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investigate the status of the “ conquered” people, and the conditions under which they lived before and after their contact with the Muslims. What will they say, if they find out that urgent appeals were made to the Muslims by natives of the Persian and Roman protectorates to come and deliver them from the oppressing foreign rule? What will they think, if they happen to discover that the Muslim “ conquerors” were joyfully welcomed by common people as well as by the religious patriarchs, who were longing for Muslim protection and Muslim justice of administration? How would they explain the phenomenon that some of the “ conquered” people not only welcomed the “ invading” Muslims but also fought on their side against the oppressors? How would they conceive the prosperity, freedom and progress of the “ invaded” regions under Islam, in comparison to what had prevailed therein before? We are not ascertaining any particular point of view on the matter or making any hasty conclusions. We simply believe that the question is worth reconsidering and deserves serious investigation. The findings will certainly by interesting and significant. Perhaps a Western mind can understand better, if the whole matter is considered in the light of the prevailing conditions in today’ s world. The deep concern of the Western Allies over Berlin, the appeals of the oppressed everywhere, the anxiety of the South Koreans, the fears of the Laotians, the NATO business, the SEATO affairs, the Instability of the Communist Satellites - all that may help the Western mind to understand the events of those remote centuries and the actual policies of the Muslims of those days 4. The idea that Muslim wars in the outside world were motivated by economic needs of the Arabs is worth considering too. Although seemingly certain of their own assumptions, the upholders of such an idea have not really studied the case seriously. Do they honestly think that the economic needs were the reasons to urge the Muslims to cross their Arabian borders? On what ground do they assume that Arabia – with its ancient centers of business, valleys and oases–was no longer capable of producing enough for the Muslims? Have they made any serious inquiry as to how much the “ invading” Muslims made for themselves, how much they distributed among the people under their rule, and how much they sent back to the Central Administration in Medina or Damascus or Baghdad or Cairo? Have they compared the revenues of the “ invaded” territories before and after Islam, and found out whether or not the “ invaders” were simply self-interested business adventurers? Have they any reasons to believe that those Muslims took more than what they gave, or drew more than what they had deposited, or made more than what they had invested? Have they come across any evidence to prove if the Central Government in Arabia had at any time received tributes or taxes from its “ conquered” protectorates which were needed for the development of these very protectorates, and if so how much was received, and was it worth the adventure in the unknown world? Have they collected any reliable information to show that Arabia was privileged or given preference, in expenditures or development programs over the “ invaded” areas? Finally, did Arabia, all of a sudden feel the threat of a “ population explosion” which forced the Muslims to carry out adventurous wars and / or economic explorations? The attempt to interpret the Muslim contacts with non- Muslims in terms of economic needs may sound novel and worthy of sympathy, but it does not seem to have much truth in it or carry much bearing on serious scholarship. The least reservation that can be made as regards this attempt is that it is so far from being satisfactory and complete. There is so much yet to be done in terms of research, investigation, analysis and comparison. Until this is done, no critic has any moral right to pass his own theoretical assumptions as valid or binding. This presents another gracious invitation of Islam to all critics to make more serious attempts to search for the truth 5. There is not much need to take as serious the opinions of those who consider the Muslim wars in terms of plunder and loot. What can be more casual or more stereotyped than such an opinion? It is a short cut in the field of scholarship and an easy way out of some Intellectual and moral problems, but it is so far from being the

Islam in Focus  
Islam in Focus  

By HAMMUDAH ABDALATI Table of Contents Chapter - II

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