Islam without wars
Dr. Mohamad Habash
introduce our readers to our book in a series of studies, aiming at correcting the stereotype image of Islam and Muslims.
Talking about an Islam without wars might be surprising to readers at first because the stereotype image of Islam already spread is about a religion of Jihad and fighting. Also, Friday speeches in mosques and Sharia schools in the Muslim world praise the old days of conquering and invasion the Islamic State had carried out in the seventh and the eighth centuries.
Books about biography of the prophet are unfortunately used to mainly talk about battles fought by prophet Muhammad with a lot of exaggeration in shape, form, and content. Narrations about captivity and enslavement were intentionally added to the biography of the prophet, celebrating a proud spirit of victory. That actually reinforced a nonhuman image of Islam about swords, war, and oppression instead of being a mercy for mankind.
This stereotype image has recently been more reinforced because of the practices of the terrorist organizations of AlQaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, Islamic Courts, and many other organizations. Such practices have been adopted as a stereotype prejudice to judge Islamic culture, Sharia texts, and Islamic flags as those of violence and blood.
However, this book tries to shed more light on a different reading of the history of Islam and introduce a number of famous Islamic leaders who actually carried a message of peace and struggled against violence. They did not believe in invasion as a means to spread the religion.
The Honorable Prophet of Islam tried to establish a state. He failed four times in Mecca, Ethiopia, Taef, and Hira. However, he succeeded in the fifth time In Medina when he entered Median in peace received with flowers and the famous song sung by the girls of Medina: The full moon has come from the valley of Wadaa.
It is agreed upon among historians and narrators that the Honorable Prophet never used violence in his five attempts to establish the state despite that a number of his followers died under torture. It is also agreed upon that the prophet actually managed to finally establish the state in Median after 13 years of clean peaceful civilian struggle. The prophet even did not immigrate to Medina until he became quite sure that has a comfortable majority of followers that qualifies him to establish a regime based on the democratic sense of majority recognized by logic and justice in Medina.
After 15 years of spreading the message, the prophet had to defend his land. This is why he started to think about Jihad based on a national army responsible for the protection of land, honor, and people.
It is surprising to find out that that first army included soldiers from all religions in Medina. Jews also had to defend the city along with Muslims. This reinforces the concept of a National Army as the essence of Jihad in Islam.
This study will surprisingly reveal the truth that the battles fought by the Honorable Prophet were actually in the context of mere resistance and self defense. They were not invasions. The Prophet and his followers were rather invaded by armies that crossed hundreds of kilometers and came to Medina. That was the case in the most famous battles of Khandaq, Badr, and Ohod.
The study then also reveals that the prophet actually had a political program. It was about the unification of Arabian Peninsula and the liberation of the oppressed Arab majority in Syria and Iraq from Roman and Persian occupation. This was later accomplished during the times of caliph Omar bin Khattab who was most aware of such a political program.
It is unfortunate that the spirit of invasion that was spread after Omar bin Khattab, continued during the times of the Omayyad and Abbasi caliphate, and brought an image of violence were actually no more than battle for mere worldly political reasons. They had nothing to do with the noble goal of Jihad. We will read in this study how the Omayyad caliph Omar bin Abdulaziz launched an ambitious project to stop invasions, bring armies back home from East Turkestan and middle Asia, and try to withdraw from Andalusia.
What this study tries to reinforce is the fact that a number of famous historical Muslim leaders were against invasion campaigns launched in the Honorable name of Jihad. They believed that violence does not really express the message of Islam.
On the other hand, there were other leader who thought quite the opposite, and it is time to offer an apology to nations that were targeted with such invasions and were subjected to some sort of conversion by force.
This contradicts Quran when a verse says:
There is no obligation in faith (Holy Quran 2-256)
Or There is no conversion by the means of force.
However, we should make an important reference to the fact that Islam was spread in Indonesia, Malaysia, China, the Philippines, Thailand, south India, Bangladesh, and middle Africa without violence, and that 60 percent of Muslims live in these areas mentioned above.