Prophet Muhammad at the iconic Battle of Badr

According to the historian Robert Payne, during the iconic Battle of Badr (the first exchange between the Muslims and pagan Meccans), Muhammad had given the order to delay engaging the enemy and first shower them with arrows.  After communicating such, both he and Abu Bakr (his father-in-law through Aisha and a close companion) retreated to the command post where Muhammad prayed and slept for the duration of the battle.

Whether strictly true or not, we can agree that the details of such a relatively minor historical skirmish are hard to ascertain.  (It also a bit hard to trust the testimony of those who claim to have seen angels whizzing about and fighting Meccans during the short space of time over which the battle was supposed to have taken place.)  At any rate, the thought of the prophet sleeping in his tent while his followers fought an army ten-times their size is an amusing one.  If it were true, there could be no doubt that those early Muslims had noticed the absence of their spiritual leader.  That said, however, it is also equally (if not more) likely that the Muslims would have insisted that the Messenger of God be kept safe during these crucial early years.

Fun fact: watering holes were super important in 7th Century Arabia.  Having access to water ensured that you didn’t fucking die.

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Special thanks to Andrew Hall who runs the Patheos blog Laughing in Disbelief!



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