DID ISLAM SPREAD BY FORCE, SWORDS OR GUNS?
The unequivocal and emphatic answer is NO! The Qur'an declares:
"Let there be no compulsion (or coercion) in the religion (Islam). The right direction is distinctly clear from error." (2:256)
Here is a good study of the question of the spread of Islam by a Christian missionary, T. W. Arnold: "...of any organized attempt to force the acceptance of Islam on the non-Muslim population, or of any systematic persecution intended to stamp out the Christian religion, we hear nothing. Had the caliphs chosen to adopt either course of action, they might have swept away Christianity as easily as Ferdinand and Isabella drove Islam out of Spain, or Louis XIV made Protestantism penal in France, or the Jews were kept out of England for 350 years. The Eastern Churches in Asia were entirely cut off from communion with the rest of Christiandom throughout which no one would have been found to lift a finger on their behalf, as heretical communions. So that the very survival of these Churches to the present day is a strong proof of the generally tolerant attitude of Mohammedan [sic] governments towards them" (8). Islam does not teach, nor do Muslims desire, conversion of any people for fear, greed, marriage or any other form of coercion. In conclusion, jihad in Islam is STRIVING IN THE WAY OF ALLAH by pen, tongue, hand, media and, if inevitable, with arms. However, jihad in Islam does not include striving for individual or national power, dominance, glory, wealth, prestige or pride
WHAT SHOULD MUSLIMS DO WHEN THEY ARE VICTORIOUS?
remove tyranny, treachery, bigotry, and ignorance and replace them with justice
and equity. We should provide truthful knowledge and free people from the
bondage of 'associationism' (Shirk, or multiple gods), prejudice, superstition
and mythology. Muslims remove immorality, fear, crime, exploitation and replace
them with divine morality, peace and education. The Qur'an declares:
Allah commands you that you restore deposits to their owners, and if you judge
between mankind that you judge justly. Lo! It is proper that Allah admonishes
you. Lo! Allah is ever Hearer, Seer."
(The Holy Quran, 4:58)
who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah's witnesses to fair dealing, and let not
the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be
just: that is next to Piety and fear Allah. And Allah is well acquainted with
all that you do."
(The Holy Quran, 5:8)
of those whom We have created there is a nation who guides with the Truth and
establishes justice with it."
(The Holy Quran, 7:181)
Allah enjoins justice and kindness, and giving to kinsfolk, and forbids lewdness
and abomination and wickedness. He exhorts you in order that you may take
(The Holy Quran, 16:90)
who, if We give them power in the land, establish prescribed prayers (salah) and
pay the poor-due (zakah) and enjoin right conduct and forbid evil. And with
Allah rests the end (and decision) of (all) affairs."
(The Holy Quran, 22:41)