After the death of the Prophet (pbuh), the entirety of Arab Peninsula had accepted Islam i.e. the concept of One God, Muhammad being the last Prophet and one Holy book.
This united the Arabs. They went on a conquering spree towards the east. The Umayyad Caliphate had Marched till Sindh and converted the entire population. The Umayyad Caliphate also marched to west and had annexed Spain and Portugal and had reached France.
It seemed the entire Europe and the entire Indian subcontinent would be subjugated by Islam. But the defeats of the Caliphate at the Battle of Tours (732AD) and the Battle of Rajasthan (738AD) stopped Islam from spreading to mainland Europe and mainland India respectively.
Ever wondered, what are the social and economic factors of the growth behind Islam.
Few questions to ponder about:
- Why was Islam founded in 7th Century – Not a thousand years earlier or 500 years later?
- Why in Saudi Arabia?
- Side effects of Islam?
- Future of Islam?
Coming to the first question,
If we analyze the situation during that period: the Indian, Roman and Chinese civilizations were the most advanced civilizations of that date. The Chinese civilization grew in eastern part of China (far off from theatres where Islam flourished), hence we wont bring that in to this discussion.
Though India and Roman Civilizations were advanced, wealthy and strong at one point of time and traded extensively with one another, around the 7th Century their power had reduced greatly. In India, for e.g. there was no politically and militarily strong ruler in Northern India after the Gupta Dynasty. After the fall of Rome to barbarians, the western Roman empire had collapsed and western world was weak politically and militarily. But both the Civilizations possessed big amount of wealth. In a way, you have two rich but weakened Civilizations, a state of power vacuum existed which the Arab world (and the people from areas like Turkmenistan and Afghanistan) had opportunity to fill.
Coming to the second question,
What situation in Arabian Peninsula let Islam flourish there?
The Arabian peninsula is a desert, hence there are no resources and hence no source of income or riches. Being a desert, life is extremely hard. The people who live in hard conditions are typically cruel and ruthless. On top of that, they were poor and there are 2 extremely rich but weak Civilizations, one to their left and other to their right.
If we analyze the Arab society at that time, the society was divided in to many tribes, each worshipped their own Gods and fought with one another. The Prophet (pbuh) probably realized that the first step to unify the tribes is to make them worship one God (i.e. Allah), second step is to eliminate the people who opposed this concept. Hence, the Prophet (pbuh) after he captured Mecca, he destroyed idols of all the Gods in Kabba, and killed all Meccans who did not subscribe to the ideology and made entire Mecca accept Islam. He brought other tribes to the fold of Islam through a combination of Marital alliances or force or convincing etc. When he died, the entire Arab was united religiously and politically.
With the entire Arab now united under one God, One Book, One Prophet and One leader (Caliph), they started conquering territories. Palestine, Jerusalem, Egypt, Persia, Sindh all started falling to Arabs one by one. The Arabs being extremely cruel (their hard life in desert made them cruel) terrorized people to accept Islam. We see the entire population in Syria, North Africa, Egypt and Sindh etc. converted to Islam.
As per Zakir Nayak, not offering Salah(at least five times a day facing towards Kaaba) and not doing Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca are among the 12 major sins and the sinners will be punished by Almighty Allah on the day of Judgement by throwing them in to hellfire. By such religious injunctions, Islam wanted to build a world order having its Center of Gravity at Mecca (i.e. Arabian Peninsula).
They made people all across the world accept the supremacy of Arabia by associating divinity to it through Islam.
As per Zakir Nayak, Mecca is the Center of the world.
As more and more people converted to Islam, the importance of Arab grew and Arabia started to become the Center the Gravity which unifies the “Ummah“.
And since Islam as a religion give open permission to kill, rape, loot and pillage non- believers many tribes in poor areas like Turkmenistan and Afghanistan adopted and got united under banner of Islam and attacked, subjugated and looted both Europe and India.
Coming to the third question (Side effects of Islam),
Please note, in the ancient ages, Indians and Romans had very strong trade relations and flourished due to one-other. All trade routes passed through the Arab areas. After Arab became strong and united, they started taking commissions and profits from the two way trade. Due to this, Indian goods became costly in Europe and vice-versa, and trade suffered greatly. During the ottoman rule, it is said Indian spices were sold at 10x the price in Europe(just imagine how much commissions the Ottoman traders charged). And that forced European nations to find alternate trade routes and resort to colonialism. If we go by this reason, the real reason behind the growth of Colonial era was the unification of Arab world which happened due to rise Islam (and Islamic Ottoman Empire later). In other words, the Islamic world became parasites in the Indo-European trade.
Coming to the fourth question (Future of Islam),
As we saw, Islam flourished in a situation when West and East were rich, but militarily & politically weak. Hence, if India and EU remains politically & militarily strong continuously over decades or centuries, that will spell doom for Islam. How? Please note, once a substitute to Oil is discovered, then the Arabian world (which is the Center of Gravity of Islam) will become economically weak. And since the Arabians wont have another means of income. If India and Europe remain strong politically and militarily, they cannot loot. In such a situation, Islam will die a slow death. But, if India and/or Europe become militarily weak, Islam will flourish again and the scenarios of the medieval ages will repeat.
Hence, it is no surprise the Islamic world has gotten in to a steady decline after the rise of strong European nations(like France , Germany, Britain, Russia etc.) and rise of Hindu rulers like Shivaji Maharaj or Ranjit Singh and even lately Modiji or Vajpayeeji.
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