Most of us reminisce about the Battle of Badr at its peak of victory, or at the point about how the angels were sent down to help defeat the enemy. We seldom reflect on how ar-Rasul SAW and the Sahabas strived with all the emotional pressures that led to that glorious outcome.
It is within human nature that people love a great, happy ending. Who doesn’t? To take advantage of this, Daies usually preach about Islam at the peak of its civilisation using persuasive rhetorics and dramatic anecdotes to motivate and inspire the audience.
There is, however, one thing that you should not neglect. You should not neglect delving into the reality of how Jihad was, and will always be, an imperative of those achievements.
The nature of Jihad is never easy to understand. Jihad is essentially about struggling and overcoming difficulties. And not necessarily in fighting a war.
The Jihad during Badr was no exemption.
1. The tearful prayers of ar-Rasul
“اللهم إني أنشدك عهدك ووعدك اللهم إن تهلك هذه العصابة من أهل الاسلام لا تعبد في الأرض”
“O, Allah, I call for Your promise and Your assurance.”
“O Allah, if this troop of the people of Islam is exterminated, You will no longer be worshipped on the earth.”
Ar-Rasul SAW’s body trembled greatly during this dua. He prostrated so long that Abu Bakr persuaded him, “It is enough. Indeed, Allah will surely fulfil His promise to you.”
The night before the battle, ar-Rasul SAW could not even go to sleep. He kept on praying and calling for Allah’s names.
There was a logical explanation of why ar-Rasul’s prayer sounded so desperate.
The manpower of the Muslim army only numbered 313 or 314 people. Many of them were starving, weak, sick and old. There were only 3 to 4 horses and 70 camels on which they took turns to ride to Badr, that is located 70 miles from Madina. Not to mention the fact that they were lacking in even basic weaponry to face the enemies.
Whereas on the opposite side, about 1,000 soldiers were waiting, 600 of whom were well-armoured. There were 700 camels and 100 armoured horses.
Mathematically, the Muslims would definitely be defeated. And if such defeat came into reality and all of the Muslims were killed, there would no longer be any believer to spread the word of Allah. The important work of Da’wah rested solely on the shoulders of the last Prophet.
Can you feel how great that burden was for ar-Rasul SAW?
We cheered for the part when the angels were sent down. But what we must not forget was that tearful prayer of ar-Rasul SAW, to which Allah answered:
“Remember when you all cried out for help from your Lord, and so you were answered thus: “Indeed, I will reinforce you with a thousand angels, rank after rank.” (al-Quran 8:9)
That was ar-Rasul SAW consumed by his concern about his responsibility. He needed to save the small Muslim community in Medinah, under siege by the Quraish. That was him being a Prophet and a Messenger, crying to Allah for help in his Da’wah endeavour. What about you?
2. The iltizam — the prerequisite for Allah’s help
Ramadan 2020 marks the 1,440th anniversary of Ramadan fasting. However, the first year of Ramadan fasting was never the same as ours today.
The obligation was revealed in the month of Sha’ban in the second year of Hijra. It was the following month that the Battle of Badr took place.
It was their first obligatory month of fasting and it coincided with their first battle. Let’s examine how their spirit of Jihad denied various exemptions that they could plead for.
First, they didn’t answer the call with ‘O Prophet, there are a lot of great rewards from other forms of Ibadah this month, let us be excused.’
Instead, al-Miqdad from the Muhajirin said with his lifted spirit and determination,
“O Prophet of Allah, we will not say as the Children of Israel said to Moses: ‘Go you and your Lord and fight, we will sit here’.”
And on behalf of the Ansaars, Sa’d ibn Muadz proclaimed,
“We have believed in you and have full faith in your being Allah’s Messenger. How can it be possible that Allah’s Messenger would go out to fight the disbelievers and we remain sitting in our houses? If you command us to plunge into the sea, we will do so.”
They were so determined that they would not turn back. Their hearts and emotions were immersed in Taqwa and saving the small Muslim ummah.
Ar-Rasul SAW and the Sahabas were not only focused on earning the multiple rewards for their self-Tarbiyyah and the effort of Da’wah.
The Ramadan fasting’s aim for Taqwa (al-Quran 2:183) was also deliberately tested through the call for Jihad when they were outnumbered and poorly-equipped.
“Indeed, Allah helped you at Badr when you were utterly weak. Then fear Allah (فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ); thus may you be grateful.” (al-Quran 3:123)
“Yes, if you remain steadfast and mindful of Allah (وَتَتَّقُوا) and the enemy come upon you (attacking) in rage, your Lord will reinforce you with five thousand angels having marks (of distinction).” (al-Quran 3:125)
Such was the additional weight of Jihad imposed during ar-Rasul’s SAW and the Sahabas’ Ramadan fasting. Now, being a Daie, do you only just focus on your personal self-Tarbiyyah during Ramadan?
3. The arrogance of the Quraish
After both parties secured their base at Badr, ‘Umayr ibn Wahb Al-Jumahi was sent by the Quraish as a spy to gauge the strength of the Muslim army.
Upon reporting the situation back, the disbelievers ridiculed the Muslims.
“Let us go back without a fight,” ‘Utbah ibn Rabi’ah, the prominent leader of the Quraish was scornful. For him, such a small number of troops was not worth fighting. They thought the believers were no match at all to them.
When the battle commenced, ‘Utbah once again displayed his contempt. As the Ansaar first step forward, he looked down upon them and called, “O Muhammad; send our peers, men of our own tribe, your allies from Quraish who have betrayed us!”
Long story short, we know that they ended up in total loss. The news of the disbelievers’ defeat reached Mecca, causing the Meccans to be struck with grief and terror. And the Meccans who were oppressed by the Quraish found a new hope on which they could rely.
As with ‘Utbah, since he demanded a worthy opponent, Hamza ibn Abd Muttalib was sent by ar-Rasul SAW to face him directly. ‘Utbah was dead only a few blows afterwards.
The arrogance of the enemy is always a challenge to Daies. Even today, the arrogant voices of disbelievers are only matched by their ungodly worldview in fighting for their ungodly systems and ways of life.
On the other hand, the Ummah is either persecuted and forced to submit to them, or that they and the Daies keep focussing on trivial aspects of Islam.
The Ummah today is ridiculed publicly by arrogant disbelievers. The question is will the Daies muster enough courage and determination to confront this?
4. The sense of achievement — gratitude or mere contentment?
Needless to say, Jihad is not an easy mission. The Battle of Badr is not a story of preaching here and there, followed by material rewards to last a believer’s lifetime. In fact, the Jihad of Badr put the believers’ lives at risk. There were casualties.
What we need to be convinced with, is that Jihad done right and sincerely will deliver a happy ending, insha Allah. That was the lesson of the Battle of Badr.
The victory was never for themselves, but for the continuity and development of Da’wah. If there were any emotional gift that they attained, it was the satisfaction that they were on the right path, and their gratitude for the divine help.
It was the enhancement of their faith that they valued. War bounties were never a consideration in the first place. This you might well bear in mind.
For the cause of Da’wah, the prisoners who were treated fairly spread the words about Islam as they returned to Mecca. And there are still plenty of the Badr lessons that could spark the spirit of Jihad in our endeavours today, including not to be misled by the fake Jihadists.
The only question that remains is that as we keep on talking about Jihad and the Battle of Badr, will we ready ourselves to face the harsh reality of the struggle?
Or will we only reminisce on the delightful story of the final victory, and return afterwards to our bubble of comfort, feeling that we have fulfilled our responsibility of talking — yes just talking — about Jihad?