“The virtue and the superiority of Christianity is inferred from the fact that it is spreading very fast among people on account of its effects compatible with daily life and universal domination. Allâhu ta’âlâ has sent Christianity down to earth as a true religion superior to other religions. The abolitions, catastrophies, dissipations falling upon Jewry are all obvious punishments inflicted upon them by Allah as a result of their denying Christianity.
“If it is asserted that with the rising of Islam, Christianity was abrogated; it is questionable whether Islam is superior to Christianity in its liveliness, life-style, or in its capability of attracting people’s hearts, or whether Christians were condemned with the same terrifying catastrophes with the rising of Islam as had been sent upon Jewry. Christianity spread for three hundred years, without any state power. Islam, on the other hand, was transformed from religion to state power before the Hegira. For this reason, it is a difficult task to make a sound comparison between Islam and Christianity as to the spiritual and incorporeal effects they have upon the human heart. However, Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ called people to religion for three years. Many people became his followers within this period. He chose the twelve apostles from among them. Sometime later he chose seventy more people in the name of ‘Apostles of Gospel’. He sent them forth to guide people to the true path. Later he gathered a hundred and twenty more people. As reported by apostles, it is written clearly in St. Paul’s epistles that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’, within the forty days before his death, sent forth 500 Christian believers to call people to religion.”
This booklet, which they published in Istanbul, goes on as follows: “According to Arabic historians, such as Ibn Is-hâq, Wâqidî, Tabarî, Ibni Sa’d, etc., the first believers of Muhammad ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’ are only hadrat Hadîja, his wife; Zayd bin Hârisa, his adopted son and slave; Alî bin Ebî Tâlib, his paternal uncle’s son; Abû Bakr-i Siddîq, his faithful friend and companion in the cave; and a few slaves who had been generously benefited by this last one. Up to the time of hadrat ’Umar’s conversion to Islam, i.e. the sixth year of Bi’that, the number of Muslim converts were fifty. In some other report there is a mention of forty to forty-five men and ten to eleven women. In fact, by the tenth year of Bi’that, the number of the second group of Muslims that migrated to Abyssinia because of the persecutions and hostile treatments inflicted by the Meccan polytheists, reached one hundred and one, eighty-three of which were men and eighteen were women. (Bi’that means Hadrat Muhammad’s ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wasallam’ being designated as the Messenger of Allah.) Wâqidî says in his book that the number of muhâjirs that took part in the holy war of Bedr, which was fought nineteen months after the Hegira, was eighty-three. Accordingly, within the period of thirteen years before the Hegira, believers of Muhammad ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’ were only one hundred. It is written in history books, again, that the number of those who joined him during the Hegira was only seventy-three men and two women. These contrasts make clear which has more positive effect on the hearts: Islam or Christianity. For, if a comparison is made between the number of people who believed Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ through mere preaching without any compulsion or enforcement and those who believed Muhammad ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’ under the same conditions, it will be seen that, whereas one hundred and eighty people believed Muhammad ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’ as a result of this thirteen years’ invitation, Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ had more than five hundred believers within a period of three years. Afterwards, there became differences between Islam and Christianity with respect to modes of spreading. The reasons for these differences were only the methods and media used. First of all, the umma of Muhammad ‘alaihis-salâm’ were belligerent. Being victorious after wars, they improved and became widely known suddenly. Indeed, Islam did not spread owing to its powerful effect on the hearts, as was the case with Christianity. The early Christians, on the other hand, endured Persians’ persecutions and torments for three hundred years. Although they confronted with various hindrances, their number expanded so rapidly that there were several million Christians already by A.D. 313, when Constantine I converted to Christianity. People defeated by Muslims were, outwardly, not forced to accept Islam. But through various discouragements they were deprived of their national customs and traditions. In addition to being subjected to various hostile treatments, they were prohibited from the occasions in which to perform their religious rites. They had no other way than bearing these impediments and oppressions. This came to mean that they were intangibly compelled to accept Islam. For example, more than four thousand churches are reported to have been demolished in the time of ’Umar-ul-Fârûq ‘radiy-Allâhu anh’. It is no wonder that thousands of ignorant, worldly or unprotected people accepted Islam in order to acquire property or position in the chaos of those days. This spreading of Islam is like the appearing of universal conquerors such as Alexander the Great. The great conquests carried on by Muslims does not show that Qur’ân al-kerîm is a book sent by Allah. In fact, all these conquests and performances of Muslims were not appreciated by those Christians that were under their domination. On the other hand, Christians’ call had a stronger effect on Persians. For, there cannot even be a smallest pagan society in Europe today. However, there are very many Christians in Muslim countries.
“Having refused Christianity, Jewry was doomed to the wrath of Allâhu ta’âlâ. They were expatriated from their homelands and became an evil nation expelled from wherever they went. Did Christians undergo at minimum the same, let alone more, catastrophes as those of Jewry, for having refused Islam? Today there are some 150 million Muslims on the earth, whereas the number of Christians is over 300 million. A true religion sent by Allah will enjoin justice and reason. It will bestow the fortune of approaching Allâhu ta’âlâ by means of perfect belief and worship. This religion will elevate its believers to highest grades and guide them to material and spiritual peace. These are doubtless facts. If Christianity had been invalidated with the rising of Islam, Islamic countries would necessarily be superior to other countries in respect of wealth and welfare. Now then, Islam’s place of birth is Arabia, which was under Muslims’ domination in the time of Muhammad ‘sall-Allâhu alaihi wasallam’. Later, in the time of the early caliphs, Muslims subdued and dominated many wealthy nations of the world. Nevertheless, the fortune that was obtained in a short time was lost again equally soon. Even today, the Arabs are in misery. Most Muslim countries are desolate, and their land is deprived of agriculture. Muslims living there are far from wealth, civilisation and improvement. They need Europe’s help in knowledge and arts. In fact, when they need an engineer they bring one from Europe. The youth’s navigational and military education and training is entrusted to Christian instructors. Weapons used by Muslim soldiers in wars, sheets of paper that scholars and secretaries write on, and most of the clothings worn and the things used by them, from the youngest to the oldest, are made in Europe. Can anyone deny the fact that they are brought from there? Even the arms used by Muslim soldiers are brought from Europe. On the other hand, Europe has improved and made progress with respect to population, education, state and wealth. They have built immaculate hospitals, orderly schools and orphanages. Now they are trying to promulgate Christianity by establishing hospitals in other countries and sending teachers and books. As for Muslims; why do they not spend any effort to call pagans and Christians to Islam, publish millions of translations of Qur’ân al-kerîm, or send forth scholars and messengers? If Islam’s rising had abrogated and invalidated Christianity, would the state of affairs be as it is now?...”
ANSWER: When the theories put forth in the booklets published by Christian missionaries are summarized; the hypothesis that Christianity is a true, validated religion superior to the Islamic religion has been based on the following few proofs: the rapid spreading of Christianity; the fact that the grave catastrophes that fell upon Jewry did not fall upon Christians; Islam’s spreading by the sword, i.e. by fighting, v.s. Christianity’s spreading by preaching, kindness, and feeling of mercy for people; Christians’ outnumbering Muslims; Christian states’ being powerful; Christians’ being ahead of Muslims in industry, wealth and improvement; their trying to do good and paying special attention to this; the fact that there are no pagans in Europe while there are Christians and Jews all over Islamic countries.
In response to their first proof, “The rapid spreading of Christianity”, it will be enough to quote from Sale, a priest, a Christian historian, and a translator of Qur’ân al-kerîm. [George Sale died in 1149 (A.D. 1736). He was a British orientalist. He translated Qur’ân al-kerîm into English in 1734. In the introduction to his translation he gave detailed information about Islam. It was the first translation of Qur’ân al-kerîm in a European language.] In this translation, which was printed in 1266 [A.D. 1850], he states, “Before the Hegira (Hijra) the blessed city of Medina did not have a single home whence Muslims did not go out. That is, Islam had already entered every home in Medina. If a person asserts that ‘Islam spread in other countries only by the sword’, this will be a vain and ignorant accusation. For there is many a country whose people accepted Islam without even having heard the word sword. They became Muslims by hearing Qur’ân al-kerîm, whose rhetoric impresses the hearts.”
There are innumerous events exemplifying the fact that Islam did not spread with the force of the sword. For example. Abû Zer-i Ghifârî, his brother Unays, and their blessed mother Ummu Zer ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anhum” were among the early Muslims. Later, upon Abû Zer-i Ghifârî’s invitation, half of the Benî Ghifâr tribe became Muslims. By the tenth year of Bi’that, the number of the As-hâb-i-kirâm ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anhum” who migrated to Abyssinia from Mekka was 101, eighty-three men and eighteen women. These excluded, a large number of Sahâbîs remained in Mekka-i-mukarrama (the blessed city of Mekka). In the meantime, twenty Christians from Najran became Muslims. Dimâd-i-Ezdî became a Believer before the tenth year of Bi’that. Tufayl Ibn Amr ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ became a Muslim together with his parents and all the people of his tribe before the Hijra. In Medina-i munawwara (the blessed city of Medina), the Benî Sahl tribe were honoured with Islam before the Hijra, owing to the benefic preaches of Mus’ab bin Umayr ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’. The inhabitants of Medina-i-munawwara became Believers before the Hijra with the exception of Amr bin Thâbit ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh”, who became a Believer after the Holy War of Uhud. Even the bedouins living in the villages near Nejd and Yemen became Muslims. After the Hijra Buraydat-ul-Eslemî ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ and seventy other people came and became Muslims altogether. Najâshî, the Abyssinian emperor, became a Believer before the Hijra. [Abyssinian emperors are called Najâshî (Negus). The name of the Negus contemporary with Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wasallam’ was As-hâma. He was a Christian and then became a Muslim.] Also Abû Hind, Temîm, and Na’îm became Muslims together with their relatives, and four other respectable persons sent presents bearing the meaning that they believed Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ and then became Muslims. Before the Holy War of Bedr, in Medina and in its neighbourhood there were already several thousand people who had become Muslims by listening to the merciful, compassionate preaches of our master, Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’, who is the most beloved one of Allâhu ta’âlâ, and hearing Qur’ân al-kerîm, which has been admitted by all the Arabic rhetoricians and which has always filled people with feelings of submission and admiration. The number of people who believed Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ during the period of his invitation was, according to Biblical estimation, only one hundred and two. The number of people having the honour of joining the religion of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ upon seeing the extraordinary events that took place after the execution of hadrat Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’, which is the belief held by Christians, reached only five hundred. [The absolute truth is that Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ was neither executed nor crucified. Allâhu ta’âlâ elevated him alive to the heavens.]
It is written in Qisâs-i Enbiyâ that the number of Muslim soldiers who conquered Mekka-i-mukarrama in the eighth year of the Hijra was twelve thousand, that more than thirty thousand Muslims from Medina joined the Holy War of Tabuk in the ninth year of the Hijra, and that (the Prophet’s) farewell hajj was performed with more than a hundred thousand Muslims in the tenth year of the Hijra.
It is recorded in all books that the number of the As-hâb-i-kirâm ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anhum ajma’în’ who had had the honour of believing Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ before his honouring the hereafter with his blessed presence reached hundred and twenty-four thousand (124,000). After Rasûlullah’s ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ honouring the next world with his blessed presence, the event of Museylemet-ul-kezzâb took place. Abû Bakr as-Siddîq ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’, who was the first Khalîfa, sent more than 12,000 Islamic soldiers against Museylemet-ul-kezzâb. In this Holy War more than nine hundred hâfidh al-Qur’ân reached the rank of martyrdom. How many Muslims, men and women, should there have been under the command of a caliph who sent twelve thousand soldiers to Medina, which is a distance of several stages of travel? Which spread wider and faster, Christianity, or Islam? Owners of wisdom should draw their own conclusions!
Three or four years after the passing of Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’, ’Umar-ul-Fârûq ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’, the second Khalîfa, sent forth an army of forty thousand Muslims and conquered the whole of Iran up to India; Asia Minor up to Konya; and Syria, Palestine and Egypt. Most of the people living in these places saw the justice and beautiful morality in the Islamic religion and thus were honoured with becoming Muslims. Very few remained in their former wrong religions such as Christianity, Judaism and magi. Thus, as unanimously stated by historians, the number of Muslims living in Islamic countries reached twenty or thirty million in such a very short time as ten years. On the other hand, as is asserted by Christian missionaries, Constantine I accepted Christianity three hundred years after Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’. With his help and reinforcement, the number of Christians reached only six million. The comparison between the number of Muslims reaching thirty million in ten years and the number of Christians reaching six million in three hundred years elucidates which religion spread more rapidly.
Their assertion that “Islam spread only by the sword, by fighting” is equally unfounded. For, when ’Umar-ul-Fârûq ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ conquered a place, he would give its inhabitants the freedom to accept Islam or to remain Christians and pay the tax called jizya. So they would choose the way they liked. The highest rate of jizya they paid was no more than a few pounds when compared with today’s money; having to give such a small amount of tax could not compel those who were rich to renegade from their religion. The property, the chastity and the religious freedom of those who paid the jizya were like those of Muslims, and all were treated equally and with justice. Giving a few pounds of jizya yearly was in return for the protection of their property, chastity and rights; is it possible to find a few people that will renegade from their fathers’ and grandfathers’ religion in order not to pay this amount?
[It is said as follows in the (Turkish) book Herkese Lâzım Olan Îmân (Îmân That is Necessary for Everyone): The history professor Shiblî Nu’manî, the chief of India’s Nadwat-ul-’ulamâ assembly and the author of the well-known book, Al-Intiqâd, died in 1332 (A.D. 1914). His book Al-Fârûq, in Urdu, was translated into Persian by General Esedullah Khan’s mother, (who was at the same time) the sister of the Afghan ruler Nâdir Shah, and (the translation) was printed in Lahor city in 1352 (A.D. 1933) with Nâdir Shah’s command. It is written in its hundred and eightieth page: “Abû Ubayda bin Jerrah, the commander-in-chief of the Islamic army that routed the great armies of the Byzantine Greek Kaiser Heraclius, when he conquered a city, would have someone shout out the Khalîfa ’Umar’s commands to the Byzantine people. When he conquered the Humus city in Syria, he said, ‘O thou Byzantine people! By Allah’s help, obeying the command of our Khalîfa ’Umar, we have taken this city, too. You are all free in your trade, work, and worship. No one shall touch your property, lives, or chastity. Islam’s justice shall be practised equally on you, all your rights shall be observed. We shall protect you, as we protect Muslims, against the enemy coming from without. In return for this service of ours, we ask you to pay jizya once a year, as we receive zakât and ’ushr from Muslims. Allâhu ta’âlâ commands us to serve you and to take jizya from you’. [The rate of jizya is forty grams of silver from the poor, eighty grams from those of moderate means, and hundred and sixty grams from the rich, or the amount of property or grain equal in value. Women, children, invalids, the destitute, old people, men of religious service are not liable to jizya.] The Byzantine Greeks of Humus delivered their jizya willingly to Habîb bin Muslim, the superintendent of Bayt-ul-mâl. When the intelligence came that the Byzantine Greek Emperor Heraclius was recruiting soldiers throughout his country and making preparations for a huge crusading campaign against Antioch, it was decided that the army in Humus must join the forces in Yermuk. Abû Ubayda ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ had his officials announce his following statements: ‘O thou Christians! I promised to serve you, to protect you. And in return for this I collected jizya from you. But now I have been commanded by the Khalîfa to go and help my brethren that will be performing Holy War against Heraclius. I will not be able to abide by my promise to you. Therefore, take your jizya back from the Bayt-ul-mâl, all of you! Your names and how much you each have given are registered in our book.’ The same thing happened in most cities of Syria. Upon seeing this justice, this mercy in Muslims, Christians were delighted for having been saved from the cruelty and oppression of the Byzantine emperors that they had been suffering for years. They wept with joy. Most of them became Muslims willingly. They volunteered to spy upon Byzantine armies for Muslim armies. Thus Abû Ubayda was informed daily with all the novements of Heraclius’ armies. In the grand Yermuk campaign, these Byzantine spies were of much help. The establishment and spreading of Islamic states was never based on aggression or killing. The greatest and the most essential power maintaining and enlivening these states was the power of îmân, justice, rectitude and self-sacrifice.”]
Russians have been taking one gold yearly for every individual Muslim, from the smallest children to the oldest people alike, in Kazan, Uzbekistan, Crimea, Daghistan and Turkistan, which they have been invading for a hundred years. With all this and, in addition, various kinds of torments and oppressions such as compulsory military service, prohibition from speaking Turkish in schools and coersion to learn Russian, how many Muslims in Russia have become Christians throughout all these years? In fact, as a result of the peace agreement made after the Crimean War, the Christians that had remained in the Ottoman land were allowed to migrate to Russia and the Muslims being in Russia could go to the Ottoman territory. Thus, more than two million Muslims migrated from Russia to the Ottoman country. On the other hand, though the Russians offered to pay 20 roubles as the travelling expense for each Christian to migrate to their side, the Christians that were used to living in comfort and ease under the Ottoman government could not be taken in by Russia’s promise; they did not barter away Islam’s bestowments of rights and freedom for going there.
The statement, “Hadrat ’Umar ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ had four thousand churches demolished,” is an apparent slander against all the historical facts. According to Christian historians, when ’Umar ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ conquered Jerusalem, the Christians suggested that he could choose any of their churches as a temple for themselves (Muslims). ’Umar refused this offer vehemently. He performed his first prayer of namâz outside, instead of in a church. He had the site called Haykal-i-muqaddas [the site of Bayt-i-muqaddas], which had been a rubbish heap for a long time, cleaned, and had a beautiful mosque built there.
The course of action that Muslims are obligated to follow in their dealings with Christians and Jews is prescribed in the following letter which Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ himself wrote in a manner to address to all Muslims in general:
“This Letter has been written to inform of the promise that Muhammad ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’, the son of Abdullah, has given to all Christians. Janâb-i Haqq has given the good news that He has sent him as His compassion; he has warned people of the wrath of Allâhu ta’âlâ, and He has given him the task of safekeeping the deposit entrusted to mankind. This Muhammad ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ has had this letter recorded in order to document the promise he has given to all non-Muslims. If anyone acts contrary to this promise, whether he be a sultan or else, he will have rebelled against Janâb-i-Haqq and made fun of His religion, and will therefore deserve His condemnation. If a Christian priest or tourist is fasting with the intention of worship in a mountain, in a valley, in a desert, in a verdure, in a low place or in the sand. I, on behalf of myself, my friends and acquaintances and all my nation, have revoked all sorts of obligation from them. They are under my protection. I have forgiven them all sorts of taxes they have had to pay as a requirement of the agreements we made with other Christians. They may not pay jizya or kharadj, or they may give as much as they wish. Do not force or oppress them. Do not depose their religious leaders. Do not evict them from their temples. Do not prevent them from travelling. Do not demolish any part of their monasteries or churches. Do not confiscate things from their churches or use them in Muslims’ mosques. Whoever does not obey this will have rebelled against the command of Allah and His Messenger and will therefore be sinful. Do not take such taxes as jizya and gharâmat from those people who do not do trade but are always busy over worshipping, no matter where they are. I will preserve their debts on sea or land, in the east or in the west. They are under my protection. I have given them immunity. Do not take kharadj or ’ushr [tithe] for the crops of those who live in mountains and are busy with worships. Do not allot a share for the Bayt-ul-mâl [the State Treasury] out of their crops. For, their agriculture is intended merely for subsistence, not for making profit. When you need men for Jihâd (Holy War), do not resort to them. If it is necessary to take jizya [income tax] (from them), do not take more than twelve dirhams yearly, however rich they may be and however much property they may have. They are not to be taxed with troubles or burdens. If there should be an argument with them, they shall be treated only with pity, kindness, and compassion. Always protect them under your wings of mercy and compassion. Wherever they are, do not maltreat Christian women married to Muslim men. Do not prevent them from going to their church and doing the worships prescribed by their religion. Whoever disobeys or acts contrary to this commandment of Allâhu ta’âlâ will have revolted against the commands of Janâb-i-Haqq and His Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’. They shall be helped to repair their churches. This agreement shall be valid and shall remain unchanged till the end of the world and no one shall be allowed to act contrary to it.”
This agreement was written down by Alî ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ in the Masjîd-i-sa’âdat in Medina on the third day of the month of Muharram in the second year of the Hijra. The signatures appended are:
Muhammad bin Abdullah Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’.
Abû Bakr bin Ebî-Kuhâfa
’Umar bin Hattâb
’Uthmân bin Affân
Alî bin Ebî Tâlib
Abdullah bin Mes’ûd
Abbâs bin ’Abd-al-muttalib
Fadl bin Abbâs
Zubayr bin Awwâm
Talha bin Abdullah
Sa’d bin Mu’âz
Sa’d bin Ubâda
Thâbit bin Qays
Zayd bin Thâbit
Hâris bin Thâbit
Abdullah bin ’Umar
Ammar bin Yâsir
‘radiy-Allâhu ’anhum ajma’în’.
[As is seen, our exalted Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ commands that people of other religions should be treated with utmost mercy and kindness and Christians’ churches should not be harmed or demolished.]
Now we are writing the immunity granted by ’Umar ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ to the people of Jerusalem.
“This letter is the letter of immunity given by Abdullah ’Umar ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’, the Emîr of Muslims, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and has been written so as to comprehend their existence, their lives, churches, children, the invalid ones as well as the healthy ones, and all other peoples; as follows:
“Muslims shall not intrude into their churches, burn or destroy their churches, demolish any part of their churches, appropriate even a tiniest piece of their property, or use any sort of enforcement to make them change their religion or modes of worship or convert to Islam. No Muslim shall give them the smallest harm. If they want to leave their hometown by their own accord, their lives, property and chastity shall be protected till they have reached their destination. If they want to stay here they shall be in total security. Only they shall pay the jizya [income tax] which is incumbent upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem. If some of the people of Jerusalem and Byzantines want to leave here together with their families and portable property and evacuate their churches and other places of worship, their lives, churches, travel expenses and possessions shall be protected till they reach their destination. The aliens shall not be taxed at all till harvest, no matter whether they stay here or go away.
The commands of Allâhu ’azîmush-shân and Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ and the promises given by all Islamic Khalîfas and all Muslims are as is written in this letter.”
Muslims’ Khalîfa ’Umar bin Hattâb
Khâlid bin Welîd
’Abd ar-Rahmân bin Awf
’Amr ibn il-’Âs
Muâwiya bin Ebî Sufyân:
’Umar ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ attended the siege of Jerusalem with his blessed presence. Christians accepted to pay the jizya and went under the protection of Muslims. [They handed the keys of Jerusalem to ’Umar ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ himself.] Thus they were free from the heavy taxations, persecutions, torments, oppressions and cruelties of their own state, Byzantium. Soon they saw the justice and mercy in Muslims, whom they were looking on as their enemies. They realized that Islam was a religion commanding goodness and beauty and guiding people to happiness pertaining to this world and the next. Without the least compulsion or threatening, they accepted Islam in large groups which were mostly the size of a quarter of a town. You can now estimate the multitude of people who became Muslims in all other places.
In ten years’ time Islam spread far and wide and the number of Muslims reached millions; this was never done by force or with the threat of sword. On the contrary, it is based on such facts as Islam’s inherent characteristics of justice and respect for human rights, the revelation of Qur’ân al-kerîm as the greatest miracle of Allâhu ta’âlâ, with its superiority to the other heavenly books.
It is written in the sixty-seventh page of the third volume of Tabarî’s history, “During the caliphate of ’Umar ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ Musannâ bin Hârisa ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’, one of the As-hâb-i-kirâm, was sent onto Iran as the commander-in-chief of an Islamic army. When he came to the place called Buwayd where he was to fight against the Iranian army, the Muslim army was small in number and weak in weaponry. For, many Muslim soldiers had been martyred in the previous wars. The Iranian army was numerous and had elephants with them. Musannâ ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ went to the Christians living in the neighborhood and asked for help. They accepted to help willingly. In fact, one of them, a youngster named Hâmûs, said, ‘Show me the commander of the Iranian army.’ When they showed him Mihrân the Iranian commander, he attacked him and shot an arrow at him. The arrow went into Mihrân’s abdomen and jutted out of his back and he fell dead. The Iranian army scattered.” As is seen in this example, because Christians living in that period were never treated with hostility or coercion by Muslims, they never hated Muslims. Let alone hate, they were pleased with Muslims. They helped Muslims without a monthly salary or any sort of allotted payment, and even sacrificed their lives in doing so. More often than not Christians joined Muslims in their wars against other Christians, their co-religionists. This type of event took place in many wars between the Ottoman Empire and the Byzantium Empire. Those who study history know this fact well.
Another claim put forward by Protestants in order to prove that Christianity is superior to Islam is as follows: “When Christanity arose, Jewry took the field against it and persecuted those who accepted the religion of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm.’ For this reason, terrible calamities fell upon Jewry. They were despised, abased, and deprived of the gratification of making up a nation. Christians who attacked Muslims after the arising of Islam did not undergo such great disasters.”
This assertion of theirs is thoroughly contrary to facts. It was not only after the rising of Christianity that disasters fell upon Jewry. As it is written in Ahd-i-Atîk (the Old Testament), and in history books, various calamities fell upon Jewry daily before the prophethood of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm,’ too. From the time of Yûsuf ‘alaihis-salâm’ up to the time of Mûsâ ‘alaihis-salâm,’ they remained captives of the Egyptian pagan gypsies, who inflicted all sorts of insults on them till Mûsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ rescued them from the oppressions of gypsies. In the times of Dâwud and Suleimân ‘alaihimus-salâm’ they underwent various kinds of nuisance and chaos, which once again scattered them and caused them many an affliction. For example, Nabukodonosor II, an Assyrian ruler, captured Qudus-i-sherîf (Jerusalem). He perpetrated a great genocide there. He massacred thousands of Jews. He captivated the surviving Jews and some of the Prophets appointed to the Sons of Israel and took them to Babylon. In fact, during those tumults all the copies of the Taurah were torn to pieces and not even one copy was left. Everyone knows about the sorts of distresses that Jewry suffered in the hands of Assyrians and the multitude of Jews slaughtered during Maccabee revolts. [(Judas) Maccabeus is the name of the Jewish military leader who revolted against the paganizing policy of Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’, the Seleucid king. He defeated Antiochus’ army and captured Jerusalem, but later lost it again. He obtained, however, religious freedom for Jewry. Numbers of Jews were put to the sword during these wars.] Eventually, seventy years before Christ, the well-known Roman general Pompey captured Palestine and took it under his control. All these disasters that fell upon Jewry were because they denied Prophets and murdered most of them. It is written clearly in history books that these disasters preceded the prophethood of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm.’
When the Roman Emperor Titus entered Jerusalem seventy years after the ascent of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ to heaven, he burned Jerusalem and massacred all the Jews; those who want to know its reasons should have recourse to history books. The disgraceful and miserable situations that they fell into after Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ were only local, not universal. The rulers of some fortresses such as Khayber, which were situated between Medîna-i-munawwara and Damascus, were Jews, e.g. Qa’b bin Eshref, Merhab, and Ismâ’îl [Samuel], in the time of our Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’. When they acted with hostility and treachery towards our Master Rasûlullah, the last and the highest Prophet, the wrath of Allâhu ta’âlâ fell upon them. The sixty-first âyat of the sûra of Baqara purports, “They have been given humility and poverty.” As is declared in this âyat-i-kerîma, they were scattered completely. They could never establish a formal state.
When Allâhu ta’âlâ sends a new religion, are the believers of wrong religions to be sent some great disasters? If it were the case, within the several thousand years during which the Sons of Israel lived up to the religion of Mûsâ ‘alaihis-salâm,’ magians who were much weaker but more numerous, should have been destroyed with successive disasters. However, the peoples of China, India, Turkistan and America continue to be as they have been. [Contrary to Protestants’ assertions, they have not been sent any kind of catastrophe.]
Another proof Protestants put forth to prove the rectitude of Christianity is that ‘the number of Christians is greater.’ This statement is not much of a proof, either. Although the statistical data published in Europe indicate that the Christian population is larger, these data are inconsistent. The statistics concerning the number of Christians differ by millions. For, at that time no research was done as to what religions the people living in various parts of Asia and Africa belonged to. The so-called statisticians registered the populations of these places by guesswork, which was merely based on a dimensional comparison of those places. In fact, it is written in a geography book translated by Sayyid Rufâa of Egypt and printed in Egypt that the estimated population living on earth are nine hundred million; half of this number are magians, of which fifty per cent are pagans; the remaining half are Muslims, Christians and Jews, each making up one-third of the whole half. This calculation is merely a guesswork and cannot be admitted as a proof. Besides, even if we were to take for granted that Christians formed the majority, this would not show that Christianity were the true religion. For, if quantitative advantage were to be admitted as a testament to the trueness of a religion, magi and idolatry would necessarily be true religions. Magians and pagans outnumber the Christians on the earth today.
Within a period of three hundred years after the ascent of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ to heaven, Jews massacred Nazarenes a number of times. They burned or tore to pieces the books and pamphlets Nazarenes held sacred. They persecuted the Nazarenes under their domination, increasing their insults every day. According to the proof put forward by Christians, —which they have based on the assumption that the number of Christians is larger—, Christianity must be wrong and idolatry true.
Another proof that Protestants put forth in their claim that Christianity is superior to Islam is that “Christians are more advanced in science and technology.”
This question should be studied cautiously, too. The scientific, technological and industrial improvements in Europe began only three hundred years ago. Until 900 [A.D. 1494], Europeans led a life of savagery, ignorance and squalor; this is an obvious fact known publicly. While Europeans were in this state, Muslims living in Asia, Iraq, Hedjaz, Egypt and Andalusia [Spain] at that time had reached the zenith of the time’s technology and industries. In fact, the bases for the laws valid in today’s Europe are books that were written by Islamic scholars and were found in libraries in Spain and Egypt. It is written in history books that even Sylvestre II, who was the Pope of his time, acquired knowledge from Muslim professors. Roman numerals, which Europeans had been using, were not convenient for mathematical computations which were the bases for all sciences. When they saw that such processes were easily done with Arabic numerals during their education in Muslim schools, they began to use these numerals. This was one of the reasons for their scientific progress. When all these facts are known, it will be seen what effects they have had on religious and scientific improvements; and this, in its turn, will prove to the advantage of Muslims, not Christians. For, none of the existing four Gospels contains such media of civilization as international law, art, trade, or agriculture. On the contrary, these things are prohibited vehemently. Islam, by contrast, commands knowledge, art, trade, agriculture, and justice. Because all Islamic states are administered with these essential principles, Islamic countries have always been the only civilized and the most prosperous countries in the world. [Aspiring to attain the riches in Islamic countries, Christians organized the crusading expeditions that came one after another like waves. The real purpose of crusades was to plunder Islamic countries of their riches, in addition to spreading Christianity.] In our century, however. Muslims and Christians are in a state counter to the commandments of their religions. Its reason, when searched for, will be found in the fact that neither Muslims nor Christians are good at doing the commandments of their religions. That is, the reason is not fulfilling religious requirements. In fact, a European philosopher states as follows in one of the booklets he has published: “The fact that Islamic religion is the true religion and Christianity is not, is proved by their worldly effects. As Muslims slackened in doing their religious duties, that is, in obeying Islam, they weakened and remained behind in knowledge and science. As for Christians; the more they deserted their religion and the farther away they got from it, the stronger they became and the more progress they made in knowledge and science. The direction followed by Christian states lately is quite the opposite of the direction shown by their holy book, the Bible.”
Another Protestant assertion forwarded in order to prove the trueness of Christianity is that “There are not any pagans in Europe, but there are Jews and Christians in countries under Islamic domination.” They interpret this state as an outcome of the influential power in Christianity. This assertion of theirs prove the stupendous degree of justice in Islam, rather than proving the trueness of Christianity. For, a person, of whatever religion, had the same rights throughout Islamic countries and was equal with a Muslim according to (Islamic) laws. Non-Muslims were quite comfortable under the protection of the Islamic state. They were not meddled with in their religious matters or prevented from doing their worships. They could freely busy with whatever art or trade they liked. On the other hand, in many European countries, none of the Christian sectarians had security of life, property or residence in an environment under the control of any other sectarian group, be it a Protestant group. Armenians and Byzantine Greeks lived in all parts of Islamic countries, but they did not settle in any European country. In places where Byzantine Greeks live, e.g. Greece and Mediterranean islands, there are no more than a couple of Armenian, Catholic or Protestant families. [Byzantine Greeks are Orthodox.] In such countries as France, Italy, and Spain, which are Catholic, it is impossible for Protestant priests to build schools, churches or monasteries, or to publish a book against Catholicism, which is the accepted sect in these countries. So is the case with Catholic priests in places with Protestant and Byzantine Greek inhabitants. In no Islamic country has there been an event like the massacre of St. Bartholomew or the cruelties of inquisition. [The massacre of St. Bartholomew is the carnage of sixty thousand Protestants living in Paris and in its neighborhood, on account of their creed, with the orders of King Charles IX and Queen Catherina on the twenty-fourth day of August, which was St. Bartholomew’s Day, in 980 (A.D. 1572).] Nor has history recorded such a bloody and horrible event as the crusading expeditions on the part of any Islamic nation. In each crusading expedition, hundreds of thousands of innocent people were slaughtered in such wild manners as cannot be conceived or imagined; among those people were Muslims, Protestants, Jews, and even relations of the Catholic murderers, who killed them because of some passed enmity. During the crusades, which continued for some two hundred and fifty years, Europe went to rack and ruin. It is impossible to detail the savageries and inquisitions which the bigoted crusaders dared to do in the name of Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’, who had given the advice, “If you get slapped on one cheek, offer your other cheek, too,” and in the very country where he had lived. It is written in history books how millions of Europeans and Asians were slain unjustly and how so many countries were barbarously devastated throughout the continuance of the crusades. Everybody knows about the distresses still suffered by the helpless Jews in Walacia, Moldavia and Odyssey and the persecutions, oppressions and torments Muslims living in countries under the domination of British and Russian Christians are being subjected to.
Now, turn your attention to those Christians living in comfort, welfare, luxury, freedom and peace in Islamic countries, and then decide for Allah’s sake whether it is Christianity or Islam that will justfully observe the rights and peace of those under its protection and will render service to humanity and civilization.
Another deed causing consternation and derision is their attempt to prove Christian superiority over Islam by indicating the fact that “Europe is more advanced in knowledge, industry, wealth, prosperity, and in the multitude of its public institutions such as schools and hospitals.” Until the Middle Ages, Europe had full adherence to Christianity and obeyed the existing Gospels; therefore they were in a miserable and abject state. There existed none of the signs of civilization such as scientific and industrial progress, building hospitals and schools, which they point out as proofs; and the relics of Roman civilization had already perished. Europeans, acting upon the Gospels, especially the twelfth chapter of the Gospel of Luke, disignored art, trade and agriculture, ate whatever they happened to find and sat wherever they came upon, like birds in the sky; so the European continent was thoroughly in darkness, ignorance, savagery, and bigotry. They were totally unaware of such things as hospitals, schools and charitable institutions. Qur’ân al-kerîm, by comparison, puts due emphasis on worldly affairs, orders knowledge, art, trade and agriculture, and warns against dangers. The ninth âyat of Zumer sûra purports: “Can the cognizant and the incognizant ever be the same? Certainly the cognizant is more valuable.” The twenty-ninth âyat of Nisâ sûra purports: “O thou who have îmân; do not take each other’s property illegally. That is, do not take away things from each other by such means as usury, gambling, theft and usurpation, which are prohibited by Islam. This exchange of things must be done only by both sides’ consent, i.e. trade.” The meaning of the two hundred and seventy-fifth âyat of Baqara sûra is: “Allâhu ta’âlâ has made buying and selling halâl and interest harâm.” The thirty-sixth âyat of Nisâ sûra purports: “Worship Allâhu ta’âlâ. Do not attribute any partner to Him. Do favours to your parents [by words and actions], to your relations [by visiting them], to orphans[by pleasing them somehow], to the poor [by alms], to your relations who are your neighbors at the same time [by mercy and compassion], to your next-door neighbors[by goodness and by protecting them against harm], to your friends and acquaintances[by observing their rights and being friendly], to your visitors or guests [by offering them food and drink], to your slaves and servants [by buying them new clothes and being kind to them].” Through many such âyat-i-kerîmas and hadîth-i-sherîfs, Allâhu ta’âlâ and Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’, command knowledge, art, and trade. In addition, they command to do kindness to parents, to relations, to orphans, to the weak, to the destitute, to neighbors, to travellers, and to servants, to observe their rights, and not to disobey laws. While the grandfathers of today’s Europeans were unaware of all these media of civilization, there were well-arranged schools, madrasas, charitable homes for the poor and the destitute, cook-houses, inns, public baths and many other charitable institutions all over Islamic countries. In addition, Muslims had established private aid organizations, pious foundations (waqf) for the maintenance and financing of these charitable institutions. [There were even pious foundations for the indemnity of losses caused by slaves and servants and for the purging of things that would cause disease.] Art was very popular all over Islamic countries. Europeans did not know what an alarm clock was, when Muslims’ Khalîfa Hârûn-un-Rashîd presented an alarm clock to the French King Charlemagne. Pope Sylvestre received education in the Andalusion Islamic schools. Chanso, the Spanish king, had recourse to Muslim doctors for the disease he had caught, dropsy, [which Europeans could not cure in those days], and soon recovered. Various âyat-i-kerîmas of Qur’ân al-kerîm repeatedly refer to helping the poor, the destitute, and travellers. Therefore, it has become an important traditional duty among Muslims to help the poor, the weak, and travellers. Even in a small Muslim village of a few families, no visitor [even if he is a non-Muslim] has been left to himself. In fact, in places under Islamic domination the same custom settled among the non-Muslims owing to their living with Muslims. In Europe, on the other hand, quite a number of people are still dying of hunger despite the whole multitude of wealthy people, hospitals, and charitable homes for the poor. Three to four hundred thousand poor people living in England, and about the same number in Germany, being tired of the trouble they have had finding food, have migrated to America, India, and other countries.
[According to a news article that appeared in the (Turkish) newspaper called Türkiye on 3 February 1988, it is informed by the French newspaper Figaro that 2.5 million people in France live in full destitution, and 1.5 million of this number sleep in the streets without any known addresses. According to the same newspaper, there are ten million old people over the age of sixty in France. Two and a half million of these people do not have a known home. They end up in misery and loneliness. Of these old people, 7 % of women and 14 % of men commit suicide. The number of suicides is five hundred thousand. Joseph Wresinsky, a priest and the president of ATD, an institution established to help such wretched and lonely people in France, says, “There are 2.5 million people too poor to meet their immeditate needs in France today. There is no source to help them. Europe, whose daily topic of conversation is the human rights, should look for solutions not only for economical and military problems but also for misery, which will escalate to huge numbers in a few years’ time. A nation-wide activity is incumbent to rescue French people from this misery.” Even a priest avows these facts.] If knowledge, technology and civilization are to prove the trueness of a religion, they should be strong documents for Islam, rather than for Christianity. [For, Muslims made progress when they acted upon Islam, and they made no progress and even dispersed when they slackened in this obedience and began to imitate Christians.]
Nor can a nation’s wealth be an evidence strong enough to prove the trueness of the religion its people believe in. As a matter of fact, Rotschild, once the richest person in the world, is one of the Jews who Protestants claim have undergone various calamities because of not believing in Christianity. Lord Isrâilî, an English deputy, is both a Jew and one of the richest people on the earth. It can be predicted by now that the European gold markets will be obtained by Jews. In accordance with the Christian argument, the Jewish religion is superior to the Christian religion. And this in turn shows that all those poor Christians who live in various parts of Europe and all over Russia and who are unaware of art, trade and wealth have been holding a wrong belief. According to the so-called claim of Christians, the correctness of any religion must be dependent on the wealth and fortune of its believers, which will not support the Christians’ objection to Islam, [on the contrary, it will rebut it].
European schools are of two types:
The first type of schools are under ecclesiastical control, and the second type are controlled by the public, i.e. by governments. In schools under clerical authority, only tenets of Christian creed are taught. Therefore national assemblies are discussing the matter of releasing these schools from the disposal of priests. It is believed that in the near future the training of Christian children will be transferred from clerical administration to public and governmental administration. None of the schools administered and controlled by the public, by governments in Europe, teach religious knowledge; science and mathematics are taught in these schools. For this reason, the majority of young European graduates of these schools are against Christianity. The number of these graduates increases every day, and they establish societies and publish newspapers and periodicals in which to declare to the whole world that Christianity is aberration. It is doubtless that one day these schools, which the so-called priest points out as an evidence in his endeavour to prove the correctness of Christianity, will cause Christianity to collapse.
There have been some Muslim states that have collapsed and even ceased to exist because of the absence of an administration that would treat knowledge more seriously and hold it higher than anything else. Furthermore, the innumerous schools and madrasas and their subservient pious foundations and kitchens that exist in Islamic countries today must be observed with common sense. When the deeds of trust of the pious foundations of only the madrasas in Istanbul are studied, it will be seen that these pious foundations (waqfs) undertook the salaries of the professors (muderris), the doorkeepers and other personnel of each madrasa, the pay of the students and even the carpets they sat on when studying. I wonder if there is so much motivation, so much facility in any European school? If it should be questioned why today’s schools and madrasas do not have their original brilliance and order, there cannot be found anything that has to do with religion among its causes. We see, with regret, that these pious foundations which had been established for goodness and charity, have been deprived of worthy administration since they fell into the hands of incompetent, hypocritical and religiously ignorant people. Nevertheless, the students educated in the madrasas not only study science and mathematics like European students, but they also study such religious sciences as ’ilm-i-kelâm, ’ilm-i-fiqh, and ’ilm-i-tafsîr. Therefore, there are not any enemies of religion among these students like in Europe. For, inprovement in science will add clarity to the realization of the trueness of religious commandments. That is, the more scientific knowledge a person learns, the more powerful will his faith in Islam become. In Christianity the case is quite the opposite. A person cannot be a full Christian unless he is so asinine and so ignorant as to take for granted the doctrine of trinity, which means, “Three make one, and one is three,” and which is the basis of the Christian faith.
As for the Protestant priest’s question, “While Christians send forth missionaries and various books in order to spread Christianity everywhere, why don’t Muslims endeavour to call pagans and Christians to Islam? Why don’t they send forth translations of Qur’ân al-kerîm or scholars to various places in order to call to Islam?”, fulfilment of this very important religious service is Muslims’ duty, as we have said above. In the time of Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’, much emphasis was placed on this duty, and this state went on for years. Islam’s spreading over nearly half of the earth was due to the emphasis it has placed on justice, beautiful morality, knowledge, and science. Later, as deviated holders of bid’a came to the fore, the duty of emr-i-ma’rûf, that is, recommending goodness, which is Islam’s most important command, loosened. There was not any effort to spread Islam over the world. The duty of calling people to Islam was neglected with such considerations as “Islam has already spread over many countries throughout all these years. From now on, let those who have reason and discernment find the way to happiness and salvation themselves. Islam is as obvious as the sun.” These considerations were supported with the untenable reasoning that “If a jeweller has a genuine brillant diamond, he need not take it from one shop to another in order to find a customer. But if the ware is a false one, he will have to go from door to door and tell such lies as will deceive the ignorant, such as. ‘Buy this very precious ware. It is hard to come by,’ in order to get rid of it.” They should be reminded that, though it is unnecessary to look for a customer for the diamond, it is certainly a must to offer it to the customer, to advertise it. When the customer knows about the diamond, he will certainly want to buy it. A diamond which is not shown or advertised will not get a customer.
Our final words to the Protestant priest are as follows: The books of a religion or sect must be studied well. No religion or sect can be criticized by sheer obduracy or only with ideas that one assumes to be true within the purview of one’s restricted knowledge. Islamic religion has a special branch of knowledge called ’Ilm-i-kelâm, which teaches the principles of îmân, protects them (against interpolation, etc.), and removes doubts (by powerful argumentation). In the centuries when Islam was flourishing and spreading far and wide, there were profound scholars in the knowledge of Kelâm. These scholars wrote a great number of valuable books in order to counteract the refutations directed towards the Islamic religion and to eliminate the doubts aroused by such attacks. They sent forth their books to all countries. They proved the trueness, the genuineness of Islam by using mental evidences alongside traditional evidences such as âyat-i-kerîmas, hadîth-i-sherîfs, and the documentary statements of religious authorities. They answered not only Jews and Christians, but also imitators of Greek philosophy and those deviated parvenus who fabricated false religious principles and practices called bid’a in the name of religion. For, according to the Islamic religion, Allâhu ta’âlâ does not command His born slaves anything against common sense. [But comprehending the hidden divine causes and uses in the commandments of Allâhu ta’âlâ requires common sense (’aql-i-selîm). Statements that some ignorant idiots passing for sages, philosophers or scientists make out of their sensuous desires or emotions, have nothing to do with true knowledge or science. People of common sense will take no heed of their corrupt words and writings. Thus they will have no effect other than misleading a few idiots like themselves. Islam contains many facts beyond the capacity of mind, but nothing contrary to mind. Grades of mind and its interpretation are given in the Arabic book Tarîq-un-nejât and in Turkish Se’âdet-i Ebediyye.] Giving reasonable information about Islamic religion requires a minute study and an accurate comprehension of renowned books of ’ilm-i-kelâm, such as Maktûbât, by hadrat Imâm-i-Rabbânî, and Sherh-i-mawâqif and Sherh-i-maqâsid. Such statements as “Paul said so,” “Such and such Gospel writes so,” “This matter is a divine mystery and should be believed as such,” which Christians utter instead of giving convincing proofs, will testify no matter. With such statements it will be difficult to explain the truths in Islamic knowledge, even to those Christians wise enough, let alone to us. We shall explicate this later on.