The Muslim conquests and the Truth Regarding Muslim Wars (Jihad) and the issue of Violence
- Was Islam Spread by the sword?
There is a fundamental rule stated in the Qur’an namely the right to choose one’s religion:” let there be no compulsion in religion”. Accordingly, Islam emphasized that a person’s belief in Islam or his rejecting to believe in it is a matter that depends upon man’s free will and his sincere conviction. This is stated in the following Quranic verse :” Let him who will, believe and let him who will reject (it).
God, in the verses of quran drew the Prophet’s attention to this fact and emphasized that he was only a messenger whose duty was only to convey the Divine Message and that he had no authority to force people into conforming to Islam. This is clearly expressed in the following Quranic Verses :”Will you then compel mankind against their will, to believe?”.
“You are not one to manage (men’s) affairs”.
“If then they turn away, We have not sent you as a guard over them. Your duty is but to convey (The Message)”.
The aforementioned verses make it quite clear that the Glorious Book of the Muslims definitely prohibits forcing anyone to follow the Faith of Islam.
2. Islam what defined the course that Muslims must follow when inviting people to believe in the Faith of Islam and the manner in which the Faith should be spread every where.
The manner in which Muslims should invite people to embrace Islam is stated in the following Qur’anic verses:
”Invite (call) to the way of your God with wisdom and beautiful preaching and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious (16/125) and “Speak fair to the people (2/83).
The Quran contains no less than one hundred and twenty verses which emphasize that is basic rule to be followed when Muslims invite people to believe in Islam, is to convince them calmly and graciously and then to leave them to decide for themselves whether to accept or reject the Faith. After the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet addressed its people saying : You are free now” and he did not force them to adopt Islam in spite of his decisive victory.
3. The Muslims never forced a Jew or a Christian to adopt Islam and Omar ibn Al-Khattab, the second Right Guided Caliph, assured the people of Jerusalem that their lives their churches and their crosses would not e harmed on account of his faith. The Prophet recorded in his first constitution for Al-Madina, after having emigrated from Makkah, that the Jews were a nation living with the Muslims and that he acknowledged their right to believe in their faith.
4. In her book “Allah is Completely Different”, the Orientalist, Sigrid Hunke, refutes the accusation that Islam was spread by the sword. She wrote :”The tolerance of the Arabs played an important role it the spreading of Islam. Contrary to what has been falsely claimed that it was spread by fire and the sword. Which is an unjust and unverified accusation against Islam”. She also wrote:” Christians, Jews, Sabians, and Pagans embraced Islam of their own free will”.
It is a well-known fact that Muslim armies never invaded South Asia or West Africa, yet Islam spread and flourished in these countries after Muslim merchants traveled with their merchandise to these countries. Muslim Sufis with their peaceful attitude also impressed the inhabitants of these lands. The natives of these distant countries saw for themselves the conduct, morals, and dealings of the Muslims, and accordingly, embraced Islam of their own free will.