Peter Cotterell is former Principal of the London School of Theology and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. An expert in Islamic studies, Cotterell is the author of nineteen books, including Islam in Context (with Peter Riddell) and the forthcoming One God.
How did the transformation of Muhammad from prophet to warrior occur?
According to the earliest biography of Muhammad available to us (by ibn Ishaq), Muhammad was personally engaged in 27 fighting raids, and “actually fought” in nine of those engagements.
The history of the formative years of Islam is best characterized as a trajectory of violence, presenting three phases: the initial period, when Muhammad’s followers passively accepted persecution; a defensive period, when violence was permitted as a response to violence; and an offensive period, when violence was allowed generally “in the cause of Allah.”
Read on here.