Islamic weltanschauung of war:
The religion of Islam calls itself the complete way of life, which does not leave any human facet that it does not deal with. From the most common task of wearing a shoe to the most complicated event of war, it outlines a pragmatic approach towards every reality of human life. The nature of man and the existence of human engagement in war are the realities of our existence. Islam does not endorse war, but it restricts and regulates wars within its own paradigm.
Instead of ignoring war as if it didn’t exist, Islam made laws for it, which made it less of a problem.Jihad does not imply condoning conflict, but rather limiting it. This argument is supported by the later history of the Islamic world in comparison to other civilizations, not least the Christian West. The modern criticism of Islam and the Prophet ﷺ based on battles like Badr, in which the Prophet ﷺ personally participated, is based on a complete misunderstanding of Islam’s purpose and function. The Prophet ﷺ was perfect not by withdrawing from the world in the manner of Buddha, but by participating in it and transforming it in the fashion of the Prophets such as David and Solomon. Islam could not have become an all-encompassing way of life without considering the issues of war and struggle that characterize human life. Islam views war as a perpetual conflict between truth and error. The chapters in the Quran emphasize that peace and justice, not violence or warfare, are the norm. The authorization to fight the enemy is accompanied by a powerful mandate to make peace and establish justice.
Permission to fight the enemy is balanced by a strong mandate for making peace: “If the enemy is inclined towards peace, make peace with them” (Al Qur’an). No man can live a balanced existence unless he fights constantly to keep it balanced and to keep the tensions and movements that characterize human life from shattering the harmony that is the outcome of salaam (peace) and Islam (submission) itself. And it was in the destiny of Islam that this harmony was established on earth, through a series of limited circumstances but with unbelievably profound consequences.
Brief historical account of the battle:
Permission [to fight] has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, Allāh is competent to give them victory. [They are] those who have been evicted from their homes without right – only because they say, “Our Lord is Allāh.” (Al Qur’an)
Prior to the battle, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had received a revelation from God, encouraging the Muslims to fight in self-defense and promising them victory. This gave the Muslims a strong sense of faith and motivation to confront the Meccans.
The battle was a turning point in the early history of Islam as it gave the Muslims a much-needed boost in confidence and demonstrated that they could stand up to their enemies. It also solidified the position of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ as the leader of the Muslims and helped establish Islam as a major force in Arabia.
The 17th of the month of Ramadan marks the victory at the Battle of Badr. The budding Muslim community that escaped the treacherous persecution of the Meccans was face to face with their oppressors on the battlefield. This battle was also called the Yaum Al Furqan as it was the Day of Criterion between Good and Evil. The Meccans were confident and proud of their army and strength, knowing that they would crush the staggering 313 ill equipped fighters in front of their three times as many fighters.
Muslims had only two horses, belonging to Az-Zubair ibn Al-‘Awwam and Al-Miqdad bin Al-Aswad, and 70 camels, one for two or three men to ride alternately. The Prophet ﷺ himself, ‘Ali and Murthid bin Abi Murthid had only one camel. The relatively small army was divided into two battalions, the Emigrants (Muhajireen), with a standard raised by ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, and the Helpers (Ansar), whose standard was in the hand of Sa‘d bin Mu‘adh. The battle was fought near the valley of Badr, on the outskirts of the city of Medina. The Quraysh and its leader were sure of their victory due to the seemingly less powerful Muslim army. No sane person would be able to conclude that the army of Quraysh could face defeat at the hands of a few men. Despite being vastly outnumbered, the Muslims were able to emerge victorious due to their superior strategy and morale. The battle lasted for several hours and resulted in the deaths of around 70 Meccan polytheists, including several of their prominent leaders, while 14 Muslims became martyrs.
The outcome of the battle was due to the sincere supplications of the Prophet to Allah ﷺ. It has been narrated on the authority of `Umar b. al-Khattab, who said:
When it was the day on which the Battle of Badr was fought, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) cast a glance at the polytheists, and they were one thousand, while his own companions were three hundred and nineteen. The Prophet (ﷺ) turned (his face) towards the Qibla. Then he stretched his hands and began his supplication to his Lord: “O Allah, accomplish for me what Thou hast promised to me. O Allah, bring about what Thou hast promised to me. O Allah, if this small band of Muslims is destroyed. Thou will not be worshipped on this earth.”
After the battle, the Muslims were able to capture a number of Meccan soldiers as prisoners of war, some of whom were later ransomed while others were freed. The spoils of war were also divided among the Muslims according to the laws revealed in the Quran.
The vibrant victory of the battle and its echoes:
This was the first battle that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ fought after more than 10 years of persecution and banishment. It was fought to stand against the oppressive forces that persecuted the Prophet ﷺ and his companions for what they believed. The Meccans were baffled by the message of Tawheed that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ started preaching. They felt their established order would collapse under this proclamation. So they resisted the Tawheedic movement with all their might, to the point of crushing each and every follower of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. This battle gave the war tactics and ethics for the subsequent battles fought under the leadership of Prophet ﷺ and his companions after his demise. It is also interesting to note that both the battle of Badr and the conquest of Makkah happened in the month of Ramzaan which shaped the future of the Muslim community.
This battle changed the course of human history as the survival of the early Muslim community brought about civilizational changes. It paved the way for the eventual expansion of the Islamic empire. The victory of this battle echoed its success from the Arabian Peninsula to Spain and the Caucasus in the subsequent centuries of conquests. It is commemorated by Muslims today as a symbol of faith, courage, and perseverance in the face of adversity.
The sapience of Islam:
Islam has a comprehensive perspective on human life. The divine message is intended for all of humanity. Muslims contend it is appropriate to place this divine message in front of people wherever they live.
The Muslim community is obligated by Islam to remove any hindrance to the enjoyment of the right to freedom. Islam claims that impeding freedom is unfair and that injustice must be removed. This is part of the larger Islamic view of humanity, our place on the planet, and the role Allah has given us. Freedom empowers people to make choices and be creative, allowing each person to fulfill his or her role. Wherever dictatorship prevails, people lose their creative touch, stagnate, and eventually sink to a low depth of humiliation and lack of self-respect. As a result, removing barriers to freedom is an important responsibility for the Muslim community, which advocates the words of Allah and encourages people to accept and implement them.
- Qur’an (Surah Al-Anfal -61, Surah Al Hajj -39,40)
- Sahih Muslim (1763)
- Ar Raheeq Al Makhtoom (Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri)
- Muhammad: His Character and Conduct (Adil Salahi)
- Muhammad: Man of God Seyyed (Hossein Nasr)