No Compulsion

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An oft-repeated phrase in Islamic discussions is that "there is no compulsion in religion."

There are several points that contradict this notion.

  • Boys as young as 5 and even infants are circumcised, because of religious traditional reasons. The child has absolutely no choice in this matter. It is forced to undergo a religious ritual, which in most of the cases is not medically necessary.
  • A person must believe, or else face a horrible and torturous punishment in Hell. If the only options are to obey or to suffer horrendously, then there is no such thing as freedom of choice.
  • Childhood indoctrination is very common. The child is never given the choice between different religions or philosophies. Other viewpoints are almost never taught as much as Islam is. It is always assumed that the child will be a Muslim and nothing else.
  • From experience we know that some parents or societies will punish their children or members, should they wish to leave the religion and declare it publically.

The following verses do not agree with each other:

2:256: Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.
9:5: But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
9:29: Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
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