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THE BIOGRAPHY OF MAHOMET, AND RISE OF ISLAM.

CHAPTER TWELFTH.

The Battle of Badr.
Ramadhan, A.H. II. January, 624 A.D..

Great detail with which the biographers relate the campaign of Badr

WITH the battle of Badr opens a new era in Islam. The Biographers of Mahomet have shown their appreciation of the influence which it exercised on his future fortunes, by the disproportionate space allotted to this chapter of their story. The minutest circumstances, and most trifling details, even to the names of those engaged, have been carefully treasured up 1. From the vast mass of tradition thus rudely thrown together, it will be my endeavour to draw forth all the important points, and frame from them a consistent narrative.

Scouts sent by Mahomet for intelligence of Abu Sofian's approach

The caravan of Abu Sofian, which, on its passage through the Hejaz, had escaped the pursuit of Mahomet in the autumn, was now, after the lapse of about three months, returning to Mecca. Mahomet was resolved that it should not this time elude

1 A glance at the printed edition of Wackidi's Campaigns, referred to above, will show this. No less than 161 pages are allotted to the campaign. The only other battle which approaches it in interest is that of Ohod, to which 128 pages are devoted.


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his grasp. ;Iii the beginning of January, 624 A.D. he despatched two scouts to Haura, on the sea-shore west of Medina 2, to bring early intelligence of the approach of Abu Sofian. They were hospitably lodged and concealed by an aged chief of the Joheina tribe, whose family was rewarded for this service by the grant of Yenbo. No sooner did the caravan appear than they hastened back to apprise Mahomet.

Abu Sofian, warned of Mahomet's intentions, sends to Mecca for succour

The Prophet had not yet learned to mask his projected campaigns. His intention of attacking the caravan was noised abroad. The rumour reached Abu Sofian while yet on the confines of Syria. He was warned, perhaps by the treachery of some disaffected citizen, to be on his guard, as Mahomet had entered into confederacy with the tribes by the way to surprise the caravan. The party was greatly alarmed Abu Sofian forthwith despatched to Mecca a messenger, named Dhamdham, to bid the Coreish hasten with an army to his rescue. The caravan then moved rapidly, yet with caution, along the route which lay closest to the shore of the Red Sea.

Mahomet gives command for the campaign

Mahomet, becoming impatient, and apprehensive lest the caravan should, as on previous occasions, be beforehand with him, resolved not to wait for the return of his spies. So he called upon his followers at once to make ready: - "Here," said he, "is a

2 The spot is called Nakhbar, beyond Dzul Marwa, and the caravan could not avoid passing it. Dzul Marwa is three days' journey from Medina, on the Syrian track. The scouts were Talha and Said ibn Zeid, both Refugees.


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caravan of the Coreish in which they have embarked much wealth. Come! perchance the Lord will enrich you with the same." The love of booty and of adventure, so passionate in the Arab, induced not only all the Refugees, but a large body of the citizens also, to respond with alacrity to his call 3. Of the former, Othman alone remained behind

3 The biographers are inconsistent in the double motive they assign to those who went to Badr. They unanimously reiterate that the smallness of Mahomet's army was caused by its going forth solely in the hope or surprising the caravan, and obtaining plunder, and that the people did not anticipate a battle. On Mahomet's return from Badr, the Moslem citizens come forward with this just excuse, and it was accepted. Nothing is more clear than that neither Mahomet nor his followers expected the advance of an army from Mecca.

On the other hand, tradition exhibits the utmost anxiety and rivalry as pervading all ranks to set out on the expedition, with the view of sharing in its merit, and meeting the chance of Martyrdom. Thus Sad, one of the leaders, is represented to have cast lots with Khaithama, his father, which should accompany the army (as one of them had to stay behind with the family); saying, "Had anything else than Paradise been at stake,! should have given way to thee; but now verily I hope for martyrdom in this expedition." The lot fell upon him, and he went forth and was slain at Badr. Wackidi, 12. So likewise Omeir, a boy of sixteen years, tried to hide from Mahomet when reviewing his force at the first stage, as he dreaded that he would be sent back on acconnt of his youth : --- "I fear," said he, weeping, "that I shall be noticed, and rejected: but truly I yearn to go, that the Lord may grant to me the reward of Paradise." He too was killed. Wackidi 14; K. Wackidi; 275. These stories are evidently apocryphal, cast in the mould which became universal in later days, and blindly applied by a glaring anachronism to the present occasion.

Similar is the tradition that Sad ibn Obada was so occupied in stirring up the people of Medina to go forth, that he himself


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hind to tend the sick bed of Rockeya, the Prophet's daughter.

and marches from Medina

(January, 8th 623 A.D.) On Sunday, the 12th of Ramadhan 4,

was left behind, and that his claim was on this account warranted to a share in the booty. Wackidi, 110.

The true motive which prompted most of Mahomet's followers to accompany the force, and which tempted many to join Islam, is well illustrated by the following anecdote, which bears the stamp at least of verisimilitude. Two citizens of Medina, still heathens, were noticed by Mahomet among the troops. He called them near his camel, and asked them what had brought them there. "Thou art our kinsman," they replied, "to whom our city hath given protection; and we go forth with our people in the hope of plunder." "None shall go forth with me," said Mahomet, "but he who is of our Faith." They tried to pass, saying, that they were great warriors, and would fight bravely by his side, requiring nothing beyond their share of the plunder; but Mahomet was firm. "Ye shall not go thus. Believe, and then fight!" Seeing no alternative they "believed," and confessed that Mahomet was the Prophet of God. Rejoiced at their conversion, Mahomet said, - "Now go forth and fight!" Then they accompanied the army, and became noted spoilers both at Badr and in other expeditions. Wackidi, 40. So also on Mahomet's return to Medina, Abdallah ibn Nabtal exclaimed, - "Would that I had gone forth with the Prophet! Then I had surely secured large booty!"

Eight persons who remained behind are popularly counted in the number of the veterans of Badr - the nobility of Islam; three Refugees, viz. Othman and the two spies; and five citizens, viz. the two left in command of Upper and Lower Medina, a man sent back with a message to the Bani Amr, and two men, who having received a hurt at Rooha, were left behind. The names of the famous Three hundred and fire were recorded in a Register at Medina, called Sadr al Kitab. Wackidi, 153.

4 M. C. de Perceval says, on the eighth, that is, nine days before the battle; but for this I find no good authority. The action, according to most authorities, took place on the 17th Ramadhan, and on a Friday. According to M. C. de Perceval's calculations,


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Mahomet set out upon his march, leaving Abu Lubaba, one of the citizens, in charge of Medina. For some special reason not fully explained, he appointed another of his followers over Coba and Upper Medina 5. At a short distance from the city on the Meccan road, he halted to review his little army, and to send back the striplings unfit for action. The number that remained, and with which he proceeded onwards, was three hundred and five. Of these, eighty were Refugees; of the remainder, about one fourth belonged to the Bani Aus, and the rest to the Bani Khazraj. They had but two horses; and there were seventy camels, on which by turns they mounted 6.

the 17th fell on Saturday the 14th January; he accordingly alters the date of the battle to the 16th Ramadhan. I prefer adhering to the general testimony of tradition, and therefore to the 17th; the difference being accounted for by some variation in the day on wlaich the new moon was seen at Medina. Tabari gives as other dates the 19th and 21st Ramadhan; but in regard to the 17th, he adds, that it was so notoriously the day of Badr that even the women, who kept to their houses, knew it.- p. 246. There are traditions, but not trustworthy ones, for Monday. K. Wackidi, 102 . None that I have met with, for Saturday.

5 It is said that he did ibis because " he heard something" regarding the Bani Amr ibn Auf. He also sent back Al Harith from his camp with a message to the same tribe. K. Wackidi 99 , 271. The two persons left in charge, as well as this messenger, all belonged to the Bani Aus.

6 There is considerable variation as to the exact number; Ibn Ishac makes it 314, or, if we deduct the eight absentees who had the merit of being present, 306. Abu Mashar and Wackidi give 313, or, actually present, 305. Wackidi gives the Refugees at 85


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Spies sent forward by Mahomet to Badr

For two days they travelled by the road to Mecca. At Safra, thirty-four hours' journey from Medina, the road branches in two directions; the left branch leads to Mecca, falling, after about two days' march, into the caravan track by the sea-shore; the branch to the right runs westward in the direction of Yenbo, and at the distance of about fifteen hours' journey, also meets the great Syrian road, but much farther to the north. The latter point of junction is at Badr, a halting-place at the present day on the pilgrim route from Syria to Mecca. It was used for the same purpose by the caravans from the earliest times, and a fair was also held there. Before reaching Safra, Mahomet despatched two spies to find out whether any preparations were making for the reception of Abu Sofian at Badr 7 ; for it was there that he hoped to waylay the caravan. At the fountain of Badr, the spies overheard

(but in another place at only 74); Ibn Ishac, at 88; of these, three (as explained above) were absent. Ibn Ishac calculates the Awsites at 61, and the Karrajites at 170, five of both being absent. Wackidi and Musa ibn Ocba make the Awsites 63; and the former gives the Kazrajites at 175, which would swell the total to 828. These are the most reliable calculations. K. Wackidi, 99 , 262 , 275, 295 ; Wackidi, 96; Hishami 245; Tabari, 821.

7 This was probably on the Monday. It is somew$at difficult to find time for all the events that crowd in between Sunday and Thursday evening. The names of the spies were Basbas and Adi, both allied to Medina clans, and more likely than any of the Refugees to be acquainted with this vicinity. For the position of Badr, see Burckhardt, 405, 456.


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heard some women who had come to draw water talking among themselves "of the caravan that was expected on the morrow or the day after," and they returned in haste with the intelligence to 'Mahomet.

Abu Sofian, discovering traces of Mahomet's scouts, hastens forward and escapes

As Abu Sofian approached Badr, his apprehensions were quickened by the vicinity of Medina, and hastening in advance of the caravan, he resolved himself to reconnoitre the spot. At Badr, he was told that no strangers had been seen, excepting two men, who, after resting their camels for a little by the well, and drinking water, went off again. Proceeding to the spot, he carefully scrutinized it all around. "Camels from Yathreb!" he exclaimed, as among the litter his practised eye discerned the date-stone peculiar to Medina. "These are the spies of Mahomet!8' So saying, he hurried back to the caravan; and forthwith diverting its course to the fight, so as to keep close by the sea-shore, pressed forward day and night without halting, and was soon beyond the reach of danger. Then hearing that an army of the Coreish had marched from Mecca to his aid, he sent for- ward a courier to say that all was safe, and that they should now return to their homes.

Alarm at Mecca. The Coreish resolve to march to the rescue of the caravan

Ten or twelve days before this, Mecca had been thrown into a state of great alarm by the sudden appearance of Dhamdham, the first messenger of Abu Sofian. Urging his camel at its full speed

8 The date-stones were searched out by him from the dung of the camels.


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along the valley and main street of Mecca, he made it kneel down in the open space before the Kaaba, and hastily reversed the saddle, cut off its ears and nose, and rent his shirt before and behind. Having signified by these acts the alarming import of his mission, he cried at' the pitch of his voice to the people who began to crowd around: "Coreish! Coreish! your caravan is pursued by Mahomet. Help! O Help!" Immediately, the city was in commotion; for the caravan was the great annual one to Syria, in which every Coreishite of any substance bad a venture 9. It was at once determined to march in great force, repel the marauding troops, and rescue the caravan. "Doth Mahomet, indeed, imagine," said they among themselves, "that it will, be this time as in the affair of the Hadhramite!" alluding to the treacherous surprise at Nakhla, where, two months before, Amr the Hadhramite had been slain. "Never! He shall know it to be otherwise."

They set out, and reach Johfa, where they are met by Abu Sofian's messenger

Preparations were hurried forward on every side. The resolve, at any sacrifice, to chastise the audacity, and crush the hostility, of the Moslems was universal. Every man of consequence prepared to join the army. A few, unable themselves to go, sent substitutes; among these was Abu Lahab,

9Wackidi, 21. The value was estimated at 50,000 dinars. The amount of capital invested by Borne of the chief families is mentioned. Of one family it is said that it was "their caravan year, which may imply that there were periodical times at which a family made special efforts in the traffic.


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the uncle of Mahomet 10. One fear there was that Mecca might, during their absence, be surprised by the Bani Bakr, an adjacent tribe, with which there was a present feud. But this was obviated by the guarantee of a powerful chief allied to both tribes 11. So great was the alacrity, that in two or three days after the alarm by Dhamdham the army was in motion. It marched in haste, but not without some display of rude pomp; for singing women, with their tabrets, followed and sang by the fountains at which they halted 12. At Johfa, the second courier of Abu Sofian (who himself shortly after, with the caravan, passed by a route closer to the

10 Some say that he neither went nor sent a substitute; others, that he sent Aas, grandson of Mughira, in consideration of the remission of a debt of 400 dirhems. It is said that he refused to accompany the army in consequence of the dream of his sister Atika.

I have omitted any allusion to this dream, as well as to other dreams and prodigies seen by the Coreish, anticipatory of the disasters at Badr, because I believe them all to be fictitious. The tinge of honor in after days reflected back on the "sacrilegious" battle, the anxiety to excuse certain families, and the wish to invest others with a species of merit, as having served Islam by dreams or prophecies, combined to give rise to them.

11 Or rather, as some traditions will have it, by the guarantee of the Devil himself, in the form of Suraca ibn Jusham, the Mudlijite. Wackidi, 31. The Devil is repeatedly represented in the form of this man, as we shall see below. We have already met Suraca, vol. ii.268.

It Is the Bani Bakr, descended from Kinana, not the Bani Bakr of the desert, that are here spoken of. See Table, vol. i. p. cxcv.

12 The names of three of these women are given by Wackidi, pp 32 and 37.


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sea) arrived with intelligence of his safety, and the message that they were to return 13.

They debate whether to return or go forward

The question of going forward or of turning back was warmly debated by the leading chiefs. On the one hand, it was argued that the object for which they had set out having been secured, the army should at once retrace its steps; that the forces of Mahomet were closely related to themselves: -

When we have fought and spilled the blood of our brethren and our kinsmen," said this party, "of what use will life be to us any longer? Let us now go back, and we will be responsible for the blood-money of Amr, killed at Nakhla 14." Others,

13 I take this to have been on Wednesday, 11th January The sequence of events is probably as follows - Mahomet started on Sunday morning: on Monday he despatched his scouts to Badr: on Tuesday they reached Badr, and returned: On Tuesday, after them, Abu Sofian arrived at Badr: on Tuesday night he passed the threatened region safely; and on Wednesday sent his messenger to the Coreish camp at Johfa, two marches from Badr. The Coreish marched forward on Wednesday, and on Thursday evening encamped near Badr. The stages of the Coreish are given as follows : - 1. Marr al Tzahran. 2. Osfan. 3. Kudeid. 4--. 5. Johfa. 6. Abwa. 7-----. 8-----. 9. Badr. Wackidi 140. But the gaps, for which no names are given, are probably apocryphal, and inserted for the purpose of swelling out the number of the chiefs who each fed the army with camels at one of the stages. The Coreish, I suppose, left Mecca about the same time that Mahomet started from Medina, perhaps a day or two before him. They travelled, for the first part at least, by forced marches, to save the caravan. They sent a messenger to Abu Sofian, as they started from Mecca, to apprise him of their march, but he missed the caravan, which kept close by the shore.

14 Hakim ibn Hizam, the nephew of Khadija (who supplied food to Mahomet and his party when shut up with Abu Talib) is mentioned as urgent in offering this advice.


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and Abu Jahi at their head, demanded that the army should advance. "If we turn back now they said, " it will surely be imputed to our cowardice.

And resolve to advance to Badr.

Let us go forward to Badr; and there, by the fountain, spend three days eating and making merry. All Arabia will hear of it, and will ever after stand in awe of us." The affair of Nakhla, and the slaughter of the Hadhramite, still rankled in the heart of the Coreish, and they listened willingly to the warlike counsel. Two tribes alone, the Bani. Zohra and Adi, returned to Mecca 15. The rest marched onwards 16. Leaving the Medina branch to the right, they kept along the Syrian road, and made straight for Badr.

Mahomet receives intelligence of march of the Coreish army

We now return to Mahomet. He, too, was advancing rapidly on Badr; for there he expected, from the report of his spies, to find the caravan. On Tuesday night, he reached Rooha; as he drank

15 The reason is not given; the former was the tribe of Mahomet's mother; the latter, that of Omar.

16 They, however, sent back the singing girls. The messenger, who carried the intelligence to Abu Sofian, that the Coreish refused to turn back, reached him at Al Hadda, near Mecca; and Abu Sofian is represented as lamenting over the folly of his countrymen. All this seems to be apocryphal. Till viewed in the light of its disastrous issue, the advance on Badr must have appeared a politic and reasonable measure. It was not an attack on Medina, for Badr was on the road to Syria, and left Medina far on the right. If they met the Medina forces there, it was because the latter had come forth gratuitously to attack the Meccan caravan, a fair and sufficient casus belli; for what security could the Meccans have if the men of Medina were allowed thus with impunity to attack their convoys and plunder their caravans?


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from the well there, he blessed the valley in terms of which the pious traveller is reminded to the present day 17. On Thursday, while he was yet at a distance from Badr, intelligence was received from some travellers that the enemy was in full march upon him. This was the first intimation to the Moslems that the Meccans had heard of the danger of the caravan, and were on their way to defend it. A council of war was summoned, and Mahomet invited his chief men to offer their advice.

In a council of war and onward march enthusiastically determined on

There was but one opinion, and each delivered it more enthusiastically than another. Abu Bakr and Omar advised an immediate advance. The Prophet then turned to the men of Medina, for their pledge did not require them to fight away from their city. Sad ibn Muadz, their spokesman, replied: "Prophet of the Lord! march whither thou listest: encamp wherever thou mayest choose: make war or con- dude peace with whom thou wilt. For I swear by him who hast sent thee with the Truth, that if thou wert to march till our camels fell down dead 18, we should go forward with thee to the world's end. Not one of us would be left behind."19 Then said Mahomet: "Go forward, with the blessing of God! For, verily, he hath promised one of the two--the army or the caravan,--that he will deliver it into

17 Wackidi 40; Burton, ii. 17.

18 Lit. "break their livers" (by marching).

19 K.Wackidi, 100, 102 ; more extended in Wackidi, 44.


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my hands 20. Methinks, by the Lord, I even now see the battle-field strewn, as it were, with their dead."21

The Moslems more implacable than the Coreish

It is remarkable, in comparing this council with that of the Coreish at Johfa, to observe how entirely absent from the minds of the Mussulmans was any trace of compunction at the prospect of entering into mortal combat with their kinsmen. The Coreish, goaded as they were by the repeated attack of their caravans, and the blood shed at Nakhla, were yet staggered by the prospect, and nearly persuaded by their better feelings to return to Mecca. The Moslems, though the aggressors, were hardened by the memory of former injuries, by the maxim that their faith severed all earthly ties without the circle of Islam, and by a fierce fanaticism for their Prophet's cause. At one of the stages, where he halted to lead the public devotions, Mahomet, after

20 This point is alluded to in the Coran, which henceforth becomes the vehicle of many of Mahomet's "general orders" as military commander. "And when the Lord promised one of the two parties that it should be given over unto you; and ye desired that it should be the party unarmed for war (i.e. that ye should fall upon the caravan, and not the Coreishite army), whereas the Lord willed to establish the Truth by his words, and to cut away the foundation from the Unbelievers ; --- that he might establish the Truth, and abolish Falsehood, even although the Transgressors be averse thereto." Sura, viii. 7.

21 The letter clause may be apocryphal. In later traditions it is worked out to a fabulous extent. Mahomet, for example, is made to point out from this vision what was to be the death spot of each of his chief opponents; "and" it is added, "the people were by this apprised for the first time that it was the Coreishite army they were about to encounter, and not the caravan." Wackidi, 45.


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rising from his knees, thus called down the curse or God upon the infidels, and prayed: "O Lord! Let not Abu Jahl escape, the Pharaoh of his people! Lord, let not Zamaa escape ; rather let the eyen of his father run sore for him with weeping, and become blind !"22 The Prophet's hate was unrelenting, and his followers imbibed from him the same inexorable spirit.

Mahomet learns from the Coreish water-carriers the proximity and strength of the enemy

In the afternoon of Thursday, on reaching the neighbourhood of Badr, Mahomet sent forward Ali, with a few others, to reconnoitre the rising ground about the springs. There they surprised the water-carriers of the Coreish, as they were about to fill their sheepskins. One escaped to the Coreish; the rest were captured. The chiefs questioned them about the caravan, imagining that they belonged to it; and receiving no satisfactory answer, had begun to beat them, when Mahomet interfered, and soon discovered the proximity of his enemy. The camp, they replied, to his earnest inquiries, lay just beyond the sand-hills, which they pointed to as skirting the south-western side of the valley. As they could not tell the strength of the force, the Prophet asked sagaciously how many camels they slaughtered for their daily food. " Nine," they answered, "one day, and ten the next day, alternately." "Then,"

22 Wackidi p.89 ; - where Suheil is included in the prayer; he was taken prisoner. As regards Zamaa, however, some say that he was among those whom Mahomet desired not to be harmed.


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said Mahomet, "they are between 900 and 1,000 strong." The estimate was correct. There were 950 men. They were mounted on 700 camels and 100 horses 23.

The escape of the caravan a benefit to Mahomet

The followers of Mahomet, and perhaps Mahomet himself, were deeply chagrined at finding their expectation of an easy prey thus changed into the prospeet of a bloody battle. They seem, however, to have advanced even to the field of action with the hope that, if conquerors, they might still pursue and seize the caravan. But it was, in truth, a fortunate event for Mahomet that Abu Sofian had already passed. The continuing jeopardy of the caravan would have bound the Coreish together by a unity and determination, which the knowledge of its safety dissipated. The prize of victory in the field of Badr was of incomparably greater consequence to Mahomet than any spoil, however costly.

Mahomet takes up a position at Badr

The valley of Badr consists of a plain, with steep hills to the north and east; on the south is a low rocky range; and on the west rise a succession of sandy hillocks. A rivulet, rising in the inland mountains, runs through the valley, producing a number of springs, which here and there were dug into cisterns for the accommodation of travellers. At the nearest of these springs, the army of Mahomet halted. Hobab, a follower, from Medina,

23 K. Wackidi, 100; Wackidi, 82. The horsemen were all clad in mail.


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advised him to proceed onwards: "Let us go," he said, "to the farthest spring on the side of the enemy. I know a never-failing fountain of sweet water there; let us make that our reservoir, and destroy the other wells." The advise was good. It was at once adopted, and the command of the water thus secured.

He sleeps in a hut of palm branches

The night was drawing on. So they hastily constructed, near the well, a hut of palm branches, in branches. which Mahomet and Abu Bakr slept. Sad ibn Muadz kept watch by the entrance with his drawn sword. It rained during the night, but more heavily towards the camp of the Coreish.24 The Moslem army, wearied with its long march, enjoyed sound and refreshing sleep. The dreams of Mahomet turned upon his enemies, and they were pictured to his imagination as a weak and contemptible force 25. In the morning, he drew up his little army himself,

24 The rain is thus alluded to in the Coran --- "When he over-shadowed you with a deep sleep, as a security, from himself; and caused to descend upon you Rain from the heavens, that he might purify you therewith, and take from you the uncleanness of Satan; and that he might strengthen your hearts, and establish your steps thereby." Sura, viii. v.11. As a foil to this picture, the Coreish are represented as apprehensive and restless till morning broke. Wackidi 50.

25 And when God caused them to appear before thee in thy sleep, few in number; and if he had caused them to appear unto thee a great multitude, ye would have been affrighted, and have disputed in the matter (of their attack). But truly God preserved thee, for he knoweth the heart of man." Sura, viii. 45.


Mahomet draws up his army. Friday, 17th Ramadhan, A.H. II, 13th January, 624 A.D.

and pointing with an arrow which he held in his hand, arranged the ranks. The previous day, he had placed the chief banner,--- that of the Refugees - in the hands of Musab, who nobly proved his right to the distinction. The Khazrajite ensign was committed to Hobab; that of the Bani Aus, to Sad ibn Muadz 26.

The Coreish, after further dissensions, draw up their line, and move forward

Meanwhile dissensions again sprang up in the camp of the Coreish on the policy of fighting against their kinsmen. Shaiba and Otba, two chiefs of rank, the sons of Rabia, strongly urged that the attack should be abandoned 27. Just then, Omeir, a diviner by arrows, after riding hastily

26 Borne say that Abu Bakr commanded the right of the Moslem army; but Wackidi decides (p.53) that no one was specifically placed in command of the right or left of either army.

27 At this, and similar points, the biographers cast the chief blame on Abn Jahi; but the evident colouring of the picture, and coarse terms of abuse applied to him, show evidently that the work of fabrication has been busy here. Abu Jabl was a convenient scapegoat, on whom it was impossible to cast too much guilt and blame. See Canon, I. G. vol. i. p. lviii. On the other hand, there were families anxious to free their ancestors or patrons as much as possible from the responsibility of the impious advance on Badr; and this tendency has no doubt overcoloured the exertions of those who are represented as persuading the army to turn back. Hakim iba Hizam, who escaped, and was converted, is himself an actor in this scene; and the endeavour to exculpate him is evident in the speeches ascribed to him, -perhaps even framed by himself in after days. It is curious to find again Addas, the slave of Shaiba and Otba (vol. ii. 201) among these scenes, entreating his masters, with tears in his eyes, to return to Mecca. Some say he accompanied them to the battle, and was there slain; others, that he returned to Mecca with the shattered remains of the army. Wacidi, 27-29.


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round the valley, returned to report the result of his reconnaissance. "Ye Coreish," he said, after telling them his estimate of the enemy's number, "calamities approach you, fraught with destruction. Inevitable death rideth upon the camels of Yathrab. It is a people that hath neither defence nor refuge but in their swords. See ye not that they are dumb and do not speak? Their tongues they put forth with the deadly aim of a serpent. Not a man of them shall we kill but one of ourselves will be slain also; and when there shall have been slaughtered amongst us a number equal unto them, of what avail will life be to us after that!"28 These words began to produce a pacific effect, when Abu Jahl, as before, loudly opposed the proposals for peace 29. Turning to Amir the Hadhramite, he bade him call to mind the blood of his brother

28 K. Wackidi, 100 ; Wackidi, 57. Omeir survived, and repeated the tale of these events before the Caliph Omar. He went on to confess how immediately after the scene above described, he had stirred up the army to go forth to the fight:

"And we were disgraced that day; but the Lord at last brought Islam unto us, and guided us thereto. That was the worst piece of infidelity I ever committed." " Thou speakest the truth," replied Omar. Wackidi, 60.

Some of the biographers, evidently appreciating the motives of the Coreish in their repugnance to carry arms against their brethren, have clumsily manufactured a scene, in which Mahomet Is represented as sending Omar to the Coreish to persuade them to go back. Wackidi, 56. But the passage is corrupted.

29 See the previous note, in which I have referred to the strong bias against Abu Jahl, &c. It is almost impossible at many points to disentangle fact from fiction, owing its origin to motives of this nature.


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slain at Nakhla. The flame was rekindled. Amir threw off his clothes, cast dust upon his body, and began frantically to cry aloud his brother's name. The deceased had been a confederate of the family of Shaiba and Otba. Their pride and honour were affected. They saw that thoughts of peace must now be scattered to the winds; and they resolved signally to vindicate themselves from the imputation of cowardice cast on them by Abu Jahl. The army was now drawn up in line. The three standards for its centre and wings were borne by members of the house of Abdal Dar, which was entitled to the privilege 30. They moved slowly over the intervening sand-hills, which the rain had made heavy and fatiguing. The same cause had rendered the ground in front of Mahomet lighter and more firm to walk upon. The Meccan army laboured under another disadvantage in having the rising sun before them; while the army of Medina faced towards the west.

Mahomet awaits their approach in anxiety. His earnest prayer.

Mahomet had barely arrayed his line of battle, when the advanced column of the Coreish appeared over the rising sands in front. Their greatly superior numbers were concealed by the fall of the ground behind; and this imparted confidence to the

30 Vol. i. introduction, pp. cciv. and ccxlvii. note. Some traditions assign the command of the centre and of the two wings to certain chiefs, but Wackidi (see above, p. 98) discredits the tradition. Zamaa is said to have commanded the horse; but others say Harith ibn Hisham. Wackidi, 53.


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Moslems 31. But Mahomet was fully alive to the critical position of his affairs at that moment. The fate of Islam hung upon the issue of the approaching battle. Followed by Abu Bakr, he entered the little hut, and raising his hands, poured forth these earnest petitions: "O Lord! I beseech thee, forget not Thy promise of assistance and of victory. O Lord! if this little band be vanquished,

31 This is represented in the Coran as the result of divine inter- position. After mentioning Mahomet's dream (see above, p.97) of the small number of the enemy, the passage (now speaking or the Moslem army at large) proceeds: "And when he caused them to appear in your eyes, at the time ye met, to be few in number, and diminished you in their eyes, that God might accomplish the thing that was to be." Sura, viii. 46.-i.e. by this ocular deception, the Mussulmans were encouraged to advance to victory, and the Coreish similarly lured on to their fate. So again:-" When ye were on the hither side, and they on the farther side (of the valley), and the caravan below you;* and if ye had made a mutual appointment to fight, ye would surely have declined the appointment; but (the Lord ordered otherwise) that he might bring to pass the thing that was to be; - that he who perisheth might perish by a manifest interposition, and he that liveth might Jive by' a manifest interposition." Sura, ii. 42-44. - alluding to the fact that each army advanced near to the field of battle, without knowing of the approach of the other; they were led on by an unseen hand.

In a later passage, the interposition of God at this battle is stated as doubling the army of Medina in the eyes of the Coreish. Sura, iii. 18. The discrepancy is thus explained by the commentators - The Coreish were at first drawn on by fancying Mahomet's army to be a mere handful; when they had actually closed in battle, they were terrified by their exaggerated appearance, for they now seemed a great multitude.

* i.e. on the plain, by the sea-shore, passing on towards Mecca.


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Idolatry will prevail, and the pure worship of Thee cease from off the earth!"32 "The Lord;" said Abu Bakr, comforting him, "will surely come to thine aid, and will lighten thy countenance with the joy of victory."

Fierce combat by the reservoir

The time for action had arrived. Mahomet again came forth. The enemy was close; but the army of Medina moved not. The Prophet had strictly forbidden his followers to stir, till he should give the order for advance; only they were to check any flank movement of the Coreish by the discharge of arrows. The cistern was guarded as their palladium. Certain desperate warriors of the Coreish had sworn to drink water from it, to destroy it, or to perish in the attempt. Scarcely one of them returned from the rash enterprise 33. With signal gallantry, Aswad advanced close to the brink,

32 Or, "And there shall no more beany to offer unto thee pure worship." Or," And true religion cease from mankind." Wackidi; 55-62. Tabari, 282.

Other prayers are given; but if there was any of this nature at all (which I wilt not vouch for), the one in the text is that most suitable to the anxiety and trepidation of the hour. Some traditions make this the moment when a sleet) or trance overcame Mahomet, and God showed him the enemy few in number. See above.

A set speech addressed by Mahomet to the troops, after he had drawn them up, is given by some biographers, but it is evidently apocryphal.

33 Hakim ibn Hizam is said to have been the only one that tasted of the water, and escaped. He used to relate that he had been vouchsafed two signal deliverances: first, he was one of those


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when a blow from Hamza's sword fell upon his leg and nearly severed it from his body. Still defending himself; he crawled onwards and made good his vow; for he drank of the water, and with his remaining leg demolished a part of' the cistern, before the sword of Hamza put an end to his life.

Three Coreish challenge the Moslems to single combat

Already, after the fashion of Arabian warfare, single combats had been fought at various points, when the two brothers Shaiba and Otba, and Walid the son of Otba, still smarting from the words of Abu Jahl, advanced into the space between the armies, and defied three champions from the army of Mahomet to meet them singly. Three citizens of Medina stepped forward 34; but Mahomet, unwilling that the glory or the burden of the opening conflict should rest with his allies, called them back; and, turning to his kinsmen, said: "Ye sons of Hashimi arise and fight, according to your right." Then Hamza, Ali, and Obeida 35, the uncle and cousins of the Prophet, went forth. Hamza wore an ostrich feather in his breast, and a white plume distinguished the helmet of Ali 36. But their features

who lay in wait at Mahomet's house, before his flight from Mecca; second, he was one of those who drank of the cistern or Badr. And he was the only one, he said, of either party that survived to embrace Islam. Wackidi, 75.

34 Two of them were the sons of Afra. There is a discrepancy as to the third.

35 Son of Harith, son of Abdal Muttalib. Vol. ii. p.106.

36 Zobeir wore for his uniform a yellow turban; and Abu Dujana (a Medina warrior, conspicuous for his fierce gallantry), a red one. Wackidi, 70.


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were hid by their armour. Otba, therefore, not knowing who his opponents might be, cried aloud: "Speak, that we may recognize you! If ye be equals, we shall fight with you." Hamza answered, "I am the son of Abdal Muttalib --- Hamza, the Lion of God, and the Lion of his Prophet." "A worthy foe;" exclaimed Otba; "but who are the others with thee?" Hamza repeated their names; and Otba replied: "Meet foes every one!"

The Coreishite champions slain

Then Otba called to his son Walid, "Arise and fight." So Walid stepped forth; and Ali came out against him. They were the youngest of the six. The combat was short; Walid fell, mortally wounded, by the sword of Ali. Eager to avenge his son's death, Otba hastened forward, and Hamza advanced to meet him. As previously, the swords gleamed quick, and Otba was slain by the Moslem Lion. Shaiba alone remained of the champions of Mecca, and Obeida now drew near to fight with him. They were both advanced in years, and the conflict was less decisive than before 37. At last, Shaiba dealt a sword-cut on the leg of Obeida with such force as to sever the tendon, and bring him to the ground. Seeing this, Hamza and Ali rushed on Shaiba and despatched him. Obeida lingered for a few days, and was buried at Safra 38.

37 Obeida was the oldest of all Mahomet's followers at the time. He was ten years older than the prophet, or about 65. Shaiba was three years older than Otba.

38 According to another tradition, Hamza fights with Shaiba,


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The lines close

The fate of their champions was ominous for the Coreish, and their spirits sank. The ranks began to close, with the battle-cry on the Moslem side of Ya Mansur Amit, "Ye conquerors, strike!"39 and the fighting became general. But there were still many of those scenes of individual bravery which characterize the irregular warfare of Asiatic armies, and often impart a Homeric interest. Prodigies of valour were exhibited on both sides; but the army of the Faithful was borne forward by an enthusiasm which the Coreish were unable to withstand.

Mahomet incites his followers

What part Mahomet himself took in the battle is not clear. Some traditions represent him moving along the ranks with a drawn sword. It is more likely that he contented himself with inciting his followers by the promise of Divine assistance, and by holding out the prospect of Paradise to those who fell 40. The spirit of Omeir, a lad of but sixteen

and Obeida with Otba; but the Secretary of Wackidi prefers the account in the text.

Tradition rejoices in recording, perhaps inventing, instances of faith or fanaticism leading to the inhuman disregard of the most sacred ties of blood. Thus, when Otba challenged the army of believers, his son, Abu Hodzeifa, arose to go forth against him; but Mahomet told him to sit down. It is added that Abu Hodzeifa aided Hamza in killing his father, giving him a cut with his sword. But see below another tradition regarding the scene at the pit of the slain, implying a better feeling on his part.

39 Lit. O thou that art assisted (of God), or triumphant, slay! Others say that the Refugees had Ya Bani Abd al Rahman for their war-cry; the Khazrajites, Ya Bani Abdalla; the Awsites, Ya Bani Obeidalla. Wackidi, 66; K. Wackidi, 100.

40 Mahomet had no sword till he received the famous Dzul Ficar


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years, was kindled in him as he listened to the Prophet1s words. Tradition delights to tell of the ardour with which this stripling threw away a handful of dates which he was eating.- "Is it these," he exclaimed, "that hold me back from Paradise? Verily I will taste no more of them, until I meet my Lord!" With such words, he drew his sword, and casting himself upon enemy's ranks, soon obtained the fate he coveted.

The Moslem army puts the Coreish to flight

It was a stormy winter day. A piercing blast swept across the valley. That, said Mahomet, is Gabriel with a thousand angels flying as a whirlwind against our foe. Another, and yet another blast: it was Michael, and after him, Seraphil, each with a like angelic troop 41. The battle raged. The Prophet stooped down, and lifting a handful of gravel, cast it towards the Coreish, crying aloud,- Confusion seize their faces! The action was well timed. The line of the Coreish began to waver. Their movements were impeded by the heavy sands on which they stood; and when the ranks gave way, their numbers added to the confusion. The Moslems followed eagerly on uieir retreating steps, slaying or taking captive all that fell within their

as a portion of the booty of Badr. Wackidi, 99. But of course he might have borrowed one for the occasion. Ali is reported to have sald that no one fought more fiercely than Mahomet that day; and that though they endeavoured to hold him back, none ventured nearer the enemy's ranks. K. Wackidi, 102. But this is far from being in accordance with the general tenor of tradition.

41 For fabulous additions, see Vol. i. p. lxiv.


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reach. Retreat soon turned into an ignominious flight. The Coreish, in their haste to escape, cast away their armour and abandoned their beasts of burden, with all their camp and equipage 42. Forty-nine were killed, and about the same number taken prisoners 43. Mahomet lost only fourteen, of whom eight were citizens of Medina, and six Refugees 44.

Slaughter of some of Mahomet's chief opponents. Abu Jahl.

Many of the principal men of the Coreish, and some of Mahomet's bitterest opponents, were slain. Chief amongst these was Aba Jahl. Muadz ibn Amr brought him to the ground by a blow which Abu Jahl cut his leg in two. Muadz, in his turn, was attacked by Ikrima, the son of Aba Jahl, and his arm nearly severed from his shoulder. As the mutilated arm hanging by the skin impeded his action, Muadz put his foot upon it, pulled it off, and went on his way fighting. Such were the heroes of Badr.

42Wackidi, 90.

43 Their names are given. Wackidi, 109-151. The popular number is seventy killed and seventy wounded; but the detail is decisive in favour of the text The number Seventy has originated in the supposition of a correspondence between the fault of Mahomet in taking (and not slaying) the prisoners of Badr, and the retributive reverse at Ohod in the following year. Seventy Moslems were killed at Obod: hence it is assumed that seventy Meccans were taken prisoners at Badr.

44 Two more, at least, died of their wounds on their way home, and an additional name is given by Wackidi, though it may be only a variation. The graves of four of the Badr martyrs are mid to be at Sayyar, a defile near the narrow part of the Safra valley, and three at Dabba or Dobba, " below the fountain of Al Mustajal." The tomb of Obeida is at Dzat Ijdal, "in a narrow defile below the fountain of Al Jadwal." Wackidid, 145.


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Abu Jahl was yet breathing when Abdallah, the servant, of Mahomet, ran up, and cutting off his head, carried it to his master. "The head or the enemy of God!" exclaimed Mahomet ; ---- "God! there is none other God but he!" - "There is no other!" responded Abdallah, as he cast the bloody head at the Prophet's feet. "it is more acceptable to me;" cried Mahomet, "than the choicest camel in all Arabia."45 But there were others whose death caused no

45 Lit. A red Camel: see vol ii. p. ll for the same expression.

A conversation is described between Abdallah and Abu Jahl. The former, on coming up, placed his foot on Abu Jahl's neck, and cried, --- "Ha! Hath not God put thee to shame this day, thou enemy of God?" - "Wherefore?" said the dying man; "I only sought to inflict retaliation for the Hadhramite whom ye killed. But tell me, how goes the day ?" - "With God and with his Prophet," replied Abdallah. "Then;' said Abu Jahl, "Verily, thou hast risen to a dangerous height, O thou Feeder of Sheep!" The story proceeds as in the text. Wackidi, 84; Hishami, 228.

Muadz was aided in his attack on Abu Jahl by two Medina men, the sons of Afra, and there is as usual a huge mass of discrepant traditions as to which of them had the merit of slaying "the Pharaoh of his people;" Wackidi sums up the evidence impartially, p. 85. These traditions are evidently, in great measure, apocryphal. Mahomet is said to have given orders for Abu Jahl's body to be mutilated and disfigured.

Tradition (which, however, as before observed, is in this respect to be cautiously received) represents Abu Jahl's family as retaining a strong feeling against the slayer of Abu Jahl, --- in other words, an anti-Mussulman feeling,- for some time. Wackidi tells a curious story of a knot of persons at Medina one day going to purchase ottar at a shop kept by Abu Jahl's mother. In conversation, it turned out that the woman who wished to buy was daughter of one of the slayers of Aba Jahl, -- whereupon, the mother would sell her none. Wackidi, 84. Abu Jahl's proper name was Abul Hakam, "Father of Wisdom" (vol. ii. p.109);


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Ab ul Bokhtari, to whom Mahomet had desired quarter to be given, is slain

gratification to Mahomet.. Ab ul Bokhtari had shown kindness to him, and was specially instrumental in procuring the release of himself and his followers from the residence of Abu Talib 46. Mahomet, mindful of this favour, had commanded that he should not be harmed. Ab ul Bokhtari had a companion seated on his camel behind him. A warrior, riding up, told him of the quarter given by Mahomet; but, added he, "I cannot spare the man behind thee." - " The women of Mecca;' Ab ul Bokhtari exclaimed, "shall never say that I abandoned my comrade through love of life. Do thy work upon us both." So they were killed 47.

Savage slaughter of some of the prisoners

After the battle was over, some of the prisoners were cruelly murdered 48. The following incident

it was changed by the Moslems in contempt to Abu Jahl, "Father of Folly."

46 Vol. ii. p.192.

47 Other accounts are given of this incident. See Wackidi, 75. Zaman is added to the number whom Mahomet desired to be spared on account of similar kindness; but see above (p. 95) the savage prayer regarding him, ascribed to Mahomet. Harith ibn Amir was also, they say, in the same category. Others add, Abbas, and indeed the whole of the descendants of Hashim. Hishami, 225; Tabari, 288. But this looks like an Abasside fabrication to support the veneration claimed for that family in later days. A story is told of Abu Hodzeifa, who, when Mahomet desired that Abbas should be spared, said, - "Are we to slay our fathers, brothers, uncles, &c., and to spare Abbas? No, verily, but I will slay him if I find him." Omar, as usual, threatens the audacious disputer with his sword. Wackidi, 75.

48 Two other cases of prisoners slaughtered in cold blood, besides the one in the text, will be found in Wackidi, pp.88 and 100:- The first was Nowfal ibn Khuweilid. It is said that Ali had


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will illustrate the savage spirit, already an element of Mussulman fanaticism. Omeya ibn Khalf and his son were unable to escape with the fugitive Coreish; and, seeing Abd al Rahman pass, implored that he would make them his prisoners. Abd al Rahman, in remembrance of an ancient friendship, cast away the plunder he was carrying, and making both his prisoners, was proceeding with them to the Moslem camp. As they passed, Bilal espied his old enemy, -- for Omeya had used to persecute him 49 ; and he screamed aloud, "Slay him. He is the head of the Unbelievers. I am lost, I am lost, if he survives!" From all sides, the infuriated soldiers poured in upon the wretched captives; and Abd al Rahman, finding resistance impossible, bade them save their lives as best they could. Defence was vain; and the two prisoners were immediately cut to pieces 50.

overheard Mahomet praying for his death. So when he saw him led off a prisoner, he fell upon hini and killed him. Mahomet uttered a takbir of joy when told of it, and said that it had happened in answer to his prayer.

The other was Mabad ibn Wahb. Omar met one of his comrades carrying him off, and taunted him, - "Well, ye are beaten now!" - "Nay, by Lat and Ozza!" said the prisoner. "Is that the manner of speech for a captive Infidel towards a Believer?" cried Omar, as he cut off the wretched man's head by one blow of his scimitar.

49 Vol. ii. 129.

50 The whole transaction was so treacherous and savage, that even the Moslems seem to have been in some small degree ashamed of it, and to have tried to shift the blame from one to another. Wackidi, 79.


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The botty gathered together

When the enemy had disappeared, the army of Medina was for some time engaged in gathering the spoil. Every man was allowed to retain the plunder of those whom he had slain with his own hand 51. The rest was thrown into a common stock. It consisted of one hundred and fifteen camels, fourteen horses, a large store of leather, and much equipage and armour 52. A diversity of opinion arose about the distribution. Those who had hotly pursued the enemy and exposed their lives in securing the spoil, claimed the whole, or at the least a superior portion;

Contention about its division decided by revelation

while such as had remained hehind upon the field of battle, for the safety of the Prophet and of the

51 There is some discrepancy here. One set of traditions state that though it was proclaimed, during the battle, that each soldier would have the prisoners taken, and the spoil of those slain by him, yet that this was retracted by the Revelation which follows in the text; and that all were obliged to disgorge, and carry every thing into the common stock. Others say that the gathering extended only to the ordinary plunder, not taken by individual valour; and this, besides being the conclusion of Wackidi, is borne out by the fact, that the spoils of certain of the slain, remained, and descended by inheritance in the families of the heroes who had slain them; so much so, that the traditionists used to inquire in what families the spoil was, in proof of who was the slayer.

52 It is said that the Coreish were carrying the leather as merchandise; but this does not well agree with the rest of the story. There were, however, among the spoil, leather beds or rugs. Wackidi, 96. A beautiful red vestment is mentioned as a part of the booty; it disappeared, and people began to say that the Prophet had taken it; whereon (according to some) Sura, iii. v.162 ("It is not for a prophet to conceal booty," &c.) was revealed; but others attribute the verse to another occasion.


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camp, urged that they had equally with the others fulfilled the part assigned to them; and that duty, not cowardice, having restrained them from the pursuit, they were entitled to a full share of the prey 53. The contention became so sharp that Mahomet was forced to interpose with a message from Heaven, and to assume possession of the whole booty. It was God who had given the victory, and to God all the spoils belonged: -

"They ask thee concerning the Prey. SAY, the Prey is God's and his Prophet's. Wherefore, fear God, and dispose of the matter rightly among yourselves; and be obedient unto God and his Prophet, if ye be true Believers;" and so on in the same strain 54. Shortly alter, the following ordinance, which the Mussulman law of prize recognizes to the present day, was given forth - "And know that whatsoever thing ye plunder, verily one fifth thereof is for God and the Prophet, and for him that is of kin (unto the Prophet), and the Orphans, and the Poor, and the Wayfarer-if ye be they that believe in God, and in that which WE sent down to our Servant on the day of Discrimination 55, the day on

53 Sale aptly illustrates the contention by the scene at the taking of Ziklag. I. Sam. xxx. 20-25. "As his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike;" was David's decision.

54 Sura, viii.

55 Alluding to tile verse quoted before. "Discrimination," or Forcan, the same word which is often applied to the Coran, and sometimes to the Old Testament


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which the two armies met: and God is over all things powerful."56

The spoil divided near Safra

In accordance with these commands, the booty was gathered together on the field, and placed under a special officer.57. The next day it was divided, near Safra, in equal allotments, among the whole army, after the royal fifth had been set apart. All shared alike, excepting that the horsemen received each two extra portions for their horses 58. To the lot of every man fell a camel, with its gear; or two unaccoutred camels; or a leathern couch, or some such equivalent. Mahomet obtained the famous camel of Abu Jahl, and a sword known by the name of Dzul Ficar. The sword was selected by him beyond his share, according to a custom which allowed him, in virtue of the prophetic dignity, to choose from the booty, before division, whatever thing pleased him most.

The enemy's dead cast into a pit

The sun was now declining, so they hastily dug a pit on the field of battle, and cast the enemy's

56 Sura, viii. 41. This verse is generally believed to have been revealed at Safra, on the occasion of the division or the spoils of Badr. But some hold that it was given forth not long after, in reference to the affair of the Bani Cainucaa. The explanation of the commentators will be found in Sale's Prel. Dis. Sec. vi. v.i. p.171.

57 Abdalla ibn Kab, of the Mozeina tribe, - a man of Medina. K. Wackidi, 101; Wackidi, 95. The division took place at Sayyar, a defile by Safra.

58 Some make this privilege to have been conceded to the cavalry, on a subsequent occasion; which is quite possible, as there were only two horses on the Moslem side at Badr.


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dead into it. Mahomet looked on, as the bodies were brought up and cast in. Abu Bakr stood by, and examining their features, called aloud their names.

Colloquy of Mahomet with them

"Otba! Shaiba! Omeyya! Abu Jahl!" exclaimed Mahomet, as one by one the corpses were, without ceremony, cast into 'the common grave. "Have ye now found that which your Lord promised you true? What my Lord promised me, that verily have I found to be true. Woe unto this people! Ye have rejected me, your Prophet! Ye cast me forth, and others gave me refuge; ye fought against me, and others came to my help!" "O Prophet!" said the by-standers, "dost thou speak unto the dead!" "Yea, verily;' replied Mahomet, "for they well know that the promise of their Lord unto them hath fully come to pass."59

Abu Hodzeifa's grief for his father

At the moment when the corpse of Otba was tossed into the pit, a look of distress overcast the countenance of his son, Abu Hodzeifa. Mahomet turned kindly to him, and said:-" Perhaps thou art distressed for thy father's fate?" "Not so, O Prophet of the Lord! I do not doubt the justice of my father's fate; but I knew well his wise and generous heart, and I had trusted that the Lord would lead him to the faith. But now that I see him slain,

59 That a scene, something of the kind I have described, was actually enacted, seems tolerably certain, though I cannot vouch for the words. It has been surrounded by a good deal of theatrical embellishment. Several versions are given; one, that Mahomet's followers overheard him holding this conversation with the dead at midnight. Wackidi, 106, 107; Hishami, 229.


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and my hope destroyed! ---- it is for that I grieve." So the Prophet comforted Abu Hodzeifa, and blessed him; and said, " It is well."60

Nadhr, a prisoner, put to death by Mahomet

The army of Medina, carrying with them their dead and wounded, retired in the evening to the valley of Otheil, several miles from Badr ;61 and there Mahomet passed the night. It was at Otheil that the cruel and vindictive spirit of Mahomet towards his enemies first began to display itself. The prisoners were brought up before him. As he scrutinized each, his eye fell fiercely on Nadhr, the son of Harith. "There was death in that glance," whispered Nadhr, trembling, to a by-stander. "Not so," replied the other; "it is but thine own imagination."

60 Wackidi, 106; 11irlt6m4 230; Tabari, 294. See, on the other hand, the tradition given above (p. 105) of Abu Hodzeifa's starting up to go forth to fight with hi. father. Tradition gloats over such savage passages; it is all the more pleasing to light upon an out-burst of natural affection like that in the text.

61 "After the spoil wits gathered, Mahomet prayed the mid-day prayer, and rested. Then he marched and entered the valley of Otheil; now Otheil is a valley three (Arabian) miles in length, commencing two miles from Badr. Mahomet arrived there at sunset, and passed the night in it, four miles from Badr. "I have given a tradition above that four of the martyrs were buried at Sayyar, and three at Dobba. Wackidi, 143. Where the rest were buried, I have not been able to trace. Burckhardt makes the tombs to be on the field of Badr. ---- "To the south of the town, about one mile distant, at the foot of the hills, are the tombs of the thirteen followers and friends of the Prophet, who fell by his side. They are mere heaps of earth, enclosed by a row of loose stones, and are all close together. The Kureish, as our guide explained to us, were posted on the hill behind the tombs," &C p. 406. But Burckliardt's information about the battle is not accurate. He speaks of All, with his "party of horsemen."


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The unfortunate prisoner thought otherwise, and besought Musab to intercede for him. MusM) reminded him that he had denied the faith and persecuted the believers. "Ah!" said Nadhr, "had the Coreish made thee a prisoner, they would never have put thee to death!" "Even were it so," Musab scornfully replied, "I am not as thou art; Islam hath rent all bonds asunder." Micdad, the captor, seeing that the captive, and with him the chance of a rich ransom, was about to slip from his hands, cried out, "The prisoner is mine"! At this moment, the command to "strike off his head!" was interposed by Mahomet, who had been watching all that passed.-" And, O Lord!" he added, "do thou of thy bounty grant unto Micdad a better prey than this?' Nadhr was forthwith beheaded by Ali.62

Otba, another prisoner, executed

Two days afterwards, about half-way to Medina, Ocba, another prisoner, was ordered out for execution 63. He ventured to expostulate, and demand why he should be treated more vigorously than the other captives. "Because of thy enmity to God and to his Prophet," replied Mahomet. "And my

62 Wackidi, 101. Hishami makes tile execution take place at Safra, p.251; Tabari, 297. The phrase Strike his neck, is always used for beheading. The executioner, by a dexterous stroke of the sword on the back of the neck, generally severs the head at one blow. It is still the mode of capital punishment in Mahometan countries.

63 Wackidi, 108. It occurred at Arc al Tzobia, which is on the Medina side of Safra, two Arabian miles from Rooha, on the S.E. of the Road. Wackidi, 34; Hishami, 232.


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little girl!" cried Ocba, in the bitterness of his soul, "who will take care of her? " - " Hell-fire!" exclaimed the heartless conqueror; and on the instant his victim was hewn to the ground. "Wretch that he was!" continued Mahomet, "and persecutor! Unbeliever in God, in his Prophet, and in his Book! I give thanks unto the Lord that hath slain thee, and comforted mine eyes thereby."

Traditions as to Mahomet's being reprimanded for saving any prisoners alive

It would even Seem to have been contemplated at the close of the battle to kill all the prisoners Mahomet is represented by tradition as himself directing this course 64. Abu Bakr, always on the side of mercy, pleaded for them. Omar, the personification of stern justice, urged Mahomet vehemently to put all to death. Gabriel upon this brought a message from Heaven, leaving it at the Prophet's option either to slay all the captives or demand a ransom for them; but to the latter alternative was annexed

64 Thus Mahomet said:" Tell not Said of his brother's death" (Mabad, a prisoner, see above p.110 note); "but kill ye every man his prisoner." Wackidi, 100. Again: "Take not any man his brother prisoner, but rather kill him." p.101. 1 would not, however, lay too much stress on these traditions. I am inclined rather to view them as called into existence by the passage quoted below from the Coran.

Mahomet likened Abu Bakr to Michael, Abraham, and Jesus, all advocates of mercy; and Omar to Gabriel, Noah, and Moses, the ministers of justice. Wackidi, 103. He added that if the sin of Badr in sparing the prisoners had been punished rigorously, none would have escaped but Omar and Sad ibn Muadz (another sanguinary believer, as we shall have full proof below), who both urged the slaughter of all the prisoners. Wackidi, 104; Tabari, 318--320.


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the condition, that an equal number of the Believers should be killed in battle the ensuing year 65. Mahomet consulted his followers; and they said: "Let us save the prisoners alive, and take their ransom; hereafter, thay that are killed in lieu thereof will inherit Paradise and the crown of martyrdom;" - which counsel was adopted. These traditions embody the popular Mussulman belief on the subject.

Passsage from the Coran on the subject

But the only mention of it in the Coran is the following verse; which, though produced by Mahomet rather to justify the slaughter of the six prisoners put to death by himself and his followers, and to gain the character of having, with reference to his divine commission, erred on the side of mercy, may have given rise to all this mass of fiction : -

"It is not for a Prophet to take prisoners until he hath inflicted a grievous wound upon his enemies on the Earth. Ye seek after tile good things of this Life; but God seeketh after the Life to come; and God is Glorious and Wise. Unless an order 66 from the Lord had interposed, surely a grievous punishment had overtaken you. Now, therefore, of tile spoil which ye have taken, eat that which is lawful and desirable; and fear God, for God is Gracious and Merciful.

"O thou Prophet I say unto tile Prisoners in dime hands,- if God knoweth any thing in your hearts which is good, he will give unto you better than that which is taken from you 67; and he will

65 "Which came to pass at Ohod." Wackidi, 102.

66 Lit "a Writing."- Kitab. Abdoolcader translates in Urdu thus: - "Had this not been written in God's decrees," viz. that many of the captives would be converted to Islam. Others make it refer to previous passages, authorizing the taking of prey. It may simply mean, - "Had there not been a previous decree to the contrary, a grievous punishment had overtaken you," &C.

67 i.e. Liberty or Ransom.


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forgive you, for the Lord is Forgiving and Merciful But if they seek to act unfaithfully towards thee 68 -- verily they have acted unfaithfully towards God already, and God is Knowing and Wise."69

Mahomet hopes to convert the remaining prisoners

It will be remarked that Mahomet already contemplates the possibility of converting the remaining to his cause; and in some instances, as we shall see, he was successful.

Tidings of the victory made known in Medina

From Otheil, Mahomet had despatched Zeid and Abdallah ibn Rowaha, the poet, to make known his victory at Medina. From the valley of Ackick, Abdallah struck off to the right, and spread the good tidings throughout Coba and Upper Medina. Zeid, mounted on Al Caswa, proceeded straight to the city. The enemies of Mahomet, seeing his favourite camel approach without her master, prognosticated that he had been slain. But they were soon undeceived and crestfallen 70; for Zeid, stopping at the

68 This is explained to mean "deceit in not paying the ransom agreed upon;" but it seems an unlikely interpretation, as the ransom was ordinarily paid down on the spot It may be a significant intimation that those who came over to Islam would be released without ransom; - the deceit contemplated being a treacherous confession of faith followed by desertion to Mecca.

69 vii 70-74.

70 The Jews, and their adherents from amongst the disaffected families of Medina, are represented as casting in the teeth of the Believers that their Prophet was dead, and jeering at them; but it is not likely that it was yet known at Medina (as these traditions imply) that an army had marched from Mecca. Mahomet himself only knew this on the Thursday night, and these messengers having left shortly after the battle, and travelled rapidly, would bring thp first intelligence of it. The impression at Medina


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place of prayer, near the entrance of the city, cried aloud that the Coreish had been overthrown; and then enumerated by name the chief men of Mecca who had been slain or taken prisoners. The joy of the Prophet's adherents was unbounded; and as the news ran from door to door, even the little children caused the streets to resound with the cry, Abu Jahl, the sinner, is slain!

Mahomet's return; death of his daughter Rockeya

The next day, Mahomet himself arrived. His gladness was damped by finding that his daughter Rockeya had died and been buried during his absence. They had just smoothed the earth over her tomb in the graveyard of Backi, as Zeid entered Medina. Othman had watched tenderly over her death-bed; and Mahomet sought to solace him, by uniting him in marriage, a few months later, to lils remaining single daughter, Omm Koltham. Like Rockeya, she had been married to a cousin, the son of Abu Lahab, but had for some time been separated from him 71. She died a year or two before

could only have been that a conflict had occurred between Mahomet and the convoy of the caravan - not so dangerous an affair as to justify the following kind of speech (which is anyhow improbable in itself) : -"Here cometh Zeid! His comrades have been aspersed, and will never again rally. Mahomet hath been killed, for this is his camel. Zeid is so terrified by his flight that be talketh madly," &C Zeid's son, Osama, is represented as threatening to strike off the head of one who taunted him in this way.

We must be on our guard as to the manner in which the Jews and Unbelievers of Medina are treated by tradition, almost as much as against the way in which the Unbelievers of Mecca are spoken of. Wackidi, 109.

71 See vol. ii. p.46. Mahomet affianced her in marriage in


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Mahomet, who used, after her death, to say he so dearly loved Othman, that had there been a third daughter, he would have given her also in marriage to him 72.

The prisoners brought into Medina

In the evening, the prisoners were brought in 73. Sauda had gone out to join in lamentation with the family of Afra, a citizen, who lost two sons at Badr. On her return, she found, standing by her house, Suheil, one of the prisoners, with his hands tied behind his neck 74. Surprised at the sight, she offered to loose his hands, when she was startled by the voice of Mahomet, calling loudly from within "By the Lord and his Prophet! O Sauda, what art thou about to do?" She replied that she had addressed Suheil from an involuntary impulse. Yet Mahomet was far from intending to treat the prisoners whose lives he had spared with harshness.

Rabi, the first of the third year or the Hegira; and the marriage was celebrated a couple of months later, i.e. in the second Jumad, or eight months after the battle of Badr. Tabari, 84.

72 K. Wackidi, 189.

73 Wackidi, 113. Other authorities say that they arrived a day before Mahomet.

74 Wackidi, 112. Perhaps greater stringency was used in his restraint, as he broke from his bonds on the road, and had nearly escaped. Mahomet gave orders to chase and kill him. Coming up with him himself, he spared his life, but bound his hands behind his neck, and tied him to his camel. Usama met Mahomet entering Medina with Suheil in this condition, and exclaimed, - "What! Abu Yazid!" (Suheil's name). "Yes," said Mahomet, "it is the same,- the Chief who used to feed the people with bread at Mecca." Wackidi, 111.


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He rather hoped, by a kind and courteous demeanour, to win. their affections and draw them over to the Faith. Omm Salma was, with the other women from Mecca, lamenting at the house of Afra, when she was told that some of the prisoners had been brought to her house. She first proceeded to Mahomet, whom she found in the apartment of Ayesha, and thus addressed him: "O Prophet! my uncles sons desire that I should entertain certain of the prisoners, that I should anoint their heads, and comb their dishevelled hair; but I did not venture to do so until I had first obtained thine orders." Mahomet replied that he did not at all object to these marks of hospitality, and desired her to do as she had intended.75

They are treated kindly

In pursuance of Mahomet's commands, the citizens of Medina, and such of the Refugees as possessed houses, received the prisoners, and treated them with much consideration. "Blessings be on the men of Medina!" said one of these prisoners in later days; "they made us ride, while they themselves walked: they gave us wheaten bread to eat when there was little of it, contenting themselves with dates." It is not surprising that when, some time after, their friends came to ransom them, several

75 Wackidi, 111. Tabari, 298. For Omm Salma, see vol. ii. 106. One or two years after on her husband's death, Mahomet married this lady.


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of the prisoners who had been thus received declared themselves adherents of Islam; and to such the Prophet granted liberty, without the usual payment.76 It was long before the Coreish could reconcile themselves to the humiliation of visiting Aledina to arrange for the liberation of their relatives. Their tender treatment was thus prolonged, and left a favourable impression on the minds even of those who did not at once go over to Islam.

And ransomed from Mecca

Eventually, the army of Bafir was enriched by the large payments made for the prisoners; for they were redeemed according to their several means, - some paying a thousand, and others as much as four thousand dirhems. Such as had nothing to pay, were liberated without ransom; but a service was first required of them, which shows how far Mecca was in advance of Medina in learning. To each prisoner were allotted ten boys, who were to be taught the art of writing; and their tuition, when completed, was accepted as a full ransom.77

The victory divine declaration in favour of Islam

The battle of Badr was one of the critical points in the life of Mahomet. However skilful in turning the incident of the day, whether favourable or not,

76 See two instances at pp.136, 187 of Wackidi. In one of these cues the conversion was probably hastened by the mortification of the prisoner Walid, grandson of Mughira, at finding his brother haggling about the price demanded. It is curious to trace the various motives which inclined men towards Islam.

77 K. Wackidi, 101 . Zeid ibn Thabit, the poet, is said to have learned writing in this way. C. de Perceval, iii. 74.


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into a proof of the Divine interposition for the. furtherance of Islam, the Prophet would have found it difficult on the present occasion to maintain his position at Medina in the face of any reverse. The victory now supplied him with new and cogent arguments. He did not hesitate to ascribe the entire success to the miraculous assistance of God; and this was the easier, in consequence of the superior numbers of the Coreish. I have already quoted some passages from the Coran to this effect.

Angelic auxiliaries

The presence of an Angelic host, a thousand strong, actively engaged against the enemy, was gravely asserted by the Prophet, who pretended to have received the following revelation on the subject: -

"When ye sought assistance from your Lord; and he answered, Verily, I will assist you with a thousand Angel:, following one upon another; -this the Lord did as good tidings for you, and that your heart: might be thereby reassured. As for victory, it is from none other than God: for God is Glorious and Wise 78.

And about a year after, or perhaps later:--

"Verily there hath been given unto you a Sign in the two Armies which fought One Army fought in the way of God. The other was unbelieving, and saw their enemy double of themselves by the sight of the eye. And God strengtheneth with his aid whom he pleaseth. Verily, therein is a lesson unto the discerning people."79

"And ye slew them not, but God slew them. And, thou (O Prophet) didst not cast (the gravel); but God cast it; that he might prove the believers by a gracious probation from himself Verily, God heareth and knoweth.

78 Sura, viii. 9, 10.

79 Sura, iii. 18.


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"It was even so. And God weakeneth the devices of the Infidels.

"If ye desire a Decision, truly the Decision 80 hath already come unto you. If ye hold back, it will be better for you; but if ye return, WE also shall return. And your troops will not avail you anything, even though they be many in number; for surely God is with the Believers."81

The Devil forced to abandon the Coreish

Furthermore, not only was Divine aid afforded to the army of Medina, but the help which Satan had designed for the army of Mecca was signally frustrated: -

"Be not like those who went forth from their habitations vaingloriously and to be seen of men, and turned aside from the way of God: and God compasseth about that which they do.

"And (remember) when Satan bedecked their works for them, and said,- None shalt prevail this day against you; for I verily am your Confederate. But when the two Armies came within sight of each other, he turned back upon his heels, and said,- Verily I am clear of you. Truly I see that which ye do not see. I fear God, for God is Terrible in vengeance."82

80"Al Fath;" signifying either Decision or Victory.

81 Sura, viii. 16-18.

82 Ibid. 49, 50. As may be imagined, these passages have given rise to endless legends. The Devil, as usual, was in the form of Suraca. This man was seen running away from the field of battle, and was taxed with it by the Coreish - while all the. time it was the Devil! We have gravely given to us the circumstantial evidence of a witness regarding the Devil's behaviour, his jumping into the sea, what he said on that occasion, &c. Wackidi, 69, 70. As to the angels, we have pages filled with accounts of them ; - such as that one of the enemy suddenly perceived a tall white figure in the air, mounted on a piebald horse: this angel having bound him, left him on the spot a prisoner; and this was the cause of his conversion. But it would be endless and unprofitable to multiply such tales. Wackidi, 70 to 76.


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Mahomet now stands or falls by his success in the field

The cause of Mahomet, it was now distinctly admitted, must stand or fall by the result of the armed struggle, on which he had fairly entered, with his native city. It was, no doubt, difficult and dangerous ground for a fallible mortal to stand upon; but the die was cast, and the battle must be fought out to the death. The scabbard having been thrown away, little additional risk was incurred by the founder of Islam when he made success in arms the criterion of his prophetical claim. His position, however otherwise strong, could not be maintained in the face of defeat; however weak, a succession of victories would establish it triumphantly.

Number of chief Coreish killed at Badr

There was much in the battle of Badr which Mahomet could plausibly represent as a special interposition of the Deity in his behalf. Not only was a most decisive victory gained over a force three times his own in number, but the slain on the enemy's side included, in a most remarkable manner, many of his influential opponents.83 In addition to the chief men killed or made prisoners,

83 The following is the long list of men of mark who were either killed or taken captive: -

Killed. - Shaiba and Otba, great-grandsons of Abd Shams; Walid; Al Aas ibn Said; Abu Jahl; Ab ul Bokhtari; Hantzala, son of Abu Sofian; Al Harith, great grandson of Abd Menaf; Tueima ibn Adi; Zamaa; Nowfal ibn Khuweilid; Al Aas ibn Hashim; Munabbih ibn al Hajjaj; Mibad; Nadhr; Ocba; Omeya, and his son Ali, &C

Prisoners.-Nowfal, grandson of Almuttalib; Ockeil, son of Aba Talib; Abul Aas; Adi iba al Kheari; Amr, son of Aba


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Aba Lahab, who was not present in the battle, died a few days after the return of the fugitive army,-- as if the decree marking out the enemies of the Prophet was certain and inevitable.84

Consternation and thirst for revenge at Mecca

At Mecca itself, the news of the defeat was received with consternation. Shame and a burning desire for revenge stifled the, expression of grief. "Weep not for your slain;" such was the counsel of Abu Sofian. "Bewail not their loss; neither let the bard mourn for them. Show that ye are men and heroes! If ye Wail and lament, and mourn over them with elegies, it will ease your wrath and diminish your enmity towards Mahomet and his fellows. Moreover, if that reach our enemies ears, and they laugh at us, will not their scorn be the severest calamity of all? Perchance ye may yet obtain your revenge. As for me, I will touch no oil, neither approach any woman, until I go forth to war against Mahomet." It was the same savage pride which so long prevented their sending to Medina for the ransom of their captive kinsmen85.

Sofian; Abu Ozeir; Walid, grandson of Mughira; Abdallah ibn Obeya; Aba Ozza, the poet; Wahb ibn Omeir; Aba Widaa; Soheil ibn Amr, &c.

84 Abasside traditions add that his death was caused by malignant and infectious ulcers; that he remained two days unburied, as no one would approach the offensive corpse; that be was not washed, but that water was cast from a distance on his body, which was then raised, and cast into a well in Upper Mecca, and stones heaped over the well. Tabari, 302. The bias is palpable.

85 The first that went was Al Muttalib, who, being weary of the delay made by the Coreish, set off covertly to ransom his


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Wailing for the dead

A month elapsed thus; and they could refrain no longer. The wild demonstrations of Asiatic grief burst forth at last from the whole city. In almost every house there were cries and wailing for the captive or the dead. And this lasted an entire month.86 There was one exception - "Why sheddest thou no tears; said they to Hind, the wife of Abu Sofian. "Why weep not for thy father

father, Abu Wadaa. The Coreish abused him on his return,- Abu Sofian saying that he would not send to ransom his own son Amr, even if Mahomet kept him for a whole year. Amr was eventually exchanged by Mahomet for one of his followers who, having incautiously gone to Mecca on the Lesser Pilgrimage, was there arrested. Wackidi, 118, 125, 134; Tabari, 307.

86 A plaintive illustration of the force of pent-up grief is given by Wackidi (p. 217) with all the pathos of Arab feeling. The blind and aged Aswad had lost two sons and a grandson in the battle. Like the rest of the Coreish, he sternly repressed his grief; but as day. rolled on, he longed to give vent to his feelings. One night he heard the wild notes of a female wailing, and he said to his servant: "Go see! it may be that the Coreish have begun to wail for their dead: perchance, I too, may wail for Zamba, my son; for grief consumeth me within." The servant returned, saying, that it was but the voice of a woman lamenting for her strayed camel. On this the old man gave way to a burst of beautiful and impassioned poetry. "Doth she weep for her camel, and for it banish sleep from her eyes? Nay, if ye will weep, let us weep over Badr: - Weep for Ockeil, and Harith, the lion of lions!" &C:-


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Otba, for thy brother, and thine uncle?" "Nay," replied Hind, "I will not weep until ye again wage war with Mahomet and his fellows. If weeping would wash away grief from my heart, I would weep even as ye; but it is not thus." To mark her sullen sorrow, she foreswore to use oil for her hair, or to go near the bed of Abu Sofian, until an army should march forth against Medina.87

87 Wackidi 117; Tabari, 808. Hind (as we shall see) is represented as a Fury at the battle of Ohod; but the tendency of tradition is to overdraw her rancour. The traditionists always needed a foil of this sort. Abu Jahl, and others of his stamp, were gone. Hind, and, in a less degree, her husband Abu Sofian, take their place.


The Life of Mahomet, Volume III [Table of Contents]

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