Stage Two: Defensive Fighting is Permitted
On July 15, 622, the increasing opposition forced Muhammad and his followers to flee from Mecca to Medina, a distance of 250 miles North. This is an important date, known as the Hegira, because it marks the beginning of the Moslem calendar. In Medina Muhammad was recognized as a prophet and was able to consolidate his power. His followers began looting the Meccan caravans passing through Medina. This practice eventually led to several battles between the Koreish tribes of Mecca and his followers.
Muhammad gained the first victory in the Battle of Badr in 624 with an army of 305, mostly citizens of Medina, over a Koreish force twice as large. He conquered several Jewish and Christian tribes and ordered and watch in person the massacred of 600 Jews in one day. It was at this time that Muhammad instructed his followers to defend themselves by fighting and killing.
An example of this instruction is found in Sura 22:39-41 where permission is given to engage in defensive fighting : "To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged, and verily, God is most powerful for their aid." Again in Sura 22:58 rewards are promised to those who die in jihad: "Those who leave their homes in the cause of God, and are then slain or die, on them will God bestow verily a goodly provision." The promise of paradise to those who die fighting for Allah, has inspired countless Muslin through the centuries to become martyrs for their faith. It is this promise that inspires devout Muslims young men and women today to become suicide bombers for the cause of Allah.