Raiding of caravan by the Prophet saws

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)


One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Sallam Alaikum,

Brother Burhan,

I find many of your answers to our brothers' and sisters' questions/concerns very illuminating and informative.  I have two questions which are really agonizing me and as such  I would like the following questions addressed from a purely Islamic perspective.  Please do not publish the question and answer of the first question in public as I do not wish the general public (including non Muslims who access your site) to misrepresent and malign Islam in the light of this question.  Today, maligning Islam in every way possible is a daily hobby of almost every evangelist. The only reason for asking this question is to be able to address this question in case enemies of Islam bring up this issue so that you are prepared to give a logical and intelligent answer as I firmly believe that everything in Islam has profound meaning and logical reasoning behind it. 

1. Islam enjoins all Muslims to strive to earn Hallal rozi (earning).  Even giving and taking of interest is not allowed: As experience has shown, interest has bankrupted even mightiest nations who have gone in dept.  I have a very hard time why understanding and reconciling how you can say the earnings of the early Muslims was Hallal as they raided the merchantile convoys and lived on the booty generated from the raids.  Please, please it is really bothering me as I cannot reconcile how our holy prophet (May Peace Be Upon Him) who was a perfect man can have allowed such earnings.  Is it enemies of Islam that have twisted a historical fact?  Or if this is true, then there is logic and justification for it?  Please answer privately as I do not want to give further ammunition to the enemies of Islam to discredit and malign our beautiful religion.


(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)




Raiding of caravan by the Prophet saws

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person,  no grave, no prophet,  no imam,  no dai,  nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


Beloved and dear Brother in Islam, may Allah Subhanah increase your and our faith in His Revealed Message and His Deen, and give you and us the courage and the wisdom to understand and comprehend the ‘hikmah’ and wisdom behind each command and guidance of Allah and His Messenger (saws). 


May Allah Subhanah increase your quest in your search for the knowledge of Truth, and may Allah bless you in this world and the Hereafter for asking such an intelligent and thought provoking question, which unfortunately has been misunderstood even by good believers.


Your Question: Is it enemies of Islam that have twisted a historical fact?  Or if this is true, then there is logic and justification for it? 


If the conditions at the time of the Prophet (saws) are compared to the conditions of the modern world today, this issue would indeed become very clear. 


When a nation today declares war against any other nation for whatever reason, the first thing that precedes the actual armed conflict is an ‘economic boycott’ against that nation.   There are several examples in today’s modern world whereby a country like the United States declares an ‘economic boycott’ or ‘trade embargo’ against the nations who oppose them; eg. Libya, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, or even France or China!  Just look at the state of the nations like Cuba, who do not endorse the views of democracy held by the United States, who have enforced a trade embargo and economic boycott of Cuba for almost 50 years! 


After the migration of the Prophet (saws) and the believers to Medina, the pagan Quraish of Makkah declared war against the believers of Medina; thus the two states were at war.  The main economic activity of the people of Makkah was their trade with foreign nations, namely Syria in the north and Yemen to the south, and Medina was, so to speak, at the throat of their trade routes to Syria. 


After the migration of the believers to Medina, a huge trade caravan was assembled in Makkah bound for Syria under the leadership of Abu Sufyan; and the majority of the goods to be traded were the belongings left behind by the believers which were confiscated by the pagan Makkans with the intention that the proceeds and profits from this trade caravan would be used to wage a great war against the believers in Medina, and destroy them once and for all.   


When the Messenger of Allah (saws) and the believers got news of this caravan bound for Syria and the intention of the pagans to destroy the believers with its proceeds, they decided to confront this caravan as any nation at war would do as a ‘tactic of war’.  But as Allah Subhanah would have willed, Abu Sufyan managed to save the caravan on his way to Syria, and even on his way back from Syria; but the subsequent events regarding the safeguarding of the caravan led to the Battle of Badr between the pagan Quraish of Makkah and the believers of Medina at the Plains of Badr.


Thus one should understand that the proposed raiding of the trade caravan was a ‘tactic of war’  which is only permitted in Islam against those who are in a state of war against the believers.  


Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.267         Narrated by Abu Huraira

The Prophet (saws) said, "Khosrau will be ruined, and there will be no Khosrau after him, and Caesar will surely be ruined and there will be no Caesar after him, and you (O Believers) will spend their treasures in Allah's Cause." He (saws) also said, "War is deceit."


But when in a state of peace, as exemplified by the Messenger of Allah (saws) after the signing of the Treaty of Hudaibiyyah with the Quraish of Makkah, it is not permissible to raid any trade caravan or confiscate the property of any nation or its people who is not at war with the muslim nation. 


The other thing one must clearly understand, is that this ‘tactic of war’ of raiding caravans of the enemy nation can only be declared by a nation, and that too only in a state of war.  It is absolutely impermissible and considered a huge sin in Islam for an individual or a gang of people to attack or raid or confiscate the property of others (believers or non-believers) in any way, for their own personal or material gain.


Allah relates the example of a community whom He destroyed in the Glorious Quran, and one of the sins these people would do was highway robbery! 


Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 7 Surah Aaraaf verses 85-86: To the Madyan people We sent Shuaib, one of their own brethren: he said: "O my people!  Worship Allah; Ye have no other god but Him.  Now hath come unto you a clear (sign) from your Lord!  Give just measure and weight nor withhold from the people the things that are their due; and do no mischief on the earth after it has been set in order: that will be best for you if ye have faith.

"And squat not on every road breathing threats, hindering from the path of Allah those who believe in Him and seeking in it something crooked; but remember how ye were little and He gave you increase. And hold in your mind's eye what was the end of those who did mischief.


Thus, in conclusion, ‘economic boycotts’ or ‘trade embargoes’ are an accepted tactic of war, and this tactic is permitted and endorsed by Allah and His Messenger (saws) when a muslim nation is at war with another nation.  But Islam declares it absolutely impermissible and it is considered a huge sin in the sight of Allah for an individual or a group of people to steal or rob the property of others for their own personal or material gain. 


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me.  Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.


Your Brother in Islam,






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