PRE-BADR MISSIONS AND INVASIONS:
With a view to implementing these plans, the Muslims commenced real military activities,
which at first took the form of reconnaissance patrols delegated to explore the geopolitical features of the roads surrounding
Madinah and others leading to Makkah, and building alliances with the tribes nearby. The Prophet wanted to impress upon the
polytheists and Jews of Madinah as well as the bedouins in its vicinity, that the Muslims had smashed their old fears, and
had been too strong to be attacked with impunity. He also wanted to display the power of his followers in order to deter Quraish
from committing any military folly against him which might jeopardize their economic life and means of living, and to stop
them from persecuting the helpless Muslims detained in Makkah, consequently he would avail himself of this opportunity and
resume his job of propagating the Divine Call freely.
The following is a resume of these missions and errands:
On that occasion, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) accredited the first flag in the
history of Muslims. It was white in colour and was entrusted to Kinaz bin Husain Al-Ghanawi, to carry.
- Saif Al-Bahr Platoon sent in Ramadan 1 A.H., i.e. 623 A.D. led by Hamzah bin Abdul
Muttalib and comprising 30 Emigrants with a definite task of intercepting a caravan belonging to Quraish. It was a caravan
of 300 people including Abu Jahl bin Hisham. The two parties encountered each other and aligned in preparation for fighting.
Majdi bin Amr, on good terms with both sides, happened to be there and managed to prevent an imminent clash.
It is interesting to note that two Muslims, Al-Miqdad bin Amr Al-Bahrani and Utbah
bin Ghazwan Al-Mazini, defected from the caravan of Quraish and joined the ranks of Ubaidah. The Muslims had a white flag
carried by Mistah bin Athatha bin Al-Muttalib bin Abd Munaf.
- In Shawwal, 1 A.H., i.e. April 623 A.D. The Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him)
despatched Ubaidah bin Al-Harith bin Al-Muttalib at the head of 60 horsemen of Emigrants to a spot called Batn Rabegh where
they encountered Abu Sufyan at the head of a caravan of 200 men. There was arrow shooting but no actual fighting.
In the process of this campaign, he contracted a non-aggressiopact with Amr bin
Makhshi Ad-Damari. The provisions of the pact go as follows:
This is a document from Muhammad, the Messenger of Allâh concerning Bani Damrah
in which he established them safe and secure in their wealth and lives. They can expect support from the Muslims unless they
oppose the religion of Allâh. They are also expected to respond positively in case the Prophet sought their help.
- In Dhul Qadah 1 A.H., i.e. May 623 A.D. the Prophet (Peace be upon him) despatched
Sad bin Abi Waqqas at the head of 20 horsemen, and instructed them not to go beyond Al-Kharrar. After a five-day march they
reached the spot to discover that the camels of Quraish had left the day before; their flag, as usual, was white and carried
by Al-Miqdad bin Amr.
- Ghazwa Al-Abwa or Waddan. It was in Safar 2 A.H., i.e. 623 A.D. The Messenger of
Allâh (Peace be upon him) set out himself at the head of 70 men, mostly Emigrants, to intercept a camel caravan belonging
to Quraish, leaving behind Sad bin Ubadah to dispose the affairs in Madinah. When he reached Waddan, a place between Makkah
and Madinah, he found none.
This was the first invasion under the leadership of the Messenger of Allâh. It took
fifteen days, with a white flag carried by Hamzah bin Abdul Muttalib.
They ask you concerning fighting in the sacred months (i.e. 1st, 7th, 11th and 12th
months of the Islamic calendar). Say, Fighting therein is a great (transgression) but a greater (transgression) with Allâh
is to prevent mankind from following the way of Allâh, to disbelieve in Him, to prevent access to Al-Masjid-Al-Harâm
(at Makkah), and to drive out its inhabitants, and Al-Fitnah is worse than killing. [2:217]
- Buwat Invasion. It took place in Rabi Al-Awwal 2 A.H., i.e. 623 A.D. The Prophet
(Peace be upon him), at the head of 200 companions, marched for Buwat to intercept a caravan belonging to Quraish comprising
100 Quraishites, Omaiya bin Khalaf among them, and 2500 camels. When he reached Buwat, the caravan had left. Before leaving
Madinah, he mandated Sad bin Muadh to dispose the affairs until his return.
- Safwan Invasion. In Rabi Al-Awwal 2 A.H., i.e. 623 A.D. Karz bin Jabir at the head
of a small group of polytheists raided the pastures of Madinah and looted some animals. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) at
the head of 70 men left Madinah to fight the aggressors. He went in their pursuit till he reached a place called Safwan near
Badr but could not catch up with them. This invasion came to be known as the preliminary Badr Invasion. During his absence,
the Prophet (Peace be upon him) entrusted Zaid bin Harithah with the disposition of the affairs in Madinah. The standard was
white in colour and entrusted to Ali bin Abi Talib to carry.
- Dhil Ushairah Invasion. It was in Jumada-al-Ula and Jumada-al-Akhirah the first
or second 2 A.H., i.e. November-December 623 A.D. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) at the head of 150-200 Muslim volunteers,
with 30 camels which they rode turn by turn, set out to intercept a Quraishite caravan. He reached Dhil Ushairah but the camels
had left some days before. These camels were the same that he went out to intercept on their return from Syria, and were the
direct reason for the break out of the battle of Badr. In the process of this campaign, the Prophet Õáì Çááå Úáíå æÓáã contracted
a non-aggression pact with Bani Madlij and their allies Bani Dhumrah. Abu Salama bin Abd Al-Asad Al-Makhzumi was mandated
to rule Madinah in his absence.
- The Platoon of Nakhlah. It took place in Rajab 2 A.H., i.e. January 624 A.H. The
Messenger of Allâh (Peace be upon him) despatched Abdullah bin Jahsh Asadi to Nakhlah at the head of 12 Emigrants with six
camels. Abdullah was given a letter by the Prophet (Peace be upon him) but was instructed to read it only after two days.
He followed the instructions and discovered that he was asked to go on to a place called Nakhlah standing between Makkah and
At-Taif, intercept a caravan for Quraish and collect news about their intentions. He disclosed the contents of the letters
to his fellows who blindly obeyed the orders. At Nakhlah, the caravan passed carrying loads of raisins (dried grapes), food
stuff and other commodities. Notable polytheists were also there such as Amr bin Al-Hadrami, Uthman and Naufal, sons of Abdullah
bin Al-Mugheerah and others... The Muslims held consultations among themselves with respect to fighting them taking into account
Rajab which was a sacred month (during which, along with Dhul Hijja, Dhul Qada and Muharram, war activities were suspended
as was the custom in Arabia then). At last they agreed to engage with them in fighting. Amr bin Al-Hadrami was shot dead by
an arrow, Uthman and Al-Hakam were captured whereas Naufal escaped. They came back with the booty and the two prisoners. They
set aside one-fifth of the booty assigned to Allâh and His Messenger, and took the rest. The Messenger disapproved of that
act and suspended any action as regards the camels and the two captives on account of the prohibited months already mentioned.
The polytheists, on their part, exploited this golden opportunity to calumniate the Muslims and accuse them of violating what
is Divinely inviolable. This idle talk brought about a painful headache to Muhammads Companions, until at last they were relieved
when the Revelation came down giving a decisive answer and stating quite explicitly that the behaviour of the polytheists
in the whole process was much more heinous and far more serious than the act of the Muslims:
The Words of Allâh were quite clear and said that the tumult created by the polytheists
was groundless. The sacred inviolable sanctities had been repeatedly violated in the long process of fighting Islam and persecuting
its adherents. The wealth of the Muslims as well as their homes had already been violated and their Prophet (Peace be upon
him) had been the target of repeated attempts on his life. In short, that sort of propaganda could deservedly be described
as impudence and prostitution. This has been a resume of pre-Badr platoons and invasions. None of them witnessed any sort
of looting property or killing people except when the polytheists had committed such crimes under the leadership of Karz bin
Jabir Al-Fahri. It was, in fact, the polytheists who had initiated such acts. No wonder, for such ill-behaviour is immanent
in their natural disposition.
Shortly afterwards, the two captives were released and blood money was given to the
killed mans father.
After this event, Quraish began to realize the real danger that Madinah could present
with. They came to know that Madinah had always been on the alert, watching closely their commercial caravans. It was then
common knowledge to them that the Muslims in their new abode could span and extend their military activities over an area
of 300 miles. and bring it under full control. However, the new situation borne in mind, the Makkans could not be deterred
and were too obstinate to come to terms with the new rising power of Islam. They were determined to bring their fall by their
own hands and with this recklessness they precipitated the great battle of Badr.
The Muslims, on the other hand, and at the behest of their Lord, were ordered to
go to war in Shaban 2 A.H:
And fight, in the way of Allâh those who fight you; but transgress not the limits.
Truly, Allâh likes not the transgressors. And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned
you out. And Al-Fitnah (polytheism or calamity) is worse than killing. And fight not with them at Al-Masjid-Al-Harâm
(the Sanctuary at Makkah), unless they (first) fight you there. But if they attack you, then kill them. Such is the recompense
of the disbelievers. But if they cease, then Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them until there is no more
Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allâh) and (all and every kind of ) worship is for Allâh (Alone).
But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimûn (polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.) [2:190-193]
Before long, Allâh again sent the Muslims a different sort of verses whereby teaching
them ways of fighting, urging them to go to war and demonstrating relevant rules:
So, when you meet (in fight - Jihâd in Allâhs cause), those who disbelieve
smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e. take them
as captives). Thereafter (is the time) either for generosity (i.e. free them without ransom), or ransom (according to what
benefits Islam), until the war lays down its burden. Thus [you are ordered by Allâh to continue in carrying out Jihâd
against the disbelievers till they embrace Islam (i.e. are saved from the punishment in the Hell-fire) or at least come under
your protection], but if it had been Allâhs Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets
you fight), in order to test you, some with others. But those who are killed in the way of Allâh, He will never let their
deeds be lost. He will guide them and set right their state. And admit them to Paradise which He has made known to them (i.e.
they will know their places in Paradise more than they used to know their houses in the world). O you who believe! If you
help (in the cause of) Allâh, He will help you, and make your foothold firm. [47:4-7]
Shortly afterwards, Allâh began to dispraise the hypocrites, the weak at heart and
But when a decisive Sûrah (explaining and ordering things) is sent down,
and fighting (Jihâd the holy fighting) is mentioned (i.e. ordained) therein, you will see those in whose hearts is
a disease (of hypocrisy) looking at you with a look of one fainting to death. [47:20]
The prevalent exigencies required as a top priority exhorting the Muslims to fight.
Any leader with a deep insight would order his soldiers to get ready for any sort of emergency, let alone the All-Knowing
Exalted Lord, Who is at all times omniscient of the minutest details of affairs. The event of that skirmish with the polytheists
dealt a heavy blow to the pride of Quraish and created a sort of horrible restlessness amongst them.
The aforementioned Qurânic verses, enjoining the Muslims to strive in the cause of
Allâh, betrayed the proximity of blood clashes that would be crowned by a decisive victory for the Muslims, and final expulsion
of polytheists out of the Sacred City, Makkah. They referred to rules pertinent to the treatment of captives and slaughtering
the pagan soldiers till the war ended and laid down its burdens. All of these could act as clues to a final triumph that would
envelop the strife of the Muslims towards their noble objectives.
Another event of great significance featured the same month Shaban 2 A.H., i.e. February
624 A.D., which was a Divine injunction ordering that Al-Qiblah be changed from Jerusalem to the Sacred Mosque in Makkah.
That was of a great advantage to the Muslims at two levels. First, it brought about a kind of social sifting, so to speak,
in terms of the hypocrites of the Jews and others weak at heart, and revealed their true nature and inclinations; the ranks
of the Muslims were thereby purged from those discord-prone elements. Second, facing a new Qiblah, the Sacred Mosque
in Makkah, refers gently to a new role awaiting the Muslims to take up, and would start only after the repatriation of the
Muslims to their Sacred City, Makkah for it is not logical for the Muslims to leave their Qiblah at the mercy of non-Muslims.
The Muslims, therefore, at the behest of Allâh and on account of those Divine clues,
augmented their activities and their tendency towards striving in the cause of Allâh and encountering His enemies in a decisive
battle were greatly intensified.