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 makes 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.
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’ (2:256)
Sword of the Intellect
It is the sword of intellect. The sword that conquers the hearts and minds of people as seen in the following verse:
‘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.’ (16:125)
Islam is the fastest growing religion in America and Europe
Today the fastest growing religion inAmericais Islam. The fastest growing religion inEuropein Islam. Which sword is forcing people in the West to accept Islam in such large numbers?
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?
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 cross road’:
‘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.’
Views of 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.’
Muslims ruled Spain for 800 years
Muslims ruledSpainfor about 800 years. The Muslims inSpainnever used the sword to force the people to convert. Later the Christian Crusaders came toSpainand wiped out the Muslims. There was not a single Muslim inSpainwho could openly give the adhan, that is the call for prayers.
14 million Arabs are Coptic Christians
Muslims were the lords ofArabiafor 1400 years. For a few years the British ruled, and for a few years the French ruled. Overall, the Muslims ruledArabiafor 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.
More than 80% non-Muslims in India
The Muslims ruledIndiafor about a thousand years. If they wanted, they had the power of converting each and every non-Muslim ofIndiato Islam. Today more than 80% of the population ofIndiaare non-Muslims. All these non-Muslim Indians are bearing witness today that Islam was not spread by the sword.
Indonesia and Malaysia
Indonesiais a country that has the maximum number of Muslims in the world. The majority of people inMalaysiaare Muslims. May one ask, ‘Which Muslim army went toIndonesiaandMalaysia?’