Did Islam prevail by the sword?
Was Islam spread by the sword?
Q: For additional information, what do you think about the claim that Islam was spread by the sword? We would like to have a logical reply to this.
A: This claim, in this generalized formula, is false. Islam was spread by Da`wah (call to Islam) to Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He), yet supported by the sword. The Prophet (peace be upon him) conveyed it by means of Da`wah in Makkah for thirteen years, then continued doing this in Al-Madinah before he was commanded to fight. Moreover, the Sahabah along with many Muslims had spread all over the earth and called to Allah, and had striven in His cause against whoever opposed them, for the sword is just a way. Allah (Exalted be He) says: And We brought forth iron wherein is mighty power (in matters of war), as well as many benefits for mankind Allah (Al Hadid, 57:25) (Exalted be He) also says: And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism, i.e. worshipping others besides Allâh) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allâh Alone [in the whole of the world].(Al Anfal, 8:39) They fought those who refused for their own sake and safety. In general, whoever is indebted with any right to another should be obliged to fulfill this right either by jailing or beating, yet this person is unjustly treated. If this is the case, how can a person condemn or find it queer to oblige whoever is indebted to Allah to fulfill His Rights (Exalted be He)? Accordingly, with greater reason, the most important right and the worthiest of being fulfilled is the observance of Tawhid (belief in the Oneness of Allah/ monotheism) to Allah (may he be Glorified) and the abandonment of associating others with Him. It is a Mercy from Allah (Glorified be He) to prescribe fighting and observance of Jihad (fighting/striving in the Cause of Allah) against Mushrikun (those who associate others in worship with Allah) so as to enforce them to single out Allah (Exalted be He) with worship and quit worshipping any thing other than Him. This leads to their happiness and safety in the worldly life and the Hereafter. Allah is the One Who grants success.
Fatwas of Ibn Baz, volume 6
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