Before Islam came as a religion of the Arab World, the two biggest empires can regulate international trade in that area, namely Sasanian, Iran, with Zoroastrian belief and the Roman empire which believed in Christianity. In its development, these two empires were involved in a prolonged conflict for around 3 decades (224 – 651 M). In that situation, the Arabs were divided into two groups of support from both empire that were involved to the conflict, only in West Arabia, where Mecca’s holy city is included in the neutral zone.
Mecca is the spiritual area and heart of the Arabs, a place of worship visited by pilgrims. It was a significant territory because there is a Ka’ba, the center of worship of the Arabs gods. Ka’ba was dependent and used for political and commercial successes. Mecca maintained its neutrality from these two forces, but the situation was dynamic because of the two empires’ political influence.
As a person who comes from the highest position tribe to keep the key of Ka’ba and as a Zamzam water keeper, Muhammad viewed the political condition in Mecca was not an ideal city. For that reason, Muhammad moved to Yastrib (read: Madina) to build a peaceful city and share new faith based on love, mutual respect, and justice. Besides that, there was a political reason, which was the background of Muhammad moved to Madina. One of the reasons is peace diplomacy between Prophet Muhammad to the Roman empire and reconciliation with Jews to fix the situations.
Prophet Muhammad, in the conflict between two empires, more in favor of the Roman empire. By visiting Heraclius Emperor (Reigned on 610 – 641), Muhammad showed his affiliation. His affiliation is that Sasanian deemed not to protect orphans, widows, and monopolizing power by imposing high taxes. More than that, it was far from Islam’s spiritual value, who acts cruelly and worships the gods. Sasanian Empire, in this case, was considered as Kafir. While the Roman empire, was a partner for Prophet Muhammad in the similar root of religion, is Christianity.
Collaboration between Prophet Muhammad and Heraclius for returning human rights and restore to justice and peace. In these conditions, Jihad for the early of Islam means self-defense from outside threats and to keep peace and harmony. As Happened in Badar and Uhud’s bettle in West Arabia to protect the Roman churches in Transjordania and Syria from Sasanian attacks.
Furthermore, as a Prophet, Muhammad showed his political-stategic as a good leader in Medina. He chose to reconcile the Jews by making a friendship agreement. The new civilization in Medina built by Muhammad with the values of goodness based on Islamic teaching. Prophet Muhammad used a soft approach and peace diplomacy to Jews and Arab Jewish who have lived before centuries. The peace agreement contained: the freedom for every citizen to worship and practice their respective religions. Mutual respect between Muslims – Jewish carried out the common good. If a dispute occurs, it is resolved properly or submitted to Allah and Rasulullah. The last is protected under the law. This peace diplomacy led Madina to become a city of peace and prosperity.
Muhammad: Juru Damai di Tengah Imperium Besar Dunia, Juan Cole.
History of the Arabs, Philip K. Hitti
Al Quran Al Karim