This thread is mainly for any reasonable minded Muslims who might happen to find themselves here. Here is a Q & A about the age-old question, does Islam compel people to believe. (This is on top of another article the sheikh recently published). I have added my own comments alongside the sheikh's because I know how hard it is for people of faith to actually think for themselves. I used to be one of you. I have also added emphasis to the points you should pay particular attention to.
Some friends say that whoever does not enter Islam, that is his choice and he should not be forced to become Muslim, quoting as evidence the verses in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed, all of them together. So, will you (O Muhammad) then compel mankind, until they become believers”
“There is no compulsion in religion”
What is your opinion concerning that?.
Praise be to Allaah.
The scholars explained that these two verses, and other similar verses, have to do with those from whom the jizyah may be taken, such as Jews, Christians and Magians (Zoroastrians). (*Note, the rest of mankind don't have to pay jizyah. They are simply slaughtered. Of course, he said it very diplomatically. Ibn Taymiyyah said : "As for the People of the Book and the Zoroastrians (Majoos), they are to be fought until they become Muslims or pay the tribute (jizya) out of hand and have been humbled. With regard to the others, the jurists differ as to the lawfulness of taking tribute from them. Most of them regard it as unlawful of taking tribute from them. Most of them regard it as unlawful to accept it from [heathen] Arabs.") They are not to be forced, rather they are to be given the choice between becoming Muslim or paying the jizyah. No force? Join Islam or live in humiliation. Hmmm… Paying jizyah is not like paying tax. It has to be done in accordance to the Qur'anic directive. That is, "fight them until they pay the jizyah with willing submission and feel themselves subdued." See here how the great scholar Ibn Katheer (one of the most foremost authorities on Qur'anic exegesis whose tafsir is read widely across the world) understood this verse.
Other scholars said that this applied in the beginning, but was subsequently abrogated by Allaah’s command to fight and wage jihad (Ibn Katheer mentions a few here ). So whoever refuses to enter Islam should be fought when the Muslims are able to fight, until they either enter Islam or pay the jizyah if they are among the people who may pay jizyah. The kuffaar should be compelled to enter Islam if they are not people from whom the jizyah may be taken, because that will lead to their happiness and salvation in this world and in the Hereafter. Ok stop. Can you see the ridiculous justification here? Muslims are allowed to force [by threat of death] non-Muslims [excluding the People of the Book and Zoroastrians!] because it is assumed we are unhappy. It's the equivalent of BE HAPPY OUR WAY OR DIE! Furthermore, besides from Christians, the rest of us don't believe in, or care about Heaven as it is not a rational or logical belief. Muslims are saved, Christians are saved, Jews are saved, WHATEVER! And you are all going to each other's Hells too! It's the stuff of fairytales. Get over it.
Obliging (* read "Forcing…") a person to adhere to the truth in which is guidance and happiness is better for him than falsehood (Islam is falsehood for the rest of the world's 5 billion or so population. You have no more right to say your religion is true than a Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or Sikh. We've studied them all and understand them all and they're all products of ancient, ignorant people. Stop trying to claim a monopoly on truth, as you simply don't have it.) Just as a person may be forced to do the duty that he owes to other people even if that is by means of imprisonment or beating, so forcing the kaafirs to believe in Allaah alone and enter into the religion of Islam is more important and more essential, because this will lead to their happiness in this world and in the Hereafter. (If thegod who created mankind wanted all of them to believe in him, I'm sure he could have thought of a better way than warfare and destruction. Or in the real Islamic context, warfare, slavery, concubinage, rape, bloodshed and destruction. So no credit to Allah here, but lots of credit to Muhammad for starting up the Arabs' first empire.) Christians, or Magians, because Islam says that these three groups may be given the choice: they may enter Islam or they may pay the jizyah and feel themselves subdued (Yay for Islamic tolerance! I am being sarcastic.).
Some of the scholars are of the view that others may also be given the choice between Islam and jizyah, but the most correct view is that no others should be given this choice, rather these three groups are the only ones who may be given the choice, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) fought the kuffaar in the Arabian Peninsula and he only accepted their becoming Muslim. And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“But if they repent [by rejecting Shirk (polytheism) and accept Islamic Monotheism] and perform As-Salaah (Iqaamat-as-Salaah), and give Zakaah, then leave their way free. Verily, Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”
He did not say, “if they pay the jizyah”. The Jews, Christians and Magians are to be asked to enter Islam; if they refuse then they should be asked to pay the jizyah. If they refuse to pay the jizyah then the Muslims must fight them if they are able to do so. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allaah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allaah and His Messenger (Muhammad), (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. [al-Tawbah 9:29] The beginnings of the empire.
And it was proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) accepted the jizyah from the Magians, but it was not proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) accepted the jizyah from anyone except the three groups mentioned above.
The basic principle concerning that is the words of Allaah (interpretation of the meaning):
“And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism, i.e. worshipping others besides Allaah), and the religion (worship) will all be for Allaah Alone [in the whole of the world]”. [al-Anfaal 8:39] And this is where the problem lies friends. We don't want or need your religion. Keep it to yourself and there'll be no war against Islam. If an Islamic government gets power and actually tries to impose Islam on its neighbours - watch out!
“Then when the Sacred Months (the 1st, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islamic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikoon (see V.2:105) wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush. But if they repent [by rejecting Shirk (polytheism) and accept Islamic Monotheism] and perform As-Salaah (Iqaamat-as-Salaah), and give Zakaah, then leave their way free. Verily, Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”
This verse is known as Ayat al-Sayf (the verse of the sword).
These and similar verses abrogate the verses which say that there is no compulsion to become Muslim. So there is compulsion in Islam. Tell your brother and sisters and all your friends in the world. Stop telling us that Islam means "peace". It's unproductive. Have doubt and have suspicion, that's the only way truth can be known. The opposite is called "faith" where you hide in the back of your mind all those things which if you question, will take you out of Islam. Question and be honest to yourself. And I really do hope peace be with you, as I wish you would for me. (But remember Muhammad said not to use the word "peace" in reply to a kaafir if he tells you Salam Alaikum. Another part and parcel of the overall problem. Islam only wants peace for Muslims…. Anyhoo…
And Allaah is the Source of strength.
But too weak to answer your prayers or show himself. Too weak to defend his prophet himself. Allah is a mere hope. The real source of strength is within you.
Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat li’l-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 6/219 (http://www.islam-qa.com)