Brig S. K. Malik (Late) In conventional political thought, nations and states formulate their policies to attain their national interests. The defence policy is one of the components of the overall policy. A total strategy is then worked out to implement the policy; military strategy is an integral part of the total strategy. The highest political and administrative unit recognised by the political science of today is a state. Its basis is the commonality of region, race, caste, culture and language. It is an independent and sovereign unit, which formulates its own interests and can apply force to attain them. There is no objective criterion for the formulation of the national interests of a state. They are the product of fellable human judgment, and often lack a consensus of opinion within the nation that formulates them. It is generally agreed that a nation can resort to the use of force for the attainment of an incompatible and primary interest. However, the political unit acknowledged by the Holy Quran is the ummah. As against the state, the ummah is supra-national, supra-regional and supra-linguistic. Its characteristics and objectives have been laid down by the Holy Quran; the policies and strategies of the ummah are based on its mission. The foundation of Madinah by our Prophet (PBUH) was the first great step taken by him towards the attainment of the mission of his ummah. Being the ruler of Madinah, he was also the judge, policymaker, strategist and supreme commander of the armies of the Lord. The defence policy formulated by the Prophet (PBUH) was an extension of the divine inspirations and revelations received by him. Its ultimate object was the attainment of the divine plan and purpose. However, the tiny state of Madinah was to act as the 'mother of an ummah that was universal, international and eternal in conception and character. Each step taken and each word uttered by the great Prophet (PBUH) guided his ummah till the Day of Eternity. Anyhow, in the war waged by the Koraish against Islam, their overall aim was to destroy the new faith in its infancy. Their political objective was to occupy Madinah. So, the Holy City faced internal and external threats. The external threat came from the Koraish of Makkah; while the internal threat was from the Jews and the Hypocrites. The strategy adopted by the Koraish was one of complete and total annihilation of the faithful through the application of force. To put their strategy into action, they embarked upon massive war-like preparations. In support of their war effort, they also launched a major propaganda campaign against the Muslims and undertook diplomatic initiatives aimed at winning the active support of other tribes. On the internal front, the Jews maintained a powerful existence in Madinah, and were openly hostile to the Muslim presence in their midst. The Hypocrites comprised the leading chieftains of the tribes of Aus and Khazraj, who did not take favourably to the Muslim arrival in Madinah. But, unable to oppose them openly, they put on the garb of hypocrisy; they embraced Islam outwardly and started cutting at its roots from within. The Koraish made contacts with both these communities and made common cause with them against the faithful During his war against paganism, the political aim of the Prophet (PBUH) was to ensure the defence of Madinah. For this, he formulated a defence policy that was comprehensive and all embracing. He made liberal use of the spiritual, psychological, political, diplomatic, and economic instruments. He took recourse to the use of military instrument only as a last resort. When applied, the military instrument was confined to the limits ordained for it by the Lord. Within these limits, however, he brought to bear his physical force upon the enemy in a manner that it dismayed and demoralised the opponent completely and thoroughly. The first step was to ensure Madinahs internal security. He did not undertake any operation against his external foes until the pacification of the internal enemy that was ensured through diplomacy. The Jews were made signatories to the Charter of Madinah. The Hypocrites were left to be dealt with later. To deal with the external threats, he set about widening the parameter of security around Madinah. He sent diplomatic and liaison missions to the surrounding tribes to sign with them treaties of neutrality, if not of friendship and assistance. Simultaneously, he organised an elaborate intelligence network to gain early information of the impending enemy plans and movements. Thus, the defeat suffered by the Koraish demoralised them and raised the morale and spirits of the faithful, and gave them a position of respect and dignity in Hejaz and Arabia. The faithful had met a military defeat at Ohad. They had suffered heavy casualties in men and material. The Prophet (PBUH) himself was badly wounded and so were a number of his companions. Even in those trying conditions, the defence of Madinah remained of paramount importance to him. As the Koraish dismantled their camp, he alerted his men to be ready for another battle, if they invade the Holy City. The day after Ohad, he disrupted the impending Koraish design of returning to invade Madinah by his sudden arrival at Hamra al-Asad, forcing them to disperse. In consequence, it deprived the Koraish of the fruits of their short-lived military victory. Also, the Prophet (PBUH) ensured the supremacy of his aim at Khandaq, Hodaibiyya, Khyber and Tabuk. At Khandaq, he defeated the biggest ever threat to the security of Madinah on the external and internal fronts. To remove the last Jewish cancer from the city, he eliminated the rebellious Jewish tribe of Banu Quraiza. He had his overall aim clearly in sight, while signing the Treaty of Hodaibiyya with the Koraish. Apparently disadvantageous for the Muslim cause, the treaty enabled them to conquer the Jewish strongholds of Khyber, Fidak and Qarra, the very next month. It also became the forerunner of the Muslim conquests of Makkah and Hunain, rapid expansion of the Madinite state and large-scale conversions to Islam. In the case of Tabuk, his sharp and spirited reaction nipped a potentially dangerous threat in the bud. So, the cumulative impact of the Prophets (PBUH) strategy was that it shook his enemies morally and psychologically. It created a strong deterrent effect upon enemies and prevented them from treading the path of war. It also rendered the enemys numerical and material abundance meaningless, and checked them from making similar ventures later. It struck terror into the hearts of the enemies and enabled him to make the most effective use of his limited resources.