Misconception: Islam was spread by the sword

Background: Some think that the main reason the message of islam spread so far and wide was that it was enforced upon others by way of the sword and war.

It is a proven fact that according to The Quran there is no compulsion in religion:

Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most sure hand-hold, that never breaks. And God is Hearing, Knowing. [2:256]

According to The Quran, this is how to invite others to islam:

Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. [16:125]

While it is true that in many places where Muslim armies went to liberate people or the land, they did carry the sword as that was the weapon used at that time. However, Islam did not spread by the sword because in many places where there are Muslims now, for example, in Indonesia (the country with the largest Muslims population!), Malaysia, China, and many parts of Africa, there are no records of any Muslim armies going there. The following are some other examples to consider:

Most of India was ruled by successive Muslim empires for about 700 years but Muslims always remained in the minority.

Muslims ruled Spain (Al-Andalus) for about 800 years. During this period the Christians and Jews enjoyed freedom to practice their respective religions, and this is a documented historical fact.

Christian and Jewish minorities have survived in the Muslim lands of the Middle East for centuries. Countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan all have significant Christian and Jewish populations.

In the U.S.A. and Europe, it is said that Islam is the fastest growing religion and this is without the use of a sword.

The historian De Lacy O’Leary wrote: “History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.”

Books by De Lacy O'Leary

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