Ramadan reflections: Islam is a religion of peace

The Battle of Badr set the first example of how prisoners of war should be treated

By Aftab H. Kola

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Published: Sun 17 Apr 2022, 7:56 PM

As we rise today to keep the seventeenth fast of Ramadan, the Battle of Badr — the first major military encounter between the Muslims and the Quraysh, the predominant Arab tribe which had opposed Islam since its very first day — comes to our mind. This battle served as a platform for Muslims to take forward the message of Islam confidently and with renewed vigour, and thus succeeded in establishing an Islamic city-state in Madinah.

The Battle of Badr, a small town southwest of the holy city of Madinah, took place on Ramadan 17 (corresponding to March, 624), in the second year after the emigration of the Prophet (peace be upon him) from the holy city of Makkah to the holy city of Madinah.

Muslims were a tiny minority and were constantly persecuted by the politically powerful and financially strong Quraish. The Muslim contingent included 313 men, two horses and 70 camels and little to no war equipment — while the enemies had a 1,000-strong Quraish army.

The Muslims were able to vanquish their enemies in this battle despite being outnumbered. Allah separated truth from falsehood and it became known as the Battle of Separation. The victory was a result of the discipline displayed by the Prophet’s army, and the confidence of the Muslims as a result of their religious faith, effective strategy, and high morale. Badr also set the first example of how prisoners of war should be treated. Their lives were spared; they were treated humanely; they were provided with shelter and fed properly.

A very important fact for all people to understand is that Islam is the religion of peace and that it is neither imposed nor forced on anyone as clearly stated in the Holy Quran itself. This peaceful attitude of Islam is quite evident in that Muslims were ordered not to fight unless they were attacked, as Allah says: “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress limits, for Allah loveth not transgressor”. (Al Baqarah 190).

We have seen many so-called international writers take the verses from the Holy Quran which talks of fighting but intentionally avoid the preceding and the following verses, which give the context of the entire clause.

When talking about the great battles of Islam, we should look deep into them in the light of this fact; namely that Muslims were not transgressors but they only fought against oppressors.

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