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Does Islam Force Itself On Others?

By: Mustafa Umar

The Accusation

One of the common, yet groundless, accusations being made against Islam is that it forces itself on others. The picture presented is that if someone doesn’t stop Islam, it will forcefully convert everyone, even at gunpoint.

Here’s one of the verses commonly quoted by those who make their living propagating this idea:

“…seize them and kill them wherever you find them…” [Qur’an 4:91]

This verse is used as evidence that Muslims are required to kill anyone who doesn’t accept Islam. That would mean that any Muslim who doesn’t either forcefully convert or kill every non-Muslim he sees isn’t practicing Islam. This ridiculous idea is childishly easy to refute. But before we do that, let’s do a brief comparison.

A Comparison

Let’s see what the bible has to say about violence:

In Deuteronomy 7:1-3: “When the Lord your God brings you into the land… and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them…”

In Deuteronomy 20:10-17: “When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, then lay siege to that city. When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves.

In Deuteronomy 20:16-17: “However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them…”

In Numbers 31:17-18: “Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.”

Jesus is reported to have said in Luke 19:27: “But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”

Again, Jesus supposedly said in Matthew 10:34: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

The verses in the bible are much more violent than any of the verses that can be found in the Qur’an. Can you find a single verse in the Qur’an which says: “Show them no mercy!” or “Do not leave anything that breathes!” or “Kill all the non-virgin women!”? Yet, ironically, most of the people who quote verses from the Qur’an about violence consider themselves Christians and believe in the Bible. Why do they ignore their own Scripture and apply a double standard of hypocrisy?

However, the fair Christian will say: “These verses must be read in context.” I agree, and the same opportunity of contextualization should be given to the Qur’an as well.

Searching for Context

To understand the context of any verse in the Qur’an relating to violence, you only need to do two things:

  1. Identify the pronouns
  2. Read the verses before and after the verse in question

This simple technique is so blatantly obvious; it requires a very special ‘education’ to forget to apply it.

Let’s identify the pronouns in the verse we quoted: “…seize them and kill them wherever you find them …” [Qur’an 4:91]. There is only one pronoun, ‘them’, used three times, and it’s pretty clear that it refers to the same group of people. This group of people referred to as ‘them’ can only be identified if we look at the verses before and after.

Looking at the preceding verses we learn the following:

  • Verse 88 tells us that the pronoun ‘them’ is referring to hypocrites who pretend to be Muslim on the outside but are actually spies and informants
  • Verse 89 tells us that if these hypocrites turn on you to fight you then you are allowed to fight them
  • Verse 90 tells us that Muslims are not allowed to touch anyone who doesn’t want to fight

In this example, it becomes crystal clear that ‘them’ is referring to a group of two-faced hypocrites who are trying to harm and kill the Muslims. It would have been sufficient in this case to simply quote more of the verse: “So if they neither withdraw, nor offer you peace, nor restrain themselves from fighting you, then sieze them and kill them wherever you find them: We give you clear authority against these type of people.” [Qur’an 4:91]

Proof from the Qur’an

There is not a single verse in the Qur’an which says to harm another person because of their not being a Muslim. On the contrary, there are several verses which talk about respecting non-Muslims.

To further clarify the matter about forced conversion to Islam, let’s look at these verses:

“ There is no compulsion in religion…” [Qur’an 2:256]

“Had your Lord wanted, all the people on earth would have believed. So will you force people to believe?” [Qur’an 10:99]

“So warn them: your only task is to warn, you’re not supposed to force them.” [Qur’an 88:21-22]

“He does not forbid you to deal kindly and justly with anyone who has not fought you for your faith and driven you out of your homes, God loves the just.” [Qur’an 60:8]

Could the Qur’an be any clearer on this issue?

Proof from the Prophet of Islam

The second source in Islam, after the Qur’an, are the statements made by the Prophet Muhammad. Let’s see what he said about non-Muslims and how to force them to join Islam:

“Whoever kills an innocent non-Muslim will not even smell the fragrance of paradise.” [Source: Bukhārī, K. ad-Diyāt]

How could this statement possibly be compatible with the ridiculous idea that Islam forces itself on others? Instead, it makes it clear that no non-Muslim is allowed to be harmed because of what they believe.

The Historical Evidence

Lastly, 1400 years of Muslim history, from the Prophet’s living example up until now when there are about 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, where do we find this forced conversion being practiced? Nowhere.

On the contrary, we find throughout history, Muslims being the targets of forced conversion, particularly to Christianity during the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades and to Atheism during the Communist era of the 20th century.

Conclusion

So the question about whether Islam forces itself on others has been addressed. Now the question remains, what can we do to prevent Muslims from being forced to leave their faith?

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Typing Transliterated Arabic in MS Word

By: Mustafa Umar

Arabic is radically different from English, even in its letters. This causes a difficulty in transliteration. For example: the word for prayer is written “salah” while the word for peace is written “salam”. Anyone familiar with Arabic would know that the “s” in salah and the “s” in salam represent two completely different letters. Therefore, it is better to use Unicode characters to clarify this for the reader. Another example is with the word “salam” and “salaam”. Some people write the word for peace with three a’s rather than two to clarify that there is a long vowel near the end. “Salam”, without the long vowel, is also an Arabic word which refers to a type of economic transaction.

Therefore, to make things easier for readers of Arabic transliteration, special Unicode characters should be used. The word for prayer is written “ṣalah” [with a dot under the “s”] to specify that the letter is a ص and not a س. The word peace is written “salām” to clarify that we are referring to prayer and not an economic transaction.

To enable this feature in MS Word, download this file: Diacritic.dot

By double clicking on the file, MS Word will open and you can start typing the Unicode characters. Hold Alt and press “a”. You will see an “ā” with a line over it appear. There are six letters in Arabic which resemble six others, therefore, they should be differentiated in transliteration. Long vowels can be written as “aa”, “ii”, or “uu”, but it is much neater to use a line on top of that letter instead. Here is a table of options:

Alt + a = ā Alt + Shift + a = Ā Long vowel with alif
Alt + i = ī Alt + Shift + i = Ī Long vowel with yā
Alt + u = ū Alt + Shift + u = Ū Long vowel with wāw
Alt + d = ḍ Alt + Shift + d = Ḍ ض
Alt + h = ḥ Alt + Shift + h = Ḥ ح
Alt + s = ṣ Alt + Shift + s = Ṣ ص
Alt + t = ṭ Alt + Shift + t = Ṭ ط
Alt + z = ẓ Alt + Shift + z = Ẓ ظ
Alt + ` = ʿ ع

You will find it a hassle to have to load the Diacritic.dot file every time you want to transliterate, especially if you do it frequently. Here is how you can permanently load the file every time you open MS Office 2013 under Windows 7:

  1. Open “Windows Explorer”
  2. Go to “C:”
  3. Go to “Program Files” or “Program Files (x86)”
  4. Go to “Microsoft Office” or “Microsoft OfficeXX” [where XX stands for the version you have]
  5. Go to “root”
  6. Go to “OfficeXX” [where XX stands for the version you have]
  7. Go to “Startup”
  8. Copy the “Diacritic.dot” file into this directory

Now every time you load Word, it will automatically load the Diacritic.dot file for you.

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Typing Arabic on Your Computer

By: Mustafa Umar

Enabling Arabic Input in Windows 7
To be able to type in Arabic, do the following:
1. Click on the Start Menu
2. Click on Control Panel
3. Click on “Change keyboards or other input methods”
4. Click on “Change keyboards”
5. Click on “Add”
6. Choose “Arabic (Saudi Arabia)” [the country doesn’t matter too much]
7. Check “Arabic 101” and click “Ok”
8. Click “Ok” again to return to the “Region and Language” menu
9. Click “Ok” again to save changes
You will now see on the bottom right hand of your screen an icon which either says “EN” or “AR”. To change languages, you can click on it, select a different language, and start typing in that language. You can also toggle languages by holding Alt and pressing Shift [you will see the icon change].
On-Screen Keyboard
Now, you can either buy/make stickers with Arabic letters for your keyboard so you know what you are typing or you can use the on-screen keyboard built into Windows. To enable that keyboard:
1. Click on the Start Menu
2. Click on “All Programs”
3. Click on “Accessories”
4. Click on “Ease of Access”
5. Click on “On-Screen Keyboard”
6. Toggle the language to Arabic [by selecting “AR” or Alt-Shift] and the keyboard will automatically change as well
7. Click in the program where you want to type and click keys from the on-screen keyboard

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Getting Arabic Programs to Display Properly on Your PC

To get certain Arabic programs, like the priceless Maktaba Shamila, to display correctly on Windows 7, you must change a setting on your system:
1. Click on the Start Menu
2. Click on Control Panel
3. Click on “Change keyboards or other input methods”
4. Click on the “Administrative” tab
5. Click “Change system locale”
6. Select the Arabic language that you chose for your keyboard, i.e. “Arabic (Saudi Arabia)”
7. Click “Ok”
8. Click “Ok” again
If you fail to do this, some programs that are supposed to be displayed in Arabic will display strange characters and question marks instead.

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KFC Advertises on Female Rear Ends

The Facts: KFC paid college girls $500 each to wear tight pants with “Double Down” written in large letters across their rear ends to boost sales. KFC marketing chief John Cywinski says it’s an effective way to catch the attention of young men, who are KFC’s key customers.

Analysis: It is immoral for a woman’s body to be used as a marketing tool to lure young men.

Source: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2010-09-22-kfc22_ST_N.htm

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