John R. Houk
© May 18, 2013
Many a Muslim in defending the theopolitical cult of Islam will quote this phrase to emphasize the propaganda and false perception that Islam is peace: There is compulsion in religion.
The phrase is straight from the Quran which Muslims consider the infallible directs words of Allah passed onto Mohammed who then shared them with his adherents. It can be referenced as Quran 2:256 or as Al-Baqara 256.
Here are a few English translations of Quran 2:256:
THERE SHALL BE no coercion in matters of faith. Distinct has now become the right way from [the way of] error: hence, he who rejects the powers of evil and believes in God has indeed taken hold of a support most unfailing, which shall never give way: for God is all-hearing, all-knowing.
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.
Compulsion is incompatible with religion, therefore let there be no compulsion in religion. Now the path of righteousness has been distinguished from the path of error and holiness distinguished from vindictiveness. Therefore, he who rejects false beliefs and turns his attention to Allah with a religious mind, will have firmly grasped the eternal, unchangeable and most secure handhold which shall never separate, nor shall it suffer a break, and Allah is Sami‘un and 'Alimun.
** Read more translations from Islam Awakened
There are Muslim scholars of considerable weighty importance that have written the Quran 2:256 has been abrogated by Quran 9:29:
Sahih International: Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.
Pickthall: Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.
Yusuf Ali: 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.
Shakir: Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.
Muhammad Sarwar: Fight against those People of the Book who have no faith in God or the Day of Judgment, who do not consider unlawful what God and His Messenger have made unlawful, and who do not believe in the true religion, until they humbly pay tax with their own hands.
Mohsin Khan: Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (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.
Arberry: Fight those who believe not in God and the Last Day and do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden -- such men as practise not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book -- until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled.
** From Quran Arabic Corpus
You can understand why many Muslim scholars claim Quran 9:29 abrogates (or nullifies) Quran 2:256’s “There is no compulsion in religion”. According to 9:29 Muslims are to fight non-believers in Islam and Mohammed’s version of the Last Day. The Last Day meaning all non-Muslims will be confined to the torments of hell. Thus if you believe in the Muslim way you are worthy of death. That sounds like compulsion to me!
Fascinatingly there are Muslim scholars that claim 9:29 does not abrogate 2:256. This Muslim thinking works something like this: The fight against unbelievers is not an invocation to kill but rather to submit to the Islamic theopolitical culture as subservient. A lack of subservience does mean brutal measures up to and including death. So thinking is not compelling one to convert to Islam but create a dhimmi class that pays the jizya tax (poll tax to stay alive) in humiliation so that the dhimmi knows their place in Muslim world. Breaking the dhimmi deal requires punish according to how Islam has been violated or insulted. Guess what the conquered people chose to do rather than suffer the humiliations of dhimmitude. If you guessed conversion to Islam you are the big winner!
In essence dhimmitude was the long term path to convince the conquered to convert to Islam. The plan might be long term but it still is compulsion in religion.
Here are some thoughts written more articulately on the issue of abrogation or non-abrogation of Quran 2:256 by Quran 9:29:
Immediately following is the famous statement that “there is no compulsion in religion” (v. 256). Islamic spokesmen in the West frequently quote it to disprove the contention that Islam spread by the sword, or even to claim that Islam is a religion of peace. According to an early Muslim, Mujahid ibn Jabr, this verse was abrogated by Qur’an 9:29, in which the Muslims are commanded to fight against the People of the Book. Others, however, according to the Islamic historian Tabari, say that 2:256 was never abrogated, but was revealed precisely in reference to the People of the Book. They are not to be forced to accept Islam, but may practice their religions as long as they pay the jizya (poll-tax) and “feel themselves subdued” (9:29).
Many see v. 256 as contradicting the Islamic imperative to wage jihad against unbelievers, but actually there is no contradiction because the aim of jihad is not the forced conversion of non-Muslims, but their subjugation within the Islamic social order. Says Asad: “All Islamic jurists (fuqahd’), without any exception, hold that forcible conversion is under all circumstances null and void, and that any attempt at coercing a non-believer to accept the faith of Islam is a grievous sin: a verdict which disposes of the widespread fallacy that Islam places before the unbelievers the alternative of ‘conversion or the sword.’” Quite so: the choice, as laid out by Muhammad himself, is conversion, subjugation as dhimmis, or the sword. Qutb accordingly denies that v. 256 contradicts the imperative to fight until “religion is for Allah” (v. 193), saying that “Islam has not used force to impose its beliefs.” Rather, jihad’s “main objective has been the establishment of a stable society in which all citizens, including followers of other religious creeds, may live in peace and security” – although not with equality of rights before the law, as 9:29 emphasizes. For Qutb, that “stable society” is the “Islamic social order,” the establishment of which is a chief objective of jihad.
In this light verses 256 and 193 go together without any trouble. Muslims must fight until “religion is for Allah,” but they don’t force anyone to accept Allah’s religion. They enforce subservience upon those who refuse to convert, such that many of them subsequently convert to Islam so as to escape the humiliating and discriminatory regulations of dhimmitude — but when they convert, they do so freely. Only at the end of the world will Jesus, the Prophet of Islam, return and Islamize the world, abolishing Christianity and thus the need for the jizya that is paid by the dhimmis. Then religion will be “for Allah,” and there will be no further need for jihad. (Excerpted from Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 2, “The Cow,” verses 222-286; By Robert Spencer; Hot Air; 7/15/07)
Now here is the reason I thought it important to understand the Islamic notion of there being no compulsion of religion. Raymond Ibrahim wrote a no holds barred expose on how Muslims indeed compelled Christians to convert or die throughout the centuries to this present day. Ibrahim describes some savage historical incidents in which Muslims butchered Christians for not converting to Islam. The essay is entitled “Islamic Forced Conversions — Past and Present”.
Islamic Forced Conversions — Past and Present
By Raymond Ibrahim
May 16, 2013
The lost history of Christians forced to convert to Islam—or die—is reemerging, figuratively and literally. According to the BBC: “Pope Francis has proclaimed the first saints of his pontificate in a ceremony [last Sunday] at the Vatican—a list which includes 800 victims of an atrocity carried out by Ottoman soldiers in 1480.They were beheaded in the southern Italian town of Otranto after refusing to convert to Islam.”
The BBC adds in a sidebar: “The ‘Martyrs of Otranto’ were 813 Italians beheaded for defying demands by Turkish invaders to renounce Christianity. The Turks had been sent by Mohammed II, who had already captured the ‘second Rome’ of Constantinople.”
Historical texts throughout the centuries are filled with similar anecdotes, including the “60 Martyrs of Gaza,” Christian soldiers who were executed for refusing Islam during the 7th century Islamic invasion of Jerusalem. Seven centuries later, during the Islamic invasion of Georgia, Christians refusing to convert were forced into their church and set on fire. Witnesses for Christ lists 200 anecdotes of Christians killed—including some burned at the stake, thrown on iron spikes, dismembered, stoned, stabbed, shot at, drowned, pummeled to death, impaled and crucified—for refusing to embrace Islam.
If history is shocking, the fact is, today, Christians—men, women, and children—are still being forced to convert to Islam. Pope Francis alluded to their sufferings during the same ceremony: “As we venerate the martyrs of Otranto, let us ask God to sustain those many Christians who, in these times and in many parts of the world, right now, still suffer violence, and give them the courage and fidelity to respond to evil with good.”
Consider some recent anecdotes:
In Pakistan, a “devoted Christian” was butchered by Muslim men “with multiple axe blows [24 per autopsy] for refusing to convert to Islam.” Another two Christian men returning from church were accosted by six Muslims who tried to force them to convert to Islam, but “the two refused to renounce Christianity.” Accordingly, the Muslims severely beat them, yelling they must either convert “or be prepared to die. . . . the two Christians fell unconscious, and the young Muslim men left assuming they had killed them.”
In Bangladesh some 300 Christian children were abducted in 2012 and sold to Islamic schools, where “imams force them to abjure Christianity.” The children are then instructed in Islam and beaten. After full indoctrination they are asked if they are “ready to give their lives for Islam,” presumably by becoming jihadi suicide-bombers. (Even here the historic patterns are undeniable: for centuries, Christian children were forcibly taken, converted to and indoctrinated in Islam, trained to be jihadis extraordinaire, and then unleashed on their former Christian families. Such were the Janissaries and Mamelukes.)
In Palestine in 2012, Christians in Gaza protested over the “kidnappings and forced conversions of some former believers to Islam.” The ever-dwindling Christian community banged on a church bell while chanting, “With our spirit, with our blood we will sacrifice ourselves for you, Jesus.”
Just as happened throughout history, Muslims today regularly “invite” Christians to Islam, often presenting it as the only cure to their sufferings—sufferings caused by Muslims in the first place.
In Pakistan, a Christian couple was arrested on a false charge and severely beaten by police. The pregnant wife was “punched, kicked and beat” as her interrogators threatened to kill her unborn baby. A policeman offered to drop the theft charge if the husband would only “renounce Christianity and convert to Islam,” but the man refused.
In Uzbekistan, a 26-year-old Christian woman, partially paralyzed from youth, and her elderly mother were violently attacked by invaders who ransacked their home, confiscating “icons, Bibles, religious calendars, and prayer books.” At the police department, the paralyzed woman was “offered to convert to Islam.” She refused, and the judge “decided that the women had resisted police and had stored the banned religious literature at home and conducted missionary activities. He fined them 20 minimum monthly wages each.”
In Sudan, Muslims kidnapped a 15-year-old Christian girl; they raped, beat and ordered her to convert to Islam. When her mother went to police to open a case, the Muslim officer of the so-called “Family and Child Protection Unit,” told her: “You must convert to Islam if you want your daughter back.”
Indeed, because Christian females are the most vulnerable segments of Islamic societies, they are especially targeted for forced conversions. In 2012, U.S. Congress heard testimony about the “escalating abduction, coerced conversion and forced marriage of Coptic Christian women and girls [550 cases in the last five years alone].Those women are being terrorized and, consequently, marginalized, in the formation of the new Egypt.”
As my new book Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians documents, wherever there are large numbers of Muslims—whether in the Arab World, Africa, Asia, or even in the West—Christians are being persecuted. Forced conversions are the tip of the iceberg, and certainly not anomalies of history.
No Compulsion of Religion in Islam – It’s Poppycock
John R. Houk
© May 18, 2013
Islamic Forced Conversions — Past and Present
RAYMOND IBRAHIM, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. A widely published author, best known for The Al Qaeda Reader (Doubleday, 2007), he guest lectures at universities, including the National Defense Intelligence College, briefs governmental agencies, such as U.S. Strategic Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and has testified before Congress regarding the conceptual failures that dominate American discourse concerning Islam and the worsening plight of Egypt's Christian Copts. Among other media, he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, CBN, and NPR.
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