Non-Mus­lim Obser­va­tion About The Real­i­ty of The Spread of Islam

It is of no sur­prise to us to see the Chris­t­ian mis­sion­ar­ies play­ing on the myth of the so-called Islam­ic vio­lence” dur­ing its rapid rise. Some non-Mus­lims do rec­og­nize that the claim that Islam is the reli­gion of the sword” is more based on biased pro­pa­gan­da rather than on fact. As ear­ly as 1923 when Ori­en­tal­ists were mold­ing Islam into the image they want it to be, i.e. mur­der­ous and vio­lent, De Lacy O’Leary wrote that

His­to­ry makes it clear, how­ev­er, that the leg­end of fanat­i­cal Mus­lims sweep­ing through the world and forc­ing Islam at the point of sword upon con­quered races is one of the most fan­tas­ti­cal­ly absurd myths that his­to­ri­ans have ever repeated.[1]

Anoth­er writer observes that :

The pic­ture of the Mus­lim sol­dier advanc­ing with a sword in one hand and the Qur’?n in the oth­er is quite false.[2]

The famous his­to­ri­an Thomas Car­lyle 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 tries to prop­a­gate with that, will do lit­tle for him. You must get your sword ! On a whole, a thing will prop­a­gate itself as it can.[3]

So the ques­tion remains to be asked : were there any form of orga­nized per­se­cu­tion by Mus­lims towards those who do not pro­fess Islam as their reli­gion ? Thomas W. Arnold has this to say :

We have nev­er heard about any attempt to com­pel non-Mus­lim par­ties to adopt Islam or about any orga­nized per­se­cu­tion aim­ing at exter­mi­nat­ing Chris­tian­i­ty. If the Caliphs had cho­sen one of these plans, they would have wiped out Chris­tian­i­ty as eas­i­ly as what hap­pened to Islam dur­ing the reign of Fer­di­nand and Isabel­la in Spain ; by the same method which Louis XIV fol­lowed to make Protes­tantism a creed whose fol­low­ers were to be sen­tenced to death ; or with the same ease of keep­ing the Jews away from Britain for a peri­od of three hun­dred fifty years.[4]

Hus­ton Smith has the fol­low­ing to say regard­ing the Mus­lim defense for the claim :

…Mus­lims point to the long cen­turies dur­ing which in India, Spain, and the Near East, Chris­tians, Jews, and Hin­dus lived qui­et­ly and in free­dom under Mus­lim rule. Even under the worst caliphs, Chris­tians and Jews held posi­tions of influ­ence and in gen­er­al retained their reli­gious free­dom. The Chris­tians, not Mus­lims, we are remind­ed, expelled the Jews in the fif­teenth cen­tu­ry from Spain where they had lived in free­dom while the Mus­lims were in pow­er. To press this exam­ple : Spain and Ana­to­lia changed hands at about the same time — Chris­tians expelled the Moors from Spain while Mus­lims con­quered what is now Turkey. Every Mus­lim was dri­ven from Spain, or put to the sword, or forced to con­vert, where­as the seat of the East­ern Ortho­dox Church remains in Istan­bul to this day. Indeed, if com­par­isons are the issue, Mus­lims con­sid­er Chris­tian­i­ty’s record to be the dark­er of the two. Who was it, they ask, who preached the Cru­sades in the name of the Prince of Peace ? Who insti­tut­ed the inqui­si­tion, invent­ed the rack and the stake as instru­ments of reli­gion, and plunged Europe into its dev­as­tat­ing wars of religion?[5]

This is fur­ther attest­ed to by Dr William Bak­er when he says that :

Although the Jews joined with the ene­mies of ear­ly Islam, nei­ther they nor Judaism were tar­get­ed by Muham­mad or Islam. It is a fact of his­to­ry that when the Jews were being per­se­cut­ed in Europe dur­ing the Mid­dle Ages they found peace, har­mo­ny, and accep­tance among the Mus­lim peo­ple of Spain. In fact, this was the era of Jew­ish his­to­ry that they them­selves refer to as ?the Gold­en Age?.[6]

In The Oxford Illus­trat­ed His­to­ry of Chris­tian­i­ty, we read the fol­low­ing admis­sion that :

Chris­tian­i­ty has large­ly mis­un­der­stood the nature of Islam­ic mil­i­tan­cy. The fic­tion that Islam was preached by the sword and Chris­tian­i­ty by the lamb and the dove appeared ear­ly in Chris­t­ian writ­ing, and still exer­cis­es a pow­er­ful influ­ence upon the pop­u­lar per­cep­tion of Islam. Chris­t­ian polemi­cists were quick to con­trast the ide­al­ized life of Christ with that of Muham­mad and his fol­low­ers, ?who ceased not to go forth in bat­tle and rap­ine, to smite with the sword, to seize the lit­tle ones, and rav­ish wives and maidens?.[7]

Anoth­er non-Mus­lim author, Ira Zepp Jr., says the following :

It is unfor­tu­nate that Islam has been stereo­typed as the reli­gion of the sword’ or that Islam was spread by the sword.’ The his­tor­i­cal real­i­ty is that the expan­sion of Islam was usu­al­ly by per­sua­sion and not by mil­i­tary pow­er. In any case, Islam can­not be forced on any­one ; if pro­fes­sion of the sha­hadah [i.e. the dec­la­ra­tion of Islam] is forced on some­one, it is not true Islam.[8]

The point is clear that non-Mus­lim schol­ars are begin­ning to rec­og­nize that attribut­ing vio­lence to Islam is mere­ly a stig­ma from past West­ern hos­til­i­ty towards Islam. That Chris­ten­dom had to rely on these cir­cu­lat­ed myths to regain some self-respect is attest­ed by Nor­man A. Daniel, who observes the following :

[the] West formed a more or less invari­able canon of beliefs about Islam ; it decid­ed for itself what Islam was, and formed a view mate­ri­al­ly dif­fer­ent from any­thing Mus­lims would recog­nise … The impor­tant thing was it suit­ed the West. It cor­re­spond­ed to need … it gave Chris­ten­dom self-respect in deal­ing with a civil­i­sa­tion in many ways its superior.[9]

That Mus­lims treat­ed their non-Mus­lim sub­jects much bet­ter than Chris­tians do to theirs in a civil­i­sa­tion much more supe­ri­or than Chris­ten­dom in Europe dur­ing the Mid­dle Ages is evi­dent when Wash­ing­ton W. Irv­ing observed that

As con­querors [Mus­lims], their hero­ism was equaled only by their mod­er­a­tion, and in both, for a time, they excelled the nations with whom they con­tend­ed. Sev­ered from their native homes, they loved the land giv­en them as they sup­posed by All?h and strove to embell­ish it with every­thing that could admin­is­ter to the hap­pi­ness of man. Lay­ing the foun­da­tions of their pow­er in a sys­tem of wise and equi­table laws, dili­gent­ly cul­ti­vat­ing the arts and sci­ences, and pro­mot­ing agri­cul­ture, man­u­fac­tures and com­merce, they grad­u­al­ly formed an empire unri­valed for its pros­per­i­ty by any of the empires of Christendom…The cities of Ara­bi­an Spain became the resort of Chris­t­ian arti­sans, to instruct them­selves in the use­ful art. The Uni­ver­si­ties of Tole­do, Cor­do­va, Seville, Grana­da, were sought by the pale stu­dent from lands to acquaint him­self with the sci­ences of the Arabs and the trea­sure lore of antiquity.[10]

If Chris­t­ian arti­sans and schol­ars were them­selves thriv­ing in Mus­lim-ruled Spain, where is the basis of the mis­sion­ar­ies’ claim that Islam was spread by the sword” or that Chris­tians were per­se­cut­ed under Mus­lim rule ? Need we say any more to shat­ter the myths that Chris­tians try to pass off about Islam ?

And cer­tain­ly, only God knows best !


[1] De Lacy O’Leary, Islam at the Cross­roads (Lon­don, 1923), p. 8

[2] A. S. Trit­ton, Islam (1951)

[3] Thomas Car­lyle, Heroes and Hero Worship 

[4] Thomas W. Arnold, The Call to Islam

[5] Hus­ton Smith, The Reli­gions of Man (1983)

[6] Dr William Bak­er, More in Com­mon Than You Think : The Bridge between Islam and Chris­tian­i­ty, (1998) Defend­ers Publications

[7] John McMan­ners (Ed.), The Oxford Illus­trat­ed His­to­ry of Chris­tian­i­ty, Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 1992, p. 174

[8] Ira Zepp Jr., A Mus­lim Primer (1992), Wake­field Edi­tions, US, p. 134

[9] Nor­man A. Daniel, Islam and the West : The Mak­ing of an Image, p. 270

[10] Wash­ing­ton W. Irv­ing, Tales Of The Alham­bra, p. 52Endmark






2 responses to “Non-Mus­lim Obser­va­tion About The Real­i­ty of The Spread of Islam”

  1. Relucta Avatar

    Good will pre­vail over evil .. La Ila­ha Ilalah

  2. akram khari Avatar
    akram khari

    If any reli­gion, was spread by the sword,it would be the chris­t­ian religion!Under the EXCLUSIVE dom­i­na­tion of EUROPE,it pro­ceed­ed to ENSLAVE,MURDER,RAPE,FORCE to convertion,and COLONIZED ANYONE,who did not fit into their RACIST world view!They did this from the 15th cen­tu­ry on!With no end in sight!Their so-called“war on terror”,is just anoth­er DEMONIC CRUSADE against ISLAM,and ALL who prac­tice it!If they REALLY,were fight­ing a“war on terror”,they would also try to destroy SAVAGE CHRISTIAN TERRORIST GROUPS(the KKK,IRA,AYRAN NATION,etc.).Or HINDU,JEWISH OR ATHEIST TERROR GROUPS!But like ALL SHAYTANS(SATANIST),they don’t believe in any­thing but EVIL !

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