"There is no compulsion in religion…"

 “Laa ikraaha fid-Deen — there is no compulsion in religion”

A little Islam lesson from the horses camels mouth about the old chestnut of  “no compulsion”. There are many verses in Koran, sira & hadith on how to force Islam on recalcitrant kafirs, but the soldiers of allah are not (yet) in a position to do that because they don’t have the numbers or the military strength.

Next time you encounter one of these  cheeky  da’awa maniacs prepare yourself:

Qur’an 9:33 “It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad) with guidance and the Religion of Truth (Islam) to make it superior over all religions, even though the disbelievers detest (it).”

 Chose islam, infidel… (Or else…!)

So here, a little refresher course for ya:

Unfortunately, nowadays one of the greatest misunderstandings of the divine texts is in reference to the verse, “Laa ikraaha fid-Deen – There is no compulsion in religion…” (EMQ 2: 256). This verse has been falsely interpreted to mean that we cannot force Islam upon the people. However, if we refer to the understanding of the Sahaabah we can clearly see that this is not the case at all.

“There is no compulsion in religion” means that people should not be forced to embrace Islam i.e. become Muslim. But this does not mean that we cannot force Islam as a law and order upon the people. The Messenger Muhammad (saw) said:

“I have been ordered to fight mankind until they say, “Laa ilaaha illallah wa anna Muhammadar Rasool-Ullah – There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad (saw) is the messenger of Allah.” If they say that, their blood and wealth will be saved from me, except from the right of Islam (the Sharee’ah); and their accountability will be with Allah.” (Musnad al-Imaam Ahmad)

Therefore, the Messenger Muhammad (saw) and the believers were ordered to fight the people until they embrace Islam or live by Islam (and remain a Kaafir). If they become Muslim their blood and wealth will have sanctity, but they will still not be saved “from the right of Islam,” meaning that they must still abide by the Sharee’ah (as a law and order). But if they remain non-Muslim, they must at least live by the laws of Islam; either way, the people have a choice of which religion they want to follow, but they have no choice of whether to live by the Sharee’ah or not – this is the meaning of “except from the right of Islam.” (There is more, you know there is always more!)

8 thoughts on “"There is no compulsion in religion…"”

  1. I had believed the “no compulsion in religion” verse applied to the early days in Mecca, when Mohammed was on the defensive and wanted to demonstrate his tolerance and appeal to others’ tolerance of his new religion.
    Interesting…I am reading “The Islamist” by Ed Husain (finally) and despite his schooling in Hitzb ut-Tahrir ideology, he came out of “radicalism” believing that Islam is benign and misunderstood and that it states clearly that there is no compulsion in religion, and that Mohammed was a dear of a man. Or maybe he would LIKE to think all that and wants to encourage Muslims to go back into their shells of denial.

    1. Well, Muslims never tell you about ‘abrogation’, but the article (from a muslim website no less) explains in detail how the ‘no compulsion’ verse is to be understood: even if the kafirs cling to their man-made religions they must be subjected to Islamic law, which can (and always will be) interpreted against them.


      Sayyed Abdul A’la Maududi in “Jihad in Islam.”

      Non-Muslims have been granted the freedom to stay outside the Islamic fold and to cling to their false, man-made ways if they so wish. They have, however, absolutely no right to seize the reins of power in any part of God’s earth nor to direct the collective affairs of human beings according to their own misconceived doctrines. (Maudidi’s commentary on Sura 9:29, in Towards understanding the Qur’an.)

      There is also this:

      The purpose for which the Muslims are required to fight is not, as one might think, to compel the unbelievers into embracing Islam; rather, its purpose is to put an end to this suzerainty (that is, the rule of the unbelievers), so that the latter are unable to rule over people… The authority to rule should only be vested in those who follow the true faith. Unbelievers who do not follow this true faith should live in a state of subordination… Non-believers have absolutely no right to wield the reins of power in any part of God’s earth. And if they do, the believers have the obligation to dislodge them from that power by any means possible. The authority to rule should only be vested in those who follow the true faith.

  2. PJG, Sheik,

    Regardless of how one may interpret islamic texts, the key issue is how muslims interpret them and the violence that has been associated with islam since its inception showns that something is quite wrong with islam.

    On this basis alone islam is a social system that has absolutely no place in any society.

  3. I just realised that…*der*…Ed Husain, after all his Hitzb ut-Tahrir fun and games, decided that the “best way forward” was to fool the kaffir via the “sweet, gentle Islam” approach. After all, if after his years of radicalism he had decided the true Islam was one of peace and spirituality, that was a great way of teaching us that Islam is misunderstood…and helping to enable the immigration of plenty of Muslims.
    And Kaw, I am always against the idea of Westerners interpreting Islam for their own sense of comfort. What matters is the Islamic interpretation, which is not particularly flexible. This is why I like to tackle Muslims on the topic – but I tend to get yelled at.

  4. PJG,
    Join the crowd, but at least one is not yet arrested by law enforcement people – well, that is not quite true…..

  5. This is not a very useful analysis at all…of course the verse doesn’t mean that anybody can live by any laws they want at any time. If you live in a given country, you live by its laws, whether you agree with them or not. It doesn’t mean that you can’t express yourself or engage with others politically to have laws changed if you feel they are unfair and provided there is a majority in favor of said changes, but it does mean that once a law is passed, everybody must obey it.

    Are you suggesting a para-legal system for anybody that doesn’t agree with a country’s laws? That’s ironically what some Muslims are accused of doing in the UK…

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