Books and Documents

Islamic History (25 Mar 2013 NewAgeIslam.Com)


  • Read my following articles to get the flow of the Prophet's mission in chronological order:

    By Naseer Ahmed - 6/5/2017 2:33:01 AM

  • I do not know where you are getting Islamic history lessons from. Kindly read Koran in chronological order and Sira. In case u want a copy mail me at motorint (at) gmail (dot) com.
    By Raman - 6/5/2017 12:54:18 AM

  • I wonder why its only the Muslim countries that are so economically backward. The only reason why the middle east countries are rich is bcuz of their oil supply. Once that runs out I bet no one would give a shit about their countries! You say islam preaches freedom of religion? Then I wonder why that false prophet of yours considers christians and jews as enemies! You bloody hypocrites!  Islam will fall eventually! You are the cursed lot! 
    By secondcomming - 2/25/2014 8:08:49 AM

  • Mr Ahmed, I have not said they did not have any virtues. I am saying they did not have the virtues you are attributing to them. Other virtues can as successfully lead to 'rise', which you have yet not told me how you are defining. So I am assuming you mean political, economic, religious, cultural and intellectual domination.
    I am saying they did not have the virtues of tolerance and sensitivity towards other faiths and cultures, as you have claimed. Those were not virtues that led to their rise.
    The virtues they had were unity, strong motivation and military might. And Courage. A lot of which came from religion. And when the motive shifted from mere loot to administration of conquered lands as a means to earn steady income and continue dominance, they calibrated their violence and co-opted people of other faiths into their administrative and political machinery. So shrewdness and practicality were two more virtues.
    By secular logic - 4/8/2013 8:42:06 PM

  • Islamist revivalism and Hindutva revivalism have both worked havocs, so let us not talk of past glories. Let us look at all religions as works in progress, as agencies to make us better persons, to make our families more stable and nurturing families and to make our societies more harmonious and inclusive societies.
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 4/8/2013 11:40:24 AM

  • SL, If you have read all three articles:
    1. Civilizing influence of religion
    2. Cause for the rise and fall of the Muslims
    3. There is no rational basis for atheists to oppose religion
    You will see that in the last article I have said that every great religion pitchforked its people at least a 1000 year ahead of the rest of the people and if you go through the comments, you will find me discussing other civilizations.
    Yes, not only do I agree that every civilization has risen and fallen, but I have mentioned the same in my articles,  and this article is confined to the causes for the rise and fall of the Muslims.
    Now if you think that each of the civilizations - Indian, Chinese, Greek etc rose without having any positive virtues, then what is the point in having history as a subject at all?
    By Naseer Ahmed - 4/8/2013 3:36:33 AM

  • Nazigar is speaking about what they built, not what they destroyed first.
    I have given you a link to Zoroastrian History, where there is an account of wholesale burning and destruction of the libraries and institutions of the Zoroastrians. A similar tale of destruction can be found in India.
    If they later built their own colleges and libraries, it is great, but that does not diminish their sins in destroying other cultures
    By secular logic - 4/8/2013 1:46:59 AM

  • Pickthall: this could have been a localised experience, of the invader being a better option than current administration. Like the British were certainly preferable to Aurangzeb for Indians (non-Muslim Indians, that is) Does not make the British paragons of virtue.
    Also, the experiences of the middle eastern countries may not have been the same as the experiences of India. In India, a reasonably good, tolerant king could have been replaced by some conversion-mongering Arab, so the worldviews that the two populations developed wrt Islam could have been different.
    By secular logic - 4/8/2013 1:43:37 AM

  • Leonald Gyld is making the same observation that I have made. That islam was a powerful unfifying force and motivator;
    Washington is only talking about Prophet Muhammad's behavior after his conquests. He is not speaking about the Arab race and the entire arabic conquests across the world
    Alfonse, again, is only talking about Mohammad the Man. He is not talking about the nature of Arabic conquests of the world.
    Mongegomery: As above.
    Bosworth: As above, with some added observations about the Quran, which are subject to debate. "Scriptures" refers only to the faiths known to Mohammad. The Quran ignores the other scriptures around the world, and leaves their validity open to individual interpretations by Muslims, which are most often not positive on inclusion.
    By secular logic - 4/8/2013 1:37:07 AM

  • Mr Ahmed, I shall read your long historical account at leisure, but right now I will only address the first couple of paras.
    First, you must define what "rise" means. I think our problems are starting there. Political might? Economic might? Cultural dominance? Religious dominance? Intelliectual dominance, or a combination of all or many of these?
    History of conquest is usually bloody and unjust to some party. None of the conquests of Human history have ever been universally lauded by all parties concerned. To claim that the Arabic wave was different and had incorporated into its military conquest every virtue under the sun is to misguide people. They did win because of the factors I have listed, and Religion was a powerful motivator. That is why your call to "return to the golden age of the Arabs" makes my heart sink.
    As for rise and fall, what durability are you talking about? Everything that rises falls at some time, everything that falls (hopefully) rises at some time. The factors in each rise and fall are too specific and individual to generalise with a broad brush like you have done. It is the natural order of things. India - as in Hindustan - once was a major economic power in the world, today it is a third world country; Rome was an absolute conquerer, today it is on the brink of collapse; Spain invaded and conquered half of America, today its people are staring at a banking collapse. Britan, in fact, fell as an economic power when it moved towards equality of the races, and devolution of political power to its subjects. It is a poor country today, but intellectually and culturally still very rich.
    As for Arabs. Well, I won't go there, you are the expert.
    One should not long for what has passed. One should long for a future that corrects the mistakes of the past.
    By secular logic - 4/8/2013 1:28:13 AM

  • GM Sb, You have your individual requirement and view point.
    You are not unaware of what Syed Qutub's return to basics means and the following that he has for his ideas and today's political Islam is nothing but Syed Qutub's ideas being implemented. How do you counter these ideas except through a discussion of the past and pointing out that past glory and the present glory of the Western Civilization is not based on what Qutubism represents but something else altogether?
    Your unstated concern I understand is about Jehad when we discuss the past. Wait for the next article which will effectively counteract the ideas of Syed Qutub on this subject.
    By Naseer Ahmed - 4/8/2013 12:38:16 AM

  • The last sentence in my last post got lost. It was:
    "Summoning past glories may bring back with it baggage that we do not necessarily want."
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 4/8/2013 12:14:20 AM

  • Naseer Sb, it is true that Islam dramatically  transformed the Arabs and they made great strides in philosophy, science and military matters. I support your call for increased emphasis on education, social reforms and a more liberal and progressive leadership. I do not however see any benefits in calling  that either "recapturing past glory" or "going back to the basics". What you describe are rational goals that we ourselves have thought through and that we on our own consider to be very worthwhile.
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 4/8/2013 12:11:08 AM

  • SL does not see a single virtue but only vices. He is propagating a dangerous doctrine that to succeed in building the greatest empire the world had known till then, and show the highest durability having lasted 13 centuries until the Ottomans were finally defeated in 1910, and achieving greatness in every field of human activity, all that you need are vices! I suppose this is what he would like the Muslims to believe so that they never see the light that is being shown to them in the article.
    If SL has any inkling of history he would know that evil has not shown durability. The Mongols were perhaps greater as conquerors but their territorial gains were short lived and they did not leave any lasting legacy. Once they got transformed by the vanquished Muslims and became Muslims, their conquests were more durable and their influence more lasting and their rule more benign.
    He completely ignores what the historians have said and says that I quote selectively meaning that I do not quote the Islamophobes. But I quote the western historians and not Muslims. If he can show that these western historians are biased, he is free to discredit them:
     Arthur Glyn Leonard in 'Islam, Her Moral and Spiritual Values'
    “It was the genius of Muhammad, the spirit that he breathed into the Arabs through the soul of Islam that exalted them. That raised them out of the lethargy and low level of tribal stagnation up to the high watermark of national unity and empire. It was in the sublimity of Muhammad's deism, the simplicity, the sobriety and purity it inculcated the fidelity of its founder to his own tenets, that acted on their moral and intellectual fiber with all the magnetism of true inspiration.”
    Washington Irving in 'Life of Muhammad,' New York, 1920.
    “His military triumphs awakened no pride nor vain glory as they would have done had they been effected by selfish purposes. In the time of his greatest power he maintained the same simplicity of manner and appearance as in the days of his adversity. So far from affecting regal state, he was displeased if, on entering a room, any unusual testimonial of respect was shown to him.”
    Alphonse de Lamartine in 'Histoire de la Turquie', Pans 1854, vol. 11, pp. 276-77.
    "Never has a man undertaken a work so far beyond human power with so feeble means, for he (Muhammad) had, in the conception as well as in the execution of such a great design, no other instrument than himself and no other aid except a handful of men living in a corner of the desert. Finally, never has a man accomplished such a huge and lasting revolution in the world, because in less than two centuries after its appearance, Islam, in faith and in arms, reigned over the whole of Arabia, and conquered, in God's name, Persia Khorasan, Transoxania, Western India, Syria, Egypt, Abyssinia, all the known continent of Northern Africa, numerous islands of the Mediterranean Sea, Spain, and part of Gaul.
    "If greatness of purpose, smallness of means, and astonishing results are the three criteria of a human genius, who could dare compare any great man in history with Muhammad? The most famous men created arms, laws, and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislations, empires, peoples, dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then inhabited world; and more than that, he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and the souls.”
    "Philosopher, Orator, Apostle, Legislator, Conqueror of Ideas, Restorer of Rational beliefs.... The founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire that is Muhammad. As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?"
    W. Montgomery Watt writes in Mohammad at Mecca, Oxford, 1953, p 52
    “His readiness to undergo persecution for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who believed in him and looked up to him as leader, and the greatness of his ultimate achievement all argue his fundamental integrity. To suppose Muhammad an impostor raises more problems than it solves. Moreover, none of the great figures of history is so poorly appreciated in the West as Muhammad.”
    Bosworth Smith writes in Mohammad and Mohammadanism, London 1874, p 92.
    “He was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without Pope's pretensions, Caesar without the legions of Caesar: without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a palace, without fixed revenue. If ever any man had the right to say that he ruled by the right divine, it was Mohammad, for he had all the power without its instruments and without its supports. He cared not for the dressings of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life."
    "In Mohammadanism everything is different here. Instead of the shadowy and the mysterious, we have history....We know of the external history of Muhammad....while for his internal history after his mission had been proclaimed, we have a book absolutely unique in its origin, in its preservation....on the Substantial authority of which no one has ever been able to cast a serious doubt."
    The Qur'an repeatedly claims to be the confirmation of the truth of all religions. The former Scriptures had become obscure, the former Prophets appeared mythical, so extravagant were the legends which were told concerning them, so that people doubted whether there was any truth in the old Scriptures, whether such people as the Prophets had ever really existed.
    In the eyes of history, religious toleration is the highest evidence of culture in a people. It was not until the Western nations broke away from their religious law that they became more tolerant, and it was only when the Muslims fell away from their religious law that they declined in tolerance and other evidences of the highest culture. Before the coming of Islam, tolerance had never been preached as an essential part of religion.
    Marmaduke Pickthall
    Eastern Christians preferred Muslim rule, which allowed them to practice their own form of religion and adhere to their peculiar dogmas, to the rule of fellow Christians who would have made them Roman Catholics or wiped them out. (Edward Gibbon)
    ….only one possible explanation remains for the Arab success-and that was the spirit of Islam... The generous terms that the invading armies usually offered made their faith accessible to the conquered populations. And if it was a new and upstart faith, its administration by simple and honest men was preferable to the corruption and persecution that were the norm in more civilized empires...
    ….the real victor in the conquests was not the Arab warlords, but Islam itself... Simply put, Islam may have sped the conquests, but it also showed much greater staying power. It is useful to realize that the power of Islam was separate from much and more permanent than that of the armies with which it rode.
    George F. Nafziger, Mark W. Walton, Islam at War: A History, 2003
    "Yet there were knowledge and learning everywhere. At a time when even kings could not read or write, a Moorish king had a private library of six hundred thousand books. At a time when ninety-nine percent of the Christian people were wholly illiterate, the Moorish city of Cordova had eight hundred public schools, and there was not a village within the limits of the empire where the blessings of education could not be enjoyed by the children of the most indigent peasant, ...and it was difficult to encounter even a Moorish peasant who could not read" ----S.P. Scott in 'The History of the Moorish Empire in Europe.'
    In Spain under the Umayyads and in Baghdad under the Abbasid Khalifas, Christians and Jews, equally with Muslims, were admitted to the Schools and universities - not only that, but were boarded and lodged in hostels at the cost of the state. When the Moors were driven out of Spain, the Christian conquerors held a terrific persecution of the Jews. Those who were fortunate enough to escape fled, some of them to Morocco and many hundreds to the Turkish empire, where their descendants still live in separate communities, and still speak among themselves an antiquated form of Spanish. The Muslim empire was a refuge for all those who fled from persecution by the Inquisition. (Robert Grieve)
    Edward Gibbon and Simon Ocklay write in History of the Saracen Empire, London 1870, p 54.
    “It is not the propagation but the permanency of his religion that deserves our wonder; the same pure and perfect impression which he engraved at Mecca and Madina is preserved, after the revolutions of twelve centuries by the Indian, the African and the Turkish proselytes of the Koran...The Mahometans have uniformly withstood the temptation of reducing the object of their faith and devotion to a level with the senses and imagination of man. I believe in One God and Mahomet is the Apostle of God' is the simple and invariable profession of Islam. The intellectual image of the Deity has never been degraded by any visible idol; the honors of the prophet have never transgressed the measure of human virtue; and his living precepts have restrained the gratitude of his disciples within the bounds of reason and religion.”
    By Naseer Ahmed - 4/8/2013 12:10:47 AM

  • GM Sb, Your comment is probably related to what is said in the comments by various persons.
    If you read through the three closely related articles, the subject is about how religion has pitch forked  different civilizations far ahead of every other civilization at different points in time. The Indian, Chinese and the Greek had their periods of ascendancy.
    This particular article is about how Islam dramatically  transformed the Arabs and identifies the key principles that changed their lives. It also shows that the Western Civilization also benefited by adopting the very same principles and taking these a step further although they drifted away from religion.
    The article celebrates the principles and the role of major religions in transforming the lives of people it touched. If they happened to be Indian, Chinese, Greek or Arab at different points in time, it is only incidental.
    This particular article is of particular interest to Muslims. There are sections of society who talk about going back to the basics to once again become a flourishing and successful community and recapture past glory. What that going back to the basics should mean is brought out in the article.
    By Naseer Ahmed - 4/7/2013 11:33:16 PM

  • Singing the praises of Arabs or Hindus as a race is racist. Derogatory remarks about Arabs or Hindus based on race are racist. How do we get into such discussions when the task at hand should be to derive the best possible moral and ethical precepts from our belief systems whatever they may be?
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 4/7/2013 1:01:02 PM

  • Naseer Bhai! I admire your patience and tolerance to the fullest while tolerating the nuisance and the nonsense of Secular Logic and his clan. As he is an open enemy of Islam, he will not move even an inch from his stand of Islam-hating, his only motive is to derail and hamper the constructive discussion on a given topic that may enrich our knowledge. Beware of such criminals of the religion!
    By Raihan Nezami - 4/7/2013 9:46:11 AM

  • why were the 'enemies' weak? why their religion could not make them strong, Mr. progeny of losers?
    By sadaf - 4/7/2013 9:12:21 AM

  • Magic formula:
    1. Islam as a unifying force
    2. Barbarism
    3. Relgious justification for atrocities against non-muslims.
    4. Economic weath gained through loot and pillage
    5. This is most important: a superior military that was literally indoctrinated in the idea of spreading the faith, and that they were doing the work of God. Religion is a very powerful force.
    6. Weakness of the enemy.
    Small force against numerically large opponents winning is not such an exclusive phenomenon in World History, Mr Ahmed. British conquered most of the world - even more than the Arabs. At the time that they were doing their conquering, they were not secular and tolerant people. The great leveller- the industrial revolution - yet had to happen. The intellectual stirrings of the west began in the 18th century, AFTER the conquest of the east. The British were small in number, they rose to be a world power because of military and naval might. Not because of secularism and tolerance.
    Alexendar conquered the then known world because of military might - he was a small force compared to the people he was attacking; Rome was tiny, it conquered Europe and Egypt. Again, military might.
    Intellectual achievements and economic achievements, and barbarism and oppression of other people are not necessarily exclusive things. Both can go together. Germany achieved great economic heights, and advances in technology under the Nazis.
    So for you to claim that the Arabs rose to glory because they were kind, just and supportive of the cultures and faiths of the conquered lands makes me laugh. Though they may have tolerated them and utilised them, however unhappily, for the purposes of administration. In no way were they treated with respect, or as equals.
    By secular logic - 4/7/2013 9:02:58 AM

  • SL says "Mr Ahmed, It is possible to achieve great heights even without being secular, tolerant and rational. The Arabs have shown us how".
    My question to you clearly is what was their majic formula?
    Are you suggesting that conquest and retention of landmass with populations greater than ten times their own, and achieving great heights in  every field of human activity is possible without the people displaying some great characteristics and virtues?
    By Naseer Ahmed - 4/7/2013 12:14:06 AM

  • SL says "However, I challenge your statement saying that early Muslims - Arabs - practiced secular values, individual freedoms and tolerance."
    What is the point in supporting values that you do not think were responsible for the golden age?
    According to George Sarton, the historian of Science  “The achievements of the Arabic speaking peoples between the ninth and the twelfth centuries are so great as to baffle our understanding"
    The historian Scott says “The rapid and almost miraculous development of the human mind was the inevitable consequence of a policy based on those principles whose application had promoted the wonderful progress of every nation ruled by the enlightened successors of Muhammad.”
    Tell us what those values/principles the early Muslims practiced  which made them achieve those great heights?
    By Naseer Ahmed - 4/6/2013 12:17:58 PM
    I support adoption of the values. Indeed, I support your statement saying that is the way to salvation and redemption for people of all faiths, especially the muslims since they seem to have slipped so far behind.
    However, I challenge your statement saying that early Muslims - Arabs - practiced secular values, individual freedoms and tolerance.
    I trust you see the difference in these two things.
    Does that make me a friend or a foe?
    By secular logic - 4/6/2013 10:06:43 AM
    SL, You have read my article "Causes for the rise and fall of the Muslims".
    The article emphasizes secular values exclusively as the reasons for the rise and exhorts a return to the same values of individual freedoms and of tolerance.
    If your intentions were "friendly" towards Muslims, you would have focused and commented on that article and supported the adoption of those values. Instead, you  argued denying that Islam had those positive values or that they ever achieved any thing great. So do look at yourself and your intentions.
    By Naseer Ahmed - 4/6/2013 1:29:30 AM
    By Naseer Ahmed - 4/6/2013 6:16:56 PM

  • Dharma Raj ji, What you are saying in effect is that the Islamic empire may have reached greater heights but for some of the unsavoury incidents that you allude to. Is that your intention?
    Please read the title of my article. My interest is in identifying the reasons why it rose to such great heights.
    By Naseer Ahmed - 3/29/2013 3:20:11 AM

  • @Naseer Ahmed Sb, After 300 CE, Roman Empire became Christian Empire. Then, how could Christian persecutions happened?.  You still not answering Iran bloodshed history of Arab conquest.

     You gave very lengthier golden period of Arab Empire. But, it was from 750 CE to 1258 CE.


    "Bostom and other scholars provide historical accounts of such jihad.[10] One Greek Christian account describes the Arab invasion of Egypt as "merciless and brutal." Not only did the Muslim invaders slay the commander of the Byzantine troops and his companions, but they also put to the sword all who surrendered including old men, babes, or women.[11] Similar slaughters occurred across Palestine and Cyprus. Muslim troops were particularly brutal toward non-Muslim religious institutions. During the caliphate of Harun al-Rashid, many Christian monks were put to death. One Muslim historian estimated that Arab armies destroyed 30,000 churches throughout Egypt, Syria, and other central lands.[12] An Armenian historian reported that, following a rebellion in 703, General Muhammad bin Marwan invaded the province, massacring and enslaving the populace. He wrote a letter to the nobility, giving guarantees of safety in return for surrender. They surrendered, at which point the Arab invaders shut them in churches and burned them alive.[13]  "

    This is the quotation taken from the above URL about benevolent and very mercy Arab people.
    By dharama_raj - 3/29/2013 3:03:15 AM

  • Hats Off, The principles for success can be followed by anyone and are followed by all those who are successful. There is  a  paragraph on why atheists, although they hate religion, follow the moral principles nevertheless, although these have come exclusively from religion.
    Japanese industry was the first to implement and benefit from methods of statistical quality control developed by US universities. These methods finally revolutionized manufacturing process across the world. In a globalized and connected world, isolation means being left behind which no country can afford.
    The common and major lesson from the rise and fall of any civilization or nation is that when the rulers get spoilt by prodigal wealth and luxury, they become oppressive to their own people and become soft targets against external attack or aggression. They fail to protect their own society or country. Even democracies are unsafe from this malaise.
    Performance monitored on a few parameters is often a good measure of the health of any society. Why is China a more favoured destination for FDI rather than India with its English speaking people?  Performance on 3 parameters will tell you why this is so and what needs to be done.
    History seems to be a weak point for Hats Off. Upto the 20th century, it was a period of imperial powers and empires. Either you were one yourself or you were under imperial rule. There was an attempt to take Kaba itself before Islam which was saved by a dust storm. There were two imperial powers - Persian or Sassanid and the Byzantine. These two were at war with each other and between them ruled the territory that was taken over by the Arabs by defeating both. People therefore experienced war every two years and if the ruler was replaced by the other imperial power, they had to pay tax all over again. Frequent wars also meant higher taxes.
    Historians tell us that the Arab empire was the largest the World had seen until then and built in the shortest time (80 years against 1000 for the Romans). The victories were swift and relatively bloodless and many surrendered after a siege (Baghdad, Jerusalem etc). There was no plunder and killing following victory . The armies behaved in a disciplined manner and were confined to the barracks. The taxes were lower than what the people were paying earlier. The Jews and many factions/sects of  Christian were freed from religious persecution that they were subjected to earlier under the Roman empire. There was peace and security for the next six centuries. Trade prospered. Transaction costs were low as the caravans could travel in utmost safety throughout the length and breadth of the vast empire without armed militia accompanying them. There was no centralized power enriching itself at the cost of captured territories. The administrative structure was federal.
    Trade is what builds a consumer society. My surplus is consumed by others and I consume the surplus of others increasing overall consumption and the standard of living.  As trade makes available more items for consumption, there is an incentive for me to produce more of what I am good at. Everybody now begins to produce more of what they are good at in order to afford a high standard of living. There is then specialization in production and immense variety in consumption which builds an interdependent society. An interdependent society then build institutions and develops processes for collaboration and better understanding between people. Exchange of goods leads to meeting and mating of ideas and fecundity of new ideas.  Libertarianism is both a result and facilitator for the growth of a society built on principles of high interdependence.
    There are thus good wars and evil wars. The Arab empire proved immensely beneficial to every people. Contrary to popular notions, captives were not taken in every war unless the war was against a state that was hostile. For example, the reason for taking Sind was constant attacks on the merchant ships by the ruler/people of Sind and taking of the crew as prisoner/hostage. If cajoling or treaties did not work, a military takeover became necessary to protect the trade routes. The wars were therefore morally justifiable as they replaced oppressive regimes of other imperial powers. There is no need to invoke religion to justify these wars and it is a gross mistake to seek  justification  in religion  for any of the wars that were not in self defense. Doing so, is to misguide oneself as far as religion is concerned and leave oneself open for manipulation by the religious scholars. The moral justification has to be in the outcomes which should materially benefit  the conquered people as well. The Arabs did not dismantle existing administrative structures nor the local administrators. Continuity of existing institutions and structures ensured that people did not suffer any hardship on account of the conquest. The benefits of a more liberal society followed soon.
    It is amusing to find Hats Off take an absolutist position on war. Is not the foreign policy of the US dictated by the interests of its MNCs? The US will destabilize any country that stands in the way of its business interests. Were the crusades about religion or about control of the trade routes? What made Europe enter the dark ages? It was on account of  a return to a life of self dependence because it got cut off from the rest of the World or lost control of the trade routes.
    By Naseer Ahmed - 3/28/2013 8:13:04 PM

  • The last sentence in my last post was: "We do not need to go back to any books or any sermons to know what we want our Islam to be."
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 3/28/2013 11:56:41 AM

  • I agree with Naseer Sb. Repetitious talk of what Islam is has become very boring. We need to talk about what we want Islam to be. After all when we talk about "what Islam is", we are only regurgitating what medieval mullahs wanted Islam to be. Let us assert what WE want Islam to be, a creed that promotes peace, non-violence, equality, humanness, rationality, justice and compassion. We do not need to go back to any books or
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 3/28/2013 11:53:49 AM

  • from the position of an apologist, there appears to be no other way of defense except that of conquest. a successful conquest if offered as proof of doctrinal superiority, murdoch can kill us all and report nil deaths in the next day news. we would all believe it.
    any religion that so much as touches a sword has already lied to itself. in so far as religions preach "peace" retaliation, self defense and righteous indignation are the vocabulary of the conceited rulers with a strong bias towards the status quo. but if the prophets disrupt the same satuts quo, the apologists spring to the front in blind defense of an essentially untenable proposition just because they happen to like the prophet at the moment. if they loved the king they would undoubtedly stone the prophet. fear cannot be the basis of either freedfom or peace.
    self defense is not a point of universal ethics. its a confession of the failure of religious indoctrination. why is it that atheists have never been found in history but today are swamping the sewers of religion?
    By hats off! - 3/28/2013 8:47:32 AM

  • so the shintoes, the zens, the animists, the ancestor worshippers, and cargo culturists are all wrong and the field is cut up between the trinitarians (christians) and the propheteering monotheists.
    the field is very much in the possession (nine points of law) of mr naseer ahmed. the "others" are not responding or if they are, they are doing a half-hearted job of it.
    By hats off! - 3/28/2013 8:26:57 AM

  • There are many Muslims who have reached the same conclusion that true Islam (in so far as the value system is concerned), is practiced by the west and the Muslims have regressed.
    By Naseer Ahmed - 3/28/2013 6:14:53 AM

  • so the conclusion seems to be that western civilization is "true" islam while the current followers of  islam are "false" muslims.
    it for other "true" as well as "false" muslims to say.
    if islam is separated from its current practice, what are we to compare it with? christianity abstracted from the christians?
    By hats off! - 3/28/2013 5:54:02 AM

  • yeah, everything that does not fit in with the muslim view of history has to be dubious and false. I'm out of here. Wikipedia is an open source encyclopedia, even I can go and remove the dubious part of it, and you can go put it back. 
    By secular logic - 3/28/2013 4:27:15 AM

  • This is what it says. You have failed to mention that stories of forcible circumcision are later additions and of a dubious nature.
    On one extreme, the Arab Muslims are seen as being compelled by religious stricture to conquer and forcibly convert Sindh, but on the other hand, they can be seen as being respectful and tolerant of non-Muslims as part of their religious duty, with conversion being facilitated by the vitality, equality and morals of the Islamic religion. Citations of towns taken either violently or bloodlessly, reading back into Arab Sindh information belonging to a later date and dubious accounts such as those of the forcible circumcision of Brahmins at Deybul or Qasims consideration of Hindu sentiment in forbidding the slaughter of cows are used as examples for one particular view or the other.
    Some historians strike a middle ground, saying that Qasim was torn between the political expediency of making peace with the Hindus and Buddhists; having to call upon non-Muslims to serve under him as part of his mandate to administer newly conquered land; and orthodoxy by refraining from seeking the co-operation of "infidels". It is contended that Qasim may have struck a middle ground, conferring the status of Dhimmi upon the native Sindhis and permitting them to participate in his administration, but treating them as "noncitizens" (i.e. in the Khilafat, but not of it).[
    By Naseer Ahmed - 3/28/2013 3:29:25 AM

  • How does the period matter? What is pertinent is how they behaved as conquerers, and frankly, I see no difference in what the Mongols did and what the Arabs did.
    I just went through that wikipedia link. He sent back the king's three daughters to join the Caliph's harem as royal prostitutes, I assume. All the menfolk were murdered, the women and children were enslaved, a fifth of this booty sent to the Caliph. Artisans and traders were spared, on condition of differential tax - protection money. How is this different from the extortion rackets being run today?  The arabs agreed to give the kings son governership of Sindh on the condition that he convert to Islam. He did, but was still murdered by other Arabs. Brahmins were forcibly circumcised. Please keep you tales of benevolence for other Muslims who want to desperately believe that the people who converted them were not so bad as history makes them out to be.
    By secular logic - 3/28/2013 3:20:42 AM

  • SL, My article does not cover the conquest of India since this falls  in a different period. My article briefly hints that dynastic rule proved to be the  greatest weakness where a single ruler, within the space of 2 decades undid the good work of centuries and although it started as a democracy and became a dynasty only from the 5th Caliph. Aurangzeb undid the good work of his predecessors and Tipu Sultan of Hyder Ali and Al Hakem I of his many illustrious predecessors in Spain.
    I have mentioned the gory details of what the Mongols did only when SL  asked for proof as to how different they were before they converted to Islam. My pain is not about what the Mongols did but what the Muslims have done to themselves and the article is clearly trying to show them the path if they wish to scale new heights and this path is one of tolerance and accommodation and the highest individual freedoms.
    The path is equally applicable to every people and I wish the discussion would go in the direction of what is good for everyone or what would for example make India scale great heights or what is it that is holding it back the most.
    By Naseer Ahmed - 3/28/2013 3:11:48 AM

  • Mr Ahmad, There is great pain in your heart for what the Mongols did to the Arabs.
    I wish you would feel the same pain for what the Mongols and Arabs both did to India.
    It is the same story, just substitute some names and places. Nalanda, Somnath, Kashi, Benaras.
    As for benevolent rulers - I think our definitions of 'benevolent' are vastly different.
    By secular logic - 3/28/2013 2:40:56 AM

  • @Naseer Ahamed Sb,  If you look at my comment,most portion covered only first 100 years of Islamic empire ie from 632CE to 732CE. Arab conquest over Iran,Egypt,and all north african countries came under this period.
    why I mention about Tipu Sultan ,because you say peaceful propagation in kerala. you mentioned about stalin and Hitler because of their famous atrocites. Aurengzgeb also famous for his notorious  activities hence he consider him as per with Hitler and Stalin.
    By Dharama_raj - 3/28/2013 2:09:23 AM

  • What the Mongols were like:  Sir Thomas Arnold comments on the Mongol onslaught on Islam: “Muslim civilization has never recovered from the destruction which the Mongols inflicted upon it. Great centres of culture, such as Herat and Bukhara, were reduced to ashes and the Muslim population was ruthlessly massacred…..Under the command of Hulagu, they appeared before the walls of Baghdad, and after a brief siege of one month the last Caliph of the Abbasid house, Mustasim had to surrender, and was put to death together with most of his family; 800,000 of the inhabitants were brought out in batches from the city to be massacred, and the greater part of the city was destroyed by fire.”
    Glubb’s outline of the event concludes with: “For five hundred years, Baghdad had been a city of palaces, mosques, libraries and colleges. Its universities and hospitals were the most upto date in the world. Nothing now remained but heaps of rubble and a stench of decaying human flesh.” Syria, once a centre of Islamic power suffered a similar fate. It was occupied by the Mongols three times (1260, 1280 and 1300) and reduced to a state of destitution. The population was systematically slaughtered and the population declined sharply from about 3 million to 1.2 million. The arrival of Timur at the end of the 14th century finished any chance of a recovery by the Muslim East after the Mongol onslaught. Gibbon narrates:
    “Timur’s front was covered with a line of Indian elephants, whose turrets were filled with archers and Greek fires: the rapid evolutions of his cavalry completed the dismay and disorder; the Syrians fell back on each other: many thousands were stifled or slaughtered in the entrance of the great street; the Moguls entered with the fugitives; and after a short defence, the citadel, the impregnable citadel of Aleppo, was surrendered…..the streets of Aleppo streamed with blood, and re-echoed with the cries of mothers and children, with the shrieks of violated virgins…….
    Timur then goes on and ransacks Baghdad leaving 90000 dead.
    The Mongols were pagans who in the middle of the 14 th century became Muslim.
    Lebon says: “The Arab race was very delicate and very indulgent, and never departed from a tolerant spirit. However, when in the thirteenth century, the Arabs disappeared from the scene, and power fell in the hands of Turks and Berbers: ‘heavy’ races, ‘brutal and brainless,’ intolerance began to rule amongst the Muslims. It is not doctrines that are intolerant, but men from amongst those entities just cited”
    By Naseer Ahmed - 3/28/2013 1:19:01 AM

  • Muhammad bin Qasim was the Arab general who conquered Sindh and his rule is recognized as benign. Here is a link that provides the details.


    By Naseer Ahmed - 3/28/2013 12:59:58 AM

  • Things do not become facts because you say so.
    Please give me examples of how much more barbaric these tribes were BEFORE their conversions than after. It seems that greater depths of barbarism than what is documented in History would be hard to reach, but even the new, improved by Islam version was bad enough for the conquered.
    Babar was Afghan, and Khilji was a Mongol. Then who was pure arab? The first invader of Sindh? History says the head of the ruler of Sindh was carried to the Caliph as a trophy; the opening shot of the invading arabs was upon the temple staff of the capital city of the ruler - I forget his name.
    But you are welcome to your whitewashed version. You will find many fans of  your sanitised history on New Age Islam.
    By secular logic - 3/27/2013 11:45:33 PM

  • SL,  Please focus on the scope of the article and the period covered. The period beginning with the 13th century has been identified with the fall and not with the rise. You can go ahead and identify as many reasons as you wish for the fall including deteriorating standards of behaviour with people of other faiths.
    Allaudin Khilji was of Turko Afghan stock and Babar was of Mongol stock. Just read about the barbarity and cruelty of Mongols when they ransacked Baghdad and Damascus and Aleppo and compare that with how well behaved the Mughals were in comparison. Also let me repeat, the Mughals were invaders and conquerors and nothing else and they would have in any case conquered India whether or not they had converted to Islam in between. Yes, Islam humanized them to a great extent and that is fact.
    If your read the article carefully, it is acknowledged that the Arabs had nothing to teach and everything to learn to begin with but they took their learning to new heights and made many undeniably original contributions.
    By Naseer Ahmed - 3/27/2013 11:23:32 PM

  • "few"!!!!!    How many atrocities would be large enough in number for you to concede savagery on part of Muslim conquerers? Arabs and Mongols, both?
    Babar, Allaudin Khilji.. were they Mongols? And to say they would have been less savage if they had not converted to Islam is the most ridiculous, unproven hypothetical statement I have heard anybody make.
    For an account of Arab motivations for conquest, I urge you to read Naipul. Among the believers, and India: A wounded civilisation. Read the history of the Marathas, the Sikhs. Read how Parsis were driven out of Iran by the arabs, how the jews were driven out of Israel, how the Copts in Egypt, the Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh, the Christians in Africa are all being persecuted by Muslims in the current day. Who the hell cares whether Islam sanctions this or not. What matters is that these savages find enough material in your religious texts to serve as justification for their actions. That has not changed over the centuries. Arab conquests were not just for political and economic power. They were also for spread of religion, and no-body changes religion so easily. He has to be lured by money, or be assured of higher social and political benefit, or has to be threatened with loss of life. In India, it was more often the latter. Or else through abduction of women, whose many children then swelled the ranks of the Muslim tribe. Have you ever wondered how your first Muslim anscestor came into being? The advances that arabs had achieved are undeniable. They borrowed a lot from the civilisations they conquered, too. Many of the mathematical discoveries attributed to the arabs by the west were actually of Indian origin. It is strange to me that Muslims of India rejoice in the "golden period" of Islam, which translates as military conquests for Arabs and abject defeat for people of India. Not so golden for them.
    By secular logic - 3/27/2013 8:52:04 PM

  • SL, I have quoted an American author on the conquest of Spain and there are any number of historians who say the same thing as regards religious tolerance of the Arab conquerors.
    You may find a few isolated stories that perhaps tell a different tale but should you miss the woods for the trees? Those few unsavoury incidents can only work against the Muslims achieving greater heights. So you may cite them to say that but for these, the Muslims may have achieved even more than what Sarton describes as “achievements that baffle our understanding”
    By Naseer Ahmed - 3/27/2013 6:56:23 PM

  • Dharma Raj ji, Please read my article carefully. It talks about the Arab empire built in the first 80 or 100 years which extended upto Sind in the east and the golden period which was at its peak in the middle of the 10th century and the fall which began in the 13th century when the Mongols start attacking it from the east and win major victories with the killing of the Caliph in Baghdad and destruction of all major centers. This is the period that is relevant for my article which is focused on the “causes for the rise and fall of Muslims”
    That the Mongols were invaders and conquerors is well known and their coming to India was a given. The Mughals came to India in the 16th century and were from the same Mongol stock whose savagery, cruelty and ruthlessness are part of history. When they came to India, they had converted to Islam. We should credit Islam for having humanized them because they did not show even a small fraction of their known cruelty and savagery as conquerors in India.
    By Naseer Ahmed - 3/27/2013 6:55:03 PM

  • @Naseer Ahamed Sb,  Here, you conveniently forgot Tipu sultan atrocities in northern Kerala. why you left Aurenzgeb another dictator  who killed more than one million Hindus and destroyed 10,000 temples in India. We could consider Aurenzgeb  along with Stalin and Gengis khan.
    Arab conqust over Iran was one of the brutal bloodshed story in History in the name of religion. Not like others, Arabs expand their empire in the name of religion at the same time non-muslims survive only pay Jizya Tax which not in other religions  and Dhimmitude(nearly slave) given  to christians.
     How Europians destroyed American tribes in America,same way Arabs destroyed local people in Eqypt and other North African countries. Then,they beautifully built Arab Empire in the name of religion.
    By Dharama_raj - 3/27/2013 8:14:18 AM

  • What you call bias, Mr Ahmed, could just be a less selective reading and interpretation of history than what Muslims are prone to do.
    In regions populated by Hindu India, the faith was definitely spread by the sword. And once in the faith, it is easy to brainwash believers into believing that theirs is the one and only true faith, all others are false, all those who question Muslim philosophy are deserving of death,and the faith should be spread as far and wide as possible - it is an evil motive.
    In Europe, too, the faith was spread by the sword. In Malasia and Indonesia, there seems to have been no co-ersion. Will have to do some references regarding that.
    If Muslim behavior vis a vis non-Muslims improves because of your exhortations, great. But you cannot wish away the more unsavoury parts of the religion nor documented hisotry.
    For a different perspective than the one you hold tight to, do read VS Naipaul's Among the Believers and the other one on Islamic destruction of existing Dharmic faiths and societies in India. I am sorry, I cannot agree with the way you have tried to sanitise history. It is you who is positively biased towards your faith, but that is natural. I don't hold it against you. Each person is entitled to see things as he wants to see them.
    By secular logic - 3/27/2013 6:10:09 AM

  • Highly knowledgeable article. I can see the hard labour in this article. I urge the readers to read and comment on this article, it will do all of us good. Thank you Mr Ahmed for a good and highly insightful read.

    By Aiman Reyaz - 3/26/2013 2:31:52 AM

  • SL, Your bias shows.  If I was you, and if I wanted the Muslims to reform, I would have agreed whole heartedly with the path that is being shown in the article for the Muslims to take, as that path is one of tolerance, accommodation and peace. When in trouble, Muslims wonder why they did so well in the early period and why they are in the state they are today. They reason that Islam is what took them to greatness (which is undoubtedly a fact) and their abandoning Islam is the cause of their misery today. However, they are not clear as to what is it about Islam that helped them achieve greatness. Is it populating the mosques in large numbers or is it its social values and tolerance? The Mullahs interpret this back to the basics in their own very narrow way and their way has remained unchanged. It is for this reason that Islam has no place for the priestly class. My article shows that the West, even while abandoning religion, has benefited by adopting the values of racial, religious and gender equality, of tolerance in the matter of faith, of competition for excellence that is inherent in a democracy, of rights to property and life, of the values of humaneness while dealing with the enemy or convicts etc. It is as if the western civilization did an analysis of what made the Muslims do so well and then they went about it in a very systematic way to do better by going one step ahead. Whether they did this deliberately or subconsciously or whether the similarity is mere coincidence, the fact is that I have identified for the Muslims, the essence of what was good about Islam and what they need to do if they wish to progress.
    Evil does not possess lasting power – whether it is the evil of a Hitler or Stalin or Genghis Khan. Nor does it spread peacefully like it has done even in countries which were never under the Islamic empire (Indonesia, Malaysia and our own Kerala). Nor does evil inspire the populace for high achievement in every field of human activity.
    In contrast with the one century which was needed to destroy the Roman Empire, the Islamic Empire of the Caliphs after six centuries of high achievement, survived another seven centuries of slow decay until its ultimate political breakdown, represented by the extinction of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1918, became a fact. (M Asad aka Leopold Weiss)
    “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 Arabs, did not prove permanent, and today the only areas occupied by the Mongols are those that they held prior to the time of Genghis Khan. It is far different with the conquests of the Arabs. From Iraq to Morocco, there extends a whole chain of Moslem nations united not merely by their faith in Islam, but also by their Arabic language, history, and culture”. (Michael Hart)
    By Naseer Ahmed - 3/26/2013 12:32:42 AM

  • Another gallon of whitewash, anybody?  Evil military and social genius is how I would describe the rise of this particular faith.
    By secular logic - 3/25/2013 1:29:05 PM