The Prophet's wars were fought in self defence
When all these aforementioned ways and means have been exhausted, then comes the turn of the defensive war. All the wars of the Prophet (S) were of this nature. For example, the first clash of the Muslims with the Qureish occurred when the raiding party of 'Abdullah ibn Jahsh came up against the caravans of the Qureish which were coming from al-Sham (Syria) led by Abu Sufyan.
This was a retort to the aggression of the Polytheists against the Prophet (S) and his companions, which had gone on for ten years. They had killed some of them, banished some to Abyssinia and some to Madinah, and tortured another group of them and destroyed the honour of others as in the account of Sumayyaha the mother of 'Ammar.
They confiscated their houses and their wealth in Makkah. And if this was not enough, they approached the other Arabian tribes, which surrounded Madinah and bribed them not to let the Prophet's caravans pass through their lands. This threatened the Muslims with death by starvation.
The defensive economic blockade is one legal method used in wars, and what the Muslims wanted from this raiding party and what followed it (like the battle of Badr) was to place an economic blockade on the people of Makkah who were at war with the Prophet in the same way that they had placed a blockade upon him.
As for the rest of the Prophet's raids, wars and assaults, they resulted from either a breaking of the treaty by the other side as did the Jews of the clan of Qainaqa' in Madinah, and the Polytheists of the Qureish in breaking the peace treaty of Hudaibia, or they were to repel the enemy as in the battles of Uhud and al-Khandaq. Otherwise they were for defensive purposes as in the story of Mu'ta when the Persians and the Romans had engaged in aggression towards the Islamic state and Islam was surrounded by enemies who only sought the worst for Islam.
They began to try to attack Islam and tear it out by the roots and kill the Prophet (S) and exterminate the Muslims. They indeed began to do this. Hercules, the leader of the Romans killed a group of his subjects who had become Muslims in Syria. All of this gave the Prophet (S) the religious, common law, and legal right to defence. Likewise with the Persians, Khosrau their leader ordered his governor in Yemen to send some of his henchmen to bring him the blessed head of the Prophet.
However the messengers who came to Madinah refused when they saw the Muslims thronging around the Prophet who reasoned with them in a story much mentioned in the chronicles.
Adapted from the book: "War, Peace & Non-Violence" by: "Sayyid Muhammad Sadiq Shirazi"
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