The Most Decisive
Compiled by Shawana A Aziz
From As-Sunnah Bimonthly Islamic Newsletter
References: Audio lectures by Allama Ehsan Ilahi Zaheer, by Shaikh (Dr.) Abdullah al-Farsi, Tafseer Ibn Katheer, ar-Raheeq al-Makhtoom by Shaikh Safi ar-Rahmaan Mubarakpuri, The History of Islam and others.
Life in Makkah was becoming difficult for the Muslims. The growing oppression and tortures of the Kuffar became unbearable. The Muslims were prevented from worshiping Allah. Consequently, Allah, the Exalted, revealed orders to migrate. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and his companions secretly planned to escape the watchful disbelievers, who intended to kill the Prophet and his companions in their own homeland and thus bring an end to the religion of Islam. But Allah, the Exalted, aided His Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) to immigrate to al-Medina. This carefully planned and prudent escape of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and the Sahabah created great anxiety and rancor in the hearts of the disbelievers.
The new abode of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), al-Medina, integrated the commercial routes to Makkah. The trade caravans of the disbelievers passing near al-Median now faced serious danger. The disbelievers had already experienced the love and devotion of the Sahabah for Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam). They knew that the Sahabah were always ready to sacrifice everything they had for the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam). Thus, in order to safeguard their trade, the disbelievers undertook all possible efforts to expel the Muslims from al-Medina.
They sent a serious ultimatum to the chief of the disbelievers in al-Medina, Abdullah Ibn Ubai Ibn Sahul, ordering him to fight or drive out the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) from al-Medina. Otherwise, they would attack their city and destroy their people. However, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) cautioned Abdullah and his men from taking any cruel steps against the Muslims and as a result of his cowardice, Abdullah withheld his devilish plan. The disbelievers of Makkah also sent a note to the Ansaar (the Muslims of al-Medina who aided Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam)) threatening to put them to death if they helped the Prophet or defended him. But the Ansaar loved Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) more than their lives and therefore paid no heed to the threats.
Permission to Fight the Kuffar - The First Order of Jihad
For 10 years, while in Makkah, the Muslims were prohibited to openly fight the Kuffar because the disbelievers were greater in number and the Muslims were very few. Were the Muslims to fight the disbelievers in Makkah, the results would have been disastrous. But when the disbelievers went to extremes in their transgression that they forced Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and his companions to leave the most sacred place, resolved to kill the Prophet and sent threats to the Muslims in al-Medina; Allah revealed verses of the Qur'aan giving permission to the Muslims to fight the disbelievers. Now the Muslims had the support of the Ansaar, they had a place where Islam prevailed and where they could retreat. It was an appropriate time for Jihad.
"Permission to fight is given to those (i.e. believers against those disbelievers), who are fighting them, (and) because they (believers) have been wronged, and surely Allah is Able to give them (believers) victory." [(22): 39)]
Following the orders of Allah, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) decided to first bring the commercial routes to Makkah under control. For which, he (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) signed a peace treaty with the Jews and other neighboring tribes. He (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) also sent groups of Sahabah from time to time to ambush the caravans along their commercial routes. The intent was to caution the disbelievers that Muslims had become strong and any cruel act against the Muslims, whether those who were left in Makkah or those who resided in al-Medina, might cause danger to their trade and livelihood. The disbelievers realized the real danger of the Muslims, and as a result they were discouraged.
Meanwhile, Allah, the All Wise, equipped the Muslims in al-Medina for war against the enemies. He revealed Qur'aanic verses encouraging the Muslims for Jihad (fighting in the way of Allah), and teaching them ways of fighting. "And fight, in the way of Allah those who fight you; but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors. And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out…" [(2): 190]
Reason of the
In Ramadaan 2 A.H., the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) was informed that Abu Sufyan (who was still a disbeliever and later accepted Islam), was traveling for trade from
While escaping from Makkah, the Muslims were forced to leave behind all their wealth and possession. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) saw this caravan as an opportunity to get back some of their wealth. He (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) called for his companions and marched towards the main road leading to Makkah and turned towards Badr. His (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) intent was only to capture the wealth and not war. But Allah, the Exalted, in His Great Wisdom, willed for them to fight.
On the other hand, Abu Sufyan knew that his route was not safe. He was further informed by his men about the Prophet's movement. He immediately sent a man to Makkah asking for help. The man reached Makkah, cut off the nose and ears of the camel, turned its saddle upside down, tore off his shirt from front and back (this was their way of warning about enemies) and cried, 'O Quraysh! Your goods are with Abu Sufyan. The caravan is being stopped by Muhammad (r) and his companions. I cannot say what would have happened to them. Help! Help!' The disbelievers shocked with the news rushed for Abu Sufyan's help. They took with them a huge army of 1,300 well-equipped soldiers, including 100 horsemen and a large number of camels to fight the Muslims.
Meanwhile, Abu Sufyan changed his route; he turned away from the main road that passed near al-Medina towards
The news of the caravan's escape and approaching of a big army reached Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam). It was a disturbing news, for the small unequipped Muslim army was no match to the huge well-equipped army of the disbelievers. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) immediately called for a meeting and discussed the situation with his companions. He informed them of the gravity of the situation and explained that it was necessary to fight the Kuffar or else they would easily take over al-Medina and certainly cause destruction. He (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) then asked the Sahabah for their advice.
Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) received revelation from Allah. It was not necessary for him to consult with the Sahabah and seek their advice. But this practice of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) reflects a very import characteristic of the Muslim leader, i.e. discussing and seeking advice of other knowledgeable Muslims. A Muslim leader should not make decision merely based upon his opinion. Rather, he should first consult with other knowledgeable Muslims, seek their advice and then make appropriate decisions.
The Muhajiroon (pl. of Muhajir) assured Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) that they would fight along with him until the last breath. The first one to speak was Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu), then Umar Ibn al-Khattab (radhiallahu anhu) and then al-Miqdad Ibn Amr (radhiallahu anhu) got up and said:
"O Messenger of Allah! Proceed where Allah directs you to, for we are with you. We will not say as the children of
It was natural for the Muhajiroon to fight against the disbelievers of Makkah because they were unjustly treated by them and thrown out of their homeland and property. Moreover, the Muhajiroon had already passed their test of faith in Allah and shown their love for the Prophet, when they forsake their family, relatives, property and homeland and migrated to al-Medina not fearing the consequences. The real test was now for the Ansaar, who had promised to protect the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) within their territories (al-Medina) and therefore, they were not obliged to fight outside al-Medina. So, Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) further said: "Advice me my men!" By this he wanted the Ansaar to express their view.
Upon this, Sa'd Ibn Mu'adh stood up and said: "By Allah, I feel you want us (the Ansaar) to speak." The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "Oh, yes!" Sa'd said: "O Prophet of Allah! We believe in you and we testify that you are the true Messenger of Allah. We bear witness that what you have been given is the Truth. We give you our firm pledge of obedience and sacrifice.
We will obey you most willingly in whatever you command us, and by Allah, Who has sent you with Truth, if you ask us to cross this sea (Red Sea), we will do that most readily and not a man of us will stay behind… We hope that Allah will show you through our hands those deeds of courage, which will please your eyes. Kindly lead us to the battlefield in the Name of Allah!"
Shaytan makes Evil seem fair and makes false promises
When the disbelievers prepared to march towards al-Medina, Shaytan came to the disbelievers in the form of Suraqah Ibn Malik and made their evil action of fighting the Muslims seem fair to them. He encouraged them for the battle by making them believe that no one could defeat them. "And (remember) when Shaytan made their (evil) deeds seem fair to them and said: "No one of mankind can overcome you today…" He also promised them to protect Makkah from the enemies in their absence and said, "…and verily, I am your neighbor." [ (8): 48]
Allah says about the promises of Shaytan, "He (Shaytan) makes promises to them, and arouses in them false desires; and Shaytan's promises are nothing but deception." [(4): 120]
It is from the tricks of Shaytan that he makes false promises to the people and makes them believe that they are winners in this world and the Hereafter. But Allah states, on the Day of Judgment, "Shaytan will say when the matter has been decided. Verily, Allah promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you…" and those who follow the whispers of Shaytan Allah says, "the dwelling of such (people) is Hell, and they will find no way of escape from it." [(4): 120] See Tafseer Ibn Katheer.
Lack of Means of the Muslims and the well-equipped huge army of the disbelievers
The Muslim army was not more than 313-317 men, including 82-86 Muhajir (the Emigrants from Makkah) and the others were the Ansaar. They had only two horses and 70 camels to ride. Most of them did not even possess simple weapons to fight; some had swords but no bows and arrows, while others possessed spears but no swords. The army was not well equipped, nor well prepared for war. Moreover, the Muslims were old, sick, starving and weak. But pleased with the words and willingness of the Sahabah to fight the disbelievers and putting all trust in Allah, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) marched towards the wells of Badr.
When the Muslims encamped at Badr, the disbelievers sent one of their men, Umar Ibn Wahab Jumani, to spy about their number and strength. He reported that the Muslims were not more than 310 men. Hearing this, the disbelievers increased in their arrogance and pride and showed no desire to fight the Muslims. Utbah, Ibn Rabi'ah remarked, 'Let us go back without a fight.' Meaning the low number of the Muslims was no match for the large and well-equipped army of the Makkans. But they knew that the Sahabah were too brave to surrender and thus they would fight until the last man killing the largest number of polytheists possible. However, Abu Jahl opposed them and expressed his firm determination to kill them no matter how few they were!
Ibn Abbas (radhiallahu anhu) said, "When the two armies drew closer to each other, Allah made the Muslims look fewer in the eyes of the idolaters and the idolaters look few in the eyes of the Muslims. The idolaters said: "These people (Muslims) are deceived by their religion." [Soorah al-Anfal (8): 49]
Because they thought that Muslims were few. They believed without doubts that they would defeat the Muslims, Allah said: "But whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then surely, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise." [Soorah al-Anfal (8): 49] [See Tafseer Ibn Katheer]
In the evening, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) sent Ali Ibn Abi Talib, az-Zubari Ibn al-Awam and Sa'd Ibn Abi Waqqas to inquire about the location of the enemies. Two men were seen drawing water from the wells of Badr. Upon question, they admitted that they were carrying water for the Makkan army. But some Companions were not pleased with this answer, since they thought that the boys belonged to Abu Sufyan. So they beat the two boys, who finally said that they belonged to Abu Sufyan. When Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) was informed, he said angrily, "on telling the truth, you beat them, and on lying you released them!" Then he (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) himself spoke to the two boys, who informed him about the army's location, leaders and that they were so huge that they slaughter ten camels everyday to feed their men. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) then turned towards the Muslims and said: "The Quraysh has sent you their most precious lives."
Before the Muslims arrived at Badr, the disbelievers had already taken over the raised piece of land and so the Muslims had to take the low lying sandy spot. And between them remained a sandy piece of land. Ibn Abbas (radhiallahu anhu) said: "…Muslims felt weak and the Shaytan cast frustration into their hearts. He whispered to them, 'You claim that you are Allah's supporters and that His Messenger is among you! However, the disbelievers have taken over the water resource from you, while you pray needing purity!' Allah sent down heavy rain allowing the Muslims to drink and use it for purity. Allah also removed Shaytan's whisper and made the sand firm when rain fell on it, and the Muslims walked on the sand along with their animals, until they reached the enemy…" [At-Tabaree (13: 423)]
So, Allah sent rain as a blessing for the believers, but for the disbelievers, the rain was an obstacle that prevented them from further progress. Allah mentions this great blessing in the Qur'aan: "…and He caused rain to descend on you from the sky to clean you thereby and to remove from you the Rijz (whispering, evil suggestions, etc.) of Shaytan, and to strengthen your hearts, and make your feet firm thereby." [Soorah al-Anfal (8): 11]
The blessing of rain strengthened the believer's hearts and encouraged them to fight the enemies of Allah. They experienced a sense of security. Then Allah descended another blessing on them; slumber overcame the Muslims and they slept sound the whole night without fear. "(Remember) when He covered you with a slumber as a security from Him…" [Soorah al-Anfal (8): 11] The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) spent the whole night in supplication and prayer.
First Day of the
In the morning, Allah Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) called the Sahabah to offer the prayer and then positioned them for the battle. He (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) ordered them not to start fighting unless he ordered them. On the other side, the Quraysh also prepared for the war. When the two parties approached each other, Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) supplicated to Allah saying: "O Allah! The proud and arrogant Quraysh are already here disobeying you and belying Your Messenger. O Allah! I am waiting for Your victory which You have promised me. I beseech You Allah to defeat them (the enemies)."
Abu Jahl also prayed saying, "Our Lord, whichever of the two parties was less kind to his relatives, and brought us what we do not know, then destroy him tomorrow.' Allah says about this supplication of Abu Jahl: "(O disbelievers) if you ask for a judgment, now has the judgment come unto you…" [Soorah al-Anfal (8): 19]
Imam Ibn Katheer (rahimahullah) writes in the Tafseer of this verse, 'Allah says to the disbelievers, if you ask for a judgment (between truth and falsehood) and a decision between you and your believing enemies, and you got what you asked for.' Meaning Allah accepted their supplication and distinguished the truthful and gave victory to Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam).
The battle started when a man from the disbeliever sweared to drink water from the water basin of the Muslims, to destroy it or die for it. Hamzah Ibn Abdul Mutallib (radhiallahu anhu) struck his leg with his sword and killed him inside the basin.
Then three men from the disbelievers, Utbah Ibn Rabi'a, his brother Shaibah and his son al-Waleed stepped forward. Three young men from the Ansaar came forward but the Quraysh (disbelievers of Makkah) yelled they wanted the heads of their cousins. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) then sent Ubaidah Ibn al-Harith, Hamzah (his uncle) and Ali Ibn Abi Talib (his cousin) to fight. Hamazah (radhiallahu anhu) killed Shaibah and Ali (radhiallahu anhu) killed al-Waleed. Ubaidah was seriously wounded but Hamzah fell upon Utbah and cut off his head. In this way, in one on one combat, the disbelievers lost many of their brave men. So, they decided to attack the Muslims as a whole. The Muslims were ordered to carry out a defensive war. They supplicated to Allah and invoked His Help and fought bravely as they were ordered.
Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) continuously prayed to Allah day and night. When the battle became very crucial, he (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) supplicate saying, "O Allah! Should this group (of Muslims) be defeated today, You will no longer be worshipped."
He (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) stretched forth his hand and supplicated to Allah until his cloak fell off his shoulders. Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu) came up to him, picked his cloak, and put it back on his shoulders and said: "O Prophet of Allah! You have cried out enough to your Lord. He will surely fulfill what He has promised you." [Saheeh al-Bukharee and an-Nasa'ee]
Immediately, Allah responded to the supplication and sent Angels for help, Allah says: "(Remember) when you sought help of your Lord and He answered you saying, 'I will help you with a thousand Angels each behind the other in succession." [Soorah al-Anfal (8): 9]
The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) raised his head and said cheeringly: "O Abu Bakr, glad tidings are there for you; Allah's victory has approached, by Allah I can see Jibreel on his mount in the thick of a sandstorm." Then he recited the verse: "Their multitude will be put to flight and they will show their backs." [Soorah al-Qamar (54): 45]
Many narrations speak about the appearance of Angels in the battle of Badr. It is mentioned in Saheeh Muslim that Ibn Abbas (radhiallahu anhu) said: "While on that day a Muslim from the Ansaar was chasing a disbeliever, he heard over him the swashing of a whip and the voice of the rider saying: 'Go ahead Haizum.' He looked at the disbelievers who had fell on the ground on his back. The man came to Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and related the incident, upon which Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "You have told the truth. This was the help from the third Heaven."
Another incident is reported, where another man from the Ansaar captured Abbas Ibn Abdul Mutalib, who said: "O Messenger of Allah! By Allah this man did not capture me. I was captured by a man who was bald and had the most handsome face, and who was riding a horse. I cannot see him here among the people…" The man from the Ansaar said: 'I captured him, O Messenger of Allah!' The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) replied: "Be quite, Allah, the All-Might, strengthened you with the help of a noble Angel."
It is also reported that after the battle, the people used to recognize those who were killed by the Angels, by wounds over their necks, finger and toes, because those parts had a mark as if they were branded by Fire.
Angel Jibreel (alaihis-salaam) approached Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and asked him to take a handful of dust and throw at the enemies.
The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) threw the dust saying, "Confusion seize their faces!" A violent sandstorm blew into the eyes of the enemies and the handful of sand entered the eyes of the idolaters, each one of them was struck by some of it, and it distracted them making each of them busy. Allah says regarding it:
"And you (O Muhammad (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam)) threw not when you did throw but Allah threw." [Soorah al-Anfal (8): 17]
meaning the handful of sand which Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) threw at the disbelievers was not by his (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) power and strength that it reached the eyes of the pagans, who were disturbed and made busy by it. But it is Allah, Who should be praised and glorified because He helped the Prophet to perform this act.
Iblees (Shaytan), who was in the form of Suraqah Ibn Malik, saw the Angels helping the Muslims and "… ran away and said: "Verily, I have nothing to do with you…"
Ibn Abbas said: 'On the day of Badr, Shaytan as well as his flag holders and soldiers, accompanied the idolaters. He whispered to the hearts of the idolaters, 'None can defeat you this day and I will help you.' When they met and Shaytan saw Angels coming to their aid and the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) took a handful of sand and threw it at the faces of the idolaters, causing them to retreat. Jibreel u came towards Shaytan but when Shaytan, while holding the hand of a Mushrik man, saw him, he withdrew his hand and ran away with his soldiers. That man asked him, 'O Suraqah! You claimed that you are our neighbor.' He said: "…Verily, I see what you see not. Verily, I fear Allah for Allah is severe in punishment." [Soorah al-Anfal (8): 48]
Another great Help from Allah was that He placed terror and fright in the hearts of the disbelievers. This is why instead of being greater in number and being well-equipped and loaded with weapons, the disbelievers fled the battlefield in awe. "Verily, I am with you, so keep firm those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks, and smite over all their fingers and toes." [Soorah al-Anfal (8): 12]
Instances of the Sahabah's Bravery and Devotion
Only after Allah affirmed that He will suffice, aid, support and help the believers against their enemies, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) gave clear order to counter attack the disbelievers reciting the verse, "And be quick for forgiveness from your Lord, and for
Allah said: "O Prophet! Urge the believers to fight…" The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) encouraged his companions to fight. The courage and desire for
Narrated Anas Ibn Malik (radhiallahu anhu), "…The polytheists advanced (towards us), and the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "Rise to enter
Umar Ibn al-Humam al-Ansari (radhiallahu anhu) said: "O Messenger of Allah! Is
Mu'adh Ibn Amr, a young man from the Ansaar came across Abu Jahl in the battle and struck his leg so forcefully that his leg was cut off from the shin. When Ikrimah, the son of Abu Jahl, saw his father injured, he fell upon Mu'adh and nearly separated his arm from his shoulder. Mu'adh fought the whole day with the hanging arm and when it gave him more trouble, he put his arm under his feet and pulled it apart by force.
Abu Jahl, the Pharaoh of this Nation, died at the hands of two young Muslims
Abdur Rahmaan al-Awf (radhiallahu anhu) related, 'I was in the thick of the battle when two youths, still seemingly inexperienced in the art of fighting, one on the right and the second on the left. One of them spoke in a secret voice asking me to show him Abu Jahl. I asked him about his intention, to which he replied that he had a strong desire to engage with Abu Jahl in a combat until either of them was killed. It was something incredible. I turned to the left and the other expressed a similar desire. I directly pointed at their target. They both rushed towards Abu Jahl and without hesitation struck him together and brought him down to earth. They went back to Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), each claiming that he had killed Abu Jahl. The Prophet saw both their swords and said: "You both have killed him."
At the end of the battle, Abdullah Ibn Mas'oud, saw Abu Jahl at the verge of death. He stepped on his neck and said: "Have you seen how Allah has disgraced you?'
But look how arrogant is this enemy of Allah, he replied to Ibn Mas'oud saying: "I am not disgraced. I am no more than a man killed by his own people on the battlefield." The disbelievers were so terrified that they even left behind their chief and fled the battlefield. When Ibn Mas'oud was about to cut off his head, he said: "Cut off my head from near the shoulders so that it looks bigger than the heads of all others and it is seen as the head of the chief. Ibn Mas'oud cut off his head and took it to Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), who praised Allah upon seeing it. He (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) later said when he saw his dead body: "This is the Pharaoh of this nation."
Victory for the Believers
With the help of Allah, Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and his companions fought bravery until the Quraysh suffered great loss and fled the battlefield. They lost 70 of their best men and 70 were taken as prisoners by the Muslims. Only fourteen Muslims were martyred in this battle: "And remember when you were few and were reckoned weak in the land and were afraid that men might kidnap you, but He provided a safe place for you, strengthened you with His help, and provided you with good things so that you might be grateful." [Soorah al-Anfal (8): 26]
After the battle of Badr, the Muslims emerged as one powerful nation.
Lessons from the
The Battle of Badr is a great example from our history that teaches; 'victory does not depend on numbers or collecting weapons and shields - Victory is from Allah.'
"How often has a small group overcome a might host by Allah's leave. And Allah is with the patient." [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 249]
However, Allah only grants victory to those who believe in Him and put their complete trust in Him. Allah sent blessing and help to the believers in the battle of Badr and made them victorious over the disbelieving pagans only after putting them to trial! Allah tested the Muslims for ten years in Makkah and then He tested them again by the order to migrate to al-Medina leaving behind all possessions.
It was the result of the strong trust of the Sahabah in Allah that they willingly marched towards the battlefield, even though they knew that the disbelievers had come with huge army and weaponry.
It was their craving for Allah's Pleasure and
Otherwise, in the times of Jahiliyyah (ignorance - the time before Islam), these very same people were the weakest of people found on the face of the earth as Imam Ibn Katheer (rahimahullah) mentions the statement of Qatadah Ibn Di'amah as-Sadusi in the Tafseer of Soorah al-Anfal (8): 26, 'Arabs were the weakest of the weak, had the toughest life, the emptiest stomach, the barest skin and the most obvious misguidance. Those who lived among them lived in misery; those who died went to the Fire. They were being eaten up, but unable to eat others! By Allah! We do not know of a people on the face of the earth at that time who had a worse life than them. When Allah brought Islam, He made it dominant on the earth and thus bringing provisions and leadership for them over the necks of people. It is through Islam that Allah granted all what you see, so thank Him for His favors, for your Lord is One Who bestows favors and likes praise."
It was due to their cowardice that when Abrahah attacked their most sacred city, Makkah, and resolved to demolish the Ka'bah; they evacuated Makkah and ran away with their wives and children to mountain tops. But when they embraced Islam, believed in Allah, avoided sins and purely followed the teaching of Allah's Messenger - Allah made them the rulers of the world. They triumphed at the time of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) and after his death. The Kuffar feared the Muslims!
But when the Muslims abandoned the life of righteousness and adopted sins, Allah, the Exalted, snatched away His Blessings from them and they were left to their state of misery. However, even today, if we Muslims were to believe in Allah and put complete trust in Him Alone, then Allah will help the Muslims over the Kuffar. It is the result of our sins that in many parts of the world Muslims are being oppressed by the Kuffar and subjugated to hardships.
Today, if we show willingness to sacrifice our wealth and lives for the sake of Allah, and purely follow the teachings of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), Allah will remove our hardships and grant us victory and supremacy over the Kuffar.
Allah says: "Allah has promised those among you who believe and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the earth, as He granted it to those who before them, and He will grant them the authority to practice their religion that which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islam). And He will surely give them in exchange security after their fear (provided) they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me. But whosoever disbelieves after this, they are the Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah)." [Soorah an-Nur (24): 55]