[Buddha-l] Was Buddhists Taking a Stand Against Islamophobia

G. McLoughlin caodemarte at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 25 22:12:14 MDT 2012


I meant "fleeing  to Muslim lands" and not "felling." 

J. P. Berkey in The Formation of Islam: Religion and Society n the Near East 600-1800 writes : "As is well known the Arabs made no attempt to impose their faith on their new subjects, and at first in fact discouraged conversion on the part  of non-Arabs." This refers to conquered non-Arabs. There, of course, being some famous individual non-Arab converts to early Islam. To deal with the "problem" of accepting  non-Arab converts in the conquered lands mawala status was created in the early days. Basically one was adopted by, or accepted patron-client status, from an Arab clan, family, or individual. In a sense, one became a provisional Arab and a kind of Muslim. Mawala were definitively  not treated as "real" Arab Muslims, paid the unbelievers tax, and did not fully share in the material benefits given to "true" Muslims. This half way status on the way to allowing true conversion to Islam by the new non-Arab
 subjects and acceptance as a fellow Muslim was eventually abandoned and Islam became a more universal religion and less an Arab religion. 

Concerning forcible conversion of the conquered a quick bit of Internet plagiarism nets:
Ira M. Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies (Cambridge: CUP, 1988) p. 43, pp 243-244.i:

"The second principle…was that the conquered populations should be as little disturbed as possible. This means that the Arab-Muslims did not, contrary to reputation, attempt to convert people to Islam. Muhammad had set the precedent of permitting Jews and Christians in Arabia to keep their religions, if they paid tribute; the Caliphate extended the same privileges to Middle Eastern Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians, whom they considered 'People of the Book,' the adherents of earlier written revelations.
“The question of why people convert to Islam has always generated intense feeling. Earlier generations of European scholars believed that conversions to Islam were made at the point of the sword and that conquered peoples were given the choice of conversion or death. It is now  apparent that conversion by force, while not unknown in Muslim countries, was, in fact, rare. Muslim conquerors ordinarily wished to dominate rather than convert, and most conversions to Islam were voluntary.”
M. Hodgson, The Venture of Islam, vol. 1, p. 199. 

“There was no attempt at converting the peoples of the imperial territories, who practically all adhered to some form of confessional religion already…In the chiefly non-Arab agricultural lands, the object was not conversion but rule…The superiority of Islam as religion, and therefore in providing for social order, would justify Muslim rule: would justify the simple, fair-dealing Muslims in replacing the privileged and oppressive representatives of the older, corrupted allegiances…”

Regards and now back to Buddhism,


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