Verse of the Sword?

This is an example of one of the more negative questions I have received. As expected, there was no reply to my response, but this response contains a link to an excellent podcast explanation that I felt was worth sharing. . .
When the caller asked, “How come the Quran has so many verses about hate”, I think she was referencing verse like the following:
Sura 9:5
Sura 9:29
Sura 5:82
Sura 60:1
Sura 98:6
In some places of the Quran Christians are held in high regard.  In some places in the Quran the dictates of the Quran call for the killing of Christians because they are not Muslims.  The Muslim that hugs you and smiles at you is following the Quran and the Muslim that kills you in the name of His god is, also, following the Quran.
The philosophy is, “Make your enemies feel like they are your friends until you have the power to rule them then do to them whatever you wish”.

In the Name of God, The Most-Compassionate, The Ever-Merciful:

There is much misinformation and propaganda against Islam these days, so it is natural for you to feel distrust or even hate. We are here to set the record straight; but we can only do so if you are willing to consider our side of the story. 

First of all, there is a historical context to the 9th sura of the Qur’an. If you want to hear a detailed explanation of that historical context and how this informs the MAINSTREAM MUSLIM understanding of that part of the Qur’an, Nouman Ali Khan (one of my favorite speakers) has a very excellent podcast on that issue HERE.

If you want to read what unbiased non-Muslims say about Islam and Muslims, the link is HERE.

If you want to see formal statements by Muslim scholars and leaders against terrorism and against violating rights of non-Muslims, the link is HERE.

The Qur’an says:

There is no compulsion in faith… Quran (2:256)

If your Lord had so wished, all would have believed; will you then force people to believe? Quran (10:99)

Say, “This is Truth from your Lord”: Let he who wishes believe, and let he who wishes reject… Quran (18:29)

As for Jihad, this is the most misunderstood concept in our faith. The word Jihad comes from the root word ‘jahada,’ which means ‘struggle.’ At the individual level, jihad primarily refers to the inner struggle of being a person of virtue and submission to God in all aspects of life. It does not mean “holy war.”  Jihad on the battlefield, in the Islamic perspective, is the last resort, and is subject to stringent conditions (no harming non-combatants, no demolishing buildings, no cutting down crops, no killing of prisoners).

The Qur’an says:

To those against whom war is made, permission is given to fight because they are wronged, and verily God is their strongest helper. Those who have been driven from their homes unjustly, for no cause except that they say,”Our Lord is God.” If God did not check one set of people with another, many monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques –in which the Name of God is remembered often– would have been leveled. -Qur’an (22:39-40)

Moreover, the Qur’an says:

And why should ye not fight in the cause of God and of the oppressed Men, women, and children whose cry is, “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from Thee one who will protect; and raise for us from Thee one who will help! -Qur’an (4:75)

Thus the conditions of physical Jihad are clearly defined in the Qur’an. Regardless of how legitimate a cause may be, Islam does not condone the killing of innocent people. Terrorizing the civilian population, whether by individuals or states, can never be termed as jihad and can never be reconciled with the authentic teachings of Islam.  The ends NEVER justify the means in Islam.

The Quran says:

God does not forbid you, regards those who have not fought you in religion’s cause, nor expelled you from your homes, that you should be kindly to them, and act justly towards them; surely God loves the just.
God only forbids you as to those who have fought you in religion’s cause, and expelled you from your habitations, and have supported in your expulsion, that you should take them for friends. And whosoever takes them for friends, those are the evildoers.
Quran (60:8-9)

So God REQUIRES that if a non-Muslim tribe or nation does not fight the Muslim tribe or nation because of their faith or drive them from their homes, then the Muslim tribe or nation MUST treat them with goodness and equality.

The Prophet said:

“Whoever hurts a non-Muslim who had a pact of peace with us hurts me, and he who hurts me offends God.”

“He who hurts a non-Muslim who had a pact of peace with us, I am his adversary; and I shall be his adversary on the Day of Judgement.”

“Anyone who kills a non-Muslim who had a pact of peace with us will not smell the fragrance of Paradise.”

From this, Islamic scholars are unanimous that the life, property, and honor of non-Muslims who do not attack Muslims or drive them from their homes are as sacred as the life, property and honor of Muslims. So in conclusion, fighting and waging war is only allowed to defend faith, life, and homeland. It is also permitted to stop aggression, persecution, tyranny or injustice.

I look forward to your response, and I hope to continue the discussion.

REMEMBER: With dialogue comes understanding.

3 thoughts on “Verse of the Sword?

  1. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
    Every dictatorship must have enemy to channel public anger. Russian President Putin had not long ago major public unrest against government corruption. He created attack in Petersburg’s metro in order to move public attention from himself to “terrorists”. Right now in US is going process of creating enemy – Islam, Muslims. This is why people even before talking to Muslims already have strong opinion against Islam based on propaganda, brainwashing.
    I remember episode of my life under Communist dictatorship in Soviet Union. We have been traveling by train from city of Tallinn to Leningrad. In the train we started to read Bible, talk about religion. People started to ask us questions, after they asked us to sing some Christian psalms. We did. Somewhere one lady appeared, very nervous, can’t sit, jumping from place to place. She started to name us ‘fascists”. I asked: “Why?’. She explained they had writing on their belt “Gott mit uns”, it means they been believers as we. Finally she called militia (police) and KGB. They interrogated us and send information to the curt.
    This story exactly shows that without serious explanations, disputes and dialogues very hard to talk to outside people.
    We live in the age of censorship, politically correctness; this is why more people watching Al Jazeera news, because you can’t see truth in CNN and Fox news.
    “As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” But not all have obeyed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Romans 10:15-16

  2. Christians and Muslims have for too long seen each other with misconceptions of each other faith and the misuse of the others writings to condemn each other has been the departure point. Is time to walk along, even if we are different, try to understand each other faith in order to build a better and peaceful world.

    1. Armin,

      That is so very true. It is for this reason that I wrote my book and setup this website. We need to make our interfaith about real dialogue and understanding, not just polemics and condemnations. My hope is that these conversations can be a small step towards acceptance and harmony.

      May peace be with you,

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