Mohammed and the Unbelivers
Jihad—War Against All
In Mecca, Mohammed had divided the community into followers of Islam and followers of the native Arabic religions. He adopted all the classical Jewish stories to prove his prophecy and spoke well of the Jews. But there were few Jews living there, and no one argued with him.
Upon coming to Medina, where half the residents were Jews, Mohammed divided the community into thirds: Islam, the Jews and their allies, and those who practiced the native Arabic religions. He made a sharp division between Islam and Christianity as well.
I415 Mohammed then prepared for war as commanded by Allah. He would fight his enemies, those who were not Muslims. This was thirteen years after he started preaching, about one to two years after leaving Mecca and going to Medina.
3:151 Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the kafirs, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority: Their abode will be the Fire: And evil is the home of the wrongdoers!
THE FIRST RAID
I416 At age 53, Mohammed sent forth his fighters to Waddan in search of the Quraysh. They returned without fighting.
THE EXPEDITION OF UBAYDA
I416 Mohammed sent out Ubayda on an expedition with sixty to eighty riders, and they encountered a large number of Quraysh. No fighting took place, but Islam shot the first arrow. It was shot by Saed.
The Arabs had a tradition of war poetry. This poem was written in that tradition:
They (the Quraysh) howled like bitches driven back to their lairs.
If they follow the religion of their fathers
Allah’s punishment on them will not tarry.
A valiant band will descend upon them
And leave their women without husbands. —Abu Bakr
I419 Mohammed sent Hamza out with thirty riders, and they met three hundred riders from Mecca. They separated without a fight.
THE RAID ON BUWAT
I421 Mohammed sent men out looking for Quraysh. No contact was made.
THE RAID ON AL-USHAYRA
I421 This time Mohammed led the raid. They left Medina looking for Quraysh but made no contact.
THE RAID OF SAED
I423 Saed set out with eight men on a raid but made no contact with the enemy, the Quraysh.
THE RAID ON SAFAWAN
I423 After Mohammed came back from his raid, one of the Quraysh raided Medina and stole some camels. Mohammed and some men set out to catch him but made no contact.
Until now, armed men had been sent out to kill and take the spoils of war and take prisoners but without success. After seven attempts, Islam was finally able to destroy the enemies of Mohammed and Allah.
JIHAD—THE FIRST KILLING
I423 Mohammed sent Abdullah out with eight men. He gave him a letter and asked him not to read it for two days. Abdullah agreed. The letter told him where to go and wait for the Quraysh. While camping, two of his men lost their camel and stayed be-hind to look for it while the rest of the men went on.
I424 A Quraysh caravan loaded with leather and raisins came upon the band of Muslims. When the Quraysh saw them they were scared because they had slept not very far away. But one of the Muslims had a shaved head, which was a mark of a re-ligious pilgrim, so the Quraysh felt better. They were safe. The native religions had sacred months in which violence was forbidden to all. This was a sacred month, and they were unarmed.
I425 The Muslims took council. They were faced with a dilemma: if they attacked the caravan now, they would be killing in a sacred month. Luckily, the sacred month ended that day and the next day there would be no taboo about killing. But there was another problem: by nightfall they would be in the sacred area of Mecca. In the sanc-tified area, there could never be any killing. They hesitated and talked about what to do. They decided to kill as many as possible and take their goods before the next day.
I425 Islam drew first blood against the Quraysh of Mecca. They attacked the un-armed men. Amr, the first man to be killed by jihad, was shot by an arrow. One man escaped, and they captured two others. The Muslims took the enemies’ camels with their goods and headed back to Medina and Mohammed. On the way they talked about how Mohammed would get one fifth of the stolen goods.
I425 When they got back, Mohammed said he had not ordered them to attack in the sacred month. He detained the caravan and the two prisoners and refused to do anything with them or the goods. The prisoners said, “Mohammed has violated the sacred month, shed blood therein, stolen goods, and taken prisoners.”
But the Koran said:
2:217 When they ask you about fighting in the holy month, say: Fighting at this time is a serious offense, but it is worse in Allah’s eyes to deny others the path to Him, to disbelieve in Him, and to drive His worshippers out of the Sacred Mosque. Idolatry is a greater sin than murder. They will not stop fighting you until you turn away from your religion. But any of you who renounce your faith and die a kafir will have your works count for nothing in this world and the world to come. These people will be prisoners of the Fire, where they will live forever.
I426 According to Mohammed, to resist the doctrine of Islam and persuade Mus-lims to drop their faith was worse than killing. Before Islam, the rule of justice in Arabia was a killing for a killing, but now to resist Islam was worse than murder. Those who argued against Islam and resisted Islam could be killed as a sacred act. So the murder and theft were sanctified. The spoils of war were distributed and a ransom was set for the prisoners. The men who had killed and stolen were now concerned about whether they would get their share of the spoils. So once again the Koran spoke:
2:218 Those who believe and those who have fled their countries and have fought for Allah’s cause [jihad] may hope for His mercy; Allah is forgiving and merciful.
I426 As Muslims who had been exiled and fought they were blessed by Allah. They received their spoils of war and Mohammed took his 20 percent.
B4,53,351 Allah’s Apostle said, “The spoils of war have been made legal for me.”
Another war poem:
You [Quraysh] count war in the holy month a grave matter
But graver is your opposition to Mohammed and your unbelief.
Though you defame us for killing Amr
Our lances drank Amr’s blood.
We lit the flame of war. —Abu Bakr