Refuting the Oft-Repeated Muslim Lie that Islam Did not Spread by the Sword

It is refreshing to discover that not all Muslims are ashamed to admit that Islam spread by the use of the sword. The following online Salafi website quotes the Quran, Muhammad’s sunna and some of Islam’s greatest scholars to prove that offensive military expeditions against unbelievers for the purpose of forcing them to convert or subjugating them to Muslim rule is a necessary and central pillar of Muhammad’s religion:

We have already stated in question no. 34830 that jihad is of two types: taking the initiative in fighting and jihad in self-defence.

Undoubtedly taking the initiative in fighting has a great effect in spreading Islam and bringing people into the religion of Allaah in crowds. Hence the hearts of the enemies of Islam are filled with fear of jihad.

In the English-language Muslim World Magazine it says: There should be some kind of fear in the western world, one of the causes of which is that since the time it first appeared in Makkah, Islam has never decreased in numbers, rather it has always continued to increase and spread. Moreover Islam is not only a religion, rather one of its pillars is jihad.

Robert Bean says: The Muslims conquered the entire world before and they could do it again.

The Orientalists wanted to slander Islam by claiming that it was spread by the sword.

The orientalist Thomas Arnold wrote his book The Preaching of Islam with the aim of killing off the spirit of jihad among the Muslims and proving that Islam was not spread by the sword, rather that it spread by means of peaceful preaching, free from any use of force.

The Muslims fell into the trap that was set up for them. When they heard the orientalists’ accusations that Islam was spread by the sword, they said: You are mistaken, listen to a refutation from one of your own people, this Thomas says such and such.

The defeatists among the Muslims come out to defend Islam, and they want to disavow Islam of this so-called lie, so they deny that Islam was spread by the sword, and they say that jihad is not prescribed in Islam, except in the case of self-defence. There is no such thing in Islam as taking the initiative in fighting in their view. THIS GOES AGAINST WHAT THE THE MUSLIM SCHOLARS HAVE STATED, LET ALONE THE FACT IT GOES AGAINST THE QUR’AAN AND SUNNAH … Then Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And We brought forth iron wherein is mighty power (in matters of war), as well as many benefits for mankind, that Allaah may test who it is that will help Him (His religion) and His Messengers in the unseen”

[al-Hadeed 27:25]

So whoever deviates from the Book is to be brought back with iron, i.e. BY FORCE. Hence the soundness of the religion is based on the Qur’aan and the Sword. It was narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah said: The Messenger of Allaah commanded us to strike with this, meaning the sword, whoever turns away from this, meaning the Qur’aan.

Ibn al-Qayyim said in al-Faroosiyyah (p.18):

Allaah sent him – meaning the Prophet– with the guiding Book and the conquering sword, ahead of the Hour, so that Allaah alone would be worshipped with no partner or associate, and his provision was placed beneath the shade of his sword and spear. Allaah has established the religion of Islam with proof and evidence, and with the sword and spear, both together and inseparable.

This is some of the evidence from the Qur’aan and Sunnah. The evidence clearly indicates THAT THE SWORD IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT MEANS THAT LED TO THE SPREAD OF ISLAM

2 – Allaah has commanded us to prepare the means of fighting against the kuffaar and frightening them. He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, planes, missiles, artillery) to threaten the enemy of Allaah and your enemy, and others besides whom, you may not know but whom Allaah does know”

[al-Anfaal 8:60]

If Islam was only spread by peaceful means, what would the kuffaar have to be afraid of? Of mere words spoken on the tongue? In al-Saheehayn it is narrated that the Prophet said: “I have been supported with fear as far as a month’s journey.” Would the kuffaar be afraid of being told, “become Muslim, but if you do not then you are free to believe and do whatever you want”? or were they afraid OF JIHAD AND THE IMPOSITION OF THE JIYAH AND BEING HUMILIATED? That may make them enter Islam so that they may be spared this humiliation.

3 – When the Messenger called people to Islam, his call was accompanied by the sword, and he commanded his leaders to do likewise, so that when the people saw the serious of the Muslims in calling people to their religion, that dispelled any confusion.

Al-Bukhaari (3009) and Muslim (2406) narrated that Sahl ibn Sa’d said: The Prophet said on the day of Khaybar: “Tomorrow I will give the banner to a man at whose hands victory will come, one who loves Allaah and His Messenger, and Allaah and His Messenger love him.” The people spent that night wondering which of them would be given the banner and all of them were hoping for it. Then he (the Prophet) said, “Where is ‘Ali?” It was said, “His eye is hurting.” So he spat in his eyes and made du’aa’ for him, and he was healed, as if there had not been anything wrong with him. Then he gave him the flag and he [‘Ali] said: “Shall I fight them so that they will be like us?” He said: “Go ahead, until you reach their encampment, then call them to Islam and tell them what they are obliged to do, for by Allaah if Allaah were to guide a man at your hands that would be better for you than having red camels [the best kind].”

So this call to Islam was accompanied BY THE FORCE OF ARMS.

Muslim (3261) narrated that Buraydah said: When the Messenger of Allaah appointed a commander to lead an army or a raiding party, he would advise him to fear Allaah with regard to himself and the Muslims with him, then he said: “Fight in the name of Allaah and for the sake of Allaah. Fight those who disbelieve in Allaah, fight but do not steal from the war booty (before it is shared out), betray, or mutilate. Do not kill children. If you meet your enemy of the mushrikeen, call them to three things, and whichever one of them they respond to, accept that from them and leave them alone.  Then call them to Islam and if they respond, accept that from them and leave them alone. If they refuse but they pay the jizyah, then they have responded to you, so accept that from them and leave them alone. If they refuse then seek the help of Allaah and fight them…”

So the Messenger of Allaah told his commanders to call the kuffaar to Islam whilst wielding their swords over their heads. If they refused to become Muslim then they should pay the jizyah with humility. If they refused then there was nothing left for them but the sword – “If they refuse then seek the help of Allaah and fight them.”

4 – The Prophet said: “I have been sent ahead of the Hour with the sword so that Allaah will be worshipped alone, and my provision has been placed in the shade of my spear, and humiliation has been decreed for those who go against my command, and whoever imitates a people is one of them.” Narrated by Ahmad, 4869; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2831.

The fact that the sword and power were means of spreading Islam is not a sources of shame for Islam, rather it is one of its strengths and virtues, because that makes people adhere to that which will benefit them in this world and in the Hereafter. Many people are foolish and lacking in wisdom and knowledge, and if they are left to their own devices they will remain blinded to the truth, indulging in their whims and desires. So Allaah has prescribed jihad in order to bring them back to the truth and to that which will benefit them. Undoubtedly wisdom dictates that the fool should be prevented from doing that which will harm him, and should be FORCED to do that which will benefit him.

Al-Bukhaari (4557) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “ ‘You (true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah) are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind’ [Aal- Imraan 3:110 – interpretation of the meaning].” He said: “You are the best (i.e., the most beneficial) of people for mankind, you bring them IN THE CHAINS THAT ARE AROUND THEIR NECKS until they enter Islam.” Can people be brought in chains except in the case of jihad??

This is something for which Islam deserves to be praised, not condemned. The defeatists should fear Allaah lest they distort this religion and cause it to become weak on the basis of the claim that it is a religion of peace. Yes, it is the religion of peace but in the sense of saving all of mankind from worshipping anything other than Allaah and submitting all of mankind to the rule of Allaah. This is the religion of Allaah, not the ideas of any person or the product of human thought, so that those who promote it should feel ashamed to state its ultimate goal, which is that all religion (worship) should be for Allaah alone… 

Islam spread by means of proof and evidence to those who listened to the message and responded to it, and it spread BY MEANS OF FORCE AND THE SWORD to those who were stubborn and arrogant, until they were overwhelmed and became no longer stubborn, and submitted to that reality. (Islam Question and Answer, General Supervisor: Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid, 43087: Was Islam spread by the sword? https://islamqa.info/en/43087; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

In an answer to a question on the various types of jihad, this same site acknowledges that one of the purposes for jihad is to attack, humiliate and degrade people solely because of their holding to different beliefs and/or rejection of Islam. Another reason given for jihad is for the purpose of amassing great wealth, which includes taking females as sex slaves!

Allaah has enjoined jihad for His sake upon the Muslims, for the great benefits that result from that and because of the harm caused by abandoning jihad, some of which are mentioned in Question no. 34830.

Some of the reasons why jihad for the sake of Allaah is prescribed in Islam are as follows:

1 – The main goal of jihad is to make the people worship Allaah alone and to bring them forth from servitude to people to servitude to the Lord of people. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allaah) and (all and every kind of) worship is for Allaah (Alone). But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zaalimoon (the polytheists, and wrong-doers)”

[al-Baqarah 2:193] 

“And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism, i.e. worshipping others besides Allaah), and the religion (worship) will all be for Allaah Alone [in the whole of the world]. But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allaah), then certainly, Allaah is All-Seer of what they do”

[al-Anfaal 8:39]

Ibn Jareer said:

So fight them until there is no more shirk, and none is worshipped except Allaah alone with no partner or associate, and trials and calamities, which are disbelief and polytheism, are lifted from the slaves of Allaah on earth, and religion is all for Allaah alone, and so that obedience and worship will be devoted to Him alone and none else.

Ibn Katheer said: Allaah commands us to fight the kuffaar so that there will be no fitnah, i.e., shirk, and the religion will all be for Allaah alone, i.e., the religion of Allaah will prevail over all other religions.

The Prophet said: “”I have been commanded (by Allaah) to fight the people until they testify that there is no god but Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, and they establish regular prayer and pay zakaah, then if they do that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning will be with Allaah.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (24), Muslim (33).

And he said: “I have been sent just before the Hour with the sword, so that Allaah will be worshipped alone with no partner or associate.”

Narrated by Ahmad, 4869; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2831.

This purpose of jihad was present in the minds of the Sahaabah during their battles with the enemies of Allaah. Al-Bukhaari (2925) narrated that Jubayr ibn Hayyah said: ‘Umar sent people to all the regions to fight the mushrikeen… so ‘Umar recruited us and appointed al-Nu’maan ibn Muqarrin to lead us. When we were in the land of the enemy, the representative of Chosroes came out to us with forty thousand troops. An interpreter stood up and said: “Let one of you speak to me.” Al-Mugheerah said: “Ask whatever you want.” He asked, “Who are you?” He (al-Mugheerah) said: “We are some people from among the Arabs. We used to lead a harsh and miserable life, sucking on animal skins and date stones because of hunger, wearing clothes made of camel and goat hair, worshipping trees and rocks. While we were in this state, the Lord of the heavens and the earth, exalted be His name and glorified be His greatness, sent to us a Prophet from amongst ourselves, whose father and mother we know. Our Prophet, the Messenger of our Lord, commanded us to fight you until you worship Allaah alone or pay the jizyah. Our Prophet told us the message from our Lord, that whoever among us is killed will go to Paradise to enjoy delights such as no one has ever seen, and whoever among us is left will become your master.”

This is the truth that the Sahaabah and leaders of the Muslims proclaimed in their military campaigns.

Rab’i ibn ‘Aamir said, when Rustam the commander of the Persian armies asked him, “WHY HAVE YOU COME?”: “Allaah has sent us to bring forth whomsoever He wills from the worship of man to the worship of Allaah.

When ‘Uqbah ibn Naafi’ reached Tangiers, he rode his horse into the water until the water was up to its chest, then he said: “O Allaah, bear witness that I have done my utmost, and were it not for this sea I would have travelled throughout the land fighting those who disbelieve in You, until none is worshipped except You.”…

3 – Removing fitnah (tribulation)

Fitnah is of different types…

(ii) The fitnah of the kuffaar themselves and their preventing others from hearing and accepting the truth. That is because the kaafir systems corrupt the innate nature and reason of people, and make them get used to worshipping and submitting to things other than Allaah, getting addicted to alcohol, wallowing in the mire of sexual licence, and losing all characteristics of virtue. Whoever is like that can rarely tell truth from falsehood, good from evil, right from wrong. So jihad is prescribed in order to remove those obstacles that prevent people from hearing and accepting the truth and getting to know it…

5 – Frightening the kuffaar, HUMILIATING THEM AND PUTTING THEM TO SHAME.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Fight against them so that Allaah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of a believing people, And remove the anger of their (believers’) hearts. Allaah accepts the repentance of whom He wills. Allaah is All-Knowing, All-Wise”

[al-Tawbah 9:14-15] 

“And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, planes, missiles, artillery) to threaten the enemy of Allaah and your enemy”
[al-Anfaal 8:60]

Hence it is prescribed to fight in a manner that will strike terror into the heart of the enemy.

Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] was asked whether it is permissible for a soldier to wear silk or gold or silver when fighting or when the envoys of the enemy come to the Muslims.

He replied:

Praise be to Allaah. With regard to wearing silk in order to frighten the enemy, there are two scholarly views, the more correct of which is that it is allowed. The soldiers of Syria wrote to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab saying: “When we met the enemy we saw that they had covered their weapons with silk and we found that this struck terror in our hearts.” ‘Umar wrote back to them saying: “You should cover your weapons as they do.” And wearing silk is a kind of showing off, and Allaah likes showing off at the time of fighting, as it is narrated in al-Sunan that the Prophet said: “There is a kind of showing off that Allaah likes, and a kind of showing off that Allaah hates. The showing off that Allaah likes is when a man shows off at the time of war. The kind of showing off that Allaah hates is showing off for the purpose of pride and boasting.” On the day of Uhud, Abu Dujaanah al-Ansaari showed off among the ranks, and the Prophet said: “This is a kind of walking that Allaah hates except in this situation.” Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 28/17

8 – ACQUIRING BOOTY 

The Prophet said: “I have been sent ahead of the Hour with the sword so that Allaah will be worshipped alone, and my provision has been placed in the shade of my spear, and humiliation has been decreed for those who go against my command, and whoever imitates a people is one of them.”  Narrated by Ahmad, 4869; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2831.

Al-Haafiz said:

This hadeeth indicates that war booty is permissible for this ummah, and that the provision of the Prophet has been placed IN WAR BOOTY AND NOT IN OTHER KINDS OF EARNINGS. Hence some of the scholars said that it is the best kind of earnings.

Al-Qurtubi said:

Allaah sent provision to His Prophet by means of his striving and He made it by means of the best kind of striving which is EARNING IT BY MEANS OF FORCE AND STRENGTH.

The Prophet went out for the battle of Badr to meet the caravan of Abu Sufyaan.

Al-Qurtubi said: The fact that the Prophet went out to meet the caravan indicates that it is permissible to take booty because it is a halaal source of income. This refutes Maalik’s view that this is makrooh, when he said that this was fighting for worldly gains.

Al-Shawkaani said: Ibn Abi Jamrah said: The scholars of hadeeth are of the view that if the primary motive is to make the word of Allaah supreme, it does not matter what else is also achieved. (Ibid., 34647: The reason why jihaad is prescribed https://islamqa.info/en/34647; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

The shocked reaction of the Persians as to why the Muslims had come with their armies to their lands confirms that jihad isn’t simply done for self-defense purposes. Rather, jihad is to be carried out against any and all individuals solely because they believe differently (or no belief in God whatsoever) and/or because they refuse to accept Muhammad, despite the fact that they may have never done anything to harm or threaten Muslims.

It gets better! According to this Muslim website, verses commanding Muslims to take up the sword to fight and/or murder the infidels have abrogated texts such as Q. 2:256, which say that unbelievers are not be compelled to believe against their wills:

Some friends say that whoever does not enter Islam, that is his choice and he should not be forced to become Muslim, quoting as evidence the verses in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):  

“And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed, all of them together. So, will you (O Muhammad) then compel mankind, until they become believers” 
[Yoonus 10:99]  

“There is no compulsion in religion” 
[al-Baqarah 2:256]  

What is your opinion concerning that?…

The scholars explained that these two verses, and other similar verses, have to do with those from whom the jizyah may be taken, such as Jews, Christians and Magians (Zoroastrians). They are not to be forced, rather they are to be given the choice between becoming Muslim or paying the jizyah.

Other scholars said that this applied in the beginning, but was subsequently ABROGATED by Allaah’s command to fight and wage jihad. So whoever refuses to enter Islam should be fought when the Muslims are able to fight, until they either enter Islam or pay the jizyah if they are among the people who may pay jizyah. The kuffaar should be compelled to enter Islam if they are not people from whom the jizyah may be taken, because that will lead to their happiness and salvation in this world and in the Hereafter. Obliging a person to adhere to the truth in which is guidance and happiness is better for him than falsehood. Just as a person may be forced to do the duty that he owes to other people even if that is by means of imprisonment or beating, so forcing the kaafirs to believe in Allaah alone and enter into the religion of Islam is more important and more essential, because this will lead to their happiness in this world and in the Hereafter. This applies unless they are People of the Book, i.e., Jews and Christians, or Magians, because Islam says that these three groups may be given the choice: they may enter Islam or they may pay the jizyah and feel themselves subdued.

Some of the scholars are of the view that others may also be given the choice between Islam and jizyah, but the most correct view is that no others should be given this choice, rather these three groups are the only ones who may be given the choice, because the Prophet fought the kuffaar in the Arabian Peninsula and he only accepted their becoming Muslim. And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“But if they repent [by rejecting Shirk (polytheism) and accept Islamic Monotheism] and perform As-Salaah (Iqaamat-as-Salaah), and give Zakaah, then leave their way free. Verily, Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”

[al-Tawbah 9:5]

He did not say, “if they pay the jizyah”. The Jews, Christians and Magians are to be asked to enter Islam; if they refuse then they should be asked to pay the jizyah. If they refuse to pay the jizyah then the Muslims must fight them if they are able to do so. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allaah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allaah and His Messenger  (Muhammad), (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued”

[al-Tawbah 9:29]

And it was proven that the Prophet accepted the jizyah from the Magians, but it was not proven that the Prophet or his companions accepted the jizyah from anyone except the three groups mentioned above.

The basic principle concerning that is the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning):

“And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism, i.e. worshipping others besides Allaah), and the religion (worship) will all be for Allaah Alone [in the whole of the world]”

[al-Anfaal 8:39]  

“Then when the Sacred Months (the 1st, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islamic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikoon (see V.2:105) wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush. But if they repent [by rejecting Shirk (polytheism) and accept Islamic Monotheism] and perform As-Salaah (Iqaamat-as-Salaah), and give Zakaah, then leave their way free. Verily, Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”

[al-Tawbah 9:5]

This verse is known as Ayat al-Sayf (the verse of the sword).

These and similar verses ABROGATE the verses which say that there is no compulsion to become Muslim. (Ibid., 34770: There is no compulsion to accept Islam https://islamqa.info/en/34770; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

We couldn’t have put this any better!

 

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