No Compulsion in religion: Refuting false lies of Agniveer


Written by Farhan Tahir

This article proves that the Quran is not abrogated and also refutes the claims of the non-muslims regarding Apostasy, Jihad and compulsion in religion.

On the site ‘Agniveer’, the author has first tried to prove that the Quran has big number of verses, which are abrogated or changed with time and based on this claim; the author used the concept of Abrogation in Quran. Based on that concept, he tried to prove that the Verse, 2:256, which says that “there is no compulsion in religion”, has been Changed with a better verse, 9:5, which says “Slay the idolaters, wherever you find them”.

Let us analyze and refute this claim of the author in detail.

Here are those verses, which talk about abrogation In Quran.

[002.106] whatever a Verse (revelation) do we abrogate or cause to be forgotten, we bring a better one or similar to it. Know you not that Allah is Able to do all things?

This verse talks about the point that Allah Himself changes or causes to change some verses in Quran.

[016:101] And when We change a Verse (of the Qur’an) in place of another – and Allah knows best what He sends down – they (the disbelievers) say: “You (O Muhammad [sal-Allâhu ‘aloha wa sallam]) are but a Muftari! (Forger, liar).” Nay, but most of them know not.

The two verses above are the only verses in the Quran, which talk about the concept of abrogation in the Quran

There are two interpretations of these verses of the Quran, which are acceptable by Scholars:

1.       When Allah says “Whatever a Verse (revelation) do we abrogate or cause to be forgotten” it means that it is talking about the previous revelations, being abrogated by the Latest revelation Quran.

2.       There is slight level of Abrogation in Quranic verses as well, which is proved through Sahih hadith, but the wisdom behind those verses is that as the time kept changing, Allah HIMSELF brought some better verses, based on time and situation, no one else, but Allah himself brought some better verses.

Abrogation in Quran is a very sensitive and serious topic, as it is one of the major attack methods, used by non-Muslims, to prove that the Quran is no more in its pure form. We will not provide details in this article now but there is a separate article on this issue which can be found here.

Coming to the allegations of the author of the article:

 


Agniveer Claim:

As per these, new verses (Nasikh) in Quran replace old verses (Mansoukh). Out of 114 Chapters of Quran, at least 71 are supposed to have been affected by this concept of abrogation. Refer “al-Nasikh wal-Mansoukh” (The Abrogator and the Abrogated) which was authored by the revered Muslim scholar Abil-Kasim Hibat-Allah Ibn-Salama Abi-Nasr. The book goes through every Surah (chapter) in the Quran and cites in great detail every verse that was cancelled-out/overridden by particular verses that were written later. You can find more details on abrogation from another kafir site: http://www.islamreview.com/articles/quransdoctrine.shtml (Note that it only summarizes findings from Islamic texts and has nothing new to offer on this weird topic)


Response:

Lets us analyze the claims made in this paragraph by the author:

1. He says that there is a scholar named “Abil-Kasim Hibat-Allah Ibn-Salama Abi-Nasr”, who wrote a book on this issue. But there is NO such scholar, among the prominent or known scholars of Islam.

2.       Author said there are more than 71 surahs, which are affected by this concept of Abrogation, which is a lie. As the scholar is not among known scholars and there is no consensus among scholars that, that much number of surahs has abrogated verses, so his claims are proved to be wrong.


Agniveer Claim:

Out of 114 chapters of Quran, maximum of 43 chapters remain which can be taken as authentic.

Without getting into much details, let us come to the main point – Verse 2.256 that claims there is no compulsion in religion was abrogated and replaced by Verse 9:5 – The verse of sword.


Response:

As it is proved that this verse was NOT abrogated or changed in any way, the claim of author is proved to be false.

Let us now examine the two verses, which author quoted in his article.

[002.256] there is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disbelieves in Tâghût and believes in Allah, and then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.

The author says this verse was abrogated with the verse 9:5, which is as follows:

[009:005] Then when the Sacred Months (the 1st, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islamic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikûn (see V.2:105) wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in every ambush. But if they repent [by rejecting Shirk (polytheism) and accept Islamic Monotheism] and perform As-Salât (the prayers), and give Zakât (obligatory charity), then leave their way free. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Now first let us examine the two verses in detail.

Explanation of verse 2:256

This is one of the verses of Quran, which is always attacked by almost all anti-Islamic sites and people.

A Careful analysis of this verse is needed.

This verse was revealed when some of Ansar, converted to Islam, they tried to force their children, to accept Islam. At that time this verse was revealed that there is no compulsion in religion.

Scholars say that this verse applies to every individual person on earth. Islam allows an individual to practice his religion freely and tells us not to force anyone to accept Islam. Any non-Muslim can live in an Islamic state freely, but he has to pay Jizya, and cannot preach religion nor can he build new worshipping places in Islamic state.

BUT Islam DOES NOT tolerates the GOVERNMENTAL or Political system of Kuffar. Islam came as a Deen + Madhab which Means it has given us a complete way of life. Prophet Muhammad was ordered to ONLY fight against the SYSTEM of Kuffar (Not against any individual non-Muslim).

The wisdom behind this concept is that, if the head of state is a Kafir, and he is in power, then he will apply his Own laws, rules and regulations, which are made by him, but if the head of state is a Muslim, then all people will have to live according to Islam, in that state. And it is obvious that the Democratic system is Evil in nature. Islam does not tolerate that the people to live under any evil system, which oppresses them.

  • So conclusion about this verse is that there is No compulsion in religion (only for individual) but there is compulsion in religion, against the System of state.

Explanation of verse 9:5 

[009:005] Then when the Sacred Months (the 1st, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islamic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikûn (see V.2:105) wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in every ambush. But if they repent [by rejecting Shirk (polytheism) and accept Islamic Monotheism] and perform As-Salât (the prayers), and give Zakât (obligatory charity), then leave their way free. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

This verse was revealed towards the end of the revelation period and relates to a limited context. Hostilities were frozen for a three-month period during which the Arabs pledged not to wage war. Prophet Muhammad was inspired to use this period to encourage the combatants to join the Muslim ranks or, if they chose, to leave the area that was under Muslims rule; however, if they were to resume hostilities, then the Muslims would fight back until victorious. One is inspired to note that even in this context of war, the verse concludes by emphasizing the divine attributes of mercy and forgiveness. To minimize hostilities, the Qur’an ordered Muslims to grant asylum to anyone, even an enemy, who sought refuge. Asylum would be granted according to the customs of chivalry; the person would be told the message of the Qur’an but not coerced into accepting that message. Thereafter, he or she would be escorted to safety regardless of his or her religion. (9:6). (Hathout, Jihad vs. Terrorism; US Multimedia Vera International, 2002, pp.52-53, emphasis added)

Therefore, this verse once again refers to those pagans who would continue to fight after the period of peace. It clearly commands the Muslims to protect those who seek peace and are non-combatants. It is a specific verse with a specific ruling and can in no way be applied to general situations. The command of the verse was only to be applied in the event of a battle.

As Abdullah Yusuf Ali writes:
The emphasis is on the first clause: it is only when the four months of grace are past, and the other partly shows no sign of desisting from their treacherous design by right conduct, that the state of war supervenes – between Faith and Unfaith. (Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, Text, Translation and Commentary, emphasis added)

If the pagans would not cease their hostilities towards the Muslims, then they were to be fought, especially since they were living in the land of an Islamic state.  

Dr. Zakir Naik writes concerning this verse: This verse is quoted during a battle. …We know that America was once at war with Vietnam. Suppose the President of America or the General of the American Army told the American soldiers during the war: “Wherever you find the Vietnamese, kill them”. Today if I say that the American President said, “Wherever you find Vietnamese, kill them” without giving the context, I will make him sound like a butcher. But if I quote him in context, that he said it during a war, it will sound very logical, as he was trying to boost the morale of the American soldiers during the war. …Similarly in Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 5 the Qur’an says, “Kill the Mushriqs (pagans) where ever you find them”, during a battle to boost the morale of the Muslim soldiers. What the Qur’an is telling Muslim soldiers is, don’t be afraid during battle; wherever you find the enemies kill them. Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 6 gives the answer to the allegation that Islam promotes violence, brutality and bloodshed. It says:

“If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure that is because they are men without knowledge.” [Al-Qur’an 9:6]

The Qur’an not only says that a Mushriq seeking asylum during the battle should be granted refuge, but also that he should be escorted to a secure place. In the present international scenario, even a kind, peace-loving army General, during a battle, may let the enemy soldiers go free, if they want peace. But which army General will ever tell his soldiers, that if the enemy soldiers want peace during a battle, don’t just let them go free, but also escort them to a place of security? This is exactly what Allah (swt) says in the Glorious Qur’an to promote peace in the world. (SOURCE, emphasis added)

Dr. Naik makes some very interesting observations about the verse. Indeed, it is truly amazing how Islam-haters will ignore God’s infinite mercy in their attempt to malign Islam. God has always given human beings a way out of any suffering, and has only ordained fighting as a last resort. Muslim scholars have written much commentary on these Quranic verses explaining the historical context in such great detail so that there may be no misconceptions. We have quoted extensively from various commentators on these verses and there is no need to repeat the same material again. We will provide one more commentary before moving on.  

Professor Shahul Hameed writes on verse 9:5:
This is a verse taken from Surah At-Tawba. This chapter of the Qur’an was revealed in the context when the newly organized Muslim society in Medina was engaged in defending themselves against the pagan aggressors. The major question dealt with here is, as to how the Muslims should treat those who break an existing treaty at will. The first clause in the verse refers to the time-honored Arab custom of a period of warning and waiting given to the offenders, after a clear violation. That is, they will be given four months’ time to repair the damage done or make peace. But if nothing happens after the expiry of these forbidden months, what should be done? This is what the present verse says. According to this verse, fighting must be resumed until one of the two things happens: Either the enemy should be vanquished by relentless fighting. That is what is meant by {then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem [of war]}; or they should repent, establish prayers and pay zakah, etc. This is one of those verses of the Qur’an which are likely to be misunderstood, if quoted out of context. We must understand that this fighting was against a people who forced the Prophet and his companions to leave not only their own homes but all their property and even their hometown of Makkah to Medina. Once the Muslims were organized into a community in those lawless times, the rules to be followed by the Muslims were clearly laid down, even in the matter of war. Since Islam is a comprehensive system, no human activity could be ignored. And given the nature of mankind, we cannot imagine a situation where fighting is completely ruled out either. As can be seen, the above injunctions on fighting is not on an individual level, but only in the case of a society that strives to flourish and thrive as a nation. But even here the norms are clear: fighting is only in self defense or for the establishment of justice; and always fighting is the last option. And no one is allowed to transgress the limits set by God. (SOURCE, emphasis added)

Ibn al-`Arabi, in his commentary on the Qur’an, writes: “It is clear from this that the meaning of this verse is to kill the pagans who are waging war against you.” (Ahkam al-Qur’an: 2/456, emphasis added)
 

Shaykh Sami al-Majid also makes some very interesting points in his discussion on this verse:

If we look at the verses in Sûrah al-Tawbah immediately before and after the one under discussion, the context of the verse becomes clear. A few verses before the one we are discussing, Allah says:

“There is a declaration of immunity from Allah and His Messenger to those of the pagans with whom you have contracted mutual alliances. Go then, for four months, to and fro throughout the land. But know that you cannot frustrate Allah that Allah will cover with shame those who reject Him.” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 1-2]

In these verses we see that the pagans were granted a four month amnesty with an indication that when the four months were over, fighting would resume. However, a following verse exempts some of them from the resumption of hostilities. It reads:

“Except for those pagans with whom you have entered into a covenant and who then do not break their covenant at all nor aided anyone against you. So fulfill your engagements with them until the end of their term, for Allah loves the righteous.” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 4]

So when Allah says: “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them and beleaguer them and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)” we must know that it is not general, since the verse above has qualified it to refer to the pagan Arabs who were actually at war with the Prophet (peace be upon him) and those who broke their covenants of peace. This is further emphasized a few verses later where Allah says:

“Will you not fight people who broke their covenants and plotted to expel the Messenger and attacked you first?” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 13]

Therefore, the context of the verse within the Surah makes it clear that this refers to those who are persistent in their hostilities and attacks against Muslims, and it is applied in battle only.

Now let’s see what some prominent personalities of Islam says about this issue:

Specification involves one verse limiting or restricting a general ruling found in another verse, whereas naskh involves abrogating the first verse in to (i.e., it is not applied in any circumstances or conditions). (Qadhi, An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan; UK Al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution, 1999, p. 233)


Sheikh Qadhi also explains that one of the conditions for naskh is that the two conflicting rulings apply to the same situation under the same circumstances, and hence there is no alternative understanding of the application of the verses. As he states:

Therefore, if one of the rulings can apply to a specific case, and the other ruling to a different case, this cannot be considered an example of naskh. (Qadhi, An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan; UK Al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution, 1999, p. 237)


Agniveer claim:

1. Now, in recent times, many scholars have started arguing that 2.256 was not abrogated and it remains a valid verse of Quran. But this argument is contradictory of facts and itself:

a. If indeed there is no compulsion in religion, why is punishment for apostasy DEATH in Islamic Shariat? Why does no scholar like Zakir Naik or anyone else ever proclaim that Saudi Arabia and all those countries who give death punishment for apostasy and insulting Islam/Prophet are against Islam and anti-Muslim?


Response:

Please go through this article to know the reason and explanation behind the death penalty for apostates and CONDITIONS, in which an apostate is to be put to death.

Islam and Freedom of belief

Is Apostasy a Capital Crime in Islam?

 


Agniveer claim:

b. If indeed this peaceful verse is valid, why is propagation of non-Muslim religions prohibited in Muslim countries?


Response:

The wisdom behind this point is that Islam is the only true religion, and all other religions are falsehood. So how can Islam allow falsehood to be spread?

Take a simple example. If you are head of a school and 3 people come to you for job as mathematics teacher. You ask them the answer of 4+4, two of them reply 8, but one of them reply 10. So the question is, will you let such a teacher teach math? A teacher who does not even know the basics of math?


Agniveer claim:

c. If indeed there is no compulsion in religion, why are there countless verses asking to have hatred against non-believers and kill them or force them to become Muslim?


Response:

Three claims are made here:

1.       Hatred against non-Muslims

a.       The reply is here: http://www.muslimaccess.com/articles/quraan/quraan_teach_violence.asp

2.       Kill non-believers

a.       Allah says in Quran

[5:32] if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.

Which proves that no one is allowed to kill any innocent human being, whether he is Muslim or non-Muslim.

3.       Force them to become Muslim

a.       This point has already been explained that Islam does not allow anyone to force any individual person to forcefully accept Islam.


Agniveer claim:

2. Some other scholars say that this verse was indeed abrogated but abrogation means that in a different context of war, verse of Sword (9.5) would be valid, else in non-war situation verse of no-compulsion would be applicable. If that be so, this implies double standards. It basically means that if you are not powerful enough, let there is no compulsion. So talk peacefully, but having hatred in heart for non-Muslims as per Imran 28 and work for your agenda tactfully. But moment you attain power, verse of Sword gets applicable. Then kill the non-believers unless they ask for mercy and agree to become Muslims.


As the verse 2:256 is NOT abrogated with verse 9:5, this claim is proved to be false.


Agniveer Claim:

This has been testified in history of growth of Islam. Wherever they were powerless they talked of peace and no-compulsion. And moment they got powerful, they started forcing Islam through threat of sword.

Even in history of Quran, no-compulsion verse was revealed when Muhammad was still trying to get a set of followers for his mission. And the verse of sword was allegedly revealed after Islam had already become dominant. We suspect, by this time, Muhammad would have been imprisoned all false verse inserted in his name. Or perhaps, after his death, this verse was inserted by his followers who were killing each other on might of sword.

In any case, only a very few scholars have started claiming that no-compulsion verse is not abrogated, primarily after Islam has been in scrutiny in last few years after its extremist face came to fore. They represent a minority and no one dare condemn Muslim countries for having capital punishment for apostasy and ‘denigrating’ Islam.


Response:

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.

Allah, Most High says: “To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged – and verily Allah is Most Powerful for their aid – (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right – (for no cause) except that they say, ‘Our Lord is Allah’. Did Allah not check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure? Allah will certainly aid those who aid his cause, for truly Allah is full of strength and might.” [Surah al-Hajj: 39-40]

Many of the earliest scholars mention that these were the first verses of the Quran that were revealed regarding jihad. Thereafter the following verses were revealed:

“Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors. And slay them wherever you catch them and drive them out from whence they drove you out, for oppression is worse than killing. But fight them not at the sacred mosque unless they fight you there. But if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith. But if they cease, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression and there prevail justice and faith in Allah. But if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression.”
[Surah al-Baqarah: 190-193]

From this point on, the scope of jihad was broadened from being purely for defense against direct attack to being inclusive of resistance against those who suppress the faith and deny people the freedom to choose their religion for themselves. This came later, because it is legislated for the Muslims only when they are capable of doing so. In times of weakness, Muslims may only fight against direct attack.

As for the spread of Islam, this is supposed to take place peacefully by disseminating the Message with the written and spoken word. There is no place for the use of weapons to compel people to accept Islam. Weapons can only be drawn against those who persecute and oppress others and prevent them from following their own consciences in matters of belief. The Muslims cannot just stand by while people are being denied the right to believe in Islam and their voices are being crushed.

This is the meaning of Allah’s words: “And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression and there prevail justice and faith in Allah.” [Surah al-Baqarah: 193]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said in his letter to the Roman governor Heracles: “I invite you to accept Islam. If you accept Islam, you will find safety. If you accept Islam, Allah will give you a double reward. However, if you turn away, upon you will be the sin of your subjects.” [Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]

Once people have heard the Message without obstruction or hindrance and the proof has been established upon them, then the duty of the Muslims is done. Those who wish to believe are free to do so and those who prefer to disbelieve are likewise free to do so.

Even when the Muslims are compelled to fight and then subdue the land, their duty thereafter is to establish Allah’s law in the land and uphold justice for all people, Muslim and non-Muslim. It is not their right to coerce their subjects to accept Islam against their will. Non-Muslims under Muslim rule must be allowed to remain on their own faith and must be allowed to practice the rights of their faith, though they will be expected to respect the laws of the land.

Had the purpose of jihad been to force the unbelievers to accept Islam, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would never have commanded the Muslims to refrain from hostilities if the enemy relented. He would not have prohibited the killing of women and children. However, this is exactly what he did.

During a battle, the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw people gathered together. He dispatched a man to find out why they were gathered. The man returned and said: “They are gathered around a slain woman.” So Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “She should not have been attacked!” Khalid b. al-Walid was leading the forces, so he dispatched a man to him saying: “‘Tell Khalid not to kill women or laborers”. [Sunan Abu Dawud]


  • Note: This should not be misconstrued to indicate that the prophet, peace be upon him, made the killing of women (and children, elders, clerics and other innocents) to be haram (forbidden) at this particular point and time. In fact, it was always haram (forbidden) and the prophet, peace be upon him, was only reconfirming what was already in place by the shari’ah (Islamic Law).
    [Yusuf. Estes]


Therefore, even in the heat of battle against a hostile enemy, the only people who may be attacked are those who are actually participating in the fighting.

Had the purpose of jihad been to force the unbelievers to accept Islam, the rightly guided Caliphs would not have prohibited the killing of priests and monks who refrained from fighting. However, this is exactly what they did. When the first Caliph, Abu Bakr, sent an army to Syria to fight the aggressive Roman legions, he went out to give those words of encouragement. He said: “You are going to find a group of people who have devoted themselves to the worship of Allah (i.e. monks), so leave them to what they are doing.”

We have demonstrated that it is a principle in Islam that there is no compulsion in religion and we have discussed the objectives of jihad. Now, we shall turn our attentions to some texts that are often misunderstood.


Agniveer Claim:

3. Please also note that Islam claims to be the only religion of world. It refuses to provide status of religion to other belief systems and puts them in forever Hell. Thus the verse on ‘no compulsion in religion’ only relates to minute differences within Islamic fold and does not refer to non-Muslims.


Response:

–          Islam does not considers itself the only religion, proof is here:

[003:085] and whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.

–          As Islam considers that there are other religions as well, so the claim that no compulsion point is not for non-Muslims, is proved to be false.


Agniveer Claim:

4. Some Muslim scholars say that only religions are Islam, Christianity and Judaism and Islam is the only true one among them. So perhaps some terrorists may spare Christians and Jews as per this verse, but idolaters like Hindus are for sure not under purview of this verse. This is evident from history where Islam was spread in India, merely on force of sword after killing and rapes of crores. They say Hitler performed largest genocide. But if one looks into deeds of each of the barbaric Muslim looter from Muhammad Bin Qasim to Babur to Akbar to Aurangzeb to Tipu Sultan, each of them had been miles ahead of Hitler in brutality with added flavor of sexual perversion amounting to rape and sexual punishments.


Response:

All of these claims are self made by the author and carry no weight.


Agniveer Claim:

5. As per Zakir ‘Terrorist’ Naik, if a country follows Islamic law (and Islamic law is best law as per Him, since Islam is best religion!), then it is justified to kill an apostate as per Holy Quran!


Response:

Dr.Zakir Naik never gave any such justification to kill any Apostate. The issue of death for apostates has been defined already in the article.


Agniveer Claim:

In fact, Zakir Naik quotes from Quran to claim that Islam alone is religion! Hence the concept of no-compulsion is valid only for Muslims!


Response:

Dr.Zakir naik never made any such claim. The author is using selective words to prove his point right.

Conclusion

1)      There is no compulsion in religion, this point is about a single individual and it has been proved that no person should or can be forced to accept Islam. An Individual can practice his belief freely.

2)      Quran is not Changed/Abrogated in any possible way. The Quran is still the same, as it was, at the time of its revelation.

3)      There is no death penalty in Islam for apostasy except if the person, after leaving Islam, performs act of treason.

4)      The concept of Jihad in Islam is only to fight against the Evil and killing of any innocent human being Is strictly prohibited in islam.

Article Author: Farhan Tahir


InshaAllah Read more: http://www.systemoflife.com/answering-islamophobes/agniveer/239-no-compulsion-in-religion#ixzz3duBcSQf6

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