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Why did Muslims attack Persia?

Reader comment on item: Dhimmis No More

Submitted by Prashant, Feb 17, 2018 at 12:44

Dear Dr Pipes, Religion and politics are so deeply intertwined in Islam that Islam should not be granted those privileges that we usually reserve to protect religious sensibilities. Islamic politics should not be allowed to hide itself under the umbrella that protects religion.

Islamic conquest of Spain and India is talked about often because non-Islamic religions in Islam and India survived to tell the tale. Persia was not that lucky. A closer examination of history will tell you that Muhammad died in 632 AD and the first Muslim attack on Iran happened in 633 AD. Will it be wrong to say that Muhammad had done all the groundwork to start and find a war with Persia during his life time? I am just guessing and would like to be educated by someone who has studied history of that region better than I have.

When I read about Muhammad's inter-tribal wars in Arabia during his life time, I usually hear the argument that non-Muslim tribes of Arabia broke all treaties that Muhammad made with them, started wars with Muslims and other such things. As a result the otherwise peace-loving Muhammad was forced to fight with them and eliminate them. Nice explanations that we must surely believe! But why did Muslims attack Iran just one year after Muhammad died?

The history tells us that the Persian empire was becoming weak at that time and it was a great opportunity for Muslims to grab more land. So they attacked. It so happened that in 633 the then Persian ruler defeated the Muslims but he was not smart enough to destroy them completely. In 636 Muslims attacked Iran again and this time Muslims did what they successfully repeated hundreds of times in the future centuries: they defeated the then Iranian ruler permanently and established permanent control on Western Iran. And, of course, soon the auspicious number of 98% Muslim population was reached in Iran!

We cannot erase the history but we should certainly learn to judge Islam with the common world standards and not by the Islamic standards. Was the Muslim attack on Persia in 633 a political attack or a religious attack or both? This question needs to be asked over and over again. Muslims who support Islamic theocracies around the world need to reflect on this question till wisdom dawns on them. The non-Muslim world must ponder whether the history is repeating itself even today as we speak.

Submitting....

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