Nowhere did Islam go and make the whole society convert to Islam in one shot. Didn’t happen. Not at least in the Islamic methodology of Muslims. Some studies showed [that it took] 350 years for the majority of Egyptians to become Muslim.
So that means Islam was ruling while the majority was not Muslim, the same case for Syria for hundreds of years. Even in Andalusia (Spain). So there was no mass vast forced conversion, because you can’t push a particular idea on society unless the individuals in the society have been transformed themselves.
But yet when we see Islam was exiled from Spain overnight, they have to renounce Islam, the Spanish government in 1942 did not allow anyone to profess Islam explicitly. The Spanish inquisition did horrible things to determine if someone is hiding being Muslims, make them eat pork, torture etc. But you did not see a similar wave of forced conversion when Islam came to other countries. The evidence for this is like the Coptic Church in Egypt. If there was forced conversion, why is there a Coptic church? Why are there churches in Syria, Iraq or Palestine? Why are there many Jews in many of these countries? Because they are allowed to live, and allowed to follow their tradition.
Muslim theologians say that if someone is Muslim but not convinced of it, then their iman is doubtful. There is some problem with their iman. And [inaudible] talks about the desert Bedouin, “the Bedouin said we have become Muslim, don’t say you have become believers, but say you have accepted [Islam], because iman has not [yet] entered your heart.” So iman has to be based upon personal conviction, not something that someone forces or dictates to you.
So part of the methodology of da’wah is not to dictate; don’t try to force people. Da’wah means to invite, so when you invited someone, you invite them in the most beautiful of ways, just like how you invite someone to your house. We don’t grab them and drag them into your house [and tell them] “If you don’t come, I have to kill you.” That’s not invitation, that’s a provocation.
Shaykh Walead Mosaad
This is an excerpt taken from Shaykh Walead Mosaad’s lecture at The Sacred Path of Love 2013, entitled “The Path of The Pious.”