Sunday, 6 September 2015

What made non-Muslims convert to Islam, leading to the creation of the Islamic world?

One of the many things in life I don't get is why people in the west convert to Islam.  Before they do so, one imagines they at least read the Koran (before joining a club, you've got to know what the club's all about), and having finished that hateful book they declare "yup, that's the religion for me". I don't get that.
Raymond Ibrahim doesn't help me get it, in terms of modern conversions to Islam.
But in his "How the Islamic World was Forged", this scholar of Islam explains what made Christians in the Middle East convert to Islam over the centuries after the death of Muhammad.
Early historical sources—both Muslim and non-Muslim—make clear that the Islamic empire was forged by the sword; that people embraced Islam, not so much out of sincere faith, but for a myriad of reasons—from converting in order to enjoy the boons of being on the “winning team” to converting in order to evade the dooms of being on the “losing team.”
Modern day Muslims and other apologists—primarily in academia, government, and mainstream media—reject this idea.  They argue that the non-Muslims who embraced Islam did so from sheer conviction; that the ancestors of today’s 1.5 billion Muslims all converted to Islam due to its intrinsic appeal; that the modern day coercion and persecution committed by the Islamic State and other organizations is an aberration.
Of course, as mentioned, the primary texts of history are full of anecdotes demonstrating the opposite.  However, because ours is an increasingly ahistorical society, in this essay I endeavor to show that sheer common sense alone validates what history records, namely, that the Islamic world and its populace was forged through violent coercion.