“Our Prophet (peace be upon him) ”
Actually, Muhammad rarely if ever opted for peace when he had the power to dominate. As the Hadith records in many places, the prophet of Islam said that he had “been called to fight all men until they testify that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His messenger.” The goal of Islam is the rule of Islam.
Although originally invited to Medina to be a peacemaker, the prophet of Islam immediately brought war to this community of traders by first raiding Meccan caravans – which brought down foreign hostility on all residents – then later exploiting internal divisions for personal gain. (See Myth: The Muslims were under Meccan Persecuted at Medina for a timeline of Muhammad’s constant attempts to provoke war with the Meccans).
As we have detailed, Muhammad conquered each of the Jewish tribes at Medina as soon as he had the ability. He also did what he could to provoke the Battle of Badr, forcing the Meccans to fight when they clearly did not want war. Near the end of his life, he directed a continuous series of foreign military expeditions to attack people who were not attacking the Muslims, with the goal of obtaining tribute or conversions.
One example that refutes the myth that Muhammad chose peace over war is when a report came to him that a man named Usayr ibn Zarim was attempting to gather an armed force against the Muslims. According to the true story of what happened (found in Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 981), Muhammad sent an armed band to Usayr’s community, which convinced him that he would be guaranteed safe passage to a meeting with Muhammad to discuss peace. Obviously interested in peace, the leader and his thirty companions trusted Muhammad and made themselves vulnerable, whereupon the unarmed men were summarily slaughtered by the Muslim tricksters.
Another well-documented example is the series of events leading up to the taking of Mecca by his army in 630. As we have shown, the Muslims were the first to break the treaty between themselves and the Meccans by not returning fleeing Muslims to Mecca (as stipulated in the agreement) as well as by raiding Meccan caravans and murdering the drivers (both before and after the treaty). But when a tribe allied with the Meccans killed members of a tribe allied with the Muslims in revenge for an earlier murder, it was feared the Muhammad would not be so accommodating.
The leader at Mecca was a man named Abu Sufyan. Anticipating that the Muslims might look for an excuse to attack his people, Abu Sufyan traveled to Medina to engage Muhammad in dialogue for the purpose of assuring peace between the two parties. Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 807 details the poor man’s efforts to see the Muslim leader in a long passage that plainly indicates his mounting desperation for peace.
It is during this visit that Abu Sufyan enters the homes of a number of prominent Muslims, including Muhammad’s son-in-law and daughter. Clearly he is not interested in harming them. In the end, Abu Sufyan is rebuffed by Muhammad and does not gain the opportunity to talk peace. The prophet of Islam is more interested in a surprise attack on Mecca:
In that the other Meccans had no idea that they were supposed to be at war with the Muslims, Muhammad was entirely successful:
When Abu Sufyan learned that Muhammad was marching on the city, he made one last effort to talk peace with him, this time attempting to use the Muslim leader’s wife as an intercessory. The woman attempted to reason with Muhammad, referring to Abu Sufyan and his companion as Muhammad’s own “cousin and brother-in-law” (which he was). Muhammad turned them away with this reply:
Thus, according to his own biographers, the prophet of Islam chose to go to war against an unwilling party merely out of personal pride and personal offense. After conquering Mecca he even ordered the executions of those who had insulted him, apparently oblivious to the hypocrisy, since it was a third-party revenge killing that he originally used as justification for his own attack on the city.