22.3 Return to Badr
For a while Media could breathe in quiet. The Emigrants were happy to have land of their own again while the Supporters were relieved of the burden of helping their Emigrant brethren. They studied the Koran, they spent the nights in prayer when they chose, and many could recite the Koran by heart for they had grown to understand and cherish it. However the months passed quickly by and it was time to meet the challenge of Abu Sufyan for he had said, ďA day for a day, and our appointment is next year at Badr."
He meant that the Battle of Uhud made Quraysh even with the Muslims for the Battle of Badr, but it still had to be decided who would have the upper hand.
It was a year of scarcity in Mecca and Abu Sufyan hoped to postpone the appointment till the year after, so he sent word to Media to say that he was coming with a great army to annihilate the Muslims completely. Some people panicked at this and hoped they would not have to fight, but Mohamed was angry and said that he was going to Badr even if he had to go all alone. After this remark the Muslims who loved him dearly prepared to go out to war. They went to Badr and waited for the enemy.
Abu Sufyan marched with his army out of Mecca, then after two days' march he thought better of the matter and said to Quraysh,
"Quraysh, this is a year of scarcity, and only a year of plenty is suitable for war. So turn back, I am returning to Mecca."
For eight days Mohamed waited at Badr. During that time the Muslims were able to trade and make profit, for Badr was a market-place as well as a watering place. They then returned to Media with shining honor and in good spirits.
On this occasion the Koran says:
Those whom people told,
Hosts have gathered against you, so fear them.
This increased their faith and they said,
Allah suffices for us. He is the best Guardian.
So they returned with the blessing of Allah and His bounty.
No harm touched them, and they pursued the approval of Allah,
and Allah is of very great bounty. (3:173 -174)
Now all the Arabs could see that it was Quraysh who feared an encounter and not the Messenger. The Muslims had become a power. Instead of trying to come to terms with them, many of these idolatrous tribes made preparations to come and fight them. They had their reasons: economically their welfare was tied up with that of Quraysh, politically they resented the power of the Muslims over vast tracts of Arab land, socially they feared for the idols around which all their social and religious life revolved. If Mohamed was allowed to eradicate idol worship from the Arabian Peninsula, it meant that their customs and social life would be disrupted.
Whenever Mohamed heard of such gatherings he used to send out an army headed by one of his Companions or lead an army himself to meet them before they could march upon Media. No sooner did these tribes hear of his approach than they fled to the mountains, for they were not moved by faith or a righteous cause, only the desire to dominate and plunder. They knew that the Muslims did not retreat, but fought until they attained either the honor of dying for Allah's sake or victory. These tribes were not ready to die for the sake of plunder and they knew that victory could not be attained except at an exorbitant price, so they plotted, they gathered, but whenever they heard Mohamed was approaching, they fled. To be safe from these tribes the Muslims had to travel far and wide in the Arabian Peninsula right up to the borders of Syria. They suffered much from heat, hunger, and thirst. They waged battles with numbers four or five times their own, but they marched on with hearts full of faith and joy to be soldiers of Allah.