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Muslim Morale

Under category : The Great Battle of Badr
3271 2008/10/12 2024/05/22

out of muhammad's strong soul a stronger power than god might have imparted on any other occasion spread among the muslim ranks, fortifying their will and determination and making each and every one of them the equivalent of two-nay ten-men in strength. we can easily imagine the effect of this sudden reinforcement of muslim morale upon their personalities when the cause is as morally justified as theirs has been. the feeling of patriotism with which modernity is familiar is certainly one such supporting moral justification in modern wars. the soldier who exposes himself to all kinds of danger in the belief that he is defending his fatherland walks into battle with superior morale; the greater his love for and faith in his fatherland, the more frightful the risks he stands prepared to take. consequently, nations inculcate upon their young at a very tender age the love of the fatherland and the will to sacrifice for its sake. conviction of the fatherland's right to justice, freedom, and the higher human values reinforce the soul; and this, in turn, doubles the material power issuing from the person. those who remember the allied propaganda against the germans during world war ii will recall that the allies saturated the atmosphere with their claim that they were fighting a war for the sake of freedom and justice, and were laying down their lives in a last war against the militaristic state of germany precisely in order to usher in an age of peace and security and light. this allied propaganda not only doubled the strength of their soldiers but provided them as well with a warm welcome freely given by most peoples of the world. but what patriotism and what cause of peace and security dare compare with what muhammad was calling for! for muhammad, it was a matter of one's communion with ultimate reality, of union with all being in a bond giving man determining power in the universe, and of blazing for him the path of goodness, blessedness and perfection. yes, indeed: what kind of patriotism or cause of peace dares to stand beside the communion with god which puts to an end the persecution of the believers for their faith in him and removes the hindrances of idolatry and associationism from the path of god? if patriotism increases the power of the soul by as much power as corresponds with the value of fatherland, and if the love of peace for mankind increases the power of the soul by as much power as corresponds with the value of the whole of mankind, how great must have been the power of the soul when it was reinforced by faith in total being as well as in the creator of total being? surely it makes that soul capable of moving mountains, of determining the heavenly bodies, of exerting its power and influence supremely over all men endowed with less faith? moral power doubles and redoubles material power. when, before the battle, this strength was not at its highest because of division within muslim ranks, muslim material power suffered in consequence. but the situation changed, and their power increased tremendously under the inspiration of muhammad. and it was this new resurgence of power by this means that compensated the muslims for their small number and poor equipment. it was in connection with this spiritual phenomenon that the two qur'anic verses were revealed

008.065 يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ حَرِّضِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَى الْقِتَالِ إِنْ يَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ عِشْرُونَ صَابِرُونَ يَغْلِبُوا مِائَتَيْنِ وَإِنْ يَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ مِائَةٌ يَغْلِبُوا أَلْفًا مِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لا يَفْقَهُونَ
008.065 الآنَ خَفَّفَ اللَّهُ عَنْكُمْ وَعَلِمَ أَنَّ فِيكُمْ ضَعْفًا فَإِنْ يَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ مِائَةٌ صَابِرَةٌ يَغْلِبُوا مِائَتَيْنِ وَإِنْ يَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ أَلْفٌ يَغْلِبُوا أَلْفَيْنِ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ
al-qur'an, 008.065-066 (al-anfal [spoils of war, booty])

" `0 prophet, urge the believers to fight.' if there be twenty steadfast men they will overcome two hundred. and if there be a hundred, they will overcome a thousand unbelievers. these are a people devoid of knowledge, faith, or conviction. for the present, god has lightened your burden. he knows that there is weakness in you. so if there be a hundred steadfast men among you, they will overcome two hundred; and if there be a thousand, they will overcome two thousand by god's permission. god is surely with those who are steadfast."[qur'an, 8:65, 8:66]


bilal kills umayyah ibn khalaf

at muhammad's urging and inspiration, his standing in their midst and inciting them against the enemy, and his announcement that paradise belongs to the men of valor who plunge fearlessly into the ranks of the enemy, the muslims doubled and redoubled their strength. before entering battle, they resolved to direct their attention to the leaders and nobles of the quraysh. they planned to seek them and to kill them first, remembering the persecution and travails they suffered at their hands in makkah, especially the blocking of the road to god and to the holy mosque. bilal saw umayyah ibn khalaf and his son on the field surrounded by a number of muslims who had recognized him and sought to take him as captive. this umayyah was bilal's previous master who used to torture him by forcing him down to the ground where he placed a large rock on his chest, letting him burn under the torrid sun in order to force him to abjure islam. bilal survived all these travails in certainty of his faith while repeating continuously, "god is one! god is one!" when his eyes fell upon umayyah in the field, he shouted, "umayyah, the head of idolatry! death to me if he escapes!" and charged furiously toward him. the muslims surrounding umayyah sought to prevent bilal from reaching him. bilal called to them at high voice: "o helpers of god! the head of idolatry is umayyah ibn khalaf. death to me if he escapes!" he charged again toward umayyah and killed him. mu'adh ibn `amr ibn al jamuh killed abu jahl ibn hisham. hamzah, `ali and other muslim heroes penetrated deeply into enemy lines, forgetting themselves, their small numbers, and their being surrounded by their enemies. muslims hurled themselves into the melee. the dust rose, the battle raged at its hottest and wildest, and the heads of the quraysh flew off their bodies. possessed by their faith and chanting, "god is one! god is one!" the muslims exerted tremendous power and pressed ever forward. it was as if space and time had lost their meaning, and god's angels were hovering above to encourage and draw them ever forward. they were so great that even their arms brandishing their swords in the air and striking the necks of their enemies seemed as if they moved not by ordinary human power but by the supernatural power of god himself. muhammad was in the midst of the battlefield fighting as well as observing his companions. at one moment he took dirt in his hand and threw it in the face of an advancing party of quraysh, commanding his companions to stand firm. the muslims stood their ground and forced the superior enemy to withdraw. it did not matter to the muslim that he was surrounded by his enemies. his soul was filled with the breath of god; this divine spirit made him ever-firm and gave him the very power with which he wielded his arms. it was of this battle that god said: "your lord revealed to the angels that he is with you and commanded them to give firmness to those that believe. he announced that he will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. god commands: `smite your enemies; strike off their heads and forearms . . . you killed them not when you did, but it was god who killed them; and you threw not when you did throw your arrows but it was god who threw them."[qur'an, 8:12, 17]. when the prophet saw that god had fulfilled his promise and given the muslims victory, he returned to his booth. the quraysh were not only withdrawing but running away, and the muslims were pressing after them to capture those of them whom they did not kill on the battlefield.


the muslims spare the just

this was the great battle of badr that established muslim power throughout the arabian peninsula and began the movement of arab unity under the leadership of islam. it was the beginning of a large islamic empire which gave the world a civilization which has so far played and will ever play a very important role in the history of the universe. it may surprise some readers to learn that as he urged his companions to fight the enemy and scatter their forces, muhammad asked them not to kill banu hashim and some other leaders of the quraysh despite the fact that they were all arrayed in battle on the other side. in so doing, he was not seeking any advantage for his tribe or relatives. muhammad was too noble to be moved by such considerations. rather he wanted to reward banu hashim for their protection of him and of his cause during thirteen long years between his commission to prophethood and emigration. it should be remembered that his uncle, al `abbas, was the one who concluded the covenant of al `aqabah. he also remembered other members of the quraysh besides the banu hashim, who once sought to revoke the boycott pact which imprisoned the


muslims in one of the districts of makkah with little or no food supplies. muhammad considered a good deed as worthy of regard-of a gesture equal to it in charity and good will despite the idolatry of its author. thus, he interceded with the muslims at the hour of battle on behalf of those makkans who did the good deeds. some of them, however, refused muhammad's good will move and kind gesture. such was the case of abu al bakhtari, who was responsible for the rescinding of the boycott pact but who fought and was killed in battle.


people of the grave

the people of makkah ran away from the field despondent, dejected, and mourning their dead. they would hardly catch sight of their companions when their eyes would fall down in shame for what had happened. the muslims remained at badr until the end of the day. they collected the dead of the quraysh and buried them on the spot. muhammad and his companions spent that night on the battlefield burying the dead, collecting the booty and keeping their eyes on the captives. as the night drew on, muhammad sat down to think both of this victory, which god had just given the muslims despite their small number, and the terrible defeat he had inflicted upon an enemy devoid of a sound faith capable of fusing their large numbers into one strong will. he pondered the matter over many long hours of the night. he was even heard addressing the dead in their new graves: "0 people of the grave"! he murmured, "o `utbah ibn rabi'ah ! 0 shaybah ibn rabi'ah ! 0 umayyah ibn khalaf ! 0 abu jahl ibn hisham !" after calling by name the fallen one by one, he addressed them in these words: "have you really found that which your lord had promised you? i have found what my lord had promised me. but have you? the muslims who overheard him asked, "are you calling the dead?" and the prophet answered, "they hear me no less than you do, except that they are unable to answer me." the prophet of god looked abu hudhayfah ibn `utbah straight in the face and realized that he was pale. he asked him, "o abu hudhayfah, are you despondent over the sad fate your father met today?" abu hudhayfah answered, "no, by god, 0 prophet of god! i have not censured my father or bemoaned his fate. i have known him to be a wise and good man, and i had hoped that his wisdom and virtue would one day lead him to islam. when i saw what befell him, i remembered his idolatry despite all the hope i had entertained for him. thus i am only sorry for him." the prophet of god spoke to him gently and prayed for him.


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