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Is Conversion to Islam by Force Permissible?

As a general principle every verse of the Qur’an must be read and interpreted against the background of the Qur’an as a whole [selective interpretation of verses in isolation, out of context my not convey the complete sense]. Let’s take example:

“And so, when the sacred months are over, slay those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God wherever you may come upon them, and take them captive, and besiege them, and lie in wait for them at every conceivable place! Yet if they repent, and take to prayer, and render the purifying dues, let them go their way: for, behold, God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.” (Qur’an;9:5).

This verse speaks of a possible conversion to Islam on the part of “those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God” with whom the believers are at war, must, therefore, be considered in conjunction with several fundamental Qura’nic ordinances. One of them, “There shall be no coercion in matters of faith” (Qur’an;2:256), lays down categorically that any attempt at a forcible conversion of unbelievers is  prohibited – which precludes the possibility of the Muslims’ demanding or expecting that a defeated enemy should embrace Islam as the price of immunity.

Secondly, the Qur’an ordains, “Fight in God’s cause against those who wage war against you; but do not commit aggression, for, verily, God does not love aggressors” (Qur’an;2:190); and, “if they do not let you be, and do not offer you peace, and do not stay their hands, seize them and slay them whenever you come upon them: and it is against these that We have clearly empowered you [to make war]” (Qur’an;4:91). Thus, war is permissible only in self-defence (in the widest sense of the word):

“And fight in God’s cause against those who wage war against you, but do not commit aggression – for, verily, God does not love aggressors. And slay them wherever you may come upon them, and drive them away from wherever they drove you away – for oppression is even worse than killing. And fight not against them near the Inviolable House of Worship unless they fight against you there first; but if they fight against you, slay them: such shall be the recompense of those who deny the truth.” (Qura’n;2:190-191).

It is with the further proviso that “if they desist – behold, God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace” (Qur’an;2:192), and “if they desist, then all hostility shall cease” (Qur’an;2:193).

Now the enemy’s conversion to Islam – expressed in the words, “if they repent, and take to prayer [“establish prayer”] and render the purifying dues (Zakat)”- is no more than one, and by no means the only, way of their “desisting from hostility”; and the reference to it in verses 5 and 11 of Surah 9, certainly does not imply an alternative of “conversion or death“, as some unfriendly critics of Islam choose to assume. Qur’an give further elucidation of the attitude which the believers are enjoined to adopt towards such of the unbelievers as are not hostile to them:

And if any of those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God seeks thy protection, grant him protection, so that he might [be able to] hear the word of God [from thee]; and thereupon convey him to a place where he can feel secure: this, because they [may be] people who [sin only because they] do not know [the truth]”(Qur’an;9:6).

As for such [of the unbelievers] as do not fight against you on account of [your] faith, and neither drive you forth from your homelands, God does not forbid you to show them kindness and to behave towards them with full equity: for, verily, God loves those who act equitably. God only forbids you to turn in friendship towards such as fight against you because of [your] faith, and drive you forth from your homelands, or aid [others] in driving you forth: and as for those [from among you] who turn towards them in friendship; it is they, they who are truly wrongdoers!” (Qur’an;60:8-9)

[Extracted from “The Message of Qur’an” by Muhammad Asad: https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B0Qfx8dX9TCvZWJjMjQ2ZjQtOWEzNS00MGIyLWJiZjItOTNmMWNiZTcyYWMw&hl=en]

Conversion y Force:http://wp.me/pCgrB-hU







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