“The Brotherhood of Truth is one in all ages, it is narrow men who create sects. Let them not think that the goods of this world can shield them from evil or its consequences. God’s Truth and His messenger can be known to all: for He in His mercy has given us faculties and judgement if we would but use them. The message is not new: all Creation proclaims it, High above all is the Lord of Glory Supreme.” (Holy Quran: XXIII C. 155)

Islam And Sufism > Propagation Of Islam > Clarification

Besides the various old scholars and impartial historians belonging to other religions, many of the recent writers on Islam, like Khawaja Kamaluddin (author of “The Ideal Prophet”);, Syed Amir Ali (author of “The Spirit of Islam”) and Al-Haj Dr. M. A. Salmin (author of ‘The Holy prophet Through Different Lights) have also refuted this fallacious charge. We are reproducing here a few relevant ‘extracts’ from their works:

Writing about Prophet Mohammed’s migration from Mecca to Medina, Dr. M. A. Salmin says: ” The Prophet next turned his attention to another important affair, namely to establish friendly relations between the various tribes inhabitance in and around Medina. He was not satisfied with the brotherhood that he had established between Muslims in Medina and the resident-emigrant Muslims there. He concluded a pact between Aus and Khazraj, (who had now embraced Islam) and the Jews. The terms were:

(1) The Muslims and the Jews shall live as one people.

(2) Each one of the parties shall keep its own faith; neither shall interfere with that of the other.

(3) In the event of war with a third party, each was bound to come to the assistance of the other provided the latter were the party aggrieved and not the aggressors.

(4) In the event of an attack on Medina, both shall join hands to defend it.

(5) Peace, when desirable, shall be made in consultation with each other.

(6) Medina shall be regarded as sacred by both all bloodshed being forbidden there.

(7) The Prophet shall be the final court of appeal in case of dispute.”

These terms which from the starting point of Islam, themselves refute the baseless charge of spreading it by the force of sword. On the contrary, they prove “how the prophet was anxious to maintain an atmosphere of peace and harmony among all classes of people in Medina from the very beginning of his hijrat (migration) there.” Bloodshed was and is entirely against the spirit of Islam and repugnant to the teachings of the Prophet. The warfare which the Muslims were forced to resort to was purely defensive. It was certainly not to propagate their faith. It was only to defend themselves against their archenemies that always took initiative to attack with a view to destroy Islam and its Prophet. The instinct of self-preservation is as natural to man as breathing to his life; therefore to fight in self-defense does not mean that Islam wielded sword for the propagation of its faith. “All religions, all governments, all people have the right to fight for their protection.” On the other hand, in the latter history of Christianity we see that sword was used indiscriminately for the slaughter of all non-Christians. Even among the Christians themselves, those who did not follow the Church of Rome were slaughtered mercilessly. If any haughty Muslim ruler or exploiter acted contrary to the teachings of Islam, it was his personal fault which cannot be laid at the door of Islam and for which he will be answerable to God according to Islamic restrictions. Against the militants, the Prophet declared: “He who is not affectionate to God’s creatures and to his own children would not receive the affection of God.” (Abu Huraira). “Charity of the tongue, the most important and least cultivated of all charities was likewise earnestly inculcated by Mohammed”, writes Irving. How can a religion that keeps all the finer qualities of human character in the forefront be therefore, aggressive by sword? The Prophet was supremely patient and tolerant when the bitter animosity, sedition and betrayals of the Jews prevailed against Islam in Medina. It was in such a terrible state of affairs that God ordered the Prophet: ‘Defend yourself against your enemies, but attack them not first: God hates the aggressors” (Quran: 2: 190).

Citing various examples of coercion to which Muslims were subjected by the Jews and the Christians, Dr. M. A. Salmin proceeds:

“I challenge anybody to show me an instance when the Prophet used sword, or force, or compulsion, for the promulgation of his faith while, on the other hand, history tells of many instances of dreadful wars waged by the Jews, the Christians and the gentle Parsis. In the case of Jews, the force and compulsion were sanctioned by religion and in the case of early Christians, the teachings of the Prophet of Nazareth were soon forgotten for the pride of power. From the moment Christianity became a recognised force, it become aggressive and persecuting. The name of religion served as the plea and justification of aggression upon the weaker nations to lead to their spoliation and enslavement. Thus it is Islam that has suffered endless persecution patiently at the hands of its enemies at every step of its peaceful propagation and progress.”

Referring to the ‘diplomatic’ toleration of Christianity, Dr. Salmin continues: “In the history of religion as well as individuals expect in Islam, we see that the spirit of toleration is preached and insisted only as long as they have been powerless which spirit gave way to intolerance and persecution the moment they attained power. Till the time of the conversion of Constantine, Christianity was weak and in consequence remained passive, but from the moment of the conversion of Constantine, it became safe for molestation. From this moment began a system of religious persecution unparalleled in conception.” “From the very moment, writes Lecky, the church obtained civil power under Constantine, the general principle of coercion was admitted and acted upon against the Jews, the heretics and the pagans.”

Dr. Salmin multiplies such instances and then deplores yet the followers of this religion have the temerity and impudence to say that Islam became militant since its advent in Medina. Yes, Islam did become militant in so far as it was necessary to fight for self-preservation.”

It is a well-known fact that Islam as a religion never took initiative in aggression even against its worst enemies. It was quite contrary to its spirit and teachings. Islam was always ready to say to its enemies; “Cease hostilities, be our allies and we shall be faithful to you; or pay tribute as a cost of protecting your life and property and we shall secure and protect you in all your rights.” Muslim laws of war are also admittedly more human than those of any other religion. The holy Quran has ordained: “And fight for the religion of God against those who fight against you, but transgress not by attacking them first, for Allah loves not the transgressors.”

Islam And Sufism > Propagation Of Islam > The Ideal Prophet

The pulpit has always been subservient to statecraft. The clergy further the ends of the state further than guard the conscience of the people. They read homilies of war when the state wants war, as did the Bishop of London in 1914 at the Marble Arch, but they lay special stress on the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ when the time has come for the sword to return to the scabbard. Humility, meekness, forgiveness and nonresistance to evil are some of the claimed ethics of Christianity, but her history discloses quite a different chapter. There we find heartless, sanguinary persecution of others, want of charity and lack of kindness.”

While religious wars and persecution have blackened many chapters of European history, it must be noted that Prophet Mohammed always preached and practiced supreme toleration, allowing his bitterest enemies full freedom of conscience in religious matters. We do not read of the persecution of Galileos, Latimars and others in the annals of Islam. The prophet respected and also preached to his followers to respect other religions. He also protected life and property of the unbelievers without any discrimination whatever. Those Muslims who violate the laws of Islam are not true Muslims

Islam And Sufism > Propagation Of Islam > A Grand Mission

Sir Bernard Shaw, the learned philosopher and great novelist of England, predicted: ” I believe the whole of the British Empire will adopt a reformed Mohammedanism before the end of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phases of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. The world must doubtless attach high value to the predictions of great men like me have prophesied about the faith of Mohammed that it would be acceptable tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today. The medieval ecclesiastics either through ignorance or bigotry painted Mohammedanism in the darkest colours. They were in fact trained to hate both the man Mohammed and his religion. To them Mohammed was antichrist he must be called a saviour of humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving the problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness. Europe is beginning to be enamoured of the creed of Mohammed. In the next century it may go still further in recognising the utility of that creed in solving its problems, and it is in this sense that you must understand my prediction.”

“Already even at the present time many of my own people and of Europe as well have gone over to the faith of Mohammed. And the Islamisation of Europe may be said to have begun.”

Islam And Sufism > Propagation Of Islam > The Spirit Of Islam

To the Christians of Nazareth and the surrounding territories, the security of God and the pledge of his prophet are extended for their lives, their religion and their property-the present as well as the absent, and other besides; there shall be no interference with the practice of their faith or their observances; nor any change in their rights or privileges; no bishop shall be removed from his bishopric, nor any monk from his monastery, nor any priest from his priesthood, and they shall continue to enjoy every thing great and small, as heretofore; no image or cross shall be destroyed; they shall not oppress not be oppressed; they shall not practice the rights of blood-vengeance as in the days of ignorance; no titles shall be levied from them nor shall they be required to furnish provisions for the troops.

Can there be a nobler example of the religious toleration of Islam than this? It can certainly not be the attitude of one who wanted to thrust onto others their religion at the point of sword.

After the death of the Holy Prophet of Islam, who was the founder of true democracy in the world, his four succeeding Caliphs also followed in their master’s sacred traditions most scrupulously upholding the dignity of Islam both in letter and spirit by granting complete freedom of conscience and protection of life and property to their non-Muslim brethren. In spite of all the wealth of their expanding empire, these noble Caliphs-Abu Bakr, Omar, Usman and Ali, lived the life of an ordinary humble citizen and ruled in true democratic spirit unseen and unheard of in the history of the world. No ruler of the world has ever lived such an austere and self-denying life. Indeed the history of Islam under these four Caliphs is the history of a new era, a new civilisation and a new prosperity in the life of a medieval and savage mankind. Their selfless rule was strictly dedicated to the noble cause of human welfare. But for their exemplary character and sacrifices, there would have been no such galloping progress which Islam was destined to make within 30 years of its birth.

Islam And Sufism > Propagation Of Islam > Gandhiji’s Tribute

Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest apostle of nonviolence and religious toleration of our time said about the holy prophet and Islam:

“I become more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and his own mission.”

“In its glorious days, Islam was not intolerant. It commanded the admiration of the world. When the west was sunk in darkness a bright star rose in the eastern firmament and gave light and comfort to a groaning world Islam is not a false religion. Let Hindus study it reverently, and they will love it even as I do.”

Islam And Sufism > Propagation Of Islam >Sir Bernard Shaw’s Prediction

Sir Bernard Shaw, the learned philosopher and great novelist of England, predicted: ” I believe the whole of the British Empire will adopt a reformed Mohammedanism before the end of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phases of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. The world must doubtless attach high value to the predictions of great men like me I have prophesied about the faith of Mohammed that it would be acceptable tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today. The medieval ecclesiastics either through ignorance or bigotry painted Mohammedanism in the darkest colours. They were in fact trained to hate both the man Mohammed and his religion. To them Mohammed was antichrist he must be called a savoir of humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving the problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness. Europe is beginning to be enamored of the creed of Mohammed. In the next century it may go still further in recognising the utility of that creed in solving its problems, and it is in this sense that you must understand my prediction.”

“Already even at the present time many of my own people and of Europe as well have gone over to the faith of Mohammed. And the Islamisation of Europe may be said to have begun.”

Islam And Sufism > Propagation Of Islam > Sir W Muir’s Tribute

The prophet of Islam was an ideal embodiment of such virtues as mercy, sympathy, magnanimity, justice, forbearance and forgiveness. There is not a single instance to show that he ever used force or preached violence to promulgate his religion or to revenge against his foes who persistently dogged the early part of his prophetic mission. One of the many noblest examples of his tolerance and forgiveness in history is seen in his peaceful but triumphant victory over Mecca. It was not a military victory. It was the triumph of his magnificent moral and religious character, unparalleled in the history of the world after many years of ceaseless oppression and sanguinary wars waged by his enemies to destroy him and his religion. In this moment of great triumph, the prophet remained god fearing, merciful and forgiving, magnanimously refusing to avenge the Quraish tribe for their past misdeeds. He did not compel even a single soul to embrace Islam under the pressure of his grand victory. Although the city of Mecca had surrendered unconditionally and had recognised his authority, but all its inhabitants had not till then embraced Islam nor had they formally acknowledged his prophetic claim. Verily the ways of the Prophet were the ways of God. Here is a tribute which Sir William Muir pays to the supreme and exemplary religious tolerance of the Holy Prophet: Thus he (the prophet) preached a religious toleration that had never been known to the world before. If religious toleration must be a necessary article of faith in the ‘Religion of Humanity’ it is surely another cogent justification for Mohammed’s claim to the name of the Ideal Prophet.