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Lessons from Badr

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Regardless of whether a movement is at a communal, social, or national level, it eventually comes to a crossroad at which either it will move forward to see the changes it seeks, or come to an abrupt end. Islam began as a grassroots movement that saw the persecution and death of its followers. The pagan system was looking for any chance to destroy Islam, which was a severe threat to their establishment. The Meccans deeply regretted the fact that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny) was able to escape Mecca to Medina without being silenced, and now they were looking for any opportunity to destroy Islam.

At the wells of Badr on the 17th of Ramadan, 2 AH, the Meccans tried to charge the Muslims and break their ranks. The Meccans tried multiple times but to no avail, as Hamza and Imam Ali (peace be upon them) kept the Muslim ranks firm. After multiple retreats by the Meccans and the death of Abu Jahl, the Meccans were unable to re-group, and the Battle of Badr had become a rout. The Muslims who were outmanned 3 to 1 and had an unbelievable disadvantage in the armor and weaponry category still managed to pull off a miraculous victory. There are four lessons we have to take from the Muslim victory in the Battle of Badr.

Firstly, the Muslims were completely outnumbered in every category, but had Allah on their side. This clearly shows that when a group of sincere believers struggle in the way of Allah with pure intentions, regardless of how bleak a situation may look, Allah will always make the believers victorious. Within the past thirty years in the Middle East, certain movements went against all odds and became successful because they put their trust in Allah. This is a lesson for us today when we are trying to make a difference in our communities: change may seem impossible, but with the correct vision in the way of Allah and with a desire to attain Allah's nearness, anything can be accomplished.

Number two, it is very obvious that the West is trying to assassinate the character of the Holy Prophet by accusing him of being "bloodthirsty" and a man who spread Islam by the sword.  Ironically enough, the actions of the Muslims and the Holy Prophet proceeding up to the Battle of Badr and after prove these accusations wrong. The Holy Prophet fought his first battle thirteen years after he first proclaimed Islam. Within those thirteen years, the Muslims were tortured, socially and economically boycotted, and publicly humiliated. Yet after all of this, the Muslims never retaliated back.  Even after the Battle of Badr, there were dozens of Meccan prisoners captured. If the Holy Prophet was truly a bloodthirsty and vengeful man of war, he would have had all the prisoners of war killed or severely punished. But instead, the prisoners were allowed to go free if they could teach ten Muslim children to read. Are these the actions of a man of terror or the actions of a man who was sent as a "Mercy to Creation"?

Thirdly, the Muslims only had 313 warriors defending Islam, compared to the 1000 pagans. Today, the number 313 is widely discussed as we fervently anticipate the near advent of the Twelfth Imam (may Allah hasten his reappearance). The number 313 represents the number of core believers that the Holy Imam will have on his side to bring about the global justice that is promised. There is a concept behind the number 313 that needs to be grasped. The Holy Imam only needs a core group of 313 believers in order to reappear. There are over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, and this has not yet happened. We must ask ourselves: are we preparing for the Reappearance? Are we willing to sacrifice for the cause of Imam Mahdi? Are we willing to obey all commands from Imam Mahdi without any hesitation?

Lastly, it is of the utmost importance to study Islamic history, which is something Muslims tend to neglect. By studying Islamic history, we as Shias can bring an academic approach to our brothers in faith about who the true leaders after the Holy Prophet really were and which ones consistently disobeyed the commands of the Holy Prophet after his death. After all, certain alleged leaders after the Holy Prophet exposed themselves via their own actions, and these actions are mentioned in books on both sides. And in addition to the valuable lessons we will learn, we must always keep in mind that those who neglect history are doomed to repeat it.

Author of this article: Islamic Insights
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