“I have studied him [Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) — the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ — he must be called the Savior of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness.”
(Sir George Bernard Shaw in ‘The Genuine Islam’)
The fabric of Islam accentuates the concept of peace as the word ‘Islam’ itself has been derived from another Arabic word “Salam” which means peace and the literal meaning of Islam is ‘to enter into peace’. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) always endeavoured not only to maintain peace and tranquillity within Islamic society but also for peaceful co-existence of Muslims with other communities. He (PBUH) was sent as a messenger of peace and mercy for the whole humanity — not to the Muslims only — as the Allah Almighty says in verse 107 of Surah Al-Anbya (the Prophets), “And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.”
Even before announcing his prophethood, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had been making efforts to promote peace in Arab society by amicably resolving the disputes. During his youth, when different clans of Quraysh had a disagreement over the right to erect the revered Hajar al-Aswad (The Black Stone) in the Holy Kaaba, and it was feared that a civil war would break out, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) resolved the issue in such a peaceful manner that history is unable to present any such example. When the matter was referred to him, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) put the Black Stone in the middle of a piece of cloth, and asked a representative of each clan to hold one of the edges of the cloth and raise it close to its place. Then the Prophet (PBUH) picked it up with his own noble hands and put it to its original place.
Later, in 610 AD, when the Holy Prophet (PBUH) started calling people toward Islam, the Makkans turned against him. They started persecuting him and his followers i.e. the new Muslims. Their cruelties and inhumaneness kept on rising. Once, when the Prophet (PBUH) went to Taif for preaching of Islam, the Taifiites adopted inhuman attitude and pelted stones at him and his companion Hazrat Zaid bin Haritha (RA). The rocks that were thrown at him by the children caused him to bleed seriously, so much so that his feet became stuck to his shoes by the drying blood. At that moment angel Gabriel came to him and asked:
“O, Prophet of Allah (PBUH)! I am at your service. If you wish, I can cause the mountains overlooking this town on both sides to collide with each other, so that all the people therein would be crushed to death, or you may suggest any other punishment for them.”
But the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “Even if these people do not accept Islam, I do hope from Allah that there will be persons from among their progeny who would worship Allah and serve His cause.”
In Makkah, the infidels hatched conspiracies even for murdering the Holy Prophet (PBUH). When the brutality and savagery of the Makkans crossed all limits, Muslims were left with no option but to leave their homes. So, in 622 AD, they migrated to Medina. But, the important thing to note here is that in spite of all the sufferings the Holy Prophet (PBUH) always prayed to Allah for guidance for the Quraysh.
In Medina, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) laid the foundations of the first city-state of Islam. Since a large number of Jews and idolaters were already living in Medina at that time, therefore, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) concluded the Charter of Medina with them. It was a written agreement consisting of 52 articles — numbering of clauses differs in different sources as Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri lists 63 articles in his book “The Constitution of Medina: 63 constitutional articles”. The Muslims, Jews and pagans were signatories to the agreement. It was, indeed, a great effort for promoting peace and coexistence among the Mediniites of different religious beliefs.
Even in Medina, the Makkans kept on inflicting miseries on Muslims and creating problems for them. Between 624 and 627 AD, Medina was attacked three (03) times by Quraysh and their allies. In all these battles, Muslims were not the aggressors rather they only protected their area.
Another incident, which reflects the peacemaking efforts made by the Holy Prophet (PBUH), is the Battle of Badr in which 70 infidels were killed and nearly 72 were made Prisoners of War. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) offered freedom to them on the condition that each one of them would teach art of reading and writing to 10 Muslims. Those acts of peace and kindness toward Prisoners of War still remain unprecedented in the annals of human history.
The establishment of the city state added an impetus to the spread of Islam and within ten years Madina became the capital of a vast state whose area, according to historical evidence, was no less than three million square kilometres. It means that the average expansion during ten years was some 845 square kilometres a day. Although, this expansion came partly through war, yet most part of it was achieved through peaceful means. What warrants a special attention is the fact that even in the wars, the average number of enemies killed works out to be less than two per month. In the aforementioned expansion period, less than two hundred and forty (240) enemies were killed. This fact rebuts all the false claims that Islam was spread by the sword.
In 628 AD, over 1,400 Muslims donned ihram with the Holy Prophet (PBUH) from Madina to perform Umrah. As per the established practice, the Makkans were bound to allow pilgrims coming — without arms — to perform Umrah. But, alarmed by the huge Muslim presence, the Quraysh leaders decided not to allow them from entering the city and sent Khaled Bin Walid with 200 fighters to stop them defying the centuries-old Arab tradition. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) changed the route of Taneem to avoid confrontation and came to a lesser-known place called Hudaibiyah. He (PBUH) sent Hazrat Usman-e-Ghani (RA) as his emissary to negotiate with the Quraysh — he was detained and to provoke the Muslims, the Quraysh engineered a rumour that he had been slain. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) collected all his followers near the oasis of Rizwan and took from them the oath that they would lay down their lives in the name of Allah and will avenge the murder of Hazrat Usman (RA). This oath is known as Bait-e-Rizwan.
The Quraish were very disturbed when they heard of this and they sent a messenger, a man named Suhail, to negotiate with the Holy Prophet (PBUH). After hectic deliberations, a written agreement, known as the Treaty of Hudaibiya, was signed between Muslims and the Quraysh. Although many clauses of this Treaty were apparently not favourable to the Muslims and even some of the companions (RA) had resentment over those, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) signed the Treaty with an aim to prevent bloodshed. The subsequent events show, this treaty proved beneficial as it ended the atmosphere of hostility and the non-believers of Makkah started coming to Madina. The Holy Quran called this Treaty a ‘Fateh Mubeen’ in Surah Fateh (The Victory) “O Prophet, surely We have granted you a clear victory.”
Later, the Treaty was broken by the Quraysh when they sided with the tribe of Banu Bakr with whom they had a pact to help one another. They attacked the tribe of Khuza’a who were the allies of the Muslims. On hearing the news that the Quraysh had broken the Treaty, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) prepared to leave for Makkah. So, in 630 AD, on the 10th of Ramadan in 8 AH, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) led an army of 10,000 Muslims toward Makkah. The Muslims encamped at Mar-ur-Zahraan, a place a few kilometres from Makkah.
Meanwhile, the polytheists were very scared and appointed Abu Sufyan, their leader, and a few people to find out about the situation. During his investigation, he met Hazrat Abbas (RA), who convinced him to have an audience with the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Abu Sufyan, the arch-enemy of Islam who had instigated battles against the Muslims, was given a complete protection in the tent of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
Later, the Muslim army triumphantly entered Makkah without any bloodshed and the kuffar surrendered without an attempt to resist. This great military feat was achieved without any bloodshed and in a peaceful manner that is still unprecedented in history. At this great triumph, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) set another supremely glorious example of peacemaking when he exhibited unwavering mercy for those people who had oppressed and persecuted the Muslims; as he announced general amnesty for all. As a result of those dignified steps, the Makkans entered the folds of Islam in hordes, which buttressed the strength of Muslims and made their defence impregnable.
Based upon the above assertions, we come to the conclusion that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the most supreme and the most superlative personality that is complete in all forms of discipline and profession. Even the worst enemies of Islam used to appreciate his finest character. He (PBUH) was the best strategist in both situations – war and peace. He (PBUH) was the greatest peacemaker who declared forgiveness for all His (PBUH) enemies. In “Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet” Karen Armstrong concludes: “Far from being the father of jihad, [Prophet] Mohammad was a peacemaker, who risked his life and nearly lost the loyalty of his closest companions because he was determined to effect a reconciliation with Makkah.”