16.7 The Battle of Badr
The battle started when a man from Quraysh tried to break the basin the Muslims had built. Hamza, the Prophet's uncle, raised his mighty sword and quickly despatched him. Now the leaders of Quraysh challenged the Muslims to single combat. Some of the youths of Medina went out to meet them, but they said to them,
"We have no quarrel with you, we want our people!"
"Mohamed, let our peers from our people come out to us!"
Out came Ali ibn Abi Talib, Hamza, and Ubayda ibn al-Harith. Hamza, a lion in combat as in hunting, quickly dispatched his opponent as did Ali. Then Hamza, in accordance with the rules of battle, aided Ubayda, who was in difficulties. The two armies rushed towards each other: those who fought for Allah's sake and those who fought arrogantly to prove their might and superiority. The deep faith of the Muslims made them stand firm in spite of their paucity in arms and men; the pompous pride of Quraysh made them so sure that the day would be theirs.
At last the Muslims faced their tormentors man to man, or more accurately, each Muslim opposite three men of Quraysh, for Quraysh were three times their number, moreover Quraysh had cavalry, which played a vital role in the battles of old, while the Muslims had only one horse to represent the cavalry. Each of the Qurayshi warriors was served by his slaves and attendants, while each Muslim stood alone with nothing but a sword in his hand to face the superior equipment of the Qurayshi nobles. In spite of all these factors, the Muslims were willing to fight them. It was their duty to themselves, to their relations held in bondage in Mecca, and to their Lord. They were willing to fight the idol worshippers and let Allah decide the outcome. Quraysh, who insisted on fighting them even after they knew that their caravan was safe, piled aggression onto years of aggression, wrong onto years of wrong.
When Mohamed was in the front ranks, placing his men in positions for combat, he saw how few they were in comparison with the number of Quraysh and how ill-equipped. His heart went out to them and after having done his work, he returned to the shelter they had built for him, to seek the aid of Him who is invincible. With his hands raised upwards he started to pray and pray, to plead and urge, calling, reaching out towards his Maker with his whole being,
"My Lord, this is Quraysh who have come out in all their vainglory to attack Thy Prophet. My Lord, give us Thy victory, the victory that Thou hast promised me. My Lord, if Thou let test this group of men perish today, Thou wilt not be worshipped."
He prayed and pleaded until his garment fell off his shoulders and, unaware of it, continued to pray and plead.
Abu Bakr, who was with him in the shelter, took it and placed it over his shoulders again, saying,
“Messenger of Allah, do not take it so hard. Allah will fulfill His promise to you. “
But Mohamed continued to pray until a serene calm came over him, a peaceful drowsiness in which he saw for a second a vision of the Muslims' victory.
He rose with all his fears and doubts dispelled, for ever since he became a prophet, he had not seen a vision that had not come true. He left the shelter and went out to tell his Companions to be of good cheer, encouraging and giving hope of victory.
"By Him who holds sway over Mohamed's soul, the man who fights them today, steadfast and persevering, Allah will let into Paradise."
The Muslims became dauntless, like charging lions. Each man seemed equivalent to ten of the enemy. Each sword reaped the heads before it, oblivious of time, place, and connections. It was one of the days of Allah, the days of truth when His hand holds the reins. The chief among the deniers fell, but not indiscriminately. Those who were particularly cruel, those hardened in opposition to Allah were plucked out from the fighting hosts while Muslim swords seemed the scythe that reaps the wicked to Jahannam. Mohamed took a handful of gravel and cast it at the enemy ranks. It was a simple gesture, but it played havoc in the enemy ranks, both men and horses. They fell, they could not see, they stumbled, and the horses shied away.