Many schools of thought exist about Conversion by the Sword. One is that Islam did not spread by war, but by commerce. Conversion to Islam in most cases was voluntary. But when expansion bumped up against Pagan and Christian Societies, conquest by the sword did occur as a defense. And offense is the best defense.
The other school of thought is that Islamist always spread their religion as Conversion by the Sword. History, unfortunately doesn’t decide the question. So I will present both arguments.
Before the attack on Mecca, the Quran had already been written. Quran (8:39) – “And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder, unbelief) and religion should be only for Allah” Islams early enemies were defending their own religion. So the belief, Allah approves of war for defense, not offense, comes to question. What then do you do if you win? Quran (9:29) – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” Certainly direct, particularly when combined with other passages in the Quran and practice through the ages.
Read this carefully against what we see happening today with ISIS or ISIL, the latter name even more fearful as I will explain in Question #2. If your enemy does not convert to Islam you fight them to the death. Pagan polytheists are given no mercy. The People of the Book, Jews and Christians, if they do not convert, can willingly pay tribute to the Islam. There are.extra laws they must obey and are considered second-class citizens. Sound familiar.
The counter argument is that Muslim Caliphates wished to dominate, not convert. This maybe true, however the rate of converts over time grew Islam to become The Religion wherever they conquered. However, what started as a Arabic Empire, soon turned into an Islāmic Empire, as the Turks, descendants of the Assyrians and the Hittites, and the Persians converted to Islam. Then they bumped up against Christian Nations. The Battle of Tours in 732 and The Battle of Vienna in 1683, stemmed the advance of Islam.
If you think the choice of September 11th, or 911, was a coincidence, think again. On September 11, 1683, the combined armies of Europe defeated the Ottoman Empire at the gates of Vienna. So on September 11, 2001, Islam sent us a signal. They are back. Or at least the radical side.is. If you study the Battle of Vienna, you will find Hungary as an ally of the Ottoman Empire for territorial purposes, so this was not solely a religious war.
Over 1300 years, Islam spread throughout the Middle East and Persia, throughout Northern Africa, and in to Mesopotamia to countries like Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria and others. Now to answer three questions I received.
First, What is Jihad?
In the Quran, jihad is commonly followed by the expression fi sabil illah, “in the path of God.” As without religious connotation, like the English word “crusade” (as in “a crusade against drunk drivers”). Jihad has two meanings: an inner spiritual struggle within oneself and an outer physical struggle against the enemies of Islam. The latter may take a violent or non-violent form. The concept of Jihad will always include the fight against unbelievers and wrongdoers.
Second, What is the difference between ISIS and ISIL?
ISIS means The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria where Sunni militants are craving out a Caliphate. ISIL means The Islamic State of Iraq and The Levant. The Levant today consists of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and part of southern Turkey. This title reflects the ambition of this group to include Israel in its conquest.
Third, Why are there no statues or pictures in a Mosque?
There are no pictures or statues of Allah or prophet Muhammad in a Mosque, because Muslims do not worship any images or statues. Muslims only worship God who has no image or statues. So idol worship is forbidden. You can’t paint the face of god. There are no chairs either, because worship is done standing or kneeling.
In my next post, I will cover the conflict surrounding the Palestinians and Israel. What is all the fess about?