Qur'an, Hadith and Scholars:Muhammad and Terrorism

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Qur'an[edit]

How many a township have We destroyed! As a raid by night, or while they slept at noon, Our terror came unto them.
Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them."
If thou comest on them in the war, deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them, that haply they may remember.
It is not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise.
And those of the People of the Book who aided them - Allah did take them down from their strongholds and cast terror into their hearts. (So that) some ye slew, and some ye made prisoners.
It is He Who got out the Unbelievers among the People of the Book from their homes at the first gathering (of the forces). Little did ye think that they would get out: And they thought that their fortresses would defend them from Allah! But the (Wrath of) Allah came to them from quarters from which they little expected (it), and cast terror into their hearts, so that they destroyed their dwellings by their own hands and the hands of the Believers, take warning, then, O ye with eyes (to see)!

Hadith[edit]

Sahih Bukhari[edit]

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand." Abu Huraira added: Allah's Apostle has left the world and now you, people, are bringing out those treasures (i.e. the Prophet did not benefit by them).
Narrated Anas: The Prophet offered the Fajr Prayer near Khaibar when it was still dark and then said, "Allahu-Akbar! Khaibar is destroyed, for whenever we approach a (hostile) nation (to fight), then evil will be the morning for those who have been warned." Then the inhabitants of Khaibar came out running on the roads. The Prophet had their warriors killed, their offspring and woman taken as captives. Safiya was amongst the captives, She first came in the share of Dahya Alkali but later on she belonged to the Prophet . The Prophet made her manumission as her 'Mahr'.
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "I have been given the keys of eloquent speech and given victory with awe (cast into the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping last night, the keys of the treasures of the earth were brought to me till they were put in my hand." Abu Huraira added: Allah's Apostle left (this world) and now you people are carrying those treasures from place to place.

Sahih Muslim[edit]

Abu Huraira reported that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon hlmg) said: I have been given superiority over the other prophets in six respects: I have been given words which are concise but comprehensive in meaning; I have been helped by terror (in the hearts of enemies): spoils have been made lawful to me: the earth has been made for me clean and a place of worship; I have been sent to all mankind and the line of prophets is closed with me.
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: I have been commissioned with words which are concise but comprehensive in meaning; I have been helped by terror (in the hearts of enemies): and while I was asleep I was brought the keys of the treasures of the earth which were placed in my hand. And Abfi Huraira added: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) has left (for his heavenly home) and you are now busy in getting them.
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: I have been helped by terror (in the heart of the enemy); I have been given words which are concise but comprehensive in meaning; and while I was asleep I was brought the keys of the treasures of the earth which were placed in my hand.
Hammam b. Munabbih reported: That is what Abu Huraira reported to us from the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and he narrated (some) ahadith one of which is that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: I have been helped by terror (in the hearts of enemies) and I have been given words which are concise but comprehensive in meaning.

Sira[edit]

Ibn Ishaq[edit]

If you come upon them, deal so forcibly as to terrify those who would follow, that they may be warned. Make a severe example of them by terrorizing Allah’s enemies.
Ishaq:326
Allah said, ‘No Prophet before Muhammad took booty from his enemy nor prisoners for ransom.’ Muhammad said, ‘I was made victorious with terror. The earth was made a place for me to clean. I was given the most powerful words. Booty was made lawful for me. I was given the power to intercede. These five privileges were awarded to no prophet before me.’
Ishaq:326
Allah said, ‘A prophet must slaughter before collecting captives. A slaughtered enemy is driven from the land. Muhammad, you craved the desires of this world, its goods and the ransom captives would bring. But Allah desires killing them to manifest the religion.’
Ishaq:327
When the Apostle looked down on Khaybar he told his Companions, ‘O Allah, Lord of the Devils and what into error they throw, and Lord of the winds and what they winnow, we ask Thee for the booty of this town and its people. Forward in the name of Allah.’ He used to say this of every town he raided.
Ishaq:510
When the Apostle descends on your land none of your people will be left when he leaves.
Ishaq:588

Al Tabari[edit]

After the Messenger had finished with the Khaybar Jews, Allah cast terror into the hearts of the Jews in Fadak when they received news of what Allah had brought upon Khaybar. Fadak became the exclusive property of Allah’s Messenger.
We have been dealt a situation from which there is no escape. You have seen what Muhammad has done. Arabs have submitted to him and we do not have the strength to fight. You know that no herd is safe from him. And no one even dares go outside for fear of being terrorized.
Muhammad carried arms, helmets, and spears. He led a hundred horses, appointing Bahir to be in charge of the weapons and Maslamah to be in charge of the horses. When the Quraysh received word of this, it frightened them.
After the Messenger had finished with the Khaybar Jews, Allah cast terror into the hearts of the Jews in Fadak when they received news of what Allah had brought upon Khaybar. Fadak became the exclusive property of Allah’s Messenger.

Scholars[edit]

Abdullah Azzam[edit]

Following the Pious Predecessors

Jihad was a way of life for the Pious Predecessors, and the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was a master of the Mujahideen and a model for fortunate, inexperienced people.

When there was fierce fighting, they used to stand resolutely by the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) lest he be closest to the enemy.

The total number of military excursions which he (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) accompanied was twenty-seven. He himself fought in nine of these; namely Badr, Uhud, al-Muraysi`, The Trench, Qurayzah, Khaybar, The Triumph of Makkah, Hunayn and Ta'if. (This is according to those who consider that Makkah was conquered by force.)

He sent out a total of forty- seven attachments. It has also been said that he participated in the fight against Banu Nadir. This means that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to go out on military expeditions or send out an army at least every two months.

The virtuous Companions continued upon the path of the Noble Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), for the Glorious Qur'an had brought up this generation with an education of Jihad. They had been bathed in Jihad and cleansed of engrossment in worldly matters, just as a wound is bathed in water.
Join the Caravan
Imam Abdullah Azzam

Al Munajjid[edit]

The Muslims fell into the trap that was set up for them. When they heard the orientalists’ accusations that Islam was spread by the sword, they said: You are mistaken, listen to a refutation from one of your own people, this Thomas says such and such.

The defeatists among the Muslims come out to defend Islam, and they want to disavow Islam of this so-called lie, so they deny that Islam was spread by the sword, and they say that jihad is not prescribed in Islam, except in the case of self-defence. There is no such thing in Islam as taking the initiative in fighting in their view. This goes against what the Muslim scholars have stated, let alone the fact that it goes against the Qur’aan and Sunnah.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 28/263.

The purpose is that all religion should be for Allaah alone, and that the word of Allaah should be supreme. The word of Allaah is a comprehensive phrase that refers to His words that are contained in His Book. Hence Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Indeed We have sent Our Messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance (justice) that mankind may keep up justice”

[al-Hadeed 57:25]

The purpose behind sending the Messengers and revealing the Books was so that mankind might keep up justice with regard to the rights of Allaah and the rights of His creation. Then Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And We brought forth iron wherein is mighty power (in matters of war), as well as many benefits for mankind, that Allaah may test who it is that will help Him (His religion) and His Messengers in the unseen”

[al-Hadeed 27:25]

So whoever deviates from the Book is to be brought back with iron, i.e. by force. Hence the soundness of the religion is based on the Qur’aan and the Sword. It was narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded us to strike with this, meaning the sword, whoever turns away from this, meaning the Qur’aan.

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Faroosiyyah (p.18):

Allaah sent him – meaning the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) – with the guiding Book and the conquering sword, ahead of the Hour, so that Allaah alone would be worshipped with no partner or associate, and his provision was placed beneath the shade of his sword and spear. Allaah has established the religion of Islam with proof and evidence, and with the sword and spear, both together and inseparable.

This is some of the evidence from the Qur’aan and Sunnah. The evidence clearly indicates that the sword is one of the most important means that led to the spread of Islam.

1 – Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“For had it not been that Allaah checks one set of people by means of another, monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, wherein the Name of Allaah is mentioned much would surely, have been pulled down. Verily, Allaah will help those who help His (Cause). Truly, Allaah is All-Strong, All-Mighty”

[al-Hajj 22:40]

“And if Allaah did not check one set of people by means of another, the earth would indeed be full of mischief. But Allaah is full of bounty to the ‘Aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists)”

[al-Baqarah 2:251]

2 – Allaah has commanded us to prepare the means of fighting against the kuffaar and frightening them. He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, planes, missiles, artillery) to threaten the enemy of Allaah and your enemy, and others besides whom, you may not know but whom Allaah does know”

[al-Anfaal 8:60]

If Islam was only spread by peaceful means, what would the kuffaar have to be afraid of? Of mere words spoken on the tongue? In al-Saheehayn it is narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have been supported with fear as far as a month’s journey.” Would the kuffaar be afraid of being told, “become Muslim, but if you do not then you are free to believe and do whatever you want”? or were they afraid of jihad and the imposition of the jizyah and being humiliated? That may make them enter Islam so that they may be spared this humiliation.

3 – When the Messenger called people to Islam, his call was accompanied by the sword, and he commanded his leaders to do likewise, so that when the people saw the serious of the Muslims in calling people to their religion, that dispelled any confusion.

Al-Bukhaari (3009) and Muslim (2406) narrated that Sahl ibn Sa’d (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said on the day of Khaybar: “Tomorrow I will give the banner to a man at whose hands victory will come, one who loves Allaah and His Messenger, and Allaah and His Messenger love him.” The people spent that night wondering which of them would be given the banner and all of them were hoping for it. Then he (the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) said, “Where is ‘Ali?” It was said, “His eye is hurting.” So he spat in his eyes and made du’aa’ for him, and he was healed, as if there had not been anything wrong with him. Then he gave him the flag and he [‘Ali] said: “Shall I fight them so that they will be like us?” He said: “Go ahead, until you reach their encampment, then call them to Islam and tell them what they are obliged to do, for by Allaah if Allaah were to guide a man at your hands that would be better for you than having red camels [the best kind].”

So this call to Islam was accompanied by the force of arms.

Muslim (3261) narrated that Buraydah said: When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) appointed a commander to lead an army or a raiding party, he would advise him to fear Allaah with regard to himself and the Muslims with him, then he said: “Fight in the name of Allaah and for the sake of Allaah. Fight those who disbelieve in Allaah, fight but do not steal from the war booty (before it is shared out), betray, or mutilate. Do not kill children. If you meet your enemy of the mushrikeen, call them to three things, and whichever one of them they respond to, accept that from them and leave them alone. Then call them to Islam and if they respond, accept that from them and leave them alone. If they refuse but they pay the jizyah, then they have responded to you, so accept that from them and leave them alone. If they refuse then seek the help of Allaah and fight them…”

So the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told his commanders to call the kuffaar to Islam whilst wielding their swords over their heads. If they refused to become Muslim then they should pay the jizyah with humility. If they refused then there was nothing left for them but the sword – “If they refuse then seek the help of Allaah and fight them”

4 – The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have been sent ahead of the Hour with the sword so that Allaah will be worshipped alone, and my provision has been placed in the shade of my spear, and humiliation has been decreed for those who go against my command, and whoever imitates a people is one of them.” Narrated by Ahmad, 4869; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2831.

The fact that the sword and power were means of spreading Islam is not a sources of shame for Islam, rather it is one of its strengths and virtues, because that makes people adhere to that which will benefit them in this world and in the Hereafter. Many people are foolish and lacking in wisdom and knowledge, and if they are left to their own devices they will remain blinded to the truth, indulging in their whims and desires. So Allaah has prescribed jihad in order to bring them back to the truth and to that which will benefit them. Undoubtedly wisdom dictates that the fool should be prevented from doing that which will harm him, and should be forced to do that which will benefit him.

Al-Bukhaari (4557) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “ ‘You (true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah) are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind’ [Aal- Imraan 3:110 – interpretation of the meaning].” He said: “You are the best (i.e., the most beneficial) of people for mankind, you bring them in the chains that are around their necks until they enter Islam.” Can people be brought in chains except in the case of jihad??

This is something for which Islam deserves to be praised, not condemned. The defeatists should fear Allaah lest they distort this religion and cause it to become weak on the basis of the claim that it is a religion of peace. Yes, it is the religion of peace but in the sense of saving all of mankind from worshipping anything other than Allaah and submitting all of mankind to the rule of Allaah. This is the religion of Allaah, not the ideas of any person or the product of human thought, so that those who promote it should feel ashamed to state its ultimate goal, which is that all religion (worship) should be for Allaah alone. When the ideas that people follow are all produced by human beings and the systems and laws that control their lives are all made up by human beings, then in this case each idea and each system has the right to live safely within its own borders so long as it does not transgress the borders of others, so the various ideas and laws can co-exist and not try to destroy one another. But when there is a divine system and law, and alongside it there are human systems and laws, then the matter is fundamentally different, and the divine law has the right to remove the barriers and free people from enslavement to human beings…

Fiqh al-Da’wah by Sayyid Qutb, 217-222.

It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (12/14):

Islam spread by means of proof and evidence to those who listened to the message and responded to it, and it spread by means of force and the sword to those who were stubborn and arrogant, until they were overwhelmed and became no longer stubborn, and submitted to that reality.

And Allaah knows best.
Was Islam spread by the sword?
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid, Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 43087

See Also[edit]