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The spread of Islam was through military conquest, trade, pilgrimage, and missionaries. Throughout a few hundred years it was able to spread from the Arabian Peninsula all the way to Spain in the west and India in the east (The rise of Islamic empires and states, n.d.). During these hundreds of years and expansion of the Islamic Empire different interpretations of Islam were passed along from place to place. These new societies embraced the new religion as it took many different forms based upon the teachings.
This new religion was not forced upon people there for the societies it affected were very diverse with other religions, cultural practices, and different ethnicities.
After the prophet, Muhammed died the Rashidun Caliphate or “rightly guided” caliph empire took effect. As their dominance moved through the area, they did not force Islam upon those that they now ruled. Christianity and Judaism were allowed upon the people. During the reign of Umar, the land was free to practice whatever religion you wanted to.
Church services were allowed, people were allowed to carry crosses with them, non-Muslims had every right that Muslim citizens had. Non-Muslims were allowed to have their own land and possessions. They were protected citizens, named dhimmis, and Muslim citizens had no rule over them and could not take anything from them (The Second Caliph ‘ Umar & Extending Civil Liberties to Non-Muslims, n.d.) Because of this rule, Islam did not take off as it did in later caliphs, therefor the spread was limited.
As the rule of the Islamic Empire grew larger the spread of the Islamic religion came with it. The practice of free religion also came with it. There were those who chose to not convert to Islam and those people were allowed to practice their religions but were forced to pay a tax to the Islamic Empires which was called a jizya. They benefited greatly by collecting the jizya from the Jews and Christians. Due to the collection of the tax they subsidized their political expansion (The rise of Islamic empires and states, n.d.). People basically had the choice, convert to Islam, which some did, or pay the tax.
As the spread of Islam went through the trade routes the interpretations of merchants, missionaries, and pilgrims began to change. New versions of Islam were passed along into the native populations and more and more people started to convert to the new religion. During the rule of the Rashidun Caliphate and the Umayyad Arab-Muslim, military forces were swift whereas the Abbasids were more non-Arabs and non-Muslims. This lead to the break-off of other non-Arab Muslims who as they took the power of areas began to put their own twists on Islam with many different interpretations (The rise of Islamic empires and states, n.d.). With the merchants, missionaries, pilgrims and new rule of smaller areas of Non- Arab Muslims the religion of Islam was taking many different forms with new interpretations of different ideas.
Unlike most empires, the Islamic Empire did not force their religious beliefs or cultural practices upon those that they conquered. They also allowed non-Arab Muslims to be government officials and as the caliphates started declining these Non-Arab Muslims went their own ways and began teaching of Islam in their own rights. Therefore Islamization was not taught to all.
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