Explanation of the Ayah which reads:
There is no compulsion in religion.
What is the meaning of the Ayah (Qur'anic verse) which reads:
There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path.
Commenting on this Ayah, scholars (may Allah be merciful to them) have stated that Allah (Exalted be He) commands Muslims not to compel others to embrace Islam, because the path of righteousness, followed by Muhammad (peace be upon him), his Sahabah (Companions) and those who follow them, is distinct from that of falsehood or
...the wrong path
This wrong path was followed by
Abu Jahl and his likes of the polytheists who used to worship objects other than Allah (Exalted be He) like idols, Awliya' (pious people), angels, Prophets and others. This was before Allah (Glorified be He) ordained Jihad (fighting in the Cause of Allah) against all polytheists except for the People of the Book and
the Magi who paid Jizyah (poll tax required from non-Muslims living in an Islamic state). Accordingly, the Ayah was revealed in reference to the People of the Book and
the Magi in the sense that they will not be compelled to embrace Islam if they pay Jizyah regularly. Another Ayah quoted in support of this meaning reads:
Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allâh, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allâh and His Messenger Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islâm) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
In this Ayah Allah (Exalted be He) orders Muslim not to fight the People of the Book if they pay Jizyah with willing submission.It was authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him)
exacted Jizyah from
the Magi of Hajar.
As for polytheists other than
the People of the Book and
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the Muslims are obliged to invite them to Islam. It will be good for them to accept the invitation; otherwise Muslims will be obliged to fight them until they accept Islam. No Jizyah will be accepted from them. This because the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not ask the disbelieving Arabs to pay it off to the Muslims. After the Prophet's death, his Sahabah (Companions) would receive Jizyah only from the People of the Book and
the Magi. One proof supporting this is the Ayah that reads:
Then when the Sacred Months (the 1st, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islâmic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikûn (See V.2:105) wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush. But if they repent and perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and give Zakât, then leave their way free. Verily, Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Allah (Glorified be He) did not make them choose between embracing Islam and remaining as Kafirs (disbelievers). Nor did He demand that they pay off Jizyah to the Muslims. He only commanded the Muslims to fight them until they repent of their Kufr, offer Salah (Prayer) and pay Zakah. This is indicative of the fact that nothing but Islam will be accepted from all Kafirs with the exception of the People of the Book and Magians. There are many Ayahs that express this meaning.Many Hadiths were authentically reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him) in this regard, including a Hadith, reading:
I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, perform the Prayer, and pay Zakah. If they do that, their blood and property are guaranteed protection on my behalf except when justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah.
(Agreed upon by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not give them the choice either to embrace Islam or to remain in the state of Kufr (disbelief). He did not ask them for Jizyah (poll tax required from non-Muslims living in an Islamic state), neither.This is indicative of the fact that Kafirs other than
the People of the Book and
the Magi have to be compelled to accepting Islam. This is because it is only through Islam that they can attain eternal felicity and salvation
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in this world and in the Hereafter. This is one of the good characteristics of the faith of Islam, which aims to save the Kafirs from the means leading to destruction, humiliation and torment in this world and in the Hereafter. It invites them to follow the path to salvation, glory, dignity and attainment of eternal happiness in this world and in the Hereafter. This interpretation is agreed upon by most of exegetes of the Qur'an. As for the People of the Book and
the Magi the Muslims are ordered not to fight them if they pay off Jizyah with willing submission. Exacting Jizyah from them is symbolic of their humiliation and degraded status. Payment of Jizyah also is a helpful means to fight them, carry out the principles of the Islamic Law, and to spread the Islamic call far and wide.
It may also cause them to enter Islam and to abandon the false belief-systems they are holding. Only in this way can they attain happiness and salvation in the world and in the Hereafter. I hope that I have given sufficient clarification regarding this issue.I ask Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) to guide us and all Muslims to have good understanding of Islam and to remain steadfast upon it. He is the best One to ask.As-salamu `alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah's Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you!)
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