There was a time when it was taken for granted that history meant giving accounts of events, mainly military, which took place in the past. The history of religions did not exist at all. When it came to existence it meant giving accounts of events which had been formed or conducted by the followers of certain religions or a religion. The first known scholar who gave history its inclusive modern concept was Abd-al-Rahman Ibn Khaldoon (1332 – 1406), “the great philosophical historian”, as he is called by scholars.[1] Despite the fact that he was a Muslim and naturally gave the “history of Islam” its modern concept, Western Scholarship for reasons, mainly of prejudice or, at least, because of unsympathetic approach towards Islam, until very recently has introduced the “history of Islam” as the History of Muslim Conquests (in terms of War), Empires and Dynasties. During the last few centuries, since the great work of Ibn Khaldoon, history, including history of religions, has been undergoing a revolu­tion. Nowadays, even the history of military events does not mean only military accounts or explanations of military events. How much less a history of religions or history of Islam? There is, therefore, a cynical explanation for the stubborn insistence upon explaining the spread of Islam in military terms in the age of philosophy of history.

Islam is the latest and most historically documented of the great religions of the world. It developed in the full light of history and human knowledge. The factors and causes of its development, spread and triumph can be fully explained without needing to retreat to assumption and accusation based on prejudice. Islam, unlike other religions, can be explained in the full light of history. Here, instead of the shadowy and mysterious, we have history.[2] We know as much about Muhammad, the Quran and Islam as we do of any person, book or phenomenon in the history of mankind. Thus we do not need to retreat to mythology or legend to give a distorted image of Islam, its founder, its principles, its history and its spread.

A vast amount of literature concerning Islam in general, and many great works and much research concerning the history of Islam, have been produced by Muslim and Western Scholars during the last two centuries. But the history of Islam (not Muslim conquests, empires and dynasties) in the proper sense of the term has not been dealt with yet. The Orientalists’ works lack metaphysical understanding and sympathetic insight into Islam; and the Muslims’ works lack systematic approach and modern analytical refinement. Leaving aside the great work of Abd-al-Rahman Ibn Khaldoon “Moqadaddamma” (Kitab Al-Ibar Wa-Diwan al-Mubtada’ Wa al-Khabar…) amongst Muslims, which is of great value in the field of world sociological and philosophical history, and the work of Sir Thomas Arnold amongst orientalists, “The Preaching of Islam”, which deals with the historical spread of Islam geographically, most of the books on the history of Islam deal only with the Muslim conquests, empires and dynasties, which have nothing really to do with the actual history of Islam which is indeed the history of the spread and development of Islam.

We do not claim that in the present work we are dealing with the history of the spread of Islam properly either. That is a work which indeed needs ample time, energy and the massive scholarship of many researchers. But we have tried sincerely, though not adequately, to produce a kind of introduction dealing mainly with some of the factors, incentives and circumstances which have helped the spread of Islam.

“Islam is a concept which, phenomenized in a number of linked but diverse political, social, religious, economic, cultural, civil and educational, organisms, covers an immense area in space and time. In different regions, religion and epochs it has presented differing features under the impact of and in response to local, geographical, social and political (and other) forces,” states H.A.R. Gibb.[3] In the course of our study the complexity, inclusiveness and diversity of both its organisms and the factors contributing to the spread of Islam are only probable, tentative and likely elements.

A volume of this size is necessarily limited in the material it can cover. It may, therefore, not be comprehensive or indeed may have many shortcomings. However, the purpose of this brief study as the titles indicates is to produce only an “Introduction to the History of the Spread of Islam”. This book is neither the history of Islam nor that of the Muslim people. Still, it may be of some use to both the public and scholars. Both specialists in Islam and historians have barely dealt with the real factors contributing to the spread of Islam (Western writers on the contrary have tried hard to establish their own factors, and not the actual factors) amongst more than one-fourth of the total world population. In this brief study we hope to bring only some of these factors to the attention of the reader. We earnestly ask impartial scholars to follow this subject critically and contribute to the furtherance of public knowledge about Islam and the development of human knowledge in general and to do justice to a religion which has been wronged intentionally and unintentionally by foes and friends.

Here we would like to bring a few points to the attention of the reader:

a) We have relied in our work mainly on Western sources and books for technical and research purposes.

b) References have been made in our discussions to other religions but these are only

for the sake of analogy and comparison. No offences what so ever is intended. Whatever statements have been made about Christianity in the course of discussion are almost all simply quotations made by Christians from Christian sources.

c) Variation in spelling is due to quotation. We have tried not to change the quotations and thus the words Muslim, Quran, Muhammad are spelt differently.

d) Besides the books mentioned in the bibliography, many more have been consulted.

e) Quotations have been made to clarify points of discussion in the context. They do not necessarily represent the author’s opinion.

f) Our main purpose in this work is only to present what we regard as facts as we understand them. What is certain is that we earnestly tried to do so even though we may have failed in our efforts.

g) Since this book is written both for those who have previous knowledge of Islam

and those who do not have a specialist knowledge, there are explanations of most matters, sometimes very elementary ones – and thus many repetitions and the obvious explanations may be seen as tedious, I would crave their indulgence and ask their patience and forgiveness. They must remember that not all have then-specialist knowledge.

h) As the subjects are very interrelated a clear separation of the discussions has been almost impossible.




Were we to draw a map of the political condition of Europe, Africa and Western Asia about the middle of the tenth century A.D. we should see that by far the greatest part of that “inhabited world”, which the Greeks called “Oikoumene”, was occupied by countries possessed of an Islamic government and an Islamic civilization and inhabited by Muslim people. They no longer constituted a strict political unity; but they were connected by such strong ties of common religion and culture that their inhabitants felt themselves citizens of a vast community. The development and the vast spread of Islam though continuous took place mainly in only three centuries.[4] The faith of Islam once was the main religion, or at least the religion of the majority of the peoples in an area covering more than half of the civilized world stretching over three continents from the Pyrenees and Siberia in West and North Europe to the furthest end of Asia, up to China and the southern tip of Africa, covering two thirds of the African continent. It would probably have covered Europe but for the strong resistance put up by the Francs in the eighth century.[5] The great geographer, Ibn Hauqal, about A.D. 975, wrote: “The length of the Empire of Islam in our days extends from the limits of Farghana, passing through Khurasan, al-Jibal (Media), Iraq and Arabia as far as the coast of Yemen, which is a journey of about four months; its breadth begins from the country of the Rum (the Byzantine Empire), passing through Syria, Mesopotamia, Iraq, Fars and the Kirman, as far as the territory of al-Mansura on the shores of the sea of Fars (the Indian Ocean), which is about four months’ travelling, hi the previous statement of the length of the Empire of Islam, I have omitted the frontier of Maghrib (Northern Africa), and the Andalus (Spain), because it is like a sleeve of a garment…If one goes, however, beyond Egypt into the country of the Maghrib, the lands of the Sudan (the Blacks) lie to the South of Maghrib and, to its North, the Sea of Rum (the Mediterranean) and next to the territory of Rum.”[6] “The rise of Islam is perhaps the most amazing event in human history. Springing from a land and a people alike previously negligible, Islam spread within a century over half the Earth, shattering great empires, ousting long-established religions, remoulding the souls of races and building up a whole new world – the World of Islam”.

[7]The number of those who profess Islam is steadily increasing. The 1975 edition of the “World Muslim Gazetteer”, published by the “World Muslim Congress” in Karachi, gives a world total of over nine hundred million, with Muslim majority in forty six independent states. This compares with the figure of six hundred and forty-seven million given in the 1964 edition, and is in line with the rapid population growth in Asia and Africa, generally, including countries with the largest number of Muslims: Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Turkey, Egypt and Iran, (tan’s 1986 general census shows that the rate of population growth has been 3.45 percent during the last ten years with the total population of fifty-seven million). The other large figures which gave concern to former Soviet Russia and China were the numbers which cannot be accurately ascertained. A safer assumption gives the figure in Sin kiang in China as over fifty million.

In modem times, the Muslim community consists of both the peoples of over 51 Muslim countries as well as the Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries, estimated to be 400 million, namely one third of the entire world Muslim population. The largest Muslim minority communities live in India (150 million), Russia, China (at least 50 million), in Eastern Europe (18 million), in Western Europe (8 million). There are also Muslim majorities under un-Islamic or even anti-Islamic regimes such as in Ethiopia, Albania, occupied Palestine, Kashmir, Mindanao etc. The dean of the Islamic International Centre carrying out a population research at Azhar University Egypt – says that the number of Muslims in the world exceeds one billion and six hundred million Muslims who live in 90 different countries. Among them are member states of Islamic Conference Organization consisting of 51 countries and the rest live as minorities in the other half. The Centre also said that eight hundred million Muslims live in Asia, including India, China, and Central Asia Republics. 309,000,000 Muslims live in Africa, 5,000,000 in USA, Southern America and the Caribbean. 8,000,000 in European and 200,000 in Australia.

The range of the Muslim world is as wide as the human race: white, colored, yellow, and as vast as the world’s culture: Arabs, Persians, Turks, Indians, Europeans, and Africans etc. Only, at the most, up to fifteen percent of Muslims speak Arabic (about 200 million Muslims of about 22 Arab states); the rest speak almost all languages of the world’s major and minor languages. Today Muslims live in almost all parts and countries of the world and belong to all nationalities, in spite of global, cultural, political, social, educational, economic and commercial restrictions, exploitation of and animosity to the worldwide Muslim Community exercised by international imperialism and con­spiracy and by international Zionism, the Muslim Community is increasing and Islam is spreading.

Despite the geographical, ethnic, national and political diversity of the Muslim Community, over one and a half billion Muslims of the world share the common belief that there is no deity other than Allah, that Allah sent many Messengers to guide humanity the last of whom was Muhammad (PBUT). They share a common ideology, a common history and Book, common culture, common aspiration and common enemy. They all pray five times a day facing the Kabah. They fast during the month of Ramadan and perform Hajj (if they can afford it). They also share the same enemy: Satan. They have all been ordered by Allah, the Quran and the Prophet to be United and live as a family in the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood.

The spread of Islam, challenged at the beginning by other religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Paganism, Buddhism, Shamanism, Zoroastrian-ism, etc., is due to factors, incentives, circumstances and conditions mainly religious and spiritual. People can be forced to do things physically but they cannot be forced to accept a certain faith, religion, spiritual doctrine or Creed. The spread of Islam, always in the form of conversion, is therefore mainly due to mental and spiritual factors, helped occasionally by material factors.

Of course some of those who accepted Islam did not have a definite answer as to what had attracted them particularly to Islam, for as a rule the whole and inexplicably coherent structure of moral teaching and practical life program of Islam had allured them. As one Muslim convert, scholar and writer put it: “Islam appears to me like a perfect work of architecture. All its parts are harmoniously conceived to complement and support each other, nothing lacking, with the result of an absolute balance and solid composure. Everything in the teaching and postulate of Islam is in its proper place”.[8] This was so with individuals. Group conversion to Islam has been usually due to a factor or certain major incentives. Islam, unlike other religions, is not only a spiritual attitude of mind, but also a self-sufficing orbit of culture and social system of clearly defined features.[9]

This does not necessarily mean that every group that has accepted Islam has studied it exclusively, extensively and deeply, and then accepted it as a whole; they usually fall in love with it for some reason or another.

A scholarly and an intellectual way to embrace Islam requires a comprehensive study of Islam and this is the way which has been adopted by scholars and intellectuals all ages,[10] and in modern times,[11] but mass conversion is not likely to take place this way. It is really the mass conversion which has rapidly increased the number of Muslims throughout its history.

“Islam as preached in the century after Muhammad (or centuries) is an example of an idealization system. In accepting Islam, men were accepting this idealization system and the images embedded in it. Most men probably accepted the system as a whole without being clearly aware of the importance attached to the various aspects. Yet almost certainly they were moved by certain images or parts of the system more than others; and different men would be moved by different images,[12] e.g. those groups which became Shiite Muslim were doubtless from the first attracted and moved by the dynamic image of the charismatic leader which was present in the figure of Muhammad, the messenger sent by God, and the Imams, his divine successors: while for those who became Sunnites, the attraction would be the image of the holy or charismatic community (Umma and Jama’at) which had received and was based on the Word of God.”[13]

We simply want to examine some of the factors leading peoples or persons to Islam. Whether a certain factor or group of factors led certain group or groups to the acceptance of Islam needs further research. It is the same with the question whether those who accepted it simply fell in love with it or accepted it after careful intellectual examination or were led to it by scholars who had already studied it and preferred it to other religions which also need a much more exclusive survey. The study of peoples’ incentives for accepting Islam also needs an independent survey.

Zealous Muslims and their missionary activities were always behind the success of Islam and its spread. The spirit, zeal and love for truth in the hearts of Muslims chiefly inspired them to present the truth to others and to carry the message of Islam to the peoples of the countries into which they penetrated. But, analyzing the whole question of the Muslim faith and the history of its spread, we are bound to come to the conclusion that various factors, causes and conditions (social, economic, educational, cultural, spiritual, political, psychological, historical, geographical) are responsible for the wide acceptance of Islam even among Christian nations of Europe, Africa and Asia.

Of course the doctrine of “Amr bi al-Ma’roof’, which makes the spread of truth and Islam the religious duty of every Muslim, has helped the spread of Islam. This is the reason why a large amount of controversial and proselytizing literature has been created in Islam,[14] some of it by the new converts.[15] However, even the doctrine of “Amrbi al-Ma’roof’ is closely associated with the religious, psychological and spiritual values of Islam.

The task of Guiding the Misled to virtuous behavior and persuading them to stop doing wrong (al-Amr bi al-Ma’roof waal-Nahy an al-Munkar) is laid on each Muslim and it is his religious duty to lead people to a good life (Shariah). This is why every Muslim is supposed to preach righteousness and decency. It is not the duty only of certain professional preachers, but of all. Muslims bound by their religious duty took up the work of preaching Islam wherever they went and whenever they thought it was suitable to do so. It is true that Islam has no professional priesthood, and that it did not, therefore, have any organized system of propaganda, no tract societies, agencies or missionary work. But the spirit of truth (Islam: submission to God who is the whole truth, the only truth and nothing but the truth) in the hearts of Muslims cannot rest unless it manifests itself in thought, word and deed to everybody.[16] This is the basic explanation for the spread of Islam.


Some non-Muslim writers have taken pains to present Islam as the religion which employed violent means for its spread. But it must be recognized that, although fanaticism is one of the features of almost all religions or any ideological system, Islam has always tried to control it and remove it and to guarantee freedom of conscience. Fanaticism may serve as a means to force an ideological system or a doctrine on some people temporarily. But it can never be genuinely accepted by scholars as the main factor or the only means for spreading any doctrine, especially a religious one, permanently. We can find conversion temporarily and superficially by inhumane means in the history of all religions. But it has never been approved by authentic Islamic sources and certainly disapproved in the Quran, the most authentic source for Islamic doctrines, and in Islamic traditions. Many Quranic texts, Islamic traditions and historical evidences could be quoted to clarify this point.[17]

Some of the most fanatical opponents of Islam have admitted the respect and consideration that even Muslim soldiers had for ideas, lives and properties of non-Muslims. A war ruling issued by Omar the second caliph reads as follows: neither “Destroy not fruit-trees nor fertile field in your paths. Be just and spare the feelings of the vanquished. Respect all religious persons who live in hermitages or convents and spare their edifices.”[18] Another document explains how Omar protected the people of the Book.[19] Muhammad ^allowed the “Peoples of the Book” complete freedom to exercise their religion. “Converts were accorded the rights and duties of full citizens; those who clung to their old faith were relieved of both rights and duties in return for their contribution to Treasury. They became Dhimmi (protected citizens). Such a degree of tolerance was to remain foreign to Christian Europe for many centuries”.[20] Not only did the protected people enjoy Islamic tolerance, but they also enjoyed Muslim hospitality, generosity and open-mindedness.[21] A specially recom­mended way of dispensing Islamic tax was to spend it on non-Muslims for the sake of establishing good relations (Mu’alafat al Qoloob).[22] Reports concerning Islamic tolerance since its early development are many, some of them narrated by Christians.[23]

The peaceful spread of Islam, almost everywhere, is illustrated by ample historical evidence, e.g. “The early rule of the Muslims in India was unquestionably tolerant, once conquest had been made,” states a contemporary English scholar.

In A.D. 712, the Arab leader, Muhammad bin Qasim, conquered Sind and set up Muslim rule; the earliest converts were mostly Hindus of low caste who left Hinduism believing that the Muslim faith offered them equality.[24] When Muhammad bin Qasim wrote to his uncle requesting guidance regarding the natives of Sind, this is the reply he received: “It appears that the chief inhabitants of Brahmanabad had petitioned to be allowed to repair the temple of Budh and pursue their religion. As they have made submission and agreed to pay taxes to the Caliph, nothing more can be properly required from them. They have been taken under our protection, and we cannot in any way stretch out our hands upon their lives or property. Permission is given to them to worship their Gods. Nobody must be forbidden or prevented from following his own religion.”[25]

Ivor Morrish states: “The Muslims under Mahmud (of Ghazna) were motivated by iconoclasm…out of his gains Mahmud founded a library, a museum and a fine Mosque.”[26] He adds, “Much has been made of the concept of the Jihad, or holy war, in the religion of Islam, particularly, it need hardly be said, by the enemies of this religion. Certainly a holy war is enjoined by the Quran, which says:

‘Fight for the sake of Allah those who fight against you, but do not attack them first. Allah does not love aggressors’ (Quran, sura 2,190).

“This would seem to regard Jihad as a purely defensive measure; and to some extent this view is supported by other passages which appear to suggest that there should be no compulsion in religion (Quran, sura 2,256) and even that there may be room for

More than one religion (Quran, Sura 109, 6:’Unto you your religion and unto me my religion’.” He adds again:” If we were writing at the moment an account of the main principals of Christianity, we would certainly not elaborate on such things as the pogroms against the Jews by Christian Societies or the activities of the Spanish Inquisition against heretics.”[27]

In fact “by contrast with the treatment of the subject Jews and Muslims in Christen­dom, the treatment of subject ‘People of the book’ (Ahl al-Kitab) in ‘Dar al-Islam’ (Muslim Territory) has been honorably distinguished by its comparative tolerance.”[28]

“The present extent of the Muslim population of the world is due almost entirely to missionary activity, tolerance, persuasion and the attraction which Islam has exerted for one reason or another.”[29] “Makarios, Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch in the seventeenth century, compared the harsh treatment received by the Russians of the Orthodox Church at the hands of the Roman Catholic Poles with the tolerant attitude towards Orthodox Christians shown by the Sultans.”[30] He prays for the Sultans. “God perpetuate the empire of the Turks for ever and ever! For they take their impost and enter into no account of religion, be their subjects Christians, Nazarenes, Jews, or Samaritans. Whereas these accursed Poles were not content with taxes and tithes from their brethren in Christ, though they were willing to serve them…for thousands of martyrs were killed by those impious wretches.”[31]

All people who lived under Muslim rule benefited from Islamic tolerance. “The toleration explicitly accorded in the Quran to Jews and Christians (People of the Book), so long as they submitted to Muslim rule and paid a surtax, was extended, ‘defacto’, by the Caliphs (Muslims) to their Zoroastrian subjects and by successors of Caliphs to Hindus, though neither Hindus nor Zoroastrians had been mentioned in the Quran, in the catalogue of ‘People of the Book’ Z'[32] This tolerance was in cases extended even to idolaters too.[33]

It has been frequently admitted that Muslim toleration throughout history has been unmatched by the followers of other religions. Even in modern times there are, for example, steady complaints of social discrimination against Christians and Muslims in Israel.[34] “How can non-Jewish people enjoy religious and social equality and freedom in a fanatical state in which the Super-Orthodox Jews of Mea Sharimin of contemporary Jerusalem hurl rocks at automobiles passing by on the Sabbath?”[35]

The policy of the Muslims, from the very beginning, was based on tolerance and freedom. In the captured Lands, the policy of the Muslims was to allow the natives to administer the country very much as they had always done,[36] without being interfered with. An example from its early history should suffice to show the spirit of Islamic tolerance and its respect towards other religions. In A.D. 637 Omar, The Conqueror of Palestine, riding triumphantly through the streets of Jerusalem, attended by Sophronitus, its patriarch, was invited to perform his devotions in the Church of the Resurrection; but he declined, choosing instead to pray at the steps of the Church of Constantine, lest subsequent Muslim generations should invoke his example to violate Christian immunities.[37]

Even some of the most partial Western writers have admitted Islamic tolerance: “It is rather interesting that in the records which we have of discussions in the fourth century of Islam, to which period the best Arabic literature on the whole belongs, the audience, who naturally belongs to a superior class, do not approve of fanatical vituperation. They treat the Christian representatives of science and philosophy as deserving of esteem,” states one of these.[38]

Some Muslim rulers married Christian women, e.g. Abraham Ibn Al-Mahdi had a Roman Christian wife who practiced Christianity in the palace.[39] Mahdi, another Abbasid Caliph, had a wife who used to wear a golden cross.[40] ‘ Both in Umayyad times, and later even at the Abbasid Court, one find Christian and Muslim theologians debating their religious beliefs in complete freedom.

The survival of Jewish and Christian religions and the co-existence today of Judaism, Christianity and Islam in the lands of their origin is due in no small measure to a tolerant Islam. As the last of the three it did not seek, in an age of intolerance, to eliminate its predecessors and rivals. Not only had it no positive policy of suppression when it was at the height of its political power, it had in fact a positive one of co­existence. From the beginning, Muslim rulers made special allowances for the protection of their Jewish and Christian subjects; and, contrary to popular belief, Islam was not imposed upon them at the point of a sword or indeed by any systematic temporal means. On the contrary, they were immediately recognized as Ahl al-Kitab (The People of the Book), to whom earlier divine messages had been sent through God’s prophets. Although according to the Muslim view these messages had been corrupted, there was still a residue of truth which deserved respect. But, as the final divine message to mankind, Islam came to correct and perfect those previous messages. Islam was thus tolerant both in theory and practice. It is true that practice had occasionally below the standards of theory, but its validity was irrevocable because it is enshrined in the divine revelation itself.

It is clear that the doctrine of religious tolerance in Islam has an ideological origin. When it was first proclaimed and practiced in the seventh century A.D. it must have appeared in sharp contrast to the contemporary fanaticism, interdenominational strife and persecution among the Christians themselves in the Byzantine Empire. As a measure of practice politics the Islamic doctrine of religious tolerance was amply vindicated by the ready welcome of the Muslim armies by Christians and Jews.[41]

Hence it is fallacious to allege, as it has recently become fashionable to allege, that “The People of the Book” were treated by the Islamic state as “second class citizens”. Could they have had a better status elsewhere?

Their status was, of course, regulated by mutual agreement. They were allowed a wide measure of communal autonomy under their spiritual leaders. They were guaranteed freedom of Worship, possession of their place of Worship, and safety of their person and property. No duties were imposed other than payment of poll-tax. Those who nowadays argue that this tax itself is a mark of inferiority, must not forget that the tax was, in theory as well as in practice, in return for the privileges mentioned and in lieu of military service. Muslims paid a comparable tax, but had to serve in the army.[42] This has been admitted even by a Western writer with an obvious hostile approach to Islam: “So long as all that Islam demanded from members of tolerated cults was tribute, it might be argued that their condition compared favorably with that of the Muslims. For the different between the tribute paid by the Christians and the alms paid by the Muslims might seem to be purely a difference in name”.[43]

Islamic tolerance helped minorities live an easier life than they had under their previous Christian rulers. “It was certainly easier for a man to live as a Christian under the rule of the Caliphs than as a Christian heretic within the Byzantine Empire. The situation of the adherents of the old Persian religion in the East was similar to that of the Christians in the West,” states Noldeke.[44] Islamic tolerance was obvious in the fields of religious, social, educational, administrational, intellectual contacts, and relations with non-Muslims since its rise.[45] The Spanish Jews took refuge to the Muslim community and land to escape persecution at the hands of Christians under inquisition.

Muslims throughout the history of Islam, (the Arabs, the Turks, the Persians etc.), have been tolerant and open-minded.

Arabic Islam, contrary to what has often been said of it, was far from being a bigoted or fanatical religion. The Arabs were not, themselves, theologically minded. Freedom-loving, their major delights being poetry, genealogy, and horsemanship -they had compelling material reasons for not trying too hard to convert all of their new subjects.[46]

In fact, a key to the Arab genius was its openness to ideas. Indeed, with their desert background and without this openness, the Arabs could have made no progress. The respectful attitude towards other cultures, such as the Greek or Persian, was enforced by a much-quoted saying of the Prophet: “Seek for knowledge even if in China”. The personality of the Arab genius was distinctive enough not to be submerged. It was able to combine elements from many different sources in something that was both new yet recognizably its own.(45) In fact their great achievement was the work of cultural synthesis.

“It is the frequent practice of European writers to state that the Arabians had no idea of politics except tribal rivalry…yet we are bound also to recognize the extraordinary breadth and wisdom of their policy as conquerors, a wisdom exceeding that shown by the great powers of our own time in their insistence on unconditional surrender after both World Wars. Indeed, it is as conquerors that the early Arabs show up best. Their extraordinary hardihood and bravery in the field, the generous terms which they offered to those who surrendered and the faithfulness with which the terms were observed, offer an example to many more example states. It was only after the completion of their conquests, in the enjoyment of wealth, luxury and security, that their morals suffered a rapid decline”.[47]

In contrast to the atrocity committed by the Christians headed by Ferdinand and Isabella against the Muslims after the occupation of Spain, the Muslim Berbers headed by Tariq, a Berber client, behaved with exemplary moderation after their conquest of Spam. Those who wished to go into exile were permitted to do so, taking their movable property with them. Those who helped the Muslims in their conquest were rewarded. The Jews and heretics were granted freedom of religion. A number of Churches were appointed for Christian worship and the bishops and priests were allowed to continue their ministry.[48] The Arabs and the Berbers were both tolerant and broad minded. No attempt was made to convert Christians of Spain to Islam, a process which resulted in the loss of revenue to the Government. In some areas, the previous landlords were allowed to retain their lands and the original cultivators were left on the land, on condition of paying a share of the crop as land tax.
Islam, however, did offer a new alternative to the serfs and the slaves of non-Muslim masters, for pronouncing the formula “I bear witness that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Apostle of God”, they could obtain their freedom from their Christian and Jewish owners. Thus, many serfs and slaves hastened to secure their freedom by pronouncing the Muslim formula. To the great majority of members of the depressed classes, however, Christianity had never meant much. Socially the Arab conquest had some highly beneficial results. The confiscation of the properties of many of Gothic nobles, of the Crown and of the Church, and their distribution, had on the whole, greatly increased the number of small former landowners.[49]

After the Arabs, other Muslim rulers were likewise tolerant, open and kind towards the conquered peoples. Let us consider the most recent of the Muslim rulers and sultans in the Muslim conquest; the Ottomans. Strange as it may seem, the immediate result of the Ottoman domination in Greece and Eastern Europe was beneficial to the majority of the peoples and even to the Church and Christianity in that area. In the hour of danger, the local people cried “Better Turks than Latin”.[50] They would rather see the sultan’s tiara in St. Sofia. This is because the Turks helped in their fight against the Popes and Western (Rome) domination and against feudal landlords. Sultan Muhammad, as a Muslim, was ready to give much that his Christian Orthodox predecessor had kept for themselves. The emperors had always been head of the Church and, in virtue of his sacrosanct character, had interfered in and controlled the course of ecclesiastical policy. A Muslim sovereign had no such ambition. Sultan Muhammad supported the Patriarchate and the patriarchs, gave them the rank of Pasha of three horse-tails and solemnly invested them with his own hands, in imitations of the ceremony performed by the Christian emperors. The Christians and their patriarchs looked upon the Sultans as their benefactors and protectors, at least against the Latinos and the Popes.[51]

The use of the word Dhimmi which literally and as an Islamic term means protected (Ahl al-Dhimma = the protected peoples) for the peoples under Muslim rule explains how the Muslims felt themselves responsible for their protection. The peculiarities of Islam tended to exalt the position of the peoples of the scripture (Ahl al-Kitab), Christianity, the Church and the religious leaders. Islam does not distinguish between spiritual affairs of the state, between religion and law, between temporalities and spiritualities. By tolerating the sacred religions the Muslim rules implied that the followers of these religions were allowed to preserve, not only their religions in the strict sense of the word, but all their observances, usages and customs, provided they

Clearly understood that they were collectively and individually, the Dhimmis (pro­tected and ruled by the Muslims) and paid their tributes for the privilege of being protected. The religious leaders of the sacred religions were head not only of the religious institutes and organizations, but the head of their community in non-religious affairs. They were the representative of their peoples and nations.[52] They were heads and chiefs empowered to settle all disputes and all business matters arising between the members of their communities. All questions respecting marriage, inheritance etc. were referred to ecclesiastical tribunals and they did not need go to Muslim Courts and authorities and the Muslims did not interfere in how the followers of the sacred religions under their rule settled matters among themselves. The authority of the non-Muslims covered all their civil cases.

In fact, the upper classes, lay as well as clerical, and religious foundations suffered very little under, for instance, the Arabs, the Ottomans, and the Persians. The higher clergy of the sacred religions usually found themselves possessed of a power and influence which were new to them under the Muslim rule. The Phanariots, for instance, as well as religious leaders, took a large share in the administration of the Ottoman Empire as middlemen. The Church was certainly favored by the Turks and prospered greatly. The Patriarch, as head of the Greek community had the rank of Vazir and superin­tended the administration of justice in the community.

It was not the Ottoman rule which curbed Christianity in the areas under their rule, but the oppression and corruption of the Christian religious leaders which restrained it and, consequently, helped the spread of Islam. It is hardly surprising to find that this period of a powerful but corrupt Greek Church was characterized by the number of conversions to Islam,[53] both because of the Muslims’ tolerance and because of corruption of the Church.

Later on in the early nineteenth century, religious freedom was institutionalized in the Ottoman Empire. A Royal Decree called Hatti-Sharif Gulhane was issued in 1839 which secured the life, honor and property of all the sultans’ subjects, without distinction of religions. Another decree Hatti-Humayun was issued in 1856 which affirmed in a stronger form, the principle provisions of Hatti Gulhana. It again proclaimed perfect toleration and the absolute equality of all religions. All together, the Ottoman Government showed great patience and moderation towards non-Muslims, even in the times of agitation by them. In 1895, when northern Macedonia was invaded by Bulgarian bands who desired to provoke a disturbance, it is well authenticated that the Turkish Troops who were sent to repel them were instructed not to harm a single Christian; and that in places where the inhabitants were afraid to go out into the fields for fear of meeting either the bands or the Ottoman soldiers, the latter harvested their crops for them lest it should spoil by standing too long, and presented the Ml amount to the head-men of the villages.[54] On occasions, the Ottomans were even ready to let Christians prosper financially and commercially at the expense of Muslims.[55]


C entered on a strict monotheism, Islam fostered a humanism of its own. All mankind is seen as the Creation of one God, who had sent different messengers to different peoples. Thus Islam did away with the Christian doctrine of monopoly of the truth. Whereas Islam had from its fundamental inception recognized that it enjoyed no monopoly of the divine revelation, the Christian acknowledge no validity in the religious notions of the followers of other religions. Thus Islam particularly has suffered full scale persecution at the hands of Christians. The burning of Islamic books was followed by the burning of Muslims at the hands of Isabella and Ferdinand. Public bonfire of 80,000 Arabic volumes disgraced Christian Zealots after the fall of Granada.[56] What is happening to Muslims and Islamic culture at the hand of the Serbs and Croats is in fact a repetition of how the Muslims were treated in Spain.

As a religion, Islam does not put itself in an attitude of conflict towards other God-sent religions. The word ‘Islam’ literally means surrender (to God). God’s guidance has been sent through a succession of messengers and prophets who are all revered by a Muslim. The Quran reads: “say (o believers) we believe in God and in that which has been transmitted to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes; and that which was given to Moses and Jesus; and that which was given to the prophets of their Lord. We do not discriminate between them and to Him do we surrender”.[57]
This is why an Islamic society is not formed of Muslims only, but of all those who follow God-sent religions living together in Islamic territories (Dar al-Islam). Islam does not claim to be contrary to the previous God-sent religions. “It (Islam and the Quran) is no new tale of fiction, but a confirmation of previous scriptures and an explanation of all things, and a guidance and mercy to those who believe.[58] With strict monotheism it provides a sound ground for syncretism and brotherhood of all the faithful.

The Quran states: “0 Muhammad, tell people, let us come to an agreement between us (Muslims) and you (people of the scriptures) that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him and that none of us shall take others for lords besides God”.[59]

Islam thus suggests that religions are not substantially different, because the Religion of God is unique: Submission to God (Islam). It comes from one source, God Himself. There have been numerous messengers, but they all conveyed God’s orders to meet particular needs on earth. The Prophets took action in history. But the divine religion is one, and will remain so as God wills.[60] Islam is not a novel religion. It has always been the religion with God. Islam is not the religion that appeared in Arabia fourteen centuries ago, preached by the Prophet Muhammad. It is the religion God made known on the day when man first appeared on earth. He taught those first men the one sound way of living for all human species. Islam regards itself as the original religion of man. It began with the first man who was also the first prophet. The same message was preached by all the prophets of God. The prophets He later sent at intervals to different places came with the same Summons: to submit to God, and this call given by all the prophets, was crowned by the mission of Muhammad.

The Quranic verse:

“Religion with God is Islam”, embraces all the sects founded by the different prophets.[61] hi general, the religion of Islam has two aims: First to free the mind and spirit from involvements, the invisible bonds that hold them in subjection to material things; and to save people from a humiliating servitude to others who are no better than themselves. Second, to provide the right goal for all man’s actions, and give him a purity of motive towards God and his fellow men. These are the twin sources of the Islamic spirit. At this present time they are a pointer to the universality of religions and its world-wide character since “there is no religion apart from Islam” (Submis­sion to God).[62]

The warfare between Judeo-Christianity and Muslims was not due to any innate mutual repulsion between these two religions. On the contrary, they were religions so closely related that Islam has more than once been designated by Christian divines as a mere Christian heresy. The warfare was not initiated by the Muslims but was imposed by the Judeo-Christians.

However, the thousand-year hostihty resulted in Europe’s devotion to Greece and Rometothe exclusion of the Arab and Muslim World. Greek and Latin became the languages of the learned. Greek and Roman history and legend were part of a gentleman’s education, but historical teaching stopped short at Tarjan or the Antonines and jumped to Charlemagne or William the Conqueror.

Not a word about the mighty empire of the Arabs was admitted to our textbooks.

The deliberate boycott of Arab and Muslim history which took place in Europe at the time of the Renaissance has not only prevented the West from understanding the Middle East. It has also made the history of Europe incomprehensible.[63]

J.B. Glubb states: “When I say to Europeans that our ignorance of Arab history is due to political hostility many years ago they usually reply, “Yes, of course, the Crusades”. In fact the Crusades were only a late and indeed to some extent, a minor incident.[64] It goes further into history:

“If the Arabs had burst out of Arabian Peninsula to conquer the Byzantine Empire merely because they were tempted by its wealth, the result would have been utterly different. It was for this reason that the Northern Barbarians had come, who, as we have seen, had adopted Roman manners and the imperial religion, as soon as they had established themselves. Had the Arabs come for the same reason, they too would have become Romanized and Christianized and the life, at least the commercial life, of the Mediterranean would have gone on as before. But the Arabs came convinced that their new religion made them superior to others. They did not, therefore, become romanized, as the Northern Barbarians had done. On the contrary, the inhabitants of the former Roman provinces became Arabicized… sea power in the Mediterranean had passed to the Muslims, although the Byzantine Emperors continued to maintain a fleet, it was normally coped up in one quarter of the Mediterranean, that along Asia Minor and Greece”,[65] Europe was completely cut off from World Trade -China, India, Ghana were open to Arab trade, but Christendom was entirely isolated. In the words of Ibn Khaldon, “The Christians could no longer float a plank upon the sea”.[66] A complete revolution in the life of Western Europe resulted. This is probably one of the causes of deep rooted prejudice against lslam. (Torthis see T.Hentsch, Imagining The Middle East).


The spread of Islam as a religion and faith was the result of spiritual and inner guidance and choice. In cases where people felt that they were being converted to Islam by their chiefs and rulers they revolted against them and deposed them if they did not feel like being converted, e. g. following a custom which prevailed among chiefs in the Sudan, Biton Kulibali (founder ofthe State of Sequid 1955) sent his sonBakary to study the Quran. Though he was not supposed to convert, Bakary became a Muslim in Jenne and on his accession he attempted to introduce Islam into the very centre of the state. He failed to keep the balance between traditionalism and Islam; the Tondyon revolted, deposed and killed Bakary.[67]

Another example of this kind is that of Bukar, the ruler of Mandara. An account tells and show two clerics, father and son, originally from Fez, were returning from pilgrimage through Bagirmi in A.D. 1715. The heir apparent of Mandara, Bukar, having heard of the two men, summoned them, and asked them to stay with him. They agreed, on condition that he converted, which he did. When he succeeded as a ruler of Mandara, there was some opposition to his Muslim innovations, circumcision, prayer, fasting and alms-giving, and he was apparently threatened with deposition, but was supported with super natural resources by the Clerics. He continued in office until his death in 1737 and was succeeded by his son Madi Makia (Muhammad al-Makkiyi) who ruled for twenty years. An agreement between Bukar and his North African visitors, that as long as the family of the former should remain in power, so long should that of the latter serve as their respected Clerics, was still in effect in the middle of that century.[68]

Muslims were loving and toleran towards their adversaries even as victors. As the historian Anne Fremantle has written, the Third Crusade is best rememberedforthe gallantry which Saladin and Richard displayed toward each other: “Saladin had the edge in this regard. Battling Richardat Jaffa, for example, he learned thattheEnglishman’shorsehadbeenkilled under him; promptly he sent a groom le ading two fresh mounts”.

According to Harold Lamb, Saladin was at heart a scholar and lover of peace who waged war reluctantly. “He kept inviolate his ideal of personal honour – more exacting than the Christian code of chivalry”.

After his armies conquered Jerusalem in 1187, his humanity won the admiration of Christian chroniclers, in his modern retelling, the historian Rene Grousset relates: “On the entry of his troops he had the main streets guarded by trusted men, responsible for preventing any violence against Christians…Some fanatics asked Saladin to raze the Holy Sepulcher and put an end to Christian pilgrimage. He stopped them with a word “Why raze and destroy, when the object of their veneration is a place of the Cross and not the outward building? Let us imitate the first Muslim conquerors who respected these churches”.

His honour shone in his respect for prisoners. “They brought to him from among the prisoners”, Mr. Grosset writes, a decrepit old man who, despite his infirmities, was determined to make the pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Taking pity on him, the sultan gave him a horse and had him returned to the Frankish army”.

One night Muslim raiders carried off a child from the Christian camp. An Arab chronicler related what happened: “The sultan was on horseback, surrounded by a numerous escort, of which I was one. When the mother presented herself to the sultan, she informed him of her plight and when he learned of it, his eyes filled with tears. He sent for the child…All who saw the scene, and I among them, also wept”.

And this noble figure, so at variance with Western stereotypes of Islamic Zeal, had another distinction: He was a Kurd.


Since the main factor for the spread of Islam has been Muslims’ missionary zeal and activities based on the principle of Amr bi al-Maroof, the Muslim’s religious duty of introducing and spreading the truth, a brief explanation of this basic Islamic principle seems to be appropriate here: A scholar has explained this as follows.[69]

Islam is “societistic”. Because the whole world, creation itself, is the object of the Muslim’s will to transform and refashion, the Society of Islam is the human face in its totality. Here, every man is a citizen and every man counts. Man’s humanness constitutes his full candidacy for membership. Even if he is not a Muslim, his entry into contract of peaceful coexistence with the Muslims makes him a constituent member of society of Islam…His entry into faith creates for him new privileges and obligations…If there is an alternative at all to the rule of might and the play of the big stick in intersocietal elations, it must be that of idealism and intellectualism. The human mind or soul has no vision of a world other than that in which any man may influence, determine, or transform his fellow men by argument or example. Thus the world which Islam envisages may have one government or many national govern­ments as it pleases. But these must be either themselves Islamic or maintaining a free order in their societies in which ideas and men from within or without its national frontiers are free to move, to associate and dissociate, to compete and to win – in peace. “Pull down the barriers and let the best thought win!” is the principle of World order Islam furnishes, confident that the truth, which is one as God and values are one, will emerge victorious.

Nevertheless in Islam, it is not enough for a Muslim to act. He ought to act as well as to succeed; that is will, as well as makes history and alters space time for better. He must enter history and space, disturb the natural flow of events, take business of history as it were into his hands and bring about the realization of the divine pattern. It is not enough to will that or to seek to realize it, without success. Pursuit of felicity, the Muslim argues, cannot therefore be a pursuit of the subject’s own felicity as this would not earn him the felicity or salvation he seeks. His duty is simply to bring about that actual felicity of the others; his salvation is the measure of success he achieves in the performance of his duty. Only under a scheme such as Islam provides can it be said that man is really regarded as an end of egotism. Salvation was never in Islam the cessation or end of this world, but its continuation.

Instead of seeking to exit there from, man is supposed to transform this world into the divine pattern, to recognize and mould its materials, including man, the masterpiece of creation, into the likeness of the ought-to-be of the content of divine will and command.

To invade the selves of others and to bring therein changes! This sounds less like ethical universalistic altruism and more like a totalitarianism in which men are inanimate material rather than persons. Indeed, this is so, as long as we do not remember the nature of the change the Muslim seeks to bring in the persons of others. Had such changes been all of material nature, all pertaining to men’s bodies, their health, food, raiment, pleasure, Islamic societism would have been a call to the strongest totalitarianism and collectivism. The case of Islam, however, is otherwise.

Islam seeks to bring about the realization of all values. Of these, the highest are the moral. The moral are precisely those which cannot be enforced. When they are, the result is not the realization of them but of something else. The genuinely moral values can be realized in man only by himself acting as an example of the realization. The deed in question must be his own, personal, individual deed. Above all it must be deliberate and free, his own decision and choice. Only then will it be moral. The divine trust which, as the Quran reports,[70] God offered to the angels, to the heavens and mountains, was turned down by them it required the exercise of moral freedom which they did not have. Man alone accepted it because only he is a free moral agent, capable of realizing moral value and hence, of fulfilling the general purpose of creation. What can the Muslim, or any other man, contribute to this extremely personal and free decision of the moral subject? Obviously, the Muslims’ role can be only that of teaching, of causing the moral subject to perceive for himself, of exposing him to examples and situation of realization or violation of the various imperatives. Only such

assistance to, or “invasion” of the other man’s person does not violate its holy territory. That is precisely the meaning of Islamic altruism when all the preparatory conditions of ethical goodness are realized and the Muslim has carried his ethical and religious activism to its furthest limits. Man may be made to do; but his doing will not be moral. For it to be moral, it has to be his own free choice. In turn, this presupposes man’s perception of the goodness and moral obligatoriness of that which is to be brought about by his deed; and here no compulsion and no outside material causation can help, because for perception to be perception at all, it must be the Subject’s own perception. Here, men may be helped, but never coerced, to perceive. The processes in which such help takes place constitute education in its highest sense; and that is the final practical purpose of Islamic Societism. The society Islam envisages and seeks to establish is a school on the grandest scale possible, where every member is teacher and student seeking eternally to discover, express and establish value, to the end that all men will give it, of their own free will, the real existence its very nature calls for from its depths. The curriculum of such a World School has been institutionalized by Islam. The societism of actualizing the good in Islam consists in making it obligatory so that it became the concern of everyone. The Muslim is under the duty to command the doing of the good (Amr bi al-Maroof) and the prevention of evil (Nahy an al-Munkar); and such duty runs throughout the Quran like a constant refrain. In an Islamic society, therefore, the doing of the good and prevention of evil are the credit of all the citizens and their opposites are the moral failure and bane of all.

hi a pertinent tradition, the prophet said: “If you see an evil being perpetrated or a good being avoided, seek to prevent the evil and to bring about the good with your own arms. If you cannot, then with your tongue; and if you cannot, then, in your heart, but that is the least faith”. Islam desires such public and group action and ranks it far above all individual conduct, because the good itself stands to reveal more of its nature and to command its own realization the more other men are involved in the process of realization even when personal. The good has a strong moving appeal and its realization is universally contagious. Undoubtedly, no ideology that seeks an objective as wide as the universe and as a manifold as mankind can afford to lose the advantages the “societism” of value-realization brings, to overlook how closer to the goal such “societism” brings it with every deed.[71] Thus as we see every Muslim is duty bound to teach every other Muslim and non-Muslim in the World and to make known to him all the fruits of his research. It is their duty as Muslims first to know clearly what the truth is and second to try to bring men to the knowledge of the truth, and third to make the realization of the truth possible.

The realization of this duty has been institutionalized by Islam by its demanded absence of priesthood and of Church magisterial. For Islam does not allow truth, its realization, its introduction and its propagation, to be the monopoly of a certain group of the society. It is an honor to be shared and enjoyed by everyone. The dignity of man is violated when some member or members of his species are declared the only entitled avenues and means to the truth. Man’s dignity is violated when some members of his species are declared incarnations of the transcendent; when their acts and thought are declared embodiment or expressions of the Holy and hence, beyond critique; indeed when they are declared to stand in a special relation to the transcendent from which all other men are excluded by birth or by other means beyond his control and power. Just as natural law and order are possible only if all nature is profane, human dignity and moral responsibility are possible only when all men are human and all are equally entitled to seek the truth and publicize it. All men are one and alike. All men stand obliged by the value, the command of the transcendent being. Some individual men possess sharper, clearer, or wider vision of the values; but no man is ruled out from such vision and none possesses a monopoly of it. Whatever one does in fact possess is capable of being possessed by others, and is a public trust which any member of the human race may question. This is the highest possible form of spiritual equalitarianism, and freedom of conscience. What is for everybody (religion) may be realized by everybody and publicized by everybody. What belongs to everybody is the responsibility of everybody.
“Islam pressed all its moral, social, and ideological views of the World under the single concept of Tawhid or Unity of the transcendent being. The transcendence of God apparently cannot be long maintained if the equality of humanness of all men is broken in favor of any member, church, priesthood or group. Hence, Islam eliminated the privileged and their privileges and declared religious truth to be public trust and the road to the deity to be always an open freeway to all”.[72] The egalitarianism of Islam knows no bounds. Every Muslim, whether learned or common, is a minister unto himself and a possible minister, not only to all other Muslims, but to mankind as well. This is the real cause of Muslim zeal and activities to understand the truth and its realization and to introduce it to others. The Islamic concept of enjoining good shall be dealt with later because of its role in the spread of Islam (Chapter 3).


Despite the presence of violence in many regions of the world ranging from India to Palestine, to Kashmir to Bosnia, almost entirely against Muslims and to the Pacific Basin, and involving many religions from Christianity to Judaism, the Western World associates Islam more than any other religion with violence. The Muslim conquest of Spain, the crusades were not begun by Muslims, and the Ottoman domination of Eastern Europe have provided a historical memory of Islam as being related to force and power. Moreover, the upheavals of the past few decades in the Middle East and especially movements using the name of Islam and seeking to solve problems of the Muslim world created by conditions and causes beyond the control of Muslims have only reinforced the idea prevalent in the West that in some special way Islam is related to violence.

To understand the nature of the truth about the assertion often made of Islam’s espousal of violence, it is important to analyze this question clearly remembering that the word Islam itself means peace and that the history of Islam has certainly not been witness to any more violence than one finds in other civilizations, particularly that of the West. In what follows, however, it is the Islamic religion in its principles and ideals with which we are especially concerned and not particular events or facts relating to the domain of historical contingency belonging to the unfolding of Islam in the plane of human history.

First of all, it is necessary to define what we mean by violence.

There are several dictionary definitions that can be taken into account such as ‘swift and intense force’, ‘rough or injurious physical force or action’, ‘unjust or unwarranted exertion of force specially against the rights of others’, ‘rough or immediate vehemence’ and finally ‘injury resulting from the distortion of meaning or fact’. If these definitions are accepted for violence, then the question can be asked as to how Islam is related to these definitions. As far as ‘force’ is concerned, Islam is not completely opposed to its use but rather seeks to control it in the light of the Divine Law (al-shari’ a). This world is one in which force is to be found everywhere, in nature as well as in human society, among men as well as within the human soul. The goal of Islam is to establish equilibrium amidst this field of tension of various forces.

The Islamic concept of justice itself is related to equilibrium, the word for justice (al-adl) in Arabic being related in its etymology to the word for equilibrium (ta’adul). All force used under the guidance of the divine law with the aim of re-establishing an equilibrium that is destroyed is accepted and in fact necessary, for it means to carry out and establish justice. Moreover, not to use force in such a way is to fall prey to other forces which cannot but increase disequilibrium and disorder and result in greater injustice.

Whether the use of force in this manner is swift and intense or gentle and mild depends upon the circumstances, but in all cases force can only be used with the aim of establishing equilibrium, harmony and not for personal or sectarian reasons identified with the interests of a person or a particular group and not the whole.

By embracing the ‘world’ and not shunning the ‘Kingdom of Caesar’, Islam took upon itself the responsibility for the world in which force is present. But by virtue of the same fact it limited the use of force and despite all the wars, invasions, and attacks which it experienced, it was able to create an ambience of peace and tranquility which can still be felt whenever something of the traditional Islamic world survives. The peace that dominates the courtyard of a mosque or a garden whether it is in Marrakech or Lahore is not accidental but the result of the control of the force with the aim of establishing that harmony which results from equilibrium of forces, whether those forces are natural, social or psychological.

As for the meaning of violence as ‘rough or injurious physical force or action’, Islamic Law opposes all uses of force in this sense except in the case of war or for punishment for criminals in accordance with the shari’a. Even in war, however, the inflicting of any injury on women and children is forbidden as is the use of force against civilians. Only fighters in the field of battle must be confronted with force and it is only against them that injurious physical force can be used. Inflicting injuries according to the dictum of the shari’a and the view of a judge is completely forbidden by Islamic Law.

As far as violence in the sense of the use of unjust force against the rights of others and laws is concerned, Islam stands totally opposed to it. Rights of human beings are defined by Islamic Law are protected by this Law which embraces not only Muslims but also followers of other religions who are considered as ‘People of the Book (ahl al-Kitab)’. If there is nevertheless violation in Islamic society, it is due not to the teachings of Islam but the imperfection of the human recipients of Divine Message. Man is man wherever he might be and no religion can neutralize completely the imperfections inherent in the nature of a fallen man.

What is remarkable, however, is not that some violence in this sense of the word does exist in Muslim societies, but that despite so many negative social and economic factors aggravated by the advent of colonialism, overpopulation, industrialization, modernization resulting in cultural dislocation, and so many other elements, there is less violence as unjust exertion of force against others in most Islamic countries than in the industrialized West. There is and has been more violence against the Muslims as the cases of Spain, Bosnia, Palestine and Kashmir clearly show.

If one understands by violence ‘rough or immoderate vehemence’, then Islam is totally opposed to it. The perspective of Islam is based upon moderation and its morality is grounded upon the principle of avoiding extremes and keeping to the golden mean. Nothing is more alien to the Islamic perspective than vehemence. Even if force is used, it must be on the basis of moderation, and proportionate. Finally, if by violence is meant ‘distortion of meaning or fact resulting in injury to others’, Islam is completely opposed to it.

Islam is based on the Truth which saves and which finds its supreme expression in the testimony of the faith, la ilaha ilia ‘Lalah (there is no divinity but the Divine). Any distortion of truth is against the basic teachings of the religion even if no one were to be affected by it. How much more would distortion resulting in injury be against the teachings of the Quran and the tradition of the Prophet!

In conclusion it must be emphasized that since Islam embraces the whole of life and does not distinguish between the sacred and the secular, it concerns itself with force and power characterizes this world as such. But Islam, in controlling the use of force in the direction of creating equilibrium and harmony, limits it and opposes violence as aggression against the rights of both God and His creatures as defined by the Divine Law. The goal of Islam is the attainment of peace but this peace can only be experienced through that exertion (Jihad) and the use of force which begins with the disciplining of ourselves and leads to living in the world in accordance with the dicta of the shari’a. Islam seeks to enable man to live according to his theomorphic nature and not to violate that nature. Islam condones the use of force only to the extent of opposing that centripetal tendency which turns man against what he is in his inner reality. The use of force can only be condoned in the sense of undoing the violation of our own nature and the chaos which has resulted from the loss of equilibrium. But such a use of force is not in reality violence as usually understood. It is the exertion of human will and effort in the direction of conforming to the Will of God and in surrendering the human will to the Divine Will. From this surrender (taslim) comes peace (salam), hence Islam, and only through this Islam can the violence inbred within the nature of fallen man be controlled and the b east within subdued so that man lives at peace with himself and the world because he lives at peace with God.[73]


To suggest that Islam took hold amongst the masses of the population of areas conquered by Muslims by force and immediately after the conquest would be very unscholarly. Even less scholarly is the suggestion that Islam was imposed at the point of the sword. How can religious life and doctrines be imposed en masse in a short period of time? It is not scholarly to neglect important indigenous social elements in analysis of Islamic progress, to disregard socio-political factors and instead attribute so complex a question as the spread of Islam to a single, purely materialistic, element, e.g. the sword.

Nearly everywhere Muslim conquests were followed by extensive defections to Islam. But these were not accomplished by force. They were accomplished by the conviction that Islam was the right religion of the converts. Of course this conviction, sometimes, was re-enforced by the military victories, for they appeared to prove that Islam was under the peculiar favor of God[74] But this should not make scholars suggest that Islam was spread by force. The fact that Islam is spreading now, in the age of persuasion, by peaceful means, shows how it was spreading previously. Even the most biased Western observers and partisan Christian writers could not help admitting this.[75] Probably one of the reasons why some Western writers associate the spread of Islam only with Muslim conquest is the immediate adoption of Islam on a large scale by the peoples of many lands conquered by Muslims. But this is a very unscholarly generalization. It should be understood that where even soldiers worked as preachers of Islam, persuading peoples to accept their faith, it is not right to relate its progress entirely to a single, purely materialistic factor. The great historian of the ninth century, Tabari (A.D. 839 – 932), quotes a case which shows how Muslim soldiers cared for the conversion of the people at personal cost and sacrifice, but peacefully. Some war prisoners of Egypt were offered the choice of accepting Islam or paying poll-tax. The General in charge described his own feelings and those of his men while the prisoners were deciding whether to keep their old faith or adopt the new one. When a man chose to be a Muslim the Arabs “cheered louder than when they captured the City of Alexandria”, when he remained steadfast in his Christianity, they were as gloomy as if one of their own men had deserted to the enemy.[76] The soldiers would encourage peoples to accept Islam but they could not enforce it, for this was beyond their power.[77]

F. Schoun writes: “Islam is often reproached with having propagated its faith by the sword; what is overlooked is, first that the persuasion played a much greater part than war in the expansion of Islam as a whole; secondly, that only polytheists (Mushriks) and idolaters (Kafirs) might be compelled to embrace the new religion; thirdly, that the God of the Old Testament is no less a warrior than the God of the Quran; and fourthly, that Christians also made use of the sword. The question to be put here is simply the following: is it possible for force to be used with the aim of affirming and diffusing a vital truth? Beyond doubt the answer must be in the affirmative, for experience proves that we must, at times, do violence to irresponsible people in their own interest. Now, since this possibility exists it cannot fail to be manifested in appropriate conditions,[78] exactly as in the case of the opposite possibility of victory through the force inherent in truth itself; it is the inner or outer nature of things which determines the choice between two possibilities. On the one hand, the end sanctifies the means, and on the other hand the means may profane the end, which signifies that the means be found prefigured in the divine nature; thus the right of the stranger is prefigured in the ‘jungle’ to which beyond question we belong to a certain degree and when regarded as collectives; but in that jungle no example can be found of any right to perfidy and baseness; and, even if such characteristics were to be found there, our human dignity would forbid us to participate in them. The harshness of certain biological laws must never be confused with that infamy of which man alone is capable through his perverted theomorphism.

“From a certain point of view, it can be said that Islam has two dimensions: the horizontal dimension of the will, and the vertical dimension of the intelligence: the former we shall term ‘equilibrium’ and the latter ‘union’. Islam is in essence equilibrium and union; it does not primarily sublimate the will by sacrifice, but neutralize it by the ‘Law’, while at the same time laying stress on contemplation. The dimensions of equilibrium and union, the horizontal and the vertical, concern both man as such and the community; there is not identity here, assuredly; but there is solidarity which makes society participate in its own way and according to its own possibilities in the individual’s way to union, and the converse is also true.”[79]
It is not, therefore, difficult to understand why Islam believes that the end sanctifies the means and thus approves of the use of force against irresponsibility at times. There is nothing more serious than the irresponsibility of denying absolute truth (Haqiqa: God) according to the Quran.

Having said this about Islam we would like to point out that this is not the case with Christianity. This is why Arnold Toynbee believes that Christians have been worse than pagans and Atheists regarding the use of force and violences for religious purposes. He believes that Muslims are certainty no worse than Christians.[80]

After quoting many cases in which Christianity has been imposed on peoples by physical and mental force, A. Toynbee state:[81] “Now the manifest moral of all these examples of Christians behavior is that the fact of Mahomet’s having propagated his religion by force can no longer be used against Mahomet (by Christians) to Mahomet’s prejudice. If you doubt this, consider what Mahomet would be able to say in presenting an ‘argument ad hominem’. If force were bad intrinsically, there would never be an occasion on which it would be legitimate to use it. But now you Christians have been using force from the fourth century (of your era) down to the present day, and you maintain that, in doing this, you have not been doing anything on which you cannot congratulate yourself heartily. So you are bound to admit that this method is not bad intrinsically; and consequently I, Mahomet, have been acting legitimately in resorting to force since the first years of my prophetic call. It would be absurd for you Christians to maintain that something which would have been gravely criminal in the first century (of your era) becomes right in the fourth, though it is not right in the first. One could have maintained this if, in the fourth century, God had laid down new laws; but am I not right in thinking that you rest your case for justifying your conduct from the time of Constantine down to the present day on these words in the Gospel – ‘Compel them to come in’ and on the (religious) duties of princes? Well, on this showing, you might, if you had the power to have used force from the very morrow of the Ascension”.[82]

Christians saw the miracles of progress as the direct act of God that “uses the weak things of the world to confound the strong”. The time came, indeed, when the Christians were strong and took over the rule of the Empire. They fell into the disastrous error of using force against the unbelievers, and even of turning the Christian sword against Christians.[83] We know for sure that the Christian religion was imposed on pagans in the South of Ethiopia as elsewhere. The Muslims in Ethiopia, Lebanon, Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Bosnia have, until the present day, remained under Christian oppression although they form the majority of the population. We know that Christianity was imposed upon the entire continent of America, Australia, and New Zealand even at the cost of annihilating the entire indigenous populations.

We have already observed that much of the early Muslim expansion was at the expense of Christendom.[84] The main bulk of early Muslims were previously Christians or Jews. It is natural, therefore, for the Christian world to attempt to recover the losses by force, “hi the Middle Ages, an attempt was made by the Western Christians to recover some of these losses”.[85] This is one reason why the Crusades were launched. There were other reasons for the Crusades, including the colonization of East by Western Christian nations. All these causes led Western Christianity to resort to force and use power. The old Western Colonization resorted to the use of the sword: but the recent and late colonization process started with gun-power and gained control by gun-power on an even larger scale than before and for a long time to come.

“The early colonizers, particularly d’Albuquerque, the greatest of empire builders, demonstrated a fact which was exploited by all subsequent colonizers from Western Europe: that the superior energy, enterprise and equipment of the West could be used empires”.[86] This was done by the use of gun-power not only in the Muslim world but in the entire non-Christian world; America, Africa, Asia, Australia included.

In the sixteenth century, Muslims were systematically persecuted and exterminated by the Christians at the instigation of a fanatical clergy who had become overpow­ered.[87] “The Crusades came against Islam with the sword in hand, with the Cross on their shields. Rivers of blood flowed, prodigies of valour were displayed”.[88] “Earlier, Church and State were one, and the strong arm of Caesar was wielding his sword on behalf of the Church”.[89] “The Crusades set a precedent for the use of force in the propagation of religion hitherto charged exclusively to Islam”.[90]

“Christianity is spoken of as world-affirming. Yet, once given power by the succession of events following the conversion of the Emperor Constantine, how rarely and how feebly did the authoritative representative of the church resist the temptation to world domination! The conviction that ‘the church had to be right’ justified in the eyes of many not only the defense of Europe against Moors but the aggressive enterprise against Islam, and of Western Christianity against even Eastern Christian­ity…”[91] “The Christianity of the sixteenth century had no right to hope for the same favor or the same protection from God as the Christianity of the first three centuries, which was a benign, gentle, patient religion that did not aspire to raise itself to the throne by means of rebellions. But the Christianity that was preached to the infidels in the sixteenth century was no longer like that: it was a sanguinary, murderous religion which had been hardened to the shedding of blood for some five or six centuries past. It had contracted a very long -ingrained habit of maintaining itself, and of seeking aggrandizement, by putting to the sword anything that offered to resist it. Faggots, executioners, the faithful tribunal of the Inquisition, the Crusades, papal bulls inciting subjects to rebel, seditious preachers, conspiracies, assassinations – these were the regular means that this sixteenth century Christianity employed against all who would not submit to its orders.”[92] John Locke explains this point as follows: “An inconsiderable and weak number of Christians, destitute of everything, arrive in a pagan country. These foreigners (Christians) beseech the inhabitants, by the bowls of humanity that they would succour them with the necessities of life; these necessities are given them, habitations are granted, and they all join together and grow up into one body of people. The Christian religion by this means takes root in that country and spreads itself, but does not suddenly grow the strongest. While things are in this condition, peace, friendship, faith, equal justice is preserved amongst them. At length the magistrate becomes a Christian, and by that means their party becomes the most powerful. Then immediately all compacts are to be broken, all civil rights to be violated…They (the natives) are to be turned out of the lands and possessions of their forefathers, and perhaps deprived of life itself. Then, at last, it appears, what zeal for the Church, joined with the desire of domination, is capable of producing, and how easily the presence of religion, and of the care of souls, serves for a cloak to covertness, raping and ambition”.[93] The means referred to by Bayle and Locke as Christians’ instrument in the sixteenth century is still used by the Western super-power Christians to dominate world politics in the twentieth century. Only the promises and the inducements have changed. Bayle explains the attitude of the sixteenth century Christian imperialist missionaries as follows: “At the beginning they (these foreign Christian intruders) ask for nothing except bare toleration; but, in a little while, they will want to participate with us in public office and employment and then to become our masters. At the beginning, they consider themselves very happy if we do not burn them alive; then ill-used if they enjoy fewer privileges than other people; and then again very ill-used if they do not enjoy a monopoly of domination. For a time they are like the Caesar, who wanted merely to be under no master; and then they became like Pompey, who wanted to have no equals…These are the inevitable conveniences which people impose on themselves when they hotly maintain that the power of the secular are ought to be used for the establishment of orthodoxy”.[94] Comparing Christianity to Islam, Bayle states: “The Mahometans, according to the principle of their faith, are under no obligation not to use violence for the purpose of bringing other religions to ruin” (probably he means Jihad which is not for the purpose he suggests); “yet, in spite of that, they have been tolerating other religions for some centuries past. The Christians have not been given orders to do anything but preach and instruct, yet despite this from time immemorial they have been exterminating by fire and sword all those who are not of their religion… We may feel certain that if Western Christians, instead of the Saracens and the Turks, had won the domination over Asia, there would be today not a trace left of the Greek Church, and that they would never have tolerated Mahometanism as the infidels have tolerated Christianity there”.[95] “We (Christians) enjoy the fine advantage of being far better versed than others in the art of killing, bombarding, and exterminating the Human race”.[96]

“The king of France resorted to force and violence for establishing Christianity in Farisia and Saxony, and the same violent means were used to establish it in Scandinavia…The same methods were resorted to for dealing with Christian sects that dared to condemn the Pope and they are going to be resorted to in the Extermination of the native races of East Indies, America (Red Indians), of Australia, New guinea and so forth”. Not only genocide was adopted by Christian colonial powers to establish colonial rule, but it is still used directly by Christian missionaries at tribal level in modem times to establish Christianity in new areas. The book recently written by Prof. Aaron “Genocide in Paraguay” (pub. in U.S.A) testifies the continuous policy of genocide by Christianity.

“Dung the suppression of paganism in Europe, Christian Emperors, with the support of the Church, behaved with merciless cruelty to the tribes whom they subdued. In the eighth century Charlemagne, who bore the title of Christianissimus Rex, habitually offered the tribes whom he conquered the stern alternative Baptism or death.[97] He beheaded 45 00 in one day, then went into winter quarters and there celebrated the birth of Jesus”,[98] this method is being used by the orthodox Serbs against the Muslims of Bosnia plus rape on amass scale.

It is very improbable that one can find in the history of Islamic propagation the kind of frequent violence that the history of Christianity has witnessed against others. Wherever Christian people established themselves it was always at the expense of the natives’ lives and native culture, in North America, in Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand and many other places. What the Christians did to the Muslims in Spain was similar to what the Mongols did, if not worse. Massacre and violence were, in many cases, conducted by church leaders. “In 1703 Daniel Petrovich, the then reigning bishop of Montenegro, called the Christian tribes together and told them that the only hope for their country and their faith lay in the destruction of Muhammadans living among them. Accordingly, on Christmas Eve, all the converted Montenegroes who would not forswear Islam and embrace Christianity were massacred in cold blood “.[99] In 1325 Pope John XXII wrote a letter to the King of Bosnia asking him to exterminate the heretics (Muslims) in his dominion.[100] In this sense history is certainly repeating itself.

“No less merciless was the policy of Crusaders towards their Muslim foes”.[101] “The Crusaders massacred and slaughtered Muslims frequently”.[102] They were even entertaining the idea of entering into alliance with Mongols against the Muslims They were hoping that the Mongols would wipe out Islam completely.

It is reasonably clear that on the Muslim side religious enthusiasm for fighting did not appear until some time after it had appeared among their opponents, particularly among Christians.[103] This is particularly clear in Spain and Sicily and in the Crusades. The Arab colony of Lucera was destroyed by the order of Charles II of Anjou between 14 and 15 August 1300 (A.D.). The Muslims of Lucera were forcibly converted to Christianity and thus Islamic presence in Sicily was brought to an end by force.[104] It is thus even clearer that the Western Christians’ and missionaries’ image of Islam as a religion of violence does not correspond with facts. The contrasting image of Christianity as a religion of peace is far from the truth. It is strange that men engaged in so many bloody wars of religion, and men engaged in Crusade, should believe that their own religion was one of peace, while that of their opponents was one of violence.[105] Some writers realized that the concept of a religion of peace was an ideal rather than an actuality, and argued that the purpose of Crusade was not the forcible conversion of the enemy but, as St. Thomas Aquinas stated, the prevention of the infidel from hindering the Christian faith. Perhaps this included the recovery of lands rightly Christian.[106] Even its idealism can be challenged for the prince of peace boasted that he had not come to bring peace on earth but fire and division: “I came to set the earth on fire and how I wish that it were already kindled”. “Do you suppose that I came to bring peace to the world? No. Not peace but division” (Luke 12:49 and 51) His followers certainly fulfilled his wish.

It is not thus unreasonable to conclude that the main features of Christendom in the Middles Ages were Crusades and Inquisition and in modem time’s colonialization and exploitation. The spread of Christianity in Europe took place by force and outside Europe by colonialization. It is encouraging, however, to come across some relatively impartial scholars such as W. Mongomery Watt who have courageously explained how the distorted image of Islam was formed in Europe to serve Christianity. Some Western writers have, therefore, openly rejected Christianity as a religion established by peace: Thomas Pain states: “some Christians pretend that Christianity was not established by the sword, but of what many period of time do they speak? It was impossible that twelve men could begin with the sword. They had not the power; but no sooner were the professors of Christianity sufficiently powerful to employ the sword than they did so, and the stake and lance too. By the same spirit that Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant, he would cut off his head and the head of his master, had he been able. Besides this, Christianity grounds itself originally upon the Bible, and the Bible was established altogether by the sword and that in the worse use of it, not to terrify but to extirpate. The Jews made no converts, but butchered all. The Bible is the fire of the testament and both are called the ‘word of God’. The Christians read both book; and this thing called Christianity is made up of both. It is then false to say that Christianity was not established by the sword”.[107]

hi contrast to Christian Rome and Byzantine, government in Muslim states did not employ organized religion as part of its administrative machinery, which is one reason why it was not, as a rule, concerned with enforcing complete agreement on theological and legal doctrine[108] nor, consequently, win forced conversion or holy wars, like the Christian clergy, hi the idea of Urban II, for instance, “The Pope was to be the Generalissimo of the Holy War; the Crusades were to be the foreign policy of the Papacy, conducted by its nod; and a papal legate was to accompany and rule the army of God.” [109]


It is an historical fact that the spread of Islam in its early history, in the middle Ages and in Modern times has taken place mainly at the expense of Christianity. “We have already observed that much of the early expansion of Islam was at the expense of countries once Christians,” admits a writer.[110] Another writer states, “Islam is the only one of the great religions to come after Christianity; the only one that claims to be correct, complete and supersede Christianity; the only one that categorically denies the truth of Christianity; the only one that has in the past singly defeated Christianity; the only one which, in several parts of the world, is today forestalling and gaining on Christianity”.[111] At the Pan-Anglican Congress (London 1903) it was made terribly clear at what odds the church fighting in West Africa, with what ease the Christian Africans become attracted by tens of thousands to Islam.[112] “A major part, perhaps the most important part, of victories of Islam was at Christian expense,” acknowl­edges a contemporary Western writer.[113]

After pointing out and underlining some of the attractions of Islam as compared to Christianity, a modern European writer states: “Here lies the challenge to and the real problem for Christianity”.[114] Thus there is always something Utopian about the Western projects to win back the territories occupied by Islam and hence the continuous holy war against Islam.[115]

Another scholar puts this point as follows: “History has been such that the West’s relations with the Islamic world have from the first been radically different from those with any other civilization…Europe has known Islam thirteen centuries, mostly as an enemy and threat. It is no wonder that Muhammad more than any other of the world’s religious leaders has had a ‘poor press’ in the West, and that Islam is the least appreciated there of any of the world’s other faiths. Until Karl Marx and the rise of Communism, the prophet had organized and launched the only serious challenge to Western civilization that it has faced in the whole course of its history… The attack was directed, both military and ideological. And it was very powerful”.[116] After the demise of Communism, Islam again has been introduced as the only enemy.

Within a century Islam spread over about half of what had once been the Roman Empire and the Muslims became the political masters of approximately half of what might be called Christendom.[117]

The losing battle of Western Christianity (for all its well-organized missionary, well-financed society, well-paid churchmen, well equipped agents, vast subscriptions, well supported activities) against Islam and Muslims who possess no such assets made the Church accuse those who flee from Western colonial Christian style and seek refuge in Islam of not being mentally and intellectually capable of understanding Christianity which owes its intellectualism to confusion and contradiction.[118]

Not only in the past did Islam compete against Christianity in winning converts, it is still doing so in modern times; hence the continued animosity of Christian Church leaders against Islam. A contemporary writer analyzing this point states: “In recent decades Islam has been stirring like an awakened giant. In Africa and Asia, its emphasis on racial equality makes it particularly attractive as opposed to purely regional religion, or to Christianity whose past history is marred by imperialism. Where Christianity and Islam are competing for converts, Muslims frequently win ten new disciples for every new Christian”.[119]

“For us Christians,” writes a Christian writer, “Muhammad is perhaps, the greatest stumbling-block to our faith; and for this reason Christian sought to belittle the stature of the prophet, or, worse still, have cast doubt on his sincerity which can be attributed either to ignorance or prejudice”.[120] O’Leary also believes that “hi Negro Africa (for instance) where Christian and Muslim missionaries are in competition, it is estimated that ten heathen become Muslims for every one that becomes a Christian”.[121]

This is not only the case in Africa. As early as the nineteenth century an historian of India remarked that few impartial observers deny the fact that, to all appearance, the people of India are drifting, slowly but surely, towards Islam rather than to the Christianity which is freely offered to them (by vast missionary activities), but which they are not prepared to accept.[122]

“Undoubtedly, Islam is the greatest Christian problem of all times, and an attempt at a solution at any rate demands an understanding of its character and the points of its differentiation. The effective propagating methods of Islam, not least in Africa, have been felt as a challenge to the Christian missions not to carry a complete and perfect Church with them to the missionary field, but a message that is as easily understood as is the simple Creed of Islam”.[123]

Thus ample evidence shows that the distortation of Islam’s image by West and Western Christianity is not because there is basically something wrong with Islam but because Islam has proved the failure of Christian missions. This is frankly confessed by many missionaries and even by some celebrated writers who are known fort heir biased approach to Islam. One of these writers states: “Mohammad in his own age and country was the greatest of reformers – a reformer alike religious, moral and political…But as his system passed the border of the land in which it was so great a reform, it became the greatest of curses of mankind. The main cause which has made the religion of Mohammad exercise so be lighting an influence on every land where it has been preached is that it is an imperfect system standing in the way of one more perfect. Islam has in it just enough good to hinder the reception of greater good”.[124]What he is saying, in fact, is that Islam is good, is perfect, it is the right religion; but because it has proved more appealing to humanity than Christianity, because it spread at the expense of Christianity, because it proved the failure of Christianity, at least in the East, it is not good and perfect.(124)

It is said that in Sierra Leone, for instance, three-fourths of the Muslim population were not born Muslims; but were converted from Christianity or paganism; and this, although all colonized Africans are always handed over to Christian missionaries for instruction, and their children are baptized and bought up at public expense in Christian school, and are thus, in a sense, ready-made Christians.[125]

This favorable attitude to Islam, despite vast Christian missionary activities, naturally arouses the anger of the losing Christian Societies who enviously attack Islam with various false accusations. Although conversion of Christians to Islam meant a great deal of loss to Christianity, and thus would fill its leaders with anger and a sense of inferiority, it would not mean that much to Muslims. It is said: “Though Islam is often described as a missionary religion, Muslims have seldom boasted about converts to Islam and indeed have tended to hide the facts of conversions. They felt that, converts were greatly benefiting themselves, the religion of Islam was not made any more certain or more glorious by the adherence of these men to it”.[126] This is why Christian missionaries and society only can be blamed for the unhappy results of their anger and inferiority.

What is more interesting is that the humiliated losing Christianity has been trying to make up for its past losses by trying hard to win back Muslims, hence its missionary activities on a large scale. But this has failed too, and thus more humiliation, inferiority and, consequently, more disappointment and anger. There is hardly any Christian missionary work report in which this failure and disappointment and anger has not been confessed. Considering this point, Bosworth Smithes writes: “That Islam will ever give way to Christianity, in the East, however much we may desire it, it is difficult to believe”.[127]

Missionary Societies are not likely to err on the side of defect in enumerating their converts. They usually exaggerate the result of their missionary activities to encourage potential converts. Yet they often admit their failures in winning Muslims. Despite their cooperation with the ruling colonial power, and despite the various supports they receive from various sources, their gain in Muslim lands is so negligible as to be next to nothing.
On the other hand, missionaries themselves admit the fact that, of the total number of Muslims to be found in Sierra Leone and its neighbors, three-fourths were not borne Muslims, but have become so by conversion, whether from Christianity or from paganism.[128]

The attitude of Western Christianity towards Islam is only one aspect of the attitude of Christianity towards all non-Christian cultures and faiths. If the West is to impose its political, economic, colonial and imperialistic power on the rest of the world; Christianity is part and parcel of this Western Culture which has to be imposed. The vicious attitude of Western Christianity is directed not only against Islam, but it is also directed against all non-Christian cultures. On this point, all Christian Churches and sects stand united. “On this point Luther with his Protestantism and the Pope with his Catholicism showed a remarkable unanimity. Those who are outside Christianity, be they heathens, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhist, Sikh, etc., although they may believe in one true God, yet remain in eternal wrath and perdition”.[129] The same attitude is adopted by John Knoll in his “Godly letter to the Faithful in London”, A.D. 1554. This attitude of Western Christianity has a long history and record. The general attitude of hostility to all non-Christian religions began on the eve of Western Colonialism before the Crusades and continued. Since this attitude was adopted by political and colonial Western Powers, it was not peculiar to missionaries and their supporters, but was common among the scholars especially of the 17th and 18th century.[130]

For example at the close of the 17th century, Dean Prideauz of Norwich wrote “the true Nature of Imposter Fully Displayed in the Life of Mahomet” (1697); and the Rev. A. Ross, in his Pansebeia (1697) described Islam as damnable, hi the following century, Broughton’s Dictionary of All Religions (1745) divides them into two classes: True religions (Christianity & Judaism) and False religions (all the rest).[131]

The attitude continued to be prevalent in the early 19th century. In 1826, for instance, the Rev. J. Alley published “Vindicia Christiana”, a vigorous polemic against all non-Christian religions. He dismisses as fanciful all suggestion that there may be any good features in them (p. 10). He considers philosophy to be worse than ignorance, Hinduism pernicious and absurd, Islam degrading; and in all non-Christian religions he finds perpetual falsehood, pernicious and extravagant.[132]

We, therefore, can see that the accusation against Islam by Christians is also because of Christian attitude to all non-Christian religions. If Western Neo-Colonialism is to be established and survive, Western culture has to be established and imposed, and if this is to be achieved successfully all non-Western cultures have to be uprooted including non-Christian religions.

“It is very probable that the Western Christian attitude of animosity towards Islam is mainly due to the long-lasting duel of East and West. Herodotus began his history by asking why they fought; and Western poets still speak today of the silent, deep disdain of the East for the thundering of Western Legions, or celebrate the implacable difference which separates the two for all eternity. The Trojan and the Persian Wars of antiquity; the battles of Crassus and Heraclius in Syria: the Crusades: the Ottoman Conquests -all seem to make a repertoire and to suggest a regular recurrence. But the duel of East and West is a geographical simplification of a complex series of historical facts. History is a record of something more than struggles in space; and it is only when we reduce the apparent struggle between East and West into real struggles which vary from age to age, between competing Churches and races and civilizations, that the story gains point as well as dimension”.[133]

We can conclude from the above statement that since Islam and Muslims represent the East, the West and Western Christianity look upon them as the real challenge and hence the continuous animosity to the present time. This is frankly admitted by Ernest Baker as follows: “Each conflict is best understood in itself and its own individuality. One of the greatest is the conflict between the Church, civilization, and peoples of Western Christianity, and the faith, civilization, and peoples of Islam”.[134] Religious, political, economic, cultural struggles are all part of the long duel of East and West.

It is true that Western Imperialism, colonialism and economic exploitation were supplemented by the Christians;[135] and that Christianity in the past and present has been employed as a means for these purposes but this is not necessarily a new economic – political trend. It really derives its authority from a more fundamental theory in Christianity; in Christian thought in this matter some of the earliest theologians, including the Apostle Paul, presented what they consider to be the Christian attitude towards non-Christian religions. We find in Western and Christian literature that other religions were considered to be the Creation of Satan. These and similar theories have existed down to the present, all along Christian History.[136] It is this theory which is responsible for the adoption of the “Radical Displacement” of other religions as the major means of expanding Christendom.

It was once even fashionable among Christian propagandists to ascribe non-Christian religious leaders and particularly Muhammad’s prophetic experiences to epilepsy. A generalized version of this thesis claims that all prophets are epileptics for they all went through a kind of ecstatic prophetic experience.[137]

It is certainly a crime against humanity and justice to accuse Muhammad. The impartial masses and intellectuals should not let a few church leaders twist facts and poison the human mind by false accusation against non-Judao-Christian religions. “The prophet Muhammad had faithfully carried out an authentically religious mission at Mecca for twelve discouraging years during which he had suffered much persecution before he moved to Medina,” says historian Arnold Toynbee.[138]

Another example of the Western writers who evaluate all non-Christian religions against Christianity is Kraemer who takes Biblical Christianity as the absolute standard against which he judges all other religions.[139]

Europeans have from the beginning divided the world into Greco – Roman on one side and barbarians on the other. Western people under the influence of their historians have always been prone to contemplate the history of the world in terms of European history, Western culture, and interest especially in economics and finance. To Western people there is only one valid way of life and thought; that of the Western world, by which other ways of life and thought could be adjudged. Muhammad Asad puts it as follows: “Following in the footsteps of the Greeks and Romans, the Occidental likes to think that all those other civilizations are or were only so many stumbling experiments on the path of progress so unerringly pursued by the West”.[140]

Contrary to Christianity, the recognition of the presence of values at least in the “Religions of the Book” by Islam gives indication that Islam place non-Muslim
religions in a high position and does not discredit them systematically. The recognition of various non-Islamic religious thought and practice, as well as non-
religious cultural norms, are to be found in many areas of Islam as an integral part of the religious lives of loyal Muslims. The important thing is that once the major
presuppositions of Islam have been adopted by convert, Islam has not been of a Puritan nature in any consistent fashion.[141] Muslims have looked upon the plurality of religions as a kind of divine unity. They seek unity through divine diversity.

“Different religions have been necessary in the long history of mankind because there have been different ‘humanities’ or human collectivities on earth. There have been different recipients of the Divine Message; there has been more than one echo of the Divine Word. God has said T to each of these humanities or communities, hence the plurality of religions”.[142] Muslims thus look upon other religions with respect as divine revelation in their appropriate period. Thus Muslims’ views concerning other religions (Religions of the book) are completely different from those of Christianity. Muhammad is not the sole Commissioner of the Most High, nor is his teaching the only divine message that the world has received. Islam is more tolerant in this matter than other religions. Many other prophets had been sent by God to guide men to the right and these taught the same religion that was in the Mouth of the Preacher of Islam. Hence Muslims’ reverence for other monotheistic religions.[143]

Western Christian writers who have adopted this biased attitude do not understand that if they think they have the right to judge and condemn from the point of view of the Bible as interpreted by them, the followers of other religions also have their divine norm by which to judge and condemn Christianity and certainly Christians.[144] However, Muslims, bound by their Creed and Scripture had special respect for the “People of the Book” and they chose to ignore events which seemed to them extraneous and irrelevant. They did not even attach a great importance to what was relevant to them since they did not want to stir up trouble, like the Crusades. Christians, on the contrary, elaborated what has rightly been called a “Deformed Image” of Islam and its founder.[145] While there was a kind of mutual acquaintance between Islam and Christianity in the East (where Islam became the religion of the majority) there was no parallel acquaintance in the West until the proximity of Muslims and Christians in Spain and Sicily helped to dispel the ignorance of the Latin World. Naturally, since the Muslims of Spain were less cut off from the East than the greater p art of Western Europe, it was more likely that the Muslims in Spain would have a sounder knowledge of Christianity there than would Christians of Latin lands of Islam.[146]

Probably another reason why Christians have tried to form a distorted image of Islam was the feeling of inferiority with which Western Europe confronted Islamic civiliza­tion. Muslim superiority in technology, military, wealth, literature, science, art, etc., created an inferiority complex in Europeans and this made them counteract by making all kinds of false accusations against Islam.[147] The successful spread of Islam and the success of Islamic civilization have unconsciously created a sense of inferiority amongst European Christianity. The image of Islam created by Christian church leaders enabled other Christians to feel that, when they fought against Muslims, they were fighting for light against darkness.[148] The Muslims might be strong, but the Christians were now convinced that in their religion they were superior.[149]

The war of darkness and light sound well, but in this post-Freudian world men realize that the darkness ascribed to one’s enemies is a projection of the darkness in oneself that is not fully admitted.[150] In this way, the distorted image of Islam is to be regarded as a projection of the shadow -side of European man. “There is always, even in the most aggressive and contemptuous discussions of Islam, an element of apologetic self-defense in the utterances of the Christian writers, almost a touch of propaganda for the home front. It is as if only the most derogatory presentation of the despicable but powerful enemy could ally the secret suspicion that his case be stronger than it was wise to admit. It is not surprising then, that Christianity, Eastern and Western alike, got off to a wrong start in their approach to Islam and its founder”.[151]

However, as the result of this sense of inferiority, Western Christianity in general has tried to crush Islam by force; hence the Crusades, which united the whole lot of Christian people in a common attack upon Islam. “Recent events have rather tended to endorse this idea. The Balkan War of 1912-13 proclaimed itself to be a Crusade against Islam and as such was largely acclaimed by the British Press; the Balkan races take the oriental standpoint in matters of religion”.[152] “Rightly or wrongly, the impression has arisen (in the East and amongst Muslims) that since 1914 the nations of Christendom have thrown off the mask and revealed themselves as inspired by a fanatical hatred and a determination to injure and humiliate it,”[153] for the humiliation they received as the result of the peaceful spread and progress of Islam. The process of ethnic cleansing and massacre carried out by the Serbs against the Muslims of Bosnia in the 1990s explains this.

We understand better now why and how some people, mainly missionaries, would like us to believe, and in some cases have tried hard to make others believe, that Islam owes its success to forceful means, or other forceful factors. The many verses in the Quran forbidding the use of force for religious purpose easily discredit this idea. The study of the biography of Muhammad, the founder of Islam, comes next in proving that not only was force not only the means but that it was rarely employed except for defensive purpose.

We do need to quote many impartial historians who completely reject this accusa­tion.[154] It is true that Muslims conquered the Roman Empire, Persian Empire, Egypt and many places; but they simply conquered the lands. The peoples of these countries accepted Islam in the course of time either because they were fascinated by it and its privileges, or because by accepting Islam they could simply rid themselves of their previous religious, political or social systems as was the case with many Christians, Persians and Hindus, etc. In many cases the natives helped the Muslims.[155] Many, or all, accepted Islam of their own choice and free will.[156]
The non-Muslim communities surviving and even developing, among Muslims in Muslim countries up to the present day are living testimony of continuous Islamic tolerance.[157] In some cases the Christian population was willing to help Muslims against Christian rulers.[158] There are cases in which the Muslim rule was preferred to Christian rule.[159] Some Christians certainly enjoyed more freedom under Muslims than under Christian rulers. Many Christians held very high positions in the courts of Muslim rulers and even Caliphs.[160] The construction of many new churches and monasteries in cities and towns founded after Islam by Muslims, such as Cairo and Basra, and many other places, even during the formative and early days of Islam, proves the tolerant attitude adopted by Muslims towards the followers of other religions. The peaceful co-existence which has been enjoyed by non-Muslim countries show the tolerant attitude the Muslims adopted towards others up to the present day. The fact that Muslims compelled no one to change to Islam has been admitted by Christians.

The occupation of countries by Muslims did not automatically cause the spread of Islam. The Muslim conquest simply meant that Muslims could explain and preach their religion to the local people and raise their interest in Islam. It facilitated the preaching and not the enforcement of it.[161] Many churches survived for a long time until and unless the entire population changed into Islam in which case the church was turned into a Mosque according to the desire of the people. This was the case with other religions in the area under Muslim rule. We find many Christian converts who later helped on the spread of Islam amongst their relatives and fellow citizens.[162] Some of them even became Muslim preachers. Many church leaders are reported to have preached Islamic doctrines without admitting their association to Islam (such as the Monk called Balutus of St. Anthony who announced the Unity of God Almighty and that Christ was only one of His messengers).[163]

In contrast, it is more reasonable to conclude from historical facts that violent means have often employed by non-Muslims to stop the spread of Islam rather than by Muslims to spread it. The story of execution, torture, violence and persecution exercised by Ferdinand and Isabella against the Muslim population of Spain has established itself as one of the most inhuman behavior and fanaticism against mankind in the history of religions.[164] Again, if it was not for the successful prosecution and war against Muslims in Constantinople early in the eighth century the world of Eastern Europe including Russia might have fallen to Islam. But for the fierce battles launched by Charles Martel to stop Islam, at almost the same time, the whole of Western Europe and consequently the whole of the Western world might have been Muslims.

This story is too lengthy to be explained here. It is very probable that force has been employed more often against Islam and Muslims than for Islam. After all it was the non-Muslim fanaticism which was responsible for oppression, invasion, persecution and war against Muslims in the history of religions such as those launched by Crusaders which lasted for almost a century (1099 – 1187).

Having explained briefly the causes of accusations against Islam, let us now turn to the question of the accusations themselves.

Due to many factors, but mainly because of Christian missionary agitation and ignorance in the middle Ages, especially after the one hundred year wars of Crusaders, Muhammad the prophet of Islam became, in the eyes of the European Christians, the accursed Mahoud and Dante placed him in Hell, his body split down the middle in punishment.[165] Muslims were looked upon as infidels and Islam was taken as a pagan faith.[166] John of Damascus called Muhammad “mamad” and regarded him as a false prophet. Some Christians referred to him as epileptic, a brigand and a robber. Eulogius of Cordova (died 859) believed that Muhammad’s body was devoured by pigs. The Christians were so ignorant about Islam and Muslims that some confused Muhammad with Allah and thought that Muslims worshipped Muhammad.[167] All this in spite of Muslims’ respectful attitude towards other religions because of the Islamic doctrines and principles.[168]

With the vast prejudice, ignorance and enmity of non-Muslims against Islam and in the absence of definite information, it was usual, easy and useful for their purpose to ascribe the success of Islam to false factors, such as force, especially since the success of Islam in many areas was at the cost of Christianity. They, therefore, ascribed the disappearance of Christianity in many areas to fanaticism and forced conversion to Islam. The absence of definite ground for the accusation made generalization their only means of explanation for the success of Islam and the defeat of Christianity.

What has made the situation more dramatic and sorrowful is that Islam was introduced to the West originally for Christian missionary purposes and from their point of view. The first group of so called Islamologists and the majority of them were mainly missionaries. Later on, political, socio-economic purposes were added to the religious purposes, and made the relation between Muslims and Christians only that of enmity.

But this enmity was entirely from non-Muslims, for Islam regarded Judaism, Christianity and some other religions as Divine religions (al-Adyan al-Samaviyya) and their followers as people of Scripture (AM al-Kitab) with Divine rites which could not be dishonored and not respected.[169]

It should be mentioned here that it is natural that most of those who accuse Islam are missionaries, churchmen and fanatics specially those who have failed in their missionary activities in Muslim lands. They try to find a scapegoat for the failure of Christianity to meet the challenge of Islam in its early development and their own failure, thus giving a distorted image of Islam.
These accusations are so baseless and partial that many impartial Western scholars and even churchmen have committed themselves to answering these charges e.g. Rever­end Bosworth Smith, “Muhammad and Muhammadism”.

It is a fact that the first group of people who provided some materials about Islam, both in the middle Ages and in modern times, were churchmen, hi the classical period they tried to find a “scapegoat for Christian defeat, thus providing a distorted picture of Islam”. In modern time, the missionaries who were defeated by Islam and failed to fulfill their mission tried to explain their failure at the cost of Islam, hence picturing Islam as they wanted.

Most of the non-ecclesiastical authorities also at the beginning relied entirely on the material provided by Christian sources. They usually drew their materials from Christian missionaries’ writings for they had no access to original Islamic sources. They were, therefore, indirectly expressing their opinions from the point of view of prejudiced and biased Christian and church writers and authorities.

“In the West, the actual study of Islam by non-ecclesiastical authorities results from the political contact that was brought about by the imperialism of modern times. As a political necessity the great colonial powers were forced to gather information about the internal organization of the dependent Islamic countries in the domain of religious matters as in that of Law, as those two sides of social life, contrary to conditions in contemporary Europe, made up a Unity” (F. Lokkegaard, Islamic Taxation, P.4, N.Y. 1973 also see E. Said, Orientalism).

Considering the close cooperation between the church authorities and Christian missionaries and colonial powers (hence the familiarity of the term “missionaries” in the dictionary of colonialism), we can easily understand why the distorted image of Islam doubles political and religious fallacies. It is obvious; therefore, that Islamic studies and the study of Islam in the West (including the History of Islam) and its spread fought their way forward through many prejudices, mistakes and difficulties.

It is only since the slow death of colonialism, the divorce of missionaries and colonial powers, the independence of oriental and Islamic studies, the direct access of scholars to original authentic Islamic sources, and since Orientalists rid themselves of old traditional missionary prejudice, that Islamic studies are following the right course and therefore a true picture of Islam is emerging in the West. But this has taken place only recently. The Western Islamic research work and Islamic studies in the West was not released from its dependence upon church, missionary and colonial sources until the slow death of colonialism and the dissolution of the marriage between missionaries and colonialists. It may be tentatively suggested that Islamic studies in the West have not yet found their correct and impartial course, for traditional colonialism has been replaced by Neo-Colonialism and thus the fresh and vast missionary activities aim to impose Christianity upon non-Christian nations this time, as part of Western culture and as a means for political and economic ends. Therefore, Western writers, whether religious or not, missionary or not, Christian or not, cannot study Islam or look upon it, examine it or criticize it without some sort of bias. And with their tight control over the media of world communication they are bound to influence the world.


Islam is the only religion that contended and fought with most of the world religions on their own home ground, whether in the field of ideas or on the battle-fields of history. Islam has been engaged in these wars – whether spiritual or political – even before it was born, before it became autonomous at home, even before it had completed its own system of ideas. And it is still vigorously fighting on all fronts. Moreover, Islam is the only religion that, in its inter religious and international conflict with Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism, succeeded significantly and on a major scale in all the fights it undertook…More significantly, Islam is winning today and growing by means of mission and conversion at a greater rate than any other religion. No wonder, then, that it is the religion with the greatest number of enemies and hence envy jealousy and animosity against it and misunderstanding of it.[170]

In winning and continuing to win new converts, Islam has succeeded in causing greater losses to Christianity which has been represented and introduced mainly by the West for a long time. The earliest Christian reaction to Islam was something like that of much more recent date. The tradition has been continuous and it is still alive. The European West has long had its own characteristic view, which was formed very long ago. One chief reason for continuity has been, not only the normal passage of ideas from one author and generation to the next, but the constant nature of the problem[171]: the drastic difference between Islam and Christianity in points of importance, and continuous Islamic gain against Christianity.

Islam is the youngest of the world religions. It was taken as a revolt against Christianity. It was looked upon as a new revolutionary message. Men seem to take it for granted that a new system and change and an alien society is dangerous, if not hostile, and the spasmodic outbreak of warfare between Islam and Christendom throughout their history has been one of manifestation of this. Apparently, under the pressure of their sense of danger, whether real or imagined, a deformed image of their enemy’s beliefs takes shape in men’s minds and hence relating the spread of Islam to false factors, such as Muslims’ military success or their indulgence in immoral behavior.
The Christian and Western attitude towards Islam and Muslims from the very beginning has been basically defensive and is rooted in its fear of change and novelty. A study of the works and polemics of St John of Damascus clearly proves this point.[172] It may be that it is a human tendency for men to dislike other people’s thinking differently from themselves.[173]

We need not argue exhaustively to prove that the fear that the Christians and the West felt against Islam was not the fear of Muslims military success. It was fear of ideological and fundamental change. Let us examine briefly one of the military aggressions, whether or not they were fought on Islamic soil. “There seems never to have been real fear of military invasion. The sole Christian fear was of Islamic

doctrine, of the religion………. “.[174] This fear is emerging now again after the demise of communism.

It is interesting to speculate whether the extraordinary speed with which the Arabs conquered their empire was not in reality a disaster for Islam. The three and a half centuries of persecution which Christianity underwent before it was adopted as the religion of the Roman Empire may have been a blessing in disguise. Were the Arabs too successful? Does it not still remain today as true that mammon is the greatest enemy of God?[175] “The decline of Turkish power that set in during the eighteenth century, freed Europe from its fear of Islam”.[176]

After the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the West no longer feared the Muslim and Islam, hence the traditional attacks by the West against Islam eased to some extent. We must remember that about three hundred years ago Europe had just begun the ascent to the watershed we may be passing; and then was the moment when Islam ceased to be a danger to European Society. As Europe’s fear of Islamic success and Muslims’ power ceased to exist, a rather disinterested attitude (less bias) was free to develop.[177] But Islam has not really ceased to win.

The speed with which Islam spread and the Muslims acquired strength and power was partly responsible for Europeans’ fear of Islamic success. The amazing speed with which Islam spread was regarded by the Muslims themselves and by the impartial observers as a miracle, but was recognized as the source of fear to Europe and Christendom. The rapidity of the spread of Islam and the dramatic suddenness with which the adherents of this creed rose to a position of dominant sovereignty constituted and still constitutes one of the marvels, or it might be said the miracles of history and thus its speedier spread. No cut-and-dried explanation that can be offered is felt to account for the standing facts. But history records not a few other unexplained marvels, and we must be content to acknowledge that many things in the past, as in the present, pass man’s understanding.[178]

With an amazing rapidity, Islam spread over Christian World South and East of Europe and arrived suddenly in Spain, penetrating into Christian Europe. This naturally frightened Christian Europe. If Islam had spread inside Europe with the same speed that it had spread outside Europe, nothing would have been left of Christendom at all. This genuine fear led Christendom to make charges of various natures against Islam, both to attack arid stop Islam and to protect Christianity against its further spread.


“For the fourteen centuries of Islam’s existence, non-Muslims have, in the main, studied it mainly to combat it. Where such ulterior motive was absent, Western study of Islam has been ‘scientific’ and ’empirical’ to the point of missing the meaning of piety, ethicality, and sense of beauty that constitute the core of Islamic religiosity. The unprejudiced study of the history of religious discipline, which normally aims at understanding this religiosity in its moment of action and expression, of growth and consummation, was never aimed at. Not only have the historian of religions not been interested in such a pursuit, but their discipline has as yet not developed the methodological tools requisite to the undertaking”.[179]


Christian reactions to Islam are documented from an early date. They are generally categorized as follows:-

a. Those based on the feeling of revenge against Islam, for Islam had first thrived and still thrives enormously at the expense of Christendom.

b. Those inspired by future dangers of Islamic success.Christians were brought up to expect to be in relationship of violence and force with Muslims.

The reactions were formulated in various forms of accusations, but two main accusations stand out: a) the myth that Islam was imposed, and b) the salacity and laxness with which those who could not be compelled were bribed. If Christians could bring themselves together to accuse the strictest monotheistic religion, Islam, of idolatry, it would be difficult for them to relate the spread of Islam to violence and salacity. The Christians were not content with only accusing Islam of being forced upon people, they in fact, fabricated these accusations to entice people and promote violence against Islam. There was little recognition that Christians were inconsistent in advocating the use of force against Islam, while condemning Islam for its theoretic approval of it. They fabricated these charges to stir violence and they naturally retorted to further charges if people did not respond favorably to their call for the use of violence against Muslims. It was almost inevitable that the Christian attitude (the Christians tried hard to prove that Christianity was revealed once and for ever, and not as a religion of power to discredit Islam as the religion of force) to Islam should here be inconsistent.[180]


We know that the spread of Christianity is mainly the work of Europeans which dates back to the Roman and Byzantine Caesars. The Caesars who accepted Christianity and committed themselves to the task of spreading Christianity were no less cruel than the Caesars who worshipped Jupiter. The tax collectors who collected for the New Rome used torture as briskly as those who had come before. Institutions such as slavery continued. Restrictions against heretics became more numerous as the doctrines of the Church became increasingly more complex and difficult to understand.

Disillusionment with official Christianity was particularly bitter in such regions as the Byzantine Empire, Egypt and North Africa where Greek-speaking Christians domi­nated non-Europeans. Many of the heresies that flourished in North Africa (where the Greek epithet ‘barbarian’ was applied so persistently that it has stuck as ‘Berber’) represented assertions of identity by oppressed groups as much as genuine devotion to doctrinal minutiae. So the ease with which Egypt and North Africa fell to Islam between A.D. 640 and 705 can largely be explained by the resentment of native populations of Byzantine misrule. Yaqut states plainly that most of the people of Barqa adopted Islam. The apparently ready welcome offered to the Arabs in the Western Desert and Barqa seems to suggest that the people of this area were themselves, partly Arabs. Such an idea is by no means far-fetched.[181] The Berbers and the Egyptian Christians, or Copts, saw in the new religion (Islam) a simpler variant of what they believed already, coupled with the inestimable advantage of an easier tax system.[182]

In Spain, the Muslims accepted an invitation to enter the country. The Muslims here too, as elsewhere, found a divided populace of overtaxed peasants, embittered heretics and persecuted Jews, none with any great loyalty to their Visigothic King.[183]

In former Yugoslavia too, all major Turkish conquests were made possible with the help of the natives. The Turks were helped by some Serbs. Turkish rule was more efficient, stable, tolerant and less oppressive than the rule Serbia had been under. Turkish rule abolished the class system of Medieval Serbia. In early days of Turkish rule, the amount of produce, taxation and forced labor for Serbian Peasants was less than the feudal exactions from peasants in many other parts of Europe.[184] No attempt was made to assimilate or proselytize local populations. In spite of all that can be said about later Turkish misrule, the Muslim policy of religious tolerance allowed the beautiful Churches and Monasteries to escape destruction.[185] In contrast to Muslim policy of religious tolerance, some of the leading families of Montenegro (Black Mountain in Yugoslavia) who had embraced Islam under Turkish influence were forcibly reconverted to Christianity after the fall of Turkish rule.[186]

The Crusaders occupied Jerusalem in July A.D. 1099. They massacred the entire Muslim and Jewish population as they had already done in Antioch and other occupied towns, thus causing a kind of fanaticism and ferocity hitherto unknown in the Near East, where the relationship between peoples of different religions was in general tolerant.[187] Christian Priests holding crosses aloft accompanied Crusaders when they occupied Jerusalem in A.D. 1099 and put all the population to the sword, regardless of sex or age.[188]
Thirty-eight years before in what is called the First Crusade in 1063, Pope Alexander II decided to dispatch a force consisting principally of Italians, Franks and Norms to attack the Muslims of Saragossa. The Papal army laid siege to Barbastro, a wealthy Muslim City in the Muslim Kingdom of Lerida in Spain. After a siege of forty days, Barbastro surrendered on term with the honors of war. No sooner, however, did the garrison march out of the town than they were attacked and slaughtered by the Christians in gross violation of the terms of the Capitulation. The civilian inhabitants, who had also been granted an amnesty, were likewise massacred. Six thousand were killed in cold blood, while the women and children were divided between the Christian soldiers as concubines and slaves.[189]

This method was employed during the entire re-conquest until Islam was expelled from Spain, Sicily and other parts of the Europe; massacre and expulsion.

“The Arabs had conquered Spain in A.D. 712, three hundred and sixty years before a period as long as that from the accession of James I in A.D. 1603 to our own times. The English and Scots had, before then, been distinct and often hostile races. Three hundred and sixty years have sufficed to mix them inextricably. It would be no more possible to expel the Scots from England today than it was to drive the Arabs from Spain in AD. 1080. Arabs, Berbers, Spaniards and Goths had become completely intermingled (due to Islamic integration of the society). Another four centuries were to elapse before the last Muslims were driven out from Spain. During this period, the rising intensity of religious fanaticism was to lead to the, often purely superficial, conversion, and the gradual emigration of the more rigid Muslims to Africa. In the final requist we cannot assume that the Arabs and Berbers went to Black Africa and the Goths and Spaniards remained in the Peninsula, for the races were largely intermixed and the final struggle was religious. The most unbending Muslims (many of whom may have been all or partly Goth or Spanish) went to Africa”.[190] Pressure from Rome and the Popes marked the end of the mutual toleration of Christians and Muslims. The ultimate Victory of the Christians in Spain was to be signaled by many acts of cruelty towards the Muslims, carried out, alas in the name of the religion of love. It is interesting to notice that, wherever the Christians and Muslims – particularly Arabized Muslims – were able to mingle together, the spirit of mutual respect and toleration began to appear. This occurred not only in Palestine and Syria, but also in Spain and Sicily.[191]

We must remember that Spain was under the influence of Islamic civilization and Muslims’ rule for four centuries as long as from the time of Henry VII, the reformation to our own times. During this period, the majority of the inhabitants of Andalus had become Muslims, just as the majority of the people of England have become Protestants.

In Andalus, Arabs, Berbers and original Spaniards were intimately integrated. Infact, there were probably more Latin-Gothic than Arab-Berber blood in Muslim Spain. Moreover, the Andalusians were far more civilized than were the people of the Northern States. Yet neither group seems to have felt itself divided from the other by any racial bar. Alphonso VI of Castile married Zaida, the daughter of Mutamid Ibn Abbad, the King of Seville, although she was a Muslim. Moreover, the offspring of the marriage would have been Emperor of Spain if he had not been killed in the Battle of Ucles.[192]

“Both Muslims and Christians in Spain seem, moreover, to have often felt more sympathy for each other than for either the Norman and French barbarians in Barbastro. It is tempting to believe that the Muslims and the Christians of Spain might have settled down as a single nation with two religions, had it not been for outside interference”.[193] The influence of the papacy and the foreign Kings, the fanaticism of Crusaders, the massacre, persecution, expulsion of the Muslims from their home and land forced Islam out of Spain. What proportion of Arab and Berber blood remained in Spain or how much Celtic, Latin or Gothic blood “returned to Africa when the Muslims were driven out, no man can assess. But an immense amount of Arab thought and culture remained in Andulus and spread thence to the rest of the World”.[194]The Spanish Muslims whether of European blood or of non-European blood, were persecuted and forced to leave their land, country and home and flee to other areas, mainly to Africa. The number of the Andalusians who fled only to a part of North Africa was so large that in A.D. 1591 Mawlay Ahmad al-Mansur managed to have about 5,000 mainly Spanish Muslim refugees enrolled in an elite force for an expedition to cross the African desert.[195] Those who would like to understand how Muslims were forced out of Andalusia and how Andalusia slipped back to Christian authority after being under Muslim administration for a long time may study how recently Zionists massacred the Palestinians and forced them out of their home-land and country and how international Zionism employed all inhuman means to occupy Palestine. The Muslims in both cases did not abandon their religion they were simply massacred and forced out of their homes and land. Zionism has become merely a combination of the racist, tribalistic aspect of Judaism with modern secular nationalism and hence the Zionists’ inhumane and non- Judaic, anti-Semitic, anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian attitude and behaviour. The plight of the Bosnian Muslims who are natives of the Balkans serves as another example.

The Christians would go to any length to establish themselves and enslave natives. The Tasmanian Aborigines were totally exterminated as late as the end of last century. It is a case of complete and swift genocide recorded and documented. The British Colonists in Tasmania wiped out the whole race within the lifetime of Trugannmi (an Aborigine woman) who was the last to die in 1876. The genocide began with an official massacre, progressed through bestial atrocities committed by escaping British convicts, into full-scale military operations. The last remnants were deported to an offshore island, and died rapidly as a result. Even after death, their bodies were stolen from the grave and mutilated. It all began with British racism, imperialism and ended up with their Christiam-zation.

The Muslims, Arabs, Turks and Mongols ruled over Andalus, Greece, the Balkans and India, in that order for over five centuries without interfering in culture, religion and way of life of the people they ruled. But western Christian colonialists eradicated completely the natives of America, Australia, and New Zealand in less than a century. Yet the Muslims are accused of using force. The Mongols who entered the Muslim lands as the victors not only accepted Islam but championed the religion of their victors.

Recently there have emerged some researches which have established a kind of balanced view about the history of the spread of Islam, such as those by Karen Armstrong and Thierry Hentsch. According to Armstrong, “…no polity or ideology posed such a continuous challenge to the West as Islam” which is why Western writers and, more unfortunately, ‘academics’ have not been rational or objective in their study of Islam or the Arabs.

The rise and development of the Western hatred for Muhammad and Islam is very well explained – showing the ignorance, the arrogance, the fear and the contempt of the Western world for Islam. Any unstable nation needs an external “enemy” so as to unite the people and occupy them with other problems. It seems that this also occurred early in Western history – Muhammad became the great enemy of the emerging Western identity” standing for everything that the West hoped it was not:
“Islam was stigmatized as the ‘religion of the sword’ during the Crusades, a period when Christians themselves must have had a buried worry about this aggressive form of their faith which bore no relation to the pacifist message of Jesus. At a time when the Church was imposing celibacy on reluctant clergy, the astonishing accounts of Muhammad’s sexual life reveal far more about the repression of Christians than about the facts of the Prophet’s own life. There is a definite note of ill-concealed envy in this depiction of ‘Islam’ as a self-indulgent and easy-going religion. Finally it was the West, not’ Islam’, which forbade the open discussion of religious matters. At a time of the Crusades, Europe seemed obsessed by a craving for intellectual conformity and punished its deviants with a zeal that has been unique in the history of religion. The witch hunts of inquisitors and the persecution of the Protestants by the Catholics and vice versa were inspired by abstruse theological opinions which in both Judaism andlslam were seen as a private and optional matters. Neither Judaism nor Islam shares the Christians conception of heresy, which raises human ideas about the divine to an unacceptably high level and almost makes them a form of idolatry”. These fantasies helped form the identity of the West and Armstrong believes that traces of these old fantasies survive to the present day, having become “so entrenched” in Western culture.


Armstrong often points to the difference between culture and religion – the way in which the same religion can be different in different cultures. For example she often shows how distant Western Christianity is from Jesus’ original message and how different Western and Eastern Christianity are. There is an interesting quotation from Umberto Eco’s: “Dreaming of the Middle Ages” essay where he says that “all the problems of the Western world emerged in the Middle Ages. In fact I would say Western Culture rose directly from medieval culture – with less influence from Greek civilization than many academics would like to think. Need I remind you people that in the U.K. there are many Laws from the Medieval times by which one can still be sentenced for such ‘crimes’ as witchcraft.”

Armstrong points out the “Western Christians were not going to be able to accommo­date different religious communities and ideologies within their own systems as did either the Muslims or the Byzantines”. It is therefore not Christianity which is to blame for the Western xenophobia, arrogance and intolerance -it is something cultural, perhaps to do with the fact that so many different races lived in confined Europe that borders had to be drawn. In a similar way Islam can not be blamed for female circumcision which is “an African practice” and has nothing to do with the Quran. Racism is not that common outside the West and even then it is usually only in ex-colonial countries. The Asian communities in Europe should remember what happened to Muslims in Spain after living there for some 500 years and becoming as Spanish as any Spaniard (most in fact were by origin Spanish converts): they were deported en masse and those that did stay “were persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition for another 300 years”. In contrast, under the Islamic empire, “the three religions of historical monotheism were able to live together in relative peace and harmony” and “there was even an established tradition of skepticism and freethinking”.

In Eastern and Western Christianity Jesus was perceived differently – in the East he is portrayed as an Emperor of the Universe and unlike the vulnerable Christ of the West. Armstrong explains this by saying that in the West “Christianity is supremely a religion of suffering and adversity…it has always been at its best during periods of distress. The idea of rejecting ‘the world’ has in my mind led to two consequences: Firstly to a lack of real Philosophical thought and thus a failure to satisfy peoples everyday needs, and secondly it has been used to subdue people in the West and also more recently in (for example) South Africa and “Central and South America…Christians have been told that they have a duty to endure oppression and injustice”.

Whatever their excuses, it is shocking to see writers such as Dante and Voltaire being so naive, superstitious and lacking in vision when it comes to discussing Muhammad as in the “Eight Circle of Hell…He suffers a particularly disgusting punishment”. This doesn’t do much credit to the writers’ other work. Even Luther (and other Protestant “Reformers”) said that Islam was too gross to be antichrist (not having read the Quran because he could not find a Latin translation in the sixteenth century! This hardly shows the compassion and tolerance towards others that Jesus prescribed. During the Renaissance – an age of more rational and enlightened thought – Islam and Muhammad were often viewed with the same superstitious and benighted views of the Middle ages – for example in the Bibliotheque oriental of Barthelmy d’Herbelot (a type of encyclopedia) there is an entry under ‘Mahomet’: “This is the famous imposter Mahomet, Author and founder of a heresy, which we call Mohammadan”.

Modern views about Islam seem to have been finally formulated last century – with the rise of new Western confidence and colonialism whereby “if ‘we’ do not understand the Quran, it must mean that there is nothing in it” Armstrong quotes Chateaubriand: Islam was “a cult that was civilization’s enemy, systematically favorable to igno­rance, to despotism and to slavery”, I would imagine very similar words were used by Muslims a few hundred years before to describe Western society. The colonialists invaded Arab land and “carved up the Middle East between them into mandates and protectorates” with the excuse of bringing progress and enlightenment. Armstrong claims that under “Christian missionary effort the colonialists, attempting to under­mine traditional Muslim culture in the conquered countries, local Christian groups, like the Maronites of Lebanon, were given disproportionate roles in the running of the protectorate” the consequences of which are felt even today. To show the violence and the contempt Armstrong also quotes a French historian describing how civilized French soldiers, in order to get the silver jewellery off young Algerian girls, used to cut off the girls’ limbs and leave them alive in a mutilated condition. In recent years the revived Western hostility towards Islam has led Muslims to “a passionate hatred of the West” but “Islam is a universal religion and there is nothing aggressively oriental or anti-Western about it”. Armstrong thinks that since the decline of the Soviet Union there has been a “cold war against Islam” – and remembering Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, Palestine and Bosnia it is clear that this war has not always been cold. Muslims also want to “put their own house in order and to address the cultural dislocation that many have experienced in the modern period” – they feel that “Western culture has invaded the interstices of their lives” and by turning to religion many attempt “to return to their roots and recover an identity”. However, Armstrong recognizes “that ‘fundamentalism’ has surfaced in most religions and seems to be a world-wide response to the peculiar strain of late twentieth century life” citing radical Hindus, Jews and Christians as examples. Does this mean the Western way of life has failed to satisfy people’s needs? Political oppression has also contributed – e.g. Palestine and Algeria (hi Islam and other Eastern religions, people are taught not to endure oppression and injustice). In general the West does not want to recognize that Islam may provide fulfillment for people, and people like Fay Weldon and Connor Cruise O’Brien are quoted as believing that Islam “spell death to creativity and artistic freedom”. This is despite the fact that e.g. the guitar and the bagpipe are originally Arabic instruments. Armstrong does not agree with these Western writers and I think that once again the West is reflecting the fears it has about itself.

Not all critics take the “Crusading line” – her book is a testimony to that, but outside a small group of writers I fear that the old perceptions linger on from generation to generation.

She states, “We in the West need to divest ourselves of some of our old prejudice” and he book is at least an attempt to try to look at Muhammad as a man who brought “peace and civilization to his people”. Armstrong adopts a very noble view – for her there is no right and wrong in religion – if it can provide people with an “ultimate meaning and value of life, despite the suffering that flesh is heir to” then it is good. She even suggests that the “Muslim interpretation of the monotheistic faith has its own special genius and has important things to teach us”. (Muhammad & A Western Attempt To Understand Islam, by Karen Armstrong, Victor Gollanez Ltd and Imagining The Middle East by Thierry Hentsch, Black Rose Books)

Returning now to our point of departure, we would like to add that some other scholars[196] believe that there is still prejudice against Islam in Western literature and Western contemporary thought. This prejudice is rooted in impressions that were born during Crusades and have been subconsciously working like most of this seemingly unaccountable leaning, taste and prejudice compressed in the term of idiosyncrasies and can be traced back to the experience of one’s formative age; early childhood. They then go on to explain how Europe was a child at the time of Crusades and how the century immediately preceding the Crusades might be described as the early childhood of Western civilization, the stage in which Europe received its most formidable shock in the form of the Crusades.
It was during, and probably because of, the Crusades that the political – religious concept of Christendom was born. “When in his famous speech at Clermont, in November 1095, Pope Urban II exhorted the Christians to make war upon the wicked race (the Muslims) he enunciated probably without knowing it himself and proclaim­ing war as the means to fight Muslims which led to Crusades and, in turn, provided the false color in which Islam was appearing to Western eyes”. “The damage caused by the Crusades was not restricted to a clash of weapon; it was, first and foremost, an intellectual damage -the poisoning of the Western mind against the Muslim world through a deliberate misrepresentation of the teachings and ideals of Islam. For, if the call for Crusades was to maintain its validity, the prophet of the Muslims had, of necessity to be stamped as the anti-Christ and his religion depicted in the most lurid terms as a front of immorality and perversion. It was at the time of the Crusade that the ludicrous notion that Islam was a religion of crude sensualism and brutal violence (which owed its progress to the sword), of an observance of ritual instead of a purification of the heart, entered the Western mind and remained there”. The hostility toward Islam born out of prejudice and ignorance stood over the cradle of European Civilization because of the continuous animosity and ignorance. “In spite of the fact that religion at the present time has lost most of its hold on the imagination of Western man, it would seem an irony of history that the age-old Western resentment against Islam should still persist subconsciously. This, how­ever, is not really surprising. We know that a person may completely lose the religious beliefs imparted to him in his childhood while, nevertheless, some particular emotions connected with those beliefs remain, irrationally, in force throughout his later life…and this is precisely what happened to that collective personality, Western Civilization. The shadow of the Crusades hovers over the West to this day; and all its reactions towards Islam and the Muslim world bear distinct traces of that die-hard ghost”.[197]

Although since the close of the eighteenth century, when the influence of free-thinking literature – especially in Europe and France had weakened the prejudice against oriental religions (as the result of the weakening of the old beliefs in the doctrines of the Christian faith), and even some works had appeared from pens of Western writers of the school of free-thought, in which Islam was lauded to the disparagement of Christianity, and some Europeans, including even some French abbess, em­braced Islam, still the systematic propaganda against Islam and Muslims, fed by new colonial interests, and materials and intensified by political and missionary elements, has never let the masses of the West have a free, impartial and direct access to Islamic culture and Muslims’ way of living and thinking,[198] and thus the opinion often presented relating the success of Islam to various false factors such as forceful measures has prevailed.

Finally, we would like to finish this chapter with what some other Western scholars have said concerning the causes of the spread of Islam.

“Many have sought to answer the questions – why was the triumph of Islam so speedy and complete? Why have so many millions embraced the religion of Islam and scarcely a hundred ever recanted? Why do a thousand Christians become Muslims to one Muslim who adopts Christianity? Some have attempted to explain the first over­whelming success of Islam by the argument of the Sword. They forget Carlyle’s laconic reply, first get your sword. You must win men’s hearts before you can induce them to imperil their lives for you; and the first conquerors of Islam must have been made Muslims before they were made fighters on the Path of God. Others allege the low morality of the religion and the sensual paradise it promises as a sufficient case for the zeal of its followers; but even were these admitted to the full, to say that such reasons could win the hearts of millions of men, who have the same hopes and longings after the right and the noble as we, is to libel mankind. No religion has ever gained a lasting hold upon the souls of men by the force of its sensual permissions and fleshly promises. It is urged again that Islam met no fair foe, that the worn-out forms of Christianity and Judaism it encountered were no test of its power as a quickening faith, and that it prevailed simply because there was nothing to prevent it; and this was undoubtedly a help to the progress of the new Creed, but could not have been the cause of its victory.

“In all these reasons the religion itself is left out of the question. Decidedly, Islam itself was the main cause of its triumph…Islam not only was at once accepted (by many peoples and races) by Arabia, Syria, Persia, Egypt, Northern Africa and Spain, at its first outburst; but, with the exception of Spain, it has never lost its vantage group; it has been spreading ever since it came into being, hi quite recent times, it has been spreading in wide and swiftly-flowering waves over Africa. Admitting the mixed causes that contributed to the rapidity of the first swift spread of Islam, they do not account for the duration of Islam. There must be something in the religion itself to explain its persistence and increase, and to account for its present hold over so large a proportion of the dwellers on the earth. Men trained in European ideas have always found it difficult to understand the moving qualities of Islam and say there is nothing in it to move the heart. Yet Islam has stirred an enthusiasm that has never been surpassed. Islam has had its martyrs, its self-tormentors, its recluses, who have renounced all that life offered and have accepted death with a smile for the sake of the faith that was in them. It is idle to say that the eternity of happiness will explain this. The truest martyrs of Islam as of Christianity did not die to gain paradise. And if they did, the belief in the promises of the Creed must follow the hearty acceptance of the religion. Islam must have possessed a power of seizing men’s belief before it could have inspired them with such a love of its paradise”.[199]

A. J. Arberry also has pointed out that the cause of the spread of Islam is Islam itself and its religious values.[200] He states: “The rapidity of the spread of Islam, noticeably through extensive provinces which had long been Christian, is a crucial fact of history… The sublime rhetoric of the Koran, ‘that inimitable symphony, the very sounds of which move men to tears and ecstasy'”.[201] Arberry continues, “This, and the urgency of the simple message carried, holds the key to the mystery of one of the greatest cataclysms in the history of religion. When all military, political and economic factors have been exhausted, the religious impulse must still be recognized as the most vital and enduring”. Brockleman, who is usually very unsympathetic and partial, also recognizes the religious values of Islam as the main factor for the spread of Islam and suggests that Islamic monotheism to a considerable extent is the basis of the proselytizing power of Islam.[202] Rosenthal put this point as follows: “To suggest that the spread of Islam by conquest was part of the general movement of migration of peoples only partly accounts for this astounding historical phenomenon, as does the prevailing political situation. The more important factor is religious law of Islam (Sharia which is an inclusive, all-embracing, all comprehensive way of thinking and living) for which a divine origin is claimed and which was designed to cover all manifestations of human life”.[203]

We can thus conclude that it was Islam that helped it spread. Islam is a combination of diverse but coherent values, beliefs, qualities and ideals and realities. It is mainly some of these which are being examined in the following chapters as the factors and causes helping its spread.



The study of history has been employed in the modern West as a method of philosophical contemplation. Other civilizations have thus been studied for enhanc­ing the self-understanding of the Western man. Islam too has been appraised in the mirror of Western destiny. However, the verdicts of the philosophers of history on Islamic civilization belong more to the rubbish-heap of bigotry than to the treasure-house of reflective human society.

History is the sacred cow of modernity. All knowledge about human society, it is claimed today with assertive confidence, is historical knowledge. History nowadays is no longer construed as a chronicle of the past, composed of the deeds and sufferings of men, but it has become a process; the only man-made, all-encompassing process which transcends nature and imparts meaning to human existence. The central motif of Hegelian metaphysics – and its off-shoots both Left and Right – is history. For Marxists, history is salvation itself; it may be controlled through the effort of human intellect and will and transformed into the very dreamscape of what life for the human community should be. In technology, the elixir of modern life, the realms of nature and history have inter-sected and inter-penetrated in our times. Even in the philosophies of power, the modern age shows a shift in emphasis from a theory of politics to an essentially contemplative philosophy of history. In academic disciplines, history is the queen of epistemology; art criticism has given away to the history of art, theology and divinity to the history of religions, moral philosophy to the history of ethnics, even history to the history of historical thought! Truth itself for the modern man, it appears, is exclusively human, relative and eternally in a state of flux.

Islam, the Din of transcendent norms and values, it goes without saying, is not accessible to historical arbitration; nonetheless, Muslim history, the march of the Umma in time, is not as impregnable to the assaults of the historian’s judgment. As a matter of fact, the assessment and appraisal of ‘Islamic civilization’ has been central to the vocation of every western ‘philosopher of history’, mainly because of the spurious cult of objectivity. However, because of this, these progenitors of modern historical consciousness may justifiably be likened in the coarse Nietzchian image, to ‘the eunuchs in the harem of history’ whose observations and reflections lack the authentic conviction of penetration!

Unfortunately, all that is available on Muslim civilization, all that is intellectually gratifying and provocative for a modem mind that is to say, is from these spiritually emasculated sources. What is more sad is that many a western intoxicated Muslim youth gets his first glimpse into the Harim of the Umma’s triumphs and tribulations through the prurience of these panderers to Harem history. What could then be more urgent for a Muslim intellectual and analyst of occidental thought than to attempt an expose to claims, arbitrations and verdicts of the demiurge of history? And what better way to approach this objective than by calling upon the high-priests of the modem cult – the ivory tower philosophers of histories – themselves?

One may unhesitatingly start by pointing out that if all knowledge about human society, in contradistinction to that about the natural world, is historical knowledge, then it also follows that it is ineluctably based on interpretation and judgment. If so, it also implies that all historical scholarship is nothing but an exercise in enunciation of the historian’s verdict on the subject of his study. Furthermore, as every judgment must invariably rest on some, explicitly or implicitly espoused, system of values, it is undeniable that historical writings reveal as much, if not more, of the cultural, moral and intellectual orientations of the historiographer as that of the object of his inquiry. In passing a historical judgment on a by gone age or an alien culture, the historian is, willy-nilly, forced to pass judgment upon himself as well. It is as true of the western historian of Islam, western philosopher of history appraising Muslim civilization, Christian exponent of meta-history, Marxist ideologue of history materialism etc, as of anyone else.

Like everything else of cultural value in the modem west, the concept of history must also be traced back to the Greeks. For them, with their cyclic conceptions of time, the task of history was to save human deeds from oblivion and the futility that comes from human fate. The world of nature, the Greeks thought, was eternal and ever-recurrent. It did not need human remembrance for its continued existence; nor could it be forgotten or overlooked. But not so with the world of men: if not remembered, it would perish without leaving a trace. History thus came to signify for the Greeks a conscious attempt at recollection; but a recollection only of the extraordinary and the unusual. History meant heroic history. It received into remembrance only those mortals whose deeds were immortal and as everlasting as the recurrence of nature.

Despite the obvious discordance of the Hellenic and Hebrew outlook on time, universe and the purpose of human life, Christianity retained the central concept of Greek historical consciousness. The significance of history was for the reasons of its being out of the ordinary; only in the case of Christianity, the extraordinary meant the miraculous. In fact, it must be a unique event; an act of Divine intervention in the universe of men and nature. History thus for the Christian becomes salvation history: it both imparts meaning to human existence and divests human history of any ultimate significance.[204]

For Marx, and modem man in general, history is merely a process, a man-made process which, because of the absence of fate, Divine intervention or the incomprehensibility of its governing ‘laws’, may be controlled and modified. History therefore assumes the shape of the arena for human struggle and liberation. It also becomes full of promise, indeed salvation itself. The meaning of history, however, lies in the future and salvation comes not through Divine grace but through collective human effort. History for Marxists thus replaces the eschatology of traditional religion but, for its realization, requires as much faith as does salvation for the latter.

For the nihilistic modem mind even history is devoid of any meaning. If through human action everything is possible, not only in the realm of ideas but in that of reality as well; if any order, any necessity, any meaning man wishes to imposes will do, then there can be no necessity and no meaning! In such a situation, in fact, neither history nor nature is at all intelligible. This is the terminus of modernity – the radical, nay absolute, world-alienation![205]

The search for meaning in history, as we have seen, has brought modem, secular man to an intellectual cul-de-sac. The same is true of the philosophers of history and other western thinkers who have tried to fit Muslim civilization into their contrived schemes of ‘universal history’. Either they have labored in vain under the burden of Christian dogma and found ‘Islam’ incomprehensible according to the pattern of ‘salvation’ demanded by their faith, or they have looked at Islam as a purely human phenomenon and missed the significance of the Divine guidance for its genesis and mission. In either case, it goes without saying; it was not Islam, Islam as it sees itself and as it is – because the two cannot ultimately be separated, that was judged, but rather a ghost of their own imagination and creation. If their judgments appear quite adverse to us, if we Muslims cannot by any demands of integrity and sincerity recognize ourselves, it is so because the ghosts and demons of a tormented self, the shadows of Jungian psychology if you please, always appear unseemly and terrifying (Hasn’t the West assumed the same role in our own consciousness today?).

It is well-established today that the formation and crystallization of European identity, the European’s definition of himself as a historical being, took place in large measure as a reaction to ‘Islam’. The so-called ‘distorted image of Islam’, without doubt, is a projection of the darker side of Europe itself: it was born in ignorance, forged in political and military struggle and nourished by religious fanaticism and bigotry. The birth of Islam was a traumatic experience for the Christian world. Islam was not only a formidable political rival, but it also nullified the Christian scheme of Divine salvation. Thus, Islam was conceived from its earliest encounter with Christianity as a ‘problem’; a problem of Christian theodicy first and foremost. What was the meaning and purpose of the new revelation, granted to the Arabian prophet, centuries after the termination of the age of prophecy and the crucifixion and resurrection of God’s own son? It is no exaggeration to claim that Christianity, after a millennium and a half of contacts with Islam, is still unable to supply any mutually acceptable answer. Unlike Islam, which grants Christianity a partial de jury legitimacy as a recipient of divine message, Christianity can never reciprocate this ecumenical courtesy. It can only denounce Islam as a ‘false religion’, because for it to accept, in whatever truncated form, that Islam is of divine origin, would entail forfeiting its own claim to unique truth! Thus, all Christian students of Islam, from John of Damascus to Massignon of Paris, no matter how perceptive and ‘sympathetic’, are unwilling to admit (but not blind enough to recognize) the spiritual and religious veracity of Islam and the Muslims. Unfortu­nately, the foremost traits of the Christian attitude towards Islam, intransigence and dogmatic obduracy, have been bequeathed to the philosophers of history who too view Islam through Christian glasses as it were. Even if the measure of judgment change, Islam is still assigned by them a place in a scale of civilizations, it is still being weighed against something other than itself.
It has been claimed, by Albert Hourani, that as Islam came later than the Christian revelation and as ‘it was not implied or foretold in it and added nothing to it, a Christian therefore need not take up a specific attitude towards Islam’. Leaving aside the fact that the major part of the above statement re-states the Christian confessional formulae (‘revelation’, ‘not implied or foretold’ etc) and repeats the Jewish strictures against the authenticity of the Christian Messianic claims, it is not borne out by the clear testimony of history. Ever since the inception of Islam, Christians of all denominations and spiritual and political hue have taken up an attitude towards Islam and it has been an attitude of indescribable hostility and hatred. Throughout the ages, the character­istic Christian response has been conceived either in terms of the destruction of Islam by military means or the conversion of all Muslims by missionary endeavors. One probably can make a case that the Christian as a dogmatician has not come to terms with the ‘problem’ of Islam and not pronounced any definite judgement, nonetheless the Christian as a historical being has never been indifferent to Islam. Had it not been so, we would not find much to discuss or be concerned about; nor would there be shelves and shelves of tomes all dedicated to the ‘exposition and understanding’ of Islam as a phenomenon. It is also this extensiveness of western pronouncements on historical Islam that imposes such severe limitations on a chapter of this scope. A comprehensive picture can only be given by much omission and condensation.

Undoubtedly, the motivating force for the western philosophical reflection and comprehension of Islam has been, as claimed so often, the unique western urge to deepen its self understanding through comparison. Or, as Carl Becker puts it: “A world religion, such as Christianity, is a highly complex structure and the evolution off such a system of belief is best understood by examining a religion to which we have not been bound by a thousand ties from the earliest days of our lives. No less interesting are the discoveries of Mohammedanism: here we can see the growth of tradition proceeding in the full light of historical criticism…” One need hardly point out that such a myopic conception of Islam, which restricts its value to that of mere utility, and that too a negative one, for the West, hardly does justice to the former. The method of historical criticism, similarly, is nothing but a form of dogmatic censure supplant­ing Christian polemics with a jargon of its own. This observation is fully substantiated when we examine the ‘insights’ provided by the new method of philosophic-historical contemplation with respect to ‘Islam’.

It would be convenient to start this survey with Hegel, as the birth of modern historical consciousness is associated with his thought and every subsequent historicising philosophy traces its origin back to him. The seminal idea of Hegel’s times, derived as usual from the ‘discoveries’ of natural sciences, was that of development, m history, this idea appears as process, implying that all which exists is part of a continuous, self-creating, self-regulating, self-maintaining process. The change within the process is in accordance with inherent ‘principals’ and it manifests itself through the working of some ‘force’. It is the nature of this mysterious force to transform matter into more complex forms and lead it to a higher stage. Seen in this light, human history assumes the nature of an evolutionary process and its operational units are assumed to be ‘periods’ of ‘civilisations’. The latter exhibits a historically determined unity of spiritual arid material culture.[206]

With the acquisition of this insight, Islam came to be regarded not only as a ‘religion’ but also as a’ civilization’ and the crucial question for the philosophers of history became: what role did it play in the evolutionary march of humanity (Humanity, of course, is always, perhaps unconsciously, construed as western man!)? Hegel gave some thought to this question, even if cursorily. It may be recalled that for Hegel the matter and the active formative principle of historical precess was Reason. The meaning of history was the progressive self-realisation of Reason. Reason, however, is fully itself only when free, conscious of its being and embodied in a free society and state. According to the Hegelian scheme of history, the historical process had four stages: the Oriental world, the Greek world, the Roman world and finally, the German world in which he himself lived. The acme of historical progression for the idealist philosopher was, but of course, the German world where freedom was embodied in the state’! The role of Islam, according to him, thus, was to help bring the fourth world into existence. For him Islam also signified, and essentially so, ‘the worship of the One, the absolute object of attraction and devotion’. But the Islamic submission to the One, he claimed, was excessive and overwhelming. Islam thus had no interest for the human world and the Muslim mood alternated between pure religious enthusiasm (heroism but also fanatic zeal and ascetic disinterest in the temporal world) and sheer desperation (the love of power and glory). Because of this spiritual ambivalence Islamic civilisation was ephemeral and because of its exces­sive abstractness (it lacked, so he thought, the special attachment which the Jews, for instance, have with the One; or the genuine love for the human which the presence of a human saviour bestows upon Christianity) it was also destructive. It was the destiny of Europe, he further prophesied, to absorb the anti-thesis of Islam into a new synthesis of its own. Islam now has nothing to offer except ‘sensual enjoyment’ and ‘oriental repose’!

One marvels how the most subtle European mind of his time could display such provincial arrogance, such spiritual banality and such intellectual shallowness when it came to Islam! He was a moribund a child of his age and his image of Islam was forged in the crucible of western military and political superiority. The Ottoman state was moribund and the rest of the Islamic world lay prostrate at the Europeans’ feet. It had no effective voice, no philosophy ofhistory, and no awareness of its destiny. It did look as if it was destined to perish forever! Hegel was not perceptive or prophetic enough to scan beyond his cultural horizons. The most cogent argument against his indictment of Islam has been provided by the passing of time. The philosopher of history stands refuted by history itself! As for his strictures against the abstractness of Islam, anyone who has the slightest acquaintance with Hegelian thought must spontaneously exclaim: ‘ The kettle calling pot black!’ To a Muslim who has personally experienced the fullness of his devotion and submission to the One, Hegel also appears ridiculously sham and bogus.

The noteworthy point in the Hegelian conception of Islam, however, is that it is made to fit in a scheme of history that was essentially Europe-centered. Or, in other words, Hegel’s interest was not in Islam as a historical civilization, not even in the process of history per se, but in history as an expression of European destiny (One may also casually remark here that whilst courting the damsel of destiny, Hegel is not hampered by any eunuchic detachment but is aglow with the ardour of a lover longing for a full embrace!) Hegelian destiny thus was a projection of Hegelian will and Hegelian Islam nothing but a philosopher’s infantile wish-fulfillment. Yet again, in the dreamland of European destiny, Islam looms as a nightmare. Old ghosts die hard![207]


[1] Noldeke, SketchesfromEasternHistory, p.99(London 1922)

[2] See:Renan,Etudesd’Histoire Religieuse,p.220-30;

[3] H. Gibb, Studies on the Civilization of Islam, p.3

[4] T.W. Arnold, TheLegacy of Islam, p.790

[5] A. Arberry, Aspects of Islamic Civilization, Introduction.

[6] Ibn Hauqal, al-Masalikwa al-Mamalik. Translated and quoted by H. Kramer, in Chapter 3 in The Legacy of Islam, ed. by Arnold

[7] Lothrop Stoddard, The New World of Islam, Introduction

[8] Asad, Muhammad, Islam at the Crossroads, p. 5

[9] Ibid,pp.8-9

[10] Said b. Hasan d Alexandrie; Goldziher, Said b. Hassan Review des Etudes; and many more

[11] Asad, Muhammad, au1hor of the Road to Mecca and Islam at the Crossroads; or Hamid lAlgar, professor of University of California, U.S.A. Ahmadb. Abdulla, an Englishman
from Cambridge; T.B. Irving, a Canadian scholar and professor; M.Pickthall, scholar and
translator of The Quran to English; for a list of these see T.W. Arnold, P.I,Appendix 2 &5

[12] M.Watt,I.I.S.p.ll3

[13] SeeM.Watt,I.I.S.,pp.ll3-4

[14] See Al-Kendi, Al-Masudi, Al-Ghazali, IbnHazm, etc.

[15] 12 Such as Ibn Jazala, Yosif al-Lubnani, Darwish Ali, etc.

[16] Missionary Religions, July 1874

[17] See^egMranXVI,126;XLii, 13-4;Xiii,13-14;iii,19.99,100;XXII, 66-7;

[18] Andrew Miller, ChurchHistory, \>.2i$

[19] Tabari, I..V, 2405 (Leyden, 1861)

[20] H.J. Schoops, TheReligions ofMankind p.232. also see M.S. Smiih, Studies in Early Mysticism, p. 108

[21] E. Rosenihal, Political Thoughtin Medieval Islam, p.2

[22] See Tabari, Tarikh; Baladhuri, Fotooh

[23] M. Smith, Studies in Early Mysticism, p. 109

[24] Morrish, B.I.C., p.175

[25] Elliot, H.M. and Dawson, J., TheHistory of India fc.u.p. 1960), vol 1, p.l 85 (Morrish. B.I.C., p.177)

[26] Morrish, B.I.C., p. 175

[27] Ibid, p.191

[28] A.Toynbee,H.A.R,p.246

[29] T. Ling, A History of Religion, p.330

[30] Ibid,p.331

[31] T.W. Arnold, P. 7,(1913) 158F

[32] A. Toynbee, an Historian’s Approachto Religion, p.246; M. Watt, U.S.

[33] Levy, Sociology of Islam, p.13, vol. 1; Elliot, H.M., The History oflndia(1969) vol.1, p.185

[34] JohnCogley, Religionin a Secular Age, p.74

[35] Ibid

[36] A. Guillaume, Islam, p.80; M. Watt, I.I.S

[37] E.J.Jurji, T.G.R.T.M.W.,pA96

[38] D.S. Margoliouih.E’.D.M., pp.129-30; see M. Smith, S.E.M.M.E., pp. 109-14

[39] Msimd,Aghani, 9:71;M. Smith,S.E.M.M.E.,pp.110-2

[40] Al-Tabari, Tarikh, 10:20

[41] Religion in the Middle East, vol 2, p.21. Also see the history books about Mu’moon

[42] Religion in the Middle East, Vol 2, pp.545-6

[43] D.S.Margoliouih, The Early Development ofMuhammedanism (Londonl9l 4), p. 100

[44] Noldeke, ££.#., p.86

[45] Ibidp.119

[46] Ibid, p. 44

[47] IB. Glubb, The Empire of the Arabs, pp. 129-130

[48] Ibid, p. 127

[49] Ibid, p. 132

[50] Sir Charles Eliot, Turkey in Europe, p.242

[51] Ibid,p.243

[52] See Ibid, p. 243

[53] CharlesEliot, Turkey in Europe, p.248

[54] Ibid,p.346

[55] Ibid,p.399

[56] Desmond Stewart, 77ieyl//ia»!ira, p.117

[57] The Quran; 2, 136

[58] Quran; 12,111

[59] Quran; 3,64

[60] ShaikhM.Shalout(Al-Azhar’sRector)Interview(QuotedbyCharisWaddy, The Muslim Mind, p.113)

[61] Ali Abdul Halim Muhammad, Al-Da ‘wat al-Islamiyya da ‘wat al-Alamuyya, Higher Council for Islamic Affairs, Cairo 1969: from the introduction translated by Charis Waddy.

[62] Ibid

[63] J.B. Glubb, The Empire of the Arabs, pp.7-8
[64] Ibid, p.8

[65] Ibid, p. 141

[66] Quoted by J.B. Glubb, The Empire of the Arabs, p. 143

[67] C.H.A.Vol.4,ppl76,192

[68] Ibid, Vol. 4, p. 130

[69] IsmailRagial-Faruqi, TheGreatAsianReligions, pp.314-17

[70] Quran, 33:72

[71] Ismail Ragi al-Faruqi, The Great Asian Religions, pp.314-17

[72] Ibid,p.31O

[73] S.H. Nns[,Al-SeratMuhammad, pub.

[74] Ibid, p.310 K.S. Latourette,,A History ofChristianity, p. 289

[75] For instance J.N.D. Anderson. See Unity and variety inMuslim Civilization, p.728

[76] Tabari, 1, 2582,F. qaotedbyLevy, Sociology of Islam, vol.1, pp.22-3

[77] This attitude ceased in relation to Hindus, at any rate in large measure, once the Muslims had grasped that Hinduism was not equivalent to the paganism of the Arabs; Hindus were in that case assimilated to The People of the Book (AM al-Kitab) that is to the Monotheism of the Western Semitic tradition. Christ, usingviolence against the money-chargers intheTemple,showed that this attitude could not be excluded

[78] FritjhofSchoun, Understanding Islam, Chap. 1

[79] Ibid

[80] A. Toynbee, H.A.R., pp.203-6 79 Ibid, H. A.R., pp.203-6

[81] Katiileen Bliss, TheFuture of Religion, pp. 136-7

[82] G.E.Marrison,C.A.M.p.36

[83] Ibid, p.36

[84] Ibid, pp.39-40

[85] Fritjhof Shoun, Understanding Islam (English Trans.), p.29 footnote

[86] W.H.T. Oairdner, TheReproach of Islam, p.223 (1910)

[87] Ibid,p.233

[88] J.W. Sweeiman, Islam andChristian Theology, vol 2, p.4

[89] Katiileen Bliss, The Future of Religion, p.136

[90] AnuMToyrbee, An Historian’s Approach to Religion, p.l62(3rdEd. 1957);Bayle, P. Dictionary, 3rd ed., ii 1533 and A and B

[91] Locke, John., A letter Concerning Toleration (1st pub. 1689); A. Toynbee, H.A.R.; also see Bayle, op citi 106, s.v. Abdas

[92] Bayle, op cit, i 106, s.v. Abdas

[93] Bayle, P.,Dictionary, 3rd ed. iii, 1 iSOMahomet

[94] Ibid

[95] A. Toynbee, H.A.R.,p.205

[96] C. Dewick, The Christian Attitude to Other Religions, p. 119; T. Hodgkin, Charles the Great (1897),p. 109

[97] B>id,p.ll6andp.ll9

[98] E.L. Clark pp.362-3; Arnold, p. 1, p.200, pp .362-3

[99] Arnold, The Preaching of Islam, p. 1, p.200

[100] Ibidp.119

[101] Cambridge History of Islam, p.168, p.202

[102] W.M.Watt,/./.M£:.,p.47

[103] Pietro Egidi, La ColoniaSaracena, p.767

[104] W.M.Watt,/./.M£.,p.75

[105] Ibid

[106] Ibid

[107] ThomasPaine, The Age of Reason, p.161 (1951)

[108] V.Grunebaume,/i/am,p.l30

[109] T.W. Arnold, The Legacy of I slam, p.69

[110] G.E. Marrison, Christian Approach to Muslims, p.36

[111] The Muslim Menace, CMS. Series, Day of Opportunity

[112] W.H.T. Gairdner, The Reproach of Islam, p. 119

[113] Bernard Lewis, Islam: Politics and War, p.xiv

[114] E. O. James, Christianity and Other Religions, p. 172 (1 st Ed.)

[115] V. Gtwiebaxime, Medievallslam, p.6

[116] W.C. Smitii, Islam in the Modern History, p. 109

[117] K. Scott, History of ‘Christianity, p.286

[118] See Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

[119] John Cogley, Religion in a Secular Age, p.64

[120] R.C. Zaehner, An Essay in the Comparison of Religion, p. 153

[121] O’Leary, Islam at the Crossroads, p.59

[122] Talboys Wheeler, in the Preface to his History of India

[123] Frede Lokke gaard, Islamic Taxation, p.2.N.Y. 1973

[124] Sir W. Muir, IV321; quoted by B. Smith,M.M., p.278124 See B.Smith, M.M., pp.278-80 for a detailed answer to Muir’ s statement

[125] Lane-Poole, Studies in aMosque, p. 113

[126] W.M. Watt, Islamic Political Thought, pp 62-3

[127] Bosv/oiitiSmith,MohammadandMohammadanism, Introduction, p.XXV

[128] Ibid,p.39

[129] PapersrelatingtoHerMajesty’sColonialPossessions, Partll 1872 129 Larger Catechism, H,iii(H.Wace and C. A. Buchheim) Translations; Luther’s primary work (London 1899), p.106; also E.C. Dewick, The Christian Attitude to Other Religions, p. 116

[130] E.C.Dewick, The Christian Attitude toOtherReligionspp.116-7

[131] Ibid, pp. 117-8

[132] Ibid p. 118 133 T. Arnold, The legacy of Islam, p.40

[133] T. Arnold, the legacy of Islam, p.40

[134] Ernest Baker, The Crusade, in The Legacy of Islam, Ed by T. Arnold, p.I.p.40

[135] P.H. Ashby, The Conflict of Religions, p. 172

[136] Ibid, p.172

[137] Ninion Smart, The Phenomenon of Religion, p. 143

[138] A.Toynbee,AnHistorian’sApproachtoReligion, p.110

[139] R.C. Zaehner, An Essay in the Comparison of Religions, p. 195

[140] Asad, Muhammad, The Road to Mecca, pp.2-3

[141] Ibid,p.l79

[142] See F; Schoun, Light on the Ancient Worlds (Translation by Lord North-bourne, London, 1965), Ch. IX, Religion Perennis; also H. Nasr’s Preface to ShiiteIslam, p.6

[143] Lane-Poole, Studies in aMosque, pp.91-2

[144] R.C. Zaehner, An Essay in the Comparison of Religions, pp. 195-6

[145] N. Daniel, Islam and the West: The Making of an Image (1960)

[146] J.W. Sweetman, Islam andChristian Theology, Part Two, vol. 1, p.32

[147] SeeW.M.WatU./.M.£.,pp.82-4

[148] Ibid, p. 83

[149] Ibid

[150] Ibid

[151] V. Grunebaume, Medievallslam. p.43

[152] O’Leary, Islam at the Crossroads, p.5 5

[153] Ibid,p.59

[154] Dohomeyet Q.j.t), Muhammad’s Religion (Munich, 1838), pp.5-6; C&etani, Stuch die Storia Oriental I, p.364, p.814 (milano, 1911)

[155] T.W.Arnold, ThePreaching oflslam,pp.35-6; Muir, Caftp/2afe,pp.l21-2; Amelinear,p.3

[156] Caetani,pp. 112-5

[157] Arnold, P.I, p.7, p.52; Sir Henry Laylaid, Early Adventures in Persia, vol 1, p. 100

[158] Arnold, P.I, p.54

[159] Baladuri,p.l37

[160] Ibn Abi Usaybiah, Uyoon al-Anba, vol 1. p. 161; Arnold, p.Lpp.64-6; Ibn Athir, vol 9, p. 16; Hilalal-Sabi,p.95

[161] Arnold, P.I, Introduction

[162] Ibid, p. 101

[163] Abu Salih, pp. 163-4

[164] I.Stoddard,AT.flK/.Introduction,p.l5

[165] Robert Payne, TheHoly Sword, p.xii

[166] For further details see B. Smi1h,MM.,pp.75-85

[167] V. Grunebaume,Medievalhlam (Chicago, 1957), p.44

[168] Especially religions of scripture which were regarded as heavenly (Al-Adayanal-Samawiya) and their followers as people of the book (Ahl al-Kitab). Because they accepted all Hie prophets from Adam to Jesus, and tiiey believed in continuous revelation.

[169] The Quran, Ahl al-Kitab

[170] Ismail Ragi al-Faruqi, The Great Asian Religions, p.307′.

[171] Norman Daniel, Islam andtheWest, p. 1 (G.B. 1958)

[172] Ibid,p.268

[173] Ibid,p.269

[174] J.B. Glubb, TheEmpire of the Arabs, p.364

[175] The Cambridge History of Africa, vol 5, p.482 (C.U.P. 1976)

[176] N.Daniel,Islamand the West,p.301.

[177] V.A. Smith, The OxfordHistory oflndia, p.38 (G.B. 1958)

[178] Ismail Ragi al-Faruqi, The Great Asian Religions, p.307

[179] Norman Daniel, Islam andthe West, p. 133

[180] J.B. Glubb, The Great Arab Conquest, p.267

[181] Desmond Stewart, TheAlhambra, pp.32-33

[182] Desmond Stewart, TheAlhambra, p.35

[183] Phyllis Auty, Yugoslavia, pp.28-29

[184] Ibid,p.6

[185] Ibid, p. 54

[186] C.H.A.Vol3,pp.23-24

[187] J. Wellard, Lost Worlds of Africa, p. 127

[188] J.B. Glubb, The course of Empire

[189] J.B. Glubb, The course of Empire, p. 189

[190] Ibid, p. 188

[191] J.B. Glubb, The course of Empire, p.355

[192] Ibid

[193] Ibid

[194] Cambridge History of Africa, Vol. 4, p.152

[195] BBC 2 Documentary, Chronicle, Tuesday 23 May 1978, 8.10pm

[196] Asad M., The RoadtoMecca, pp.2-3 (Introduction)

[197] Ibid, pp.5-9; see also L. Stoddard, N. W.I., Introduction

[198] T.W. Arnold, p.I, p.469. It has been suggested tiiatthe Western and Christian attitude and animositytowards Islam is based on envy and that Islam has been taken as the only challenge they face. For this see Asad, Muhamad, The Road toMecca, Introduction; and see R. Southern, Western Views of Islam, pp.2-5

[199] Stanley Lane-Poole, Study in aMosque, pp.86-9

[200] A. J. Aibeny, Aspects of Islamic Civilization, p.12

[201] M. Pickthall, The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, p.vii. Mr Pickthall is an English convert to Islam and a scholar of international repute. He has Iranslated the Quran into English.

[202] Brockelman, History of the Islamic Peoples, p.37

[203] Rosenthal, Political Thought in Medieval Islam, p. 21

[204] ParvezManzoor, Western Approach to the History of Islam, courtesy oflnquiry, Jan 1985, p.40 (London 1985)

[205] Ibidp.41

[206] Ibidp.42

[207] Ibidp.43


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