Was Islam spread by Sword?
◕ Islam means peace. Islam comes from the root word ‘salaam’, which means peace. It also means submitting one’s will to Allah. Thus Islam is a religion of peace, which is acquired by submitting one’s will to the will of the Supreme Creator, Allah.
◕ War was an exception than a rule in Islam At times; the force has to be used to maintain peace. Islam stands for peace. However, it allows its followers to fight where there is oppression. The fight against oppression may, at times, require the use of force. Thus in Islam, force is in fact used to restore peace and justice. The aim for the Islamic conquests was to convey the message of Islam by eliminating all suppressive powers which come between the people and their freedom of choice, and calling people to Islam without compulsion or force, rather they should come to it willingly and by choice. “Whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve” [Quran, 18:29] “This is a reminder, so let he who wishes take a path to his Lord.” [Quran 73:19] “And if your Lord had pleased, surely all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them; will you then force men till they become believers?” [Quran 10:99]
◕ Islam has always given respect and freedom of religion to all faiths. Allah (God) says in the Quran: “There is no compulsion in religion; verily the guidance has become clear from the error. So whosoever rejects the idol and believes in God, he has laid hold onto the most firm rope which will not break; God is All-hearing, All-knowing.” [Quran 2:256] “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.” [Quran 16:125]
◕ The Islamic faith can not be gained by force because the person’s faith must be pure and sincere.
◕ Facts speak for themselves
● Indonesia is the country that has the largest number of Muslims in the world, and the majority of people in Malaysia are Muslims. But, no Muslim army ever went to Indonesia or Malaysia. Indonesia entered Islam not due to war, but because of its moral message. Despite the disappearance of Islamic government from many regions once ruled by it, their original inhabitants have remained Muslims. Moreover, they carried the message of truth, inviting others to it as well, and in so doing endured harm, affliction and oppression.
● The Mongols invaded and conquered large portions of the Islamic Empire, instead of destroying the religion, they adopted it. This is a unique occurrence in history – the conquerors adopting the religion of the conquered! Since they were the victors, they certainly could not have been forced to become Muslims!
● Spain was ruled by Muslims for about 800 years. During this period Christians and Jews enjoyed freedom to practice their religions, and this is a documented historical fact.
● Christian and Jewish minorities have survived in the Muslim lands of the Middle East for centuries. Countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan all have significant Christian and Jewish populations.
● Muslims ruled India for about a thousand years and therefore had the power to force each and every non-Muslim of India to convert to Islam, but they did not, and thus more than 80% of the Indian population remains non-Muslim.
● Islam spread rapidly on the West Coast of Africa (Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal … etc). and the East Coast (Somalia, Djibouti … etc) Although there is no Muslim army was ever dispatched to the East or the West Coast of Africa.
◕ An article in Reader’s Digest ‘Almanac’, yearbook 1986, gives the statistics of the increase of the 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%, while Christianity had increased by 47%. During this fifty-year period, there was no “Islamic conquest” yet Islam spread at an extraordinary rate.
◕ Today the fastest growing religion in America and Europe is Islam. The Muslims in these lands are a minority. The only sword they have in their possession is the sword of truth. It is this sword that is converting thousands to Islam.
◕ Islamic law protects the privileged status of minorities, and that is why non-Muslim places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world. Islamic law also allows non-Muslim minorities to set up their own courts, which implement family laws drawn up by the minorities themselves. The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred whether they are Muslims or not.
◕ Historian’s testimony
● 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.”
● 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.”