Does Islam encourage killing of non-Muslims?

Doesn’t Islam encourage Muslims to kill non-Muslims? How do you otherwise interpret   “kill them, … wherever you find them…those who deny the truth” (Quran 2: 191)? How do you compare this with the teaching of Christianity – “thou shall not kill anyone under any circumstance”.

The answer is simple and I request your one minute reading till the end of this blog. I assure you, you will thank yourself for this one minute.  You should read the verse quoted an a verse before and a verse after, keeping in mind the historical context – that these instructions were revealed at the time when Muslims in Madina were attacked by the non-Muslims of Makkah on a regular basis. They were frightening the Muslim community of Madina. One may say using the contemporary jargon that there were constant terrorist attacks on Madina and in this situation Muslim forces were given “permission” through Quran to fight back the “terrorists”.

The historical context doesn’t put an expiry date on these verses. These verses are valid and applicable even today and in every part of the world, not only for Muslims for all the Peoples of the world. The medicine has not expired, but is prescribed to be used for the right disease.

Let us review the following two news items and see if “thou shalt not kill anyone under any circumstance” is applicable in these situations:

Shoot-At-Sight(Ref. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/cops-issue-shootatsight-orders-in-tamil-nadu/426443/)

Now, another case:

Broken Ceasefire

In the second news item above, during the ceasefire, if the Pakistani troops cross the line of control and are seen firing at Indian troops, what should the Indian army do? Ok, you killed one of our troops, here is another, please kill him too and so on? Ok, you slapped on one cheek, here is my another cheek?

With this context in mind, let us see what exactly these verses say in all.

(Quran 2: 190-192)  “Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loves not transgressors. And kill them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than killing; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, kill them. Such shall be the recompense of those who deny the truth. But if they cease, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

Verse 190 and 191 lay down unequivocally that only self-defense (in the widest sense of the word) makes war permissible for Muslims. The defensive character of the fight is self-evident in the reference to “those who fight you”, or “those who wage war against you”, and has been still further clarified as follows:

“Permission [to fight] is given to those against whom war is being wrongfully waged and, verily, God has indeed the power to succor them (Muslims)”[succor = Assistance in time of difficulty] (Quran 22:39)

The above verse according to all available Traditions, constitutes the earliest and fundamental Quranic reference to the question of Jihad, or holy war. That this early, fundamental principle of self-defense as the only possible justification of war has been maintained throughout the Quran is evident from 60:8, as well as from the concluding sentence of 4:91, both of which belong to a later period than the above verse. (Ref. www.islamicity.com, Quran translation and commentary by Asad).

I am open to change my views if someone can prove it otherwise.

As one can readily see that these verses are not a permission for “terrorism” but describe the restraint and care that the Muslim Forces should take while fighting with the terrorists groups. As Quran is constitution of an Islamic governance, it even describes the military rules and regulations in its verses and many Muslims see in these a lot of lessons to be learnt by the modern day NATO, US and the Allied Forces.

As Bible does not embody military rules and regulations, comparison of these verses with Bible’s teaching that – “thou shall not kill…” is meaningless. A fair comparison of these verses could be with the military rules and regulations of NATO’s or US Forces military guidelines.

It is important that we read these verses in their proper textual and historical contexts. It is true that some Muslims manipulate these verses for their own goals. Be it the Sept. 11 WTC attacks or the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, or the likes of it, none can ever be justified through Quran. Terry Jones thinks that Quran is responsible for the Sept. 11 and is out there to burn the Quran. Read through the official (FBI’s) version of the stories of the Sept. 11 perpetrators taking drugs and alcohol and visiting sex-shops before their attacks and give yourself some time to think. When a person is not moved away from drugs and alcohol and sex-shops by Quran, a simple logic should say that he cannot be moved by Quran to kill himself for the promise of paradise. There can a hundred other reasons why he is killing himself by killing innocent civilians, but not the Quran.

Muslims see Islam as a religion of peace and are not trying to prove something unreasonable or defend something indefensible. Muslims do not hate non-Muslims, be they Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhist or followers of any religion or no religion. Islam does not allow killing any innocent person regardless of his or her religion. The life of all human beings is sacrosanct according to the teachings of the Qur’an, relevant verses can be quoted from Quran.

May the Almighty and the Guide of all guides, open all our hearts to see things in their right perspective and guide us all to the truth, for those He guides are the only ones guided. Aameen.

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