A Critical Exposition of the Popular 'Jihád'/Chapter 12/114

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[Sidenote: 114. Sir William Muir quoted.]

I will quote several remarks of European writers, including clergymen and Indian missionaries, to show how astray they go in attributing to the Koran and Mohammad the wars of aggressions and compulsory proselytizing. Sir William Muir represents the principles of Islam as requiring constant prosecutions of war, and writes—

"It was essential to the permanence of Islam that its aggressive course should be continuously pursued, and that its claim to an universal acceptance, or at the least to an universal supremacy, should be enforced at the point of the sword. Within the limits of Arabia the work appeared now to be accomplished. It remained to gain over the Christian and idolatrous tribes of the Syrian desert, and then in the name of the Lord to throw down the gauntlet of war before the empires of Rome and Persia, which, having treated with contempt the summons of the Prophet addressed to them in solemn warning four years ago, were now rife for chastisement."[1]

The occasion to which Sir W. Muir refers here was to wipe out the memory of the reverse at Muta. The expedition to Muta was occasioned by the murder of a messenger or envoy dispatched by Mohammad to the Ghassànide prince at Bostra. A party was sent to punish the offending chief, Sharahbil. This could, by no means, be maintained as a warlike spirit or an aggressive course for the prosecution of war, or for enforcing the claim of universal supremacy at the point of the sword.


  1. Muir's Life of Mahomet, Vol. IV, pp. 251-252.