The battle of Badr was the most important among the Islamic battles of Destiny. For the first time the followers of the new faith were put into a serious test. Had victory been the lot of the pagan army while the Islamic forces were still at the beginning of their developments, the faith of Islam could have come to an end.
No one was aware of the importance of the outcome of the battle as the Prophet (saww) himself. We might read the depth of his fervor in his prayer before the beginning of the battle when he stood up supplicating his Lord:
God this is Quraish. It has come with all its
arrogance and boastfulness, trying to discredit
Thy Apostle. God, I ask Thee to humiliate them
tomorrow. God, if this Muslim band will perish
today, Thou shall not be worshipped.
At this battle in which the pagan army consisted of 950 fighters and the Muslim army consisted of 314 (including the Messenger), the Islamic defense was a combination of three defensive lines:
1. The personality of the Messenger, his leadership and his unequalled firmness. He (saww) was to the Muslims the final refuge at Badr and at every battle he attended.
2. The Hashimites (the clan of the Prophet) were led by Ali Ibn Abu Talib who entered this battle relatively obscure and came out with unequalled military fame. His military performances became the most popular subject of the Arab caravans’ conversations throughout the Arabian Peninsula.
3. The hundreds of companions of the Messenger had hearts that were filled with the faith and readiness for sacrifice. Many of them viewed matyrdom to be a gain, equal to life and victory. These good companions were the army of Islam, its first line of defense and a thick wall behind which the Messenger (saww) used to stand. They were the attackers and the defenders.
As to the clan of the Messenger, they were the ones he used to call before anyone else, to offer the heavy sacrifices. They used to stand in the first line of defense opening for the army the way through enemy ranks with their thrusts pushing forward. When the general offensives began and every companion participated, the clan of the Messenger (saww) was the most damaging to the enemies. They were so at Badr and the subsequent battles.
The battle began when Utbah Ibn Rabiah, his son Al Walid and his brother Sheibah (all from the Ommayad clan) stood in front of the pagan army and asked the Prophet (saww) to send to them their equals for a dual. Hundreds of companions were around him and many of them were expecting to be called upon by the Prophet (saw) but he choose to start from his own family. The duty to fight first was most arduous, so he called upon Ali, Al Hamza and Obeidah Al Harith (all from the clan of the Prophet) to face the three warriors. Ali destroyed Al Walid and Al Hamza killed Utbah; then they both assisted Obeidah against his opponent Sheibah. Sheibah died immediately and Obeidah was the first martyr in this battle. He died after losing his leg.
When the general offensive began, hundreds of companions participated in the battle and offered sacrifices to please their Lord. But the members of the house of the Messenger (saww) distinguished themselves. Ali’s valour was unique in this battle. When Hanzala Ibn Abu Sufyan faced him, Ali ripped his eyes with one blow of his sword. He annihilated Al Aus Ibn Saeed, and met Tuaima Ibn Oday and transfixed him with his spear, saying “You shall not dispute with us in God after today.”
The Messsenger (saww) took a handful of gravel when the battle was extremely heated. He threw it at the faces of the pagans saying “May your faces be disfigured. God, terrify their hearts and invalidated their feet.” The pagans ran away, turning their faces to no one.
The Muslims went on killing them and taking prisoners. 70 pagans met their death, and the Muslims took from them 70 prisoners. History preserved in its records only a fifth of the names out of the 70 pagans. Twenty  or twenty two  of them died with Ali’s hand.
This battle laid the foundation of the Islamic State and made out of the Muslims a force to be reckoned with by the dwellers of the Arabian Peninsula.