Salam (Peace) Dear James,
Thank you so much for your questions and for contacting Ask About Islam.
Thank you also for your desire to seek knowledge. We pray that you receive answers that reach your heart and mind- God willing.
Now, let’s get to your first question.
Imagine this: if you’re in a building and there is a fire, some people then start knocking at each door to inform everyone that there is a fire and that they need to be alerted and save themselves. They go and knock at each door to deliver this message…
Can we say: why are these people trying to conquer the building?!
Well, it’s not about conquering the building, it’s about informing the people.
It’s not about taking something from someone else. How do we do that when God Himself in the Quran says:
“and do not transgress. Indeed, Allah does not like transgressors.” [Quran 5: 87]
(P.S: Allah is the Arabic word for The God or The One and Only God, and it is the word used by Arab Muslims and Christians when referring to God.)
So, it’s not a matter of taking a land, causing harm or creating war… It is simply a matter of delivering a message and reaching the hearts of the people.
Now, we believe that we have a Creator. He created all mankind equal. He gave them intellect. He gave them hearing and sight…
“And Allah has extracted you from the wombs of your mothers not knowing a thing, and He made for you hearing and vision and intellect that perhaps you would be grateful.” [Quran 16: 78]
And He honored mankind over all other creations:
“And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.” [Quran 17: 70]
He created us for a purpose. We’re here in this world to know Him, learn about Him and connect with Him on deep spiritual, emotional and intellectual levels. He sent Messengers to teach and remind people. From Adam, Noah, Abraham, to Moses, Jesus and Mohammed (peace be upon them all). They all came with the same message: Worship your Creator, the One God. There is no deity other than Him.
This Creator didn’t create the world haphazardly or aimlessly.
“Then did you think that We created you uselessly and that to Us you would not be returned?” [Quran 23:115]
“Does man think that he will be left neglected? Had he not been a sperm from semen emitted? Then he was a clinging clot, and [Allah] created [his form] and proportioned [him]. And made of him two sexes, the male and the female. Is not that [Creator] Able to give life to the dead?” [Quran 75: 36-40]
We will all die, and we will certainly meet Him. There is Paradise and there is Hellfire… and we will be held accountable for our pursuits and our deeds.
The entire purpose of delivering the message is to remind people… to remind each other of that.
“So remind; you are only a reminder. You are not over them a controller.” [Quran 88: 21-22]
If you’re a student in the university, and you received a message from the professor that there will be an exam at the end of the week, wouldn’t you want to alert all your class mates that there is an exam approaching so that they can get ready? They may face serious consequences if they didn’t get the message. So, do you inform them, or you simply focus on yourself and not care about anyone else?
Well, in Islam, we can’t just selfishly care about ourselves and ignore everyone else.
The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said: “No one of you becomes a true believer until he likes for his brother what he likes for himself”.
And that’s what we like for ourselves… to be reminded of our Creator, our purpose in life and our destination.
Also, imagine a mother who has children. As they grow, they leave her, ignore her, live miles away and no longer communicate with her… what would you think of those children?
Imagine someone trying to connect those children with their Mother…their caring mother who loved them and provided for them.
Now, Allah loves His created beings more than a mother loves her children. He created mothers, He created mercy, He is The Source of Mercy. We owe Him our lives… literally! We owe Him every breath we take, every heartbeat… every second of existence.
Imagine ignoring Him, or not knowing Him properly, or ignoring His Message that He sent…
Is it land that is the goal or purpose? No. Rather, it is you and me, the created beings and connecting them with their Creator and living the purpose of life that He intended for us… this is what matters.
We have a Creator who created this immensely intricate and sophisticated universe. Everything in the heavens and the earth has a purpose, from the smallest of atoms to the mightiest of creations; all have a role, a purpose and a governing law.
What about the human being? What is our purpose?
Any creator who creates even a small product like a mobile phone would explain to people what is the purpose and function of this creation and how to use it.
Our Creator also informed us of that. He sent us The Quran, in it He speaks directly to all mankind, He told us what is success and what is failure, how to reach Him, what is our purpose, what is the reality of this existence.
THIS is the message that needs to reach all lands… The lands that The Creator created for people to live in and remember Him and learn about Him.
I don’t want to sit here and explain the Quran. This Book was not sent for me alone, or for Muslims. This Book was sent for all of us. All people. All mankind.
“O mankind, there has come to you instruction from your Lord [The Quran] and healing for what is in the breasts and guidance and mercy for the believers.” [Quran 10: 57]
Wouldn’t you be curious to know what it says and whether it’s truly a direct Message from the Creator to you?
You know, I studied journalism. We learned that it is a matter of principle, honesty, objectivity and proper pursuit of truth to go to the ‘primary source’ in order to cover an issue thoroughly and adequately.
The primary source here is the Quran. Your first step is to read it with honesty, objectivity and sincerity.
If you want to answer the queries you have, don’t just listen to so-and-so telling you what to think.
Read for yourself.
The first verses revealed from the Quran were just that:
“Read in the name of your Lord who created – Created man from a clinging substance. Read, and your Lord is the most Generous -Who taught by the pen – Taught man that which he knew not.” [Quran 96: 1-5]
Now, there were a couple of points in your question that need to be commented on.
First, the way you asked “why are Muslims trying to conquer the world?” to be honest with you, this is not an academic approach. Be careful. You’re making an assumption/a generalization and stating it as a fact. How can we make or accept such blatant generalizations? What’s your source in that? Is it biased media outlets that have their own agendas and cover only what they ‘choose’ to cover, or do you have empirical data?
Do you know how the media is made and produced? Are you aware of the biases that exist, the framing and how outlets select certain parts of reality to cover or ignore?
If we follow media uncritically, watch their coverage of a few fanatical groups, avoid fact checking or thinking for our own, make generalizations and accept to live in fear, hatred and misinformation… are we really doing ourselves justice here? Who’s benefiting from that?
Now, I don’t wish to get into this, but if we were to think thoroughly, which countries are making the most vicious invasions and massive damage in the world today? Who started the First World War? How many people died there? Who started the Second World War? Who sent the nuclear bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Who killed millions of Indians in North and South America? Who took millions of African people as slaves, massive number of them died and were thrown in the Atlantic Ocean?
Billions of people were killed, hurt and damaged in wars and traumas afflicted by people carrying theologies/ideologies… none of them have anything to do with Islam or Muslims.
We can’t allow ourselves to perceive the world through the TV lens. We can’t allow the media to manufacture realities and spoon feed them to us. We’re much more intelligent than that.
Think outside the box… the TV box, if this is in fact what you count on as your primary source of information. Get out and talk to people, do research and learn for yourself. So much knowledge, richness and beauty could await you when you really open your mind and heart.
The first chapter of the Quran called “The Opening” says:
“(1) In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
(2) [All] praise is [due] to Allah, Lord of the worlds –
(3) The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful,
(4) Sovereign of the Day of Recompense.
(5) It is You we worship and You we ask for help.
(6) Guide us to the straight path –
(7) The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.”
Now, what do you think of this message? Is this a message of harm and conquering lands, is it a message of bias, evil or discrimination?
The beginning of the second chapter of the Quran says:
“Alif, Lam, Meem. This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah – Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them, And who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith]. Those are upon [right] guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful.” [Quran 2: 1-5]
Does it say go conquer lands of people? Or is this a message of guidance, of connection with God, of realization of the meaning of life….?
Please read and study the Quran thoroughly. It is not the “Book of Muslims”, it is for everyone.
With regards to your query on “Do they want to prove that their religion is superior to other religions?”
Again here, it is not a matter of “us” versus “them”. This is a matter of what benefits all of us together. There is no discrimination between us.
There is no superiority in Islam of one person over the other except by righteousness:
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” [Quran: Chapter 49: Verse 13]
Again, if I know that something is definitely of benefit, I would passionately try to convey that to people. Not because I’m superior, but because I want us all to benefit.
Imagine someone who is trying to reach a destination. Some people keep giving wrong directions, while one person really knows the way and keeps asking everyone to listen to him because he knows the way and he wants all of them to find their way to their destination.
Does this person want to be superior? Not really, he just wants to show people the way because he’s afraid if they didn’t find it, they won’t reach their destination or they might get lost.
“It is He who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to manifest it over all religion. And sufficient is Allah as Witness.” [Quran 48: 28]
“And We have not sent you except comprehensively to mankind as a bringer of good tidings and a warner. But most of the people do not know.” [Quran 34: 28]
Now, mind you, as a Muslim, if you have a mustard seed of arrogance or pride in your heart, your risk not entering paradise altogether.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings upon him), said:
“None shall enter the Fire (of Hell) who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of Iman (pure faith in The One and Only Creator) and none shall enter Paradise who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride.” [Sahih Muslim]
So, if you’re asking about superiority as a sense of pride or arrogance, then this is definitely against the teachings of Islam.
It is rather out of mercy to try and convey the message of Islam:
“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” [Quran: Chapter 21: Verse 107]
As a matter of fact, if the message was conveyed to you, and you accepted Islam, you will be ahead of all Muslims in front of God since you will have a completely clean slate, all past sins will be forgiven.
So, does it sound evil that someone wants to convey a message for you, so that you may get ahead of them?
May God open your heart and mind and shower you with wisdom and knowledge and show you truth as truth and show you falsehood as falsehood and make you among the best of His creations!