Mohammed was now head of an extremely powerful political force. He began attacking and conquering other tribes around Medina. They were given a choice. They could convert to Islam, or else be killed and their women taken for slaves of pleasure.
Because of his power he was beginning to attract even more followers. Some were attracted to the war booty, some wanted to be on the winning side and others were afraid that they would be next.
Bukhari’s Hadith records one of the problems that Mohammed’s men were having at this time with the female captives and Mohammed’s response.
B5,59,459 Entering the mosque, Ibn Muhairiz saw Abu Said and asked him whether coitus interruptus was sanctified by Allah. Abu Said said, “Accompanying Mohammed at the Battle of Banu Al-Mustaliq, we were rewarded with Arab captives, including several woman which were very sought after because celibacy had become quite a hardship. We had planned to practice coitus interruptus but felt that we should seek instruction first from Mohammed. [Ed. Pregnancy was undesirable in the slaves because it diminished their value on the market.] Mohammed said, however, ‘It is better that you not interrupt copulation to prevent pregnancy, because if a soul is predestined to exist, then it will exist.’”
The interesting point here (apart from the obvious inhumanity of endorsing the taking and subsequent rape of slaves) is Mohammed’s insistence on predestination. Muslims often use the phrase “inshallah” which translates as “God (Allah) willing.”
In other words nothing will happen unless Allah has already planned it. This might not seem like a big deal, but in fact it has a huge impact on Islamic societies. Since Muslims believe that they will not be killed unless Allah wills it, there is no point worrying about being killed.
This makes Muslims immensely brave in battle compared to non-Muslims. The downside is that it also makes them extremely lazy and unproductive in peace time. Muslims believe that nothing will improve unless Allah wills it. Why then would they struggle to improve things?
This becomes the ultimate excuse in Islamic societies. “Why didn’t you do the job I gave you?”
“Well obviously Allah didn’t want me to!”
“Why didn’t you show up for work last week?”
“Well Allah just willed it that way.”
Mohammed had no interest in his followers producing anything; he was solely interested in conquest. He financed his society from war booty. Every part of Islamic culture is moulded to serve this end.
When academics examine backwardness and poverty in Islamic countries today, it is fashionable to blame it on the aggression and exploitation of the West. These problems however, are almost universal in Islamic countries. Surely then, we should be analysing the impact of Islamic teachings on human progress in these societies.
The Treaty of al Hudaybiya
Mohammed decided to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. The Meccans would not let him enter the city however, even though he came without the intention of making war.
From The Sira:
I747 The Meccans sent a man out to make a treaty with Mohammed. Umar was furious that Mohammed would make a treaty with non- Muslims because it was demeaning to Islam. But Mohammed told him Allah would not let them lose; they would win over the Quraysh. Be patient.
So they drew up a treaty to the effect that there would be no war for ten years. There would be no hostilities and no child could convert to Islam without a guardian’s permission. In return, the Muslims could come the following year and stay for three days in Mecca though they could not enter that year.
When Mohammed made peace, it was never for the sake of peace. It was always a strategic decision to wait until he could build up his strength. Patience was one of his greatest strengths in his quest to conquer the world. It remains the cornerstone of Islamic strategy today.
Compare this with Hitler’s tactics. He blundered into Russia whilst simultaneously trying to conquer Great Britain, almost losing his entire army along the way. Mohammed would only bite off as much as he could chew. He wouldn’t move on until he had digested it.