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In the Name of God بسم الله

Iran/Persia’s conversion to Islam

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Imam Reza

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I had a conversation with a friend recently.. and I was told that Islam was spread by the sword to Persia through the Islamic conquest and that they had been Zoroastrians but had to accept Islam by force (by the orders of Umar) ,how much of this information is true?. When I researched the topic on the internet some of it came out as truth however I couldn’t find enough information.

Edited by starlight
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7 hours ago, Revert1963 said:

There are still Zoroastrians in Iran, so all Zoroastrians couldn't have been converted by the sword, even though the Sassanian empire was forcefully conquered by the Rashidun Caliphate.

So Iranians were definitely forcefully converted at the early stages of Islam? 

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3 minutes ago, King said:

Most mass conversions throughout history were either achieved by force or simply because it was socially/economically the sensible and convenient thing to do.

This seems to be the case. In the case of many Muslim areas this seems to have been the case. You could also have two levels of conversion, bottom-up and top-down. A ruler can instate Islam as a state religion and it can precipitate downwards. In the Ottoman Empire, while the Christians and Jews of the Balkans were accommodated religiously, such as with the Millet system, there was still incentives to convert since it was only Muslims who could enter the highest strata of society -- at least in most cases. Note that this obviously doesn't align with modern sensibilities of having different classes of citizen, however it hardly is that violent and repressive process you would imagine. You might also have traders interacting with Muslim traders or through mystics and missionaries, as was the case in Indo-China or the Indian subcontinent. In any case though, the process of conversion was often slow in the Muslim heartlands -- surely slower than it would've been through mass conversion.

Dr.. Jim Brown presents some demographic figures in this talk, I'm not sure where he's gotten them -- I'm hoping to find out, I can't remember him citing a source, but in the case of Iran it was still 60% non-Muslim 860 AD and became 80% Muslim by 1000 AD. One must also remember that Zoroastrianism in Iran wasn't monolithic. Zoroastrianism is a very ancient faith having roots in the Iranian plateau prior to the migration of the Iranian peoples into Iran -- not in the mid first millennium like people tend to mistakenly place it following after ancient Greek estimations. A number of varieties must have developed throughout the region (not just Eran-Shahr). In the Sassanian period there was a native Zoroastrian schism which was being dealt with a considerable lack of tolerance -- read more on the Mazdakite "heresy" in Parvaneh Pourshariati's Decline and Fall of the Sassanian Empire and Touraj Daryaee's Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire. You can also read a bit more about Zoroastrianism in Iran in late antiquity and Zoroastrian reactions to the advent of Islam in Patricia Crone's The Nativist Prophets of Early Islamic Iran.

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Jonathan Brown is a very cute, handsome, well dressed, soft spoken bigot who has the heart of a savage wahabi. I hope brothers here are not  misled by his half truths.

but I agree with most of your basic observations , to add to them we can assume a sizable portion of population remained non-Muslim for a long time afterwards.E.g in time of Imam Ali there was a persian revolt against him in Iran and it had to be put down by ziyad b abih.And the fact that a persian Prophet Behafarid would gain such immense popularity [despite his quirks] as late as twilight of ummayyad era we can infer Umar did not convert most of them to Islam.

would it be safe to say there is less evidence of use of force by Umar to convert population to Muslim than by shah ismail to convert the population to 12er Shia ?



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