Badr, Battle of

Badr, Battle of

▪ Islamic history
      (624), first military victory of the Islāmic Prophet Muḥammad (Muhammad). It seriously damaged Meccan prestige, while strengthening the political position of Muslims in Medina and establishing Islām as a viable force in the Arabian Peninsula.

      Since their emigration from Mecca (622), the Muslims in Medina had depended for economic survival on constant raids on Meccan caravans. When word of a particularly wealthy caravan escorted by Abū Sufyān, head of the Umayyad clan, reached Muḥammad, a raiding party of about 300 Muslims, to be led by Muḥammad himself, was organized. By filling the wells on the caravan route near Medina with sand, the Muslims lured Abū Sufyān's army to battle at Badr, near Medina, in March 624. Despite the superior numbers of the Meccan forces (about 1,000 men), the Muslims scored a complete victory, and many prominent Meccans were killed. The success at Badr was recorded in the Qurʾān as a divine sanction of the new religion: “It was not you who slew them, it was God . . . in order that He might test the Believers by a gracious trial from Himself” (8:17). Those Muslims who fought at Badr became known as the badrīyūn and make up one group of the Companions of the Prophet.

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