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The minor expedition to Badr (the last one) 4 A.H

The  minor expedition to Badr (the last one) 4 A.H

The reason it was called the minor expedition to Badr

It was called this as it was a repeat of the victory of the major battle of Badr, which the Muslims won near the same location in the direction of the well of Badr.

When and where was the minor expedition to Badr?

It happened in the month of Shawwal in 4 A.H., at a place called Asfan in the direction of Ath-Thahran in the Arabian Penninsula.

Who was the leader of the minor expedition to Badr, and who was the flag-bearer?

The Messenger (peace be upon him) was the commander in this expedition, leading 1500 of his Companions. Ali ibn Abu Talib (may Allah honour his face) was the flag-bearer. The disbelivers’ army of about 2000 enemy fighters left Mecca being led by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb.

Reasons for the minor expedition to Badr

The expedition aimed at deterring the disbelivers of Quraish from entering Medinah, as Abu Sufyan had made an oath after the battle of Uhud to return to expel the Muslims from the area. However, the Muslims responded to the situation quicker than the disbelievers, and the Companions were more determined than the Meccan army.

Events of the minor expedition to Badr

After Allah established His believing slaves in Medinah, and weakened the Jews and the Arab Bedouins through a series of expeditions and campaigns, the Muslims strated to prepare to meet Quraish at the time arranged in the battle of Uhud a year earlier. However, the disbelievers were very fearful about this encounter, so Abu Sufyan sent one of the hypocrites called Naim ibn Masoud to make the Muslims in Medinah scared of the large number and strength of Quraish. Quraish offered to give Naim 20 cattle if he fulfilled this mission and as a result the Messenger (peace be upon him) did not leave to meet them on the battlefield.

Naim actually started to spread rumours with the help of the hypocrites and Jews of Medinah, and managed to cause some of the Muslims to doubt their ability. However, the honourable Abu Bakr As-Saddiq and Omar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with them) quickly went to the Messenger (peace be upon him) to tell him what was happening. They said to him, “Oh Messenger, Allah established His Messenger and raised His religion in the land. We promised to meet those people and we do not like to break our promise for them not to think we are cowardly; therefore, leave to your promised meeting, as that is the better course of action.” The Messenger (peace be upon him) was pleased with what the Comapnaions had said, and announced that he was going to Badr, saying,

The Messenger (peace be upon him) left with a large group of Companions totaling 1500 men, but only 10 horses. The Messenger (peace be upon him) left Abdullah ibn Rawahah in Medinah to run the affairs there, and then left towards Badr. He stayed in Badr, waiting for the disbelievers.

As for Abu Sufyan, he left with 2000 disbelivers of Mecca and 50 horses. They reached Mar Az-Zahran, some distance from Mecca, and camped at a water place called Mijannah.

Abu Sufyan started to give false excuses, with the intention of returning to Mecca, for fear  of meeting the Muslims. He gave a flimsy reason to his companions, who were just as scared as him, saying, “Oh Quraish, nothing will improve the condition you are in but a fruitful year, a year during which your animals feed on plants and bushes, and give you milk to drink. But this is a rainless year. Therefore, I will return, and I recommend you to return with me.”

It was a very unusual excuse. He referred to the earth being dry in order to return to Mecca. For this reason, Quraish called this expedition As-Sawiq expedition; that is, they left to drink As-Sawaiq, and not to fight!

The Muslims waited 8 days for the enemy at their camp. They sold goods they had and earned a profit. Badr was a market place for the Arabs. Then the Muslims returned to Medinah. This event transferred the balance of power into the Muslims’ hands, and earned them prestige in the hearts of the Arabs.

Results of the minor expedition to Badr

The Muslims won the battle, and the Meccan army fled in fear before the meeting they themselves had arranged.

What ayahs refer to the expedition to Badr (their appointment)?

{When people said to them, 'Behold, a host has gathered around you and you should fear them,' it only increased their faith, and they answered, 'Allah is Sufficient for us; and what an excellent Guardian He is!' So they returned with a mighty favour and a great bounty from Allah, having suffered no harm. They followed the good pleasure of Allah, and Allah is the Lord of great bounty} [Surah Al-Imran: 173-174].

What lessons do we learn from the minor expedition to Badr?

Allah (Glorified is He) helps the believers to be victorious. The believers were steadfast in the battles before this expedition, only for the religion of Allah and wishing for Allah’s pleasure. As a result, Allah put fear in the hearts of the enemy, who had arranged the appointment themselves to annihilate the Muslims. The disbelievers were scared of just meeting them, although they left with a large number of fighters.


The Prophet’s Biography by Ibn Hesham, 3/160; Al-Mughazi (The Campaigns) by Al-Waqidi, 1/384; The Prophet’s Biography written in Al-Hallab (electronic version); The chapter on the battles and campaigns of the Messenger from At-Tabaqat by Ibn Saad, p38; The Sealed Nectar, p299