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The Prophet's (s.a.w) Military Policy

From the outset of the blessed da'wah to Islam, the methods adopted by the Prophet (s.a.w.) to effect a complete change in the new community were renewed and moderated every at times.

At one point the Prophet (s.a.w.) kept in security his da'wah to Islam and was working heavily to instruct new converts in the principles of Islam at a certain place.

At another time he called only his relatives to Islam: And warn your nearest kin. Then he called on all of the tribe of the Quraish, at the house of Allah, to accept Islam. To gain new ground for Islam, he, later ordered his followers to migrate to Abyssiniah.

Outside the city of Mecca, he held many meetings with Arab tribes. At al-Ta'if he stayed for one month propagating the new faith and rallying support for it.

Eventually he met with the pilgrims coming from Yathrib. His efforts yielded fruits when the people of Yathrib embraced Islam and pledged their support to the new faith. It was in Yathrib that the Prophet (s.a.w.) and the early converts found the practical base for the spread of Islam.

Great sources of power fell into the hands of Muslims, as the result of the migration and who became more ready to face up to aggression and fight their enemies.

The first and foremost fruit of the migration was the establishment of the Islamic state headed by the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.).

With its emergence, Muslims adopted a military policy and the chance offered itself, as provided a good way of communicating Islam to the thirsty, dried-up souls seeking the truth.

The key objective underpinning the Islamic military policy was first to grant people a chance to be acquainted with the Divine Message. The manner was to call them quietly and convincingly.

But many obstacles were placed between mankind and the Divine Message and adoption of the military policy by the Muslims sought to demolish these impediments to leave man free to choose for himself. It was a strategy, not only realized by the leadership, but even by the smallest member of the Muslim community.

Ami'r bin Rub'i, a Muslim soldier who took part in the war of liberation against the Persians, addressed Rustum, the commander of the Persian army, in these words, 65 ... Allah has certainly raised us and made us come to free people from worshipping of the servants of Allah to worshipping Allah; from the narrowest view of life to the most comprehensive; from the injustice of other religions to the justice of Islam. He has sent us, carrying His Message to His servants, calling them to it. Should anyone respond positively to our call we accept that from him, turn away and leave him ruling his own land without our intervention. Should anyone refuse this, we fight him incessantly till Allah judges between us.

The military policy never took one form but practically it took two distinct shapes:

1. Jihad of liberation and the calling to the path of Allah. The reason behind its legitimacy is that Islam is Allah's Message to His servants on earth. And naturally the road to Islam is full of obstacles, which are states, forces and rulers. Islam should be preached after overcoming these obstacles. If these barriers block the way of Islam, they should be removed by force.

2. Defensive Jihad. This is ordained for the purpose of preserving the Islamic Message, the Islamic state and the Muslims. Islam should be defended from the plots and schemes of its enemies, the opportunists and those threatened its existence.

Although the strategic and main target of the Muslim military operations, was the removal of barriers from the path of the Islamic da'wah, it can be seen, clearly, the afore-mentioned forms of jihad coloured all Islamic military operations and wars.

The battles of Badr, Khaibar, Hunain and the liberation of Mecca fall into the first category while the battles of Khandaq, Mu'tah, Tabuk and others are of the second form.

Now let us examine a few examples of the two forms of jihad.


65. Lamahat fi al-Thaqafal al-Islamiyyah (Glimpses from Islamic culture), Umar Awda al-Khatib, p.287, 1st edition, 1973, Beirut.

Adapted from the book: "Muhammad; The Messenger of Allah"

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