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 Topic: Reflections on 'There is no compulsion in religion' from Surat Al-Baqarah

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  • Reflections on 'There is no compulsion in religion' from Surat Al-Baqarah
     OP - June 10, 2014, 10:49 AM



    Reflections on 'There is no compulsion in religion' from Surat Al-Baqarah


    The line from Surat Al-Baqarah [verse 256] of the Quran -  "there is no compulsion in religion” is often quoted by those making the argument that there is no coercion or intolerance in Islam, and that Islam can be reconciled with freedom of conscience.

    On one level, this kind of interpretation of scripture is to be welcomed, if it genuinely helps to stop the persecution of apostates.

    If it is used by genuine reformers who wish to seriously admit to the traditions and scriptural roots of intolerance within Islam, then it may be a step in the right direction.

    On the other hand, it is too often used as a superficial sound bite to avoid discussion of the serious issues within Islamic scripture and tradition regarding coercion, force and apostasy, and thus can make matters worse, by being an avoidance strategy, and merely a superficial attempt to depict Islam and the Quran as perfect and flawless and pristine.

    This is motivated by the wish to protect the image of Islam, rather than actually addressing serious issues of the persecutions and oppression that arise from Islamic scripture, belief and ideas.

    Here is a dialogue that took place on our forum regarding this verse, reflecting on the line ‘there is no compulsion in religion’.

    ++++

    Peppermint Tits:

    Isn't it true that the "no compulsion in religion" verse actually just means for those within Islam already, (born Muslims)? That, for example, it protects that a Muslim would not be forced into a marriage, forced to pray, forced to do whatever religious obligation.

    However, if we're talking about someone who was "born" Muslim and now identifies as a non-Muslim, they are not protected, because they are "out of religion" not in it.

    So basically, it doesn't do shit for us. So much for that "peaceful" and "tolerant" verse.

    (I would like someone to clarify this though, so that I don't go around continuing to think that if I'm wrong. Or do we not know since it's based on interpretation?)


    Allat:

    The "no compulsion in religion" line is touted by some to show how tolerant Islam is. While Muslims and their apologists like to accuse everyone else of taking Islam and the Quran out of context, this verse is an example of how shamelessly Muslims themselves take things out of context.

    The verse actually says in full:

    Quran 2:256


    Quote
    There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower.

    --Pickthall translation


    Quote
    There shall be no compulsion in religion: the right way is now distinct from the wrong way. Anyone who denounces the devil and believes in GOD has grasped the strongest bond; one that never breaks. GOD is Hearer, Omniscient.

    --Khalifa translation


    Quote
    There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever disbelieves in the Shaitan and believes in Allah he indeed has laid hold on the firmest handle, which shall not break off, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.
    --Shakir translation



    The verse seems to be saying that there is no compulsion in religion because Islam is the "right way". In other words, it is a verse declaring the supremacism of Islam, not its "tolerance". It's like saying "well you go do what you want, but you'll do the right thing, the thing we say is right, if you know what's good for you".

    That's not tolerance. It is, at best, passive aggressiveness.

    Also, the next time a Muslim or a liberal apologist of Islam brings up that verse, besides the crass threat in it, bring up the verse right after that one:

    Quote
    2:257 Allah is the Protecting Guardian of those who believe. He bringeth them out of darkness into light. As for those who disbelieve, their patrons are false deities. They bring them out of light into darkness. Such are rightful owners of the Fire. They will abide therein.


    So in the next verse, the quran right away contradicts itself.

    Osmanthus:

    My reading of 2:256 would be that it is saying there is no longer any need to compel anyone to follow any religion, because (in the Islamic/Quranic view) the right path/religion is now so obvious (since the revelation of the Quran) that anyone will follow it without requiring compulsion.

    This is, of course, providing that they are not wilfully evil, in which case they're off to the fire as per 2:257, and providing that in accordance with another well known verse, Allah has not "set a seal on their hearts" (in which case they are screwed too).

    There is nothing in either verse about being tolerant of other religions, or about accepting that people can be good while still following other religions, or about any possibility of people who do follow other religions being able to avoid ending up in Hell.


    Sprout:

    Kind of a hollow boast 'this religion is soooo obviously awesome'. The problem is that it creates a standard whereby those who aren't Muslim or who reject Islam will be treated with incredulity and have their sanity or rationality questioned rather than supported in their religious freedom. This is the best the Qur'an has to offer and its still lamentably intolerant.

    Al-Alethia:

    The verse was actually revealed in relation to some Arabs who took oaths that their children will be raised Jewish; it's basically telling them that there's "no compulsion in religion" in the sense that they don't have to follow the oath and make sure the kids are Jewish, i.e, they can convert them to Islam.


    Quote
    Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas

    When the children of a woman (in pre-Islamic days) did not survive, she took a vow on herself that if her child survives, she would convert it a Jew. When Banu an-Nadir were expelled (from Arabia), there were some children of the Ansar (Helpers) among them. They said: We shall not leave our children. So Allah the Exalted revealed; "Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error."
    Abu Dawud 14:2676


    Ibn Kathir had this to say in his tafsir:

    Allah says: "There is no compulsion in religion", meaning: do not force anyone to embrace Islam, because it is clear and its proofs and evidences are manifest. Whoever Allah guides and opens his heart to Islam has indeed embraced it with clear evidence. Whoever Allah misguides blinds his heart and has set a seal on his hearing and a covering on his eyes cannot embrace Islam by force...hence Allah revealed this verse. But, this verse is abrogated by the verse of "fighting...Therefore, all people of the world should be called to Islam. If anyone of them refuses to do so, or refuses to pay the Jizya they should be fought till they are killed. This is the meaning of compulsion. In the Sahih, the Prophet said: "Allah wonders at those people who will enter Paradise in chains", meaning prisoners brought in chains to the Islamic state, then they embrace Islam sincerely and become righteous, and are entered among the people of Paradise.

    The Dark Rebel:

    Islam apologists always love to accuse people of taking violent verses out of context but they themselves ignore the tafsirs completely and pull their own interpretation of the verse out of nowhere. Hypocrisy at it's finest

    Jema:

    From Tafsir Al-Jalalayn:  There is no compulsion in, entering into, religion.

    The other interpretations are kinda redundant and can be easily overlooked because of other contradictory verses. Tafsir Al-Jalalayn is far more important to Sunnis anyway. If you were born and raised as a non-muslim with no knowledge of Islam then the religion cannot be forced upon you. It says fuck all about fitri Muslims who were born into this fuckery of a religion and you don't have to look very far in the Qur'an or Sunnah to know what it does say about those who apostatise.

    The Dark Rebel:

    The "no compusion in religion" verse only applies to non muslims.

    When it comes to muslims who stop believing in Islam then there are hadiths that say that apostates should be killed

    like this one


    Quote
    Narrated Ikrima: Ali burnt some people 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.' "
    Sahih Bukhari 4:52:260



    Peppermint Tits:

    This sucks. I'm incredulous about Islam's deceit with this verse. It's disgusting. It protects non-Muslims more than people like us who were born into it. But of course.

    It's that double standard that kills me. So when my parents question me, I should just tell them "I wish I was born a non-Muslim instead, then I'd have more rights!" Can't they see how backwards this is?? Sigh.

    It's the same idea with the Westerner who voluntary converts to Islam, and then later leaves it - even though they might be looked at horribly by the Muslim community, that same community would look at me much worse simply because I was "born" a Muslim and later rejected it, although it's a similar thing. Makes my blood boil.




  • Reflections on 'There is no compulsion in religion' from Surat Al-Baqarah
     Reply #1 - June 10, 2014, 12:38 PM

    Awesome article, bookmarked.

    There is no god...but allah.
    There is no compulsion...because if you care for your rights (or your life) you'll submit.

    Quote from: ZooBear 

    • Surah Al-Fil: In an epic game of Angry Birds, Allah uses birds (that drop pebbles) to destroy an army riding elephants whose intentions were to destroy the Kaaba. No one has beaten the high score.

  • Reflections on 'There is no compulsion in religion' from Surat Al-Baqarah
     Reply #2 - June 29, 2014, 06:09 PM

    The verse mentioned is a statement not an order.

    16:82 But if they turn away from you, your only duty is a clear delivery of the Message .


    6:107 Yet if God had so willed, they would not have ascribed Divinity to aught besides Him; hence, We have not made you their keeper, nor are you a guardian over them.


    4:79-80 Say:'Whatever good betides you is from God and whatever evil betides you is from your own self and that We have sent you to mankind only as a messenger and all sufficing is God as witness. Whoso obeys the Messenger, he indeed obeys God. A nd for those who turn away, We have not sent you as a keeper."


    11:28 He (Noah) said "O my people! think over it! If I act upon a clear direction from my Lord who has bestowed on me from Himself the Merciful talent of seeing the right way, a way which you cannot see for yourself, does it follow that we can force you to take the right path when you definitely decline to take it?


    17:53-54 And tell my servants that they should speak in a most kindly manner. Verily, Satan is always ready to stir up discord between men; for verily; Satan is mans foe .... Hence, We have not sent you with power to determine their Faith.


    21:107-109 (O Prophet?) 'We have not sent you except to be a mercy to all mankind:" Declare, "Verily, what is revealed to me is this, your God is the only One God, so is it not up to you to bow down to Him?' But if they turn away then say, "I have delivered the Truth in a manner clear to one and all, and I know not whether the promised hour is near or far."


    22:67 To every people have We appointed ceremonial rites which they observe; therefore, let them not wrangle over this matter with you, but bid them to turn to your Lord. You indeed are rightly guided. But if they still dispute you in this matter, `God best knows what you do."

    24.54. Say: "Obey God, and obey the Messenger. but if ye turn away, he is only responsible for the duty placed on him and ye for that placed on you. If ye obey him, ye shall be on right guidance. The Messenger's duty is only to preach the clear (Message).


    88:21 22; And so, exhort them your task is only to exhort; you cannot compel them to believe.


    48:28 He it is Who has sent forth His Messenger with the Guidance and the Religion of Truth, to the end that tie make it prevail over every religion, and none can bear witness to the Truth as God does.


    36:16 17 (Three Messengers to their people) Said, "Our Sustainer knows that we have indeed been sent unto you, but we are not bound to more than clearly deliver the Message entrusted to us.'


    39:41 Assuredly, We have sent down the Book to you in right form for the good of man. Whoso guided himself by it does so to his own advantage, and whoso turns away from it does so at his own loss. You certainly are not their keeper.


    42:6 48 And whoso takes for patrons others besides God, over them does God keep a watch. Mark, you are not a keeper over them. But if they turn aside from you (do not get disheartened), for We have not sent you to be a keeper over them; your task is but to preach ....


    64:12 Obey God then and obey the Messenger, but if you turn away (no blame shall attach to our Messenger), for the duty of Our Messenger is just to deliver the message.


    67:25 26 And they ask, "When shall the promise be fulfilled if you speak the Truth?" Say, "The knowledge of it is verily with God alone, and verily I am but a plain warner."


    10.99-100. If it had been thy Lord's will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! wilt thou then compel mankind, against their will, to believe! No soul can believe, except by the will of God, and He will place doubt (or obscurity) on those who will not understand


    28.55-56 And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: "To us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not the ignorant," It is true thou wilt not be able to guide whom thou lovest; but God guides those whom He will and He knows best those who receive guidance.


    109.1-6 Say : O ye that reject Faith,! I worship not that which ye worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship, And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship, Nor will ye worship that which I worship, To you be your Way, and to me mine.


    74.11-17 Leave Me with whom I created alone!, To whom I granted resources in abundance, And sons to be by his side, To whom I made (life) smooth and comfortable, Yet is he greedy-that I should add (yet more);- By no means! For to Our Signs he has been refractory!, Soon will I visit him with a mount of calamities!


    "So have We appointed for every Prophet an enemy - devils of men and Jinns; who inspire each other with seductive, deceptive speech which leads astray; but had thy Lord willed they would not have done so. So leave them with what they do devise. And let the hearts of those who believe not in the Hereafter listen to it; and let them be well pleased with it; and let them gain what they can gain!" 6:113-114


    "And when you see those who meddle with Our revelations, withdraw from them until they meddle with another topic. And if the devil causes you to forget, sit not, after the remembrance, with the congregation of wrongdoers. 6:68


    So we must look at all the verses of the Quran concerning the orders it gives to Muhammad since he is the highest authority in Islam and whatever he has been limited to do can not be exceeded. This is why Islamic authorities abrogated nearly all the verses I quoted in an attempt to create an absolute theocracy.
  • Reflections on 'There is no compulsion in religion' from Surat Al-Baqarah
     Reply #3 - June 30, 2014, 01:21 PM

    that really does highlight how much gibberish is contained in the Quran

    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Reflections on 'There is no compulsion in religion' from Surat Al-Baqarah
     Reply #4 - June 30, 2014, 01:33 PM

    .....................


    So we must look at all the verses of the Quran concerning the orders it gives to Muhammad since he is the highest authority in Islam and whatever he has been limited to do can not be exceeded. This is why Islamic authorities abrogated nearly all the verses I quoted in an attempt to create an absolute theocracy.

    Big Mo... Big Mo., learn to write Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) ., other wise I  WILL NOT TRUST YOU,  YOUR QURAN AND YOUR ISLAM..

    Do not let silence become your legacy  
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
  • Reflections on 'There is no compulsion in religion' from Surat Al-Baqarah
     Reply #5 - July 08, 2014, 05:56 PM

    Great post.  I'll add an archaeological point that deserves to be better known:  one of the earliest Qur'anic inscriptions we know of, and one of the first distinctively "muslim" inscriptions, consists of a declaration (705/6 AD) by the Caliph Walid that he has destroyed a church in Damascus, built a mosque on top of it, followed by the Qur'anic inscription "There is no compulsion in religion."  From Islamic Awareness:

    http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Inscriptions/walid.html

    "In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. There is no compulsion in religion, the right way has become distinguished from error, and he who rejects false deities and believes in God has grasped a firm handhold that will never break, God is all-hearing and all-knowing. There is no god but God alone, He has no associate, we worship none but Him.Our Lord is God alone, and our religion is Islam and our prophet is Muḥammad, may God incline unto him and give him greeting. There has ordered the building of this mosque and the demolition of the church that was there the servant of God and commander of the faithful Walīd in Dhūl-Qaʿdah of the year eighty-six."

    This confirms rather clearly that the earliest Muslims did NOT understand this specific Qur'anic verse to be counseling religious tolerance, but rather that religion is a matter of clarifying the truth from error -- smashing churches and building mosques over them is thus not *physical compulsion* but rather *bringing truth* and correcting error.  In other words, what modern Muslims try to spin as benevolence was the exact opposite, historically speaking.
  • Reflections on 'There is no compulsion in religion' from Surat Al-Baqarah
     Reply #6 - August 24, 2014, 03:30 PM

    I was always taught this applied to the time when Islam was weak. When Islam gained power, then the more violent versus came.

    But anyways, I think you definitely hit the nail on the head here on one key aspect.
    The override belief that Islam should be in charge.

    Apostates. The debate, even among moderate Muslims often comes to... it's okay as long as they don't speak out against Islam/challenge it.

    Tolerance of other faiths. We let Christians and Jews live peacefully... and what about Hindus, polythiests...

    Muslims even manage to claim the names of scientists who mocked religion... but they're Islamic scientists ;P

    Even socially, Islam must dominate. Don't dress a certain way around Muslims. Would any of them cut their beard or take off their hijab when around you? Don't drink around Muslims. Would any of them break their fast to fit into your function?

    And yes in this case... There is no compulsion in religion as long as you submit yourself to Islamic rule.


  • Reflections on 'There is no compulsion in religion' from Surat Al-Baqarah
     Reply #7 - September 23, 2014, 08:19 PM

    Patricia Crone's lecture discusses the 'no compulsion in religion' line (thanks Zeca for finding this)

    http://orient.ruf.uni-freiburg.de/dotpub/crone.pdf

    Very important read

    "we can smell traitors and country haters"


    God is Love.
    Love is Blind. Stevie Wonder is blind. Therefore, Stevie Wonder is God.

  • Reflections on 'There is no compulsion in religion' from Surat Al-Baqarah
     Reply #8 - September 23, 2014, 11:27 PM

     Afro

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Reflections on 'There is no compulsion in religion' from Surat Al-Baqarah
     Reply #9 - September 24, 2014, 03:36 AM

    Very interesting. Thanks for that.

    Devious, treacherous, murderous, neanderthal, sub-human of the West. bunny
  • Reflections on 'There is no compulsion in religion' from Surat Al-Baqarah
     Reply #10 - September 24, 2014, 05:42 AM

    There is no compulsion  but if a Muslim converts or leaves Islam, H/She will become "MURTAD" and will be killed. 
  • Reflections on 'There is no compulsion in religion' from Surat Al-Baqarah
     Reply #11 - September 24, 2014, 09:19 AM

    Actually there is indeed no compulsion in religion in Islam.

    Because Islam wasn't/isn't a religion as such. It's monopolised politico-societal truth.

    So everyone from salafis to liberal lefty muslims can utilise this verse. Because in a sense it's quite correct.
  • Reflections on 'There is no compulsion in religion' from Surat Al-Baqarah
     Reply #12 - September 24, 2014, 10:10 AM

    “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” Sheikh Sâmî al-Mâjid, professor at al-Imâm Islamic University, Riyadh

    Allah says: “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 256]

    That shaky professor of Islam from Sand Land writes on that verse
    Quote
    It is important to note that these last two verses were revealed in Madinah. This is significant, since it shows that the ruling they gave was not just contingent on the Muslims being in Mecca in a state of weakness, but is valid for all time

    Some people might be wondering that if Islam indeed advocates such an approach, then what is all this we hear about jihad? How can we explain the warfare that the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Companions waged against the pagans?

    The answer to this is that jihad in Islamic Law can be waged for a number of reasons, but compelling people to accept Islam is simply not one of them. The reason why jihad was first permitted in Islam was so the Muslims could defend themselves against persecution and expulsion from their homes.

    It is true Muslims can wage Jiahd for various reasons and it is also true that verse was allegedly revealed in Madina  but what is not true is this

    "This is significant, since it shows that the ruling they gave was not just contingent on the Muslims being in Mecca in a state of weakness,"

    First there is nothing singinificant about that alleged revelation., they are simply statement of its time.,  moreover this verse is allegedly revealed in the first year after alleged Prophet moved to Madina and before that battle of Badr..
    Quote
    620: Journey to Taif. Ascension to the heavens.
    621: First pledge at Aqaba.
    622: Second pledge at Aqaba. The Holy Prophet and the Muslims migrate to Yathrib.
    623: Nakhla expedition.
    624: Battle of Badr. Expulsion of the Bani Qainuqa Jews from Madina.

    It must be in the years of 622 where Muhammad  did not have enough follower to wage wars . So he comes out with that alleged revelation..

    More important most people often read just one verse or few words in a verse and try to make sense out of it or interpret it their own way. And after reading Quran umpteen times I realized that is a not a right way to read Quarn.  Quarn is a unique book filled with mambo-jumbo, repetitive gibberish, whole lot of old stories and along   with a bit history of its time.  So to make a sense of a verse one must read at least five verses below and five verse above the verse of interest.  So let me put some relevant verse above and below of that "Let there be no compulsion" verse to make sense out of what Quran saying and why it is saying..

    Quote
    002.250: And when they went out against Jalut and his forces they said: Our Lord, pour down upon us patience, and make our steps firm and assist us against the unbelieving people.

    002.251: So they put them to flight by Allah's permission. And Dawood slew Jalut, and Allah gave him kingdom and wisdom, and taught him of what He pleased. And were it not for Allah's repelling some men with others, the earth would certainly be in a state of disorder; but Allah is Gracious to the creatures.

    002.252: These are the communications of Allah: We recite them to you with truth; and most surely you are (one) of the messengers.

    002.253: We have made some of these messengers to excel the others among them are they to whom Allah spoke, and some of them He exalted by (many degrees of) rank; and We gave clear miracles to Isa son of Marium, and strengthened him with the holy spirit. And if Allah had pleased, those after them would not have fought one with another after clear arguments had come to them, but they disagreed; so there were some of them who believed and others who denied; and if Allah had pleased they would not have fought one with another, but Allah brings about what He intends.

    002.254: O you who believe! spend out of what We have given you before the day comes in which there is no bargaining, neither any friendship nor intercession, and the unbelievers-- they are the unjust.

    002.255: Allah is He besides Whom there is no god, the Everliving, the Self-subsisting by Whom all subsist; slumber does not overtake Him nor sleep; whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His; who is he that can intercede with Him but by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they cannot comprehend anything out of His knowledge except what He pleases, His knowledge extends over the heavens and the earth, and the preservation of them both tires Him not, and He is the Most High, the Great.

    002.256: There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever disbelieves in the Shaitan and believes in Allah he indeed has laid hold on the firmest handle, which shall not break off, and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.

    002.257: Allah is the guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness into the light; and (as to) those who disbelieve, their guardians are Shaitans who take them out of the light into the darkness; they are the inmates of the fire, in it they shall abide.

    002.258: Have you not considered him (Namrud) who disputed with Ibrahim about his Lord, because Allah had given him the kingdom? When Ibrahim said: My Lord is He who gives life and causes to die, he said: I give life and cause death. Ibrahim said: So surely Allah causes the sun to rise from the east, then make it rise from the west; thus he who disbelieved was confounded; and Allah does not guide aright the unjust people.

    002.259: Or the like of him (Uzair) who passed by a town, and it had fallen down upon its roofs; he said: When will Allah give it life after its death? So Allah caused him to die for a hundred years, then raised him to life. He said: How long have you tarried? He said: I have tarried a day, or a part of a day. Said He: Nay! you have tarried a hundred years; then look at your food and drink-- years have not passed over it; and look at your ass; and that We may make you a sign to men, and look at the bones, how We set them together, then clothed them with flesh; so when it became clear to him, he said: I know that Allah has power over all things.

    002.260: And when Ibrahim said: My Lord! show me how Thou givest life to the dead, He said: What! and do you not believe? He said: Yes, but that my heart may be at ease. He said: Then take four of the birds, then train them to follow you, then place on every mountain a part of them, then call them, they will come to you flying; and know that Allah is Mighty, Wise.

    Well I have no time right now.. but get back to make some  sense of those silly schizophrenic verses/statements. Meanwhile you guys read Allah words so you go to Jannah and eat raisins .

    Do not let silence become your legacy  
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
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