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Q5: How Islam spread

Wars and conflicts have existed throughout history, including within the Islamic World and between people of different faiths. However, some people have the misconception that Islam in particular was spread by the sword and forced onto others, which is not true. There are various things to prove that this is not true and I will give a few examples:

• Throughout history most countries either had empires or were part of other empires. This includes the colonial powers such as the British, French, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish and other empires.

• Many of the original inhabitants of countries ruled by Muslims still exist today such as the Berber /Amazigh in North Africa who lived there before the arrival of the Arabs, Kurdish people in Iraq, Black Africans in Mali, Persians in Iran and many other communities. Compare this to when the Europeans colonised the Americas -millions of Native Americans were killed and had their homes taken away from them, with only a handful of them remaining until today

• There are many followers of other religions in the Arab World such as Yazidis and Mendaiyyan in Iraq who were not killed off or forced to convert

• There are many Arab Coptic Christians who have been Christians for generations and some of the oldest churches in the world are in Muslim countries such as in Iraq

• Many Muslim empires ruled India for about a thousand years and yet today many ancient Hindu temples still exist from pre Islamic times and India is a Hindu majority country. You can see some more examples from my videos about Muslim Empires:

• Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country and yet no Muslim army went there –or to the neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Brunei

• This is similar in East Africa

• Muslims ruled Spain for about 800 years and greatly developed science and technology, working closely with Christians and Jews. Compare this to when the Christians gained control of Spain in 1492; Muslims were forcefully converted to Christianity, they were not allowed to wear Arabic clothes, they were not allowed to speak Arabic, they were not allowed to take a bath on Fridays, they were not allowed to give the call to prayer, they were forced to eat pork, which is forbidden in Islam and more

• Letters were sent to others inviting them to Islam peacefully. An example of this is a letter written by the scribe of the Prophet Mohammed PBUH to Muqawqas of Egypt –this letter can still be seen at the Islamic museum in the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, Turkey.

• There were Muslims who tried to study and understand others. An example of this was Al Biruni who studied Sanskrit (ancient Indian language) and Al Farabi who according to some narrations could speak up to 70 languages, which is the most anyone could speak. For further details, please check out my video on “Muslim Linguists”:

• Muslims are encouraged to be patient and to resort to fighting as a last resort. An example of that was when the Prophet Mohammed PBUH received the revelation. The people of Makkah persecuted him and his followers and he remained patient for 10 years without fighting and migrated to Medina. It was only when there was no other option that battles took place.

• Even when there is a need for fighting, various restrictions have been placed such as not killing women or children, not killing the elderly, not cutting down trees unnecessarily, not burning down houses and more.

• Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world especially in Western, secular societies such as in the US and the UK with many people converting to the religion from all walks of life including many famous people. Some examples include Lauren Booth (sister in law of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair), Yusuf Estes (former American Pastor), Mike Tyson (boxing champion), Jermaine Jackson (elder brother of Michael Jackson) and many more.

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