Questions and Answers > Qur'an > Contradictions Qur'an 1-15

Qur'an 8:39 - Propagating Islam by force?

The question about support in the Qur’an about propagation of Islam by force has two different answers in the Qur’an:

1. Yes, the Qur’an supports propagation of Islam by force - Qur’an 8:39

“And fight them until there is no fitnah and [until] the religion, all of it, is for Allah . And if they cease - then indeed, Allah is Seeing of what they do” (Qur’an 8:39). The above mentioned violent verses in the Qur’an have given motivation to initiate war and genocide, including the slaughter of millions in Africa and Asia.

2. No, the Qur’an doesn’t support violence to become a Muslim - Qur’an 2:256

“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion” (Qur’an 2:256). “So if they argue with you, say, \"I have submitted myself to Allah [in Islam], and [so have] those who follow me.\" And say to those who were given the Scripture and [to] the unlearned, \"Have you submitted yourselves?\" And if they submit [in Islam], they are rightly guided; but if they turn away - then upon you is only the [duty of] notification. And Allah is Seeing of [His] servants” (Qur’an 3:20). Above mentioned verse don’t allow to use violence to bring more people to Islam, a contradiction with Qur’an 8:39.

3. Muslim response

Some Muslims try to refute this contradiction claim by saying that every verse and chapter of Qur’an came for specific people or situation. That means that during war when disbelievers attacked Muslims it was allowed to fight, while times of peace it was forbidden to propagate Islam with forced control. However this doesn’t solve the problem that Qur’an 8:39 has been used to motivate killing of innocent people in times of peace by Muslims who believe the verse is valid for every situation. Such a Qur’an explanation has never been forbidden by Sunni Islam, the most popular branch of Islam. They believe that Qur’an is simple to understand, with the result they use Qur’an 8:39 to propagate Islam by force.

4. Conclusion

While Qur’an 8:39 motivates Muslims to use violence to expand Islam, two other verses say that this is forbidden. Therefore Qur’an 8:39 is in contradiction with other Qur’an verses.

Qur’an 2:256 - Does the Qur’an support violence to accept Islam?

Is Islam a violent religion?