The Sword of Islam
The first few who embraced the "new" religion in Makkah in the Arabian Peninsula at the hands of the Prophet, were his wife Khadijah, his servant Zaid and his eleven year old cousin Ali. Among the ones who later joined this faith were the honest merchant, Abu Bakr; the iron man of Arabia, Umar the Great; the shy businessman, Uthman; the Prophet's brave uncle Hamza and a slave of a pagan, Bilal. They simply couldn't resist the MAGIC SWORD of a humble and lonely Prophet? The negligible minority of the believers in this new Faith was soon exiled from Makkah and they arrived in the city called Yathreb which later became known as MADINAH. The Muslim emigrants to Madinah brought their SWORD with them. The SWORD continued to work and its magnetic force continued to "pull" people towards it until the whole of Arabia joined the Faith. Compared to the population of the rest of the world at that time, the Arabs constituted a tiny minority. A fraction of this minority decided to take the SWORD beyond the boundaries of the Arabian desert to the mighty Mediterranean, the coast of Malabar and the far away East Indies Islands. People after people continued surrendering to this SWORD and joining the Faith.
So sharp was the edge of the SWORD! It simply conquered the hearts; bodies yielded automatically. It is the SWORD OF TRUTH, whose mere shine eliminates falsehood just like light wipes away darkness.
HAS THE SWORD GONE BLUNT? NO, FAR FROM IT.
It continues to pierce the hearts of countless men and women today in spite of the relentless efforts by persons with vested interests who like darkness to prevail, so that they may rob people of their good things. Read below the impressions of some who were recently conquered by the same SWORD. They are from different countries, speak different languages and have different backgrounds.
1. LEOPOLD WEISS (now Mohammed Asad): Austrian statesman, journalist, former foreign correspondent for the Frankfurter Zeitung; author of Islam at Cross Roads and Road to Mecca and translator of the Qur'an. He embraced Islam in 1926.
2. AHMED HOLT: British Civil Contractor, traveler in search of the Divine truth, spent much of his time in research and comparative study of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. He embraced Islam in 1975.
3. BOGDAN KOPANSKI (now Bogdan Ataullah Kopanski): originally Polish, now American; Ph.D. in history and politics, had a very interesting journey to Islam and faced severe hardships; was imprisoned twice by the Polish communist regime (1968, 1981-82). He embraced Islam in 1974.
4. VENGATACHALAM ADIYAR (now Abdullah Adiyar): Indian, noted Tamil writer and journalist; worked as a news editor in Dr. M. Karunanidhi's daily Murasoli for 17 years; assisted 3 former Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu. Received Kalaimamani Award (Big Gem of Arts) from Tamil Nadu Government in 1982. He embraced Islam in 1987.
5. HERBERT HOBOHM (now Aman Hobohm): German diplomat, missionary and social worker. An intellectual who has been serving the German diplomatic missions in various parts of the world. Presently working as Cultural Attache in German Embassy in Riyadh. He embraced Islam in 1941.
6. CAT STEVENS (now Yusuf Islam): British; formerly a Christian and a world famous pop singer. He embraced Islam in 1973.
7. MARGARET MARCUS (now Maryam Jamilah): American; formerly a Jewess, essayist and author of many books. She embraced Islam in 1962.
8. WILFRIED HOFMAN (now Murad Hoffman): Ph.D. in law (Harvard); German social scientist and diplomat; presently German Ambassador in Algeria. He embraced Islam in 1980.
9. CASSIUS CLAY (now Muhammad Ali): American; three times World Heavyweight Champion, formerly a Christian. He embraced Islam in 1965.
These were the impressions of a few persons who had themselves been struck by the SWORD OF TRUTH, that is, the Message of Islam.
AS FOR THE PROPAGANDA THAT IT WAS THE SWORD OF STEEL, THAT IS, FORCE, WHICH WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN THE UNIVERSAL EXPANSION OF ISLAM, WE GIVE BELOW QUOTATIONS FROM THE WRITINGS OF SOME OF THE PROMINENT NON-MUSLIM SCHOLARS AND LEADERS REFUTING THIS BASELESS ACCUSATION.
1. M. K. GANDHI: "...I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the prophet, the scrupulous regard for his pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and his own mission. These, and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every trouble." YOUNG INDIA, 1924
2. EDWARD GIBBON: "The greatest success of Mohammed's life was effected by sheer moral force without the stroke of a sword." HISTORY OF THE SARACEN EMPIRE, London, 1870
3. A. S. TRITTON: "The picture of the Muslim soldier advancing with a sword in one hand and the Qur'an in the other is quite false." ISLAM, London, 1951, p. 21
4. DE LACY O'LEARY: "History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslim, sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated." ISLAM AT CROSSROADS, London, 1923, p. 8
5. K. S. RAMAKRISHNA RAO: "My problem to write this monograph is easier because we are not generally fed now on that (distorted) kind of history and much time need not be spent on pointing out our misrepresentations of Islam. The theory of Islam and sword, for instance, is not heard now in any quarter worth the name. The principle of Islam, there is no compulsion in religion, is well known." MOHAMMED THE PROPHET OF ISLAM, Riyadh, 1989, p. 4
6. JAMES A. MICHENER: "No other religion in history spread so rapidly as Islam...The West has widely believed that this surge of religion was made possible by the sword. But no modern scholar accepts that idea, and the Qur'an is explicit in support of the freedom of conscience." ISLAM THE MISUNDERSTOOD RELIGION, READERS' DIGEST (American Edition) May 1955
7. LAWRENCE E. BROWNE: "Incidentally these well-established facts dispose of the idea so widely fostered in Christian writings that the Muslims, wherever they went, forced people to accept Islam at the point of the sword." THE PROSPECTS OF ISLAM, London, 1944.
IF YOU TOO POSSESS A SOFT TENDER HEART AND AN OPEN MIND, DO WRITE TO US FOR SOME BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT THE WAY OF LIFE CALLED "ISLAM". DO NOT BELIEVE THE HEARSAY. LEARN FROM THE DIRECT SOURCES. WE ARE READY TO HELP.
RECOMMENDED INTRODUCTORY PUBLICATIONS:
1. III&E Brochure series.
2. WHAT EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ISLAM AND MUSLIMS by Suzanne Haneef, Kazi Publications, Chicago, Illinois
3. ISLAM IN FOCUS by H. Abdulati, American Trust Publications, Indianapolis, Indiana
4. THE BIBLE, THE QUR'AN AND SCIENCE by Maurice Bucaille, American Trust Publications, Indianapolis, Indiana
5. QUR'AN, AND INTRODUCTION by A. R. Doi, Kazi Publications, Chicago, Illinois
6. HADITH, AN INTRODUCTION by A. R. Doi, Kazi Publications, Chicago, Illinois
7. MUHAMMAD, HIS LIFE BASED ON THE EARLIEST SOURCES by Martin Lings, Inner Traditions International, Rochester, Vermont
8. LIFE OF MUHAMMAD by A. H. Siddiqi, Kazi Publications, Chicago, Illinois
9. HISTORY OF ISLAM by Masud-ul-Hasan, Islamic Publications, Lahore, Pakistan
10. THE CULTURAL ATLAS OF ISLAM by I. R. al-Faruqi and Lois L. al-Faruqi, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, New York