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Jihad: A Misunderstood Concept from Islam - Forced Conversion?

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Article Index
Jihad: A Misunderstood Concept from Islam
Jihad in History and Law
Jihad and Islamic Propagation
Forced Conversion?
Conditions for Combative Jihad
Islamic Terms of Ratifying Peace
Jihad Between Muslims
Dhikr: the Remembrance of God
Rebellion Against Rulers
Terms: What Jihad is, and is not
Footnotes
All Pages

Forced Conversion?

So the foundation of Jihad is Islamic propagation (da’wah). The question often asked is whether Islam condones and teaches the forced and armed conversion of non-Muslims. This is the image sometimes projected by Western scholars and as any Muslim scholar will tell you, is seriously flawed. The Qur’an clearly states “There is no compulsion in religion, the path of guidance stands out clear from error” [2:256] and [60:8]. In this verse, the word “rushd” or “path of guidance” refers to the entire domain of human life, not just to the rites and theology of Islam.

There is no debate about the fact that pre-Islamic Arabia was a misguided society dominated by tribalism and a blind obedience to custom. In contrast, the clarity of Islam and its emphasis on reason and rational proofs excluded any need to impose it by force. This verse is a clear indication that the Qur’an is strictly opposed to the use of compulsion in religious faith. Similarly, Allah addressed Sayiddina Muhammad r saying, “Remind them, for you are only one who reminds.” [88:21] Allah addresses the believers, urging them to obey the injunctions of Islam, “Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and beware (of evil): if you do turn back, then know that it is Our Messenger’s duty to proclaim (the message) in the clearest manner.” [5:92] However, this verse makes it clear that the Messenger’s duty is only to proclaim and preach the message; it remains to each individual to accept and to follow.