Any idea which is 1400 hundred years long has to be understood only in long civilizational arcs. Just as India is a civilizational nation, Islam is a civilizational force and has to be understood in those long terms.

Muslims are fond of saying that “Islam has never lost.” Sadly, except in one case, this is true. But what does that mean? That Islamic armies never lost? That the enemies never won against them in battlefield? That they never had bad years or decades? No. It is not like this.

After the initial burst out of Arabia after the death of the Prophet the Islamic armies reached India’s gates in the East and knocked at Europe’s doors in Spain in the West. This happened because two great empires of those times almost instantly fell against Islam.

Persia, one of the greatest empires of the time, fell within a matter of 20 years. The Sassanids ruling Persia were tired with their constant wars with the Byzantium empire. In just 20 years the empire was gone, Zoroastrianism declining and Persia was converting to Islam.

One thing to focus here: Islamic armies never stopped at political, economic and social victory. For them a victory was not victory until it was also religious. So conversions ALWAYS had to follow. This they achieved in many ways.

Forced conversions at the point of the sword. Implementing Jizyah tax – which was the tax of being non-Muslim under Islam. You could stay non-Muslim only by paying a great Jizyah tax which was sometimes as much as 75%. This decided that most would eventually convert.

Conversions were the most sacred duty of a Muslim. It was the point of Jihad, to bring the light of Islam to all heathens. They could choose death, conversion to Islam or Jizyah, which would earn Islam a lot & eventually lead to conversion of the subject population.

Once in, there was no way out. You could enter Islam, but you could never leave Islam. Punishment for leaving Islam was death. This is very important. In this way Islam ONLY ALWAYS GREW. Its graph, even when slow would never go down. It had various other implications.

This law of ‘Always In, Never Out’ meant that while the opponents of Islam need to keep winning repeatedly and endlessly until Islam is gone, Islam only needed to win once. Because after winning once they would convert opponents to Islam. And the outsider would become insider.

This had a profound implication on the history of the world. This ensured that while non-Muslims needed to win eternally, Islam needed to win only once; so the Muslims just had to keep trying; and once they won they would convert the defeated to Islam, forever.

Once the defeated society was converted they became a part of Islam and started attacking others with the same or more zeal. Once defeated, they would become the ambassadors and soldiers of Islam. This is how Arabs, then Persians, then Turks spread Islam.

. Near Persia, in the West, there was Byzantium. Just like Persia, Byzantium also lost spectacularly to Islamic armies but unlike Persia it didn’t lose its capital Constantinople. But the way to the West was open.

. Islam reached Spain by traversing the African Mediterranean coast. Except former Egyptian territories there were no other major countries on the way. This further helped Islam as it completely managed to change their religion, culture as well as language.

After the initial six or seven decades of an unprecedented expansion by Islamic armies, its success halted at the gates of India which it could not penetrate. The question comes now: these armies must also have been defeated sometime. Did Islam lose then? No it did not.

When Islamic armies ruled non-Muslim populations it was the non-Muslims populations who converted to Islam. But what happened when non-Muslim kings ruled Islamic populations? Did the non-Muslim pagans also convert Muslims back to paganism? It turns out no.

The classic case is the utter defeat and destruction of the Abbassid Islamic Caliphate by the Mongols in the Siege of Baghdad by Hulagu Khan in 1258 CE. Hulagu utterly destroyed the Abbassid Caliphate once and forever and made a genocide of Muslims in Baghdad.

It was the first dusk of Islamic power. Arabs and Persians were spent and a pagan-Buddhist Turco-Mongol power had completely destroyed their political and military power. But did that affect Islam badly in the long run? Not at all. It actually benefitted them.

Hulagu Khan (Khan is a pagan title) was a pagan-Buddhist, but like most pagans he respected others’ ‘religions’, failing to recognize that Islam was not just another religion. It was a religion which wanted to end all religions.

So Hulagu Khan never tried to convert Muslims. Instead he gave them full freedom to practice their religion. So even while Islamic armies lost, and Muslims were killed en masse, Islam didn’t lose as the religious configuration of the Empire remained completely Islamic.

Eventually Islam gained from Mongol occupation. Hulagu’s son & successor, Abaqa Khan, was a Buddhist. But he didn’t convert his Muslim subjects. His son Arghun Khan, the next ruler, was also a very devout Buddhist. But even he didn’t try to convert his Muslim population.

Three generations of pagan rulers of Baghdad didn’t try to convert their Muslim subjects. And remember that no Muslim ruler would ever let go of a single opportunity to convert his subjects to Islam. Islam was biding its time until tide turned in its favor.

Meanwhile, Muslim Ummah was constantly converting the Mongol court one by one to Islam: mostly saying that it will help the Mongol rulers rule Muslims if they followed Islam and once they did, exclusion of other faiths would follow. And Islam would become exclusive.

In typical pagan indifference and ignorance none of these Islamist machinations and change in demography of the Mongol court affected Arghun Khan. Arghun was a devout Buddhist but he never thought that Muslims should convert to Buddhism. Islam was biding its time.

Islam’s time came when Arghun’s son Ghazan became the fourth major emperor of the Ill Khanate. Ghazan was pushed by Ibn Taymiyyah, one of the most intolerant, icnonoclastic and also the greatest Islamic scholars of the time to become Muslim. And he did.

In the prospect of expanding his empire and not having his Muslim subjects rebel against him, he turned Muslim. And ISLAM FINALLY WON. In this case, the Muslim subjects managed to convert a non-Muslim emperor after four generations of non-Muslim rulers.

Islam wins when a Muslim army defeats a non-Muslim country: as the Muslim kings convert non-Muslims. Islam wins when a non-Muslim army defeats a Muslim country: as the Muslim population converts the non-Muslim king. And Islam wins in both cases.

Needless to say again, Islam only needs to win once. Iran, the successor of Ill Khanate, is still a 100% Muslim country. They never allowed any other religion to grow on their land.

So yes, the Islamic armies lose. Yes, their kingdoms and countries sometimes collaborate tactically with non-Muslim empires but always with the eye that Islam can not lose. Muslims cannot leave Islam. And non-Muslims should always be forced, appeased into Islam.

They make temporary alliances with the pagans, heathens and non-Muslims and they have a judicial allowance for that and they call it Taqiyya (devout deception). They collaborate only so that in future they can convert the heathen.

In short, Islam only needs to win once. While non-Muslims need to keep winning forever if they want to stop Islam. This situation can change only when non-Muslims also seek to convert Muslims whenever the situation is favorable.

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