Sunday, 29 September 2013

7 Jihad Begins

Mohammed had now gained effective control over the tribes of Medina. He quickly turned his attention back to the Quraysh of Mecca. The caravans that supplied Mecca from the North came close to Medina and Mohammed began sending out war parties to attack them. These caravans were usually well armed and the first seven attempts were unsuccessful. 

All the tribes of Arabia had an agreement at that time. During the four holy months, fighting of any sort was taboo. This was probably to facilitate the trade on which the Arabs depended for their livelihoods. During these months, large or costly items could be moved around without expensive armed guards. This benefited everybody and was therefore rigidly adhered to.

On the last day of one these months, a Muslim raiding party came across a Meccan caravan. The next day they would be free to attack the caravan. Unfortunately for them, by this time the caravan would be within the boundaries of Mecca. Within these boundaries fighting was forbidden at any time, since Mecca was a holy city. They were in a quandary as to what to do. Eventually, they decided to attack the caravan anyway.

For the benefit of the sceptics amongst you, (scepticism is good) I am going to quote (with the kind permission of Bill Warner), from Mohammed and the Unbelievers. I have included the relevant pages of The Sira, faithfully translated from the original as The Life of Muhammad by Prof. A Guillaume. If you compare the two you will see that Mohammed and the Unbelievers is clearer and easier to read. Importantly, it doesn’t leave out anything important or distort the truth in any way. For this reason I will mostly quote from this book from here on in.

From The Sira:
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 sanctified 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 unarmed 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 Kaffir 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 Muslims 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.

From Bukhari’s Hadith:
B4,53,351 Allah’s Apostle said, “The spoils of war have been made legal for me.”

A war poem from The Sira:
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 (Mohammed’s right hand man)

Jihad, the New Kind of Warfare
Before he moved to Medina, Mohammed had never used violence. Now that he had the means, he began to attack the Meccans, who had spurned his calls to Islam.

On the face of it, this was simply an attack by a tribal leader; (Mohammed) to steal goods from a group of rivals. In fact this was the start of a war which Mohammed and his followers would wage against all of his enemies (the Kaffirs) forever.

As this war progressed, Mohammed would develop a strategy for an entirely new system of warfare, which he called Jihad. Westerners translate Jihad as “holy war” but it is in fact far more than this. Mohammed was a very capable military tactician. Jihad however, barely concerns itself with military tactics. Had it done so, Jihad would have been rendered obsolete as soon as it encountered newer and more effective military technologies, such as crossbows or guns.

Warfare, like all types of violent coercion, has a psychological aspect to it. In many ways, this is more important than the actual violence itself. Mohammed’s genius was to understand this psychology and incorporate it into the tactics of Jihad. Because of this, Jihad is effective when fighting with bows and arrows or laser guided rockets. As the story unfolds, we will see how the strategy of Jihad was developed and applied. I will begin to list these as they appear:

Rules of Jihad:
       1)      Jihad is sanctioned by Allah. There is no higher authority; therefore it is always justified.

       2)      Never abide by any rules or limitations. The ends justify ANY means no matter how shocking. Jihad can be any action which advances Islam or weakens the Kaffirs whether by a group or an individual. Even donating money to pay for someone else’s Jihad is a type of Jihad itself.

       3)      ALWAYS play the victim. Mohammed twisted his situation around. Although he had attacked innocent people without provocation he blamed them. He said that they had “stopped others from becoming Muslims” and had worshiped idols. The attack was their fault and the Muslims were the victims, not the Kaffirs.

       4)      Keep repeating this and people will eventually begin to believe it. If you can persuade the victim to accept the blame you have won, because retaliation requires a sense of injustice. If the victim accepts the blame they will turn their hatred towards themselves.

The Bible contains acts of war by the Jews against their enemies which were approved of by their God. This approval was applied only to specific battles and specific instances in history. It was not part of an ongoing strategy to take over the world. The God of the Bible did not give approval for relentless, unprovoked violence against unbelievers.

Direct Translation from the Original Arabic text (The Sira) by Professor Guillaume


The apostle sent Abdullah b. Jahsh b. Ri’ab al-Asadi in Rijab on his return from the first Badr. He sent with him eight emigrants, without any of the Ansar. He wrote for him a letter and ordered him not to look at it until he had journeyed for two days, and to do what he was ordered to do but not to put pressure on any of his companions. The names of the eight Emigrants were, Abu Hudhayfa, Abdullah b. Jabsh, Ukkasha b Mibsan, Utba b Ghazwan, Sa’d b. Abu Waqqas, Amir b. Rabi’a, Waqid b Abdullah, and Khalid b. al-Bukayr. When Abdullah had travelled for two days he opened the letter and looked into it, and this is what it said: “When you have read this letter of mine proceed until you reach Nakhla between Mecca and Al-Ta’if. Lie in wait there for Quraysh and find out for us what they are doing.” Having read the letter he said, “To hear is to obey.” Then he said to his companions, “The apostle has commanded me to go to Nakhla to lie in wait there for Quraysh so as to bring him news of them. He has forbidden me to put pressure on any of you, so if anyone wishes for martyrdom, let him go forward, and he who does not, let him go back; as for me, I am going on as the prophet has ordered.” So he went on, as did all his companions, not one of them falling back. He journeyed along the Hijaz until at a mine called Babran above al-Furu, Sa’d and Utba lost the camel which they were riding by turns , so they stayed behind to look for it, while Abdullah and the rest of them went on to Nakhla. A caravan of Quraysh carrying dry raisins and leather and other merchandise of Quraysh passed by them,Amr b al-Hadrami (349), Uthman b Abdullah b Mughira and his brother Naufal the Makhzumites and al-Hakam b Kaysan, freedman of Hisham b. al-Mughira being among them. When the caravan saw them they were afraid of them because they had camped near them. Ukkasha who had shaved his head looked down on them and when they saw him they felt safe and said, “They are pilgrims, you have nothing to fear from them.” Then they encouraged each other and decided to kill as many as they could of them and take what they had. Waqid shot Amr b. al-Hadrami with an arrow and killed him, and Uthman and Al-Hakam surrendered. Naufal escaped and eluded them. Abdullah and his companions took the caravan and the two prisoners and came to Medina with them. One of Abdullah’s family mentioned that he said to his companions, “A fifth of what we have taken belongs to the apostle” (This was before God had appointed one fifth of the booty to him.)  So he set apart for the apostle a fifth of the caravan and divided the rest among his companions. When they came to the apostle, he said, “I did not order you to fight in the sacred month and he held the caravan and the two prisoners in suspense and refused to take anything from them. When the apostle said that, the men were in despair and thought that they were doomed. Their Muslim bretheren reproached them for what they had done, and the Quraysh said “Mohammed and his companions have violated the sacred month, shed blood therein, taken booty and captured men.” The Muslims in Mecca who opposed them said that they had done it in Shaban. The Jews turned this raid into an omen against the apostle. “Amr g al-Hadrami whom Waqid had killed they said meant “amarate’l-harb” (war has come to life), al-Hadrami means “hadrati’l-harb” (means war is present) and Waqid meant “wugadati’l-harb”,(war is kindled); but God turned this against them, not for them, and when there was much talk about it God sent down to his apostle: they will ask you about the sacred month and war in it. Say, war therein is a serious matter, but keeping people from the way of God and disbelieving in him and in the sacred Mosque and driving out his people there from is more serious with God. ie. if you have killed in the sacred month they have kept you back from the way of God with their unbelief in him, and from the sacred Mosque, and have driven you from it when you were its people. This is a more serious matter with God and the killing of those of them whom you have slain. And seduction is worse than killing. i.e. they used  to seduce the Muslim in his religion until they made him return to unbelief after believing and this is worse with God than killing. And they will not cease to fight you until they turn you back from your religion if they can. i.e. they are doing more heinous acts than that contumaciously. And when the Koran came down about that, God relieved the Muslims of their anxiety in the matter, the apostle took the caravan and the prisoners. Quraysh sent to him to redeem Uthman and and al-Hakam and the apostles said, “we will not let you redeem them until our two companions come meaning Sa’d and Utba, for we fear for them on your account. If you kill them, we will kill your two friends.” So when Sa’d and Utba turned up the apostle let them redeem them. As for al-Hakam he became a good Muslim and stayed with the apostle until he was killed as a martyr at Bi’rMa’una. Uthman went back to Mecca and died there as an unbeliever. When Abdullah and his companions were relieved of their anxiety when the Koran came down, they were anxious for reward, and said, “can we hope that it will count as a raid for which we shall be given the reward of combatants?” so God sent down concerning him: “those who believe and have emigrated and fought in the way of God, these may hope for God’s mercy, for God is forgiving and merciful.” That is, God gave them the greatest hopes there in. The tradition about this comes from al-Zuhri and Yazidb.Ruman from Urwa b al-Zubayr. One of Abdullah’s family mentioned that God divided the booty when he made it permissible and gave up four fifths to whom God had allowed to take it and one fifth to God and his apostle. So it remained on the basis of what Abdullah had done with the booty of that caravan.

Abu Bakr said concerning Abdullah’s raid [though others say that Abdulla himself said it], when Quraysh said, “Muhammad and his companions have broken the sacred month shed blood therein and taken booty and made prisoners”

You count war in the holy month a grave matter, but graver is, if one judges rightly, your opposition to Muhammad’s teaching, and your unbelief in it, which God sees and witnesses. Your driving God’s people from his mosque so that none can be seen worshiping him there. Though you defame us for killing him, more dangerous to Islam is the sinner who envies. Our lances drank of Ibn al-Hadrami’s blood.  In Nakhla when Waqid lit the flame of war, Uthhman Ibn Abdullah is with us, a leather hand, streaming with blood restrains him

Chapter Eight 

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