By: Md. Qazi Faiyaz Alam Mumbai
Islam is a divine religion, which is also a universal and worldwide. It is not for any particular nation or a particular region. It is a source of guidance and salvation for every human being living on the surface of the earth. Allah Almighty Himself has mentioned this in the second verse of Surah Baqarah at the beginning of the Holy Qur’an that it is a book in which there is no room for any doubt, and this book is a source of guidance for the pious persons. Its teachings are in harmony with human nature. However, it is up to man from what angle he takes it, if one takes off the lens of prejudice and reads it, he will surely find it in accordance with human nature, human requirements, and common sense. That is why whoever has studied it sincerely, has received guidance and whoever has received guidance has succeeded in this world and in the Hereafter, even though he had to face trials in this world for a few days, but in the end he was rewarded. Once one is fascinated by the recitation of the Holy Qur’an and its interpretation, then the trials around the world are useless for him. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: Whoever believes in Allah as his Lord, Islam as his religion, and Hazrat Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as his Prophet, then he really tastes faith. Troubles come, his family members kicked him out, social boycott is done with him, mentally and physically tortured; even abusing and beatings are practiced with him, he is burnt in the fire or hung to death but after enjoying the faith he will never step back. Such incidents took place even in the time of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Islamic history is adorned with the events of Hazrat Bilal Habshi, Hazrat Sohaib, Hazrat Musab bin Umair, Hazrat Ammar bin Yasir, Hazrat Khabab bin Al-Art and so on; but they hug the death rather step back an inch from Islam. Such incidents happened after the prophet (SAWS) too and are still happening today. “Maine Islam Kiun Qabool kia” (By: Prof. Khalid Ali Hamidi) and “Naseem-e Hidayat Ke Jhunke” (By: Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui) and some other similar books are full of with events of New-Muslims. This indicates that after accepting Islam no matter how great the trials are; they do not back down. This will happen when one accepts Islam wholeheartedly and inspired by Islamic teachings, does not accept Islam out of any kind of greed, pressure, seduction, fear or any other reason, because such Islam is not acceptable in the sight of Allah. If a person accepts Islam only against the wish of his heart, that is, only verbally, then there is no credibility with it in the sight of Allah. He Almighty is with the one who is sincere in accepting Islam. The Holy Qur’an condemns those who accept Islam orally. Allah Almighty calls them as they are Munafiq (Hypocrite) in Surah Al-Munafiqun (The Hypocrites). He says that they have apparently converted to Islam and used their Imaan as a shield to spread many superstitions and do conspiracies against Muslims secretly so that people may consider them Muslims and Muslims adopt good behavior with them. (Surat al-Munafiqun: 1-2)
In Surah Al-Hujurat, Allah Almighty mentioned about villagers who had apparently converted to Islam and they were banging about it, as if they had a favor to Muslims by converting to Islam, are not true believers, Muslims. Allah Almighty has disclosed their secret as their faith has not descended in their hearts, only verbal accumulation is there. (Surat al-Hujurat: 1)
In short, faith has to do with the heart, not with deeds and actions. Faith and anything that has to do with the heart cannot be forced for, just as no one can be forced to love, nor love can be withdrawn forcibly. However one can be forced to verbally say something with the tongue against the voice of his heart, but in the heart will remain what he thinks right and what he considers true. This is what Allah says in the Holy Qur’aan: “There is no compulsion in the religion of Islam because the truth and the error have become clear’’. One whose heart bears witness to the truth should accept Islam and the one whose heart denies it should not.
Hazrat Qazi Sanaullah Panipati (R.H) writes in the interpretation of this verse that there is no concept of coercion in accepting Islam; because coercion is a condition in which a person is forced to do something against his will, and this is possible in any action or movement, but it is not possible with the heart, and faith is in the heart, so force is not acceptable.
Hazrat Qazi Saheb has also explained the second meaning of this verse, that is, no one should be forced to accept Islam; because there is no use in accepting Islam in such condition, because such faith is unacceptable in the sight of Allah.
The famous jurist and commentator of the Qur’an, Hazrat Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani Damat Barakatuhm writes under this verse with great revelation:
In the tribe of Ansaar, women who did not have children or did not remain alive, made a vow that if they had children and they survived, they would make them Jews. There were so many such children with the tribe of Banu Nuzeer. When the Banu Nudhir were deported, the Ansaar said that they would not let their children go and forcibly tried to convert them to Islam. This verse was revealed on this occasion. This revealed an important principle of Islam that it is not right to force someone to change his religion; because religion has to do with the belief of the heart. However confession can be made through tongue, not the inner of the heart. It also made it clear that to say about Islam that it was spread by the force of the sword is just propaganda. When Islam came into the world there was only one person, who was a Muslim, the same preacher of Islam and He was a prophet of God, the people of Makkah was against him, then for thirteen years Muslims were the religion of a few weak, unarmed and oppressed people who were persecuted by every means.
At that time, Islam did not have a sword, or an army. After all, what was the power by which Islam conquered the entire Arabian Peninsula in just a few years? These were, of course, its teachings based on justice, in harmony with human nature and in accordance with reason and wisdom, not the sword “! (Asaan Tafseer Quran)
In short, no religion can be forcibly converted, it is impossible. So accusing Muslims of forcibly converting to Islam is unreasonable.
The highest ranking book in Islam after the Holy Qur’an is Saheeh Bukhari, the first hadith of which refers to an incident and then points to a basic principle of Islam. Incidentally, when the land of Makkah was narrowed for the Muslims, every kind of oppressions was practiced on them, the social relation was cut off, the social boycott was carried out, then Allah Almighty ordered Muslims to migrate from here, so many Muslims migrated from Makkah. They went to Abyssinia, then it was ordered to migrate to Madinah, so the Holy Prophet (SAWS) himself and many of his companions migrated to Madinah. A man from Makkah wanted to marry a woman. Coincidentally, that woman also migrated to Madinah. When he found out about this, he also migrated to Madinah so that he could marry this woman there. The prophet (SAWS) said that the actions are governed by their intentions. And what a man intends to get is paid, and whoever migrates for the world, or for a woman to marry her, then his migration will be for same, as if his migration is not to protect Islam and it will not be for the sake of Allah. His migration is not acceptable in the sight of Allah. (Saheeh Bukhari, Hadith No: 1)
From this hadith it is clear that unless the heart is drawn towards Allah, and any action, no matter how great, is done for the sake of Allah from the heart, it is not acceptable in the sight of Allah.
Islam which is a heavenly religion, how can it be accepted if it is used for any other purpose rather than pleasure of Allah? When such Islam is not acceptable, then why do Muslims need to make people to convert to Islam by risking their health, wealth, valuable capital, time and even their lives?
However, the preaching and telling people about their religions and faiths are not only a religious and sharia duty, but also recommended one. Article 25 of the Constitution of our country (India) allows it. It should be noted that there is a big difference between forcing someone to convert to Islam and just to invite them for the same. Inviting is permissible and forcing is not allowed. Coercion is not permissible, nor desirable, it is legally forbidden.