The Warrior Prophet: Muhammad & War - Claritas Books
The Warrior Prophet: Muhammadº & War

Most Islamic biographies deal with Muhammad’s use of warfare by using an understandable but insufficient logic: that the Messenger of Allah was the ideal and paradigmatic human, so he must have been an ideal and paradigmatic military commander.

Wanting Muhammad's behavior to conform to very modern ethical concepts and widespread (but not necessarily accurate) beliefs about the nature and conduct of war, the writers have created a narrative which, in significant ways, departs from the account clearly and consistently revealed in the earliest extant Arabic sources.

Professor Joel Hayward sees this as an unhelpful explanatory tendency and believes that the modern depiction of the Prophet’s relationship with warfare — which presents him as being rather antipathetic to war, indeed as virtually a pacifist who only fought reluctantly in self-defense — cannot actually be sustained by a thorough and even-handed analysis of the early Islamic sources.

A committed Muslim himself, Hayward concludes that, within a competitive and conflictual environment with ubiquitous threats, warfare was necessary to make real the bold new world that Muhammad foresaw. Through original, meticulously researched and rigorous analysis, Hayward covers all the raids and campaigns and demonstrates that Muhammad correctly understood the necessity and utility of force and duly developed into an intuitive, effective and victorious military practitioner who developed and enforced a strict moral code so as to attain his goals whilst safeguarding the innocent.

This engaging, accessible yet deeply scholarly and definitive book makes a major contribution to strategic and military analysis and to the Prophet’s biography.

"Meticulously researched and carefully argued, this groundbreaking book is both highly informative and deeply thought-provoking. It should be required reading for anyone seeking to learn about the life and times of the Prophetº."

Professor Mohammad Hassan Khalil
Author of Islam and the Fate of Others, The Salvation Question

"This is a courageous scholarly investigation into the classical sources to provide historical analysis of key cultural practices, experiences, norms and values of raids and warfare during seventh century Arabia and broader region. As an expert on war and strategic studies, Prof. Hayward insightfully illustrates the decision-making process and rationale, as well as the multidimensional complex relationships involved in tribal politics and the emerging polity of the Prophet in Medina. The Warrior Prophet: Muhammadº and War meticulously examines primary sources of al-Ṭabarī, Ibn Hishām, and other key sources. Prof. Hayward’s work exemplifies excellent re-examination of historical sources to move beyond mythic imagery of the past but to bring a deeper understanding of how the complex decisions of war were calculated, implemented, and understood by the Prophet and the early Muslim community. This is an outstanding contribution to the broader work of conflict, war, and the limitations of war in early Islamic history."

Dr. Qamar-ul Huda
Author of Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution in Islam

About the author

Joel Hayward FRHistS FRSA was born in New Zealand and is a Muslim writer, poet and "noted scholar of war and strategy." The newspaper Al Kaleej called him "a world authority on international conflict and strategy." He is best known for his books and articles on strategic and security matters, including the use of air power and his biographical work on Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson.

In 2012, he became a Professor of International and Civil Security at Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi. The following year he became the Chair of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Khalifa.

He spent five years as the Dean of the Royal Air Force College, Cranwell and four years as a Director of the Royal Air Force Centre for Air Power Studies. He is a Professor of Strategy at the Indonesian Defense University and he holds fellowships from the United States Air Force and the Federal Government of Germany.

Joel Hayward is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Historical Society. With the title of Shaykh, he has earned ijazas in 'Aqidah and Sirah. He is currently the Professor of Strategic Thought at the Rabdan Academy in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.