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How Did Islam Spread: By Sword or By Conversion?

Sayyid Muhammad RizviThere can be no force in accepting Islam; Islam wants sincere believers, not hypocrites. By forced conversion, you only increase the numbers of hypocrites, not the number of true believers.

Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi“Islam is an evil religion.” “It promotes violence.” These are some common labels used against Islam by the rightwing Christian media. Such bias is based on the historical stereotype that the Arabs forced the non-Arabs into the Islamic faith. In the recent past, it was not uncommon to see books with drawings of an Arab riding his horse with sword in the one hand and the Qur’an in the other.

So let us see how Islam spread in the world: by sword or by conversion?

The Qur’anic Perspective

Let us first look at the issue of “conversion by force” from the Qur’anic perspective. The Qur’an is very clear on this issue of entering into the Islamic fold:

“There is no compulsion in religion; verily, the guidance has become clear from the error. So whosoever rejects the idol and believes in God, he has laid hold onto the most firm rope which will not break; God is All-hearing, All-knowing.” (2:256)

There can be no force in accepting Islam; Islam wants sincere believers, not hypocrites. By forced conversion, you only increase the numbers of hypocrites, not the number of true believers.

The Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him and his progeny) has also been mentioned as a reminder, not as a person who forces Islam upon others: “Therefore, you remind (them), for you are only a reminder; you are not a watcher over them.” (88:21-22)

In many other verses, the Prophet is described as “a bearer of good news” and as “a warner of God’s punishment”. (2:119, 34:28) His role was just to remind the people of their natural instinct of believing in God. As the first verse explained, force is not needed because the right way is clearly distinct from the crooked way.

The Prophet’s Example

The life of the Prophet Muhammad may be divided into two parts: (a) first thirteen years of the Prophet’s mission in Mecca, and (b) the last eleven years of his life in Medina.

In Mecca

The first thirteen years of the Prophet’s mission passed in Mecca. He and the Muslims were a minority in Mecca, so force was inconceivable and a historical impossibility. It was persecution that forced him to migrate from Mecca to Medina.

In Medina

The last eleven years, the Prophet lived in Medina. The majority of the people of Medina –belonging to the tribes of Aws and Khazraj – had accepted Islam prior to the Prophet’s migration to the city. Obviously, this acceptance or conversion of the people of Medina could not have been achieved by force! The Prophet and his followers in Mecca had no means to physically convert the people of Medina. Islam spread in Medina through propagation only.

Once he settled in Medina, the Prophet realized that there was a minority Jewish community in that city that had no inclination to accept Islam. He met them and invited them to a pact with the Muslims so that each religious group in Medina knew its rights and obligations. The relevant part of the charter reads as follows:

“The Jews who enter into this covenant shall be protected from all insults and vexations; they shall have an equal right as our own people to our assistance and good offices. The Jews of the various branches of ‘Aws, Najjar, Harith, Jashim, Tha’labah, Aws, and all others domiciled in Yathrib (i.e. Medina) shall form with the Muslims one composite nation.

“They shall practice in their religion as freely as the Muslims.

“The clients and allies of the Jews shall enjoy the same security and freedom. The guilty shall be pursued and punished. The Jews shall join the Muslims in defending Yathrib (i.e. Medina) against all enemies. The interior of Yathrib shall be a sacred place for all who accept this Charter. The clients and allies of the Muslims and of the Jews shall be as respected as the principals.”

This clearly shows that the Prophet did not force people to accept Islam; rather, he promoted peaceful coexistence with followers of other faiths.

The Wars during the Prophet’s Time

What about the battles that the Prophet Muhammad fought after he established his political power in Medina? Was that for the purpose of imposing Islam upon others?

Let us briefly look at the major battles of that era:

2 AH: The Battle of Badr

Muslims confronted the Meccan forces at Badr – 80 miles from Medina, and 200 miles from Mecca. The location and the circumstances are quite clear that the Meccan infidels were the aggressors.

3 AH: The Battle of Uhud

Named after a mountain just outside Medina. Meccans came to extract revenge for the defeat in Badr.

5 AH: The Battle of Ahzab (or Khandaq)

The Meccan unbelievers, in alliance with the Jews of northern Arabia, came to attack the Muslims in Medina.

6 AH: The Peace Treaty of Hudaybiyya

In the sixth year after the Prophet’s migration, accompanied by Muslims, he decided to go for pilgrimage to Mecca. The infidels prevented the Muslims from entering the city of Mecca. After lengthy negotiations, both parties signed a peace treaty for the term of ten years.

The implications of this peace treaty were very far-reaching:

Firstly, until the signing of this treaty, the Muslims were mostly busy in defending themselves against the Meccans (their external enemies) and the Jews (their internal enemies).

Secondly, only after the signing of this treaty did the Muslims feel safe and secure enough to travel to regions and countries outside Medina. The peace treaty gave Muslims the opportunity to start an organized campaign to propagate Islam among surrounding tribes and countries.

Thirdly, from the sixth year of the Prophet’s migration to the ninth year, so much propagation and missionary work had occurred that almost the entire Arabian Peninsula came into the fold of Islam – without the force of sword! As a result, the ninth year is known as Aamul Wufud – the Year of Delegations: because many delegations of Arab tribes were coming to Medina to declare their acceptance of Islam.

9 AH: Conquest of Mecca

Only when the Meccans violated the conditions of the peace treaty did the Muslims take over the city of Mecca without bloodshed – thereafter, in 9 AH, Mecca was declared a holy city where idol-worshipping was forbidden.

Even then, the idol-worshippers of Mecca were given four months’ grace period to stay and study Islam. If they were still not convinced of Islam’s message, then they were to be asked to leave the holy territory of Mecca. (See the Qur’an, 9:3)

Two Phases of Prophet Muhammad’s Life

First Phase: Meccan era of the first 13 years. He was in a minority, and so force not possible.

Second Phase: Medinese era of the last 11 years of his life. 1st to 6th year: defending against the aggression of the Meccan forces and their allies. 7th to 9th year: propagation and outreach to others resulting in conversion of almost the entire Arabian Peninsula.

In all such cases, we see that neither sword nor force was used to convert people to Islam. Especially for the Jews and the Christians – whom Islam recognizes as Ahlul Kitab, the People of the Scriptures – Islam guaranteed them freedom of their faith and religious practices under Islamic rule.

The Conquests after the Prophet

After the death of the Prophet Muhammad, the Muslims gradually conquered Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Iran.

During the reign of Abu Bakr, Iraq was conquered in 633 CE. During the reign of Umar ibn al-Khattab, Syria was conquered in 635 CE, Palestine in 637 CE, Egypt in 642 CE, and also two-thirds of Persia was conquered. The rest of Persia was conquered during the reign of Uthman bin Affan.

Many historians look at the conquests of the rulers who came after the Prophet as a proof of “conversion by force to Islam”. However, we have a different perspective on these conquests made by Muslims after the Prophet’s death. It is true that Muslims conquered these neighboring lands and countries, but does that mean that Islam, the religion, was spread by force?

The confusion arises when writers and historians interpret the expansion of the Muslim/Arab Empire as the expansion of Islam, the religion.

It is undeniable that the Muslim/Arab Empire spread by military force all over the Middle East; but this did not automatically translate into the spread of Islam as a religion.

Ira M. Lapidus in his A History of Islamic Societies writes:

“The question of why people convert to Islam has always generated intense feeling. Earlier generations of European scholars believed that conversions to Islam were made at the point of the sword and that conquered peoples were given the choice of conversion or death. It is now apparent that conversion by force, while not unknown in Muslim countries, was in fact rare. Muslim conquerors ordinarily wished to dominate rather than convert, and most conversions to Islam were voluntary.”

In the majority of cities, the inhabitants continued to follow their own religions. The Muslim conquerors signed treaties guaranteeing to the conquered people the freedom to practice their religion as long as they paid the required tribute to the caliph’s treasury.

The late Marshall Hodgson, in his famous book The Venture of Islam, says: “There was no attempt at converting the peoples of the imperial territories, who practically all adhered to some form of confessional religion already…In the chiefly non-Arab agricultural lands, the object was not conversion but rule…The superiority of Islam as religion, and therefore in providing for social order, would justify Muslim rule: would justify the simple, fair-dealing Muslims in replacing the privileged and oppressive representatives of the older, corrupted allegiances…”

Ira M. Lapidus writes the following in earlier quoted book A History of Islamic Societies: “The second principle…was that the conquered populations should be as little disturbed as possible. This means that the Arab-Muslims did not, contrary to reputation, attempt to convert people to Islam. Muhammad had set the precedent of permitting Jews and Christians in Arabia to keep their religions, if they paid tribute; the Caliphate extended the same privileges to Middle Eastern Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians, whom they considered ‘People of the Book,’ the adherents of earlier written revelations…”

Indeed, I have no hesitation in saying that some Muslim rulers actually preferred that the conquered citizens follow their old religion in order to ensure the flow of desired revenue into their treasuries! They were not in the business of promoting or spreading the Islamic faith.

Examples from Muslim History

History provides sufficient proof that the Muslim empires were spread by military might, but that does not necessarily translate into the spread of Islam by force too.

Look at the example of India: Muslims ruled India for about 800 years, but there never was a Muslim majority in that country. The numbers themselves show that force was not part of the spread of Islam in that region.

A prominent Indian historian and journalist, Dr. Khuswant Singh, in his A History of the Sikhs, has discussed about the early days of Islam in India. He clearly states that Islam was spread in India not by the Muslim rulers but by the Muslim spiritual masters and missionaries

Study the history of the Far East, and you will see that a Muslim army or navy never set its feet in Malaysia or Indonesia. However, population-wise Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world. Islam spread there only through Muslim traders and missionaries. Lapidus mentions three theories to explain the acceptance of Islam in the Far East: the role of merchants, the importance of the missionaries, and the value of Islam to the common people rather than to the ruling elites. It was through the character and behavior of the Muslim traders that the Indonesians were first attracted to Islam.

Similar situations in the spread of Islam are recorded for the African continent.

Look at the last Muslim empire, the Ottoman Empire. It was ruled by a Turkish caliph and was governed by the millet system, a multi-religious, multi-cultural society. Ottoman Empire dominated vast region of Christian land in Eastern Europe, but it never forced its Christian citizens to convert to Islam; they were given the right to govern their own lives according to their own religious traditions. Look at Greece, a neighbor of Turkey, that was colonized by Muslim Turks for about 500 years, but you never hear or see of a sizeable minority of Muslims among the Greeks, even today.

If we were to compare the attitude of the Muslim rulers towards the minorities living under their rule during the nineteenth century – with the attitude of the Europeans and the Americans towards their minorities – I dare to say that the record of the Muslims would be much better. Professor Davison, a prominent historian of the Ottoman Empire, writes, “It might in fact have been argued that the Turks were less oppressive of their subject people than were Prussians of the Poles, the English of the Irish, or the Americans of the Negroes…There is evidence to show that in this period [i.e., late 19th century], there was emigration from independent Greece into the Ottoman Empire, since some Greeks found the Ottoman government a more indulgent master [than their own Greek government].” [6]

Islam faces a very formidable enemy in form of the biased media in Europe and the Americas. But look at the growth and spread of Islam in the West. In spite of all the hurdles, it is one of the fastest growing religions in the United States of America. It already has a strong presence in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. This speaks volumes about how this religion has spread and is spreading even now.

The Path of Future

Muslims in the West must realize that the strongest response to the biased media is their own behavior and character. If they portray the correct Islamic conduct in their daily lives, then their neighbors, their co-workers, and those who know them will not believe in the negative portrayal of Islam in the media.

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) said, “Call the people towards Islam without using your tongue.”

That is, not by words but by actions – your behavior at home, at the workplace, and in the community should be a means of defending and portraying the true image of Islam.

This article originally appeared on Al-Islam.org and is an expanded version of a talk given on the “Islam in Focus” TV program of May 2002.

About Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi

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  • Ali K

    This is an important article that every muslim should read in order to help in their debates or arguments with others.

  • a

    this is an important topic. I highly recommend people read The Spread of Islam by A. Ezzati – http://www.islamic-college.ac.uk/Research/SpreadOfIslam.html

  • Joe

    Ok, this article ignores evidence of forced conversion in which infidels would be killed anyway, but if they happen to convert then all was forgiven. Even if we concede that, I don’t see how “domination” and extorion of dhimis is anything to be proud of.

  • SM

    What evidence?

    And there was no extortion of dhimmis. They were required to pay the Jizya, but that is because they were exempted from Zakat and Khums (which Muslims had to pay) and were not required to partake in battle (which Muslims were).

  • Baqer

    Excellent article explaining wisely the right mode of expansion of Islam – may Allah(SWT) Bless
    you and Guide us in performing our duties/actions in the right manner(Ameen).

  • Joseph

    Why did Muslims invade and conquer other peoples?

  • Mia.

    Why did Christians invade and conquer other nations? It is blatant ignorance that leads you to single out Muslims as the only ‘group’ in the world to have ever conquered nations. I suggest you go back and study history without a prejudiced eye, and while you’re at it, read the article again. Its whole purpose was to provide an answer to your question, and if you’re determined enough to continue singeling out Islam and Muslims as the ‘bad people’, then there is no point for your comments whatsoever. It is just as easy to put any religion in the same light in which you put Islam and its followers – so instead of wasting your time attempting to prove a flawed premise, I suggest you find the definition for religious tolerance.

  • jade

    women are treated with distain and regarded as lesser human beings.Yet they are your mother,sister and wife.they are beaten and treated like dogs.we do not accept that kind of treatment nor do we allow it in our country.

  • also known as .

    Jade, YOU are the one showing disdain to Muslim women when you assume that they are helpless and there is no respect for them. Muslim women have even been elected leaders of governments in many countries. Yes, there are bad places, but you can’t say that they represent the norm or in all honesty that men have it much better. In those places where women are denied education, for example, men often are denied it also.

    There are all sorts of people out there in the world, some of them abusers, some of them not. It is a human problem, not a Muslim problem. You should be less prejudiced and keep an open mind, it does you no good to be so angry. 🙂

  • learn

    First of all, the word is “disdain”. Secondly, the treatment you described has nothing to do with Islam, if that is what you were trying to imply.

  • reactor

    Ultimately this is an inference. History will always be biased, and can be spin any way to prove what ever you want.

    The fact is it did spread. At an unprecedented rate. I somehow doubt, the muslims just walked in, and everyone became muslim.

    Why on earth would they want to conquer anyways? Ive read Karen Armstrongs idea that it was part of their culture, and used to keep the foundling nation together. This is the most sweeping under the carpet statement Ive heard.

    Added to the fact that the citizens who werent muslims, could not get positions of power, had to pay a tax, it seems that if they werent forced, it at least made sense to them economically.

    Ultimately Islam has no answer to this, even when reading a book like Milestones by Qutb, the one story of the Roman leader being offered the freedom of slavery to go towards the slavery of Allah?

  • RE: reactor

    If what you are saying is true, then how do you explain the rate at which Islam is spreading in North America? And what about the example of Indonesia as the scholar mentioned in his article? You should read the book A History of Islamic Societies by Ira Lapidus. I’m not sure why you are looking to Sayyid Qutb for an answer to such a question, given that he was a philosopher, not a historian.. 😮

  • arshan

    😀 may the almighty god ”ALLAH” put in the words of wisdom to those who are anti muslim…

  • huh?

    The confusion arises when writers and historians interpret the expansion of the Muslim/Arab Empire as the expansion of Islam, the religion.

    Who is confused here? So expansion of Arab Empire i.e. arab’s colonialism should not be interpreted as the expansion of Islam the religion? Give me a break.

    So why is it that everyone is all islamic countries like to portray the West as being Christian countries?????

    This is a very stupid article written by an apologist.

    If we were to compare the attitude of the Muslim rulers towards the minorities living under their rule during the nineteenth century – with the attitude of the Europeans and the Americans towards their minorities – I dare to say that the record of the Muslims would be much better.

    Is this a joke? Muslim rulers’ attitude towards minorities was better? What do you call the tax that you charge non-believers i.e. jews and christians? It is spelt J I Z Y A!

    What about the first holocaust carried out against the Armenian by the moslem Turks? Didn’t happen right?

    • najafi110

      The Arab empires were only concerned about their financial and political gain. They didn’t care about religion. Many of the so-called caliphs drank alcohol, committed adultery, and openly violated basic tenets of Islam. They cannot be considered Muslims by any definition. If you read their history, spreading Islam was the least of their concerns!

      Who says that Muslim countries consider Western nations to be “Christian countries”? Muslims are actually well aware that the West has all but abandoned religion, which explains its moral depravities. Furthermore, just because people in Muslim countries “like to portray” that doesn’t mean it is true.

      In regards to your second claim, do you even know what Jizya is? This was a tax that non-Muslims had to pay, and as a result, they weren’t required to serve in the army or pay any other taxes. Meanwhile, Muslims were required to serve in the army as well as pay a tax proportional to their income (i.e. the Zakah). 

      Thirdly, yes, government in Muslim countries throughout history have done a lot of evil things. But as the respected author said, most of these pale in comparison to what the West has done. Regardless of how many people were killed in the Armenian genocide, it doesn’t come close to how many people Hitler killed during WWII.. 😐

      • huh?

        I totally agree with your first paragraph.

        The fact that they did not try to convert them means that the imperialist government was relying on the the tax to enrich themselves hence they charged the tax excessively. If they convert all of them to Islam then no more tax to levy!

        It is really interesting that you have minimised the Armenian holocaust by comparing it to Hitler’s holocaust.

        If you want to know the connection between Islam and Nazism please go here http://www.shoaheducation.com/muslimnazi.html

        • najafi110

          I am not trying to minimize the Armenian holocaust, I am simply defending the author’s statement: “If we were to compare the attitude of the Muslim rulers towards the minorities living under their rule during the nineteenth century – with the attitude of the Europeans and the Americans towards their minorities – I dare to say that the record of the Muslims would be much better.”

          The myth of the Palestinian-Nazi connection has been debunked time and again. And even if it is true, what are you trying to prove?

          • huh?

            I merely pointed out to you in my previous reply that I don’t agree with the author’s statement that “If we were to compare the attitude of the Muslim rulers towards the minorities living under their rule during the nineteenth century – with the attitude of the Europeans and the Americans towards their minorities – I dare to say that the record of the Muslims would be much better.”

            To which I’ve given you the Armenian Holocaust as an example.

            It was you who made the comparison between the Armenian Holocaust with Hitler’s and I simply gave you an article about the involvement of moslems with Nazism.

            Debunked? So, the pictures have been doctored, hey?

  • huh?

    As the saying goes, “Islam was not saved except through Ali’s sword and Khadija’s wealth.”

    The above is from another article from this same site:


    Can Mr. Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi please explain what it means by the above saying?

    If islam was spread by peaceful conversion what was the sword for?

    • najafi110

      SAVED, not spread!

      • huh?

        So how did Ali ‘save’ Islam by sword? How old are you najafi110?

        By converting other people by the point of a sword or by persuasion.

        The fact is that Muhammad had only 72 followers including his family members when he was in Mecca.

        He moved to Medina and commanded his followers to raid caravans and the jewish tribes that he managed to strenghten his army and earned war booty!

        That is the history of the spead of Islam during the life time of your Prophet, not through voluntary conversion!

        • najafi110

          Why does it matter how old I am?

          Ali [as] saved Islam with his sword by defending the infant religion against attacks by the pagan Arabs. There is a difference between defensive and offensive warfare. Islam only permits defensive warfare.

          Who said Muhammad [saww] only had 72 followers when he migrated to Medina? Which caravans and Jewish tribes did he allow his followers to raid? Please provide some evidence when making such silly claims! 😀

          • huh?
          • najafi110

            LOL when I asked for sources, I meant academic sources! You want me to take seriously material from sites like “faithfreedom” written by known Islamophobes and hate-mongers who take events and narrations out of context and make up falsehoods? Give me a break!

          • huh?

            Islamophobes and hate-mongers who take events and narrations out of context and make up falsehoods?

            FYI, the site was set up by ex-moslems, the site does not promote hatred towards moslems, it is anti Islam and I am aware of it.

            What about the other website?

            Academic sources? If I provide you with sources which don’t support the traditional view, you will say that they are biased, as you won’t accept criticisms of your own religion so I guess this discussion is pointless.

          • najafi110

            The other website is similarly filled with nonsense. The arguments presented on such forums are no different from the garbage that the West has been spewing about Islam for 1400 years now. The vernacular might have changed, but it’s still the same rehashed arguments — Islam promotes violence (vs. Christianity being “peaceful”), Islam oppresses women (vs. the West “liberates” women), Islam’s Prophet married a lot of women (vs. the celibate Jesus), etc. Say what you want, Islam is still the fastest growing religion in the world and in the West. So-called “ex-Muslims” have been used by the West to delegitimize Islam for centuries now, but the fraudulent nature of most such characters becomes evident very quickly. (See for example: http://www.alternet.org/immigration/146797/christian_right%27s_favorite_muslim_convert_exposed_as_jihadi_fraud )

            There are plenty of academic sources that present a balanced view of Islam. Why does academic necessarily have to imply “critical”? And just because something is critical doesn’t make it academic. You seem to unfortunately lack basic awareness about Islam, so I would recommend you to Karen Armstrong’s Islam: A Short History.

            Peace! 🙂

          • huh?

            You have recommended Karen Armstrong hey and you call her work research and balanced?

            Armstrong is one white woman who is an apologist for Islam based on what I have read on the net.

            Unfortunately you have confirmed my suspecion that anything critical about your religion is unacceptable to you.

            It is interestigng that you have said that those ex-moslems have been used by the west to delegitimise Islam, by inference you believe in conspiracy theory.

            It is a stupid mentality of victimhood, please GROW UP!

            So Islam is still the fastest growing religion in the world and in the west, care to give us your proof on this claim???

          • huh?

            One more thing, just because the books are critical doesn’t mean that they are not correct afterall they are based on the Koran and Hadith unless you also say that they are not correct either like some moslems have suggested that the hadith were corrupted i.e. the Submitters.

          • najafi110

            What do you mean “based” on Quran and Hadith? People have “based” all sorts of nonsense on the Quran, the Bible, etc. Usama bin Laden’s interpretation of Islam is also “based” on the Quran, but it doesn’t make it right.

            With all due respect, I don’t think you know too much about Islam and are just following whatever propaganda you come across on the internet/media. You don’t seem to have even a basic understanding about many of these topics; otherwise, you would know that ALL Muslims (not just “Submitters”, whoever they are..) believe there are at least some segments of Hadith (which means sayings and examples of the Prophet Muhammad [saww] and his Household [as]) which have been definitely corrupted through history.

            This is why I referred you to Karen Armstrong’s work. If you are looking for the truth, then who cares what the “internet” says about her? You seem like an intelligent individual, so read her book and see for yourself! If you are so sure that she is an apologetic, you should be able to see right through it! 🙂

            And no, your inference is not correct. Just look at that link and go read about this so-called “ex-Muslim” (Ergun Caner) and how the right-wing fundamentalists have been using him to delegitimize Islam.

            Here is evidence about Islam being the fastest-growing religion in the world: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2007/05/13/the_list_the_worlds_fastest_growing_religions

            And for Europe: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4385768.stm

          • huh?

            Usama bin Laden’s interpretation of Islam is also “based” on the Quran, but it doesn’t make it right.

            Who are you to judge that Osama is wrong? As far as I am aware not ONE Islamic Mullahs from Iran or any important Islamic figures from anywhere in the world has said that at all. Are you suggesting that they are all wrong?

            In relation to your second paragraph. You don’t know me personally but you sound too patronising, I know as much about Islam as anyone on the street!

            I have not mentioned about Ergun Caner and I am aware of him and his brother, you may be right in relation to those two but I can say the same thing about the ex christian converts e.g. Lauren Booth, Cat Stevens.

            If I am looking for the truth I would not be reading a book from an apologist, that would be idiotic. Your suggestion seems to be illogical don’t you think? She is a well known biased person for god sake. It is like if you want to buy a computer and you ask Bill Gates as to what OS to get.

            Isn’t it strange that you have criticised me for previously providing you evidence from sites such as FFI and the religion of peace and yet your evidence is from the media which provide no statistics at all. That is double standard!

          • huh?

            Interestingly though, the fastness of the growth is due to birth rate and not conversion! Also, in Islamic countries apostasy is punishable by death, and any proselytising by other religions is punishable by death as well so do you think if there is freedom to convert, Islam will still be the fastest growing religion?

            Can I ask you something? Have you yourself read your Koran and Hadith? If you have then how do you know which hadith are corrupted and which aren’t? Some people have said that in the Koran the earlier Meccan verses have been abrogated by the Medinan verses, but some people have said that is not the case. So how do you reconcile the peaceful verses of the Meccan with the violence Medinan verses?

          • huh?

            “LOL when I asked for sources, I meant academic sources” remember?

            Btw, to my knowledge Karen Armstrong is not an academic, so if this is the case then your suggestion for me to read her book is laughable!

          • Mohammad Ali

            Just because the site is run by “ex-Muslims” does not mean they are knowledgeable about the religion. In fact, they most likely aren’t! 😛

          • huh?

            You are absolutely correct!

            The same thing can be said about this site, just because it is run by moslems doesn’t mean they are knowledgeable about their religions. 😡

          • Mohammad Ali

            Well, they all sound very knowledgeable to me so far! 😛

          • huh?

            Of course, what more can I say!

  • Indian

    Oh Come on. Come to India and see. All prominent Indian religious places have a mosque standing on top of it. And if haven’t read the Indian history correctly, just get any book and read about Aurangzeb, how he forced conversion on Indian people and how who refused conversion to Islam were subject to brutal murders involving boiling in large cups of Oil.
    Also, help me understand, how the countries except India(which has way-way large population to be converted) have 100% conversion rates to Islam wherever Islamic raiders went.
    Also how and why Parsee were driven out of Iran, the land they belong ?

    I am sure somewhere the sword would have been involved.

    I am not sure about other places, but when you mention India, get your facts correct. Mr Khushwant Singh is highly revered writer, but he is not the authority of Indian History.

    • najafi110

      Aurangzeb did a lot of terrible things, but frying people in oil to convert them to Islam is a pure myth. And Islam was flourishing in South Asia LONG before the first Muslim armies arrived, thanks to the work of personalities such as Abdullah Shah Ghazi, as well as merchants and traders from the Arab world. No, Islam did not have a 100% conversion rate everywhere Muslim armies went; Spain is just one example of this.

      • huh?

        Hi Indian

        I read yesterday an article by PN Oaks who says that the Taj Mahal was originally an Indian temple. His explanations seem to make sense to me. What do you think?

    • also known as .

      Here are a few countries where Muslims conquered territories where the population is NOT 100% Muslim:


      These countries have, at the very least, huge non-Muslim minorities.

      And this argument that Muslims have built on top of all other people’s religious sites is very silly. Does the Ganges River, arguably Hinduism’s most holy site, have a mosque interfering with Hindu devotion? No, of course not. This is all the more ironic considering India has illegally occupied Kashmir for decades, a Muslim majority area that should have gone to Pakistan as agreed upon.

      • huh?

        And this argument that Muslims have built on top of all other people’s religious sites is very silly.

        Really? What about, the big church in Byzantium Hagia Sophia? Doesn’t count? What about the Dome of the Rock on the Jewish temple in Jerusalem?


        These countries have, at the very least, huge non-Muslim minorities.

        Huge? What a contradiction in words! How can minority be huge? The non moslem minorities in Egypt and Indonesia are being persecuted by the moslem majority.

        • huh?

          Malaysia and Indonesia are not moslem conquered territories as far as I know.

          If by conquer you mean invasion by external moslem forces, I have yet to read this.

          My suspecion is the conversions were done originally by missionaries and when the local rulers converted to Islam then they invaded the neighbouring kingdoms to convert the population i.e. conversion by swords.

          I have never learned this version at school as this version would be unthinkable to be presented to students.

        • also known as .

          Haha, you’re really stuck now! 😛 A minority can be huge, there’s no contradiction there, that’s just you using weasel words.

          And this argument about Hagia Sophia is just silly. In case you forgot, you were speaking about India, not Turkey! And how is this just a Muslim thing? Look at how the Cordoba Mosque in Spain has been turned into a church. Muslims can’t even pray their discreetly anymore.

          There is also the whole case of Serbs ethnically cleansing Bosnian and Albanian Muslims. It’s tragic that you seem to find buildings and parcels of land more important than the millions of Muslims who were killed at the hands of non-Muslims. That’s pretty shallow.

          Now I’ve caught you in a trap. 10% of a population is Christian in Indonesia, one of the most densely populated Muslim countries. Yet you say it was not invaded. India, which you claim is an example of Islamic intolerance has a Hindu majority, and a Muslim minority that is bigger than Pakistan’s population. You keep talking about 100% conversions and intolerance where ever Muslims go, which flies in the face of facts.

          If Muslims are more highly concentrated in Malaysia and India where there were no invaders than India, that doesn’t say much for this conversions coming at the end of sword! At this point, your argument has been completely debunked as illogical.

          • huh?

            You don’t seem to know much about history but you are trying to lecture everyone about history, really sad!

            You haven’t caught me in any trap as you were talking to a different person.

            As for you second last and last paragraph, you are absolutely talking nonsense!

            India was invaded by moslem forces, read the history on the net!

            As for Indonesia and possibly Malaysia, read my earlier comments.

            Do you know that the Islam in Indonesia has been blended with pagan rituals of the country e.g. animism, hinduism and bhuddism?

          • huh?

            sorry, correction
            pagan rituals of the country e.g. animism and with other religions e.g. hinduism and bhuddism?

          • also known as .

            “Huh” I know you’re not the same as “Indian” but if you’re going to agree with him/her, you deserve the same smackdown. Are you that dumb not to be aware of this? 😀

            So if India was invaded by “Moslem” (sic) forces and Muslims convert everyone to Islam where ever they invade, why are Muslims a minority in India then? Is your answer that the Muslims there and elsewhere like in Indonesia and Malaysia were not real Muslims or followers of Islam because they didn’t force everyone to be like them?

            You’re a class-A idiot. No, let me be more clear. You and Indian are class-A idiots. Better now? 8)

          • huh?

            minority can be huge .. hmm must be a new definition then 😡

            You can’t be very bright if you are not aware that you were talking to a different person!

            Cordoba mosque was a Christian Church before it was converted into a mosque, please read it at Wikipedia!

            Muslims can’t even pray their discreetly anymore.

            Do you think that Christians were allowed to pray at the Ayasofya Mosque? You must be deluded!

          • huh?

            Read about the story of the conflict in the Balkans both sides commited attrocities and yet you chose to ignore the moslems’ part!

            Who do you think liberated the moslems, their fellow moslems? It was the Americans who rescued the moslems and did they get any appreciation from them?

            I have not been caught in any trap as you were talking to a different person!

          • also known as .

            Are you kidding me? Any group less in population than the majority is considered a minority. What kind of education are you getting in Indonesia anyway

            All you do is look at bad things Muslims have done and ignore what good they have done. You just have an agenda to insult Muslims.

          • huh?

            No, you are the one with double standards here, as per my post before you have whitewashed the atrocities committed by moslems and you have accused me that I only look at the bad things moslems have done and ignore the good things.

            Well show me the evidence from what I have said so far!

            You only want to accept a version which shows that moslems are good people and when I pointed out that is not always the case you started accusing me of having an agenda to insult moslems.

            That is childish!

          • huh?

            Thanks old man for your wise comments.

            When you have run out of answers, you have resorted to name calling and here again is the proof and you want the admin to ban me? What a joke.

            You have never ignored anything, yeah right. You need a lot of growing up to do it seems to me.

            I will not respond to your childish comments after this, so good bye, sayonara, hasta la vista, ciao, auf wiedersehen, au revoir, selamat tingggal.

  • jesyl

    indonesia and malaysia were not ‘conquered’. they converted. there was a hindu rajah from lahore who ruled. he converted and many people did too. this is the reason that even today, the island of bali remains hindu. bali is a resort for westerners for this reason.

    • huh?


      please refrain from making comments about something that you don’t know about!

      If you want to comments on something that you are not sure please use the words I believe or I think or as far as I am aware, so everyone knows that you are not sure!

      Where is your proof about your comment that Indonesia and Malaysia were converted? No Indonesian historian that I am aware of has ever conducted any study on this topic!

      Do you think just because the ruler converted to Islam then automatically everyone will convert peacefully? Yeah right.

      To say that the island of Bali remains hindu shows your ignorance. There is moslem population there. I know because I live in Indonsia!

      Bali is a resort for westerners for this reason, what are you trying to say?

      For your information, Bali has become major tourist area due to its beauty, culture and people. Lombok which is another island next to Bali has been developed by the Indonesian government as a tourist location but it hasn’t been able to take off despite its beautiful areas (I haven’t been there but the beaches are beautiful from the pictures I have seen).

      My suspecion is that because the majority of the population of Lombok is moslems they are not too keen on having scantily clad tourists to be in their island, well that’s just my thought anyway.

      You see in Thailand where the population is predominantly bhuddist, their tourism is booming but you can’t say the same thing about Malaysia! that’s just my opinion.

      • huh?

        I was wondering why my comments have disappeared … hmm it seems that it has been deleted and as to the above post it has been edited!

        Strange, so this site is not going to show comments which are not in support of Islam?

        I have said at the end of my post above that as far as I know Islam in Indonesia is not even Islam as you know it as it is blended with paganism e.g. animism and other religions e.g. hinduism and bhuddism.

        Is that not acceptable in this forum?

        If it isn’t then sayonara, keep on living in the 7th century.

        • IslamicInsights

          That particular comment was removed because it contained inappropriate language. Your are welcome to re-post it without the offensive term (d*******) you used. No posts have been edited.

          • huh?

            sorry for using offensive term, do you even know what it means? It’s a slang for stupid so is stupid an offensive word?

            I have rewritten the comments as I don’t write my comments on words to then copy and past.

            Why don’t you inform the writer about the deleted comments?

          • also known as .

            Please ban this troll, he’s spamming the whole board with useless comments that are wasting space. Probably he’s the same guy as “curt” who got banned last week. 😀

      • also known as .

        What a ridiculous thing to say. You think tourism is not booming in Malaysia because it’s a Muslim country? There are a number of Muslim countries with plenty of tourism (Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Maldives, UAE, Turkey, etc). Then in other countries, there is something called religious tourism (Iran, Saudi, Syria, etc) and millions visit. These are also tourists.

        Please close your mouth and read a little more. The more you talk, the more you come across as a bigot.

        • huh?

          you should reread my comments slowly as your brain is incapable of reading long sentences.

          The post is about Bali and the main tourist attractions are the beaches then I compared it with Lombok the next island to Bali, Thailand and Malaysia (scantily clad tourists ring a bell???)

          • huh?

            One other thing, if you think that I have been spamming why do you bother answering my comments? So if I disagree with you, my comments were useless? 😡

  • huh?

    Yes ban me that would be too easy!

    It seems that the administrator is not as stupid as you. He can see whoever curt is, is not the same as me by looking at our ip addresses.

    Useless comments? Who are you to judge!

    I am actually amazed that this site has allowed me to write comments which are questioning the Islamic teachings. Kudos to the adminitrator for confounding the stereo typical Islamic website.

    • also known as .

      Flattery will get you nowhere. Don’t push your luck. You can question and criticize, but spamming the board is worthy of deletion.

      Incidentally, the New York Times ran the following story. As an Indonesian, you should read it, but I doubt you will.

      In part of Indonesia, Judaism is embraced:


      It’s pretty sad that you’re based in Indonesia but know next to nothing about Islam and Muslims. Maybe if you weren’t so aggressive people would actually respect your opinion! 🙄

      • huh?

        If you are the administrator then no doubt you will ban me!

        What has that article got anything to do with the main topic of how islam was spread by sword or conversion?

        Are you suggesting that I should kick up a stink about it? What for, because you don’t like the Jewish people?

        Next to nothing? Hmm I won’t even dignify that with an answer.

        Agressive, look pot calling kettle black.

        The topic of this thread is about how islam was spread, here is something you can think about:

        Muhammad himself said “I have been made victorious through terror.”

        Source: Bukhari 4:52.220

        How did he terrorise people, with His Koran?

        • nope

          Bukhari is not recognized as an authoritative source by most readers here. It is known to be full of fabrications and lies.

          • huh?

            But isn’t his hadith shahih?
            So which hadith do you consider as shahih then?

          • nope

            We don’t consider any of those major hadith collections to contain only “true”, “valid” ahadith – none of them are “sahih”. You have to apply hadith sciences to each one to understand its chain of narration, authority, etc. And a great many of them in those so-called sahih books are obvious fabrications and garbage.

          • huh?

            Is this a Shia website? Is that why you don’t believe in Bukhari?

  • nope

    Have you read the articles on this site? 😆
    No thinking person would believe that every hadith in Bukhari is valid. That is so obviously not the case.

  • PinkMuslimah

    assalamu `alaykum wa rahmatullah
    I have been wondering if the invasions of Iraq, Syria, Spain, etc. were valid under Islamic Law.

    It would be nice to see one of our `ulama also comment on the horrific gap between the treatment of minorities under early Islamic governments as compared to Muslim-dominated governments today.