In the Qur’ān it is called Yawm al-Furqān, ‘the Day of Decision’. In Ramadan 2 (March 624) two armies met at Badr, a remote spot in the Arabian desert. A small but well-equipped army of about one thousand pagans was defeated by just 313 Muslims, ill-equipped but divinely aided and spiritually unconquerable. To quote the author of this book: ‘To outsiders, this would have seemed no more than a minor skirmish between desert tribesmen. Neither the combatants, nor the location, nor the outcome had the least importance in the eyes of the wider world, where in those days the two major powers were the Persian and Byzantine empires.’ And yet there is ample reason to consider Badr the most momentous battle in history. Had the leading Muslims not survived, there would have been little prospect of Islam, the last true religion, surviving. The world’s history would have been unimaginably different.
Dr Mostafa Badawi is a leading authority on the history of the Sanctuaries of Makka and Madina and has spent years exploring the Hijaz region and studying its topography. In ‘Day of Decision’ Dr Badawi also brings to bear his mastery of the sources: Hadiths from the most authentic sources; works of Sīra (Prophetic biography), and accounts by early Muslim Arab historians. The result is a vivid and precise day-by-day account of the words, deeds, strategy, and movements (authoritatively pinpointed for the first time) of both the Muslim army and that of the pagans of Makka, along with the words and deeds of their leading figures, from the first anticipation of hostilities to the details of the victors’ return to Madina. Day of Decision will prove compulsive and unforgettable reading for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.