Why does Islam allow four wives?

Why does Islam allow a man to marry up to four wives!!!

1. Definition of Polygamy
Polygamy means a system of marriage whereby one person has more than one spouse. Polygamy can be of two types. One is polygyny where a man marries more than one woman, and the other is polyandry, where a woman marries more than one man. In Islaam, limited polygyny is permitted; whereas polyandry is completely prohibited.
Now coming to the original question, why is a man allowed to have more than one wife?

2. The Qur'ân is the only religious scripture in the world that says, "marry only one".

The Qur'ân is the only religious book, on the face of this earth, that contains the phrase ‘marry only one’. There is no other religious book that instructs men to have only one wife. In none of the other religious scriptures, whether it be the Vedas, the Ramayan, the Mahabharat, the Geeta, the Talmud or the Bible does one find a restriction on the number of wives. According to these scriptures one can marry as many as one wishes. It was only later, that the Hindu priests and the Christian Church restricted the number of wives to one.

Many Hindu religious personalities, according to their scriptures, had multiple wives. King Dashrat, the father of Rama, had more than one wife. Krishna had several wives.

In earlier times, Christian men were permitted as many wives as they wished, since the Bible puts no restriction on the number of wives. It was only a few centuries ago that the Church restricted the number of wives to one.

Polygyny is permitted in Judaism. According to Talmudic law, Abraham had three wives, and Solomon had hundreds of wives. The practice of polygyny continued till Rabbi Gershom ben Yehudah (960 C.E to 1030 C.E) issued an edict against it. The Jewish Sephardic communities living in Muslim countries continued the practice till as late as 1950, until an Act of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel extended the ban on marrying more than one wife.

3. Hindus are more polygynous than Muslims

The report of the ‘Committee of The Status of Woman in Islam’, published in 1975 mentions on page numbers 66 and 67 that the percentage of polygamous marriages between the years 1951 and 1961 was 5.06% among the Hindus and only 4.31% among the Muslims. According to Indian law only Muslim men are permitted to have more than one wife. It is illegal for any non-Muslim in India to have more than one wife. Despite it being illegal, Hindus have more multiple wives as compared to Muslims. Earlier, there was no restriction even on Hindu men with respect to the number of wives allowed. It was only in 1954, when the Hindu Marriage Act was passed that it became illegal for a Hindu to have more than one wife. At present it is the Indian Law that restricts a Hindu man from having more than one wife and not the Hindu scriptures.

Let us now analyse why Islam allows a man to have more than one wife.

4. Qur'ân permits limited polygyny

As I mentioned earlier, Qur'ân is the only religious book on the face of the earth that says ‘marry only one’. The context of this phrase is the following verse from Surah Nisa of the Glorious Qur’an:
"Marry women of your choice, two, or three, or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one." [Al-Qur'ân 4:3]

Before the Qur'ân was revealed, there was no upper limit for polygyny and many men had scores of wives, some even hundreds. Islam put an upper limit of four wives. Islam gives a man permission to marry two, three or four women, only on the condition that he deals justly with them.

In the same chapter i.e. Surah Nisa verse 129 says: "Ye are never able to be fair and just as between women...." [Al-Qur'ân 4:129]

Therefore polygyny is not a rule but an exception. Many people are under the misconception that it is compulsory for a Muslim man to have more than one wife.
Broadly, Islam has five categories of Do’s and Don’ts:
(i) ‘Fard’ i.e. compulsory or obligatory

(ii) ‘Mustahab’ i.e. recommended or encouraged

(iii) ‘Mubah’ i.e. permissible or allowed

(iv) ‘Makruh’ i.e. not recommended or discouraged

(v) ‘Haraam’ i.e. prohibited or forbidden

Polygyny falls in the middle category of things that are permissible. It cannot be said that a Muslim who has two, three or four wives is a better Muslim as compared to a Muslim who has only one wife.

5. Average life span of females is more than that of males

By nature males and females are born in approximately the same ratio. A female child has more immunity than a male child. A female child can fight the germs and diseases better than the male child. For this reason, during the paediatric age itself there are more deaths among males as compared to the females.

During wars, there are more men killed as compared to women. More men die due to accidents and diseases than women. The average life span of females is more than that of males, and at any given time one finds more widows in the world than widowers.

6. India has more male population than female due to female foeticide and infanticide

India is one of the few countries, along with the other neighbouring countries, in which the female population is less than the male population. The reason lies in the high rate of female infanticide in India, and the fact that more than one million female foetuses are aborted every year in this country, after they are identified as females. If this evil practice is stopped, then India too will have more females as compared to males.

7. World female population is more than male population

In the USA, women outnumber men by 7.8 million. New York alone has one million more females as compared to the number of males, and of the male population of New York one-third are gays i.e sodomites. The U.S.A as a whole has more than twenty-five million gays. This means that these people do not wish to marry women. Great Britain has four million more females as compared to males. Germany has five million more females as compared to males. Russia has nine million more females than males. God alone knows how many million more females there are in the whole world as compared to males.

8. Restricting each and every man to have only one wife is not practical

Even if every man got married to one woman, there would still be more than thirty million females in U.S.A who would not be able to get husbands (considering that America has twenty five million gays). There would be more than four million females in Great Britain, 5 million females in Germany and nine million females in Russia alone who would not be able to find a husband.

Suppose my sister happens to be one of the unmarried women living in USA, or suppose your sister happens to be one of the unmarried women in USA. The only two options remaining for her are that she either marries a man who already has a wife or becomes public property. There is no other option. All those who are modest will opt for the first.

In Western society, it is common for a man to have mistresses and/or multiple extra-marital affairs, in which case, the woman leads a disgraceful, unprotected life. The same society, however, cannot accept a man having more than one wife, in which women retain their honourable, dignified position in society and lead a protected life.

Thus the only two options before a woman who cannot find a husband is to marry a married man or to become public property. Islam prefers giving women the honourable position by permitting the first option and disallowing the second.

Polygamy solves the problem of adultery among men, who by nature are polygamous, or are not happy with their wives, It prevents the prevalence of AIDS and other similar diseases arising from illicit sexual relations among people of loose morals.

It minimizes divorce as men are given the option to marry other women of their choice without divorcing their present wives. This subsequently, prevents the occurrence of juvenile delinquencies among children of broken families.

Furthermore, polygamy gives the opportunity for more unmarried women to be married, considering the fact that women exceed men in number. This in turn eliminates fornication and prostitution, thus greatly reducing the number of children born out of wedlock. Unfortunately, children born out of wedlock are being ostracized in the same way as their mothers are being look down by the society. In polygamy, children are recognized as legal offspring of their fathers just as their mothers are respected as legally married women.

There are several other reasons, why Islaam has permitted limited polygyny, but it is mainly to protect the modesty of women.


What is Jihad?

First, we would like to state that Islam does not call for violence; rather it abhors all forms of violence and terrorism, whether against Muslims or non-Muslims. Islam, moreover, calls for peace, cooperation, and maintaining justice, and provides for the happiness and welfare of humanity as a whole. This fact is declared in the Qur'an when Allah says: "Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition." (An-Nahl: 90)

Islam makes it obligatory upon Muslims to stand by the oppressed regardless of their race, color, religion or affiliation and say NO to the oppressor and ask him to respond to the voice of reason and justice.

Jihad is not restricted to fighting aggressive forces. Rather, there are various kinds that most of people are not aware of. For example, striving against the evil desires of the soul is a kind of jihad that every Muslim should carry out.

For more elaboration on the point, we cite the following fatwa issued by Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Islamic lecturer and author:

“First, jihad is of various kinds, some of which are obligatory upon everyone who is accountable, and some are obligatory upon the community as a whole, i.e., if some people undertake them then the rest are relieved of the obligation. And some kinds of jihad are mustahabb (recommended).

Jihad an-nafs (jihad against one’s self) and jihad ash-Shaytan (jihad against Satan) are obligatory upon everyone who is accountable. Jihad against the munafiqin (hypocrites), kuffar (disbelievers) and leaders of oppression and innovation is obligatory upon the community as a whole. Physical jihad (i.e., fighting) against the kuffar may become an individual obligation upon everyone who is able to do it in certain circumstances, which will be described below.

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said: Once this is understood, then jihad is of four kinds: jihad an-nafs (jihad against one’s self), jihad ash-Shaytan (jihad against Satan), jihad against the kuffar and jihad against the hypocrites.

1. Jihad an-nafs (jihad against one’s self) is of four kinds:

a. Striving to learn the teachings of Islam without which one cannot attain success and happiness in this world or in the Hereafter. If this is missing, then one is doomed to misery in this world and in the Hereafter.

b. Striving to make oneself act in accordance with what one has learned. Simply knowing without acting, even though it may not cause any harm, is not going to bring any benefit.

c. Striving to call others to Islam, teaching those who do not know about it. Otherwise one will be one of those who conceal the guidance and teaching that Allah has revealed, and it will not benefit him or save him from the punishment of Allah.

d. Striving to bear patiently the difficulties involved in calling people to Allah and the insults of people, bearing all that for the sake of Allah.

If a person achieves all these four levels, then he will be one of the rabbaniyyin (learned men of religion who practice what they know and also preach to others. [see Al `Imran: 79]). The salaf (righteous predecesors) were agreed that the scholar does not deserve to be called a rabbani unless he knows the truth, acts in accordance with it, and teaches it to others. Whoever teaches, acts in accordance with his knowledge, and has knowledge will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

2.Jihad ash-Shaytan (jihad against Satan) is of two types:

a. Warding off the doubts that Satan stirs up to undermine faith.

b. Striving against Satan to ward off the corrupt desires that he provokes.

The first jihad is followed by certainty of faith, and the second is followed by patience. Allah says: “And We made from among them [Children of Israel], leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.)” (As-Sajdah: 24)

Allah tells us that leadership in religion is attained through patience and certainty of faith. Patience wards off desires and certainty wards off doubts.

3. Jihad against the munafiqin (hypocrites) and kuffar (disbelievers) is of four kinds: with the heart, the tongue, one’s wealth and oneself. Jihad against the disbelievers is more along the lines of physical fighting, whereas jihad against the hypocrites is more along the lines of using words and ideas.

4. Jihad against the leaders of oppression and innovation is of three kinds: jihad with one's hand (i.e., physical jihad, fighting) if one is able. If that is not possible, then it should be with one's tongue (i.e., by speaking out). If that is not possible, then it should be with one's heart (i.e., by hating the evil and feeling that it is wrong).

These are the thirteen types of jihad, and “Whoever dies without having fought or having resolved to fight has died following one of the branches of hypocrisy.” (Reported by Muslim). (Zad al-Ma`ad, 3/9-11)

Sheikh `Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Baz (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

Jihad is of various kinds, with one’s self, one's wealth, by making du`a’, by teaching and guiding, by helping to do good in any way. The greatest form of jihad is jihad with one’s self (i.e., going oneself and fighting), followed by jihad with one's wealth, jihad by speaking out and guiding others. Da`wah is also part of jihad. But going out oneself to fight in jihad is the highest form. (Fatawa ash-Sheikh Ibn Baz, 7/334, 335)

Second, the idea of waging physical jihad against the disbelievers went through a number of stages, depending on the state in which the Muslim Ummah was. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

The first thing which his Lord revealed to him [Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)] was to read in the name of his Lord Who had created. That was the beginning of his Prophethood, when Allah commanded him to recite to himself but He did not yet command him to convey that. Then He revealed the words:

‘O you (Muhammad) enveloped in garments! Arise and warn!’ (Al-Muddaththir: 1-2)

So he became a Prophet with the word ‘Iqra’ (Read!) and he became a Messenger with the words, ‘O you (Muhammad) enveloped in garments…’ Then Allah commanded him to warn his closest kinsmen, then to warn his people, then to warn the Arabs around them, then to warn all the Arabs, then to warn all of mankind. He continued to call them for over ten years from the beginning of his Prophethood, without fighting or imposing the jizyah; he was commanded to refrain, to be patient and to be forbearing.

Then permission was given to him to migrate, and permission was given to him to fight.

Then he was commanded to fight those who fought him, and to refrain from fighting those who left him alone and did not fight him.

Then Allah commanded him to fight the disbelievers so that the religion would all be for Allah.

After jihad was enjoined upon him, the disbelievers then fell into three categories: those with whom there was a truce or peace treaty; those with whom he was at war; and those who lived under the rule and protection of the Islamic state. (Zad al-Ma`ad, 3/159)

Third The ruling on physical jihad against the disbelievers is that this is an obligation on the community as a whole (fard kafayah).

Ibn Qudamah said: “Jihad is an obligation upon the community; if some people undertake it, the rest are relieved of the obligation.”

What fard kafayah means is that if it is not undertaken by enough people, then all the people are guilty of sin, but if enough people undertake it, the rest will be relieved of blame. Initially the command is addressed to all of them, as in the case of an individual obligation (fard ‘ayn), but then in the case of fard kafayah the obligation is dropped if enough of the people undertake to do it, unlike the case with fard ‘ayn where the obligation is not dropped if someone else does it. Jihad is a fard kafayah according to the majority of scholars.” (Al-Mughni, 9/163)

Sheikh ‘Abd al-`Aziz ibn Baz said: “We have previously explained on more than one occasion that jihad is fard kafayah, not fard ‘ayn. All Muslims are enjoined to support their brothers with their selves (i.e., physically, by joining them), or with money, weapons, da`wah and advice. If enough of them go out (to fight), the rest are freed from sin; but if none of them do that, then all of them are sinners.

The Muslims in Saudi Arabia, Africa, North Africa and elsewhere are obliged to do their utmost, and if there is a Jihad in one country, the surrounding countries should hasten to help them, the closest then the next closest. If one or two states, or three or more, manage to fulfill the obligation, then the rest are freed of responsibility. They deserve to be supported, and it is obligatory to help them against their enemies because they are oppressed. Allah has enjoined jihad upon all Muslims, and they must fight against the enemies of Allah until their brothers are victorious. If they fail to do that, then they are sinners; but if sufficient people undertake to do that, then the rest are absolved of sin.” (Fatawa ash-Shaykh Ibn Baz, 7/335)

Fourth: Physical jihad against the disbelievers becomes obligatory in four cases, which are:

1. When the Muslim is present in a jihad situation.

2. When the enemy has come and attacked a Muslim land

3. When the ruler mobilizes the people, they must respond.

4. When a person is needed and no one else can do the task except him.

Sheikh Ibn `Uthaymin said:

Jihad is obligatory and becomes fard `ayn if a person is present where fighting is going on. This is the first of the situations in which jihad becomes an individual obligation, because Allah says: “O you who believe! When you meet those who disbelieve, in a battlefield, never turn your backs to them. And whoever turns his back to them on such a day — unless it be a stratagem of war, or to retreat to a troop (of his own), — he indeed has drawn upon himself wrath from Allah. And his abode is Hell, and worst indeed is that destination!” (Al-Anfal: 16)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said that running away on the day when the army is advancing is one of the sins that doom a person to Hell. He said: “Avoid the seven sins that doom a person to Hell…” among which he mentioned running away on the day when the army is advancing. But Allah has made exceptions in two cases:

1. When it is a military maneuver, in the sense that he is leaving to bring reinforcements.

2. When he is going to join another group, when he has been told that there is a group of Muslims elsewhere who are about to be defeated, so he goes to join them in order to strengthen their numbers. This is subject to the condition that there is no risk to the group he is in; if there is a risk to the group that he is in, then it is not permissible for him to go to the other group. In this case (jihad) is an individual obligation upon him (fard `ayn) and it is not permissible for him to leave.

The second situation (in which jihad becomes an individual obligation) is when a city is besieged by the enemy. Then he has to fight to defend the city because there is no alternative but to defend it. For if the enemy is going to prevent people from leaving the city or entering it, and prevent provisions from reaching it, and other things which are well known, then in this case the people of the city are obliged to fight in order to defend their city.

The third situation is when the leader tells the people to mobilize. The Muslim ruler is the highest authority in the state, but he need not necessarily be the leader of all the Muslims, because there has been no leader of all the Muslims (caliph or khalifah) for a long time. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Listen and obey, even if you are ruled by an Abyssinian slave.” So if a man becomes a leader, then his word is to be heeded and his commands are to obeyed. (Ash-Sharh al-Mumti`, 8/10-12).”

Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: www.islam-qa.com


Misquoted "Violent Verses"

It is amazing to see how many non-muslims would blindly post the verses from Quran, without even reading from ‘appropriate’ and well-know translations. Needless to say they hardly ever know the context. In this article we will be examining commonly quoted verses on the topic of violence and refuting them. This article is divided in 2 parts:
1) Refuting commonly quoted verses on the topic of violence
2) Providing accurate picture of Islam

1)Refuting commonly quoted verses on the topic of violence

Quran 9:5
Islam-critics only post 9:5:
“Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (PICKTHAL Translation, Quran 9:5)

Let’s read the verse in context 9:1-9:5:
Freedom from obligation (is proclaimed) from Allah and His messenger toward those of the idolaters with whom ye made a treaty. Travel freely in the land four months, and know that ye cannot escape Allah and that Allah will confound the disbelievers (in His Guidance). And a proclamation from Allah and His messenger to all men on the day of the Greater Pilgrimage that Allah is free from obligation to the idolaters, and (so is) His messenger. So, if ye repent, it will be better for you; but if ye are averse, then know that ye cannot escape Allah. Give tidings (O Muhammad) of a painful doom to those who disbelieve, Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty, and who have since abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. (As for these), fulfil their treaty to them till their term. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him). Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (PICKTHAL Translation, Quran 9:1-5)

This verses is always quoted out of context, they never post 9:6 or from 9:1 to 9:6. If we read from start it states that there was a treaty, which the Pagans of Arab broke. Thus Allah gave them 4 months as 9:2 states in order to amend the treaty. Verse 9:4 states that the punishment prescribed in 9:5 is ONLY to those who broke the treaty and NOT to those who abided by the treaty. Therefore the context of 9:5 is of war with the pagan Arabs who broke the treaty yet refused to amend it in 4 months.

Naturally, in war violence is expected. If a war is declared between Country A and Country B, because country B broke the treaty and refused to amend, then if president of country A states “wherever you find soldiers of Country B, you kill them and besiege them”, no one would truly find much wrong in that statement.

Killing in war is nothing peculiar, and there is yet to be a war where soldiers hugged and kissed each other. In additions, Dr. Zakir Naik writes in his book “Replies to the most common questions asked by non-muslims“:

“4. Verse 9:5 quoted to boost morale of Muslims during battle
Similarly in Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 5 the Qur’an says, “Kill the Mushriqs [pagans] where ever you find them”, during a battle to boost the morale of the Muslim soldiers. What the Qur’an is telling Muslim soldiers is, don’t be afraid during battle; wherever you find the enemies kill them.”

Islam-critics remain shy of posting the next verse, 9:6, as it contains the answer to their deception:

“And if anyone of the idolaters seeketh thy protection (O Muhammad), then protect him so that he may hear the Word of Allah, and afterward convey him to his place of safety. That is because they are a folk who know not. (PICKTHAL Translation, Quran 9:6)

Quran does not only say that you release those who seek protection but it goes even further and states to protect them! 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?

Hence even in war Quran promotes peace.

Quran 2:191
Islam-critics usually apply “cut and choose” approach with regards to this verse. They only quote: “And slay them wherever ye catch them…” (2:191). However, let us be brave enough to read the whole passage in context from 2:190-195:

Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loves not transgressors. And kill them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for persecution and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, kill them. Such is the reward of those who reject faith. But if they cease, God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression. The prohibited month, for the prohibited month, and so for all things prohibited, there is the law of equality. If then any one transgresses the prohibition against you, transgress ye likewise against him. But fear (the punishment of) God, and know that God is with those who restrain themselves. And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for Allah loveth those who do good. (YUSUF ALI, Quran 2:190-195)

The verse clearly states to fight those who fight you, yet do not transgress limits. In so sense therefore does it promote killing of innocent but allows self-defence. It further goes on to state “And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice” and “if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression”. Hence, once again when the whole context is examined the verses does not promote killing of innocent in anyway.

Abdul Majid Daryabadi (Finlay, Greece Under the Romans, pp. 367-368) writes on verse 2:190:
“…Violating the truce they themselves had signed. The Muslims, after having borne untold persecution with almost superhuman fortitude for years and years at the hands of the pagans of Makkah, are now for the first time enjoined to take to reprisals. ‘For a full thirteen years the Muslims were subjected to relentless persecution in Mecca. The Prophet and his followers fled for life to Medina, but the enemy would not leave them alone in their refuge. They came to attack them within a year, and the first three battles were fought in the very locality which will whether the Prophet was an assailant or defendant’ (Headley, The Original Church of Jesus Christ and Islam, p. 155). The Makkans had signed a truce and were the first to break it…”

Once again when the whole context is examined the verses does not promote killing of innocents, whether muslims or non-muslims in anyway, but only self-defence.

Quran 4:89
Verse says:
But if they turn away, catch them and slaughter them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks.” (4:89)

Once again the context is ignored, they don’t quote previous and next verses.

They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks;- Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If Allah had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: Therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (Guarantees of) peace, then Allah Hath opened no way for you (to war against them). Others you will find that wish to gain your confidence as well as that of their people: Every time they are sent back to temptation, they succumb thereto: if they withdraw not from you nor give you (guarantees) of peace besides restraining their hands, seize them and slay them wherever ye get them: In their case We have provided you with a clear argument against them. (YUSUF ALI Translation, Quran 4:89-91)

When we read it in context, verse 4:89 is NOT to those “who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people.” This verse is only referring to those “withdraw not from you nor give you (guarantees) of peace besides restraining their hands”.

Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi says with regards to this verse:

“Now tell me honestly, do these verses give a free permission to kill any one anywhere? These verses were revealed by God to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), at the time when Muslims were attacked by the non-Muslims of Makkah on a regular basis. They were frightening the Muslim community of Madinah. One may say using the contemporary jargon that there were constant terrorist attacks on Madinah and in this situation Muslims were given permission to fight back the “terrorist”. These verses are not a permission for “terrorism” but they are a warning against the “terrorists.” But even in these warnings you can see how much restraint and care is emphasized.”

Therefore, it is clear that the verse only allows self-defence against those who “withdraw not from you nor give you (guarantees) of peace besides restraining their hands”. Naturally, it would be necessary for the enemies to withdraw and make peace in order to achieve peace. Verse is not referring to “those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people”.

In “…withdraw not from you nor give you (guarantees) of peace besides restraining their hands”, it is obviously necessary to give guarantees of peace or form a treaty in addition to stop fighting. Otherwise, anyone can pretend to be “restraining their hands” when they are weak, and when they are strong again they come back and attack again. Thus to make it official Quran says to give you (guarantees) of peace, and not act as two-faced.

Quran 4:95
We have already discussed 4:89, now lets look at 4:95. Common translation amongst the critics of this verse (poorly translated) is:

Qur’an 4:95 Not equal are those believers who sit at home and receive no injurious hurt, and those who strive hard, fighting Jihad in God’s Cause with their wealth and lives. God has granted a rank higher to those who strive hard, fighting Jihad with their wealth and bodies to those who sit (at home). Unto each has God promised good, but He prefers Jihadists who strive hard and fight above those who sit home. He has distinguished his fighters with a huge reward.

Now let’s examine this verse in the light of another common translation:

O ye who believe! When ye go forth (to fight) in the way of Allah, be careful to discriminate, and say not unto one who offereth you peace: “Thou art not a believer,” seeking the chance profits of this life (so that ye may despoil him). With Allah are plenteous spoils. Even thus (as he now is) were ye before; but Allah hath since then been gracious unto you. Therefore take care to discriminate. Allah is ever Informed of what ye do. Those of the believers who sit still, other than those who have a (disabling) hurt, are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah with their wealth and lives. Allah hath conferred on those who strive with their wealth and lives a rank above the sedentary. Unto each Allah hath promised good, but He hath bestowed on those who strive a great reward above the sedentary; (PICKTHAL Translation, Quran 4:94-95)

The verse is stating those who strive in the path of God with lives and wealth are not equal to those who do not, which is logical. Accurate translations make no mention of “Jihadists” and killing as poor translations indicate. Once again, critics take advantage of inaccurate translations. Also 4:94 prevents killing of innocents as it says “…be careful to discriminate, and say not unto one who offereth you peace: “Thou art not a believer,” seeking the chance profits of this life…”

Quran 47:4
If read with good translation and historical context in mind, no significant complaint can be found about 47:4. However, some non-muslims insist on using a very poor translation of Quran with additions. One such translation reads:

Qur’an 47:4 So, when you clash with the unbelieving Infidels in battle, smite their necks until you overpower them, killing and wounding many of them. At length, when you have thoroughly subdued them, bind them firmly, making (them) captives. Thereafter either generosity or ransom until the war lays down its burdens. Thus are you commanded by God to continue carrying out Jihad against the unbelieving infidels until they submit to Islam .

However, almost all of the major translations are contrary to the above translation. Yusuf Ali’s translation reads:

Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah’s Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah,- He will never let their deeds be lost. (Yusuf Ali Translation, Quran 47:4)

Further translations can be checked out here. Nowhere does the accurate translations make any mention of 1)”killing and wounding” 2) “Thus are you commanded by God to continue carrying out Jihad against the unbelieving infidels until they submit to Islam”, those are additions of the translator’s and are not to be found in Quran.

According to Professor Shahul Hameed (http://www.islamonline.net/askaboutislam/display.asp?hquestionID=8922), historical context of this verse is Battle of Badr. He writes:

“The context of this verse was when the Muslims were to fight their enemies for their very existence. After thirteen years of endurance and patience, the prophet and his companions had to leave their home town of Makkah and to emigrate to Madinah. When the people of Madinah had welcomed him there and he was accepted as a leader there, the Makkans became unhappy. They wanted to eliminate Muhammad and his religion; and so they sent their army to root out Islam. And the crucial battle took place in Badr.”

Once again, the context is of war here and therefore killing of innocent people is not prescribed. Naturally, in war people would be expected to fight and kill, therefore “smite at their necks” is only natural.

Quran 33:23
Another poor translation of this verse commonly seen reads:
Qur’an 33:23 Among the Believers are men who have been true to their covenant with God and have gone out for Jihad (holy fighting ). Some have completed their vow to extreme and have been martyred fighting and dying in His Cause, and some are waiting, prepared for death in battle.

More accurate and common translation reads:
Among the Believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah: of them some have completed their vow (to the extreme), and some (still) wait: but they have never changed (their determination) in the least: (YUSUF ALI Translation, Quran 33.23)

Critics have included “fighting and dying”, “prepared for death in battle” and their own interpretation to the verse. Ibn Kathir writes:

“When Allah mentions how the hypocrites broke their promise to Him that they would not turn their backs, He describes the believers as firmly adhering to their covenant and their promise:
([they] have been true to their covenant with Allah; of them some have fulfilled their Nahbah;) Some of [the Qur’anic commentators] said: “Met their appointed time (i.e., death).” Al-Bukhari said, “Their covenant, and refers back to the beginning of the Ayah.
(and some of them are still waiting, but they have never changed in the least.) means, they have never changed or broken their covenant with Allah. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir)”

It is clear, when read in proper translation, that the verse does not promote killing of innocents at all.

Quran 2:217-218
Verse states:
They ask thee concerning fighting in the Prohibited Month. Say: “Fighting therein is a grave (offence); but graver is it in the sight of Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its members.” Tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter. Nor will they cease fighting you until they turn you back from your faith if they can. And if any of you Turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter; they will be companions of the Fire and will abide therein. Those who believed and those who suffered exile and fought (and strove and struggled) in the path of Allah,- they have the hope of the Mercy of Allah: And Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (YUSUF ALI Translation, Quran 2:217-218)

The context of these verses refers to an expedition of a group of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), under the lead of Abdullah bin Jahsh Asadi. The companions recognized a caravan from the Quraysh. Since the Quraysh had openly declared war on the Muslims and had persecuted them to the extent that they drove them out of their homes, and stole their property, the companions present, felt that they could retaliate. They killed one man of from the caravan, and took two as prisoners. When they returned to Madinah, the Prophet Muhammad disapproved of their attack during the Holy Month. But God revealed this verse as a reminder to the Muslims that while killing in the Holy Month was bad, persecution and expelling people from their homes because of their faith is far worse. So the verses make it very clear that in the face of the terrorist attacks of the polytheists, the Muslims should be brave and steadfast and turn to God for help rather than giving in and leaving the truth.

Shaykh Safiur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri (Al-Mubarakpuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum; Riyadh-Saudi Arabia, Dar-us-Salam Publications, 1996; pp. 205-206)writes on verse 2:217:

The Words of Allah were quite clear and said that the tumult created by the polytheists was groundless. The sacred inviolable sanctities repeatedly violated in the long process of fighting Islam and persecuting its adherents. The wealth of the Muslims as well as their homes had already been violated and their Prophet s.a.w.s. had been the target of repeated attempts on his life…Shortly afterwards, the two captives were released and blood money (compensation) was given to the killed man’s father. (fn. For details see Zad Al-Ma’ad, 2/83-85; Ibn Hisham, 1/605; Rahmat-ul-lil’alameen, 1/115. 2/468.) (Al-Mubarakpuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum; Riyadh-Saudi Arabia, Dar-us-Salam Publications, 1996; pp. 205-206, emphasis added)

Quran 2:244
2:244 Fight in God’s Cause, and know that God hears and knows all. (PICKTHAL Translation, Quran 2:244)

Verse 2:244 is informing us not to transgress limits and Allah “hears and knows all”, also fight in God’s cause which could be in reference to several things including liberation of the oppressed, meaning the helpless men and women who are yearning and praying for freedom as well as striving for all that which is good as well as doing Dawah in an appropriate manner. This does NOT refer to fighting and killing innocents. As Quran says:

Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. (PICKTHAL Translation, Quran 2:190)

Quran 4:76
Those who believe do battle for the cause of Allah; and those who disbelieve do battle for the cause of idols. So fight the minions of the devil. Lo! the devil’s strategy is ever weak. (PICKTHAL Translation, Quran 4:76)

Now, let’s read the verse in textual context:
Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward. How should ye not fight for the cause of Allah and (for the cause) of the feeble among men and of the women and the children who are crying: Our Lord! Bring us forth from out this town of which the people are oppressors! Oh, give us from thy presence some protecting friend! Oh, give us from Thy presence some defender! Those who believe do battle for the cause of Allah; and those who disbelieve do battle for the cause of idols. So fight the minions of the devil. Lo! the devil’s strategy is ever weak. (PICKTHAL Translation, Quran 4:74-76)

Verse 4:76 is specific to those who have been oppressed. In order to help those who cannot help themselves is indeed a great deed and to shun away tyranny and help those who are weak and oppressed. Islam-critics seek to present a view of violence and hate on behalf of Quran, however, when the verse is examined carefully in a correct context, their deceit is clearly exposed.

Dr. Maher Hathout (Hathout, Jihad vs. Terrorism; US Multimedia Vera International, 2002, p.50) comments on verse 4:76 by saying:
This verse is related to the two preceding verses (see 4:74-75) where it was stated that those who fight for God’s cause would be rewarded whether they are victorious or slain. Fighting for God’s cause includes the liberation of the oppressed, meaning the helpless men and women who are yearning and praying for freedom. The believers fight for God’s cause, and the disbelievers fight for the sake of their idols. An idol may be taken conceptually. For example, evil or greed may figuratively be construed as idols. The believers should put all their trust in God the Almighty and Powerful and fear not the disbelievers and their evil plans. Evil plans are always inferior to goodness. (Hathout, Jihad vs. Terrorism; US Multimedia Vera International, 2002, p.50)

Quran 5:33
Verse states:
The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter (YUSUF ALI Translation, Quran 5:33)

The verses before and after 5:33 are not usually quoted, as 5:32 prohibits murder and 5:34 encourages forgiveness.

On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land. The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter; Except for those who repent before they fall into your power: in that case, know that Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (YUSUF ALI Translation, Quran 5:32-34)

The verse mentions “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land ” is either execution, OR crucifixion, OR the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, OR exile from the land. This is the punishment for waging war against the Prophet of God and spreading corruption. Four kinds of punishment are mentioned based upon the gravity of the crime. As Muhammad F. Malik writes in his translation of this verse:

The punishment for those who wage war against Allah and His Rasool and strive to create mischief in the land is death or crucifixion or the cutting off their hands and feet from opposite sides or exile from the land (based on the gravity of their offence)… (Malik, Al-Qur’an: Guidance for Mankind)

Therefore stealing may not result in execution but cutting of hand. Similarly, killing an innocent person may not result in exile from the land but execution. Verses 5:32 and 5:34 must also be taken in consideration, which condemns killing of innocent and takes into account repentance.

Quran 9:29
Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (YUSUF ALI Translation, Quran 9:29)

This verse is referring to the Islamic Concept called “Jizya”, which Shaikh Sayed Sabiq in the Fiqh Alsunna (a commonly used source of fiqh[rulings (Fatwa) of Muslim Islamic jurists]), describes as “the underlying root of the word jizya is jaza, and defines it as “A sum of money to be put on anyone who enters the themah (protection and the treaty of the Muslims) from the people of the book“.

It is usually portrayed by certain critics that jizya is a mechanism for discriminating non-muslims in an Islamic-society. This is a common misconception; jizya is a political method dealing with finance.

One of the main pillars of Islam is called Zakat (Muslims whose wealth is above a certain limit must pay a percentage of it (in most cases 2.5%) to the poor and needy). Islam does not “force” upon non-muslims to follow one of it’s main pillar. This certainly quietens some critics who would otherwise be accusing Islam of imposing itself on them. Just like in a non-muslim society muslims pay tax, likewise non-muslims are obliged to pay certain percentage of their money to the Islamic State. It is quite hypocritical of non-muslims to criticize Jizya, whilst, in non-muslims countries muslims have to pay tax. If tax is justified then so should jizya be.

Regarding the amount of jizya Shaykh Abu’l-Hasan Al-Mawardi (d. 1058CE) writes in his book Al-Mawardi, al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah, Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd. 1996, pp. 209-210:

“The fuqaha (Jurists) differ as to the amount of the Jizya. Abu Hanifa considers that those subject to this tax are of three kinds: the rich from whom forty-eight dirhams are taken; those of average means from whom twenty four are taken, and the poor from whom twelve dirhams are taken: he thus stipulated the minimum and maximum amounts and prohibits any further judgement on behalf of those responsible for its collection. Malik, however, does not fix its minimum and maximum amount and considers that those responsible should make their own judgement as to the minimum and maximum. Ash-Shafi’i considers that the minimum is a dinar, and that it is not permitted to go below this while he does not stipulate the maximum, the latter being dependant on the ijtihad (judgement) of those responsible: the Imam, however, should try to harmonise between the different amounts, or to exact an amount in accordance with people’s means.”

In conclusion, this verse refers to a non-muslim who doesn’t pay poll-tax in Islamic State and thus does not contribute to the financial needs of the territory. It is generally agreed by the four major Jurists that jizya money is based upon one’s income. We ought also not forget that muslims are also obliged to pay Zakat.

Some critics try to pose the conception that the verse ought to be translated as “Kill those who believe…” instead of “Fight those who believe…” They claim since the verse uses the arabic word Qateloo, which comes from the root word Qaatil. However, there is derivitive field in arabic, when prefix and suffix are added, it determines the defination of verse in context. If it meant to say kill, verse would have said uqtulo or Uqtul.

According to the Ectaco English-Arabic Online Dictionary, in arabic words for “Fight” are:

N مقاومة, شجار, مباراة في المِكمة, صراع, وغى, عراك, مناوشة, كفاح, نضال, مِكمة,
V حارب, قاتل, تقاتل, تبارز, كافح, ناضل, ِكم, خاض معركة, قاوم
[Source ]
Note: As the dictionary testifies one of the word for Fight is Qaatil (in a verb). Furthermore, in english, word Qaatil is translated thus:

So Fight indeed is a correct translation, in a context of a VERB. Also the jizya is only upon livings, dead people cannot pay money. Therefore “kill until they pay jizya” would also have logical contradictions, as killing would cause jizya to be abolished.

Quran 8:12-13 and 8:17
Anti-Islam websites quote this verse as:
“I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers. Smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger tips off them. This because they contend against God and his apostle…”

Let’s read verses from 8:12-16:

When thy Lord inspired the angels, (saying): I am with you. So make those who believe stand firm. I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Then smite the necks and smite of them each finger. That is because they opposed Allah and His messenger. Whoso opposeth Allah and His messenger, (for him) lo! Allah is severe in punishment. That (is the award), so taste it, and (know) that for disbelievers is the torment of the Fire. O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them. Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless manoeuvring for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey’s end. (PICKTHAL Translation, Quran 8:12-16)

Hence when read in its textual context the verse is referring to smiting in the time of BATTLE. Now let’s read 8:17 which is presented in absence of 8:14-16:

Ye (Muslims) slew them not, but Allah slew them. And thou (Muhammad) threwest not when thou didst throw, but Allah threw, that He might test the believers by a fair test from Him. Lo! Allah is Hearer, Knower. (PICKTHAL Translation, Quran 8:12-16)

Verses 8:12-17 are in the context of Battle Of Badr. Ansar Al-’Adl ( Source ) comments on 8:12-13:
“The historical context is that this verse was revealed at the Battle of Badr, a battle in which the pagans of Makkah traveled over 200 miles to destroy the Muslims of Madinah. The Pagans of Makkah had an army of about 1000 while the Muslims were only 300 followers. The Prophet Muhammad ((peace be upon him)) and his followers had suffered severe persecutions and torture for 13 years in the city of Makkah. Having fled from Makkah to the safety of Madinah, they found that they were once again threatened.”

Al-Mubarakpuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum; Riyadh-Saudi Arabia, Dar-us-Salam Publications, 1996; pp. 219-220, says:

“When the fierce engagement grew too hot he (Prophet Muhammed) again began to supplicate his Lord saying: “O Allâh! Should this group (of Muslims) be defeated today, You will no longer be worshipped.”…. Immediate was the response from Allâh, Who sent down angels from the heavens for the help and assistance of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his companions. The Noble Qur’ân observes:

And recall when your Lord inspired the angels: “Verily, I am with you, so keep firm those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved.” [8:12]”

Furthermore, 8:19 says:
(O Qureysh!) If ye sought a judgment, now hath the judgment come unto you. And if ye cease (from persecuting the believers) it will be better for you, but if ye return (to the attack) We also shall return. And your host will avail you naught, however numerous it be, and (know) that Allah is with the believers (in His Guidance). (PICKTHAL Translation, Quran 8:19)

It is obvious from historical and textual context therefore that the verse in no sense promote killing of innocents. Verse 8:19 reaches out a hand of peace towards the Qureysh despite their aggression.

Quran 5:51
Translation of PICKTHAL is usually quoted:
O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends. They are friends one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk. (PICKTHAL Translation Quran 5:51)

The arabic word Awliya used in 5:51 is mistranslated by PICKTHAL and other major translators. More accurate translation of the word Awliya would be “Protector” , “allies” or “intimate friends”. Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi says [ Source ]

“In the verse you quoted, the word “Awliya” is used. It is a plural and its singular is “wali”. The correct translation of the word “”wali”" is not “friend” but it is someone who is very close and intimate. It is also used to mean “guardian, protector, patron, lord and master.”

In addition, according to Ectaco Online Dictionary, root word of Awliya (Al-wali الولي) means:


Whilst according to the same dictionary words for friends in arabic are:
N صديق, رفيق, زميل, نصير, الصاحبي عضو من جماعة المهتزين, الرفيق,
V صادق, آزر
[ Source ]

Al-Wali and awliya are NOT mentioned in the above list of friends.

However, according to the same dictionary, an Arabic word for protector is الولي (the wali):

N الحامي, المدافع, الولي, النصير, الواقية أداة للوقاية من اّذى, الوصي على العرش
[ Source ]

Allah says that Allah alone is the Auliya (in a sense of a protector):
The likeness of those who take Auliyâ’ (protectors and helpers) other than Allâh is as the likeness of a spider, who builds (for itself) a house, but verily, the frailest (weakest) of houses is the spider’s house; if they but knew. (Al-’Ankabut 29:41)

Or have they taken (for worship) Auliyâ’ (guardians, supporters, helpers, protectors, etc.) besides Him? But Allâh, He Alone is the Walî (Protector, etc.). And it is He Who gives life to the dead, and He is Able to do all things. (Ash-Shura 42:9)

The word Auliya is also used as a substitiotion for God/Lord:

Say (O Muhammad SAW): “Who is the Lord of the heavens and the earth?” Say: “(It is) Allâh.” Say: “Have you then taken (for worship) Auliyâ’ (protectors, etc.) other than Him, such as have no power either for benefit or for harm to themselves?” Say: “Is the blind equal to the one who sees? Or darkness equal to light? Or do they assign to Allâh partners who created the like of His creation, so that the creation (which they made and His creation) seemed alike to them.” Say: “Allâh is the Creator of all things, He is the One, the Irresistible.” (Ra’d 13:16)

Do then those who disbelieve think that they can take My slaves [i.e., the angels, Allâh’s Messengers, ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), etc.] as Auliyâ’ (lords, gods, protectors, etc.) besides Me? Verily, We have prepared Hell as an entertainment for the disbelievers (in the Oneness of Allâh Islâmic Monotheism). (Al-Kahf 18:102)

Verily, they can avail you nothing against Allâh (if He wants to punish you). Verily, the Zâlimûn (polytheists, wrong-doers, etc.) are Auliyâ’ (protectors, helpers, etc.) to one another, but Allâh is the Walî (Helper, Protector, etc.) of the Muttaqûn (pious - see V.2:2). (Al-Jathiyah 45:19)

Or have they taken (for worship) Auliyâ’ (guardians, supporters, helpers, protectors, etc.) besides Him? But Allâh, He Alone is the Walî (Protector, etc.). And it is He Who gives life to the dead, and He is Able to do all things. (Ash-Shura 42:9)

Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allâh only. And those who take Auliyâ’ (protectors and helpers) besides Him (say): “We worship them only that they may bring us near to Allâh.” Verily, Allâh will judge between them concerning that wherein they differ. Truly, Allâh guides not him who is a liar, and a disbeliever. (Az-Zumar 39:3)

Quran 9:111
Verses 9:111-112 states:
Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur’an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme. Those that turn (to Allah) in repentance; that serve Him, and praise Him; that wander in devotion to the cause of Allah,: that bow down and prostrate themselves in prayer; that enjoin good and forbid evil; and observe the limit set by Allah;- (These do rejoice). So proclaim the glad tidings to the Believers. (YUSUF ALI Translation, Quran 9:111-112)

As we read in Quran limits set by Allah are: “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.” (Yusuf Ali Translation, Quran 2:190).

Thus in the light of 2:190 it can be easily understood that the verse teaches self-defence in a form of a physical jihad (striving in the path of Allah). Let us also remember the rest of context of Chapter 9, which we have discussed before in 9:5 and 9:29.

Part 2: Providing accurate picture of Islam

Quran preaches peace
Unsurprisingly, Islam-critic shy away from posting verses of the Quran, which preaches peace. By bombarding verses out of their context or using dubious translations they seek to give the impression that a book such as Quran leaves no place for peace.

Can muslim and non-muslim co-exist?
One of the common misconception is that Quran teaches that either non-muslim must be forced to become muslim or they must be put to death. They justify themselves by misquoting verses, most of which we have discussed in this article. Now, let’s examine what Quran really says, does Quran allow non-muslim to keep their religion? One whole chapter is dedicated in Quran to this topic called Surah Kafiroon (Chapter THE DISBELIEVERS):

Say: O disbelievers! I worship not that which ye worship; Nor worship ye that which I worship. And I shall not worship that which ye worship. Nor will ye worship that which I worship. Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion. (PICKTHAL Translation, Quran 109:1-6)

The chapter gives crystal-clear evidence of “let and let live”. Quran states “Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion”. Thus no enforcement of religion by sword or otherwise is suggested in Islam. Furthermore, Quran says that there is no compulsion in religion; non-muslims do not have to become muslims against their wishes:

There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower. (PICKTHAL Translation, Quran 2:256)

Does Quran not say kill (innocent) non-believers?
Murder is a grave sin in Islam, Quran says in 5:32:

For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah’s Sovereignty), but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth. (PICKTHAL Translation, Quran 5:32)

As Quran points out killing an innocent being is like killing an entire humanity, which naturally leaves no place for killing innocents. It must be pointed out that Quran states “…whosoever killeth a human being…”, thus referring to a human being and not simply restricted to muslims.

Quran also says:
And slay not the life which Allah hath forbidden save with right. Whoso is slain wrongfully, We have given power unto his heir, but let him not commit excess in slaying. Lo! he will be helped. (PICKTHAL Translation, Quran 17:33)

Quran emphasises not to slay unjustly!

Does Quran not states to hate non-muslims and treat them unjustly?
This is another common misconception, Quran itself describes how ought a muslim to a treat non-muslims:

Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just. (PICKTHAL Translation, Quran 60:8)

Quran states to deal KINDLY and JUSTLY with those who don’t fight us. It does not only order muslims “not to live and let live” but to even go a step further in living peacefully and deal with them kindly and justly.

Another verse says:
O ye who believe! Be steadfast witnesses for Allah in equity, and let not hatred of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly. Deal justly, that is nearer to your duty. Observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Informed of what ye do. Allah hath promised those who believe and do good works: Theirs will be forgiveness and immense reward. (PICKTHAL Translation, Quran 5:8-9)

Allah emphasises not to let hatred of people prevent them from upholding justice.

Does Quran not say to wage war with non-muslims for any reason possible?
Quran states:

To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid;- (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, “our Lord is Allah”. Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);- for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will). (YUSUF ALI Translation, Quran 22:39-40)

There are reasons for which permission of war is given is mentioned in the verse as those have been wronged and “expelled from their homes in defiance of right” because they are muslim. Quran also calls upon it’s followers not to transgress limits:

Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. (YUSUF ALI Translation, Quran 2:190)

We Conclude with the following verse of the Quran:

How should ye not fight for the cause of Allah and (for the cause) of the feeble among men and of the women and the children who are crying: Our Lord! Bring us forth from out this town of which the people are oppressors! Oh, give us from thy presence some protecting friend! Oh, give us from Thy presence some defender! [4:75]


Why Does Allah (swt) Refer to Himself as We/He?

We already know Allah our lord is One. As in Surah al-Ikhlas 112:1-4. But why does Allah the Lord use the word “We” to refer to Himself in many verse or ayat in the Qur’an? For example He says in Surah al-Anbiya’ 21:107 “And We did not send you (O Muhammad) except as a mercy to the world.” The word “we” is plural, more than one. Why does Allah use “We” instead of “I” to refer to Himself?
It is a feature of literary style in Arabic that a person may refer to themself by the pronoun nahnu (we) for respect or glorification. They may also use the word ana (I), indicating one person, or the third person huwa (he). All three styles are used in the Qur'an, where Allah addresses the Arabs in their own tongue.

Allah, the Glorified and Exalted, sometimes refers to Himself in the singular, by name or by use of a pronoun, and sometimes by use of the plural, as in the phrase (interpretation of the meaning):

"Verily, We have given you a manifest victory." [al-Fat'h 48:1], and other similar phrases.

But Allah never refers to Himself by use of the dual, because the plural refers to the respect that He deserves, and may refer to His names and attributes, whereas the dual refers to a specific number (and nothing else), and He is far above that." (See Al-'Aqeedah al-Tadmuriyyah by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, p. 75.)

These words, inna "Verily We" and nahnu "We", and other forms of the plural, may be used by one person speaking on behalf of a group, or they may be used by one person for purposes of respect or glorification, as is done by some monarchs when they issue statements or decrees in which they say "We have decided…" etc. [This is known in English as "The Royal We"]

In such cases, only one person is speaking but the plural is used for respect. The One Who is more deserving of respect than any other is Allah, the Glorified and Exalted, so when He says in the Qur'an - inna "Verily We" and nahnu "We", it is for respect and glorification, not to indicate plurality of numbers.

If an 'aayah (verse) of this type is causing confusion, it is essential to refer to the clear, unambiguous 'aayat (verses) for clarification, and if a Christian, for example, insists on taking 'aayat such as (interpretation of the meaning) "Verily, We: it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e., the Qur'an)…" [al-Hijr 15:9] as proof of divine plurality, we may refute this claim by quoting such clear and unambiguous 'aayat as (interpretation of the meanings): "And your God is One God, there is none who has the right to be worshipped but He, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful." [al-Baqarah 2:163] and "Say: He is Allah, the One." [al-Ikhlas 112:1] and other 'aayat which can only be interpreted in one way. Thus confusion will be dispelled for the one who is seeking the truth.

Every time Allah uses the plural to refer to Himself, it is based on the respect and honor that He deserves, and on the great number of His names and attributes, and on the great number of His troops and angels." (See Al-'Aqeedah al-Tadmuriyyah by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, p. 109.)

Alternate Answer:

This is a good question and one that Bible readers have also asked about. The term "We" in the Bible and in the Quran is the royal "We" - as an example when the king says, "We decree the following declaration, etc." or, "We are not amused." It does not indicate plural; rather it displays the highest position in the language. English, Persian, Hebrew, Arabic and many languages provide for the usage of "We" for the royal figure. It is helpful to note the same dignity is given to the person being spoken to in English. We say to someone, "You ARE my friend." Yet the person is only one person standing there. Why did we say "ARE" instead of "IS"? The noun "you" is singular and should therefore be associated with a singular verb for the state of being, yet we say, "are." The same is true for the speaker when referring to himself or herself. We say, "I am" and this is also in the royal plural, instead of saying, "I is."

When Allah uses the term "HE" in Quran it is similar to the above answer. The word "He" is used when referring to Allah out of respect, dignity and high status. It would be totally inappropriate to use the word "it" and would not convey the proper understanding of Allah being who Allah is; Alive, Compassionate, Forgiving, Patient, Loving, etc. It is not correct to associate the word "He" with gender, as this would be comparing Allah to the creation, something totally against the teaching of Quran.


Who was Offered for Sacrifice – Ishmael or Isaac?

Ibraheem`alayhissalaam’s son who was offered for sacrifice and whose sacrifice was accepted without being killed was very special in terms of Allah’s promise of blessings on him and his descendents as well as in terms of honour and closeness to Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala. This special honour for the son and his descendents has created two differing claims as to the identity of the son who was offered for sacrifice.

The Muslims believe that the son whom Ibraheem`alayhissalaam offered for sacrifice was Isma'el`alayhissalaam, while the Jewish traditions claim that it was Is-haaq `alayhissalaam.

As the sequence of events has demonstrated in the Festival of Sacrifice article, the Holy Qur-aan makes it abundantly clear that the son who was offered for sacrifice was the first-born, Isma'el (Ishmael)`alayhissalaam. The second son, Is-haaq (Isaac)`alayhissalaam, was born miraculously as a reward for the acceptance of the sacrifice from Ibraheem and Isma'el`alayhimussalaam.

In addition to the clear context and the sequence of the story, the Holy Qur-aan gives more clues in this regard. For example:

1. An outstanding quality mentioned for Isma'el`alayhissalaam in the Holy Qur-aan is that he was true to his promise, because he willingly presented himself for sacrifice and promised to be patient and steadfast. He was true to his word and willingly lay down to be slaughtered.

And mention Isma'el in the book, he surely was true to his promise and was a messenger prophet. (Maryam 19:54)

2. The son who was offered for sacrifice was born in answer to prayers (Isma'el) and his outstanding quality was forbearance (Hilm) and patience (Sabr) as indicated in the verses quoted in the Festival of Sacrifice article as well as the following:

And Isma'el, Idrees and Dzul-kifl, all of them were from those who practice patience and steadfastness (saabireen). (Al-Anbiyaa 21:85)

The son who was given because Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala was happy with Ibraheem `alayhissalaam’s submission and who brought happiness to Sarah was Is-haaq (derived from laughter) whose outstanding quality was knowledge:

And they (angels) gave him (Ibraheem) the good news of a knowledgeable son. (Adz-Dzaariyaat 51:28)

None of the distinguishing attributes of the son offered for sacrifice have been attributed to Is-haaq `alayhissalaam as his special qualities either in the Qur-aan or in the Bible. The Holy Qur-aan attributes them as distinguishing qualities only to Isma'el `alayhissalaam.

3. After concluding the story of Ibraheem `alayhissalaam with verse 112, the Holy Qur-aan makes a concluding statement for both sons of Ibraheem`alayhissalaam. In doing so, it mentions the son who was offered for sacrifice without name and then mentions Is-haaq separately by name -- both being blessed by Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala:

And We blessed him (the one presented for sacrifice and mentioned in the verses (101-107) as well as Is-haaq, and from descendents of both, there are good and there are those who are clearly unjust to themselves. (As-Saafaat 37:113)

One may ask why the Holy Qur-aan has not clearly mentioned Isma'el`alayhissalaam’s name? The style of the Holy Qur-aan is that it does not mention anything that is clear from the text and is well known in the society. From the text and the order of the verses the fact was evident that the son who was offered for sacrifice was the first born and that the second son was born only after the sacrifice episode. Similarly, in Arabian society, the presentation of Isma'el `alayhissalaam for sacrifice was well known and accepted. So much so that every year without fail Arabs used to present sacrifices in remembrance of Isma'el’s sacrifice. Hence to mention something that obvious was against the concise style of the Qur-aan. Had it not been Isma'el, the first born who was given in answer to prayers, then the name would have definitely been mentioned. No mention of the name is evidence in itself that it was Isma'el`alayhissalaam.

Unfortunately, to discredit Arabs and the Prophet Muhammad Sall Allahu `alayhi wa sallam, the Jews manipulated their books and tried to hide the facts mentioned in the Bible about Ibraheem `alayhissalaam’s activities in Makkah, conceal his association with Holy Ka’bah, and Marwah and tried to attribute sacrifice and other good things about Isma'el to Is-haaq. The Holy Qur-aan has repeatedly pointed out their efforts in obfuscating and concealing the facts and encouraged to reform their behaviour. For example:

After giving a detailed account of the achievements of Ibraheem and Isma'el i`alayhimussalaam including their construction of the Holy Ka’bah, the Qur-aan says:

And who is more unjust than he who conceals a testimony that he has from Allah? And Allah is not at all unaware of what you do. (Al-Baqarah 2:140)

After mentioning Qiblah, it says:

Those whom We have given the Book recognize it as they recognize their sons, but some of them most surely conceal the truth while they know (it). (Al-Baqarah 2:146)

After mentioning Safaa and Marwah, it says:

Surely those who conceal the clear proofs and the guidance that We revealed after We made it clear in the Book for people, it is they whom Allah shall curse, and those who curse shall curse them (too). Except those who repent and amend and make manifest (the truth), it is they to whom I turn (mercifully); and I am the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful. (Al-Baqarah 2:159-160)

After mentioning the truth about Holy Ka’bah, Makkah and the Hajj, it says:

Say: O people with the Book! Why do you disbelieve in the revelations of Allah, while Allah is witness on what you do? Say: O people with the Book! Why do you hinder a believer from the way of Allah, seeking to make it crooked, while you are witnesses (to its truth)? And Allah is not unaware of what you are doing. (Aali-‘Imraan 3:96-99)

When many Jews and Christians became Muslims, some of them brought their knowledge and impressions about the previous Biblical personalities along with them and starting spreading those ideas among Muslims as well. When that kind of information started circulating among Muslims, it created confusions in the minds of some Muslims as well.

However, the Judaeo-Christian efforts to conceal the truth have not succeeded very well. A little careful study exposes what has transpired. Their manipulations of the text of their books have created many inconsistencies and improprieties. For example, they claim that the son who was offered for sacrifice was Is-haaq (Isaac). They base their claim on the following verse of the Bible:

“And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” (Genesis 22:2)

But, there is a slight problem with this statement in the Bible. According to the Bible itself when Isaac`alayhissalaam was born, Ibraheem `alayhissalaam already had a 14-year-old son, Isma'el `alayhissalaam. So, if the son who was offered for sacrifice was ‘the only son’, it cannot be Isaac because Isaac was never an only son even for one day. It has to be Isma'el who was ‘the only son’ for 14 years.

To this argument, their response is: ‘the only son’ actually means ‘the only son from his own wife’, ‘the only blessed son’, etc. Unfortunately, all of these explanations are fabricated because the words of the Bible ‘the only son’ do not include any of the qualifiers these people want to attach with the phrase. In addition, the Bible itself negates all of these claims. According to the Bible, Isma'el was Ibraheem `alayhissalaam’s, legitimate, beloved and blessed son as per the following examples:

“And Sarah Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.” (Genesis 16:3)

“And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.” (An Nahl 16:15)

In the same day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. (Al Israa' 17:26)

In fact, Isma'el was Ibraheem’s `alayhissalaam most beloved son. When Ibraheem`alayhissalaam was given the good news that he would father Is-haaq, instead of being excited about the second son, the bible records that Ibraheem`alayhissalaam responded immediately with a prayer for Isma'el `alayhissalaam:

“And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!” (Genesis 17:19) (i.e., he lives under the kind, blessed and protective sight of Allah).

This indicates his passionate love for Isma'el. God in the bible responded:

“And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.” (Genesis 17:20)

Another reason that it could not have been Isaac `alayhissalaam is that before Isaac was born, God in the bible told Ibraheem `alayhissalaam that:

And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, [and] with his seed after him. (Genesis 17:19 KJV)

Sarah your wife shall bear a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. (Genesis 17:19 RSV)

If Ibraheem`alayhissalaam was already told that Isaac `alayhissalaam’s descendents will have covenant with Allah Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala, how could Allah then test Ibraheem`alayhissalaam by asking for his sacrifice, considering also that episode of sacrifice happened long before the son offered for sacrifice could be married or have children?

In fact, the son who was offered for sacrifice was given the good news of many descendents only at the completion of the episode of sacrifice, and the good news of Isaac`alayhissalaam’s birth was also given at that time:

And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only [son]: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which [is] upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:16-18)

Also, the place where episode of sacrifice took place was Marwah – a hillock besides the house of Allah in Makkah, which in the Bible was misspelled and pronounced as Moriah, of which name there has been no place.

Even if, for the sake of argument, we set aside every other evidence, the strongest evidence comes from the history, practices and traditions of Jews and Arabs. It is a well-known fact that Jewish customs and practices have been largely determined by the lifestyle of their patriarchs. They circumcise their children because Ibraheem`alayhissalaam did; they do not eat the meat from the hind of an animal because of an incident that occurred when Jacob`alayhissalaam wrestled with God; they do not eat anything that Jacob did not eat for his own personal reasons, etc. Surprisingly, their whole history is devoid of any practice of sacrifice in remembrance of Ibraheem`alayhissalaam’s offering his son for sacrifice.

On the other hand, since the day Isma'el was offered as sacrifice, Arabs have been offering sacrifice of animals in commemoration of the sacrifice of their great grandfather, Isma'el, at the same place where and on the same day of the year when the original sacrifice happened. That had continued throughout their history every year without fail until the advent of Muhammad Sall Allahu`alayhi wa sallam and has continued since then among Muslims without any break.

It is reported that even the horns of the Ram that replaced Isma'el`alayhissalaam were preserved in the Holy Ka’bah but were lost when the building of Ka’bah collapsed during the army action by Hajjaaj bin Yousuf.

Every year, millions of Muslim continue offering their sacrifices on that day and place. In fact, people start their journey of Hajj with the same words that Ibraheem uttered when he realized that he has been called upon to sacrifice his son. Even the Bible records that:

After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." (Genesis 22:1)

The people going for Hajj say the same thing: Labbayk, Allahumma Labbayk. Here I am, O Allah, here I am.