Many Muslims as well as Non-Muslims quote some verses from Qur’an which preaches peace, and Non-Violence, while discussing Violent teaching of Islam. These people simply copy-paste from some Islamic site, which is very desperate to prove Islam is a Peaceful Religion. In this article I’ll show the real meaning of those so-called peaceful verses, using their context and the reason behind the revelation of that verse.
But let us see first, what mainly Islamic sites say about Qur’an and Peace. “Islam as a religion is totally committed to peace and security. It views with great contempt, breach of peace, anarchy, rioting and terrorism. Muslims as Ummah are a peace-loving community. Jehad under Islam is allowed subject to certain conditions.” [Source]
One another site says, “The very word ‘Islam’ (from the Arabic silm) connotes peace. According to a tradition of the Prophet, ‘Peace is Islam’ (Al-Bukhari). This means that peace is one of the prerequisites of Islam. Similarly, a Hadith states: A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hands people are safe. One of the attributes of God described in the Quran is‘As-Salam’, which means peace and security.’ That is to say that God’s Being itself is a manifestation of peace. Indeed, God is Peace (Al-Bukhari). In the Quran divine guidance is likened to the paths of peace. (5:16)” [Source]
So, we see what Islamic scholar say about Islam and Peace, usually there are very few verse which can be interpreted as peaceful verse in Qur’an. The very common verse which Muslims quote to prove Islam is a peaceful religion is 2:256, which reads:-
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.
This verse is usually quoted by Islamic scholar because it says ‘let there be no compulsion in religion.’ But this verse is not as peaceful as it sounds, and to prove it, let’s see the historical context of the verse. One of Islamic site explains this verse as following:-
The scholars explained that these two verses [10:99 and 2:256], and other similar verses, have to do with those from whom the jizyah may be taken, such as Jews, Christians and Magians (Zoroastrians). They are not to be forced, rather they are to be given the choice between becoming Muslim or paying the jizyah.
Other scholars said that this applied in the beginning, but was subsequently abrogated by Allaah’s command to fight and wage jihad. So whoever refuses to enter Islam should be fought when the Muslims are able to fight, until they either enter Islam or pay the jizyah if they are among the people who may pay jizyah. The kuffaar should be compelled to enter Islam if they are not people from whom the jizyah may be taken, because that will lead to their happiness and salvation in this world and in the Hereafter. Obliging a person to adhere to the truth in which is guidance and happiness is better for him than falsehood. Just as a person may be forced to do the duty that he owes to other people even if that is by means of imprisonment or beating, so forcing the kaafirs to believe in Allaah alone and enter into the religion of Islam is more important and more essential, because this will lead to their happiness in this world and in the Hereafter. This applies unless they are People of the Book, i.e., Jews and Christians, or Magians, because Islam says that these three groups may be given the choice: they may enter Islam or they may pay the jizyah and feel themselves subdued. ” [Source]
As we see in above explanation, that in verse 2:256, Allah is giving Non-Muslims a choice, between Islam or Jizyah, which Muslims say as ‘No Compulsion in religion’. If the above given explanation is true then we can’t say that this verse is peaceful. Many Islamic scholars also believe that Qur’an 2:256 is abrogated by Qur’an 9:5-6, which clearly says Muslims to fight and kill the polytheists, and leave them when they become Muslim. There is a Hadith recorded in Sahih Bukhari, which also supports Quran 9:5-6, which reads:-
Volume 1, Book 2, Number 25:
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar:
Allah’s Apostle said: “I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah.”
So, we see that either the verse is abrogated by later revealed verse of sword, or does not mean the same which Muslims wants us to believe. Even the Sharia Law proves that, Muslims don’t practice this verse. Non-Muslims are not allowed to preach, build their House of Worship, or propagate their religion in Islamic country. [Source]
Another verse which is widely quoted by Muslims to prove that their religion support peace, and Non-Violence is Qur’an 109:6, which says:-
“For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.”
But when we look back into Historical Background of this verse, it again turns to be less polite verse, than it is said by Muslims. This verse was revealed when some Meccan leaders, Abu Jahl, Walid and others suggested compromise with Muhammad, and they said to Muhammad, that he can worship his God at the same time as the Meccan deities, or alternatively each year. [Historical Development of Qur'an, page 9]
They (Meccans) wanted peace from Muhammad, and wanted to create harmony among Muslims and Non-Muslims, but Allah instantly revealed this Chapter to reply those leaders, who demanded Harmony and Peace. So, as we see this verse is not peaceful, but was revealed to reply an offer made by Meccan leaders for peace.
Further regarding this verse, Ibn Abbas says:-
(Unto you your religion) of disbelief and ascribing partners to Allah, (and unto me my religion) Islam and faith in Allah. The verses of fighting then abrogated this and the Prophet (pbuh) did fight them’
So, even if we consider this verse peaceful, early Islamic scholars thinks says that this verse is abrogated, and prophet did fight those who did not accepted Islam.
The above quoted verse is followed by Qur’an 8:61, which says:-
And if they incline to peace, then incline to it [also] and rely upon Allah . Indeed, it is He who is the Hearing, the Knowing.
Ibn Jalalayan in his explanation to this verse says:-
And if they incline to peace (read silm or salm, meaning, ‘settlement’), then incline to it, and conclude a pact with them: Ibn ‘Abbās said, ‘This has been abrogated by the “sword verse” [Q. 9:5]’; Mujāhid said, ‘This [stipulation] applies exclusively in the context of the People of the Scripture, for it was revealed regarding the Banū Qurayza; and rely on God, put your trust in Him; truly He is the Hearer, of words, the Knower, of actions.
So, again we reached to the same conclusion that even if 8:61, 2:256,109:6 etc are peaceful verses, they are abrogated by Qur’an 9:5. Finally we can say that the Peaceful verses in Qur’an are of Meccan period when Muhammad had very less followers, so Allah did not dared to reveal violent verses, and most of peaceful verses in Qur’an is abrogated by the verse of sword which was last to be revealed when Muhammad became strong, then Allah commanded Muslims to kill Non-Believers, until they embrace Islam or pay Jizyah, and feel themselves subdued. [Qur'an 9:5 and 9:29]