Badr is a village approximately 80 miles from Madina where a battle between the Muslims and the Kuffaar had occurred, wherein the Muslims had gained a clear victory and shattered the pride of the Kuffaar. Allah Ta’ala named the day of this confrontation as ‘Yaumul Furqaan’ [Surah 8, Verse 41], describing the Battle of Badr in great detail in Surah Anfaal.
The actual reason for the Battle of Badr was the killing of Amr bin Hadrami as the Kuffaar of the Quraish were angered and sought revenge for it. He was from a respected family of Makkah and the Kuffaar began to chant “an eye for an eye!” He was killed by Hazrat Waaqid bin Abdullah (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) in order to save the lives of a group of Sahaabah from the Kuffaar and was the first disbeliever to be killed by a Muslim. [Zarqaani]
The caravan which Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) wanted to obstruct in the Ghazwah of Zil Asheerah (which took place before Amr bin Hadrami was killed), had now returned from Shaam (Syria) and was heading towards Makkah. Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said to his Sahaabah, “The Kuffaar of the Quraish circle Madina everyday with the intention of looting and plundering it. Karz bin Jabir Fahri has stolen our animals from us. To obstruct their trade route, we should stop this caravan of the Quraish and capture its goods, forcing them to sign a truce with us.” The Ansaar and Muhaajireen were immediately prepared to follow this strategy of Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).
On the 11th of Ramadaan 2AH Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and his Sahaabah departed from Madina to bring this plan into action. The usual provisions and weaponry of war were not taken, as major fighting was not anticipated.
In the meantime, a rumour spread in Makkah that the Muslims had left Madina fully armed to do battle and raid the caravan, exciting the Kuffaar who began to motivate themselves for war against the Muslims. When the news of this reached Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), he informed the Sahaabah of it and said, “There is a possibility of war with the Kuffaar of Makkah.” Hearing this Hazrat Abu Bakr, Hazrat Umar and other Muhaajireen (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anhum) said in one voice, “We are ready to face the Kuffaar.” Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) then looked at the Ansaar who agreed to lift their swords in war only if Madina was attacked.
Nevertheless, Hazrat Sa’ad bin Ubaadah (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh), the leader of the Khazraj tribe of the Ansaar, bravely said to Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), “Oh Prophet of Allah, we swear by Allah that indeed if you command us, we shall do our best to carry out your order.” Another leader of the Ansaar, Hazrat Miqdaad bin Aswad (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) said, “Oh Prophet of Allah, we are not like the people of Hazrat Moosa (Alaihis Salaam) who said to him, “Let you and your Lord go and fight [Surah 5, Verse 24].” We will surely fight! We will surely fight and sacrifice our lives for you!” Hearing the two leaders, Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) became pleased. [Bukhari Shareef ]
He then reviewed his army and ordered those not old enough for war to go back to Madina (a few miles from where they were), as children do not belong in warfare. A young soldier amongst the children that were sent back was Hazrat Umair bin Abu Waqqaas (the younger brother of Hazrat Sa’ad bin Abu Waqqaas (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anhum)). After being told to return, he immediately began to cry and refused to do so as he was so spirited to fight for Islam. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) saw this exhibition of courage and allowed Hazrat Umair bin Abu Waqqaas (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) to travel with them; his elder brother Hazrat Sa’ad (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) gave him a sword which he hung around his neck.
Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) then proceeded to Badr where the Kuffaar were believed to approach. His army now consisted of 313 soldiers, of which only 60 were Muhaajireen and the rest Ansaar. After reaching Safraa, two informants were sent to gather information on the whereabouts of the caravan. [Zarqaani]
Spies were also deployed by the Kuffaar of Makkah, who worked extremely swiftly. When Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) left Madina, it became known to Abu Sufyaan who then sent Damdam bin Amr Ghiffaari to the Kuffaar of Makkah with a plan of safety for the caravan, also changing his route and opting for the one closer to the sea rather than the usual route. When Damdam bin Amr reached Makkah, he began to tear his clothes and stand on his camel’s back (as was the custom of delivering a fearful message), frantically delivering the message of Abu Sufyaan saying, “People of Makkah! Your goods for trade are in the caravan of Abu Sufyaan; the Muslims intend to loot it and have already blocked its path! You need to quickly pick up your weapons and save it!” [Zarqaani]
After hearing this message, the entire city of Makkah was thrown into a frenzy. Every tribe of the Quraish, fully armoured, stepped out to stop this “attack” of the Muslims. Every leader (except for a sick Abu Lahab) joined their respective tribes for battle, with the killing of Amr bin Hadrami still fresh in their minds. A fully armoured army was prepared by the disbelievers with each soldier having two weapons each. Arrangements for food were organized by wealthy individuals of the Quraish (e.g. Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib, Utba bin Rabia, Haarith bin Aamir, Nudr bin Haarith, Abu Jahl and Umaya etc.) who would alternate on slaughtering 10 camels to feed the soldiers daily. Utba bin Rabia the richest person of the Quraish, was made the commander of the army.
In taking the route to Makkah along the sea, Abu Sufyaan was able to escape any confrontation with the Muslims. After becoming assured of his safety, he sent a letter with a fast-riding messenger to the Quraish saying, “Indeed you’ve armed yourselves and marched to protect your fellow countrymen and goods. Now, however, you should all return to Makkah, as the caravan we are travelling in is safe from any Muslim attack and steadily making its way back to the city.”
The letter of Abu Sufyaan reached the Kuffaar army in a place called Jahfa. After reading it, the leaders of the tribes began to say, “There is no reason to fight with the Muslims now, we should return to Makkah.” Upon hearing this, Abu Jahl retorted, “Oath on the Creator! We will march on to Badr! There we will slaughter camels, eat, drink, wine and enjoy ourselves, so that every Arab tribe will know of our greatness and stature. They will always be afraid of us after this!” And thus the suggestion of Abu Jahl was accepted. Every tribe of the Quraish was then included in the Battle of Badr except the Banu Zohra and Banu Adi, who returned back to Makkah. [Seerat ibn Hishaam]
Although the Kuffaar of the Quraish were adamant for war, there were some amongst them who did not desire bloodshed. Thus Hakeem bin Hazaam (who accepted Islam at a later stage) approached the leader of the Kuffaar’s army, Utba bin Rabia, and said, “What benefit is there in fighting? The Quraish seek revenge for Amr bin Hadrami whose blood-money should be paid by you. If you do so, bloodshed can be alleviated and you will be regarded as a historical personality – one through who’s planning, a war was avoided.” Utba accepted the proposal but the acceptance of Abu Jahl was also needed. When Hakeem bin Hazaam presented this agreement to Abu Jahl, he replied, “I know why Utba wants this war not to happen. His son Huzaifa has accepted Islam and has come with the Muslim army, and he does not want any harm to come to him.”
Abu Jahl then called for Aamir bin Hadrami (the brother of Amr bin Hadrami) and said, “The revenge attack of your brother’s murder seems as if it will not occur as our leader, Utba, is now exhibiting cowardice.” Hearing this, Aamir bin Hadrami tore his clothes, placed dirt on his head and motivated the Kuffaar for war, who then began to shout, “An eye for an eye! We are ready for war!” Utba became enraged after hearing the statement of Abu Jahl and then prepared to fight the Muslims saying, “Tell Abu Jahl the battlefield will decide who is a coward!”
And thus the Kuffaar prepared for war and initiated the battle of Badr. It is for this reason that Hazrat Urwa bin Zubair (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) referred to the killing of Amr bin Hadrami by Hazrat Waaqid bi Abdullah (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) as the reason for the Battle of Badr and every other battle between the Muslims and the Kuffaar (i.e. every battle was in the Kuffaar seeking revenge for this killing).
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the Taufeeq to seek the knowledge of our Deen and to sacrifice our lives for Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam the way the Sahaabah-e-Kiraam did, Ameen.
[Compiled from Seerat-e-Mustafa Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam by Hazrat Allama Abdul Mustafa Aazmi Rahmatullah Alaih]