“Richard Cook”, American lawyer, politician, and former Governor of Texas, says 148:
"Europe owes a lot to Arab Spain. Cordoba was a shining lamp for science and civilization in a period when Europe was still mired in filth and primitiveness. Islamic rule in Spain made it the only country that escaped from the dark ages."
The French writer “Gustave Le Bon” talks about the universality of Islamic civilization, saying149:
"The merit of Arabs and Muslims in the field of civilization was not limited to themselves, as they had a great impact in the East and West, as they owe them in their civilization. This influence is specific to them alone. They are the ones who refined by their moral influence the barbarians."
“Taqi al-Din al-Shami “is the inventor of the first steam engine and the discoverer of steam power as a moving force. He put the first model of the steam engine in 1552. Years later, he made the first steam turbine around 80 years before the Italian “Branca” and the steam engine 140 years before the Europeans. Even James Watt's model for the first steam engine, you find its elements and components at “Al-Jazari” and T”aqi Al-Rased”, and “Al-Muradi Al-Andalus.”
When the Muslim Arabs reached the peak of civilization, the West was still discussing the final result of the famous conference: Is a woman a human or an animal? Some of them said: She is a demon.
In France, in 673, a European conference was held on determining the legal nature of a woman, whether she is a human or an animal. If she is a human, does she benefit from all rights? After vigorous discussions, they unanimously stated that women are human beings, but they do not benefit from rights. this conference was followed by several similar conferences in Europe150!
By the Islamic civilization's preoccupation with collecting the authentic sayings and actions of the Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, and its preoccupation with memorizing the Noble Qur'an has done well with its Creator. It has thus, preserved a religion that puts the Creator’s relationship with His creatures in the right place. In contrast, other human civilizations have mistreated the way they dealt with their Creator.
Some people have worshiped others apart from Him. Other people disbelieved in Him. They have dealt in ways far from what He deserves in Glory and Grace.
A true Muslim doesn't mix between matters. He knows how to establish a balance between ideologies and sciences, along with differentiating between:
148 City of Peace. Richard Cook.
149 The Civilization of the Arabs. Gustave Le Bon.
● Civilization elements are represented in the ideological and mental evidence, morals, and ethics.
● Civil elements are represented in scientific discoveries and industrial achievements.
The Muslim deals with these elements in a framework of faith and morals.
● The Greek civilization believed in God but denied His Oneness and described Him as a god who does not benefit or harm.
● The Persian civilization before Islam worshiped the sun, prostrated to fire, and sainted it.
● Hindus stopped worshiping the Creator and worshiped created gods, which are incarnated in the trinity that is composed of the three gods: “Brahma” the creator, “Vishnu “who preserves the universe and “Shiva” who destroys the universe.
● Buddhism denied the Creator and worshiped a created god (Buddha).
● The Sabian civilization were people of the book (have divine revelation), but then denied their Lord and worshiped the stars and planets, except for some Muslim monotheistic groups that are mentioned in the Qur'an.
● The civilization of the pharaohs had peaked in monotheism during the time of king “Akhenaten”. Yet, civilization still symbolized God in some of His creations, like the sun, which was the main symbol of God for them. After that, disbelieving in God also reached its peak in the time of Moses; peace be upon him when the Pharaoh claimed to be god and the only legislator.
● The Arabic civilization stopped worshiping God and worshiped idols instead.
● Christianity denied the Oneness of God and worshiped Jesus, peace be upon him, along with his mother. Some of them believed in the trinity represented in three co-eternal con-substantial persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
● The Roman civilization denied the Creator before Christianity and gave partners to Him in Christianity by worshiping idols and symbols of power.
● The Jewish civilization rejected God and chose a god of its own. They also worshiped the calf and gave the Creator human attributes in their book.
While these civilizations have decayed, the previously explained Christian and Jewish turned into atheist, communistic and capitalistic civilizations. These two civilizations dealt with God and life based on an ideological and intellectual context considered backward-minded, brutal, and
characterized by immorality. However, they have peaked in civil, industrial, and scientific developments, which are not the basis for assessing a nation's development151.
The correct civil development standards that should be used to assess nations depend on mental evidence and how these nations deal with God, life, Man, and the universe. A proper civil development should lead to God's correct way and His relationship with His creations, putting this relation at its appropriate level. We conclude that the Islamic civilization is the only truly developed civilization because it merely achieved this required balance.
Islam: An Incubating Environment for Science
The discoveries of Muslim scholars were approved during the Middle Ages. The Muslim scholars used to worship God with their knowledge and come close to Him without showing any contradiction between material science and religion. Instead, many Muslim scholars were scholars in religious sciences and men of knowledge simultaneously. There is no conflict between the discovery of universal laws and the worship of the Creator, Who set these laws.
This fact is attested by those water wheels used to rotate mills and cane presses, press grains and seeds, and raise water for irrigation.
Muslims have used the energy of water and air on a large scale. There was a close relationship between theoretical sciences and their technical applications in practical life, including the design of cities, irrigation facilities, dams, buildings, machinery, and others.
In the era of Islamic civilization, engineers and technicians followed the scientific method in their work, started drawing plans under challenging cases, and then made a miniature model of what they intended to implement.
"J.G. Crowther", who was one of the founders of science journalism, says152:
"It was normal after they were assured of their military strength and their beliefs of faith - meaning Muslims - to turn to constructing wonderful cities and studying the culture of the civilization that testified to them. The Muslim Arabs were a new nation without a previous scientific heritage, so they read the intellectual heritage of the ancients with open minds without backgrounds hindering them. Therefore, other cultures (Latin, Greek, Hindi, and Chinese) were all equal to them. One of
151 Abuse of capitalist and communist civilization to God. Ghazi Inaya.
152 The Story of Science. J.G. Crowther.
the results of this mentality of thirst for knowledge among Muslims is that they have already become the true founders of the universal concept of knowledge. It is one of the most important features of modern science."
But forgery and falsification of facts and violation of the principle of scientific honesty in transmission occurred. The discoveries and inventions were attributed to the uninitiated. Let alone the books that were stolen, destroyed, or burned during the fall of the Islamic countries. This is similar to what the Tatars did in Baghdad and the Crusaders in Andalusia and elsewhere.
A Christian Arab once said: Look at the backwardness of Muslims and the spread of atheism in Muslim countries.
I said: You are talking about individuals. According to global statistics and international recognition, Islam is the fastest-growing religion.
However, some Muslims' turning away from their true religion and inability to spread Islamic principles appropriately have increased the percentage of atheists and skeptics in recent decades.
People in the West advanced with science and knowledge when they left the wrong beliefs based on the distorted religion and took the method of science and logic. Still, with their approach to science in a proper way, they lost the values, morals, and purpose of their existence by neglecting to embrace the correct religion.
He asked: How do non-religious countries develop and religious countries go down although God loves the latter (religious countries)?
I told him: Does the school headmaster reward his son who failed with a success certificate because he is his son?
Some rules and norms must be followed. Based on these sets, we define who succeeds and fails. However, this does not affect that the headmaster loves his son more than anyone else. Indeed, he (the son) is who carries his name (headmaster) and will be his only heir.
I also told him: The universe is like a school; it has its laws and norms.
By applying the universal laws, the disbelievers achieved materialistic and technological progress. They established sound political systems and robust educational and pedagogical systems with methodological standards.
This materialistic progress is only for those who apply the Divine norms; this proves that worldly success doesn't favor a white or a black.
"justice" is one of God's names and “injustice” is one of the ugliest acts God warned us, humans, from committing, but a disbeliever still won't be given the reward of the Hereafter, which is only for God's servants and lovers.
French writer “Gustave Le Bon” says153:
"The civilization of the Arab Muslims has introduced the brutal European nations into the world of humanity, for the Arabs were our teachers, and the universities of the West knew no scientific resource other than the works of the Arabs.
The Arabs are the first to teach the world how freedom of thought is compatible with the integrity of religion, so they are the ones who taught the Christian peoples, or tried to teach them tolerance, which is the most precious of human qualities."
As this French writer witnessed, the so-called conflict between science and religion in Islamic civilization did not appear as an issue; instead, the natural scientists, astronomers, and mathematicians considered themselves in worship.
Religion in the middle ages has become exploited to achieve personal goals and objectives and to pressure people, which prompted many countries to adopt the so-called "secularism" approach, that is, the separation of religion from the state.
Islam views life as it should be. People aspire to a balanced religion that meets the indispensable spiritual needs and does not marginalize the material needs of man.
Religion calls for moderation, the principle emphasized by the final heavenly religion. The seal of the Prophets “Muhammad “came to correct the distortion that previous nations made. This distortion led to distorting the concept of religion and linking it to spirituality only and thus, led to the spread of myths, which distract people from religion altogether.
If we wish to recover the glories of the past, it is necessary to correct the situation and rearrange the priorities.
Islam: Civilizations Establishment, not Colonialism
People often wonder about Islam's advantage over the rest of the religions that exist among all nations. We can get the answer once we know the purpose for which the religion of Islam came to establish.
153 The Civilization of the Arabs. Gustave Le Bon.
Islam came to establish justice on earth.
It is the religion that all the prophets of God brought to all nations; the correct faith that most followers deviated from by sanctifying their prophets and the righteous among them led to the emergence of many religions.
But what justice?
Justice that puts things right and gives everyone his right.
● Giving the Creator (the Power in heavens) His right by worshiping Him alone, bearing witness that He is the One. He has no parents, no child, no equal. Knowing and understanding that God (Creator) is beyond incarnating in the form of humans, animals, idols, etc.
● Giving every human his right to communicate with his Creator directly, personally, without any intermediary (priest, saint, idol, etc.). Seeking refuge when needed and in adversities directly in the Creator, not in any prophet, including the final Prophet of God Muhammad.
● Establishing equality among humans and helping humanity get rid of abhorrent racial intolerance. There is no difference between an Arab and a non-Arab except for piety.
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of God is the most righteous of you. Indeed, God is Knowing and Acquainted 154.
● Providing freedom of choice to allow people to choose their religion and practice its rituals freely.
Let there be no compulsion in religion, for the truth stands out clearly from falsehood. So whoever renounces false gods and believes in Allah has certainly grasped the firmest, unfailing hand-hold. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing 155.
● Ending oppression and injustice on earth.
What caught my attention was a phrase by the Italian writer “Laura Veccia Valerie” in which she says156:
“It is sufficient that wars, which are the utmost necessities of human life, have become, thanks to Muhammad, less brutal and cruel. He used to ask his soldiers not to kill an older man, a woman, or
154 (Qur’an. Sura Al - Hujurat.49:3).
155 (Qur’an. Sura Al-Baqara.2:256).
156 The Beauties of Islam. Ahmad Yusuf Al-Sayed.
a child, not to demolish homes that were not taken as military strongholds, not to destroy the means of life, and not touch the fruit of trees and palms.”
I was amazed at the truth that this writer acknowledges in her speech about the reality of wars, which was a necessity of life, according to her.
It seems that war has intertwined human civilizations to this moment. Therefore, since human civilization has witnessed many wars, both local and international, day by day tried to make them less brutal and barbaric.
History and scriptures tell us that the prophets of God, Moses, David, and others fought their enemies.
I remembered at that time the story of the Prophet's companion "Jaafar bin Abi Talib" when he described the condition of the Arabs before Islam. Where he said to the “Negus”, King of Abyssinia157:
"O King! we were plunged into ignorance and barbarism. We adored idols. We lived in unchastity. We ate the dead bodies, spoke abominations, disregarded every feeling of humanity, and the duties of hospitality and neighborhood were neglected; we knew no law but that of the strong. Then Allah (God) raised among us a man of whose lineage, truthfulness, honesty, and purity we were aware, and he called to the Oneness of God and taught us not to associate anything with Him. He forbade us the worship of idols. He urged us to speak the truth. To be faithful to our trusts, merciful, and regard the rights of the neighbors, kith, and kin. He forbade us to speak evil of women or eat the substance of orphans; he ordered us to flee from the vices, abstain from immorality, offer prayers, render alms, and observe fast. We have believed in him, accepted his teachings and injunctions to worship the Creator, and not associate anything with Him. We have allowed what He has permitted and prohibited what He has not allowed. For this reason, our people have risen against us.
They have persecuted us for making us forsake the worship of Allah (the Creator) and return to the worship of idols and other abominations. They have tortured and injured us until finding no safety among them; we have come to your country and hope you will protect us from oppression.”
We understand that the Arabian Peninsula was without security, laws, system, courts, and rights. For example, they were launching wars continuously over trivial matters, as happened in the “Al-Basous “War. The “Basus War” was a 40-year war between two cousin tribes in Arabia of Late Antiquity, which was started by killing a camel.
On the other hand, the international arena at that time – so to speak – was known to deal with religious minorities with excessive opportunism, as the “Nestorians” emigrated fleeing from the persecution of the “Byzantines” and sought refuge in the Persian kingdom.
People under Roman persecution were deprived of the most fundamental right, religious freedom.
Based on these and other facts, it was not possible for Muslims under the Roman Empire to worship freely. "Farwa al-Jadamy" was crucified because of his conversion to Islam.
It was clear that the Roman state would not tolerate Islam as a religion. This case was in Egypt and elsewhere, where people were oppressed and acquiesced to exclusion.
It is recognized that the concept of sovereignty did not know stability in its present form at that time, so the expansion in other lands was not a defect on the scale of the Middle Ages.
Therefore, in the case of the Islamic conquests, it was an inevitable solution if they wanted to secure freedom of worship for Muslims in the Arabian Peninsula or abroad and also if they wanted to call to Islam freely and without obstacles.
At the time of the Prophet's mission, international relations could not bear the emergence of a third power from the Arabian Peninsula. There were several narrations of “Heraclius' s” fear of the Muslims.
These factors motivated the Persians and the Romans to attack the Muslims.
“Khosrow” sent two men to fetch the Prophet and bind the companion whom the Prophet sent with his message to “Khosrow”. When “Khosrow” tore up that message, the “Ghassani” governor in Syria killed the Messenger of God's Messenger.
Beyond any doubt, these behaviors were a declaration of war, which led to the battle of “Mu'tah”. Rumors began to invade the city, preparing the “Ghassanids” to attack it, and that was through measures taken by the hypocrites and "Abu Amer", the monk residing with Caesar of Rome at that time. Therefore, fighting was the only option for Muslims.
British historian “Arnold Toynbee” said158:
"When the Europeans entered the Americas and Australia, they exterminated the Red Indians and the original inhabitants of Australia. When the Muslims entered Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, not a single soldier entered with them but spread Islam with their morals. Indonesia is the largest Islamic country globally with 300 million Muslims."
158 The history of Civilization. Arnold Toynbee.
Justice Establishment and Truth Testimony
The relationship between religion and the state in the Middle Ages (476-1453AD) was a relationship of interests. The politician took advantage of the cleric and obtained his role's legitimacy from him. In contrast, the cleric benefited from the politician, licensing his religious authority and domination over the hearts of his followers and guaranteeing the continuity of his religious institution through gifts and funds.
With the advent of Islam, Islam dismantled this relationship, giving more space to thought and logic, relying on the principles of religious freedom, and providing evidence in defining the role of religion in public life, especially in its political aspect.
For example: In a famous decree, "Abu Bakr al-Siddiq," the first Caliph, told his military commander159:
“Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules for guidance on the battlefield. Do not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You should not mutilate dead bodies. Do not kill a woman, a child, or an aged man. Do not cut down fruitful trees. Do not destroy inhabited areas; do not slaughter any of the enemies' sheep, cows, or camels except for food. Do not burn date palms nor inundate them; do not embezzle (e.g., no misappropriation of booty or spoils of war) nor be guilty of cowardliness. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone.”
Before the Geneva Conventions were codified more than a thousand years ago, most of the essential points of protection they provide already existed in Islamic teachings.
Many of the restrictions imposed by Islamic law on combatants are more significant than what is required under international humanitarian law, especially in non-international armed conflict.
When Human Rights Watch organized meetings with civil society leaders in the Muslim world to discuss the protection of civilians, they said160:
“We have not encountered arguments claiming that Islamic law follows different standards.”
As “Joe Stork”, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division at the organization, said161:
“People were asserting the congruence between international humanitarian law and Islamic law, and perhaps they were exaggerating this congruence.”
No pluralism in the Truth
Someone once told me: The wars in Islam were to force non-Muslims to embrace Islam.
I told him: Who forced the Tatars to convert to Islam while they were the victors in the battle?
Does the victor embrace the religion of the vanquished?
Did the Copts of Egypt not welcome the Muslims and consider them liberators from the persecution of the Romans and helped them to get rid of this persecution?
Who restored his churches to the Coptic Patriarch in Egypt and lifted the injustice imposed on him by returning him to his work when the Romans persecuted him?
Isn't the companion "Amr ibn al-Aas" who recognized by this noble act the freedom of religion that he learned from the Messenger of God Muhammad?
The questioner said: But the Muslims have imposed the tax (Jizya) on the Copts.
I told him: If they imposed the (jizya) on the Coptic warrior only but not on his family members, it was a tiny amount in reality compared to the amount of jizya (poll tax) they were paying on behalf of all family members exorbitant sums to the Roman State. (Jizya) is in return for protection and exemption from waging wars with them, and it is similar to the tax approved by international law today in return for providing services and protection from the state to its citizens. Dutch historian “Reinhardt Dozy” said162:
“The majority of Christians in the East belonged to various sects. These sects had been subjected to persecution and assistance from the Constantinople government, which exhausted its followers. When Islam came – and because of its tolerance and brotherhood – it gave them complete freedom to remain in their religion, shaded them with its protection, and equalized them in rights of different sects. Since they were obliged to pay heavy taxes to the Roman Emperor, Islam exempted them from it and imposed only a tribute, moderate, don't tire anyone.”
162 Views on the History of Islam. Reinhardt Dozy.
I told him: Didn't Calif Omar “Ibn Al-Khattab”, after his complete control over the city of Jerusalem, refuse to pray in the Church of Sepulcher so that Muslims would not think that it was a permission to convert the church into a mosque?
Is not the key of this church in the custody of a Muslim family to this day163?
A member of this family says164: “My family has been honored with this sacred mission since 1187, when the Conqueror, “Salah al-Din”, followed in the footsteps of Caliph “Omar Ibn Al-Khattab” after liberating Jerusalem from the hands of the Crusaders. He wrote with his hand the assurance of safety to the people of Aelia (known as al-ʿUhda al-ʿUmariyya). A covenant shows the tolerance of the Islamic religion, which gave the Christians a covenant that guaranteed to practice their religious rituals in Jerusalem.”
The practice of non-Muslim rituals in accordance with the 'Umar's Covenant was subject to conditions, including: “Not to harbor spies in their churches or homes, not to deceive Muslims, not to strike their bells except lightly in the hollow of their churches, not to display the cross on them, and not to raise their voices in prayer or to read in their churches, along with other conditions.165 “
The questioner said: Isn't what the Muslims did to replace colonialism with another?
I told him: At that time, the rule of the Islamic state was not colonialism, as the Muslim conqueror's group turned into a group guarantor of the Jews' and Christians' rights. This means that the ideal situation required Muslims to monitor and protect the Jews and Christians and grant them full citizenship in its contemporary sense. This, on the scale of the Middle Ages, is a very significant advance.
The non-Arab nations that embraced the religion of Islam still celebrate the holidays of Muslims because of their firm adherence to the religion of Islam.
The nations that succumbed to colonialism made decolonization day a national holiday (the holidays of evacuation and independence in Arabic countries, the Islamic world, and others).
We must understand that colonialism is economic and strategic exploitation for the benefit of the colonial state. That is why we see the colonial countries rose at the expense of the colonies.So, there is a vast difference between the conditions of the two parties.
For example, We note the peoples' reactions after the end of the colonial era (France and Algeria, Egypt and Britain, India and Britain, and so on). As for Muslims, the basis of their conquest is the inclusion of others into their world (sharing the same rights and obligations), with disparities in the application tainted by human defects, which in later eras sometimes took a political character due to human weakness.
It is worth noting here the importance of differentiating between the ideal religion of Islam and the non-ideal Muslims. But no pluralism in the absolute truth, which states:
True religion is one religion: To believe in the Creator, Who has no partner or child. The Creator does not incarnate in a human, animal or an idol form. Humans have to worship Him alone, not through a priest or saint.
God said about the true religion:
The Messenger believes, and so do the believers, in the guidance sent down upon him from his Lord: each of them believes in God, and in His angels, and in His Books, and in His Messengers. They say: We make no distinction between any of His Messengers 166.
Islam is based on accepting all God's prophets and messengers.
Say, [O believers], We have believed in God and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [in submission] to Him167.
Islam’s Tolerance: Reality’s Testimony
Andalusian (Sephardic) Jews considered their right to live in the Ottoman Empire after their expulsion from Andalusia in 1492 as a real gain that gave them life and the opportunity to preserve their religious values and provided the opportunity for Andalusian traditions and culture to be transmitted to Turkish lands.
166 (Qur’an. Al -Baqarah. 2 :285).
167 (Qur’an. Al -Baqarah. 2 :136).
“Maurice Levy”, member of the Council of Endowment Associations and representative of the endowment institutions for religious minorities in the Republic of Turkey, said168:
“Spain exiled the Jews in 1492 to the Ottoman Empire, which granted them the right to live on its lands.”
On the occasion of the 527th anniversary of the exile of Jews from Andalusia to the Ottoman lands, “Levy” added: “The Ottomans’ granting of the Jews the right to live on their lands constituted an important opportunity for the Mousavians through which they were able to preserve their religious values.”
Levy pointed out that the Jews faced great difficulties that threatened their lives and existence during the Christian expansion towards Andalusia in the Middle Ages. During that era, their stay in Spain would have exposed them to death or forced them to change their religion. Said169:
“The Jews lived safely in Andalusia for several centuries under the “Umayyad” state. Until the fall of Andalusia into the hands of the Spaniards, they suffered the extermination campaigns that pushed them to flee to the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire pillars were built according to the Islamic civilization perspective.”
He continued: “Jews were open to working in light of cultural diversity, mastered different professions, coexisted well with Christians and Muslims, and cooperated with artisans, soldiers, artists, and farmers; all of this gained their importance within the society of the aspiring Ottoman Empire for development.170”
He pointed out that the Ottoman Empire also did not issue any law nor did any practice targeting and harming the Jews and that the Jews, in turn, worked to develop themselves to be valuable members of the state.
Isn’t this treatment stemming from the noble teachings of Islam?
Attractiveness of Islam
A beautiful comment is repeated by non-Muslims who hear about Islam for the first time, as they say: We did not know that religion on the earth calls its followers to worship the Creator directly, without a saint, a priest, or any mediator.
A religion affirms that the Creator is the One and Only, Who has no partner nor a child and He does not incarnate in a human being, animal, or idol form.
They say: We used to think that Muslims worship Muhammad, Christians worship Christ, Buddhists worship Buddha, and Hindus worship Krishna.
We were looking for a religion that says:
The Creator is the One and the Only; worship Him alone, which is the religion of the prophets of God, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus Christ.
Therefore, We understand from this comment that there is an urgent need to deliver true religion to all nations. But with giving everyone the right to choose religion and the freedom to practice man's religious rites without killing, terroring, or bloodshed. This is what only the religion of Islam provides in particular.The Muslims were not obliged to take up arms and fight except to protect themselves and ward off aggression.
Muhammad, the Messenger of God, stayed in Mecca for thirteen years, calling by good advice without fighting or bloodshed. He and his companions were weak and subjected to torture and abuse to turn away from their religion; this did not distracted them from Islam but gave them an insistence on following the truth. Therefore, if there is a compulsion existing, then that is in preventing the Muslims from spreading the message of Islam.
Islam entered the Prophet's city – without any fighting. Their masters got convinced of Islam. When the Prophet offered Islam to them, they pledged the first and second pledges of "Aqaba," then sent "Musab bin Omair" to them, who worked hard to invite the people of Medina until most of them embraced the religion of Islam. They endured trials and persecutions for its sake.
Muslims did not initiate most Islamic wars and invasions in the Prophet's era. For example. The Polytheists invaded Muslims in “Badr”, “Uhud”, and “al-Ahzab”.
As for the invasions of the Jews and the conquest of “Makkah”, “Mutah”, “Tabuk”, and others, they were a discipline for those who betrayed contracts, violated covenants, and began to attack. When
the Messenger of God entered Makkah victorious, while his enemies trembling with fear, he asked: What do you think I will do to you? They said: An honorable brother and an honorable nephew. He said: Go, you are free. Why didn't the Prophet kill them all or force them to embrace Islam if it was his goal to murder and coercion?
Muslims often engaged in unequal battles in numbers and equipment, where their opponent was overwhelmingly superior. For example, in the Battle of Mu'tah, we find that the number of Muslim soldiers was about three thousand men. In contrast, the number of the infidel army was two hundred thousand fighters, not to mention the superiority in war equipment. Does the army begin to impose its right on this large crowd?! Did three thousand Muslims strive to impose Islam on two hundred thousand people?!
Beliefs do not settle in the hearts under the pressure of the sword and oppression at all. But instead are established by persuasion and clear argument. If the people had embraced Islam under compulsion, they would soon have rebelled against it and left it. The truth is that history bears witness that Muslims are the most adherent to their religion, despite the persecutions and wars they suffer in many parts of the world, even in our time.
It is well known that there is an Islamic population in Southeast Asia, in countries that the conquering Muslims did not set foot on, such as the Philippines and Indonesia. It is worth noting that these constitute the majority of Muslims in our time.
Many Muslims are in Europe and the America, countries that the Muslim conquerors did not enter. There are Muslim minorities in all non-IMuslim countries, and they adhere to Islam.
Muslims entered Nubia under the leadership of "Abdullah bin Abi Sarh." They also entered parts of West Africa under the leadership of "Uqba bin Nafie." West African countries are represented in Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea, Niger, Nigeria, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Chad, and Cameroon. All of these countries have a Muslim majority. They adhere to their religion despite all the media distortion of the religion of Islam at present.
We hear daily about large numbers embracing the religion of Islam in non-Muslim countries until it has been proven by international and non-Islamic official statistics that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world these days.
In the study of “Dr. Mahmoud al-Sayyid”, we read171:
171 The Tatars and the Mongols. (p./150-154).
"Korgoz," ruler of Persia by "Ajtay Khan," embraced the Islamic religion at the end of his reign. After "Barakat Khan" of the Golden Horde 654 AH – 666 AH embraced the Islamic faith in the first real victory of Islam, especially after the great majority of his people followed him. Although all men of his armies were Muslims, they were Mongols, and this was followed by closer political ties between "Barakat Khan" and "Baibars," the Sultan of Egypt. Both of them allied themselves against the Hulagu family in Persia.172”
The Almighty says:
There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path 173.
The Almighty says as well:
Had your Lord so willed, all those who are on the earth would have believed. Will you, then, force people into believing174?
Someone might say: Why did Islam allow fighting in the first place? If the reason is not to force people to convert to Islam?
The answer to that is:
● Stopping the injustice and helping the oppressed.
● Confronting those who prevent people from being informed of the need to worship the Creator alone directly without an intermediary.
● Defending themselves.
● Confronting those who prevent them from embracing their true religion and practicing religious rituals.
● Fighting those who prevent Muslims from conveying the message.
● Purifying the earth from the atmosphere of temptation so that people worship God, the Lord of the worlds alone, will be facilitated.
● Establishing the Oneness of God in the land of God among the servants of God. Worshiping God liberates humans from every servitude to others that humiliates them.
Evidence for this is that God Almighty allowed fighting but did allow killing; fighting is only a confrontation with those who came to fight.
172 TheTatars and the Mongols (pp./150-154).
173 (Qur’an. Sura Al-Baqarah.2: 256).
174 (Qur’an. Sura Yunus. 10: 99).
Fight in the way of God those who fight against you but do not transgress. Indeed, God does not like transgressors 175.
That is why "Rabi Ibn Amr" said to Rustam, the Persian king176:
“Indeed, God has sent us to guide you from worshiping the creation to worshiping the Creator of the creation. And to guide you from the constriction of this world to the vastness of this world. And from the oppression of the religions to the justice of Islam. Whoever refuses to accept the religion Islam, we accept the Jizya (tax) from him, and if he refuses giving the Jizya, we will fight him until we attain victory.”
He means to fight the one who insists on fighting, but not the one who insists on maintaining his religion, paying the tax, and respecting the rights of Muslims and others.
There is a big difference between the two cases.
Fight against them ˹if they persecute you˺ until there is no more persecution, and ˹your˺ devotion will be to Allah ˹alone˺. If they stop ˹persecuting you˺, let there be no hostility except against the aggressors 177.
To clarify this, we say:
● If you want to cure a person of alcoholism, you must keep him away from the place of alcohol.
● If you want a person to repent of adultery, do not make him live among brothels.
● When you want to make people healthy, you must provide them with a healthy and clean environment.
● Fighting in Islam intended to give way for people to choose between worshiping God and leaving polytheism or staying true to their religion with conditions.
These conditions include paying the tax by providing them with an atmosphere of faith that helps them to have freedom of belief and the ability to differentiate between truth and falsehood.
God Almighty said:
There is compulsion in religion. Rightness is distinguished from wrongdoing178.
We can find a summary of all of the above in the following non-Muslim sayings:
175 (Qur’an. Sura Al-Baqara.2:190).
177 (Qur’an. Sura Al-Baqara. 2:193).
178 (Qur’an. Sura Al-Baqara. 2:256).
The Lebanese Christian writer "Amin Maalouf "179:
"If my ancestors were Muslims in a country conquered by Christian armies, instead of being Christians in a country conquered by Muslim armies, I do not think they could have continued to live for fourteen centuries in their cities and villages, keeping their faith. What happened to the Muslims of Spain and Sicily? They disappeared to the last, were massacred, deserted, or baptized by force. In the history of Islam, since its beginnings, there is a special ability to coexist with the other."
He continues: "At the end of the last century, there was among the residents of Istanbul, the capital of the main Islamic power, a non-Muslim majority consisting of Greeks, Armenians, and Jews. Can we imagine, in the same era, that half of the population of Paris, London, Vienna, or Berlin would be from Non-Christians, Muslims, or Jews? Even today, many Europeans are surprised to hear the call of the prayers in their cities.”
“Jonathan Brown” is an American university professor and researcher in Islamic studies.
He is the editor-in-chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and the Law. He converted to Islam in 1997. His lecture refutes the slander that Islam was spread by sword and coercion and shows that sword and violence were the hallmarks of Western civilization, not Islam180!
We understand from the above that Islam came to achieve and establish justice on earth: Worshiping the Creator of the universe alone and supporting the oppressed.
A religion that came with this goal will spread at lightning speed, without coercion or violence, because it is the religion that souls yearn for. The rapid spread of this religion is the reality that the world is witnessing today.
Islam: Religion and State One day, a French secularist asked me: Why not separate religion from the state? Why not let human thoughts and points of view be included in references, similar to western societies? Why not completely separate religion and people's lives, similar to the case of the French community.
I replied smiling: You mean references depending on the human's whims and mood swings?
Islam is a system of life, not separated from life.
Islam is a legislative concept from which it emanates a system of life that regulates all relationships.
179 Deadly Identities. Amin Maalouf.
● A person's relationship with himself. (Food, clothing, and morals).
● The relationship of man with others. (Contracts and dealings).
● Man's relationship with his Creator. (Beliefs and rituals).
The state in Islam is not a religious state understood in Western thought.
Instead, the Islamic concept has no class, monasticism, or sanctity for human actions.
It is a state whose primary duty is to serve people's interests.
It is not a civil state that separates religion from life. Instead, it is a human state that applies legal provisions.
From what I heard:
When God said:
He also said:
Fulfill your obligations182.
When God said:
He also said:
Fulfill your obligations to them during the term of the treaty184. (foreign policy).
When Prophet Muhammad said:
Take your rituals from me185.
He also spoke of the economy and public property. (Oil and gas)
Prophet Muhammad said: Three things cannot be denied to anyone: water, pasture and fire186.
I said: We need divine legislation that suits humans in all their cases and doesn't change because of inconsistent human thoughts and mood swings, similar to what happened when usury and homosexuality were allowed.
We need legislation that the people in power don't impose at the expense of the vulnerable like Capitalism, nor do we need Communism that opposes the innate human need for possession.
181 (Qur’an. Sura Al- Baqara.2:43).
182 (Qur’an. Sura Maida. 5:2).
183 (Qur’an. Sura Al- Baqara.2:43).
184 (Qur’an. Sura At- Tawba. 9:4).
185 (Sahih Muslim).
186 (Sahih Ibn Majah).
I continued: The French experiment resulted from the dominance and alliance between the church and the state. This alliance was over the minds and destinies of the people in the Middle Ages.
The Islamic world hasn't faced this problem due to its logical and applicable system.
I remember a Latin person once asked me about the difference between the Islamic system, Capitalism, and Communism.
I said: Capitalism has given man a free method of living and has claimed that following this path will lead to happiness and satisfaction. But what happened is that man found himself deteriorating in a society classified by class in which people either live in extravagant wealth, which has been established by unfairness to others, or in poverty and suffering for the moral people. Communism, on the other hand, canceled all social classes and tried to establish firm principles. But this caused more poverty and pain, leading to more revolutionary societies than others. As for Islam, it has achieved moderation. It is the moderate nation that has offered humanity a great balanced doctrine that is praised even by the enemies of Islam.
But unfortunately, there are Muslims who haven't followed Islamic morals properly.
I continued: Concerning the freedom of ownership, private property is the main principle in Capitalism, while in Socialism, public property is the main principle.
In Islam, several types of ownership are allowed:
● Public ownership is general to all Muslims, such as inhabited lands.
● The state owns the state property. For example, natural wealth, which includes forests and minerals.
● Private property is acquired only through investment work in a way that does not threaten public welfare.
He asked: What about a free economy?
I replied: In Capitalism, a free economy has no boundaries. Socialism, on the other hand, completely confiscates a free economy.
In Islam, a free economy is acknowledged but is limited within certain boundaries:
● Self-determination emerges from the depths based on Islamic education and the spread of Islamic concepts in society.
● Objective determination is legislation that forbids certain practices such as usury, gambling, cheating, etc.
He said: Do you acknowledge Democracy?
I said: We have what's better than Democracy.
We have Consultancy.
He asked: What's the difference?
I answered: Democracy is when you consider the opinion of all family members no matter their age or how badly their experience would affect the family. Both views of a kindergarten child and a wise older adult would be equal during decision-making.
On the other hand, the consultancy system depends on the opinions of experienced members; they get to decide what is beneficial and what isn't.
I added: The difference between the two systems is noticeable. Valid evidence that proves the deficiency found in the democratic system is that some countries have given legitimacy to practices that oppose human nature, customs, traditions, and religion, such as homosexuality, fornication, usury, and other abhorrent practices, just because the majority has voted for such practices.
With many voices calling for moral decay, Democracy has helped by participating in creating immoral societies.
I continued: The difference between the Islamic Consultancy system and Western Democracy is the source of sovereignty in legislation.
In Democracy, sovereignty starts with the people and nation. As for the Islamic Consultancy system, sovereignty starts from God Almighty the Most Glorious. It's not the result of human thoughts. Humans can just build upon the godly legislation. They also have the right to jurisprudence in whatever is not included in the heavenly legislation, as long as it's within the religious framework of what's permitted and forbidden.
Islam looks at life as it should be. People are looking for a balanced religion that meets their spiritual needs, a religion that is indispensable and, at the same time, doesn't marginalize their worldly needs.
Islam calls for moderation, which is the concept that has been strictly stressed in this final heavenly religion. God sent this Islamic legislation through the last messenger Muhammad to correct the errors previous nations had made, leading to the distortion of the religion concept by only putting it on a spiritual path. This distortion has resulted in superstitions that have completely driven people away from religion.
In addition, religion has been manipulated to achieve personal objectives by being used as an instrument to pressure the people. This manipulation has led to many people following Secularism and total separation between religion and the state.
And by providing Islam for interconnection and harmony between reason and religion, reason and transmission (the Qur'an and Prophet sayings), mind and heart, there is no enlightenment, no renaissance, no progress, no beauty, and no actual knowledge except with Islam. Islam has succeeded, which means: The faith in the Creator of the universe, Who has no partner or child. People have to worship Him alone without a priest, a saint, an idol, or any intermediary.
The religion of Islam succeeded as a method, while Capitalism and Communism failed. No orientalist studied Islam and its civilization - whatever his stance on it - but admitted that Islam is a religion and a state. However, Muslims' distance from their true faith and their inability to properly spread the principles of Islam has contributed in recent decades to an increase in the percentage of atheists, skeptics, and bewilders in the world. Humanity began to disbelieve in all beliefs due to humanity’s ignorance of the true religion and the corruption of human's beliefs.
The Difference Between God's Religion and Peoples' Traditions
I was once making a presentation in the German language about Islam to a large group of Germans who were visiting our center by saying Islam is:
The faith in the Creator. The Creator has no child or any partner. He does not embody any of His creatures. He created Jesus Christ from a single woman and created Adam from dust. Muslims have to directly connect with Him by worshiping Him directly without any intermediary (priests, saints, prophets, idols, etc.).
One of them asked me: If Islam is as simple and logical as you are saying, why do Muslims cause all these political problems?
His question was in front of the group, and I had to deal with it so his attack would not ruin the calm dialogue.
I told him immediately: I will die alone. I will be resurrected alone. I will meet my Creator alone, without my family and money.
I shall meet God with answers to three questions: who is your God, what's your religion, and your Messenger?
God will be waiting for my answer:
● The Creator is my God.
● My religion is to believe in Him and worship Him alone without any mediator.
● My Prophet is Muhammad, the last Messenger.
By recognizing Muhammad as His last Messenger, I have acknowledged all messengers before him (Jesus Christ, Moises, etc.). This acknowledgment is an obligation to every Muslim.
The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah (the Creator) and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], "We make no distinction between any of His messengers." And they say, "We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination 187.
Say, ˹O believers, ˺ "We believe in Allah and what has been revealed to us; and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and his descendants; and what was given to Moses, Jesus, and other prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them. And to Allah we all submit 188.
I told him: You too, along with every person on earth, will meet God alone. Life is short, as death comes suddenly.
When will we learn to differentiate between political problems and religion?
Isn't it time for us to learn how to decide our priorities?
The man calmed down, and the group applauded.
After that, I told them: I want to ask you all a question.
Every nation and people have habits, traditions, whims, and novelties.
I continued: How can a simple person like me here, or another in China, or Germany or in South America or Africa, primarily differentiate between the simple religion of God and the traditions and whims of the place where he is before reading any religious book?
They tried to guess, and after they failed to give me the correct answer, I told them: You all know something called common sense. So, anything logical is from God, and anything complicated is from humans. They all laughed hard, and some of them applauded again.
I told them: For example, if a religious scholar, Muslim, Christian, or Hindu, said to you that the universe has a Creator, One and Only, without any partner. He does not come to earth in humans, animals, a stone or an idol form. We have to worship Him alone and resort to Him alone in hard times; this is the religion of God.
187 (Qur’an. Sura Al-Baqara. 2:285).
188 (Qur’an. Sura Al-Baqara. 2:136).
If a religious scholar, Muslim, Christian, or Hindu, told you that God incarnates in any form; we have to worship and resort to Him through a person, prophet, priest, or saint; this comes from humans, so don't listen to him.
I continued: For instance, it is enough for you to visit India and say that the Creator is One between the crowds. They would then reply in harmony, yes, the Creator is One. This is really what is written in their books.
But they disagree, fight, and could even slaughter each other over one point, which is: The form and shape that God comes through to earth. For instance, the Christian Indian says: God is one, but He incarnates in the trinity (the father, the son, and the holy spirit). The Hindu Indian says God comes in the form of an animal, a human, or an idol, in addition to his own trinity.
I told them: If you think carefully, you will find that all problems and differences exist between religious sects and religions because of the mediators humans put between them and their Creator. Even atheists would unintentionally pray to the Power in the heaven whenever they encounter a difficult situation.
For instance, Catholic and Protestant sects, Hindu sects, etc., all disagree about how to communicate with the Lord, not on the concept that the Lord (the Creator) himself exists.
If they all worship the Lord directly, they would be united.
Say (O Muhammad): O people of the Scripture: Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but God, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides God. Then, if they turn away, say: Bear witness that we are Muslims 189.
I continued: In addition to this, you must know that the religion of God is clear and logical with no mysteries in it.
If I want to convince you that Muhammad is a god you must worship, I should put so much effort into convincing you, and you will never be convinced. You might ask me: How is Muhammad a god while he eats and drinks like us?
I would end up saying: you are not convinced because it is a mysterious concept; you will understand it when you meet God. This example proves that the right religion of God must be free of mysteries. Mysteries only come from humans.
189 (Qur’an. Sura Al-Imran.3:64).
I added: The religion of God is also free of charge. Everyone has the freedom to pray and worship in the houses of God, without paying any subscription to get a membership. The rule of having to register and spend money in any place of worship is made by humans.
However, if any religious scholar told me that I should pay charity directly to people to help them, the rule comes from the religion.
In God's religion, people are equal, like the teeth of a comb. There is no difference between Arab or non-Arab, white or black, only piousness.
If you were told that this mosque, church, or temple is for whites only while black people have a particular place, then humans created this rule.
I told them: Honoring women and raising their status is an order from God, but oppressing them is what humans choose to do.
One of them asked: Then why is the Muslim woman is oppressed in some places?
I said: If the Muslim woman in some counties is oppressed, the Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian women are in the same place. This oppression is the culture of people; it has nothing to do with the true religion of God.
I added: The right religion is always compatible and in harmony with the natural disposition.
For instance, any smoker or alcoholic asks his kids to stay away from smoking and alcohol because he is deeply convinced about the danger they cause to health and the community.
For instance, when the religion forbids alcohol, this is an order from God. But if the religion forbids milk, it is not logical; everyone knows that milk is good for health. God's mercy and kindness in his creation allowed us to eat good things and prohibited us from eating bad things.
Another example: head-cover for women and decency for men and women are orders from God, but the details of colors and designs are from humans. The rural atheist Chinese woman and the Swiss Christian rural woman are both committed to covering their heads because decency is a natural disposition.
Terrorism, for instance, is common in different forms in the world, among sects of all religions. I lived in Africa for a long time, and I know that Christian denominations kill and practice horrific forms of oppression and violence in the name of religion. They represent 4% of the world's Christian population. While who perform terrorism in the name of Islam represent 0.01% of the Muslim population. Terrorism is not limited to this but is also common among Buddhists, Hindus, and other religions.