The Battle of Badr – Part 7
وَبَرَكَاتُهُ اللهِ وَرَحْمَةُ عَلَيْكُمْ السَّلاَمُ
Another major death in the Battle of Badr was that of Umayyah ibn Khalaf. And the incident of how he was killed is an exemplary demonstration of how Allah’s justice works, and how what you do unto others will be done back to you. And it also clearly shows what kind of a person Umayyah was, as just as when the Quraish were preparing for the battle he did not want to partake out of fear, here once again he showed his true nature and remained a begging coward until the end.
After the battle had essentially been won, Umayyah noticed that the Quraish had begun to flee. And so he began to look for someone in the Muslim army that he could get on to his side and use to try to survive. Now one of his best friends back in the days of Jahilliah was Abd Ar-Rahman ibn Awf (RA), who we remember as being the rich businessman who had to give up all of his wealth in the Hijra. And because they had both been businessmen they had a very strong bond that remained even after Abd Ar-Rahman converted, and Umayyah would not persecute him for being a Muslim like he would to others like Bilal (RA). The only dispute that they had had was over Abd Ar-Rahman’s name, as he used to be called Abd Al-Amr and had changed it after he had converted. Umayyah would not call him by his new name, and Abd Ar-Rahman would not respond to his old name and so eventually they had decided that Umayyah would call him Abd Al-Illah.
As Umayyah was looking around he noticed Abd Ar-Rahman passing by with the armour of someone he had killed. And as soon as he saw him he went and grabbed onto him with both of his hands and like a coward began to beg and bargain, ‘O Abd Al-Illah, what if I was to give you much more than this armour? What if I were to give you many milking camels?’ Milking camels were the most expensive, ‘Take me as a prisoner and I’ll give you as many as you want.’
Now Umayyah was Abd Ar-Rahman’s good friend, and of course we know that Abd Ar-Rahman was also a shrewd businessman and so he took up this offer and decided to take Umayyah and his son as his prisoner. And so he threw away the armour and held on to the two of them and began to march them back to the camp.
But of course, Allah did not will that one of the worst enemies of Islam would survive that battle. And in His infinite justice, He chose the most ideal person to stop this from happening, and that was Umayyah’s former slave Bilal himself. And as we remember, Bilal had been tortured severely and persecuted horrendously by Umayyah all through his time as his slave, and so for him to take the life of his former oppressor and master with his own hands was a complete and poetic exaction of justice. Now technically Umayyah was Abd Ar-Rahman’s slave, however technically they were also still on the battlefield and so there is a grey area if what Bilal did was allowed or not. But what happened was undeniably Allah’s will.
When Bilal saw the entourage making their way back to the camp he was shocked, and he exclaimed, ‘Umayyah ibn Khalaf, the leader of kufr! You are giving him security? By Allah, over my dead body!’ Abd Ar-Rahman tried to negotiate and plead with Bilal as, after all, taking prisoners was completely halal. However Bilal was not having it, and began to get more and more agitated and began to raise his voice. And finally Bilal went and called over a group of the Ansar, and he explained to them who Umayyah was and what he had done to Bilal back in Mecca. And Bilal’s story was well known among the Ansar, so they went with him back to Abd Ar-Rahman to put pressure on him to give up his prisoners. And Abd Ar-Rahman continued to try to negotiate with all of them, but Bilal was adamant that he would not save Umayyah and his son and eventually he surrounded the group in order to try to get to the two prisoners. But remember Umayyah was a large man, and so they began to stab him from behind Abd Ar-Rahman, and Abd Ar-Rahman even tried to put his body over Umayyah’s in order to stop them but they would slide their blades in from around him. One of the swords even hit Abd Ar-Rahman’s foot and caused him a minor wound, and eventually both Umayyah and his son were killed.
When the war had finished, only 5% of the small Muslim army had become martyrs, while 15% of the Quraish had been killed or taken prisoner. The rest of them broke ranks and fled back to Mecca in a panic. The prophet then decided that the Muslim army would remain in the battlefield for three days, to show definitively who was the victor of the battle as the Quraish did not dare even return to the site of their defeat.
In this time, the bodies of the 15 or so Muslim shaheed were gathered and they were given a proper burial. Note: there is no Salat Al-Janaza for the shaheed, nor is their body washed and they are buried in the same place that they died, in the same clothes that they died in. And all those rules came down here, at Badr. As for the corpses of the Quraish, there were over 70 who had died and in addition the enemy is not treated the same as your own side, and so they were not given a burial but rather all gathered and thrown into a well, which was then covered up. That was, except for Umayyah ibn Khalaf. Because Allah had willed it that when the Muslims tried to pick up the body of Umayyah, his flesh literally melted and they could not lift him. As it just so happened, he died on an area of pebbles, and so what they did was pick up some pebbles from around him and just covered the body with that. And this is another example of the symbols and justice of Allah. Because just as Umayyah used to torture Bilal by leaving him in the hot sun with a heavy rock on him, now that he was dead he was covered in the same way – buried under rocks. And so just as he used to do unto others, so was done unto him.
Now later when the army was making their back to Medina, the prophet diverted the caravan to pass by the well where all of the Quraish had been buried and there he stopped. And he began to call out the name of every single nobleman and enemy of Islam who had been killed, and after each name he asked, ‘Have you found what your Lord has promised you to be true? As for me I have found the promise of Allah to be true.’
And after he had done this, Umar (RA) asked in amazement, ‘O Rasulallah, how can you speak to bodies that have no soul?’
And so the prophet replied, ‘I swear by the one in whose hands is my soul, you are not able to hear my now any better than they can.’ So he was telling Umar that they could hear him just as well as he could, ‘But they cannot respond to me.’
Now this incident raises a heavily debated theological question: ‘Can the dead hear or not?’ And there are major scholars on both sides of the argument, and it is a debate which rages on till today and this incident is used as a major evidence on both sides. Essentially, one group argues that since the dead could hear the prophet here then they can just hear the world of the living in general, and this is supported with many other incidences and evidences which we will not get into here. And the very opposite group argues that no, since Umar ibn Khattab had to literally stop and ask how could the dead be hearing the prophet, this shows that this is not what the sahaba expected and went against what they had been taught. And so this incident must have been an exception given to the prophet by Allah, and this viewpoint is also supported by other narrations and more heavily by the Quran.
The other important thing that took place in these three days after the battle was the distribution of the ghaneema (spoils of war). Now the previous ummahs were not allowed to keep the ghaneema, and they would make a big pile of any captured war loot and then Allah would send down a lighting strike to burn it all up, to show that this sacrifice had been accepted. But Allah blessed our ummah, and allowed us to keep any loot that we captured from war. When the Muslims had finished the battle, there were a lot of spoils remaining and so they began to wonder what exactly to do with it. And so some conflicting discussion began, and each group in the battle began to claim that they should be the ones to keep the wealth.
And just then Allah revealed the beginning of Surah Anfal, giving the command of distributing the ghaneema over to His messenger. And the prophet reminded the sahaba that they should not let greed become their primary motive, and that they should not break up their brotherhood and that Allah’s pleasure was more important than this wealth. Surah Anfal then went on to explain that yes, the ghaneema could be distributed but with specific amounts. And the distribution is quite complicated, but a basic overview is as follows:
4% of the loot is given to the prophet, 4% is given to the family of the prophet (Ahlal Bayt), 4% is given to the orphans, 4% is given to the poor and 4% is given to travellers. The remaining 80% is given back to the army, and in the Battle of Badr every single person was given an equal share. Later that would change, so those on animals were given a share three times greater than those on foot, but here it was the same for all. And on top of this, there were nine people who were also given a share even though they were not on the battlefield, each of them for a legitimate reason. The main one was Uthman ibn Affan (RA), who wanted to go however his wife, Ruqayyah (RA) – the daughter of the prophet – had fallen extremely sick, and in fact she would soon pass away. And so the prophet told him to stay in Medina and take care of his wife, and because he wanted to go but wasn’t allowed Uthman is considered one of the people of Badr and was given an equal share of the ghaneema.
Dr.Yasir Qadhi’s Seerah of The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 039
Dr.Yasir Qadhi’s Seerah of The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) 040