Happy Battle of Badr Day!

Today is the 17th day of Ramadan and on this day in 624 A.D. (2 AH – Hijri/Islamic calendar) a critical battle in the history of early Islam was fought – the Battle of Badr. At this battle, the Prophet Muhammad defeated the powerful Quraysh tribe that controlled Mecca.

I thumbed through my old copy of Pickthall’s translation of the Quran and copied below one of its references to the Battle of Badr. The Quranic excerpts indicate that it was divine intervention that aided in the unexpected victory of Prophet Muhammad’s forces. From surah Al-Imran (2:123-126):

  • “Allah had already given you the victory at Badr, when ye were contemptible. So observe your duty to Allah in order that ye may be thankful.” (2:123)
  • “When thou didst say unto the believers: Is it not sufficient for you that your Lord should support you with three thousand angels sent down (to your help)?” (2:124)
  • Nay, but if ye persevere, and keep from evil, and (the enemy) attack you suddenly, your Lord will help you with five thousand angels sweeping on.” (2:125)
  • “Allah ordained this only as a message of good cheer for you, and that thereby your hearts might be at rest – Victory cometh only from Allah, the Mighty, the Wise.” (2:126)

In their recent Ramadan issues, multiple Urdu-language jihadi publications referenced this historic battle. For example, in its August 2011 issue Nawa-i-Jihad Afghanistan contained at least four articles about the Battle of Badr. Lots of fodder here for future posts, but in the interim here are some of their topics:

  • A prologue titled “The Prophet’s Prayers for Success at the Battle of Badr” (pictured below)
  • “Identifying Believers and Unbelievers at the Battlefield of Badr”
  • “The Aim of the Muslims in the Battle of Badr – The Caravan of Quraysh Traders”
  • “How Can You Forget the Battle of Badr?”

Another example is from Jaish-e-Muhammad’s (JeM) weekly Urdu-language magazine, al-Qalam, which contained an article referencing the historic battle. In the article (referenced in the previous blog post), the author encourages his readers to increase certain habits, including jihad and cites the Battle of Badr as an illustrative example.

In both publications the references to the Battle of Badr are likely an effort to draw a comparison between the Prophet Muhammad’s unlikely victory over the Meccans and current global jihadist efforts to defend Islam against the so-called “Crusader-Zionist alliance” in order to generate support for their cause. Simply put, these publications use this historical imagery to convey to their target audiences that as Allah helped defeat the powerful Meccans in Islam’s early period, he will also help defeat those they consider currently as enemies of Islam.

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