“Abu Jahl, the sinner, is slain, and the foes of Islam laid low!” was cried from the mosque and market-place, from minaret and house-top. “Allah Akbar Islam!”
The great testing day had come and was past. In open fight, before a host of their foes, the Muslim with smaller numbers had prevailed. The effect upon Medina and upon Mahomet’s later career cannot be overestimated. It was indeed a turning point, whence Mahomet proceeded irrevocably upon the road to success and fame. Reverses hereafter he certainly had, and at times the outlook was almost insuperably dark, but no misfortune or gloom could dull the splendour of that day at Bedr, when besides his own slender following, the hosts of the Lord, whose turbans glowed like crowns, led by Gabriel in golden armour, had fought for him and vanquished his foes. The glory of this battle was the lamp by which he planned his future wins.
At Medina the Disaffected were triumphantly gathered beneath his banner; his position became, for the time at least, established. No longer did he need to conciliate, flatter, spy upon the various factions within his walls. His prisoners were kindly treated, and some converted by these means to the faith he had vainly sought to impose upon them. Affairs within the city were organised and consolidated. Registers were prepared, the famous “Registers of Omar,” which were to contain the names of all those who had given distinguished service to the cause of Allah, and to confer upon them exalted rank. The three hundred names inscribed therein were the embryo of a Muslim aristocracy, constituting, in fact, a peerage of Islam. Mahomet’s religious ordinances were strengthened and confirmed, while his faith received that homage paid to success which had raised its founder from the commander of a small hand of religionists to the chief of a prosperous city, the leader of an efficient army, the head of a community which held within itself the future dominion of Arabia, of western Asia, southern Europe, in fact, the greater part of the middle world.
More than ever Mahomet perceived that his success lay in the sword. Bedr set the seal upon his acceptance of warfare as a means of propaganda. Henceforth the sword becomes to him the bright but awful instrument through which the will of Allah is achieved. In the measure that he trusted its power and confided to it his own destiny and that of his followers, so did war exact of him its ceaseless penalty, urging him on continually, through motives of policy and self-defence, until he became its slave, compelled to continue along the path appointed him, or perish by that very instrument by which his power had been wrought. Henceforward his activities consist chiefly of wars aggressive and defensive, while the religion actuating them receives slighter notice, because the main thesis has been established in his own state and requires the force of arms to obtain its supremacy over alien races.