In Shaʿbān, in the second year of the hijra, fasting in Ramadan became an obligation upon the Muslims. The Battle of Badr occurred one month later, on the seventeenth of Ramadan.
The Messenger ﷺ left Medina on the twelfth night of Ramadan with 314 men. They had only 70 camels, so every three men took turns on one. The Prophet ﷺ himself shared a camel with two other men. The young Muṣʿab b. ʿUmayr carried the large white standard, and ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib and Saʿd b. Muʿādh carried the standards of the Muhājirīn and the Anṣār.
The idolaters were nine hundred fifty soldiers and they had between one and two hundred horses and seven hundred camels. They came forth bearing three standards, with the rear flank followed up by women who cheered them forth with insulting songs about the Muslims.
The night before the battle, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, stood in prayer the entire night. ʿAlī (r) says, “There was not one of us but that slept, except for the Messenger of Allah ﷺ who, under a tree, was praying and weeping until morning.” (Musnad al-Imām Aḥmad)
When Fajr appeared, the Prophet ﷺ called out, “Prayer! Servants of God!” and the Muslims came from their makeshift shelters to pray with the Prophet ﷺ. He then instructed them regarding the battle that was about to take place.
When the Prophet ﷺ returned to his shelter, he pleaded with his Lord, “O God, fulfill for me that which You have promised me; O God, I plead with You, Your pledge and Your promise! O God, if it is Your wish, You may not be worshipped after this day. O God, if this band of the people of Islam is overcome, You will not be worshipped on the earth.” Abū Bakr found him pleading and crying with his hands stretched out to the sky.
On this day of Ramadan in the year 1435 AH (2014), we find ourselves facing many great battles. Tragic wars, terrible violence, economic catastrophes, social issues that challenge our identity, and faith issues that have left some of our people disconnected and lost.
We do not need great numbers to overcome the problems of these times, but we do need great Muslims. We must pray and weep. We must stand at night in humility and obedience. We must pray with confidence. We must stretch our hands to the sky.
In these blessed days of Ramadan, days of answered duʿāʾ, let us stand with one voice and pray with great fervor for the Umma of Muhammad ﷺ. Let us pray for Palestine, Syria, Mali, Libya, Egypt, Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosovo, Indonesia, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Northern China, Pakistan, Afghanistan and all other territories where Muslims are suffering. We have many, many countries to pray for.
The Battle of Badr was a victory for Muslims. Angels joined the fray and during the difficult times the Prophet enjoined them to “Be strong.” (Sīrat Ibn Hishām). We are in difficult times. Let us listen to the advice of the Prophet ﷺ, be strong in our faith and consistent, depending on the help of God. In this blessed month of Ramadan, let us become great Muslims, such that our prayers will be heard and the trials of the Umma might be lifted. Āmīn.