Since the time of Mohammed, it has been Muslim practice to offer one's enemy the option of conversion before embarking on Jihad against them. In the last decade of his life Mohammed sent letters to the princes, kings and chiefs of most of the various tribes and kingdoms in the known world. This included Iran, The Byzantine Empire, Ethiopia, Egypt, Yemen and Hira (modern-day Jordan). If the leader refused the invitation to convert to Islam, the Muslims were religiously, legally and morally justified in declaring Jihad against that kingdom.
Though most in the West are not aware of it, this practice continues today. Such letters have been addressed to the US and our leaders by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Osama bin Laden. We ignore these veiled declarations of war at our own peril.
Full transcription with links follows:
On May 9, 2006, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad conveyed an 18 page letter to President Bush. In it the Iranian President preached about theology and the place of Jesus in Islam, he also echoed leftist talking points on Gitmo, Israel, and world economics. Many in the mainstream media described it as “bizarre”. Pacifists and apologists for Islam in the West called it an opportunity for dialogue, and a peaceful overture by the President of Iran. But others realized that the thrust of the letter, the climax, the last few paragraphs, were an invitation to President Bush to convert to Islam. Ahmadinejad said:
“We increasingly see that people around the world are flocking towards a main focal point -- that is the Almighty Allah. Undoubtedly through faith in Allah and the teachings of the prophets, the people will conquer their problems. My question for you is: “Do you not want to join them?”
Shortly before the 5th anniversary of September 11, a similar injunction was issued by Adam Gadahn; former California metal head turned Jihadist who now serves as Al-Qaeda’s most prominent English-speaking propagandist. In a September 2, 2006 video he stated:
“Islam is the only religion acceptable to God and came with the revealed book, the Koran, which abrogates all previous revelations, like the Torah and Evangel… God recognizes no separation between religion and state. To Americans and the rest of Christendom we say, either repent your misguided ways and enter into the light of truth or keep your poison to yourself and suffer the consequences in this world and the next…”
In the leadup to the 6th anniversary of the attacks on September 7, 2007, Bin Laden himself released a letter to the American people:
“It is to this religion that we call you; the seal of all the previous religions. It is the religion of Unification of God, sincerity, the best of manners, righteousness, mercy, honour, purity, and piety… It is the religion of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil with the hand, tongue and heart. It is the religion of Jihad in the way of Allah so that Allah's Word and religion rein Supreme. And it is the religion of unity and agreement on the obedience to Allah, and total equality between all people.”
The practice of offering one’s enemy the option of conversion is a Muslim institution that goes back to the time of Mohammed. In the last decade of his life Mohammed sent letters to the princes, kings and chiefs of most of the various tribes and kingdoms in the known world. This included Iran, The Byzantine Empire, Ethiopia, Egypt, Yemen and Hira (modern-day Jordan). If the leader refused the invitation to convert to Islam, the Muslims were religiously, legally and morally justified in declaring Jihad against that kingdom.
As I briefly covered in Islamic Crusades 2, the Iranians, or Persians were one of the first peoples to come under the Islamic boot. Around 636AD, Mohammed’s 2nd successor, Caliph Umar, dealt the Persian Sassanid Empire a humiliating defeat at the Battle of Qasadiyyah on the banks of the Euphrates River. In the aftermath of the battle he sent the following letter to Shah Yazdgird III, emperor of Persia:
“I do not foresee a good future for you and your nation save your acceptance of my terms and your submission to me. There was a time when your country ruled half the world, but now see how your sun has set. On all fronts your armies have been defeated and your nation is condemned to extinction. I point out to you the path whereby you might escape this fate. Namely, that you begin worshipping the one god, the unique deity, the only god who created all that is. I bring you his message. Order your nation to cease the false worship of fire and to join us, that they may join the truth.
Worship Allah the creator of the world. Worship Allah and accept Islam as the path of salvation. End now your polytheistic ways and become Muslims that you may accept Allah-u-Akbar as your savior. This is the only way of securing your own survival and the peace of your Persians. You will do this if you know what is good for you and for your Persians. Submission is your only option. Allah u Akbar.”
Yazdgird’s response is one of the most eloquent rebuttals of Islamic aggression in all of history. Keep in mind this was almost 1400 years ago, the 7th century AD. Islam was a brand new upstart, but thousands of years of Persian civilization and 300 years of the Sassanid empire were about to be crushed by it’s zealous warriors.
“In the name of Ahuramazda, the Creator of Life and Wisdom.
In your letter you summon us Iranians to your god whom you call "Allah-u-Akbar"; and because of your barbarity and ignorance, without knowing who we are and Whom we worship, you demand that we seek out your god and become worshippers of "Allah-u-Akbar".
How strange that you occupy the seat of the Arab Caliph but are as ignorant as any desert roaming Arab! You admonish me to become monotheistic in faith. Ignorant man, for thousands of years we Iranians have, in this land of culture and art, been monotheistic and five times a day have we offered prayers to God's Throne of Oneness. While we laid the foundations of philanthropy and righteousness and kindness in this world and held high the ensign of "Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds", you and your ancestors were desert wanderers who ate snakes and lizards and buried your innocent daughters alive.
You Arabs who have no regard for God's creatures, who mercilessly put people to the sword, who mistreat your women, who attack caravans and are highway robbers, who commit murder, who kidnap women and spouses; how dare you presume to teach us, who are above these evils, to worship God?
You tell me to cease the worship of fire and to worship God instead! To us Iranians the light of Fire is reminiscent of the Light of God. The radiance and the sun-like warmth of fire exuberates our hearts, and the pleasant warmth of it brings our hearts and spirits closer together, that we may be philanthropic, kind and considerate, that gentleness and forgiveness may become our way of life, and that thereby the Light of God may keep shining in our hearts.
Our God is the Great Ahuramazda. Strange is this that you too have now decided to give Him a name, and you call Him by the name of "Allah-u-Akbar".
But we are nothing like you. We, in the name of Ahuramazda, practice compassion and love and goodness and righteousness and forgiveness, and care for the dispossessed and the unfortunate; But you, in the name of your "Allah-u-Akbar" commit murder, create misery and subject others to suffering! Tell me truly who is to blame for your misdeeds? Your god who orders genocide, plunder and destruction, or you who do these things in his name? Or both?
You, who have spent all your days in brutality and barbarity, have now come out of your desolate deserts resolved to teach, by the blade and by conquest, the worship of God to a people who have for thousands of years been civilized and have relied on culture and knowledge and art as mighty edifices.
What have you, in the name of your "Allah-u-Akbar", taught these armies of Islam besides destruction and pillage and murder that you now presume to summon others to your god?
Today, my people's fortunes have changed. Their armies, who were subjects of Ahuramazada, have now been defeated by the Arab armies of "Allah-u-Akbar". And they are being forced, at the point of the sword, to convert to the god by the name of "Allah-u-Akbar". And are forced to offer him prayers five times a day but now in Arabic; since apparently your "Allah-u-Akbar" only understands Arabic.
I advise you to return to your lizard infested deserts. Do not let loose upon our cities your cruel barbarous Arabs who are like rabid animals. Refrain from the murder of my people. Refrain from pillaging my people. Refrain from kidnapping our daughters in the name of your "Allah-u-Akbar". Refrain from these crimes and evils.
We Iranians are a forgiving people, a kind and well-meaning people. Wherever we go, we sow the seeds of goodness, amity and righteousness. And this is why we have the capacity to overlook the crimes and the misdeeds of your Arabs.
Stay in your desert with your "Allah-u-Akbar", and do not approach our cities; for horrid is your belief and brutish is your conduct.”
Within 15 years Persia was utterly defeated and Shah Yazdgird was forced into exile. He was killed by a common thief in 651AD. By the 10th century the Persian’s Zoroastrian religion had been eclipsed, as the majority had converted to Islam. Since 1979, Iran has been governed by Islamic Shariah law, and ruled by Shi’ite Muslim religious clerics. Now its current president openly embraces the Islamic version of Armageddon as the only salvation for the world, and it’s former president says it would be worth it for the Muslim world to be gravely wounded, as long as they can wipe out all the Jews. Today this regime is on the verge of possessing a nuclear arsenal, and the means to deliver atomic devastation to the entire Middle East and much of Europe.
Letters written in the name of Islam are not simple correspondence between monarchs and clerics. In reality, letters written in the name of Islam have changed our world.