Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Allah Says: "Let There Be No Compulsion In Religion"

ONE of the very basic principles of Islam that is stated by Allah in the Qur’an is simply this:

Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 256]

Many Muslims themselves do not know that this verse exists in the Qur’an, let alone its true meaning. Some scholars have even tried to establish (wrongly) that this verse has been abrogated. Therefore we have today misguided Muslims trying to force others, both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, to their erroneous point of view, totally against this basic principle of Islam.

The result of course is bigotry and violence in the name of religion, with Muslims fighting against Muslims and also non-Muslims, out of an ignorance that they try to pass off as knowledge. Even misguided ulamas and purported scholars are not immune to this propensity, born of their own racial and other prejudices.

The irony of the fact, that they themselves cannot guarantee their own place in Heaven yet they perversely and misguidedly try to force others to follow their viewpoint, eludes them.

Religion in Islam has always been a personal issue, with individuals responsible only for their own personal salvation and not that of others. This is how Islam and Muslims have managed not only to survive but to thrive even under non-Muslim governments, while in many cases suffering under the tyranny of purportedly “Islamic” governments.

The truth of the matter is that Islam does not need the state to fight for it or to police Muslims or non-Muslims. Any attempt by the state or any government to do so is misguided.

States, including so-called “Islamic” states, have been notoriously ineffective in protecting their poorer citizens, but only serve the interests of the ruling, administrative and business elites. This is against Islam.

This verse was revealed when some of Ansar (the people of Madinah who had accepted Muhammad (s.a.w.) as their leader), converted to Islam and tried to force their children to accept Islam as well.

Scholars have said that this verse applies to every individual person. Islam allows an individual to practice his own religion freely and tells us not to force anyone to accept Islam.

Without going into too much detail about the concept and principles of abrogation in the Qur’an, suffice it to say that no better or similar verse has replaced this one, directly or indirectly.

This conclusion is based on the following, the only two verses in the Qur’an that talk of abrogation or change:

“Whatever Verse (Revelation) we abrogate or cause to be forgotten, we bring a better one or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is Able to do all things? [Surah al-Baqarah: 106]; and

“And when We substitute a verse in place of a verse - and Allah is most knowing of what He sends down - they say, "You, [O Muhammad], are but an inventor [of lies]." But most of them do not know”. [Surah An-Nahl:106].

Some of the verses in the Qur’an used to justify abrogation of the “non-compulsion” verse actually related to a limited historical context of battle as a last resort against further non-Muslim hostilities and cannot be seen as abrogating a general principle such as that of non-compulsionn in religion.

To those Muslims, especially in Malaysia, who say that the Name “Allah” cannot be used by non-Muslims, the answer is in the Qur’an itself:

“[They are] those who have been evicted from their homes without right - only because they say, "Our Lord is Allah." And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.” [Surah Al-Haj: 40] (emphasis added).

Muslims are enjoined to uphold justice for all people, Muslim and non-Muslim. Allah is not the Lord of Muslims (“Allah Rabbil Muslimin”) alone but the Lord of All Creation (“Allah Rabbil Alamin”). There is no mention of “Allah Rabbil Muslimin” in the Qur’an but numerous mentions of “Allah Rabbil Alamin”.

Muslims do not have any rights to coerce non-Muslims to accept Islam or its religious laws against their will. Non-Muslims should also not come under any threat or harm from Muslims just because they do not accept or follow Islam.

Even Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, said to his army sent to Syria to fight the Romans, “You are going to find a group of people who have devoted themselves to the worship of Allah (i.e. monks), so leave them to what they are doing.”

Umar, the second Caliph, defined by precept of Islam and by his own example, the rights and privileges of non-Muslims, for example the following contract with the Christians of Jerusalem:

"This is the protection which the servant of Allah, 'Umar, the Ruler of the Believers has granted to the people of Eiliya [Jerusalem]. The protection is for their lives and properties, their churches and crosses, their sick and healthy and for all their coreligionists. Their churches shall not be used for habitation, nor shall they be demolished, nor shall any injury be done to them or to their compounds, or to their crosses, nor shall their properties be injured in any way. There shall be no compulsion for these people in the matter of religion, nor shall any of them suffer any injury in account of religion...Whatever is written herein is under the covenant of Allah and the responsibility of His Messenger, of the Caliphs and of the believers, and shall hold good as long as they pay Jizya [the tax for their defence] imposed on them."

"Those non-Mulsims who took part in defence together with the Muslims were exempted from paying Jizya, and when the Muslims had to retreat from a city whose non-Muslims had paid this tax for their defence, the tax was returned to the non-Muslims. The old, the poor and the disabled of Muslims and non-Muslims alike were provided for from the public treasury and from Zakat funds." 

The general principle in Islam of non-compulsion in religion is further emphasized by the following verses:

“If it had been your Lord’s will, all of the people on Earth would have believed. Would you then compel the people so to have them believe?” [Surah Yunus: 99];
“So if they dispute with you, say ‘I have submitted my whole self to Allah, and so have those who follow me.’ And say to the People of the Scripture and to the unlearned: ‘Do you also submit yourselves?’ If they do, then they are on right guidance. But if they turn away, your duty is only to convey the Message. And in Allah’s sight are all of His servants.” [Surah Al ‘Imran: 20];
“The Messenger’s duty is but to proclaim the Message.” [Sûrah al-Mâ’idah: 99].

So why is it that ordinary Muslims perversely try to take it upon themselves to do more than this? Out of a guilty conscience? Or as a tool of political control?

On a final note, this is a covenant that the Prophet Muhammad himself made via a Charter of Privileges to Christians (in a letter to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery):

"This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.

Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers, defend them because

 Christians are my citizens: and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.

No compulsion is to be on them.

Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.

No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslim's homes.

Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.

No one is to force them to travel or oblige them to fight.

 The Muslims are to fight for them.

If a female Christian is to be married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.

Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.

No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (the end of the world)."

What can be clearer than this? Muslims have to ask themselves whether they have continued to fulfill this permanent covenant or have disobeyed it, their Prophet and Allah.

Al Tugauw


Henry Anak Joseph said...

Many Muslims don't buy this view. They still think that "Allah" as name of God should be exclusive to Muslims and Malays alone. But if you ask them, they will never tell the justification. They will only tell you, "why you Christians are so determined to use the Kalimah Allah" They further say, "why are you Christians are so bent on offending the Malays and Islam?" Even if we tell them that Christians have been using the terminology for thousand of years and even pre-dated Islam, they just rubbish your explanation. I find sometimes it's useless talking to people who think they are sitting on the throne of judgment.

Anonymous said...

my opinion view on "this isue" is body can stop u on practising ur own belief...

Anonymous said...

indeed, nobody can stop you to practice your own believing..but the question is why you need to champion your believe loudly in public, considering the multi-religion that we have?

no one can argue if you used Kalimah Allah to refer the Only One God, as Isa a.s thought.(pre dated Islam teaching yes), surely Isa a.s never said Allah is trinity God.

Anonymous said...

Henry anak Joseph, i am a Christian and i will not use Allah in my worship not because i am fearful of PERKASA or the likes. I will not use Allah in my Christian worship because its not a generic name for god but an ancient pagan moon god predominantly worshipped in ancient Sumeria.( present day Iraq,Kuwait,Syria). Our God as in the Bible is Yahweh.
Please research the origins of Allah.
By the way , Jesus is the Helenic (Greek) version of Yahshua which means Yahweh Saves.