By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan for New Age Islam
13 April, 2015
In the year 5 AH, the incident known as Ahzab took place. Leaders of the Quraysh marshaled a large army, of some 12,000 men, seeking to attack Madinah. But conditions turned out to be such that war did not take place. And so, the Quraysh army returned. Following this, the Prophet said something of historical significance to his Companions: “On the day of Ahzab the Prophet said, “From now onwards we will proceed towards them, they will not proceed towards us, and we will go in their direction.” (Bukhari)
The word “Ghazwa” in this Hadith report does not refer to war. Rather, it means ‘to act or to proceed’, as is clear from the word “Nasiru” that appears in the Hadith. The Prophet meant that there have been such changes in conditions that action would not be undertaken by the other party, but it would be taken by the believers. As is known from history, after Ahzab, the Prophet did not make any plan for war. Rather, he made plans for peaceful Dawah. Therefore, in this Hadith when the Prophet said that the believers would be the ones to take action, he was referring to Dawah efforts, and not war or violent action.
This is an eternal principle of Islam. Islamic activism is based on Dawah. All of Islam’s purposes are achieved only through Dawah. If war has happened in Islam, it is only because of unavoidable defensive reasons and as an exception. Islam definitely does not permit believers to launch any aggressive war from their side.
Islam’s actual aim is inviting people to God. And the work of Dawah can only be performed by using peaceful means and in a state of normalcy.
Islam’s aim is the transformation of people’s minds. Its target is not to wage war and capture political power. It seeks to take people to heaven, rather than anything else.