Muhammad and the caravan raids, old and new

Muhammad funded the early expansion of Islam by raiding caravans traveling between Mecca and Damascus. The idea is to at once make yourself rich from your enemies goods, and also bleed your enemy dry of resources. (Below I will give you a nice quote about Muhammad's raids.)

But I want to suggest the parallel today, that the these raids, as in the days of Muhammad and the various Islamic Caliphates afterwards--when Muslim horsemen would raid Christian and Jewish villages, killing the men and taking the women and children to be sold as slaves as well as their agricultural produce, are still going on, just in a different form.

The parallel is in emigration, both legal and illegal. Whereby Muslim mujaahidiin gain entry to countries with jobs and resources that Muslims countries don't have, and benefit from the rule of law and freedoms afforded there. But at the same time the resources of those societies are being bled dry by the constant threat of terrorism. Consider the example in the USA of the TSA, and how much it costs, and how it is basically a response to Islamic jihad. Or consider this nice story:

BRITISH police and security agencies are monitoring 30 terrorism plots, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said in extracts of a newspaper interview released today. "We now face a threat level that is severe. It's not getting any less, it's actually growing,'' she said in an interview to be published tomorrow in News of the World.

"We task the police and the security agencies with protecting us ... There are 22,000 individuals they are monitoring. There are 200 networks. There are 30 active plots,'' she said....

Here we have the wonderful example of a country spending huge amounts of time and money so that a non-native population can stay in the country. Said population to a large degree has little respect or appreciation for the heritage and tradition of that country, but they will use freedom of the press and laws on religious libel to further their own freedoms while limiting those of others, as well as the economic prosperity provided by the UK to fund the destruction of that very government.

The raids continue today.

And now, on this history of the raids, this is from HERE:

After his eviction by the Meccans, Muhammad and his Muslims found refuge many miles away in Medina where they were not bothered by their former adversaries. Despite this, Muhammad sent his men on seven unsuccessful raids against Meccan caravans before finally finding one, whereupon they murdered the driver and plundered the contents. This particular caravan was especially vulnerable because the attack came during the holy months, when the merchants were least expecting it.

[A Muslim raider] who had shaved his head, looked down on them [the Meccan caravan], and when they saw him they felt safe and said, "They are pilgrims, you have nothing to fear from them." (Ibn Ishaq 423)

Islam was a different sort of religion than what these caravan drivers were used to however:

[The Muslim raiders] encouraged each other, and decided to kill as many as they could of them and take what they had. (Ibn Ishaq 424)

This was the first deadly encounter between Meccans and Muslims, and it is of acute embarrassment to contemporary Muslim apologists, who like to say that Islam is against killing in any case other than self-defense.

For this reason, there has arisen the modern myth that the Muslims were simply “taking back” what was theirs (rather than exacting revenge and stealing). The 1976 movie, “The Message,” explicitly perpetuates this misconception, even though there is absolutely no evidence for it.


Anonymous said…
A fifth of the loot was also given to Muhammad as war booty

So Allah commandeth.
Don said…
There are a couple of things that strike me about this piece.

First, it's worth remembering that, in the years before World War I, the Arabs routinely attacked trains bound for Mecca. The Ottomans were forced to garrison the train line--the same Ottomans with the caliph!

After World War I and T.E. Lawrence had done their work, the same Arabs took control of Mecca and Medina, booting the Hashemites (the family of Muhammad, if my memory is correct) from their place there!

Second, I was one of the few Americans to view The Message when it was in theatres in 1976. As I describe here, the audience made a greater impact on me than the film itself!
Sarah Geis said…
Thanks for this. It's good to be reminded of that heritage when many Muslim scholars seem to frequently attempt to redefine Islamic history!
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