The divine message of Allah SWT was perfectly spread throughout the world within no more than 23 years. It was really a sublime divine message of all times. Prophet of Islam experienced hurdles, tribulations, and hardships in his life. His companions were tortured and were teased on the way of the truth.
The world has seen the influence of Islam at that time. There was a long struggle behind the message of Islam that enabled it to become the world’s largest religion followed now by 1.8 billion adherents in the world, which is 24.1 % of the world population.
At the time of Prophet Muhammad SAW’s death, He (PBUH) was the most effective leader of his time and was ruling most of the Arab area. His reign spread to Syria and Iraq. Within 20 years the byzantine and Persian empires were conquered by the successors of Prophet Muhammad SAW. It stretched through India, across the middle east and Africa and it also influenced west Europ’s Iberian peninsula. Many of the world population willingly adopted the message of Islam and they converted to the religion of Muhammad SAW.
After the time of Muhammad SAW, the era of the Caliphate influenced the world enormously. Four Caliphs are well known in history, and after them, the world has experienced a lot many.
- Hazrat Abu Bakr RA
- Hazrat Umar RA
- Hazrat Usman RA
- Hazrat Ali RA
Every era in itself is history. We can have a brief overview of all the periods in connection to the spread of Islam.
The Era of Hazrat Abu Bakr RA
After the death of Muhammad SAW it was Abu Bakr RA who saved his followers from breaking up. There are famous words of Hazrat e Abu Bakr RA, he said:
“Whoso worshippeth Muhammad, let him know that Muhammad is dead; but whoso worshippeth God, let him know that God liveth and dieth not” (Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 733)
Son of Abu Qahafa gave more material support to Muhammad SAW along with the finest companionship. The first compilation of the Quran is done in Abu Bakr RA’s period. The reason behind this was the battle of Yamama as several Quaran reciters died in that. So there was a dire need for that to recollect it and save it.
He used his power, says Muir “in the interests of Islam and the people’s good”. His caliphate remained for a shorter period of time almost for 27 months. But he won over the two most renowned powers of his time. He fought against great rebellions of his time and also united the entire Arabian peninsula.
The Era of Hazrat Umar RA
Islam spread rapidly in the time of Umar ibn al Khattab RA. He was a greater leader than Alexander, Julius Ceasar and the big names of history. Most of the high profile people from the Jewish community and Christian community converted to Islam in Omar ibn al Khattab RA’s era. And it was not due to its powerful sword only but by his reforms, his influence on the world in the broader sense.
Omar in his speeches always used such words, he said: “O God, let me not fall into any error, nor let me be called to account on unawares, nor let me fall into neglect.”
Till 640, all of Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine were under the control of Omar ibn al Khattab RA, Egypt was also conquered by 642 and later in 643 the whole of Sassanian empire was also regained.
The Era of Hazrat Usman RA
In the battle of Yarmouk the great caliph Omar RA defeated the famous armies of Byzantine and ended their rule, and laid the stones for further victories for Islam, seized Syria and then Jerusalem. In 638 AD finally, they were victorious in Damascus as well.
The chosen caliphs of people did wonders in their times. Hazrat e Usman RA was the third caliph after Umar ibn al Khattab RA. This era comprises of enduring political, economic, and religious consequences. The influence of Islam reached the lands of Faras, currently known as Iran, some areas of Khorasan and the conquest of Armenia.
The Era of Hazrat Ali RA
The battle of Khayaber is the remarkable event of this period. Hazrat e Ali RA received the titles and a sword about which a famous line is there, ‘there is no chivalrous person but Ali there is no sword but Dhu al-Fiqar’ Ali RA took strong actions against the corrupt rulers of his time and demanded honesty and integrity. He strengthened democracy with his unique wisdom. He expanded his rule in favor of public welfare. With his wisdom bravery and reforms, he influenced the world greatly.
American author Louis L’Amour wrote for Islamic success “in the space of one hundred years following the death of Mohammed in 632, the empire of the Arabs (he means Muslims) was larger than that of Alexander the Great of Rome” (The Walking Drum, 1984, p.171)
After that, the spread of Islam in the Subcontinent is also the result of the untiring efforts of numerous saints and Sufis.
The world has also seen the golden age of Islam. It was the time of cultural, economic and scientific development that gave a lot to the world and helped a lot for the spread of Islam. Khalifa Haroon ur Reshid was the caliph at that time. The world is well aware of the noble and famous house of wisdom established at that time. Many of the works that would have been lost otherwise were collected and translated in different languages of the world, famously in Greek, Persian, Indian, Chinese, Egyptian, and Phoenician. These then were also translated into Turkish, Hebrew and Latin.
Hundreds of scholars and scientists worked enormously and contributed a lot to the generations to come. They worked for technology science and medicine that was a key factor and a guiding force for European science during the Renaissance period.
Here it is compulsory to add few lines in response to the propaganda that the spread of Islam was not possible without sword or it spread through the sword, so why not add the lines of a famous author from the distant lands, the famous author James Albert Michener, American Author wrote,
“No other religion in history spread so rapidly as Islam, the West has widely believed that this surge of religion was made possible by the sword. But no modern scholar accepts this idea, and the Quran is explicit in the support of the freedom of conscience. Like almost every major prophet before him, Muhammad fought shy of serving as the transmitter of God’s word sensing his own inadequacy. But the angel commanded ‘read’. So far as we know, Muhammad was unable to read or write, but he began to dictate those inspired words which would soon revolutionize a large segment of the earth: “There is one God”.” (Islam: the misunderstood religion, ‘Reader’s Digest, May 1955, pp.68-70.)
There were so many factors that contributed a lot to the spread of Islam. To discuss all here is not possible. Hope this article must have added a few more insights for our readers. We will discuss the other reasons later in our upcoming articles.