Since 9/11, there have been over 27000 terrorist attacks perpetrated by people claiming to be Muslims. Groups like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, The Taliban, Boko Haram, HAMAS, Hezbollah, and many others are seen committing horrible atrocities almost hourly. Women and young girls are raped and taken as sex slaves, men are beheaded and crucified, children are buried alive, and even western civilians are executed, all supposedly in the name of Islam. And yet when we survey the news, we find many political leaders unwilling to even call these groups Islamic. To add to the confusion, most people who have Muslim friends or neighbors describe them as very nice, loving, generous people, that oppose all the violence being done in the name of Islam. So what is going on here? Who speaks for Islam? Is it a religion that promotes peace and tolerance, or terror and jihad?

To answer this question, we must go to the Muslim sources. Just like in Christianity, it doesn’t matter what any group of Christians says; if it’s not deduced from a sensible interpretation of the Bible, then it’s not Christian. The same is true with Islam, and their highest authority is the Qur’an. It should not matter what some radical on TV says. Nor should it matter what some politically correct western Muslim says. The Qur’an, along with other sources such as the Hadith, get the final say. So what’s the verdict?

Often times, certain passages are brought forth from the Qu’ran that seem to show a kinder, more tolerant side of Islam. Some of these verses are:

Sura 2:256 – Let there be no compulsion in religion…

Sura 5:32 – … if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people….

Passages like these, certainly seem to put to death any idea of violence in the name of Islam. But if this is really the behavioral standard for Muslims, then why is there so much violence perpetrated by those claiming Islam? Why are so many Muslims killed for attempting to convert to Christianity, since there is “no compulsion in religion?” A closer look at the life of Muhammad, reveals what he intended his followers to carry out.

Qur’an 9:29—Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. 

This was one of the last supposed revelations that Muhammad gave to his followers. These were the marching orders for future Muslims, and matches up perfectly with the actions and/or intentions of all violent Muslim groups out there such as ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-Queda, the Taliban etc. Notice that Muslims are commanded to fight NON-MUSLIMS. The only way out for those who are captured or defeated by the Muslims, is to convert to Islam, pay the jizyah (an expensive tax to allow them to live in the area as a second class citizen), or be killed. Old Testament passages in the Bible clearly describe specific actions for a specific people at a specific time. However, there is no such restriction here. Because of this, radical Muslim groups are free to use passages like this to support their views and actions.

Notice too, that this matches up with exactly what Muhammad and all four of his successors carried out. After Muhammad’s death in 632 AD, the men he had directly trained proceeded over the next 100 years to take over an expanse of land bigger than the Roman Empire. This was not accomplished by preaching eloquent sermons about peace and tolerance followed by an altar call. They did this by killing, or converting by threat of death, everyone that crossed their path. The Crusades, as awful as parts of them were, were actually a response to this rapid Islamic expansion that had taken the lives of many innocent people. And so while the immediate followers of Jesus spread Christianity without killing anyone, the immediate followers of Muhammad did exactly the opposite.

Here are a couple more passages, one from the Qur’an and one from one of the most trusted Hadith:

Qur’an 48:29—Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers, and merciful among themselves.

Sahih Muslim 33—It has been narrated on the authority of Abdullah b. Umar that the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and they establish prayer, and pay Zakat and if they do it, their blood and property are guaranteed protection on my behalf except when justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah. 

Notice again that these verses support violence against people based on their religious beliefs, not just in cases of self defense as many Muslims claim. It should be no surprise when some claiming to be true followers of Islam have a tendency to be violent towards those who do not adhere to their beliefs.

If you are still skeptical about whether Muhammad really supported jihad, here are a few more passages from what most Muslims believe to be the most trusted collection of Hadith, Sahih al-Bukhari:

Sahih al-Bukhari 2785—Narrated Abu Hurairah: A man came to Allah’s Messenger and said, “Guide me to such a deed as equals Jihad (in reward).” He replied, “I do not find such a deed.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 2787—Allah guarantees that He will admit the Mujahid in His Case into Paradise if he is killed, otherwise He will return him to his home safely with rewards and war booty.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 2795—Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet said, “Nobody who dies and finds good from Allah (in the Hereafter) would wish to come back to this world, even if he were given the whole world and whatever is in it, except the martyr who, on seeing the superiority of martyrdom, would like to come back to the world and get killed again (in Allah’s cause).”

Sahih al-Bukhari 2796—Narrated Anas: The Prophet said, “A single endeavor (of fighting) in Allah’s cause in the afternoon or in the forenoon is better than all the world and whatever is in it.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 2797—Narrated Abu Hurairah: The Prophet said, . . . “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is! I would love to be martyred in Allah’s Cause and then come back to life and then get martyred, and then come back to life again and then get martyred and then come back to life again and then get martyred.”

Sahih al-Bukhari 2810—Narrated Abu Musa: A man came to the Prophet and asked, “A man fights for war booty; another fights for fame and a third fights for showing off; which of them is in Allah’s Cause?” The Prophet said, “He who fights that Allah’s Word (i.e., Allah’s religion of Islamic Monotheism) be superior, is in Allah’s Cause.”

Sahih al-Bukhari Volume 9, Book 84, Number 57:

Narrated ‘Ikrima:

Some Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to ‘Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn ‘Abbas who said, “If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah’s Apostle forbade it, saying, ‘Do not punish anybody with Allah’s punishment (fire).’ I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.'”

This is but a tiny sampling of what Muhammad lived, believed, and imparted on his followers. There are many, many more passages such as these that show decisively that violence and Islam are in no way mutually exclusive.

One of the primary reasons many Muslims leave Islam, is when they come to realize that Islam really is a violent religion that promotes intolerance towards outsiders, and mistreatment of women among other things. OF COURSE not all Muslims are violent, in fact the majority are not. Islam, in its true form, is however.  Many people who might identify as Muslim have never been to a mosque or read the Qur’an in their life, and these people often get looked down on as our frustration with Islamic violence becomes more elevated every day. We as Christians should not lash out at all Muslims. Nor should we allow them to unknowingly believe that Islam is true and great and tolerant. Rather, we must speak the truth in love to expose the error of their beliefs and lead them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. THAT is what Jesus would do, because that is exactly what He did.

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