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There is No Compulsion in Islam

Another article in response to the apostate Anwar Shaikh, who wrote several articles against "Human Rights in Islam".

Scanning the Commentary of Anwar Shaikh on "Islam and Human Rights –III" (India Post, 4th Sept. 1998) makes me marvel if he ever read even an introductory book on Islam. His analysis of Islam and his interpretation of Quranic verses are an exposť of his Islamic illiteracy. He cites verses to prove Islam's view of man's lowly nature. He fails to realise that these verses were preceded by verses asserting the Omnipotence and Grandeur of God. Thus man is lowly in nature compared to the Majesty of God. But compared to the rest of the creation, man is at the pinnacle of the creation pyramid and for this reason even the angels and the jinn were commanded by God to prostate before the first created human being, Adam: "Your Lord said to the angels: 'I am creating man from dry clay, from black moulded loam. When I have fashioned him and breathed of My Spirit into him, kneel down and prostrate yourself before him'". (Qur'an, 15:28-29)

Yes, Anwar Shaikh, Islam, though revealed fourteen hundred years ago is as relevant in our era of space probes, lasers and cloning, as it did in those days. Technology many have evolved but the basic wants, needs and desires of human beings remained the same. Thus the need for continuing guidance from our Creator.

Anwar Shaikh then proceeds to accuse that, "A person born as a Muslim is forbidden to be free thinker. His thoughts must be guided by the Koran". Since Qur'an is the complete code for the guidance of humanity, what better guide we need. It is the utilisation of Allah's commandments, which created an utopic society during the golden days of Islam during Prophet Muhammad's (Peace be upon him) time the succeeding generation where caste system, racism, murders, rapes, homelessness etc. Were unheard of. Same wonders could be accomplished presently if we embrace and abide by the Quranic commandments. Compare this to the deficiency of the man made modern secular laws which are defeated against the moral ills plaguing the society.

Lastly, Anwar Shaikh, reflects his ignorance by mentioning about the children born into a religion "If he changes his religion, though he did not adopt it deliberately, he becomes liable to execution". A one verse rebuttal from the Qur'an will prove Islam proclamation of universal rights of one's religion: "There is no compulsion in Islam" (Qur'an, 2:256).

Sabeel Ahmed

September 1998.

[Currently, he is the co-chairman of the Da'wa Committee and Board of Director at the Muslim Community Center, Illinois. A student of Ahmed Deedat and now works for the 1-800-662-islam hotline of ICNA. His main interest is in comparative religion.]

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