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The Quranic verses mention the sheer force of Muslim attack, referring to thousand angels descending to slaughter the Quraishi army.
Badr back then was a meeting point for people traveling with caravans towards Mecca from Syria and for people coming from Madina road. Caravans would stop there to rest their camels and an annual market was also organized.
The Battle of Badr was a huge turning point for Muslims. The Battle of Badr took place on March 13, 624 CE, on a Tuesday. It is referred to as the Day of the Criterion by Muslims and in the holy Quran. The battle took place close to the present-day Badr city in Al Madinah Province, Saudi Arabia. Prophet Muhammad, commanding the Sahaba army, defeated the Amr ibn Hishām (Abu Jahl) led Quraysh army. This battle was the beginning of the war between Prophet Muhammad and his tribe that lasted for six years. The Meccans and Muslim armies were involved in many small skirmishes, before the war, between late 623 and early 624 CE. This battle took the life of major Quraysh leaders like Abu Jahl and Umayyah ibn Khalaf. For centuries in Islamic history, the Battle of Badr story has been highly recognized, before it was combined with several Prophet Muhammad biographies existing now. All the information on this battle was recorded and compiled in traditional Islamic accounts, like the Qur'an, sometime after the end of the battle. Before the ninth century, no written descriptions were available of this battle, with only a little evidence besides the holy Quran. So, many contemporary historians debate the authenticity and historicity of this battle. A lesser-known fact about this battle is that the Muslim army of Muhammad was not expecting a battle and was not ready in any way.
One of the reasons behind the Battle of Badr was the Uthman and al-Hakam capturing Amr ibn a-Hadrami, and killing in the Abdullah ibn Jahash's sariyyah enraged Quraysh.
Quraysh was the tribe that controlled Mecca. The adjective and plural of this word are Quraishi. Meccan and Qurayshi were used interchangeably between 622 CE (Hijra) and 630 CE (the Muslim conquest of Mecca). In 623 CE, after the migration to Medina or Hijra, the Medina population chose Prophet Muhammad as a leader of the community. The followers of Prophet Muhammad decided to raid the Meccan caravans as they passed by Medina. In early 624 CE, the Quraysh caravan, led by Abu Sufyan ibn Harp, that was carrying goods and wealth from the Levant was on its way back to Mecca. Abu Sufyan knew the threat of the growing influence of Prophet Muhammad in the area, so, he sent spies to check on Prophet Muhammad regularly, to warn him of any kind of Muslim movement in the region. Muhammad gathered around 300 men of the expeditionary force to ambush the caravan. Spies of Abu Sufyan informed him about this plot of Muslims to intercept the caravan. Fearing the loss of his wealth, Abu Sufyan sent Damdam bin 'Amr al-Ghifari, the messenger to Quraish. Damdam informed Abu Sufyan about Muhammad's army trying to ambush their caravan and he rerouted his caravan towards the Red Sea.
Before the battle, Muhammad was able to form a Muslim army of 300 men or so, the exact number varies in different accounts. There were around 170 men from the Banu Khazraj, 61 from 'Aws, and 82 from Muhajirun. These men were neither prepared nor well-equipped. So, Muhammad shared his camel with Marthad ibn Abi Marthad al-Ghanawi and 'Ali ibn Abu Talib. Two armies, Ansar and Muhajirun were formed. Muhammad and his armed forces marched along Mecca's main road from the north. He dispatched 'Adi al-Juhani and Basbas al-Juhani at Safra', to scout for Quraish. Uthman, the future Caliph, could not join the war as he was looking after his sick wife, daughter of Muhammad, Ruqayyah.
The Battle of Badr date when it took place was March 13, 624 CE, a Tuesday - 17 Ramadan, 2 Ah - as per the Islamic calendar.
Abu Jahl or Amr ibn Hishām was one among the top leaders of the Quraysh tribe. He was popular for opposing the early Muslims and Prophet Muhammad and later leading the Battle of Badr, getting killed in the same war by Abdullah ibn Masud. Abu Jahl had an army of 1,300 men and many camels and horses. After receiving the message that their wealth was safe, the Meccan army wanted to return home. However, Abu Jahl was not interested to go back home and wanted to hold a feast in Badr to show that they were far more superior than the Muslim men. Quraysh nobles like al-Walid ibn Utbah, Umayyah ibn Khalaf, Utbah ibn Rabi'ah joined this army. These nobles had many reasons, to avenge Ibn al-Hadrami (a guard killed during the ambush of Muhammad's army), some wanted to protect their wealth in the caravan, and others just wanted to be a part of the expected easy victory against Muslims.
Abu Bakr and Muhammad conducted scouting procedures and located the Quraish camp. They also found out the exact number of men in the Quraishi army. On the evening of March 11, Muhammad sent two people to search for Meccans. The two Muhammad's men were able to capture two Meccans at the Badr wells, who were a part of the Quraishy army. Muhammad was able to extract information about Makkans from these two boys. Then, Muhammad ordered his men to march towards Badr the next day. Muslim army arrived before the Meccans did from the east. The Muslim plan of action was to camp in a well that was closest to the Quraishi army and destroy others. It is said that Muhammad spent the night of March 12 praying close to a tree, while the Muslim army slept through the night. Only a little is known about what the Qurayshi army did from Mecca until they reached Badr. As they expected an easy victory, they were not well-prepared, and neither did they plan for the battle. As there were no wells, a few Meccans reached the wells controlled by Muslims for water but were shot on sight. The battle began when one of the Meccan men swore that he would drink water from the well, controlled by Muslims, or die for it. In response, an uncle of Muhammad started fighting in a duel. Muhammad's uncle killed this man. Seeing this, three men from Meccan ranks and three men from Muslim ranks emerged. Many duels took place followed by a shower of arrows, and then a few more duels. Most of the duels were won by the Muslims. The Meccans then charged towards the Muslim lines.
There were around 70 Meccans killed in the Battle of Badr and only the names of prominent people are known.
Badr is a small town in Al Madinah Province, Saudi Arabia. This town is almost two hours from the holy city of Madinah by car.
As the Meccans charged, Muhammad continued his prayers and questions to Allah. He then ordered a counterattack and they started throwing pebbles at the Meccan army. The Muslim army then rushed towards the Quraysh lines. The Meccan army was unenthusiastic to fight and hence started running. This act of fleeing and fear of fighting is attributed to divine intervention by Muslims. The war only lasted for a few hours. Although modern non-Muslim historians like Richard A. Gabriel attribute the triumph of Muslims over the Qurayshi army to the military and strategic prowess of prophet Muhammad.
There were 70 Meccan casualties and 14 Muslim casualties. Muhammad left after three days of battle to Medina. Almost 70 Meccan men were captured and were treated humanely. After paying a certain amount of ransom, a few prisoners were released. The ransom was to teach at least 10 people to write and read. After the battle, Muhammad, who was once a Meccan outcast was viewed as a leader of the community and Medina city. Another result was that Abu Sufyan ibn Harb was away from the war and led the caravan. The death of many nobles made Abu Sufyan the Quraish chief. So, when Muhammad reached Mecca after six years, Abu Sufyan helped negotiate the peaceful surrender. He later became a highly ranked official in the Muslim empire. The Battle of Badr was also included in the biography of Muhammad.
In Islamic history, the Battle of Badr was Prophet Muhammad's first major battle fought (a turning point) and Muslim victory.
The battlefield of Badr valley had two huge sand dunes to the east, one was on the far side of the valley and the other was on the near side of the valley. Al-Asfal mountain covered the west side of this valley that had an opening in between and a hill around the northwest. Between the sand dunes, there was an opening, the main route to Medina. Muhammad and his men did not approach the place from this point, but the north. They were planning to ambush the caravan that would move from the north (Levant) to the south (Mecca). Muhammad and his army camped in the south close to date palms, while the Quraishi army camped near the road to Mecca in the southeastern region. The battlefield and the surrounding area received rain on the night of March 11 or the 15th Ramadan day. The Muslim army believed this to be Allah's blessings, for believers and disbelievers, a curse, suffering to climb up the muddy slopes
The Battle of Badr is the key battle in the Muslim community's religious history. It is also among a few battles mentioned in the Holy Quran. The Quran states - 'one army was the disbelievers and others were fighting for Allah's cause, Allah supports with victory to those He wills. So, the victory was already given to Muhammad and his men even though they were only a few. Then fear Allah, to be grateful. For remaining conscious and patient of Allah, He sent five thousand angels to fight along with these men'. In Islamic history, this battle is believed to be divine intervention.
As per Sahih al-Bukhari, prisoners of this battle were treated with respect and dignity. The Islamic law indicated that war detainees got to be slaves of Muslim men and work up to their abilities. Educated ones were to teach other Muslims and guide in the industry. A well located at the Mecca's end of the road was filled in with dead Meccan soldiers' dead bodies.
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