After his flight from Mecca to Medina in 622, Muhammad began to raid Meccan caravan routes. In 624, he learnt of a particularly large and well-laden caravan heading back from Syria. He gathered his forces for an ambush at Badr, where caravans would stop for refreshment at a string of wells. The Meccans, in their turn, became aware of the planned ambush; the caravan veered towards the safety of the coast while an army set out from Mecca to confront Muhammad. The battle began with traditional duels between champions from each side, then an exchange of volleys of arrows. Finally, urged on by Muhammad, the Muslims charged the much larger Meccan army, forcing them to turn and flee. The battle was a turning point for Muhammad, instantly earning him a reputation as a formidable military leader. Conversely, Mecca’s dominant status on the Arabian Peninsula was severely dented.
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