In this segment, Dr. Badawi attempts to dispel the notion that Islam was ever spread by the sword. He selectively provides us with one passage from the Qur'an while ignoring many others which discuss how unbelievers should be treated. Badawi then mentions some of the terrible atrocities committed by those claiming to be Christians throughout history while omitting atrocities that have been committed by those claiming to be Muslims. To be completely fair, not all Muslims were converted by the sword, many converted under perfectly peaceful circumstances. Also, not all Christians were converted by peaceful methods, some were converted by force. Some Muslims leaders throughout history respected the rights of non-Muslims while many did not. The key question is : did those who committed these atrocities throughout history, do this in accordance or in defiance of the teachings of the Holy Books and the example of their Prophets?
Jamal Badawi: There is no single vers in the Qur'an or Traditions which encourages or condones compulsion in religion with force. Sura 2:256:
Guidance in in the hands of God, Sura 10:99-100:
The concept of bringing people to account is not up to us, only God is the judge not the Prophets, Sura 13:40:
The verse concerning no compulsion in religion was originally recited at a time when Muhammad had few followers and little power. Once he gained power and more followers, his attitude towards those who disagreed with his religion became very harsh.
In fact, when we look at the Qur'an the words fight and kill appear more frequently than the word pray.
Jamal Badawi: Sura 16:125:
The Qur'an gives us the criterion in Sura 29:46:
However, Sura 8:38-39 tells us:
Jamal Badawi: In English, this is translated as Holy War. Nowhere in the Qur'an or Traditions is this the equivalent found. Holy War translated into Arabic never appears in the Qur'an or Traditions, it is misleading. This come from the Arabic root for the exertion of effort, the true meaning in the Qur'an means to exert effort to strive or struggle in the path of God and for his cause. Some say that Jihad is the 6th pillar of Islam, it is the essence of Islam. Jihad is in Sura 29:69 as striving:
Sura 22:77-78 connect Jihad with worship:
One aspect might take the form of military encounter and fighting oppressors.
If these soldiers were fighting oppressors, how do we explain Sahih Muslim II, pages 705-707?
Were these unfortunate captive girls the oppressors? Did they deserve to be raped and brutalized? Do you believe that an All Holy God would condone this brutality? This terrible behavior is not a form of prayer or good works.
What about the financial and material motives for Jihad? "Mishkat" II, page 406 tells us:
Jamal Badawi: You can divide it into three levels:
1. Jihad within onself : Muhammad after returning with a battle with the Pagans told his companions that they were returning to the greater Jihad within themselves, against evil inclinations.
2. Jihad at the community level : Struggle against evil and injustice to change the rotten and corrupt.
3. Jihad at the global level : Fighting against oppression without recognizing artificial lines, oppression is oppression. This may take the form of battle when peaceful means fail.
Once again, I quote from the "Mishkat" II, page 253:
Was this a conflict the result of spiritual or material motives? Honestly, Jesus had the better alternative:
Jamal Badawi: We must be honest and avoid extremes. We cannot say that the 14 centuries of Muslim has only been a series of violations of the Qur'an, the other extreme is to say that the history of any people is nothing but a history of angels, this is not correct. Can Christians explain the Crusades, the Inquisition, the fighting between Catholics and Protestants, did this measure up to the teachings of Christianity, the same is with Islam. The claim that Islam was spread or maintained by the sword is a myth. No serious modern scholar accepts this.
Can I explain the Crusades, the Inquisition, the fighting between Catholics and Protestants? Yes, I can. These people DID NOT follow the Words and Example of Jesus Christ. They were in a state of rebellion with God and His Bible. Also, Dr. Badawi is not telling us the entire history of these events. Pope Urban II called for the first Crusade in 1095 AD! The "defensive" Jihads had, by that time, captured Jerusalem from the Christians (638 AD) and Spain (around 708 AD). Much of Southern and Central Europe was captured and colonized by Muslim armies and some regions remained under Muslim to the 19th century. Can Dr. Badawi explain why Muslims committed atrocities in the past, and why some continue to do so today, or do we simply need to ignore these historic facts?
Jamal Badawi: Islam at the Crossroads says that the image of the Muslim spreading their religion by the sword is absurd. James Michner says that this is absurd, Islam spread rapidly and no modern scholar agrees with this and the Qur'an emphasizes conscience. H. G. Wells said that Islam flourished because it was the best system in its time. Gibbon said that the claim that Islam spread by the sword is wrong. In the 6th year of Hijra, the Prophet gave a charter to the monks at St. Catherine's protecting them. Christian women married to Muslims could not be subjected to compulsion. The Muslims were to assist Christians if their Churches were threatened.
Host: Are there other sources or information that Islam is not spread by the sword?
Jamal Badawi: The early wars of Muhammad and after were to compel those to accept religion, their wars were in self defense. Some of those conquered welcomed the Muslims. The logic of Islam is surrender to the will of God, no power on earth can impose something in your heart. Any look at the map shows that conquests did not take place in places like Indonesia or Russia, how did Islam spread to China or South Africa or the Philippians? Even in North America and Europe. If Islam spread by the sword, then why did it increase when the Muslims were defeated, like the Seljuk Turks, and some Crusaders?
I agree that Islam was often spread by peaceful means. However, the violent history of the spread of Islam (or Christianity for that matter) cannot be ignored by anyone who claims to be a scholar or an honest follower of God.
Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"
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