This is one of the aspects of humanitarianism of our civilization. And from this aspect too the Islamic civilization is singular. Under conditions of peace and security every nation can manifest courtesy, gentleness, kindness to the weak and the infirm and tolerant attitude towards the relatives and the neighbours when it is doing existence as a weak nation bereft of all power and authority….. But under conditions of war to be just to people, to be gentle and tolerant towards the vanquished nations, is not given to every nation nor every military general necessarily has these traits. The sight of blood makes man's blood boil, and the inimical attitude of a nation creates malice and rouses rage in him. The intoxicating effect of conquest goes to the conqueror's head, and under these conditions he is at times guilty of the manifestation of the worst hard-heartedness and revenge. This is the history of nations, be they ancient people or the modern….rather it is the history of the whole world since Cain shed the blood of his brother Abel. The Quran says:
Behold! they each presented a sacrifice (to God):
It was accepted from one, but not from the other.
Said the latter: "Be sure I will slay thee". "Surefy", said the former, "God
doth accept of the sacrifice of those who are righteous.
(Al Qur’an V: 27)
On this occasion (of Power and glory and war) history has placed the crown of life eternal on the heads of the leaders of civilization, whether they be soldiers, or citizens, and conquerors or the rulers, since out of all civilizations ours is the only one whose great men even under the most difficult war times, manifested the highest form of humanity based on justice and affection, particularly in situations where the circumstances rouse man to blood-shed, oppression and revenge. God is our witness that if these morals of the Muslims under conditions of war had not been proved as undeniable historical events, I, for one, would have regarded it a tale of something non-existent on this planet.
The Blessings of the Islamic Civilization
When Islam came to the world in its most perfect form and the last authentic version, people here were doing existence like wild animals in a jungle. The mighty remorselessly murdered the weak and the armed man unhesitatingly robbed the unarmed of his belongings. Fighting was something usual in the lives of all faiths and the religious laws, nations and tribes, which was not limited by any conditions nor confined to any limits. No distinction existed between the permissible and the unlawful and oppressive war. Whichever nation found itself powerful enough to snatch another nation's land, enslave its men and women and compel it to abandon its creed and thought, unhesitatingly and without any feeling of guilt did accomplish it. But our civilization could not put up with the idea that this tyrannical practice should continue in the world, which had lowered mankind to the level of beasts literally. Rather, it proclaimed to the world that in the matter of mutual relations between nations the real issue is recognition and cooperation (and not hatred and war against one another). The Quran said: O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female,
and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other
(not that ye may despise each other). Verify the most honoured of you in
the sight of God is (he who is) the most righteous of you.
(Al Quran: XLIX: 13)
On this basis a state of peace and security is the natural form of relationship between one nation and another. God says:
O ye who believe! Enter into Islam wholeheartedly; (Al Quran II: 208)
A Few Instruction About War
The instructions given by Islam in connection with war are not to be found in the history of any other civilization. For example Abu Bakr the first caliph of the Prophet issued the following instructions to the army led by Usamah :
“Do not mutilate and disfigure your enemies after you have killed them. Do not kill the children and old men who cannot fight. Have nothing to do with women (do not kill them. Tr.). Do not destroy the groves (date, palm and others). Do not resort to arson. Do not cut down a tree yielding fruit (for fuel. Tr.). And slaughter only as many animals as you actually need for your food. (Do not kill animals and waste their meat that can serve as food for you or for others later on Tr.). You will come upon people who have devoted themselves to churches and monasteries. Leave them alone and let them pursue the mission for which they have renounced the world."
That makes evident enough the features of the war waged in the cause of God and not for mischief, tumult and oppression. And that it adheres to the principles and elements which are a blessing to humanity and the war culminates either in victory or treaty. In case of treaty its terms are strictly adhered to which are religiously binding since (like all agreements, Tr.) it is a covenant with God.
Fulfil the covenant of God when you have entered into it,
and break not your oaths after you have confirmed them,
indeed you have made God your surety;
(Al Quran XVI: 91)
And if they gain victory, it is the victory of a party that has strived for seeking the countenance of God alone, and its individuals become martyrs in the way of God. Such a party takes only those steps after victory which make the roots of the order of truth firmer in the land, and puts an end to all kinds of tumult and oppression among the people.
(They are) those who, if We establish them in the land,
establish regular prayer and give regular charity (Zakat),
enjoin the right and forbid wrong: With God rests the end
(and decision) of (all) affairs.
(Al Quran XXII: 41)
These are the limits prescribed by the Islamic civilization for the activities of its conqueror....lofty spiritualism, social justice, cooperation in deeds of righteousness and general welfare and ceaseless struggle against evil and mischief. These are the principles and elements of war of our civilization, and these our moral principles relating to wars which can be summed up in three words: "Justice, Mercy and fulfilment of agreements."
And All this is not Mere Show
To my mind, what we have said so far is not enough for the deposition of the peace loving policy of our civilization during the war, since presentation of principles and their general proclamation is not enough for proof of the eminence and the philanthropy of a nation. Since long we have been witnessing many nations that came forward before the world with very lofty and sublime objectives, but their behaviour towards other nations was extremely disgraceful, cruel and far from human principles of mercy and justice. The game played by the colonial powers in our own country is no secret, nor the history of their shameful and cruel deeds is far removed in time. Therefore it becomes indispensable to have a close look at the practical demonstrations of these principles during the period of the zenith of our civilization. This is the point where disgrace is the portion of some nations and others are honoured. Here the Islamic millat becomes distinguished from all other millats. And in the matter of philanthropy neither any nation comes close to it nor any civilization can touch it.
Evidences from the Period of the Prophet
We shall first of all present some events from the life of the Prophet, since he is (under injunctions from God, Tr.) the originator of our civilization, its founder and responsible for the formulation of its rules and regulations. And it was he who was competent to correctly interpret the aims and objects of the Islamic civilization. The history of the prophets and the reformers bears out the fact that no other prophet had to face such torments and hardships in the way of his call to the truth in quantity or quality as confronted and patiently gone through by the Prophet. His Meccan life, spread over thirteen long years of suffering is before us all. During this whole period, both he and his party of believers had to face the malice, enmity, torments and reproach and revilement of the opponents, so much so that attempts were made on his own life and those of his companions. After that even a cursory glance at his ten years of life at Madinah, reveals that this entire period is occupied by untiring struggle and constant Jehad and Maghazi (religious wars in which the Prophet took part in person). He could not discard completely the armour until, a short while before his passing away, the entire Arabian Peninsula had been dominated by him. It has been generally observed that one who has constantly been a prey to enmities, oppression and tyranny and conspiracies, becomes revengeful and when he enters the battlefield and lifts the sword and comes to grips with the enemy, his nature becomes ferocious and cruel. But look at the moral behaviour of the Prophet in all those wars that were actually forced on him, and how he practically demonstrated the principles of war of the Islamic civilization proclaimed by him.
During the battle of Uhad, when, due to violation of the instructions of the Prophet, the believers were confronted with a set-back and the enemies surrounded him and to put an end to his life they fell upon him from all sides and he was wounded, and one of his teeth was lost, his face was injured and one of the rings of his helmet got embedded in his cheek, his companions imperilled their own lives to defend him against the enemies and rescued him from their circle. At this juncture some of his companions requested him to curse the enemies. He said in reply, "God did not send me to reproach (and curse) people but as a mercy to them and as one calling them to the truth." This is that love of truth that at times compels a Believer to take up arms against the opponents, but he does not wage wars to quench the thirst for blood. Rather, in the battle field itself and under such dire circumstances, the words uttered by the Prophet bear testimony to the fact that blood-shed and conquests are not the aim of war but an intense desire to lead humanity to the right path (of guidance).
And it was in the battle of Uhad that the prime martyr Hamzah met his martyrdom. Hamzah was the Prophet's uncle and one of the most outstanding horsemen of Arabia. He was murdered by a slave, Wahshi by name. And this murder was not accidental but pre-planned and at the behest of Hind, the wife of Abu-Sufyan. And when he fell a martyr in the battle-field, Hind searched his dead body out and taking out his heart and liver, tried to chew them, thus establishing a world record of malice and hard-heartedness. Strange as it may appear, the change of circumstances brought both Hind and Wahshi to the fold of Islam and they appeared before the Prophet, who not only gave them asylum under the canopy of Islam, but prayed to God for the forgiveness of Hind. To Wahshi he said only this, "It would be better for you to live far away from us (to keep out of our sight so as not to remind us of the murder of Hamzah, Tr.). This is the treatment that 'the Prophet (a Mercy for mankind, Q.XXI: 107 Tr.) meted out to his uncle's murderer and also the one who chewed his liver and heart.
In one of the battles, the Prophet found a woman who had been killed. He was very angry and strictly warning the fighters in the way of God said to them. "Did I not prohibit killing of women in battle? She was not fighting against you?" This is the Prophet of God (Peace and Blessings of God on him) who is giving a lesson of humanity even in the battle field, thus making a practical demonstration of his instructions (teachings) relating to war, when he himself is the Supreme commander of the Islamic army and personally participates in the battles.
He conquers Makkah, and enters the city in pomp and glory at the head often thousand venturesome companions, And the scene is totally different from the usual. The malicious and spiteful enemies of twenty one years standing, the Quraish of Makkah, who had crossed all limits in tormenting him and his companions, were standing before him vanquished, humiliated and with bowed heads, waiting for his decision against themselves. Looking at them in this plight, he put to them just one question, "O ye people of Quraish! What do you think I am going to do with you?" They said in reply to his query, "We expect extremely benevolent treatment from you. You are a noble brother and the son of a noble brother." To this he replied, "I will say the same to you that Joseph had said to his brothers that "This day let no reproach be (cast) on you; God will forgive you, and he is the Most Merciful of those who show Mercy!' Go, ye are all free (from blame and punishment)". This is the person, the Chief of the created beings, the holy Prophet, who taught all goodness to mankind, and not a blood-thirsty general who wages wars for self-aggrandisement and authority and becomes intoxicated with his military successes.
The Rightly Guided Caliphs Also Followed in his Footsteps
After the Prophet the attitude and behaviour of his caliphs and companions was the same in all their wars and victories. "They lighted their lamps borrowing heat and light from this lamp spreading light," (Al Quran XXXIII: 46), followed the same course that he had taken and kept on demonstrating practically the principles and elements of the Islamic civilization, under the most difficult conditions and at the most critical stages, they kept themselves under control and even after the greatest victories they did not forget their principles.
The Governor had to Change his Decision
Some miscreants of Lebanon rose in revolt against the governor Ali bin-e-Abdultah bin-e-Abbas. He fought against them and defeated them. He deemed it in the fitness of things not to allow the rebels another chance to join forces and rise in tumult and insurrection against him, and decided to disperse them, and de-port some of them. This was the minimum punishment that in our own times also the rulers of even the most 'civilized' countries resort to and execute also. But a contemporary, Imam Auza'i, a great learned man, held in great esteem, wrote to him that his action would go against the Islamic Shari'ah. To punish other Zimmis1 along with those that took part in rebellion and their deportation could not be permitted. Only those whose guilt was proved could be punished. In the letter he had written to the governor of Lebanon, this particular part is noteworthy :
"It has come to my knowledge that you have executed some Zimmis (Zimmis : Literally those living under protection; As a technical term of the Islamic Shari'ah, the unbelievers who did not embrace Islam but were willing to live under the protection of the Islamic state and were thus tacitly willing to submit to its ideals being enforced in the Islamic state, saving only their personal liberty of conscience as regarded themselves. Jizyah or a kind of poll-tax was levied from them. There was no amount fixed for it, and in any case it was symbolical….an acknowledgment that those whose religion was tolerated, would, in turn, not interfere with the preaching and progress of Islam- The tax varied in amount and there were exemptions for the poor, for females and children (according to Abu Hanifah) for slaves and for monks and hermits. Being a tax on able bodied Zimmi males of military age, it was, in a sense, a commutation for military service, when the Believers fought in the way of Allah and could be called to arms at a very short notice, and also paid Zakai regularly. (Tr.)) of the Lebanon mountains and others you have deported. Some of the exiled are those who did not co-operate with the rebels. Let me know under which principle you are punishing the people in general for the sins of a particular person or a group. You are turning them out of their homes and sending them away from their properties, whereas God had ordained :
No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another. (Al Quran XVI: 15)
This is the best stand and worth pursuing. And also the following injunction of the Prophet must always be kept in view : "Whoever oppressed a person living under guarantee of protection by the Islamic state (Zimmi) or burdened him with a burden beyond his capacity, I shall uphold his cause on the Day of Reckoning.
And the governor had no option but to repatriate the deported people to their homes and hearths honourably.
And this is the Behaviour of the Britishers and the French
I have no intention of commenting on the incident itself. However, it would suffice for the purpose of this book to remind people of the behaviour of the French with us during our struggle for freedom, when they were usurpingly occupying our country. And presently they are meting out the same treatment to the Arab people of North Africa. They have murdered millions of people and razed so many cities and towns to the ground that they present an appearance of wilderness where it seems no body ever lived. Also the barbaric treatment of the Britishers with the Arabs during their struggle for freedom of Palestine is very much before us. I believe, to have an idea of the merciful treatment of our civilization during the wars and after the victories it would be enough to point out this practice of the most civilized nations of the modern age.
Is there any Parallel in any Civilization ?
When 'Umar bin-e-Abd-al-Aziz came to the office of caliphate, a delegation of men from Samarqand saw him and represented that the general of the Islamic armies, Qutaibah, had unjustifiably stationed his army men in the town in their midst. Umar bin-e-Abd-al-Aziz wrote to the governor of Samarqand that he should appoint a tribunal to judge and settle the dispute between Qutaibah and the people of Samarqand. If the judgement of the tribunal goes against the army chief and his men are asked to vacate they must do so at once. The governor appointed Jami' bin-e-Hadhir Albaji as judge for enquiry. After the enquiry was over, he, though himself a Muslim, passed the judgement that the Muslim army must vacate the town. He also remarked that the commander of the Muslim forces ought to have served an ultimatum of war to the city, and according to the Islamic Law relating to war, he ought to have cancelled all the treaties with them so that the people of Samarqand could get time to prepare for the war. "Sudden attack on them without warning was unlawful."
When the people of Samarqand witnessed this state of affairs, they were convinced that this was an unparalleld case in the history of mankind the state keeping its Commander-in-Chief and the armies under such strict discipline and control, bound by lofty moral principles. And consequently they decided that fighting against such a people would be futile. Rather, they came to regard it as mercy and a blessing from God. Therefore they agreed to live with the Islamic army in Samarqand.
Just imagine. An army conquers a city, and enters it. The inhabitants of that city complain to the victorious government and the judges of that government decide the case against the victorious army, and order its externment, saying that they could not live there without the consent of the people of that city. Can either the ancient or modern history of mankind point out any war in which the fighting men kept themselves so strictly bound by the moral code, and followed such lofty principles of truth and justice, as demonstrated by the sons of our civilization? In so far as my own knowledge is concerned, not one among the nations of the world can be pointed out which demonstrated such lofty morals.
And here is Regard for Agreement and Nobility
Our victorious armies conquer Damascus, Hams and the remaining towns of Syria and according to the terms of the treaty they realize some amount of tax for the protection of the life and property of the citizens and the defence of the country. But later the Muslim leaders received news that Heraclitus had brought a big army which he was anxious to bring against the Muslims. Therefore they decided to bring together their own scattered armies in various conquered towns to concentrate at one point to face the hordes of Heraclitus with joint effort. So in keeping with this decision our armies started leaving the towns of Hams, Damascus and other towns. Khalid in Hams, Abu 'Ubaidah in Damascus and other generals in other towns addressed the citizens thus:
"The money or monies we had realized from you were meant for the protection of your lives and properties, and also to defend your lands from outside aggressison. But we are sorry to inform you that we are parting with you and since we would not be able to protect and defend you, we are returning the amounts of taxes collected from you."
To this the citizens said in reply : "God be with you and bring you back victorious. Your governance and your justice and equity have enamoured us, since the Romans in spite of being our co-religionists, we have bitter experience of their oppression and tyranny. By God! If they had been in your position they would not have returned a copper out of the taxes collected from us. Rather, they would have taken away everything they could from here belonging to us."
Even in our so-called civilized period it is like that. If an army has to vacate a station, it does not leave there anything that the enemy could utilize to advantage. But is there a single example of the practice of the victorious armies of our civilization, in the entire history of mankind. By God! If I had no faith in lofty values, and did not believe in their success or like the politicians of the modern age, considered it necessary to keep morals and principles dominated by the political interests, I would have said that the leaders of our armies stuck to lofty values and love of principles due to their unawareness and simplicity. But it is a fact that they were really true Believers and did not like to say things they could not put into practice.
Allamah Ibn-e-Taimiyah Came Forward for the Liberation of the Jews and the Christians
When the Tartars made a sudden assault on Syria and took countless men from Muslims, Jews and Christians as prisoners, Sheikh-al-Islam Ibn-e-Taimiyah talked to the Tartar Chief about the release of the prisoners. The Chief gave his assent for the release of the Muslim prisoners but refused to do so in case of the Jews and the Christians, But Sheikh-al-Islam did not agree and insisted on the release of the Jews and the Christians, who, he told him, were the Zimmis of the Islamic state and were bound to them, They could not let even one individual remain in captivity whether he belonged to their own community or from those living with them under a covenant.
Barbarity of the Christian 'Heroes'
Contrary to this, who does not know what the Christian 'heroes' have been doing during the crusades. During the middle ages when these wars were thrust on us, we fulfilled our contracts and they never let a chance of treachery slip by. We habitually overlooked their mischief but they always took revenge. We were careful to save human life as much as possible but they shed so much blood that it ran into knee-deep pools. But these merciless brutes prided in their shameful deeds, rejoiced and gloated over them.
When these heroes of the crusades in their second onslaught reached Ma'rah-al-No'man, the inmates were compelled to lay down arms. But before surrendering the town to the enemy they made the responsible leaders of the invaders guarantee the safety of their lives and property. But what actually happened ? Those ferocious wild beasts on entering the city perpetrated such crimes of cruelty, oppression and tyranny whose dreadfulness would make the children old.
Some English historians who participated in this war have stated that the number of those slain was a hundred thousand souls, young and old, men and women.
After this the enemy advanced towards Bait-al-Maqdis and besieged the civilian population. Fully convinced that they would be vanquished, they took a pledge from the supreme commander of the invading armies, Tankard, for the protection of their lives and properties. He gave the citizens a white banner to be hoisted over the Aqsa Mosque and advised them to enter that haven for their safety. And they were assured of safety of everything, in every way and then the invaders entered the town. But Ah! What a horrible shambles this sacred city was converted into! Ah, what horrid crimes were perpetrated!
The citizens of Bait-al-Maqdis took refuge in the Aqsa mosque, on which the banner given to them by Tankard was hoisted according to his instructions. This sacred mosque was packed to capacity with old men, women and children. And then came the holocaust. Those who had plighted their word to protect their lives and properties and given them the banner of peace, entered the holy mosque and slaughtered all those frail and defenceless old men, children and women like goats and sheep. The place of worship was filled with human blood and touched the knees of the butchers. Thus slaughtering the citizens, they according to their own mode of thinking, sanctified the city, washed as it was with blood. The public highways and streets were littered with human skulls. Everywhere amputated limbs and other organs and deformed bodies were lying with no one to mourn or bury them. Men of our armies have stated that in the Aqsa mosque alone, seventy thousand people were slaughtered, among whom, apart from women and children, there was a large number of learned men and devout persons. The English historians too have not denied these shameful deeds of their co-religionists. Rather, they state these feats of theirs with great pride.
Kind-Hearted ness of Salahuddin Ayyubi
Ninety years after this dreadful slaughter and bloodshed, Salahuddin Ayyubi conquered Bait-al-Maqdis. Shall I tell you what he did with the inhabitants of this sanctum? About a hundred thousand western people lived there. The conqueror guaranteed security of life and property to them, and taking a small amount not from every one but only from those who could easily pay it, and allowed them to leave the town. They were also given respite for forty days for preparation before departure. In this way eighty-four thousand persons left the town in perfect safety, who went to 'Akka and other towns to their friends, relatives and co-religionists. A large number of them were exempted from payment of ransom,, and his (Salahuddin's) brother Malik Adil paid the ransom for two thousand persons from his own pocket. And the treatment meted out to the women, far from expecting it from a conqueror of today, it would be unimaginable to him. And when the Christian patriarch wanted to leave the place, the Sultan permitted him to do so. He had much wealth amassed through Churches, synagogues, Sakhrah, Aqsa, and from ceremonies on the occasion of Easter whose count is known to God alone. Some counsellors advised Salahuddin to confiscate his wealth, but the Sultan told them that he could not go back upon his plighted word. He realized the same amount of ransom from him also as the had realized from an ordinary person. But what caused a fourfold increase in his honour and glory on the occasion of the conquest of Bait-al-Maqdis, was his mode of action in the process of evacuation of the Christians of the sanctum. He provided guards for the safe transit of the evacuees. The escorts had instructions to take them to the Christian habitations of Saur and Saida to their co-religionists in perfect safety. And all this in face of the entire Christian world standing in arms against the Muslims. Can any one be sure of his being awake (and not dreaming) when hearing all this? But this is not the whole story. Let us tell you the rest of it. There were several women who had paid ransom, came to the Sultan and stated that their husbands, fathers and sons had either been killed in the battle or were in captivity. They had no one to look after them, nor was there any place where they could seek shelter. They were weeping and wailing. Seeing them tearful, the tender-hearted Sultan burst into tears himself. He ordered that after enquiry whoever of the husbands or sons or fathers of these women were in captivity should be released. And those whose guardians had been killed were given liberal compensation. These women wherever they went praised the Sultan loudly. And when after scrutiny the prisoners were released, they were also permitted to go to Saur, 'Akka and other places to their co-religionists.
Let us hear also what treatment was meted out to the Christian evacuees from Bait-al-Maqdis to their brethren in nearby towns. Some of them went to Antioch but the Amir (Administrator) of that city refused entry to them. And they went about wandering in search of shelter and support, and finally it was Muslims who offered them refuge. One contingent went to Tripoli (Lebanon) which was ruled by the Latin peoples. But even they did not allow them entry, and drove them away from their premises after robbing them of all their worldly goods they had been allowed to take with them by the Muslims.
Salahuddin's benevolent treatment of the western Christians during the crusades prima facie appears a tale. If the western writers had not been amazed at the noble nature and lofty morals of this great hero of Islam, the world would have certainly found room to accuse our historians of exaggeration. The westerners themselves make mention of the event that when Salahuddin learnt of the illness of Richard, the greatest and the most valiant general of the crusaders, he sent his personal physician for his treatment and sent him also such fruits that were not easily available at that time of the year and he could not procure them. This happened while hostilities were on in full fury, and the armies of both the parties were engaged in a life and death struggle. The western writers also state that a woman approached the camp of Salahuddin, and wailing and weeping she complained to him that her child had been snatched away from her by two Abyssinian soldiers. Salahuddin himself was moved to tears by the pitiable condition of the woman, and then and there appointed a military officer for enquiry who searched out the woman's child and restored it to her. And she was escorted to her camp at his bidding. Dare any one say even in face of all this evidence that the morality of our civilization relating to the fighting forces and wars is not humane.
The Generous Behaviour of Sultan Muhammad II
When Sultan Muhammad II conquered Constantinople he entered the cathedral of St. Sophia where all the priests had gathered to seek refuge, met them very courtelously and assured them that he would support every reasonable request from them and they had no reason to be frightened. Those who had sought shelter there out of fear, should rest assured and return to their homes with an easy conscience. Later Muhammad II attended to the various problems of the Christians and solved them. He gave them assurance that they could follow their personal laws, religious obligations, and the customs and usages of their particular churches. Not only that; he authorised the priests to freely elect their patriarch (Bishop). And they elected Jenadeus. On this occasion the Sultan also ordered celebrations with great pomp and show which were usually made during the Byzantine rule. He said to the patriarch that in his capacity of a patriarch he was his friend at all times and at all places, and he should derive full benefit of all those rights and privileges his predecessors had enjoyed. After that the Sultan offered him a beautiful steed as a gift and detailed one of his body guards for his protection, and high-ranking government officials escorted him to his palace that the Sultan had got built for him. Then the Sultan proclaimed that he had sanctioned the laws of the orthodox church and the patriarch would protect them. All the goods of archaeological interest and abandoned articles, picked up by the people on the occasion of the conquest, he purchased from them and restored to the churches and other concerned institutions.
Sultan Muhammad, the conqueror meted out this treatment to the Christians even when there was no treaty arrived at between him and the Christians at the time of the conquest of Constantinople which he might have been obliged to fulfil. This privilege and support was kindly offered by him purely on grounds of his generosity and benevolent nature. It was due to this kind treatment of his that the people of Constantinople felt that under the new Islamic regime they were living in greater peace and religious freedom than under their former Byzantine rulers.
The Benevolent Treatment of the Uthmani Rulers
Similarly, the Uthmani rulers continued with kind treatment of their Christian subjects in the conquered neighbouring lands, for example in the Bulgarian and the Greek states, when such treatment was not meted out to them anywhere in Europe itself, so much so that in Hungary and Transalfania the followers of Cliffon and the Unitarian Christians of Transalfania, instead of submitting themselves to the tyrannic rule of the extremely bigoted sect of Christians of the house of Habsburg,2 they prefered to live under the Turkish authority and rule for a long time. The Protestant sects of Silesia longed to attain religious freedom under the Muslim rule.
The Treatment of the European Christians of their Own Brethren
At the time when this kind and noble treatment was meted out to the Christians under the Turkish rule, religious prejudices were at their height. The prejudiced rulers were oppressing the sects other than their own. And the other religious sects too were at war with one another, blood was being freely shed and there was no security of life. During the seventh century, the patriarch of Antioch, Maccarios, writing about the tyrannies of the Roman Catholic sects of Poland perpetrated against the orthodox sects, says:
"We mourn bitterly the loss of those thousands of martyrs who have been murdered by the cruel Roman Catholic infidels and enemies of the faith during the last forty or fifty years and whose number approaches seventy thousand. O ye traitors! And O ye unholy sinners! O ye hard-hearted creatures! I ask you what was the fault of the nuns worshipping in the churches. Why did you put them to the sword? And how were the general run of women sinning? For what crime were the children, virgins and very young girls taken? Why did you put them to the sword? Why should I not call them the accursed and damned souls of Poland when they have proved themselves more debased and cruel than the mischief-making idolaters perpetrating cruelty on the Christians. In oppressing the Christians they were labouring under the erroneous notion that they would be able to efface the orthodox church altogether. God in His infinite Mercy preserve the Turkish government for all time to come, who realize their dues (Jizyah), and have no ill will against other religions-whether they are Christians, Nazerenes, Jews or Samaritans. But the Polish damned ones did not stop at realization of taxes, inspite of the fact that the Christians were willingly prepared to serve them, but they handed over the Christians to the cruel Jews who are enemies of the Christians at heart, and did not permit the Christians to build even one church, nor left alive any priest among them who could teach them their faith."
The Fanaticism and Beastliness of the Christians themselves Against the Christians
So much about the generous treatment meted out by Sultan Muhammad, the conqueror, to the Christians attached to the Cathedral of St. Sophia, and how benevolently he granted rights to the Christians of Constantinople. Now let us also hear what the European
Christians did to their own brethren, the orthodox Christians when they conquered Constantinople in 1204 A.D. And instead of my telling you about it in my own words, I would like to quote the statement of Pope Innocent III (which should be more convincing, Tr.}. He says:
"The duty of the followers of Jesus and the supporters of his faith was to turn the edges of their swords towards the greatest enemy of Christianity (Islam). But it is a pity they shed the blood of the Christians themselves, which was religiously forbidden to them. They did not care at all for it, and shed much blood. They neither respected the faith, nor discriminated between the sexes nor had they any regard for age, or youth in this bloodshed. They committed fornication and adultery in broad daylight. The nuns, mothers of children and virgins found themselves equally helpless before these lustful creatures and the sensual beasts of this army, so to say, devoured (ravished) them. These robbers and plunderers did not stop at robbing the king and other aristocrats of their riches, but ravaged and plundered the lands and other properties of the Churches. They desecrated the churches also, robbing them of the sacred portraits, crosses and holy relics."
And the well-known historian Chad-Dale writes:
"This army, intoxicated with power, entered the Cathedral of St. Sophia, destroyed the holy books and trampled under foot the portraits of the martyrs. A corrupt woman was occupying their chair of the patriarch, and she started singing loudly. All traces of religious knowledge were effaced from the city, and the gold and silver statues were destroyed to provide material for their gold and silver coins."
And the monks who were eye-witnesses to these painful scenes have put up their evidence thus:
"The fact is that the followers of Muhammad (Sal'am, Tr.) had never meted out the treatment to this city which it met at the hands of the monks, the votaries of Christ."
Yes. Certainly the Muslim did not do any such thing when they conquered this town (Constantinople), as evidenced by the behaviour of Sultan Muhammad Fateh. And the Muslim, so long as they were believers, could not manifest narrow-mindedness and even approach such shameful deeds of religious bigotry, as were perpetrated by the Roman Catholic followers of Christ against other followers of his, subscribing to the orthodox Catholic faith.
An Incident out of the Tale of Woes of Andalusia
I would not like to take up in detail the story of the Muslim Conquerors of Andalusia and their generous treatment of the minorities of that country, affectionate behaviour and extreme regard for their feelings, nor would compare it with the treatment the Muslims met at the hands of the Spaniards, when they took over the last surviving Muslim state of Granada. And they did all that in face of the treaty with Muslims comprising about sixty provisions, regarding the protection of their faith, their mosques their honour and dignity and their properties and so many other things. But they did not fulfil any of their pledges, nor met any responsibility in tliis behalf. Rather, they did not desist even from murder of innocent people and taking possession of their properties. Again, within thirty years of the fall of Granada, Europe declared in 1534 A. D. that all the mosques be converted into Churches. So we find that within four years of this declaration the Muslims were totally wiped out of Spain."This is how the Christians "made good their plighted word" and that was our fulfilment of pledges!
It is the Urge of their (evil) Nature
The stinging of a scorpion is nothing astonishing. It is in its nature. What amazes one is the fact they behaved in this cruel manner and were guilty of the breach of contract with their own co-religionists. And these oppressions and cruelties were no less than those perpetrated against the Muslims. Wherever they went as conquerors, they made demonstrations of the same hard-heartedness and oppression and tyranny. It may be East or West, they always appeared in their true colours as cunning and cruel wolves, no matter whether their prey was some weak Muslim or a Christian. Their writers themselves lament their national character.
The Priest Ododvalley, a courtier of Louis VII, in favour with him, and having participated in the second crusade with the king, writes in his observations:
"When the Christians were going to Bait-al-Maqdis through Asia Minor, they suffered a great defeat at the hands of the Turks in the mountainous region of Frigia. That was in 1148 A.D. With great difficulty they got to a coastal town of Italy. Here, those who could meet the heavy demands of the Greeks (they made to take the armies across the sea) reached Antioch by sea route. But they left behind their sick, wounded and ordinary people at the mercy of their perfidious Greek allies. Louis paid them (the Greeks) five hundred marks for their protection and the treatment of the disabled and the sick, so that they might be able to join their companions. But hardly had the army left Italy when the Greeks informed the Turks of the presence of these un-armed crusaders, and quietly waited to watch the fun of these wretched people facing starvation, disease and above all the spears of the enemy. This death and destruction came upon them when they were proceeding towards their cantonment. Four thousand individuals out of this unarmed and disabled multitude in desperation tried to escape this tragic end. The Turkish army that had returned to the cantonment, turned round with the idea of taking their victory to a conclusive end. They routed and ruined this army. Those who escaped this calamity were despairing of thier lives. But the Muslims were greatly moved by their pitiable plight, and instead of enmity their hearts were now filled with affection for them. They nursed the sick and helped the hungry and the destitute who were at the verge of death and destruction. The Muslim extended their generosity to the extent of purchasing the cash in French currency from the Greeks, who hau snatched it from them, and gave it to these wretched travellers. There was a world of difference between the cruel and beastly behaviour of their own Greek Christian brethren with these travellers and the just and merciful treatment of the heathens (Muslims).
The Greeks played a dirty joke on them, beat them and whatever Louis had left for their maintenance, they robbed them of it all. This resulted in some of them entering the fold of the faith of their saviours willingly, as attested by one of our historians of yore. "Their own cruel brothers oppressed them but the pagans (Muslims) offered them security and shelter and most benevo lent treatment." "We learn that more than three thousand of those returning alive joined the Turks. Alas ! This kindness and mercy were more disagreeable than treachery. They certainly gave them bread but snatched from them their faith and beliefs although it is ture that they did not compel any one to abandon his faith, but confined their efforts to service and benevolence to them."
Look at them in the Modern Perspective of Brilliance
The evidence is not far to seek. The impressions and record of the cruelties of the western nations in the two world wars and their morals and deeds in the Islamic Middle East serve clear evidence that in governance and in the battlefield their conduct has been extremely tyrannical and a model of barbarism. Their hypocritical policy is now no more any secret that in international meets they let loose loud propaganda of their civilization and culture, philanthropy and love and affection. But in their wars, in their dominions and colonies they openly demonstrate their barbarism and blood-thirstiness. Some people put up the excuse for this mode of action of the western nations that during the middle ages they were not so civilized and cultured that any other behaviour could be expected of them. But a very pertinent question is that now that they are civilized, rather, they claim to hold the monopoly of civilization and benefiting the whole world with sciences and arts and the new inventions, are they any better? The real position is not that. According to our way of measuring them, the problem really is what is their true temperament which overwhelms every effort of theirs at affectation and hypocrisy. The fact of the matter is that the western nations still have those traits and habits of the days of their barbarity and idolatry in their entirety. During the middle ages these traits and habits took the shape of religious prejudice. So religion had to bear the brunt of their barbarity. And today the same cruel and barbaric habits are at work under the garb of civilization. So peace and security and civilization have to bear the burden of their hard-heartedness and inhumanity. In fact in every period these nations have been mischief-makers, cruel, blood-thirsty, lovers of power and authority and bigoted and barbaric. How then dare they tell tales of our hard-heartedness under Islamic victories, (quite apart from the fact that it is a bundle of blatant lies) and present their despicable colonialism as a mercy and kindness. And where it comes to the bare facts, ours and their position according to some poet is this:
"When we were in power, forgiveness was our well known habit, but when you came to rule you shed rivers of (much) blood." (F.N. l2)
"This difference, between the two of us is not at all amazing since whatever are the contents of a vessel spill out of it. (F.N.13)