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How can Islam be called the religion of peace when it was spread by the sword?

 
 
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2014 07:22 am
religion of peace when it was spread
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Type: Question • Score: 7 • Views: 2,301 • Replies: 31
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maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 Apr, 2014 09:10 am
@abdelfatahdroesh,
Most religions are spread by the sword. Christianity is led by the "Prince of Peace". And heaven knows an awful lot of people were slaughtered and enslaved to spread Christianity.

God wants us to kill each other. I don't understand it, but it seems to be pretty consistent across all of the major religions.




hassanelagouz
 
  0  
Reply Wed 16 Apr, 2014 09:52 pm
@abdelfatahdroesh,
If Islam was spread by the sword, it was the sword of intellect and convincing arguments. It is this sword that conquers the hearts and minds of people. The Quran says in this connection:

“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best.” (Quran 16:125)

The facts speak for themselves
• Indonesia is the country that has the largest number of Muslims in the world, and the majority of people in Malaysia are Muslims. But, no Muslim army ever went to Indonesia or Malaysia. It is an established historical fact that Indonesia entered Islam not due to war, but because of its moral message. Despite the disappearance of Islamic government from many regions once ruled by it, their original inhabitants have remained Muslims. Moreover, they carried the message of truth, inviting others to it as well, and in so doing endured harm, affliction and oppression. The same can be said for those in the regions of Syria and Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, North Africa, Asia, the Balkans and in Spain. This shows that the effect of Islam on the population was one of moral conviction, in contrast to occupation by western colonialists, finally compelled to leave lands whose peoples held only memories of affliction, sorrow, subjugation and oppression.

• Muslims ruled Spain (Andalusia) for about 800 years. During this period the Christians and Jews enjoyed freedom to practice their respective religions, and this is a documented historical fact.

• Christian and Jewish minorities have survived in the Muslim lands of the Middle East for centuries. Countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan all have significant Christian and Jewish populations.

• Muslims ruled India for about a thousand years, and therefore had the power to force each and every non-Muslim of India to convert to Islam, but they did not, and thus more than 80% of the Indian population remains non-Muslim.

• Similarly, Islam spread rapidly on the East Coast of Africa. And likewise no Muslim army was ever dispatched to the East Coast of Africa.

• An article in Reader’s Digest ‘Almanac’, yearbook 1986, gives the statistics of the increase of the percentage of the major religions of the world in half a century from 1934 to 1984. This article also appeared in The Plain Truth magazine. At the top was Islam, which increased by 235%, while Christianity had increased by 47%. During this fifty-year period, there was no “Islamic conquest” yet Islam spread at an extraordinary rate.

• Today the fastest growing religion in America and Europe is Islam. The Muslims in these lands are a minority. The only sword they have in their possession is the sword of truth. It is this sword that is converting thousands to Islam.

• Islamic law protects the privileged status of minorities, and that is why non-Muslim places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world. Islamic law also allows non-Muslim minorities to set up their own courts, which implement family laws drawn up by the minorities themselves. The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred whether they are Muslims or not.

Conclusion
It is clear, therefore, that Islam did not spread by the sword. The “sword of Islam” did not convert all the non-Muslim minorities in Muslim countries. In India, where Muslims ruled for 800 years, they are still a minority. In the U.S.A., Islam is the fastest growing

It is a common misconception with some non-Muslims that Islam would not have millions of adherents all over the world, if it had not been spread by the use of force.

The following points will make it clear, that far from being spread by the sword, it was the inherent force of truth, reason and logic that was responsible for the rapid spread of Islam.

Islam has always given respect and freedom of religion to all faiths. Freedom of religion is ordained in the Quran itself:

“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong.” (Quran 2:256)

The noted historian De Lacy O’Leary wrote:[1] “History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.”

The famous historian, Thomas Carlyle, in his book Heroes and Hero worship, refers to this misconception about the spread of Islam: “The sword indeed, but where will you get your sword? Every new opinion, at its starting is precisely in a minority of one; in one man’s head alone. There it dwells as yet. One man alone of the whole world believes it, there is one man against all men. That he takes a sword and tries to propagate with that will do little for him. You must get your sword! On the whole, a thing will propagate itself as it can.”

If Islam was spread by the sword, it was the sword of intellect and convincing arguments. It is this sword that conquers the hearts and minds of people. The Quran says in this connection:

“Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best.” (Quran 16:125)
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Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Apr, 2014 10:27 pm
@maxdancona,
There are many aspect of the teaching of Islam which I admire, but from an historical perspective it's pretty accurate to say it was spread by the sword.

Christianity on the other hand took root in the ancient world not by conquest, but by persuasion.

This doesn't mean that one religion is superior to the other or that Islam has only been spread by the sword and Christianity never has been, but the history of the two is what it is.

Quote:
God wants us to kill each other. I don't understand it, but it seems to be pretty consistent across all of the major religions.


Another utterly facile comment from max, and entirely inaccurate, from the standpoint of the history of religion as well.

The "major religions" are generally agreed upon to be:

Christianity
Islam
Hinduism
Buddhism

The second tier is considered to consist of

Judaism
Shinto
Taoism
Sikhism
Bahai

Of these nine faiths how many can you make a reasonable argument for their development being based on violence?
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2014 02:21 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote:

Christianity on the other hand took root in the ancient world not by conquest, but by persuasion.


Hardly...

"In Hoc Signo Vinces"-- "By this you will conquer". Was the Motto that Constantine heard while he saw a vision of the Cross. This happened in the early 300's AD, the time of the Council of Nicea when Christianity as we know it was started. (Before this Christianity was a rather odd set of cults with a wide range of disparate beliefs.)

Whether Constantine is a saint, or a bloodthirsty tyrant or something in between is a matter of debate. But without doubt, from the beginning of modern Christianity, the Christian religion has been a motivation for war and a justification for war.

From the wars of Constantine, through the Spanish Inquisition, The Crusades, The European wars and the conquest of the New World, the History of Christianity is full of bloody battles, executions, forced conversions, persecution of Jews and Muslims, slavery and genocide.

The idea that Christianity is any less bloody or violent than Islam is simply ridiculous.


Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2014 04:16 pm
@maxdancona,
I suppose Constantine was offered the choice of conversion or death as were the pagans Mohammed conquered.

And what about the other religions?
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2014 04:35 pm
Einhard, who was educated at Fulda, was accepted into Charlemagne's court at Aachen, because Charlemagne valued scholarship. Einhard is best known for his life of Charlemagne. In that work, he tells of how the Franks went into the Saxon lands every summer to kill the Pagan Saxons. Unsurprisingly, the Saxon repaid the favor whenever they could, killing Christians wherever they could find them. Later in the 9th century, whenever the Saxons of England (they had converted to Christianity) were able to defeat the "Great Heathen Army," the Danish invaders, they would hunt down and kill any fleeing Danes. The church encouraged them because the Danes were pagans. When Olaf Tryggvason decided to convert the Norse in the late 10th century, one of his favorite methods was to take the chief men of a district, and if they would not immediately convert, he would take them one at a time for some "persuasion." One of his more imaginative methods was to place a large copper funnel in the mouth of the "pagan," put a viper in it, and then begin heating the upper rim of the funnel--encouraging the viper to crawl down the funnel. Usually that pagan had no chance to convert, but the lesson was not lost on the others assembled by Tryggvason.

Ah yes, gentle persuasion . . .
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2014 07:45 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
You misunderstand, Finn. Constantine was the conqueror. He wasn't the one being offered the choice between conversion or death. He (like Mohammed) was the one doing the offering.

Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Apr, 2014 03:37 pm
@maxdancona,
He converted didn't he?
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Apr, 2014 04:19 pm
@Setanta,
Let's see, Einhard and Tryggvason lived some 750 to 1000 years after the birth of Jesus. Hardly contemporaries.

If we assume that Christianity and Islam began with the teachings of their originating figures (Jesus and Muhammed) then it was centuries into Christianity when the conversion-by- sword practices you've chosen to describe took place. Constantine, who Max has chosen as the personification of militant Christianity did not himself convert until three centuries after the birth of Jesus, and it is specious to argue that any of his military endeavors were founded on spreading Christianity. You're such a stickler for historical accuracy, I would have thought you would have called him on this.

"In Hoc Signo Vinces" relates to the purported vision he had during his conflict with political rival Maxentius, and in no way signified that Constantine would engage in Holy War to convert pagans. In fact, upon his conversion, he declared that Christians and pagans were to be allowed to freely worship as they pleased.

On the other hand, Muhammed, himself, is said to have personally led at least 28 separate battles, most if not all of which were largely predicated on the spread of Islam.

Once again (it does grow tiresome to have to repeat myself) I am not arguing that Christianity is superior to Islam or that Christianity has never been spread by the sword or the growth of Islam depended solely on the sword.

Whether it is material or not to understanding either of these religions, Islam was initially nurtured in the violence of it's followers while Christianity was not.


0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Apr, 2014 05:13 pm
Christianity had no opportunity to employ violence in the early days of the cult. They were only behind hand because of their powerlessness. Once they thought they had sufficient power, they joined the fray. Septimius Severus "persecuted" Christians because they had supported his rival, Pescennius Niger. in Syria, who had promised them special status. The "in hoc signo vinces" is not attested by any non-christian source, and the claim that Constantine was a Christian is also not attested by any non-Christian sources. The fact that his wife and his mother-in-law alleged that he had converted on his death bed is good inferential evidence that he had never been publicly know to be a Christian before that. At no time did i allege that Constantine went on a program of conquest because he was a Christian. As for Max's historical errors, he was not alleging that Christianity was born and weened in gentle persuasion. The Christians were simply powerless.

It was in the reign of Theodosius, about 380 CE, that Christianity was made the state religion of Rome. Constantine died in 337 CE, so his religious views are hardly relevant in a discussion of the rise to power of Christianity. The behavior of the Franks and many other people in western Europe after embracing Christianity are germane because they portray the behavior of Christians once they came into political power. The Companions and Ali (Mohammed's cousin and son-ini-law) began their course of conquest with no opposition in their homeland. Apples to oranges there.
roger
 
  2  
Reply Wed 23 Apr, 2014 05:18 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

God wants us to kill each other. I don't understand it, but it seems to be pretty consistent across all of the major religions.


God needs to learn a little patience. We're all going to die, anyway.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Apr, 2014 05:48 pm
@Setanta,
If the early Christians were powerless, the early spread of Christianity had to be because of persuasion.

What might have happened when "they though they had sufficient power" hundreds of years later is immaterial to my point.

Strawman Alert: When did I argue that you alleged Constantine went on a program of conquest because he was a Christian?

Obviously, Max didn't allege Christianity was born and weened in "gentle" (your word, not mine) persuasion. He did allege that the converted Constantine embarked on program of enforced conversion. If you find that historically accurate...

Whether or not Constantine's religious views are relevant are irrelevant as respects my original assertion. Max, not me, cited Constantine as supporting evidence for a position.

The behavior of the Franks or Norse are only germane if I had made the argument that Christianity was never spread by the sword, which clearly, I did not.

You have made the assumption that if given the power, early Christians would have followed the route of Muhammed. There is absolutely no reason, other than your cynicism about religion and human nature, to suggest this is the case. You may fervently believe it to be true, but cannot state it as a fact.

My assertion is that early on, Christianity spread by persuasion and Islam spread by the sword. It is utterly immaterial as to what might have happened centuries after the birth of these religions. Neither Max nor you have offered any material refutation of my assertion.



Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Apr, 2014 06:04 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
I was referring to Max's "error," of which you made a big deal. So i referred to that because you were pouting because i hadn't addressed Max's claims.

The comparison is apples to oranges. Whether or not Christians would have resorted to the sword if they could have done is very much to the point. Christianity arose in the midst of a powerful, coherent and efficient empire. Not only that, at the time of the death of Saul of Tarsus, the so-called "St. Paul," the Jews were already in rebellion against the empire. (He died in 67 CE, and the first Roman-Jewish War kicked off in 66CE.) As far as the Romans were concerned, Christians (who didn't even call themselves Christians at that time) were just another crack-pot Jewish sect. So Christians had no opportunity to spread by the sword. It is relevant because it explains why they relied upon "persuasion" rather than the sword. You can dodge and dance all you want, but the clear evidence is that after Theodosius made Christianity the state religion, they quickly adopted the sword and their tool of conversion.

Islam, however, arose in armed strife, and in an area of the world which was not controlled by any coherent, efficient empire. The Sassanid empire ostensibly controlled Arabia, but they never had effectively controlled any more than a few coastal strips. The Arabs attacked in the same year that Mohammed died. Even when defeated, they came back to the attack as soon as possible, and even sent part of their forces under Ali to invade Persia. The Sassanids began to collapse less than a decade after the death of the prophet,despite effective aid from the Roman Empire (usually inaccurately referred to as the Byzantine Empire). By 651, less than 20 years after the death of the prophet, the Sassanid Empire was finished. The Arabs did not enjoy the same success against the Romans, so they turned aside and drove to the west.

You can't reasonably compare the rise of Islam to the rise of Christianity by comparing events which did not take place under the same circumstances. My point is that once they had the opportunity, Christians turned from persuasion, as you are pleased to call it, to the sword. Get over it.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Apr, 2014 06:45 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
When Christians started burning down synagogues and temples and passing laws that make intermarriage punishable by death and economic success difficult for non-Christians, does this count as "persuasion"? Your claim that Christianity was spread by persuasion might not mean much from the perspective of the poor people being "persuaded".

Sure, I concede the point that forced conversions didn't start under Constantine, but it didn't take Christians long to start expelling Jews and pagans and passing oppressive laws enforced by the sword.

The underlying discussion of this thread is whether Christianity is superior to other religions. Looking at all of history, the claim of Christian superiority is rather ridiculous.

Since this thread is about how Christianity was "spread" we should be discussing the experience of the Saxons, the victims of the Spanish Inquisition and the slaughter inflicted on the original inhabitants of the Americas in the name of Jesus Christ.

I don't think Jews were very happy with the religious "reforms" under Constantine.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Apr, 2014 04:36 pm
@Setanta,
So your argument is based on your ability to determine what history would have been if history was different.

Whether or not early Christians would have spread their religion by the sword, if they had the means, is a question that can only be answered by speculation, informed by bias.

The historical fact, not fancy, is that they didn't while Muslims did.

BTW throwing all sorts of tidbits of history doesn't make your flawed premise any more valid.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Apr, 2014 04:49 pm
@maxdancona,
In fact, it took hundreds of years before Christianity became militant, and Set's examples did not occur for almost a thousand years after the birth of Jesus.

You and he are bound and determined to ignore what actually happened in favor of your desire to believe that religion and, Christianity in particular, is largely a negative human institution.

I notice that you still haven't attempted to offer support for your "opinion" that the major religions fundamentally embrace violence.

maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Apr, 2014 05:41 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn,

When do you think Christianity was founded?

Christianity, in any form that is in any way related to what you and I now call Christianity was started in 325 with the council of Nicea. Pre-Christianity, the disparate bunch of communities led by powerful bishops, had little to do with with anything.

At around this time the most politically powerful voices decided (based on their own interests) what Jesus had said and silenced any dissent.

And... Christianity has been marked with violence from this this contentious beginning right until today.
Romeo Fabulini
 
  2  
Reply Thu 24 Apr, 2014 05:51 pm
Quote:
Hassan said: the majority of people in Malaysia are Muslims. But, no Muslim army ever went to Indonesia or Malaysia.

Give 'em time..Smile
All it needs is for an 'Asiatic Hitler' to arise and unite all the Far eastern muslims into invading Australia and they'll build a big mosque on Ayers Rock..Smile
And hopefully by then Australia will have broken away from Britain to become independent, so we Brits won't have to go and rescue them, it'll be none of our business!
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Apr, 2014 05:58 pm
@Romeo Fabulini,
Just out of curiosity, what Islamic country was the real Hitler from?
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