Muhammad spent his last ten years, from 622 to 632, as the leader of a
Muslim community in Medina that was engaged in a state of war with the Meccans.
- A Stan Klos Website
Wars of Prophet
Muhammad spent his last ten years, from 622 to 632, as the leader of a Muslim
community in Medina that was engaged in a state of war with the Meccans.
Muhammad and the émigrées, known as the Muhajir, had earlier migrated from Mecca
to Medina in what is known as the Hijra. Through raids, sieges, and diplomacy,
he and his followers allied with or subdued some of the tribes and cities of the
Arabian peninsula in their struggle with the powerful Banu Quraish of Mecca.
They also sent out raiding parties against Arabic-speaking communities ruled
under the Roman Empire. Muhammad was believed by the Muslims to be divinely
chosen to spread Islam and that warfare was one aspect of this struggle for the
truth was clarified in its ultimate form. After initially refusing to accede
to requests by his followers to fight the Meccans for what was viewed as
continued provocation, he eventually proclaimed the revelations of the Quran:
"Permission to fight is given to those who are fought against because they
have been wronged -truly Allah has the power to come to their support- those
who were expelled from their homes without any right, merely for saying, 'Our
Lord is Allah'..." (Qur'an, 22:39-40)"
After the first battle of Badr against the Quraysh, he is reported as having
said "We have returned from the lesser Jihad to the greater Jihad (i.e. the
struggle against the evil of one's soul)." John Esposito writes that
Muhammad's use of warfare in general was alien neither to Arab custom nor to
that of the Hebrew prophets, as both believed that God had sanctioned battle
with the enemies of the Lord.
Muhammad efforts led to the unification of the Arabian peninsula.
Muslims view that the Muslims fought only when attacked, or in the context of
a wider war of self-defense. They argue that Muhammad was the first among the
major military figures of history to lay down rules for humane warfare, and that
he was scrupulous in limiting the loss of life as much as possible.
Javed Ahmed Ghamidi writes in Mizan that there are certain directives of the
Qur’an pertaining to war which were specific only to Muhammad against Divinely
specified peoples of his times (the polytheists and the Israelites and Nazarites
of Arabia and some other Jews, Christians, et al.) as a form of Divine
punishment—for they had persistently denied the truth of Muhammad's mission even
after it had been made conclusively evident to them by Allah through Muhammad,
and asked the polytheists of Arabia for submission to Islam as a condition for
exoneration and the others for jizya and submission to the political authority
of the Muslims for exemption from death punishment and for military protection
as the dhimmis of the Muslims. Therefore, after Muhammad and his companions,
there is no concept in Islam obliging Muslims to wage war for propagation or
implementation of Islam, hence now, the only valid reason for war is to end
oppression when all other measures have failed. (jihad).
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