SPREAD BY THE SWORD?
Therefore, we should ask ourselves first, before we are asked by anyone else, what is the truth? Did Muslims really force others to convert to Islam? Is there any evidence for consistent forcible conversion throughout the Islamic history? As a matter of fact, there is no such evidence anywhere in the history of Islam. Many distinguised Western historians have attested this fact-- foremost among whom is Sir Thomas W. Arnold in his book, "The Preaching of Islam". Also there is Marshall G. Hodgson in his book, "The Venture of Islam", Albert Hourani in his book, "A History of the Arab People", Ira Lapidus in his book, "History of Islamic Societies", L.S. Starorianos in his book, "A Global Hisotry, the Human Heritage" and many others. In fact, there is substantial evidence to the contrary. We have already seen in a previous *khutbah* that Muslims were often seen as liberators of the oppressed people everywhere.
The question that remains to be answered is why then so many people have chosen
Islam throughout the more than 1400 years of its history. Islam has penetrated
the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, West Africa, East Africa, Eastern Europe,
Asia Minor, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Afghanistan, India, Western China, and
the Malay archipelago. Islam in all these regions replaced so many other well-established
religions: Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Paganism and animism.
What are the reasons behind the triumph of Islam over all these religions in
so many different places at so many different times?
Professor Huston Smith of the MIT in his book, "The Religions of Man" says, "In some areas where Islam and Christianity are competing for converts, Islam is gaining at a rate of 10 to 1."
Ambassador Herman Ellis, in a testimony in front of the committee on Foreign Affirs of the House of Represntatives of the United States Congress on June 24th, 1985, said, "The Muslim community of the globe today is in the neighbourhood of one billion. That is an impressive figure. But what to me is equally impressive is that Islam today is the fastest growing monotheistic religion. This is something we have to take into account. Something is right about Islam. It is attracting a good many people."
Yes, something is right about Islam and that's why it has attracted so many
people throughout its 1400 years of history.