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In What Cases Does Islam Allow the Use of Force?


By Ali Unal


  • If unbelievers or polytheists or those who make mischief and corruption on the earth resist the preaching of Islam and try to block its way of conquering the minds and hearts of people. Being a God-revealed religion of truth, Islam aims to secure the well-being and happiness of mankind in both worlds and therefore has the right to enjoy the freedom of presenting itself to people.
  • God permitted His Messenger to resort to the ‘sword’ only after he emigrated to Madina and established an independent state there. This permission was given because the Muslims were wronged (al-Hajj, 22.39). The verses revealed to express this permission are worth mentioning in order to understand the true nature of war in Islam and for what purposes it was made lawful:

(Fighting is) permitted to those who are fought against, because they have been wronged; and surely God is able to give them victory. Those who have been driven from their homes unjustly only because they said: ‘Our Lord is God’. For had it not been for God’s repelling some men by means of others, cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the Name of God is much mentioned, would assuredly have been pulled down. Assuredly God helps one who helps Him [His religion]. Surely God is All-Strong, All-Mighty. Those who, if We give them power in the land, establish worship and pay the poor-due and enjoin the good and forbid the evil. And God’s is the sequel of events. (22. 39-41)

It is clear from the verses above, and has been witnessed by history, that Islam resorts to force in order to defend itself and establish the freedom of belief. So, under the rule of Islam, the followers of other religions – Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, etc. – are free to practice their religion. It is a historical fact which has been acknowledged even by many Western writers, that Christians and Jews have lived the most prosperous and happiest period of their history under the rule of Islam.

  • Islam, being the true religion revealed by God, the Lord of the Worlds, the All-Just and All-Compassionate, never approves any injustice in any part of the world. The righteous servants of God are obliged to strive for the establishment of justice in life.