About Violence in Islam

Sheikh Mohamed Abdelati gave a beautiful speech about the divided Umah and the violent events that took place in the recent days. His first point was that the prophet Mohamed PBUH was sent to all mankind and not a particular group. My take on that is that we should not be divided into Sunni or Shia; we are all one and the same Muslim worshipping Allah SWT. Islam never intended to break us into sects but rather unite us, and the proof being that the prophet Mohamed PBUH paired the Muhajirin and Ansar when he migrated to Madina to unite the Muslims and get rid of any ethnic division. The second point was that Islam never promoted killing, let alone harming, anyone. The individuals that are kidnapping and beheading others do not have anything in Islam to back up their actions. These individuals are probably being paid to do what they are doing in the name of Islam for whatever political agenda. They are trying to harm Islam from within as they are broadcasting the wrong picture about Islam. Islam never spread by the sword; it spread by the businessmen that used to travel to other countries and deal with non-Muslims. They showed honesty, trustworthiness, kindness, and other attributes that invited others to Islam. The prophet Mohamed PBUH used to warn his soldiers against harming humans, animals, or nature in general during war. He was so specific to tell his soldiers to not harm women, children, and elderly. He forbade his soldiers to poison wells and cut or burn trees. He also instructed his soldiers to not harm those that are worshiping in their holy houses (meaning Christians in their churches and Jews in their synagogues). What kind of merciful religion and prophet would do this during a war? What do you think the prophet PBUH will do outside of war? Furthermore, when Muslims conquered a village, they never gave the ultimatum to its residents to convert of die! The residents were asked to pay a special tax and in return they can reside in peace and would be protected by Muslims in case a war was to take place. That tax was so little that it was a few Dinars (the currency at the time). Sheikh said that you can make Dawa (invite them to Islam) to non-Muslims and if they choose not to follow Islam, then leave them in peace as they belong to Allah, and He shall be the judge.