Islam: Religion of Peace (Part 4: Contradictions about expansion of Islam)
November 16, 2010 2 Comments
Many scholars, writers and historians have studied Islamic history, as it turns out, there are conflicting views about the way in which the message of Islam was spread around the world. Some claim that the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) went on the offensive and converted people by the force of his sword. Objective historians however clearly disagree with this fact, they recall all the battles that the Prophet (peace be upon him) fought in defense. The expansion of Islam was due to the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) spiritual and moral power.
Nevertheless, the view that Islam was spread with force is, unfortunately, held by some Muslim leaders and clerics. Like the orientalist, they divide the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) into Meccan and Medinite periods. They view that at Mecca, the Prophet was weak and powerless but once he gained power, he resorted to the sword, according to their school of thought. The Late Mr. Maududi (an Islamic scholar) writes it in his book as follows:
…he used every possible means of communication, but his people refused to accept Islam. When every method of persuasion had failed. The Prophet took to the sword.
It is a very unfortunate statement, coming from a Muslim scholar who is ranked very high in many parts of the Muslim world. His phraseology appears to glorify Islam, but in reality it endorses the accusations made by the critics of Islam. George Sale wrote:
When the followers of the Prophet increased in number, he claimed that God had allowed him to attack the unbelievers so that idolatry be destroyed and true religion be established.
Other critics of Islam such as R. Dozy, Aloy Spranger, Dr. Pfander and Henry Copey followed the same line of attack on Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). If you compare the two statements (that of Mr. Maududi and Mr. Sale), one will sadly conclude that Mr. Maududi and Mr. Sale are in agreement.
In contrast, we find writings and assertions from non-Muslims about how this orientalist view of spreading Islam with sword is baseless and distorted. Pandit Gyanandra Dev Sharma Shastri while expressing his views about the expansion of Islam says:
The critics are blind. They cannot see that the only sword Muhammad wielded was the sword of mercy, compassion, friendship and forgiveness—the sword that conquers enemies and purifies hearts. His sword was sharper than the sword of steel.
The father of modern India Mahatma Gandhi writes in Young India:
The more I study the more I discover that the strength of Islam does not lie in the sword.
Another non-Muslim scholar, Dr D. W. Leitz, in rebutting this false charge, based in his argument on the Qur’an itself. He said:
All these arguments, advanced to prove that the purpose of jihad was to spread Islam by force, are contradicted by the Qur’an. The Qur’an says that the purpose of jihad is to protect mosques, churches, synagogues and cloisters.
It is terrible to know that Muslims scholar portrays Islam in a violent way, while non-Muslims see Islam as a tolerant, compassionate and friendly religion. Unfortunately, this is not the first time religion is used to gain political power, it has been there in Christian era and the era of Jews, it is utilized as a weapon to make armies of men who are totally in the dark about their religion. Qur’an makes it very clear what is the status of the Prophet of Islam and his followers.
Remind them for thou (O Prophet) art an admonisher. Thou art not at all a warder over them.
Al-Qur’an Al-Ghashiyah(88) Verses 22-23