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2:256 Let there be no compulsion in religion

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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.

The following excerpt is taken from “Maariful Quran” pg. 638-639:

One who holds on to Islam firmly stays protected against
destruction and deprivation. It was for this reason that such a person
was likened to one who holds on firmly to the ‘ring’, the looped support
of a strong rope, and thus manages to avoid falling down. As there is
no danger of such a rope breaking apart and causing a fall, so there is
no danger of destruction or loss in Islam — should somebody just
abandon the rope, that would be an entirely different matter. And
should somebody abandon Islam itself, that would be an entirely
different matter too. (Maulana Thanavi: Bayan al-Qur’an).
Keeping this verse in view, some people raise objections. They say
this verse tells us that there is no compulsion in faith, although the
teaching of jihad and qital (fighting) in Islam appears contrary to this
Looking at this a little carefully, we can find out that the objection
is not valid, since the teaching of jihad and qital in Islam is not to
coerce people into accepting Faith. Had it been so, why would there be
Islamic injunctions of jizyah to provide an umbrella of security for
kuffar (disbelievers) which protects their life, property and honour? In
fact, this is to remove disorder, strife or fasad, for Allah Almighty
dislikes fasad, which is what the kuffar are after. Therefore, Allah
Almighty says:

And they go about the earth spreading disorder and Allah
does not like those who spread disorder. (5: 64)

It is for this reason that Allah Almighty has ordained that the
fasad created by these people should be removed by jihad and qital. So,killing such people is like the killing of serpents, scorpions and their
harmful likes.

Islam has firmly banned the killing of women, children, the aged
and the crippled etc., even in the heat of jihad on the battlefield, since
they are incapable of creating disorder. Similarly, it has stopped the
killing of those who become law-abiding citizens by promising to pay
jizyah (compensatory dues paid by free non-Muslims under Muslim rule against guarantee of the security of their life, property and honour). This approach of Islam makes it clear that it does not force people to accept and enter Faith, rather far from it, by using it as a method of stopping oppression in the world, it hopes to establish justice and equity and peace and security. When Sayyidna ‘Umar (RA) invited an old Christian woman to accept Islam, she said in reply: ‘I am an old woman nearing death.’ Hearing this, Sayyidna ‘Umar did not force her to come into the fold of Islam. In fact, he recited this very verse, ‘there is no compulsion in ‘ Faith.’

Really and truly, coercion and compulsion to make one accept a faith are not possible at all because faith is not related to outward physical response; it relates to the heart. Coercion and compulsion affect nothing but the outsides of physique and this is all that is affected by jihad and qital (fighting in the way of Allah). Consequently, it is just not possible that people can be forced to accept faith through these measures. This proves that the verses of jihad and qital are not contradictory to the verse: (There is no compulsion in Faith). (Mazhari, Qurtubi)


Shafi, Muhammad (2008). Maariful Quran. (Vol .1 pg. 638-639)

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