The common conception is that Islam was spreading by sword.
No matter how you cut it, Muhammad was not only a religious leader, but a military leader who waged war against his enemies as soon as he had the means. Following his example, Muslims quickly carved out an enormous empire. And what ended Muslim expansion was not a change of heart or doctrine, but European military might.
Furthermore, the traditional doctrine of jihad remains alive to this day.
This means that Christians should not accept the sweeping claim that Islam is a religion of peace. There’s just too much contrary evidence.
However, the Islam defenders say ( of course) that this is not true:
Additionally, if one considers the small number of Muslims who initially spread Islam from Spain and Morocco in the West to India and China in the East, one would realize that they were far too few to force people to be members of a religion against their will. Additionally, the great empire and civilization established by the Muslims had great staying power -- its citizens were proud to be part of it. The spread of Islam stands in contrast to the actions of the followers of Christianity, who since the time of the Emperor Constantine have made liberal use of the sword - often basing their conduct on Biblical verses. This was especially true of the colonization of South America and Africa, where native peoples were systematically wiped-out or forced to convert. It is also interesting to note that when the Mongols invaded and conquered large portions of the Islamic Empire, instead of destroying the religion, they adopted it. This is a unique occurrence in history - the conquerors adopting the religion of the conquered! Since they were the victors, they certainly could not have been forced to become Muslims! Ask any of the over 1.8 billion Muslims alive in the world today whether they were forced! The largest Muslim country in the world today is Indonesia --- and there were never any battles fought there! So where was the sword? How could someone be forced to adhere to a spiritually rewarding and demanding religion like Islam?
So which is true during the time of Muslim conquest? Was Islam spread by sword?