A common misconception that has resurfaced recently and this time in a magnified, out-of-proportion blow is that the instrument for the spread of Islam was force. This is indeed an age-old allegation, the root of which kept on growing with hatred against Islam, to stop the progress of truth, peace and harmony.
Islam never advocated compulsion. If the Holy Quran, the books of Hadith and historical records are carefully examined, studied and listened to attentively, as far as possible, one is bound to reach one positive conclusion. That conclusion is that the allegation that Islam permitted the use of sword - or any other armament for that matter - for the spread of religion is shameless and utterly unfounded. This, in fact, is the view held by only those who have not studied the Holy Quran or the Traditions or other reliable sources of Islamic history without prejudice.
Some have even gone to the extent of fabricating lies and levying unfounded charges upon Islam without inhibition. I know that the time is approaching fast when those who are hungry and thirsty for Truth will see through their deception.
Can a religion be described as a religion of compulsion when its Holy Book, the Quran, has categorically prohibited the use of force for the spread of faith? So says the Holy Quran: There is NO COMPULSION in religion. (2: 257).
Can we accuse that great prophet of using force against others, who for thirteen years, day and night, exhorted all his companions in Mecca not to return evil for evil but to forbear and forgive. When, however, the mischief of the enemy exceeded all limits and when the various peoples around him made determined efforts to exterminate Islam, God’s attribute that He always defends His beloved one so demanded, “Let those who raised the sword perish by the sword.”
Otherwise in no way has the Holy Quran permitted compulsion in religion. Had compulsion been employed any way in winning converts and the companions of our Holy Prophet (pbuh) been the fruit of compulsion it would have been impossible for them to have demonstrated at the time of trials, such steadfastness and sincerity as only true believers could have displayed. The loyalty and faithfulness of the companions of our master, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) is a fact so well known as need no comment from us. It is no secret that among them were examples of loyalty and steadfastness the parallel of which is difficult to find in the annals of other nations.
This body of faithful did not waver in their loyalty and steadfastness even under brandishing swords. On the contrary, in the company of their Great and Holy Prophet (pbuh) they displayed such steadfastness which no man can demonstrate unless his heart and his bosom are lit up with the light of faith. Hence, no compulsion had any role to play in Islam. None of the true Muslims, who ever lived, maintained that force should be employed in the spread of Islam. On the other hand, Islam has always flourished on the strength of its inherent qualities of excellence.
Those who do have the distinction of being called Muslims, yet believe that Islam should be spread with force, do not seem to have any awareness of the inherent beauties of Islam.
Spread Love and Goodwill Everywhere
Having dispelled that allegation, what can the Muslims do to create a better understanding in their relationship with other communities?
The phrase ‘Love for all, Hatred for None’ should truly - and not in name and lips only - pervade our lives for it is a sharp contrast to some who sow seeds of hatred and cause division and disunity leading to distrust, discrimination, lawlessness, mayhem and disorder. Such people view others with suspicion and create an atmosphere of fear. Like I told you before, ‘Islamophobia’ is such a phobia which is not associated with any other religion or cult.
There are many amongst such people who do not even know who their neighbours are. There are many who ignore the teachings of their religions to love their neighbours. There is thus a divide between people: it is them and us, all the time. We must overcome this gap. If centuries of civilisation brought people together, do we want to unwind the clock and begin to live in our isolated cocoons?
The principle to which I adhere is that we have kindness at heart for the whole of mankind. I love mankind with the love that a compassionate mother has for her children, even more so. I am only the enemy of the false doctrines which kill truth. Human sympathy is my duty. My principle is to discard falsehood. I reject paganism, wrong-doings, misconduct, injustice and immorality.
If all of us began to practice this principle of reaching out and expressing kindness to our neighbour, and each neighbour did the same, then the mutual benefits would extend to the larger world community. In Islam, an amazingly powerful emphasis is laid on developing love for mankind and on the vital importance of showing mercy and sympathy towards every creature of Almighty Allah, including human beings and animals. For indeed, love and true sympathy are the very antidotes of terrorism.
May Allah enable each one of us as well as the rest of mankind to cultivate such positivity in us as to help us in enabling the blooming of the garden of life with love, peace and harmony as to profit our near and dear, our neighbours, and the entire human race. Insha-Allah, Ameen.
----Friday Sermon of 12 August 2016 ~ (08 Dhul Qaddah 1437 AH) delivered by Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.