In her book, Muhammad, a Biography of the Prophet, Karen Armstrong
“But the very idea that Muhammad would have found any thing to be
optimistic about in the carnage committed in his name on September
11th is an obscenity, because, as I try to show in these pages,
Muhammad spent most of his life trying to stop that kind of
indiscriminate slaughter. The very word islam, which denotes the
existential “surrender” of the whole being to God, which Muslims are
required to make, is related to salam, “peace.” And most importantly, Muhammad eventually abjured violence and pursued a daring, inspired policy on non-violence that was the culmination of his prophetic career. In imagining that the holy war was the culmination of his career, the fundamentalists (extremists) have distorted the whole meaning of his life.
Far from being the father of Jihad, Muhammad was a peacemaker, who risked his life and nearly lost his closest companions, because he was so determined to effect a reconciliation with Mecca.
Instead of fighting an intransigent war to the death, Muhammad was prepared to negotiate and to compromise. And this apparent humiliation and capitulation proved, in the words of the Qur’an, to be a great victory (fat-‘h)....If we could view Muhammad as we do any other important historical figure we would surely consider him to be one of the greatest geniuses the world has known."
Karen Armstrong, Muhammad, A Biography of the Prophet. Harper San Fransisco, 1993.