Friday, September 19, 2008

The first battle of Islam at Badr

The emigration of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) to Medina had turned the enemies from Mecca more hostile, and they constantly kept on thinking how they could overthrow him, and put an end to Islam. The Meccans and their allies started to bring their raids to the very outskirts of Medina, destroying the fruit trees of the Muslims and carrying away their flocks. The winter of 624 AD saw the invasion of Medina by a strong force of Meccans led by Abu Jahl consisting of all army of 1000 strong with 700 camels and 100 horses. Receiving information about this force, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) decided to meet the enemy outside Medina at a place called as Badr (200 Miles from Mecca and 80 Miles from Medina). He set out with three hundred and thirteen (313) of his followers. This small force was marshaled out of Medina with the youthful Ali holding the Banner of the Prophet (S.A.W). The battle of Badr was the most important among the Islamic battles of Destiny. For the first time the followers of the new faith were put into a serious test. Had victory been the lot of the pagan army while the Islamic Forces were still at the beginning of their developments, the faith of Islam could have come to an end. No one was aware of the importance of the outcome of the Battle as the Prophet (S.A.W.) himself. We might read the depth of his anxiety in his prayer before the beginning of the Battle when he stood up supplicating his Lord: "God this is Quraish. It has come with all its arrogance and boastfulness, trying to discredit Thy Apostle. God, I ask Thee to humiliate them tomorrow. God, if this Muslim band will perish today, Thou shall not be worshipped." Warfare in those days followed a different pattern. Before the general battle began, a number of duels were fought between the leading warriors on each side. When the Muslims reached the fertile vale of Badr, a favorite watering place and camping ground on the caravan route, three stations northwards from Mecca, the Prophet (S.A.W) ordered a halt, taking up a suitable position near a stream of fresh water, to await the arrival of the infidel army. It was on the next day, Friday, 17th Ramazan 2 AH or January 13th 624 AD that the enemy, blowing their trumpets, approached the Muslims, and both forces were arrayed in battle. Three of the infidel warriors, Utbah, the father-in-law of Abu Sufyan, his brother Shaybah, and Al-Walid son of Utbah came out of the ranks and arrogantly challenged the Muslims. Three Ansars of Medina stepped forward to meet this challenge. This greatly enraged the Meccans who refused to combat with the Ansars saying, "We have not come all this way to cross arms with the Medinites, against whom we bear no grudge. We challenge the people of Mecca who have the courage to defy us." Upon this Ali and Ubaydah, cousins of the Prophet, and Hamzah his uncle, responded to the challenge. In the words of Col. Bodley, "At the taunt of the Quriashite, Ali dashed out of the Muslim ranks glittering in breast-plate and helmet. He was soon followed by Ubaydah bin al-Harith, a paternal cousin of Muhammad and Hamzah who wore an ostrich feather in his Cuirass. The three companions were thus closely related to Muhammad and fulfilled the Quraish for Hashimite (the clan of the Prophet) blood!" The three duels were as rapid as they were murderous. Hamzah killed Shaybah, While Ali killed Al-Walid. Ubaydah was mortally wounded, but before he fell, Ali and Hamzah were able to come to his rescue. Hamzah hurled himself at Utbah, and with a sweep of his sword cut off his head. In a few minutes three of Mecca's most important warriors had been sent to find out the truth about the hell which Muhammad (S.A.W) had promised them!" Ubaydah was the first martyr at this battle. He died after he lost his leg. With a cry of rage three more Meccans darted from under Abu Jahl's banner and assailed the Muslim champions (Ali and Hamzah). They too went down before the sword of Islam. A further three were dealt with the same fate. There was a moment of hesitancy among the Quraishites. Muhammad (S.A.W) did not miss his advantage. With a sharp order he sent his soldiers charging into a general attack. When the general offensive began, hundreds of companions participated in the battle and offered sacrifices and pleased their Lord. But the members of the house of the Messenger (S.A.W.) distinguished themselves. Ali's endeavor was unique at this battle. When Hanthala Ibn Abu Sufyan faced him, Ali liquefied his eyes with one blow from his sword. He annihilated Al Auss Ibn Saeed, and met Tuaima Ibn Oday and transfixed him with his spear, saying "You shall not dispute with us in God after today." The Messsnger (S.A.W.) took a handful of gravel when the battle was extremely heated. He threw it at the faces of the pagans saying "May your faces be disfigured. God, terrify their hearts and invalidated their feet." The pagans ran away, turning their faces to no one. The line of the Quraish wavered and a number of their bravest and noblest fell; they took to flight ignominiously, and in their haste to escape they threw away their armor and abandoned their transport animals with all their camp and equipage. Seventy of the bravest Quraish were slain and forty-five taken prisoners, and their commander, Abu Jahl and Hanzala Ibn Abu Sofyan, were amongst the slain. Though it was the first engagement of the youthful Ali, he showed surprising results and was praised by one and all. He killed no less than sixteen-though some historians give him credit for thirty-six of the bravest and the most prominent of the Quraish army. This battle laid the foundation of the Islamic State and made out of the Muslims a force to be reckoned with by the dwellers of the Arabic Peninsula.

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