The Battle of Badr – Part 5
وَبَرَكَاتُهُ اللهِ وَرَحْمَةُ عَلَيْكُمْ السَّلاَمُ
The Mubaraza was a three against three dual before the main battle, and this was the custom of the Arabs. And from the Quraish line the incensed Utbah ibn Rabiah himself stormed forward to engage in the Mubaraza, and brought with him his brother – Shaybah ibn Rabiah – and his son – Walid ibn Utbah.
And they marched into the middle of the battlefield and shouted into the Muslim line, ‘Who will come forth and battle us?’
Immediately three of the Ansar stood up – A young man called Awf ibn Afra’, his even younger brother Mu’awwidh ibn Afra’ (who could not have been more than 17) and Abdullah ibn Rawaha (RA). And they responded, ‘We will battle you.’
However Utbah asked them, ‘Who are you?’ And when they each answered his question he responded, ‘We have no battle with you. We didn’t come to fight you. We don’t know you people, why should we fight you? We are fighting our own blood.’ And here Utbah called out, ‘O Muhammad! Send us equals worthy of us!’ And so we see that although Utbah could be considered the most reasonable or the wisest of the Quraish, he still did not understand the bonds of imaan and why the people of Yathrib would be fighting for the Muslims from the Quraish. And any sense of his honour that he had previously displayed came from a tribal jahili mentality, and so this limited him and may have been why Allah did not guide him to Islam.
And so the prophet himself assigned three prestigious people from the Muhaajiroon to fight in the Mubaraza. And these three were Ubaydah ibn Harith, Hamza ibn Abdul Muttalib and Ali ibn Abu Talib (RA). At this Utbah called out, ‘Noble adversaries, come and let us fight.’
Now Ubaydah was the eldest of the three Muslims, and he was actually the grandson of Muttalib who was the brother of Hashim – the great grandfather of the prophet. And so he was actually one generation above the prophet. And so he went to the eldest of the Quraish adversaries, who was Utbah. Hamza, who was the middle of them, went to Shaybah who was also the middle in age from the three opponents. And the youngest of the Muslims, Ali, went to the youngest of the Quraish delegation Walid. And so each adversary was paired with someone corresponding to them.
Both Hamza and Ali instantaneously and ferociously attacked their opponents and killed them without an injury to themselves, Ali finishing his battle first closely followed by Hamza. However Ubaydah’s leg was sliced off by his opponent Utbah, and it was only just as he was about to be killed that both Hamza and Ali came to his rescue and finished off Utbah. Ubaydah was then carried back by the two younger sahabi, however he died a few days later by this wound and became a shaheed.
Now these were not actually the first casualties of Badr. Rather, either the night before or earlier that morning, when a Quraishi from the Banu Makhzum called Al Aswad ibn Abd Al-Asad Al-Makhzumi found out that the Muslims had captured all of the wells of Badr, decided to try to sneak into the Muslim camp and get some water for the Quraish. However Hamza saw him and cut off his leg, before taking his life; and so he was actually the first casualty of Badr.
After all three of the Muslim contestants came back victorious, the prophet continued to straighten the lines of his army. And during this time, he once again turned to face the Qibla and began making du’a to Allah. And he raised his palms and face completely up to the sky (and this is one of the positions that can be adopted for du’a, but only for times of great distress) and he kept on making du’a so much so that his shirt fell off. At this, Abu Bakr (RA) picked up the garment and wrapped it around the prophet, hugging him from behind, and said, ‘Enough, O Rasulallah, enough. Your Lord will give you as He has promised.’
And as is narrated in a hadith: when Allah’s servant raises his hands up, Allah is embarrassed that those hands come back empty, and so as soon as the prophet lowered his hands he began to get direct revelation from his Lord.
As soon as this trance finished, he turned around and was so elated that it is narrated that his face was like the moon. And he told Abu Bakr that Allah had promised him one angel for every one of the Quraish, and he began to recite, ‘The groups shall be defeated, and they shall turn their backs and flee.’ And he stooped down and picked up some pebbles and threw in in the direction of the Quraish and said, ‘May these faces be cursed.’
And when he did this, every single person in the army of the Quraish got some dust in their eyes and became blinded, and Allah references this in the Quran: ‘When you threw, you did not throw but Allah threw,’ showing us that Allah made true his promise to the prophet and answered his du’a.
And then the real battle began.
Now we cannot narrate the entire battle as one continuous happening – rather, with so many people we can only know of isolated incidents that took place between individuals. And the first of these interesting occurrences was that of Umayr ibn Al-Humaam (RA). When the initial charge began, and the pagan line began to run towards the Muslim line, the prophet stood up and shouted, ‘Stand up and embrace a heaven whose width is like the space between the skies and the earth.’
At that time, Umayr was preparing for battle and was eating some dates. And when he heard this he said a phrase that is not in use anymore but meant ‘to trivialise something.’ And so the prophet asked what he meant, and to this Umayr answered, ‘What I mean, O Rasulallah, is a heaven whose width is between the skies and the earth, if this is the truth then what use is it to remain living here? I want to be of those people of Jannah.’
And so the prophet told him, ‘You are of those people.’
As soon as Umayr heard this, he threw away the dates and he said, ‘If I live long enough to finish these dates, then it is too long of a life.’ And he stood up and charged into the battle, and soon became one of the few martyrs (there were only around 14) from this battle.
The question arises: did the prophet himself fight or not? There is a bit of a debate as in most of the battles the prophet did not fight but was like a military commander, however in Badr he did. Ali himself narrates, ‘On the day of Badr, we saw that the prophet was the closest of us to the enemy. And when the fighting got tough we would seek protection around him. He was the most aggressive of all of us on that day.’
However as well as this, Ali himself mentions in another narration that he came to see what the prophet was doing in his tent. And he found the prophet in sujood, and so he left him and returned to the field. When he returned again, he still found the prophet in sujood, and so once again returned to the field. And this happened once again for the third time, however this time when Ali went back out into the field the Muslims won the battle and so he did not need to return. And from these two narrations we can see that the battle must have lasted for a few hours, and the prophet both fought and prayed to Allah in his tent, and he must have alternated between the battlefield and the camp. And throughout this Abu Bakr remained with him.
And as previously mentioned, we also know that Allah sent down exactly 1000 angels to help the Muslims. And He mentions this in the Quran, and in the ayat He uses a very profound verb for ‘help’. And the type of help He gave was not that the angels would do everything for the Muslims, rather the Muslims would begin the action and Allah would complete it for them. And this ties in with a recurring theme in the Seerah that nothing – not even help from Allah – comes without effort. And so the Muslims would have to first raise their sword up, and the angels would bring it down. And this is emphasised by the fact that Allah sent 1000 angels and not one, as all it would really have taken for the Quraish to be defeated would have been Jibrael (AS) to destroy them with one beat of his wings. And yet if we go back to before the battle when the prophet just finished receiving revelation, he then turned to Abu Bakr and said, ‘Allah has answered our prayer. Here is Jibrael turbaned and armed and riding a horse. He has come down with the angels to help us.’ And so despite not needing it, even Jibrael was in fighting gear as Allah wanted to show the prophet and the Muslims that their ranks would be bolstered and they would be aided, but only through struggle.
And when Shaitaan – who as we remember had went with the Quraish army in the form of Suraqa ibn Malik (RA) – saw the angels descending from the heavens to help the Muslims, he turned his back and began to run away from the army of the Muslims. The Quraish began to ask him why he was running away, and when one of them even tried to stop him Shaitaan showed his true identity by pushing the man so hard that he flew up into the air. And he said, ‘I can see what you cannot see, and I am scared of Allah, the lord of the worlds.’
Dr.Yasir Qadhi’s Seerah of The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 037
Dr.Yasir Qadhi’s Seerah of The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 038
Dr.Yasir Qadhi’s Seerah of The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 039