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Featured Let there be no compulsion in religion

Discussion in 'Quranic Debates' started by adrian009, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    In the Holy Quran it is written:

    Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.

    — trans. Yusuf Ali, Quran 2:256


    Al-Baqara 256 - Wikipedia

    To me that would mean one is free to accept or reject religion including Islam without coercion. Yet apostasy laws exist in some Islamic countries where leaving Islam is a crime punishable by death. So what did Muhammad mean when He said let there be no compulsion in religion and why? Are apostasy laws based on the Quran?
     
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  2. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    You cannot know if someone truly believes, but you can make them act like it. Obviously a government can compel people to do religious things. You can make people learn to dance the fandango and smile throughout, even if they don't like it. Also suppose that I don't agree with the Quran about something. The Quran teaches that I will get into trouble with God because of that. Clearly I am compelled to align myself with it in that case even inwardly.

    What do you think?
     
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  3. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    I’m encouraging reflection on Muhammad words and the approach is similar to reflecting on a single statement spoken by Jesus recorded in the Gospels. What will be helpful in our analysis is knowledge of the Quran as a whole but also knowing the history of Muhammad and Islam.

    Central to Islam is our relationship with Allah who is the God of Abraham who is just, compassionate and wise. Muhammad’s people were nomadic tribesmen living on the Arabian Peninsula. Muhammad’s particular tribe was the Quraysh. There looked after the Kaaba in Mecca where many gods were worshipped. They were pagans and managing visitors to the Kaaba to worship one or more out of potentially hundreds of gods was an important source of revenue.

    When Muhammad attracted a following by Teaching His people they should be like the Christians and Jews and worship the One True God, this was potentially very bad for business. The Quraysh resolved to kill Muhammad and His followers.

    Allah asks we worship Him and have no other God. He asks this for our sakes because He is Merciful and Loving. Whether we worship God through the Torah, Gospels or Quran we have a solid foundation for our lives. However there must always be free will. There must be no compulsion in religion. Apostasy laws are man made and not based on the Quran.

    That’s my perspective and I can provide proofs and arguments in support. However we are all free to believe or disbelieve. What’s more important is we can civilly discuss the nature and substance of what Muhammad taught. I’m not that knowledgeable about Islam and knowledge is not a prerequisite to contributing to this thread. Hopefully its an opportunity for us all to learn. Peace.
     
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  4. Firemorphic

    Firemorphic Activist Membrane

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    Yes, well the very concept of forced conversion deeply contradicts the Islamic view on salvation. Salvation is not an outward thing either, the Qur'an itself makes the argument that people deceive each other by calling themselves something for their own advantages. Just read the opening of Surah al-Baqara and the opening of Surah al-Ankaboot, both of which are exemplary of this.
     
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  5. Milton Platt

    Milton Platt Well-Known Member
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    Quran (17:16) - "And when We wish to destroy a town, We send Our commandment to the people of it who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein; thus the word proves true against it, so We destroy it with utter destruction." Note that the crime is moral transgression, and the punishment is "utter destruction." (Before ordering the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden first issued Americans an invitation to Islam).
     
  6. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    I strongly suspect that the most obvious explanation is indeed the correct one.

    That being that the Qur'an and Islaam are enthusiastic proponents of peer pressure and other forms of compulsion for the adoption of Islaam, but at the same time reject nearly all of the responsibility for that trait.

    The statement exists in direct defiance of the reality of the doctrine itself. That is not an oversight, but a deliberate attempt at obfuscation for ideological purposes, a statement of values, emphasis and goals, an invitation to take a certain bias and be an accomplice in the price that sustains that bias.

    In short, it is an hypocritical lie, stated at just the right moment to confuse criticism of Islaam and further the goals of proselitism by attempting to ease to conscience of dutiful acolytes as they deal with the reality that not everyone can ever be a Muslim.

    The verse makes two clashing statements and expects the reader to provide the willingness to accept them as fitting besides each other. It is reminiscent of Andersen's tale of the Emperor's New Clothes.

    The Emperor's New Clothes - Wikipedia

    That contradictory verse is useful for the purposes of artificially increasing the lasting power of Islaamic doctrine, because the very insistence on treating the contradiction as somehow unremarkable or even non-existent confuses the thought processes and expectations of Muslims and apologists. The habit of reading the verse and stopping consistently short of pointing out the contradiction is a constant invitation for Muslims to provide their own (unavoidably convoluted) explanations for why other people seem not to perceive it, while also creating the expectation that any critics should be polite enough to restrain their voices and assume that there is somehow an explanation that just happens not to have been stated or well understood at that moment.

    In that sense it is quite a prodigy of skill, a very efficient and resilient marvel of manipulative doctrine. Had this specific verse not been in the Qur'an, Islaam would have a considerably harder time expanding and defending its own reputation, but it would also be more honest with itself and create a lesser percentage of disappointed former adherents that end up rejecting not only Islaam, but also religion and even theism. Muslims and former Muslims tend to confuse the three concepts, because the Qur'an teaches them to.

    It is also a rather unique verse by Quranic standards, so much so that it is very predictably recalled whenever people are reminded of how Islaam expects compulsion; nowhere else in the Qur'an there is any clear attempt at denying that expectation, so that necessary role falls entirely to this purposefully flawed verse.

    We should not neglect to notice that the verse attempts to present "religion" as synonimous with Islaam, characterized there by the belief in the existence of Allah and the adoption of the marvelously ambiguous and manipulative Islaamic rejection of "idolatry", that unholy blend of literal worship of idols with worship of "evil", Shaitan/Satan, or just adoption of deities that happen not to be the Quranic Allah.

    Symptomatically, the translations of that what is to be rejected are all over the place. It may be "evil", "false deities", "Shaitan/Satan" and/or "belief in idols". Islaam is so bad at distinguishing between those very different concepts that one has to conclude that the doctrine wants to present them all as one and the same thing.

    Al-Baqara 256 - Wikipedia

    Naturally enough, Al-Baqara 256 is widely understood not to be one of the abrogated verses. That means that we can't use less contradictory, more rational statements of the Qur'an itself to clarify this one, despite a very blatant need to make the attempt.
     
  7. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein Veteran Member
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    I'm going to guess one of the Hadiths screwed things up. I honestly think Islam giving into hero worship of Muhammad and even having Hadiths was a grave error. They just should've stopped at the Qur'an as it's relatively simple and straight-forward - there is one God and He has no divisions or partners or children and you should rely on Him alone. Sweet and simple.
     
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  8. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    This verse is part of one of the early Meccan Suras. It outlines the necessity of following Allah alone and sets out the punishment or reward from Allah for one who turns towards God or turns away. The principle is applied to the people in the time of Noah and for the Israelites whom Allah sent Moses and the Torah. The Israelites notwithstanding the guidance from their Prophets turned to old ways and were punished with destruction of their lands and cities.

    So the verse is a warning and a comfort. The following year the Muslims fled to Medina and would be pursued by powerful and ruthless enemies. However in being faithful to Allah Muhammad indicates they would be protected whereas their enemies would be conquered. Despite being attacked by the Quraysh tribe the Muslims prevailed and Muhammad went on to unite the disparate tribes of the Arabian Peninsula.

    Osama bin Laden used verses from the Quran to justify murder innocent lives on foreign soil. Such actions are contrary to the spirit of the Quran and a distortion of Islam. Most Muslims found his actions abhorrent. There is no question a minority of Muslims use religion to justify hatred and violence. Christianity has a similar history. I believe both Christ and Muhammad taught their followers to be just and compassionate.
     
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  9. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    Muslims and Baha’is would see the Quran as the Revealed Word of God. However interpretation is an issue. There are several verses from the Quran taken out of context in order to justify apostasy laws. Interestingly jurists avoided any kind of punishment for apostasy until about the 11th century.

    Early Islamic jurists developed legal institutions to circumvent this harsh punishment, and the standard for apostasy from Islam was set so high that practically no apostasy verdict could be passed before the 11th century. However, later jurists lowered the bar for applying the death penalty, allowing judges to interpret the apostasy law in different ways, which they did sometimes leniently and sometimes strictly.

    There are several Quranic verses used to justify apostasy laws, for example;

    Make ye no excuses: ye have rejected Faith after ye had accepted it. If We pardon some of you, We will punish others amongst you, for that they are in sin.
    — Quran 9:66

    As mentioned Hadiths provide contradictory statements about punishments for apostasy. For example in Sahih al-Bukhari the most important book in Sunni Islam after the Quran punishments for apostasy are described as follows:

    Allah's Apostle said, "The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims."

    — Sahih al-Bukhari, 9:83:17, see also Sahih Muslim, 16:4152, Sahih Muslim, 16:4154
    Reference
    Apostasy in Islam - Wikipedia
     
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  10. wizanda

    wizanda One Accepts All Religious Texts
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    As far as I'm aware all apostasy laws came after, in made up oral traditions (Hadiths), and part of what I'd call Muhammadism...

    The Quran teaches to accept all the religious texts as One (2:285, 4:150-151, etc).

    2:285 The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], "We make no distinction between any of His messengers." And they say, "We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination."

    4:150-151 Indeed, those who disbelieve in Allah and His messengers and wish to discriminate between Allah and His messengers and say, "We believe in some and disbelieve in others," and wish to adopt a way in between - Those are the disbelievers, truly. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment.


    Since the Quran teaches there is only One Religion in the sight of Allah (3:19), anyone deviating from Oneness can be tried as an unbeliever (atheist, polytheist, idolaters), (9:33), not an apostate - as how can apostate laws make sense, if all the messages in the books are as One?

    3:19 Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam. And those who were given the Scripture did not differ except after knowledge had come to them - out of jealous animosity between themselves. And whoever disbelieves in the verses of Allah, then indeed, Allah is swift in [taking] account.

    9:33 It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to manifest it over all religion, although they who associate others with Allah dislike it.

    Dr. Mustafa Khattab, The Clear Quran - 2:256 Let there be no compulsion in religion, for the truth stands out clearly from falsehood. So whoever renounces false gods and believes in Allah has certainly grasped the firmest, unfailing hand-hold. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.

    Found this translation clearer on looking up context is everything - where we should always seek checking the previous verses to acquire a logistical contexts of the poetical form, before proceeding to make ideas.

    What is therefore presented is that there is no compulsion to follow the logic: that the Source of our reality is One, therefore all religion stems from the same Source; other religious understanding is illogical to deviate from Oneness (Tawheed).

    Since it explains judgement is on those who disbelieve just before it (2:254), then there is no compulsion to be logical; yet most people in this world of delusions and desires are hypocrites (3:185), and follow their lower desires (5:48-49).

    2:254 O you who have believed, spend from that which We have provided for you before there comes a Day in which there is no exchange and no friendship and no intercession. And the disbelievers - they are the wrongdoers.

    3:185 Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.

    5:48-49 And We have revealed to you the Book with the truth, verifying what is before it of the Book and a guardian over it, therefore judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their low desires (to turn away) from the truth that has come to you; for every one of you did We appoint a law and a way, and if Allah had pleased He would have made you (all) a single people, but that He might try you in what He gave you, therefore strive with one another to hasten to virtuous deeds; to Allah is your return, of all (of you), so He will let you know that in which you differed; And that you should judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their low desires, and be cautious of them, lest they seduce you from part of what Allah has revealed to you; but if they turn back, then know that Allah desires to afflict them on account of some of their faults; and most surely many of the people are transgressors.

    In my opinion. :innocent:
     
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  11. Amanaki

    Amanaki Living in the moment

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    It is very difficult (especially for a non-Muslim) to know or understand what Muhammad truly meant in his teaching (Allah`s teaching). But it would not surprise me if Muhammad's true words and what some Muslims today say actually contradict each other. So that the part where some Muslims say, if a Muslim leaves Islam or accept that other religion could also hold the truth, actually is not of Muhammad but of later words of Muslim leaders who want to control the people.

    It is not only in Islam we see this happening today, but it also happens in many religions.
     
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  12. wizanda

    wizanda One Accepts All Religious Texts
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    It is interesting after now writing that legitimate reply to follow the logic of Oneness, 'that there is only one religious understanding from the Source of reality - which is not compulsory to accept it is rational'...

    Yet then the Quran also gets us to sign up for pilgrimage to Mecca, fasting, prayer times, eating animals, etc, which personally I disagree with spiritually, and contextually from all religions as One.

    Thus ultimately there is compulsions, and obligations to join in with the ritualistic behaviours stated within the Quran to be socially accepted; this ritualistic compulsion we can see has led to stifling problems in all religions...

    Where people become obsessed by ritualistic thought patterns, arguing their methods are right; rather than dynamic questioning of the divine, in all aspects of wisdom within, not only the practises on the outside.

    In my opinion. :innocent:
     
  13. Firemorphic

    Firemorphic Activist Membrane

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    Hmmm....do you pray or meditate at all? or do you just read books? I would question what you're doing if you're only reading books....
     
  14. wizanda

    wizanda One Accepts All Religious Texts
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    I'm always praying, and trying to be in a meditative state of Zazen; where I try to be in that state from the moment I wake, to the moment I go to sleep...

    Salat, and Yoga both mean connection to the Source; so I've always been trying to practise all forms of Yoga within - even before correlating the data again.
    Ritualistic devotion to study, is the highest calling in my understanding of any religious practise; only the adept ever spend most of their time learning religion, to help others comprehend it better.

    As Yeshua pointed out, 'he who serves is the greatest among you' (Matthew 23:11), and my life is devoted to the service of others - helping everyone understand more about the Source of our reality.

    In my opinion. :innocent:
     
    #14 wizanda, Nov 17, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2019
  15. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    For nearly 30 years I’ve been practicing a religion founded on Islam. During much of that time I’ve had friendly association with Muslims. I’ve come to appreciate the beauty of both Islam and Catholicism along with Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity. There are sociopolitical ideologies I have little patience for including extreme nationalism, racism and communism based on Marxism. I really like democracy, the human rights movement and free speech.

    Ever since I’ve been on RF you’ve been one of the staunchest critics of Islam along with a number of others on this site. My father’s funeral was held on 9/11 and some of my Persian Baha’i friends had to flee Iran because of persecution. So I kinda get it.

     
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  16. icehorse

    icehorse Well-Known Member
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    1 - Do you claim that the quran is the perfect word of god?
    2 - If so, do you agree that the book should be easy to understand, given that it declares itself to be easy to understand?
    3 - If so, how do you square the quran's repeated claims that allah is merciful, with the book's countless demonstrations that allah is petty and cruel?
     
  17. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    The Baha’i position is the Quran is the authenticated repository of the word of God. Any analysis of Muhammad’s Revelation needs to consider historical context. That includes understanding the relatively primitive and barbaric tribalism that existed on the Arabian Peninsula during the seventh century. A state of conflict existed between the a Muslims and Quraysh erupting into open warfare.

    While much of Muhammad’s Teachings may have been clear at the time, the distinction between personal and civil laws hasn’t always been clear as evidenced by apostasy laws. Some laws are similar to those in the Torah and wholly unsuited to our modern age.
     
  18. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    I agree. With the passage of time Teachings are attributed to the founder of a religion that was never intended in the first place. Apostasy laws in Islam are a good example.
     
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  19. icehorse

    icehorse Well-Known Member
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    I'm guessing that that means that the Baha'i allow a bit more room for interpretation than many other sects?
     
  20. adrian009

    adrian009 Well-Known Member
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    That's correct. There are significant theological differences between Islam and the Baha'i Faith. The Baha'i Faith emerged from Islam as Christianity came out of Judaism. Despite the Islamic origins they are different religions.
     
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