The battle of Badr was the most important among the Islamic battles of Destiny. For the first time the followers of the new faith were put into a serious test. Had victory been the lot of the pagan army while the Islamic Forces were still at the beginning of their developments, the faith of Islam could have come to an end.
No one was aware of the importance of the outcome of the Battle as the Prophet (S) himself. We might read the depth of his anxiety in his prayer before the beginning of the Battle when he stood up supplicating his Lord :
God this is Quraish. It has come with all its arrogance and boastfulness, trying to discredit Thy Apostle. God, I ask Thee to humiliate them tomorrow. God, if this Muslim band will perish today, Thou shall not be worshipped.1
At this battle in which the pagan army consisted of 950 fighters and 314 (including the Messenger S), the Islamic defense was a combination of three defensive lines :
1. The personality of the Messenger, his leadership and his unequalled firmness. He (S) was to the Muslims the final refuge at Badr and at every battle he attended.
2. The Hashmites (the clan of the Prophet S), led by Ali Ibn Abu Talib (as)who entered this battle relatively obscure and came out with unequalled military fame. His military performances became the popular subject of the Arab caravans conversations throughout the Arabic Peninsula.
3. The hundreds of companions of the Messenger whose hearts were filled with the faith and readiness for sacrifice. Many of them viewed martyrdom to be a gain, equal to life and victory. These good companions were the army of Islam, its first line of defense and thick wall behind which the Messenger (S) used to stand. They were the attackers and the defenders.
As to the clan of the Messenger they were the ones that he used to call before any one else, to offer the heavy sacrifice. They used to stand in the first line of defense opening for the army the way through their thrusts in the line of the enemies. When the general offensives began and every companion participated, the clan of the Messenger (S) were the most damaging to the enemies. They were so at Badr and at the following battles.
The battle began when Utbah Ibn Rabi-ah, his son Al Walid and his brother Sheibah (all from the Ommayad) stood in front of the pagan army and asked the Prophet (S) to send to them their equals for a dual. Hundreds of companions were around him and many of them were expecting to be called upon by the Prophet (S) but he choose to start from his own family.
The load was heavy and the heavy load could be carried only by the people to whom it belonged as he called upon Ali, Al Hamza and Obeidah Al Harith (all from the clan of the Prophet) to face the three warriors. Ali destroyed Al Walid and Al Hamza killed Utbah; then they both assisted Obeidah against his opponent Sheibah. Sheibah died immediately and Obeidah was the first martyr at this battle. He died after he lost his leg.
When the general offensive began, hundreds of companions participated in the battle and offered sacrifices and pleased their Lord. But the members of the house of the Messenger (S) distinguished themselves. Ali's endeavour was unique at this battle. When Hanthala Ibn Abu Sufyan faced him, Ali liquefied his eyes with one blow from his sword. He annihilated Al Auss Ibn Saeed, and met Tuaima Ibn Oday and transfixed him with his spear, saying “You shall not dispute with us in God after today.”
The Messenger (S) took a handful of gravel when the battle was extremely heated. He threw it at the faces of the pagans saying “ May Your faces be disfigured. God, terrify their hearts and invalidated their feet. “ The pagans ran away, turning their faces to no one.
The Muslims went on killing them and taking prisoners. 70 pagans met their death, and the Muslims took from them 70 prisoners. History preserved in its records only fifth of the names out of the 70 pagan loses. Twenty2 or twenty two3 of them died at Ali's hand.
This battle laid the foundation of the Islamic State and made out of the Muslims a force to be reckoned with by the dwellers of the Arabic Peninsula.