Mohammed sent Abdullah out with eight men. He gave him a letter and asked him not to read it for two days. Abdullah agreed. The letter told him where to go and wait for the Quraysh. While camping, two of his men lost their camel and stayed behind to look for it while the rest of the men went on.
A Quraysh caravan loaded with leather and raisins came upon the band of Muslims. When the Quraysh saw them they were scared because they had slept not very far away. But one of the Muslims had a shaved head, which was a mark of a religious pilgrim, so the Quraysh felt better. They were safe. The native religions had sacred months in which violence was forbidden to all. This was a sacred month, and they were unarmed.
The Muslims took council. They were faced with a dilemma: if they attacked the caravan now, they would be killing in a sacred month. Luckily the sacred month ended that day and the next day there would be no taboo about killing. But there was another problem: by nightfall they would be in the sacred area of Mecca. In the sanctified area there could never be any killing. They hesitated and talked about what to do. They decided to kill as many as possible and take their goods before the next day.
Islam drew first blood against the Qurayash of Mecca. They attacked the unarmed men. Amr, the first man to be killed by Jihadh, was shot by an arrow. One man escaped, and they captured two others. The Muslims took the enemies’ camels with their goods and headed back to Medina and Mohammed. On the way they talked about how Mohammed would get one fifth of the stolen goods.
When they got back, Mohammed said he had not ordered them to attack in the sacred month. He detained the caravan and the two prisoners and refused to do anything with them or the goods. The prisoners said, “Mohammed has violated the sacred month, shed blood therein, stolen goods and taken prisoners.”
But the Koran said:
[2.217] They ask you concerning the sacred month about fighting in it. Say: Fighting in it is a grave matter, and hindering (men) from Allah’s way and denying Him, and (hindering men from) the Sacred Mosque and turning its people out of it, are still graver with Allah, and persecution is graver than slaughter; and they will not cease fighting with you until they turn you back from your religion, if they can; and whoever of you turns back from his religion, then he dies while an unbeliever– these it is whose works shall go for nothing in this world and the hereafter, and they are the inmates of the fire; therein they shall abide.
According to Mohammed, to resist the doctrine of Islam and persuade Muslims to drop their faith was worse than killing. Before Islam the rule of justice in Arabia was a killing for a killing, but now to resist Islam was worse than murder. Those who argued against Islam and resisted Islam could be killed as a sacred act. So the murder and theft were sanctified. The spoils of war were distributed and a ransom was set for the prisoners. The men who had killed and stolen were now concerned about whether they would get their share of the spoils. So once again the Koran spoke:
[2.218] Surely those who believed and those who fled (their home) and strove hard in the way of Allah these hope for the mercy of Allah and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
As Muslims who had been exiled and fought they were blessed by Allah. They received their spoils of war and Mohammed took his 20 percent.
Allah’s Apostle said “The spoils of war have been made legal for me.”
Another war poem:
You (Quraysh) count war in the holy month a grave matter.
But graver is your opposition to Mohammed and your unbelief.
Though you defame us for killing Amr.
Our lances drank Amr’s blood.
We lit the flame of war. Abu Bakr
Text taken from Mohammed and the Unbelievers.
A Political Life.
Written by Bill Warner, from the Center for the Study of Political Islam
Our reply to all this are the words of Moses:
Thou shalt not covet, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not kill.