The short period of time after the death of Mohammad was a tumultuous one of growth and redefinition. What would follow Mohammad's career of revelations and what it would mean for a society governed by them was the looming question to be quickly and unavoidably answered by the actions of the new Muslim empire. Military expansion and a unification of diverse tribes became key paths to success, and within three years all of Arabia and Persia fell to the Islamic empire. Endless military campaigns and the eager desire of warriors to conquer further lands for Islam became a cycle and an inherent part of Islam for many years to come. The empire grew and became stable, but the tenuous nature of its hold on power during the short period of inception meant that key actions, places, people, and customs would have enormous historical echoes affecting all of what was to come. The factors that contributed to Islam's rapid takeover are innumerable, and perhaps not all available to the modern scholar.
[...] He never lost a single one of his more than 100 battles (Akram) and it was he that could be held singularly responsible for both the acceptance of battle as a form of holy devotion to God, and for the swift victory that the empire enjoyed during his career as a general. When Abu Bakr was Caliph, Umar wanted Khalid removed because he felt that the reckless general was too blood-thirsty. Abu Bakr, however, responded to Umar's request by saying Sword which the Lord hath made bare against the heathen, shall I sheathe it? [...]
[...] The third and fourth factors are the two Muslim leaders Khalid ibn-Walid and Abu Bakr, whose actions and personalities balanced each other and left a profound, indelible impact upon the Muslim empire for centuries to come. It is possible and even reasonable to say that if any one of these factors, especially the persons of Abu Bakr and Khalid, had not been present at the time Islam would've never been an empire at all. It's useless to hypothesize what could've happened to Islam, had any of these four factors not been present to shape the way Islam presented itself to the world, but it is easy to see how these factors became key to the development of the Muslim empire as it is written in history books today. [...]
[...] While the desire for war of Khalid ibn-Walid was the driving momentum for Muslim conquest of Persia and the ease with which the Ridda Wars were won, tribal raiding practices and the nature of Islam itself also contributed to the development of the Muslim empire. That is not to say that the empire was inevitable. Islam would not have survived had it not been for Khalid and the temperance of his actions by Abu Bakr. It is rare in history to find a single individual who serves as a turning point or a catalyst while not being simply an instrument of cultural or social pressures. However, in the early and fractious years at the inception of the Islamic empire, small [...]
[...] Abu Bakr instructed Khalid to quell the Apostasy, but he instructed the reckless general to show mercy to those who converted to Islam or who had not taken up arms against the Muslims Khalid raced from one part of Arabia to another, and once he hand subjugated Arabia for Islam he went north, into the Persian Empire (Ochsenwald 38). The same rules were applied there; Khalid sent to Medina one fifth of the spoils and did not kill those who did not fight. The character of Abu Bakr softened the blow of Muslim conquest and set the tone for conquests to come, giving the Islamic empire a permissive tone that would let future Caliphs focus their resources on more than simply controlling an unhappy population. After Mohammad's death, anything could've happened. [...]
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