Wa`alykum As-Salaamu Warahmatullahi Wabarakaatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Brother, we do really appreciate your question, which reflects your open-mindedness and interest in analyzing the Islamic teachings. May Allah help us all keep firm in the straight Path!
Before tackling your question, we’d like, first of all, to commend you for your good and inspiring words that typify the nature of Muslims; they are peace-loving people. As we have made it clear in our fatwas, Islam is the religion that calls to peace and urges its followers to help peace prevail. It neither incites violence nor does it stand in favor of terrorism, contrary to all the concocted ideas and information that the Western biased media have spread.
In response to your question, the eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hanooti, member of the North American Fiqh Council, states,
Brother, we should be careful when referring to the Islamic language, conceptions, vocabulary, and ideologies. There are many non-Islamic terms and vocabulary mingled with the Islamic ones.
When talking about Islam, we should base our argument on the Qur’an and the Sunnah. We should get rid of the terms abused by the enemies of Islam such as terrorism, fundamentalism, etc.
Islam never believes in force or forcing anyone to become a Muslim. The Qur’an says: “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 256)
Also, we read in the Qur’an: “And if your Lord had pleased, surely all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them; will you then force men till they become believers?” (Yunus 10:99)
We have never had any proof that Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, or his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, fought for forcing people to accept Islam. This is a matter of fact. Had people entered Islam because of force, they would have gone back to their roots after the fall of the Islamic Caliphate.
We see that all the ideologies have shown their peak at the time of their founders or thinkers. For example, Communism, Fascism, Nazism, and Existentialism have become historical artifacts that now reside in museums. When the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, died, Islam was adopted by tens of thousands. It has been flourishing ever since and encroaching almost every land and sea all over the world to make the population of Islam counts more than 1 billion followers. Islam spread in China and Indonesia without any sword or fight; it is only because of the good demonstration of Islam by excellent Muslims.
I’d like to make it close to your mind why Muslims are in need of fight or combat. How are you going to deal with drug traffickers or any outlaw if your preaching is not doing well? How will you deal with a criminal who wants to disturb peace and make life panicky? Islam believes in stopping injustice, oppression and any threat to peace or freedom. In many instances, there is no way to guarantee these goals without arms and fighting. The Qur’an says, “… And fight the elites of blasphemy. They don’t honor any vow.” (At-Tawbah 9:12)
Allah Almighty knows best.