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Religious Toleration or Militant Jihad:

What were Muhammad's last instructions to his followers?

A Muslim claims: Non-Muslims need a deep understanding of the Qur'an to appreciate that Islam is a religion of peace.

Response: I don't think that a deeper understanding helps a Muslim's case. Because the deeper understanding creates deeper problems. For example, the expression, "There is no compulsion in religion," was said by the early Muhammad in the following Meccan ayah (verse). Historically, Muhammad's Meccan suras occurred before the Hijrah to Medinah.

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. Al-Baqara 2:256

Whereas, the ayah to kill or to conquer and subdue Christians and Jews was said by the late Muhammad in the following Medinan ayah. The Medinan suras were written after the Hijrah. 

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. Al-Tawba 9:29

During the life of Muhammad, he changed from initial toleration, next to defensive protection, and finally to offensive conquest. Thus, the historical development of Muhammad has to be considered to make the Qur'an intelligible. The Toleration ayah is contradictory to the Jihad ayah. For da'wah purposes, Western Muslim missionaries use the Toleration ayah upon unsuspecting Westerners, because it gives a kinder and gentler face to Muhammad's religion. But, Qur'anic scholars know that Muhammad's last words were words of Jihad with its military conquest and subjugation of non-Muslims. So, the Jihad ayah abrogates the Toleration ayah. 

Thus, we are forced logically and historically to conclude that a deeper understanding of the Qur'an does not support the idea that Islam is a religion of peace. 

Last edited 03/09/2002
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