The Battle of Badr: how a small force defeats a larger one if armed with faith and trust in God
The following is an edited Friday sermon by His Eminence, the late Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra).
Today we are going to talk about two great Islamic occasions.
The First is the anniversary of the battle of Badr, the first between the Muslims and the pagans.
The Muslims who were in Medina, having left Mecca after suffering from all kinds of torture and persecution, were eager to fight the pagans. And this was the battle, which they were able to win despite that they were few in number and very ill equipped.
Allah bestowed the blessings of victory on the Muslims, by the panic He filled the hearts of the pagans with, and by the Angels that were sent to help the Muslims.
The Quran has dedicated many verses to talk about this battle focusing on the points of weakness the Muslims exhibited.
For He, the Most Exalted, wants us to know that is not unnatural to feel weak while confronting a major threat, but the nation ought to change its weak points to strong ones.
The second occasion is the birth of Imam Hassan bin Ali Bin AbiTalib(a.s.) the firstborn to Ali and Fatima(a.s.).
The battle started when the pagans deployed their troops after the Muslims attacked a Qarashi trade convoy that was on route from Syria to Mecca, to show that the Muslims were controlling the strategic road of Quraish’s trade, and that they have become a force to reckon with.
The convoy was able to flee into another road. Yet the pagans decided to attack Medina. And marched until they reached a place called Badr.
Meanwhile, the messenger was trying to encourage the Muslims to fight. But fighting Quraish was no simple matter, so some of the Muslims were afraid and told him that this is a very strong army. But others from the Ansar (Muslims of Madina) said: We will not tell you as Musa’s people told him: you go and fight along with your Lord, we are waiting for you. We say: you go with your Lord to fight and we will go with you …
Thus the Messenger went to fight with but a few men who were neither well equipped now well armed.
The best and most truthful way to tell you what happened is to recite the Quranic account: “Just as your Lord ordered you out of your house in truth”. For God wanted you to gain strength and to start to struggle “even though a party among the believers disliked it” being afraid of Quraish, the economic and military superpower, of that age.
Disputing with you concerning the truth after it was made manifest, if they should fight or not –behold, Allah promised you one of the two parties, that it should be yours-either the war or the booty, the Quraishi caravan coming from Syria with all the resources of Quraish, and that is what you have chosen: To get the booty without having to fight” but Allah willed to establish the truth according to His words”. Here you have chosen a way other than Allah’s, thinking about your safety and greedy interests while Allah wants the Muslims to fight the pagans and become the dominant force, that will create a favorable atmosphere for the people to embrace Islam: that He might establish Truth and prove falsehood false, distasteful though it be to those in guilt”.
“When you sought help from your God and he answered you: I will help you with a thousand of the angels; rank on rank. Allah appointed it only as good tidings” since they did not fight with you but to help you boast your moral and feel ease at heart, and that your hearts might be at rest. Victory only by the help of Allah who provided all its causes, lo Allah is mighty-wise.
He made you psychologically stable to the extent that you were able to sleep and get rid of all the worries and anguish you had had .Remember He covered you with drowsiness, to give you calm as from himself, and he caused rain to descend on you from Heaven, to clean you therewith, to remove from you the stain of Satan, to strengthen your hearts, and to plant your feel firmly therewith.
Remember your Lord inspired the angels (with the message): “I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers Smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.”
This because they contented against Allah and His Messenger: If any contend against Allah and His Messenger. Allah is strict in punishment. Thus (will it be said): “Taste ye then of the (Punishment):”For those who reject is the chastisement of the fire”.
This is the lesson that the Muslims should learn, to have faith in God and in themselves, and be always sure that Allah will let victory be on the side of the believes. “Allah had already given you victory at Badr when you were helpless,” “How oft by Allah’s will has a small force vanquished a big one”.
This is what we have noticed and witnessed in Badr, as well as in the victory of the Mujahideen in Lebanon, although they were a small force compared with the Zionist occupiers, but they were able to make a new Badr
This is the lesson of Badr: Muslims should have confidence in Allah and in Islam, and that they should fight for the cause of Allah and the right without taking their own interests into account.
As we face several Arrogant forces in our age, we should keep the lessons of Badr in mind “Allah will certainly aid those who did His(cause); for verily Allah is full of Strength, exalted in Might, (able) to able to enforce His Will”.
The second occasion is the birth of Imam Al-Hassan on the 15th of Ramadan. He is one of the two grandsons of the Prophet whom the Messenger (p.) told God that he loved them and asked Him to love those who love them.
They were also described by the Prophet (p.) as the masters of the Heaven’s youth. The Messenger used to play and chat with them teaching us through them how we should deal with children with love and kindness acting, as if we were of their age. Try to talk to your child in his language without imposing your age or thought. Talk to him at the level he understands and then gradually lift him up to your level.
The Imam (a.s.) was raised first by his grandfather and then with his mother Fatima and his father Imam Ali- But he lost both his grandfather and mother very early in his life. He then lived his father’s experience whether before or after the latter became a caliph learning how they put mines in his road. Imam Ali used to send his son to solve the difficult problems, and he also used to refer those who have jurisprudent questions to his son. This shows how much he was qualified to be a leader after his father.
But when Imam Ali died Muawiyah conspired and used all means including money to topple the rule of Al-Hassan, who had to stop the war, not because he believed in the legitimacy of Mauiyah’s rule, but because he wanted to spare the Muslims more blood shedding and because he knew that continuing the battle will lead to the killing of the Muslim vanguard opposition. Thus the Imam made a truce without having to recognize the Umayyad rule.
He then went back to Al-Madina, and lived there as a great and respectable personality. Then, when he was dying of poison, he learned that they might not agree to bury him near his grandfather, He asked his brother not to enter in a war over the issue because he wanted to spare the Muslims any blood shedding , after his death, just as he did in his life.
In this occasion we would like to learn some of his teachings and be guided by them.
First of all the Imam was a firm believer in the necessity of consult, believing that every man should consult those who have experience and Knowledge before making up his mind.
He also called to learn all about someone before befriending him, because friends are bound to know your secrets and interfere in your life.
In one of his speeches, the Imam says what could be considered as an outline for being a good and pious Muslim. He says: “The Good that is not mixed with any evil is to be thankful when something good is bestowed on you” For every good is from Allah. “And to be patient and tolerant in times of hardship” so as to be able to plan to change. He also adds “Disgrace is easier than hellfire”, meaning those who kill their wives or daughters without going back to the proper authorities.
Those will be in hell whose torture is far more disgraceful than the feeling of disgrace you feel in this life.
The Imam concludes by saying: If you want to be a worshipper keep away from what Allah has forbidden because it means that you will have to fight your instincts to earn Allah’s satisfaction.
He then adds: “Be content with what Allah has given you, you become rich, and he good to your neighbor you become a Muslim”.
Such equating between becoming a Muslim and being good to your neighbor shows how much Islam wants the Muslims to hold their social responsibilities.
The Imam goes on to say “Treat people in the way you like them to treat you, you become just… You begin to die from the moment you are born”. Therefore take with you what might help you in the hereafter, just as a traveler takes with him all he needs in his journey. This is the lesson the Imam as well as all the other Imams wanted us to learn: to be pious and to think about the hereafter and what each of us has done to meet his God with on the Day of Judgment.
Ramadan 15, 1422h November 30, 2001