Persians forced into becoming Muslim?
April 12, 2011 § 32 Comments
There is no doubt that the Safavids forced Shi’ism upon most Iranian, what about the early Muslims who conquered Persia in during the Caliphate of ‘Omar Ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him)?
It is widely believed amongst Iranians (including religious Shi’ites) that Arabs somehow enforced Islam upon one of the strongest empires in that the world has ever seen. They seem to have forgotten that prior to the Islamic conquest of Persia, it was the Persian empire that conquered and occupied vast amount lands, including the lands of non-Iranian people, from Egypt right into the cradle of the Arabs, the Yemen. Arab land. As a matter of fact, the Persian Sassanid Empire occupied the entire eastern lands of Arabia, parts of Hijaz, Oman and Yemen.
Conquering lands was the norm of the time back then, and in the case of the Muslims, the students, disciples (Sahabah) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them), then there are various reports that caliph ‘Omar (may Allah be pleased with him) himself wasn’t keen on getting into any confrontation with the Sassanian empire. It was the Sassanian empire (like the Roman one) that couldn’t tolerate a united Arabia and started mobolising its armies in Iraq. The Muslims had no choice but to face an approaching enemy first, fearlessly:
Rabi’a ibn ‘Amir(radiyallahu ‘anhu) went to the leader of the Persians. The leader asked him, “Why are you coming to our lands? If you are coming for money then we will pay everyone of you a salary so leave us alone.” But Rabi’a said, “That is not why we are here. We are sent to free the creation from being slaves of one another to being slaves of Allah the Creator of the creation and from the oppression of religion to the justice of Islam and we want to deliver people from the narrowness of this world to the vastness of this world and the Afterlife.
According to Bernard Lewis:
“[Muslims conquests] have been variously seen in Iran: by some as a blessing, the advent of the true faith, the end of the age of ignorance and heathenism; by others as a humiliating national defeat, the conquest and subjugation of the country by foreign invaders. Both perceptions are of course valid, depending on one’s angle of vision… Iran was indeed Islamized, but it was not Arabized. Persians remained Persians……the Iranian contribution to this new Islamic civilization is of immense importance. The work of Iranians can be seen in every field of cultural endeavor, including Arabic poetry, to which poets of Iranian origin composing their poems in Arabic made a very significant contribution. In a sense.”
The conversation of the people of the Iranian plateau to Islam was, however, a gradual one, and even 300 years after the downfall of the Sasanians there were sizeable Zoroastrian communities in Iran. the Persians were “forced to convert to Islam and attack by “Omar” is nothing but a lie.
Never were the Iranian people FORCED to convert to Islam. That is why it took the Iranian nation 300 years to have a substantial Muslim population!!!.
The first 100 years of the Islamic invasion their were no Muslims except amongst the Arab populations. The only time Iranians were “forced” to convert to
anything was during the Sassanids where many were forced to convert to Zoroastrianism (or were killed for leaving Zoroastrianism) and again during Safavid times when they were forced to change their sect from Islam (i.e. Sunnah) to 12’er Shi’ism.
Never was any part of the Iranian population “co’erced” or “forced” to convert to Islam. They didn’t even have any incentive toconvert the first 200 years (for taxation was double to become muslim, than to stay your previous religion) So again, if you anyone treis to talk about the “history” of Iran and about Omar (RA), don’t make up lies and propoganda to suit your needs. You will become as low as
the people you are trying to defeat.
In fact many Arab tribes, among them Christians, Zoroastrians and other pagans were either allies of the Sassanian empires or actually part of their army. It is interesting to notice that there was much cooperation between Sassanids and non-Muslim Arabs during the Muslim conquest period, which shows that those wars were not Arab vs. Persian, rather Muslim vs. non-Muslims. For instance in 633-634, Khaled ibn Walid leader of the Muslim Army, defeated a force of the Sassanids’ Arab auxiliaries from the tribes of “Bakr”, “‘Ejl”, “Taghleb” and “Namer” at “‘Ayn Al-Tamr”.