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NOVEMBER 2000

MONTHLY    *    Vol 14-11 No:167    *   NOVEMBER 2000 / SHABAN 1421H
  email: editor@islamicvoice.com

Does Islam Promote Violence?
Allah Has Sealed the Heart Of Kuffar

Does Islam Promote Violence?

Question: Most often questions asked by non-Muslims : Doesn't Islam promote violence, bloodshed and brutality since the Quran says that Muslims should kill the kuffar where ever they find them?

Answer: A few selected verses from the Quran are often misquoted to perpetuate the myth that Islam promotes violence, and exhorts its followers to kill those outside the pale of Islam.

1. Verse from Surah Taubah

The following verse from Surah Taubah is very often quoted by critics of Islam, to show that Islam promotes violence, bloodshed and brutality: “Kill the mushrikeen (pagans, polytheists, kuffar) where ever you find them.” [Al-Quran 9:5]

2. Context of verse is during battlefield

Critics of Islam actually quote this verse out of context. In order to understand the context, we need to read from verse 1 of this surah. It says that there was a peace treaty between the Muslims and the Mushriks (pagans) of Makkah. This treaty was violated by the Mushriks of Makkah. A period of four months was given to the Mushriks of Makkah to make amends. 

The oft-quoted Quranic verse about killing of disbelievers pertains to only a particular period when the disbelievers had rejected a treaty. It is like generalising the American army order to kill Vietnamese guerillas for all time to come

Otherwise war would be declared against them. Verse 5 of Surah Taubah says: “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is oft-forgiving, Most merciful.” [Al-Quran 9:5] This verse is quoted during a battle.

3. Example of war between America and Vietnam

We know that America was once at war with Vietnam. Suppose the President of America or the General of the American Army told the American soldiers during the war: “Wherever you find the Vietnamese, kill them”. Today if I say that the American President said, “Wherever you find Vietnamese, kill them” without giving the context, I will make him sound like a butcher. But if I quote him in context, that he said it during a war, it will sound very logical, as he was trying to boost the morale of the American soldiers during the war.

4. Verse 9:5 quoted to boost morale of Muslims during battle

Similarly in Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 5 the Quran says, “Kill the Mushriks where ever you find them”, during a battle to boost the morale of the Muslim soldiers. What the Quran is telling Muslim soldiers is, don’t be afraid during battle; wherever you find the enemies kill them.

5. Shourie jumps from verse 5 to verse 7

Arun Shourie is one of the staunchest critics of Islam in India. He quotes the same verse, Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 5 in his book ‘The World of Fatwahs’, on page 572. After quoting verse 5 he jumps to verse 7 of Surah Taubah. Any sensible person will realise that he has skipped verse 6.

6. Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 6 gives the answer

Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 6 gives the answer to the allegation that Islam promotes violence, brutality and bloodshed. It says: “If one amongst the pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure that is because they are men without knowledge.” [Al-Quran 9:6]

The Quran not only says that a Mushrik seeking asylum during the battle should be granted refuge, but also that he should be escorted to a secure place. In the present international scenario, even a kind, peace-loving army General, during a battle, may let the enemy soldiers go free, if they want peace. But which army General will ever tell his soldiers, that if the enemy soldiers want peace during a battle, don’t just let them go free, but also escort them to a place of security?

This is exactly what Allah (swt) says in the Glorious Quran to promote peace in the world. 

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Allah Has Sealed the Heart Of Kuffar

Question: If Allah has sealed the hearts of the Kuffar i.e. non-Muslims, then why are they to be blamed for not accepting Islam?

Answer: 1. Allah has sealed the hearts of those who are continuously bent on rejecting the truth Allah (swt) mentions in Surah Al Baqarah chapter 2 verses 6 and 7 “As to those who reject Faith, it is the same to them Whether thou warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe.” Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty they (incur).” [Al-Quran 2:6-7]

These verses do not refer to common Kuffar who reject faith. The Arabic words used are al-lazina kafaroo, those who are bent on rejecting the truth. It will not make any difference to such people whether you warn them or not, they will not believe. Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing and on their eyes is a veil. It is not because Allah has set a seal on their hearts that these kuffar do not understand and believe, but it is the vice-versa. It is because these kuffar are bent on rejecting the truth and whether you warn them or not they will not believe, that Allah has set a seal on their hearts. Therefore Allah is not to blame, but these kuffaar who are bent on rejecting the faith are responsible.

The Quranic reference to Heart as centre of emotion and intelligence is only figurative. It is in keeping with Arabic idiom rather than functions attributed by the modern science

2. Example of teacher predicting a student will fail

Suppose an experienced teacher, before the final examinations, predicts that a particular student will fail in the exams, since the student is very mischievous, not attentive in class and does not do his homework. If after the student appears for the examination, he fails, who is to be blamed for the student failing: the teacher or the student? Just because the teacher predicted, it does not mean that the teacher is to be blamed but the student himself is responsible for his failure.

Similarly Allah (swt) knows in advance that there are some people who are bent on rejecting the faith and Allah has put a seal on their hearts. Thus these non-Muslims themselves are responsible for rejecting the faith and not Allah (swt). 

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