This fictional story of a non-fiction-historical event over 37 large, 12×12, pages really brings the battle of Badr to life for readers ages seven and up. The book is engaging and keeps chidden focused, excited, and clear as to what is unfolding, why the battle was important for Muslims, and why it still has lessons today. Unfortunately, there are no source notes, bibliography, or references in the book, so I’m not sure how accurate the details are, and I haven’t yet had a chance to have someone more knowledgeable than I check it for accuracy. The ayats from the Quran quoted are identified in text and yes, I understand it isn’t a reference book, but even having some imam or scholar give their approval would reassure people considering purchasing the book. Additionally, fairly prominently there is a disclaimer at the beginning of the book that says, “The characters in this book are entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is entirely coincidental,” which is a common disclaimer, but in a book of this nature, it did strike me as odd. So, you may want to read it first yourself before presenting it to your child as fact.
There is also a typo that my children discovered rather quickly and pointed out to me, I was a little disheartened when I asked about it, to discover the author knew about it before mailing it out, but for some reason didn’t find it necessary to put a note or let the customer be aware of it. I put a post-it note in mine to show all of you, and will be taking a black marker to it shortly. Mistakes and typos happen, but I felt that they should have let the consumer know, once they knew that it was there, for accuracy sake.
The book starts off with a brother and sister fighting, Zain and Zahrah. When the father goes to stop them, Zain tells him that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) used to fight, and the father concedes the point, but points out it was not something he wanted to do. He tells them that for the first 13 years he didn’t fight back even when the Quraysh made fun of him.
The kids ask who the Quraysh are and why they didn’t believe the Prophet, to which the father lovingly answers their questions before telling him about the verses revealed allowing them to fight from Surah Al-Baqarah.
They learn about Abu Sufyan returning from Syria with a large caravan and how the Prophet wanted to surprise them. Only to learn that Abu Sufyan had arranged a much larger army from Mecca to come and attack the Prophet and his Companions.
There are details about how they determined the size of the army based on how many camels were being eaten, and how the Muslims camped near the wells to control the water. The story reads smoothly and pulls out when the children have questions seamlessly.
As the battle is set 1000 soldiers against 313 Muslims, the book explains how the battle starts with three duels and explains how Utbah, Shaiba and Walid battle Hamza (RA), Ali (RA), and Ubaydah (RA). The Ansar win all three battles and the Quraysh charge.
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) makes duas, and Allah (SWT) answers sending a thousand angels following one after another to help.
When the dust settles the Muslims are victorious and the order is given for the prisoners to be treated kindly. They are given food, rides, and the opportunity to pay a ransom for their freedom or they could teach 10 Muslims to read and write in exchange for their release.
With the story concluded the father then makes sure the children understand some of the many lessons from the battle. Including having Allah on your side, trusting Allah, putting in your best effort, and being kind and generous even to those against you.
There is no illustrator listed, but the pictures are done really well showing modern relatable, squabbling kids getting drawn in to a historical story by their father. The emotion on the characters faces adds depth to the story and engages the readers in seeing and understanding a desert battle so long ago.
The text on some pages varies quite noticeably, with some pages barely having a line to spare and some only being a line or two long. It does slightly affect the rhythm (and aesthetic) of the book, but it is manageable as long as you remember to give the kids enough time to see the picture on the short pages, as the overall size makes the book perfect for story time to large and small groups. The book stays on level, which is nice, and there is a glossary of abbreviated terms (AS, RA, SAW, SWT) at the end.
The company: Ghazi Production is planning Uhud to be the next book, and informed me a bibliography will be included in that one. InshaAllah!