribes living around that area. This trip is known as the trip of Waddaan (a place about 23 miles from Madeenah) or the trip of Abwaa (7), both names referring to the two places where the Prophet stayed during the trip.

7  It was the area where the mother of Prophet was buried on her death when she came to visit her husband’s grave.

The treaty entered into with Banoo Dhamrah and other tribes mentioned later on, usually contained provisions such as the following:

  • Their life and wealth will be afforded safety and protection;
  • If the tribe is attacked or their rights are violated, they will be helped;
  • When the Prophet calls upon them for help, they will respond;
  • Any religious fight or a fight within a tribe is excepted from treaty.

2.   Within weeks of the abovementioned trip and treaties, the Makkans sent a 300-strong cavalry unit under the command of ‘Ikrimah ibn Aboo Jahl to counteract the influence the Prophet had established. Having received intelligence reports of their incursion, the Prophet dispatched a platoon of 60 Muhaajireen under the command of ‘Ubaidah ibn Ĥaarith to stop the invaders at the frontiers of the Federation. The invading army was taken by surprise in the territory of Dhamrah (the Muslim’s treaty tribe as per point #1). When the armies faced each other, a few arrows were exchanged between them. Suddenly, two of the invading army’s soldiers broke ranks, ran out and joined the Muslims. The invaders retreated and the Muslims came back safe and sound. This is called the Raabigh expedition.

3.   Within weeks of the abovementioned trip and treaties, the Makkans sent a 300-strong cavalry unit under the command of ‘Ikrimah ibn  Aboo Jahl to counteract the influence the Prophet had established. Having received intelligence reports of their incursion, the Prophet dispatched a platoon of 60 Muhaajireen under the command of ‘Ubaidah ibn Ĥaarith to stop the invaders at the frontiers of the Federation. The invading army was taken by surprise in the territory of Dhamrah (the Muslim’s treaty tribe as per point #1). When the armies faced each other, a few arrows were exchanged between them. Suddenly, two of the invading army’s soldiers broke ranks, ran out and joined the Muslims. The invaders retreated and the Muslims came back safe and sound. This is called the Raabigh expedition.

4.   The next month (Rabee‘ul Aakhir), the Makkans used a different strategy to assert their power and influence. One hundred Makkan horsemen headed by Umayyah ibn Khalf attacked the coastal area and assuaged their anger by capturing somewhere between 1000-2500 camels from different tribes in that area. Some people speculate that this was a trade caravan consisting of that many camels, but that is totally implausible considering the size and history of other Makkan caravans. The other researchers have established that camels had been stolen from that area to defy the law and order the Prophet was trying to establish. On receiving the news, the Prophet himself led about 60 or so Muhaajireen to confront the Makkan bandits and to help the allied tribes of the coastal area. The bandits ran away before his arrival. This is known as the Bawwaaŧ expedition.

All these expeditions occurred within three months. So far, the policy of the Prophet of avoiding war without showing any weakness or losing any influence had worked very well. His diplomatic treaties had also proved useful.

5.   After only a few days’ stay in Madeenah, at the end of Jumaadal-Oola, the Prophet went on another diplomatic trip. For this trip, he journeyed using unpopular side routes to develop relations with different clans and to let the Islamic government’s presence and its viability take root in the minds of the people of those areas. Naturally, in all his expeditions and interactions with various tribes, propagation of Islam always remained on the forefront of his agenda. He camped in the area called Dzul ‘Ushairah near Yamboo‘ and established a formal alliance with Banoo Mudlij. Banoo Mudlij were allies of Banoo Dhamrah who had become part of the Islamic federation of Madeenah a few months earlier.

6.   While the Prophet was constructively cementing relationships with his neighbours and establishing peace and friendship, the Makkans showed their frustration through robberies. In the seventh month (Rajab) of 2 HE, Kurz ibn Jaabir Al-Fihri came by secret routes through the mountains, conducted a night raid and drove away some camels and sheep from the pastures around Madeenah. The Prophet immediately went with a party of Muhaajireen to chase him. They pursued him up to the Ŝafwaan valley, but Kurz escaped through his secret routes. This is known as the Ŝafwaan expedition.

7.   With the number of Makkan incursions increasing and their preparations for war accelerating, it was extremely necessary for the Prophet to be aware of the Quraish’s movements so as not to be taken by surprise and to monitor arrivals of their caravans because, to a great extent, the major attack by the Quraish could be influenced by the arrival of their caravans with profits and wealth to finance the war. Thus, around that time, the Prophet sent Sa‘d ibn Abee Waqqaaŝ with 8 people on a reconnaissance mission that went up to Kharraar.

8.   He also sent another group of 8 persons under the command of ‘Abdullaah ibn Jaĥsh to Nakhlah (also in Rajab 2 HE) to monitor the movement of the Quraish and their caravans from Yemen. It was a dangerous mission in the sense that it was closer to Makkah, while very far from Madeenah. All of the eight members were old residents of Makkah thus known by the Makkans. If noticed by the Quraish, this small party could have been easily captured. On their way, two of the Muslims became separated from their platoon and were captured by the Quraish. The remaining party continued their reconnaissance mission. Coincidentally, a small caravan camped at night in the same area where the Muslims were camped. In the morning, this encounter created a difficult situation for the Muslims. Perhaps due to their apprehension on being discovered and annoyed by the loss of their two companions, they attacked the caravan though they had been sent only to monitor and gather information. Out of the four guards for the Caravan, one guard, ‘Amr ibn Al-Ĥadhrami, was killed, two (‘Uthmaan and Alĥakam) were taken captive and one escaped. The Muslims returned to Madeenah with the prisoners and their goods.

The Prophet disapproved of their action, refused to accept the goods brought by them, released the prisoners and offered the blood money for the killed person. In short, the Prophet did everything possible to compensate for the incident. Although the action was taken without his permission and approval and although it could have been easily defended and fairly justified vis-à-vis the capture of two Muslims and the attack of the Makkans on Madeenah and the damages they had inflicted, he did not condone it because it was against his principles, policy and strategy. Also, he did not want to give Makkans any reason or justification to attack Madeenah.

As can be seen, four of the expeditions were commanded by the Prophet himself and each of the other four were commanded by a different person. The focal points of three of the expeditions led by the Prophet were that they were extensions of the Islamic mission, diplomacy and setting up an intelligence network through diplomatic relationships with important tribes as well as the believers or sympathisers in those tribes. The fourth expedition was for the enforcement of law and order necessitated by the robbers’ attack.

The focal point of the expeditions led by other Muslims was to develop leadership and team building capabilities in a variety of people, training the Muslims to accept the leadership of anyone appointed as their leader and to teach them flexibility to work equally well in any role assigned to them, whether as commanders or the commanded. For this purpose, different people were appointed commanders for different expeditions.

In addition, these expeditions also accrued the following demonstrative and developmental benefits:

  • Demonstrative benefits were gained by showing the Quraish, in particular, and other Arabs, in general, that:
  • Despite the tough circumstances, the Prophet and his followers would not allow themselves to be victimized by the Quraish’s hostile activities;
  • They refuse to be intimidated and were fully prepared to confront the Makkans and protect their fellow citizens from their raids; and
  • They were fully capable of monitoring and establishing their authority over all of their territory including the trade routes.
  • Developmental benefits towards building a viable political entity included: Gaining familiarity with the area for future defence needs, acclimatizing the personnel in the new environment, knowing the terrain, developing perseverance for difficulties and hardships, promoting teamwork, teaching cooperative group dynamics, training in the proper behaviour both as a commander as well as the commanded, and inculcating Islamic values and morals to be practised during military expeditions.

Even while undertaking these expeditions, the Prophet’s strategy was to avoid war as much as possible. He wanted to achieve all of the above-mentioned objectives by tactical moves and demonstration of preparedness and dedication. He would manoeuvre his expeditions tactically so that he would disable the enemy by catching them by surprise or by putting the enemy in such a position that they had to retreat instead of fighting. Although he did not want war, he was not a coward to yield under pressure. He wanted an honourable peace under which his mission of establishing an ideal human society in the world could continue onwards strongly and effectively. His briefings to the commanders always reflected his strategy of avoiding confrontation with honour, or of minimizing loss of human life, if battle was imposed.

Due to his awareness of enemy movements and being able to send his expeditions in time most of the times, he was able to get to the enemy by surprise and force them to withdraw without fighting. Out of eight Muslim expeditions, there was no real fight at all in six of them, although sometimes Makkan troops as strong as 200-300 men were intercepted. In one expedition, arrows were exchanged, but the enemy retreated immediately. Only the last expedition was an anomaly where the Muslim reconnaissance team could not contain their frustration and attacked a caravan of the Quraish without the Prophet’s permission.

Although the Makkans were trying to get other tribes involved by sending their troops to the areas of those tribes and thus exacerbate the tensions, the Prophet took special precautions to limit the tensions from spreading. He was so careful that in none of the eight expeditions did he include anyone else other than Makkan Muhaajireen so that the tension remained limited within the Quraish on both sides and so that it was viewed by other Arabs as an internal strife between two groups of the same tribe. This would not give any reason for the Makkans to get other tribes involved in their campaign against the Muslims. Also, participation of the Anŝaar of Aows and Khazraj in any of the incursions would give the Quraish an excuse to attack Madeenah.

As the chances of an impending attack of Makkans were increasing, Muslims were now directly commanded by Allaah through the following revelation to fight for their defense:

190 From now on, fight for Allaah’s cause those who fight you (8), but do not transgress because Allaah does not like transgressors. 191 And kill them (the combatants) wherever you find them confronting, and drive them out from where they drove you out. Fitnah – oppression and persecution that imposes un-Islamic systems on Muslims – is worse than killing. However, do not fight them in the sanctuary around the Sacred Masjid unless they fight you in it. If they do fight you, then kill them. That is the way to deal with the (combatant) disbelievers. (Al-Baqarah 2:190-191)

8  The Makkans

Battle of Badr

So far, the Prophet had out-manoeuvred the Makkans by asserting his sovereignty over the territory of the Islamic Federation. He had managed to do so without giving them any reason to attack Madeenah openly, despite their utmost attempts to cause a fight. The incident of Nakhlah could have been used as an excuse, but the Prophet’s timely action to redress the situation prevented it from being used as a spark to ignite a full-fledged war.

The Makkan chiefs, on the other hand, were getting impatient to attack the Muslims before they became well established in Madeenah. The Makkans were also desperate to maintain their aura of power and their credibility by making true the threats they had uttered. However, they could not undertake a full-scale war for many expedient reasons. Firstly, they could not get the Makkans fired up for the war because most of the Makkans did not want to fight their own kith and kin that were not doing any wrong to them. Secondly, those chiefs were worried that if they attacked Madeenah without a sound justification in the eyes of the Arabs in general, the Quraish’s status and reputation would be damaged and they would be viewed as abusing their position in the Arabian society by attacking smaller tribes. This might initiate a backlash from Arabs at large. Thus, they had to create a reason to win the support of common Makkans as well as Arabs in general for a decisive assault against Madeenah.

As the strong circumstantial evidence (given towards the end) suggests, the most bigoted of the chiefs such as Aboo Jahl and Aboo Sufyaan secretly hatched a plan to create a justification. Considering the exchange of threats between Aboo Jahl and Saʻd ibn Muʻaadz, they expected the Muslims to assert their authority over their territory and intercept their trade caravan passing through the territory of the Federation of Madeenah. Hence, they had planned to use the Syrian caravan headed by Aboo Sufyaan as a reason to ignite emotions and wage a war. The caravan was the one in which most of the Makkans had invested their wealth to the tune of 50,000 gold coins. It was protected by forty guards. There was also an expectation that their caravan might be apprehended for passing through the Islamic government’s territory without permission. They figured that the best strategy to assemble an army and get everyone in a frenzy to fight was to use the excuse that the protection of this caravan from Muslims was urgently needed. Moreover, this way they would be able to blame the Muslims for aggression and give the Muslims a bad name among their allies. Once the blame of attack was stuck on Muslims, the Makkan chiefs would have a legitimate cause to attack Madeenah in the eyes of Arabs in general as well as those Makkans who were reluctant to wage a war against their own relatives who were not causing them any problems.

As per the plan, the Makkans were preparing for the attack quietly within their select group of chiefs. Arrangements were made with some tribes from Najd area to contribute fighting men for the war. Then, also according to the plan, when the caravan was nowhere around Madeenah, and Muĥammad ŜAʻWS and his companions were still in their homes, Aboo Sufyaan sent Dhamdham ibn ‘Amr to spread the rumour that Muĥammad was poised to attack the caravan. When Dhamdham reached Makkah, he slit the ears and nose of his camel, turned its saddle upside down, tore his shirt from front and back and stood in front of the Holy Kaʻbah and implored for help to save their wealth from Muĥammad.

The drama was staged successfully, people were aroused, justification was provided and the Makkans proceeded to assemble the army. The situation was so electrified by this drama that even Banoo Haashim, the clan of the Prophet himself, was pressured into participating. Joining the army was made into a matter of national pride and refraining from it was made a matter of shame. Some chiefs such as ‘Utbah ibn Rabee‘ah and Umayyah ibn Khalf were reluctant to personally join the army, but were coerced into joining because of the pride and shame issue. Thus, under the pretext of protecting their caravan and their goods, a 1300-strong army was assembled and equipped to attack Madeenah. The army included men from the tribes of Banoo Saleem and Banoo Ghaŧfaan of Najd. Before marching out, holding the curtains of the Kaʻbah, they prayed, “O Allaah help whoever of the two armies is more superior, more honourable and better.” Thus it was clear that they were setting out in religious fervour because they thought themselves ideologically to be the better of the two. The army marched from Makkah on or around 6th Ramadhaan, 2 HE.

When the news of the army’s departure from Makkah reached the Prophet, he knew that the most critical moment in the life of the Islamic movement had arrived where its very survival was at stake. Anything less than the bravest defence would mean the end of the Islamic work. Although the occasion demanded significant resources be committed to equip Muslims for the defence of the fledgling state, the economic and social circumstances were such that the Muslims did not have adequate resources to defend against the Makkan offence. From the personnel perspective, although the Muhaajireen had received some field training through the previously mentioned expeditions, the Anŝaar were neither trained nor tried as yet for their disposition or inclination to venture out of town to fight the Quraish. Then, the Muslims had neither the arms nor finances to equip themselves for defence. In addition, the strong groups of hypocrites, Jews and idolaters of Madeenah were more loyal to the Quraish than to Muslims. Despite these vulnerabilities, a desperate defensive act was the only option.

To consult the trusted companions and to test the rest without scaring the weakest of them, the Prophet ŜAʻWS put two scenarios in front of the assembly of companions. He told them: There is a trade caravan coming from the north, and Quraish army from the south. Allaah has promised that you would be victorious against one of them. Who do you want to confront? The mature trusted companions immediately knew that the only real option is the army. Hence, Aboo Bakr and ‘Umar assessed the situation correctly and spoke with faith and fervour in favour of confronting the army. But some new, weaker-in-faith Muslims vocally expressed their desire to intercept the caravan. Considering the shortage of Muslim manpower and dearth of fighting equipment, they thought confronting the army was suicidal. They also thought that they had a legitimate claim against Quraish because of all the wealth and properties of Muslim Muhaajireen that had been confiscated. What they overlooked was that if they intercepted the Caravan, the army was not going to go away without attacking.

The concern expressed by a few companions was not what the Prophet wanted to hear. So, he repeated his question. Then, Miqdaad ibn ‘Amr from the Muhaajireen stood up and said,

“O Messenger of Allaah, go towards what Allaah has commanded you. We will accompany you whatever way you like to go. We will not say like Banee Israaeel said to Moosa, ‘You and your Lord go and fight, we will sit here and wait.’ Rather, our response is, ‘You and your Lord go and fight and we will fight along you and keep fighting as long as even one of our eyes is moving.’ ”

The Anŝaar had not yet spoken, so without specifying any particular group, the Prophet repeated his question once again. But the Anŝaar got the point. Sa‘d ibn Mu‘aadz, from the Anŝaar stood up and said,

“Perhaps you want to hear our opinion. Indeed, we have believed in you, testified to your being true, and witnessed that what you have brought is the truth. We have also given you our oath of allegiance and made our commitment to listen to and obey you. So, O Messenger of Allaah, go towards whatever you intend. By Allaah Who has sent you with the truth if you take us to an ocean and jump therein, we will jump with you and not a single person from us will stay behind. We have no qualms about you taking us to confront the enemy army. Definitely we will be steadfast in the war and truly gallant when meeting the enemy. Hopefully Allaah will help us show you the performance that will delight you. So, let us proceed to the battle with the blessings of Allaah!”

These statements clearly indicate that the mature Ŝaĥaabah (companions) knew exactly what was needed at that time.

After these expressions of outstanding commitment, devotion and faith, except for a few new or naive Muslims, it was clear that the Makkan army would be confronted. The Prophet and his companions started preparing for it. It was the first time that the Anŝaar were participating in an expedition. Both Muhaajireen and Anŝaar companions were becoming passionate about Qitaal in the way of Allaah SWT and martyrdom. Even where one of the members of the family had to stay back for some unavoidable reason(s), each of them wanted to go instead of staying. For example, it was essential for either Khaithamah or his son Sa‘d to stay home; but both wanted to go. Finally the son convinced the father to stay and let him go for martyrdom into Jannah. Even young boys (minors) were excited for that purpose and joined the army. Two non-Muslims, Khubaib ibn Sayaaf and Qais ibn Maĥrath, wanted to join the army in the expectation of getting the booty of the war, but the Prophet told them that only the follower of Islam could be included in this ideological battle.

On the 12th of Ramadhaan, the Prophet set out from Madeenah with all the strength of the sincere Muslims he could muster. Only eight men of fighting ability were left behind in Madeenah to fulfil some responsibilities that the Prophet had assigned to them. The Prophet appointed Aboo Lababah ibn Mundzir as caretaker head of Madeenah to manage the affairs in the Prophet’s absence. Just outside of Madeenah, at Bi-er Abee ‘Anbah, the Prophet examined his troops and sent back a few young boys who had come along in their passion to please Allaah SWT. Only one, ‘Umair ibn Abee Waqqaaŝ, was allowed to remain because he started crying when he was asked to leave. Then the Prophet allowed him to come with the army when he demonstrated his fighting skills. They spent the night there and then on the 13th, three hundred and thirteen men (including the under-aged boy who insisted on joining) proceeded onwards to face the enemy and to defend themselves, their faith and their way of life.

They headed straight towards the direction the army was coming from, not towards the Northwest where the caravan was coming from. This relatively small army was ill-equipped because of a severe lack of resources. Some Muslims did not even have proper sheathes or cases for their swords. They wrapped rags around their swords. There were some who had only old, rusted or even broken swords. Only 60 of them had some sort of armour. They had only 2 horses and 70 camels to ride on, and not much food to eat during their journey. They traveled mostly on foot, four people per camel taking turns to ride and walk. Of the 313, about 82 were Muhaajireen (immigrants) and the rest were Anŝaar (the helpers), 61 from Aows and 170 from Khazraj. By participating in the battle, the Anŝaar were practically inviting the animosity of the whole of Arabia. Muhaajireen were in an even more testing situation. They were being confronted by their own brothers, fathers, sons, uncles and old friends. But their loyalty to Allaah, His Messenger and their religion was paramount over anything else in their life.

When the Makkan army reached close to Badr, and they found out that the caravan had passed through the Madeenah territory safe and sound, the Makkans who were not party to the drama (of accusing Muslims of attacking the caravan) and genuinely thought that the purpose was just to protect the caravan suggested to the army chiefs to go back, but in vain. At this, two clans, Banoo Zuhrah and Banoo ‘Addi, went back to Makkah saying that they came to protect their people and goods; since they were out of danger, there was no reason to fight.

The Makkan chiefs who plotted the strategy, however, were anxious to execute all the threats they had been making. They did not want to go back without annihilating the Muslims before they became well established and strong enough to be able to pose a serious challenge to the Quraish’s religious monopoly, influence and hegemony over Arabia. To counter the suggestion of going back because the caravan was safe, Aboo Jahl incited ‘Aamir, the brother of ‘Amr Ĥadharmi, to plead and cry for the revenge of his brother who was killed by the Muslims in one of the confrontations, though the compensation had been previously offered by the Prophet. On the suggestions of Ĥakeem ibn Ĥizaam, ‘Utbah ibn Rabee‘ah offered to pay up the blood money instead of fighting, but they rejected even this proposition because settling that issue was not their intent. They had done all their planning to fight and destroy Muslims, not to go back. Thus they stood by their decision to fight and finish the Muslims once and for all without worrying about the reasons or justifications. Despite some of the Makkans leaving, about a thousand men remained committed to fight.

After traveling for 90 miles, on the 16th of Ramadhaan the Muslims reached Badr, a valley surrounded by mountains. The Makkan army had arrived at that place after traveling for about 200 miles in 10 days, shortly before the Muslims. They were camped on the other side of the mountain. The Makkan caravan was also passing that area around the same time on a coastal route about 11 miles down from where the armies were camped.

The night of the battle, Aboo Jahl prayed, “O Allaah, this man (the Prophet ŜAʻWS) has caused the severance of relationships and calls us to a message that is not known to us. O Allaah, make him perish tomorrow.”

The Prophet, on the other hand, spent the night seeking Allaah’s help for His Deen.

The armies confronted each other on the 17th of Ramadhaan. When the Prophet saw the Makkan army approaching, he raised his hands for du’aa saying, “O Allaah, these Quraish, elated by their arrogance and power, have come well-equipped to prove your Messenger false. O Allaah, send the help that you had promised me. O Allaah, if this small group of people is destroyed today, You will not be henceforth submitted to (as One and Only God).” Allaah did fulfil His promise to His Messenger and sent one thousand (1000) angels to help the Muslims. The miraculous victory of the Muslims as a result and details of the battle are well known. They will be discussed in detail at the appropriate places in the teachings of the Qur-aan.

What Caused the Battle?

This is a brief overview of the constant struggle that the Prophet and the Muslims were engaged in with their Makkan enemies during the first 18 months after Hijrah. According to the Qur-aan, this battle was purely ideological. It took place because the Makkans wanted to eradicate Islam and destroy Muslims once and for all, while Allaah SWT wanted to establish the supremacy of the Truth and cut the roots of falsehood. That is why the day of this battle was called the day of “Al-Furqaan” – the criterion that determines what the Truth is.

Considering that some historians theorize that the Makkan attack resulting in the battle of Badr was initiated because of other reasons, it is necessary to evaluate those suggested reasons on the basis of the known facts.

Usually one or more of the following reasons are speculated:

  1. The Makkans wanted to avenge the killing of ‘Amr and the arrest of the other two guards by ‘Abdullaah ibn Jaĥsh expedition to Nakhlah (in Rajab 2 HE);
  2. The Makkans had to remove the Muslim threat to their trade route to Syria on which their economic well-being was hugely dependent;
  3. The Muslims wanted to rob the caravan, but had to fight the army because the caravan slipped by and the Makkan army came to protect it.

None of the above can be a valid trigger for war because of the following reasons:

1.   The first matter was definitely a sore point for Makkans but was not significant enough to justify amassing an army. According to the rules of the society, the Makkans could have demanded Qiŝaaŝ (9) either from the Prophet directly or through his clan in Makkah. Even the Prophet himself had offered blood money for the person killed. In addition, when some Makkan leaders wanted to go back without fighting, and this issue of revenge was raised, ‘Utbah ibn Rabee‘ah was willing to pay the blood money to the victim’s family, but it was refused. Thus, according to Arabian traditions, the war could not be justified on this basis.

9  Settling life for life or for an established equivalent monetary compensation.

2.   The second reason could not be an excuse for war at all because none of the Makkan caravans travelling the Syrian route were so far intercepted, stopped or robbed.

3.   The most common theory presented in this respect is that the Muslims intended to rob the caravan. Some people even go one step further and accuse that all of the eight expeditions mentioned earlier were also undertaken for this reason. Although this claim is so ridiculous that it is not even worthy of any consideration, some Muslims have accepted this baseless accusation as a matter of fact, rationalizing it on the basis that Muslims had a legitimate claim against the Quraish who had usurped the wealth and properties of the Muslim Muhaajireen (emigrants). Attributing this intent to the Muslims is a totally implausible assertion for the following reasons:

  • So far, Allaah had granted the Prophet and the Muslims permission to fight only when they were attacked or fought with, i.e. specifically for defensive purposes (Al-Ĥajj). Attacking or robbing a caravan would obviously be an act of aggression rather than a defensive encounter. Do you think the Prophet would disobey Allaah and would attack the caravans just because Muslims have a legitimate claim against the Quraish?
  • There were eight expeditions undertaken before the battle of Badr, and there was only one encounter with a caravan. Do you think the Prophet was so clumsy in his planning and so weak in his intelligence gathering that seven out of eight missions failed in robbing the caravans?

  • Is there any historical evidence that Quraish would send multiple caravans one after the other in a matter of a few months to the same direction; i.e. Syria?

  • If robbing a caravan was the goal all along, when his men finally succeeded why would he return all the goods and give the blood money for the killed guard? Someone might say it was because the fight took place in Rajab (another propaganda of falsehood). But if the inviolability of the month of Rajab was the reason, how would return of the money and payment of the blood money restore the sanctity already broken? And why would he worry about restoring the sanctity especially when Allaah had provided a justification for fighting in the inviolable months? The fact is that the only reason he returned the goods, freed the prisoners and offered the blood ransom was because it was never his intention to attack any caravan.

The idea of plundering the caravan is so inconsistent with the entire life and style of the Prophet that it is evidently a fabricated story. The person who was so forgiving and kind to his enemies, who spent lavishly on them after having authority over them, who was kindest to the prisoners of war -- how could one say that he was sending troops to rob caravans? Although it would have been justified for an ordinary person to think of robbing the caravans to recover misappropriated wealth of Muslims, it does not fit with the personality of someone who did not even want to mention a thing of the past when he had full control over his enemies’ affairs and full authority of recovering all that was taken from the Muslims in the past. The person who made a point to win the hearts of people, do you expect him to gain wealth and alienate the hearts?

This fabrication has been most vigorously propagated for the battle of Badr. It is claimed that Muslims had left Madeenah to rob the caravan. When Aboo Sufyaan, the leader of the caravan, found out that the Muslims were coming to attack the caravan, he sent a messenger to Makkah for help. The Makkans gathered the army and marched towards Madeenah to protect the caravan. On hearing the news of the Makkan army, then the Prophet consulted his companions at a place called Dzafraan, where the aforementioned speeches took place and the Muslims decided to confront the army instead of the caravan.

This theory is so baseless and so absurd that it should not even be mentioned. The unfortunate aspect is that many Muslims themselves keep repeating this fabricated propaganda thoughtlessly, disregarding all the clear evidence available against this false assertion. Let us look at the events surrounding the battle of Badr to see what the evidence suggests.

Solid Facts

The battle of Badr took place on Friday, 17th of Ramadhaan at Badr which is about 90 miles from Madeenah and 200 miles from Makkah. The Muslims reached Badr on the 16th of Ramadhaan, where Makkans were already camped on the other side of the mountain. The caravan had reached the vicinity also at the same time.

The Makkan army had reached Badr before the Muslim army. Now let us say that they reached there earlier the same day or only a day earlier. It is known that they spent 10 days traveling to Badr, which means they must have started from Makkah on the 6th of Ramadhaan, at the latest. After Dhamdham reached Makkah, the Makkans took 4 days to make arrangements with Banoo Bakr not to attack Makkah at that time in their absence. They needed this time also to assemble and organize the army. It means Dhamdham must have reached Makkah by the first or second of Ramadhaan.

Now the question is when and from where Dhamdham was sent so as to reach Makkah by the 1st or 2nd of Ramadhaan. Usually it is mentioned that Aboo Sufyaan sent him when he found out that Muslims are advancing to attack his caravan. If this is believed to be true, it means Dhamdham must have been sent when the caravan was close to Madeenah. Even if Dhamdham travelled uninterrupted at full speed of the camel, it would have taken him about one week to reach Makkah (remember that it took the Prophet 7-8 days while migrating to Madeenah on camel). Accordingly, the Muslims must have left Madeenah around the 20th of Sha‘baan, at the latest, to be in the vicinity of the trade route so that their presence was noted and reported to Aboo Sufyaan, and Dhamdham had enough time to reach Makkah by the beginning of Ramadhaan. Although even this time estimate is tight, we are taking the minimum numbers for the sake of argument.

Hence, if the story that Dhamdham was sent after Aboo Sufyaan had found out about the Muslim’s intention to attack the caravan is believed, it implies that:

  • Muslims left Madeenah around the 20th of Sha‘baan;
  • Although the caravan was close by and even its diverted route was only 15-16 miles away, the Muslims wandered around for about two weeks instead of chasing the caravan until they heard about the Makkan army, when they changed their mind and decided to confront the army instead.

Both of these implications themselves highlight the falsehood of the proposition.

It is an established fact that the travel did happen in Ramadhaan, not in Sha‘baan. This was the first year when fasting was prescribed. When the Muslims started from Madeenah they were fasting and the Prophet had to ask them to break the fast.

Similarly, the second point does not make sense at all. If the intent was to attack the caravan, why did the Muslim army not do anything when the Makkans were still at home? Why did they wait for the army to come? Why not rob the caravan, use the wealth to buy more arms, horses and camels and then confront the Makkans to fight with them? And when they departed from Madeenah, why is it that the Muslims marched in the direction of Makkah towards Badr instead of marching North-west towards the Caravan?

Some others may assume that Aboo Sufyaan sent for help not because the Muslims troops were seen in the area but as a precaution against the fear that the Muslims might attack. The question is, what was the basis of the fear? Was there any caravan robbed by Muslims before he left for Syria? Did anyone chase his caravan on his way to Syria? The answer to both of these questions is a resounding NO! So perhaps the Nakhlah incident triggered his fear. That is not possible either because he was in Syria and did not have access to that information. Perhaps the Makkans sent him a special courier to inform him about the incident? Does it not sound odd that at first the Makkans would send him a message to inform him of the incident and then he would send Dhamdham to ask for help? Why would the Makkans not send him a message: “A caravan has been attacked and thus, as a precaution, we will be coming to protect you according to your scheduled arrival”? Moreover, if it was just because of the fear and precaution, why would Dhamdham cry about it as if the caravan was, as a matter of fact, under attack? It is apparent that Aboo Sufyaan had no clue about the Nakhlah incident and he had no basis to suspect a raid. He had sent his man to stage the pre-planned drama so that a justification for war could be created and the Makkans could be incited to fight.

Some more Pertinent Questions

From the Muslim perspective:

  • If the Prophet and Muslims started from Madeenah to intercept the caravan, and the Makkan army was called for, only in response to the presence of the Muslim army, why was a 313-strong army needed to confront 30-40 guards? Was that the style of the Prophet, especially considering that the manpower for each of the expeditions sent so far had been very small compared to the number of Makkan troops they were expected to confront? Why were the Anŝaar included for the first time, unless that every Muslim was truly needed to confront the army for the survival of the Islamic mission, so much so that only eight believing men were left to fulfil some assigned tasks in Madeenah?
  • Why were two non-Muslims who wanted to join the army told, “Whoever does not follow our Deen cannot participate with us.” Was this differentiation something pertinent for robbing a caravan? Or was it because the Muslims were setting out to confront the enemies to establish the “Ĥaqq” (the Truth)?
  • Why were all Muslims joining the army with the passion for Jihad and martyrdom, so much so that young Muslims like ‘Umair ibn Abee Waqqaaŝ also wanted to participate? And why were other young boys like ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar, Usaamah ibn Zaid, Baraa ibn ‘Aazib, Zaid ibn Arqam, etc. not allowed to join? Was intercepting a trade caravan which had only about 40 guards all that risky for an army of more than 300 fighting men to deny participation to those boys?
  • If the coming of the army was found later on at Dzafraan, which is very close to Badr, why would the matter be presented that there were two gangs on the way, one of which can be yours? By that time, the caravan had already slipped by (down towards the coast) and the Makkan army was close at hand. Thus, they had no choice but to face the army.
  • Also, if the intent was to rob the caravan, why did the Muslim army not chase the caravan after the defeat of the Makkan army at Badr? After the Muslims were victorious and the danger of the Makkan army was gone and the caravan was so close to Badr, it could have been easily chased and robbed.

From the Makkan perspective, if they set out merely to defend their caravan, what would justify the following:

  • When they found out that the caravan had safely passed the “danger” zone, why did they not leave without fighting, especially when some of their own urged them to do so? Why did they continue marching to Badr?
  • Why was such a strong army with more than one thousand (1000) fighters and so much preparation for the war needed? Why was it made incumbent for every clan and every noticeable leader to participate in the war? Why was such an environment created that anyone who would not participate in the war would be doing so to destroy his reputation? Why was it given the status of a “national” war where each clan contributed to the expenses of the war, instead of only those clans who had invested money in the caravan? Why was it given a religious and ideological significance?

The fact is that the war was undertaken on a purely ideological basis by the Makkans to root out the Muslims. Dhamdham was sent far in advance according to the prior plan, not because of any danger from Muslims. The protection of the caravan was just a cover. That is why troops from Banoo Saleem and Banoo Ghaŧfaan of Najd area were able to participate in the army. Without behind-the-scene pre-arrangements, their joining the Makkan army on short notice would have been impossible. Banoo Bakr also agreed to refrain from attacking Makkah during that time for the religious reasons.

It is also fact that the Muslims started from Madeenah only after hearing the news of the invading army starting from Makkah. Hence, the Muslims left Madeenah on the 12th of Ramadhaan, as some of the historians have reported, traveling at the speed of a foot soldier because of a lack of enough camels, reaching Badr in 3-4 days by the 16th. What happened at Dzafraan was only that some of those who had hoped to chase the caravan finally realized that the only option they had was to face the army.

Thus, the Makkans came out clearly and determinedly to destroy the growing challenge to their religion and their way of life and the Muslims came out to defend their Deen and their way of life. Hence it was a critical moment to determine which ideology was going to survive and flourish.

The fact that the Muslims left Madeenah to confront the army is also clearly indicated by verses 5-8 of this soorah, which documented the truth immediately after the Battle of Badr. Those verses make it crystal clear that the Muslims had set out of Madeenah to defend themselves and their faith from the Makkan aggression, not to attack the caravan.

The tactics of the Makkans leading up to the battle show that the Battle of Badr was one of those situations where people are fired up to fight against the Muslims through dramatization and lies. It also shows that tactics of the Kufr do not change. Whether it is the Pharaoh of Egypt, Aboo Jahl of Makkah or a neo-conservative of the 21st century, their mentality and tactics remain the same. They use lies and false propaganda about an imminent danger, retaliation or pre-emption to fool people and convince them to participate in and support the illegitimate and unjust wars of aggression.

The fact that the Muslims left Madeenah to confront the army is also clearly supported by the Qur-aan, which documented the truth immediately after the Battle of Badr in the following words:

5 Recall when your Lord brought you (O Prophet) out of your house for the purpose of Truth, even though a group of believers disliked it. 6 They were arguing with you about the Truth after it had become clear, as if they were being driven to death while they were seeing it. 7 It was when Allaah promised you (Muslims) that one of the two groups would be for you, and you people wished the weaker one to be for you; but Allaah wanted to manifest the truthfulness of the Truth by His words and to cut off the root of the disbelievers. 8 That He might establish Truth as true and prove Falsehood false, even if the criminals disliked it. (Al-Anfaal 8:5-8)

These verses, having been revealed immediately after the battle of Badr, are the most authentic record of what happened when the Prophet and Muslims were leaving their homes in Madeenah to confront the Makkans. These verses very clearly and unequivocally state that the Prophet and the Muslims departed from their homes with the very clear goal of confronting the army, even though some of the Muslims did not want that. The Muslim army started from Madeenah to establish “Ĥaqq”, counter the disbelievers, defend themselves and their faith from the Makkan aggression, not to attack the caravan. These verses are telling:

  • Allaah brought the Prophet out of his home with Ĥaqq – a legitimate and valid goal of establishing the truth of Islam and demonstrating the falsehood of the Makkan’s idolatry by defeating them in the battle and destroying the main pillars of falsehood. Naturally this purpose could have been achieved only through the battle of Badr, not through attacking the caravan.
  • This fact was known and fully intended right when the Prophet and the Muslims were preparing to leave their homes, not later on at any other place. The question about one of the two gangs was presented right there at the time of initial discussion and the objective set by Allaah was also known at that time.
  • The matter was presented to people in a subtle but clear manner so that the dedicated believers immediately knew what was being suggested but only a few weaker in faith tried to argue for chasing the caravan that had only 30-40 people to guard it. The sensible Muslims knew that the only viable option was gaining victory over the army for the security of Muslims in Madeenah. Going after the caravan was neither congruent with the Islamic goals, nor was it pragmatic. Even if they overpowered the caravan, they would be defeated by the army. The promise of Allaah was to grant victory over only one of them, not both.
  • Even the group of people with weak faith knew right away that the marching order was for a decisive battle, though they felt that going for the battle was in fact jumping into a death trap; therefore, they continued their efforts to talk the Prophet out of it until they reached Dzafraan and saw that there was no way out of the battle now.

After this evidence from the Qur-aan, it becomes crystal clear that the Muslims had set out of Madeenah to defend against the Makkan aggression. 

The tactics of the Makkans leading up to the battle show that the Battle of Badr was one of those situations where people are fired up to fight against the Muslims through dramatization and lies. It also shows that tactics of the Kufr do not change. Whether it is the Pharaoh of Egypt, Aboo Jahl of Makkah or a neo-conservative of the 21st century, their mentality and tactics remain the same. They use lies and false propaganda about an imminent danger, retaliation or pre-emption to fool people and convince them to participate in and support the illegitimate and unjust wars of aggression.

Posted in Seerah on December 31, 2021 by Ayub Hamid

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