Islam Has Never Taken Anything by the Sword
"They that take the sword shall perish with the sword." If these words of the New Testament are true at all, and truly applied to any nation, they certainly apply today to the nations of Christian Europe more than any other. Islam did not take the sword and therefore will not be taken with the sword. Rather it is Christian Europe which has taken the sword throughout the modern period, and it is Christian Europe which gives itself utmost license in the enjoyment of pleasure and comfort which Irving falsely imputes to Islam and to the Muslims. Today, Christian Europe is playing exactly the same role which the Mongols and Tatars played in the past in relation to Islam. The latter had put on the appearance of Islam and conquered its territories without paying any heed to Islamic teaching at all. Jesus's judgment fell rightly upon them as they brought corruption and disintegration to their Muslim subjects. Indeed, Christian Europe stands today even more guilty than those Tatars and Mongols of the past. The countries which the latter conquered quickly entered into Islam as soon as they were able to see its simplicity and greatness. Europe, however, does not conquer in order to spread a faith, nor in order to spread a civilization. What it wants is to colonize; to this end it has made the Christian faith a tool and instrument. That is why the European missions never succeeded, for they were never sincere and their propaganda served ulterior motives. They did not meet with any success at all in the Muslim countries-and indeed they never will-because the greatness of Islam-its simplicity, its rational and scientific character-leave no room in the minds of its adherents for any alien religious propaganda at all.
"They that take the sword shall perish with the sword." That is true. If this dictum was once true of the late Muslims who conquered for the sake of conquest and colonization, not in self-defense nor in defense of the faith, it is all the more true of this Christian West which conquers and vanquishes the peoples of the earth in order to colonize and to exploit. As for the early Muslims, during the time of the Prophet and of his immediate successors, they did not conquer for the purpose of conquest and colonization but in defense of their faith when it was threatened by Quraysh, Arab tribes, Byzantines, and Persians. Throughout their conquests, they never imposed their religion on anyone, for it was a cardinal principal of their faith that "there shall be no coercion in religion." [Qur'an, 2:256]
Forced by the needs of defense against persistent attack, the Muslims' conquests were never motivated by the will to colonize. The Prophet left the kings of Arabia and her princes on their thrones with their territories, economies, and political structures virtually untouched. In conquering, the Muslims sought the freedom to preach the faith. If the Islamic faith spread, it was simply because it of itself was strong by virtue of the truth which it proclaimed, the universalist nondiscrimination between Arab and non-Arab which it commanded and its adherents practiced, and the strict monotheism by which Islam enabled man to have no master except the one true God. It was because of these innate strengths of the Islamic faith that it spread throughout the earth, just as any genuine truth would spread. When the Tatar latecomers to Islam fought only for the purpose of conquest and took men by the sword, they, too, were soon taken by the sword. But Islam never took anything or anyone by the sword, and no one will take it by the sword. On the contrary, Islam conquered the minds, hearts, and consciences of the people by its innate strength. Consequently, the Muslim people have seen many governments, dictators, and tyrants, none of which has changed their faith and religion in the least. Today, Europe is still the ruler of the Muslim peoples and the tyrannic administrator of their affairs. But her tyranny will not change the Muslims' faith in God. And as she has taken the Muslims by the sword, she cannot and will not escape the destiny of being taken by the sword. Matthew's principle will once more prove true, but this time to mete out to Christian Europe her due.