Muhammad: [Man] of change
Religious, military, political life of Muslim chief.
July 09, 2008
By Bill Federer
"Muhammad" is the most popular name for newborn boys in Brussels, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, London and other major European cities. A full 70 percent of immigrants into Europe are Muslim.
With Europe's 50-million Muslim population projected to double in 20 years, what changes are in store for Western civilization?
Three changes in Muhammad's life may provide insight.
Muhammad immigrated to Medina as a religious leader. When his followers increased in number, he changed to a political leader. When his followers were wronged, he changed to a military leader.
Five years after immigrating, the civilization that hosted him was eliminated.
Prior to immigrating, Muhammad spent 12 years trying to convert pilgrims who came to Mecca, where tolerant Arabs permitted worship of 360 different gods.
As a religious leader, he made only an estimated 150 converts during this period, preaching under the protection of his uncle, Abu Talib, a powerful caravan merchant and leader of Mecca's Quraysh tribe.
When Abu Talib died in A.D. 619, the new leader refused to protect Muhammad due to complaints he was causing dissension.
At age 52, Muhammad heard of a plot to kill him and fled. He tried immigrating to the city of Ta'if, but they refused him, even pelting him with stones.
Muhammad sought asylum in Medina, a trading city of pagans and three Jewish tribes: Banu Qaynuqa, Banu Nadir and Banu Qurayza. These allowed Muhammad to immigrate in A.D. 622 and he benefited from their protection.
Muhammad's followers increase
Muhammad's followers increased in Medina, mainly from politically disenfranchised pagans. He changed from a religious leader to also being a political leader.
Ancient political hatred between Medina's tribes gave occasion for Muhammad to campaign for change, promising as a newcomer, he could bring fairness and objectivity.
Once in power, Muhammad effectively created the first Islamic state. More pagans converted and more Muslims immigrated.
Two of Medina's pagan leaders, Asma bint Marwan and Abu 'Afak, spoke out against Muhammad's growing power and were assassinated. Muhammad did not disapprove of the killings.
Other pagan leaders dared not retaliate and soon converted to Islam.
Muslim immigrants from Mecca had homes they left behind confiscated. Having no means of livelihood, Muhammad allowed them to rob caravans headed to Mecca.
"Permission is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged; and Allah is indeed able to give them victory; Those who have been driven from their homes unjustly." (Sura 22.39-40)
In A.D. 624, Mecca sent 1,000 soldiers to protect their caravan from Muslim raids. With just 300 warriors, Muhammad successfully ambushed the caravan at Badr. Outnumbered 3 to 1, this victory confirmed his faith and Allah instructed him how to distribute spoils, Sura 8 "Al-Anfal, Spoils of War, Booty":
"The spoils of war belong to Allah and the messenger. ..." (Sura 8:1)
"The Prophet used to divide booty on the same day he took it, and would give two shares to a man with a wife, and only one share to a man without one." (Mishkat, Bk. 16:12)
Muhammad eliminates Jews
Provoked by the first Jewish tribe in Medina, Banu Qaynuqa, Muhammad eliminated them, confiscating their property and expelling them in A.D. 624.
A year later, Medina's second Jewish tribe, Banu Nadir, sent a leader to Mecca seeking help, but he was assassinated. Muhammad confiscated their wealth and expelled them.
Muhammad changed from being a religious and political leader to also being a military leader.
By A.D. 625, Mecca's economy suffered from repeated Muslim raids on their caravans. Abu Sufyan led 3,000 warriors to stop Muhammad at the Battle of Uhud. This time, 75 Muslims were killed and Muhammad retreated. Meccans did not pursue, mistakenly thinking the threat was over.
Muhammad received a verse explaining their defeat:
"Allah did indeed fulfill His promise to you when ye with His permission were about to annihilate your enemy – until ye flinched and fell to disputing about the order, and disobeyed it after He brought you in sight (of the booty) which ye covet." (Sura 3:152)
In AD 627, Mecca again sent Abu Sufyan leading coalition forces of 300 horsemen, 1,000 men on camels, 4,000 foot soldiers and thousands of nomads, to stop Muhammad in Medina.
Called the Battle of the Trench, Muhammad used unconventional tactics, digging trenches around the city to render ineffective the enemies' superior military forces of horses and camels.
When the battle lasted longer than expected – more than two weeks – coalition forces fell apart. Some coalition leaders were bribed, others were threatened. When supplies ran low and severe weather brought freezing winds, Meccans gave up and brought their troops home. (Sura 33:9)
Muhammad eliminated the last Jewish tribe in Medina, Banu Qurayza. Hadith Bukhari relates:
"When the Prophet returned from the Battle of the Trench and laid down his arms and took a bath, Gabriel came and said (to the Prophet), 'You have laid down your arms? By Allah, we angels have not laid them down yet. So set out for them.' The Prophet said, 'Where to go?' Gabriel said, 'Towards this side,' pointing towards Banu Qurayza. So the Prophet went out towards them." (Vol. 5:59:443)
Hadith Muslim added:
"So the Messenger of Allah fought against them. They surrendered at the command of the Messenger of Allah. ...Those of them who can fight be killed, their women and children taken prisoners and their properties distributed (among the Muslims)." (Bk. 19:4370; Sura 33:26)
The "Sirat Rasul Allah" recorded:
"The apostle of Allah imprisoned the Banu Qurayza in Medina while trenches were dug in the market place. Then he sent for the men and had their heads struck off so that they fell in the trenches. ... In number, they amounted to 600 or 700, although some state it to have been 800 or 900. ... The apostle distributed the property of the Banu Qurayza, as well as their women and children, to the Muslims, reserving one-fifth for himself. ... The apostle of Allah selected one of the Jewish women, Rayhana, for himself."
In just five years from A.D. 622, when Medina first allowed Muhammad to immigrate, to A.D. 627, when Muhammad beheaded the Jewish men and enslaved Jewish women and children, all Jews in Medina were eliminated.
Enslaving captives and confiscating booty helped fund Islamic expansion, and within a few years of Muhammad's death, all previously existing non-Muslim civilizations in Arabia were eliminated.
Rome's military-political leader, Julius Caesar, described his expansion: "Veni, Vidi, Vici" – "I came, I saw, I conquered."
Islam's military-political-religious leader could have his expansion described "He immigrated, He increased, He eliminated."
Previously, the predominant civilization of Egypt was Coptic Christian; Afghanistan was Buddhist; Iran was Zoroastrian; Syria was Aramean-Syriac Christian; Pakistan was Grecco-Buddhist; Bahrain was Nestorian Christian; Indonesia was Hindu; and Turkey was Byzantine Christian.
As Muslims immigrated and increased, previous civilizations were eliminated.
This is felt by Berbers in North Africa, Kurds in the Middle East, Armenians in Turkey, Jews in the Holy Land and African Sudanese. Lebanon has gone from 60 percent Christian in 1932, (Maronite, Greek/Armenian/Syrian Orthodox/Catholic) to 60 percent Muslim today.
Theodore Roosevelt wrote in "Fear God and Take Your Own Part":
"Christians of Asia and Africa proved unable to wage successful war with the Muslim conquerors; and in consequence Christianity practically vanished from the two continents. …Wherever the Muhammadans have had complete sway … Christianity has ultimately disappeared."
With Muslims immigrating to the West in record numbers, reportedly the fastest increasing religion in the world, Western civilization is anxious of change meaning elimination.
Accepting the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, July 19, 1940, Franklin Roosevelt warned:
"We face one of the great choices of history ... continuance of civilization as we know it versus the ultimate destruction of all that we have held dear."