Between 711 and 788, the Muslims conquered the Iberian Peninsula
In human history, there have been some rapid large-scale conquests, such as Alexander’s east and Genghis Khan’s west. What makes the Arab-Muslim conquest particularly remarkable, however, is its permanent impact on the languages and religions of the conquered regions.
Of the countries conquered during this period, only Spain and Portugal eventually reversed the spread of Islam. Egypt, by contrast, is now a major center of Arab culture, while Iran is a major stronghold of Shiite Islam.
Success lies in attraction
The Arabs were only part of the Muslim armies that conquered North Africa, Spain and Central Asia. These armies are not defined by their Arab nationality-though their commanders are Arab. The terms of military command and administrative language are Arabic, but their common identity is the Islamic army. In other words, religious identity replaces national identity.
Arab conquerors always collected taxes in the form of cash from conquered territories. In the centuries that followed, this public tax was divided by Islamic jurists into two main categories: Khāraj (land tax) and Jizya (poll tax). Both taxes are levied only on non-Muslims.
Muslim conquerors rarely forced the conquered to convert to Islam. Any forced proselytism is likely to provoke mass revolt or open hostility. As a result, Muslim rulers established a cooperative relationship with church leaders and other religious institutions that were subservient to them.
People convert to Islam partly because of financial pressure, to avoid the notorious poll tax. But more than that, proselytism can also provide an opportunity to escape the constraints of existing social classes and become a member of a new ruling class. Converting to Islam is a must for those seeking military service.
By the 10th century, and in some areas earlier, it was difficult to prosper in the civil service without being A Muslim. The appeal of this new faith therefore lies more in its appeal than in its compulsion.
The success of the Muslim conquest was also due to the unique historical conditions of the time and the spread of the new monotheistic faith.
Islam has many features that make it easy for Christians and Jews to understand and accept: it has a prophet, a holy book, a perfect prayer, dietary rules and family law. Abraham and Jesus are also great prophets in the Muslim tradition.
Islam has developed as a separate religion from the beginning, but it claims to be the refiner, not the destroyer, of the monotheistic religions of the past. Islam is not as alien as some other religions, such as Buddhism, so its similarity to established religions and shared religious traditions may also have encouraged and facilitated proselytizing.
In the first century, the Social environment of the Muslim empire was very open. Muslims, the elite of the new empire, declared that Islam was a religion for all: anyone who wanted to convert to Islam could be part of the elite.
By contrast, citizens of the Roman Empire or aristocrats of the Persian Empire were untouchable privileges, defended by vested interests. By converting to the new Islam, the conquered could also become conquerors, join the ruling class and, at least in theory, share equal status with other Muslims.
The small population of conquerors made it easier for them to rule because they did not initially demand too many resources.
Few conquerors make it easier to rule
The Muslim conquest of the Middle East began in The Arabian region, and most of the participants in the initial stage of the Conquest came from the Arabian Peninsula and the Northern Syrian desert. Neither before nor after the Muslim conquest did the inhabitants of these regions venture out of their ill-defined territories to conquer vast empires.
For the first and only time, the spread of Islam combined the military might and dogged determination of the inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula to invade the world around them.
Of all the early Muslim conquests, the conquest of Egypt was the most rapid and complete. In just two years, the whole of Egypt fell completely under Muslim rule.
There were only 100,000 Arabs in Egypt, out of a total population of three million. However, the small population of the conquerors made it easier for them to rule because they did not initially demand excessive resources and did not need to plunder the land and houses of the natives.
They just lived off their taxes and built new towns to live in. They would neither interfere in the religious affairs of Christians, nor occupy their religious buildings; The civil service has remained largely unchanged. It was not until 100 years later that taxes became harsh and there were accounts of violent Coptic uprisings. But by then, the Muslim regime was too entrenched to topple.
Strong cultural confidence ensures that Arabic becomes the language of administration and the language carrier of emerging cultures. Anyone who wants to be fully integrated into government or intellectual activities must be able to read and write Arabic, preferably as a Muslim.
The success of the Muslim conquest was the result of a combination of the turmoil and decline of the entire post-Roman world, the stoicism of the Bedouin warriors, and the inspiring and open nature of the new Islam.