The Warrior Prophet: A Look into Muhammad’s Use of Warfare as a Transformational Tool
The recently released book The Warrior Prophet: Muhammad ﷺ and War by Professor Joel Hayward has sparked interest in the understanding of the Holy Prophet’s use of warfare as a transformational tool. Professor Joel is a scholar of Islam and is considered to be one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims. In his new book, he sets out to investigate what the early Arabic sources reveal about the Prophet’s capacity and aptitude for using warfare for societal and religious purposes.
What sets The Warrior Prophet apart from other books on the Prophet’s warfare is its analytical approach. Professor Joel consciously avoids the traditional Islamic explanation that Muhammad excelled at warfare simply because he was a prophet and was therefore good at everything, and because God did everything to make him win. Instead, he focuses on demonstrating that the Prophet was an intelligent, astute, and skilled strategist and warrior who understood the necessity of warfare as well as its societally transformational power.
Through his research, Professor Joel concludes that the Prophet was capable and effective within Arabian inter-tribal warfare, which was then a relatively bloodless activity that was more about projecting confidence, maximizing power, and demonstrating chiefly authority than about inflicting death and destruction. The Prophet was moral, valiant, inventive, unhesitant, and always inspiring to his soldiers. He knew how best to maintain pressure on his enemies and stay one step ahead of them, exploiting the speed, surprise, and unity of command.
The book took over eleven years to complete, with Professor Joel dedicating himself to being analytically detached. As both a committed Muslim and a historian, he believes in analyzing the sources in a detached and dispassionate fashion, while remaining aware of the possible influence of his own assumptions, values, and biases.
The original hypothesis that Professor Joel wanted to test was that the Prophet really disliked war, mainly because of its intrinsic harmfulness, and was accordingly always worried or cautious about war’s unpredictable and almost unmanageable nature. However, his eleven years of analysis of the earliest extant works of Sirah, the canonical hadiths, and relevant early works of Fiqh led him to conclude that his original hypothesis could not be sustained by an objective and even-handed reading of the evidence.
The Warrior Prophet provides a fresh and analytical perspective on the Prophet’s use of warfare as a transformational tool and is a must-read for military, intelligence, religious, and political leaders. Its unique approach and conclusion make it a valuable contribution to the understanding of the Prophet and his role in shaping society.
The following is a youtube interview with Professor Joel by Terron Poole a British American Muslim who has a very thought-provoking discussion on the book:
Some other books Professor Joel is working on are also nearing completion. The Diplomacy of Muhammad ﷺ and a major re-examination of Sultan Mehmet II’s conquest of Constantinople in 1453.
Professor Joel Hayward FRHistS FRSA is a Professor of Strategic Thought at the Rabdan Academy in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. Joel was born in New Zealand and is a writer noted scholar of war and strategy and a poet.
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.
To purchase The Warrior Prophet please follow the following link:
Should you wish to contact Professor Joel Hayward, let me know and I will be happy to connect you.