Islamforwest.org: Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
A silver lining from the gravely tragic event of September 11, 2001, is that a verse of the Holy Quran, “There is no coercion in religion,” has been quoted time and again, in national and international media, all over the world.
The full verse is:
There should be no compulsion in religion. Surely, right has become distinct from wrong; so whosoever refuses to be led by those who transgress, and believes in Allah, has surely grasped a strong handle which knows no breaking. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (Al Quran 2:257)
But, what does this verse exactly mean?
Can a heretic be brought back to ‘true faith?’ Can an apostate and a blasphemer be killed? Can a thief be coerced into not stealing, in future? Can someone who delivered vigilante justice to a heretic be brought to justice? Case in point the killer of Governor Salman Taseer, who is celebrated by many as a hero in Pakistan, is so far escaping justice, thanks to the lack of wisdom of Pakistani judiciary. These and many other related questions are answered by understanding this and related verses of the Holy Quran.
Not only the non-Muslims do not understand this verse, the Muslims themselves have limited understanding of this profound verse.
Some of the popular scholars from 18th century or before, believed that this verse has been abrogated as a result of verses about Jihad with sword. So they saw no problem in converting people to Islam by force or killing the apostates.
Thanks to the teachings of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, no Muslim now talks about abrogation in this day and age.
But, even the contemporary Muslim scholars, who are not well aware of Muslim as well as non-Muslim history alike, are not fully able to appreciate this verse.
In this article, I propose to ‘show,’ and demonstrate rather than quote from some authority and ‘tell,’ what this verse means.
— Helena Fickling (@FickersH) April 12, 2015