Our Prophet (pbuh) always favoured peace
Our Prophet (pbuh) never desired war and over the years he made great efforts to spread Islam by peaceful means. He was patient in the face of severe assaults and pressure. Only when dealing with such pressure became imperative did he give permission for war, in the light of a revelation from God. He never declared war so long as there was still the slightest possibility of peace, and as long as an enemy's attacks and pressure represented no mortal danger.
During our Prophet's (pbuh) lifetime, the Mu'tah Expedition was the bloodiest and most difficult waged by the Muslims. He appointed Zayd ibn Harithah to command the army and admonished the troops:
"Wage war in the name of God, on the path of God, against those who deny God. Engage in no treachery. Do not cut off ears and noses and other parts of the body. Do not kill women and children, the elderly, and men of religion in their places of worship. Do not cut down date and other trees, and do not tear down buildings." (Bukhari)
Based on the prophetic orders on war, the following principles, which may be called "The Islamic Principles of Combat", are outlined by Muslim scholars:
One reason why the time of the Prophet (pbuh) was blessed with peace and security was his position of justice, so in line with the morality of the Qur'an. Foreign writers, too, have been impressed by his superior character and praise our Prophet's (pbuh) morality in their works.
In his book The Genuine Islam, George Bernard Shaw described these superior traits:
"I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him ... he must be called the Savior of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness..." (Sir George Bernard Shaw in 'The Genuine Islam,' 1936, http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/9192/mainquote2.html#shaw)
In our own time as well, abiding by the Qur'an's morality, purified of bigotry, is the only answer to all the conflicts, fighting, and instability of the world. Like our Prophet (pbuh), never we should depart from the path of justice, and should always respect the rights of different communities and individuals, whatever their beliefs and identities may be.
Our Prophet (pbuh) bestowed many agreements on the People of the Book
Various agreements made at the time of our Prophet (pbuh) granted the Jewish and Christian communities certain privileges that guaranteed their rights and existence. The privileges granted to the monks of the St. Catherine Monastery at Mt. Sinai are examples of this. These documents guaranteed the legal, religious, and social rights of those Jews and Christians who came under Muslim rule or acknowledged Islam's sovereignty. Problems were resolved by referring to these documents. For example, the history books mention that the Christians in Damascus presented the documents recording their privileges to Caliph Umar when they encountered a problem and asked him to resolve the issue accordingly.