Gabriel argues that neither the faith nor the prophet would have survived had Muhammad not been an innovative and effective soldier. Though his arms training was rudimentary, Muhammad fought 8 major battles, led 18 raids, and planned 38 other major operations, transforming war in the Arab world. Before Muhammad, Arabian society was based on family and clan. The most common form of fighting was grab-and-run raiding seldom entailing severe bloodshed. There was also the blood feud, usually settled short of massacre. Muhammad's followers were to be loyal not to clan and kin but to the ummah, the community of the faithful. When fighting those not of the ummah, they were to use the tactics of the blood feud. So doing, they birthed a reputation for ferocity. Gabriel depicts Muhammad's military undertakings concisely and discretely, begging the question of how the general can be discriminated from the prophet. Muhammad broke and reshaped military and civil society in his world, a feat impossible to have done without the faith of his followers. Murray, Frieda
About the Author
Richard A. Gabriel, a historian, is Adjunct Professor of Humanities and Ethics at Daniel Webster College. He is the author of forty books, including The Great Battles of Antiquity, The Great Armies of Antiquity, and Great Captains of Antiquity.