After the death of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in 632 C.E, initially the early Muslim caliphates, the Arabs, then the Persians and later the Turks set about to convey the message of Islam to the humanity. In process they created classical Islamic civilization. Later, in the 13th century, both Africa and India became great centers of Islamic civilization and soon thereafter Muslim kingdoms were established in the Far East in Malay-Indonesian world while Muslims flourished in China with the efforts of Muslim traders and preachers. It is unprecedented in the history of mankind wherein the uncivilized people of the desert, became torch bearers of the great civilization of the world with in a short period of 23 years. It was only possible due to the strict adherence to the faith of Islam, its doctrine, beliefs and practices, effectively preached and demonstrated by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). His successors carried forward his mission with zeal and devotion, enjoining good and forbidding evil; and observing the limits set by Allah. Consequently Muslims armies after consolidation of the their hold in Arabian Peninsula had swept completely across North Africa to the Atlantic Ocean by 711 C.E. There they turned north and, crossing the Strait of Gibraltar, overwhelmed the Visigothic kingdom in Spain to liberate the masses from the tyrannical, suppressive and corrupt rule of King Roderick. Had the advancing Muslim armies not been checked at the centre of France in the Battle of Tours in 732 C.E they might have over run the entire Europe. Later Vienna was unsuccessfully besieged by Ottoman Turks, first in 1529 C.E and again in 1683 C.E, had they succeeded, the course of European history might have been different. However the Muslims had carved out an empire stretching from the borders of India to the Atlantic Ocean, the largest empire that the world had yet seen. The super power status facilitated in extending the Muslim influence and in conveying the message of Islam world over, even in the areas not directly under Muslim rule. Forced conversion is forbidden in Islam (Qur’an;2:256), as evident that, despite Muslim rule in Spain, India and Eastern Europe for centuries, the majority of population remained non Muslim and freely continued to practice their faith. Where as, after the end of eight centuries of Muslim rule in Spain (711-1492 C.E) Muslims and Jews were forced to convert to Christianity and those who declined, were expelled by force. The Muslim traders and preachers through their good conduct and moral righteousness achieved the miracle of conversion in Indonesia, Malaysia in the Far East. The East coast of Africa as far down as Mozambique, as well as the bulk of the inhabitants on the West coast of the continent are Muslims, but history does not record any invading hoards of Muslims from anywhere. This forced De Lacy O’Leary in to write: ‘History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated.’ (“Islam at the Crossroads” London, 1923, p.8). Despite all the negative propaganda by the hostile media, even after 9/11, Islam remains the fastest growing religion in North America and Europe, no one is carrying the sword to force the conversion.
The obligation of conveying the message of true faith by instituting the rule of Allah, was nevertheless used by some medieval Muslim rulers to justify wars motivated by purely political ambitions. The only comparable conquests in human history are those of the Mongols in the thirteenth century, which were primarily due to the influence of Genghis Khan. These conquests, however, though more extensive than those of the Muslims, did not prove permanent, because they lacked any ideological base, they were just conquests for worldly gains, power and plunder. Most of descendents of Genghis Khan ultimately embraced Islam and contributed towards further enhancing the glory of Islamic civilization. Hence today the only areas occupied by the Mongols are those that they held prior to the time of Genghis Khan. Similarly the empire established through conquests by Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) could hardly survive Alexander’s death as a unit. These empires did not give birth to any new civilization based on sound ideology, which could exist for long in the history. The Muslim conquests of the seventh century and thereafter have continued to play an important role in human history, down to the present day due to the significance and capacity of Islamic civilization to influence the humanity, which emerged from the direction provided by Islam in the moral, spiritual, sociopolitical, economic and all other aspects of human life.