Friday, December 3, 2010

Islam and Violence (1): The Verses


Not that I expect anyone to have been actually paying attention, but if anyone was, I owe them an apology for the unholy delay that plagued this post.

Here at last are some of the violent-seeming verses in the Qur'an, and my replies to those who see them as "incriminating" for the religion of Islam in any way. It also is a refutation of the empty claims of those "Muslim" people who claim that these verses do, in fact, urge them to MAKE WAR UPON THE UNBELIEVERS, however that may be.

(Which is why I disagree with the empty "Islam's a religion of peace" refrain. Anything can be twisted to unscruplous advantages, and these verses are the ones that are always pointed to in the New "Experts" on Islam's finger-pointings.)

Enough intro. Here we go.


(A) Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home: an evil fate. (Sura 9:73)"

"The true believers fight for the cause of God. But the infidels fight for the devil. Fight then against the friends of Satan. (Sura 4:76) "

"When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads...(Sura 47:4)"

These three I've lumped together because the same defense can be used to each. The key words are "Prophet", "the infidels fight", and "in battlefield". "Prophet" makes it clear that this is in historical context, talking directly to Muhammad, the second: "infidels fight" makes it clear that this is not one-sided agression, and the third: "in the battlefield", makes it obvious that we are in a state of war the moment.

Essentially it's clear that the "infidels" are not being fought just for the sake of them being "infidels". People should read up more on the history of Islam and just why all those wars took place. Either way, war is ugly - but it's not an Islamic phenomenon and the verses do not speak of initiated aggression by one side. Therefore these verses cannot be used to signify that Islam mandates mindless violence.

(B) "Slay them wherever you find them. (Sura 2:190)"

"Arrest them, besiege them. And lie in ambush everywhere for them. (Sura 9:5)

"But he forbids you to make friends with those who have fought against you on account of your religion and driven you from your homes or abetted others to do so. Those that make friends with them are wrongdoers. (Sura 60:9)"

Now, the problem with these three are one and the same: a laughable elimination of the proper context. Let's just get these verses as they are supposed to be read and perhaps then they will make sense.

2: 190. And fight in the Way of Allah those who fight you, but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors.

191. And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out.

So here we have self-defense. "Those who fight you".

9:5 - Sura 9 deserves an explanation. From the very beginning of the chapter we are told that treaties with the polytheists are to be disbanded. Why? A reading of verses 1-15, approximately, will tell us that it is especially because the polytheists have not respected the treaties they themselves have made. Therefore the Prophet is under no further obligation to honor these treaties that have already been betrayed by the polytheists. (You can find Sura 9 here:

60:9: (on unbelievers) God forbids you to befriend them. And whosoever will befriend them, then such are wrong-doers.

This is the most obvious one, and to deal with it one must only read the verse immediately preceding it.

60:8 - Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity.

With this understanding, we continue:

60:9 - It is only as regards those who fought against you on account of religion, and have driven you out of your homes, and helped to drive you out, that God forbids you to befriend them. And whosoever will befriend them, then such are wrong-doers.


(C) Muhammad is God's Apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another. (Sura 48:29)

This is Robert Spencer's translation (for those who are so fortunate as to never have heard of Robert Spencer, he is a most notorious and shameless New 'Expert' on Islam, and has written several books maligning Islam I do not deign to mention here, for fear it will lead to him gaining just a little bit of profit from his lies.)

I think he used the N.J.Dawood one. With this, I need only point out that the translation is not correct. The correct translation of the term "shadeed" is not "ruthless" but rather "firm" or "tough". And, uh, given the circumstances, somehow I feel that firm treatment with the unbelievers was justfied...

(D) He that leaves his dwelling to fight for God and his apostle and is then overtaken by death, shall be rewarded by God. (Sura 4:100)

People point to this to say it encourages fighting and violence; however, would one refuse a Christian martyr God's reward? Not mention all the reasons I've mentioned already on what exactly the circumstances of the fighting were. (I should elaborate on this in a future blog post. Just what WERE the circumstances of the Muslims and the nonbelievers at that time?)

So there we have it. Several verses that are always pointed to when "proving" that ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF VIOLENCE!!

And my reply to say that: in fact, they do not. :)


  1. Thanks for this good article; and thanks for posting the link to the interpretation of the Qur'an in English. I have added it to versions I have available for comparison.

    Peace and blessings to you.

  2. Thanks, and peace, to you.
    This version I haven't really looked at, just posted it as a possibility. So I'm not "endorsing" it or anything :P just wanted to make sure there was something people could look at.