The myth of "Islam is spread by the sword"


by Q

This was originally intended as a comment for this blog which was about the letter-ultimatum from the Islamic khalif Omar to the at-the-time-teenage King of Iran, Yazdgird III. That particular letter is a historial forgery, but the discussion on the blog quickly descended to one of the most favorite topic of some Arab-obsessed Iranians: the so-called "forced Islamicization" of Iran.

I thank Avaznia and Farid for their excellent points. It is of course a myth that Islam, or any religion for that matter could be spread by the sword en-mass as is always claimed by those who are short on facts, short on fuse, but long on self-righteous fantasies.

I have made the same points regarding Islam's spread to other locations many times. To begin with majority of Muslims in the world live in lands that no Arab army ever set foot in. The spread into Egypt and North Africa was hardly "Islamification by sword" of Africa. These Arab armies were at best confined to Egypt and coastal mediterranian. The idea that they could have converted half the continent and sub-saharan parts like Nigeria, Kenya, Zanzibar and Tanzania "by force" is ridiculous. By contrast most of Spain and Portugal was occupied for hundreds of years and there was hardly a mass conversion there. As with China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Phillipines and Bangladesh, the spread through peaceful trade and dialogue is the most likely explanation.

The problem here is that some people just can't accept reality because the sense of rage and victimhood instilled in them (by mostly Western, or West-worshipping sources) is designed to perpetuate continual division and self-hatred in the region. This combined with a need to blame someone else for their problems has made these people completely delusional.

We can't accept their nominal excuses that they are simply "concerned" about bloodshed and violence against Iranians 1400 years ago because they are never concerned about other historical events where Iranians have suffered. Alexander the Great, Ganges Khan, Taimur Lang, Turks, Afghans, Brits and Russians have all defeated and occupied Iran at some point. Many of these invasions were much more violent and bloody. However these incidents don't seem to matter. Mongols alone nearly destroyed all of Iran, burning entire cities and libraries and Iran suffered genocidal massacres. The Mongol invasion is discussed today in neutral terms, even positive terms as a historical event subject to academic discussions. The Arab invasions, on the other hand are treated like they happened last week! All historical perspective and dispassionate objectivity goes out the window. Instead an ugly and at-times-racist attitude is angrily applied to the situation, overwhelming all common sense and scientific facts.

These people spend 95% of their energy demonizing Arabs and Islam and trying to blame everything on what happened 1400 years ago in Iran, all in the name of righteously "correcting" some kind of "historical injustice" to Iranians. They don't seem too bothered by the much-more-bloody historical events before and after which have caused much suffering to Iranians.

Where's the outrage for Mongols destroying much of Iran, including entire towns in the land of Attar and Ferdowsi? Where's the outrage for Russian occupation of half of Iran and forcible taking of Iranian territory only 200 years ago? It's not there because it's all fake!

Iranians themselves often engaged in just-as-cruel wars and occupations of other countries. Only a few short years before the rise of Islam, the Sassanids controlled almost all Arab lands and subjected their populations to taxes and allegiance. Iranians themselves ended a great and ancient civilizations by basically killing the last Pharaos in Egypt, basically subjecting that proud land to 2000 years of foreign rule. Why does that never enter the discussion? Don't these other people matter?

Of course they don't! The entire position is not only self-centered and hypocritical but also disingenuous.

It's not about the violence, or the suffering, or the occupation. That's just the excuse to hide the underlying bigotry. Unable to accept the reality that Iranians converted to Islam, much the same way as anybody else has converted to any other religion, these people have to construct fantasies and rewrite history in an attempt to give themselves license for bigoted, racist and islamophobic hate speech.

Arab defeat and occupation of Iran was nothing specially more bloody or cruel than all the other occupations before and after. In fact, in many respects, it was more benevolent and tolerant than the others.

This is besides the point, however, the explanation of "Islam by the sword" has been debunked by most objective scholars.

Even if we discard all the evidence and pretend somehow it is true, it would be a great insult to Iranians. Whoever really believes it must not have any respect for his/her own ancestors.

We know for a fact that millions of Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians did not convert to Islam because their population was still practicing their older faiths into the 20th century. These are populations that were also under Arab control. I'm talking about Lavantine Christians, Spanish Catholics, the Armenians, Georgians, Ethiopians, Copts in Egypt and Sudan, Hindus in present day Pakistan and Afghanistan, Zoroastrians in Iran, as well as Jews in Iran and all over the Arab world.

Are we supposed to think that these populations were more brave and cared about their religion more than Iranians did? Did their faith mean more to them? Was their morality at a higher level than the majority of Iranians who did convert? I thought "spread by the sword" means, you have to convert or die, so why do we have so many Arab Christians, Jews, Armenians and Copts? Where's the evidence that these populations even suffered more than Iranians who after all DID convert?

The truth is you can't really convert any sizable population by force. At best you would need 3 Arab soliders for every "convertee" to watch him for the rest of his life, just in case he's really acting and just going through the motions. The entire population of Arabia was only a tiny fraction of the Persian empire. It's just not possible.

And what stopped an anti-Islamic revivalism immediately after Arab rule ended? Why didn't everybody convert back to Zoroastrianism?

Mass conversion by force is not unheard of. Of course it is possible and it has been done in history, but only by forcibly seperating children from their parents, keeping them seperate and raising them with new culture and values. This was done to native Americans and native Australians, enslaved Africans in the Western-controlled world, as well as to some extent enslaved Slavic Europeans in the Ottoman empire, itself resembling an older Greek system of forced assymilation. This, however certainly did not, and could not have happened to Sassanid Iran.

I've told the usual suspects on that blog and other people these facts many times. But what we must realize that most of these people don't care about facts. They don't want to listen to reason and evidence. They are consiously or sub-consiously looking for an excuse to express self-righteous anger and hostility toward people they want to scapegoat for Iran's problems. It gives them a satisfying simplified explanation and a target to channel their anger, all while removing all responsibility from themselves.

Here's a good explanation on the subject from a respected scholar:

Some other prominant scholars on the subject.

De Lacy O'Leary wrote:
"History makes it clear however, that the legend of fanatical Muslims sweeping through the world and forcing Islam at the point of the sword upon conquered races is one of the most fantastically absurd myths that historians have ever repeated." --De Lacy O'Leary, ISLAM AT THE CROSSROADS, London, 1923, p. 8.

Karin Armstrong:

With disturbing regularity, this medieval conviction surfaces every time there is trouble in the Middle East. Yet until the 20th century, Islam was a far more tolerant and peaceful faith than Christianity. The Qur'an strictly forbids any coercion in religion and regards all rightly guided religion as coming from God; and despite the western belief to the contrary, Muslims did not impose their faith by the sword.

The early conquests in Persia and Byzantium after the Prophet's death were inspired by political rather than religious aspirations. Until the middle of the eighth century, Jews and Christians in the Muslim empire were actively discouraged from conversion to Islam, as, according to Qur'anic teaching, they had received authentic revelations of their own. The extremism and intolerance that have surfaced in the Muslim world in our own day are a response to intractable political problems - oil, Palestine, the occupation of Muslim lands, the prevelance of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, and the west's perceived "double standards" - and not to an ingrained religious imperative.

source: //

Even the neo-con sage and history professor Bernard Lewis from his new 2008 book:

"The fanatical warrior offering his victims the choice of the Koran or the sword is not only untrue, it is impossible."

"Generally speaking, Muslim tolerance of unbelievers was far better than anything available in Christendom, until the rise of secularism in the 17th century."

Opinion of Mahatma Gandhi on the matter:

"I become more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers and his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle." -- Young India, 1924

See also Le Gall and McDonough.


more from Q

A large queue

by KouroshS on

Lining up right behind you? I sure hope that you can tolerate the pain and the pressure. Have doctors on stand by. YOu are taking a big risk for your love for iran...

Your "jafangiaat" and warmongering Arajeef are old and outdated. The likes of you will be treated like the way the baseejees are treating the young iranians. Be certain of that.


You people are all a bunch of freakin' know-nothing idiots!

by Nur-i-Azal on

And dangerous Fascists to boot. Bottom line! But I got news for you: IRAN once the mullahs and Islamic republic falls WILL NOT BE YOURS and there will be quite a large number of people lining up behind me and people like me who will fight your type of dangerous Nazi a$$h*le scum-sucker to the bitter end if we have to. You are hereby placed on notice.

End of discussion from my end! Haalaa beraveed enghadar zoor bezaneed taa joon az maa-tahtetaan dar beeyaad!

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Do you know what Hudgson means? It means "Son of Hudg" ie Haj Agha Zadeh!! What do you expect the son of Haj Agha would say! Of course he is going to make BS excuses for Islam.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Ramin is right

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Ramin Jan,

Your analysis of why some Westerners promote Islam is on the spot. They want us to follow the 1400 year old fairy tales. Nothing would serve our enemies better. Keep Iran ignorant and stupid and they get to suck our blood. That combined with a bunch of the believers makes for the disaster known as the Islamic Repbulic.

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Westoxification and other assorted toxins

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


As I said before this is one of the most asinine and self defeating concepts. It is  xenophobic to the extreme and goes against the Iranian tradition. In the past we have had relationships with people of all cultures from China to Egypt and in between. Why avoid the West? Now with globalization pretty much everything comes from a different place than where you buy it. My "Western" jeans are made in Vietnam and my "Western" radio is made in China. So maybe I am Viettoxified and Chinatoxified; so on. Since I cannot even find something that is made in the West. In school they were talking about Kwanza so I got Afritoxified. Not to mention the Chow Main I had last night. I think I need some detox :-) 

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

More shining obfuscation from Nur :-)

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


1) About "pretend Islam". Pressure to be a Muslim in Iran has been immense. If you are born to a Muslim family and leave it you are and used to be subject to death! At the minimum you would be treated as Najis and no one would do business with you. Heck even other "People of the Book" who are not born Muslim i.e. Jews; Armenians and Zartoshtis suffer discrimination. This has been the case for centuries. So I think my examples are very common and very relevant. Neither one of us can go back in time and read the minds of various people so all we have is some scant historical evidence and our best guess. So unless we can get polling data which we cannot this part of the argument is done.

2) Your items 2 "Marshall Hodgson proposes in THE VENTURE OF ISLAM, i.e. Islamicate. . As Ramin says: why is it that suddenly Hudgson became an authority? I thought Gharb was evil and we did not want to be Gharbzadeh. Other than quoting him and using big words the whole item contains no information and warrants no response.

3) As for Happy Holidays:You are mixing "Holidays" and "New Year".  My new year is and will always be No Ruz and I do not need a lesson on Yalda; Mehregan etc. But I did not say happy new year; I said happy holidays. It is like saying "good night" you can argue that it is not night in Iran so me saying good night US time makes no sense but that is just playing with words. 

By the way. The "Gharbzadegi" was one of the most asinine expressions that was coined by the totally confused Jalal Al-Ahmad.  I admit I have more respect for Al Ahmad than  Shariati.  But Al Ahmad was unreasonably afraid of the west. Instead he should have been afraid  of the Mullahs and other "intellectuals" like Shariati.

ramin parsa

Your backdoor juvenile "whatever"

by ramin parsa on

(non-answer) speaks volumes re: your baseless positions.

Well said, pal.

Now go champion your hated/loved westerners who self-servingly champion Islam, so that we remain backward tools for another 25 generations. Interesting, if westerners speak positively about Islam, they're credible, otherwise they're "toxic."

Welcome to Islamic logic.




by Nur-i-Azal on


naravad mikh-i-ahanin bar sang!


ramin parsa


by ramin parsa on

Interesting that you stayed away from your baseless, childish jibber-jabber against the use of the phrase "Happy Holidays." By the way, just because my family and I came to America in 1977, does NOT mean that I haven't been back, which I have (summer, 1980, 1985, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2007). Bache akhund, or whatever the hell sect you hail from, by the sound of your craven insecurities vis-a-vis "north america," you must be living in Londonistan.

And listen clear, pal, just because I live in New York or Washington DC, doesn't mean I don't have my own views or thoughts on what to wear, eat, say or think. Who the F**k do you think you are, you condescending clown? Do you actually think you're the only person on the planet to have found a morsel of knowledge, which you so cavalierly and shamelessly flaunt as sacred and holier-than-though?  Do you have any idea how intellectually insecure you sound, almost on a daily basis?

And what the f**K do you wear in Londonistan? And I bet you ride a freaking camel to work, or else you're a vacuous, westoxificated khalee-band like the rest of us, that is if you drive a Honda or a Benz, or God forbid a Ford!  Have you ever bought a foreign car? Have you ever bought a pair of blue jeans, you hyporcite? Have you ever bought a bottle of Coca Cola or a Hershey's chocolate or a stick of gum? Have you ever seen a Hollywood movie or bought a music CD or a film DVD? Have you ever bought a suit and jacket? Have you ever bought a Sony product or a Samsung or Phillips or a Toshiba? These are the products that are advertised and sold in the West, and elsewhere. Would you be "westoxificated" if you bought an Rolex or an Omega watch, just because they advertise in north America?

Are you f**king serious?!

Do you have any idea how freaking deluded you are, how freaking pathetic you sound with almost all of your postings, how out of touch with reality you seem when you equate the utterance of "Happy Holidays" to "westoxification?"


And no, I don't need self-serving westerners to sell me the good graces of a vicious, backward bedouin clut, i.e., Islam. I know why the Euro-trash elite champion the cause of Islam, so that we suckers in Iran think twice before tossing the whole entire bullshit religion into the dustbin of history. It helps western/colonial powers if superstitious Iranians remain polluted by the grip of a backward desert fairytale belief system. It helps our enemies if we remain fearful of the wrath of a ruthless bedouin boogeyman like Allah! Until we break from the shackles of Islam we will always be a 3rd rate country with a medevil mentality, and it is distinctly in the interest of our enemies to make sure that we never break from such self-defeating shackles.

I bet you don't even realize how obscenely pathetic you sound when you repeatedly trumpet Westerner's interpretations of Islam (Marshall Hodgson's "The Venture of Islam") as somehow credible and worthy, and yet you have the ignorant temerity to chastise those of us you deem as "westoxificated" by our choices to eat/buy western products. Do you not see the comical inconsistency of your baseless accusations/conclusions?  In other words, you paint all choices/things western as somehow toxic, and then, you want me to choose/read a westerner's take on Islam?




And one more thing from my end..

by Nur-i-Azal on

Do you really believe this bullcrap?!

This view, bullcrap as you call it, is one shared across the board based on solid evidence and reasoning throughout the academic and scholarly community en toto. 

We Iranians don't need "westerners" to tell us what type of venture Islam has been

Apparently you need Westerners to tell you how to dress, what to eat, how to think, what to buy, what to worship and what holidays to celebrate, but when it comes to exercising your God-given critical faculties regarding crucial questions of history positively problematicized and contextualized, you suddenly want to dispense with them! You Iranians in North America are a complete joke! You are so out of touch with so many different things  and especially ordinary realities of folks back home that it is downright tragic as to what a wide gaping cultural hole and divide exists between you and them. This out-of-touchness of your specific sub-culture over there is also one of the fundamental reasons why this goddamn regime has actually survived as long as it has!

But that aside, based on your own assertion you haven't even been to Iran since 1977, so who are you to be even deigning to speak for "we iranians"! Perhaps you represent a collective conscience of a rootless emigre sub-culture in North America, but that is all, and definitely not "we iranians"!

Take a hike, mashti, and come back when you have taken your head out of the sand! And go out and educate yourself a little, for pete's sake...




by Nur-i-Azal on

You're seriously starting to piss me off

Good! Maybe some sense can be knocked into you that way as you are not making any iota of critical sense whatsoever but are just ranting away with completely nonsensical drivel!

 My experience has taught me over the years

I would submit you need to acquire more experience, since as of now demonstrably your experience has taught you absolutely nothing about the specific question under discussion. QED.


ramin parsa

One more thing...

by ramin parsa on

The annoyingly professorial Azal writes: "I keep suggesting that people need to take on board the typology Marshall Hodgson proposes in THE VENTURE OF ISLAM, i.e. Islamicate. That you don't buy whatever it is, is because you are limiting your own interpretative prisms and typologies to extremely narrow (and largely contemporary) horizons and unfoldments that have little to no application in other periods of human civilization. In other words you are proposing an anachronism and projecting it into to the past, and from such projection are then dismissing the obvious in the past and the present."

Do you really believe this bullcrap?! And you know what you can do your "Marshall Hodgson" and his "Venture of Islam." We Iranians don't need "westerners" to tell us what type of venture Islam has been undertaking over the last 1,400 years. Now you sound like a total charlatan -- the ideal used-car salesman, trying to sell us this snow job, con job, call it what you will. We Iranians are experts at the anti-Iranian Islamic "venture" and its bloody tendencies, Hodgon's jibber-jabber notwithstanding.

Islam is pure fantasy, and I suspect you know this. And the Quran is a bedouin war manual, infested with hatred, vengeance and retrtribution against all non-believers -- it is purely and utterly 7th century garbage AND NOTHING MORE!

Now go spin your an-tellectual Al-e-Ahmad nonsense and try to turn this piece of shit lemon into lemonade.

ramin parsa


by ramin parsa on

You're seriously starting to piss me off. I was away from this discussion (yes, doing some "holdiay" shopping) and I'm back to find you ranting like a typical know-it-all condescending baffoon, that you can be, and railing againt the phrase "Happy Holidays."

I'm thinking to myself, either this closet hezbo goofball has way too much time on his hands, or he's just a major bonehead. I tend to choose the former, and yet, there's an argumentative element at play here, when it comes to you and your positions and tendencies.

Guess what, genuis, this site is visited not just by Iranians, but Americans as well, not to mention other nationalities. And your arguments about "westoxification" and all that 1970's an-tellectual jibber-jabber is 100% moot (read: bullcrap)! And the fact that you even bring up Al-e Ahmad is repulsive enough -- this philistine prick was a monumental rabble-rouser, not to mention a world champion village idiot.

As if the Iranian culture, a grand culture without an equal in the world, which has absorbed and assimilated at least a dozen other major influences over 8,000 years, could not resist western incursions and temptations. Ignorant know-it-alls like Al-e-Ahmad underestimate the strength and ferocious metal of the Persian culture, and expect the rest of us to do the same.

The Persian culture (if not the Persian military) is/was resilient and fierce enough to man-handle the Macedonians, the Arabs, the Turks, Mongols, Afghans, Russians, etc., but this asinine used-car-salesman-an-tellectual, Al-e Ahamd, made such a freaking stink about his psuedo-anthro-observations, i.e., "westoxification" clap-trap -- which, mind you, was 100% utter nonsense, and greased the roads rather nicely for Khomeini's arrival (and rantings against the "western lackey," the Shah).

Your "westoxification" jibber-jabber wouldn't have any intellectual validity even if we all lived in Iran, let alone for those of us who live in America or Europe. It is categorically appropriate for an Iranian to say "Happy Holidays" on this site -- "westoxification" or not!

My experience has taught me over the years that those who abuse this "westoxification" term are either jealous/insecure of western accomplishments/values/culture or just ignorant of the strenght of their own culture. The hard-core values of the Iranian culture has withstood the fierce test of time and will never be compromised, even if it changes cosmetically through the years -- that, you can take to your freaking bank, your Al-e Ahamd and his incindiary"westoxification clap-trap notwithstanding!  


Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

by Nur-i-Azal on

1) That certain people choose to dissimulate as a survival mechanism does not make this a universal rule operative on every historical and cultural trajectory or level. If you put this argument to any social scientist (historian, sociologist, linguist, or otherwise) you would need concrete examples (not to mention an air tight explanatory typology) for all the situations and eras under discussion. Otherwise your argument is merely an isolated instance that has no universal application and therefore your conclusions cannot have any universal interpretative value whatsoever. Social science does not work on such premises as you are proposing, not to mention it is bad science.


2) I keep suggesting that people need to take on board the typology Marshall Hodgson proposes in THE VENTURE OF ISLAM, i.e. Islamicate. That you don't buy whatever it is, is because you are limiting your own interpretative prisms and typologies to extremely narrow (and largely contemporary) horizons and unfoldments that have little to no application in other periods of human civilization. In other words you are proposing an anachronism and projecting it into to the past, and from such projection are then dismissing the obvious in the past and the present.


3) My taking issue with the "happy holidays" has nothing to do with religion per se, but everything to do with culture. We are Iranians and not Americans or Western Europeans. This sometimes unthinking sycophantic validation of North American/Western European cultural mores by sub-cultures such as Iranians in diaspora can be argued to be a symptom of a culture in decline or a cultural de-assertion, in other words a selling out, which is what Al-e Ahmad (an ex-Communist) was talking about when he coined the neologism Westoxication (gharbzadegi). We have our own "happy holidays" in the form of Naw-Ruz, a celebration much older than the 25 December Western Christian celebration of Christmas, and this is the flag that all of us need to be bearing aloft, not that of another culture the historicity of which is even under question. The Eastern Orthodox Christian churches, including the Armenian and Assyrian Churches of Iran, all celebrate Christmas at a later date. If we wish to respect the Christian celebration of the birth of Christ, even there, we have an Iranian date and locus for such  celebration. The Western European/North American celebration of X-mas is not even about the birth of Jesus Christ  anymore within the mainstream consensus reality. It is, rather, about a mass cultural and corporate orgy that is enrolling peoples and sub-cultures that have absolutely no historical connection to it whatsoever. As such why should we as Iranians, who hold a deep and rich culture of several thousand years, bow or in any shape or form accede to the MAN's "happy holiday" season? Or, if we are to celebrate anything in late December, why does it have to be in its Christian context at all rather than in its ancient Mithraic context as YALDA and the sacrality of the solstice?

Can you dig where I am coming from now? 

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Nur you are mixing things up

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on

I don't want to turn this thread into an argument between us. However there are two issues:

1) You are misrepresenting what I said. For example when I said "many people
who are considered Muslims may have been more Muslims for convince
than from belief" I was not talking about Sina. I was talking about regular Iranians who recently lived. People who I have personally known. I don't need to read their minds. They told me that. You can disbelieve me; but it does not really matter.

2) You can chose to say Sina was great because of Islam. That is your interpretation and so be it. I don't buy it. There are many great people of all cultures. What their share is: Intellect; curiosity; tenacity; creativity and so on. Not any particular spiritual belief or religion. Therefore I conclude that what is needed for greatness is not their religion.  You can think whatever you want.

3) If you want to take offense at my "Happy Holidays" be my guest. One thing that I noticed the religious types of all strips share is a "thin skin". So have a field day and be offended!


Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

by Nur-i-Azal on

As they say hereabouts, you're all over the place, mate!

You say:

I agree that Muslims are not monolithic. In fact I think many people
who are considered Muslims may have been more Muslims for convinience
than from beleif.

This is another ahistorical argumentative fallacy. If you acknowledge that Islamic praxis is not monolithic, then you cannot consistently hold to a position that maintains that such people as Avicenna where ipso facto Muslims only out of convenience when you are already acceding that within the trajectory of Islamic praxis there is diversity of approaches. Moreover unless you are clairvoyant and have personal, first hand intuitive knowledge of Avicenna's core inner beliefs, your judgement is based on a flimsy personal conjecture that has little to no bearing on the actual facts. In other words, it is flawed in both its premises and conclusions.

Now for the facts: Avicenna hailed from a family who had converted to Isma'ili Shi'ism. He himself was not an Isma'ili, however. Yet he acknowledged his 'aqeeda/belief as a Muslim. Granted, given as a Neoplatonic Aristotelian his notions regarding God as a Necessary Being, the eternity of the world and the Active Intellect, are problematic from a simplistic, pietistic orthodox approach to religion -- not to mention that he regularly drank wine. Yet nevertheless he proclaimed his belief as a Muslim, and unless conclusive evidence can be shown proving the contrary, as far as any reputable historian worth their salt is concerned, he is to be taken at his word as a Muslim. This is how historiography works.

However in our culture there is a habbit of quoting one of the "Bozorgan"

Argument by appeal to authority is not subject or specific to our culture alone. All aspects of popular and low culture  everywhere regularly employ the fallacy of appeals to authority. But that is not where I or any scholar or philosopher worth their salt is coming from. So right there you need to amend your assumpstions accordingly.

On the other hand I do not agree with his Muslim views.

That's neither here nor there. Why is it even relevent to the argument as to whether you agree or disagree with his faith?

In summary I am saying that Sina or Hafez's greatness is not in any way owed to Islam or vindicates it.

On the contrary the greatness of these individuals is not sui generis and as such owes a considerable amount to the cultural matrix from which they hailed, in this case Persianate Islamicate culture - to use Marshall Hodgson's designation.

I think you were kidding

No, I wasn't. I was being quite serious. This site might be based in the United States. But it is being broadcast globally, and according to JJ's own site statistics the majority of its readership are actually from outside of the US and not in it. And since when in the past 2000 years has the December 25 X-mas been an Iranian national holiday? And this is Iranian.Com and not TehrangelesAmerica.Com, right?

Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


I will respond to two of the points in this post and the rest in another

*) Regarding Sina; Hafez & others: I agree that Muslims are not monolithic. In fact I think many people who are considered Muslims may have been more Muslims for convinience than from beleif. The differences between: Iran; Saudi and Afghanistan are plain. Within Iran difference between: Shiats; Sunnis; and Sufis is also stark. So I would be the last to argue Islam is monolithic. However in our culture there is a habbit of quoting one of the "Bozorgan" say Sina; then saying because Sina said it and Sina was a Muslim then credit goes to Islam. My point is that Sina may have been a great pyhsician and I give him full respect for that. On the other hand I do not agree with his Muslim views. In summary I am saying that Sina or Hafez's greatness is not in any way owed to Islam or vindicates it.

*) Happy holidays are accurate. This site is based on the US and in the US we are having holidays. It is neither religios nor cultural; it is simply a fact. It is the same as saying "good night" in US at night. We do not say "well it is not night in Iran so I am offended you said good night?". Or "have a good weekend". It makes no sense to say it on Friday in the US since that is not the weekend! Anyway, I think you were kidding so no problem. 



by Nur-i-Azal on

Dear friend,

I believe the confusion is all yours.

1) The myth that Islam was overwhelmingly spread by the sword is  hype. I have cited sources here, Hodgson eg., and I am happy to cite more. If you are going to make sweeping generalizations about events in history, kindly offer the textual proof and documentation together with valid argument. Because a certain sub-culture of Iranians in diaspora in North America happen to be card-carrying members of Hizb-i-Baad, and so as such have taken aboard totally ahistorical hype because it happens to be the fashionable position amongst that subculture over there right now, does not make such consensus factual or true. It makes it a false consensus reality not historical fact.

2) No one is questioning the questioning of a writing or text , least of all myself who engages in source and text criticism as a matter of course. So, with due respect, that position you attribute to me is a red herring and straw man on your part and has no relevence to any position articulated by me.

3) Yes, Abu Ali ibn Sina, Hafiz, Rumi, etc., were indeed products of their times - as are you, and as am I and everybody else here. No argument there. However you yourself appear to be obfuscating the point made now. I have not submitted or suggested these names as a point to invoke or attach an unassailable infallibility to their historical stature  since that in itself is a fallacy. I have submitted these names as a counterpoint and thus a counter-example and counter-argument to the totally ahistorical pseudo-argumentation being offered here that is a) painting Islam as a monolith (which it isn't) and b) that all Muslims at all times have thought and acted the same way about their faith and c) thus everything fundamentalism/Islamism represents today can be projected into the past  (which it can't) -- one of the most fallacious arguments that can be made. I believe you and others here have completely missed that point.

Finally, since I am neither a Christian nor a North American, and since the real holiday season for Iranians is in March (and not right now), consider that saying happy holidays to  someone like me might in fact be a form of insult. I am an Iranian, and not some hype-ridden Westoxicated, too-khaalee and rootless Tehrangelesi whose culture is defined for him by America Inc. and its propagandistic, hype-ridden corporate cultural brainwashing. As such happy belated YALDA!


Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


Nur Jan,

You are mixing things up.

1) Your reasoning for why Sassanid Persia got defeated by Arabs does have some good points. But it does not in any way change the fact that Islam was spread by the sword. Were the Arabs worse than other invaders? That is not really the question is it. The point is that Islam did not come in peace rather the opposite.

2) Just because we question a writing does not mean I want to burn it. I think you are confusing us with Muslims! We beleive in freedom of expression.

3) Sina; Hafiz ... were products of thier times. I can honor them without agreeing with everything they said. One of the biggest methods of obfuscation is to attributed infallibility to people. There are many great people in Persian history. None are infallible and respect them and disagree with them.

Happy Holidays,



Mooshie jun

by Nur-i-Azal on

Az ru keh narafti, baradar? Al-haqq o va'l-ensaf keh hich ahadi  dar 'alam-i-imkan andazeye shoma-ha ru nadareh!!!

As far as language goes, I've articulated concentric circles around you and your lynch-mob-to-the-rescue here which is why you can't refrain from venting a spleen I appear to have ruptured pretty badly. That much is for sure. But thanks again for demonstrating to the world the kind of zealot religious bigotry in store for Iran after the current bigots are finally shown the door with a hard boot to the backside!

BSh: I plan to put the Vezarat-i-Ettela'at and few similar outfits out of business, or at least contribute to their ultimate financial insolvency. So why complain?

Allahu Ajmal!


Well spotted Ramin

by hooshie on

always usually!!! - This is a sample of Azali's quality of language skills not to mention, twisted mind. Well, who else would come up with such gibberish than an Azali who needs to be recognized and accepted as a somebody? Next linguistic gems from Azali would be: possibly impossible, full of void, including exclusions and oh, Babi Azali - Can't hold myself.

Allaho Abha

بت شکن

نوری، هوشی و رامین (نوشا)

بت شکن

بابا جون میرزا حسینعلی و میرزا یحی‌ ول کنید. این طفلک کیو به تعداد خطّ در هر کامنتی دستمزد میگیره. این طور که شما‌ها دارین پیش میرین وزارت اطلاعات رو ورشکست میکنینا.



by Nur-i-Azal on

Well, at least we know you're only two years older than I am :)

As far as "peaceful Islamist" goes: before a bunch of Neo-Khwarij Wahhabi lunatics appropriated the term for themselves, European academics such Ignaz Goldziher where known as Islamists as a denotation of being an area specialist. But to put your mind at ease, I am technically not a Muslim at all and am actually attempting in my own way to out Rushdie Salman Rushdie.

Take it easy, grasshoppa!  :)

ramin parsa


by ramin parsa on

I was nine years old when we were proudly committing national suicide in 1979 (and far away from the whole tragic affair, living in the shadows of the Iranian Embassy in Washington DC since the early part of 1977).

You can't blame me and my 4th-grade chums for that fiasco. In terms of a sentence redundancy in the order of "always usually", how about: "peaceful Islamist," -- wait a minute, isn't that actually an oxymoron? ;-)



Ramin & co.

by Nur-i-Azal on

See my response to you on the other thread. But, seriously, listen to yourselves for a minute. You sound like the 1980s Iranian Hezbollah in a backwash reverse cycle!

Ramin's ahistorical antisemitism aside, can anyone else amongst you explain to me how figures such as Ibn Sina, Hafiz, Rumi, Nasir-i-Khosrow, Mahmoud Shabistari, Suhravardi and similar represent or otherwise embody the problem you are all complaining about with Islam? 

Also, where the heck where you people in '78-'79 when complete idiots where claiming to see the devil's image on the moon and got us to this point where we are now? Asleep at the wheel, where you all?? Go figure...

Ya, always usually. How do you like a perfectly sensible sentence redundancy like that :) Do one yourself, Ramin, g'head!



ramin parsa

Another "gem" from Professor Azal

by ramin parsa on

"So please don't invoke an argument by numbers here because numbers are always usually wrong."

"Always usually." That makes a whole lot of sense, pal, as does the rest of your fanciful historical jibber-jabber. Really, I'm glad I didn't have you as a history professor in Iran, because if I did, I would be going around massively deluded with the asinine/righteous belief that Islam is the greatest thing created since the invention of the wheel. Actually, come to think of it, was Q one of your students?

Bullet dodged.

Shazde Asdola Mirza

آقا دروغ چرا؟ تا قبر ا ا ا ا - ما که به چشم خودمان ندیدیم، ولی‌

Shazde Asdola Mirza


می‌ گند که اسلام با پشکل شتر، گوز یابو و شاش ماچه الاغ تو همه دنیا پخش شده.



by jamshid on

You call them Anti-Arab racists, they call you Arab-lover racists, not realizing that you are both first order ignorants.

Philosophical question: Why is it that ignorants have the loudest voice?

Thought exercise: What will happen to Islam in a country like Iran, if there is total freedom to discuss Islam without fear of persecution? Why are "some" individuals so afraid of this possiblity?

And if I were you, I wouldn't worry and get so exited about a few cyber writers criticizing Islam. Instead, I would spend that energy on the actual blood that is being spilled in the name of Islam by fanatic Moslem authorities in your own country.

Since resources are limited, it pays to get your priorities straight. It is as though the neighborhood bully is beating up a poor soul to pulp, and someone yells at the bully and call him false names, then you step in and attack the name caller!

It is pathetic. Go cure the root of the problem, not the reactions it is causing.


The world is always on to hype and nothing else

by Nur-i-Azal on

And consensus realities are always wrong. So please don't invoke an argument by numbers here because numbers are always usually wrong, mostly recently and in vividly spectacular fashion in 1978-79, not to mention that such arguments are always logical fallacies anyway. Besides appealing to the wisdom of the herds is usually an intellectual cop-out!

Islam came to "Persia" because a spent, corrupt, caste-ridden, militarist, theocratic, tyrannical and oppressive Imperial power imploded from within due to centuries of internecine conflict and warfare with the Romans, on the one hand, and a long track record of brutal persecution of all religious minorities besides state Zoroastrians, on the other. Furthemore, as mentioned earlier, the army and generals of Yazdigird III themselves betrayed their own emperor, as had happened some almost 1000 years before when "Persians" had betrayed another Emperor who had been beaten on the battlefield in Darius III. That is the reason how the bad, bad, smelly Arabs gained a foothold in Iran and brought their smelly, semitic desert religion to the advanced "Persians" who then proceeded to augment and sculpt said religion into multiple forms!

That these bad, smelly Arabs then committed episodic brutalities against their subject peoples who resisted them is no more and no less than what every conqueror in history has committed against subject peoples who have resisted it -- no exception at all whatsoever, and no more and no less. That the "Persians" of that time were clever and savvy enough to then infiltrate all the ranks and positions of power and administration that the Arabs held (because these guys obviously couldn't do a freaking for themselves), and then soon thereafter during the peak of the Shu'abiya displace these Arab conquerors themselves altogether, whilst completely taking over their religion in all facects at the same time as well, speaks marvelously as to who the real conqueror actually became. And none of you dopes here sees this blatantly obvious irony of history for what it truly is!

So if saying such facts and truths makes one an Islamist (do you even know what this neologism means?), then we need to burn entire libraries of Western European scholarship of the past three hundred years which have pointed out precisely, verbatim and word for word to the exact same thing!





Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

Of course it was spread by the sword!

by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


How did Islam come to Persia anyway. It did not arrive in peace. What happened to people of Estakhr when they resisted the invasion. Hint: they were murdered. What did the Safavis do to Zartoshtis:. Hint: most were converted to Islam under threat of death. What happens to anyone who criticizes Islam in "Muslim" controlled countries. Hint: death. 

If anyone disputes this I challenge them to go to Iran; Saudi; Afghanistan and criticize Islam. You will find out for yourselves.

So please don't give me this nonsense about it being a "Myth". The truth is out and for all to see. It is not possible to hide history anymore.

That is why Islamists are desperatly trying to make up excuses. It won't work. The world is on to you.