It was not long after the battle that the news of victory reached both Makkah and Madinah. The Muslims of Madinah rejoiced in the victory of Badr. In fact, when the news reached the people of Madinah the Muslims immediately started glorifying Allah’s name in celebration of their victory. However while the Muslims were celebrating their victory, some of the Jews, the mushrikeen (disbelievers) and the munaafiqoon (hypocrites) at Madinah expressed their disappointment.
In particular, the Jews and the hypocrites were not happy about the outcome of the battle. They expected the Muslims to lose the battle because of their inferior numbers.
They even tried to dampen the spirit of the Muslims by spreading rumors that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had been killed. This was based on the assumption that Zaid ibn Haarithah, the Prophet (peace be upon him) adopted son was riding the Prophet’s she-camel, al-Qaswaa. In the process they even tried to belittle the victory of Islam, thus paving the way for the violent events which were to follow soon after. On the other hand the people of Quraysh were totally surprised and outraged on hearing that the Muslims with their ill-equipped and outnumbered army defeated their own army. They were boasted about their victory long before the battle started. Quraysh’s army consisted of most of their leaders, who were slain on the battlefield.
On the contrary, the Muslims were honored and buried as martyrs, whereas the defeat was a source of great shame and grief for the Makkans.
There was a great dispute among the Muslim participants of Badr and the question arose – who was more entitled to the booty? In the first instance, the Muslims who were especially involved with collecting the booty felt that they were more entitled to it.
Those who pursued the enemy felt that under the circumstances they were more entitled to it. Finally, the men who were guarding the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “We feared that the enemy might strike him so we were detained by that”. Allah revealed the following: “They ask you (O Muhammad) about the spoils of war. Say: The [the decision concerning] spoils of war is for Allah and the messenger, so keep your duty to Allah, and adjust the matter of your difference, and obey Allah and His messenger, if ye are (true) believers” (Soorat al-Anfaal:45)
The Prophet (peace be upon him), in accordance with the above aayah decided to distribute the booty among the Muslims (equally). The next dispute was the issue of how to deal with the prisoners of war. This was the first time the Prophet (peace be upon him) had to deal with such an issue. He therefore consulted Aboo Bakr and ‘Umar . ‘Umar in particular felt strongly that the prisoners should be killed, as they were “the leaders of kufr (disbelief)”. On the other hand, Aboo Bakr suggested that the prisoners be ransomed. His reasoning was: “They are after all our relatives, and this money would give us strength against the disbelievers. Moreover, Allah may guide them to Islam”.
The ransom was set according to the prisoner’s financial status i.e. between 1000 and 4000 dirhams. Interestingly enough the ransom also had an educational dimension. Most of the Makkans, unlike the Madinese, were literate and so each prisoner who could not afford the ransom was entrusted with ten children to teach them writing and reading. Once the child was proficient enough, the instructor would be set free. The Prophet (peace be upon him) opted for Aboo Bakr’s suggestion in taking ransom from the prisoners.
Quraysh’s defeat at the Battle of Badr was not only a combative defeat but it also crushed their moral pride. Quraysh were humiliated in this battle, and decided to avenge their defeat. Quraysh were prepared to spend all they had including the profits from the caravan led by Aboo Sufyaan to Syria. Even their allies of Madinan supported their call for revenge.
In fact a group of Jews from Madinah openly expressed their anger with the Prophet (peace be upon him) and their grief at the defeat of Quraysh at Badr. One of the Jewish chieftains, Ka`b al-Ashraf, went as far as sending odes to the Quraysh bemoaning their losses and urging them to seek revenge. In fact, the whole of Arabia knew that Quraysh would not accept their defeat and that they would attempt to avenge their defeat and their leaders that were killed at Badr.
The Muslims’ surprising success put them in a very favorable position and they were seen as a force to be reckoned. Their widespread victory was the beginning of many things to come. This in particular affected and changed their relationships with non-Muslims, especially their relationship with the Jews of Madinah. The Jews of Madinah were initially allies of the Muslims; After all, they were a party to as-Saheefah (constitution of Madinah). Moreover, it was very necessary for Muslims to take stock of what has transpired and prepare themselves for greater things to come, especially the inevitable revenge of Quraysh.
ICO’s Publications – Islamic Studies curriculum – Grade 10/ Part1