Muslim Differences Concerning Booty
when the morning came and it was time for the muslims to return to madinah, they began to consider the disposition of the booty. those who collected it claimed it as their own. those who ran after the enemy and captured the captives said: "by god, we deserve it more than they; for without us it would not have been realized." those who were guarding muhammad and protecting him against a resurgence of the enemy forces, said: "neither one of you deserve the booty. we surely could have killed the enemy and taken possession of his goods, but we preferred to protect the prophet of god and, therefore, we stayed behind near him while you went out capturing and collecting it." at this muhammad commanded every muslim to return every piece of the booty he had taken and to keep all the booty together until he had reached judgment regarding it, or god had revealed the way it should be disposed of.
equal division of the booty
muhammad sent to madinah `abdullah ibn rawahah and zayd ibn harithah to bring news of. the victory to the people of madinah. he and his companions returned to madinah accompanied by the captives and carrying the booty of war. he had appointed `abdullah ibn ka'b as the guardian of it. after reaching the valley of al safra', muhammad camped on a hill and there began to divide the booty among the muslims in equal parts. some historians claim that muhammad had divided the booty after he had appropriated one-fifth of it in accordance with the qur'anic command: "and know that whatever you take as spoils in war, a fifth thereof shall go to god, his prophet, the kindred, the orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer. if you believe in god and in what we send down to our servant and the day of decision [the day of badr] when the two armies met, you will accept this division. god has power over all things."[qur'an, 8:41] most biographers, especially the earlier among them, believed that this verse was revealed after the battle of badr as well as after muhammad's division of its booty. they hold that muhammad had divided the booty in equal parts, giving to the fighter with a horse twice the amount he gave to the fighter on foot, and allowing the share of the muslims who were killed at badr to go to their heirs. they also hold that muhammad had assigned a share to the muslims who were left behind in madinah on assignment to work for the muslim cause there during the absence of the army in badr, or who had remained in madinah for good reason. muhammad divided the booty justly. not only did he include in his division the soldier but also everyone who worked for the cause and helped achieve this victory, whether on the battlefield or far from it.