You are here

On ‘There is no compulsion in religion’

On ‘There is no compulsion in religion’

Date Published: 
Thursday, 25 February, 2016
Summary: 

There is a huge misconception that I am progressively angrier about, largely because of the way it is wielded. It concerns 2:256, the famous Qur’anic verse that states ‘There is no compulsion in religion’, which is often quoted in part* and taken as evidence that Islam is tolerant of non-Muslims. .... The full context reveals that the verse is at least directly talking about faith and conviction rather than treatment of non-Muslims, making both a claim to the (purported) self-evidence of Islam and a rather self-evident point about how someone can’t be compelled to actually believe and it’s up to them to have faith, to choose the path of truth–being Islam here–over the path of error, a discussion that does not necessarily entail anything about how to treat those who don’t believe (though framing faith in Allah as the true path is itself already arguably judgmental of disbelievers). In short: while you can’t compel me to believe according to this verse…that doesn’t mean you can’t punish me if I don’t.