The Battle of Badr is a historical battle between the Muslims of Medina and the Quraysh of Mecca. The Battle of Badr was the first major battle in the history of Islam and the victory in this battle increased the power of the Muslims. The Battle of Badr took place on 17th March or 13th March 624 AD according to 17th Ramadan of 2nd Hijri.
Before the Battle of Badr, there were several skirmishes between the Muslims and the Quraysh between 623 and 624. Badr was the first large-scale battle between the two armies. In battle, the well-organized Muslims were able to break the ranks of the Meccan soldiers. Abu Jahl, the main opponent of the Muslims, was killed in the battle. The Muslim victory sent word to others that the Muslims had emerged as a new power in Arabia and strengthened Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH)’s position as leader.
Table of contents
- Battle of Badr at a Glance
- What is the reason or background of the battle of Badr?
- How is the battle of Badr?
- Post-war situation
- Impact of the Battle of Badr
Battle of Badr at a Glance
|Battle of Badr|
|Part of Muslim–Quraysh War|
|Date: 13 March 624 CE (17 Ramadan 2 AH)|
Location: Badr, Hejaz (present-day Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)
Result: Muslim victory
Survival of the Muslims
Start of Muslim–Quraysh War
|Muslims forces from Medina||Quraysh forces from Mecca|
|Commanders and leaders|
Ali ibn Abi Talib
Zubayr ibn al-Awwam
al-Miqdad bin ‘Amr
Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib
‘Ubaydah bin al-Harith
|Amr Bin Hisham †|
Utbah ibn Rabi’ah †
Umayyah ibn Khalaf †
Shaybah ibn Rabi’ah †
Walid ibn Utbah †
Uqba ibn Abi Mu’ayt †
2 horses, 70 camels
|Casualties and losses|
|Total: 14 killed|
Muhajirun: 6Ansar: 8Khazraj: 6Aws: 2
|70 killed, 70 prisoners|
What is the reason or background of the battle of Badr?
After he started preaching Islam, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) faced opposition from the Quraysh of Makkah. Muslims migrated to Madinah due to persecution of Muslims. Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) himself migrated to Medina at one point. The Qur’anic verses revealed after the Hijra permitted Muslims to bear arms. After his arrival in Medina, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) took three major military actions. First, peace treaties were made with the tribes of Medina; Second, intelligence was employed to collect information on the Quraish and their allies; Thirdly, Meccan trade caravans bound for Syria were raided by Medina. A number of raids were then carried out on Quraysh trade caravans en route to Syria.
In November or December 623, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) led an expedition against a large Meccan trade caravan bound for Syria. The Quraish had many valuable goods in this caravan. The Muslim force consisted of 150 to 200 men and 30 mounted camels. Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) advanced with them to Dhul Ushairah. But the Muslims could not stop them as the Quraysh crossed the route a few days before the Muslims arrived. This campaign is known as Ghazwaye Ushaira. According to Ibn Ishaq, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) left for this campaign at the end of the month of Jamadiul Awal of 2 Hijri and returned at the beginning of the month of Jamadiul Akhir.
In January 624 (Rajm month of 2 Hijri), Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) sent twelve Muhajirs on an expedition. Each troop was allotted one camel for two men to ride. Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) gave a letter to the leader of the army, Abdullah ibn Jahsh, to be read after two days’ march. Abdullah Ibn Jahsh read the letter of two days’ journey as instructed. It was ordered that after reading the letter that they should advance and reach the Nakhla between Makkah and Taif. The Quraysh then awaited the arrival of the caravan and were informed of their condition and position in Madinah. After reading the instructions of the letter, they proceeded. However, the camels of Saad ibn Abi Waqqas and Utba ibn Ghazwan were lost on the way, so they fell behind.
Abdullah Ibn Jahsh reached Nakhla with his army and found a Quraysh caravan. It included Abdullah ibn Mughira’s two sons, Uthman ibn Abdullah and Nawfal ibn Abdullah, and Mughira’s freed slaves Amr ibn Hadrami and Hakim ibn Kaisan. This day was the last day of the month of Rajab. Rajab was a month of interdiction so an attack was not possible. On the other hand, by the end of the month, the caravan would enter the Haram area of Makkah, so it would not be possible to attack them again. In this situation the Muslim army decided to attack the caravan. Amr Ibn Hadrami was killed by an arrow at the beginning of the attack. The Muslims arrested Uthman ibn Abdullah and Hakim ibn Kaisan. Nawfal Ibn Abdullah managed to escape.
Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) was enraged when the Muslim group returned due to an attack in the month of Rajab. He said that he did not allow them to fight in Haram. He refused to accept the wealth and prisoners gained from the caravan. On the other hand, due to the attack in the month of Rajab, Quraysh also started taunting the Muslims. The following verses of the Qur’an state that the persecution of the people of Makkah is worse than violating the holy month. After this verse was revealed, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) received the caravan and the captives. The Quraysh sent messages asking for the release of Uthman and Hakim and offering goods in exchange. But Saad ibn Abi Waqqas and Utba ibn Ghazwan, who had disappeared earlier, had not returned. He did not agree to the proposal at that time because of the fear of their lives at the hands of Quraysh. Then they both returned and the prisoners were released after receiving the goods. Among the captives, Hakim Ibn Qaisan accepted Islam and stayed in Madinah. Later on He was killed at Bire Mauna. Uthman Ibn Abdullah went to Makkah.
As the Quraysh caravan that had previously escaped from Ghazwaye Ushairah was returning to Mecca from Syria, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) sent Talha ibn Ubaidillah and Sa’id ibn Zayd north to gather information about them. They reached a place called Hawrah and waited for the Quraysh caravan and when the caravan passed this place they returned to Madinah and reported the incident. The caravan had one thousand camels and these camels had goods worth 50,000 gold coins. There were 40 guards in the convoy for maintenance.
Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) called upon the Muslims to attack this caravan. However, there was no fear of facing a large Quraish force later, so he did not mention the necessity of everyone’s participation in it. As a result, many Muslims remained in Medina. After the announcement, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) marched towards Badr.
How is the battle of Badr?
Journey to Badr
There were Abu Bakr, Umar ibn al-Khattab, Ali ibn Abi Talib, Hamza ibn Abdul Muttalib), Mus’ab ibn Umayr, Zubair ibn al-Awam, Ammar ibn Yasir and Abu Dhar al-Ghiffar in the Muslim army with Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). Uthman ibn Affan could not go to war because of his wife’s illness. Salman Farsi was another’s slave at that time so he also did not participate in the war. The number of soldiers in the force was 313. Among them, 82 were Muhajirs and 61 were from the Aws tribe and 170 were from the Khazraj tribe. The Muslims had 70 camels and two horses. Consequently they had no choice but to walk before them, or to use one camel for every two or three. Two or three people would take turns riding a camel. In this arrangement a camel was allotted to Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), Ali ibn Abi Talib and Marsad ibn Abi Marsad.
Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) awarded a white flag to Mus’ab ibn Umayr for overall leadership. One black flag each for the Muhajirs and the Ansar was awarded to Ali ibn Abi Talib and Sa’d ibn Mu’az respectively. Jubair ibn al-Awam and Miqdad ibn Amr were appointed as the head of the right and left wing of the army respectively. They mounted two horses belonging to the Muslim army. Qais Ibn Abi was appointed as the head of the rear. Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) took charge as the head of the entire army.
Fearing an attack, Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Quraish caravan, was gathering information about a possible attack by the Muslim forces from the various caravans he met along the way. As a result he got the news of Muslim attack. So Zamzam Ibn Amr Ghiffari was sent to Makkah as a messenger for help. He hurried to Makkah and, according to the Arab custom of the time, pinched the camel’s nose, overturned the seat, tore off his clothes and, sitting on the camel, announced that the Meccan caravan would fall into the hands of the Muslims.
“Quraysh, the caravan is attacked, the caravan is attacked. You have wealth with Abu Sufyan, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and his companions are coming to attack him. So I don’t think you will get it. So come forward for help, come forward” — Call of Zamzam Ibn Amr Ghiffari after reaching Makkah
After hearing this news, there was a stir in Makkah. An army of 1,300 soldiers was quickly raised and Abu Jahl became the head of the force. This army had numerous camels, 100 horses and 600 iron armours. Nine Quraysh nobles took charge of logistics. Sometimes 9 and sometimes 10 camels were slaughtered daily for the army.
Many Meccan nobles joined the Meccan army, including Abu Jahl, Utba ibn Rabi’a, Shaiba ibn Rabi’a, Abul Bakhtari ibn Hisham, Hakim ibn Hizam, Nawfal ibn Khuwaylid, Harith ibn Amir, Tuaima ibn Adi, Nadar ibn Harith, Jama’ ibn Aswad, and Umayyah ibn Khalaf. give There were several reasons for this. Some wanted to protect their wealth in the caravan, while others wanted to avenge Ibn al-Hadrami’s death. Besides, some also join in the belief that Muslims can be easily defeated. Abu Lahab did not take part in the war himself but sent to him Asi ibn Hisham ibn Mughirah, who owed him 4,000 dirhams, in exchange for the loan. Umayyah Ibn Khalaf initially decided not to take part in the war. At that time, Uqba Ibn Abu Mu’ayt addressed her as a woman. As a result, Umayyah Ibn Khalaf was ashamed and started preparations for war. However, no one from the tribe of Banu Adi among the Quraish took part in this war.
On the other hand, Abu Sufyan was constantly collecting news. After reaching near Badr, he met a man named Majdi Ibn Amr. When he asked him about the forces of Medina, Majdi could not say anything clearly. However, he said that he saw two ostrarohis sitting camels on the side of the hill and filling the mush with water. So Abu Sufyan went there as a precaution and broke the camel’s dung. Seeing the palm seeds obtained from the dung, he realized that these were the dates of Madinah, so he was free from doubt about the arrival of the Muslims. He then took the caravan to Yanbu towards the sea coast. After the Meccan army reached Juhfa, a messenger sent by Abu Sufyan came and told them that the caravan was safe and should not advance further.
After receiving this news, most of the Meccan forces agreed to retreat. But Abu Jahl, the chief of the army, refused to go back without a fight. Then Akhnas Ibn Sharik, an ally of the Banu Zuhra tribe and the chief of the tribe’s army, advised them to go back. But as the majority did not support him, he returned to Makkah with 300 members of the Banu Zuhra tribe. This reduced the strength of the Meccan army to 1,000. Later, members of the Banu Zuhra tribe expressed their joy at Akhnas’s decision.
Similarly, Banu Hashim also wanted to return to Makkah. But because of Abu Jahl’s insistence, they took part in the battle. The Makkan army advanced and took shelter behind a hill in the Badr valley.
Muslim plans in the Battle of Badr
“And remember, Allah promises you that a group of two groups will come to you. But you wanted the unarmed party to come under your control, and Allah wanted to establish the truth by His Word and destroy the disbelievers.” — Quran: Surah Al-Anfal, Verse: 7
The Muslims received news of the advance of the Meccan army. The Muslim army was primarily formed for caravan raids, not prepared for full-scale combat. The Muslims could have retreated without confronting the Quraish at this point but this would have greatly increased the power of the Quraish and they could have advanced and attacked Madinah. On the other hand, the Ansar of Madinah, the majority of the force, were not obliged to go outside Madinah to fight according to the Bayat of Aqaba, and the cost of the campaign was heavy on them. So Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) called a war council to discuss the situation that had arisen. In the meeting Muhajir, Ansar all agreed to face Quraysh. Then the Muslims advanced and reached near Badr.
After reaching here, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and Abu Bakr went out to gather news of the enemy. They saw an old man. Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) asked him about both the Muslim and Quraysh forces. That person gives correct information about both forces. That evening, Ali ibn Abi Talib, Zubair ibn al-Awam and Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas were sent to gather information. They captured two men collecting water from the well of Badr. After questioning they said that they were members of the Meccan army and were collecting water for the army. Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) was praying at that time. The Muslims present were skeptical about the truth of his words. So they beat them and ask the same question again. They then replied that they were not from the Quraysh army but from Abu Sufyan’s caravan.
Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) was angry after knowing this. He said that they were telling the truth but still they were beaten. He then interrogated them. They pointed to the hill at the end of the valley and said that the Quraysh were stationed behind it and that nine or ten camels were slaughtered for them every day. After hearing this, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) said that their number would be from 900 to 1,000. The prisoners then called out the names of the noble Quraysh leaders who had arrived in the army.
“Mecca has thrown pieces of its liver to you” — Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH)’s comment after hearing the names of Meccan leaders
Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) ordered a rapid march towards Badr in order to prevent the enemy from reaching Badr in the east. His aim was to prevent the Quraysh from capturing the well. At night the Muslims stopped near Badr. Meanwhile, Hubab Ibn Munjir said that if this is the command of Allah, then let it be implemented. But if Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) stopped here as a strategy, then instead of staying here, the Quraysh stopped all the other wells and built a well over their own well to store water in it. As a result, while the Muslims will get water, the Quraysh will be deprived of water. On hearing this, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) accepted the advice and ordered that the Quraysh should camp near the nearest well before midnight. After reaching there, all the remaining wells were closed by making chowbachcha.
After the Muslims captured the well as planned, a tent was built for Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) on the hill northeast of the battlefield on the advice of Sa’d ibn Mu’az. From here the battle situation could be well observed.
The day of the battle of Badr
“O Allah, fulfill what You have promised. O Allah, I seek the fulfillment of Your promise.” — Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH)’s prayer at the commencement of the war
On the day of the battle, Quraysh broke camp and headed towards Badr. On reaching Badr they sent Umayr ibn Wahhab to gather news of the Muslims. Umayr arrived and informed him that the Muslim force was small and that fresh troops were unlikely to come to help. But at the same time he says they are well organized for war and they can kill the special people of Quraish. Thus he feared a heavy loss for the Quraysh. The Quraish were demoralized by hearing that casualties were not high in Arab wars. They got into an argument again.
One of the leaders of the Quraysh, Hakim Ibn Hizam, urged another leader, Utbah Ibn Rabi’ah, to return. Utba replied that he was willing to go back and he was also willing to pay the blood money of Amr Ibn Hadrami who was killed in Nakhla. But Abu Jahl did not agree, so he asked Hakim to persuade him. Utbah then told the Quraysh present that their own brothers might be killed in this battle, so even if they won the battle, they would not like to see the bodies of the dead and they would be known as kin killers. So his suggestion was that the Quraish should return to Mecca and leave Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) to the other Arab tribes. If they killed him, the Quraysh’s cause would also be successful and thus they would be innocent to Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH).
Hakim Ibn Hizam then went to Abu Jahl and advised him to go back. But Abu Jahl insists that he will not go back without fighting. He also scorned Utba’s advice to go back, complaining that Utba’s son was in the Muslim faction and advising Utba not to fight to save his son. Note, Utba’s son Abu Huzaifa ibn Utba became a Muslim during the early days of Islam. Utba was embarrassed to learn this from Hakim and declared that he was not a coward and would not go back until a final understanding was reached with Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). On the other hand, Abu Jahl went to Amir Ibn Hadrami, the brother of Amr who was killed in Nakhla, and complained that Utba wanted to leave the battlefield, so it would not be possible to avenge his brother’s death. After hearing this, Amir smeared dust all over his body and started mourning for his dead brother. As a result of this all Hakim’s efforts to stop the war failed.
On the eve of the start of the war, Aswad Ibn Abdul Asad Makhzumi of the Quraish came forward and announced that he would either seize the water reservoir of the Muslims or give his life for it. Then Hamza ibn Abdul Muttalib advanced and fought with him. Aswad’s leg was severed in the fight. Injured, Aswad moves towards Chowbacha and enters Chowbacha’s boundaries to keep his promise. Then Hamza killed him. This was Badr’s first death.
After that, the fight started with duels according to the custom of the time. Utbah ibn Rabi’ah, Shaiba ibn Rabi’ah and Walid ibn Utbah from among the Quraish advanced to fight. Hearing their call to fight, Awf Ibn Harith, Mu’awiz Ibn Harith and Abdullah Ibn Rawaha came forward from among the Ansar. But the Quraish warriors taunted them saying that they were not worthy of them and that someone of the same class as the Quraish should be sent to fight. Then Hamza Ibn Abdul Muttalib, Ubaidah Ibn Harith and Ali Ibn Abi Talib were sent in their place. Shaiba with Hamza, Walid with Ali and Utbah with Ubaydah came to fight. All three of the Quraysh side were killed in the fighting. Ubaydah was injured in the fight so he was evacuated. He died a few days after the battle. The deaths of three leading warriors caused a crack in the morale of the Quraysh.
After the conflict, the Quraysh started attacking the Muslims. Before the battle, Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) ordered that arrows should be fired when the enemy approached in large numbers. Muslims pounced on their opponents chanting “Ya Mansoor Amit”. The Quraish of Makkah were scattered in the battle and forced to retreat. Mu’az Ibn Amr and Mu’az Ibn Afra killed Abu Jahl, the commander-in-chief of the Quraysh side. His former master Umayya Ibn Khalaf was killed by Bilal. Umar ibn al-Khattab killed his uncle As ibn Hisham ibn Mughirah. By afternoon the battle was over. The Qur’an mentions that thousands of angels came to the aid of the Muslims in this battle.
After the battle was over, the dead Muslims were buried on the battlefield. The bodies of the slain Quraysh were thrown into a well in the Maidan. At that time, the bodies of twenty-four main Quraysh leaders were thrown into the well. According to Arab custom, the Muslims returned to Madinah after staying on the battlefield for three days.
POW of Badr War
After the war, the Muslims returned to Medina. 70 people including some Quraish leaders were captured. Prisoners were treated well. The Muslims themselves ate dates and gave bread to the prisoners.
Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) consulted the Companions about what to do about the prisoners. At the meeting, Abu Bakr opined that all the prisoners were Muslim brothers, members of the same clan or relatives. So they should be ransomed and released so that money is saved in the Muslim fund and the captives get a chance to convert to Islam in future. According to Umar Ibn al-Khattab, without showing any mercy to the captives, each of the Muslims killed his relative among the captives in order to prove that the Muslims had no weakness in their hearts towards the polytheists. Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) accepted Abu Bakr’s opinion and decided to release him in exchange of ransom. The ransom is set at between one thousand and four thousand dirhams. As well as Muttalib Ibn Hantab, Some of the prisoners, including Saifi Ibn Abi Rifaya and Abu Izza Jumahi, were released without ransom. The latter two were later killed in the Battle of Uhud. Besides, it was announced that those who knew how to study would be accepted as ransom if they taught 10 illiterate Muslims. Among the captives was Abul As, the husband of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH)’s daughter Zainab bint Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). Abul As was released on the condition that he would not prevent Zainab from coming to Medina. Suhail ibn Amr, the Prophet of Mecca, was among the captives. Umar offered to break Suhail’s two front teeth so that he could no longer speak against Muslims. But Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) did not accept this offer. Suhail was the representative of the Meccan side during the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. Later he accepted Islam. Abul As was also there. Abul As was released on the condition that he would not prevent Zainab from coming to Medina. Suhail ibn Amr, the Prophet of Mecca, was among the captives. Umar offered to break Suhail’s two front teeth so that he could no longer speak against Muslims. But Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) did not accept this offer. Suhail was the representative of the Meccan side during the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. Later he accepted Islam. Abul As was also there. Abul As was released on the condition that he would not prevent Zainab from coming to Medina. Suhail ibn Amr, the Prophet of Mecca, was among the captives. Umar offered to break Suhail’s two front teeth so that he could no longer speak against Muslims. But Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) did not accept this offer. Suhail was the representative of the Meccan side during the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. Later he accepted Islam.
Two prisoners of war were executed. These are Nazar Ibn Harith and Uqba Ibn Abu Mu’ayt. On the way back from Badr, Nadar ibn al-Harith in the Safra Valley and Uqba ibn Abu Mu’ayt were killed at a place called Irkuz Jubaya.
Reaction to the Battle of Badr in Mecca
Haisman ibn Abdullah brought the news of the defeat of the Quraish to Makkah. Mourning begins in Mecca to mourn the victims. But then they were restrained so that the Muslims would not rejoice in their mourning. Moreover, it is said not to rush with the ransom. The Quraish decided to avenge the defeat at Badr and the two armies met again the following year at the Battle of Uhud.
Impact of the Battle of Badr
The Battle of Badr had far-reaching effects. Winning the war greatly increased Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH)’s authority as a leader. As a result, other Arab tribes began to see Muslims as a new power. Many people in Medina accepted Islam at this time. Muslims who participated in the Battle of Badr are held in high esteem.
On the other hand, Abu Sufyan emerged as the new leader due to the death of many notables of Makkah including Abu Jahl in the war. Later he led the Quraysh against the Muslims. Abu Sufyan accepted Islam during the conquest of Mecca. After becoming a Muslim, Abu Sufyan played an important role in the Muslim empire. Later his son Muawiya established the Umayyad Caliphate.