The Battle of Badr from Quran’ic Commentary (Tafsir ibn Kathir)


Ibn Hibban has narrated from Abu Dhar (r) in his book As-Sahih that he said, “O Prophet of Allah! How many Prophets were there?” He replied, “One hundred and twenty-four thousand.” I said, “O Prophet of Allah! How many were there Messengers out of them?” He said, “Three hundred and thirteen: quite a big number.” I said, “O Prophet of Allah! Who was the first of them?” He replied, “Adam.” I said, “O Prophet of Allah! Was he a Prophet and Messenger?” He said, “Yes, Allah created him with His Hand, then He breathed into him the soul which He created for him, then He gave him a perfect shape.”

وَلَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمُ ٱللَّهُ بِبَدْرٍ وَأَنتُمْ أَذِلَّةٌ فَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

for, indeed, God did succour you at Badr, when you were utterly weak. Remain, then, conscious of God, so that you might have cause to be grateful. Al-Imran (The Family of Imran) 3:123

قَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ ءَايَةٌ فِى فِئَتَيْنِ ٱلْتَقَتَا فِئَةٌ تُقَـٰتِلُ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَأُخْرَىٰ كَافِرَةٌ يَرَوْنَهُم مِّثْلَيْهِمْ رَأْىَ ٱلْعَيْنِ وَٱللَّهُ يُؤَيِّدُ بِنَصْرِهِۦ مَن يَشَآءُ إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكَ لَعِبْرَةً لِّأُو۟لِى ٱلْأَبْصَـٰرِ

You have already had a sign in the two hosts that met in battle, one host fighting in God’s cause and the other denying Him; with their own eyes [the former] saw the others as twice their own number: but God strengthens with His succour whom He wills. In this, behold, there is indeed a lesson for all who have eyes to see. (3:13)

يَجْزِى وَالِدٌ عَن وَلَدِهِۦ وَلَا مَوْلُودٌ هُوَ جَازٍ عَن وَالِدِهِۦ شَيْـًٔا إِنَّ وَعْدَ ٱللَّهِ حَقٌّ فَلَا تَغُرَّنَّكُمُ ٱلْحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنْيَا وَلَا يَغُرَّنَّكُم بِٱللَّهِ ٱلْغَرُورُ

O HUMANKIND! Be conscious of your Sustainer, and stand in awe of the Day on which no parent will be of any avail to his child, nor a child will in the least avail his parent! Verily, God’s promise [of resurrection] is true in­deed: let not, then, the life of this world deludes you, and let not [your own] deceptive thoughts about God delude you! (31:33)

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عِندَهُۥ عِلْمُ ٱلسَّاعَةِ وَيُنَزِّلُ ٱلْغَيْثَ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِى ٱلْأَرْحَامِ وَمَا تَدْرِى نَفْسٌ مَّاذَا تَكْسِبُ غَدًا وَمَا تَدْرِى نَفْسٌۢ بِأَىِّ أَرْضٍ تَمُوتُ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌۢ

Verily, with God alone rests the knowledge of when the Last Hour will come: and He [it is who] sends down rain; and He [alone] knows what is in the wombs: whereas no one knows what he will reap tomorrow, and no one knows in what land he will die, Verily. God [alone] is all-knowing, all-aware. (31:34)

وَلَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمُ ٱللَّهُ بِبَدْرٍ وَأَنتُمْ أَذِلَّةٌ فَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

for, indeed, God did succour you at Badr, when you were utterly weak. Remain, then, conscious of God, so that you might have cause to be grateful. Al-Imran (The Family of Imran) 3:123

The day of Badr is known as Yawm Al-Furqan [the Day of the Clarification], by which Allah gave victory and dominance to Islam and its people and disgraced and destroyed Shirk, even though the Muslims were few. The Muslims numbered three hundred and thirteen men, with two horses and seventy camels. The rest were foot soldiers without enough supplies for the battle. The enemy army consisted of nine hundred to a thousand men, having enough shields and supplies, battle-ready horses and even various adornments.
Badr is an area between Makkah and Al-Madinah and is known by the well that bears its name, which in turn was so named after Badr bin An-Narayn, the person who dug the well.

The Expedition of Saul Against the Philistines and Goliath

وَقَالَ لَهُمْ نَبِيُّهُمْ إِنَّ ءَايَةَ مُلْكِهِۦٓ أَن يَأْتِيَكُمُ ٱلتَّابُوتُ فِيهِ سَكِينَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَبَقِيَّةٌ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ ءَالُ مُوسَىٰ وَءَالُ هَـٰرُونَ تَحْمِلُهُ ٱلْمَلَـٰٓئِكَةُ إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكَ لَـَٔايَةً لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ

And their prophet said unto them: ‘Behold, it shall be a sign of his [rightful] dominion that you will be granted a heart endowed by your Sustainer with inner peace and with all that is enduring in the angel-borne heritage left behind by the House of Moses and the House of Aaron. Herein, behold, there shall indeed be a sign for you if you are [truly] believers.’ Al-Baqara (The Cow) 2:248

فَلَمَّا فَصَلَ طَالُوتُ بِٱلْجُنُودِ قَالَ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مُبْتَلِيكُم بِنَهَرٍ فَمَن شَرِبَ مِنْهُ فَلَيْسَ مِنِّى وَمَن لَّمْ يَطْعَمْهُ فَإِنَّهُۥ مِنِّىٓ إِلَّا مَنِ ٱغْتَرَفَ غُرْفَةًۢ بِيَدِهِۦ فَشَرِبُوا۟ مِنْهُ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِّنْهُمْ فَلَمَّا جَاوَزَهُۥ هُوَ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ مَعَهُۥ قَالُوا۟ لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا ٱلْيَوْمَ بِجَالُوتَ وَجُنُودِهِۦ قَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَـٰقُوا۟ ٱللَّهِ كَم مِّن فِئَةٍ قَلِيلَةٍ غَلَبَتْ فِئَةً كَثِيرَةًۢ بِإِذْنِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱللَّهُ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ

And when Saul set out with his forces, he said: ‘Behold, God will now try you by a river: he who shall drink of it will not belong to me, whereas he who shall refrain from tasting it – he, indeed, will belong to me; but forgiven shall be he who shall scoop up but a single handful.’ However, save for a few of them, they all drank [their fill] of it. And as soon as he and those who had kept faith with him had crossed the river, the others said: ‘No strength have we today [to stand up] against Goliath and his forces!’ [Yet] those who knew with certainty that they were destined to meet God, replied: ‘How often has a small host overcome a great host by God’s leave! For God is with those who are patient in adversity.‘ Al-Baqara (The Cow) 2:249

وَلَمَّا بَرَزُوا۟ لِجَالُوتَ وَجُنُودِهِۦ قَالُوا۟ رَبَّنَآ أَفْرِغْ عَلَيْنَا صَبْرًا وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَنَا وَٱنصُرْنَا عَلَى ٱلْقَوْمِ ٱلْكَـٰفِرِينَ

And when they came face to face with Goliath and his forces, they prayed: ‘O our Sustainer! Shower us with patience in adversity, and make firm our steps, and succour us against the people who deny the truth!’ Al-Baqara (The Cow) 2:250

فَهَزَمُوهُم بِإِذْنِ ٱللَّهِ وَقَتَلَ دَاوُۥدُ جَالُوتَ وَءَاتَىٰهُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلْمُلْكَ وَٱلْحِكْمَةَ وَعَلَّمَهُۥ مِمَّا يَشَآءُ وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ ٱللَّهِ ٱلنَّاسَ بَعْضَهُم بِبَعْضٍ لَّفَسَدَتِ ٱلْأَرْضُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ ذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى ٱلْعَـٰلَمِينَ

And thereupon, by God’s leave, they routed them. And David slew Goliath; and God bestowed upon him dominion, and wisdom, and imparted to him the knowledge of whatever He willed. And if God had not enabled people to defend themselves against one another, corruption would surely overwhelm the earth: but God is limitless in His bounty unto all the worlds. Al-Baqara (The Cow) 2:251

Ibn Jarir reported that Al-Bara’ bin ‘Azib said, “We used to say that the Companions of Muhammad ﷺ who accompanied him on the battle of Badr were more than three hundred and ten, just as many as the soldiers who crossed the river with Talut. Only those who believed crossed the river with him.” Al-Bukhari also reported this.
This is why Allah said:

فَلَمَّا جَاوَزَهُ هُوَ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ قَالُوا لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا الْيَوْمَ بِجَالُوتَ وَجُنُودِهِ

So when he had crossed it (the river), he and those who believed with him, they said: “We have no power this day against Jalut (Goliath) and his hosts.”

This Ayah indicates that the Israelites (who remained with Saul) thought that they were few in the face of their enemy who were many then. So, their knowledgeable scholars strengthened their resolve by stating that Allah’s promise is true and that triumph comes from Allah Alone, not from the large numbers or the adequacy of the supplies. They said to them:

كَم مِّن فِئَةٍ قَلِيلَةٍ غَلَبَتْ فِئَةً كَثِيرَةً بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ

“How often has a small group overcome a mighty host by Allah’s leave?” And Allah is with As-Sabirin (the patient.

وَمَآ أَصَـٰبَكُمْ يَوْمَ ٱلْتَقَى ٱلْجَمْعَانِ فَبِإِذْنِ ٱللَّهِ وَلِيَعْلَمَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

and all that befell you on the day when the two hosts met in battle happened by God’s leave, so that He might mark out the [true] believers, Al-Imran (The Family of Imran) 3:166

وَٱعْلَمُوٓا۟ أَنَّمَا غَنِمْتُم مِّن شَىْءٍ فَأَنَّ لِلَّهِ خُمُسَهُۥ وَلِلرَّسُولِ وَلِذِى ٱلْقُرْبَىٰ وَٱلْيَتَـٰمَىٰ وَٱلْمَسَـٰكِينِ وَٱبْنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ إِن كُنتُمْ ءَامَنتُم بِٱللَّهِ وَمَآ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَىٰ عَبْدِنَا يَوْمَ ٱلْفُرْقَانِ يَوْمَ ٱلْتَقَى ٱلْجَمْعَانِ وَٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

AND KNOW that whatever booty you acquire [in war], one-fifth thereof belongs to God and the Apostle, and the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer. [This you must observe] if you believe in God and in what We bestowed from on high upon Our servant on the day when the true was distinguished from the false – the day when the two hosts met in battle. And God has the power to will anything. Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War) 8:41

إِذْ أَنتُم بِٱلْعُدْوَةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا وَهُم بِٱلْعُدْوَةِ ٱلْقُصْوَىٰ وَٱلرَّكْبُ أَسْفَلَ مِنكُمْ وَلَوْ تَوَاعَدتُّمْ لَٱخْتَلَفْتُمْ فِى ٱلْمِيعَـٰدِ وَلَـٰكِن لِّيَقْضِىَ ٱللَّهُ أَمْرًا كَانَ مَفْعُولًا لِّيَهْلِكَ مَنْ هَلَكَ عَنۢ بَيِّنَةٍ وَيَحْيَىٰ مَنْ حَىَّ عَنۢ بَيِّنَةٍ وَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَسَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

[Remember that day] when you were at the near end of the valley [of Badr], and they were at its farthest end, while the caravan was below you. And if you had known that a battle was to take place, you would indeed have refused to accept the challenge: but [the battle was brought about none the less,] so that God might accomplish a thing [which He willed] to be done, [and] that he who would perish might perish in clear evidence of the truth, and that he who would remain alive might live in clear evidence of the truth. And, behold, God is indeed all-hearing, all-knowing. Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War) 8:42

إِذْ يُرِيكَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ فِى مَنَامِكَ قَلِيلًا وَلَوْ أَرَىٰكَهُمْ كَثِيرًا لَّفَشِلْتُمْ وَلَتَنَـٰزَعْتُمْ فِى ٱلْأَمْرِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَلَّمَ إِنَّهُۥ عَلِيمٌۢ بِذَاتِ ٱلصُّدُورِ

Lo! God showed them to thee in a dream as few: for, had He shown them to you as many, you would surely have lost heart, and would surely have disagreed with one another about what to do. But God saved [you from this]: verily, He has full knowledge of what is the hearts [of men]. Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War) 8:43

وَإِذْ يُرِيكُمُوهُمْ إِذِ ٱلْتَقَيْتُمْ فِىٓ أَعْيُنِكُمْ قَلِيلًا وَيُقَلِّلُكُمْ فِىٓ أَعْيُنِهِمْ لِيَقْضِىَ ٱللَّهُ أَمْرًا كَانَ مَفْعُولًا وَإِلَى ٱللَّهِ تُرْجَعُ ٱلْأُمُورُ

And so, when you met in battle, He made them appear as few in your eyes -just as He made you appear as of little account in their eyes – so that God might accomplish a thing [which He willed] to be done: for all things go back to God [as their source]. Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War) 8:44

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِذَا لَقِيتُمْ فِئَةً فَٱثْبُتُوا۟ وَٱذْكُرُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ كَثِيرًا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

[Hence,] O you who have attained to faith, when you meet a host in battle, be firm, and remember God often; so that you might attain to a happy state! Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War) 8:45

وَأَطِيعُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥ وَلَا تَنَـٰزَعُوا۟ فَتَفْشَلُوا۟ وَتَذْهَبَ رِيحُكُمْ وَٱصْبِرُوٓا۟ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ

And pay heed unto God and His Apostle, and do not [allow yourselves to] be at variance with one another, lest you lose heart and your moral strength desert you. And be patient in adversity: for, verily, God is with those who are patient in adversity. Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War) 8:46

وَلَا تَكُونُوا۟ كَٱلَّذِينَ خَرَجُوا۟ مِن دِيَـٰرِهِم بَطَرًا وَرِئَآءَ ٱلنَّاسِ وَيَصُدُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱللَّهُ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ

And be not like those [unbelievers] who went forth from their homelands full of self-conceit and a desire to be seen and praised by men for they were trying to turn others away from the path of God -the while God encompassed all their doings [with His might]. Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War) 8:47

وَإِذْ زَيَّنَ لَهُمُ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنُ أَعْمَـٰلَهُمْ وَقَالَ لَا غَالِبَ لَكُمُ ٱلْيَوْمَ مِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ وَإِنِّى جَارٌ لَّكُمْ فَلَمَّا تَرَآءَتِ ٱلْفِئَتَانِ نَكَصَ عَلَىٰ عَقِبَيْهِ وَقَالَ إِنِّى بَرِىٓءٌ مِّنكُمْ إِنِّىٓ أَرَىٰ مَا لَا تَرَوْنَ إِنِّىٓ أَخَافُ ٱللَّهَ وَٱللَّهُ شَدِيدُ ٱلْعِقَابِ

And, lo, Satan made all their doings seem goodly to them, and said, ‘No one can overcome you this day, for, behold, I shall be your protector !’ but as soon as the two hosts came within sight of one another, he turned on his heels and said, ‘Behold, I am not responsible for you: behold, I see something that you do not see: behold, I fear God-for God is severe in retribution ! Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War) 8:48

إِذْ يَقُولُ ٱلْمُنَـٰفِقُونَ وَٱلَّذِينَ فِى قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ غَرَّ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ دِينُهُمْ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

At the same time, the hypocrites and those in whose hearts was disease were saying, ‘Their faith has deluded these [believers] !’ But he who places his trust in God [knows that], verily, God is almighty, wise. Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War) 8:49

وَلَوْ تَرَىٰٓ إِذْ يَتَوَفَّى ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ ٱلْمَلَـٰٓئِكَةُ يَضْرِبُونَ وُجُوهَهُمْ وَأَدْبَـٰرَهُمْ وَذُوقُوا۟ عَذَابَ ٱلْحَرِيقِ

AND IF thou couldst but see [how it will be] when He causes those who are bent on denying the truth to die: the angels will strike their faces: and their backs, and [will say]: ‘Taste suffering through fire’ Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War) 8:50

Allah said next:

يَوْمَ الْفُرْقَانِ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

on the Day of Criterion, the Day when the two forces met; and Allah is Able to do all things.

Allah is making His favors and compassion towards His creation known, when He distinguished between truth and falsehood in the battle of Badr. That day was called, ‘Al-Furqan’, because Allah raised the word of faith above the word of falsehood, He made His religion apparent and supported His Prophet and his group. ‘Ali bin Abi Talhah and Al-‘Awfi reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Badr is Yawm Al-Furqan; during it, Allah separated between truth and falsehood.” Al-Hakim collected this statement. Similar statements were reported from Mujahid, Miqsam, ‘Ubaydullah bin ‘Abdullah, Ad-Dahhak, Qatadah, Muqatil bin Hayyan and several others.

Regarding the Day of Differentiation (Yawm al-Furqan)

Allah describes Yawm Al-Furqan, (i.e. the day of Badr), إِذْ أَنتُم بِالْعُدْوَةِ الدُّنْيَا – (And remember) when you (the Muslim army) were on the near side of the valley, camping in the closest entrance of the valley towards Al-Madinah, وَهُم – and they, the idolators, who were camped, بِالْعُدْوَةِ الْقُصْوَىٰ – on the farther side, from Al-Madinah, towards Makkah. وَالرَّكْبُ – and the caravan, that was under the command of Abu Sufyan, with the wealth that it contained, أَسْفَلَ مِنكُمْ – on the ground lower than you, closer to the sea, وَلَوْ تَوَاعَدتُّمْ
even if you had made a mutual appointment to meet, – you and the idolators, لَاخْتَلَفْتُمْ فِي الْمِيعَادِ – you would certainly have failed in the appointment.
Muhammad bin Ishaq said, “Yahya bin ‘Abbad bin ‘Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr narrated to me from his father about this Ayah “Had there been an appointed meeting set between you and them and you came to know of their superior numbers and your few forces, you would not have met them, وَلَٰكِن لِّيَقْضِيَ اللَّهُ أَمْرًا كَانَ مَفْعُولًا – but (you met) that Allah might accomplish a matter already ordained,
Allah had decreed that He would bring glory to Islam and its people, while disgracing Shirk and its people. You [the companions] had no knowledge this would happen, but it was out of Allah’s compassion that He did that.” In a Hadith, Ka’b bin Malik said, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ and the Muslims marched to intercept the Quraysh caravan, but Allah made them meet their (armed) enemy without appointment.” Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Yazid bin Ruwman narrated to him that ‘Urwah bin Az-Zubayr said, “Upon approaching Badr, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ sent ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas, Az-Zubayr bin Al-‘Awwam and several other Companions to spy the pagans. They captured two boys, a servant of Bani Sa’id bin Al-‘As and a servant of Bani Al-Hajjaj, while they were bringing water for Quraysh. So they brought them to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, but found him praying. The Companions started interrogating the boys, asking them to whom they belonged. Both of them said that they were employees bringing water for Quraysh (army). The Componions were upset with that answer, since they thought that the boys belonged to Abu Sufyan (who was commanding the caravan). So they beat the two boys vehemently, who said finally that they belonged to Abu Sufyan. Thereupon companions left them alone. When the Prophet ﷺ ended the prayer, he said:

إَذَا صَدَّقَاكُمْ ضَرَبْتُمُوهُمَا، وَإِذَا كَذَّبَاكُمْ تَرَكْتُمُوهُمَا، صَدَقَا وَاللهِ! إِنَّهُمَا لِقُرَيْشٍ ، أَخْبِرَانِي عَنْ قُرَيْشٍ

When they tell you the truth you beat them, but when they lie you let them go? They have said the truth, by Allah! They belong to the Quraysh. (addressing to the boys He said:) Tell me the news about Quraysh.)
The two boys said, ‘They are behind this hill that you see, on the far side of the valley.’ The Messenger of Allah ﷺ asked, كَمِ الْقَوْمُ؟ – “How many are they?” They said, ‘They are many.’ He asked, مَاعُدَّتُهُمْ؟ – “How many?” They said, ‘We do not know the precise number.’ He asked, كَمْ يَنْحَرُونَ كُلَّ يَوْمٍ؟
“How many camels do they slaughter every day?”
They said, ‘Nine or ten a day.’ The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, الْقَوْمُ مَا بَيْنَ التِّسْعمِائَةِ إِلَى الْأَلْفِ
“They are between nine-hundred and a thousand.” He asked again, فَمَنْ فِيهِمْ مِنْ أَشْرَافِ قُرَيْشٍ؟
“Which chiefs of Quraysh are accompanying the army?” They said, ‘Utbah bin Rabi’ah, Shaybah bin Rabi’ah, Abu Al-Bakhtari bin Hisham, Hakim bin Hizam, Nawfal bin Khuwaylid, Al-Harith bin ‘Amir bin Nawfal, Tu’aymah bin Adi bin Nawfal, An-Nadr bin Al-Harith, Zam’ah bin Al-Aswad, Abu Jahl bin Hisham, Umayyah bin Khalaf, Nabih and Munabbih sons of Al-Hajjaj, Suhayl bin ‘Amr and ‘Amr bin ‘Abd Wadd.’ The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said to the people, هَذِهِ مَكَّةُ قَدْ أَلْقَتْ إِلَيْكُمْ أَفَلَاذَ كَبِدِهَا
“This is Makkah! She has brought you her most precious sons (its chiefs)!”
Allah said,

لِّيَهْلِكَ مَنْ هَلَكَ عَن بَيِّنَةٍ وَيَحْيَى مَنْ حَىَّ عَن بَيِّنَةٍ

So that those who were to be destroyed might be destroyed after a clear evidence. [8:42]
Muhammad bin Ishaq commented, “So that those who disbelieve do so after witnessing clear evidence, proof and lessons, and those who believe do so after witnessing the same.” This is a sound explanation. Allah says, He made you meet your enemy in one area without appointment, so that He gives you victory over them.’ This way, ‘He will raise the word of truth above falsehood, so that the matter is made clear, the proof unequivocal and the evidence plain. Then there will be no more plea or doubt for anyone. Then, those destined to destruction by persisting in disbelief do so with evidence, aware that they are misguided and that proof has been established against them, وَيَحْيَى مَنْ حَىَّ – and those who were to live might live, those who wish to believe do so, عَن بَيِّنَةٍ – after a clear evidence, and proof. Verily, faith is the life of the heart, as Allah said:

أَوَمَن كَانَ مَيْتًا فَأَحْيَيْنَاهُ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُ نُورًا يَمْشِي بِهِ فِي النَّاسِ

Is he who was dead (without faith by ignorance and disbelief) and We gave him life (by knowledge and faith) and set for him a light (of belief) whereby he can walk among men … [6:122].
Allah said next, وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَسَمِيعٌ –  And surely, Allah is All-Hearer, of your invocation, humility and requests for His help, عَلِيمٌ – All-Knower  – meaning; about you, and you deserve victory over your rebellious, disbelieving enemies.

Allah made each group look few in the Eyes of the others

Mujahid said, “In a dream, Allah showed the Prophet ﷺ the enemy as few. The Prophet ﷺ conveyed this news to his Companions and their resolve strengthened.” Similar was said by Ibn Ishaq and several others. Allah said, وَلَوْ أَرَاكَهُمْ كَثِيرًا لَّفَشِلْتُمْ – If He had shown them to you as many, you would surely, have been discouraged – you would have cowardly abstained from meeting them and fell in dispute among yourselves, وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ سَلَّمَ  – But Allah saved – from all this, when He made you see them as few, إِنَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ – Certainly, He is the All-Knower of that is in the breasts. [8:43].
Allah knows what the heart and the inner-self conceal, يَعْلَمُ خَائِنَةَ الْأَعْيُنِ وَمَا تُخْفِي الصُّدُورُ – Allah knows the fraud of the eyes, and all that the breasts conceal [40:19].
Allah’s statement: 

وَإِذْ يُرِيكُمُوهُمْ إِذِ الْتَقَيْتُمْ فِي أَعْيُنِكُمْ قَلِيلًا

And (remember) when you met, He showed them to you as few in your eyes

 demonstrates Allah’s compassion towards the believers. Allah made them see few disbelievers in their eyes, so that they would be encouraged and feel eager to meet them. Abu Ishaq As-Subai’i said, that Abu ‘Ubaydah said that ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud said, “They were made to seem few in our eyes during Badr, so that I said to a man who was next to me, ‘Do you think they are seventy?’ He said, ‘Rather, they are a hundred.’ However, when we captured one of them, we asked him and he said, ‘We were a thousand.'” Ibn Abi Hatim and Ibn Jarir recorded it. Allah said next, وَيُقَلِّلُكُمْ فِي أَعْيُنِهِمْ – and He made you appear as few in their eyes – Allah said, وَإِذْ يُرِيكُمُوهُمْ إِذِ الْتَقَيْتُمْ  – And (remember) when you met. He showed them to you... – He encouraged each of the two groups against the other, according to ‘Ikrimah, as recorded by Ibn Abi Hatim. This statement has a Sahih chain of narrators. Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Yahya bin ‘Abbad bin ‘Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr narrated to him that his father said about Allah’s statement, لِيَقْضِيَ اللَّهُ أَمْرًا كَانَ مَفْعُولًا – So that Allah might accomplish a matter already ordained, 
“In order for the war to start between them, so that He would have revenge against those whom He decided to have revenge (pagans), and grant and complete His favor upon those He decided to grant favor to, His supporters.” The meaning of this, is that Allah encouraged each group against the other and made them look few in each other’s eyes, so that they were eager to meet them. This occurred before the battle started, but when it started and Allah supported the believers with a thousand angels in succession, the disbelieving group saw the believers double their number. Allah said:

قَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ آيَةٌ فِي فِئَتَيْنِ الْتَقَتَا ۖ فِئَةٌ تُقَاتِلُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَأُخْرَىٰ كَافِرَةٌ يَرَوْنَهُم مِّثْلَيْهِمْ رَأْيَ الْعَيْنِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ يُؤَيِّدُ بِنَصْرِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ ۗ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَعِبْرَةً لِّأُولِي الْأَبْصَارِ

There has already been a sign for you in the two armies that met (in combat, the battle of Badr). One was fighting in the cause of Allah, and as for the other, (they) were disbelievers. They (disbelievers) saw them (believers) with their own eyes twice their number. And Allah supports with His aid whom He wills. Verily, in this is a lesson for those who understand. [3:13]
This is how we combine these two Ayat, and certainly, each one of them is true, all the thanks are due to Allah and all the favors are from Him.

Manners of War

Allah instructs His faithful servants in the manners of fighting and methods of courage when meeting the enemy in battle, يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا لَقِيتُمْ فِئَةً فَاثْبُتُوا – O you who believe! When you meet (an enemy) force, take a firm stand against them.
In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that ‘Abdullah bin Abi Awfa said that during one battle, Allah’s Messenger ﷺ waited until the sun declined, then stood among the people and said:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ لَا تَتَمَنَّوْا لِقَاءَ الْعَدُوِّ، واسْأَلُوا اللهَ الْعَافِيَةَ فَإِذَا لَقِيتُمُوهُمْ فَاصْبِرُوا وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ الْجَنَّةَ تَحْتَ ظِلَالِ السُّيُوفِ

“O people! Do not wish to face the enemy (in a battle) and ask Allah to save you (from calamities). But if you should face the enemy, then be patient and let it be known to you that Paradise is under the shadows of the swords.”
He then stood and said:

اللَّهُمَّ مُنْزِلَ الْكِتَابِ، وَمُجْرِي السَّحَابِ، وَهَازِمَ الْأَحْزَابِ، اهْزِمْهُمْ وَانْصُرْنَا عَلَيْهِم

“O Allah! Revealer of the (Holy) Book, Mover of the clouds, and Defeater of the Confederates, defeat them and grant us victory over them.”

The Command for Endurance when Engaging the Enemy

Allah commands endurance upon meeting the enemy in battle and ordains patience while fighting them. Muslims are not allowed to run or shy away, or show cowardice in battle. They are commanded to remember Allah while in that condition and never neglect His remembrance. They should rather invoke Him for support, trust in Him and seek victory over their enemies from Him. They are required to obey Allah and His Messenger ﷺ in such circumstances adhering to what He commanded them, and abstaining from what He forbade them. They are required to avoid disputing with each other, for this might lead to their defeat and failure, وَتَذْهَبَ رِيحُكُمْ  – lest your strength departs – so that your strength, endurance and courage do not depart from you, وَاصْبِرُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ – and be patient. Surely, Allah is with the patient.
In their courage, and obedience to Allah and His Messenger, the Companions reached a level never seen before by any nation or generation before them, or any nation that will ever come. Through the blessing of the Messenger ﷺ and their obedience to what he commanded, the Companions were able to open the hearts, as well as, the various eastern and western parts of the world in a rather short time. This occurred even though they were few, compared to the armies of the various nations at that time. For example, the Romans, Persians, Turks, Slavs, Berbers, Ethiopians, Sudanese tribes, the Copts and the rest of the Children of Adam. They defeated all of these nations, until Allah’s Word became the highest and His religion became dominant above all religions. The Islamic state spread over the eastern and western parts of the world in less than thirty years. May Allah grant them His pleasure, as well as, be pleased with them all, and may He gather us among them, for He is the Most Generous, and Giving.

Regarding verses 8:47-49:

The Idolators leave Makkah, heading for Badr

After Allah commanded the believers to fight in His cause sincerely and to be mindful of Him, He commanded not to imitate the idolators, who went out of their homes بَطَرًا – boastfully – to suppress the truth, وَرِئَاءَ النَّاسِ – and to be seen of men- boasting arrogantly with people. When Abu Jahl was told that the caravan escaped safely, so they should return to Makkah, he commented, “No, by Allah! We will not go back until we proceed to the well of Badr, slaughter camels, drink alcohol and female singers sing to us. This way, the Arabs will always talk about our stance and what we did on that day.” However, all of this came back to haunt Abu Jahl, because when they proceeded to the well of Badr, they brought themselves to death; and in the aftermath of Badr, they were thrown in the well of Badr, dead, disgraced, humiliated, despised and miserable in an everlasting, eternal torment. This is why Allah said here, وَاللَّهُ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ – and Allah is ‘Muhīt’ (encompassing and thoroughly comprehending) all that they do.

He knows how and what they came for, and this is why He made them taste the worst punishment. Ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and As-Suddi commented on Allah’s statement:

وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ خَرَجُوا مِن دِيَارِهِم بَطَرًا وَرِئَاءَ النَّاسِ

And be not like those who come out of their homes boastfully and to be seen of men,
“They were the idolators who fought against the Messenger of Allah ﷺ at Badr.” Muhammad bin Ka’b said, “When the Quraysh left Makkah towards Badr, they brought female singers and drums along. Allah revealed this verse:

وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ خَرَجُوا مِن دِيَارِهِم بَطَرًا وَرِئَاءَ النَّاسِ وَيَصُدُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ مُحِيطٌ

And be not like those who come out of their homes boastfully and to be seen of men, and hinder (men) from the path of Allah; and Allah is ‘Muhīt’ (encompassing and thoroughly comprehending) all that they do.

Shaytan makes Evil seem fair and deceives the Idolators

Allah said nextj:

وَإِذْ زَيَّنَ لَهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ وَقَالَ لَا غَالِبَ لَكُمُ الْيَوْمَ مِنَ النَّاسِ وَإِنِّي جَارٌ لَّكُمْ

And (remember) when Shaytan made their (evil) deeds seem fair to them and said, “No one of mankind can overcome you today and verily, I am your neighbor.
Shaytan, may Allah curse him, made the idolators’ purpose for marching seem fair to them. He made them think that no other people could defeat them that day. He also ruled out the possibility that their enemies, the tribe of Bani Bakr, would attack Makkah, saying, “I am your neighbor.” Shaytan appeared to them in the shape of Suraqah bin Malik bin Ju’shum, the chief of Bani Mudlij, so that, as Allah described them:

يَعِدُهُمْ وَيُمَنِّيهِمْ ۖ وَمَا يَعِدُهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ إِلَّا غُرُورًا

He [Shaytan] makes promises to them, and arouses in them false desires; and Shaytan’s promises are nothing but deceptions [4:120].
Ibn Jurayj said that Ibn ‘Abbas commented on this Ayah, (8:48) “On the day of Badr, Shaytan, as well as, his flag holder and soldiers, accompanied the idolators. He whispered to the hearts of the idolators, ‘None can defeat you today! I am your neighbor.’ When they met the Muslims and Shaytan witnessed the angels coming to their aid, نَكَصَ عَلَىٰ عَقِبَيْهِ – he ran away – he went away in flight while proclaiming, إِنِّي أَرَىٰ مَا لَا تَرَوْنَ – Verily, I see what you see not.” 
Ali bin Abi Talhah said, that Ibn ‘Abbas said about this Ayah:

لَا غَالِبَ لَكُمُ الْيَوْمَ مِنَ النَّاسِ وَإِنِّي جَارٌ لَّكُمْ

“No one of mankind can overcome you today and verily, I am your neighbor’

“Shaytan, as well as, his devil army and flag holders, came on the day of Badr in the shape of a Suraqah bin Malik bin Ju’shum, man from Bani Mudlij, Shaytan said to idolators, ‘None will defeat you this day, and I will help you.’ When the two armies stood face to face, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ took a handful of sand and threw it at the faces of the idolators, causing them to retreat. Jibril, peace be upon him, came towards Shaytan, but when Shaytan, while holding the hand of a Mushrik man, saw him, he withdrew his hand and ran away with his soldiers. That man asked him, ‘O Suraqah! You claimed that you are our neighbor?’ He said:

إِنِّي أَرَىٰ مَا لَا تَرَوْنَ إِنِّي أَخَافُ اللَّهَ ۚ وَاللَّهُ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ

Verily, I see what you see not. Verily, I fear Allah for Allah is severe in punishment.

Shaytan said this when he saw the angels.”

The Position of the Hypocrites in Badr

Allah said next: 

إِذْ يَقُولُ الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ غَرَّ هَٰؤُلَاءِ دِينُهُمْ

When the hypocrites and those in whose hearts was a disease (of disbelief) said: “These people (Muslims) are deceived by their religion.”
Ali bin Abi Talhah said that Ibn ‘Abbas commented, “When the two armies drew closer to each other, Allah made the Muslims look few in the eyes of the idolators and the idolators look few in the eyes of the Muslims. The idolators said, غَرَّ هَٰؤُلَاءِ دِينُهُمْ – These people (Muslims) are deceived by their religion – because they thought that Muslims were so few. They believed, without doubt, that they would defeat the Muslims. Allah said:

وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

But whoever puts his trust in Allah, then surely, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.
Qatadah commented, “They saw a group of believers who came in defense of Allah’s religion. We were informed that when he saw Muhammad ﷺ and his Companions, Abu Jahl said, ‘By Allah! After this day, they will never worship Allah!’ He said this in viciousness and transgression.” ‘Amir Ash-Sha’bi said, “Some people from Makkah were considering embracing Islam, but when they went with the idolators to Badr and saw how few the Muslims were, they said, غَرَّ هَٰؤُلَاءِ دِينُهُمْ – These people (Muslims) are deceived by their religion.
Allah said next, وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ – But whoever puts his trust in Allah, and relies on His grace, فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ – then surely, Allah is All-Mighty – and verily, those who take His side [in the dispute] are never overwhelmed, for His side is mighty, powerful and His authority is All-Great, حَكِيمٌ – All-Wise – in all His actions, for He places everything in its rightful place, giving victory to those who deserve it and defeat to those who deserve it.

Regarding 8:51:

The Angels smite the Disbelievers upon capturing Their Souls

Allah says, if you witnessed the angels capturing the souls of the disbelievers, you would witness a tremendous, terrible, momentous and awful matter, يَضْرِبُونَ وُجُوهَهُمْ وَأَدْبَارَهُمْ  – they smite their faces and their backs – saying to them, وَذُوقُوا عَذَابَ الْحَرِيقِ – “Taste the punishment of the blazing Fire.
Ibn Jurayj said that Mujahid said that, وَأَدْبَارَهُمْ – and their backs, refers to their back sides, as happened on the day of Badr. Ibn Jurayj also reported from Ibn ‘Abbas, “When the idolators faced the Muslims [in Badr], the Muslims smote their faces with swords. When they gave flight, the angels smote their rear ends.”
Although these Ayat are describing Badr, they are general in the case of every disbeliever. This is why Allah did not make His statement here restrictive to the disbelievers at Badr:

وَلَوْ تَرَىٰ إِذْ يَتَوَفَّى الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ۙ الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَضْرِبُونَ وُجُوهَهُمْ وَأَدْبَارَهُمْ

And if you could see when the angels take away the souls of those who disbelieve (at death); they smite their faces and their backs,
In Surat Al-Qitāl (or Muhammad chapter 47) there is a similar Ayah, as well as in Surat Al-An’am:

وَلَوْ تَرَىٰ إِذِ الظَّالِمُونَ فِي غَمَرَاتِ الْمَوْتِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ بَاسِطُو أَيْدِيهِمْ أَخْرِجُوا أَنفُسَكُمُ

And if you could but see when the wrongdoers are in the agonies of death, while the angels are stretching forth their hands (saying): “Deliver your souls!” [6:93]
The angels stretch their hands and smite the disbelievers by Allah’s command, since their souls refuse to leave their bodies, so they are taken out by force. This occurs when the angels give them the news of torment and Allah’s anger. There is a Hadith narrated from Al-Bara’ that when the angel of death attends the disbeliever at the time of death, he comes to him in a terrifying and disgusting shape, saying, “Get out, O wicked soul, to fierce hot wind, boiling water and a shadow of black smoke.” The disbeliever’s soul then scatters throughout his body, but the angels retrieve it, just as a needle is retrieved from wet wool. In this case, veins and nerve cells will be still attached to the soul. Allah states here that angels bring news of the torment of the Fire to the disbelievers. Allah said next, ذَٰلِكَ بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ – This is because of that which your hands forwarded, meaning, this punishment is the recompense of the evil deeds that you have committed in the life of the world. This is your reckoning from Allah for your deeds, وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ لَيْسَ بِظَلَّامٍ لِّلْعَبِيدِ – And verily, Allah is not unjust to His servants.
Certainly, Allah does not wrong any of His creatures, for He is the Just, who never puts anything in an inappropriate place. Honored, Glorified, Exalted and Praised be He, the All-Rich, Worthy of all praise. Muslim recorded that Abu Dharr said that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:

إنَّ اللهَ تَعَالَى يَقُولُ: يَا عِبَادِي إِنِّي حَرَّمْتُ الظُّلْمَ عَلَى نَفْسِي وَجَعَلْتُهُ بَيْنَكُمْ مُحَرَّمًا فَلَا تَظَالَمُوا، يَا عِبَادِي إِنَّمَا هِيَ أَعْمَالُكُمْ أُحْصِيهَا لَكُمْ فَمَنْ وَجَدَ خَيْرًا فَلْيَحْمَدِ اللهَ وَمَنْ وَجَدَ غَيْرَ ذَلِكَ فَلَا يَلُومَنَّ إِلَّا نَفْسَهُ

Allah, the Exalted, said, ‘O My servants! I have prohibited injustice for Myself, and made it prohibited to you between each other. Therefore, do not commit injustice against each other. O My servants! It is your deeds that I am keeping count of, so whoever found something good, let him praise Allah for it. Whoever found other than that, has only himself to blame.

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