The question “Was Islam Spread by The Sword?” was answered by Dr. Zakir Naik in the following points:
It is a common complaint among many non-Muslims that Islam would not be having 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 reason and logic that was responsible for the rapid spread of Islam.
1- Islam comes from the root word ‘salam’, which means peace. It also means submitting one’s will to Allah. Thus, Islam is a religion of peace, which is acquired by submitting one’s will to the will of the Supreme Creator, Allah.
2- Sometimes, force has to be used to maintain peace. Each and every human being in this world is not in favour of maintaining peace and harmony. There are many who would disrupt it for their own vested interests.
It is precisely for this reason that we have the police who use force against the criminal and anti-social elements to maintain peace in the country.
Islam promotes peace. At the same time, Islam exhorts it 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.
3- Historian De Lacy O’Leary gives the best reply to the misconception that Islam was spread by the sword:
“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.” (Islam at the crossroad, p. 8)
4- The Muslims ruled Spain for about 800 years. The Muslims 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 who could openly give the Adhan, that is the call for prayers.
5- Muslims were the lords of Arabia for 1400 years. For a few years, the British ruled, and for a few years the French ruled. Overall, the Muslims ruled Arabia for 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.
6- The Moghuls 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.
7- 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?”
8- 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.”
9- Even when Muslims won battles, they never forced the non-Muslims to accept Islam. The behaviour, brotherhood, honesty and justice of the Muslims and the universality and practical approach of Islam were the reasons for non-Muslims to accept Islam.
Islam spread a great extent by the Muslim traders and businessmen who spread in different parts of the world and whose behaviour impressed the non-Muslims.
10- Thomas Carlyle refers to this misconception about the spread of Islam on the following words:
“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 the whole, a thing will propagate itself as it can.’ (Heroes and Hero worship)
11- With which sword was Islam spread? Even if Muslims had the sword, they could not use it to spread Islam because the Quran says: “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error” (Al-Baqarah 2:256)
12- It is the sword of intellect. It is the sword that conquers the hearts and minds of the people. The Quran says: “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.”(An-Nahl 16:125)
13- An article in Readers 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%. Which war took place in this century, which converted millions of people to Islam?
14- 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?
15- Dr. Joseph Adam Pearson rightly says,
“People who worry that nuclear weaponry will one day fall in the hands of the Arabs, fail to realize that the Islamic bomb has been dropped already, “it fell the day Muhammad was born”.
Enjoy watching this short in which Dr. Zakir Naik refutes the claim that Islam was spread by the sword.
Source of the video: The Message Channel
Source of the answer: http://www.islamawareness.net
If you have a question about Islam and Muslims, please feel free to have a one-to-one live chat with us: