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Forced Conversion and Prophet Muhammad
From "The Life of Muhammad"
The Prophet sent Khalid to Naklah to destroy the temple of al-Uzza. He did this and smashed the idol but he was sent back again. This time a wild black woman, completely naked, came charging at him but he was able to cut her down. Within two weeks two thousand Qurayshites had joined the Prophet's army. Hawajin who had a temple to al-Lat raised an army of twenty thousand men to defend their goddess.
The Prophet sent his followers to instruct the newcomers in Islam. Khalid and his sword were sent out to convert the remaining stragglers to the faith. Usually they were given three days to make up their minds. Jews and Christians were allowed to remain as such provided that they paid a golden dinar or its equivalent. The presence of all Muslims at Friday prayers was compulsorv.
From "Offensive War to Spread Islam"
"When Muhammad and his followers were about to attack Mecca to subjugate it to Islam, his adherents arrested Abu Sufyan, one of Mecca's inhabitants. They brought him to Muhammad. Muhammad told him: "Woe to you, O Abu Sufyan. Is it not time for you to realize that there is no God but the only God?" Abu Sufyan answered: "I do believe that." Muhammad then said to him: "Woe to you, O Abu Sufyan. Is it not time for you to know that I am the apostle of God?" Abu Sufyan answered: "By God, O Muhammad, of this there is doubt in my soul." The 'Abbas who was present with Muhammad told Abu Sufyan: "Woe to you! Accept Islam and testify that Muhammad is the apostle of God before your neck is cut off by the sword." Thus he professed the faith of Islam and became a Muslim." (Ibn Hisham, "The Biography of Muhammad" (Part 4, Page 11)
It is also mentioned and attested to by contemporary scholars such as Dr. Buti in his book, "The Jurisprudence of Muhammad's Biography", p. 277. He repeated it on page 287 because such stories incite the admiration of the Buti and bring him joy. Yet Dr. Buti feels that some people will protest, especially liberals and the civilized international society, who believe that faith in a certain creed ought not to be imposed by the threat of death. Therefore, he said (p. 287) the following:
"It may be said, 'What is the value of a faith in Islam which is a result of a threat? Abu Sufyan, one moment ago, was not a believer, then he believed after he was threatened by death.' We say to those who question: 'What is required of an infidel or the one who confuses other gods with God, is to have his tongue surrender to the religion of God and to subdue himself to the prophethood of Muhammad. But his heartfelt faith is not required at the beginning. It will come later."'
This is God in Islam, my dear friendsa God who is satisfied with the testimony of the tongue of a person who is under the threat of death. But "the heartfelt faith" will come later! The important thing is to increase the number of Muslims either by threat or by propagation!
Dr. Buti was more than frank, and we would like to thank him for that, yet we would like to tell him that Christianity rejects the testimony of the mouth if it does not stem from faith that is rooted in the heart first.
The story of Abu Sufyan reveals clearly that Muhammad does not care much about the faith of the heart, especially at the beginning, as Dr. Buti suggests. What is really important is that professing faith is a natural response to the threat of death. The threat is very clear: Testify that Muhammad is the apostle of God or you will be beheaded. The story concludes: Abu Sufyan professed the testimony of "truth" immediately!
In his book, "The Biography of the Apostle", part 4, Ibn Hisham says (page 134):
"Muhammad sent Khalid Ibn al-Walid to the tribe of the children of Haritha and told him: 'Call them to accept Islam before you fight with them. If they respond, accept that from them, but if they refuse, fight them.' Khalid told them: 'Accept Islam and spare your life.' They entered Islam by force. He brought them to Muhammad. Muhammad said to them: 'Had you not accepted Islam I would have cast your heads under your feet"' (refer to page 134, and also see Al Road Al Anf, part 4, pp. 217, 218. You will find the same incident).
We see in this story the main Islamic concept: First, an invitation to accept Islam, then war against those who refuse to do so. This was Muhammad's order to Khalid Ibn al-Walid. It is also noteworthy to examine Ibn Hisham's statement that "they entered Islam by force." Muhammad himself told them later: "Had you rejected Islam, I would have beheaded you and cast your heads under your feet." This was an undisputed threat: Either they accepted Islam or they would have been beheaded.
The brutal irony is that he uttered these words with ruthlessness and relentlessness instead of congratulating them on their new faith! What a strange man who failed to show any love or genuine compassion. His act was an act of a first-class terrorist. He did not congratulate them because he knew that they entered Islam by force. Is this man really the prophet of freedom, compassion, and human rights? Listen carefully! These oppressive attitudes and actions are as clear as the sun on a bright summer day. Muhammad's words are self-explanatory:
"Had you not accepted Islam I would have beheaded you and cast your heads under your feet!"
What human rights! What compassionate, kind, meek and noble characters! Undoubtedly, this alone is enough to uncover the dreadful dark side of Muhammad's character and his religion.
Azhar scholar Dr. Buti adds on p. 263 of his book:
"The apostle of God started to send military detachments from among his followers to the various Arab tribes which were scattered in the Arab Peninsula to carry out the task of calling (these tribes) to accept Islam If they did not respond, they would kill them. That was during the 7th Higira year. The number of the detachments amounted to ten."
No wonder all these tribes so quickly became apostate and relinquished Islam after the death of Muhammad. Abu Bakr Al Sadiq waged the aforementioned wars to force them to re-embrace Islam. Dr. Buti states this in chapter six of his book, under the title, "New Phase of the Mission". He quotes a statement made by Muhammad which proves that those wars were offensive wars. Muhammad said, "From now on, they will not invade you, but you will invade them."
In his book, "The Biography of the Prophet" (part 3, p. 113), Ibn Hisham relates this episode:
"Ali Ibn Abi Talib encountered a man called 'Umru and told him, 'I indeed invite you to Islam.' 'Umru said, 'I do not need that.' 'Ali said, 'Then I call you to fight.' (This was the same policy Muhammad used with those who rejected his invitation.) 'Umru answered him, 'What for my nephew? By God, I do not like to kill you.' 'Ali said, 'But, by God, I love to kill you"' (see Al Road Al Anf part 3, p. 263).
It is obvious from the dialogue that 'Umru does not like fighting because he does not want to kill 'Ali while he is defending himself. He wonders, "What for? I do not want to embrace Islam." But 'Ali says to him, "By God I love to kill you," and he did kill him.
We would like to conclude these stories by relating another moving episode which the Muslim Chroniclers recorded, among them, Isma'il Ibn Kathir in his book, "The Prophetic Biography" (part 3, p. 596). Ibn Kathir says that Muhammad's followers met a man and asked him to become a Muslim. He asked them, "What is Islam?" They explained that to him. He said, "What if I refuse it? What would you do to me?" They answered, "We would kill you." Despite that, he refused to become a Muslim and they killed the poor man after he went and bade his wife farewell. She continued to weep over his corpse for days until she died of grief over her slain beloved who was killed for no reason.
On page 384, we read the following:
"Islamic law demands that before Muslims start fighting infidels (unbelievers), they first deliver the message of Islam to them. It was proven that the prophet never fought people before he called them to embrace Islam first. He used to command his generals to do so also."
Dr. 'Afifi (along with the Azhar scholars who revised his book) boasts that the prophet never fought anybody before he called them to Islam first! Those people fail to realize that human rights emphasize that when you call people to embrace any religion and they refuse to do so, you must leave them alone! You are not to fight them in order to force them to accept the new religion as Muhammad and his followers did.
We did not say that Muhammad did not call them to believe in Islam first. We acknowledge that, but we blame him because whenever they rejected his invitation, he fought and killed them Are these the human rights? Don't you understand, Dr. 'Afifi? Do Muhammad's teachings make you so blind that you fail to see the simplest principles of human rights? Do you not respect man's freedom to believe in whatever he wants? Muhammad had the right to call people to embrace Islam and to commission Khalid along with his followers to carry out this task; but he did not have the right to kill them if they refused to accept Islam.
Dr. 'Afifi says that eight kings and princes declined to accept Muhammad's mission; thus it was incumbent on the Muslims to fight them. We ask him: Why it was incumbent on them to fight those kings and princes? Is their refusal to accept Islam a reason for the Muslims to fight them? "Yes!" This is what all Muslim scholars say, without exception.
Let the people of the West and of the East ponder these events which took place in the course of Islamic history and during
In his book, "The Methodology of Islamic Law", Dr. Muhammad al-Amin says (page 17):
"God had made it clear to us that (we should) call for acceptance of Islam first, then wage war. It is not admissible to wage war before extending the invitation to embrace Islam first, as the Qur'an says. 'We verily sent our messenger with clear proofs and revealed to them the scripture and the balance, that mankind may observe right measure, and he revealed iron, wherein is mighty power and uses for mankind and that Allah (God) may know him who helps Him and his messengersAllah is strong, Almighty"' (Surah Iron 57:25).
Thus, God's words are, "We sent down iron, which has powerful might", followed His saying, "We have sent our apostles with signs." This denotes that if the signs and books fail, then unleash the sword against them, as the Muslim poet said, "The Book (Qur'an) offers guidance, and he who does not turn away (from evil) by the guidance of the book, He will be kept straight by the squadrons."
The reader may be confused and want to inquire about Muhammad's policy in spreading his mission. They may question his orders to his generals and his explicit attitude towards Abu Sufyan and say, "These attitudes prove to us that Islam forces people to accept it. The case is not limited to ignoring people's freedom and confiscating their properties only or sentencing the apostate to death, but it also calls for slaying whoever rejects Islam. What is the opinion of the scholar about that? Is force used as compulsion in accepting this religion?"
The Muslim scholars say, "Yes." There is compulsion used in accepting Islam, but this applies only to pagans and those who are irreligious. For Christians and Jews, the orders are to fight them and subject them to the ordinances of Islam, making them pay a poll-tax. In this case, they are spared death and are allowed to keep their faith. They are not forced to embrace Islam because they have three optionsbecome Muslims, fight, or pay the poll-tax. The irreligious have two options only: death or Islam. This is what the Muslim scholars say, and the Qur'an itself teaches the same.
Ibn Hazm and al-Baydawi
In volume 8, part 11, on page 196 Ibn Hazm remarks decisively,
"The prophet Muhammad did not accept from the Arab heathens less than Islam or the sword. This is compulsion of faith. No compulsion in faith (or religion) applies only to Christians or Jews because they are not to be forced to embrace the religion. They have the option either to embrace Islam, the sword, or to pay the poll-tax. In this case they can keep their own faith. It was truly said on the authority of the apostle of God that there is no compulsion in the faith.
"When the sacred months elapse, kill those who associate other gods with God, wherever you find them" (Surah 9:5).
The Imam al-Baydawi offers us (page 58 of his commentary) exactly the same interpretation.
Abu Bakr El Sadiq
In Al Road Al Anf (part 4, p. 240), Ibn Hisham indicates that Abu Bakr (the daily companion of Muhammad and among the first who believed in him) used to converse with Ibn Abu Rafi al-Ta'i and to say to him:
"Godto whom belong the might and exaltationhas sent Muhammad with this religion for which he fought until people entered this religion by hook or by crook."
This phrase, I believe, is self-explanatory"by crook" !
The Imam al-Shafi'i
In his famous book, "The Ordinances of Qur'an" (page 50 of the second part), the Shafi'i says:
"The apostle of God defeated the people until they entered Islam by hook or by crook."
Again we have this clear declaration"by crook". This is what actually happened.
The Qur'an Exposes the Aggressive Nature of Islam
The Qur'anic verses reveal to us the aggressive, hostile nature of the Islamic mission and of Muhammad. The Qur'an includes verses pertaining to fighting against infidels, as well as other verses related to Holy War against Christians and Jews.
Pertaining to the Infidels
"But when the sacred months elapse, then fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them and seize them, besiege them and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war). But if they repent and establish regular prayers, and practice regular charity, then open the way for them for Allah is oft-forgiving, Most Merciful" (Surah 9:5).Koran
How did Muslim scholars and chroniclers interpret this verse in order to understand what Muhammad did after the conquest of Mecca and its occupation?
In this commentary, which was published by the Azhar in 1983 (page 153), the authors say decisively,
"The chapter of Repentance was revealed to raise the level of security which the infidels enjoyed because Muhammad had earlier made a covenant with them not to kill them. After that, this verse was given (9:5) in order to free God and Muhammad from any covenant with the infidels. It gives them four months in which they will be protected, but by the end of the four months (the end of the grace period), the order comes: Kill the infidels wherever you find them. Capture them, besiege them in their castles and fortresses until they are forced to accept Islam or be killed."
As you see, this verse was inspired in order to free Muhammad (and God) from any peaceful and protective covenant which Muhammad made with the people of Mecca, as if the covenant were shameful behavior from which Muhammad (and his God) must free themselves. Nothing remains after that, except the pledge of war and massacre, as Ibn Hisham says later.
Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya.
Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya's book was published in Saudi Arabia (second edition) in 1981. In part 5, p. 90, this famous scholar tells us the following:
"When the prophet migrated from Mecca to Medina, God ordered him to fight those who fought him only. Then when the chapter of Repentance was revealed, God commanded His prophet to fight anyone who did not become a Muslim from among the Arabs, whether (that person) fought him or not. He did not command him to take the poll-tax from infidels."
This means that Arabs did not have a choice. They either had to embrace Islam or die by the sword. It is obvious then that God (according to the above interpretation) had ordered His prophet to fight anyone from among the Arabs who refused to become a Muslim whether he fought against Muhammad or not. This is overt aggression and unjustified attack against peaceful people.
Ibn Hisham: - Al Sohaily
In his book, "al-Rawd al-Anaf" which is the most famous book about Muhammad's life (part 4, p. 194), we read the following text:
"When Muhammad conquered Mecca and the Arabs realized that they were not able to wage war against Muhammad, they accepted the Islamic faith. But some of the infidels continued to be as they were. (They used to make pilgrimages also because this practice was in vogue among the people hundreds of years before Muhammad). Then suddenly Muhammad sent someone to announce to the Tribe of Quraysh that no pilgrimage would be allowed for the infidels after that year (9H); none would enter paradise unless he were a Muslim. Muhammad was going to give the infidels a respite for four months, and after that there would not be a covenant except the covenant of the sword and war (lit: piercing and the strike of the sword). After this period, people entered Islam by hook or by crook, and anyone who did not become a Muslim fled the Arabian Peninsula."
Ibn Hisham already quoted Muhammad's famous words:
"No two religions are to exist in the Arab Peninsula" (pp. 50, 51).
Ibn Kathir, Al-Baydawi-al-Tabari (The Pillars of Islam)
Isma'il Ibn Kathir reiterates the above interpretation on page 336 of his commentary. He also asserts that this verse (9:5) is the verse of the sword which abrogated any previous covenant between the prophet and the infidels. On pp. 246 and 247, the Baydawi borrows Ibn Kathir's explanation and indicates to us the four months which were Shawal, Dhu al-Qu'da, Dhu al-Hijja and Muharram. The Baydawi adds that after the elapse of these four months, the infidels must be taken as prisoners lest they enter Mecca. In this case, they don't have any choice except either to embrace Islam or to be killed. Al Tabari said the same words and the same explanation on p. 206, 207 of his commentary dar-el-Sheroq.
Dr. Muhammad Sa'id al-Buti
We would like to conclude our discussion about this verse by referring to the opinion of one of the most eminent scholars of Azhar and the Islamic world. In his book, "The Jurisprudence of the Biography", he says,
"The verse (9:5) does not leave any room in the mind to conjecture about what is called defensive war. This verse asserts that Holy War which is demanded in Islamic law, is not defensive war (as the Western students of Islam would like to tell us) because it could legitimately be an offensive war. That is the apex and most honorable of all Holy wars" (pp. 323, 324).
Dr. Sa'id, I wish that Westerners would actually believe your statement! I wish that Western people would drop any notion that Holy war is a defensive war! You really astonish me, though, because you regard the offensive war designed to spread the faith to be legal as if you had never heard of an agency in New York called the United Nations or of human rights. You even say that offensive war is "the apex and the most honorable Holy War" among all wars!
Pertaining to the People of the Book
Explicitly and shamelessly, the Qur'an declares (Chapter of Repentance, 9:29),
"Fight against those who have been given the scripture but believe not in Allah nor the last day, and who forbid not that which Allah has forbidden by His messenger, and who follow not the religion of truth, until they pay the tribute willingly, being brought into submission" (p. 182, English copy by Saudi Arabian scholars).
Muslim scholars have agreed on the interpretation of this transparent verse by which all the Muslim warriors were guided in their offensive, violent wars against peaceful people.
In his book, "The Lights of Revelation", a commentary on the Qur'an, he remarks,
"Fight Jews and Christians because they violated the origin of their faith and they do not believe in the religion of the truth, namely Islam, which abrogated all other religions. Fight them until they pay the poll-tax with submission and humiliation" (page 252).
Ibn Hisham Al Sohaily
In his book, "The Biography of the Apostle" (Al Road Al Anf, part 4, p. 201), Ibn Hisham repeats the above-mentioned quotation and adds,
"The poll-tax is to be paid by the Christian or the Jew forcibly and submissively. It is to spare their lives; that is, they pay it in lieu of being killed because if they did not pay it, they would be killed unless they intended to become Muslims, then they would be exempted from paying it."
Lastly, we would like to refer to the Shafi'i's statement in his book, "The Ordinances of the Qur'an" (part 2, p. 50),
"The apostle of God killed and captured (many) of the people of the Book until some of them embraced Islam, and he imposed the poll-tax on some others."
For God's sake, Muhammad! You killed and captured Jews and Christians, who believe in one Godthe followers of Moses and Jesusand forced them either to embrace Islam or to pay the poll-tax!