the honorable civilized principles of the holy war (jihad) of the prophet pbuh:
the second discredit about the character and way of conduct of the prophet pbuh was the claim that he was bloody, and unrestrained in killing people, and destroying innocent lives. this accusation falls to pieces, like the first accusation, in view of the historic facts during the life of the prophet pbuh, his battles, and the capturing of other countries by his successors (caliphs) later on. such accusation comes to nothing also in view of the rules of the islamic law (the shareea), and the restrictions and principles that such law has imposed when practicing holy war (jihad). more details are in the following researches:
legitimacy of the holy war (jihad)(1)
the war or armed fighting is an act or measure taken by most nations of the world (if not all of them) when peaceful means and methods fail to secure what such nations aim at, or fail to prevent what such nations hope to drive away. the final judgment whether such an act is good or bad depends on whether what such nations call for is legitimate, whether their objectives are honorable, and whether their means and methods are fair. holy war (jihad) derives its legitimacy from the quran, the sunnah (what the prophet pbuh did and said), the consensus, and sound judgment.
some of what allah (the almighty) said in the quran about the holy war (jihad) are the following:
"verily, allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties; for the price that theirs shall be the paradise. they fight in allah's cause, so they kill (others) and are killed. it is a promise in truth which is binding on him in the taurat (torah) and the injeel (gospel) and the quran. and who is truer to his covenant than allah? then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded. that is the supreme success."(at tauba: 111)
"and fight in the way of allah those who fight you, but transgress not the limits. truly, allah likes not the transgressors."(al baqrara : 190)
"and fight them until there is no more fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with allah) and (all and every kind of) worship is for allah (alone). but if they cease, let there be no transgression except against az-zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)" (al baqara : 193)
several sayings of the prophet pbuh indicate that the holy war (jihad) is legitimate.
abu huraira reported that the prophet pbuh was asked what acts are most loved by allah (the almighty). the prophet pbuh replied: "firm faith in allah, and his messenger". "then what?" he was asked again. his reply was: "jihad in the way of allah". "then what?" he was asked once more. the prophet pbuh replied: "doing a blessed and accepted pilgrim (hajj)"
also reported by abu huraira that the prophet pbuh said:
"the best who is doing good to people, is a man holding the reins of his horse (in arabic meaning completely on alert and ready to fight) in the way of allah, ready to fly on its back whenever he hears any scared call for help, craving after being killed (in the way of allah), and to the place where death is most likely."
those texts together give the same indication that the holy war (jihad) is legitimate and right. interpreters and scholars of the sayings of the prophet pbuh, after making a consensus about the legitimacy the holy war (jihad), they differed over whether this is a collective duty that must by done by each and every muslim, or if some muslims do it, other muslims are absolved of doing it. this can be discussed in detail elsewhere.
among what has been said about the holy war (jihad) as an example of sound judgment were the words of the late mr. mustafa al-sibayee (may allah have mercy on him) in his lecture about "what regulates peace and war in islam". he said:
"as regards the regulation of peace and war in islam, there is no doubt that it is based on the view held by every other realistic law (or system), admitting the idea of war, and that some people cannot get deterred by reasoning or by law from being aggressive and tyrannous. also some nations may get tempted by their own strength, and by the weakness of their neighbours, to launch aggression and rule them as colonies. needless to say that it is good to legalize the use of force in such cases."
so, islam was not the first to legalize war. in that, it was preceded and followed by other religions, and nations. what gives islam an advantage over others in that connection is its right guidance when fighting, and its continued willingness to keep its honest objectives, fair means, and the legitimacy of its slogans.