Invitation to the truth

Western Historians on The Islamic Conquests

Compiled by The University of Northumbria Islamic Society, with Notes
In his book "Civilization of the Arabs," Dr. Gustav LeBon says, "The reader will find, in my treatment of the Arabs' conquests and the reason of their victories, that force was never a factor in the spread of the Koranic[1] teachings, and that the Arabs left those they had subdued free to exercise their religious beliefs. If it happened that some Christian peoples embraced Islam and adopted Arabic as their language, it was mainly due to the various kinds of justice on the part of the Arab victors, with the like of which the non-Moslems were not acquainted. It was also due to the tolerance and leniency of Islam, which was unknown to the other religions."

In another place of his book, Dr. LeBon adds, "The early Arab conquests might have blurred their common sense and made them commit the sorts of oppression which conquerors usually commit, and thus ill-treat the subdued and compel them to embrace the Faith they wanted to spread all over the globe. Had they done so, all nations, which were still not under their control, might have turned against them, and they might have suffered what had befallen the Crusaders in their conquest of Syria lately. However, the early Caliphs[2], who enjoyed a rare ingenuity which was unavailable to the propagandists of new faiths, realized that laws and religion cannot be imposed by force. Hence they were remarkably kind in the way they treated the peoples of Syria, Egypt, Spain and every other country they subdued, leaving them to practise their laws and regulations and beliefs and imposing only a small Jizya[3] in return for their protection and keeping peace among them. In truth, nations have never known
merciful and tolerant conquerors like the Arabs."

He further explains, "The mercy and tolerance of the conquerors were among the reasons for the spread of their conquests and for the nations' adoptions of their Faith and regulations and language, which becamse deeply rooted, resisted all sorts of attack and remained even after the disappearance of the Arabs' control on the world stage, though historians deny the fact. Egypt is the most evident proof of this. It adopted what the Arabs had brought over, and reserved it. Conquerors before the Arabs -- the Persians, Greeks and Byzantines -- could not overthrow the ancient Pharaoh civilization and impose what they had brought instead."

Then in another place he adds, "A few impartial European scholars, who are well-versed in the history of the Arabs, do confirm this tolerance. Robertson, in his book "Biography of Charlequin," says that the Moslems alone were the ones who joined between Jihad and tolerance toward the followers of other faiths whom they had subdued, leaving to them the freedom to perform their religious rites."

In his book "History of the Crusades," Michel Michaud says, "Islam, besides calling for Jihad, reveals tolerance toward the followers of other religions. It released the patriarchs, priests and their servants from the obligations of taxes. It prohibited, in special, the killing of priests for their performance of worship, and Omar Ibn Al-Khattab[4] did not inflict harm on the Christians when he entered Jerusalem as a conqueror. The Crusaders, however, did slay Moslems and burn the Jews when they entered the city."

In his book, "Islam: Impressions and Studies," Count de Castri says, "After the Arabs yielded to, and believed in the Koran, and people received enlightenment through the True Religion, the Moslems appeared with a new show to the peoples of the earth, with conciliation and treatment on basis of free thinking and belief. The Koranic verses then succeeded one another, calling on kind treatment, after those verses in which warnings had been addressed to the heretic tribes... Such were the instructions of the Apostle after the Arabs had embraced Islam, and the Caliphs who succeeded Mohammed followed his example. This makes me say with Robertson that the people of Mohammed were the only ones who combined kindness to others and the pleasure of seeing their Faith spread. It was this affection that pushed the Arabs on the way of conquest, a doubtless reason. The Koran spread its wings behind its victorious troops that invaded Syria and moved on like a thunderbolt to North Africa, from
the Red Sea to the Atlantic, without leaving a trace of tyranny on
the way, except what is inescapable in every war, and never did they
massacre a nation who rejected Islam...

The spread of Islam and the submission to its authority seem to have another reason in the continents of Asia and North Africa. It was the despotism of Constantinpole which exercised extreme tyranny, and the injustice of rulers was too much for people to bear...

Islam was never imposed by sword or by force, but it got into the hearts of people out of longing and free will, due to the talents of stimulation and captivation of people's hearts, lodged in the Koran."

Many historians admit that the spread of Islam among the Christians
of the Eastern Churches, was mainly due to a feeling of dissatisfaction that arose from the doctrinal sophistry which the Hellenistic spirit brought over to Christian theology. It was also due to the abundance of good that such Eastern Christians found in Islam, and due to its ability to rescue them from the disorder they were struggling in. In Caetani, for instance, one reads, "Known for its preference of simple and plain views, the East suffered, religiously, a great deal from the evil consequences of the Hellenistic culture which turned the refined teachings of Christ into an ideology rampant with complicated doctrines and doubts. This led to the rise of a feeling of despair, and even shook the very foundations of religious belief. When, at last, news suddenly came from the desert of the New Revelation, such Eastern Christianity, being torn by inner splits, was shattered... Its foundations were shaken, and, due to such doubts, the clergy of the church were taken by despair. Christianity was incapable, after this, of resisting the appeals of the New Faith which eliminated, with a mighty blow, all the trivial doubts and offered graceful, positive qualities in addition to its doubtless, simple and plain principles. It was then that the East forsake Christ[5] and threw itself into the lap of the Prophet of Arabs."

[1] Many Western authors inaccurately use Koran and Koranic instead of Qur'an and Qur'anic. The latter more closely reflects the proper pronounciation in Arabic

[2] The Caliph (Arabic: Khalifah) is the head of state of the Muslim Nation (Arabic: Ummah)

[3] Jizyah is a tax levied on non-Muslim citizens of the Islamic State, in lieu of military service and taxes paid by Muslim citizens. In return, they receive the security and protection of the state

[4] Umar ibn al-Khattab was one of the greatest companions of the Prophet Muhammad(P). He became the second Caliph, and under his leadership the Muslims liberated Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Egypt

[5] To embrace Islam is to become a more faithful follower of Jesus(P) - read more about Christianity