Reverend Ghulam Masih, editor of Noor Afshan, a newspaper published from India, writes about Holy Prophet in one of his essays:
“We learn about his character and life from his names and titles. From among his many names Muhammad, Shahid, Nazeer, Bashir are very famous and well known. We do, however, find it strange that we do not find the following titles among this list: Leader, Leader of the Quraish, Leader of the Arabs, Conqueror of Arabia, King of Arabia, etc. The history of Islam has preserved, in great detail, and without the slightest deficiency or error, the accounts of every aspect of the Holy Prophet’s life, his service to humanity, his victories, of the battles in which he took part, and of his bravery and courage. And it has shown that before he passed away, he had become in every respect the complete and unopposed king of all of Arabia. But nowhere in the history of Islam is there to be found any account of him having sat on the throne of kingship or government. Nowhere is there an account to be found describing his regal dress. Nowhere is there any description of his having been crowned. Nowhere is there any account of palaces having been commissioned or built for him. In his whole life, the history of Islam tells us of him having constructed only one building, which today is known as the Prophet’s Mosque. It was built as a House of God, a place of worship. Do these facts, not leave us completely awestruck?” (Alfazal, Khataman Nabeeyeen, Issue 1929)
Every one who studies with an unbiased mind the life and work of the Holy Prophet, will agree with the conclusion arrived by Reverend Ghulam Masih. He further writes:
“It should not be thought that being a Christian or keeping in mind the custom of the Christians, that I shall make use of exaggeration in my description of the qualities of the Holy Prophet. Or that I shall express some exaggerations in his praise which would be outside the realm of knowledge of the learned. You will find herein a fair-minded opinion on the blessed and holy qualities of the Holy Prophet. Same opinion is found amongst those Christians who have made : deep and profound study of the Islamic literature.”
In the end, we shall deal with the wars that the Holy Prophet undertook. We will show that they were purely for the purpose of establishing peace, and freedom of conscience and that they were purely defensive in nature. Much fault finding has been done regarding the battles which the Holy Prophet had to fight. The question may be asked that if after arrival in Madinah, his focus did not change and he did not become a king, then why were these battles fought? A lot of historians and researchers have carefully studied the life of the Holy Prophet and the circumstances of the wars that he took part in. They have arrived at one conclusion unanimously. The circumstances under which he had to step into the field of war, and the needs under which he did so, were essential and unavoidable. The testimonies and facts presented below shall prove that the Holy Prophet did not undertake any battle for any worldly gain whatsoever. He did so purely for self defense, and for the sake of the establishment of peace and freedom of conscience. The very first verse of die Holy Quran in which permission was granted to take up arms is found in Sura Hajj (The chapter on Pilgrimage). Here the need and purpose for undertaking these wars is fully explained:
“Permission to take up arms is given to those against whom war is made, because they have been wronged and Allah, indeed, has power to help them. —
Those who have been driven from their homes unjustly, only because they said, `Our Lord is Allah.’ And if Allah had not repelled some people by means of others, cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is often remembered, would surely have been destroyed. And Allah will, surely, help him who helps Him. Allah is, indeed, Powerful, Mighty.” (Holy Quran 22:40-41)
The words of the above verse fully explain to the Holy Prophet the need and purpose for undertaking these wars:
No worldly need or purpose is mentioned.
No expansion of the worldly empire is intended.
The intent is not to subjugate any nation or people.
This verse proves four things very clearly.
First, the wars could not be started by the Muslims, rather the disbelievers were the ones who lifted the sword against the Muslims. This is clear from the word: “…..those against whom war was made.”
Second, the disbelievers were guilty of persecuting the Muslims. This is clear from the words: “because they have been wronged.”
Third, the verse clearly indicates that the disbelievers intended to destroy Islam by force.
Fourth, by declaring war the Muslim’s purpose was purely assurance of their own security and self defense.
This testimony of the Holy Quran tells us very clearly that all these wars were started by the disbelievers. They wanted to destroy Islam by force. The Muslims were the innocent persecuted party. They lifted the sword for their own security and self defense, for the purpose of establishing peace and freedom of conscience. They entered the field of combat with heavy and unwilling heart. (Muhammad Abu Zohra, Khatam-an-Nabiyyeen, Vol. II, p. 66).
The above position is further established by the ordinances that the Holy Prophet issued regarding the conduct of wars. It is recorded in the book of his sayings that whenever the Holy Prophet would send forth a body of men for the purpose of engaging the enemy, he would instruct them as follows:
“O ye Muslims! Go forth in the name of Allah. Fight purely for the sake of Allah, the Exalted. Beware! Do not be guilty of a breach of trust in the matter of the spoils of war. Do not defraud any nation nor become guilty of a breach of your covenant to anyone. And do not disfigure the dead enemy . And do not attack or kill children, women, religious leaders, mystics or the aged. Establish peace and accord among the people. Deal with the people in the best of manners and generosity. Allah, the Exalted, loves those who do good. (Seerat Khataman Nabiyyeen, Vol. II, p. 585).
It is stated with reference to Hazrat Abu Bakr, his first Successor, that whenever he sent forth an army, he directed them as follows:
Do not cut down any fruit-bearing tree nor lay waste any populated areas.