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Who Was Muhammad?

          Muslims often speak with pride about Muhammad's "battles." It is a pride based on illusions. Muhammad avoided battles. He preferred ambushes and raids, which allowed him to take his victims by surprise and massacre them while they were unprepared and unarmed.

          During the last ten years of his life, after he moved to Medina and felt strong amongst his followers, Muhammmad launched 74 raids.46 Some of them amounted to little more than assassinations, while others were expeditions of thousands of men. He participated in 27 of them. These are called ghazwa. The wars he ordered his men to wage but did not himself take part in are called sariyyah. Both ghazwa and sariyyah mean raid, ambush, and sudden attack.

          Bukhari narrates a hadith from Abdullah bin Ka'b who said, "Whenever Allâh's Apostle wanted to make a Ghazwa, he used to hide his intention by apparently referring to different Ghazwa"[47]

          When Muhammad take part in a war, he would always stay behind his troops, protected by his special entourage. Nowhere in the authentic biographies of Muhammad, do we read that he ever fought personally.

          In one of the battles, a war known as the Sacrilegious War, fought in Mecca, Muhammad attended upon his uncles. Now nearly twenty years old, his efforts were confined to gathering up the arrows discharged by the enemy during the ceasefires and handing them to his uncles. As Muir explains: "Physical courage, indeed, and martial daring, are virtues which did not distinguish the prophet at any period of his career."[48]

          Muhammad and his men ambushed towns and villages without warning, descended upon unarmed civilians, cowardly butchered as many of them as they could, and took as spoils of war the vanquished community's herds and livestock, their weaponry and their entire belongings, as well as their wives and children. The raiders sometimes ransomed the women and children for money, or kept/sold them as slaves. The following is an account of one of these raids as recorded in the Islamic annals:
The Prophet had suddenly attacked Banu Mustaliq without warning while they were heedless and their cattle were being watered at the place of water. Their fighting men were killed and their women and children were taken as captives; the Prophet


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