Jihad series: If Islam is a religion of peace, why did the Prophet (pbuh) fight battles?
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A common question that is asked is, “If
Islam is a religion that is promoting peace, why would it be involved, why would the
Prophet be involved in fighting?” It is important to remember that justice, by
definition, is about laws that are protected by sanctions. In other words,
there are laws which, if violated, have penal consequences or punishments that
go with them. And so in standing for justice it is allowed in every community
and in most religions that, when an aggressor is fighting you, you are allowed to defend yourself. You
are allowed to prevent people from being unjust or oppressive against you, or any
community. When it comes, then, to the practice of the Prophet (peace be upon
him) we need to ask ourselves what were the battles that the Prophet was engaged
in, and we find there were all, with no exception, defensive or punitive. They
were all battles where the Prophet (peace be upon him) was involved in establishing
justice or defending the community. And this becomes critically important when
we look at the individual cases, we look at the verses of the Qur’an that guide
this subject area, and we look at the various statements and practices of the
Prophet recorded in the Sunnah or the hadith sayings. When we find earlier
prophets like Abraham and Moses and David, and very many men of God mentioned
in the earlier scriptures, also standing to defend their communities, this was only a sign of people who lived
by what they taught. They were living examples, they were not just preaching
and asking people to defend their communities but they themselves led by
examples. And if we look carefully at each of these cases recorded in the
hadith or that were taught in the Qur’an, the concept of jihad was never an
instrument of injustice. It was never an instrument of promoting religion by
forcing people to accept Islam. It was always a noble cause of justice,
defending victims of injustice and who needed protection from oppressers. So it
is only expected that if the Prophet (peace be upon him) is to live by his good
example that we would find narrations of the Prophet also involved in battles,
alongside other noble members of the community who want to stand for justice.
And this is why, until this day, we consider leaders, military generals, who
fight for justice, who stand for truth in defending the lives of innocent people,
as noble people who should be remembered, who should be commemorated.

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