Expansion after Muhammad and Decline; continued

Islam       Session Fourteen

Item #4, bullet #2 of outline:  Expansion after Muhammad and Decline; continued

The first Islamic empire began with Muhammad’s conquests from 626 AD to 632 AD, expanded under the four

“rightly guided caliphs” and their successors, reached its zenith in the 8th century and ruled until 1258 AD.

“Standard” history books usually describe the spread of Islam in benign terms such as: “Beginning in the 7th century Muslims spread their religion to the Middle East, Central Asia, India, North Africa and Europe.  Millions of people readily embraced this “new” religion as a viable alternative to Christianity or their pagan gods during the 600 plus years of its rule (or words to that effect).”

In fact, this “new” religion was spread by the sword, wielded by an army of zealous Muslims convinced of their right and destiny to impose Islam on the entire world.  The death, destruction and pillage which accompanied the creation of this Islamic empire is rarely mentioned or simply glossed over.  Some examples:

  • An eyewitness account of Muslims “conquering” a city in Egypt , circa 642 AD: “They (the Muslims) seized the town and slaughtered everyone they met in the street and in the churches – men, women, and children, sparing nobody.  Then they went to other places, pillaged and killed all the inhabitants they found.” (#2, P. 72)
  • A Syrian’s account of the Muslim invasion of Cappodocia (southern Anatolia – today’s Turkey) in 650 AD:  When the Muslim commander arrived (in Euchaita in Armenia) he ordered all the inhabitants to be put to the sword; he placed guards so that no one escaped.  After gathering all the wealth of the town, they set to torturing the leaders to make them show them things (treasures) that had been hidden.  The Taiyaye (Muslim Arabs) led everyone into slavery – men and women, boys, girls – and they committed much debauchery in that unfortunate town: they wickedly committed immoralities inside churches.  They returned to their country rejoicing.”  (#2, PP. 72-73)
  • The Muslim historian, Ibn al-Athir describes Muslim atrocities in Spain: “In April, 793, Hashim, prince of Spain, sent a large army into enemy territory . . . as far as Narbonne and Jaranda (Gerona).  This general first attacked Jaranda . . . ; he killed the bravest, destroyed the walls and towers of the town and almost managed to seize it.   . . . .  For several months he traversed this land in every direction, raping women, killing warriors, destroying fortresses, burning and pillaging everything,  . . .” (#2, P. 73)

In 837 AD, Abd ar-Rahman b. al Hakam, sovereign of Spain, sent an army against Alava;  . . . ; it seized the booty that was found there, killed the inhabitants, and withdrew, carrying off women and children as captives.” (#2, P. 73)

In 845 a Muslim army advanced into Galicia on the territory of the infidels, where it pillaged and massacred everyone.  (#2, P. 73)

In 860, Muhammad b. Abd ar-Rahman advanced with many troups and a large military apparatus against the region of Pamplona (today, where the “Running of the Bulls” occurs).  He reduced, ruined, and ravaged this territory, where he  pillaged and sowed death. (#2, P. 73)

This is an appropriate time to briefly discuss the concept of Jihad (Jihad will be treated in depth under item #7 of the outline).  Jihad, in Arabic, means “to strive” or “to fight”.  If asked, a Muslim will probably answer that Jihad is the fight or effort to control his sinful impulses; and that is true.  However, there is a second meaning as stated in the Koran – Suras 2:26 and 9:29 (and others) teach that’s jihad is warfare in the cause of Allah.  In practice, this second meaning is the justification for the “constant state of war” between Islam and the world’s infidels.

In his book, “The Sword of the Prophet, Serge Trifkovic relates the following:

  • “Slaughter did occur in the initial wave of conquest: during the Muslim invasion of Syria in 634, thousands of Christians were massacred; in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) between 635 and 642, monasteries were ransacked and the monks and villager slain; in Egypt the towns of Behnesa, Fayum, Nikiu and Aboit were put to the sword. The inhabitants of Cilicia were taken into captivity. . . . The Muslim invaders sacked and pillaged Cyprus and then established their rule by a ‘great massacre.’  In North Africa, Tripoli was pillaged in 643 by Amr, who forced the Jews and Christians to hand over their women and children as slaves to the Arab army.  . . .  Carthage was razed to the ground and most of it inhabitants killed.” (#18, PP. 95-96)

When the Muslims attacked India, the atrocities committed reached new heights as described below:

  • Peter Hammond in his book, “Slavery, Terrorism and Islam”, describes the Muslim invasion of India: “Beginning in 712 AD the Muslim armies invaded India. . . . the Muslim armies smashed statues, demolished temples, plundered the palaces, slaughtered vast numbers of Indian men and enslaved their women and children.  It took the invaders three days to slaughter all the inhabitants of the port city of Debal.  (#6, P. 108)
  • Serge Trifkovic in his book, “The Sword of the Prophet”, comments on the invasion of India: The superior of Qasim (the Muslim commander the forces invading India), wrote him a letter (after thousands had been slaughtered) reprimanding him for showing leniency toward the natives and reminding him that the Koran demanded harsh treatment for those conquered.  He quoted the Koran, (47:4): “O True believers, when you encounter the unbelievers, strike off their heads.”  In a later communication, the commander’s superior ordered that, “all able-bodied men were to be killed, and that their underage sons and daughters were to be imprisoned and retained as hostages.”  Qasim obeyed, and when he conquered the town of Brahminabad, he massacred between 6,000 and 16,000 men.  (#18, PP. 109-110)
  • Early in the eleventh century, Mahmud of Ghazni “passed through India like a whirlwind destroying, pillaging, and massacring.”  “In the course of seventeen invasions, in the words of Alberuni, the scholar brought by Mahmud to India, “Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country and performed there wonderful exploits, . . .  “In the aftermath of the invasion(s), in the ancient cities of Varanasi, Mathura, Ujjain, Maheshwar, Jwalamukhi, and Dwarka, not one temple survived whole and intact.  In his ‘The Story of Civilization’, Will Durant lamented the results of what he termed ‘probably the bloodiest story in history.’”  (#18, PP. 110-111)
  • The mountainous northwestern approaches to India are called Hindu Kush, “the Slaughter of the Hindu.” . . . The slaughter of 50,000 Hindus in Somnath set the tone (for atrocious actions) for centuries. (#18, P. 111)
  • “The Buddhists were the next to be subjected to mass slaughter in 1193, when Muhammad Khilji also burned their famous library. By the end of the twelfth century . . . they were no longer a significant presence in India.”  (#18, P. 111)

“The massacres perpetrated by Muslims in India are unparalleled in history, bigger in sheer numbers than the Holocaust, or the massacres of the Armenians by the Turks; more extensive even than the slaughter of the South American native population by the invading Spanish and Portuguese. . . . Militant Islam sees India as ‘unfinished business’, and it remains high on the agenda of oil-rich Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, which are spending millions every year to convert Hindus to Islam.” (#18, P. 112-113)

The continuing influence of Islam in the Indian subcontinent is represented today by the nations of Pakistan and Bangladesh.  Pakistan was created when India gained its independence from Great Britain in 1947.  Initially Pakistan was divided into West and East Pakistan – one country of two land areas separated by India.  In 1971 East Pakistan became the independent nation of Bangladesh.  These two countries and their Muslim populations of 193 million (Pakistan) and  163 million (Bangladesh) exist as the direct result of the Muslim invasions which began 1300 years ago!   

We will continue with, “Expansion after Muhammad and Decline”, next session.