Islam: How was it spread?

James

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I would like to make this thread after some discussions I've read elsewhere, some reading I've been doing recently, and some documentaries I've seen. Hopefully it provokes an interesting discussion.

Basically we seem to have some people who believe Islam was spread by the sword, either during the Prophet Muhammad's [PBUH] lifetime or afterwards - this could be incisive theory, or it could be Western, skeptical, Orientalist - and we have others who believe it was spread through words, argument, peaceful methods, convincing prophethood.

We have some who deny Muhammad's [PBUH] revelations, we have others who include the Qur'an in their historicity of the time, and presumably for Muslims they would say the whole story represents Truth.

Personally I have no idea but would like to learn about the origins of Islam. I am embarrassingly ignorant of this period of history and also have only had the chance to so far study the basics of Islam, I am not a Muslim, so I open up the room.
 
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Advice your Sir Thomas W. Arnold's "The Preaching of Islam", a massive book which details the introduction of Islam by geographical area (that's what makes it less "academic"... or boring.)
Freely available in the e-galaxy:

http://archive.org/details/preachingofislam00arnouoft

Not found a better work on the said subject.
For those interested in India, it's the chapter 9 (pp. 208-242.)
 
Conquests?

Conquer the people first and rule them. Then over a period of time through missionaries and some harsh means convert the people.
 
Conquests?

Conquer the people first and rule them. Then over a period of time through missionaries and some harsh means convert the people.

Islam or for that matter any other religion, cannot be spread by force or by the sword

Islam results in submitting to Allah. How can you be classified as Muslim if you are submitting to force?
 
Conquests?

Conquer the people first and rule them. Then over a period of time through missionaries and some harsh means convert the people.
actually it was in the interest of the muslim rulers that their subjects remain non-muslim. when non-muslims converted to islam the revenues of the state decreased massively.
so what the first rulers from caliph Muawiya to Caliph Sulaiman did was to impose jizya on the converted muslims as well to decrease the conversions to islam(many people converted so that they would not have to pay jizya and were allowed to be a part of muslim armies)
When caliph Umar II came to power he removed the jizya on converted muslims resulting in the large numbers of peoples entering islam.

What is a fact is forceful conversions to islam were never the policy of any muslim state. this is proved by the fact that even after 2-3 centuries of the existence of the Muslim empire, the majority of the population in syria and iran remained non-muslim. egypt and iraq were the first provinces to have majority muslim population outside of Arabia and even that happened a century after the conquest of these two lands.

and missionary work is not a part of islam. we dont have missionaries. each muslim is supposed to convert a non-muslim by their actions and behaviour and not through words
 
In a bit of a hurry, so dont have time to come close to doing this topic justice, but I'll give you a brief run through of how things were documented to have gone down.

At the start Mohammad(PBUH) only preached to close friends and relatives, whilst the numbers were low..however as the circle expanded they grew more bold , and soon people were preaching the message openly. This of course led to a great deal of unrest in the society at large, the struggles and oppression faced by the small group of Muslims at the hand of the ruling Quraysh is well documented, this eventually led to the migration to Medinah.
The Prophet (PBUH) found his message much more well recieved by the Mediniites, and it spread fast. Eventually after continual expanding and 2 wars with the Quraysh , they made their triumphant return to Mecca , most tellingly not spilling any blood in the city (despite the brutality shown towards them by the Quraysh) sparing everyone save the Idols that had been built in the Kaaba, those were all Smashed and the Kaaba was reclaimed for the worship of One god.

After this the message continued to spread like wildfire, by word of mouth (through trading+messengers+travellers etc), as well as people in far off lands hearing of the exploits of these group of people and wishing to join them.
As the Islamic empire was established , you had oppressed people in far off places (such as the Jews under the Byzantines) hearing about the new message of tolerance and social justice that were the building blocks upon this vastly expanding empires, and heard a lot about how well minorities had been treated under this empire. These people actually personally invited the Muslims, to come and liberate them from their oppressors. These were the start of the Islamic conquests, there is no denying the Islamic empire was spread my military conquest, what empire wasnt? The key was that once they defeated their opponent and gained a land, the locals were given the freedom to practice their own religion in safety, luxuries they had not been afforded by previous ruling empires. A lot of the liberated Jews converted to Islam, whilst many more still were allowed to live peacefully under the muslims and practice their own religion freely. Expansion of the empire continued, however conversions initially were based not on force, but on the converting parties being wholly impressed by the manner in which their Muslim conquerors conducted themselves.
The further you got away from Muhammad (PBUH)s time period however, the more cases of forced conversions and intolerance you will get however.
I have left a great deal out , and provided a skeleton of a skeleton in terms of Ideas, however I hope this brief overview helps....may Allah forgive me for any mistakes I have made.
 
By force in most of the places in India . Religion like Sikhism would have never been established if the process of conversion to Islam was all peaceful in India .
 
actually it was in the interest of the muslim rulers that their subjects remain non-muslim. when non-muslims converted to islam the revenues of the state decreased massively.
so what the first rulers from caliph Muawiya to Caliph Sulaiman did was to impose jizya on the converted muslims as well to decrease the conversions to islam(many people converted so that they would not have to pay jizya and were allowed to be a part of muslim armies)
When caliph Umar II came to power he removed the jizya on converted muslims resulting in the large numbers of peoples entering islam.

Do you have a source for this? Doesn't seem plausible at all. Anyone who would have converted to Islam would have ended up qualifying for zakat instead.
 
By force in most of the places in India . Religion like Sikhism would have never been established if the process of conversion to Islam was all peaceful in India .

Took long enough for Sikhism to get started then (Muslims made an appearance in SA in around 700AD, Sikhism started in the 15th century).

Perhaps what you're suggesting is that initially the conversion was peaceful, that when it went contrary to the spirit of the religion and became more militant, then it resulted in the Sikhism movement to take root.
 
By force in most of the places in India . Religion like Sikhism would have never been established if the process of conversion to Islam was all peaceful in India .

Sikhism was mainly a reaction to the Mughals, not Islam ; don't confound the two, even if peoples in both countries usually do.

One of the folklore heroes of (both) Punjab(s) is actually ***** Bhatti, a Muslim who fought Akbar.
 
Sikhism was mainly a reaction to the Mughals, not Islam ; don't confound the two, even if peoples in both countries usually do.

One of the folklore heroes of (both) Punjab(s) is actually ***** Bhatti, a Muslim who fought Akbar.

I would go as far as saying that a part of Sikhism was a reaction to the Mughals - early Sikhism had nothing to do with the Mughals.
 
Castes like Brahmins were targetted by all Conquerers for conversion. When you take on a snake, always bitse its head. Most of Brahmin converts were forced to convert.

Low caste people and Dalits might have converted to escape untouchability.

Castes like Rajputs and other ruling castes converted to keep their kingdoms.

Don't know how true this is, but its from Wiki.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Hindus
 
You can convert a few hundred or thousand people by force but not millions. Islam was spread by example. As one of the Persian General during a battle sent his spies to Muslim camp at night to go and check what these Muslims are doing. These spies came back and told this General that these people are soldiers in the day and saints at night. They pray all the night and fight during the day. There is no difference between rich and poor among them. Their General is entitled to the same facilities as a normal soldier. A simple soldier's suggestions are heard with the same attention as the general's.

The point of this example was to show the high moral values which these early Muslims during the time of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and during the first century after his death held. They feared Allah in the truest sense of the word. When they stepped out of Arabia for the first conquest of Persia they were invited by the People of that area who were fed up of the ruthless rule of the Persian rulers since centuries. Persia was in turmoil at that time due to the Royal Palace infighting for the thorn. When Muslims arrived on the border of Persian empire they were received well by the local population and most of the civilians converted after impressed by the morals and conduct of the Muslim Army.

Same was the case when Muslim Armies entered the Eastern Byzantine Empire of Syria. This is true that battles took place both in Persia and Syria but this is totally a wrong notion that Islam was spread by force.
 
By force in most of the places in India . Religion like Sikhism would have never been established if the process of conversion to Islam was all peaceful in India .

if force was the only way then shouldnt majority of the population of india be muslim?
 
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Took long enough for Sikhism to get started then (Muslims made an appearance in SA in around 700AD, Sikhism started in the 15th century).

Perhaps what you're suggesting is that initially the conversion was peaceful, that when it went contrary to the spirit of the religion and became more militant, then it resulted in the Sikhism movement to take root.

Yes that is why i said in India , more so during the last 500 year period under the Muslim rulers till it lasted . I wasnt talking about how it was spread in most of Arabia , Africa , Indonesia , Malaysia .

I think the first Muslim converts in India were during the 9th century in Southern state of Kerala where Arabic traders used to come for business purposes and I believe whatever conversions took place during that period were more or less peaceful and by consent .

Things started getting violent when Militant Islamic rulers captured India a bit later on . Even among Muslim rulers some were a bit tolerant and then some were like Aurangzeb .
 
the answer for the quest is neutral non-muslim,non-hindutva sources. ...is beyond the scope of this forum, as the answer will be offensive and Islamophobic. christians will tolerate,hindus will tolerate but..

in south asia, shafi fiq in kerala are not converted by sword atleast till mappila riots.
 
Do you have a source for this? Doesn't seem plausible at all. Anyone who would have converted to Islam would have ended up qualifying for zakat instead.

tareekh al islam by dr akbar najeebabadi. it is as authentic a look at islamic history as any in my opinion.

http://islamicbookslibrary.wordpres...ekh-e-islam-by-shaykh-akbar-shah-najeebabadi/
its available in english as well.

i dont have the book on me now but well vol.2 is about the Ummayyads and Abbasids. this was given as one of the reasons for the immense popularity of Umar II among the masses. and after him when the policy of jizya on newly converted muslims was re-instated, there was a revolt by the newly converts under a leader called Abu Fatimah against Caliph Hisham bin Abdul Malik......the Ummayyads mostly had this policy while the Abbasids changed it and abolished jizya for converts....

plus i have read it also in ibn kathirs history and also a fairly unbiased orientalist, phillip k. hitti
 
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if force was the only way then shouldnt majority of the population of india be muslim?

Dude, Hindu Land was not a small land. If you consider the populations of Pak + Bangla + Indian Muslim, Over 50% of the population is converted to Islam.

A major chunk of North India became Muslim dominant in just over a couple of centuries.
 
the answer for the quest is neutral non-muslim,non-hindutva sources. ...is beyond the scope of this forum, as the answer will be offensive and Islamophobic. christians will tolerate,hindus will tolerate but..

in south asia, shafi fiq in kerala are not converted by sword atleast till mappila riots.

Worlds first residential university was also destroyed :facepalm:
 
Dude, Hindu Land was not a small land. If you consider the populations of Pak + Bangla + Indian Muslim, Over 50% of the population is converted to Islam.

A major chunk of North India became Muslim dominant in just over a couple of centuries.

nowhere near 50%
180 million in pakistan
180 million in india
140 million in bangladesh
500 million approximately....roughly 38-40% of indian subcontinents population.

still the logic escapes me. assuming india was converted by force majority should be muslim, just look at how christianity spread in northern europe...now THAT is spread by force
 
Sikhism was mainly a reaction to the Mughals, not Islam ; don't confound the two, even if peoples in both countries usually do.

One of the folklore heroes of (both) Punjab(s) is actually ***** Bhatti, a Muslim who fought Akbar.

Yes Sikhism was a reaction to Mughals and not Islam - but part of their battle was to protect Dharma and control forcible conversions to Islam .

Two Sikh Gurus were killed by Mughals for refusing conversion to Islam .

Here is the account of 9th Guru Tegh Bahadur Singh .

The Guru was put in chains
and ordered to be tortured
until he would accept Islam. When he could not be
persuaded to abandon his
faith to save himself from
persecution, he was asked to perform some miracles to prove his divinity. Refusing to do so, Guru Tegh Bahadur was
beheaded in public at Chandni Chowk on 24 November 1675. Guru Ji is also known as "Hind
Di Chadar" i.e. "The Shield of India", suggesting that he gave up his life to protect Hinduism.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guru_Tegh_Bahadur
 
Speaking of the Indian subcontinent , Muslims back then conquered these lands so yes there was violence involved . However , while there may have been cases of Islam being forced on SOME people , it was the Sufi Islam that really attracted the people of subcontinent towards it . The message of peace , but above all , equality - no caste system . A lot of converts were Dalits , even now , you have Hindus converting to Islam only because of the injustice and inequality against Dalits . Whether it is for the love of Islam or as protest - I don`t know and I will not judge that .


This is the reason why Sufism gained so much popularity in this part of world : Indian subcontinent , Iran , Turkey , Central Asia .

We have shrine now of these Sufi saints and they are shown a lot of respect . If you go on to read some of their poetry - it is pure philosophy . They even had disciples who they taught Islam to . Some of the more notable sufi saints in Pakistan are Baba Bulleh Shah , Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai , Khwaja Nizamuddin Auliya , Moinuddin Chishti , Baba Farid Ganjshakar , Lal Shahbaz Qalandar , Abdullah Shah Ghazi and many more .

Another reason for it could be what they call Islam`s golden age . The Muslims were tolerant and Baghdad was where scientists , doctors , inventors went to . That may also be a contributing factor .
 
Many nations came under the control of various muslim empires throughout the last 1000+ years. In many of these countries, it took centuries before the majority of the population became muslim. And in some cases such as the subcontinent, only a minority converted, despite centuries of muslim rule.

In contrast, the most populous muslim nation today (Indonesia) has never had any muslim army set foot there. To me this hardly seems indicative of a message being spread by force.

I don't necessarily agree with non-muslim sources being neutral in this respect either. Would you classify a muslims opinion on why someone left Islam as neutral? To me, the person who converts is in the best position to tell us why they did so.
 
as far as i know, the concept of conversion mainly belongs to two major religions christianity and islam.
there cannot be one reason for conversion to any religion, be it islam or christianity.
people mostly converted due to one of the many reasons.
- really impressed with the teaching of the religion
- converted to save life and property
- impressed with the strong, powerful
- getting close to the ruling elites
- etc etc etc
whether islam or christianity, conversion took place for all those reasons and thats just academic what is the percentage of conversion for each reason
 
Thanks for the responses so far guys, really interesting.


To me, the person who converts is in the best position to tell us why they did so.

Good point. It's a micro example and modern-day as well, but I have fragmented thoughts of accepting Islam. And this feeling has arisen from personal study and contemplation, nothing more. If I were (for the sake of argument) to convert then it wouldn't be by force. The many people converting to Islam around the world seem also to be making a personal choice. So perhaps that is some level of evidence for Islam being a religion that really impresses people and has an effect on them. Perhaps, it always did.
 
as far as i know, the concept of conversion mainly belongs to two major religions christianity and islam.
there cannot be one reason for conversion to any religion, be it islam or christianity.
people mostly converted due to one of the many reasons.
- really impressed with the teaching of the religion
- converted to save life and property
- impressed with the strong, powerful
- getting close to the ruling elites
- etc etc etc
whether islam or christianity, conversion took place for all those reasons and thats just academic what is the percentage of conversion for each reason
This.

There can not be one reason as all of these methods were reasons for conversion.

As OP asked if sword was used to spread Islam? Yes, it was to some extent.
 
Yes Sikhism was a reaction to Mughals and not Islam - but part of their battle was to protect Dharma and control forcible conversions to Islam .

Two Sikh Gurus were killed by Mughals for refusing conversion to Islam .

Here is the account of 9th Guru Tegh Bahadur Singh .

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guru_Tegh_Bahadur

It was against the Mughals, period. "Forced conversions" or "defend the dharma" are later historical interpretations.
In fact, until the fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev ji, there wasn't that enmity between the two, he even had amicable relations with the emperor Akbar (though he was killed by his son Jahangir - and even there Jahangir attacked Guru Arjan Dev ji because of his friendship with Khusrau Mirza, a political rebel) ; on the other hand, the Robin Hood-like Rai Abdullah Khan Bhatti, before any armed Sikh action against the Mughals, not only led a rebellion against this same Akbar (disturbing him big time), but, when some Hindu girls were about to be captured and God knows what next, adopted them, kept them Hindu until they reach their adulthood and then married them with Hindu men within Hindu rituals - that's some religious symbolism, but then, why isn't he seen as "Hind ki chadar" or "protector of the dharma" ? Because Islam isn't an "Indian" religion, I guess.

Also, someone like Pir (saint) Buddhu Shah sacrificed his life and the lives (in hundreds) of his relatives and followers for the tenth Guru, Guru Gobin Singh ji, it's nearly insulting to make it all a religious war instead of a political uprising.
 
You can convert a few hundred or thousand people by force but not millions. Islam was spread by example. As one of the Persian General during a battle sent his spies to Muslim camp at night to go and check what these Muslims are doing. These spies came back and told this General that these people are soldiers in the day and saints at night. They pray all the night and fight during the day. There is no difference between rich and poor among them. Their General is entitled to the same facilities as a normal soldier. A simple soldier's suggestions are heard with the same attention as the general's.

The point of this example was to show the high moral values which these early Muslims during the time of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and during the first century after his death held. They feared Allah in the truest sense of the word. When they stepped out of Arabia for the first conquest of Persia they were invited by the People of that area who were fed up of the ruthless rule of the Persian rulers since centuries. Persia was in turmoil at that time due to the Royal Palace infighting for the thorn. When Muslims arrived on the border of Persian empire they were received well by the local population and most of the civilians converted after impressed by the morals and conduct of the Muslim Army.

Same was the case when Muslim Armies entered the Eastern Byzantine Empire of Syria. This is true that battles took place both in Persia and Syria but this is totally a wrong notion that Islam was spread by force.

Why attack other empires and cultures in the first place?

If they wanted to spread the word of God, they could have sent some Saints and participated in debates like how Buddhists did. Why did they have to attack Persia, Indian subcontinent, Byzantine?

Why did Muslim conquerors convert the existing Temples, Churches to Mosques? Isn't that insulting the existing cultures?
 
Islam or for that matter any other religion, cannot be spread by force or by the sword

Islam results in submitting to Allah. How can you be classified as Muslim if you are submitting to force?

I have no opinion on how Islam was spread.

Reality is different from the bold statement. How many % of followers embrace Islam and submit to Allah by their free will? % will be minuscule because more than 95% of follower of any religion is following a certain religion purely by accident( being born in certain family). It becomes part of life for 95% of followers and has nothing to do with free will. Very few people take time to study bunch of religions and pick one to follow which make sense to them.

Being classified due to submitting by force might not do the trick in first generation but subsequent generations will be singing the tune and increasing the head count. Statement is true for any religion.
 
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I think a combination of all tactics were used.

You cannot have all of your subjects as non-Muslims and expect to rule them if you are a Muslim king/emporer.
The best thing to do is, have enough number of People to follow your religion where in their loyalty will be towards Islam and not Hinduism.

All you need is a good army of Muslim convterts to rule over millions and keep the empire from falling apart. Muslim rulers were smart in doing that me thinks.
Later on over several centuries of rule, many methods like preaching, leading by example, money, benifits, sword might have been used at times to keep the Muslim population from dwindling and have control over the land.
 
Why attack other empires and cultures in the first place?

If they wanted to spread the word of God, they could have sent some Saints and participated in debates like how Buddhists did. Why did they have to attack Persia, Indian subcontinent, Byzantine?

Why did Muslim conquerors convert the existing Temples, Churches to Mosques? Isn't that insulting the existing cultures?

Muslims always sent learned people to all the tribes in Arabia and nearby areas with the message of Islam. As I said earlier the initial attacks came on the behest of the local population of those areas as they were suffering at the hands of the current rulers.

Your second query is a totally wrong. Maybe these instances happened in the later stages of Islam and that too very few cases but in earlier times of Islam there was not even a single case of converting the temples or churches to mosques. I will give you one example of the second Caliph of Islam Hazrat Umar (RA).

When the Muslim army laid siege to Jerusalem in his caliphate, the local people decided to not fight and they engaged in peaceful talks with the Muslim Generals. They agreed to hand over the city to the Muslims but their terms were that the chief priest of the city will give the keys personally to the Caliph Hazrat Umar (RA) and to no one else. Hazrat Umar (RA) went personally to Jerusalem and took the keys from the priest. When he was there in Jerusalem he asked to see the city. During his visit he went inside a church, while he was inside this Church the call for afternoon prayers was given. The people accompanying him suggested that they should offer the afternoon prayers in the Church. Hazrat Umar said to them that No, if we offered prayers here now this place will be turned to a mosque in future and he asked all people with him to offer the prayers outside the church.

So this point of yours is totally wrong.
 
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Same was the case when Muslim Armies entered the Eastern Byzantine Empire of Syria. This is true that battles took place both in Persia and Syria but this is totally a wrong notion that Islam was spread by force.

Speaking of the Indian subcontinent , Muslims back then conquered these lands so yes there was violence involved . However , while there may have been cases of Islam being forced on SOME people , it was the Sufi Islam that really attracted the people of subcontinent towards it . The message of peace , but above all , equality - no caste system . A lot of converts were Dalits , even now , you have Hindus converting to Islam only because of the injustice and inequality against Dalits . Whether it is for the love of Islam or as protest - I don`t know and I will not judge that

Agree with these points.

People usually bring the 'spread by the sword' argument but if you consider conquests, then you need to question under what degree where the non-muslims compelled to convert, if they were forced at all.

Look at Malaysia and Indonesia, the religion of Islam was adopted peacefully by the trading ports people of Malaysia and Indonesia, absorbing rather than conquering existing beliefs. By the 15th and 16th centuries it was the majority faith of the Malay people.

The early conquests of the Islamic empire, the wars against the Romans (Byzantines) and the Persians, were more political ones then religious ones, and even in those cases, as was the case with the conquests of Khalid bin Waleed (RA), the enemies were always offered the option of ‘jizya’, in which case the people would remain kind of like a ‘state within a state’ but pay a tax, and remain in whatever religion they followed. So to say Islam was spread by the sword, as far as I know, is a very misconstrued statement.

And anyway - why don't people ask how Christianity was spread ?

How did a small minority of Israel suddenly become the main religion of the Roman empire? The very empire which was going to annihilate them?

Upto the 4th Century there were hardly any people who followed Jesus. Those who did were divided into dozens of sects. In 312 AD Constantine saw a dream in which he saw the cross and heard the words "With this sign conquer". The next year he made Christianity acceptable in the Roman Empire by issuing the Edict of Milan. This edict made all religious persecution illegal. So Christians went from a persecuted sect to a sect which was to be left alone.

In 380 AD an emperor named Theodosiud made Christianity the official religion of Rome and made all other religions illegal. Anyone who claimed to be from a religion other than Christianity was persecuted or prosecuted.

Not only were non-Christian religions made illegal but all religions which followed a bible other than the one canonised by Constantinople were persecuted because they were considered heretics.

Spread of Islam was a gradual process led by the sufis and saintly people who practised a tolerant and all embracing view of Islam. The rise of Islam was a unique phenomenon where a 'clash of civilisations' was avoided by respecting other people's religion.

In Spain for example, Islam did not spread as fast as it did later on because non-Muslims were happy to pay the jizya and had a preference for the Muslim troops stationed there than Christian troops but as the culture became more vibrant, the Arabic language really flourished and non-Muslims began to resent the dogmatic nature of christianity that was reactionary and mired in ignorance. Arabic gave the non-Muslims an outlet from understanding Arabic, to reading the Quran, to avoiding the jizya to ascending to higher levels of giovernment to simply rejecting Christianity.
 
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In the specific case of India, 'conversion by the sword' is not really a persuasive argument as to why so many converted to Islam. Whilst no doubt there were instances of forced conversion, the theory fails to explain why the greatest conversion took place in the regions on the fringes of political power during Muslim rule and not the upper Gangetic Plain, where political and military force was much greater.

Generally over the centuries of Muslim rule, it is difficult to uphold the argument that there were systematic ‘state’ efforts to forcibly convert the mass of inhabitants of South Asia to Islam. Muslims remained an overall minority in South Asia in part for this reason.

We must also acknowledge that 'conversion' to Islam in South Asia was much more complex than many people perceive. The very word conversion implies something definite and decisive. But it is perhaps more accurately seen as a process, rather than an event, and not as an instant acceptance or understanding of the central Islamic tenets. Local custom and practices inconsistent with Islam were initially maintained.

In his study on the rise of Islam in Bengal, American historian Richard Eaton - who provides the most sophisticated understanding of conversion in a South Asian context - wrote of the process of Islamization:

"from the position of historical retrospect, one may discern three analytically distinct aspects to the process, each referring to a different relationship between Islamic and Indian superhuman agencies. One of these I am calling inclusion; a second, identification; and a third, displacement. By inclusion is meant the process by which Islamic superhuman agencies became accepted in local Bengali cosmologies alongside local divinities already embedded therein. By identification is meant the process by which Islamic superhuman agencies ceased merely to coexist alongside Bengali agencies, but actually merged with them, as when the Arabic name Allah was used interchangeably with the Sanskrit Niraṇjan. And finally, by displacement is meant the process by which the names of Islamic superhuman agencies replaced those of other divinities in local cosmologies."
 
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Read Islam-A short history by Karen Armstrong.
A short book. From a neutral point of view.
Worth reading.
 
islam may not spread by sword but it certainly stop spread of other religion among muslims by sword. so this theory of islam is the fastest spreading religion is not that valid as the playing field is not even. other religions don't forcefully stops the conversion to islam but islam stops muslims leaving islam.
 
Took long enough for Sikhism to get started then (Muslims made an appearance in SA in around 700AD, Sikhism started in the 15th century).

Perhaps what you're suggesting is that initially the conversion was peaceful, that when it went contrary to the spirit of the religion and became more militant, then it resulted in the Sikhism movement to take root.

How did Islam came in 700 AD?I think you know the answer.

In India most Islamic rulers before Humayun used to destroy Hindu Buddhist Jain places of worship.They were massacres of Hindus.

Sikhism came in to being in 1500s because till late 1100s 1200s Islam was limited to the areas of Afghanistan and and present day Western and Northern Pakistan.Only after Mahmud of Ghazni attacked western Gujurat and Mohmmad of Ghor later took over Delhi that Islam spread its wing in India.

Why were the Gurus of Sikhs killed by Mughal rulers?

What was the title of GHAZI that muslim rulers used to take and what does it mean?

I dont know about other places but in SC Islam was spread mostly by conquest and sword.Ofcourse there were some who converted voluntarily,influenced by sufis.Some rajput families converted as they were in the court of the Emperor.

AFAIK almost every rajput who is a muslim is a convert.
 
Muslims always sent learned people to all the tribes in Arabia and nearby areas with the message of Islam. As I said earlier the initial attacks came on the behest of the local population of those areas as they were suffering at the hands of the current rulers.

Your second query is a totally wrong. Maybe these instances happened in the later stages of Islam and that too very few cases but in earlier times of Islam there was not even a single case of converting the temples or churches to mosques. I will give you one example of the second Caliph of Islam Hazrat Umar (RA).

When the Muslim army laid siege to Jerusalem in his caliphate, the local people decided to not fight and they engaged in peaceful talks with the Muslim Generals. They agreed to hand over the city to the Muslims but their terms were that the chief priest of the city will give the keys personally to the Caliph Hazrat Umar (RA) and to no one else. Hazrat Umar (RA) went personally to Jerusalem and took the keys from the priest. When he was there in Jerusalem he asked to see the city. During his visit he went inside a church, while he was inside this Church the call for afternoon prayers was given. The people accompanying him suggested that they should offer the afternoon prayers in the Church. Hazrat Umar said to them that No, if we offered prayers here now this place will be turned to a mosque in future and he asked all people with him to offer the prayers outside the church.

So this point of yours is totally wrong.

May be it did not happen in the time of Mohammed. But his successors surely did it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagia_Sophia
 
Why attack other empires and cultures in the first place?

If they wanted to spread the word of God, they could have sent some Saints and participated in debates like how Buddhists did. Why did they have to attack Persia, Indian subcontinent, Byzantine?

Why did Muslim conquerors convert the existing Temples, Churches to Mosques? Isn't that insulting the existing cultures?

the formation of the empire was mainly political not because of islam.
when arabia was united for the first time, it posed a threat to both the persian empire and byzantine empire. conflict was inevitable. add to that the warrior nature of the beduins. beduin arabs were used to raiding other tribes and fighting wars as this was the only real distraction from the monotony of nomadic life. Islam forbade muslims from attacking muslims. the energy of the beduins was utilized to fight for a common purpose against the byzantines and persians.

you also have to realize that as we travel farther from the death of the Prophet cases of intolerance increase. mostly its new-converts who are often more extreme in nature than muslim borns.

Arab conquerer were far more tolerant and more adhering to the rules of islam than turks,afghan and mongol muslim conquerors. this was culture also coming into their behaviour along with religion.
 
Anyone who says that force was never used, can they explain what Hindu Kush means?

From Wiki:

'The name Hindu Kush first appears in 1333 AD in the writings of Ibn Battutah, the medieval Berber traveller, who said the name meant 'Hindu Killer', a meaning still given by Afghan mountain dwellers who are traditional enemies of Indian plainsmen.

The name Hindu Kush means literally 'Kills the Hindu', a reminder of the days when Indian slaves from the Indian subcontinent died in the harsh weather typical of the Afghan mountains while being transported to Central Asia.[3]

The people they are talking here are the people of modern day Pakistan.
 
nowhere near 50%
180 million in pakistan
180 million in india
140 million in bangladesh
500 million approximately....roughly 38-40% of indian subcontinents population.

still the logic escapes me. assuming india was converted by force majority should be muslim, just look at how christianity spread in northern europe...now THAT is spread by force

Do you realise that Most Muslim rulers before Mughals only ruled parts of North India.

South,north east,south eastern and south western India was largely spared of Muslim rule.Until Mughals came.Who ofcourse didnt believe in forced conversions except Babur and Aurangazeb.

Read about the Hindu rulers in south India,places like Orissa Maharashtra etc etc.

Places which were ruled by Muslim rulers for long like Afghanistan todays Pakistan since 700-800AD well largely Muslim.

Bengal was ruled by Muslim rulers for a long time and half of it became Bangladesh and the other half still has 35% Muslim population.

Present day UP which was ruled by Muslim by for long has the largest muslim population in India.
 
As I said there might be cases but very few. And these things happen in all religions. Why are you going so far to 1400 A.D? I will give you a very recent incident which happened in our lifetime in 1992, Babri Masjid. You know of this incident or not?

Did not want to take out Babri Masjid as it can hijack this thread. :afridi
 
Anyone who says that force was never used, can they explain what Hindu Kush means?

From Wiki:

'The name Hindu Kush first appears in 1333 AD in the writings of Ibn Battutah, the medieval Berber traveller, who said the name meant 'Hindu Killer', a meaning still given by Afghan mountain dwellers who are traditional enemies of Indian plainsmen.

The name Hindu Kush means literally 'Kills the Hindu', a reminder of the days when Indian slaves from the Indian subcontinent died in the harsh weather typical of the Afghan mountains while being transported to Central Asia.[3]

The people they are talking here are the people of modern day Pakistan.
hindu was a term used by early arabs for indians not as a religion.
 
Anyone who says that force was never used, can they explain what Hindu Kush means?

From Wiki:

'The name Hindu Kush first appears in 1333 AD in the writings of Ibn Battutah, the medieval Berber traveller, who said the name meant 'Hindu Killer', a meaning still given by Afghan mountain dwellers who are traditional enemies of Indian plainsmen.

The name Hindu Kush means literally 'Kills the Hindu', a reminder of the days when Indian slaves from the Indian subcontinent died in the harsh weather typical of the Afghan mountains while being transported to Central Asia.[3]

The people they are talking here are the people of modern day Pakistan.

:facepalm: Hindu or Hindi were referred to the people living in the sub continent and not the people following the religion Hinduism. And just by the name of a mountain range you can't prove that religion Islam was spread by force.
 
Do you realise that Most Muslim rulers before Mughals only ruled parts of North India.

South,north east,south eastern and south western India was largely spared of Muslim rule.Until Mughals came.Who ofcourse didnt believe in forced conversions except Babur and Aurangazeb.

Read about the Hindu rulers in south India,places like Orissa Maharashtra etc etc.

Places which were ruled by Muslim rulers for long like Afghanistan todays Pakistan since 700-800AD well largely Muslim.

Bengal was ruled by Muslim rulers for a long time and half of it became Bangladesh and the other half still has 35% Muslim population.

Present day UP which was ruled by Muslim by for long has the largest muslim population in India.
bahmani empire? and the five states that followed it.? you are using the exceptions to justify the majority.
 
As I said there might be cases but very few. And these things happen in all religions. Why are you going so far to 1400 A.D? I will give you a very recent incident which happened in our lifetime in 1992, Babri Masjid. You know of this incident or not?

Al-Aqsa mosque?HAgia Sofia?Somnath Temple?Mathura Temple?Vishwanath temple?May be Ram Temple in Ayodhya?

How come a Prominently Buddhist Afghanistan has no remaining signs of Buddhism?Where did they all go?

Muslim rulers destroyed the places of worship of other religions in the name of Islam and to destroy idolatry.Whether Islam permits it or not is a different thing altogether.We are discussing what happened and not what should have happened.

Jamal Bhai i respect you too much as a human being.So i wont engage in any debate with you that may turn ugly.Just MTC.
 
bahmani empire? and the five states that followed it.? you are using the exceptions to justify the majority.

Bahmani Empire became Hyderabad empire later.Those places have large Muslim population even now.

Hindu Population of SC....about 900million.Muslim Population....about 600 million.

Not that much difference you see.
 
It is argued in India that hindu Rajputs, Gujjars, Jats etc.. are the brave ones, since they refused to convert to Muslims by force.
 
:facepalm: Hindu or Hindi were referred to the people living in the sub continent and not the people following the religion Hinduism. And just by the name of a mountain range you can't prove that religion Islam was spread by force.

Yes. All the people of the area were following either Hinduism or Buddhism at that time. But the slave thing is real right? Ibn Batuta said that in his book.
The conquests of Ghori, Tughlak, destruction of Somnath temple and its idols, beheadings of the priests who refused to convert... They are all real.

Again, these things might not have happened during Mohammed's time. He did not live to see how far Islam spread. When he was alive Islam was still restricted to Arabia.

I don't know how it spread in Byzantine Turkey, But when Islam arrived in Indian subcontinent, force was definitely used. Blood spilled like rivers... Muslims from Arabia did not send any missionaries. They sent army to defeat the Hindu ideology and once they got foot hold in the land, they had ample time to spread it.
 
the grounds on which al-aqsa mosque stands was an unused rubbish heap which was first cleaned and then turned into a mosque.

as i said, you can only use examples of aghan, tartar, mongol conquerors and not arab muslim conquerors because the afghans/tartars/turks/mongols were far more influenced by their warrior cultures....
 
if it was spread by the sword

than the person who accepted islam to save his life in his heart he would never accept islam, neither would his kids and so on and so forth eventually they would leave than why did they not?

simple answer it was not spread by the sword
 
Richard Eaton has argued that desecration of temples in South Asia by Muslim rulers was usually more politically, as opposed to religiously, motivated.

See his two part essay:


http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00islamlinks/txt_eaton_temples1.pdf

http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00islamlinks/txt_eaton_temples2.pdf

Yeah, the thing is, nobody is arguing what Islam teaches. But only how the religion was spread.

When certain ideology conquers a land, it has to destroy the existing ideology to seek converts. Once the famous temples are destroyed, the future generations will forget what existed there before and prevent any possible revolt from future generations.
 
It is argued in India that hindu Rajputs, Gujjars, Jats etc.. are the brave ones, since they refused to convert to Muslims by force.

lol then how are they still alive. if as you say it was done by force, those who didnot convert would have been killed and therefore atmost would be be a minority in the region.

even one of the most "brutal"(relatively) of muslim empires, the ottoman empire never forced its subjects to islam. majority of formerly ottoman ruled europe is still christian
 
It is argued in India that hindu Rajputs, Gujjars, Jats etc.. are the brave ones, since they refused to convert to Muslims by force.

Not as simple as that.
The Mughal ruler I talked about, Jahangir, had a Hindu Rajput mother, and his maternal grandfather, as Hindu Rajput as her, Maharaja Bhagawant Das, helped Akbar in military expeditions. On the other hand, my clan (Kashmir's Khakha sub tribe of the wider Janjua clan, I think Punjabi Rajputs are generally Janjuas) fought against these Mughals despite being Muslims (and fought the Afghans despite sharing their religion or Sikhs despite sharing - mainly - their culture.)

As I said, it's not about Hindu or Muslim, but simply political opportunism.
 
Forcing people to accept Islam is totally unacceptable. If it is done you get bunch of hypocrites who profess Islam only by their tongues and who believe something completely different in their hearts. If you have read the Qur'an you would know the strictness towards hypocrites that is shown, giving them a bigger penalty than those who are outright enemies of Islam and harm the prophet.

At the time of Muhammad (pbuh), many people came to Makkah upon hearing the news of a prophet and asked him questions. When they were satisfied that he was indeed the last messenger which many of them had been waiting for. They went back to their people or cities and gave them this message which resulted in tons of people accepting Islam.

Many companians of the prophet were also sent to distant lands to teach Islam and the Qur'an ( the final revelation) to these cities that had accepted Islam. Sometimes a whole tribe came and accepted Islam and settled in Makkah.

This was how Islam grew at the time of the prophet.
 
Yeah, the thing is, nobody is arguing what Islam teaches. But only how the religion was spread.

When certain ideology conquers a land, it has to destroy the existing ideology to seek converts. Once the famous temples are destroyed, the future generations will forget what existed there before and prevent any possible revolt from future generations.

Not true if you look at Malaysia and Indonesia, the religion of Islam was adopted peacefully by the trading ports people of Malaysia and Indonesia, absorbing rather than conquering existing beliefs. By the 15th and 16th centuries it was the majority faith of the Malay people.
 
if it was spread by the sword

than the person who accepted islam to save his life in his heart he would never accept islam, neither would his kids and so on and so forth eventually they would leave than why did they not?

simple answer it was not spread by the sword

The person who accepts it out of fear might be a fake one for the rest of his life.

But the kids who grow up in Islamic environment, having Muslim name, going to Muslim school will consider himself as Muslim. If not him, the future generations will slowly get used to Islamic ways. After a few generations, they will forget what their ancestors were.

As an example, I know our watchman back when I was a kid who accepted Christianity for money. But his kids whom I grew up with went to church as well as temple. I know the 3rd generation too who have complete Christian sounding names and they only go to Church. I can bet the next generation will completely forget their Hindu roots.
 
Not true if you look at Malaysia and Indonesia, the religion of Islam was adopted peacefully by the trading ports people of Malaysia and Indonesia, absorbing rather than conquering existing beliefs. By the 15th and 16th centuries it was the majority faith of the Malay people.

Agree to this.

Just read about Malaysia. Looks like the people of Malaysia were following mainly Hinduism and Buddhism before Islam arrived.

The Hindu King of Malaysia, King Parameswara accepted Islam from Arab Traders and other Muslim rulers of India.

One more country where Hinduism and Buddhism got owned by Islam :wasim
 
The person who accepts it out of fear might be a fake one for the rest of his life.

But the kids who grow up in Islamic environment, having Muslim name, going to Muslim school will consider himself as Muslim. If not him, the future generations will slowly get used to Islamic ways. After a few generations, they will forget what their ancestors were.

As an example, I know our watchman back when I was a kid who accepted Christianity for money. But his kids whom I grew up with went to church as well as temple. I know the 3rd generation too who have complete Christian sounding names and they only go to Church. I can bet the next generation will completely forget their Hindu roots.

but will the father or mother not teach the kids what they feel about islam if they were forced to convert.

your watchman converted through his own choice not the same as being forced.
 
but will the father or mother not teach the kids what they feel about islam if they were forced to convert.

your watchman converted through his own choice not the same as being forced.

If you do something to save your life and your family life then in majority of cases people will ensure that their children don't do something to get into trouble. Best way to ensure that would be to not tell them anything which will create issues in future.

Another point: Even if child knows but if parents converted to save their life/money and start following up new ideology then chances of going back to old days are very slim specially if original threat still exists.
 
Regarding the spread of Islam in the sub-continent, the native people in the sub-continent challenged (Marathas, Sikhs, Rajputs) the political power of the Islamic rulers and never let them be in full control of power. Once the political power changed, people re-converted. Conversion wasn't always a one-way street and depends on social/economic factors.

Under Aurangzeb this was especially true. He settled many disputes (especially inheritance related) in favour of Muslims, and preferred giving posts to Muslim civil servants. But the percentage of the population this applied to was small in India.

Muslim rule in the sub-continent was established by the sword. However, Islam as a religion of the common people has much less to do with the sword.

India, before the arrival of Islam, had several great religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism etc. These relgions are practiced widely in East Asia and South East Asia. However, India had no native monotheistic religion. The idea of one god and a set of rules for life, Islam, appealed to many people. As such, Islam was accepted by the common people in many areas. It offered unity, in its concept of one God, and a way to live via its various rules.
 
If you do something to save your life and your family life then in majority of cases people will ensure that their children don't do something to get into trouble. Best way to ensure that would be to not tell them anything which will create issues in future.

Another point: Even if child knows but if parents converted to save their life/money and start following up new ideology then chances of going back to old days are very slim specially if original threat still exists.

take example of subcontinent which was ruled by muslims for a certain period say the hate of the first person who was forced to convert is carried on from generation to generation eventually when the muslims stopped ruling will the granchildren etc of that person not leave.
 
The Character of Muslims, Justice and the overall package of Islam which gave Muslim society a clear dominance over other nations became the sole reason for Islam's wide spread over a very less period of time.
Muslims were the reason for the spread of Islam and besides Islam being the true message will always prevail.
 
take example of subcontinent which was ruled by muslims for a certain period say the hate of the first person who was forced to convert is carried on from generation to generation eventually when the muslims stopped ruling will the granchildren etc of that person not leave.

I don't have any strong opinion about how Islam was spread in SC.

In your example, chances of anyone leaving Islam will keep decreasing with each passing generation. Message of hatred will not be strong enough after 2-3 generations to give courage to anyone to leave Islam. Another point is, openly leaving Islam is not taken very well by Islam/followers of Islam and that makes it very difficult for anyone to leave.

Anyway, if few generations are following something then change does not happen easily. Even now people fight about religion but fact is more than 95% of people follow something just because they are born in some family. If you grow up in certain environment then you start seeing everything as your own. What happened 10-20 generations ago won't matter and in my opinion it should not matter but all of us should be able to put ourselves in others shoe to imagine their situation. That makes me very sad when I imagine minority getting killed anywhere even in 21st century. I feel even worse when I see educated people not even realizing that how pathetic their thinking is in certain subjects.
 
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Islam as an idea, ideology, belief, way of life. It CANNOT be forced upon any individual as the most important principle is accepting within ones heart 'There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah and Mohammed(pbuh) is the messenger of Allah'.

Sure some Muslim rulers may have misused their power and forced people to publicly accept Islam as their religion, just as there were Christian and Hindu rulers who did the same. But to suggest the quick rise of Islam in the world is due to forced conversion is totally wrong, it was the message which changed people not the sword.

I don't know if my ancestors were Hindu's or not but if they were converted by force generations since have accepted Islam and have been very thankful for it. :)
 
Is it really fair to use terms like "a religion spread by the sword" when we taking this out of it's historical context? Which religion didn't use the sword 1500 yrs ago? Even 200 yrs ago hindu widows were burned on the funeral pyre and Christian women were burned as witches.

By all means we can argue that Islam is stuck in the past today, but to argue that it was barbaric at the time is just willful distortion of the knowledge available.
 
Islam as an idea, ideology, belief, way of life. It CANNOT be forced upon any individual as the most important principle is accepting within ones heart 'There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah and Mohammed(pbuh) is the messenger of Allah'.

Sure some Muslim rulers may have misused their power and forced people to publicly accept Islam as their religion, just as there were Christian and Hindu rulers who did the same. But to suggest the quick rise of Islam in the world is due to forced conversion is totally wrong, it was the message which changed people not the sword.

I don't know if my ancestors were Hindu's or not but if they were converted by force generations since have accepted Islam and have been very thankful for it. :)

Unless you have nothing to do with Pakistan then must likely your ancestors were Vedic people and later on Bhudhist. Infact Pakistan is birth place of hinduism. So must likely many of our ancestors have accepted Islam by force or other benefits instead of just choice.
 
And before calling anyone's post as bullcrap first know that what you posted is from CHANCHNAMA,which wa written by one of the associates of Muhammad bin Qasim.Very neutral source i am sure.

Care to tell me what all the countries that were muslims once ruled and later on replaced by other rulers say about the Islamic rule.Europe?Indian SC?etc?What do they say about the Islamic rule?

Listen man, firstly, you need to get this into your thick head, that if Muslims ruled by sword, you would've been a Muslim right now...
If you really need to look what ruling by sword means, look how Christianity was spread by the romans.
If Islam was really ruled by the sword (in this instance our example is Sub-continent), then why on earth 80% of the population are Hindus?
Also I don't know what "CHANCHNAMA" you are refering to, i never read that. Please try googling Muhammad Bin Qasim, before posting over here.
 
And before calling anyone's post as bullcrap first know that what you posted is from CHANCHNAMA,which wa written by one of the associates of Muhammad bin Qasim.Very neutral source i am sure.

And is there any other source minus the Chachnama ?

While describing the conquest, André Wink in his classcoc "Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic World", takes only this one for source, as far as I remember, probably because there wasn't any other record ?

Also, what will be interesting for some, is that these Arabs had to fight Sindhi Jatts (Mid-East was already familiar with them, as they went as labour workers in Mesopotamia, ...) and when they were defeated, these Sindhi Jatts were taken as slaves in Arabia... keeping that in mind, a lot of peoples don't know the origins of Abu Hanifa ("traditionally" a Persian), founder of the widely followed Hanafi school of jurisprudence, and the author goes on saying that he was a descendent of these Sindhi Jatts, as he was from a (freed) slave family (Persians wouldn't have been slaves in the 7th-8th century Arabia) and his grandfather name was "Zuta" (the Arabs call the "Jatt" as "Zut".)

Another well known Sindhi Jatt clan - which nowadays pass itself as Baloch in the Gulf - are the Zadjalis, originally the Jagdal warriors, and successful Omani singer Salah Al Zadjali is probably not as Baloch as he thinks but from today's Sindh.
 
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Unless you have nothing to do with Pakistan then must likely your ancestors were Vedic people and later on Bhudhist. Infact Pakistan is birth place of hinduism. So must likely many of our ancestors have accepted Islam by force or other benefits instead of just choice.

I don't know and don't care. I have not bothered to trace my family tree deep into history. If my ancestors were idol worshipers, then they were misguided imo.

From your post you seem to suggest the majority of people(who converted) were forced into conversion, do you have any basis for this? I would say the majority were given the message, it made sense and freely converted. We do know about the history of Sufi endeavors in this region,.
 
If islam is forced upon people than it is no longer islam as it contradicts the quran.

no compulsion in faith.
 
If islam is forced upon people than it is no longer islam as it contradicts the quran.

no compulsion in faith
.

Completely agree with you!!!
Unfortunately some of the Indians, who want to be the centre of attrraction in every possible thing in this forum, are trying their best to prove that Islam was ruled by force. They don't know jack about anything outside the sub-continent, and basing everything on the Moghuls. OP was about Islam, its origins and how it came into being. These people are trying their best to ridicule Islam through their blasphemous posts. God help them!!
 
Unless you have nothing to do with Pakistan then must likely your ancestors were Vedic people and later on Bhudhist. Infact Pakistan is birth place of hinduism. So must likely many of our ancestors have accepted Islam by force or other benefits instead of just choice.

since adopting benefits is a willful choice then how can it be described as being forced?
 
Listen man, firstly, you need to get this into your thick head, that if Muslims ruled by sword, you would've been a Muslim right now...
If you really need to look what ruling by sword means, look how Christianity was spread by the romans.
If Islam was really ruled by the sword (in this instance our example is Sub-continent), then why on earth 80% of the population are Hindus?
Also I don't know what "CHANCHNAMA" you are refering to, i never read that. Please try googling Muhammad Bin Qasim, before posting over here.

Firstly i trace my roots to a place which was never directly ruled by any muslim ruler ever.

Secondly you cannot kill/convert each and every person using force.Cannot happen.will not happen.

please tell me why so many temples churches etc were destroyed by the muslims?why?


LoL you ask me to google about Qasim and you dont know about Chanchnama.

And yes my opinion here is about Muslims not Islam the religion taught by Prophet Muhammad(pbuh).
 
It's what christians have taught generations since the moors and the reconqista that followed when thousands were butchered in iberia.
Christian europe never accepted the moors and has never accepted islam
 
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