Author Topic: Was Islam Spread By Sword?  (Read 9977 times)

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Offline Uzair Ahmed

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Was Islam Spread By Sword?
« on: July 04, 2014, 02:08:56 AM »
1. Islam means peace.

Islam comes from the root word ‘salaam’, which means peace. It also means submitting one’s will to Allah (swt). Thus Islam is a religion of peace, which is acquired by submitting one’s will to the will of the Supreme Creator, Allah (swt).

2. Sometimes force has to be used to maintain peace.

Each and every human being in this world is not in favour of maintaining peace and harmony. There are many, who would disrupt it for their own vested interests. Sometimes force has to be used to maintain peace. It is precisely for this reason that we have the police who use force against criminals and anti-social elements to maintain peace in the country. Islam promotes peace. At the same time, Islam exhorts it followers to fight where there is oppression. The fight against oppression may, at times, require the use of force. In Islam force can only be used to promote peace and justice.

3. Opinion of historian De Lacy O’Leary.

The best reply to the misconception that Islam was spread by the sword is given by the noted historian De Lacy O’Leary in the book “Islam at the cross road” (Page 8):

“History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myth that historians have ever repeated.”


4. Muslims ruled Spain for 800 years.

Muslims ruled Spain for about 800 years. The Muslims in Spain never used the sword to force the people to convert. Later the Christian Crusaders came to Spain and wiped out the Muslims. There was not a single Muslim in Spain who could openly give the adhan, that is the call for prayers.

5. 14 million Arabs are Coptic Christians.

Muslims were the lords of Arabia for 1400 years. For a few years the British ruled, and for a few years the French ruled. Overall, the Muslims ruled Arabia for 1400 years. Yet today, there are 14 million Arabs who are Coptic Christians i.e. Christians since generations. If the Muslims had used the sword there would not have been a single Arab who would have remained a Christian.

6. More than 80% non-Muslims in India.

The Muslims ruled India for about a thousand years. If they wanted, they had the power of converting each and every non-Muslim of India to Islam. Today more than 80% of the population of India are non-Muslims. All these non-Muslim Indians are bearing witness today that Islam was not spread by the sword.

7. Indonesia and Malaysia.

Indonesia is a country that has the maximum number of Muslims in the world. The majority of people in Malaysia are Muslims. May one ask, “Which Muslim army went to Indonesia and Malaysia?”

8. East Coast of Africa.

Similarly, Islam has spread rapidly on the East Coast of Africa. One may again ask, if Islam was spread by the sword, “Which Muslim army went to the East Coast of Africa?”

9. Thomas Carlyle.

The famous historian, Thomas Carlyle, in his book “Heroes and Hero worship”, refers to this misconception about the spread of Islam: “The sword indeed, but where will you get your sword? Every new opinion, at its starting is precisely in a minority of one. In one man’s head alone. There it dwells as yet. One man alone of the whole world believes it, there is one man against all men. That he takes a sword and try to propagate with that, will do little for him. You must get your sword! On the whole, a thing will propagate itself as it can.”

10. No compulsion in religion.

With which sword was Islam spread?  Even if Muslims had it they could not use it to spread Islam because the Qur’an says in the following verse:

“Let there be no compulsion in religion:

Truth stands out clear from error”

[Al-Qur’an 2:256]

11. Sword of the Intellect.

It is the sword of intellect. The sword that conquers the hearts and minds of people.

The Qur’an says in Surah Nahl, chapter 16 verse 125:

“Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord
with wisdom and beautiful preaching;
and argue with them in ways that are
best and most gracious.”

Al-Qur’an 16:125]

12. Increase in the world religions from 1934 to 1984.

An article in Reader’s Digest ‘Almanac’, year book 1986, gave the statistics of the increase of percentage of the major religions of the world in half a century from 1934 to 1984. This article also appeared in ‘The Plain Truth’ magazine. At the top was Islam, which increased by 235%,  and Christianity had increased only by 47%. May one ask, which war took place in this century which converted millions of people to Islam?

13. Islam is the fastest growing religion in America and Europe.

Today the fastest growing religion in America is Islam. The fastest growing religion in Europe in Islam. Which sword is forcing people in the West to accept Islam in such large numbers?

Offline submit

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Re: Was Islam Spread By Sword?
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2014, 04:46:24 AM »
Islam spread to China,India Malay Archipealogo in 7th century through proclamation about One God.

Islam spread to Europe through expansion of Islamic empire . As Christian nations of those time were constantly hostile to Islamic nation as they try to win back Jerusalem.

Offline IndonesianStranger

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Re: Was Islam Spread By Sword?
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2016, 12:24:07 PM »
Is this means that the Sassanid empire or the Byzantine empire were hostile to muslims ?

*i am muslim*

Offline AhmadFarooq

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Re: Was Islam Spread By Sword?
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2016, 03:47:28 PM »
From what I've read, the fighting was done, keeping in mind strategic interests. Unlike today's times when nations are usually at peace with each other and they have to declare war, during the early centuries of Islam, these were the times when various world empires used to remain in a state of perpetual war and the uncommon state was to declare peace (completely in contradiction to today's times). Empires used to continuously expand and contract as their power grew or waned. Caliph Abu Bakr, in order to keep the Islamic lands safe from the two surrounding empires captured some areas to create a kind of buffer zones. The Romans were already at war with the Muslims. Regarding the Persians, some traditions tell us that Khosrou of Persia had ordered to arrest Prophet Muhammad, but for some reason it did not happen. In any case, open fighting with the Persians had not started, but it is extremely likely that they would have started it when their internal political disputes got resolved and Muslims became a threat. After all, they had been fighting with the Romans for decades, they had no reason to spare the Muslims (whom they in their arrogance did not believe worthy) and every reason to attack to gain power and wealth (the objectives of those times). After Abu Bakr's action, the Persians started raiding those lands. This led one thing to another and resulted in all-out war between the Muslims, Romans and Persians.

Offline IndonesianStranger

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Re: Was Islam Spread By Sword?
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2016, 02:11:40 AM »
no offense, but can you give me the source of that? maybe i can write it in wikipedia so that people will stop believing that islam was spread by sword.

Offline AhmadFarooq

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Re: Was Islam Spread By Sword?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2016, 08:52:40 AM »
My information is also basically from Wikipedia, so I cannot fully guarantee the following:

Caliph Umar said:

“I wish there was a mountain of fire between us and the Iranians, so that neither they could get to us, nor we to them.”
(A. I. Akram, The Muslim Conquest of Persia)[21]

“I wish that between the Suwad and the Persian hills there were walls which would prevent them from getting to us, and prevent us from getting to them. The fertile Suwad is sufficient for us; and I prefer the safety of the Muslims to the spoils of war.”
(Muhammad Husayn Hayka, Al Farooq, Umar p. 130)[21]

“I wish there was a wall of fire between us and the Romans, so that nor we can cross into their land neither they could in ours”

The Byzantine empire already exhausted after major defeats in Yarmouk and Northern Syria was left vulnerable to Muslims attacks and its very existence in Anatolia was threatened. Umar, apparently was not interested in occupation of Anatolia, it had a cold and mountainous terrain with no economic incentives, soon after the occupation of Byzantine Armenia, the time when chaos was at its peak in Byzantium, Umar had already rejected Khalid and Abu Ubaidah's proposal of invading Anatolia. More over Umar, due to his strong desire to consolidate his rule in the conquered land and owing to his non-offensive policy left the remaining Byzantine empire on its own. The situation was a stalemate, Umar had power but not desire to cross into Byzantine Empire, and Emperor Heraclius had desire but not left powerful enough to roll back his former rich provinces.

(Apparently no reference is given)[26]

Caliph Umar was hesitant to engage Muslims into Egypt to counter Byzantine’s influence there and had to be approved by the Majlis al Shura in Madinah. Umar is reported to have said:
“Life of my one soldier is dearer to me than a million Dirham.”
[26]

Similarly, Caliph Uthman after learning about the miserable conditions of parts of Hind, avoided campaigning in the Sindh interior.
(Tabri vol: 4 page no: 180-181)[27]

If these references are true, then it would appear the Caliphs did not believe it was their responsibility to enforce Shariah on all non-Muslims.

Pakistani scholar Javed Ahmad Ghamdi, although providing a different reasoning than that of self-defence, also claimed in one of his talks that the Muslim caliphs planned to capture only a limited territory and it was not their original intention to move beyond them.

[21].   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_conquest_of_Persia
[26].   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_conquests_of_Umar%27s_era
[27].   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_campaigns_under_Caliph_Uthman

Also read this section,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ridda_wars#Aftermath

Additionally, from what I know no Muslim armies were sent to Ethiopia or other areas south of the Arabian peninsula even though as these places did not have as strong armies, it would have been much easier to enforce Islam there.

For the related story of Khosrou:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khosrow_II#Khosrow_II_in_Islamic_Tradition
more detailed: http://www.ezsoftech.com/stories/prophet.mohammad1.asp

An interesting account of the Persian chief Hormuzan for repeatedly breaking the peace treaty:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_conquest_of_Persia#Raids_of_Persians_in_Mesopotamia_.28638.E2.80.93641.29

Offline AhmadFarooq

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Re: Was Islam Spread By Sword?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2016, 09:13:32 AM »
Regarding the above mentioned arguments, instances of Muslims (under the Rashiudding Caliphate) breaking peace treaties are required to prove that Muslims were spreading Islam by the sword and on the other hand instances when Muslims restricted themselves to fight when they had the capability to do so, disproves the idea that Muslims of those times believed in spreading Islam by the sword.

Additionally, there are cases where the population also sided with the Muslim armies.

In the book "The Great Arab Conquests" Hugh Kennedy writes "The pious biographer of Coptic patriarch Benjamin presents us with the striking image of the patriarch prayed for the success of the Muslim commander Amr against the Christians of the Cyrenaica. Benjamin survived for almost twenty years after the fall of Egypt to the Muslims, dying of full years and honour in 661. His body was laid to rest in the monastery of St Macarius, where he is still venerated as a saint. There can be no doubt that he played a major role in the survival of the Coptic Church"[29] Coptic patriarch Benjamin also prayed for Amr when he moved to take Libya.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_conquest_of_Egypt#Egypt_under_Muslim_rule

Also, at other places I remember reading about how the Jews sided with the Muslims in areas ruled by the Byzantine empire (apparently, Heraclius was involved in forceful conversion of Jews and minority sect Christians) and also in the case of Spain (probably the main reason they were so forcefully thrown out along-with the Muslims, when Muslim rule ended in Spain). Also, Muslim armies had significant percentages of Hindu soldiers and generals in India. Mahmood Ghazni apparebtly had 30% Hindu soldiers and around 5/12 Hindu generals. This was at the time when he was moving to destroy the Somnath temple. Along the way he was also helped by another Hindu ruler. A similar case also existed during the conquests of Spain.

Source: https://thedebateinitiative.com/2016/01/11/the-myth-of-destroyed-hindu-temples-and-forced-conversion-of-hindus-by-historical-muslim-rulers-of-india/

This also supports the concept that these were motivated more by political reasons and needs of the times than religion itself.

Offline AhmadFarooq

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Re: Was Islam Spread By Sword?
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2016, 09:32:24 AM »
A very important thing that needs to be mentioned here is that where Islam is concerned only the decisions of Prophet Muhammad and the Rashidun Caliphate are important, any fighting or other deeds (like the Arab slave trade) which happened after their time, are concerned with the Muslims of those times and not with Islam itself.

Also, it is important to know that in today's times there are many Muslims who believe in spreading Islam by the sword. By Islam, I don't mean forcefully converting non-Muslims but the Sha'riah of Allah or Islamic law. Daesh, Al-Qaeda etc. are based on this concept. From what I have recently read and seen, even Hizb-ut-Tahrir strongly believes in it. For more details, read what I wrote under the heading "Importance of Caliphate" here: http://www.answering-christianity.com/blog/index.php?topic=2054.msg8815#msg8815

Offline Saudi Salafi

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Re: Was Islam Spread By Sword?
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2016, 12:12:26 PM »
 "He [Umar] has given them an assurance of safety for themselves, for their property, their churches, their crosses, the sick and healthy of the city…Their churches will not be inhabited by Muslims and will not be destroyed…They will not be forcibly converted" ( Kennedy, H. (2007). The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In. Philadelphia: Da Capo Press. pg.91)


Abu Bakr (RA) said: "Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules for your guidance in the battlefield. Do not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child, nor a woman, nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy’s flock, save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone.” (Aboul-Enein, H. Yousuf and Zuhur, Sherifa, Islamic Rulings on Warfare, p. 22, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, Diane Publishing Co., Darby PA)


The noted historian De Lacy O’Leary wrote: “History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.”
( Islam at the Crossroads, p.8)


"The Prophet had a document drawn up in which he stipulated that Jews and Christians “shall be protected from all insults and harm; they shall have an equal right with our own people to our assistance and good offices,” and further, “they shall practice their religion as freely as the Muslims.”"
(The World’s Religions by Huston Smith, Harper Collins, 1991, p. 256)



Offline submit

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Re: Was Islam Spread By Sword?
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2016, 10:26:23 AM »
Islam is a religion that permits war as in act of defense, never have Islam propagate a covenant on making war to all nations.

Islam was spread by Islamic traders and scholars that travel to many nations by inviting Kings and Chief tribes of those lands to reverting back to Islam . Hence why Islam spread real fast as once their kings accepted Islam, people in those lands became Muslims well.

As many smaller regions neighboring byzantine  accepted Islam, Byzantine kingdom began to be hostile and hence engaging with series of war with Islamic nations.

Offline IndonesianStranger

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Re: Was Islam Spread By Sword?
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2016, 02:16:44 PM »
Islam is a religion that permits war as in act of defense, never have Islam propagate a covenant on making war to all nations.

Islam was spread by Islamic traders and scholars that travel to many nations by inviting Kings and Chief tribes of those lands to reverting back to Islam . Hence why Islam spread real fast as once their kings accepted Islam, people in those lands became Muslims well.

As many smaller regions neighboring byzantine  accepted Islam, Byzantine kingdom began to be hostile and hence engaging with series of war with Islamic nations.


No offense bro. I need sources or references for further reading for that.

Also, I wondering about the expansion of Islamic kingdom to Spain and France. Was it done by sword? If there's a war, then what is the cause?

Offline AhmadFarooq

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Re: Was Islam Spread By Sword?
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2016, 03:49:56 PM »
The only wars whose alleged wrongness can be used to criticise Islam are the wars during the time of the Prophet and the first four Caliphs. Any other latter war or Muslim ruler may or may not be a follower of Islamic laws and guidelines.

On the matter of Spain, the Muslims were "invited" by one of the Spaniard lords. Legend has it that he sent his daughter (or his niece) to the court of one of the royals. That royal apparently had non-marital relations with her which had the effect of turning that Spaniard lord towards the Muslims and inviting them to invade Spain. If I remember correctly the ships and information for the invasion was also provided by him. Apparently, when the Muslim armies were marching through Spain, they were also joined by Jews (probably the reason they were kicked out alongside the Muslims when the Christians regained power) and other Spaniards. This is not surprising as Muslim armies in India had Hindu soldiers and generals too.

From one orientalist book I was reading, the Ummayyad Caliph of the time, when he got news of the invasion became angry and called back the Muslim commander and reprimanded him.

As I mentioned before, empires generally used to remain in perpetual war with each-other and peace treaties were the odd events.

Offline submit

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Re: Was Islam Spread By Sword?
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2016, 10:57:49 PM »
You will need to do some researches based on regions.
Merchants and scholars have been inviting rulers to Islam.
African regions
Persian regions
Indian regions
Mongolian regions
North China regions
South East Asian regions

The contrast to Hellenistic Christianity is it was spread by inquisition vide weapons, and massacre of natives at any land they entered to established their presence.

Offline adilriaz123

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Re: Was Islam Spread By Sword?
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2016, 11:11:29 PM »
Also there were many battles fought fought for retribution such what roman king dracula did to 25000 ottoman muslim, impaling them from bottom to up on a wooden pole and ottoman defeated king dracula and his people to exact there retribution.

Offline IndonesianStranger

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Re: Was Islam Spread By Sword?
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2016, 07:47:36 AM »
The only wars whose alleged wrongness can be used to criticise Islam are the wars during the time of the Prophet and the first four Caliphs. Any other latter war or Muslim ruler may or may not be a follower of Islamic laws and guidelines.

On the matter of Spain, the Muslims were "invited" by one of the Spaniard lords. Legend has it that he sent his daughter (or his niece) to the court of one of the royals. That royal apparently had non-marital relations with her which had the effect of turning that Spaniard lord towards the Muslims and inviting them to invade Spain. If I remember correctly the ships and information for the invasion was also provided by him. Apparently, when the Muslim armies were marching through Spain, they were also joined by Jews (probably the reason they were kicked out alongside the Muslims when the Christians regained power) and other Spaniards. This is not surprising as Muslim armies in India had Hindu soldiers and generals too.

From one orientalist book I was reading, the Ummayyad Caliph of the time, when he got news of the invasion became angry and called back the Muslim commander and reprimanded him.

As I mentioned before, empires generally used to remain in perpetual war with each-other and peace treaties were the odd events.


Thank you brother. :D

Btw, I was wondering about the presence of Islam in China.

 

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