“History makes it clear that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping across the world forcing Islam at the point of the sword over conquered races is the most fantastic myth that historians have ever repeated.” De Lacy O’Leary, British Orientalist and Historian . Unfortunately the situation has not changed since Mr. O’Leary and the same fantasitc myth is being repeated, every day and every night. The accusation doesn’t die. For most people, because of their opposition of Islam, they are willing to digest every lie that is being told to them without applying any reason, logic or even simple checks of historic accuracy. And I have to write this down because I am fed up of it.
First of all, Quran itself prohibits people from forcing people to convert. This chapter of Quran (Surah Kafirun – Chapter 106), is learnt my most Muslims by heart at a very early age and one of the few chapters that almost every Muslim can recite, it is also regarded as quarter of Quran, this is the translation of the whole chapter, ” Say : O ye that reject Faith! I worship not that which ye worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship. And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship, . Nor will ye worship that which I worship. To you be your Way, and to me mine. ” For centuries Muslims has interpreted that There is absolutely no way to force religion on anyone else, ‘To you is your Way, To me is Mine’. Another proof is Surah Ghashiya – Chapter 88, verses 21 & 22, ‘Therefore do thou give admonition, for thou art one to admonish. Thou art not one to manage (men’s) affairs.’ Muslims interpret this as we are only to advice, so we should advice and let them decide and manage their own affairs, forcing someone to change their religion would be ‘managing their affairs’ which is clearly prohibited. Muslims do not believe in forced conversions because it effects one of the foundations of Islam, ie ‘free will’. If God wanted He could have forced everyone to follow Islam, but He didn’t do so who the hell are we Muslims to force people to change religion. But those who hate Islam, keep repeating this lie.
Today, the religion that gathers maximum amount of converts from other religions is Islam. And it has been the same for several decades. Most of these people accept Islam because they see something good in it. In Europe, a Dutch MP recently converted to Islam, and he belonged to Anti Islam party of Geert Wilders, was he forced to convert to Islam? No. He became Muslim after researching on Islam and found he had far too many things he had in common with Islam. In India, A. R. Rehman became Muslim, who forced him to covert to Islam? No one, he found Sufi Music closer to his heart and his calling. And in Americas, Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali, who can possibly imagine someone forcing him to do something he didn’t want to do. No one could force Muhammad Ali in doing something, he became Muslim because of Truth of Islam and his heritage.
There is absolutely no evidence of mass forced conversions. There was nothing like soldiers marching into villages and homes and asking people to convert to Islam or die. Even the enemies of Muslims of those times do not accuse Muslims of doing such. Of course, there could be an odd incidence here and there but saying that all Muslim population of today is descendended from those who were forcefully converted is not just preposterously illogical, it is also impossible, an absolute and utter lie.
I am no fan of Aurangzeb and hold very poor view of him, after all this was a man who killed his own brother and sent his brother’s severed head to his old and ailing father. Undoubtedly a bad man. But do we find these forced conversion in history, the history that Aurangzeb wrote. There are various other documents of Aurangzeb’s where he mentions his great deeds, like sending Shah Jehan (his father) decapitated head of Dara (Shah Jehan’s eldest son and Aurangzeb’s brother), breaking of temples, general slaughter, wars and how he treated and punished his enemies, about his bravery, brutality and savagery. Everything is mentioned by Aurangzeb himself in his Persian records.
But forced conversions is not mentioned. What could have possibly stopped Aurangzeb from mentioning forced conversions? Nothing, if he didn’t feel ashamed in mentioning that he sent decapitated head of his brother to his father, why would this matter of forcing someone to convert to another religion move his conscience? So No, Aurangzeb had no reason not to mention forced conversions in his Persian records, the only reason they are not mentioned is because they never happened.
It is a well established practice of all kings and tyrants that they record every deed that they did that they believed was the right thing to do, right from Pharoah proudly writing “I destroyed seed of Israel” to recent Nazis who were also killing everyone to make an “ideal German Race” free from disabled people, other races, people who were mentally challenged, etc. Aurangzeb too wrote that he used to give money to people to convert, he wrote that he used to forgive convicted criminals if they accepted Islam (including death sentences), etc. But there are absolutely no records of even Aurangzeb forcing people to become Muslims.
It is a myth that Muslims forced people to convert. Nay, it is not just a myth, it is a lie.