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So-Called "Sword" of Islam

Nowadays ignorant people, such as Christains, use the excuse that Islam was spread by the sword. If I were to use a source from a Islamic source stating that Islam was not spread by the sword, people would call it biased. So therefore I shall quote from a renowned Christain or rather Secular historian by the name of Will Durant.

In The Age of Faith, Will Durant says, "Mohammad had appointed no successor to his power, but he had chosen Abu Bakr to conduct the prayers in the Medina mosque. This mark of preference persuaded Moslem leaders to elect Abu Bakr the first Caliph of Islam. Abu Bakr was simple and abstemious, kindly but resolute; attending personally to details of administration and judgement, and never resting till justice was done; serving without pay till his people overruled his austerity; and then, in his will, returning to the new state the stipends it had paid him.

The Moslem leaders were passionate disciples of Mohammad, prayed even more than they fought. The Arab troops were more rigorously disciplined and more ably led; they were inured to leadership.....could fight on empty stomachs. ‘Be Just' ran Abu Bakr's proclamation, ‘Be Valiant'; die rather than yield; be merciful; slay netiher old men, nor women, nor children. Destroy no fruit trees, grain, or cattle. Keep your word, even to your enemies. Molest not those religious persons who live retired from the world'.

Omar(2nd Caliph), having beaten a Bedouin unjustly, he begged the Bedouin - in vain - to inflict an equal number of strokes upon him. He was a severe puritan, demanding strict virtues of every Moslem. Moslem historians tell us he owned but one shirt and one mantle, patched and re-patched; that he lived on barley bread and dates, and drank nothing but water; that he slept on a bed of palm leaves, hardly better than a hair shirt; and that his sole concerns was the propagation of his faith by letters and by arms. When a Persian satrap came to pay homage to Omar, he found the conqueror of the East asleep among the beggars on the steps of the Medina Mosque.

The Patriarch Sophronious agreed to surrender Jerusalem if the Caliph would come in person to ratify the terms of capitulation. Omar consented, and traveled from Medina in stately simplicity, armed "with a sack of corn, a bag of dates, a gourd of water, and a wooden dish." He received Sophronious with kindness and courtesy, imposed a easy tribute on the vanquished, and confirmed the Christians in the peaceful possession of all their shrines. Omar forbade the conquerors to buy or till the land.

The Jews of the Near East had welcomed the Arabs as liberators...they stood on equal terms with the Christians, were free once more to live and worship in Jerusalem, and prospered under Islam in Asia, Egypt, and Spain as never under Christian rule. Outside of Arabia the Christians of western Asia usually practiced their religion unhindered; Syria remained predominately Christian until the 3rd Moslem Century; in the reign of the Caliph Mamun(813-833) we hear of 11,000 Christian Churches in Islam - as well as hundreds of synagogues and fire temples. Christian festivals were freely and openly celebrated; Christian pilgrims came in safety to visit Christian shrines in Palestine; the Crusaders found a large number of Christian communities have survived there to this day. Christian heretics persecuted by the patriarchs of Constantinople, Jerusalem, Alexandria, or Antoch were now free and safe under a Moslem rule that found their disputes quite unintelligible.

In the 9th century the Moslem governor of Antoch appointed a special guard to to keep Christian sects from massacring from one another at church. Monasteries and nunneries flourished.....relations between the two religions were so genial that Christians wearing crosses on their breasts conversed in mosques with Moslem friends. The Mohammedan administrative bureaucracy had hundreds of Christian employees....Sergius, father of St.John of Damascus, was the chief finance minister to Abd-al-Malik, and John himself, last of the Greek Fathers of the Church, headed the council that governed Damascus. The Christians of the East regarded in general Islamic rule as a lesser evil than that of the Byzantine government and Church.

Despite or because of this policy of tolerance in early Islam, the new forth won over itself in time most of the Christians, nearly all of the Zoroastrians and pagans, and many of the Jews of Asia, Egypt, and North Africa. Gradually the non-Moslem populations adopted the Arabic language and dress, the laws and faith of the Koran. Where Hellenism, after 1000 yrs of mastery, had failed to take root, and Roman arms had left the native gods inconquered, and Byzantine orthodoxy had raised rebellious heresies, Mohammedanism has secured, almost without proselytism, not only belief and worship, but a tenacious fidelity that quite forgot the superseded gods. From China, Indonesia, and India through Persia, Syria, Arabia, and Egypt to Morocco and Spain, the Mohammedan faith touched the hears and fancies of a hundred peoples, governed their morals and molded their lives, gave them consoling hopes and a strengthening pride.

We must concede that the early Caliphs, from Abu Bakr to al-Mamun, gave successful organization to human life over a wide area, and may be counted among the ablest rulers in history. They might have devastated or confiscated everything, like the Mongols or the Magyars of the raiding Norse; instead they merely taxed. When Omar conquered Egypt he rejected the advice of Zobeir to divide the land among his followers and the Caliph confirmed his judgement: ‘Leave it', said Omar, ‘in the people's hands to nurse and fructify.' Under the Caliphal government lands were measured, records were systematically kept, roads and canals were multiplied or maintained, rivers were banked to prevent floods. Iraq, now half desert, was again a garden of Eden; Palestine, recently so rich in sand and stones, was fertile, wealthy, an dpopulous.

The Caliphs gave reasonable protection to life and labor, kept career open to talent promoted for three to six centuries the prosperity of areas never so prosperous again, and stimulated and supported such a flourishing of education, literature, science, philosophy, and art as made western Asia, for five centuries, the most civilized region in the world.

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