Why did Islam displace Christianity in the Middle East?

Not a school question; I'm honestly curious about this. In the period after Muhammad's death around 630 CE. Islam exploded outward and soon became the dominant religion from northwest Africa to Indonesia. Why? Why was Muhammad's religion so vastly preferable to Jesus'?


They didn't kill people who didn't covert. In fact, while Europe wallowed in the Dark Ages, the Muslims often practiced tolerance and embraced intellectualism and technology. Examples of such leaders would be Akbar in India and Suleiman the Magnificent in Arabia. The Middle East enjoyed a period of progress and trade. Algebra is an Arabic invention, for instance. For a while, before the Renaissance, the West lay stagnant while the Arabs flourished.

Update 2:

@Zoe I know the Arabs conquered on an epic scale, i just don't see the link between empiric, long distance conquest and rule and the conquered peoples embracing their conqueror's culture and religion.

Update 3:

@Steve I understand that that isn't really true, there will always be rulers that oppress others different than them, but they did not oppress those who remained unconverted consistently or widespread-ly enough for brute force to be solely responsible for so many conversions to take place.

9 Answers

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The converted by the sword. That is an established fact.

    Islam gives 3 choices:

    1- submit, become one of us

    2- accept us as your masters, keep your religion. Become a dhimmy.

    3- die

    There are no other choices. That was then, and that is right now just the same.

    Read up on Wikipedia about dhimmy and dhimmitude. The Neurenberger Laws were a walk in the park compared with what Christians and Jews had to endure.

    Moslims didn't invent that much. Most of it was stolen from others, or done by non muslims living in muslim countries.

    The word 'algebra' was, indeed, Arabic. Our numerals are called Arabic. But that is where it ends. Muslims didn't invent it. They took the concept of zero booty in India. They didn't do much with it. The major mathematical discoveries are not muslim at all. They were either Greek or Renaissance.

    I think you are sincere, but you have to seriously read up on this subject. What you believe is called the "sugar koran". Islam itself means submittance (to god). The koran is loaded with very clear commands to conquer the world, and slay all those that do not believe.

    The golden age of islam happened mainly because they looted the wealth of others. Once that was finished, it sank into what it is today.

  • Naz F
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    Every nation has its own great cultural achievements, every culture has spread its religion (at least somewhat) through warfare. However - though I respect the achievements of Islam - I feel the cultural acheivements have been over-rated, and the use of violence to spread religion has been under-rated.

    As for culture....Though Arabs have been praised for having a high level of culture during the Dark Ages, what's missing here is that the Arabs essentially CAUSED the Dark Ages. Henri Pirenne notes that after the fall of the Roman empire, Europe was essentially unchanged, despite the presence of Germanic rulers. Trade went on, agriculture was productive, there was general peace instead of war, and learning continued. Then after the Arab conquest around 700, trade networks are cut off, learning communities are cut off from each other as society shifts from peace to war.

    Monasteries are left as the only (because they were remote) stores of knowledge, nations collapse, the Church steps into the power vaccuum as nations collapse. About 200 years after the fall of

    the Roman empire, the Dark Ages begin.

    The Muslims were hailed for learning and technology, but what were their achievements, exactly?

    About the only one tracable to them is the lanteen (triangular) sail, which allowed sailing against the wind. There's the so-called Hindu-Arabic numerals, called 'Arabic' just because the Arabs brought them from India. Algebra was an invention of the ancient Egyptians, which in the middle ages was at its peak in India. The Arabs in fact took a backward step here, in rejecting negative numbers...Their biggest contribution was the word 'algebra.'

    Though they didn't kill people who didn't convert, non-Muslims were subject to the extraordinary 'djinna' tax. The essentials of this was, at first - I only slight exxagerate - the non-Muslims paid all the taxes; the Muslims paid none. This was enough to convert those who were not highly-religious, which meant the majority. The rest were converted through peer pressure and other means of coercion.

    (BTW, Akbar and Suleiman are both from the Rennaisance, around 1500ad., Suleiman is not an Arab, but an Ottoman turkish emperor. As you noted to Zoe....People ' embracing their conquerors religion and culture' is a bit of an exxageration. Islam works differently in different countries--Sharia law, for example, can be state law, family law, or less, depending on the nation. Iran's history rejects Arabization, including creating the Shiiete religion. )



  • derron
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    even though if "Paganism" or the myriad of pagan ideals have been universal on the time, Christianity and Islam had charm for the elites and the leaders with the aid of fact of two contradictory motives: The "good¨reason: the two Christianity and Islam look very pious religions, very "humane" in case you decide directly to call them, a minimum of in theory. The "undesirable" reason: Being "illiberal" religions with a jealous God, it had a unifying experience that monarchs and native leaders might desire to have discovered appropriate with the intention to have an excellent tighter administration over their individuals. i think of that, in a nutshell, this might desire to have been 2 vast the rationalization why those 2 monotheist religions displaced different religions or ideals.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Historically, most cultures and religions have been spread through invasion, conquest and occupation, and Islam is no different.

    There are a lot of books on the subject, even though it is an historical period most Westerners ignore (we refer to it as the Dark ages, as if the whole world was asleep).

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  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Islam Defends Freedom of Thought

    Democracy and laicism dominate the essence of Islam.

    That is because laicism is a system that eliminates hypocrisy. In other

    words, someone can openly and honestly reveal that he is not religious, can

    say that he is an atheist, or if he is a member of another religion or holds

    different beliefs he can say that, too. It is laicism that makes this possible,

    and that is something that already exists in Islam. Democracy is also

    something existing within Islam. So if democracy wishes to learn anything, it must learn it from Islam. In other words, democracy stems from Islam. As

    you know, Islam is a very old faith. It comes from the Prophet Adam (as).

    Democracy is something, an idea, that appeared subsequently. It again

    stems from Islam. So both democracy and laicism already exist in Islam.

    Culture, knowledge and love are the greatest weapons. The moral values

    of Islam will rule the world through culture, knowledge and love, and is

    doing so now; this is continuing now. People see that, but are not yet that

    consciously aware of it. But this is going ahead, step by step, and actually at

    a fast pace.

    Islam is a religion which provides and guarantees freedom of ideas,

    thought and life. It has issued commands to prevent and forbid tension,

    disputes, slander and even negative thinking among people. In the same way

    terrorism and all acts of violence are determinedly prohibited in Islam, even

    the slightest ideological pressure to be put on them is also forbidden:

    There is no compulsion in religion. True guidance has become clearly

    distinct from error. (Surat al-Baqara, 256)

    So remind them! You are only a reminder. You are not in control of

    them. (Surat al-Ghashiyya, 21-22)

    Forcing people to believe in a religion or to adopt its forms of belief is

    completely contrary to the essence and spirit of Islamic morality. According to

    Islam, true faith is only possible with free will and freedom of conscience. Of

    course, Muslims can advise and encourage each other about the features of

    Qur'anic morality. All believers are charged with explaining Qur'anic morality

    to people in the nicest manner possible. They will explain the beauties of

    religion in the light of the verse, "Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom

    and fair admonition..." (Surat an-Nahl, 125), however, they must also bear in

    mind the verse, "You are not responsible for their guidance, but Allah guides

    whoever He wills." (Surat al-Baqara, 272)


    In 1492, the Jews who refused to convert were exiled from Spain by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella

    (above). The Jews were accepted by the Ottoman Empire, a haven of Islamic justice and compassion.

    They will never resort to compulsion, nor any kind of physical or

    psychological pressure. Neither will they use any worldly privilege to turn

    someone towards religion. When they receive a negative response to what they

    say, Muslims will reply along the lines of: "To you your religion, and to me,

    mine" (Surat al-Kafirun, 6)

    The world we live in contains societies with all kinds of beliefs: Christian,

    Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist, deist and even pagan. Muslims living in such

    world must be compassionate towards all beliefs they come up against, no

    matter what they may be, and behave forgivingly, justly and humanely. This

    responsibility placed on believers is to invite people to the beauty of the

    religion of Allah by means of peace and compassion. The decision whether or

    not to implement these truths, whether or not to believe, lies with the other

    party. Forcing that person to believe, or trying to impose anything on him, is a

    violation of Qur'anic morality. In fact, Allah issues a reminder to believers in

    the Qur'an:

    If your Lord had willed, all the people on the earth would have

    believed. Do you think you can force people to be believers? (Surah

    Yunus, 99)

    We know best what they say and you [O Muhammad] are not a

    compeller over them. But warn by the Qur'an whoever fears My

    warning. (Surah Qaf, 45)

    A model of society in which people are forced to worship is completely

    contradictory to Islamic morality. Belief and worship should be directed to

    Allah by the free will of the individual. If a system imposes belief and

    worship on people, then they will act as if they are religious out of fear of that

    system. This will mean the encouragement of hypocrisy and no Muslim would

    approve that. From the point of view of Islamic morality, what really counts is

    that religion should be lived for Allah's good pleasure in an environment

    where peoples' consciences are totally free.

    The history of Islam is full of the compassionate and understanding

    practices of Muslim rulers who have respected all religions and built religious

    freedom with their own hands.

    Source(s): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Rs1V6_EZ-g&feature... Sir William Muir, a renowned critic of Islam on the Quran: "There is not a single book on earth that has remained in its pristine form as it were revealed some 12 centuries ago, (now 14 centuries) but the Koran." http://www.miraclesofthequran.com/index.php
  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

    Brute Force!

  • Im not sure that christianity was popular in the middle east at that time

    They pretty much killed whoever wouldnt convert though

  • 10 years ago

    There were too many masturbators in the middle east and it was starting to get flooded in *** but then Muhammads like "DUDE, WTF ARE YOU GUYS, GAY!?" Then it rippled through the *** and it sounded like rainbow road at first, but then ending up making enough vibrations that it sounded like the holy book of islam's words.

  • Steve
    Lv 4
    10 years ago

    Quote: ''''They didn't kill people who didn't covert''''' :end quote, hahaha, yeah right, whatever.

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