Question: After migration to Medina from Mecca, Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) settled there and attacked the caravans on their way to Mecca and then people of Quraish started to fight because Muslims went too far. Is this incident correct? If so, since the caravans were attacked, Muhammad and his Companions seem guilty! However, if this incident wasn't correct, what reasons caused the wars after the migration to Medina?
First of all, when examining historical events, we must consider related matters with their reasons and consequences as a whole before and after. It is crucial not to approach these historical incidents in an inductive way. Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) and his Companions, were forced to leave their homeland and all their assets just because of their religious beliefs; and some of them migrated to Ethiopia and some others migrated to Medina. People of Mecca not just drove Muslims out of their homeland and captured their assets, but also forced the governors and influential men of Ethiopia and Medina and put political pressure on them to not protect the Muslims who took refuge in their countries. (See: Ibn Hisham, Sirat Ibn Hisham, p. 217 vd.; Ahmad b. Hanbal, v: 4, p: 198)
In Holy Quran, we can find the red lines and practices to follow in relationships with non-Muslims:
“Allah does not forbid you from being kind and equitable to those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes. Indeed, Allah likes those who are equitable. Allah only forbids you from making friends of those who fight you because of religion or expel you from your homes or aid in your expulsion. The ones that make friends of them are the wrongdoers.” (Al-Mumtahanah/ The Examined One, 60:8-9)
According to these verses, there are three redlines that we must consider in our relations with Non-Muslims:
- If they fight with Muslims due to their religion
- If they expel Muslims from their homes
- If they support the ones who expel Muslims from their homes
It is clear that people of Mecca crossed all these three redlines.
After their migration to Medina, Muslims were retaliating Meccans of Quraish by banning (only blocking, not appropriating) the transport of their caravans, in order to put pressure on them economically and control them. (See: Muhammad Hamidullah, Hazreti Peygamberin Savaslari (‘Battlefields Of Prophet Muhammad’ in Turkish), Yagmur Yayinlari, 4th ed., p: 56)
Therefore, narratives about Muslim attacks to Quraish caravans in Medina should be considered normal, and it is natural in terms of laws of war.
Please check out the following link for a similar Q&A; “Is Islam a religion of war, or peace?” :