Comparable considerations have pertained in relations between societies. The long and arduous preparation of the Hebrew people for the mission required of them is an illustration of the complexity and stubborn character of the moral challenges involved. In order that the spiritual capacities appealed to by the prophets might awaken and flourish, the inducements offered by neighbouring idolatrous cultures had, at all costs, to be resisted. Scriptural accounts of the condign punishments that befell both rulers and subjects who violated the principle illustrated the importance attached to it by the Divine purpose. A somewhat comparable issue arose in the struggle of the newborn community founded by Muhammad to survive attempts by pagan Arab tribes to extinguish it—and in the barbaric cruelty and relentless spirit of vendetta animating the attackers. No one familiar with the historical details will have difficulty in understanding the severity of the Qur’án’s injunctions on the subject. While the monotheistic beliefs of Jews and Christians were to be accorded respect, no compromise with idolatry was permitted. In a relatively brief space of time, this draconian rule had succeeded in unifying the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula and launching the newly forged community on well over five centuries of moral, intellectual, cultural and economic achievement, unmatched before or since in the speed and scope of its expansion. History tends to be a stern judge. Ultimately, in its uncompromising perspective, the consequences to those who would have blindly strangled such enterprises in the cradle will always be set off against the benefits accruing to the world as a whole from the triumph of the Bible’s vision of human possibilities and the advances made possible by the genius of Islamic civilization.