It was common knowledge in Makkah and Madinah that Abul Hakam Umar bin Hishaam (Abu Jahl) was planning an attack against the Muslims. He incited the Quraish to avenge the death of Amr bin al-Hazramee at Nakhla.
At the beginning of Ramdhaan, Rasulullah called an assembly of Muslims and informed them that a Quraish trading caravan heavily laden with goods including armoury, was returning to Makkah from Syria. Rasulullah said:
'It is possible that this caravan is destined as an Allah-sent gift to you'.
Since a full scale battle was not expected, Rasulullah left Madinah on the 12th Ramadhaan with 313 poorly-equipped Sahaaba (R.A.) 70 camels and 2 horses. At times two or three Sahaaba (R.A.) took turns to ride on each camel. Rasulullah appointed Hazrat Abu Lubaba bin Muzir (R.A.) as governor of Madinah and sent him back. Before reaching Safra, Rasulullah sent Basbas bin Amr Johnee (R.A.) and Adee bin Abi Zaghba (R.A.) ahead as scouts to ascertain the whereabouts of Abu Soofyan who led the Quraish trade caravan.
In the meantime Abu Soofyan was informed by some travellers that the Muslims were approaching in his direction. He duely sent Dam Dam Ghaffaaree to Makkah with the message that Nabi was on his way to intercept and attack him and that the Quraish should rush to his aid if they wish to save the caravan.
There was an uproar in Makkah when the message was received by the Quraish. Nearly every family had invested their wealth in this particular trade mission as their aim was to use the entire profits to prepare for a war which would crush the Muslims for ever. Abu Jahl bin Hishaam, the sworn enemy of the Muslims, prepared an army of 1000 well-equipped warriors, with 700 camels and 300 horses. With the expception of Abu Lahab bin Abdul Muttalib, all chiefs of every clan in Makkah were ready for war to save their caravan. Some of them had invested all their money and were dependent on its success.
As per their traditions, the Quraish left Makkah with great pomp and ceremony; with women to cheer and entertain them; with drummers to stir their fight spirits; and above all, they carried every conceivable item of luxury for their journey. Abu Jahl planned to spend three days of feasting, entertainment and merry-making before setting upon the Muslims.
Meantime, Hazrat Basbas bin Amr Johnee (R.A.) and Hazrat Adee bin Abi Zaghabaa (R.A.), the two Muslim scouts, reached Badr and learnt from the conversation ot two women at the oasis that Abu Soofyaan's caravan was due to arrive at Badr in a short time. They reported this information to Rasulullah . When Abu Soofyan reached Badr his shrewd observations of tell-tale signs of camels droppings and date pits, forewarned him of the Muslims presence in the vicinity. Immediately he changed directions. He sent a second message to the Quraish that he was safely on his way and that the Quraish army should return to Makkah.
However, the Quraish had camped at Johfa when they received Abu Soofyan's second message. Their was a difference of opinion in the camps whether to proceed to Badr and fight the Muslims or to return to Makkah now that their caravan was safe from a Muslim attack. Akhnas bin Shuraiq, a respected chief of the Quraish, advised the Makkahs to return, but Abu Jahl was adamant and persisted in using the excuse of Amr bin Hazramee's death to attack the Muslims. He was not prepared to reason with some of the most enlightened chiefs. Akhnas bin Shuraiq returned to Makkah with some of the members of the Banu Zohra and Banu Hisham tribes. The rest of the Quraish, some of them very reluctantly, followed Abu Jahl towards Badr. His heart was filled with malice and vengeance and he made it known that nothing would satisfy him more than seeing the extinction of Islam and the death of Rasulullah .
When Rasulullah turned towards Badr to intercept Abu Soofyan, he received the news of the presence of Abu Jahl with his formidable army camped at the only oasis with water and the solid ground around it. Rasulullah held consultation with the Sahaaba (R.A.) as the odds were overwhelming against the Muslims. Hazrat Abu Bakr (R.A.), Hazrat Umar bin Khattab (R.A.) and the Muhajireen spontaneously declared their devotion to Nabi and pledged to fight the Kuffaar. The Ansaar were also devoted and loyal, but Rasulullah wanted to assess their opinion in such an urgent crisis. Hazrat Miqdaad bin Aswad (R.A.) of the Ansaar said:
'O Rasulullah we are at you service. We are not cowards frightened or unfaithful like the tribe of Isra'eel who said to Hazrat Moosa (A.S.) when called upon to fight in the path of Allah: 'Go thou and thy lord and fight. We will sit here'. We will fight to the right of you, to the left of you, in front of you and behind you'. Hazrat Sa'ad bin Muaz (R.A.) the chief of the Ansaar time again hearing Rasulullah asking for opinions said:
'O Rasul of Allah. you have had enough counsel'.
'Yes' said Rasulullah .
Hazrat Sa'ad bin Muaz (R.A.) said:
'Perhaps you asked our (Ansaar) counsel because we originally offered to defend ourselves only if attacked in Madinah. We care not for what we promised then. We stand by you to do what ever you ask us to do. Invite us to fight, we will do more; command us to jump into the sea, we will not hesitate. The enemy shall not get at you, without stepping over our dead bodies'.
A Divine revelation to Rasulullah further bolstered the spirit of the faithful, as the survival of Islam depended on the outcome of this confrontation. It was to be a battle between truth and falsehood.
With this small band of brave Sahaaba (R.A.) Rasulullah reached Badr and had to contend with the situation where loose sand hampered their movement and the only water spring was already taken up by the enemy camp. But suddenly, by Divine command a torrential rain came down. Rasulullah instructed the Sahaaba ( R.A.) to quickly build ponds to store the rain water. The ground under them hardened. On the other hand, the Quraish were seen slithering and sliding in sand and mud.
The Sahaaba (R.A.) built a shelter for Rasulullah on a high mound from which position, Rasulullah had commanding view of the plain below. The Sahaaba (R.A.) took turns to stand guard over Rasulullah at the entrance of the shelter. Towards evening Rasulullah sent Hazrat Ali bin Abu Talib (R.A.), Hazrat Zubair bin Awaam (R.A.), Hazrat Sa'ad bin abi Waqaas (R.A.) and a few other Muslims to scan the enemy's movement. They managed to capture two slaves of the Quraish who gave the Muslims valuable information of the enemy and the number of their animals
At nightfall, no Muslim dared to think of sleep knowing well the type of treachery the enemy was capable of. Rasulullah spent the night in meditation and prayer, entreating for help of Allah and for victory for the handful Muslims. He exclaimed:
'O Allah should this small group of believers perish this day, no one will be left on earth to worship you and carry your message to the world'. The next morning, on Friday 17th Ramadhaan 2 A.H. Rasulullah arranged the military formation of his small army. As per Arabian tradition, three of the Quraish warriors, Utbah bin Rabi'ah, his brother Shaibah bin Rabi'ah and Waleed bin Shaibah Rabi'ah (son of Shaibah) advanced into the open space which divided the Muslims from the idolators. They challenged three warriors from the Muslim rank in single combat. Hazrat Auf bin Ufra (R.A.), his brother Hazrat Muawwaz bin Ufra (R.A.) and Hazrat Abdullah bin Rawaha (R.A.) came out to face the three Kuffaar warriors. When Utbah bin Rabi'ah realized that the three warriors were from the Ansaar, he shouted:
'O Muhammed , send three Quraish warriors to face us'.
Rasulullah instructed his uncle Hazrat Hamza bin Abdul Muttalib (R.A.) to fight Utbah; Hazrat Ubaidah bin Harith (R.A.) to face Shaibah and Hazrat Ali bin Abu Talib (R.A.) to encounter Walid bin Utbah. In a quick encounter the three Quraish soldiers were killed, and then began a pattern of general fighting. The odds were so great that one Sahaabi had to fight against three skilled and well armed Quraishi soldiers.
By Divine Command Hazrat Jibra'eel (A.S.) advised Rasulullah to pick a handful of sand and throw it in the midst of the enemy. The result was that the Kuffaar began to flee in all directions, It was a Divine victory for the Muslims. Seventy kuffaar soldiers were killed, seventy kuffaar were taken prisoners and the rest fled the battlefield.
Two very young Muslim youths from the Ansaar, Hazrat Muaz bin Ufra (R.A.) and Hazrat Muaz bin Amr bin Jamooh (R.A.) had taken a vow to kill Abu Jahl. They had strong feelings of dislike for Abu Jahl as he had treated Rasulullah with extreme abuse. Abu Jahl deserved death for his wickedness. When Abu Jahl was pointed out to them, the youth set upon him, riddled his body with wounds and left him for dead on the ground.
Rasulullah 's mind at this stage was more occupied with the fate of Abu Jahl than with that of any of his other enemies. Rasulullah asked someone to find the whereabouts of Abu Jahl. Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas'ood (R.A.) went out in search and found him in the midst of a pile of corpses. The chief of the idolaters was still breathing. Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas'ood (R.A.) placed his foot on the dying enemy's neck and said:
'O enemy of Allah! See how Allah has humiliated you'.
Saying this Hazrat Abdullah bin Mas'ood (R.A.) was about to sever his neck when Abu Jahl shouted:
'Have you ever seen a noble fellow as I, murdered by such an ignoble ploughman?'
To put an end to the infidel's insults, Hazrat Abdullha bin Mas'ood (R.A.) cut off the head and brought it to Rasulullah . At the sight of the blood-stained face of the enemy, Rasulullah exclaimed:
'Surely, this man was the detestable Pharaoh of his nation'.
During the battle Hazrat Bilal (R.A.) spotted Umayyah bin Khalaf, his former cruel master and he recalled the tortures Umayyah had meted out to him. Inspite of the pleading of Hazrat Abdur-Rahmaan bin Auf (R.A.), who had been Umayyah's friend, the Muslims pounced on him and killed him.
After the battle, there was much speculation among the people as to the part played by Rasulullah in throwing a handful of sand which defeated the powerful army of the Quraish. But a Divine revelation followed to this effect:
It is not you who slew them; it was Allah: When you
threw (a handful of dust) it was not your act, but
Allah's. (Surah: Anfal v:17)
It was the battle of 'good against 'evil'. Evil was defeated and good had triumphed.
Rasulullah remained on the plains of the battle of Badr for three days to bury the dead and gather the spoils of war (booty) which he left to be guarded by the family of Najjaar. The Muslims lost fourteen Mujahideen (soldiers of Allah); six Muhajireen and eight Ansaar thus earning eternal glory as the first martyrs in the Holy War (Jihaad). The bodies of the kuffaar were gathered and buried in a dried up well.
Rasulullah sent a message of glad tidings to Madinah. When Hazrat Zaid bin Harith (R.A.) and his adopted son Hazrat Ibn-i-Ruhah (R.A.) reached Madinah with the good news of victory, they found Hazrat Uthman bin Affan (R.A.) and others having completed the funeral rites of Hazrat Roqayyah (R.A.) the beloved daughter of Rasulullah . Hazrat Uthman bin Affan (R.A.) was exempted from taking part in the Battle of Badr so that he could remain behind and take care of his ailing wife, Hazrat Ruqayyah (R.A.). Later, Rasulullah gave his daughter Hazrat Umme Kulthoom (R.A.) in marriage to Hazrat Uthman (R.A.) . By virtue of his marriage to the two daughters of Rasulullah , Hazrat Uthman (R.A.) was honoured with the title of 'Zun-Nurain'- the possessor of two lights.
On reaching Madinah, Rasulullah gave the question of the prisoners top priority. Contrary to all treatment and customs of the Arabs, the prisoners were treated with the greatest level of humanity. Rasulullah gave strict orders that respect should be paid to their misfortunes, and they should be treated with kindness.The Sahaaba (R.A.) to whose care he entrusted them, faithfully obeyed his instructions. Those of the prisoners who had no clothes, were provided with dress, and they were fed on par with the Muslims. They shared their own food with the prisoners, giving them bread which forms the best part of their meals, satisfying themselves with dates alone. A Quraishi prisoner in later days remarked:
'Blessing be on the men of Madinah. They gave us wheaten bread to eat when there was little of it; contending themselves with dates'. This was a tribute to the preaching of Rasulullah 's tolerance towards his fellow men.
It now remained to decide the fate of the captives. Rasulullah held a meeting of Sahaaba (R.A.) to discuss the issue. Hazrat Umar bin Khattab (R.A.) recalling the fact that all the prisoners had made themselves clear of their persecution of the Muslims and were responsible for the banishment of Nabi from Makkah, proposed that they should be executed.
Hazrat Abu Bakar (R.A.) showing the ties of blood uniting victors and those conquered, was of the opinion that all the prisoners should be released on payment of ransom. The intelligent and learned among them were to be given their freedom provided they each taught ten children of the Ansaar. Rasulullah freed many of them who could not afford the ransom.
Hazrat Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib (R.A.) (uncle of Rasulullah ) was a wealthy prisoner and he paid the highest ransom for his freedom. Among the prisoners was Abul 'As bin Rabiyah, who was the son-in-law of Rasulullah . Hazrat Zainab bint Muhammed was asked to send his ransom from Makkah for his release. When the ransom was received, Rasulullah found a necklace which Hazrat Khadija (R.A.) had given her daughter on her marriage. Rasulullah was so grieved that he requested the Sahaaba (R.A.), if they so desired to release his son-in-law without ransom. The Sahaaba (R.A.) agreed happily and Abul 'As bin Rabiyah (R.A.) was freed. In due course he embraced Islam.
In the Second year of Hijri a noteworthy event was the marriage of Rasulullah 's youngest daughter Hazrat Fatima ( R.A.) to Hazrat Ali bin Abu Talib (R.A.).
Rasulullah was aware that the Ansaar of Madinah used to join in the persian Eid celebration of 'Naurooz' and 'Maharjaanb'. After the Battle of Badr, Rasulullah addressed the Muslims and said:
'O Muslims, Allah has ordained for you two days of joyous festivals. One is 'Eid-ul-Fitr' and the other 'Eid-ul-Adha.
The 'Eid-ul-Fitr' was the gift to the Muslims for their piety in fasting for the whole month of Ramadhaan for the sake of Allah; and they gave a portion of their wealth as charity (fitrah) to the poor. The 'Eid-ul-Adhaa' was to commemorate the magnificent sacrifice of Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S.) who was willing to sacrifice his own son Hazrat Ismail (A.S.) for the pleasure of Allah; but Allah replaced his son with a ram, the sacrifice which was most common in Arabia for ages.