The First Major Wave of Jihad: the Arabs, 622-750


The following is one chapter of Islam 101:

Near the end of his life, Muhammad sent letters to the great empires of the Middle East demanding their submission to his authority. This dispels any notion that the Prophet intended Islam's expansion to stop with Arabia. Indeed, it is only logical that the one true religion, revealed by the final and fullest prophet, should have universal sway.

Thus, as Muhammad had fought and subdued the peoples of the Arabian peninsula, his successors Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali (known as "the four rightly-guided Caliphs") and other Caliphs fought and subdued the people of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe in the name of Allah.

Volume 4, Book 53, Number 386; Narrated Jubair bin Haiya: Umar (the second Caliph) sent the Muslims to the great countries to fight the pagans. "When we reached the land of the enemy, the representative of Khosrau (Persia) came out with forty-thousand warriors, and an interpreter got up saying, "Let one of you talk to me!"

Al-Mughira replied, "Our Prophet, the Messenger of our Lord, has ordered us to fight you till you worship Allah Alone or give Jizya (i.e. tribute); and our Prophet has informed us that our Lord says: "Whoever amongst us is killed (i.e. martyred), shall go to Paradise to lead such a luxurious life as he has never seen, and whoever amongst us remain alive, shall become your master."

Unleashing upon the world the blitzkrieg of its day, Islam rapidly spread into the territories of Byzantium, Persia, and Western Europe in the decades after Muhammad's death.

The creaking Byzantine and Persian powers, having battled each other into mutual decline, offered little resistance to this unanticipated onslaught. The Arab Muslim armies charged into the Holy Land, conquered what is now Iraq and Iran, then swept west across North Africa, into Spain, and finally into France.

The Muslim offensive was finally halted in the West at the Battle of Poitiers/Tours, not far from Paris, in 732 AD. In the east, the jihad penetrated deep into Central Asia.

As Muhammad had plundered his foes, so his successors also stripped the conquered areas — incomparably richer both materially and culturally than the desolate sands of Arabia — of their wealth and manpower.

Almost overnight, the more advanced civilizations of the Middle East, North Africa, Persia, and Iberia saw their agriculture, native religions, and populations destroyed or plundered. Save for a handful of walled cities that managed to negotiate conditional surrenders, the catastrophes those lands suffered were very nearly complete.

Bat Ye'or, the leading scholar of Islam's expansion and its treatment of non-Muslims, has provided an inestimable service through the compilation and translation of numerous primary source documents describing centuries of Islamic conquest. She includes these documents in her works on Islamic history and the plight of non-Muslims under Islamic rule.

In the history of jihad, the slaughter of civilians, the desecration of churches, and the plundering of the countryside are commonplace. Here is Michael the Syrian's account of the Muslim invasion of Cappodocia (southern Turkey) in 650 AD under Caliph Umar:

… when Muawiya {the Muslim commander} arrived (in Euchaita in Armenia) he ordered all the inhabitants to be put to the sword; he placed guards so that no one escaped. After gathering up all the wealth of the town, they set to torturing the leaders to make them show them things [treasures] that had been hidden.

The Taiyaye (Muslim Arabs) led everyone into slavery — men and women, boys and girls — and they committed much debauchery in that unfortunate town: they wickedly committed immoralities inside churches. They returned to their country rejoicing. (Michael the Syrian, quoted in Bat Ye'or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam, 276-7.)

The following description by the Muslim historian, Ibn al-Athir (1160-1233 AD), of razzias (raiding expeditions) in Northern Spain and France in the eighth and ninth centuries AD, conveys nothing but satisfaction at the extent of the destruction wrought upon the infidels, including noncombatants.

In 177-17, Hisham, prince of Spain, sent a large army commanded by Abd al-Malik b. Abd al-Wahid b. Mugith into enemy territory, and which made forays as far as Narbonne and Jaranda .

This general first attacked Jaranda where there was an elite Frank garrison; he killed the bravest, destroyed the walls and towers of the town and almost managed to seize it. He then marched on to Narbonne, where he repeated the same actions, then, pushing forward, he trampled underfoot the land of the Cerdagne {near Andorra in the Pyrenees}.

For several months he traversed this land in every direction, raping women, killing warriors, destroying fortresses, burning and pillaging everything, driving back the enemy who fled in disorder. He returned safe and sound, dragging behind him God alone knows how much booty. This is one of the most famous expeditions of the Muslims in Spain.

In 223-2, Abd ar-Rahman b. al Hakam, sovereign of Spain, sent an army against Alava; it encamped near Hisn al-Gharat, which it besieged; it seized the booty that was found there, killed the inhabitants and withdrew, carrying off women and children as captives.

In 231-6, a Muslim army advanced into Galicia on the territory of the infidels, where it pillaged and massacred everyone.

In 246-7, Muhammad b. Abd ar-Rahman advanced with many troops and a large military apparatus against the region of Pamplona. He reduced, ruined and ravaged this territory, where he pillaged and sowed death. (Ibn al-Athir, Annals, quoted in Bat Ye'or, The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam, 281-2.)

This first wave of jihad engulfed much of the Byzantine, Visigothic, Frankish, and Persian Empires and left the newborn Islamic Empire controlling territory from Southern France, south through Spain, east across North Africa to India, and north to Russia. Early in the second millennium AD, the Mongol invasion from the east greatly weakened the Islamic Empire and ended Arab predominance therein.

[ return to the Table of Contents of Islam 101 ]

Islam 101 was written by Gregory M. Davis, author of Religion of Peace?: Islam's War Against the World, and the producer/director of Islam: What the West Needs to Know.



All writing on is copyright © 2001-2099, all rights reserved.

Article Spotlight

One of the most unusual articles on is Pleasantville and Islamic Supremacism.

It illustrates the Islamic Supremacist vision by showing the similarity between what happened in the movie, Pleasantville, and what devout fundamentalist Muslims are trying to create in Islamic states like Syria, Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia (and ultimately everywhere in the world).

Click here to read the article.

Citizen Warrior Heroes

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Visit the blog: Citizen Warrior Heroes.

No More Concessions to Islam

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Visit the blog: Concessions to Islam.

  © Free Blogger Templates Columnus by 2008

Back to TOP