Muslim extremism is becoming increasingly prevalent in modern society, which leads us to question what the Quran and its followers are teaching. Shockingly enough, despite Islam being described as a “peaceful” religion, many of its verses encourage violence towards non-believers (“infidels”).
“Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.” –Quran (2:216).
Contradicting the popular misconception that violence is encouraged solely under self-defence circumstances, this verse preaches that fighting is a virtuous act that is ‘prescribed’ for you. Clearly, it is teaching its audience to fight in the name of Allah, which is the root of extremism.
“Not equal are those of the believers who sit, except those who are disabled, and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives above those who sit. Unto each, Allah has promised good, but Allah has preferred those who strive hard and fight, above those who sit by a huge reward.” -Quran (4:95).
According to this passage, those ‘who sit’ (i.e. are peaceful) won’t be worthy enough to reach Paradise. Obviously, Muslims are adduced to be violent in order to seek approval from their God.
“And be not weak hearted in pursuit of the enemy; if you suffer pain, then surely they (too) suffer pain as you suffer pain.” -Quran (4:104).
This again dismantles the argument that Muslims are taught to believe that one should only kill in self-defence; to not be weak-hearted means to pursue them no matter what: does this include infidels who have done no wrong?
“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.” -Quran (5:33).
This graphic description of what should be done to non-believers is reflective of the gruesome beheading videos that circulate around social media. There is no denying that there is nothing peaceful about this verse and what it teaches.
“I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.” -Quran (8:12).
The victims of extremism are clearly said to be ‘those who disbelieve’, and again, the images we see circulating the internet of extremism have been influenced by passages such as these. Are people misinterpreting this extract if they believe this is not supposed to be taken in a literal sense but instead in a spiritual sense?
“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” -Quran (9:29).
The phrase ‘People of the Book’ refers to Christians and Jews; therefore this is evidence of the fact that Islam is intended to have control over all other religions. Is this really a tolerant religion? Can Allah really be omnibenevolent if he doesn’t accept people of different beliefs?
“And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!” -Quran (9:30).
This extract from the Quran refers to destroying people of other faiths. Clearly, this is not a peaceful religion, but one that encourages extremism unto those who don’t follow Islam.
“And when We wish to destroy a town, We send Our commandment to the people of it who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein; thus the word proves true against it, so We destroy it with utter destruction.” -Quran (17:16).
Sadly, this could clearly be linked with many modern terrorist attacks with reference to wishing to ‘destroy a town’. Furthermore, when it states ‘We will send Our commandment’ before destroying it with ‘utter destruction’, this was evident when Bin Laden gave the Americans an invitation to Islam before the 9/11 attacks.
Ibn Ishaq/Hisham 990: Many people claim that beheading someone whilst shouting “Allahu Akbar” is a desecration of Islam, however, this is not the case; it actually originated from Muhammad. In the aforementioned passage, a companion of Muhammad’s stages an ambush on a village, stating “I leapt upon him and cut off his head and ran in the direction of the camp shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ and my two companions did likewise”. Is there a minority of Muslims who follow this example?
“Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of a believing people.” -Quran (9:14).
Will Muslims be fighting for their cause until they win ‘victory’ over infidels? And is part of their motivation to ‘heal’ themselves in the process?
So can people really argue that extremism is as a result of misinterpretation of the Quran, or is it supposed to be taken literally? The personal and graphic accounts of violence don’t seem to be metaphors for spiritual endeavors, instead more like instructions to rid the world of infidels. But maybe this is as a result of historical context, and we should choose to interpret them in this way, as the majority of modern Muslims do.