The Prophet of Peace?
Encyclopedia Britannica calls Muhammad "the Prophet of Peace". Obviously it picked an alim (Muslim scholar,. plural ulama) to write the article. (For example, it had Leon Trotsky write the article on Bolshevism)
Was Muhammad attacked without reason by the Quraysh of Mecca or for their own selfish economic reasons? Was jihad ("striving for Allah") peaceful or was Islam "spread by the sword".
Abridged from "The Life of Muhammad"
In 622 CE Allah gave his Prophet permission to wage war. The promise to fight became binding on all Muslims. An act of allegiance was concluded with representatives of Yathrib (later called Medina)
The Emigrants had no regular source of income and so Muhammad decided to raid passing Meccan caravans; this was an old Arab custom. Moreover, by plundering the Meccans, he would be doing God’s work.
In Ramadan AH 2 (March 624) a very large caravan from Gaza to Mecca attracted the interest of Muhammad. However the Meccans were forewarned. The caravan took a different route and a thousand Meccans were sent to teach the three hundred Muslim plunderers a lesson. (This fight is now called the Battle of Badr.) Muhammad told his men that they would go straight to Paradise if they met their death. "One host fought in the cause of God, and the other was infidel. To their own eyesight, the infidels saw you twice as many as themselves." (Qur’an 3:11) The Muslims lost 15 dead but the Meccans about 70.
In 625 the Muslims attacked a caravan near Qaradah worth 100,000 dirhams. Three thousand Quraysh and their allies rode against Medina. Muhammad met them with 700 Muslims. (This fight is called the Battle of Uhud.) At Badr the battle-cry had been "One God, One God" but today it was "Amit, Amit" which means "Kill, Kill". The angels did not help the Musims at Uhud and they lost 70 men to the Meccans fifteen.
In 626 CE at the well of Muraysi the Muslims surprised the army of the Banu l-Mustaliq. The Muslims lost one man dead and the unbelievers ten. The booty was excellent: two thousand camels, five thousand sheep and goats and two hundred women. A very beautiful captive was Juwayriyya, daughter of the chieftain. Muhammad saw her and she became wife number six.
In March 627, The "Confederates" consisting of the exiled Banu Nadir and other Jews, and the Quraysh and other Arabs who hated the Prophet (without cause?) raised an army of ten thousand with a thousand horses. (because the Muslims dug a protective ditch, this is called The Battle of the Trench) The army of the Lord numbered three thousand and these lined the trench. (Casuality figures were not given by the chronicler but the Muslims were able to withstand the attack for 6 days.)
With their south secure (a non-aggression pact had been signed with the Quraysh) the Muslims decided to march on the Jewish fortresses of Khaybar. (The various Jewish tribes did not assist each other and the Muslims were able to pick them off one by one.)
Muhammad sent an army of three thousand men to punish the Ghassanids who were mainly Christians. However, the enemy had been reinforced by Byzantine troops and the total was perhaps as many as a hundred thousand men. (The Muslims were lucky to be able to disengage with the loss of only eight men.) … On the next Muslim incursion into Syria, Caesar’s forces were not present and the Christians left a trail of broken camps.
Some allies of the Quraysh with the aid of several individual Qurayshi made a night raid on some allies of Medina, killing one person. The Prophet was livid with rage. … It looked as though Muhammad was glad for the excuse to fight. He set off for Mecca with ten thousand men. A small group of unbelievers made a stand outside the city but the streets of Mecca were deserted. (Muhammad had sent the message that he would spare those who did not oppose him.)
The Hawazin who had a temple to al-Lat raised an army of twenty thousand men to defend their goddess. The two armies met at Hunayn. Allah sent down, unseen, angels to punish the unbelievers. (Qur’an 9:25-27)
The Prophet determined to march on Tabuk, an outpost of the Byzantine empire but the Christians made peace with Muhammad and paid him tax.
The Prophet sent his followers to instruct newcomers in Islam. Khalid and his sword were sent out to convert the remaining stragglers to the faith. Usually they were given three days to make up their minds. Jews and Christians were allowed to remain as such provided that they paid a golden dinar or its equivalent.
Sayings of Prophet Muhammad
Bukhari 5:59:285 Zaid was asked, "How many Ghazwat (military expeditions) did the Prophet lead?" Zaid replied, "Nineteen."
Bukhari 4:52:50 The Prophet said," To fight in Allah's cause is better than the world and whatever is in it"
Bukhari 4:52:53 The Prophet said," Nobody who dies fighting and finds good from Allah (in the Hereafter) would wish to come back to this world .. except the martyr who, on seeing the superiority of martyrdom, would like to come back to the world and get killed again (in Allah’s cause)."
4:52:72... "except a Mujahid who wishes to return to the world so that he may be martyred ten times"'
Bukhari 4:52:196 Allah's Apostle said, "I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, "None has the right to be worshipped but Allah."
Bukhari 4:52:286 An infidel spy came to the Prophet while he was on a journey. Muhammad said to his companions, "Chase him and Kill him." The Prophet then gave them the possessions of the killed spy.
Bukhari 4:52:300 Whenever the Prophet conquered some people he would stay in their town for three days."
(Qur’an 9:29)"Wage war on the people of the Book (Jews and Christians), who ... do not accept the religion of Islam."
(Qur’an 9:14) "Fight against them (the Jews and Christians)! Allah shall punish them, at your hands."
"Wage war for the sake of Allah. Kill whoever denies Him." (Muhammad Quoted on P52 SA Qureshi, Selected Writings of Hasan al Banna Shaheed)
(Qur’an 8:39 & 2:193)"Make war on them until idolatry does not exist any longer and Allah's religion reigns universally."
(Qur’an 9:123) Fight the unbelievers in your surroundings, and let them find harshness in you."
(Qur’an 9:5)"Kill the unbelievers wherever ye find them, capture and besiege them and prepare for them every kind of ambush."
Plus an authoritative download on holy war
The True Meaning of Jihad in Islam
The word Jihad is derived from 'Juhd', which means 'to make substantial effort'. Jihad itself has been defined in the dictionary (Arabic) as 'to make the utmost effort to attain something beloved or to save oneself from something disliked.'
The Ruling of Jihad:
Imam Saraksi states, "Jihad is obligatory & commanded by Allah. Any person who denies Jihad is a Kafir & people who doubt the obligation of Jihad have gone astray."(Fathul Qadeer, p191, V.5)
Sahibul Ikhtiyar states, "Jihad is an ordained obligation (Fareedhah). One who denies it is a Kafir. The obligation of Jihad has been clearly substantiated in the Qur'an, Sunnah & by consensus of the Ummah (Ijmah)." (Fathul Qadeer, p191, V.5) one's life, wealth & speech." It is further explained "to call the unbelievers towards the true religion of Islam & to fight against them, if they are unwilling to accept this true religion."
The Scholars of Fiqh (jurisprudence) have agreed that Jihad in Shara`ee terms means 'to fight in the Path of Allah or anything aiding this course.' A more detailed understanding of the term Jihad has been explained by the four major schools of Fiqh as follows.
"The Muslims are to fight with the Kufaar to advance Allah's religion."
"The meaning of Jihad in Shara`ee terms is to make utmost effort in fighting in the Path of Allah."
"Jihad means to fight against the unbelievers." (Fadhail-e-Jihad)
"Jihad means to be involved in fighting in the Path of Allah by one's
life, wealth & speech." It is further explained "to call
the unbelievers towards the true religion of Islam & to fight against them,
if they are unwilling to accept this true religion."