Was Islam Spread by the Sword?
How can Islam be called the religion of peace when it was spread by the sword?
It is a common complaint among some non-Muslims that Islam would not have millions of adherents all over the world if it had not been spread by the use of force. The following points will make it clear, that far from being spread by the sword, it was the inherent force of truth, reason and logic that was responsible for the rapid spread of Islam.
- 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).
- Sometimes force has to be used to maintain peace
Each and every human being in this world is not in favor 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 its 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.
- Opinion of historian De Lacy O’Leary
The best reply to the misconception that Islam was spread by the sword is given by the noted historian De Lacy O’Leary in the book “Islam at the crossroad”
“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 myths that historians have ever repeated.”
- 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 adhaan, that is the call for prayers.
- 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.
- Indonesia and Malaysia
Indonesia is a country that has the maximum number of Muslims in the world. The majority of people in Malaysia are Muslims. May one ask, “which Muslim army went to Indonesia and Malaysia?”
- 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?”
- No compulsion in religion
With which sword was Islam spread? Even if Muslims had it they could not use it to spread Islam because the Qur’an says in the following verse:
“Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error”
[Al Qur’an 2:256]
- Sword of the Intellect
It is the sword of intellect. The sword that conquers the hearts and minds of people. The Qur’an says in Surah An Nahl, Chapter 16 Verse 125
“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]
- 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 is Islam. Which sword is forcing people in the West to accept Islam in such large numbers?
Source: answers to non-Muslims common questions about Islam