The battle of Badr, 17 Ramadhaan - II
now the disbelievers launched a full-scale attack and the muslim troops also moved forward to face their enemies. both sides showed great valor. as the day of badr drew towards its close, the defeated disbelievers fled the battlefield leaving behind seventy men slain and seventy as prisoners. when the fighting started, the prophet, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, came out to have a full view of the situation. he pointed out to the muslims that banu haashim did not join the enemy force out of their own will and desire, it was due only to compulsion and so they deserved special concessions. so al-'abbaas ibn 'abdul-muttalib must not be killed. abu huthayfah said, "how can it be that i kill my brother and leave al-'abbaas ibn abdul muttalib, i will not let him go if al-'abbaas fights with me." later on hudhaifah was deeply repentant for his words and expressed great regret.
when the battle was in full swing, the prophet, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, picked a handful of dust and threw it towards the disbelievers after reciting something over it. it resulted in the enemy fighters fleeing for their lives. mu'aath ibn 'amr a young man from al-ansaar, came across abu jahl who was armor clad. mu'aath ibn 'amr struck at his uncovered leg with his sword so forcefully that it was cut off from the shin. when 'ikrimah ibn abu jahl found his father fatally injured, he fell upon mu'aath ibn 'amr and struck him with his sword so violently that his left arm was nearly separated from the shoulder but he kept fighting the whole day with the hanging arm. when it gave him more trouble, he put the hanging part under his foot and pulled apart by a violent force. at the same moment mu'awwidh ibn afra', another young man from the ansaar drew near abu jahl and put him to the sword.
when the disbelievers fled the battlefield and the believers were victorious in this historic event, allaah's messenger, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, asked for a search of the dead body of abu jahl. 'abdullaah ibn mas'ood searched through the dead bodies and found abu jahl lying half-dead. 'abdullaah ibn mas'ood got on his chest and said, 'behold, o enemy of allaah, what a disgrace you have been put to by allaah." abu jahl said, "what's the outcome of battle?" 'abdullaah ibn mas'ood replied, "it ended in victory for the believers and defeat for the disbelievers." 'abdullaah ibn mas'ood chopped his head off and laid it down at the feet of the prophet, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam. having noticed it, allaah's messenger thanked allaah. this battle martyred fourteen believers, six from the muhaajireen and eight from the ansaar. the battle being over, allaah's messenger, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, buried the believers and ordered that the dead among the infidels should be thrown into a pit or well and let them be covered with dust.
the disbelievers were so frightened when they fled the field that they even lost track of their commander, abu jahl and left him behind fatally injured and dying. the soul-shattering news of the disbelievers' ignominious defeat in the battlefield of badr left the makkans struck with grief.
the prophet, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, entrusted the booty to 'abdullaah ibn ka'b who belonged to banu an-najjaar, and sent 'abdullaah ibn rawaahah and zayd ibn haarithah with the glad tidings of victory to the upper and lower settlements of al-madeenah. usamah ibn zayd who was left in al-madeenah as the deputy of the prophet, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, remarked, "the glad tidings of the victory were received by us at a time when we were burying ruqayyah , the daughter of the prophet, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, and the wife of 'uthman ibn affaan. the news of victory had arrived in al-madeenah on 18 ramadhaan."
being free from his engagement in the battlefield of badr, the prophet, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, proceeded to al-madeenah. on reaching safra', he with the command of allaah the almighty, distributed the booty equally among the muslims, and ordered nadr ibn al-harith ibn kildah (from banu abdud-daar) to be beheaded. similarly, arriving at irq-uz-zabyah, he, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, issued the same order for 'uqbah ibn abu mu'ayt . these two among the prisoners of the battle of badr were hard-core and ruthless enemies of the prophet, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, and islam and equal to abu jahl in enmity. thereafter the prophet, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, along with his companions, speedily left for al-madeenah leaving the prisoners and their guards behind who joined them in al-madeenah the next day.
general treatment of the prisoners:
when the captives reached al-madeenah, the prophet, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, said distributing them among the companions, "treat them generously." among them was abu 'azeez ibn 'umayr who was the standard-bearer of the disbelievers' army and also the full brother of mus'ab ibn 'umayr . abu 'azeez relates, "when i was being brought to al-madeenah, i was in the custody of a group of the ansaar''. whenever they sat down to dine, they gave bread to me and they began to eat dates. being ashamed, i tried to return it but whenever i gave the bread to any of them, he gave it back to me." on reaching al-madeenah, abu 'azeez was lodged with abu yusr al-ansaari. mus'ab ibn 'umayr said to abu yusr, "treat him roughly, for his mother is a wealthy woman." abu 'azeez said, "brother, is it for you to give this counsel?" "you are not my brother," replied 'umayr, "instead he is my brother who is tying up your hands." the mother of abu 'azeez sent four thousand dirhams for his release.
the defeat suffered by the polytheists plunged makkah into gloom. there was not a house in the city, which did not go into mourning. the makkans stood aghast and agitated. however, the suppressed muslims of makkah breathed a sigh of relief and felt elated. abu lahab, who could not join the army at badr, was so terribly shocked that he died after a week.
the issue of the captives:
concerning the captives, allaah's messenger, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, sought the advice of the companions. 'umar ibn khattaab submitted, "in my opinion everyone of us should kill his own relatives to establish beyond doubt that, in islam, love of faith is far greater than love for relations." abu bakr said, "let all the captives be released in return for reasonable ransoms so that the amount be invested in developing weaponry. besides, some of them may embrace islam in future." the prophet, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, liked the proposal of abu bakr. some of the prisoners were released without ransom. the makkans sent from one thousand to four thousand dirhams to pay for the release of their relatives. the captives who knew reading and writing but were unable to pay ransom were allowed freedom after teaching ten children to read and write.
zaynab the daughter of the prophet, sent her necklace as a ransom for the release of abul-'aas, her husband, who was also among the captives. allaah's messenger, sallalahu alayhi wa sallam, noticed the necklace and said to his companions, "if you think it fit, send the necklace back to zaynab, for it was a gift from her mother khadeejah." the companions were pleased to accept it and released abul-'as at once. abul-'aas then hurried back to makkah and sent zainab to al-madeenah at once. he accepted islam three or four years after this event.
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.