Most Muslims take pride in the fact that Islam was not spread by the sword, meaning that no person is to be forced to become a Muslim. The truth of Islam is supported by intellectual proofs, not coercion. Moreover, coercion in matters of religion and worship necessarily breed hypocrisy, making them fruitless and without reward due to lack of sincerity. However, some hardline Sheikhs would like you to think that Islam gives them free license to attack peaceful people who do not convert to their narrow-minded school of thought.
When asked the simple question, “Was Islam spread by the sword?” Our internet Sheikh replies:
The defeatists among the Muslims come out to defend Islam, and they want to disavow Islam of this so-called lie, so they deny that Islam was spread by the sword, and they say that jihad is not prescribed in Islam, except in the case of self-defence. There is no such thing in Islam as taking the initiative in fighting in their view. This goes against what the Muslim scholars have stated, let alone the fact that it goes against the Qur’aan and Sunnah.
The “defeatists” (meaning the majority of Muslims and great scholars like Sheikh Al-Azhar Mahmud Shaltut) are described as such because they do not believe Islam gives Muslims the right to attack a peaceful nation. We are given several citations, presented in such a way as to intimidate the common Muslim who believes Islam is a religion of peace. But what is the Sheikh hiding?
Allah Almighty said:
وَقَاتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ
Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed, Allah does not love transgressors.
[Surah Al-Baqarah 2:190]
At-Tabari recorded that Ibn Abbas, companion of the Messenger of Allah, explained the meaning of “transgression” as such:
عن ابن عبـاس: لا تقتلوا النساء ولا الصبـيان ولا الشيخ الكبـير ولا من ألقـى إلـيكم السلـم وكفّ يده، فإن فعلتـم هذا فقد اعتديتـم
Do not kill women, or children, or old men, or whoever meets you with peace and restraining his hand (from fighting). For, indeed, if you did that, you would certainly have transgressed.
Ibn Abbas believed that attacking “whoever meets you with peace” is an act of transgression. This is why Sheikh Al-Islam ibn Taymiyyah said:
لأن القتال هو لمن يقاتلنا ، إذا أردنا إظهار دين الله
We may only fight those who fight us when we intend to make the religion of Allah victorious.
Furthermore, Al-Badawi described “transgression” in the verse 2:190 to mean:
وَلاَ تَعْتَدُواْ بابتداء القتال، أو بقتال المعاهد، أو المفاجأة به من غير دعوة، أو المثلة، أو قتل من نهيتم عن قتله
Do not transgress by starting the fighting, or by fighting those who are protected by a peace treaty, or by ambushing those who have not been called (to Islam or a peace treaty), or by mutilation (of the enemy), or by fighting whomever it is prohibited from fighting.
Again, “initiating the fighting” is considered transgression by this great scholar, but curiously not by our internet Sheikh.
Since Islam was allegedly spread by the sword, our internet Sheikh thinks that Islamophobia(meaning fear and hatred of Muslims) is actually a good thing! He says:
In the English-language Muslim World Magazine it says: There should be some kind of fear in the western world, one of the causes of which is that since the time it first appeared in Makkah, Islam has never decreased in numbers, rather it has always continued to increase and spread. Moreover Islam is not only a religion, rather one of its pillars is jihad…
If Islam was only spread by peaceful means, what would the kuffaar have to be afraid of? Of mere words spoken on the tongue?…
The fact that the sword and power were means of spreading Islam is not a sources of shame for Islam, rather it is one of its strengths and virtues, because that makes people adhere to that which will benefit them in this world and in the Hereafter…
This is something for which Islam deserves to be praised, not condemned. The defeatists should fear Allaah lest they distort this religion and cause it to become weak on the basis of the claim that it is a religion of peace…
First, Islam has five pillars, not six. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
بُنِيَ الْإِسْلَامُ عَلَى خَمْسٍ عَلَى أَنْ يُعْبَدَ اللَّهُ وَيُكْفَرَ بِمَا دُونَهُ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ وَحَجِّ الْبَيْتِ وَصَوْمِ رَمَضَانَ
Islam is built upon five: worshipping Allah alone and disbelieving in what is worshipped besides him, establishing prayer, paying charity, performing the pilgrimage, and fasting the month of Ramadan.
[Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 18]
The fact that the internet Sheikh is making new pillars of Islam is a sign that he is not too concerned about innovating into the religion.
Second, the belief that Islam is the religion of peace is not a source of weakness; it is a source of strength. Our internet Sheikh here is being confused by the worldly definition of strength, which he imagines to include standing armies, tanks, bombs, and planes. On the contrary, true strength is the strength of the heart, the inner strength to do the right thing when we are put to the test. As the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
لَيْسَ الشَّدِيدُ بِالصُّرَعَةِ إِنَّمَا الشَّدِيدُ الَّذِي يَمْلِكُ نَفْسَهُ عِنْدَ الْغَضَبِ
The strong are not wrestlers. Verily, the strong are only those who control themselves when angry.
[Sahih Muslim, Book 032, Number 6313]
The strength of the believers is a function of their self-control, their adherence to beautiful patience during times of anger and suffering. This type of strength is infinitely more important than worldly strength.
Third, our internet Sheikh seems to understand that his belligerent fatwas do cause a lot of fear of Islam in the West, thinking that this will somehow help the Muslims. Yet, his verbal aggression has led frightened citizens in the West to ban minarets, ban Islamic clothing, and even attempt toban mosques. All of this is supported by our internet Sheikh who says, “…there should be some kind of fear in the Western world.”
It is quite a duplicitous double-standard from our internet Sheikh to argue from one side of his mouth that Islam was spread by the sword, but from the other become outraged that anti-Muslim politicians are acting upon the fear he wants to provoke:
Since the launch of the movie was announced, non-Muslim organizations, governments and individuals have denounced this filmmaking MP, and stated that Islam has nothing to do with violence and terrorism, and that Muslims themselves are victims of terrorism as well as others.
Yes sir, many non-Muslims did stand up for the integrity of Islam and Muslims by shunning Geert Wilders and his hateful, racist film. These are the same non-Muslim organizations that you preach will always hate Muslims:
No matter what the kuffaar do, their enmity will not end. Even though they may speak words of friendship, their hearts are filled with hatred towards Islam and its people…
When you preach hate and violence, you should not be surprised when hate and violence come back to you. But in this case, our internet Sheikh gets to enjoy himself in the Gulf while he leaves innocent Muslims in the West to deal with the Islamophobic fallout he is happily promoting.
Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.
(www.faithinallah.org / 17.03.2012)