69 million page views

"Let There Be No Compulsion In Religion"

Reader comment on item: Hating Valentine's Day
in response to reader comment: Lactantius Jr "Do Islam's most authoritative documents say Muhammad was a terrorist?"

Submitted by Lactantius Jr. (United Kingdom), May 6, 2008 at 17:59

To Abdul,

Attempting to show that Islam is peaceful, peaceloving and tolerant, some Muslim Dawagandists quote Surah 2:256, with Dr Zakir Naik asserting that even if Muslims had it ("the sword"), they could not use it to spread Islam because the Qur'an says in the following verse:

'Let there be no compulsion in religion:
Truth stands out clear from error'
[Al-Qur'an 2:256]

Let's examine Dr Naik's assertion, and see if it stands up in light of what later, abrogating Qur'anic ayat say, together with what Muhammad said and commanded.

"Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allaah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allaah and His Messenger (Muhammad), (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued"

[al-Tawbah 9:29]

And it was proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) accepted the jizyah from the Magians, but it was not proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) accepted the jizyah from anyone except the three groups mentioned above.

The basic principle concerning that is the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning):

"And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism, i.e. worshipping others besides Allaah), and the religion (worship) will all be for Allaah Alone [in the whole of the world]"

[al-Anfaal 8:39]

"Then when the Sacred Months (the 1st, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islamic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikoon (see V.2:105) wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush. But if they repent [by rejecting Shirk (polytheism) and accept Islamic Monotheism] and perform As-Salaah (Iqaamat-as-Salaah), and give Zakaah, then leave their way free. Verily, Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful"

[al-Tawbah 9:5]

This verse is known as Ayat al-Sayf (the verse of the sword).

These and similar verses ABROGATE the verses which say that there is no compulsion to become Muslim.

And Allaah is the Source of strength. Majmoo' Fataawa wa Maqaalaat li'l-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 6/219 (www.islam-qa.com)

(Question #34770: There is no compulsion to accept Islam; source; bold, underline and capital emphasis ours)

Muslim scholar Mahmoud M. Ayoub writes:

… Mujahid said, "This was before the Apostle of Allah was commanded to fight against the People of the Book. Allah's saying, ‘There is no compulsion in religion' WAS ABROGATED and he was commanded to fight against the People of the Book in Surat Bara‘ah" (Q. 9:29). (Wahidi, pp. 77-78) … According to other traditions, the verse was revealed in reference to the People of the Book, who should not be compelled to enter Islam so long as they pay jizyah (poll tax). The verse is, therefore, not abrogated. Tabari relates on the authority of Qatadah, "Arab society WAS COMPELLED TO ENTER ISLAM because they were an unlettered community [ummah ummiyah], having no book which they knew. Thus nothing other than Islam was accepted from them. The people of the Book are not to be compelled to enter Islam if they submit to paying the jizyah or kharaj [land tax]." The same view is related on the authority of al-Dahhak, Mujahid, and Ibn ‘Abbas (Tabari, V. pp. 413-414). Tabari AGREES WITH THIS VIEW and asserts that the verse applies to the people of the two Books (Jews and Christians) and the Zoroastrians (Majus)… Qurtubi relates yet another view which asserts, "It was in reference to captives who, if they are of the People of the Book, are not to be compelled if they are adults; but if they are Zoroastrians or idolators, be they old or young, THEY SHALL BE FORCED TO ACCEPT ISLAM. This is because their master could not benefit from them if they were idolators." Qurtubi adds, "Do you not see that animals slaughtered by them would be unlawful to eat and their women could be married [to Muslims]? They practise the eating of carrion and other such unclean things. Thus their master would find them unclean and therefore it would be difficult to benefit from them as his slaves. HENCE, IT BECOMES LAWFUL FOR HIM TO COMPEL THEM" (Qurtubi, II, p. 280; see also Shawkani, I, p. 275). (Ayoub, The Qur'an and it Interpreters [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany, 1984], Volume I, pp. 253-254; capital emphasis ours)

The Islamic doctrine of abrogation (Surah's 2:106; 13:39), where an earlier verse is said to be cancelled, nullified, set aside or replaced by later verses, is problematic for Islam for various reasons, with every instance of abrogation being a problem for the doctrine of an unchanging deity, and should trouble thinking Muslims, because if the Qur'an really is the actual Word of Allah, then it is eternal and is thus incapable of change, abrogation suggesting that the Qur'an was created, thus being incapable of being the uncreated Word of Allah, and if the Qur'an really is the Word of Allah, it should be perfect, with no verse being superior ("better") than another, and with the Qur'an claiming to be "a glorious Qur'an (inscribed) in a tablet preserved Surah 85:21-22 this means that the "tablet preserved" contains both the abrogated and the abrogating verses!! and for non-Muslims, Allah's changing commands regarding the use of violence against them are certainly the most relevant.

Compare and contrast Qur'anic abrogation with the Words spoken by the living, loving Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ,

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away."

Matthew 24:35

and affirmed in the Old Testament,

"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of our God stands forever."

Isaiah 40:8

This is what Muhammad said about apostates from Islam. Some "atheists" were brought to Ali, Muhammad's son-in-law and cousin, and he burned them alive.

. . . The news of this event reached Ibn Abbas [Muhammad's cousin and highly reliable transmitter of traditions] who said, "If I had been in his [Ali's] place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah's Messenger forbad it, saying, ‘Do not punish anybody with Allah's punishment (fire).' I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah Messenger, ‘Whoever change[s] his Islamic religion, then kill him.'" (Bukhari, Apostates, no. 6922; and (Sahih Bukhari V4B52N260) Narrated Ikrima: Ali burnt some people [hypocrites] and this news reached Ibn 'Abbas, who said, "Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, 'Don't punish (anybody) with Allah's Punishment.' No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.' "

The Islam of Muhammad is the real Islam and he set its genetic code for all subsequent Muslims, with all four major schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence stating that the apostate is to be killed, with Iran, Mauritania, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen having laws sanctioning the death penalty for apostasy, and now, here in Britain we read of Muslims threatened with being killed for leaving Islam and entering into life in Jesus' Name, such as the Imams daughter living in fear of her life under police protection, after she received death threats from her family for converting to Christianity.

The young woman, aged 32, whose father is a Muslim imam in the north of England, has moved house 45 times to escape detection by her family since she became a Christian 15 years ago.


This same TimesOnline article refers to a Policy Exchage study earlier in 2007, which found that 36% of British Muslims aged between 16 and 24, believed those who left Islam and converted to another religion should be punished by death, and this study is also quoted by BBC News Magazine at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7355515.stm in an article titled "When Muslims become Christians." No wonder someone has said that "Islam is the easiest religion in the world to get into (by merely saying the shahada), and the most difficult religion in the world to get out of (alive!!)

In light of later Qur'anic ayat abrogating 2:256, the Sahi Hadith of Bukhari, the sunnah of Muhammad, Islamic scholars old and new stressing that apostates from Islam should be killed, the reality of present-day former Muslims in Britain needing police protection to prevent them from being murdered, a reported 36% of young British Muslims who believe that apostates from Islam should be killed, all four major schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence stating that the apostate is to be killed, with Iran, Mauritania, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia , Sudan and Yemen having laws sanctioning the death penalty for apostasy, I submit that Dr Naik is being mendacious and duplicitous in citing 2:256 and claiming "there is no compulsion in religion,"

Dr Naik did well to refer to America and Europe, in his claim for the growth of Islam compared to the growth of Christianity, because had he "gone global," he would have had to affirm the explosive growth of Christianity in Africa, where it is reported that,

"Six million African Muslims leave Islam every year"



Christianity is also rapidly expanding into Asia and Latin America, where there is explosive growth in Christianity, "The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity" (Philip Jenkins, Professor of History and Religious Studies, Penn State University, USA, Oxford University Press, March 2002)

I conclude by asserting that every year, multitudes of Muslims from all over world are turning to the truth of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, much to the dismay of Muslim dawagandists like Dr Zaki Naik, and rejoice to anticipate that "great multitude that no one could count" in heaven, among them many former Muslims, there because they have trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.

"After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a mighty shout, ‘Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!'"

Revelation 7:9-10

With kind regards and best wishes

Lactantius Jr.


Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2024 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)