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The battle has been passed down in Islamic history as a decisive victory attributable to divine intervention , or by secular sources to the strategic genius of Muhammad.
It is one of the few battles specifically mentioned in the Quran. All knowledge of the battle at Badr comes from traditional Islamic accounts, both hadiths and biographies of Muhammad , recorded in written form some time after the battle.
There is little evidence outside of these of the battle. There are no descriptions of the battle prior to the 9th century. Prior to the battle, the Muslims and the Meccans had fought several smaller skirmishes in late and early Badr, however, was the first large-scale engagement between the two forces. Advancing to a strong defensive position , Muhammad's well-disciplined force broke the Meccan lines, killing several important Quraishi leaders including the Muslims' chief antagonist Abu Jahl.
Mecca at that time was one of the richest and most powerful cities in Arabia, fielding an army three times larger than that of the Muslims. Muhammad was born in Mecca around CE into the Quraish tribe.
After Muhammad's revelation from Gabriel in until his proclamation of monotheism to the Quraysh, Islam was practiced primarily in secret. The Quraiysh, who traditionally accepted religious practices other than their own, became increasingly more intolerant of the Muslims during the thirteen years of personal attacks against their the Meccans religions and gods.
Shortly thereafter, Muhammad himself left for Medina. The Quranic Verse  uttered by Muhammad sometime shortly after the migration permitted Muslims, for the first time, to take up arms in defence.
During this period Muhammad employed three broad military strategies against the Meccans. Firstly, to establish peace treaties with the tribes surrounding Medina, especially with those from whom the Meccans could derive most advantage against the Muslims. Secondly, to dispatch small groups to obtain intelligence on the Quraish and their allies and also provide, thereby, an opportunity for those Muslims still living in Mecca to leave with them.
Thirdly, to intercept the trade caravans of the Meccans that passed close to Medina and to obstruct their trade route. Upon their return to Medina, Muhammad initially disapproved of this decision on their part, rebuked them and refused to take any spoil until he claimed to have received revelation Quran, stating that the Meccan persecution was worse than this violation of the sacred month. After his revelation Muhammed took the goods and the prisoners. This was the spot where the Meccans had sent their own army to protect their caravans from Muslim raiders.
In April , it was reported in Medina that Abu Sufyan was leading a caravan from Syria to Mecca containing weapons to be used against the Muslims. Muhammad gathered men and went to Badr to intercept the caravan. However, Meccan spies informed Abu Sufyan about the Muslims coming to intercept his caravan; Abu Sufyan changed his course to take another path to Mecca and sent a message to Mecca. Abu Jahl replied to Abu Sufyan's request and gathered an army to fight against the Muslims.
The Muslims also brought seventy camels and two horses, meaning that they either had to walk or fit three to four men per camel. Their reasons varied: some were out to protect their financial interests in the caravan; others wanted to avenge Ibn al-Hadrami, the guard killed at Nakhlah; finally, a few must have wanted to take part in what was expected to be an easy victory against the Muslims. Allah Promised you one of the two enemy parties, that it should be yours: Ye wished that the one unarmed should be yours, but Allah Willed to justify the Truth according to His Words and to cut off the roots of the Unbelievers;.
Allah Promised Me that He would definitely help me. I'm taking an oath by Allah's Excellent Name, Here will be the grave of Abu Jahl, and here will lay Utba ibn Rabiah Prophet mentioned 14 different unbeliever leaders' names and signed they graves before the battle. When the word reached the Muslim army about the departure of the Meccan army, Muhammad immediately called a council of war , since there was still time to retreat and because many of the fighters there were recent converts called Ansar or "Helpers" to distinguish them from the Quraishi Muslims who had only pledged to defend Medina.
Under the terms of the Constitution of Medina , they would have been within their rights to refuse to fight and leave the army. Abu Bakr stood up and gave a short speech, saying, "The chiefs and warlike men of Quraysh have joined this army.
Quraysh have not at all expressed faith in a religion and have not fallen from the zenith of glory to the abyss of degradation. Furthermore, we have not come out of Madina fully prepared. Miqdad then gave a speech supporting Muhammad, saying, "O Prophet of Allah!
Our hearts are with you and you should act according to the orders given to you by Allah. By Allah! We shall not tell you what Bani Israel told Musa.
When Musa asked them to perform jihad they said to him: 'O Musa! You and your Lord should go and perform jihad and we shall sit here'. We, however, tell you quite the reverse of it and say: Perform jihad under the auspices of the blessings of Allah and we are also with you and shall fight.
We have given you our pledge to obey you. Wherever you go, we shall go with you. If there is a showdown with the polytheists, we shall be steadfast in our support to you. In war and in peace, we shall be consistently faithful to you.
By 11 March both armies were about a day's march from Badr. Several Muslim warriors including, according to some sources, Ali who had ridden ahead of the main column captured two Meccan water carriers at the Badr wells. Expecting them to say they were with the caravan, the Muslims were horrified to hear them say they were with the main Quraishi army.
The Badr wells were located on the gentle slope of the eastern side of a valley called "Yalyal". The western side of the valley was hemmed in by a large hill called 'Aqanqal. When the Muslim army arrived from the east, Muhammad initially chose to form his army at the first well he encountered.
Hubab ibn al-Mundhir, however, asked him if this choice was divine instruction or Muhammad's own opinion. When Muhammad responded in the latter, Hubab suggested that the Muslims occupy the well closest to the Quraishi army, and block off the other ones.
Muhammad accepted this decision and moved right away. By contrast, while little is known about the progress of the Quraishi army from the time it left Mecca until its arrival just outside Badr, several things are worth noting: although many Arab armies brought their women and children along on campaigns both to motivate and care for the men, the Meccan army did not.
Also, the Quraish apparently made little or no effort to contact the many allies they had scattered throughout the Hijaz. Besides, it is believed they expected an easy victory, knowing they outnumbered the Muslims by three to one. When the Quraishi reached Juhfah , just south of Badr, they received a message from Abu Sufyan telling them the caravan was safely behind them, and that they could therefore return to Mecca.
Abu Jahl wanted to continue, but several of the clans present, including Banu Zuhrah and Banu Adi , promptly went home. Armstrong suggests they may have been concerned about the power that Abu Jahl would gain from crushing the Muslims.
The Banu Hashim tribe wanted to leave, but was threatened by Abu Jahl to stay. At midnight on 13 March, the Quraish broke camp and marched into the valley of Badr. It had rained the previous day and they struggled to move their horses and camels up the hill of 'Aqanqal.
After they descended from 'Aqanqal, the Meccans set up another camp inside the valley. While they rested, they sent out a scout, Umayr ibn Wahb , to reconnoitre the Muslim lines. Umayr reported that Muhammad's army was small, and that there were no other Muslim reinforcements which might join the battle. The battle began with champions from both armies emerging to engage in combat. Three of the Medinan Ansar emerged from the Muslim ranks, only to be shouted back by the Meccans, who were nervous about starting any unnecessary feuds and only wanted to fight the Muhajirun, keeping the dispute within the clan.
So Hamza approached and called on Ubaydah ibn al-Harith and Ali to join him. The Muslims dispatched the Meccan champions in a three-on-three melee. The first fight was between Ali and Walid ibn Utbah ; Ali killed his opponent.
Hamza killed Utbah; however, Ubaydah was mortally wounded by Shaybah. Ali and, according to some sources, Hamza as well killed Shaybah. Ali and Hamza then carried Ubaydah back into the Muslim lines, where he died. Now both armies began showering each other with arrows. A few Muslims and an unknown number of Quraish warriors were killed.
Before the battle, Muhammad had given orders for the Muslims to attack first with their ranged weapons and only afterwards advance to engage the Quraish with melee weapons. Now he gave the order to charge, throwing a handful of pebbles at the Meccans in what was probably a traditional Arabian gesture while yelling "Defaced be those faces! The Meccans, understrength and unenthusiastic about fighting, promptly broke and ran.
The battle itself only lasted a few hours and was over by the early afternoon. After the battle Muhammad returned to Medina. As far as the treatment of prisoners was concerned, Abu Bakr was of the opinion that they should be ransomed, since they were after all their own kin.
Umar argued against this, saying that there is no notion of blood relationships as far as Islam is concerned, and that all the prisoners should be executed, and that everyone should execute him who is closest to him by blood. Ali should kill his brother Aqeel ibn Abi Talib , Hamza ibn Abdul-Muttalib should behead his brother Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib , and that he himself should kill someone close to him. Muhammad preferred the opinion of Abu Bakr, and the prisoners were ransomed.
Some seventy prisoners were taken captive and are noted to have been treated humanely, including a number of Quraish leaders. It is not surprising that when, some time afterwards, their friends came to ransom them, several of the prisoners who had been thus received declared themselves adherents of Islam Their kindly treatment was thus prolonged, and left a favourable impression on the minds even of those who did not at once go over to Islam" .
The Battle of Badr was extremely influential in the rise of two men who would determine the course of history on the Arabian peninsula for the next century. The first was Muhammad, who was transformed overnight from a Meccan outcast into a major leader.
Marshall Hodgson adds that Badr forced the other Arabs to "regard the Muslims as challengers and potential inheritors to the prestige and the political role of the [Quraish]. At the same time Abd-Allah ibn Ubayy , Muhammad's chief opponent in Medina, found his own position seriously weakened. Henceforth, he would only be able to mount limited challenges to Muhammad. The other major beneficiary of the Battle of Badr was Abu Sufyan, safely away from the battle leading the caravan.
The death of Amr ibn Hashim, as well as many other Quraishi nobles  gave Abu Sufyan the opportunity, almost by default, to become chief of the Quraish. As a result, when Muhammad marched into Mecca six years later, it was Abu Sufyan who helped negotiate its peaceful surrender.
Abu Sufyan subsequently became a high-ranking official in the Muslim Empire, and his son Muawiya would later go on to found the Umayyad Caliphate. In later days, the battle of Badr became so significant that Ibn Ishaq included a complete name-by-name roster of the Muslim army in his biography of Muhammad.
Battle of Badr