Page 6 of 7
AS A MILITARY LEADER
The Prophet Sallallahu 'alayhi wasallam historically is noted to be a proficient and sublime figure in military leadership, adored by his Companions and furthermore, humane towards the defeated. His intelligence, skill and determination are proven, having held 28 major and minor expeditions himself and fifty expeditions under the command of his Companions, all were victorious in aim. Establishing law and order, completely destroying the strength and fighting ability of his enemies with the sacrifice of just over 1 000 lives, peace was achieved for the first time in history in the entire Peninsula of Arabia in less than a decade.
His, (sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam) sole purpose being the establishment of Islam sacrificing family ties and home, strove to defend and preserve his religion. In effect he had to subdue rising oppression and the obstacles shadowing his path to maintain peace, so circumstantially became a military leader, warrior and conqueror.
The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam tolerated the abuse of the disbelievers without becoming disheartened or impatient. Their abuse grew into raids, plunders and war against his people yet he stood steadfast and patient amongst the polytheists and their offences failed against his high degree of patience and perseverance resulting in victory.
Baraa Ibn Aazib (R.A.) was once questioned, "Oh, Abu Ammarah, did you ever flee from the battle when fighting beside the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam ?" He replied, "I swear by the Almighty Allah, the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam never turned away although others did."
The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam was regarded as a courageous warrior showing no signs of timidity or weakness. His approach was admirable upon the battlefield when facing a multitude of dangers and severe tasks. He fought steadfastly amongst the first lines nearest to the enemy and his determination and valour were exemplary. 'Ali (R.A.) states, "When the battle grew fierce there was none nearest to the enemy lines than the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam." Baraa (R.A.) also narrates regarding the Battle of Hunain, "There was no one as courageous as the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam that day."
The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam inspired men with the truth. In a Hadith it has been stated, "Never desire fighting but pray to Allah for peace and security. And when you have to fight the enemy, fight with steadfastness and know that Paradise is under the shadow of the sword. (Riyadhus Saaliheen). Giving realistic and logical explanation he created confidence and will power to such an extent that his Companions were willing to sacrifice all possessions and their lives for its cause. He disciplined his Companions spiritually to strive to the utmost with all their resources. As Allah Ta'alaa states in the Qur'an,
"And hold fast, all of you together to the rope of Allah and do not let anything divide you. (Aali- Imraan).
The Companions co-operated fully and worked in unity to achieve their aim. Thus, in unison despite his position during the Battle of the Trench he took equal share in digging the trench and helped others with their load.
He instilled hope in his Companions and instructed them to turn to Allah in difficult circumstances as at the time of the battle of Badr. Although they were of small number, Allah sent Angels of numerical strength as divine aid. Preparing his men to meet all situations he managed to emerge with flying colours on occasions of extremity by his ingenious skill, its right application in due course helped him achieve total victory at the time of nearing defeat, as in the Battle of Uhud. The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam exercised self control when many Companions panicked and ran back midst the confusion, he composedly brought the situation under control, as many a time; changing the picture of the entire battle.
The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam was fully conscious of his lack of manpower and material compared to the enemy strength. He used all possible means of defeating them, approaching them physically, psychologically and spiritually. During war, all is dependant upon the quality, character and morale of the leadership. The Prophet's sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam tactics and strategic moves proved effective, showing positive results. His military strategies included urgency, secrecy, speed and mobility. At the time of the Battle of Uhud and Hudaybiyyah he organised such tactics that the enemy was completely surprised by the speed of the operation and were caught unprepared.
The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam ordered military training for his army thus giving sufficient practise on and off the battlefield. This enabled efficiency and ruled the importance of preparation and precaution, organising internal and external defences. His precautions included patrolling systems, secret signs and codes establishing a strong system of communication. Ka'ab Ibn Malik (R.A) narrates, "Whenever the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam intended to go into the Battle he used secret codes. (Bukhari). Hekept himself well informed of all events occurring in surrounding tribes and the border area of Madinah. As a result of his principles within a period of eight years they became the most powerful striking force in the region; his intelligence and ability attested.
The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam dealt with arising problems wisely so as not to endanger the objective, assessing the present problems and defining solutions in accordance to human capacity. Relevantly he always discussed important matters with colleagues to reach the best of solutions.
The Prophet's sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam policies reproached the barbaric and uncivil war customs replacing them with humane and just laws. 'Abdullah Ibn Jahash (R.A) was once sent on a mission. He captured prisoners and their property without the permission of the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam. When the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam heard of this he condemned it.. The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam never shed innocent blood and neither of women nor children.
'Abdullah Ibn Mas'ood (R.A) relates, " The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam expressed disapproval upon the killing of womenfolk and children." (Bukhari)
Furthermore, despite the conflicts, the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam negotiated peace with them (as in Hudaybiyya) but was short lived by the opposition party, this relatively paved way for the conquest of Makkah. Gathering a large force of 10,000 men the Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam entered the Holy city which completely destroyed their morale, turning his entry into a peaceful one; without any bloodshed. Abu Sufyaan exclaimed on this occasion rushing into the city and calling to the people at the top of his voice,
"O men of Quraish ! Muhammad sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam has come with an army such as you've never seen before. Put up no resistance."
Even at such a triumphant moment, having become the conqueror of Makkah the Holy Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam rode in on a white mule, his head lowered with humility to Allah Ta'alaa.
The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam was never taught the art of war and neither proposed to become a military leader, being forced into this struggle he fought against the combined strengths of all his enemies with utmost skill and determination, and defeated them on all fronts. The Prophet sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam in comparison with other military leaders in history is found to be towering above all, both in war strategy, strength and skill, proving greatness, changing the course of human history and influencing human culture and activities in every area of life.