WAS ISLAM SPREAD BY THE SWORD?

Question:

How can Islam be called the religion of peace when it was spread by the sword?

Answer:

It is a common complaint among some non-Muslims that Islam would not have millions of adherents all over the world, if it had not been spread by the use of force. The following points will make it clear, that far from being spread by the sword, it was the inherent force of truth, reason and logic that was responsible for the rapid spread of Islam.

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?

14. Dr. Joseph Adam Pearson.

Dr. Joseph Adam Pearson rightly says, ’People who worry that nuclear weaponry will one day fall in the hands of the Arabs, fail to realize that the Islamic bomb has been dropped already, it fell the day MUHAMMED (pbuh) was born’

3 comments:

Ron Murphy said...

Islam means peace? - That's what the word means, but that's not how it is implemented.

Sometimes force has to be used to maintain peace? - Yes. But sometimes it is also used to coerce people through intollerence. It's a standard joke in the west to depict some Muslims on this way, "How dare the infidels say Islam is violent! Behead the blasphemers!"

Lands and peoples can be conquered by the sword, whatever the political or religious dominent force is withing the conquering nation, so in that sense there is not a necessary link between Islam and the sword. But historically there is an association that cannot be denied. The same was true of Christianity for some of its history. Ruthless leaders will use whatever they can to unite their followers and subjugate the conquered.

No compulsion in religion? - Yes there is. Children of Muslim parents are forced to become Muslims - they have no choice, and they are not even capable of making a choice. If there was no compulsion in religion these children would be allowed to leave if they chose, but Islam forbids it, on pain of death. So, once a man becomes a Muslim all his decendants are compelled to be Muslims. Add to this the fact that any non-Muslim who first becomes a Muslim but then leaves Islam is consigned to the same fate.

Islam rules by peace, to suck people in, and by fear, to keep them.

Islam is the fastest growing religion in America and Europe? Because naive westerners don't realise the restrictions on religious and political freedom imposed by Islam.


You quote: ’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.’


Then you say: Muslims ruled Spain for about 800 years.

How did they come to rule spain? Where they invited?

’Which Muslim army went to the East Coast of Africa?’ - It's easy to convince a poor uneducated people.

Hasan said...

My dear brother Murphy,
May you be doing fine.
We need to understand religion in terms of its meaning. The religion to God essentially has always been one, that is Islam. It means peaceful submission to the will of Allah. Now anybody who submits his will to the will of God is following Islam. It’s just that in different languages it has been known by different names but the meaning essentially has always been one that is peaceful submission to the will of Allah. Since, the last prophet (Muhammad, peace be upon him) was an Arab and the scripture that was revealed on him was in Arabic, hence Allah called His religion Islam. He could not have used some English phrase like ‘peaceful submission to the will of God’ in Qur’aan which is in Arabic.
Like wise those who are obedient slaves of God are called Muslims. Again, like the above example, since the Qur’aan was revealed in Arabic, hence the Arabic word ‘Muslim’ for obedient slaves of God. The prophets (peace be upon them all) who came prior to Muhammad (peace be upon him) must have used some other word for the ‘obedient slaves of God’ in their language, as we know through Qur’aan that God sent His messengers to every nook and corner of the world to guide mankind on the path of success and they all spoke in the language of the people they were sent to. It’s also very important to mention here that a person just by being brought up in a Muslim family doesn’t become Muslim. Anybody who believes in all the prophets and follows the last prophet is a Muslim.
As far use of sword to spread Islam is concerned, it’s absolutely wrong. Though sword, no doubt was used as the last resort, not to revert people to Islam but to establish peace and justice. There is a big difference between the use of sword to revert people to Islam and to establish peace and justice. For this we need to understand again what Islam is? Basically, religion has never changed as seen in the aforesaid lines. It’s just the divine Law which has changed from time to time and culminated with the coming of the last prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Now peace and justice could only be established when the Law of God is established on land. God is the Creator of everything that exists and He knows best what is good and what is bad for man, as he is all knowing. So whenever any Caliph (Islamic ruler) of his times approached a country
1. Firstly, he invited the ruler of that country to accept Islam
2. If he rejected he was asked to pay Jizia (a kind of tax to be paid by non-Muslims in lieu for their safety and security. They still had the freedom to practice their religion).
3. Thirdly, if he rejected both, then he was invited to fight. Now even during the fight strict instructions were given to the Muslim army not to harm, women, children and elderly people, not to destroy property and farm lands, etc.
I have very briefly mentioned these, for details you may write back to me. InshaAllah I will try to answer your questions. It’s really amazing that a man is willing to submit to the law made by man, which is amended every now and then and has innumerable loopholes, but he is not willing to submit to the Law of the Lord of the worlds, which is for his own benefit and to establish peace and justice.
There are many things I would have loved to share with you but it would get too long and it might be troublesome for you.
Please visit my blog at http://loventruth.blogspot.com/, whenever you get time. I would love to hear from you.

Please do take care
Your brother in humanity
Hasan

Ron Murphy said...

Hi Hasan,

At what point would a child of Muslim parents become a Muslim?

If a child has been convinced by his parents and his culture that he should follow Islam, but after a period of studying other faiths he decides he has chosen the wrong path and joins another faith or becomes an atheist, would he be subject to the rules of Islam that determine the fate of an apostate?



1. Firstly, he invited the ruler of that country to accept Islam
2. If he rejected he was asked to pay Jizia (a kind of tax to be paid by non-Muslims in lieu for their safety and security. They still had the freedom to practice their religion).
3. Thirdly, if he rejected both, then he was invited to fight. Now even during the fight strict instructions were given to the Muslim army not to harm, women, children and elderly people, not to destroy property and farm lands, etc.
For this reason it would make political sense for such people, particularly if poor, to become Muslim. In this way they are coerced into becoming Muslim.