THE SPREAD OF ISLAM: CONCLUSION
A History of the Propagation of the Muslim Faith
T.W. Arnold Ma. C.I.F
Professor Of Arabic, University Of London, University College. Written in 1896, revised in 1913
Rearranged by Dr. A.S. Hashim
To the modern Christian world, missionary work implies
missionary societies, paid agents, subscriptions, reports and journals;
and missionary enterprise without a regularly constituted and
continuous organization seems a misnomer.
The ecclesiastical constitution of the Christian Church has,
from the very beginning of its history, made provision for the propagation of Christian teaching among unbelievers;
Its missionaries have been in most cases, regularly ordained
priests or monks; the monastic orders (from the Benedictines downwards) and the missionary societies of more modern times have devoted themselves with special and concentrated
attention to the furthering of a department of Christian work that, from the first, has been recognized to be one of the prime duties of the Church.
But in Islam the absence of
any kind of priesthood
or any ecclesiastical organization whatever has caused the missionary energy of the Muslims to
exhibit itself in forms very different to those that appear in the history of Christian missions:
There are no missionary
no specially trained
very little continuity of
The only exception appears
to be found in the religious orders of Islam, whose organization resembles to some extent that of the monastic orders of Christendom. But even here the absence of the
priestly ideal, of any theory of the separateness of the religious teacher from the common body of believers or of the necessity of a special consecration and authorization
for the performance of religious functions, makes the fundamental difference in the two systems stand out as clearly as elsewhere.
Whatever disadvantages may be entailed by this want of a priestly class, specially set apart for the work of propagating the faith, are compensated for
by the consequent feeling of responsibility resting on the individual believer. There being no intermediary between the Muslim and his God, the responsibility of his personal
salvation rests upon himself alone:
consequently he becomes as a rule much more strict and careful in the performance
of his religious duties,
he takes more trouble to learn the doctrines and observances of his faith,
and thus becoming deeply impressed with the importance of them to himself,
is more likely to become an exponent of the missionary character of his creed in
the presence of the unbeliever.
The would-be proselytizer has not to refer his convert to some authorized
religious teacher of his creed who may formally receive the neophyte into the body of the Church,
nor need he dread ecclesiastical censure for committing the sin of Korah.
Accordingly, however great an exaggeration it may be to say, as has been said so
often, that every Muslim is a missionary, still it is
true that every Muslim may be one, and few truly devout Muslims, living in daily contact with unbelievers, neglect the precept of their Prophet:
"Summon them to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and with kindly warning."
Thus it is that, side by side with the professional propagandists,—the religious
teachers who have devoted all their time and energies to missionary work,—the annals of the propagation of the Muslim faith contain the record of men and women of all ranks
of society, from the sovereign
to the peasant, and of all trades and professions, who have labored for the spread of their faith,—
the Muslim trader, unlike his Christian brother, showing himself especially
active in such work.
In a list of Indian missionaries published in the
journal of a religious and philanthropic society of Lahore
we find the names of schoolmasters, Government clerks in the Canal and Opium Departments, traders (including a dealer in camel-carts), an editor of a newspaper, a
bookbinder and a workman in a printing establishment.
These men devote the hours of leisure left them after the completion of the days labor,
to the preaching of their religion in the streets and bazaars of Indian cities, seeking to win converts both from among Christians and Hindus, whose religious beliefs they
controvert and attack.
It is interesting to note that the propagation of Islam has not been the work of men only, but
that Muslim women have also taken their part in this pious task.
Role of Muslim Women in Propagating
Several of the Mongol princes owed their conversion to the influence of a Muslim wife, and the
same was probably the case with many of the pagan Turks when they had carried their raids into Muslim countries.
The Sanusiyyah missionaries who came to work among the Tubu, to the north of Lake Chad, opened
schools for girls, and took advantage of the powerful influence exercised by the women among these tribes (as among their neighbors, the Berbers), in their efforts to win
them over to Islam.
In East Africa, the pagan natives who leave their homes for six months or more, to work on the
railways or plantations, are converted by the Muslim women with whom they contract temporary alliances; these women refuse to have anything to do with an uncircumcised kafir,
and to escape the disgrace attaching to such an appellation, their husbands become circumcised and thus receive an entry into Muslim society.
The progress of Islam in Abyssinia during the first half of the last century has been said to
be in large measure due to the efforts of Muslim women, especially the wives of Christian princes, who had to pretend a conversion to Christianity on the occasion of their
marriage, but brought up their children in the tenets of Islam and worked in every possible way for the advancement of that faith.
On the western frontier of
Abyssinia, there is a pagan tribe called the Boruns; some of these men who had enlisted in a negro regiment, under the Anglo-Egyptian government of the
Sudan, were converted to Islam by
the wives of the black soldiers while the battalion was returning to Khartoum.
The Tatar women of Kazan are said to be especially zealous as propagandists of Islam.
The professed devotee, because she happens to be a woman, is not thereby debarred from taking her place with the male saint in the company of the preachers of the faith.
The legend of the holy women, descended from Ali, who are said to have gone from Karbala to
Lahore, and thereby the influence of their devout lives of prayer and fasting to have won the first converts from Hinduism to Islam,
could hardly have originated if the influence of such holy women were a thing quite unknown.
One of the most venerated tombs in Cairo is that of Nafisah, the great-granddaughter of Ḥusain
(the martyred son of Ali), whose theological learning excited the admiration even of her great contemporary, Imam al-Shafi'i, and whose her piety and austerities raised her
to the dignity of a saint:
is related of her that when she settled in Egypt, she happened to have as her neighbors a family of dhimmis whose daughter was so grievously afflicted that she could not move
her limbs but had to lie on her back all day.
The parents of the poor girl had to go one day to the market and asked their pious
Muslim neighbor to look after their daughter during their absence.
Nafisah, filled with love and pity, undertook this work of mercy; and when the parents
of the sick girl were gone, she lifted up her soul in prayer to God on behalf of the helpless invalid.
Scarcely was her prayer ended than the sick girl regained the use of her limbs and was
able to go to meet her parents on their return.
Filled with gratitude, the whole family became converts to the religion of their
Even the Muslim prisoner will on occasion embrace
the opportunity of preaching his faith to his captors or to his fellow-prisoners.
The first introduction of Islam into
Eastern Europe was the work of a Muslim juris-consult who was taken prisoner, probably in one of the wars between the
Byzantine empire and its Muslim neighbors, and was brought to the country of the Pechenegs
in the beginning of the eleventh century.
He set before many of them the teachings of Islam and they embraced the faith with sincerity, so that it began to be spread among this people. But the
other Pechenegs who had not accepted the Muslim religion, took umbrage at the conduct of their fellow-countrymen and finally came to blows with them.
The Muslims, who numbered about twelve thousand, successfully withstood the attack of the unbelievers, though they were more than double their number, and
the remnant of the defeated party embraced the religion of the victors. Before the close of the eleventh century the whole nation had become Muslim and had among them men
learned in Muslim theology and jurisprudence.
In the reign of the Emperor Jahangir (1605-1628) there was a certain Sunni theologian, named Shaykh Aḥmad Muiaddid, who especially distinguished himself by
the energy with which he controverted the doctrines of the Shi'as : the latter, being at this time in favor at court, succeeded in having him imprisoned on some frivolous
charge; during the two years that he was kept in prison he converted to Islam several hundred idolaters who were his companions in the same prison.
In more recent times, an Indian mawlavi, who had been sentenced to transportation for life to the Andaman Islands by the British Government, because he had
taken an active part in the Wahhabi conspiracy of 1864, converted many of the convicts before his death.
In Central Africa, an Arab chief condemned to death by the Belgians, spent his last hours in trying to convert to Islam the Christian missionary who had
been sent to bring him the consolations of religion.
Such being the missionary zeal of the Muslims, that they
are ready to speak in season and out of season,—as Doughty, with fine insight, says, "Their talk is continually (without hypocrisy) of religion, which
is of genial devout remembrance to them,"—
Let us now consider some of the causes that have
contributed to the Muslim success.
Foremost among these is the simplicity
of the Muslim creed, There is no god but God; Muhammad is the Apostle of God. Assent to these two simple doctrines is all that is demanded of the convert, and the whole history
of Muslim dogmatic fails to present any attempt on the part of ecclesiastical assemblies to force on the mass of believers any symbol couched in more elaborate and complex
This simple creed demands no great trial of faith,
arouses as a rule no particular intellectual difficulties and is within the compass of the
Unencumbered with theological subtleties, it may be expounded by any, even the most unversed in
The first half of it enunciates a doctrine that is almost universally accepted by men as a
necessary postulate, while the second half is based on a theory of man's relationship to God that is almost equally wide-spread, viz. that at intervals in the worlds history
God grants some revelation of Himself to men through the mouthpiece of inspired prophets.
This, the rationalistic character of the Muslim creed, and the advantage it reaps therefrom in
its missionary efforts, have nowhere been more admirably brought out than in the following sentences of
Islam is a religion that is essentially rationalistic in the widest sense of this term
considered etymologically and historically.
The definition of rationalism as a system that bases religious beliefs on principles
furnished by the reason, applies to it exactly.
It is true that Muhammad, who was an enthusiast and possessed, too, the ardor of faith
and the fire of conviction, that precious quality he transmitted to so many of his disciples,—brought forward his reform as a
revelation: but this kind of revelation is only one form of exposition and his religion has all the marks of a collection of doctrines founded on the data of reason.
To believers, the Muslim creed is summed up in belief in the unity of God and in the mission of His Prophet, and to ourselves who coldly analyze his
doctrines, to belief in God and a future life; these two dogmas, the minimum of religious belief, statements that to the religious man rest on the firm basis of reason, sum up
the whole doctrinal teaching of the Quran.
The simplicity and the clearness of this teaching are certainly among the most obvious forces at work in the religion and the missionary activity of Islam.
It cannot be denied that many doctrines and systems of theology and also many superstitions, from the worship of saints to the use of rosaries and amulets,
have become grafted on to the main trunk of the Muslim creed. But in spite of the rich development, in every sense of the term, of the teachings of the Prophet,
the Quran has invariably kept its place as the fundamental starting-point, and the dogma of the unity of God has always been proclaimed therein with a
grandeur, a majesty, an invariable purity and with a note of sure conviction, which it is hard to find surpassed outside the pale of Islam.
This fidelity to the fundamental dogma of the religion, the elemental simplicity of the formula in which it is enunciated, the proof that it gains from the
fervid conviction of the missionaries who propagate it, are so many causes to explain the success of Muslim missionary efforts.
A creed so precise, so stripped of all theological complexities and consequently so accessible to the ordinary understanding, might be expected to possess
and does indeed possess a marvelous power of winning its way into the consciences of men."
Bishop Lefroy considers that the "secret of the extraordinary power for conquest and advance which
Islam has in its best ages evinced "is to be found in its recognition of the Existence of God rather than the Unity of God.
"Not so much that God is one as that God IS—
that His existence is the ultimate fact of the universe—
that His will is supreme —
His sovereignty absolute—
His power limitless . . .
the conviction that, amidst all the chaos and confusion and disorders of the world which so
fearfully obscure it, there is nevertheless, an ultimate Will, resistless, supreme, and that man is called to "be a minister of that Will,
to promulgate it,
to compel—if necessary by very simple and elementary means indeed—
obedience to that Will—
this it was which welded the Muslim hosts into so invincible an engine of conquest, which
inspired them with a spirit of military subordination and discipline, as well as with a contempt of death, such as has probably never been surpassed in any system—
this it is which, so far as it is still in any true sense operative amongst Muslims, gives
at once, that backbone of character, that firmness of determination and strength of will, and also that uncomplaining patience and submission in the presence of the bitterest
misfortune, which characterize and adorn the best adherents of the creed,"
When the convert has accepted and learned this simple creed, he has then to be instructed in the
five practical duties of his religion :
recital of the creed,
observance of the five appointed times of prayer,.
payment of the legal alms,
fasting during the month of Ramadhan, and
the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Of the pilgrimage:
The observance of this last duty has often been objected to as a strange survival of idolatry in
the midst of the monotheism of the Prophets teaching, but it must be borne in mind that to him it connected itself with Abraham, whose religion it was his mission to restore.
But above all—and herein is its supreme importance in the missionary history of Islam—it ordains
a. yearly gathering of believers, of all nations and languages, brought together from all parts of the world, to pray in that sacred place towards which their faces are
set in every hour of private worship in their distant homes.
No fetch of religious genius could have conceived a better expedient for impressing on the minds
of the faithful a sense of their common life and of their brotherhood in the bonds of faith.
Here, in a supreme act of common worship, the Negro of the west coast of Africa meets the Chinaman from the distant east; the courtly and polished Ottoman recognizes his
brother Muslim in the wild islander from the farthest end of the Malayan Sea.
At the same time throughout the whole Muslim world the hearts of believers are lifted up in
sympathy with their more fortunate brethren gathered together in the sacred city, as in their own homes they celebrate the festival of Id al-Aḍḥặ or (as it is called in Turkey
and Egypt) the feast of Bayram.
Their visit to the sacred city has been to many Muslims the experience that has stirred
them up to "strive in the path of God,"and in the preceding pages constant reference has been made to the active part taken by the ḥajis in missionary work.
Of the alms:
Besides the institution of the pilgrimage, the payment of the legal alms is another duty that
continually reminds the Muslim that "the faithful are brothers "
—a religious theory that is very strikingly realized in Muslim society and seldom fails to express itself in acts of kindness towards the new convert. Whatever be his race,
color or antecedents he is received into the brotherhood of believers and takes his place as an equal among equals.
It is not, however, true, as some European writers have maintained, that if an unbeliever is the
slave of a Muslim his conversion to Islam procures for him his manumission, for, according to Muslim law, the conversion of a slave does not affect the prior state of bondage;
and the condition of the Muslim slave has varied much according to the character of his master.
But freedom is in many instances the reward of conversion, and devout minds have even recognized
in enslavement Gods guidance to the true faith, as the negroes from the Upper Nile countries, whom Doughty met in Arabia. "In those Africans there is
no resentment that they have been made slaves . . . even though cruel men-stealers rent them from their parentage. The patrons who paid their price have adopted them into their
households, the males are circumcised and—that which enfranchises their souls, even in the long passion of home-sickness—God has visited them in their mishap; they can say it was His grace, since they be thereby entered into the saving religion.
This, therefore, they think is the better country, where they are the Lords free men, a land of more civil life, the soil of the two Sanctuaries, the land of Muhammad :—for such
they do give God thanks that their bodies were sometime sold into slavery ! "
Of the five daily prayers: Very effective also,
both in winning and retaining, is the ordinance of the daily prayers five times a day.
The religion of the Muslim is continually present with him and in the daily prayer manifests itself in a solemn and
impressive ritual, which cannot leave either the worshipper or the spectator unaffected. Said b. Ḥasan, an Alexandrian Jew, who embraced Islam in the year 1298, speaks of the
sight of the Friday prayer in a mosque as a determining factor in his own conversion:
During a severe illness he had had a vision in which a voice bade him declare himself a Muslim,
"And when I entered the mosque "(he goes on) "and saw the Muslims standing in rows like angels, I heard a
voice speaking within me. This is the community whose coming was announced by the prophets (on whom be blessings and peace !) ;
and when the preacher came forth clad in his black robe, a deep feeling of awe fell upon me ... and when
he closed his sermon with the words, Verily God enjoineth justice and kindness and the giving of gifts to kinsfolk, and He forbiddeth wickedness and wrong and oppression. He
warneth you; haply ye will be mindful.
And when the prayer began, I was mightily uplifted, for the rows of the Muslims appeared to me like rows
of angels, to whose prostrations and genuflections God Almighty was revealing Himself, and I heard a voice within me saying, If God spake twice unto the people of Israel
throughout the ages, verily He speaketh unto this community in every time of Prayer, and I was convinced in my mind that I had been created to be a Muslim."
If Renan could say, it can be readily understood how the sight of the Muslim trader at prayer, his frequent prostrations, his absorbed and silent worship of the Unseen, would
impress the heathen African, endued with that strong sense of the mysterious such as generally accompanies a low stage of civilization.
Curiosity would naturally prompt inquiry, and the knowledge of Islam thus imparted might sometimes win over a convert who might have turned aside had it been offered unsought,
as a free gift.
Of the fast during the month of Ramadhan,
it need only be said that it is a piece of standing evidence against the theory that Islam is a religious system that attracts by pandering to the self-indulgence of men. As
Carlyle has said, "His religion is not an easy one: with rigorous fasts, lavations, strict complex formulas, prayers five times a day, and abstinence from wine, it did not
succeed by being an easy religion."
Bound up with these and other ritual observances, but not encumbered or obscured by them, the
articles of the Muslim creed are incessantly finding outward manifestation in the life of the believer, and thus, becoming inextricably interwoven with the routine of his daily
life, make the individual Muslim an exponent and teacher of his creed
far more than is the case with the adherents of most other religions.
Couched in such short and simple language, his creed makes but little demand upon the
intellect, and the definiteness, positiveness, and minuteness of the ritual leave the believer in no doubt as to what he has to do, and these duties performed he has the
satisfaction of feeling that he has fulfilled all the precepts of the Law.
In this union of rationalism and ritualism, we may
find, to a great extent, the secret of the power that Islam has exercised over the minds of men.
"If you would win the great masses give them the
truth in rounded form, neat and clear, in visible and tangible guise."
Many other circumstances might be adduced that have contributed
towards the missionary success of Islam—circumstances peculiar to particular times and countries.
Among these may be mentioned the advantage that Muslim missionary work derives from the fact of
its being so largely in the hands of traders, especially in Africa and other uncivilized countries where the people are naturally suspicious of the foreigner.
For, in the case of the trader, his well-known and harmless avocation secures to him an
immunity from any such feelings of suspicion, while his knowledge of men and manners, his commercial savoir-faire, gain for him a ready reception, and remove that feeling of
constraint which might naturally arise in the presence of the stranger.
He labors under no such disadvantages as hamper the professed missionary, who is liable to be
suspected of some sinister motive,
not only by people whose range of experience and mental horizon are limited and to whom the
idea of any man enduring the perils of a long journey and laying aside every mundane occupation for the sole purpose of gaining proselytes, is inexplicable,
but also by more civilized men of the world who are very prone to doubt the sincerity of the
paid missionary agent.
The circumstances are very different when Islam has not to appear as a suppliant in a foreign
country, but stands forth proudly as the religion of the ruling race.
preceding pages it has been shown that the theory of the Muslim faith enjoins toleration and freedom of religious life for all those followers of other
faiths who pay tribute in return for protection, (and though the pages of Muslim history are stained with the blood of many cruel persecutions), still, on the whole, unbelievers
have enjoyed under Muslim rule a measure of toleration, the like of which is not to be found in Europe until quite modern times.
Forcible conversion was forbidden, in accordance with the precepts of the Quran :—"Let
there be no compulsion in religion "(ii. 257). "Wilt thou compel men to become believers? No soul can believe but by the permission of God"(x. 99, 100).
The very existence of so many Christian sects and communities in countries that have
been for centuries under Muslim rule is an abiding testimony to the toleration they have enjoyed,
and shows that the persecutions they have from time to time been called upon to endure
at the hands of bigots and fanatics, have been excited by some special and local circumstances rather than inspired by a settled principle of intolerance.)
At such times of persecution, the pressure of circumstances has driven many unbelievers to
become—outwardly at least —Muslims, and many instances might be given of individuals who, on particular occasions, have been harassed into submission to the religion of
But such oppression is wholly without the sanction of Muslim law, either religious or
The passages in the Quran that forbid forced conversion and enjoin preaching as the sole
legitimate method of spreading the faith have already been quoted above (Introduction, pp. 5-6), and the same doctrine is upheld by the decisions of the Muslim doctors.
When Moses Maimonides, who under the fanatical rule of the Almohads had feigned conversion to
Islam, fled to Egypt and there openly declared himself to be a Jew, a Muslim juris-consult from Spain denounced him for his apostasy and demanded that the extreme penalty
of the law should be inflicted on him for this offence; but the case was quashed by al-Qaḍi al-Faḍil, Abd al-Raḥim b. Ali,
one of the most famous of Muslim judges, and the prime minister of the great Saladin, who authoritatively declared that a man who had been converted to Islam by force
could not be rightly considered to be a Muslim.
In the same spirit, when Ghazan (1295-1304) discovered that the Buddhist monks who had become
Muslims at the beginning of his reign (when their temples had been destroyed) only made a pretence of being converted, he granted permission to all those who so wished to
return to Tibet, where among their Buddhist fellow-countrymen they would be free once more to follow their own faith.
Tavernier tells us a similar story of some Jews of Ispahan who were so grievously persecuted by
the governor "that either by force or cunning he caused them to turn Muslims ; but the king (Shah Abbas II) (1642-1667), understanding that only power and fear had
constrained them to turn, suffered them to resume their own religion and to live in quiet."
A story of a much earlier traveller
in Persia, in 1478, shows how even in those turbulent times a Muslim governor set himself to severely crush an outburst of fanaticism of the same character.
A rich Armenian merchant of the city of Tabriz was sitting in his shop one day when a Ḥaji,
with a reputation for sanctity, coming up to him importuned him to become a Muslim and abandon his Christian faith; when the merchant expressed his intention of remaining
steadfast in his religion and offered the fellow alms with the hope of getting rid of him, he replied that what he wanted was not his alms but his conversion; and at
length, enraged at the persistent refusal of the merchant, suddenly snatched a sword out of the hand of a bystander and struck the merchant a mortal blow on the head and
then ran away,
When the Governor of the city heard the news, he was very angry and ordered the murderer to be pursued and captured; the culprit having been
brought into his presence, the governor stabbed him to death with his own hand and ordered his body to be cast forth to be devoured by dogs, saying : "What! is this the
way in which the religion of Muhammad spreads?
"At nightfall, the common people took up the body and buried it, whereupon the Governor, enraged at this contempt of his order, gave up the place
for three or four hours to be sacked by his soldiers and afterwards imposed a fine as a further penalty; also he called the son of the merchant to him and comforted him
and caressed him with good and kindly words.
Neglected as the Eastern Christians have been by their Christian brethren in the West, unarmed for the most part and utterly defenseless, it would
have been easy for any of the powerful rulers of Islam to have utterly rooted out their Christian subjects or banished them from their
dominions, as the Spaniards did the Moors, or the English to the Jews for nearly four centuries.
It would have been perfectly possible for Salim I (in 1514) or Ibrahim (in 1646) to
have put into execution the barbarous notion they conceived of exterminating their Christian subjects, just as, Salim I (had massacred 40,000 Shi'as with the aim of establishing uniformity of religious belief among his Muslim subjects. The muftis who turned the minds
of their masters from such a cruel purpose, did so as the exponents of Muslim law and Muslim tolerance.
Still, it is obvious that the fact of Islam being the state religion could not fail to have had
some influence in increasing the number of its adherents.
Persons on whom their religious faith sat lightly would be readily influenced by considerations
of worldly advantage, and ambition and self-interest would take the place of more laudable motives for conversion.
St. Augustine made a similar complaint in the fifth century, that many entered the Christian Church merely because they hoped to gain some
Moreover, to the barbarous and uncivilized tribes that saw the glory and majesty of the empire
of the Arabs in the heyday of its power, Islam must have appeared as imposing and have exercised as powerful a fascination as the Christian faith when presented to the
Barbarians of Northern Europe, when "They found Christianity in the Empire—Christianity refined and complex, imperious and pompous—Christianity
enthroned by the side of kings, and sometimes paramount above them."
Added to this must often have been the slow, persistent influence of daily contact with Muslim
life and thought, such as led even a Nestorian writer of the twelfth century to add words of blessing to the mention of the name of the Prophet and the early Khalifas,
and to pray for the mercy of God on the Khalifah Umar b. Abd al-Aziz.
In modern times Christian missionaries complain that the system of public instruction in Egypt
under the British occupation, according to which "Christian boys are often compelled to sit and listen to the Koran and Din (religious teaching) being taught to their Moslem
companions when there is no room where they can be separated,"
tends to give the Muslims a preponderating influence over their Christian fellow-students.
One of the most active of the followers of the late Mufti Muhammad Abduh was originally a
Coptic medical student, who had been won over to Islam through the influence of the religious instruction he had heard given in school hours.
But the recital of such motives as little accounts for all cases of conversion in the one religion
as in the other, and they should not make us Jose sight of other factors in the missionary life of Islam, whose influence has been of a more distinctly religious character.
Foremost among these is the influence of the devout lives of the followers of Islam. Strange as it
may appear to a generation accustomed to look upon Islam as a cloak for all kinds of vice, it is nevertheless true that in earlier times many Christians who have come into
contact with a living Muslim society have been profoundly impressed by the virtues exhibited therein;
If these could so strike the traveler and the stranger, they would no doubt have some influence of
attraction on the unbeliever who came in daily contact with them.
The literature of the Crusades is rich in such appreciations of Muslim virtues,
while the Ottoman Turks in the early days of their rule in Europe received many a tribute of praise from Christian lips, as has already been shown in a former chapter.
At the present day there are two chief factors (beyond such of the above-mentioned as still hold
good) that make for missionary activity in the Muslim world.
The first of these is the revival of religious life which dates from the Wahhabi
reformation at the end of the eighteenth century; though this new departure has long lost all political significance outside the confines of Najd, as a religious revival its
influence is felt throughout Africa, India and the Malay Archipelago even to the present day, and has given birth to numerous movements which take rank among the most
powerful influences in the Islamic world.
In the preceding pages it has already been shown how closely connected many of the
modern Muslim missions are with this wide-spread revival:
the fervid zeal it has stirred up,
the new life it has infused into existing religious institutions,
the impetus it has given to theological study and to the organization of devotional
exercises, have all served to awake and keep alive the innate proselytizing spirit of Islam.
Side by side with this reform movement, is another of an entirely different character—for, to
mention one point of difference only, while the former is strongly opposed to European civilization, the latter is rather in sympathy with modern thought and offers a
presentment of Islam in accordance therewith,—viz. the Pan-Islamic- movement, which seeks to bind all the nations of the Muslim world in a common bond of sympathy.
Though in no way so significant as the other, still this trend of thought gives a powerful
stimulus to missionary labors; the effort to realise in actual life the Muslim ideal of the brotherhood of all believers reacts on collateral ideals of the faith, and the
sense of a vast unity and of a common life running through the nations inspirits the hearts of the faithful and makes them bold to speak in the presence of the unbelievers.
What further influence these two movements will have on the missionary life of Islam, the
future only can show. But their very activity at the present day is a proof that Islam is not dead. The spiritual energy of Islam is not, as has been so often maintained,
commensurate with its political power.
On the contrary, the loss of political power and worldly prosperity has served to bring to the front the finer spiritual qualities which are the truest
incentives to missionary work.
Islam has learned the uses of adversity, and so far from a decline in worldly prosperity
being a presage of the decay of this faith, it is significant that those very Muslim countries that have been longest under Christian rule show themselves most active in the
work of proselytizing. The Indian and Malay Muslims display a zeal and enthusiasm for the spread of the faith, which one looks for in vain in Turkey or Morocco.
 See the interesting letter addressed by Mawla'I Ismail, Sharif of Morocco, in 1698 to King James II, inviting him to embrace
Islam. (Revue de L'Histoire des Religions, vol. xlvii. p. 174 sqq.).
 R. du M. M., ix. (1909), p. 252.
 Abū 'Ubayd al-Bakrī (died 1094), pp. 467-8.
 Ghulām Sarwar : Khazīnat al-Asfiyā, vol. i. p. 613.
 D. Crawford: Thinking Black, p. 202.(London, 1913.)
 e. g. The persecution, under al-Mutawakkil, by the orthodox reaction against all forms of deviation from the popular creed : ic Persia and other parts of
Asia about the end of the thirteenth century in revenge for the domineering and insulting behaviour of the Christians in the hour of their advancement and power under the
early Mongols. (Maqrīzī (2), Tome i. Premiere Partie, pp. 98, 106.) Assemani (torn. iii. pars. ii. p.c.), speaking of the causes that have excited the persecution ot the
Christians under Muhammadan rule, says :—"Non raro persecutions procellam excitarunt mutuae Christianorum ipsorum simultates, sacerdotum licentia, praesulum fastus, tyrannica
magnatum potestas, et medicorum praesertim scriba-rumque de supremo in gentem suam imperio altercationes."During the crusades the Christians of the East frequently fell under
the suspicion of favouring the invasions of their co-religionists from the West, and in modern Turkey the movement for Greek Independence and the religious sympathies it
excited in Christian Europe contributed to make the lot of the subject Christian races harder than it would have been, had they not been suspected of disloyalty and
disaffection towards their Muhammadan ruler. De Gobineau has expressed himself very strongly on this question of the toleration of Islam: "Si 1'on sépare la doctrine
religieuse de la nécessite politique qui souvent a parlé et agi en son nom, il n'est pas de religion plus tolérante, on pourrait presque dire plus indifférente sur la foi des
hommes que 1'Islam. Cette disposition organique est si forte qu'en dehors des cas ou la
raison d'Etat mise en jeu a porte les gouvernernents musulmans a se faire arme de tout pour tendre a I'unite de foi, la tolerance la plus complete a ete la regie fournie par
le dogme. . . Qu'on ne s'arre'te pas aux violences, aux cruautes commises dans une
occasion ou dans une autre. Si on y regarde de pres, on ne tardera pas a y decouvrir des causes toutes politiques ou toutes de passion humaioe et de temperament chez le
souverain ou dans les populations. Le fait reh'gieux n'y est invoque quc comme pretexte et, en realite, il reste en dehors."(A. de Gobineau (l), pp. 24-5)