No Compulsion in Islam!
Muslims will often say to non-Muslims “There is no compulsion in religion”. Let’s examine the sources if this is really true.
Quran 4:89 “They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another). So do not make friends with them, till they emigrate in the way of Allah. But if they turn back (from Islam), seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and do not take anyone of them as a friend or as a helper.”
Q2:193 “And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion be only for Allah. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrong-doers.”
Q88:21-24 “So remind. You are only a reminder. You have no control over them. But whoever turns away and disbelieves, God will punish him with the greatest punishment, to us they will all return.
Q3:85 “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter, He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good).”
Q16:106 – Anyone who after accepting faith in God, speaks unbelief, except under compulsion while their heart remaining firm in faith, yes those who open their breast to unbelief, on them is punishment from God, and theirs will be a dreadful penalty.
-What happens if they don’t pay the Jizyah? Death! If this is not compulsion then what is it?
Q9:29 – 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 (Protection tax) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
Sahih Bukhari – Volume 9, Book 92, Hadith 447
Narrated Abu Huraira: While we were in the mosque, Allah’s Messenger came out and said, “Let us proceed to the Jews.” So we went out with him till we came to Bait-al-Midras. The Prophet stood up there and called them, saying, “O assembly of Jews! Surrender to Allah (embrace Islam) and you will be safe!“.
Sunan Abu Dawud – Book 19, Hadith 3038
Narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas: A man belonging to Usbadhiyin of the people of Bahrayn, who were the Magians of Hajar, came to the Apostle of Allah and remained with him (for some time), and then came out. I asked him: What have Allah and His Apostle of Allah decided for you? He replied: Evil. I said: Silent. He said: Islam or killing. AbdurRahman ibn Awf said: He accepted jizyah from them. Ibn Abbas said: The people followed the statement of AbdurRahman ibn Awf, and they left that which I heard from the Usbadhi.
Sahih Bukhari – Volume 1, Book 11, Hadith 626
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “No prayer is harder for the hypocrites than the Fajr and the ‘Isha’ prayers and if they knew the reward for these prayers at their respective times, they would certainly present themselves (in the mosques) even if they had to c awl.” The Prophet added, “Certainly I decided to order the Mu’adh-dhin (call-maker) to pronounce Iqama and order a man to lead the prayer and then take a fire flame to burn all those who had not left their houses so far for the prayer along with their houses.”
Sahih Muslim – Book 4, Hadith 1370
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger as saying: The most burdensome prayers for the hypocrites are the night prayer and the morning prayer. If they were to know the blessings they have in store, they would have come to them, even though crawling, and I thought that I should order the prayer to be commenced and command a person to lead people in prayer, and I should then go along with some persons having a fagot of fuel with them to the people who have not attended the prayer (in congregation) and would burn their houses with fire.
Sahih Bukhari – Volume 6, Book 60, Hadith 80
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Verse:–“You (true Muslims) are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind.” means, the best of peoples for the people, as you bring them with chains on their necks till they embrace Islam.
Sunan Abu Dawud – Book 2, Hadith 494
Narrated As-Saburah: The Prophet said: Command a boy to pray when he reaches the age of seven years. When he becomes ten years old, then beat him for prayer.
Sunan Abu Dawud – Book 39, Hadith 4342
Abu Burdah said: A man who turned back from Islam was brought to Abu Musa. He invited him to repent for twenty days or about so. Muadh then came and invited him (to embrace Islam) but he refused. So he was beheaded.
Sunan Abu Dawud – Book 14, Hadith 2676
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 said: Muqlat means a woman whose children do not survive.
The scholars of Islam are unanimously agreed that the verse “There is no compulsion in religion” [al-Baqarah 2:256] is not general in application and it does not include the apostate, according to scholarly consensus.
-Abrogated by 9:5, 9:29 – Al-Tabari, Ibn Kathir …
Q2:256 “There is no compulsion in religion. True guidance has been made clearly distinct from error. Therefore, whoever renounces ‘Taghut’ (forces of Satan) and believes in Allah has grasped the firm hand-hold that will never break. Allah, Whose hand-hold you have grasped, hears all and knows all.
Tafsir of Ibn Kathir, Al-Firdous Ltd., First Edition, Part 3, Pages 37-38
But, this verse (Q2:256) 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.
So, the reason for this revelation is that when the Banu an-Nadir Jews were expelled from Arabia, they didn’t want to leave their children behind and didn’t want convert to Islam for which the prophet reveals that “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error”
Q2:256 applies to people of the book only, not idolaters.
He clearly says that this verse has been abrogated by verse “FIGHTING”. And it must be obeyed. If jihad is not fought with the intent to convert one by force to Islam, then there is no need for the “FIGHTING” verse to abrogate this “NO COMPULSION IN RELIGION VERSE”.
Moreover Ibn Kathir’s tafsir makes it clear this verse was meant to a particular situation and has been abrogated 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.
I believe this information is sufficient to prove that this verse (2:256) no longer has and had any relevance to today’s world and in the Islamic history respectively. Still have doubts, now here is the stumper.
Qur’an 3:85 “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam, never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be in the ranks of those who have lost all spiritual good.”
Tafsir of Ibn Kathir, Al-Firdous Ltd., First Edition, Part 3, Pages 37-38
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.
The scholars differed concerning Q. 2:256. Some said: ‘It has been abrogated [cancelled] for the Prophet compelled the Arabs to embrace Islam and fought them and did not accept any alternative but their surrender to Islam. The abrogating verse is Q. 9:73 ‘O Prophet, struggle with the unbelievers and hypocrites, and be thou harsh with them.’ Muhammad asked Allah the permission to fight them and it was granted. Other scholars said Q. 2:256 has not been abrogated, but it had a special application. It was revealed concerning the people of the Book [the Jews and the Christians]; they can not be compelled to embrace Islam if they pay the Jizia (that is head tax on free non-Muslims under Muslim rule). It is only the idol worshippers who are compelled to embrace Islam and upon them Q. 9:73 applies. This is the opinion of Ibn ‘Abbas which is the best opinion due to the authenticity of its chain of authority.
If Muslims ever say “There is no compulsion in religion” then stick these sources in their faces to cure their ignorance.