War is only permissible in self-defense, and under well-defined limits. When undertaken, it must be pushed with vigour, but not relentlessly.
But only to restore Peace, Justice and Freedom for the worship of God. In any case, strict limits must not be transgressed:
Women, Children, Old and infirm men should not be molested; nor Trees and Crops cut down, nor Peace withheld when the enemy comes to term.
At the time of fighting between Muslims and non-Muslims, Abu Bakr, the first Caliph after the Prophet, would advise his commanders saying:
“I command you ten things. Learn them by heart: Don’t betray, defraud (by stealing the spoils of war), or break treaties. Don’t mutilate, kill women, young children, or the elderly. Do not uproot or burn palm trees. Do not cut down fruitful trees, slaughter sheep, cows or camels except for eating. You will come across people secluded in monasteries, so leave them and what they are devoted to.” (Tabari, Vol.3)
The following facts of prominent battles took place at the time Prophet Muhammad (sal) say everything. See the numbers,
Battle of Badr,
Muslims - 314 fighters led by Prophet Muhammad (sal)
They had only 2 horses and 70 camels to ride. Most of them did not even possess simple weapons to fight; some had swords but no bows and arrows, while others possessed spears but no swords.
Enemy - around 1000, well equipped fighters led by Abu-Jahl
Battle of Uhud,
Muslims - 700 fighters, led by the Prophet Muhammad (sal) himself.
Enemy - 3,000 fighters led by Abu Sufyan.
Battle of Khaibar,
Muslims - 1,600 fighters led by Prophet Muhammad (sal)
Enemy - 14000 fighters led by al-Harith ibn Abu
Battle of Trench, (Khandak) - with a new form of defense
Muslims - 3,000 fighters led by Prophet Muhammad (sal)
Enemy - 10,000 men with six hundred horses and some camels,
Battle of Hunayn,
Muslims - 12000 fighters led by Prophet Muhammad (sal)
Enemy - 20000 fighters led by Malik ibn- Awf al-Nasri
Battle of Tabuk, (The Great Battle with Romans)
Muslims - 30000 led by Prophet Muhammad (sal)
Enemy - nearly 100000 fighters
Almost all the battles gave the Muslims massive victories. It was not the Military power which gave the Muslims huge victories. It's the strong faith, steadfastness, obedience to Allah and his Messenger (sal) of the Muslims !
There are many lessons can be learnt from this,
1. Numbers do not count. But faith, Determination, Steadfastness and Blessings of Allah.
2. Size and Strength are of no avail against truth. but Courage and Careful Planning.
3. If Allah is with us, the enemy's weapons may become an instrument of their own destruction.
4. Personality conquers all dangers, and puts heart into our own wavering friends.
5. Pure faith brings Allah's reward, which may take many forms like Wisdom, Power, Strength and other gifts.
------ Prisoners of War ------
The Prophet instructed that Prisoners of War should be treated as if they were family members.
He favored freedom after restitution.
Those who could not pay monetary restitution were asked to teach ten individuals to read and write.
According to Cherif Bassiouni of DePaul University (Chicago, IL) this is the first time in recorded history that POWs were treated humanely as a policy.