The Second Distinction: Islam is not Spread by Sword
True Conception of the Ahmadiyya Movement
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
Islam, as pointed out, is a natural religion of man:
“The nature made by Allah in which He has made man.”1
By natural religion is meant that its principles are such as have been reposed in man’s nature which is voluntarily attracted towards them. So much so that according to a report by the Prophet every child is born in Islam whether it is born in the house of a Jew, a Christian or a polytheist. Obviously, there need not be any compulsion in accepting what is harmonious with man’s nature. The next principle, therefore, laid down by Islam is that
“there is no compulsion in religion”.2
If we search the records of history of the time of the Holy Prophet we find that no historian has made reference even to a single incident where a person was forced to accept Islam by the Prophet or where a war was waged by him against a nation for the purpose of spreading Islam among them. But in spite of all this, European writers have drawn such a picture of Islam and its Founder as if people were converted to Islam at the point of sword. The main object of such a propaganda was only to create hatred among the Europeans against Islam. The Western domination in the world has also helped to spread this false view far and wide among all the nations of the world. In India, the Arya Samajists lent a hand to the Christian missionaries in propagating such calumnies against Islam.
On the other hand, the conception of the coming of a Mahdi among Muslims also strengthened such misunderstandings. Shiah, Sunni, Ahl Hadith and other sects of Muslims came to believe about the advent of such a Mahdi who was going to propagate Islam by means of the sword. The result was that from Muslim’s side no attempt was made to remove the misunderstanding which had resulted in hatred against Islam thus creating formidable obstacles in the way of its progress. The Ahmadiyya Movement used all its resources to clear Islam of such a charge. The removal of this fundamental mistake has rather become a distinctive feature in all its literature. So much so that the Founder’s claim of being the Mahdi was to root out this false notion about Islam from the minds of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. This, in other words, means that Islam does not stand in need of any sword whatsoever for its propagation. Islam rejects the idea of the advent of a Mahdi who would wield sword for the spread of Islam. What was not lawful for and practiced by the Holy Prophet — that is the spread of religion by force — how could it be permissible for anybody else?