The message of War – Remembering Badr from the abattoir streets of Gaza
Gaza have been struck fourth time since 2000. The Operation Protective Edge has already claimed 187 lives so far. People all over the world are protesting against Israel’s assault of Palestine. Today (Ramadan 17) is one day Muslims always boost for the victory at Badr some 1400 years back when around 315 Muslims defeated 1300 men of the disbelievers. There are a few things to reflect and learn from the history of Badr now as our brothers and sisters at Gaza lose their families and friends every time Israel goes on to offence against innocent people living in an open- air prison.
The Prophet (S) and the companions came to capture the Meccan caravan back from Syria. A small amount of the wealth they left at Mecca can be retrieved, they thought. But things didn’t go us they expected. The news they heard, the escape of the caravan and the marching of the Meccan army, was not what they anticipated. Allah ordered Muhammad (S) to fight against the disbelievers. Prophet (S) inquired the Muhajjiroons and Ansaar for their opinions. They spoke with one voice, ‘we will follow you wherever you lead us’.
The Muslim army encamped at Badr. They were around 315 men, two horses and seventy camels. Most of them did not even possess simple weapons; some had swords but no bows and arrows, while others owned spears but no swords. Furthermore, they were old, sick, starving and weak. But they had their mind and heart filled with hope and trust in Allah, and the leadership of Prophet (S).
On the other side, 1300 men from Mecca marched towards Badr, well- equipped which include 100 horsemen and large number of camels. They sent a spy to check the number and strength of the Muslims. He informed them about the small number of Muslims, and their unpreparedness. This increased their pride and arrogance and was eager to fight Muslims. Allah made them think so.
Ibn Abbas (r) said, “When the two armies drew closer to each other, Allah made the Muslims look fewer in the eyes of the idolaters and the idolaters look few in the eyes of the Muslims. The idolaters said: “These people (Muslims) are deceived by their religion.”(Qur’an8: 49)
Because they thought that Muslims were few. They believed without doubts that they would defeat the Muslims, Allah said: “But whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then surely, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.”(Qur’an 8: 49)[i]
The disbeliever, reached first and occupied the raised piece of land, where water was plenty. Muslims remained low lying sandy spot. Ibn Abbas (r) said: “Muslims felt weak and the Shaytan cast frustration into their hearts. He whispered to them, ‘You claim that you are Allah’s supporters and that His Messenger is among you! However, the disbelievers have taken over the water resource from you, while you pray needing purity!’ Allah sent down heavy rain allowing the Muslims to drink and use it for purity. Allah also removed Shaytan’s whisper and made the sand firm when rain fell on it, and the Muslims walked on the sand along with their animals, until they reached the enemy.”[ii]
Allah bestowed water from the sky, strengthening the Muslim heart. They slept without fear as a blessing from Allah. But there was one man who did not sleep, Prophet (S), was in prayer and supplications.
In morning Muslims prayed and Prophet (S) positioned them for the war. On the other hand, the disbelievers were to ready. A man from the disbelievers vowed to drink water from the water basin of Muslims and destroy it or die for it. Hamza (r) helped him to complete his vow; the man was struck on the leg and slain. Thus the war started.
Losing the one on one combat the disbelievers decided to attack Muslims as a whole. And the Muslims were instructed for a defensive war.
The Muslims obeyed the leadership of Prophet (S), fought bravely and supplicated to Allah for Help, for they knew that victory was on Allah’s help. Prophet (S) was crying supplicating continuously. And Allah answered:
“(Remember) when you sought help of your Lord and He answered you saying, ‘I will help you with a thousand Angels each behind the other in succession.” (Qur’an 8: 9)
Angels came and fought with the Muslim, thus the unequipped Muslim army became well equipped with Allah’s help. Prophet (S) said cheerfully: “O Abu Bakr, glad tidings are there for you; Allah’s victory has approached, by Allah I can see Jibreel on his mount in the thick of a sandstorm.” Then he recited the verse: “Their multitude will be put to flight and they will show their backs.”(Qur’an 54: 45)
Angel Jibreel came near Muhammad (S) and asked to take a handful of dust and throw at the enemies. He threw it, saying: “Let confusion seize their faces”. The dust changed into a violent sandstorm and struck the disbelievers. Allah said: “And you (O Muhammad (S)) threw not when you did throw but Allah threw.”(Qur’an 8: 17)
The idolaters, who were once arrogant and confident, were now fearful and unconfident. Allah helped Muslims by placing terror and fright in the minds of disbelievers. .“Verily, I am with you, so keep firm those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks, and smite over all their fingers and toes(Qur’an 8: 12)
The lesson from the battle of Badr is simple, “victory does not depend on numbers or collecting weapons and shields – Victory is from Allah.” This fact has been mentioned in Quran where Allah asks: “How often has a small group overcome a might host by Allah’s leave. And Allah is with the patient.” (Qur’an 2: 249).
The following points have to be noted:
- Allah grant victory to those who
- believed in Him
- trusted Him completely
- obeyed His Messenger (S)
- Helped His Prophet (S)
- Allah granted victory over the pagans only after trail, i.e., they were tormented for 10 years in Mecca, forced to migrate to Medina leaving everything they had and were threatened at Medina.
- Allah awarded victory to people who are brave to fight in the cause of Allah.
- Once you abandon the true belief in Allah, discard our trust in Allah and, are cowardice to fight in the path of Allah the disbelievers will torture us and take control over us as what happens in the contemporary world.
- It is the result of our sins that in many parts of the world Muslims are being oppressed by the disbelievers and subjugated to hardships.
Today, if we are willing to sacrifice our wealth and lives for the sake of Allah, and purely follow the teachings of Allah’s Messenger (S), Allah will remove our hardships and grant us victory and supremacy over the disbelievers.
In nutshell, it is not the power, authority, the oil tanks, or the ‘so called- unity of Ummah’ that will seize victory and end sufferings and torture, rather to stand steadfast upon the religion of Allah, for Quran says: “Allah has promised those among you who believe and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to(the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those who before them, and He will grant them the authority to practice their religion that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islam). And He will surely give them in exchange security after their fear (provided) they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me. But whosoever disbelieves after this, they are the Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah).” (Qur’an 24: 55)
[i] Tafsir Ibn Kathir
[ii] At- Tabaree