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Is There Coercion in Islam and Christianity?

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Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom & no such thing as publick liberty without freedom of speech, Benjamin Franklin, 1722.

Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom & no such thing as publick liberty without freedom of speech, Benjamin Franklin, 1722.

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.

How the Emperor Heraclius saw his role in Christendom  and how he converted Jews to Christianity by force is outlined here, from the pen of Tom Holland, the author of Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic,  which won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History and was shortlisted for the  Samuel Johnson Prize:

Clearly, then, urgent as it was to restore to the redeemed provincials the  long-atrophied habits of obedience to Roman rule, more urgent still was the need  to reassure them that the victory won by Heraclius had indeed been a victory won  by God. This was why, in his negotiations with Shahrbaraz, no more urgent demand  had been pressed by the emperor than the return from its ignominious  captivity of the True Cross. On 21 March 630, stripped of all his imperial  regalia and walking humbly on foot, as Christ Himself had done on his way to  Golgotha, Heraclius entered Jerusalem bearing with him the precious relic. Men  reported that the manner of his arrival had been the result of advice given  him by an angel, who had personally instructed him to take off his diadem, and  to dismount from his horse. A supreme honour for Heraclius to receive: orders  direct from the heavens to imitate the last journey of his Saviour.

The restoration of the True Cross to Jerusalem was the  profoundest demonstration imaginable of the great victory that had been  won in the cause of Christ. It also served as a ringing statement of  Heraclius’ intent: never again would he permit the Christian empire to  be pushed by its enemies to the edge of oblivion. On his approach to  Jerusalem, he had made a point of stopping off in Tiberias, where he had been  hosted by a wealthy Jew notorious, under the Persian occu­pation, for  his persecution of the city’s churches. Asked by Heraclius why he had so  mistreated the local Christians, the Jew had answered disingenuously, ‘Why,  because they are the enemies of my faith.” Heraclius, grim-faced, had advised  his host to accept baptism on the spot – which the Jew had prudently done. Two  years later, this order was repeated on a far more universal scale. From  Africa to distant Gaul, leaders across the Christian world received news of a  startling imperial decision: all Jews and Samaritans were to be brought  com­pulsorily to baptism. Heraclius, conscious of how close he had come to  defeat, and of the debt he owed to Christ, was not prepared to take any  second chances. From now on, the Roman Empire would be undilutedly, and  therefore impregnably, Christian.[1]

No Christian apologist today, would like to defend the forcible conversions of Jews, from their Unitarian understanding of God to the Trinitarian understanding of God.

Everyone today, at least the Western Christians, understands that there is no coercion in the domain of ‘man relation to God.’

You cannot forcibly change anyone’s thoughts.  No doubt, states try to force people away from criminal or unpatriotic behavior, but none of the enlightened democracies try force, in the domain of human thought or conscience.  States may try to influence through false propaganda, but, invariably never try to torture certain thoughts, into human consciousness.

When the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, started to preach, Monotheism in a polytheist society, they chose coercion to resist his ideas.  Several of the early Muslims were martyred and many had to migrate.  No Muslim today can even think about defending the actions of the polytheist Meccans, as they were trying coercion  in the domain of ‘man relation to God.’

After a brief and bloodless siege, initiated after the offensives by the Byzantines colonies, Muslims seized control of Jerusalem from the Byzantines in February 638 CE. Caliph Umar Farooq, may Allah be pleased with him, accepted the city’s surrender from Patriarch Sophronius in person. Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, was shown the great Church of the Holy Sepulcher and offered a place to pray in it, but he refused. He knew that if he prayed in the church, it would set a precedent that would lead to the building’s transformation into a mosque. He wanted the Christians to have their freedom of religion and their worship places. Therefore, he instead prayed on the steps outside, where Umar Mosque was built centuries later, allowing the church to remain a Christian holy place.

He did put certain taxes on the non-Muslims, which today critics of Islam find to be discriminatory, but, he did not force non-Muslims to convert, for then he would be guilty of coercion  in the domain of ‘man relation to God.’

It would take Europe several centuries to catch up with the ideal set by Umar regarding religious tolerance, based on the revelation of the Quran and the actions of the Prophet Muhammad. In the 8th century Charlemagne, Charles the Great was converting Scandinavians on the point of sword to Christianity and during the First Crusade, in the eleventh century each and every Muslim was killed in Jerusalem, according to the Christian sources, some 70,000 Muslims were killed including 10,000 in the Mosque of Umar itself.

Until the European Enlightenment, the Christians did not understand that there is no coercion  in the domain of ‘man relation to God.’  But, today Christian apologists, may quibble about the number of innocent women and children killed in Jerusalem, during the First Crusade, but, would not defend basic action of killing people, for the sake of their religion, for their is no coercion in the domain of ‘man relation to God,’ or human thoughts and conscience.

witch-hunt

During what is known as the Little Ice Age, Pope Innocent VIII, in his papal bull Summis desiderantes affectibus (5 December 1484) instigated severe measures against magicians and witches in Germany. The grip of freezing weather, failing crops, rising crime, and mass starvation was blamed on witches. He issued the bull to inquisitors Heinrich Kramer and Jacobus Sprenger to systemize the persecution of witches.[17][18]

It has recently come to our ears, not without great pain to us, that in some parts of upper Germany, [...] Mainz, Koin, Trier, Salzburg, and Bremen, many persons of both sexes, heedless of their own salvation and forsaking the catholic faith, give themselves over to devils male and female, and by their incantations, charms, and conjurings, and by other abominable superstitions and sortileges, offences, crimes, and misdeeds, ruin and cause to perish the offspring of women, the foal of animals, the products of the earth, the grapes of vines, and the fruits of trees, as well as men and women, cattle and flocks and herds and animals of every kind, vineyards also and orchards, meadows, pastures, harvests, grains and other fruits of the earth; that they afflict and torture with dire pains and anguish, both internal and external, these men, women, cattle, flocks, herds, and animals, and hinder men from begetting [...][19]

Kramer and Sprenger would later write the Malleus Maleficarum in 1486, which stated that witchcraft was to blame for bad weather. These remarks are included in Part 2, Chapter XV, which is entitled: How they Raise and Stir up Hailstorms and Tempests, and Cause Lightning to Blast both Men and Beasts:[20]

Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that, just as easily as they raise hailstorms, so can they cause lightning and storms at sea; and so no doubt at all remains on these points.Although men as well as women could be open to this charge, the title of the book itself is feminine in gender and Kramer wrote in section I that: ‘all witchcraft comes from carnal lust which is in women insatiable.’

Little did they recognize that they are punishing imaginary crimes and actually dwelling in the domain of human thoughts and conscience, which are beyond inspection by others.

Of course, real crimes are punished today, there are at least 2 millions in prisons of America.  But, none of them is in jail for bad behavior in the domain of ‘man relation to God,’ or for crimes of thought, but, for crimes of behavior, in the domain of ‘man relation to man.’

Bad behavior in the domain of ‘man relation to God,’ will be punished by God himself, in the hereafter and we cannot play to be gods.

The Inquisition was a group of institutions within the judicial system of the Roman Catholic Church whose aim was to combat heresy. It started in 12th-century France to combat the spread of religious sectarianism, in particular the Cathars and the Waldensians. This Medieval Inquisition persisted into the 14th century, and from the 1250s was associated with the Dominican Order. In the early 14th century, two other movements attracted the attention of the Inquisition, the Knights Templar and the Beguines.

At the end of the Middle Ages, the concept and scope of the Inquisition was significantly expanded in response to the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation. Its geographic scope was expanded to other European countries,[1] resulting in the Spanish Inquisition and Portuguese Inquisition. Those two countries in particular operated the Inquisition throughout their respective empires (Spanish and Portuguese) in the Americas, Asia, and Africa.[2] Its focus now came to include the persecution of sorcery, an aspect almost entirely absent from the Medieval Inquisition, making it one of the agents in the Early Modern witch-hunts. Persecution of Jewish and Muslim converts to Catholicism was the special concern of the Spanish and Portuguese inquisitions because of the belief that they secretly practiced their old faiths, resulting in cruel methods of torture to extract confessions.

The institution of the Inquisition persisted after the end of the witch-trial period in the 18th century, but in the Age of Reason was abolished outside of the Papal States after the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th century. The institution survives as part of the Roman Curia, renamed to Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office in 1904.

In this day and age, no one tries to defend these actions, which were endemic in the Catholic Church, in the centuries past.  Rather, today Pope Francis is presenting himself  to the media, to be more liberal than many an agnostics and atheists.

Pakistan's Radical in Chief, General Zia ul Haq

Pakistan’s Radical in Chief, General Zia ul Haq

Many examples of coercion, in the domain of ‘man relation to God’ or human thoughts and beliefs, can also be given, from the Islamic history, spread over 1400 years.

The example that I am most familiar with is the 1984 ordinance, promulgated by General Zia ul Haq, against the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, in Pakistan.  This  ordinance prohibits them from reading the Holy Quran or saying the Muslim greeting of peace to anyone.  It defines crime, where none exists.  One of the clauses states:

Any person of the Quadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves ‘Ahmadis’ or by any other name), who, directly or indirectly, poses himself as Muslim, or calls, or refers to, his faith as Islam, or preaches or propagates his faith, or invites others to accept his faith, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.[2]

In short, the Ahmadiyya Muslims are not allowed to think and believe, what they do and are required to think and believe like General Zia ul Haq.

He is long deceased, but, the fundamentalists in Pakistan, have resisted any withdrawal of this coercive ordinance.

Inquisition

The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition (Spanish: Tribunal del Santo Oficio de la Inquisición), commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition (Inquisición española), was established in 1478 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms and to replace the Medieval Inquisition, which was under Papal control. It became the most substantive of the three different manifestations of the wider Christian Inquisition along with the Roman Inquisition and Portuguese Inquisition.

The Inquisition was originally intended in large part to ensure the orthodoxy of those who converted from Judaism and Islam. This regulation of the faith of the newly converted was intensified after the royal decrees issued in 1492 and 1501 ordering Jews and Muslims to convert or leave.

Various motives have been proposed for the monarchs’ decision to found the Inquisition such as increasing political authority, weakening opposition, suppressing conversos, profiting from confiscation of the property of convicted heretics, reducing social tensions, and protecting the kingdom from the danger of a fifth column.

The body was under the direct control of the Spanish monarchy. It was not definitively abolished until 1834, during the reign of Isabella II, after a period of declining influence in the previous century.

Today the Christian apologists may argue as to how many Muslims and Jews were influenced by these inquisitions, but, none would justify and rationalize the validity and reasonability of these inquisitions, for they know that there is no coercion in the domain of ‘man relation to God.’

The Mountain of Mercy at Arafat, from where the Prophet delivered his last sermon

The Mountain of Mercy at Arafat, from where the Prophet delivered his last sermon

Muslim literature has been replete with mention of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, addressing a crowd of more than a hundred thousand people, at the time of the final pilgrimage or Hajj.

The whole of his sermon is recorded in history and has been more famous and cherished than President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, in the Muslim world, over the centuries.

It was during this sermon that the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, more precisely, defined the domain of ‘man relation to man.’  He said:

O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today.

O’ People, just as you regard this month, this day, and this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds. Allah has forbidden you to take usury (interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. Allah has judged that there shall be no interest and that all the interest due to Abbas ibn ‘Abd’al Muttalib (Muhammad’s uncle) shall henceforth be waived.

O People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness.

And it is your right that they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.

On a prior occasion the Prophet had defined a Muslim as “The Muslim is he from whose tongue and hand a Muslim is safe.”  In other words in the domain of ‘man relation to man,’ there are three broad areas that any rational man wants to secure from other men.  His life, property and honor.

The Holy Quran recognizes these three human rights, in the domain of ‘man relation to man,’ and even suggests possible legislation, for each of these three spheres.  I quote a few verses in this regard here:

O ye who believe! equitable retaliation in the matter of the slain is prescribed for you: the free man for the free man, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. But if one is granted any remission by one’s brother, then pursuing the matter for the realization of the blood money shall be done with fairness and the murderer shall pay him the blood money in a handsome manner. This is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy. And whoso transgresses thereafter, for him there shall be a grievous punishment.  And there is life for you in the law of retaliation, O men of understanding, that you may enjoy security. (Al Quran 2:179-180)

And as for the man who steals and the woman who steals, cut off their hands in retribution of their offence as an exemplary punishment from Allah. And Allah is Mighty, Wise. (Al Quran 5:39)

And those who calumniate chaste women but bring not four witnesses —  flog them with eighty stripes, and never admit their evidence thereafter, and it is they that are the transgressors.  (Al Quran 24:5)

So, after all, there is coercion in the domain of ‘man relation to man.’  Crime, according to the Holy Quran, is defined as violation of ‘man relation to man,’ and never in the domain of, ‘man relation to God.’

But, coercion in the domain of ‘man relation to man,’ is not jungle law or ‘might is right.’

You will not want me to administer vigilante justice, to every one I suspect of killing, stealing money from Government, indulging in bribery or back biting.

For if I had such authority or jurisdiction, I will need to build a large private industry to deliver 80 lashes, to everyone who is back biting and maligning chaste women, as I have found most people that I have come across, guilty of at least, back biting.

Neither can the Taliban, any political party or any religious organization begin to deliver vigilante justice.  This is jurisdiction of state and no state allows ‘state within state’ or gross violation of its laws.

I am a practicing physician in New York state and every time I have signed a contract with any hospital or insurance company, there are clauses in the contract to highlight that all our mutual dealing is subject to state and federal laws.

In other words jurisdiction of authority is all important in any legislation and it is best to avoid overlap and contradictions.

Any organization, religious, political or business, can have its bylaws to govern itself or its members, but, they are subject to state laws.

Additionally, religious organizations will agree that their bylaws are not only subject to state laws and wisdom, but, also subject to compassion and justice, for otherwise, they will lose sympathy of their own followers, as compassion and justice is the basic message of every religion.

There are at least 200 verses in the Holy Quran promoting compassionate living and scores of verses, highlighting justice, so it goes without saying that no Islamic organization can promulgate laws that violate basic human compassion and justice.

Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 –  April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and in many ways was “the First American”.[1] A world famous polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions.[2]

He gave us an insight as what kind of laws in the sphere of “man relation to man,” are wise.  He said, ‘Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom  executed!’  Anyone promulgating laws in the domain of ‘man relation to man,’ could benefit from this advice.

For non-state actors and organizations, the key is that laws or bylaws that they promulgate, cannot go against the existing state laws.  Otherwise, they will be guilty of going against the state and being unpatriotic.  The Muslims are reminded that the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, said, “Love of one’s country is part of the faith.”

The history of last two millennia is a witness that it is not prudent or wise or even possible, to exercise coercion in the domain of “man relation to God.” Legislation or coercion in “man relation to man,” is subject to compassion,  wisdom, justice and existing contracts.

This is what is meant by the often quoted and misquoted verse of the Holy Quran:

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)

References

1.  Tom Holland.  In  the shadow of the Sword: The Battle for Global Empire and the End of the Ancient  World.  Little Brown, 2012.  Page 295-296.

2. http://www.thepersecution.org/50years/paklaw.html

References of materials collected from Wikipedia

The Spanish Inquisitions article is saved completely in the Muslim Times and the following references apply to Inquisitions in general segment and witch hunt.

  1. Jump up to:a b Lea, Henry Charles (1888). “Chapter VII. The Inquisition Founded”. A History of the Inquisition In The Middle Ages 1ISBN 1-152-29621-3. “The judicial use of torture was as yet happily unknown…”
  2. Jump up^ Murphy, Cullen (2012). God’s Jury. New York: Mariner Books – Houghton, Miflin, Harcourt. p. 150.
  3. Jump up^ Medieval Sourcebook: Inquisition – Introduction
  4. Jump up to:a b Salomon, H. P. and Sassoon, I. S. D., in Saraiva, Antonio Jose. The Marrano Factory. The Portuguese Inquisition and Its New Christians, 1536-1765 (Brill, 2001), Introduction pp. XXX.
  5. Jump up^ Lea, Henry Charles. “Chapter VII. The Inquisition Founded”A History of the Inquisition In The Middle Ages 1ISBN 1-152-29621-3. Retrieved 2009-10-07. “Obstinate heretics, refusing to abjure and return to the Church with due penance, and those who after abjuration relapsed, were to be abandoned to the secular arm for fitting punishment.”
  6. Jump up^ Kirsch, Jonathan. The Grand Inquisitors Manual: A History of Terror in the Name of God. HarperOne. ISBN 0-06-081699-6.
  7. Jump up^ Directorium Inquisitorum, edition of 1578, Book 3, pg. 137, column 1. Online in the Cornell University Collection; retrieved 2008-05-16.
  8. Jump up^ Foxe, John“Chapter V”Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.
  9. Jump up^ Blötzer, J. (1910). “Inquisition”The Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 2012-08-26. “… in this period the more influential ecclesiastical authorities declared that the death penalty was contrary to the spirit of the Gospel, and themselves opposed its execution. For centuries this was the ecclesiastical attitude both in theory and in practice. Thus, in keeping with the civil law, some Manichæans were executed at Ravenna in 556. On the other hand. Elipandus of Toledo and Felix of Urgel, the chiefs of Adoptionism and Predestinationism, were condemned by councils, but were otherwise left unmolested. We may note, however, that the monk Gothescalch, after the condemnation of his false doctrine that Christ had not died for all mankind, was by the Synods of Mainz in 848 and Quiercy in 849 sentenced to flogging and imprisonment, punishments then common in monasteries for various infractions of the rule”
  10. Jump up^ Blötzer, J. (1910). “Inquisition”The Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 2012-08-26. “[...] the occasional executions of heretics during this period must be ascribed partly to the arbitrary action of individual rulers, partly to the fanatic outbreaks of the overzealous populace, and in no wise to ecclesiastical law or the ecclesiastical authorities.”
  11. Jump up^ Lea, Henry Charles. “Chapter VII. The Inquisition Founded”. A History of the Inquisition In The Middle Ages 1ISBN 1-152-29621-3.
  12. Jump up^ Catholic Encyclopedia
  13. Jump up^ Bishop, J (2006). Aquinas on Torture New Blackfriars, 87:229.
  14. Jump up^ Larissa Tracy, Torture and Brutality in Medieval Literature: Negotiations of National Identity, (Boydell and Brewer Ltd, 2012), 22; “In 1252 Innocent IV licensed the use of torture to obtain evidence from suspects, and by 1256 inquisitors were allowed to absolve each other if they used instruments of torture themselves, rather than relying on lay agents for the purpose…“.
  15. Jump up^ Lea, Henry Charles. A History of the Inquisition of Spain, vol. 1, appendix 2
  16. Jump up^ Compare Haydon, Colin (1993). Anti-Catholicism in eighteenth-century England, c. 1714-80: a political and social study. Studies in imperialism. Manchester: Manchester University Press. p. 6. ISBN 0-7190-2859-0. Retrieved 2010-02-28. “The popular fear of Popery focused on the persecution of heretics by the Catholics. It was generally assumed that, whenever it was in their power, Papists would extirpate heresy by force, seeing it as a religious duty. History seemed to show this all too clearly. [...] The Inquisition had suppressed, and continued to check, religious dissent in Spain. Papists, and most of all, the Pope, delighted in the slaughter of heretics. ‘I most firmly believed when I was as boy’, William Cobbett [born 1763], coming originally from rural Surrey, recalled, ‘that the Pope was a prodigious woman, dressed in a dreadful robe, which had been made red by being dipped in the blood of Protestants’.”
  17. Jump up^ Levack, The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, (49)
  18. Jump up^ Heinrich Institoris, Heinrich, Sprenger, Jakob, Summers, Montague; The Malleus maleficarum of Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger; Dover Publications; New edition, 1 June 1971; ISBN 0-486-22802-9
  19. Jump up^ http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Summis_desiderantes Wikisource, Summis desiderantes, by Pope Innocent VIII.
  20. Jump up^ Malleus Maleficarum (1486)
  21. Jump up^ Stokes, Adrian Durham (2002) [1955]. Michelangelo: a study in the nature of art. Routledge classics (2 ed.). Routledge. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-415-26765-6. Retrieved 2009-11-26. “Ludovico is so immediately settled in heaven by the poet that some commentators have divined that Michelangel is voicing heresy, that is to say, the denial of purgatory.”
  22. Jump up^ Erasmus, the arch-Humanist of the Renaissance, came under suspicion of heresy, see Olney, Warren (2009). Desiderius Erasmus; Paper Read Before the Berkeley Club, March 18, 1920.. BiblioBazaar. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-113-40503-6. Retrieved 2009-11-26. “Thomas More, in an elaborate defense of his friend, written to a cleric who accused Erasmus of heresy, seems to admit that Erasmus was probably the author of Julius.”
  23. Jump up^ Vidmar, John C. (2005). The Catholic Church Through the Ages. New York: Paulist Press. p. 241. ISBN 978-0-8091-4234-7.
  24. Jump up^ Soergel, Philip M. (1993). Wondrous in His Saints: Counter Reformation Propaganda in Bavaria. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 239.ISBN 0-520-08047-5.
  25. Jump up^ Saint Dominic Presides over an Auto da FePrado Museum. Retrieved 2012-08-26
  26. Jump up^ Kamen, Spanish Inquisition, p. 17. Kamen cites approximate numbers for Valencia (250) and Barcelona (400), but no solid data about Córdoba.
  27. Jump up^ Raymond of PeñafortSumma, lib. 1 p.33, citing D.45 c.5.
  28. Jump up^ Kamen, Spanish Inquisition, p. 10.
  29. Jump up^ H.C. LeaA History of the Inquisition of Spain, vol. 3, Book 8
  30. Jump up^ Saraiva, António José; Salomon, Herman Prins; Sassoon, I. S. D. (2001) [First published in Portuguese in 1969]. The Marrano Factory: the Portuguese Inquisition and its New Christians 1536-1765. Brill. p. 102.ISBN 978-90-04-12080-8. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
  31. Jump up^ “Christianity | The Inquisition”. The Galileo Project. Retrieved 2012-08-26
  32. Jump up^ Blötzer, J. (1910). “Inquisition”The Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Spanish Wikipedia(July 2013)

Bibliography

Posted by on February 9, 2014. Filed under Ahmadiyyat: True Islam,Law and Religion,Law Enforcement,Separation of Church and State. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

10 Responses to Is There Coercion in Islam and Christianity?

  1. Namelee

    February 12, 2014 at 2:38 am

    Zia Shah,
    You have made a futile attempt to exonerate the quran and its author from the violence perpetrated by the adherents of Muhammad’s faith. But even a cursory reading of Muhammad’s last sermon is enough to convince anyone that the only people exempted from muslim violence are fellow muslims. He,it was, who instituted apostasy and blasphemy as crimes. For that reason muslims do not deviate from that as they cannot have a say in what allah and its apostle have decreed.
    When you say “THANKS TO THE TEACHINGS OF—HAZRAT MIRZA GHULAM AHMAD, NO MUSLIM TALKS ABOUT ABROGATION IN THIS DAY AND TIME”, are you speaking for the Ahmadis alone or the generality of those in your faith?
    There in America, the so-called peaceful verses are regarded as having been abrogated that is why apostates go into hiding and ‘THE INNOCENCE OF A MUSLIM’ sparked demonstrations against the film maker. Obama waded in on the side of the demonstrators.
    Nothing could be more wrong than ascribing religious tolerance to Muhammad. His letter to the king of Oman speaks for itself. He wrote :PEACE BE UPON THE ONE WHO FOLLOWS THE RIGHT PATH! I CALL YOU TO ISLAM. ACCEPT MY CALL, AND YOU SHALL BE UNHARMED. I AM GOD’S MESSENGER TO MANKIND, AND THE WORD SHALL BE CARRIED OUT UPON THE MISCREANTS. IF, THEREFORE, YOU RECOGNIZE ISLAM, I SHALL BESTOW POWER UPON YOU. BUT IF YOU DO NOT ACCEPT ISLAM, YOUR POWER SHALL VANISH, MY HORSES SHALL CAMP ON THE EXPANSE OF YOUR TERRITORY AND MY PROPHECY SHALL PREVAIL IN YOUR KINGDOM”. Are these the words of a man you truly believe sanctioned freedom of worship and upheld that there should be no compulsion in religion?
    Following in Muhammad’s footsteps, Umar imposed a 16 point agreement on the Christians. It is charitable to say that it was marginally better than hell. Why did he have to regulate taxes based on religion if the aim was not to achieve forced conversion as a way out of the disgraceful situation?
    Umar may have refused to pray in the Church not because of tolerance but more because he saw it as not being a proper place of worship. An important cleric in one of the Gulf States said so a year or two ago.
    However, it was the same Umar who took the provocative step of building the Al-Aqsa mosque on the temple mount, not minding that it is the site of Judaism’s most sacred shrine.
    You have portrayed the Crusades as having been conducted by bloodthirsty fiends while ignoring the fact that they were late reactions to almost 500 years of continuous muhammadan atrocities in the Holy Land.From the Holy Land to Egypt, N.Africa and Spain the story was the same.
    On Egypt, Andrew Boston in his book ‘LEGACY OF JIHAD’, at page 360, quotes Bishop John of Nikii as saying of the atrocities of Amr ibn al-As and his men:”–THEY PUT TO THE SWORD ALL THAT SURRENDERED, AND THEY SPARED NONE, WHETHER OLD MEN, BABES OR WOMEN. THEY PERPETRATED INNUMERABLE ACTS OF VIOLENCE AND SPREAD PANIC EVERYWHERE”.
    How was life before and after the Crusades for the Christians of the Holy Land and what is it today for them?
    Writing on Spain, Ibn al-Tahir in his ‘THE COMPLETE CONQUEST’ says :IN 177(17 April, 793), HISHAM, PRINCE OF SPAIN, SENT A LARGE ARMY COMMANDED BY ABD AL-MALIK BIN ABD AL-WAHID BIN MUGITH INTO ENEMY TERRITORY–FOR SEVERAL MONTHS HE TRAVERSED THIS LAND IN EVERY DIRECTION, RAPING WOMEN,KILLING WARRIORS, DESTROYING FORTRESSES, BURNING AND PILLAGING EVERYTHING–HE RETURNED SAFE AND SOUND DRAGGING BEHIND HIM GOD KNOWS HOW MUCH BOOTY”.
    The practice of killing witches is still with the muslims to this day. There are numerous newspaper reports on this. The Christians did that before the ‘Age of Enlightenment’ which is yet to dawn on the muhammadans.
    The second and last paragraphs of Muhammad’s last sermon show that he only had muslims in mind for peace. War is to be waged on the non muslims. War and tolerance are not bedfellows.
    The Taliban’s vigilante justice is deeply rooted in the quran and sunnah where the ‘faithful companions’ say that Muhammad executed rajam justice.
    Your focusing only on the plight of the Ahmadis in Pakistan shows that you are not different from all the others who share your faith. Nothing in that article can be regarded as a passing remark on the fate of the Christians who are made to bear the brunt of the ignominious blasphemy law. They are preyed upon by anyone who subscribes to the movement of Muhammad.Two days ago, I watched a discussion on Al Jazeera on the same topic which took a similar trend. Yet it is said that all muslims accept religious tolerance. The truth is far from the assertion.

  2. Zia Shah

    February 12, 2014 at 2:45 am

    The prophet was using the word ‘Muslim’ in the context of his time and his immediate audience. But, if we read it in the context of all his other teachings and the Holy Quran and the context of our times, he really meant, ‘every human being.’ This is what I and most of the enlightened Muslims believe. You may like it or not, but, this is how it is and my article is providing the framework, why it should be seen in this light.

    Namelee you are wearing polarized glasses. Any thing positive about Islam does not pass the lenses that you are wearing and any thing negative, against Islam, however frivolous or unfounded, finds an immediate approval, in your mind.

    This explains all your assertions above, unfortunately.

    I would not like to live in the jail of your mind.

    But, keep reading, may be some day God will enlighten you.

    Best Regards!

  3. Namelee

    February 12, 2014 at 3:32 am

    Zia Shah,
    I totally disagree with your interpretation of who Muhammad called ‘muslim’. If he meant all of mankind, then he would not have polarized the world into the ‘house of islam’ and the ‘house of war’.
    Before making accusations, it would be better for you to examine yourself and conduct first. Everything spewed from this site is negative towards Christianity and Christians. That has openly been stated as an aim of TMT. Go back to some debates of the later part of 2013.
    You have not denied not being concerned about what is happening to the Christians in Pakistan as your write up shows. There is nothing that I have said which you have countered. What are these frivolities and unfounded assertions?
    NONE.
    Who then is wearing polarized glasses?
    You are already a prisoner and my prayer is for your liberation.

  4. Zia Shah

    February 12, 2014 at 4:01 am

    I do stand up for the religious freedom of every Christian, including those in Pakistan.

    I also celebrate Christians, when I agree with them, including all scientists and many politicians, including but not limited to Abrahman Lincoln, Bill Clinton, John F Kennedy, Nelson Mandella, to name only a few.

    Our eDigest today is celebrating Abraham Lincoln.

    Here is a post describing the universal mission of the Muslim Times.

    This very article is celebrating Benjamin Franklin. I do not see any East versus West conflict, which you are always erecting. I am uniting a peaceful global village and a loving human family, which understands different points of views and can still love each other and live in harmony.

    We will expose, each and every one of your false claims, over time, at our own pace. I am in no rush to do that.

  5. Ghulam Sarwar

    February 12, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    namelee has no ground. Muslims are bound to help interfaith dialogue other wise the list of the church mistakes is large. The way the church has reversed the teachings of Jesus Christ a.s., cannot be ignored.
    Allah knew that Jesus will be abused by the Christians and the Jews. So Allah informed Jesus (a.s.) that:
    1. Jesus will die a peaceful death and not be killed on the cross.
    2. That Allah will raise Jesus a.s. in spiritual ranks, close to Himself.
    3. That Allah will wash away all blames that may be thrown on Jesus. His respect will be restored.
    4. That Allah will make the followers of Jesus to prevail upon the his enemies till the day of judgement.
    These were the four promises given to Jesus by Allah. These are mentioned in chapter three of Quran.

    These promises were conveyed to Jesus a.s. care of the angel who visited Jesus while he was earnestly praying in the garden to avoid the cup (of crucifixion). Please see bible N.T.
    The angel was comforting Jesus that his prayer was accepted and that he need not worry.

    Please note the promise number 3 above. That was to be fulfilled by the prophet Muhammad who would restore the glory of Jesus a.s. Allah planned it that a prophet (Muhammad) will be coming after Jesus to restore the high status of Jesus in the world. That was told to Jesus a.s. by the angel who visited him.
    It is well understood: that work of glorification of Jesus a.s. and the the restoration of his respect is still going on care of the Ahmadi teachers. Otherwise church has forgotten Jesus and taken Paul as a superior leader. There is more of paul in the bible than that of Jesus a.s. The mother Mary is also forgotten. There is nothing much in the BibleNT about her!!!

  6. Namelee

    February 13, 2014 at 1:57 am

    Ghulam Sarwar,
    There is more of Jesus in the quran than there is of Muhammad. If having more of Paul in the Bible makes him more important than Jesus(an assertion which has no basis), then Muhammad is less important than Jesus.
    Your allah had no capacity to send an angel to Jesus with any promise. Why did allah not send an angel to warn Muhammad before he ate the poisoned food at Khayyabar?Even after Muhammad had felt the effect of the poison, he said he enlisted the aid of ‘Gabriel’, an archangel and the muhammadan holy spirit, to pray for his healing. All to no avail.
    The allah who could not protect its most cherished creature had no powers to warn or cleanse Jesus of some imaginary blame and ‘restore his respect’.
    The Apostle Paul only propagated the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He never deviated from the commission given to him. No Church member prays or preaches in the name of Paul. He never taught any body to do so. Paul said the Christian has to look up to Jesus, “THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH” (Hebrews 12:2).
    On the Virgin Mary, Jesus did not say that she deserved a status higher than that of any other believer. Being the mother of the promised Messiah does not give her automatic seat in heaven . She had to work out her salvation like everybody else. Muhammad’s fond memory of the Virgin Mary was imagining her in his harem on the day of resurrection when she will occupy a station whose next in rank will be his daughter Fatima.Being the offspring of Muhammad, Fatima had no need for righteousness. History has it that she was not on speaking terms with Abu Bakr for the last six months of her life. No Christian will make heaven if he/she bears anybody grudge.

  7. Simpleton

    February 13, 2014 at 6:11 am

    The quoted verse says: “There is NO coercion in religion”. PERIOD. No exceptions – NONE. Not for behavior, Not for crimes.

    Crimes are matters of state and religion has no jurisdiction over crimes.

  8. CS

    February 13, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Everyone including the most extreme part of any religion will claim that there is no coercion in their religion. Everyone claims that their religion is for the good of everyone and teaches compassion for others. When it is pointed out to them that all religions without exception have persecuted not just others but their own people, they immediately refer to some teaching in their religion which is not being followed properly and that is why this is happening. Since Muslims are under the microscope, they have a long and continuing history of persecution and coercion in their religion. As everyone else, Muslims also have a verse to which they point and claim that incorrect or wrong interpretation of this verse is causing problems.
    The verse says, “There is no compulsion in religion”. As I understand there are two types of coercion when it comes to religion. 1) Trying to convert others to your Faith or punishing those who leave your Faith. 2) Punishing those who do not follow the interpretation of the self appointed leaders of the religion.
    Can some one explain the above verse and say if it applies to only forceful conversions or it also includes coercion within a religion?

  9. Namelee

    February 13, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Simpleton,
    Each country determines what is categorized as crime. Living in the West you believe in the separation of Church and State where each of these institutions has its own sphere of operation. That serves you people well. Unfortunately, it is not every country that people see things from such perspective.
    In islamic countries, even among those that claim to be secular, religion still dictates what constitutes a crime. Pakistan is a secular country on paper, but the section of its constitution quoted by Zia Shah makes it a crime to be an Ahmadi. It is even worse if one were a Christian.
    In some countries, Saudi Arabia, for instance, it is provided that abandoning the faith leads to loss of citizenship. That slaps the toga of crime on apostasy as a thief loses only a limb for the first time.

    All these provisions were not plugged from thin air. They follow what is in the quran and what Muhammad taught as contained in the hadiths. People who claim that criminalizing apostasy and blasphemy are unislamic are either ignorant or deceitful. Some make such calls from the safe distances of the West where they are insulated from the repercussions. None of them will deny that after the death of Muhammad, his immediate successor, Abu Bakr, waged wars to bring back those communities who mistakenly saw the death of Muhammad as a signal for them to apostatize. Till today, where there is strict interpretation of the islamic law, punishing those who kill an apostate or blasphemer meets much reluctance on the part of the state. Again, the example is the murderer of the Punjab Governor who is celebrated as a hero in Pakistan, as referred to by Zia.
    Yes, islamic states do interfere to make matters of religion criminal.

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