The Biography of

Muhammad Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam

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    Lesson 30

Expeditions at a Glance

The expedition of Tabuk was the last campaign during the lifetime of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. The number of his battles was twenty-seven while he is reported to have sent out sixty expeditions although no fighting had taken place in many of them.

The battles and confrontations of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam showed that he was the greatest military leader that the world had seen. His sense of justice and piety conquered the hearts of his followers and enemies alike. The battles in which the Muslims had suffered losses were not due to any weakness, technical error or strategic misjudgement on his part. The partial defeats at Uhud and Hunain were due to a weakness in complying with his orders. Then too he, as a leader, stood firm and changed defeat into victory.

The Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam had reformed and changed the concept of war as was known to the Arabs. Pre-Islamic wars had been immersed in robbery, murder, looting, oppression, rape and injustice. It was not unusual for the pagan Arabs to mutilate the bodies of their enemies. Inter-tribal raiding and fighting was a feature of Arabian culture. If a tribesman was murdered it was the collective duty of the tribe to call for revenge. Wars of this nature would often drag for centuries at a time. Strange superstitious beliefs had become part of this culture of revenge. If the murder was not avenged, for instance, the murdered soul was believed to be transformed into a bird which would hover over the place of murder calling out : ''I am thirsty. Let me have a drink."

Islam now taught that Jihad was a sacred fight for Allah's pleasure and was there to remove men from oppression, injustice, treachery and deception. Jihad was a controlled institution that would spread safety, security and peace through the land. It was for this reason that the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam gave strict instructions to the commanders when they proceeded to the battlefields. Prisoners of war were treated honourably.

Never in the history of human conflict had any conqueror shed so little blood and was crowned with such remarkable success. In all these battles only 1018 persons, Muslims as well as non-Muslims, lost their lives. But, it would be impossible to guess how much blood of the ferocious Arabs had been saved or how many souls had escaped degradation. Such was the public tranquillity and orderliness resulting from the Prophet's Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam campaigns that a woman pilgrim would go from Hira to Makkah and return after performing the pilgrimage without any fear. The women from Qaadissia would now go alone on their dromedaries for pilgrimage to Makkah without the least anxiety. This was the country in which, from time immemorial, battles between nomadic tribes and raids on one anothers flocks and property had been accepted unquestionably as a part of their desert life. Even the caravans of neighbouring powerful kingdoms dared not cross the country in pre-Islamic days without powerful escorts and guides.

Islam exposed the wrong of oppression and urged men to strive for the defence of honour and justice. This philosophy soon established peace and order at the cost of minimum labour and time on the part of the Muslims under the divine guidance of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam. He was always vigilant to prevent malicious feelings from becoming the objective of his campaigns. Whenever the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam sent out any army he issued strict instructions to his men to fear Allah and be kind to friends as well as foes. The directions he once gave to his troops were:

"I ask you to fear Allah and to be considerate to the Muslims with you. Fight in the name of Allah and slay those in His name who disbelieve in Him. You should not break your promise, plunder the booty and kill any child, woman, the old or a priest who has withdrawn into seclusion. Never lay your hands on a date palm, chop down a tree or destroy a building."

How successful were these campaigns of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam can be judged from the fact that within a brief period of ten years more than a million square miles were won for Islam. The Islamic State expanded at an average rate of 274 square miles daily at the cost of one martyr a month. This respect for human blood is unequalled in the annals of man.

The truth of this assertion is amply borne out if the losses of these campaigns are placed side by side with casualties in the last two world wars. According to the computation of the Encyclopaedia Britannica 6 million 4 hundred thousand people lost their lives in World War 1 and the number of casualties in World War 2 ranged between 35 and 60 million. Yet, none of these two bloodstained wars could claim to have done any good to humanity nor did they solve any problem of the world. Similarly, the tribunals known as Inquisitions established by the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages for the trial and punishment of heretics are reported to have taken a toll of 12 million lives. (1)



(1) Nadwi, Syed Ab al-Hasan Ali, Muhammad Rasulullah, Lucknow, 1982, p. 361



Dua before entering the Masjid

Meaning : O Allah, open for me the doors of your mercy.

A Hadith

The most beloved of places to Allah are the Masjids and the most hated of places to Allah are the market-places. (Muslim)