The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa)

The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets(saw) – Volume II – Start of Ch.4

Battle of Badr, Establishment of the Islamic Empire and Destruction of the Chieftains of the Quraish

With the recent release of the detestable film Innocence of Muslims and with false propaganda against Islam gaining strength, the best form of defence is to present the peerless life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw), the founder of Islam, who in every aspect of life established the loftiest moral standard. We continue with the first ever serialisation of the newly translated Volume II of Hadhrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra)’s outstanding biography, Seerat Khatamun Nabiyyin, on the life and character of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw). This is arguably the best biography on the Prophet ever written. Each month we will present extracts from chapters of the book. Here, we start with Chapter IV.

Translated from the Urdu
by Ayyaz Mahmood Khan

Battle of Badr – Ramadan 2 A.H. (March 623 A.D.)

Now we begin to mention the events of the battle of Badr. It has already been mentioned that after the prophetic migration, the Quraish of Makkah had begun making preparations to attack Madinah and utterly destroy the Muslims. Furthermore, the chieftains of the Quraish unjustly exploited the occurrence of the murder of ‘Amr bin Ḥaḍrami, which took place during the Sariyyah of the Valley of Nakhlah, in order to further ignite a dangerous fire of enmity against the Muslims, in the hearts of the disbelieving masses. In the likeness of an individual who forgets all the cruelties he inflicts upon others, but always remembers even the slightest discomfort he receives from someone else, even though it may possess a form of retribution, the Quraish of Makkah became even more fervently engrossed in their preparations to attack the Muslims and utterly destroy them. During that time, the Holy Prophet(saw) received news that a trade caravan of the Quraish of Makkah, accompanied by thirty, forty, or in light of various narrations, seventy men, was returning to Makkah from Syria, in the command of Abu Sufyan.[1] Every man and woman especially held shares in this caravan. As a matter of fact, it is written that on this occasion, any item or sum, which could be invested in this venture, was put on stake.[2] This demonstrates that the Quraish had perhaps decided that they would spend the profit of this trade venture, on expenditures of war against the Muslims. Therefore, the interception of caravans was an excellent means of bringing the barbaric Quraish to their senses and stopping them from their dangerous designs.

Secondly, their passing by Madinah from so close, also posed many dangerous risks for the Muslims. Then, the specific characteristics of this caravan were such that if it had escaped safely, this could have been thought of as a precursor to the destruction of the Muslims. For this reason, upon receiving news, the Holy Prophet(saw) dispatched two Muhajirin named Ṭalḥah bin ‘Ubaidullah(ra) and Sa‘id bin Zaid(ra), to obtain information. Furthermore, the Holy Prophet(saw) also informed the other Companions that they should remain prepared to set out for the interception of the caravan. However, it so happened, that Abu Sufyan also received word of this intention of the Holy Prophet(saw), or perhaps he apprehended this possibility himself. In any case, he dispatched a rider named Ḍamḍam towards Makkah, and emphatically instructed him to reach Makkah as soon as possible, and bring forth the army of the Quraish in order to protect the caravan and strike fear into the hearts of the Muslims. Moreover, as a precautionary measure, Abu Sufyan diverted from his actual route and moved towards the coast of the sea; and stealthily but quickly, began to proceed towards Makkah. When this emissary of Abu Sufyan reached Makkah, according to the Arab custom, he made himself appear extremely terrified and began to scream loudly saying,

“O ye people of Makkah! Muammad(saw)and his Companions have set out to attack your caravan. Go forth and save it!”[3]

Upon hearing this news, the people became frightened and gathered around the Ka‘batullah. Then, on this occasion, the chieftains of the Quraish capitalized on this opportunity, and delivered extremely provocative speeches against Islam and the Muslims. As a result, the hearts of the people became inflamed with a fervor of enmity towards Islam and they became firmly determined to attack the Muslims and utterly destroy them. At that time, the state of the Quraish’s fervor was such that they unanimously decided to set out with a very large army against the Muslims. It was decided that every such individual who was able to fight would participate himself, while every such individual who was unable to participate due to a constraint, would arrange for another person to be sent in his place. The chieftains of the Quraish were at the forefront of this proposal. There were only two individuals who hesitated in participating, and they were Abu Lahab and Umaiyyah bin Khalf. However, the reason for this hesitation was not due to any sympathy for the Muslims. Rather, Abu Lahab feared the dream of his sister ‘Atikah bint ‘Abdul-Muṭṭalib, which she saw only three days prior to the arrival of Ḍamḍam, indicating the destruction of the Quraish. Umaiyyah bin Khalf feared the prophecy of the Holy Prophet(saw) about his being slain, which he had learned of from Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh(ra), in Makkah. However,  since there was a concern that if these two renowned chieftains had remained behind this would have a negative effect on the disbelieving masses, the other chieftains of the Quraish provoked their passion and jealousy, and ultimately compelled them to agree. In other words, Umaiyyah became prepared himself and Abu Lahab paid a hefty sum to someone else to stand in his place. In this manner, after a preparation of three days[4], an army of over 1,000 fearless warriors was prepared to go forth from Makkah.

This army was still in Madinah when a few chieftains from among the Quraish thought that since relations between the people of Makkah and the Banu Bakr, which was a branch of the Banu Kinanah, were not favourable, there was a risk that in their absence they might take advantage of the situation and attack Makkah. Due to this thought various people from among the Quraish began to waver. However, a chieftain of the Banu Kinanah named Suraqah bin Malik bin Ja‘sham, who was in Makkah at the time, assured them saying, “I guarantee that no attack will be waged upon Makkah.” As a matter of fact, Suraqah was so vehement in his enmity towards Islam that in support of the Quraish, he even accompanied them all the way to Badr himself. However, when he saw the Muslims there, he was so awe-stricken that before the war began, he left his companions and fled. It is believed that the following verse of the Holy Qur’an makes reference to this very occurrence:

And when Satan declared the Quraish of Makkah as being correct in their opposition against the Muslims and would incite them.[5]

Prior to going forth from Makkah, the Quraish went to the Ka‘bah and prayed, “O God! Grant succour to that party from among these two parties, which is more noble and more superior in Your estimation; and disgrace and humiliate the other.[6] After this, the army of the disbelievers departed from Makkah with great pomp and pride. All of the chieftains of the Quraish were present and as well as singing women who, with the recital of their poetic couplets and the beating of their drums, would incite jealousy and fervour, as they journeyed along. The chieftains of the Quraish considered this campaign to be a distinct national feat and arranged for the food that was required by the army en-route, at their own expense. As such, they would slaughter nine or ten camels were slaughtered by them daily in turns, to entertain the warriors.[7] When this army reached Juḥfah, which was situated a little more than half-way to Badr, they received news through the emissary of Abu Sufyan, that the caravan had safely escaped the area of danger, and now it was no longer necessary for the army to proceed any further. On hearing this news, some people became prepared to go back. However, Abu Jahl and under the influence of his party, most of the people of the army, who had other intentions in mind, vehemently rejected this idea; and according to one narration[8] they unanimously said, “By God! We shall definitely proceed to Badr and hold a festival there for three days, so that our awe may be forever established throughout the land, and people begin to fear us.”[9] Hence, except for a few people who went back,[10] the rest of the army proceeded with great pomp and pride. On the ninth day after leaving Makkah, (one day was lost due to an error in navigation)[11], i.e., after eleven or twelve days of receiving news from Ḍamḍam, they reached the nearer bank of the valley of Badr, and setup camp. At that time, the army of the Quraish comprised 1000 people who were well-armed with the most modern equipment of their time; having 700 camels and 100 horses. All of the riders as well as most warriors on foot, were clad in armour and had at their disposal a vast arsenal of weapons, containing many spears, swords, and bows and arrows.

Serialisation continues in the next Edition.


  1. * As-Siratun-Nabawiyyah, By Abu Muhammad ‘Abdul-Malik bin Hisham, p.415, Ghazwatu Badril-Kubra/ ‘Iru Abi Sufyan, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (2001)
    * Sharhul-‘Allamatiz-Zarqani ‘Alal-Mawahibil-Ladunniyyah, By ‘Allamah Shihabud-Din Qustalani, Part 2, p. 263, Babu Ghazwati Badril-Kubra, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
  2. At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, By Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Part 2, p. 255, Ghazwatu Badr, Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
  3. This was a complete lie because until now, the Holy Prophet(saw) was still in Madinah
  4. * Sharhul-‘Allamatiz-Zarqani ‘Alal-Mawahibil-Ladunniyyah, By ‘Allamah Shihabud-Din Qustalani, Part 2, p.263, Babu Ghazwati Badril-Kubra, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
    * As-Siratul-Halabiyyah, By Abul-Faraj Nurud-Din ‘Ali bin Ibrahim, Volume 2, pp. 198-201, Babu Dhikri  Maghazihisa/ Babu Ghazwati Badril-Kubra, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon(2002).
  5. Al-Anfal (8:49)
  6. Tarikhul-Khamis Fi Ahwali Anfasi Nafis, By Husain bin Muhammad bin Hasan, Part 1,p.370,Ghazwatu Badril-Kubra, Mu’assasatu Sha‘ban, Beirut.
  7. Sharhul-‘Allamatiz-Zarqani  ‘Alal-Mawahibil-Ladunniyyah, By ‘Allamah Shihabud-Din  Qustalani, Part 2, p.261, Babu Ghazwati Badril-Kubra, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
  8. * Tarikhur-Rusuli Wal-Muluk (Tarikhut-Tabari), By Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari, Part 3, pp.20-21, Thumma Dakhalatis-Sanatuth-Thaniyyatu Minal-Hijrah/ Dhikru Waq‘ati Badril-Kubra, Darul-Fikr, Beirut, Lebanon, Second Edition (2002)
    * At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, By Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Part 2, p.255, Ghazwatu Badr, Daru Ihya’it Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)
  9. It should be remembered that Badr is the name of a valley, which contains a few streams.  It is situated between Makkah and  Madinah. In normal circumstances, it  is situated at a  distance of four or five days from Madinah and eight or nine days from Makkah. In the era of the Jahiliyyah, a carnival was held here every year where the various tribes of Arabia would gather and engage in trade and celebrations.  As such, the disbelievers of Makkah used this  carnival as an excuse to insist that they should  definitely proceed to Badr, so  that their awe  would be established.
  10. * Narrations relate that among those who went back, the tribes of  Badu ‘Addiyy and Banu Zuhrah have been mentioned.
    * At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, By Muhammad bin Sa‘d, Part 2, p.255, Ghazwatu Badr, Daru Ihya’it Turathil-‘Arabi, Beirut, Lebanon, First  Edition (1996) (Publishers)
  11. Sharhul-‘Allamatiz-Zarqani ‘Alal-Mawahibil-Ladunniyyah,  By ‘Allamah Shihabud-Din Qustalani, Part 2, p.261, Babu Ghazwati Badril-Kubra, Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, First Edition (1996)