Sunday, October 5, 2008

The "Peaceful" Muslim Expansion

In a dialogue with a Muslimah from Egypt, I was flabbergasted when this person maintained that Islam spread peacefully.  It took awhile to collect my position, because I wanted there to be no room for debate, but I eventually responded.

XXXX abdullah wrote:
Islam didn't spread by this way .If you read about Islam and its victory, you will find this by peace .When Muslims fight any country, they firstly sent a message to its king and asked him to give him the right to tell people about this religion and when he accepted they started to spread their message.and fight only when the king refused .

Dear XXXX,
  It has been a long time since I have written you, but I have not been idle.  This statement above that you made simply shocked me.  It directly denies nearly 1200 years of history, and flies in the face of what I had accepted as common knowledge.  The breadth of this statement, and the sincerity with which you said it, is so contradictory to the facts that my first reaction was that we must not live in the same universe!  Consequently, I wanted my response to be comprehensive.

Below is part of my research in answering this question.  It is by no means complete.  One of the amazing things about the list I have made below is that in the research of any one battle, I would often find references to one or two other battles that weren't on my list, so the thing kept getting bigger.  Much of the history for many of these battles, particularly the early ones, comes from the Tabari Hadiths.

A recurring theme in these histories is that the Muslim army routinely defeated forces many times it's size.  I do not dispute that the Muslims were often numerically inferior, but there's a large probability that the size of the Non-Muslim forces is often inflated to make the victories seem greater than they were.  This tradition started with the "Battle" of Badr, which doesn't even count as a minor skirmish compared to the later wars.

To be sure, there are many cases where cities accepted Islam by treaty and no battle was fought.  Do not whitewash these cases.  Most cities usually had 1000-2000 soldiers as a garrison (2000 soldiers is the size of a US Battalion, the smallest military unit which is independently deployable).  When a force of 15,000 to 20,000 invading soldiers with a history of defeating units twice it's size comes to your city and makes demands, you accept and comply with those demands if you only have a battalion guarding you -- whether you like it or not.

Before we embark on a detailed examination of Islamic conquests, we must be sure we remember that none of the battles described took place in a vacuum. Many Muslims are quick to point out that all their battles were defensive.  Nothing is further from the truth. During Muhammad’s time, only two battles were defensive, and both of those were a result of a pre-emptive or retaliatory attack which was provoked by Islamic behavior or actions.  There were more battles after Muhammad’s death which could be described as defensive within the narrow confines of the battle itself, but were generally defensive battles in a strategically offensive campaign.

The most repulsive events here that I found were the battle of Ullais, where the captives from the battle were massacred in a ritual beheading that took 2 1/2 days, and the battle of Marj-ud-Deebaj, where the refugees who had been allowed to depart the surrendered Damascus were overrun and butchered, their baggage train looted.

I look forward to you re-evaluating your statement that Islam spread peacefully in light of this evidence.  Everything I have presented here is freely available from numerous independent sources on the internet.

I would also like to point out that there is not one recorded battle between Christians and ANYBODY for the first three hundred years of their existence.

623 Battle of Waddan
623 Battle of Safwan
623 Battle of Dul-'Ashir
Muhammad and converts begin raids on caravans to fund the movement. Zakat becomes mandatory
624 March 17 Battle of Badr Muhammad set out with an band of 314 Muslims reinforced by the Ansar to intercept a Meccan convoy en route from Syria to Mecca. The Meccans heard about this and mounted an counter interception from Mecca that is said to have been about 1,000 strong, although this number is suspect.  Before the battle, the caravan was reported to have made it behind the Meccan force, and they could withdraw. An unknown number did, but others continued on for punitive reasons against the Muslims. The Muslims reached Badr first, and gained control of the water sources, so the Meccans would have to fight with limited water. The Meccans were defeated, losing seventy dead and seventy captured.
624 Battle of Bani Salim
624 Battle of Eid-ul-Fitr
624 Battle of Zakat -ul-Fitr
624 Battle of Bani Qainuqa
624 Battle of Sawiq
624 Battle of Ghatfan
624 Battle of Bahran
625 Battle of Uhud 70 Muslims are killed
625 Battle of Humra-ul-Asad
625 Battle of Banu Nudair
625 Battle of Dhatur-Riqa
626 Battle of Badru-Ukhra
626 Battle of Dumatul-Jandal
626 Battle of Banu Mustalaq Nikah
627 Battle of the Trench
627 Battle of Ahzab
627 Battle of Bani Quraiza
627 Battle of Bani Lahyan
627 Battle of Ghaiba
627 Battle of Khaybar
Muhammad signs treaty with Quraish
629 Battle of Mu'tah The first outright battle between Islam and the Byzantine Christians. Islamic missionaries were said to have been executed when sent to the non-Muslim Arabs living in Jordan., Muhammad dispatched an army of 3000 on a punitive expedition, which met a larger force of 100,000(?) Byzantines. The Muslims declined open battle, but the fighting was intense in the numerous skirmishes. The Muslims, seeing the battle was hopeless, attempted to disengage. Using tactical deception, the Muslims succeeded in disengaging, and returned to Medina, where they were berated for their cowardice.
Muhammad conquers Mecca
630 The Battle Of Ta'if
630 Battle of Hunayn.
630 Battle of Autas
630 Battle of Hunsin
630 Battle of Tabuk This is the kind of “battle” the Muslims enjoyed. The rumor was that the Byzantines were amassing a huge army at Tabuk for the purpose of a pre-emptive expedition into Islamic territory. Muhammad amassed a 30,000 man army and set forth, but never engaged with the enemy. There was no Byzantine army in Tabuk when they got there. It is unclear if there ever was an enemy, or Muhammad was just being paranoid.
632 Dec. Battle of Yamama/Akriba Near the plain of Aqraba. Khalid with 13,000 faced self-proclaimed prophet Musailima with 40,000 men of Banu Hanifa (note: estimates of the size of enemy forces may have been inflated by Muslim reports to make their victories seem more spectacular than they were). After two days of battle, the outcome was inconclusive, with an edge to the Apostate army, which had forced the Muslims into flight on the first day. Khalid drew Musailima out with a proposal of negotiation, only to attack him when he drew close enough. Musailima managed to dodge the attack, but this disheartened the apostates, and they withdrew under a general Muslim attack. Surrounded in a walled garden to which he had retreated with 7,000 (?) men, Musailima was killed by a javelin, which ended the apostate resistance.
632 Battle of Zu Qissa ~
632 Battle of Zu Abraq ~
633 sept Battle of Buzakha Khalid vs. false prophet, Tulaiha
633 Battle of Zafar Khalid vs. tribal mistress Salma. Salma died on the battlefield.
633 Oct Battle of Naqra Part of Ridda wars.
632 Siege of Juwathah, Bahrain. Non-Muslim Bahraini tribes led by Hutam were beseiged in Juwathah by Al-Ala' bin Al-Hadhrami for one month. One night the Bahraini forces became drunk, and were overwhelmed and annihilated by the Muslims.
633 April Battle of Sallasil/Chains/Kazima Khalid marched into Persia behind his ultimatum: "Submit to Islam and be safe. Or agree to the payment of the Jizya, and you and your people will be under our protection, else you will have only yourself to blame for the consequences, for I bring the men who desire death as ardently as you desire life.” Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 554. Essentially the same message as always: Accept Islam, Pay the Jizya, or die by the sword. The Persians were initially outmaneuvered by the Muslim Cavalry, and reached the battlefield exhausted after a forced march. They chained their soldiers together in the line of battle to prevent a cavalry breakthrough. This also prevented a retreat when the battle turned against them. The Persian Commander, Hormuz, was defeated in a duel by Khalid before the battle began.
633 Battle of Mazar ~
633 Battle at Oman ~
633 Battle at Hadramaut ~
633 Battle of Kazima ~
633 May Battle of Walaja The Sassanian Persians, in reaction to their defeat in the battle of Sallasi and the Battle of the river, fielded two armies to stem the Muslim armies advance into Persia towards Hira. Khalid detached his cavalry and encircled the Persians under cover of darkness. A frontal attack by the Muslim infantry fully engaged the Persian army, which was then attacked from the rear flanks by the detached cavalry.
633 May Battle of Ullais Survivors of the Battle of Walaja regrouped at Ullais and were reinforced by Christian Arabs and the Imperial Persian army. After a day of Battle, the coalition forces finally collapsed and retreated. Muslim cavalry was given orders to pursue, but to capture the retreating army alive. Persian and Christian Arab warrior groups were isolated and disarmed and marched back to the Muslim camp. Every captive was beheaded at the bank of the river. The slaughter of the captives continued for two and a half days. (Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 561)
633 May Battle of Hira Hira, a city of Christian Arabs, was lightly defended as the army fought at Walaja and Ullais. The city quickly surrendered to the advancing Muslims after a brief fight.

Battle of Al-Anbar ~

Battle of Ein-ul-tamr ~
633 Aug Battle of Daumat-ul-jandal () Christian Arabs were besieged by Ayadh bin Ghanam. The siege was a stalemate, so the Muslims requested Khalid come with reinforcements from his campaign in Persia. The Christian Arabs responded by requesting reinforcements. Khalid held back his forces, seeing that storming the fortress would be a costly operation. Eventually Judi, in command of the Christian Arabs, tried to break the siege by attacking out of the fort. They were defeated in the open. The commanders were captured and beheaded. The weakened fort was stormed, and most of the garrison was slaughtered.
633 Nov Battle of Muzayyah One of three camps made up of survivors from Ullais reinforced by local Christian Arabs.
633 Nov Battle of Zumail One of three camps made up of survivors from Ullais reinforced by local Christian Arabs. Khalid’s army attacks a Persian/Arab encampment from three sides at night, effectively ending resistance in present-day iraq.
634 Battle of Firaz Khalid ibn al-Walid decisively defeats the larger combined forces of the Persian Empire,Roman Empire, and Christian Arabs, completing his conquest of Mesopotamia
634 Feb Battle of Dathin ~
634 jun Battle of Qarteen ~
634 Battle of Marj-al-Rahit Christian Ghassanid Arabs in the town of Marj Rahit were celebrating a summer festival, accompanied by numerous refugees from the surrounding countryside who had sought shelter in the town from the marauding Arab armies. Arab cavalry swept through the screen of warriors and overran the town. A large amount of booty and numerous captives were taken. No negotiations were conducted regarding the fate of the town before the attack.
634 Battle of Busra, Syria Abu Ubaidah laid siege to Busra in June 634. After three days the garrison came out of the town and engaged the Muslims. The Muslims were almost surrounded and finished when they were relieved by the appearance of cavalry under Khalid ibn al-Walid. The garrison retreated to the fort. The next day the sortied again, and ended by retreating again into the fort. The siege was laid until the surrender of the fort when the Byzantines concluded that no relief was forthcoming.
634 july Battle of Ajnadayn 32,000 Muslims met 90,000 Byzantines. The battle started with individual duels of champions, where most of the Byzantine champions were defeated. The battle devolved into a general melee until sunset. The second day, an assassination attempt by Theodorus on Khalid was intercepted and killed. Using the stolen uniforms of the killed assassins, the Muslims managed to get close enough to Theodorus and kill him. With the loss of their leader, the Byzantines fled the field in three directions. They were run down by the Muslim cavalry, and lost more in the rout than they did in battle.
634 Battle of Damascus Khalid surrounded Damascus and sealed off all the approaches. The siege began on August 21, 634. When Heraclius failed to reinforce the city from Antioch, Thomas sallied forth twice in as many days in attempts to break the siege. Losses were high on the Byzantine side, and they retreated back to the city. Khalid infiltrated the city under cover of darkness with a hundred men near the east gate, and intense fighting occurred when they breached the gate. Thomas, realizing that the city was lost, but that the attack was uncoordinated with the rest of the Muslim siege forces around the city, entered negotiations with Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, and procured very favorable conditions for the surrender of Damascus. Khalid attempted to claim that the city fell by conquest, but Abu Ubaidah impressed on him that if word got out that the city was looted, residents slaughtered and captives taken after surrendering, no city would ever surrender to Muslims again.
634 Battle of Saniyyat-ul-Uqab 12,000 Byzantines were defeated in an attempt to break the siege of Damascus in a battle 20 miles north of the city
634 Battle of Marj-ud-Deebaj Thousands of refugees and byzantine commanders who had departed from Damascus under the terms of surrender were followed by Khalid. The terms declared that they would be allowed to peacefully depart and that a guarantee of peace would be in place for three days. When the guarantee expired, Khalid’s cavalry descended on the column in the rain just outside of Antioch and surrounded it. There were far too many Byzantines for the four thousand cavalry to contain, and many made it through the encirclement to the safety of Antioch. The Muslims captured all of the baggage and numerous captives, both men and women. The Byzantine commander Thomas was killed in a duel with Khalid.
Death of Hadrat Abu Bakr. Hadrat Umar Farooq becomes the Caliph. Khalid is recalled by the new Caliph
634 Sept Battle of Namaraq near modern day Kufa
634 Battle of Saqatia ~
634 Battle of Namraq ~
634 Battle of Kasker ~
634 Nov 28 Battle of the Bridge (Al Jisr) Abu Ubaid crossed the Euphrates on a pontoon bridge. Initial contact with the Persian forces and their war elephants caused a loss of cohesion in the Muslim ranks. Abu Ubaid was killed and 2/3 of his force killed or dispersed. The Persian exploitation of this victory was halted by a coup in the Persian capitol.
635 Battle of Buwaib ~
635 Jan Battle of Fahl Jordan valley of Syria
635-636 Siege of Emesa Emperor Heraclius reinforced the garrison at Emesa and Qinnasrin, repudiating the agreement the governors had made to pay the Jizya in return for peace. The Muslims lad siege to the city for four months. In March, the Byzantine general Harbees attacked out of the city and initially routed the Muslims. They regrouped and drove him back to the city. The following day the City forces were lured out of the city by the ruse of the Muslims looking as if they were retreating, and were defeated in detail. The city surrendered.
636 Aug Battle of Yarmouk Decisive battle against a Byzantine coalition army 65km from the Golan heights. 6 days of battle, ending in a Muslim cavalry flank attack that routed the Byzantines. As the shattered Byzantine formations quit the field, they were pursued by the Muslims and slaughtered. No prisoners were taken.
636 Conquest of Madain ~
637 april Conquest of Jerusalem Jerusalem was besieged for four months. Patriarch of Jerusalem Sophronius agreed to surrender the city and pay the Jizya. He negotiated the surrender directly with Caliph Umar.
637 Battle of Hazir Khalid marched with 17,000 men on Qinnasrin in Syria. Meenas of the Byzantines recognized that he would be besieged and eventually have to surrender if he remained it he city, and met Khalid at Hazir, 3 miles west of Qinnasrin. Meenas was killed early on, and the Byzantine infantry was quickly outmaneuvered by the Muslims, and the entire force lost.
637 Battle of Aleppo After meeting the advancing Muslim army 6 miles south of the city and being bested, Byzantine general Joachim retreated to the fortifications at Aleppo. After a four-month siege, and realizing that Heraclius was not going to be able to relieve the garrison, the Byzantines surrendered on terms. The garrison departed freely.
637 Battle of Iron Bridge The defenders of Antioch met the advancing Muslim armies at the river Orontes, and were defeated. The defenders retreated to Antioch, where they were besieged until they surrendered on Oct 30.
637 july-oct Battle of Qadisiyyah Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas of the Quraysh commanding a force of approximately 25,000 Muslims. Ordered by Caliph Umar to halt at al-Qadisiyyah, 30 miles away from Kufah. Ambassadors were sent forth to meet with Emperor Yazdgerd III to invite the Persians to Islam. Insults were exchanged, and Yazdgerd sent them packing. As preparations for battle commenced on both sides, more peace negotiations were opened. At the height of tensions, in discussions between Rostam Farrokhzad and Mughirah bin Zurarah, the Persians intimated that a remuneration might be made if the Arabs went back the way they came. Mughirah refused, and was adamant that the only acceptable response from the Persians was to accept Islam or pay the jizhya. The next morning the Muslims attacked the Persians, who were deployed in battle order on the field. The Persians employed war elephants, which made up for their numerical inferiority. The battle lasted for four days. Muslim reinforcements arrived from Syria on the second and third days. By the fourth day the battle was a draw, when the Muslims mounted a desperate push to seize the commander, Rostam Farrokhzad. The push worked. The Muslims cut off his head and displayed it, causing the Persians to break and flee.
637 Battle of Jalula ~
638 Conquest of Jazirah
639 Conquest of Khuizistan Entry to Egypt
640 6 April Battle of Babylon Muslims under Amr laid siege to Babylon (a city in Byzantine Egypt), which after a small effort at negotiation, was taken by storm on Good Friday.
640 July Battle of Heliopolis Theodore of the Byzantines is defeated by the superior maneuverability of Amr’s cavalry, sealing the fate of Byzantine Egypt.
642 Battle of Rayy in Persia
642 Battle of Nihawand Persian King Yazdgerd III had about 150,000 men, versus a Muslim army about 30,000. The Persians were outmaneuvered, trapped in a narrow mountain valley, and lost approximately 100,000 men in the ensuing rout. Yazdgerd hurriedly fled to the Merv area, but was unable to raise another substantial army.
643 Conquest of Azarbaijan
644 Conquest of Fars
644 Conquest of Kharan.
647 Conquest of the island of Cypress

Battle of Jasr

Battle of Caesarea Here the Arab Muslims who had besieged the city had observed that some men furtively made their way from the city walls during some nights. The Muslims waylaid these men and to their delight they turned out to be Bedouins who although non-Muslims were of the same ethnic stock as the Muslim Arabs. These Bedouins were in the employ of the Byzantines had as sweepers at Caesarea. Now as captives in the hands of their Arab compatriots, they did not take long to crack and fall prey to the threats and bribes of their Arab compatriots. These sweepers decided to betray their Byzantine masters and showed the Arab Muslim besiegers the way to infiltrate into Caesarea through its sewers. The Byzantine Christian city of Caesarea had walls that were sixteen feet high with many turrets and had withstood the Arab Muslim siege for more than eight months, so the Muslims used this devious way to infiltrate the city and once inside they ruthlessly slaughtered its determined inhabitants to the last man, except for a few who managed to reach the port and board the ships and flee to safety.

Battle of Alexandria
Uman dies and is succeeded by Caliph Uthman.
648 Campaign against the Byzantines.
Naval battle against the Byzantines.
Islam spreads into North Africa
Uthman is murdered. Ali become Caliph.
656 Battle of the Camel/Bassorah/Jamal Muslim civil war, fought over the assassination of the caliph Uthmaan and the succession
657 Battle of Siffin Muawiyah, the governor of Syria, fought Ali for the Caliphate in Iraq.
658 Battle of Nahrawan.
Conquest of Egypt
Ali is murdered
Egypt falls to Islam rule.
666 Sicily is attacked by Muslims
674-678 First Arab siege of Constantinople
687 Battle of Kufa
691 Battle of Deir ul Jaliq
692 Battle of Sevastopol Battle between the Byzantines and the Muslim Umayyad Arabs.
698 Battle of Carthage Byzantines under Ioannes the Patrician and the strategos Tiberias Apsimar recaptured Carthage and were welcomed by rejoicing citizens. The Muslim commander, Hassan, enraged at having to retake a city that had not resisted the Byzantine takeover, offered no terms except to surrender or die. The determination of the two forces resulted in the total destruction of Carthage.
Sufism takes root as a sect of Islam. Military campaigns in North Africa
702 Battle of Deir ul Jamira
711 Muslims invade Gibraltar
711 July 9 Battle of Guadalete Defeat of Roderic the Visigoth in the southern tip of the Spanish peninsula during the invasion of Spain.
711 Conquest of Spain
713 Conquest of Multan
716 Invasion of Constantinople
717-718 Second Arab Siege of Constantinople The effect of the Greek Fire can be gauged by the fact that out of the more than three hundred thousand Arabs who attacked Constantinople, only about twenty thousand returned
732 Battle of Covadonga Spanish Christians defeat Moors for the first time (date uncertain 718 - 725)
721 Battle of Toulouse Moors lose to Odo of Aquitaine
732 Battle of Tours Moors lose to Charles Martel near Poitiers
737 Battle of the River Berre
738 Battle of Navsari Junaid’s southern army invading India was repulsed at Navsari by the Solankis andRashtrakutas
738 Battle of Avanti Junaid’s eastern army invading India was defeated by Nagabhatta Pratihara and forced to flee.
738 Battle of Rajasthan Tamin’s army was intercepted before it could penetrate the Sindh frontier and the Arabs were routed, retreating to the west of the Indus river.
739 Battle of Akroinon In a decisive victory Leo expelled the Arab forces from Asia Minor
740 Battle of the Nobles
741 Battle of Bagdoura in North Africa
744 Battle of Ain al Jurr.
746 Battle of Rupar Thutha
748 Battle of Rayy.
749 Battle of lsfahan
749 Battle of Nihawand
750 Battle of Zab Muslim civil war – the fall of the Umayyads
751 July 10th Battle of the Talas river the Arab and Chinese armies took to the field in Aulie-Ata on the backs of the Talas river
772 Battle of Janbi in North Africa
777 Battle of Saragossa in Spain
811 Battle of Rayy in Persia
1001 Gandhara Sultan Mahmud defeats Jayapala at Peshawar and Jayapala defects and commits suicide.
1008 India Mahmud defeats the Rajput Confederacy
1013 Bulnat, India Mahmud defeats Trilochanpala
1040 Battle of Dandanaqan
1024 Somnath Mahmud sacked the temple and is reported to have personally hammered the temple's gildedlingam to pieces and the stone fragments were carted back to Ghazni, where they were incorporated into the steps of the city's new Jamiah Masjid (Friday mosque) in 1026
1071 Aug 26 Battle of Manzikert The Seljuk Muslim invasion of Armenia was contested by the Byzantines. The Byzantine defeat here paved the way for Turkish settlement of Anatolia.
1086 Battle of Zallakha.

No comments:

Post a Comment