Rebuttal of support for Surah 2, verse 256

Among Islamopologists and their ill- informed band- wagoners, Surah 2, verse 256 is routinely referred to, as a shining example of the peace and tolerance inherent in Islam. However, peaceful interpretations of this verse are fallacious in nature, and attempts to present this factually incorrect viewpoint, further excuse and ultimately enable Islamists.

The frequently quoted verse reads; “There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing”. The first aspect of the verse; ‘There should be no compulsion in religion’ is the most celebrated and revered aspect among pro- Islam and left- wing circles, with it purportedly providing compelling evidence of the justice, and respect for all other faiths, instilled within the Islamic religion.

On face value, this seems to be a reasonable assertion, as ‘there shall be no compulsion in religion’, appears to genuinely resonate with democratic principles of freedom of religion and worship.

Nevertheless, for 2 major reasons, this verse is fundamentally flawed, and totally at odds with the values, that Islamic advocates claim it represents. The following verse, Surah 2: 257, largely departs from this theme of good will, stating; “Allah is the ally of those who believe. He brings them out from darknesses into the light. And those who disbelieve – their allies are Taghut. They take them out of the light into darknesses. Those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein”. Regardless of the preceding pleasantries of Surah 2: 256, Surah 2: 257, is essentially declaring that those who choose to disbelieve in the religion of Islam will ‘abide eternally’ in the hellfire. This is hardly a moderate and considerate position to take; proclaiming that individuals are to either agree in the divinity and truth of Islam, or face eternal punishment.

Idealist aspirations to peacefully interpret Surah 2: 256, are further discredited, when taking into account the principle of abrogation within the entire Quran. Abrogation, which refers to the approach by which contradictory earlier verses, have their meaning and messsage replaced by later verses, is outlined in Surah 2: 106, which states; “None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah hath power over all things?”. Given the myriad of violent verses revealed after 2:256, including 8:12 9:5, 9:29, and 47:4, which infamously commands Muslims to ‘strike at the necks’ of disbelievers, among many others, it is clear, that the abused slogan of ‘let there be no compulsion in religion’, is nothing but a cherry- picked, selective, and erroneously used catchphrase.

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13 thoughts on “Rebuttal of support for Surah 2, verse 256

  1. First, I never said one word about persecuting anyone. You pulled that out of thin air so let’s dispense with that notion. I simply offered an analysis of the situation. I was unaware I was supposed to solve the problem in a couple of paragraphs.

    Second, I would turn my relative…son, father, sister…over to the authorities in a hot second if I was aware they were planning to wholesale murder innocent people. Have you ever seen photos of the schools these devout Muslims bent on jihad go into? Have you seen the photos of little children hacked to pieces with machetes? The photos of those burned alive? I would consider it my responsibility, because if I just sat by and let it happen I figure I might as well have swung the machete myself. Only the most depraved human being would allow such a thing to happen if they had the power to stop it. What you miss is that they don’t stop them because they don’t want to. The jihadists behavior is permissible…actually supported by their texts. They believe that their actions (chopping up babies etc.) will earn them Allah’s favor in the afterlife.

    Assimilation is always the goal. Otherwise why try to live together? What would be the point? Little countries inside bigger ones? Little Sharia law hellholes inside the wider community? The problem is Islam/Sharia forbids assimilation. The goal is to hold fast to your ways, then work to change the community around you. It’s hard to blend with people who have the goal of NOT blending. When cultures come together successfully, it requires consent to blend (and to live by common law) by all parties. Islam does not allow for that.

    How’s your historical knowledge? Maybe it would be good for you to read up on India/Pakistan and how that “trying to live together” has worked out over time.

    Respect? What a joke. What does that mean? That’s kind of a pie in the sky concept applied here. On the whole, people in the west are tremendously tolerant, welcoming and very respectful of other cultures/races/beliefs. Ever tried to take a bible into Saudi Arabia? How about being an open homosexual in Iran? Respect has to flow both ways.

    It’s been interesting writing back and forth with you. Suffice it to say I know who you are and we won’t come to any sort of understanding via this method of communication. Continue your “respectful” defense of Islam. I hope when the rubber hits the road that defense (if you’re not a Muslim yourself) is returned to you and yours.

  2. It’s worthy of pointing out that the so-called “moderates” who we’re told number in the hundreds of millions can’t handle their “very few radicals.” Funny that, don’t you think? You’d think they’d disavow and then crush those “hijacking” their religion (ideology)….but barring a few apostates who risk their own death, THEY DON’T. Why? Because what the terrorists quote out of their religious books and their subsequent conduct based on those teachings ARE the true teachings of Islam. They are not people who have hijacked a religion for their own nefarious purposes, they are acting as they are commanded.

    It’s very hard for people in the west to wrap their heads around that concept. It took me a long time too. I had to read their texts and the speeches of their religious leaders myself…and study for a long time to actually understand the core teachings of Islam.

    1. The moderates do try to quell extremists, however, it is hard to “crush” a movement without resorting to extremism yourself.

      – M Arief Wibowo, Professional Architect & German teacher
      Originally Answered: Why don’t more moderate Muslims worldwide speak out against jihadists and extremists?
      “Speak out against exteremist Muslims? As a moderate Muslim, I’ve tried it several times in the past and It’s USELESS! Although we are Muslims, we almost stand on absolutely different grounds.

      If you want to eradicate extremism, it’s useless to preach to those extremists. You need subtle methods, such as improving their economy, introducing the extremists’ kids to education and democracy. If you can’t change them, you can change their children.

      Most extremists live in poor undemocratic countries, where they still stick to leaders who take advantage of them.”

      There are clearly multiple factors going on in these events. Radicals have been pushed to their endeavours at least partially because of living in a war-torn country and now use the religion for a political purpose. Moderates have tried to quell extremists but to no avail, they are blind to reason. The only effective measures other than killing the extremists are a long-term change in socio-economic conditions and better education – something hardly achievable in the state of most of these countries.

      On the flip side some moderate Muslim people have endangered their lives to protect others from extremists – NAIROBI, Kenya;

      “Suspected al-Shabab gunmen in Mandera County ambushed a passenger bus.
      The gunmen sprayed the bus with bullets, killing two. But when they asked the 62 Muslim passengers to help identify the Christian passengers, the Muslims refused and told the militants to kill everyone or leave.
      Defeated, the militants left hurriedly, according to witnesses.”

      Risking your life is no small feat and you have to question whether you would personally if you found yourself in that situation.

      This is the terrible position of the vast majority of Muslim people; condemn extremists to no more avail than an outsider or risk their lives to challenge extremism, all the while being criticised by outsiders for “not-doing enough”.

    2. The reason it’s useless to try and talk so-called extremists out of their way of thinking is because they have ample evidence in their religious texts that their behavior is correct. They can refer to the passages and teachings exhorting violence without hesitation…because they’re there.

      And that, my friend, is the root of the problem. By the way, it’s true that many of the devout (who are willing to commit violent acts as commanded) come from economically depressed backgrounds. However, there are plenty of them who come from what we in America would call middle class and even wealthy backgrounds. Think Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, for example. He was from a very wealthy family. He eschewed all worldly comforts, and he had access to everything under the sun, in order to wage violent jihad. His motivation and reasoning is clear in his writing.

      Please know, I understand perfectly that not all Muslims want violence, or wish others harm. Many have little idea what the teachings of Islam are..some are uninterested, millions are illiterate and can’t verify or unearth what’s actually in the texts and there are millions who simply “go along with the program” because as you must know Islam is, at it’s core, dedicated in good part to conversion by the sword. People tend to want to live and if saying the Shahada and going through the motions is going to allow that, they will comply. See…terror works and that is why the devout do the things they do. The “moderates” can’t talk them out of it because they have no basis to do so. According to the texts, they are clearly and provably wrong.

      if the overwhelming number of supposed “moderates” can’t control the teeny tiny group of “extremists” who the *blank* is supposed to?!? I’m thinking about the number of friends and family who know when these people are plotting against the innocent and yet they rarely turn them in, even though in the US you can do so anonymously.

      You sound like Marie Harf. “Give them money…and jobs and they won’t be violent.” That’s not working so well in Europe right now (or in America where many Somalians from Minnesota have run off to join ISIS). They don’t want another way. That’s clear from their refusal to assimilate when they get to countries where they have a choice. On the whole, they don’t approve of the more democratic ways of their host countries. They work day and night to change the societies they’re welcomed into. They WANT Sharia law, not Australian or American or British or French law. I honestly and truly wish you good luck with your “winning hearts and minds” strategy. 1400 years of trying by those who have gone before you hasn’t been successful but perhaps you will be.

    3. I completely agree that the examples are there for extremists to extort and believe. Obviously there are significant issues when “turning someone in” – imagine if you had to turn your brother, father or daughter in which meant they would go to jail or potentially worse.

      You acknowledge that you “understand perfectly that not all Muslims want violence, or wish others harm.” But you offer no solutions other than persecuting a whole religion based on the actions of a minority.

      You speak of “refusal to assimilate” – should we be forcing assimilation? Australia’s Prime Minister has recently said that;

      “Australia’s multicultural society was one of our great achievements and urged mutual respect.

      We are united, we have so much in common, and we are stronger and more prosperous as a nation because of that diversity. My message today and every day, as your Prime Minister, is that mutual respect, respect for each other, giving the respect to others that we ask them and expect them to give to us, that is the key to our success.”

      Thus the key is to integrate – incorporating a racial or religious group into a community. We are all part of the equation in controlling extremists, by denying them credibility and association with the majority of people they attempt to affiliate with they are effectively neutralised. Thus the crucial importance of distinguishing Muslim people in our communities who are our friends and families with opposing extremists.

  3. What is the point of these out of context disseminations other than to show that you understand English well and to paint the majority of a religion with a minority? By this I mean that when actually meeting Muslim people and discussing religion you would find that they are normal people – they incorporate most but not all aspects of their teaching. They are not all the radical extremists depicted by the media who strike at the necks of disbelievers. An adept analogy would be my own upbringing as a Catholic. Whilst containing a majority of good teaching, small out of context snippets of the bible have a number of gruesome and non-progressive statements such as;

    “If two men sleep with each other they will both have to be killed” (Leviticus 20:13), “If you reject my commands and abhor my laws, you will eat the flesh of your own sons and the flesh of your own daughters” (Leviticus 26:30) and “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission” (Timothy 2:11).

    Of course I do not believe this and would not practice these teachings. This is also true for Muslim people. To this date not one Muslim person I have talked with, despite knowing my religion has attempted to strike at my neck or suggested I will burn in hellfire. I would suggest you get into the community, expand your connection with Muslim people beyond 3-4 so that you do not spread the idea that all Muslim people are radicals who blindly believe everything in their teachings, word-for-word such as striking at the necks of disbelievers and condemnation to burning in hellfire.

    1. So Muslims areant acting on this across the world? Step out of your bubble, people are being massacred and all you can focus your attention on is your hurt little feelings.

    2. You’re right some Muslims do act on these ideals namely those in the radical Islamic State group. Fortunately the world is not ones and zeros and so the majority certainly do not and in fact disavow extremist groups. As I am not Muslim this doesn’t affect my personal feelings at all. I am merely questioning the purpose of these disseminations other than to falsely stereotype the majority with an extreme minority.

    3. I’m assuming your 86% percent is based on Pew Research Centre. It is important to reach that the bottom of the data mentions that; “based on Muslims who favour making sharing the law of the land (74% total in Egypt), Interviews conducted with Muslims in five southern provinces only, Results for Azerbaijan not shown due to small sample size”. Therefore the true statistic is 63% in four of Egypt’s southern governing areas (total of 27). Additionally Pew Research do not comment on the total sample size or the percentage of the Muslim population interviewed – surely not everyone was interviewed. Nevertheless your assertion is possibly true for four states in southern Egypt.

      In regards to your second point I think that insults towards Islam are best phrased as constructive criticism and question the value of taking one line phrases out of context and berating people because of course they must follow their teachings word for word. I certainly think some attitudes are in need of dire change, however, pointing them out in a paternal, patronising manner will not help to bring the internal changes to the religion you seek.

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