16.8 The Holy Verses Concerning this Battle
The Holy Verses Concerning this Battle
The Muslims were amazed to see such confusion created by a handful of gravel. They were equally amazed to see the great and mighty fall so easily by their swords. After the battle, when they had routed the enemy completely and returned to Medina, they kept relating what they had seen to those they had left behind, as if unable to believe their own eyes. Then these verses were sent down:
You did not kill them, but Allah killed them.
You did not throw when you threw. It was Allah who threw. (8: 17)
The first sentence, addressing the Muslims, tells them that it was not they who killed the polytheists with their swords but Allah who killed them. The second sentence, addressing the Messenger, tells him that it was not he who made the handful of gravel scatter and disrupt the enemy ranks but Allah who did. Man acts and it is the will of Allah that makes his actions powerful and significant or impotent and insignificant.
Nameless terror spread among Quraysh, the great and mighty fled before the angelic onslaught and the Muslims followed them in hot pursuit, killing and taking captives. The proud “kings of men”, as the Arabs called them, fled in fear, shame, and humiliation. The great host was scattered far and wide, fleeing in terror from the battlefield. They had waited at Badr to torture and terrify the Muslims, now it was they who were being pursued, captured, or killed. They had ridden out in arrogance and pomp to show off before all the Arabs, now they had only their shame and defeat.
Many of the things that took place in this battle that changed the face of history had been referred to years earlier by Koranic verses when the Muslims were weak and few in Mecca. Then the Koran had said,
The host shall be defeated and turn round in flight. (54:45)
Umar ibn Al-Khattab had said, wondering,
"What host is that?"
For at that time the Muslims lived in fear that they would be winnowed out. Such a battle and such a victory no one could have then imagined.
The holy verses spoke also, in those early days in Mecca, of Abu Jahl. He persecuted Muslims and incited others to do so. It was he who would not let Quraysh return to Mecca, but insisted on them remaining for three days at Badr, in the hope of wiping out the Muslims. The holy verses said about him years earlier in Mecca:
We shall mark him on the trunk. (68:16)
Who could injure or chastise the great Abu Jahl ibn Hisham on the nose? For the word trunk is used in Arabic as a pejorative epithet for the nose of the arrogant, narrow-minded. After the battle of Badr, Abu Jahl was found dead, killed by a blow on the nose.
After the battle, the Muslims spent the night at Badr. They dug a large pit for the dead of Quraysh and buried them in it. In the dead of night, people heard Mohamed calling out to those in the mass grave,
"People of the grave, Utba ibn Rabia, Umayya ibn Rabia, Utba ibn Khalaf (he kept calling them one by one by their names) have you discovered what your Lord promised to be the truth? For I have found what my Lord promised me the truth."
The Muslims said to him,
"But Messenger of Allah, these are corpses. Do you speak to the dead?"
"They hear me as you do, but they cannot answer," he said.
People began to dispute as to how the booty should be distributed. Those who had collected it said it was theirs. Those who had pursued Quraysh said they had more right to it, and those who had stood guard over the Prophet in case Quraysh counter-attacked said they had more right to it. Mohamed asked them all to give up the booty they had gathered. Then he put it in a heap and divided it fairly among them, after putting aside one fifth for the needy, the poor, and the orphans. Those who had been left in charge of affairs in Medina were also given a share, as well as the families of those who had been killed in battle. Those who had been given permission to stay behind for a reason the Prophet had accepted were also given a share. No one who had a right to have a share was left out, for Islam is a religion of brotherhood and sharing whatever comes of good or evil.
The Muslims had never had captives before and did not know what to do with them. Two men who used to torture the Muslims cruelly and had been an incessant source of evil to them when they were in Mecca were put to death before the army returned to Medina. The rest of the captives were taken back to Medina with them. Mohamed commanded his men to be kind to the prisoners until they could decide what to do with them.