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'No Compulsion' and Forced Conversion Explained
The words of Allah, may He be exalted (interpretation of the meaning): “There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path” [al-Baqrah 2:256] are not contrary to the command to fight the mushrikeen who turn people away from the religion of Allah, cause mischief on earth and spread kufr, shirk and corruption. Fighting them is one of the greatest deeds by means of which people prosper on earth and enjoy safety and stability, as Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allah Alone” [al-Anfaal 8:39].
Islam aims to achieve that which is in people’s interests and to protect them from that which is harmful to them.
The meaning of this verse is that the teachings of Islam are very clear and the proof and evidence of its soundness are so clear and definitive that there is no need for compulsion. Whoever comes to know the reality of Islam and is not stubborn or arrogant will enter Islam willingly. Rather the one who does not want to enter it is the one who is arrogant and stubborn, who does not accept Allah as his Lord or His Prophet as his messenger, and does not believe in the Book that was revealed to him. For that reason, those mushrikeen who adhere to their false religion and fight in support of their religion out of arrogance and seek to spread mischief and kufr on earth are to be fought.