In the year 622 AD, prophet Mohammad along with his followers numbering less than 150 migrate to present day Medina, called Yathrib in those days, situated about 250 miles north of Mecca. Muslims say that prophet and his followers were persecuted by people of Mecca, mainly, pagans of Quraysh, just for following their new religion i.e. Prophet and his followers were completely innocent. Once they settled in Medina, what was the occupation of Prophet and his noble companions to earn their living? The answer is high way robbery.
As new arrivals in Medina, these emigrants have no fixed sources of income. The economic back ground of Medina is completely different from that of Mecca. In Mecca, economy was dependent on pilgrims coming to Kaa’ba and trade and commerce with Syria. In Medina, it was agriculture.
To start with, most of early Muslims in Mecca were either slaves freed after conversion to Islam or poor people who were promised riches. Yes, Prophet Mohammad always promised wealth to people converting to Islam. Look at what Ishaq and Tabari write:
“When I was a merchant I came to Mecca during the hajj pilgrimage. While I was there a man came out to pray and stood facing the Ka'aba. I asked, 'What is their religion? It is something new to me.' Abbas said, 'This is Muhammad who alleges that Allah has sent him with it so that the treasures of Chusroes (Persians) and Caesar will be open to him." (Ibn Ishaq’s Sira, page 113)
"Soon the trial became great for the Muslims and fear intensified. One said, 'Muhammad was promising us that we should eat up the treasures of Chosroes and Caesar, and now none of us even can go out to relieve himself! (Ibn Ishaq, page 454; Tabari, volume VIII, page 16)
The Prophet said, "Khosrau will be ruined, and there will be no Khosrau after him, and Caesar will surely be ruined and there will be no Caesar after him, and you will spend their treasures in Allah's Cause." He called, "War is deceit'. (Bukhari, 4, 52, #267)
...The Prophet further said. "If you should live long, the treasures of Khosrau will be opened (and taken as spoils)." I asked, "You mean Khosrau, son of Hurmuz?" He said, "Khosrau, son of Hurmuz; and if you should live long, you will see that one will carry a handful of gold or silver and go out looking for a person to accept it from him, but will find none to accept it from him......(Bukhari, 4, 56, #793)
Once in Medina, to meet their basic needs, it was reported that Prophet even sent some Muslims on begging missions to Jewish dwellings in Medina. This poverty and hardship was even affecting their personal hygiene to the extent that their bodies started smelling and even Prophet was having problems with lice. Their overall situation can be seen from following Hadith:
Abu Burdah said: My father said to me: My son, if you had seen us while we were with the Apostle of Allah and if the rain had fallen on us, you would have thought that our smell was the smell of the sheep. (Sunan Dawood; Book 32, # 4022)
Whenever Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) ordered us to give in charity, we used to go to the market and work as porters and get a Mudd (a special measure of grain) and then give it in charity. (Those were the days of poverty) and today some of us have one hundred thousand. (Sahih Bukhari; 2, 24, #497)
How did Muslims turn around their economic plight in just 10 years? It must be some economic miracle from Prophet and his Allah! One will come to know about this very shortly. The following Hadith is very revealing:
Allah's Apostle used to visit Um Haran bint Milhan, who would offer him reals. Um-Haram was the wife of Ubada bin As-Samit. Allah's Apostle, once visited her and she provided him with food and started looking for lice in his head. Then Allah's Apostle slept, and afterwards woke up smiling. Um Haran asked, "What causes you to smile, O Allah's Apostle?" He said. "Some of my followers who (in a dream) were presented before me as fighters in Allah's Cause (on board a ship) amidst this sea cause me to smile; they were as kings on the thrones (or like kings on the thrones)."… ……. (Sahih Bukhari, 4, 52, #47)
Points to be noted from above Hadith are: 1. He himself was provided food by others; 2. He has lice in his head; 3. Even with this hardship, he was dreaming about his followers fighting in Jihad; 4. He was trying to assure his followers that their condition will improve.
Even Allah consoles Muslims and says ‘this situation is a test for them’ and counsels against rejecting faith because of this hardship and of course, he promises help. When one emigrant dies of fever in Medina, Allah says he was not dead but he was alive and a martyr, any one dying in the cause of Allah is a martyr. This should make some people question: These people migrated to Medina because they were being persecuted or they migrated for waging war against the world, as the verse 2:154 says?
2:152-157 (Yusuf Ali): Then do ye remember Me; I will remember you. Be grateful to Me, and reject not Faith. O ye who believe! seek help with patient perseverance and prayer; for Allah is with those who patiently persevere. And say not of those who are slain in the way of Allah: "They are dead." Nay, they are living, though ye perceive (it) not. Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere, Who say, when afflicted with calamity: "To Allah We belong, and to Him is our return":- They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.
Sure Allah did provide the guidance. Seven months after settling in Medina, Mohammad decides it was time for action. He has a situation to salvage before his followers turn away from him; he knows very much from past experience that even verses from Allah will not prevent some of his followers rejecting their new faith. And pray was already identified, rather marked along with stratagem as Medina is right on the trade route from Mecca to Syria and this trade is vital for survival of people in Mecca; Prophet knew this as he himself once managed caravans going to Syria .
With Allah’s guidance, Mohammad, who is said to be best Man, in morality and every other human nature, ever created by Allah according to Muslims, has ordered that Muslims plunder from caravans of Meccans, going to Syria from Mecca or returning to Mecca from Syria. The Arabic word used is Maghazi and it is translated as expedition (In Tabari’s) or raid (Ibn Ishaq’s). In reality it is invasion or attack with the purpose of looting and stealing what is not theirs.
"In the month of Ramadan, seven months after the Hijrah, Muhammad entrusted a white war banner to Hamzah with the command of thirty Emigrants. Their aim was to intercept a Quraysh caravan." (Tabari, Volume VII, Page 10)
"Hamza's expedition to the seashore comprised thirty riders, all Emigrants from Mecca. He met Abu Jahl who had 300 riders. Amr, intervened for he was at peace with both sides. Hazma said, so they allege: 'Wonder at good sense and at folly, at a lack of sound counsel and at sensible advice. Their people and property are not yet violated as we haven't attacked. We called them to Islam but they treat it as a joke. They laughed until I threatened them. At the Apostle's command, I was the first to march beneath his flag, a victorious banner from Allah. Even as they sullied forth burning with rage, Allah frustrated their schemes’.”(Ibn Ishaq, Page 283)
So called Muslim raiders didn’t attack for the reason that they were out numbered; but their intention was to rob some one else’s property on the sole justification that they have not embraced Islam when called to. Whatever be the justification, this high way robbery can never be condoned by sane people at any time in the history of the mankind. Even after this failure Prophet makes few more unsuccessful attempts at robbing property of other people; some times he himself lead the pirates:
"Muhammad led an expedition in Rabi al-Akhir (14th month after Hijrah) in search of Quraysh. He went as far as Buwat in the region of Radwa and then returned without any fighting. Then he led another expedition in search of the Meccans. He took the mountain track and crossed the desert, halting beneath a tree in Batha. He prayed there. After a few days the Prophet went out in pursuit of the Kutz." (Tabari, volume vii, page 13)
Yet another attempted raid:
"In this year the Messenger entrusted to Sa'd a white war banner for the expedition to Kharrar. Sa'd said, 'I set out on foot at the head of twenty men. We used to lie hidden by day and march at night, until we reached Kharrar on the fifth morning. The caravan had arrived in town a day before. There were sixty men with it. Those who were with Sa'd were all Emigrants.'" (Tabari, Volume VII, page 11)
How many expeditions Muslims made before they met with success? Early Islamic writers differ on this count; some recorded (like Ibn Ishaq) 7 while others (like Tabari) recorded 11 expeditions.
With this series of failures, Mohammad senses that information of his plans was reaching Meccans in advance; so he adopts a different strategy this time. He was not going to tell the destination and target in advance but he was ready to break even the noblest custom of pre Islamic Arabs.
Islamic calendar in use today was same as the pre Islamic Arab calendar with some minor changes. Arabs had a tradition that says in 4 out of 12 months, no tribe should attack other tribes; warfare should cease completely in these months. These 4 months (11th, 12th, 1st and 7th) are called holy or sacred months. Islam too adopted this tradition later but only after breaking it.
It is the 7th month of Rajab, a holy month. Prophet assembles 8 riders in Medina for a possible mission. It is better to read in Islamic words:
"The Messenger sent Abd Allah out with a detachment of eight men of the Emigrants without any Ansari, or Helpers, among them. He wrote a letter, but ordered him not to look at it until he had traveled for two days. Then he was to carry out what he was commanded to do. When Abd Allah opened the letter it said, 'March until you reach Nakhlah, between Mecca and Ta'if. Lie in wait for the Quraysh there, and find out for us what they are doing.' After traveling for two days and reading the letter, Abd Allah said, 'To hear is to obey.' He told his companions, 'The Prophet has commanded me to go to Nakhlah and lie in wait for the Quraysh.’ (Ibn Ishaq, page 286)
Nakhlah is situated between Mecca and Taif i.e. South of Mecca and Medina is north of Mecca. This should tell that objective is purely offensive. Ibn Ishaq contibues:
"The Prophet has forbidden me to compel you, so whoever desires martyrdom let him come with me. If not, retreat. I am going to carry out the Prophet's orders." His companions went with him; not one of them stayed behind."
"They made their way through the Hijaz until Sa'd and Utbah lost a camel which they were taking turns riding. They stayed behind to look for it. The rest went on until they reached Nakhlah. A Meccan caravan went past them carrying raisins, leather, and other merchandise, which the Quraysh traded. When they saw the Muslims they were afraid of them. Then Ukkashah (one of the 6 Muslims) came into view; they saw that he had shaved his head, and they felt safer. The Quraysh said, 'They are on their way to the umrah (lesser pilgrimage); there is nothing to fear.” (Tabari, Volume VII:18)
The opinion that can be drawn from this narration is: Meccans were not expecting Muslims to travel such large distance, even to south of Mecca so they were less protective unlike with caravans going to Syria which were guarded sufficiently. After alerting to the presence of strangers, Meccans lessened their guard after seeing shaved heads, thus thinking that strangers were pilgrims on the way to Mecca. Muslims faced another problem: it is still the holy month so they were in dilemma concerning attacking the caravan.
"The Muslim raiders consulted one another concerning them, this being the last day of Rajab. One of the Muslims said, 'By Allah, if we leave these people alone tonight, they will get into the Haram (the sacred territory of Mecca) and they will be safely out of our reach. If we kill them we will have killed in the sacred month.” (Ibn Ishaq, page 287)
"They hesitated and were afraid to advance on them, but then they plucked up courage and agreed to kill as many as they could and to seize what they had with them. " Waqid ibn Abd Allah shot an arrow at Amr and killed him. Uthman ibn Abd Allah and al-Hakam surrendered, but Nawfal ibn Abd Allah escaped and eluded them. Then Abd Allah and his companions took the caravan and the captives back to Allah’s Apostle in Medina. This was the first booty taken by the Companions of Muhammad." (Tabari, Volume VII, page 19)
Tabari proudly writes that this was the booty taken by Muslims. Mark this word booty and what this means.
"Abd Allah told his Companions, 'A fifth of the booty we have taken belongs to the Apostle.' This was before Allah made surrendering a fifth of the booty taken a requirement. He set aside a fifth of the booty for Allah’s Messenger and divided the rest between his Companions. .... When they reached the Prophet he said, 'I did not order you to fight in the sacred month.' He impounded the caravan and the two captives and refused to take anything from them." (Tabari, Volume VII, page 20)
Prophet not accepting the booty after sending the raiders party exclusively to attack a caravan! He even says he has not ordered them to fight in holy month; so if this whole incident has happened after holy month has passed then he would have no problem with ethics in accepting the booty, the property of others, which does not rightfully belong to him, right. But there is much more sinister in all this. More over, he did not order them not to fight when he knew very well that he was sending them in a sacred month. To understand this better, one needs to know what happened.
Right after this attack in a sacred month, the word spreads very fast to all tribes that Muslims under Prophet Mohammad have violated the age old custom of not fighting in sacred months. This ill speaking by all tribes about Muslims and himself troubled Mohammad, one might think! When this news reached Medina, Muslims, both emigrants i.e. Muslims who migrated from Mecca and Ansars, meaning helpers, i.e. original inhabitants of Medina who converted to Islam were outraged and astonished by what their fellowmen did. They all understood how sacred the custom of not fighting in holy months is and this initial expression of disgust at what took place was completely natural and honest. It was this reflexive reaction from Muslims that put Prophet in a difficult position and he was doing his bit to escape the blame, called dancing around, by making his men scapegoats. Not for long. Any way if he was so sincere and innocent, he could have returned the caravan, captives, punished the culprits and paid the blood money to the family of Meccan killed. This is what Tabari records:
"When Allah’s Messenger said this they were aghast and thought that they were doomed. The Muslims rebuked them severely for what they had done. They said, 'You have done what you were not commanded to do, and have fought in the sacred month.’”
"The Quraysh said, 'Muhammad and his Companions have violated the sacred month, shed blood, seized property, and taken men captive.' The polytheists spread lying slander concerning him, saying, 'Muhammad claims that he is following obedience to Allah, yet he is the first to violate the holy month and to kill our companion in Rajab. The Muslims who were still in Mecca refuted this on hearing.'" (Tabari, Volume VII, pages 20-21)
One clear reading of above two passages tells Tabari has condemned Islam and Prophet Mohammad with his own words. Ibn Ishaq too reports this. Both Tabari and Ibn Ishaq expose the present day lies of Muslims and their apologists. Why the hell then they put this incriminating stuff in their work? One will understand it very soon. Also notice that Tabari or a Muslim behind this Hadith saying that Meccans were spreading lies about Mohammad when actually they were telling the truth. The belief of what they (Muslims) say alone is right and others are wrong is just part of Islam’s one way dealings with rest of the world.
It is also apparent from two passages that pagans of Mecca were worshipping Allah too. It also says clearly that some Muslims stayed back in Mecca even after Mohammad ordered them to migrate to Medina. Why did they stay back? After all, isn’t Pagans in Mecca were persecuting and torturing Muslims according to present day Muslims? Muslims never answer the question how many Muslims back then were killed by Meccans? The answer is zero. Mohammad and Muslims have migrated to Medina in the cause of Allah i.e. to wage war against the entire world.
Any way, how did Mohammad resolve this situation? Mohammad, now, himself gives proof that there was never any Allah nor any divine inspiration; let’s read what Ishaq records:
"The Jews, seeing in this an omen unfavorable to Muhammad, said, 'Muslims killing Meccans means war is kindled.' There was much talk of this. However, Allah turned it to their disadvantage. When the Muslims repeated what the Jews had said, Allah revealed a verse 2:217 to His Messenger (We come to this verse shortly). When the Qur'an passage concerning this matter was revealed, and Allah relieved Muslims from their fear and anxiety, Muhammad took possession of the caravan and prisoners. The Quraysh sent him a ransom, but the Prophet said, 'We will not release them to you on payment of ransom until our companions (Sa'd and Utbah) get back, for we are afraid you may harm them. If you kill them, we will kill your friends.' They came back, however, and the Prophet released the prisoners on payment of ransom. When the Qur'an authorization came down to Muhammad, Abd Allah and his Companions were relieved and they became anxious for an additional reward. They said, 'Will this raid be counted as part of the reward promised to Muslim combatants?' So Allah sent down this verse 2:218 and Allah made the booty permissible. He divided the loot, awarding four-fifths to the men He had allowed to take it. He gave one-fifth to His Apostle.” (Ibn Ishaq, page 288)
So, when one commits a horror which can not be condoned in any frame of morals and ethics, attribute it to God’s command because poor God can never defend him self. This is what Mohammad did. This becomes a standard procedure from now on; he continued to commit atrocities and then said he was following God’s command.
One can notice from above passage how Ibn Ishaq brings in Jews of Medina in to all this. Because he knew very well that what Mohammad did to Jews later was beyond any justification. After reading this, one can not fail to notice that righteous Allah has justified armed robbery, killing innocent people and breaking of traditions and treaties and even outrageously rewarded the murderers with paradise. The verse 2:218 should also explain why Muslims have emigrated from Mecca.
Verily, those who have believed, and those who have emigrated (for Allâh's Religion) and have striven hard in the Way of Allâh, all these hope for Allâh's Mercy. And Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful. (Hilali, 2:218)
I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "The example of a Mujahid in Allah's Cause-- and Allah knows better who really strives in His Cause----is like a person who fasts and prays continuously. Allah guarantees that He will admit the Mujahid in His Cause into Paradise if he is killed, otherwise He will return him to his home safely with rewards and war booty." (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4, book 52, #46)
This whole thing happened after 16 to 17 months since Hijrah. In these 17 months Meccans never attacked Muslims in Medina or elsewhere. Meccans were happy to get rid of Mohammad and his abuses; they were busy going on with their lives but it was prophet and his followers who were after what is rightfully not theirs.
When Prophet was in Mecca, Meccans did ban Muslims from entering in to Kaa’ba. Can this be a complaint really? After all Prophet was abusing pagans, their Gods, their way of life and customs and their fore fathers. To start with, Kaa’ba belongs to pagans. It was the center of pagan worship. In what context Muslims have the right to Kaa’ba when their Prophet was unleashing torrent of abuse after rejecting all the peace proposals? Meccans banned Muslims from Kaa’ba only when Prophet would not relent from his errant ways. But when Muslims attained the power they simply banned all the Pagans of Arabian Peninsula, not just Pagans of Mecca, and all Non Muslims from entering Mecca. One can guess who, whether pagans or Muslims, is more tolerant and intolerant.
When Mohammad faced accusation of Meccans that he broke a tradition, he turned to Allah for guidance; whether Muslims were permitted to fight in sacred months. Allah dutifully reveals this verse:
They ask you concerning fighting in the Sacred Months (i.e. 1st, 7th, 11th and 12th months of the Islâmic calendar). Say, "Fighting therein is a great (transgression) but a greater (transgression) with Allâh is to prevent mankind from following the Way of Allâh, to disbelieve in Him, to prevent access to Al-Masjid-al-Harâm (at Makkah), and to drive out its inhabitants, and Al-Fitnah is worse than killing. And they will never cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion (Islâmic Monotheism) if they can. And whosoever of you turns back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then his deeds will be lost in this life and in the Hereafter, and they will be the dwellers of the Fire. They will abide therein forever." (Hilali, 2:217)
After this verse was reveled Mohammad takes his share of booty. When you have Allah (God) in your sleeves, you can justify anything because like I said previously God can never defend himself.
This verse is telling that disbelief in Allah and Islam is worse than Muslims fighting and killing Non Muslims. If abiding by noble tradition of not fighting in sacred months is a moral law then all moral laws need not be observed by Muslims in dealing with Non Muslims; because they have already committed the biggest sin of not following Islam. Islam does not value the lives and properties of Non Muslims.
Allah's Apostle said, "I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.' And if they say so, pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us and we will not interfere with them except legally and their reckoning will be with Allah." Narrated Maimun ibn Siyah that he asked Anas bin Malik, "O Abu Hamza! What makes the life and property of a person sacred?" He replied, "Whoever says, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah', faces our Qibla during the prayers, prays like us and eats our slaughtered animal, then he is a Muslim, and has got the same rights and obligations as other Muslims have." (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 8, # 387)
The verse is not telling Muslim to kill Non Muslims. It is merely comparing two acts; disbelief of Non Muslim in Islam and Muslim harming Non Muslim.
The moral code of Islam is very weak, in fact it is non existent. Some Muslims, like Zakir Naik, tell us that Islam is the most practical religion; he never, further, explains how it is ‘practical’ and what it means. Late Syed Qutb, Egyptian Islamic revolutionary and a member of Muslim Brotherhood, too echoes this view: “Islam is a practical and realistic way of life which is not based on rigid idealistic dogma. Islam maintains its own high moral principles, but only when justice is established and wrongdoing is contained.” Here, justice means Sharia law is established every where; wrong doing means Non Muslims making laws for themselves rather than accepting Sharia. Either way, before this wrong doing is contained, there was no need for any Muslim to abide by moral laws.
The established logic of this verse is what ever benefits Islam and Muslims is identified as good; what ever impedes advance or growth of Islam, it came to be identified as bad without any regard to much larger issue of morals and ethics. It is perfectly permissible for Muslims to break moral code in advancing Islamic interests i.e. in Jihad.
I forgot to write this, last time. When we look at the last part of the verse, 2:217, we find that Allah is again threatening Muslims who are leaving Islam with hell fire. Why? Simple answer is, after his murderous followers stole some one else's property that too breaking the noble tradition some Muslims were intelligent enough and equally perceptive to realize that the whole game of this religion, Islam, is a sham and were leaving or ready to leave Islam. After all what kind of true God allows robbery and theft by killing innocents. A true God will never tell his followers to become a robber or pirate. Unfortunately, present day Muslims can not even see this basic truth. A true God will never legalize booty as Allah did in 8th chapter, verses 8:01 and 8:41.
What about robbing and looting? Is it permissible? Did Mohammad ever put this question to Allah like he sought guidance here? The answer lies in the verse 2:218: it is Jihad and fighting for Allah, every thing is allowed.
Ibn Ishaq completes his narration of Naqla raid, at the end, with a poem attributed to Abu Bakr, the first Caliph of Islam, father in law of Prophet, close companion and friend of Prophet Mohammd:
Not believing in Muhammad being the prophet of Allah and excluding him from the Ka'aba are the 'casus belli': You count war in the holy month a grave matter But graver is, if one judges rightly, Your opposition to Muhammad’s teaching, and your Unbelief in it, which Allah sees and witnesses, Your driving people from His mosque So that none can be seen worshipping Him there. Though you defame us for killing him, More dangerous to Islam is the sinner who envies. Our lances drank of Ibn al-Hadrami’s blood In Nakhla when Waqid lit the flame of war, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Abdullah is with us, A leather band streaming with blood restrains him.