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So, it is a total fabrication for some people to go about trumpeting the false charge that Muslims made people Muslim by force. For, they could not and they did not.
But there is no doubt that Muslims were a powerful military force - and they provided security throughout the world. And they gave the people of the world an opportunity - for the first time in their lives - to think freely and for themselves. And then to choose the kind of belief they really liked - belief that made most sense to them.
Given the opportunity, people - most of them - chose the creed and culture of No God but God - of La Ilaha Illa Allah! Given a choice, people chose Islam.
As the Qur'an puts it, they came in Allah's Deen in waves upon waves - Yadkhuloona fee deenillahi afwaaja.
Thus, God Almighty blessed the followers of Islam with the global political, economic, cultural and military means, tools, reach and presence that enabled them to plant this central creed in the heart of humanity everywhere.
Not just 800 years of Muslim rule in Europe and not just the presence of Muslim educational, cultural and scientific institutions in that continent, but centuries of Crusades brought this creed home to Europe. It exposed Europe - in many ways for the first time - to a rich and complex culture and civilization founded on the core creed of La Ilaha Illa Allah! No God but Allah.
In the Footsteps of Islam, Muslims and the Qur'an
Renaissance and Reformation are but stops, albeit major ones, for the stage coach of this divinely rooted civilization. They are but details, albeit significant ones, of the unfolding of the message of La Ilaha Illa Allah! - No God but God! - in Europe.
So is the martyrdom of the scientific revolutionary Copernicus and the religious reformer of Prague, Jan Huss. It was not for nothing that intellectual and "religious" dissidents of the day, including Jan Huss and Martin Luther, were vilified as speaking like Muslims.
This was one of the most powerful accusations that could be leveled against a Christian luminary at that time. It was also a most accurate one. For these people did speak the tongue and thought of the Muslims.
They had in effect turned Turk!
And here is how each one of them made the teachings of the Qur'an a central part of their own message:
- Huss invited his fellow Christians to read the Bible - just like Islam invites people to read the Qur'an.
- Luther asked his fellow-faithful to put the Bible first - and not the Pope.
These were Islamic teachings to the core. And they had been making waves in Europe for centuries.
The Protestant Christians of today, as well as the modern scientific community, both of them owe Islam, Muslims and the Qur'an a debt of gratitude. For, it was the Muslims who taught both groups the key elements of their new creed and culture.
Those in our own times who, for reasons of their own that I will not go into here, call for a Reformation of Islam, must take note that the entire Reformation-Renaissance ferment that Europe went through, and that spawned the modern Western civilization, was at bottom a Muslim and Islamic thing through and through.
It was Islam, Muslims and the Qur'an happening to that part of the human family which until then had by and large remained innocent of higher learning, culture and religious and scientific freedom and independence.
It was not entirely coincidental that the very day the last Muslim remnants were forced out of Granada was also the day when Christopher Columbus set sail on his voyage across the Atlantic. Islam and Muslims and the Qur'an had prepared and equipped the Spaniards for their great big voyage to the new world.
Europe Abandons Its Islamic Roots
But the terrible atrocities that Europe visited upon the Western Hemisphere - North, South and Central America and the Caribbean - Africa and the rest of the world in the wake of the voyages of Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gamma and Ferdinand Magellan was Europe turning its back on the Qur'an, and on the impact and influence of Islam on its culture, and going back to its violent and barbaric roots.
It was Europe abandoning its Islamic past and roots.
Thus, the Qur'an, Islam and Muslims changed the culture of the world from one of polytheism, idol worship and paganism to one of the worship of one God. They made the central teaching of the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Qur'an - No God but God, La Ilaha Illa Allah! - the dominant culture of the day. They established the core creed of Tauheed - worship of one God - in the world. And it is this culture and creed that the bulk of humanity today professes allegiance to in one form or another.
On the question of how the Qur'an changed the world, my second illustration is education.
What people call religion mostly connects people on earth to their God in heaven. It teaches them how to purify their souls and live a life of truth, honesty, goodness, Godliness, piety, virtue, devotion, spirituality and integrity in their earthly lives
Education caters to people's minds. It shows them how to make the most of their life on earth. Education gives people the tools and the techniques to make this world a better or place for themselves, for their future generations as well as for everyone else.
I said earlier that the Qur'an, Islam and Muslims pretty much made the world what it is in matters of religion so far as monotheism was concerned. I want to add now that they also pretty much made the world what it is when it comes to the question of education.