Following were the Causes of the Battle of Badr:
Economic warfare and strategic alliances of the Prophet
The trade of Makkah was large and profitable. The merchant of Makkah usually travelled to Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Abyssinia, for that they crossed the outskirts of Madinah. To ensure the safety of caravans, the Makkans had long established ties with Bedouin tribes lying along the way. The Holy Prophet, after coming to know about Quraishite intrigues in Madinah, tried aligning the Madinah with the Bedouin tribes. By the time, Battle Badr took place, the Holy Prophet had gained alliance of most of the tribes residing in North and South of Makkah. Due to this Makkans felt threatened since their economy depended wholly on caravans except for the revenue generated through yearly pilgrimage.
Quraishite intrigue in Madinah
The Makkans knew well that Abdullah bin Obay still had considerable following. They persuaded him to drive out the Holy Prophet and his followers. Before Munafiqeen could do anything, the Holy Prophet came to know of the plans. He deterred the bin Obay from advancing further. He contended it would lead an all-out war between Muslims and Munafiqeens. Although the immediate war was averted but the Holy Prophet knew that the Makkans wouldn’t stop. This came in sync with the Holy Prophet’ strategy of controlling the caravans route.
Events that made the war inevitable
Kurz bin Jabir raid (raided a cattle and a single camel from outskirts of Madinah)
Incident of Nakhla (Abdullah ibn Jahsh along with few other men went to south of Makkah to keep an eye on caravans. The team raided the coming caravan and in process killed Amr bin Hazrami, leader of Quraish. This displeased the Holy Prophet who strictly against any bloodshed)
Revelations of Jihad (at the same time, God allowed Muslims to fight those that fought the Muslims and threatened Islam)
Abu Sufyan caravan in 623 (some Munafiqeens told Abu Sufyan’s caravan, which was passing near Madinah, that Muslims might attack them. To this Abu Sufyan sent a messenger to Makkah to ask for reinforcement to save the caravan. The leaders of Makkah decided not only to save the caravan but to also teach Muslims a lesson. Even though caravan reached safely to Makkah, but Abu Jahal insisted upon waging a war against Muslims and get rid of them once and for all).
The Main Event
As soon as the news reached Madinah, the Holy Prophet asked Muhajireens to ready themselves. But he couldn’t ask the Ansars to protect him outside the boundary of Madinah since it was explicitly stated in the charter.
The Ansars, on the other hand, were ever ready to join him. Even after they joined, the total number Muslims could generate reached 313 only against the Makkans’ 1000.
As soon as the Muslims reached the ground of Badr in January 624 they took control of the water stream there. It didn’t occur to the Makkans to secure the water line. Instead they were waiting for the Muslims to arrive, in leisure. This proved decisive for the outcome of the battle.
Wars in ancient Arab were fought in 3 stages: 1. Verbal attacks 2. One on one combat 3. General attack
The second phase proved to an encouraging one for the Muslims since Ali, Hamza, and Obadiah bin Harish beat three of their opponents. The Quraishites killed in this stage were Utba bin Rabia, Walid, and Walid bin Utba.
By the time the third stage arrived, the Makkan warriors were already discouraged. Strategically, the Prophet didn’t allow the opponents water.
Quraish ran away leaving behind 70 dead and 70 POW. They also left handful of bounty. The dead also included Abu Jahal.
Only two POWs were executed back home, for they had committed unforgivable cruelties back in Makkah. Others were treated so well that most of them converted to Islam.
Impact and Significance
It was a struggle between old and new Arabia. The new Arabia emerged victorious. Had that not been the case, the peninsula of Arab would have remained an unknown land with no culture, civilization, and customs. From here, emanated a force that conquered vast lands and left an impression that will last till the end.
For any battle, morale is what matters. The importance here can be understood in how the battle bolstered Muslims’ confidence while at the same time generating skepticism among the Quraish. The battle turned POWs into converts; and that too willingly.
It also consolidated power of Islam and the Holy Prophet in Madinah. The Prophet was now the de facto leader of Madinah. The battle was also a start of the Prophet’s military career, in which he would go on to prove his mettle. Some Bedouin tribes also came in the fold of Islam.
The battle also resulted in gigantic loss to Quraish leadership. A lot of chiefs/renowned personalities of Banu Makhzum and Umayya died in the battle. They all were wealthy merchants too. Abu Sufyan now became the leader in Makkah and vowed to take revenge.
For complete Islamic history notes click here.