Opinion: Setting a standard for human rights

Fiza Shah

Fiza Shah

Fiza Shah is a freshman news major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

There are about 6.2 million Muslims in America. Let’s be pessimistic and say that only one-fourth of these people actually practice their faith.

So, that means 1.55 million Muslims practice their faith. If Islam actually condoned violence against non-Muslims, wouldn’t there be a lot more terrorist acts? Shouldn’t I be attacking you, rather than responding calmly?

If terrorists in the Middle East are actually working on the behalf of God, why are they targeting Muslims? Many Muslims are killed when suicide bombers attack in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Keep this in mind as you read on.

The Quran cannot simply be read straight through unless you have some knowledge of the historical context of the verses. This is because the Prophet revealed verses of the Quran that were significant given the situation. It wasn’t until later that all the verses were put together.

So, lets look at some of these “violent verses” and try to analyze through context.

Chapter 9, verse 5 of the Quran reads: “But when the open months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them … ”

Why would God, All Merciful and Compassionate, send this command?

During this time, the Prophet and the pagans had signed a treaty of peace during which fighting was not allowed, which the pagans then broke. God then sent this verse to the Prophet to give Him permission to begin fighting again.

But, it goes on to say that if any member of the pagan army asks for asylum from the fight, Muslims are required to give it to him. Also, the fighting must stop once the treaty is re-established.

Then, God says in Chapter 5, verse 92, “Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and beware [of evil]: if you do turn back, then know that it is Our Messenger’s duty to proclaim [the message] in the clearest manner.”

It is not stated that if you turn your back, you’ll be killed. It says that the Prophet’s purpose is to spread the message and He cannot stop preaching.

In Chapter 2, Verse 256, God states, “Let there be no compulsion in religion: The Truth stands out clear from Error.” Again, it states that you cannot be forced to convert.

Another “violent verse” in the Quran is Chapter 4, verse 91: “ … seize them and kill them wherever you find them; and they are the ones against whom We have given you clear authority.”

This sounds pretty terrible, right?

However, in context, it reads: “so if they do not avoid [confronting] you nor submit an offer of peace nor restrain their hands, seize them and kill them wherever you find them; and they are the ones against whom We have given you clear authority.”

The historical context of this verse is also very important. During this time, the non-Muslims around the city of Mecca were raiding and violently attacking the city. Up until this point, there was no retaliation on the side of the Muslims. So, with this verse, God gave Muslims permission to retaliate. However, once they were peaceful again, Muslims were no longer allowed to attack. It was in self-defense.

Chapter 2, verses 190-192, says, “Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loves not transgressors. And slay them wherever you catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter … But if they cease, God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful … If they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression.”

When read in context, one can see the above verse is in self-defense. And, even in self-defense, God commands that Muslims not step beyond the limits, and only attack those who attack them.

In this way, each verse of the Quran can by analyzed, whether it regards war or something else. That is why limited knowledge is very dangerous, both in the hands of self-proclaimed Muslims who use it to promote terrorism or non-Muslims who use to it promote hate.