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04 April 2023

The Significance of the Number 313 in Islam

Muslim Hands
The Significance of the Number 313 in Islam

From the Sunnah of Allah (swt) is that He is the Creator of all things, including people, places, times and numbers. He selects and prefers some things over others in His divine wisdom, for example prayers prayed in al-Masjid al-Haram in Makkah are worth 100,000 times more than anywhere else [Ibn Majah]. Allah’s divine selection is clearly shown in the following ayah of the Noble Qur’an: 

And your Lord creates what He wills and chooses; not for them was the choice. Glory be to Allah Who is Exalted above what they associate with Him. 

[The Noble Qur’an, 28:68] 

From this divine selection is also the preference at times of odd numbers over even. Regarding this we have the following Hadith: 

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, 

O people of the Qur’an perform the Witr (odd numbered) prayer! For indeed, Allah is One (odd numbered) and loves that which is odd numbered. 

[Abu Dawud] 

Allah is Uniquely One, an odd number, whilst He has divided His creation into pairs: 

'And We created pairs of all things so perhaps you would be mindful. 

[The Noble Qur’an, 51:49] 

One of those odd numbers that Allah prefers over others is the number 313. In this blog, we will explore examples in the Qur’an and Sunnah of Allah preferring the number 313. 

(1) The Number of Companions (ra) Beside the Prophet (saw) at the Battle of Badr was 313 

The Companions (ra) used to discuss how many of them were present alongside the Prophet (saw) at the Battle of Badr that was fought on 17th Ramadan, 2AH: 

On the authority of al-Bara’ (ra) who said, 

We, the Companions of Muhammad (saw) used to say that the number of the Companions (warriors) of Badr was the same as the number of Talut’s (Saul’s) companions who crossed the river (of Jordan) with him, and none crossed the river with him but a believer, and they were three hundred and some ten (13 to 19) men. [Bukhari] 

The Arabic word used by the Companion, al-Bara' (ra) is bidh‘ah, which indicates a number in between three to nine. So, the suggestion above is that the number of Companions (ra) at the Battle of Badr is a number between 313 to 319. 

(2) The Number of Warriors Alongside Talut, a King of the Israelites was 313

 In the previous Hadith, al-Bara' (ra) suggested that the number of Companions (ra) at the Battle of Badr was a number around 313 to 319. The same Companion (ra) was more specific in another narration in which he also indicated that this was also the same number of warriors alongside the Israelite King Talut, who despite his relative poverty compared to other leaders of the tribes of Israel was chosen by Allah for his piety, knowledge and strength: 

We used to say that the companions (participants) of Badr on the Day of Badr were like the number of companions of Talut, three hundred and thirteen men. [Tirmidhi] 

There were originally around 80,000 warriors with King Talut (Saul) who marched with him in the desert. They were instructed that they were only allowed to drink one handful of water when they approached a river. Sadly, around 76,000 couldn’t resist their thirst and drank from the river and failed this test. That left 4,000 warriors, and of them only 314 remained firm with King Talut. These men are considered by many scholars to be the most righteous of Bani Isra’il. Amongst their number was the Prophet Dawud (as) who was known for his fasting and prayer: 

‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr (ra) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said, ‘The most beloved fasting to Allah was the fasting of (the Prophet) Dawud [as] who used to fast on alternate days. And the most beloved prayer to Allah was the prayer of David who used to sleep for (the first) half of the night and pray for 1/3 of it and (again) sleep for a sixth of it.’ (Bukhari)   

At the time of the battle, Dawud was just a young man from Bethlehem, but he famously killed the giant, Jalut (Goliath) of the Amalekites, with a sling shot. 

This significant incident is mentioned in Surah al-Baqarah of the Noble Qur’an, 2:249-252. The believers are quoted in this passage saying, ‘How many times has a small force vanquished a mighty army by the Will of Allah! And Allah is (always) with the steadfast.’ They also supplicated, ‘O our Lord! Shower us with perseverance, make our steps firm, and give us victory over the disbelieving people.’ 

An incredible cross reference here is that many years later the Mamluks defeated the Mongols at the plains of Ain Jalut (the Spring of Goliath) in 1256 CE – 25th Ramadan 658 AH. This was the exact same location where the Prophet Dawud (as) killed Goliath, Subhan-Allah! 

We may understand from this that history repeats itself, in that there were 313 warriors at the Battle of Badr and at the battle at which the Prophet Dawud (as) killed Goliath. But we should know that this is all underpinned by the consistent Sunnah of Allah: 

That was Allah’s way with those who have gone before. And you will find no change in Allah’s way (Sunnah). 

[The Noble Qur’an, 33:62] 

(3) An Indication from the Noble Qur’an Itself

There is a beautiful indication to the number 313 in the Noble Qur’an. If we look at the Surah Ali-‘Imran, the third chapter, and examine its thirteenth ayah (i.e., 3:13) we find an incredible passage that talks directly about the Battle of Badr: 

You have already seen a sign in the two armies that met in battle, one fighting for Allah’s cause and the other made up of disbelievers. With their own eyes [the former] saw [the latter] to be twice their number, but Allah helps whoever He will. There truly is a lesson in this for all with eyes to see.’ 

[The Noble Qur’an, 3:13] 

SubhanAllah, it is even more amazing that the verses before and after it do not talk about the Battle of Badr - only this one does! 

(4) The Number of the Messengers (as) Sent by Allah was 313 

Despite being classed as having a weak chain of narration, when taken with the other evidence found in the Qur’an and ahadith, we can see yet another reminder of the significance of 313. The hadith states that the number of Messengers of Allah (, peace be upon them all is also 313: 

Abu Dharr (ra) narrated that he asked the Prophet (saw), ‘O Messenger of Allah how many Prophets were there?’ He [saw] said, 

‘One hundred and twenty-four thousand.’ 

I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah how many Messengers were there from them?’ He said, 

‘Three hundred and thirteen a good number (jamm ghafir).’ 

I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah who was the first of them?’ He said, 

‘Adam [as].’ 

[Ibn Hibban] 

Here, the Prophet (saw) refers to the number 313 as ‘jamm ghafir’, a large and good group of people. 

(5) The Number of Those Who Give Allegiance to Imam Mahdi (as) Will Be 313 

We have already seen that the number 313 has been significant in human history, and we may think that there are no links to this number in our future. The following remarkable Hadith states that this significant number will again appear with the number of believers pledging an oath of allegiance to the great Imam Mahdi (as) at the noble Ka‘bah: 

Umm Salamah (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, 

Allegiance will be pledged with a man (Imam Mahdi (as)) from among my Ummah between the corner stone (of the Ka‘bah) and the Station (of Ibrahim (as)), exactly equal in number to the number of the people of Badr (313). Later, the divine friends of Allah (Awliya’) from Iraq and the substitute-saints (Abdal) from Shaam will come to him (for the oath of allegiance). 

[Hakim & Ibn Abi Shaibah] 

A Beautiful Way for us to Connect to This Blessed Number

Due to your incredible generosity over the last few years, we have been able to establish bread factories in northern Syria. They produce around 70,000 loaves of bread every day. Each person receives two flatbread loaves, meaning 35,000 people receive fresh bread daily. These people have been displaced by the war, and later the February 2023 earthquake. They are mainly orphans, widows, elderly people and people with disabilities. By donating £313 for this noble cause, you can help us produce 8,764 loaves of bread that will feed a staggering 4,382 vulnerable people. Support this blessed cause today! 

We have now seen the tremendous significance of the beautiful number 313 in Islam not only in our past but in the future yet to come. The Prophet (saw) referred to it as ‘good group of people’ [Ibn Hibban]. It is a number connected with elite believers who please Allah and make great sacrifices for Him. The likes of the number of Messengers of Allah (as), the warriors alongside Talut and the Prophet Dawud (as), the Companions (ra) at the Battle of Badr with the Prophet (saw) and those who pledge allegiance to Imam Mahdi (as) near the end of time. We pray that Allah makes us all from amongst His elite servants, ameen!    

Muslim Hands UK

Established in 1993, Muslim Hands is an aid agency and NGO helping those affected by poverty, conflict and natural disaster in over 20 countries worldwide.