Spread of Islam
Prof. Mehboob Desai
Ignorance of Islam has led the people to believe in the rumour, ‘by sword, Islam has spread.’ But a rumour cannot be an historical fact or a theosophical truth. Till now, no religion has won the hearts of millions of people by violence. There is much scope for scholastic studies to find out this evergreen truth. The charms of religious books, the charisma of religious saints, the conduct of its believers, the coordination in the colleagues in society influences the masses, thus, a religion spreads in the masses. Major Arthur Glean Leonard writes,
“If one considers a book due to its results and influence on the life of its readers, then, Quran is one of the Best Classical Books in the world.”
Islam is well spread, well read and well practiced religion in the world. Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, was the first person to spread the religion of Islam. He lived a simple, submissive, supplicating life, which is a model for all Muslims, then, now and forever. He had never used his human force or sharpness of his sword to spread the Islam, because, Allah says,
“Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error; whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.”
Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, was instructed by Allah in strict words. Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, strictly adhered to the guidance given by our Lord. Some of the instructions that were given to Messenger of Allah Mohammad to propagate Islam are as under:
o “When you ask the people to embrace Islam, you teach them carefully and smoothly. When you discuss with them, use good and sweet words. When they argue with you, hear them with patience. Tolerate their argument. When you are departing from them, do it with compassion and gentleness.”
o “If your Lord is willing, whole people would have accepted your words. Then, will you use force to make them follow your words?”
o “O You Mohammad! Allah has given you the knowledge. Follow it. Believe in One. There are no gods except Allah. Discard the worshipers of gods.”
o “If Allah had willed, they would have worshiped One. You are not being sent as a Supervisor on them.”
Allah has ordained all people to love their parents and to follow their instructions without taking any objections. Yet, the compulsion in religion by them towards their children is not tolerable. Allah says,
“We have enjoined on man kindness to parents: but if they, either of them, strive to force thee to join with Me in worship anything of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not. Ye have all to return to Me and I will tell you the truth of all that ye did.”
Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, had followed the instructions given to him by his Lord, day and night. While spreading the message of Allah, he had implemented the sayings of Holy Quran without any innovations or modifications.
During the times of Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, majority of Arabs were unlettered. Many of them were barbarians. The tradition of gambling, drinking, womanizing was very common. The traditional pride was making them to bury their female children alive. The poor and the slaves were treated as animals. Tricking and Cheating was common in business. Humanity and morality was lacking in the society. In such society, to start Islam from foundation, to spread it to zenith, we can imagine how hot and thorny it would have seem to Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him. It was difficult to teach any thing to Arabs, for they were full of ignorance. Holy Quran discloses,
“The Arabs of the desert are the worst in unbelief and hypocrisy and most fitted to be in ignorance of the command which Allah hath sent down to his apostle: but Allah is All-Knowing All-Wise.”
Yet, Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, had performed his duties with passion, compassion and patience. Pundit Sunderlal writes,
“Wherever Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah did go, the people used to make fun of him. They would make satirical remarks on his sayings. Whenever he would try to preach them the truth, they used to throw the dead animals’ intestinal and fecal matter on him. His opponents warned the audiences, ‘Son of Abdulla is mad. Don’t listen to him.” Then, they would disturb his discourse by making disruptive noises, so that no one could hear him clearly. Many a time, he was stoned and was pruned to bleeding.”
Under such strenuous conditions, Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, had spent the first three years of his Prophethood at Makkah. During this time, he was able to make forty persons to believe in his claims of Prophethood. Firstly, Lady Khadija, may Allah be pleased with her, was readily accepted the creed of Islam. She was the eldest wife of Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him. The people, who had accepted the Islam at initial stage, were Ali, who was ten-year-old son of Abu Talib, Zaid, Abu Bakr, Osman, and other, who were well guided by Allah. Most of them were poor people. Many of them were slaves.
Even though Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, had faced many hurdles, physical pressures, pains, stresses and strains of brain in his struggle to propagate Islam, he, peace be upon him, had never deserted the straight path of Islam due to disappointments or displeasures. Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, had followed the instructions of Allah with patience and nonviolence. His approach towards the populace with endurance and nonviolent attitude had own the hearts of majority of Arabs. the patient and nonviolent attitude had mesmerised the pagan Arabs, who were accustomed to pride, prejudice and brutality.
Not only in Hindustan but also in other countries, Islam has spread. The part played by Islamic saints in the propagation of Islam is praiseworthy. The conditions of human society have also given a momentum to this propagation of Islam. Everywhere, the society is divided into rich and poor, powerful and powerless, stupid and prudent. The rulers are arrogant and autocratic. Either the justice is utterly denied or unduly delayed for the meek. But, during the times of Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, rich and poor were treated as equal. In the eyes of a Muslim, both an Amir and his slave were equal. Justice was done to all. Then, the four righteous Khalifs, namely Abu-Bakr, Omar, Osman and Ali, may Allah be pleased with them, had followed the same traditions. Then, the preachers, saints and administrators of Islamic kingdoms have tried to follow the same traditions of endurance and nonviolence.
Thereafter, the time of sultanate arrived. In Islam, no man would call himself a Malik or a King. Every one is an Abdul-Malik or a slave of King. The Real King is Allah. Islamic society represents a democratic setup, not an autocratic or patriarchic setup. The power of administration should be given to a person, who is most piteous, righteous, and best knower of Holy Quran. The power of administration never goes to an heir of administrator by birth. This rightful tradition was overpowered by other generations. The tradition of violence was encouraged. Wise ones were driven back. Warriors were given the thrones. They were entitled as King of Kings. Their word become the Word of God. Such kings had adopted the way of violence in propagating their faith. This thing did happen in all countries, irrespective of Islamic and non-Islamic cultures. Some scholars refer to the fanaticism of Aurangzeb, the King of Hindustan. Neither his fanaticism nor anybody’s fanaticism is taught by Holy Quran or by the Traditions of Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah. By using his powers, no king could make his people to believe in his own religion whole-heartedly. So, not only Islam, but also no other religion could have been propagated through the generations with the mighty power of sword. Hence, there is no place for violence in Islamic propagation.
Islam teaches discriminate nonviolence. No compulsion or coercion is allowed in the propagation of Islam. A preacher should have to tell about the facts of Islam, ‘the Oneness of God’ clearly, diligently without malice towards anybody. A preacher will not be held responsible for the acts of either believer or non-believers, who go astray. A preacher will be awarded for teaching what is taught by Holy Quran. Allah says,
“Thus do We explain the Signs by various symbols: that they may say, "Thou hast taught us diligently” and that We may make the matter clear to those who know. Follow what thou art taught by inspiration from thy Lord: there is no god but He: and turn aside from those who join gods with Allah. If it had been Allah's Plan, they would not have taken false gods: but We made thee not one to watch over their doings nor art thou set over them to dispose of their affairs. Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides Allah lest they out of spite revile Allah in their ignorance. Thus have We made alluring to each people its own doings. In the end will they return to their Lord and We shall then tell them the truth of all that they did.”