Islam Spread

Islam is known as one of the fastest-expanding religions in history. Only
contained in Arabia in 632, its conquests led to its expansion to Persia and
Egypt by 656, and to Africa, Spain, and other parts of Persia by 750. Many
methods were used in order to spread to such an extensive empire. Muslims were
very reasonable people. They were tolerant, and offered many alternatives to the
other religions of conquered lands. Mohammed once stated that another religion
can either believe in Islam, or pay to keep his own religion. He would give the
religions protection in exchange for obedience. Mohammed, however, threatens the
lives of children or elders related to those who did not obey (Document1). This
was one of his most powerful methods of obtaining new lands. Another method used
by Mohammed was that he offered many reasons to other religions as to why they
should convert to Islam. First and foremost, he offered them direction and
guidance to heaven, which, alongside Muslims, was an eagerly anticipated place
by Christians and Jews (Document 2). The writer of History of Arabs (Document 3)
describes the Muslim people as those who consider each other equals under Allah,
and who worship him to the fullest. They would rather be in heaven with him than
a child under him on earth. The expansion of Islam was also obviously obtained
by means of conquering lands around Arabia. The impression of surrounding lands
on the Muslim army is that they were strong, determined, relentless fighters who
conquered any land they pleased. They had countless weapons and a drive that
could cut through thick steel (Document 4). Despite these characteristics,
however, they would only fight upon attack, in self defense (Document 6). The
expansion of Islam was viewed by many as the most reasonable expansion of any
religion. It was believed that the Christians were below the Muslims in that
they fought whenever possible, and persecuted all other religions. Despite the
belief of spiritual drive for conquest, some believe the expansion of Islam was
due to the deep desire for a more modern life (Document 7); they were driven to
settle in the fertile crescent in order to obtain these modern luxuries, rather
than make spiritual achievements more primitive areas. There were many ways by
which the Muslims conquered surrounding lands. Alternatives, benefits, and
warfare were simply three such means of achieving such power and conquest.


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