Below are some facts that prove that Islam is NEVER a blood thirsty religion and NEVER ordered or accepted transgression. These facts are:
1- Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, took around 80 military actions during his lifetime, only seven of them ended in war.
2- In the first hundred years after emigration to Medina Muslims represented 5% in Persia, 3% in Iraq, Syria 2%, Egypt 2% and less than 1% in Andalusia
This means that Islam spreading took a longer time than the first time Muslims entered these countries, so it was not the sword that propagated Islam among people of these countries, it was actually the justice, kind treatment and the ethics of Muslims that convinced people to embrace Islam.
3- Christian and Jewish minorities have survived in the Muslim lands of the Middle East for centuries. Countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan all have significant Christian and Jewish populations.
4- Muslims ruled India for about a thousand years, and therefore had the power to force each and every non-Muslim of India to convert to Islam, but they did not, and thus more than 80% of the Indian population remains non-Muslim.
5- Islamic law protects the privileged status of minorities, and that is why non-Muslim places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world. Islamic law also allows non-Muslim minorities to set up their own courts, which implement family laws drawn up by the minorities themselves. The life and property of all citizens in an Islamic state are considered sacred whether they are Muslims or not.
Simple examples are stated below:
1- That happened during the reign of The fourth righteous Caliph Ali Ibn Abi Taleb, may Allah be pleased with him, who was also our noble prophet's cousin . Ali lost his Shield in a battle and a Jew took it. After knowing that the Jew had it, the Prince of the Believers, as Islamic rulers were called, asked the Jew to give him the shield back. The Jew refused and insisted that this shield belonged to him and not Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, Ali took the case to court.
The Jew and Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, stood before of the judge called Shuraih. After each one finished stating his case, the judge decided that by the Islamic law and due to lack of proof, then the Jew owns the shield.
The Jew could not believe that Justice would be applied in the Islamic state even against Ali, the Caliph who is at the same time the Prophet’s beloved and trusted cousin. Then the Jew said: “I declare that there is but one God and that Muhammad is His Prophet."
After the case ended the judge asked Ali if he had seen anything from him that was unjust. Ali's only objection was that the judge said:”Please lay your case O Aba AlHassan (meaning The father of AlHasan, this way of figure of speech in Arabic is called Kunya, that is when you call a man by his son’s name and it is considered a sign of friendship and closeness)”. While he called the Jew with his name (without titles) Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, refused that the judge privileged him by calling him in a way to show friendship and did not do the same thing with the Jew even though the final ruling was against Ali.
2- Another famous story that happened during the reign of The second righteous Caliph Omar Ibn ElKhattab, may Allah be pleased with him, is the story of a Copt and Amr Ibn Al-'As, the ruler of Egypt. The ruler's son, proud of his parentage, hit the Copt's son with a whip. The Copt complained to Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, who then summoned Amr and his son to Madinah. Umar gave the whip to the Copt’s son and said, “Now whip this son of noble parents” After he had done so, Umar said, “Now whip the bald head of Amr, because his son beat you on account of his father's authority.” The Copt repaid, “I have already whipped the person who whipped me.” Then 'Umar turned his face to Amr and uttered his everlasting words, “O Amr, since when do you treat as slaves those who were born as free men?”
3- In Spain: Jews in Spain were very badly treated, there were the infamous Inquisition courts. This dark era full of injustice, banishment, torture and death in the history of the Jews. This horrible era ended by the reign of Islam on Spain which is considered the Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain. Tolerance and Justice of Islam enabled Jews to prosper and develop their culture in Spain. Notice here that Islam NEVER forced the Jews of Spain to embrace Islam, on the contrary, it is under the protection of Islam that the Jews culture prospered.
Free Choice Vs. Coerced Conversion
(Taken from Dar Al-iftaa AlMassriyya: Jihad Myths and Facts )
The concept of free choice is central in the teachings of Islam as God stated in the Quran that "there is no coercion in religion". Muslims grasped this concept well and realized that God does not want the mere submission of bodies but the real surrender of hearts. The heart is the main target of God's Message because mercy is the all encompassing nature of Islam and the heart is where it resides.
In contemplating these stipulations we would find that none of the current incidents of terrorism which happen to involve Muslims claiming to be performing Jihad are actually Jihad because they fail to meet any of the above laid out conditions. The sole aim of stipulating these conditions is to ensure that the concept of mercy and justice are at the forefront of the Muslims' hearts and minds while conducting warfare.
The aim of Jihad is not to steal people's property or to shed their blood or to alter their values and force them to convert. The aim is to free people from persecution so they may have the opportunity to think freely and choose their religion based on informed decisions. All of the these terrorist attacks have probably one thing in common: the cowardice of the perpetrators who betray and target civilians and cause nothing but the bloodshed of innocents; Muslim and non-Muslim.
What breaks the heart the most is that while Jihad in Islam teaches Muslims to be noble knights who defend the rights of the weak and fight back against transgressors, today we find the people who claim that they are performing Jihad and attach themselves to this noble concept are those who are the furthest from Islam and Jihad in letter and spirit.
The true noble knight Jihadist is the one who lays the foundation of justice and freedom for all people regardless of their personal religious convictions. Therefore, the concept of Jihad being a legitimate war is a true and well-defined one even by our modern definitions of just wars according to the United Nation's charter on wars.
The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was the role model who applied the different concepts of mercy, justice and freedom laid down in the Quran. He showed Muslims how to conduct and abide by these concepts practically.