Jumuah lecture on Friday 30 April 2021 (17 Ramadaan 1442)
Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider
Ahlul Bait (a.s) Masjid, Ottery, Cape Town
17th Ramadaan reminds us of the first battle in the history of Islam. This was the first open, full-scale conflict between Islam and its enemies, referred to as the Battle of Badr. This battle took place on this day in the year 2AH, or according to some reports, on 19th Ramadaan.
There are immense lessons to be learned from this battle, which as I noted was the first bloody conflict between Islam and its enemies.
One can imagine the significance of this battle, when the Holy Quran has hardly provided details of various other battles in the early history of Islam. However, the Holy Quran provides great detail on the Battle of Badr and Battle of Uhud, because these battles carry very important messages for the future of this Ummah (Muslim nation).
The striking points in this Battle of Badr are so crucial, such that the progress and success of the movement of Islam depends very much on these crucial points.
BATTLE OF BADR IN THE HOLY QURAN
Surah aal-Imraan (chapter 3 of the Holy Quran), Surah Nisaa’ (chapter 4 of the Holy Quran) and Surah Anfaal (chapter 8 of the Holy Quran) describe the Battle of Badr. More particularly, there are numerous verses of Surah Anfaal which address this great battle and also draws our attention to those great lessons to be derived from it.
The Battle of Badr was purely a conflict between Imaan (faith) and Kufr (disbelief) ie. the battle of the faithful against the unfaithful. It is a battle of a very committed, sincere group of people against a group who were ready to kill and destroy this Islamic movement in its very early stages when its roots were being established.
There are so many angles to explore in this great battle, such as leadership, commitment to leadership, trust in leadership, courage, taking positions, consultation, respect for the opinion of others, human rights, avoiding unnecessary bloodshed, and the list goes on…
FIRST LESSON FROM BATTLE OF BADR: DUA AS A TOOL FOR SALVATION
Since we are in the sacred month of Ramadaan, I thought let me delve deeper into the lesson of dua and submission, which we derive from this great victory of Islam in the Battle of Badr, due to its rich relevance. The Holy Quran addresses this in great detail, for which I would like to quote an example, namely verse 9 and 10 of Surah Anfaal (chapter 8 of the Holy Quran):
إِذْ تَسْتَغِيثُونَ رَبَّكُمْ فَاسْتَجَابَ لَكُمْ أَنِّي مُمِدُّكُمْ بِأَلْفٍ مِنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ مُرْدِفِينَ
“When you sought aid from your Lord, so He answered you: I will assist you with a thousand of the angels following one another.”
وَمَا جَعَلَهُ اللَّهُ إِلَّا بُشْرَىٰ وَلِتَطْمَئِنَّ بِهِ قُلُوبُكُمْ ۚ وَمَا النَّصْرُ إِلَّا مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
“And Allah only gave it as good news and that your hearts might be at ease thereby; and victory is only from Allah; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise.”
Here, Almighty Allah (SWT) is reminding about the Battle of Badr, when the Muslims deeply begged and appealed, and completely submitted themselves to seeking rescue from Him alone. Verse 9 then explains that Almighty Allah (SWT) responded with confirmation that He will provide aid with a thousand angels in a line.
Verse 10 explains that Almighty Allah (SWT) confirmed the support of the thousand angels as good news to reassure them so that their hearts can be at peace, rather than be stressed.
SECOND LESSON FROM BATTLE OF BADR: COMPLETE SUBMISSION TO YOUR LORD (SWT)
This is the point I wish to delve deeper into. The Battle of Badr taught us that, in the most challenging situations, a believer does all his/her preparations, but more than anything else, has full trust in the Creator (SWT). He/she communicates with Allah (SWT), seeking His help as a shelter of rescue. This is what we see flourishing in the Battle of Badr, and is such a crucial lesson.
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) practically demonstrated to the people that nobody can be defeated if you have that strong connection with Almighty Allah (SWT). This means that the role of spirituality, your close connection with Allah (SWT), the role of supplication (dua) in the victories of even our worldly challenges is absolutely crucial.
The events of this great Battle of Badr have been well documented in the historical records of Islam. Indeed, it was a very unique battle. The number of Muslims amounted to 313 at the most, while the enemy’s camp had three times more ie. 950 or some even say 1000.
THE CAMP OF RASULULLAH (SAWA) ARE PREPARING FOR THE BATTLE OF BADR
Furthermore, since this was the first battle in Islam, there are serious psychological hurdles to overcome, as with everything embarked upon for the first time. The Battle of Badr was initiated against the backdrop of the assets belonging to the Muslims were usurped and repossessed by the disbelievers of Mecca. This is where the Muslims, led by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) took a firm stand in retaliation.
However, the Muslims were very small in number (313) and similarly not well equipped militarily, but their trust in Almighty Allah (SWT) was truly remarkable. This is where we see the great role of dua (supplication) flourishing.
When Rasulullah (SAWA) and his supporters reached Badr and it became evident the battle will ensue, he prepared his supporters to be ready for a bloody conflict. Naturally, there were those in his camp who were shaky and were suggesting for some sort of compromise to avoid a battle.
This is when Miqdad ibn al-Aswad stands up to make a firm commitment, saying to Rasulullah (SAWA) that they (his followers) are not like the followers of Nabi Moosa (a.s) who left him in the lurch.
Now, those who were doubtful or shaky were not necessarily evil, but the material scenario was not giving any hope of victory. The Muslims were outnumbered 3:1 and not well equipped militarily. This unfavourable position on the face of it would probably have created the lack of confidence amongst some people in the camp of Rasulullah (SAWA).
Rasulullah (SAWA) was indeed steadfast in his resolve, affirming that they will go ahead. What we find is that his firm commitment to go ahead was based on his dependency on dua (supplication), despite the materially unfavourable reality.
DUAS OF RASULULLAH (SAWA) IN THE BATTLE OF BADR
There are various duas from our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) recorded from this great battle. One of most beautiful duas by Rasulullah (SAWA) before the start of the Battle of Badr, as narrated by ibn Hisham in his study of the Prophetic Seerah, reads as follows:
Oh Almighty Allah, these Quraysh are facing us with all their might, power and pride.
They are fighting You and denying Your Prophet.
Where is Your support which You promised me?
Oh Allah destroy them!
This dua clearly shows the supreme level of trust and devotion our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) displayed towards Almighty Allah (SWT) flourishing in this dua.
In another dua by Rasulullah (SAWA) before the start of the Battle of Badr, as narrated by Bukhari, we see how amazing it is the way he calls upon his Lord (SWT):
Oh Allah, I remind You of Your pledge.
You promised us that You will grant us victory!
Then, Allama Majlisi recorded that very well-known dua which Rasulullah (SAWA) read on the early morning of the Battle of Badr, excerpt as follows:
Allahumma anta thikatee fi kulli qurbatin
Wa anta raja-ee fi kulli shiddatin
Oh Allah, You are the only one on whom I rely in every difficult situation.
And You are my only hope in every challenge.
It is a lengthy dua, which is recorded to have been read three times in history, at the following events:
- By Rasulullah (SAWA) on the morning of the Battle of Badr;
- By Rasulullah (SAWA) at the start of the Battle of Trenches (Khandaq), where the whole of kufr (disbelief) confronted Islam;
- By Sayyid as-Shuhada Aba Abdillah al-Hussain (a.s) on the morning of the Day of Ashura.
This dua is extremely beautiful and very powerful in its complete submission to Almighty Allah (SWT) ie. we are nothing!
EXTRAORDINARY LEVEL OF TRUST BETWEEN RASULULLAH (SAWA) AND ALMIGHTY ALLAH (SWT)
When the battle heated up, the writers of history recorded that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) uttered the following remarkable statement:
Allahumma anjisli ma wa’attani
Oh Allah, fulfil the promise You made to me
This again repeats the amazing trust and relationship between Rasulullah (SAWA) and Almighty Allah (SWT). We see the level of confidence Rasulullah (SAWA) has in Almighty Allah (SWT) when he continues this supplication to his Lord (SWT) by saying “Oh Allah, if my small group of people were killed, there will be nobody left on this earth to worship You!
This context takes us back to verses 9 and 10 of Surah Anfaal (chapter 8 of the Holy Quran) noted at the beginning of this discussion, which remind us that when Rasulullah (SAWA) called upon the help of Almighty Allah (SWT), He responded graciously in helping the camp of the Muslims.
On this topic, divine help in the Battle of Badr is an extensive discussion to delve into. Divine help came to the camp of Rasulullah (SAWA) through different means. Examples are about the help of Almighty Allah (SWT) through weather, a thousand angels, etc.
This created a scenario which was very difficult for the disbelievers (kuffaar), as the small number of people in the camp of Rasulullah (SAWA) could manage to defeat a huge number from the enemy, who were three times larger!
DUA: THE CHANNEL OF COMMUNICATION WITH ALLAH (SWT) FOR SALVATION
The Muslims, under the leadership of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), managed to defeat the enemy’s army who were three times larger. Those in the enemy’s camp were forced to flee, for fear of putting their lives at risk, and left their assets behind, which became the spoils of war.
What is really beautiful is this close connection between abd (Rasulullah (SAWA)) and Almighty Allah (SWT), and the critical role of dua. Verse 9 of Surah Anfaal (chapter 8 of the Holy Quran) is the appeal for help and verse 10 tells us how Almighty Allah (SWT) responded with glad tidings to relieve their hearts.
This gives us insight into the effects of dua, bringing serenity to our hearts, based on the relationship of the supplicant as the slave of Almighty Allah (SWT). This lesson from the Battle of Badr is an everlasting lesson.
Whenever we are in such a desperate situation where we feel outnumbered materially, it should be a stark reminder about this lesson regarding the Almighty power, help and support of Allah (SWT). However, the onus is on us to call on Him. This channel of communication is critical to keep open at all times.
Once again, I remind myself and all of you to exhort towards Taqwa of Almighty Allah (SWT). We need to remember that in the most difficult situation, Almighty Allah (SWT) is the rescuer, and dua is our shelter. It is dua which strengthens our hearts and makes us firm and committed towards our purpose. It is dua which provides us trust and confidence in Almighty Allah (SWT) and ourselves to face the challenges.
Dua is therefore of paramount importance. This month of Ramadaan is the month of duas, whereby we establish the open line of communication with Almighty Allah (SWT), along a similar parallel as epitomized so beautifully by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), from which we gained a glimpse of this dialogue from a few excerpts shared earlier.
FAR-REACHING IMPACT OF DEADLY CORONAVIRUS IN INDIA
Our special prayers are with the people of India who are facing the very serious challenge of coronavirus. The desperate situation there is making headline news everywhere, with people dying in huge numbers.
It is indeed very sad to see this, but at the same time a reminder of how times change. Unfortunately, the same Indian government and their extremist supporters were laughing when they were killing people in Kashmir indiscriminately and targeting innocent women and children and committed the worst crimes. They did not realize that things can turnaround so badly in the blink of an eye, the way we are seeing it now, to the point where they do not know what to do with their dead bodies.
Amir al-Mu’mineen Imam Ali (a.s) says very beautifully that there are two days, the one day being the day of the oppressed on the oppressor, which is much more difficult than the day of the oppressor on the oppressed.
A similar situation is evident in Palestine. These Zionist extremists are torturing them in Baitul Maqdas, Masjidul Aqsa, not allowing them to even have the right to perform Ibadah (acts of worship) freely in this sacred site, which is one of the holiest places in Islam.
It is indeed inspiring to see how the Palestinian youth are resisting, thereby not allowing these Zionist extremists to continue with their ugly acts of torture. At the same time, we have seen now chaotic scenes from the deadly stampede which occurred wherein many Israelis were killed within a few minutes.
This is how it is, and we should always be acutely aware of the destiny of our actions. As the well-known saying goes, what goes around comes around! This has consequences in the dunya (this world) and akhirah (Hereafter) and we cannot run away from them.
With the last Friday of Ramadaan fast approaching, we will be hosting a Palestinian awareness program to commemorate Quds Day, and elaborate on these issues with experts on the Palestinian liberation struggle.
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