Setting The Record Straight: Was Islam Really Spread By The Sword?
By Abu Haithem Al-Hijazee | JUS
One of the greatest debates within the Muslim Ummah, one that causes division within the Islamic nation and that is often used by the enemies of Islam as a means of ascribing brutality to our religion is centered on the methods by which Islam was propagated throughout the globe. Was Islam spread by the sword? The quick answer to this question is a resounding yes and in this article, we hope to set the record straight using the evidence from the Qur’an and the Sunnah, the practice of the Guided Caliphs and the consensus of the righteous scholars of the Ummah, inshaAllah. While the evidences in this article are by no means exhaustive, inshaAllah they will be adequate to lay this matter to rest.
Muhammad, the messenger of Allah, was sent to all mankind and Jinn with Allah’s final and complete message constituting a system of life that leads to the ultimate spiritual, social, and economic justice, security and prosperity. In addition, Islam guarantees a blissful eternal life in the Hereafter to whoever adheres to its rules. Some will see Islam in the right light. Others will allow their whims to lead them astray. Protecting those who reject Islam through their own foolishness and who harbor the potential to corrupt others by forcing them (those who reject Islam) to embrace Islam under the gun is something for which Islam ought to be praised, not condemn. How could saving someone from Hellfire be condemned?
Evidence From The Quran
The Mandate Of Fighting, The Nature Of The Enemy And Their Intention To Eradicate Islam
Fighting was prescribed by Allah just as were fasting and praying was. Allah the Exalted says:
(Jihad (holy fighting in Allah's Cause) is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.) Baqarah 216
The scope of fighting and the categories of who to fight were revealed in stages. Muslims were permitted to fight in self defense during the first stage. The scope of fighting was then expanded to include fighting the Idolaters; then the Muslims were ordered to fight the people of the book, and finally, the scope was expanded to include all the enemies of Allah (non-Muslims and Hypocrites) until Shirk is eradicated and the religion is Allah’s in its entirety.
(Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.) Taubah 29
The above Verse clearly:
1- Started with a verb in the command form.
2- Listed the categories of people whom we must fight.
3- Gave the reason for fighting them (people listed above).
4- Gave conditions under which fighting may be halted.
(And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone [in the whole of the world]. But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allah), then certainly, Allah is All-Seer of what they do.) Anfal 39
This Verse clearly indicates that each and every Muslim is commanded to fight in the cause of Allah without stopping until the religion is Allah’s in its entirety.
What a great honor to be chosen by Allah to be the ones trusted with establishing His Shariah. And what a great honor it is to be called a Muslim. According to Tafsir Ibn Kathir and Tafsir Al-Tabari, this Verse (22:78) made it clear that fighting to establish the religion of Allah is a duty of all believers and therefore they should not be afraid of the blame of the blamers. We should not be shy or apologetic concerning any aspect of our religion, including fighting and killing the filthy Kuffar everywhere we can find them? (see also Taubah 5)
Out of His great mercy and blessings, Allah did not leave us to second guess the nature and intention of His enemies (His enemies are our enemies) and did not leave us wondering whether or not His Shariah can be established and practice by peaceful means only. Allah has revealed to this Ummah the vicious nature of the Kuffar (atheists, polytheists, hypocrites, etc.) and their determination to turn Muslims back from their religion.
Let’s say for the sake of argument that someone says, “Fine, we accept our responsibility to establish Allah’s religion but why don’t we coexist with them (Kuffar) and through exemplary conduct, patience, and continuous preaching of the message to them, they will eventually come around and embrace Islam? In other words, why not use peaceful means to spread Islam? Well, if the above Verses were not enough to punch holes in such an argument, the following Verses should send that argument to the trash basket in a hurry:
(Should they gain the upper hand over you, they would behave to you as enemies, and stretch forth their hands and their tongues against you with evil, and they desire that you should disbelieve.) Al-Mumtahanah 2
(And when Our Clear Verses are recited to them, you will notice a denial on the faces of the disbelievers! They are nearly ready to attack with violence those who recite Our Verses to them. Say: "Shall I tell you of something worse than that? The Fire (of Hell) which Allah has promised to those who disbelieve, and worst indeed is that destination!") Al-Haj 72
Islam Cannot Be Compromised
Many Muslims live in western countries and they know very well that they have to compromise their religion in order for them not to run into trouble with the Kafir law. Kafir governments do not mind if you pray day and night or build a mosque at every corner or perform Hajj every year. But the minute you talk about Jihad, even Jihad al-Daf’a (defensive Jihad) you become a terrorist. They do not mind having millions of Muslims on their soil as long as they practice the western form of Islam, compromised Islam that is. Muslim women in France and Holland, and soon, in other western places, are being forced to give up their Hijab/khimar/Niqab. Muslim families living in western countries send their female children to coop (mixed) schools where boys and girls sit in the same classroom together all day. Is that Islam? The kafir systems control what you can and cannot read, write, say, teach, or do. The kafir systems will not allow anyone to practice true Islam. But Allah will not accept anything but true Islam. What a dilemma for those who cannot understand.
Hate Crimes Versus The Crime Not To Hate
If you live under kafir rules and try to practice or teach your children or others the Aqeedah of al-wala’a wal bara’a (love and hate for sake of Allah) you will be prosecuted for committing “hate crimes”. Al-wala’a wal bara’a is what Islam is all about; no Imaan is complete without it. So if you go along with the Kafir and keep your mouth shut you will end up committing the crime of not hating for sake of Allah. Which crime is easier to handle, a crime against Kafir people or a crime against Allah? Do not be fooled by anyone who tells you that it is enough to harbor in your heart hate for the kafir. This will be permitted only if you cannot migrate from where you are to a place where you can practice uncompromised Islam. Most if not all Muslims living in western countries are there because they do not want to give up the decent life they have and not because they cannot migrate.
So how else (other than physical confrontation) will Muslims be able to learn, practice, and preach the true and only accepted form of Islam, let alone spreading it outside of their communities?
Establishing Allah’s religion on the entire earth is big responsibility that requires enormous sacrifice, preparation, energy, money, etc. Therefore, Allah made it (accepting that responsibility) an integral part of embracing Islam. By embracing Islam, we are signing a business transaction with Allah. The details of this business transaction are spelled out in Taubah 111:
(Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their properties; for the price that theirs shall be the Paradise. They fight in Allah's Cause, so they kill (others) and are killed. It is a promise in truth which is binding on Him in the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) and the Qur'an. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded. That is the supreme success) Taubah 111
The Verse above is very serious indeed. It states the relationship between Allah and the Believers. The Verse started with a verb in the past tense form. This means that the transaction has been consummated. The terms of this transaction are as follows:
Seller: The Believers
Goods: The seller’s person, property, money, and everything he/she possesses
Payment Due Date: Upon delivery of goods
Means of Delivery: Jihad, fighting, getting killed or killing Kuffar
Allah has fulfilled his end of the bargain. Have we? Each and every one of us ought to ask himself, “Have I honored my agreement with Allah?” If the answer is no, isn’t fair to question our state of Imaan?
There's lots more in the article. If it hadn't been written by a Muslim I would have thought that anyone quoting verses like these would be a anti-Muslim fanatic who is taking them out of context.
The author writes similar articles regularly for JUS, and I have yet to find any "moderate Muslim" willing to debunk his arguments.
The serious question is - can they? Is there a way to read these verses (and I didn't list them all by any means) and interpret them in ways that disagree with al-Hijazee's thesis?
If any Muslim can point to an article that shows how al-Hijazee is wrong, I will link to it.