Stealing and Looting in Islam is not prohibited, unless it is done against the non-Muslims. Then it is lawful.
After Muhammad married Khadijah, a wealthy woman of Mecca, he stopped working. Actually he had never worked until the age of twenty five when he made one trip to Damascus as a trustee of Khadijah selling her goods and buying what she had ordered. This was the extent of the work that Muhammad did in his entire life.
He would not even take care of the children. He used to withdraw to a cave near Mecca, taking provisions for several days and not come back until his food lasted. He would then come home for more supplies and head back to his cave
Khadijah was left to take care of her own three children from her two previous marriages and also the six children that she made with Muhammad. As the result, her business suffered and, the family was reduced to poverty. By the time she died, nothing of her wealth was left and when Muhammad migrated to Medina, he had to rely on the generosity of the Medinans, including the Jews whom he exterminated later, for his sustenance.
His followers also were poor. They were either slaves or the disaffected Meccan youths. His followers of Medina were mostly laborers and journeymen, serving the Jews and not very well off.
Despite this humble beginning, a few years later, Muhammad became the wealthiest man in Arabia owning a great number of camels, herds, slaves, wives and properties. How did he accumulate this much wealth in such short time? Through looting and pillaging.
He first started raiding the Meccans’ merchant caravans. Then he moved on to expel and massacre the Jews of Medina and other places in Arabia and looted their belongings. Eventually he decreed that every person who believes in him should pay tithes and those who don’t should pay a larger amount as jizyah (protection fee) or prepare to die. They were “warned”, submit of die, very much like the mafia operated. Several verses of the Quran exhort Muslims to raid the unbelievers promising booty in this world and heavenly rewards in the other.
Allah promiseth you much booty that ye will capture, and hath given you this in advance, and hath withheld men’s hands from you, that it may be a token for the believers, and that He may guide you on a right path. [al-Fath 48:20]
And that which Allah gave as spoil unto His messenger from them, ye urged not any horse or riding-camel for the sake thereof, but Allah giveth His messenger lordship over whom He will. Allah is Able to do all things. [al-Hashr 59:6]
Now enjoy what ye have won, as lawful and good, and keep your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. [al-Anfal 8:69]
These verses were stated to goad the believers to take part in the wars. They also tell us about the caliber of the people who converted to Islam. Muhammad convinced them that God has instructed them to attack innocent people, take them by surprise, kill them and loot their wives and properties as booty?
The oppressive cultic atmosphere that reigned in Medina did not allow the early Muslims to question the morality of such acts. That is how cults control brainwash the believers. After exterminating the Jews, who owned most businesses in Medina, Muslims had lost their works. They had no source of income except through highway robbery and looting. Some of them might have wondered how could a messenger of God act like a common marauding gangster. For such people Muhammad had his usual answer: It is God’s will.
Jabir b. ‘Abdullah al-Ansari reported: The Prophet (may peace be upon him) said: I have been conferred upon five (things) which were not granted to anyone before me (and these are): Every apostle was sent particularly to his own people, whereas I have been sent to all the red and the black the spoils of war have been made lawful for me, and these were never made lawful to anyone before me, and the earth has been made sacred and pure and mosque for me, so whenever the time of prayer comes for any one of you he should pray whenever he is,and I have been supported by awe (by which the enemy is overwhelmed) from the distance (which one takes) one month to cover and I have been granted intercession. Sahih Muslim 4:1058
Supported by awe means by terror! In another hadith he was more specific. He said: “I have been made victorious with terror (cast in the hearts of the enemy), Bukhari 4:52:220 The claim that Muhamamd has been victorious by awe and terror is also stated in Bukhari 1:7: 331.
There is a hadith narrated Abu Qatada who said:
We set out in the company of Allah’s Apostle on the day (of the battle) of Hunain. When we faced the enemy, the Muslims retreated and I saw a pagan throwing himself over a Muslim. I turned around and came upon him from behind and hit him on the shoulder with the sword He (i.e. the pagan) came towards me and seized me so violently that I felt as if it were death itself, but death overtook him and he released me. I followed ‘Umar bin Al Khattab and asked (him), “What is wrong with the people (fleeing)?” He replied, “This is the Will of Allah,” After the people returned, the Prophet sat and said, “Anyone who has killed an enemy and has a proof of that, will posses his spoils.” I got up and said, “Who will be a witness for me?” and then sat down. Bukhari 4:53:370
The Prophet again said, “Anyone who has killed an enemy and has proof of that, will possess his spoils.” I (again) got up and said, “Who will be a witness for me?” and sat down. Then the Prophet said the same for the third time. I again got up, and Allah’s Apostle said, “O Abu Qatada! What is your story?” Then I narrated the whole story to him. A man (got up and) said, “O Allah’s Apostle! He is speaking the truth, and the spoils of the killed man are with me. So please compensate him on my behalf.” On that Abu Bakr As-Siddiq said, “No, by Allah, he (i.e. Allah’s Apostle ) will not agree to give you the spoils gained by one of Allah’s Lions who fights on the behalf of Allah and His Apostle.” The Prophet said, “Abu Bakr has spoken the truth.” So, Allah’s Apostle gave the spoils to me. I sold that armor (i.e. the spoils) and with its price I bought a garden at Bani Salima, and this was my first property, which I gained after my conversion to Islam.
This is how Islam spread. By raiding, pillaging and looting. What is the difference between Muhammad and his followers and a bunch of thieves?