A Critical Exposition of the Popular 'Jihád'/Introduction/6
[Sidenote: The Koreish first attacked the Moslems at Medina. They could not forbear the escape of the Moslems.]
6. The Koreish, seeing the persecuted had left almost all their native lands for a distant city out of their approach, except by a military expedition, and losing Mohammad, for whose arrest they had tried their utmost, as well as upon hearing the reception, treatment, religious freedom and brotherly help the Moslems received and enjoyed at Medina, could not subdue their ferocious animosity against the exiles. The hostility of the Koreish had already been aroused. The severity and injustice of the Koreish was so great, that when, in 615 A.D., a party of 11 Moslems had emigrated to Abyssinia, they had pursued them to overtake them. And again, in 616 A.D., when the persecution by the Koreish was hotter than before, a party of about 100 Moslems had fled from Mecca to Abyssinia, the Koreish sent an embassy to Abyssinia to obtain the surrender of the emigrants. There is every reason to believe that the Koreish, enraged as they were on the escape of the Moslems in their third and great emigration in 622 A.D., would naturally have taken every strong and hostile measure to persecute the fugitives.
It was in the second year from the general expulsion of the Moslems from Mecca that the Koreish, with a large army of one thousand strong, marched upon the Moslems at Medina. Medina being 250 miles or 12 stages from Mecca, the aggressive army, after marching 8 stages, arrived at Badr, which is 3 or 4 stages from Medina. Mahommad—with only 300 Moslems, more being from among the people of Medina than the refugees—came out of Medina in self-defence to encounter the Koreish, and the famous battle of Badr was fought only at thirty miles from Medina. There could be no doubt that the affair was purely and admittedly a defensive one.
Sura XXII, verses 39-42, copied at page 17 of this book, was first published in the matter of taking up arms in self-defence after the battle of Badr.
- The idea of forbearance on the part of the Koreish, as entertained by Sir W. Muir, is not borne out by their former conduct of persecuting the believers and pursuing the fugitives among them. He says: "Mahomet and Abu Bakr trusted their respective clans to protect their families from insult. But no insult or annoyance of any kind was offered by the Coreish. Nor was the slightest attempt made to detain them; although it was not unreasonable that they should have been detained as hostages against any hostile incursion from Medina". (Muir's Life of Mahomet, Vol II, page 265.) They were contemplating a grand pursuit and attack on the Moslems, and had no reason to detain the families of Mahomet and Abu Bakr as hostages whilst they could not think that the Moslems will take the initiative, as they were too glad to escape and live unmolested.