Given the Prophet Muhammad’s immense impact on history, surprisingly few books specifically analyze his understanding and employment of warfare as an economically, politically and socially transformational process, even though he was continuously at war for a decade and initiated around eighty armed missions, twenty-seven of which he led himself. Most Islamic biographies deal with this issue by using an understandable but insufficient logic: that because Muhammad, as the Messenger of Allah, was the ideal and paradigmatic human, he must have been an ideal and paradigmatic military commander. His successes flowed from his prophetic status and his moral perfection. Following this logic, and wanting Muhammad’s behavior to conform to very modern ethical concepts and widespread (but not necessarily accurate) beliefs about the nature and conduct of war, the writers have inadvertently created a narrative which, in significant ways, departs from the account clearly and consistently revealed in the earliest extant Arabic sources. The writers’ narrative also removes the Prophet from his historical and cultural context and the realities of the harsh and competitive tribal society in which he lived.
Professor Joel Hayward sees this as an unhelpful explanatory tendency and believes that the modern depiction of the Prophet’s relationship with warfare — which presents him as being rather antipathetic to war, indeed as virtually a pacifist who only fought reluctantly in self-defense — cannot actually be sustained by an even-handed analysis of the early Islamic sources. A committed Muslim himself, Hayward agrees that Muhammad was a moral and decent man who saw peace as a highly desirable state in which humans should live and as a goal worth pursuing. Yet Hayward has approached the Prophet’s understanding and employment of warfare from a different vantage point. He has painstakingly scrutinized the earliest Arabic sources impartially according to the strict standards of historical inquiry in order to ascertain whether Muhammad’s actions, habits and methods can — when understood within their original seventh-century stateless Arabian context — provide any substantial and meaningful insights into the way that he understood and undertook warfare.
Hayward concludes that Muhammad was an astute, situationally aware and self-reflective man who created and communicated a believable strategic vision of a necessary and desirable future. That vision persuaded increasing numbers of people to follow him and risk everything willingly in the struggle to create the optimal conditions for their survival, security and prosperity. In a competitive and conflictual environment with ubiquitous threats, warfare was necessary to make real the bold new world that he foresaw. Through original, meticulously researched and rigorous analysis, Hayward covers all the raids and campaigns and demonstrates that Muhammad correctly understood the necessity and utility of force and duly developed into an intuitive, effective and victorious military practitioner who developed and enforced a strict moral code so as to attain his goals whilst safeguarding the innocent. This engaging, accessible yet deeply scholarly book makes a major contribution to strategic and military analysis and to the Prophet’s biography.
The Warrior Prophet: Muhammad and War
by Professor Joel Hayward
Swansea, UK: Claritas Books, 2022
Almost all western and other developed states use Principles of War as guiding ideas for military practitioners (especially those who serve at the operational and tactical levels) on how best to use combat power in order to gain maximum advantage. These Principles of War are virtually ubiquitous in cadet and officer colleges and in doctrine manuals. Islamic law, on the other hand, has nothing comparable, and least nothing from the modern world. It has always seriously and proactively engaged with ideas about how to ensure that war is fought for morally just causes. Yet, since the medieval period, Islam has not updated its thoughts on what principles might best enhance combat effectiveness in order to win battles and wars with the maximum effectiveness, the minimum use of force and the minimum likelihood of harm to the innocent. This study investigates whether one can draw such principles from the Qur’an and the life of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad that might serve as guidelines for Islamic armed forces in the twenty-first century, an era dominated by careless disregard for human life and by what is euphemistically called Collateral Damage. Within the earliest extant Arabic sources, this study identifies nine principles ― these being Virtuous Objective, Legitimacy, Unity of Command and Effort, Consultative Decision-Making, Offensive Action, Defensive Security, Morale, Restraint, and Deception ― that were integral in the warfighting of the Prophet. The author hopes that the analysis might, if widely read in the right circles, prompt further thought and research within Islamic states and their militaries so that something like an agreed set of Islamic Principles of War could eventually emerge and be of utility.
© J S A Hayward 2020
English Monograph Series—Book No. 26
Amman, Jordan: The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, 2020
ISBN: 978-9957-635-54-1 (print)
This study analyses the Qur’anic revelation and the preaching and practices of the Prophet Muhammad in order to ascertain what Islam in its initial manifestation taught regarding the responsibilities of Islamic armies and warriors towards the people that we nowadays call civilians and other non-combatants. It is clear that the divine revelation and the Prophet of Islam ushered in an era of humanity during warfare exceeding that found previously in Arabia and indeed virtually anywhere in the world. Muhammad did not intend war and its ravages to involve whole communities, but, rather, to involve only the combatants, whose aggression and willingness to take up arms made them culpable and subject to armed resistance. Understanding that Allah permitted self defence against attack, he directed warfare to the attackers, but not to the enemy force’s women, children, and elderly. Indeed, in keeping with modern international humanitarian law he forbade their deliberate targeting, unless they surrendered their rights to protection by taking part in combat. Extending this right to protection to the monks and other clergy who devoted themselves to religious practices, and then even to the kinds of property that we now call civilian infrastructure, Muhammad created a widespread environment of security that safeguarded the lives, and way of life, of most people even in warring communities. Popular misconceptions fuelled by the indiscriminate atrocities of Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram and other violent extremist groups are simply not based on an unbiased reading of the historical evidence. That evidence tells a totally different story to theirs: of a close compatibility between the early Islamic practices under the Prophet Muhammad’s direction and the ethical code of civilian immunity embedded within western Just War theory and international humanitarian law. Aside from the combatants, Muslims were not to kill or otherwise harm the innocent and they were not to destroy their homes, infrastructure or means of survival.
© J S A Hayward 2018
English Monograph Series—Book No. 25
Amman, Jordan: The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, 2018
تحلل هذه الدراسة الوحي القرآني ووعظ وممارسات النبي محمد من أجل التحقق مما قام الإسلام بتعليمه في مستهل ظهوره فيما يتعلق بمسؤوليات الجيوش الإسلامية والمحاربين اتجاه الأشخاص الذين نسميهم في الوقت الحاضر بالمدنيين وغيرهم من غير المقاتلين. من الواضح أن الوحي الإلهي ونبي الإسلام قد هدوا في عصر الإنسانية خلال حربٍ تفوق تلك التي وجدت في وقت سابق في الجزيرة العربية وفي الواقع في أي مكان في العالم. لم يتعمد محمد الحرب ودمارها لتشمل مجتمعات بأكملها، بل بالأحرى لتطال المقاتلين فقط، الذين جعلتهم عدوانيتهم ورغبتهم في حمل السلاح مذنبين وخاضعين للمقاومة المسلحة. مدركين بأن الله قد سمح بالدفاع عن النفس ضد الهجوم، وقد قام بتوجيه الحرب على المهاجمين، ولكن ليس على نساء قوات العدو، وأطفالهم، وكبار السن. في الواقع، متمشياً مع القانون الدولي الإنساني المعاصر، فقد حظر محمد الإستهداف المتعمد لهم، مالم يتنازلوا عن حقوقهم في الحماية بالمشاركة في القتال. موسّعاً حق الحماية هذا إلى الرهبان وغيرهم من رجال الدين الذين كرسّوا حياتهم للممارسات الدينية، ومن ثمّ إلى أنواع من الممتلكات التي نسميها الآن بالبنية التحتية المدنية، أنشأ محمد بيئة واسعة من الأمان والتي حافظت على أرواح وطرق معيشة الناس حتى في المجتماعات المتحاربة. إن المفاهيم الخاطئة الشائعة التي أججتها الأفعال الوحشية غير المسؤولة لتنظيم القاعدة وتنظيم الدولة الإسلامية ، وبوكو حرام وغيرها من التنظيمات الإرهابية المتطرفة، هي وببساطة لا تستند على قراءة عادلة للدليل التاريخي. حيث يحكي ذلك الدليل قصة مغايرة تماماً لما يرونه: للإنسجام الوثيق بين الممارسات الإسلامية الأولى بتوجيهات محمد وبين المدونة الأخلاقية للحصانة المدنية الراسغة في نظرية الحرب العادلة الغربية والقانون الدولي الانساني. بمعزلٍ عن المقاتلين، لم يكن المسلمين ليقتلوا أو على نحو آخر ليلحقوا الأذى بالأبريا، ولم يكونوا ليدمروا منازلهم، والبنية التحتية أو مستلزمات معيشتهم.
© J S A Hayward 2018
Amman, Jordan: The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, 2018
Particularly since that dreadful day in September 2001, when nineteen Muslims hijacked commercial airliners and deliberately crashed them into buildings or the ground in history’s worst terrorist attack, killing almost three thousand people, Islam has become a much-discussed and distrusted religion. Despite the fact that over 1.6 billion Muslims live entirely peacefully alongside or amidst people of other faith and cultural communities, Islam has attracted more ideological opponents than other religions have. In terms of the antipathy towards Islam expressed by these people, only anti-Semites seem as antagonistic towards a world religion.
This study is not an attack on Islam’s critics. The author believes that people have the right to like or dislike any or all religions and, regardless of perceived taste, to express their views via peaceful discourse. Islam’s most bitter critics, on the other hand, should not be surprised when their views are challenged. Islam has extraordinarily positive features which its adherents, including this author, believe should be presented as a counterbalance to the claims of its critics.
This study is not intended as an all-encompassing critique of Islam-hatred, nor even of its worst aspects. It is merely an attempt to build on the author’s previous work ― which argues that the Qur’an is not inherently martial and has a clear ethical code governing and constraining the use of violence for political purposes ― by analysing one particular associated claim seemingly endlessly made by Islam’s critics. They assert that, far from being a paragon of virtue, the Islamic prophet Muhammad was deceitful and, indeed, boasted of it in several sayings recalled by followers. “War,” they quote him saying, “is deceit.” They contextualise their criticism of Muhammad’s statement that “war is deceit” by arguing that his unashamed statement proves that he was personally dishonest whenever expedient and that Islam consequently tolerates dishonesty in a way that other religions do not.
This study rejects the view that, in the wars fought by Muhammad, he acted immorally through any acts of wanton personal dishonesty (“deceit”) that constitute severe character imperfections and stain his reputation as a holy man. It argues instead that, in his quest to defeat the forces within Arabia which sought to destroy his fledgling community, Muhammad used ruse and bluff and strategic and tactical deception as a reasonable, necessary and eminently legitimate means of gaining military advantage so as to minimise suffering on both sides. It argues that, if Muhammad is to be condemned for using ruses during warfare, then for consistency and fairness his critics must also consider earlier prophets including Moses, Joshua and David, and all of history’s greatest military leaders, including Washington, Wellington, Nelson, Lee, Churchill and Eisenhower, to have been morally corrupt merely because they also esteemed the advantages obtained through the use of ruse.
© J S A Hayward 2017
English Monograph Series—Book No. 24
Amman, Jordan: The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, 2017
This small book analyses the Qur’an and attempts to explain its codes of conduct in order to determine what the Qur’an actually requires or permits Muslims to do in terms of the use of military force. It concludes that the Qur’an is unambiguous: Muslims are prohibited from undertaking offensive violence and are compelled, if defensive warfare should become unavoidable, always to act within a code of ethical behaviour that is closely akin to, and compatible with, the Western warrior code embedded within the Just War doctrine. This book attempts to dispel any misperceptions that the Qur’an advocates the subjugation or killing of “infidels” and reveals that, on the contrary, its key and unequivocal concepts governing warfare are based on justice and a profound belief in the sanctity of human life.
© J S A Hayward 2012
English Monograph Series—Book No. 14
Amman, Jordan: The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre, 2012
With insightful and innovative chapters written by experts in various disciplines, this book chronicles and analyzes the effects of airpower on the environment. It also highlights the fact that military forces now take far more care of the environment than ever before and that many militaries, even in less developed regions such as central Africa, have developed strategies to minimize all harm and even to do environmentally beneficial activities. This book reveals that some military forces, utilizing the speed, reach, and intelligence-gathering capabilities of air assets, are providing highly positive contributions to conservation efforts and the maintenance and protection of ecological protection zones. This is a positive story and it brings richness and variety to this seminal collection of essays.
In 2013, the American Library Association selected this book as one of that year’s "Notable Government Documents", an annual award list “designed to recognize excellence and raise awareness of information resources produced by all levels of government and promote their use”.
An "innovative" and "ground-breaking book highlighting the environmental impact of the world's air forces."
--The Gulf Today
Keywords: Warfare, Environment, Environmental, Ecology, Ecological, Air Power, Airpower
© J S A Hayward 2013, 2019
Montgomery, Alabama: Air University Press. First Edition 2013. Second Edition and Kindle Edition, 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-58566-223-4 Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-08101-076-8 Softcover
It is clear that air forces face unusual challenges in counter-insurgency wars and operations and that many of the concepts that underpin doctrines for using air power in conventional contexts are less applicable, at least without significant tailoring and increased requirements for flexibility and adaptability. This poses a number of questions. Has it always been this way when dealing with insurgents? How have air forces responded to the challenges of insurgencies in the past? Have they ever done well against insurgents, and, if so, how and why? Have air forces forgotten valuable lessons? To what degree are today’s difficulties without precedent? What challenges will we probably encounter tomorrow? How best should air forces prepare for them? This collection of well constructed, convincing and important academic essays from civilian and military thinkers from five countries goes some way to answering these and other related questions.
The Journal of Military History "strongly" recommends this book, noting that it provides "thought provoking reading" and "much needed critical thinking" on the complex utility of air power within counter-insurgency wars.
— Michael Robert Terry, Journal of Military History, Vol. 74, No. 3 (July 2010), pp. 988-990.
Keywords: Warfare, Air Power, Airpower, Modern Wars, Insurgency, Terrorism, Iraq, Afghanistan
© J S A Hayward 2009
Royal Air Force: Royal Air Force Centre for Air Power Studies, United Kingdom
Taking a highly original thematic approach to the study of Horatio Lord Nelson Joel Hayward analyzes the admiral's unique war-fighting style doctrine tactics and operational art his command and leadership abilities and his attitudes and beliefs. But Hayward reveals how all these elements combined to form the man whose infectious ethos spread through his entire force. He shows that Nelson's creative genius excitable and intense personality dramatic visage and fervor for all things martial not only inspired courage and loyalty but so dazzled and enflamed the hearts and minds of his men that he reached near cult status in his lifetime.
As a professional military analyst who has devoted his career to researching writing and teaching about the tactics and operational art of warfare Hayward draws on his own training and experience to view the admiral's warfighting from a vantage point not accessible to many of Nelson's leading biographers. He breaks free from the constraints of chronology to explore in greater-than-usual depth and coherence the key aspects of Nelson's fighting style and to answer questions not previously raised about that style and its supporting ideas including to what degree Nelson's style can be adopted by modern warriors. For Nelson scholars and enthusiasts this book serves as a companion to the period.
Mountbatten Maritime Prize Finalist, 2003
Rated as "outstanding" by the 2004 University Press Books Committee, a rating defined "as having exceptional editorial content and subject matter" and considered "essential to most library collections".
"In For God and Glory Joel Hayward neatly, and not uncritically, summarizes the man and his approach to warfighting in just six relatively short chapters, including several which touch on areas not usually given much attention. ... The author's treatment of these is excellent. ... Hayward goes on to add interesting, and valuable, chapters on "Nelson and War on Land" and "Coalition Warfare," giving the reader a deeper understanding of Nelson's brilliance. A valuable addition to the literature of naval warfare in the age of sail."
— The New York Military Affairs Symposium Review, No. 28, Autumn 2003.
"[For God and Glory] makes a very useful and distinctive contribution. ... of great interest to students of modern warfare ... [Hayward] has created a thought-provoking work that will certainly help to sharpen and to refine the on going discussion about Nelson."
— The Journal of Military History, Vol. 68, No. 1 (January 2004), pp. 252-253.
For God and Glory has "an interesting approach, handled with intelligence and ... a very decent prose style. ... Nelson's conduct of amphibious and land operations receives much more pointed and effective criticism from Hayward than from other biographers. ... [The book] raises legitimate questions, is a good read, and gives military professionals food for thought."
— W.A.B. Douglas,
The Northern Mariner: Journal of the Canadian Nautical Research Society,
Vol. XIII, No. 3 (2003), pp. 64-65.
"A fascinating work of strategic philosophy. ... The result is surprisingly persuasive. [Its analyses] are thought-provoking and, in places, offer fresh ways of understanding what happened."
— Colin White, The Mariner's Mirror: The Journal of the Society for Nautical Research, November 2003.
Keywords: Lord Nelson, Horatio Nelson, Napoleonic, Napoleonic Warfare, Naval Warfare, Naval, Strategy, Tactics, Doctrine, Sea Power, Seapower
© J S A Hayward 2003 and 2019
Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2003 and 2019 editions
ISBN: 1-59114-351-9 Hardcover
By the time Hitler declared war on the Soviet Union in 1941, he knew that his military machine was running out of fuel. In response, he launched Operation Blau, a campaign designed to protect Nazi oilfields in Rumania while securing new ones in the Caucasus. All that stood in the way was Stalingrad.
Most accounts of the Battle of Stalingrad have focused on the dismal fate of the German Army. Joel Hayward now chronicles Luftwaffe operations during that campaign, focusing on Hitler's use of the air force as a tactical rather than strategic weapon in close support of ground forces. He vividly details the Luftwaffe's key role as "flying artillery," showing that the army relied on Luftwaffe support to a far greater degree than has been previously revealed and that its successes in the East occurred largely because of the effectiveness of that support.
Hayward analyzes this major German offensive from the standpoint of cooperation between ground and air forces to attain mutually agreed objectives. He draws on diaries of both key commanders and regular airmen to recreate crucial battles and convey the drama of Hitler's frustrations and reckless leadership. Ultimately, Hayward shows, the poorly conceived strategies of Hitler, Goering, and others in Berlin doomed the efforts of air commander Wolfram von Richthofen, a courageous and resolute leader attempting to come to grips with an increasingly impossible situation.
Stopped at Stalingrad is a dynamic case study in combined arms warfare that fills in many of the gaps left by other studies of the eastern war. By reconsidering the campaign in the light of a wider body of documentary sources and analyzing many previously ignored events, Hayward provides military historians and general readers a much deeper and more complete understanding of the Battle of Stalingrad and its impact on World War II.
"... an original and formidably researched study ... Stopped at Stalingrad is an absolutely indispensable work not only for its revelations about Stalingrad, but equally for a more complete understanding of the nature of Soviet-German operations in a critical year."
— Professor John Erickson, RUSI Journal, June 1998, p. 80.
"Hayward, in a magnificently researched study, provides us with what is probably the best look at how the Luftwaffe operated in the context of the 1942-1943 Stalingrad campaign. ... He also provides the best available account of the disastrous Stalingrad airlift."
— Richard Muller, in C. Messenger, ed., Reader's Guide to Military History (Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001), p. 740.
"An excellent new source on this [tactical support and air logistics] is Hayward's [book]. Providing a detailed history of these operations, Hayward refutes or supports many of the older sources. ... It is an advanced and exhaustive work that will become a standard in the field".
— James F. Gentsch, in Reader's Guide to Military History, p. 766
"This is a superb piece of work. It is an absolute must for anyone with an interest in the war on the eastern front, and on the Stalingrad campaign in particular. ... The book is splendidly researched and well written. Hayward has the knack of being able to explain even very technical matters in easily understood prose."
— Professor Richard L. DiNardo
New York Military Affairs Symposium Newsletter,
Fall 1998, pp. 4-5.
Keywords: World War 2, World War II, Battle of Stalingrad, Stalingrad, Air Lift, Airlift Luftwaffe, German Air Force, Air Power, Airpower, Modern Wars
© J S A Hayward 1998
Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, 1998, 2001 and other editions
ISBN: 0-7006-0976-1 Hardcover
ASIN: B07DV2H2QQ Kindle