Questions and Answers > Paradise > Savior in the Qur'an

Qur'an 3:169: Does violence give security to enter Paradise?

1. Introduction

Some Muslims claim to have security in life after death by dying for Allah and they refer to the following Qur’an verses:
“And never think of those who have been killed in the cause of Allah as dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, receiving provision.” (Qur’an 3:169)
“If you should die or be killed in the cause of Allah, His mercy and forgiveness would surely be better than all they riches they amass. If you should die or be killed, before Him you shall all be gathered.” (Qur’an 3:157-8)
“Let those fight in the cause of God who sell the life of this world for the hereafter. To him who fights in the cause of God, whether he is slain or victorious, soon we shall give him a great reward.” (Qur’an 4:74)
“As for those who are slain in the cause of Allah, He will not allow their works to perish. He will vouchsafe them guidance and ennoble their state; He will admit them to the Paradise He has made known to them.” (Qur’an 10:4-15)
“And those who are killed in the cause of Allah - never will He waste their deeds. He will guide them and amend their condition and admit them to Paradise, which He has made known to them.” (Qur’an 47:4-6)
For narrow minded Muslims with less education of the religious structures in the Qur’an the explanation of the verses is that the servants of violent actions for Allah will be will be honored in the Gardens of Pleasure such as virgins in a hereafter: “And besides them will be chaste women, restraining their glances, with big eyes (of wonder and beauty)” (Qur’an 37:48).

2. Meaning of Jihad doesn’t exclude violence

The traditional interpretation of Jihad is the duty of all Muslims to fight in a war until all non-Muslims have accepted Islam. The interpretation of the words “killed in the cause of Allah” in Qur’an 3:169 are that any fighter who is killed in a Jihad will live forever in Paradise. Therefore this verse says that those who died in a holy war will go to Paradise. Jihad can be translated as holy war (Qur’an 9:73, 9:81, 9:86 25:52, 66:9) and the violent war is only one of the options of Jihad. The violent option as the “Jihad of the sword” was an idea of juristic scholars, who made a distinction between the territory of Islam (dar al-islam) and the territory of war (dar al-harb) [1]. The result is that the people are terrorists who use the Jihad as a program to kill all non-Muslims. Before the year 2000, violent Muslim fundamentalists were not complete immoral, but still had some moral rules. For example, the violent Muslim Al Banna had mercy with people who did not fight against him according Qur’an 3:156-158. Today, the violent Muslims have less moral values [2]. There is always the threat of Muslim terrorism from extremist organizations.

3. Call to Muslims to die in a holy war (Jihad)

The reward to enter Paradise by dying in a holy war is one of the best motivations to join Muslim terrorist groups. Such a man, a blood testifier (sjahied) is in the “Jihad of the sword” a warrior and will go direct to paradise, according to their explanation of Qur’an 47:4-6. According other official documents in Islam, dying in the “Jihad of the sword” had an important place in the life Muhammad:
"Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "The person who participates in (Holy battles) in Allah’s cause and nothing compels him to do so except belief in Allah and His Apostles, will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward, or booty (if he survives) or will be admitted to Paradise (if he is killed in the battle as a martyr). Had I not found it difficult for my followers, then I would not remain behind any sariya going for Jihad and I would have loved to be martyred in Allah’s cause and then made alive, and then martyred and then made alive, and then again martyred in His cause." [3].
"Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, "A pious slave gets a double reward." Abu Huraira added: By Him in Whose Hands my soul is but for Jihad (i.e. holy battles), Hajj, and my duty to serve my mother, I would have loved to die as a slave." [4].
"Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, "Allah guarantees (the person who carries out Jihad in His Cause and nothing compelled him to go out but Jihad in His Cause and the belief in His Word) that He will either admit him into Paradise (Martyrdom) or return him with reward or booty he has earned to his residence from where he went out." [5].
This policy has been realized by conquering many countries and to robber the properties of the inhabitants. The Kharijites, a small Muslim group has added this Jihad of the sword as the Sixth Pillar of Islam. The open interpretation of violent Qur’an verses with a promise in Paradise is important, because many people act according to what they believe. When many Muslims believe that a continuous war against non-Muslims is an essential element of their faith, then non-Muslims are in danger and those Muslims are against basic human rights. The result is that Islam is a bloody religion, is called the religion of the sword and even the world’s most hated religion.

4. To fight in the “Jihad of the sword” doesn’t bring certainty about entering Paradise

Muslims, involved with terrorism will never be sure about living forever in a world of happiness, because peace is an attribute of Paradise. Without peace in the heart, a preview of God’s Paradise cannot be realized. Deep inside such a Muslim cannot be absolute certain. He is only a follower of the interpretation of selected Qur’an verses without convincing arguments with the result that he has blind faith. Best way out for a violent Muslim is to stop and to consider the facts and investigate for himself why he believes the violent doctrines. Faith is an act to make a decision. It needs support by true facts, but it can only be discovered in a personal way, a privatization of faith. The Qur’an offers a way out by studying the Previous Scriptures, the Bible (Qur’an 2:4, 2:136, 2:285, 4:136 and 29:46). The believer is he who understands and accepts the content of God’s basic revelation and has entered a state of security and trust in God [6]. Unfortunately not many terrorist Muslims are making this decision to peace and certainty in the heart, however there are such men with courage and there are more every year. One of them is the former Muslim Mosab Hassan Yousef. He is the son of the founder of the terrorist Muslim group Hamas. He converted to faith in Jesus Christ and and emigrated to the United States [7].

5. Conclusion

Some Muslims use selected verses in the Qur’an to start terrorist actions. According to other Muslims they are false interpretations of the Qur’an. However, it cannot be denied that the Qur’an has many verses about violence and speaks of the sufferings of prophets (Qur’an 7:94-5), and therefore many Muslims seek the glory of death in a holy war, the “Jihad of the sword”. It is no coincidence that Islam is many times related to religious fanaticism motivated by the Qur’an verses about suicide terrorism. The logical idealism of some Muslims should be directed steps to realize peace in their own heart and peace with all people. Violence cannot give security to enter Paradise, only peace in the own heart is able to establish such a thing. Jesus Christ is the example of living in personal peace, peace with God and mankind. His death and resurrection are the central events of his life. By imitating Jesus Christ and trust in the forgiveness of sin by his sacrifice, the believer will go to Paradise, not by violence, but by an inner struggle in peace.


Notes:

1. Andrew R. Murphy (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Religion and Violence, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, 2011, 276-277.
2. Farad Khodrokhavar, Inside Jihadism, Understanding Jihadi Movements Worldwide, Paradigm Publishers, London, 2009, 64.
3. Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 36, http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/hadith/bukhari/002-sbt.php.
4. Sahih Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 46, Number 724, http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/hadith/bukhari/046-sbt.php.
5. Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 555, http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/hadith/bukhari/093-sbt.php.
6. Jane I Smith, Faith, in: Jane Dammen McAuliffe (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Qur’an, Volume Two, E-I, Brill, Leiden, 2002, 163.
7. Son of Hamas: Journey from Terror to Freedom - Mosab Hassan Yousef, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgrrtfqHNeQ.

Is Islam a violent religion?