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As history shows, adherence to religious canons and militant beliefs have caused many world conflicts. The formation of Islam was quite lengthy, but it affected not only the Arab countries where this religion is considered native but also other parts of the earth where this movement was not traditional. Further, different areas of Africa, Spain, and India will be discussed, that is, those states where the described religion has never been the main one. Muslims allowed residents of conquered regions to profess their religion, but it was assumed that the administration should have belonged to the Islamic caliphate as the main authority. The comparison of similar and distinctive features of the Arab conquests will help to make a complete picture of the peculiarities of brutal Islamic invasions.
Islamic Dominance in African Regions
It was not easy for the Arabs to conquer Africa, and their interventions here were long enough. According to Hopkins, after the reign of the Romans, which lasted for several centuries, North Africa was under the rule of the Spanish vandals (78). However, on this continent, there has never been a neutral attitude toward religions because in its various regions, people adhered to different beliefs – Christianity, paganism, and later Islam. Militant Arabs had to organize five campaigns; their total duration was more than half a century, and this time was enough for Muslim conquerors to make their religion one of the predominant in North Africa (Fellag 4).
In the western region of this continent, the invasion of the supporters of Islamic beliefs was less prolonged. As Hopkins notes, the spread of trade relations near sea routes gradually led to the fact that in West Africa, Islam was tightly integrated into the local way of life (83). A similar situation was observed on the coast of Swahili were due to the constant movement of trade flows, people were more neutral about representatives of different religions (Deacon et al. 148). Subsequently, Islam spread throughout much of African territory. Although this religion did not become the main one, the Islamic conquerors made many efforts for the domination of local lands. North Africa was the most difficult for the conquerors to invade.
The Rules Muslims Imposed in Spain and India
Compared with many African regions, the Spaniards were much less willing to accept Islamic domination. According to Hazbun, in connection with the fact that on the peninsula the Christian religion was traditionally considered to be dominant, the Arabs faced a tough confrontation with the local citizens from the very beginning of conquests (60). In the Middle Ages, for the Spanish, the transition to Islam meant exemption from the payment of a poll tax. However, the disagreements with the prospects for governance and the establishment of new laws were quite significant, and local people actively opposed Arab dominance. Spanish regions did not completely submit to the Muslim conquerors. Today, there are many mosques in the country, and the Islamic religion is integrated into the culture due to a relatively open foreign policy (Gould 167). However, this European region is considered to be Christian with the dominant Catholic Church.
The Islamic campaigns in India were cruel. The conquest brought a Muslim statehood with its bureaucratic traditions of statutory regulation. However, residents did not accept Islam as willingly as many African tribes encouraged by trade with the Arabs. As a result, because of the dense introduction of Muslim ideas into this country, the imposition of religions began to be traced (Ahmed and Rizvi 256). Modern India cannot be called an Islamic country; however, governing dominance over many centuries has led to changes in cultures, as a result of which some language and social changes appeared in the traditional Hindu caste system.
Thus, the comparison of similar and distinctive features of the Muslim conquests helps to find some unique features regarding brutal Islamic conquests. The conquest of African regions was significantly less complex and time-consuming than in Spain and India. A certain influence of Islam has left its mark on the cultures of those countries that were subjected to interventions.
Ahmed, Khalil, and Shahid Hassan Rizvi. “All India Jam’iyyat Ulama-i-Islam: Religio-Political Activism and Pakistan Movement (1945-1947).” Pakistan Journal of Social Sciences (PJSS), vol. 35, no. 1, 2015, pp. 249-259.
Deacon, Gregory, et al. “Preaching Politics: Islam and Christianity on the Kenya coast.” Journal of Contemporary African Studies, vol. 35, no. 2, 2017, pp. 148-167.
Fellag, Nora. “The Muslim Label: How French North Africans Have Become Muslims and Not Citizens.” JEMIE, vol. 13, no. 4, 2014, pp. 1-25.
Gould, Robert. “Islam Returns to Spain: Religious Diversity, Political Discourse and Women’s Rights.” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, vol. 26 no. 2, 2015, pp. 165-182.
Hazbun, Geraldine. Narratives of the Islamic Conquest from Medieval Spain. Springer, 2016.
Hopkins, Antony G. An Economic History of West Africa. Routledge, 2014.