Was Islam spread by the sword?
This is the question asked by non-Muslims. Mostly non-Muslims are taught that Islam is the religion, which is against Peace and they are also taught that Islam was spread by the word. Let’s know the truth:
What does Qur’an say about compulsion for accepting the religion?
Mostly historians don’t give any Qur’anic evidence for proving that Islam was spread by the sword. The mythical concept of “spreading Islam by the sword” was mostly propagated by British Orientalist De Lacy O’Leary, he wrote in his 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.“
But, he could not prove it from Qur’an. Qur’an says :
“Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error” [Al-Qur’an 2:256]
The verse given above clears the concept that Muslims are not allowed to spread Islam by sword. There is no compulsion in religion.
How was the Islam spread?
The Islam was spread by the sword of intellect(wisdom and beautiful preaching). The Qur’an says:
“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]
Following are the logical proofs of the spreading of Islam by preaching, not by the sword:
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. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6.Indonesia is the largest Muslims country. The majority of inhabitants of Malaysia are Muslims.May one ask, “Which Muslim army went to Indonesia and Malaysia?”
7. 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?”
8. 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.”
9. 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?
10. 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?
11. 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 MUHAMMAD (pbuh) was born”.
I wrote this blog with the help of the article written by Dr. Zakir Naik