‘Challenging Narratives’ explores the transformative nature of warfare during Muhammad’s (pbuh) time and the strategic vision he presented to create a necessary and desirable future.
In this session, historian and military specialist Professor Joel Hayward scrutinises early Arabic sources, providing an even-handed analysis of Muhammad’s (pbuh) actions and methods within their original 7th-century Arabic context. He demonstrates that Muhammad (pbuh) was an astute, situationally aware, and self-reflective leader who understood the utility of force in a competitive and conflict-ridden environment. His innovative analysis sheds new light on this critical aspect of the Prophet’s biography.
Professor Joel Hayward, Chief Executive of the Cambridge Muslim College, is celebrated as a leading authority in international conflict and strategy, Islamic history, and the Sirah. Acknowledged by Al Khaleej and The National as a distinguished historian, his expertise has been lauded in the academic sphere. His passion lies in Islamic theology and the Prophet’s biography. Kirkus Reviews said that he “is undeniably one of academia’s most visible Islamic thinkers”. He is considered to be one of “the world’s five hundred most influential Muslims,” listed in both the 2023 and 2024 editions of The Muslim 500. Holding esteemed academic positions worldwide, he has authored eighteen books, notably The Leadership of Muhammad, which received the Best International Non-Fiction Book award in 2021. Professor Hayward’s strategic counsel has guided political and military leaders, including Prince William of Wales. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Historical Society. Additionally, he’s a prolific writer in both fiction and Islamic poetry.