Responses to anti-Islamic Polemics

Surah 2:191, are Muslims commanded to slay unbelievers wherever they are?

A common verse cited by critics of Islam to try and prove that Islam is a violent faith is verse 191 of the 2nd chapter of the Quran, which reads:

And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have Turned you out; for tumult 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, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith.

So they quote this verse and argue that the verse teaches terrorism, and that the verse commands the Muslims to slay the unbelievers wherever Muslims catch them. Now indeed, if one were to isolate this verse all on it’s own, that’s exactly what the verse seems to be saying.

However so that’s only the case if this verse is read in isolation, so instead of reading this verse in isolation, how about we quote this verse in its context? Meaning we quote the before and after, so that we can get a clearer picture of what’s actually being said.

So let’s do that now:

002.190 Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.

And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have Turned you out; for tumult 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, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith.

002.192  But if they cease, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful

And fight them on until there is no more Tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah;but if they cease, Let there be no hostility except to those who practise oppression. 

So here is the passage being quoted in context, when the verse is quoted in context one will notice there is no terrorism or genocide being preached or advocated. The context is if Muslims are getting attacked, then they have the right to defend themselves.

The context is very clear on that, the theme comes into play in verse 190, not verse 191, the critic should quote from verse 190 onwards, and once the context is given one will see that this is a defensive war, not an offensive one.

The verses even go on to say that if the people who started the fight want to stop and make peace then the Muslims too must also stop and make peace

Now nobody in their right minds would argue that these verses in context are something abhorrent, all human beings have a right to defend themselves when they find themselves under persecution and attack. This extends to any community, ethnicity, race, or people of faith.

13 replies »

  1. The only way Islamophobes try to show that Islam preaches offensive violence – that the Prophet Muhammad is a war lord – is only by taking Islamic texts out of contexts.

  2. As a non muslim , I am trying to understand Islam and Muslims, especially in my country where Muslims are the majority.

    I find is that what is preached about Islam is so different from the appalling actions commited by Muslims internationally (such as the IS ) and locally.

    Being raised a Catholic , I am always reminded of a passage in the Gospel that goes to say that a good tree bears good fruit and vice versa.

    How come Islam , if it is good tree can bear consistently ” bad fruit?”

    Bad fruits in the form of the mass genocide of Christians and minorities, of racial bigotry and holier than thou attitudes , the list goes on and on.

    Oh , the popular , but the WW2 , genocide of the Jews , etc,etc are perpetrated by Christian Europe etc.That’s the standard rebuttal that I always read , even more so in this website.

    However,I can’t fathom why or how practising ,believing Muslims of the IS (if that is what they claim themselves to be) pray to God five times a day after they behead an innocent person.

    Anyone in their rational mind would have come to the same questions I am having now , bad tree,bad fruit?

    • Shasav,

      I’m glad you are trying to understand Islam and it has become evident to you that there are groups of people not following with is being preached by Islam.

      So acknowledge that there is “bad fruit” in Christianity too but you ignore that argument? Why is the rebuttal provided not sufficient? Anyway since that isn’t good enough for you I will try to answer your question in another way.

      I believe the verse you are referring to is;
      “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.” – Luke 6:43 (similarly found in Matt 7:17).

      Speaking rationally, that verse does not make sense. It is evident that even the best of trees produce bad fruit. As for why Islam contains “bad fruit”, let’s continue the tree analogy. The reason is pests. These are people that are brainwashing and manipulating people into their ideology. When “IS” kill innocent people, they don’t deem them innocent.

      Now from what I understand it is obvious to you that what they are following isn’t correct so I am not sure why are blaming the tree for bad fruit.

      Hope that clears some issues up.

      – Chase

      • If we overall look at prophet Mohammed teachings I draw a picture of Allah is 51 % peach with 49% violence. And peace does not go with violence. You can never have realise peace what jesus has promised.

  3. who uses this verse to try prove islam is violent? and some have claimed what is translated is wrong it is not talking about oppression but disbelief

  4. “How come Islam, if it is good tree can bear consistently ” bad fruit?”

    How comes you accuse Islam of what it does not actually bear?

    Islam is only what comes from its genuine sources: Holy Qur’an, Sunnah and Ijma’. Anything from any other source – e.g, personal actions of some individuals or groups ascribed to its name or not – could not be regarded as Islam. And the post under discussion and series of other posts on the blog prove that the sources of Islam in thier contexts never condone offensive violence, terrorism.

    And is it bigotry or what that prevents you from seeing that the main body of about 1.7 billion Muslims all over the world are peaceful which means that only a fringe commit the condemnable violence you refer to? The percentage of the fringe ones that take to violence (less than 1%) compared to the main body of the global peaceful Muslims could in no way represent the whole of Muslims and Islam!! So, is it the main body of the Muslims that are evidently peaceful all over the world that be considered the fruit of Islam o the fringe ones scattered around the world that are demonstrably unrepresentative of Muslims and Islam?!

    And what made you blind to the fact that many Christian individuals and groups ever in history engage in acts of terrorism in the name of Christianity? The Wiki says:

    “Christian terrorism comprises terrorist acts by groups or individuals who use Christian motivations or goals for their actions. As with other forms of religious terrorism, Christian terrorists have relied on interpretations of the tenets of faith– in this case, the Bible. Such groups have cited Old Testamentand New Testament scriptures to justify violence and killing or to seek to bring about the ” end times” described in the New Testament. [ 1 ]” – more details here:

    So, given this fact, can we argue like you that:

    “We can’t fathom why or how practising, believing Christians of these groups and individuals (pointed out in the linked article) -if that is what they claim themselves to be – pray to God in Churhes after they beheaded /bombed/ gunned/ killed innocent people. Anyone in his rational mind would have come to the same questions we are coming to now, bad tree, bad fruit?” ?!

    The usual escapism wont do that they could not be really Christians! That fact that they draw thier inspiration from some Christian beliefs and from the Bible (as the Wiki article shows) says it all!!

    • yes but most Muslim terrorists do in name of religion while these Christian terrorists have mostly used the old testament which the Christians don’t follow but accept as true

      • No John! The no.1 reason that Muslims that engage in terrorism give to try and justify their actions are sociopolitical grievances – which they sometimes wrap in religious language in order to try and gain support from the wider Muslim community.

    • I live in a Muslim majority country which is famed for its “moderation”.However the reality is far from that.

      The Christianophobes /”Non Muslim phobes”, which comprise of Muslims bigoted against the Christian mainly , and other non muslim communities have being sowing blatant lies and distrust between muslims and non muslims . As non muslims , we have to “toe the line” so as not to offend Muslim “sensitivities”, but it is fine for them to offend ours.

      The actions of ISIL, which justifies the killing of non muslims/minorities , and the initial silence of the Muslim community , baffles me more.

      If you were in my position , wouldn’t it fuel your bigotry against Muslims as well?

      Or would you join in the “Non Muslim bashing bandwagon” as well? This is what typically most Muslims love to do , judging from your comments.

      If Islam is the truth, then Muslims should be demonstrating WHY it is the truth from their actions .

      Fron my observation , the actions of Muslims in my country, ISIL etc does not reflect that.

      Thank you.

  5. 002.190 
Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.
    ISIS is fighting in the cause of Allah!!!

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