MUHAMMAD'S ISLAMIC RELIGION
ISLAM AND WAR….HISTORICAL SETTING
PAGES 116, 117, 118 OF THE QURAN, fifth US edition 2009
Ah-Anfal, "The spoils”, takes its name from the first verse by which it is proclaimed that property in war belongs “to Allah and His messenger" - that is to say, to me theocratic State, to be used for the common weal. The date of the revelation of this surah is established, from the nature of the contents, as me time that elapsed between the battle of Badr and the division of the spoils—a space of only one month— in the second year of the Hijrah The concluding verses are of later date and lead up to the subject of surah 9.
A Meccan caravan was returning from Syria, and its leader, Abu Sufyan, fearing an attach from Al-Madinah sent a camel-rider on to Mecca with a frantic appeal for help; which must have come too late, considering the distances, if as some writers even among Muslims have alleged, the Prophet had always intended to attack the caravan. Ibn Ishaq (apud Ibn Hisham) when treating of the Tabuk expedition, says that the Prophet announced the destination on that occasion, whereas it was his custom to hide his real objective. Was not the real objective hidden in this first campaign? It is a fact that he only advanced when the army sent to protect the caravan or rather (it is probable) to punish the Muslims for having plundered it, was approaching Al-Madinah. His tittle army of hundred and thirteen men, ill-aimed and roughly equipped, traversed the desert for three days till, when they halted near the water of Badr, they had news that the army of Qureysh was approaching on the other side of the valley. Then rain fell—heavily upon Qureysh so that they could not advance further on account of the muddy state of the ground, lightly on the Muslims, who were able to advance to the water and secure it. At the same time Abu Sufyan, the leader of the caravan, which was also heading for the water of Badr, was warned by one of his scouts of the advance of the Muslims and turned back to the coast-plain. Before the battle against what must have appeared to all men overwhelming odds, the Prophet gave the Ansar, the men of Ah-Madinah, whose oath of allegiance had not included fighting in the field, the chance of returning if they wished; but they were only hurt by the suggestion that they could possibly forsake him. On the other hand, several, of Qureysh, including the whole Zuhri clan, returned to Mecca when they heard the caravan was safe, having no grudge otherwise against the Prophet and his followers, whom they regarded as men who had been wronged.
Still the army of Qureysh outnumbered the Muslims by more than two to one, and was much better mounted and equipped, so that their leaders counted on an easy victory. When the Prophet saw them streaming down the sandhills, he cried: “O Allah! Here are Qureysh with all their chivalry and pomp, who oppose Thee and deny Thy messenger. O Allah! Thy help which Thou hast promised me! O Allah! make them bow this day!”
The Muslims were successful in the single combats with which Arab battles opened. But the melee at first went hard against them; and the Prophet stood and prayed under the shelter which they had put up to screen him from the sun, and cried: “O Allah! If this little company is destroyed; there will be none left in the land to worship thee" Then he fell into a trance and, when he spoke again, he told Abu Bakr, who was with him, that the promised help had come. Thereupon he went out to encourage his people. Taking up a handful of gravel, he ran towards Qureysh and flung it at him, saying: "The faces are confounded!" on which the tide of battle turned in favour of the Muslinis. The leader of Qureysh and several of their greatest men were killed, many were taken prisoner and their baggage and camels were captured by the Muslims. It was indeed a day to be remembered in the early history of Al-Islam, and there was great rejoicing in Al-Madinah. But the Muslims are warned in this surah that it is only the beginning of their struggle against heavy odds. In fact, in the following year at Mt. Uhud (referred to in Sur. 3), the enemy came against them with an army of three thousand, and in the fifth year of the Hijrah, an allied army of the pagan clans, amounting to 10,000 besieged Al-Madinah in the “War of the Trench" (see Sur. 33, "The Clans”).
The date of revelation is the second year of the Hijrah for the most part. Some good Arabic authorities hold that w. 30-40, or some of them, were revealed at Mecca just before the Hijrah.
WE SEE THAT WARFARE FOR MUHAMMAD AND ISLAM WAS NOW COMMON IN THEIR THEOLOGICAL FAITH AND LIFE. THEY WERE A PEOPLE NOW FORMING INTO A NATION, WITH A WAR MACHINE IF NEEDED TO CONQUER WHATEVER THEY THOUGHT THEY NEEDED TO CONQUER, IN THEIR THEOLOGICAL FAITH TO ALLAH.
SOME WILL ARGUE THAT “CHRISTIANITY” ALSO IN ITS HISTORY HAD STATE AND RELIGION COMBINED. HENCE A WAR MACHINE TO LITERALLY FIGHT IN THE NAME OF “CHRIST” IF SO NEEDED TO DO.
BUT MY CHALLENGE TO THOSE WHO SO ARGUE, IS, FIND ME THE CHAPTER AND VERSE/S IN THE NEW TESTAMENT - THE WORDS OF CHRIST, THE WRITINGS OF PAUL AND THE OTHER APOSTLES, WHERE CHRISTIANS ARE TOLD THEY CAN COME TOGETHER AND ARM THEMSELVES TO MAKE A WAR MACHINE TO LITERALLY FIGHT NATIONS WHO ARE ENEMIES TO CHRISTIANITY.
YOU WILL NEVER FIND ANY SUCH TEACHING OR INSTRUCTIONS TO THAT EFFECT IN THE CHRISTIAN NEW TESTAMENT.
THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH OF GOD WAS TO BE THE LITTLE FLOCK [GREEK MEANS VERY LITTLE FLOCK] AND THE SALT OF THE EARTH - SPRINKLED HERE AND THERE. IT WAS NEVER TO BE SO LARGE AS TO GOVERN OR CONTROL NATIONS.
THIS IS ONE REASON, SOME KEY TEACHINGS THAT ISLAM CAN WAGE HOLY WAR - WHY AYAAN HIRSI ALI IN HER BOOK “HERETIC” CLAIMS ISLAM NEEDS A REFORMATION NOW! SHE WAS BROUGHT UP AS A MUSLIM, KNOWS THE INS AND OUTS OF THE ISLAMIC THEOLOGY…..SHE SPEAKS AS ONE FROM THE INSIDE, WHOSE BEEN THERE.