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What is the best argument in trying to convert a Born-Again
Christian to Islam?
I personally prefer the term "revert" as it connotes returning
back to the pure innate nature of believing in the one true
universal God. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon
him) indicated that each child is born "Muslim", so when a
person accepts Islam, he or she actually reverts to the true
natural innate faith. Many of the born again Christians are
sincere people who are trying to find meaning in life and pursue
spiritual fulfillment. Some of them were involved in negative
behavior and so how religiosity changed their life for the
Our role as Muslim is to share the truth as we believe in it and
understand it in kindness and love without undue pressure and to
be patience and pray for them to have even greater fulfillment
and greater understanding about our common creator.
How to rightly interpret the following verses in the Qur’an:
(a) Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the
Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians, - any
who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness,
shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no
fear, nor shall they grieve. (2:62) Is this verse still applies
to Christians and Jews who live today or only those who lived
prior to Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) lifetime. Some consider this
verse being abrogated by other verse(s) in the Qur’an.
(b) And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never
be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the
losers." (3:81-85) How to interpret the word 'Islam' in this
verse correctly? If a Christian or a Jew or even a Hindu
believes in the oneness of God, will that be acceptable to
This verse must be understood in the light of other verses in
the Qur'an dealing with the same topic. It is clear in the
Qur'an that rejecting beliefs in any prophet is tantamount to
rejecting belief in all of them. Prophet Muhammad (peace and
blessings be upon him) to Muslims is the last, final and
universal messenger to all humankind. As such rejecting belief
in him and in the divine revelations or word of God given to him
is tantamount to rejecting all of the prophets. Therefore, this
verse maybe referring to those who followed their prophet prior
to the mission of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon
him). In fact, these people who followed the unadulterated
message of their prophet are in effect "fellow Muslims",
literally those who sought peace through submission to God.
But this argument, however, is only on the theological level; it
has nothing to do with the kind and just treatment of any person
or any other faith community who coexist peacefully with
Muslims. This might be similar to the truth claims made by
fellow Christians who believe that trinity is the "theological
truth" for them. Our duty as Muslims is to express our belief
without animosity and let God judge all on the Day of Judgment.
As for the verse 3:81-85, it seems to be categorical and as such
the word Islam may be interpreted legitimately in more than one
way. It could mean generic Islam, literally achieving peace
through submission to God, which applies to any follower of any
legitimate prophet throughout history. Secondly, even if it
refers to accepting Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be
upon him), then it is up to Allah, not us, to accept or reject
those rejected Islam. This means that we are not allowed as
Muslims to mistreat them in any way as the one who accepts or
rejects is Allah and not us.
How should we deal with verse 9:5, which seems to be in conflict
with verse 2:256 "la ikraha fi deen"?
This ayah has been frequently quoted out of its textual and
There is absolutely no
contradiction between the two verses you mentioned.
- The ayah has nothing to do with compulsion
- It deals with mushrikeen which means
idolatrous people who have nothing with Jews and
Christians (see 98:1) which means a clear
distinction between mushrikeen and People of the
- The ayah does not even include all
idolatrous people nor idolatrous Arabs at the
time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and
blessings be upon him) since it excludes those
idolatrous Arabs who did not engage in murder
and hostilities against Muslims. See for example
verse 4 in Chapter 9.
- The reason for fighting those idolatrous
Arabs is not because they rejected Islam but
because they broke the treaty of Hudaybiya and
murdered innocent people. In fact the reason for
fighting is given in verse 10 and 13, which
shows that fighting them was because of their
aggression and not because of their rejection of
Islam. As far as the ending of verse 5, "that if
they repent, establish prayer and paid the
poor-due, then leave them alone", this does not
mean that they must accept Islam to be left
alone but it seems to indicate that since their
aggression was promoted in the first place by
hateful and irrational aggressive hate of the
message of Islam that if they willingly accept
Islam then the reason for their aggression will
be voided not that it is a condition or stopping
the war against them. Resorting to war and
battlefield in Islam is only allowed to repel
aggression or severe oppression. That simply
gives another option for them, either to stop
aggression and remain idolatrous or to willingly
accept Islam and become brethren in faith.
Is there a special context for understanding many of the verses
in Surah Al-Tawba which deal with war in Islam, like for example
verses (9:5) and verse (9:123)? Is Surah Al-Tawba a "special
case", as it's the only Surah in the Qur'an which does not start
with "Bism Allah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim"?
The answer to 9:5 was already given in this session, please
refer to previous answers. As for Surah 9, ayah 123, this must
be understood in the light of a rule in Tafsir known as the
general which is meant to refer to the specific, which has many
examples in the Qur'an. This ayah for sure falls in that
category, meaning that this does not apply to all non-Muslim
neighbors all the time or under all circumstances. The
historical context was that early Muslims were surrounded by
style and even aggressive neighbors, some were "People of the
Book", others were idolatrous Arabs while others were
pre-Islamic Persians. History recorded instances where some of
them engaged not only in intimidation and threats against
Muslims but also inciting murder and engaging actually in
murderous acts. As such it was a matter of physical security of
the emerging of the young Muslim community who had to abort the
surrounding dangers through legitimate pre-emptive strikes.
Another evidence or proof that this is limited to that situation
or similar ones that may arise is that the general rule in
dealing with non-Muslim neighbors, individuals or states has
been explicitly stated in the Qur'an (Surah 60, verse 8 and 9)
which indicates that those who peacefully coexist with Muslims
are entitled to just and kind treatment.
Surah at-Tawbah is not a special case, it is not the only
chapter that deals with the regulations of the legitimate
warfare (to repel oppression or aggression). The fact that it
does not begin with basmallah is explained better by referring
to the statement made by Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him.
For details, please listen to Islamic Teachings, under the
Qur'an/preservation, which is available on Islamonline.net.
Surah Bara'a (immunity) is the last surah revealed to the
prophet [pbuh] and many of its verses seem to abrogate almost
everything that went before in the Qur’an in terms of war and
the relationship with Christians, Jews and pagans. I find this
confusing. Can you please explain?
There is no evidence whatsoever of the abrogation of the
Qur'anic verses dealing with freedom of religion or the kind and
just treatment of those who peacefully co-exist with Muslims
such as Chapter 2, verse 256, and Chapter 60, verse 8 and 9 or
Chapter 29, verse 46, and Chapter 16, verse 125. Surah 9 deals
with a situation of aggression and oppression of Muslims and the
two categories of verses are both applicable in their particular
contexts; none of them abrogates the other. Please see the
previous answer about some verses in the same Surah such as 5,
Some people say that Islam is a religion of peace and war and
not only peace and that war is part of Aqeeda in Islam. What do
I believe that Islam is ultimately the religion of peace. Islam
is defined as peace through submission to God. It is one of the
names and attributes of Allah. It is the name of Paradise and it
is the common greeting of all Muslims. The Qur'an describes the
mission of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as
mercy to the worlds (21: 107). However, in order to maintain the
state of peace it is necessary sometimes to resort the use of
force to stop the aggressors and oppressors who disturb the
peace sought by the masses. As such, peace is the ultimate
objective (in this life and in the life to come) and war is the
exception as the last resort to achieve and maintain the state
In fact, the Qur'an describes fighting as "a hated act" (Chapter
2: 206) and Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)
hated that a person would call himself harb (war) whereas peace
has always been praised and never referred to as a hated act.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) also exhorted
his followers not to be anxious to engage in fighting and to
pray for peace and security. The Qur'an in more than one place
emphases that imminent battles were averted such as the incident
of the trench and the victorious return to Makkah without
engaging in battle. It should be stated that war, the hated act,
is only a necessary means (in some circumstances) to an end
which peace, but not the other way round.
Prophet said: “I have been commanded to fight people until they
testify that there is no god but Allah…?” How can this meet with
the verse in the Qur'an: “there is no compulsion in religion”?
It is impossible to interpret that hadith to mean all people as
this understanding clearly contradicts numerous verses in the
Qur'an including, “there is no compulsion in religion”. The
hadith apparently refers to the Makkan chiefs who broke the
treaty of Hudaybiya then fled after the opening of Makkah and
conspired with others to initiate the battle of Hunain. When
they were defeated they fled again. Such people were guilty of
what we call today "war crimes" and murder of innocent people.
While they deserve to be fought against they were given a
magnanimous option that if they willingly wish to accept Islam
that their previous transgression or crimes will be forgiven and
their life and property will be safeguarded. In any case, it is
an option, not force, it is a positive and constructive option
to reconcile their hearts and assure them if they accept Islam
willingly that they will not be punished for their previous
Another aspect that confirms this understanding is that the use
of the term "hatta" in the hadith does not necessarily mean that
it is a condition for them to be safe and it could mean in this
broad textual context that the reason for Muslims being
permitted to fight against aggression or oppression is to
safeguard their religious freedom and those of others. So the
ultimate objective of averting war may be realized more
effectively if the religious enmity on the part the enemy is
removed and the most effective way of removing it will occur if
they see the light and open their hearts to the truth.
It will be funny to say that Islam is peaceful and that it does
not preach violence. Muhammad stated clearly that he loves war
and that fighting is a means of making livelihood in Islam; he
said: "my rizq (sustenance or provision) has been made under the
shade of my armor?
Please read my article for
- There is no agreement on the authenticity of
this hadith among specialists in hadith
sciences. Among those who questioned its
authenticity are Ibn Hajar in "Taghliq at-Ta'leeq"
and also Adh-Dhahabi in "Mizan Al-'tidal.
- Secondly, that disputed hadith is contrary
to what Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be
upon him) said about not being anxious to engage
in the battlefield and to pray for peace and
- If indeed the Prophet (peace and blessings
be upon him) loved war or fought for
"sustenance" he would have had a great
opportunity to achieve these goals when he
entered Makkah victoriously and unopposed.
Instead he declared a general amnesty and
ordered no plunder which showed that his mission
was that of guidance and mercy and not war,
destruction or plunder.
- If we studied honestly and objectively the
life of the Prophet from authentic and unbiased
sources we will find that he never engaged in
the battlefield nor did he approve of battles
other than to repel aggression, including
legitimate pre-emptive strike against pending
attack, or to stop aggression or persecution.
- It is known that the Prophet (peace and
blessings be upon him) lived in a very simple
and self-imposed simplicity like any poor person
lived. When he died he owned virtuously nothing.
Even on his deathbed he insisted that whatever
money he had must be given to the poor. This is
the total documented broad picture which stands
in utter contrast to selectively quoting a
disputed text that is out of sync with multitude
of verses in the Qur'an as well as sayings of
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon
How can you explain the verse: "Kill them wherever you find
them..."? And also the verse "Fight them till there is no more
Fitna (oppression...)”? Also in the Sunnah, we have the
well-know Hadith of the Prophet that goes as thus: "I'm ordered
to fight people till they testify to the oneness of Allah and
that I am the Messenger of Allah..." Don't you think that these
texts show that Islam sees that "sword" alone is the tool of
making people embrace Islam? Don't you agree with me that these
texts and other fall into the hand of extremist people like
Al-Qaeda and so on?
The problem here is quoting one part of this verse (2:191)
because the remaining part says "and drive them away from
wherever they drove you away, for oppression is worse than
killing." Therefore, this verse does not give a license to kill
even idolatrous Arabs who are meant in this verse but only those
who committed aggression and oppression against Muslims by
driving them from their homes and towns without justification.
So it is a case of legitimate fight against severe oppression
which the Qur'an describes as "worse than killing". The same
verse also continues to prohibit Muslims from fighting near the
Sacred House unless the enemies fight against them first.
If you continue in the same section, you will find that the next
verse indicates that if the oppressors desist from fighting and
aggression, then Allah is indeed Forgiving and Merciful. The
following verse clearly states that the reason for fighting is
"to stop oppression especially that the common oppression at
that time which took the form intimidation, torture to death or
murder of those who chose Islam. This is why the verse says:
"until persecution is no more and the choice of religion is
between the person and God". The same verse continues to say
that if they desist (i.e. from oppression) then there should be
no more hostility except against the oppressors. As to the
hadith you mentioned, please refer to the other answers in the
same session for explanation.
What are the examples of those verses and ahadith that are
wrongly misinterpreted in your opinion? I suppose also that by
violence you are suggesting "terror" as defined by the West,
isn't it? If that is the case what are the rules of engagement
in Islam if someone or an enemy brings war, violence or terror
right in your doorstep?
For examples, please see my paper on Islam on that link:
In the absence of any comprehensive internationally accepted
definition of terrorism, it may be defined as "any
indiscriminate act of violence committed against the innocent by
individuals, groups or states whether the victims and/or
culprits are Muslims, Christians, Jews or any other faith
community. As to the rules of warfare, when necessary, they are
explicit to avoid hurting non-combatant. The Prophet Muhammad
(peace and blessings be upon him) forbade hurting women who are
not fighting, children, elderly, clergy, and other unarmed
civilians. He also forbade killing an injured person in
mistreating prisoners or destroying livestock or trees or what
we call today the infrastructure of cities inhabited by the
My question is regarding the 'official Ulama' in many Muslim
countries and especially the 9/11 events who seems to be
deviating from the true teaching of Islam. They usually justify
whatever being done or endorse policies of the ruling regime
(Even if it is not Islamic at all!). I am so disgusted with
these ulama when they will justify that the current leaders in
most Muslim countries is "ulil Amri' and it is an obligation for
every citizens to follow them! To cite the case of those in the
Middle east and Gulf States where these leaders are clearly
tools of the West and selling Muslim and Islamic interest for
the sake of clinging to their power and rule. And at the same
time, jailing many true ulama whom that have spoken up against
these tyrrant regimes. Need your sincere comment.
Justifying wrong aggression or tyranny by any person is
unjustified and I exhort all my Muslim brothers and sisters
whether common people or scholars or rulers for that matter to
fear Allah SWT and develop the quality of taqwa and to realize
that one day all people will stand equally before the creator to
be questioned about their words and actions. We pray for all as
nobody is above advice and nobody can claim they have no need
for exhortation and prayers of their brethren.
How about the hadith that claims "Kill whoever changes his
(a) If a person changes his religion, is it considered as a
profound insult to Allah and to all Muslims but Allah says in
the Qur’an "Let there be no compulsion in the religion" (2:256).
(b) What about the status of the hadith. Is it sahih (sound),
hadith al-ahad (isolated) or dhaif (weak)?
(c) What if a person changes religion from Christianity to
Judaism? Does this hadith still apply to that person?
Please shed some light on this hadith.
The question of apostasy has been debated among scholars based
on their interpretations of some hadiths since the Qur'an does
not specify any worldly punishment for it. For example, there
was a case at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be
upon him) where a man came to him in three consecutive days and
told him that he wanted to apostate. The Prophet (peace and
blessings be upon him) never took any action against him, and
when the man finally left Madina, the Prophet (peace and
blessings be upon him) never sent anyone to arrest him, let
alone kill him. This hadith appears in more than one version in
Sahih Muslim and is authentic.
This is why some scholars distinguished between individual
apostasy and apostasy which is accompanied by high treason. For
example, one version of a hadith narrated by `A'isha concerning
apostasy (and one who left his religion and fought against
Muslims). The topic is broad and most Muslims are acquainted
only with the only common view and interpretation of these
The rule of "no compulsion in religion" which appears in several
verses in the Qur'an and is consistent with its message of
willing submission to God. These verses are no doubt definitive
and explicit. Other texts, in the Qur'an or Sunnah, which are
speculative (mutashabih or texts that could be interpreted in
more than one way without violating basic rules of
interpretation) in meaning must be interpreted or re-interpreted
in the light of the definitive.
Since Muslims are entitled the right to defend themselves or at
least to maintain some kind of balance of military power, I
would like to know what the position of Muslims scholars is with
regard with nuclear weapons.
Experience shows that even in liberal democracies with a
developed systems of checks and balances, nuclear weapons were
actually used, e.g., in Japan. By its very nature, nuclear
weapons indiscriminately kill and maim people and destroy the
environment. Therefore, the immorality of using weapons is
obvious and is against the Islamic teaching even at the time of
war. Some may argue that possessing such weapons may act as
deterrent to aggression and prevent being intimated unjustly by
those who possess them. However, the real solution to this
menace is not the proliferation of such weapons in the name of
deterrents but the complete abolition of all stocks of nuclear
weapons. There is also a need for the establishment of
internationally strict controls against the development of such
weapons in the future.
It is the moral responsibility of big powers who possess most of
those weapons to give an example for the rest of the world by
beginning this process of zero tolerance themselves rather than
stockpiling and developing them while trying at the same time to
prevent others from developing them. All powers, big or small,
must stop stockpiling or developing these genocidal weapons for
the sake of true and lasting world peace.
If you feel your question is very important, feel free to
EngLivedialogue@islamonline.net and they will try their best
to answer your question.
Jamal Badawi, PhD, is a Famous Da'iyah and Member of the
European Council for Fatwa and Research
Source: Islamonline Live Dialogue Editing Desk, 10th Sep.
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