Is Islam Really A Peaceful Religion? - What The Koran Says

By Diana Holbourn

After the terrorist atrocities on September 11th 2001, some Muslims were understandably protesting that real Islam is a tolerant and peaceful religion. But is it? ...

This article gives insights into the reasons why many Muslims hate America and why some become terrorists. It concludes that in order to win the war on terror permanently, Islam itself must be either peacefully combated or explained to Muslims in such a way as to convince them that the passages about violence were meant to refer only to specific occasions during the life of its founder Muhammad or to responses to physical attack, because it can be seen as inciting its followers to wars of aggression against unbelievers. Anyone who thinks that America can win the war on terror merely by eliminating the people who currently pose the greatest threat is mistaken, because Fundamentalist interpretations of the main Muslim holy book will ensure more recruits to the fundamentalist Islamic cause, unless convincing moderate interpretations of it become widespread. Not all Muslims think the Koran justifies terrorism, and moderate Muslims who think it doesn't ought to help convince those who think it does of their views, if they're sincerely moderate.

For those upset that I should have chosen to write such an article as this, please read the reason why I wrote this article.

It may be that moderate Islam can actually be of great benefit to the West, and that young Muslims growing up in Western schools and colleges can be influential in helping to improve the moral behaviour of those around them, because of the moral values they've learned from the Koran. See: It's Time for a New Style of Jihad - Time for Young Western Muslims to Speak Out for Morality and Influence Those Around Them.

If you're feeling depressed or anxious, it might be as well not to continue reading this article at the moment, but if you like, and your problems are quite serious, you can get help with mental health difficulties such as depression, life-damaging worry, panic attacks, phobias and OCD, as well as help with marriage problems and other things such as bullying and teasing, in our self-help series: Free Self-Help to Recover From Some Life-Damaging Problems.

This article suggests a fairly humane way of reducing the number of Muslims available to be recruited into terrorist organisations. It argues that this should be done both by lobbying Western politicians to campaign for freedom of religion and freedom of the press in Muslim countries so that the truth of Islam can be freely questioned there, and by presenting reasoned arguments to Muslims in the West that will hopefully dissuade them from following fundamentalist interpretations of Islam, by either persuading them that Islam is a false religion, or that the verses advocating violence in the Koran were never meant to incite terrorist-style attacks. To illustrate the need to challenge Islam itself, the article quotes a number of passages from the Koran that could incite Muslims to violence against non-Muslims. It also compares the Koran with the Bible, in order to point out flaws in Islam and some arguments that may help to cast doubt on the truth of the religion.

However, one Muslim wrote to me about how terrorism is motivated by political issues, not religion, and how Islam doesn't encourage unprovoked violence:



Such interpretations and information ought to be widely disseminated.

It's unfortunate that some other Muslims firmly believe that such verses do mean they have a duty to commit violence today against non-muslims who could be seen as obstructing the spread of Islam. Hopefully they're very much in the minority. But if after reading the passages from the Koran that can be interpreted as urging Muslims to violence, you feel strongly about the need to dissuade people from committing violent acts in the name of Islam, please read A Possible Way Of Reducing Terrorism And a Request For Action.

Important notice: This article is not intended to incite violence against Muslims. It does not advocate violence against Muslims, and I sincerely hope that no one is motivated to do anything violent because of it. Anyone who commits a violent act against people just because they're Muslims may be targeting peace-loving people who disapprove of terrorism. Or they may even make some people more likely to want to be recruited into terrorist organisations, because they may make them feel bitter and resentful towards Westerners.

All links open in a new window so you will not lose the flow of the text. The links to the Koran open at the top of the chapter and you will need to scroll down to the appropriate verse; however the links to the Bible passages will open at the relevant verses. This is because they are external sites and beyond our control.

Introduction To The Koran

The question of whether Islam really is a peaceful religion or whether it does in fact incite Muslims to violence made me decide to read the Koran. While doing so, I discovered that it commands Muslims several times to go to war and kill unbelievers. I also noted other controversial features and things of interest.

It seems to me that Islam is a religion which motivates its followers to obey its commands by instilling the fear of the fire of hell into them. The Koran repeatedly warns of Allah's punishment on the disobedient and those who disbelieve what it says. It's very repetitive! Most of the chapters have deceptively innocent-sounding titles, like The Cow, The Bee, and The Dinner Table, - the sometimes sickening and in parts warlike content of the longer ones often bearing little relation to what they're called!

Having said that the Koran can be unpleasant, it often says that Allah is merciful and forgiving, and in a few places it advises that any Muslim who wants forgiveness should pray, and as long as they are sincere in wanting to turn away from the sins they want forgiveness for, then Allah will forgive them. The Koran often tells people to do good and be kind to the poor, and in one or two chapters it instructs people not to slander others, not to oppress other believers, and to be prayerful, as well as saying that anyone who forgives others will have a reward from Allah. These things are obviously to be commended. It says that murder is wrong, except in the cause of justice. (See Chapter 25 Verse 68)

The Koran says that people who do good and who believe in the judgment day and in the truth of its teaching will have a reward in the afterlife, entering gardens where rivers flow, where they can experience things that one would expect to find in someone's idea of a worldly paradise - pure and exotic drinks, a plentiful supply of fruit and meat, fine-looking youths who never age waiting on them, clothes of thick silk to wear, and pure virgins as brides, with eyes only for them. However, those who do not believe the Koran and/or who speak against Islam, and those who do not do good, will end up in hell, which is a gruesome place! (All the verses that say these things can easily be found using a search facility on the internet. A site where you can search the Koran is linked to below.)

The Koran continually condemns people who don't believe it, especially in most of the first forty or so chapters, and repeats over and over again that they will end up in hell, as well as stating often that those who do not do good will go there. Whereas the Bible also states in various places that the wicked will go to hell and that people who refuse to accept Jesus cannot be saved and come to God, the New Testament mainly consists of constructive advice and information about God/Jesus, and the Old Testament is mainly an account of how it says God has intervened in history. However, it may not be an exaggeration to say that condemnations of unbelievers and warnings that they will go to hell are the main feature of the Koran! To find out how tolerant Islam really is, Read Chapter 9. And if, somehow, you're still not convinced, Read Chapter 3.

A fundamental difference between Christianity and Islam is that while Christianity teaches its followers not to get revenge on others, followers of Islam have no such restrictions placed on them, and so calls for mass uprisings in violent revenge for what they consider to be past wrongs will not necessarily seem unethical to them.

Most of the Koran seems to consist of negative criticism and warnings of damnation for people for various reasons - mainly for not believing the Koran. This is likely to incite negative feelings towards people who don't believe it. After reading several chapters, it becomes understandable that some Muslims should be extremely antagonistic towards and concerned about foreigners with other beliefs who behave in ways forbidden by the Koran - drinking, gambling and being promiscuous - staying in Muslim countries, because of fears that they will corrupt Muslims and so deprive them of a reward in the afterlife and cause them to be sent to a gruesome hell. Furthermore, the Koran could be so frightening and depressing to some followers of Islam that they may think it's far easier to die for the cause of Allah and go straight to paradise as the Koran promises they will (see references below) than to spend the whole of their lives worrying that they may not be doing enough good or obeying Islam strictly enough to get there. There is even a warning in the Koran that anyone who raised their voice in the presence of the "prophet" would be in danger of having all their good deeds nullified by Allah! (See Chapter 49 Verse 2) This would mean that their good deeds would not help them get to paradise on Judgment Day, so they would be sent to hell. For an example of the working of this principle, (See Chapter 18 Verses 103-108)

On the other hand, people who feel oppressed or deprived could find satisfaction in Islam, because of the Koran's descriptions of the good things to come for those who do Allah's will and fight and die for Allah, and because of its constant threats of Allah's final retribution against adversaries and evil-doers, and its warnings of hell fire for those who have spent their lives enjoying the good things of this world without caring about giving to the poor and obeying Allah's other commands out of concern for their fate on the judgment day and in the afterlife.

Articles on the History of Islam, wars fought by Muslims, and whether Islam promotes terrorism:

Ex-Muslims Speak Out Against Islam:

What The Koran Says About The Bible

I can prove that Islam is not worth fighting to spread, and that Allah is not worth dying to be with. Anyone who fights or dies for Allah is making a big mistake.
The purpose of this section is partly to put doubts about the truth of Islam into the minds of people who want to fight for it, and to give other people ideas about how to put doubts into the minds of other people who might think it's worth fighting for. I'm not saying in this article that I think people ought to be forced to stop believing in Islam. I don't think that. And I'm not saying that I think people ought to argue aggressively with Muslims to try to stop them believing in islam. That would be counterproductive, because they'd just stop listening. What I am saying is that people ought to reason with Muslims who have the potential to be recruited into terrorist organisations because of the teaching of Islam in a calm and sensible manner, in order to put doubts about the truth of Islam into their minds, so they will be dissuaded from doing anything violent in the name of it.

Muslims who have difficulty with Christian teaching or who would like to know more about Christianity should visit another website, where the questions Muslims often ask about Christianity are explained. This is done in a friendly manner - no mention of terrorism or bad things in the Koran! :-) To go there, visit Muslim Questions About Christianity.

The Koran was written hundreds of years after the last book of the Bible was. It says that besides itself, parts of the Bible - the books of Moses and the accounts of the life of Jesus - were also communications from Allah. But it says in a few places that the Jews and the Christians have distorted and concealed bits of the Bible. (See Chapter 5 Verse 12-16) Also: (Chapter 6 Verse 91) (Chapter 2 Verse 159-176) and (Chapter 41 Verse 45) If you would like to read articles that seek to convince readers that the Bible is in fact reliable and has not been corrupted, there are some linked to on one of the main pages of this site: Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, The Reliability of the Bible and the Existence of God. The section below it links to articles that discuss the claims, often made by Muslims and others, that the Bible is full of contradictions, arguing that they're not real ones.

The most important difference between the Koran and the Bible is that the Koran says that Jesus was not the son of God. It says he was merely an apostle, created out of dust, just as the first human being, Adam was. (See Chapter 3 Verses 59-64 and Verses 83-85) and (See Chapter 18 Verses 4-5.)

The Bible, on the other hand, says that Jesus Christ Is the Son of God. However, this doesn't make him a separate god, as the author of the Koran appeared to imagine, because it says that he is also Part of God at the same time. For instance, the Bible says that Jesus said, "... The Father and I are one." It goes on to say: "Then the people again picked up stones to throw at him. Jesus said to them, "I have done many good deeds in your presence which the Father gave me to do; for which one of these do you want to stone me?" They answered, "We do not want to stone you because of any good deeds, but because of your blasphemy! You are only a man, but you are trying to make yourself God!" Jesus answered, "... the Father chose me and sent me into the world. How, then, can you say that I blaspheme because I said that I am the Son of God? ...". (See John Chapter 10 Verses 30-36, NIV)

The Bible, recounting a conversation it says Jesus had with his disciples, (I'll begin the quotation from where he was answering a question that one of them had asked) says:
... Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had known who I am, then you would have known who my Father is. From now on you know him and have seen him!"
Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and we will be satisfied."
Jesus replied, "Philip, don't you even yet know who I am, even after all the time I have been with you? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking to see him? Don't you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I say are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of what you have seen me do." (See John Chapter 14 Verse 6-11, NLT)

These verses would appear to indicate a very close relationship where both father and son were in general agreement.

The Bible says that believing in and following Jesus is the way to gain eternal life. It says that Jesus said: "... I assure you, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. And I assure you that the time is coming, in fact it is here, when the dead will hear my voice - the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live." (See John Chapter 5 Verse 24-25, NLT)

And to give one more example, the Bible says: "... "All who believe in God's Son have eternal life. Those who don't obey the Son will never experience eternal life, but the wrath of God remains upon them." (See John Chapter 3 Verse 36, NLT)

The Koran says, in many, many places that Allah's wrath will come upon those who do not believe the Koran, and in order to believe it, you have to believe that Jesus is Not the son of God. The Bible says that God's wrath remains on those who Don't believe that Jesus Is the Son of God.
So you obviously have to stake your eternal life on one or the other - unless you believe neither!

Many Muslims Criticize the Bible, but their objections to it are often based either on a misunderstanding of its teaching or an unquestioning acceptance of other people's faulty reasoning.

Answers to Common Muslim Criticisms of the Bible:

Stories of Former Muslims Who Converted to Christianity:

The Koran says that the way Muslims can get to paradise is by doing good, (so long as they believe the teachings in the Koran). (See Chapter 23 Verse 102-104) It says that good deeds like prayer can cancel out evil deeds. (See Chapter 11 Verse 114) The Bible, on the other hand, says that we cannot get to heaven by doing good, but only because of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, who died to take the punishment for sins, so that anyone who believes in him and stops deliberately doing wrong things won't have to suffer for them. It says that Christians should do good and live moral lives, but this will be as a result of becoming the people of God, rather than being necessary to earn God's favour in the first place. For instance, the Bible said to a group of new Christians, in a letter written by the apostle Paul:

"Once you were dead, doomed forever because of your many sins. You used to live just like the rest of the world, full of sin, obeying Satan, the mighty prince of the power of the air. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passions and desires of our evil nature. We were born with an evil nature, and we were under God's anger just like everyone else.

"But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's special favor that you have been saved!) God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." (See Ephesians Chapter 2 Verse 1-5 & 8-10, NLT)

The Bible also says: "Christ ... suffered when he died for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners that he might bring us safely home to God." (See 1 Peter Chapter 3 Verse 18, NLT)

And to another group of new Christians, it said: "Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body." (See 1 Corinthians Chapter 6 Verse 18-20, NLT)

Both the Bible and the Koran instruct people to be sexually moral. However, the Koran says that the "prophet" himself - who presumably wrote the Koran - was allowed to have looser standards than other Muslims, also saying it was permissible for him to marry women taken captive by the Muslims in war! (See Chapter 33 Verse 50-52) None of the New Testament writers made such claims for themselves.

The Koran is harsh towards people who turn away from Islam after having believed in it, saying they will have a painful punishment, and that Allah will bring a people who will be "mighty against the unbelievers" and who will "strive hard" for Allah. See Chapter 3 Verse 83-91, 106 & 176-178 and Chapter 5 Verse 54. The Koran also says that Christians will end up in Hell.(See Chapter 5 Verse 72-75)

The Koran narrates some of the stories that are in the Bible, but many details are different, and it adds what sound like fanciful legends.

For instance, it says that Jesus formed a thing like a bird out of clay and turned it into a real bird. (See Chapter 5 Verse 110) This may have been possible, and might be nice to believe, but since the miracles of Jesus recounted by the Bible itself were all done to help other people rather than merely to display God's power, it seems unlikely from a biblical point of view. The Bible says that Jesus actually refused to do a miracle that would apparently serve no other purposes than to confirm that he was sent from God and to display God's power. It says that when he was tempted to jump off the pinnacle of the temple, knowing he would get away with it, being the Son of God, - a feat which, supposing he landed unscathed, would have been very convincing proof of God's power and God's favour on him, - he refused to do it. And he wouldn't even do a miracle to help himself by creating food when he was very hungry.(See Matthew Chapter 4, Verses 1-11, NIV)
However, the Bible says that he was always doing miracles to help others.

The Koran says that when Mary the mother of Jesus was growing up, she was given into the charge of Zechariah, (apparently the father of the biblical figure John the Baptist). And whenever he went to the "sanctuary" to see her, he found that she always had food. And when he asked her where it came from, she said it came from Allah. (See Chapter 3 Verse 37) The Bible makes no mention of this, or indeed any of Mary's childhood.

Chapter 12 of the Koran narrates the Old Testament story of Joseph, who was sold as a slave and taken to Egypt - or at least he was in the Bible's version! (Read the Bible version here) The Koran makes the story sound far more like a fanciful legend than the Bible does. Both the Bible and the Koran say that Joseph had a dream in which the sun, the moon and eleven stars came and bowed down to him. The Bible says that he told his eleven brothers. The dream was apparently assumed to mean that his brothers and father and mother would one day come and bow down before him. The Koran says that when Joseph told his father the dream, his father advised him not to tell his brothers in case they devised an evil plan against him. (Verse 5 of Chapter 12) The Bible, on the other hand, says that he had told his brothers as well as his father. It says that on hearing the dream, what his father did was to rebuke him for thinking that the family would bow down to him.

Now, if the Koran's claims that the Jews altered and concealed bits of the Bible are true, what on earth could have been their motivation for concealing the piece of advice that the Koran says Joseph's father gave him? Does the advice reflect badly on the Jews? Obviously not! If the Jews wanted to conceal bits of the Bible that reflected badly on them, wouldn't they have been far more likely to have concealed the bit about the time when Joseph's brothers Did devise an evil plan against him than the bit where Joseph's father warned that that might happen?!

The Bible says that Joseph's father one day told him to go and find out how his brothers who were tending the flocks were doing, some distance away, and he went. But his brothers, who didn't like him, plotted to kill him and tell their father that a wild animal must have eaten him. However, one of them suggested they put him into a pit instead, saying that Then he would die without them having to kill him themselves. He said it because he was secretly planning to rescue Joseph. So they put him into a pit, which was usually used to store water, but at the time was empty. Then a group of traders passed by, and one of the brothers suggested they sell Joseph to them instead of letting him die and giving themselves a guilty conscience. So they did. Then he was sold as a slave to a family in Egypt.

The Koran says that Joseph's brothers discussed killing him before they left home, and then they decided to put him in a pit so travellers would find him instead. Then they pleaded with their father to let Joseph go with them - not to help them mind the flocks that the Bible says they had the responsibility of looking after, but to have some fun! It says that Joseph's father was in fact reluctant to let Joseph go with them, saying it "grieved him" that Joseph should go with them, and that he feared that a wolf would kill him. But the brothers persuaded him. When he was out with them they threw him into a pit and returned home saying they'd gone off racing and left him with their goods, and a wolf ate him while they weren't there. In the meantime, some travellers came along and let down a bucket to draw water from the pit, and, apparently, instead of the water they'd been expecting, ... up came Joseph! (Verse 19 of Chapter 12.)

I found that one of the funniest verses in the Koran! It seems that they weren't disappointed at having found no water. In fact, they thought it was "good news" that they'd found a youth, although they only sold him for a "small price" when they got to Egypt! Or perhaps they did get the water they'd wanted, and Joseph had supposedly miraculously survived in it, which he would probably have needed to do, for the Koran says he was put "at the bottom of the pit".

Now, if the Koran's version of this story is correct and the Bible version was altered, again, why would the Jews have done it? Is the Bible's version less incriminating to them than the Koran's? There doesn't seem to be any reason whatsoever for them to have wanted to alter it!

The Koran then gives a strange version of the continuation of the story, which has significant variations from the Bible's version! For instance, the Bible says that Joseph was put in prison because of a false accusation that was made against him. The Koran says that the accusation was not believed, but then they decided to imprison him anyway for a while, for reasons that don't appear quite clear! Both the Bible and the Koran say that While in prison, Joseph interpreted dreams for two men. The interpretation of one prisoner's dream meant that he would be pardoned, and the interpretation of the other's meant that he would be killed. The Bible says that they'd had dreams that they were worried about, and in the morning, Joseph asked why they looked upset, and they told him they'd both had dreams and there was no one there who could explain them. Joseph said that the ability to interpret dreams came from God, and asked them to tell him them.

The Koran, on the other hand, says that what actually happened was that they asked him to interpret their dreams. The reason they did so was because, "surely we see you to be of the doers of good."! So, someone who does good is automatically assumed to have an ability to interpret dreams, are they?! The Koran's story is even more incredible than that, because it implies that they recognised him as "one of the doers of good" immediately they were sent to prison. The Bible says that they were all there for a long time before the two men had their dreams, but the Koran says, "And two youths entered the prison with him. One of them said ..." (and then told his dream), because he saw that Joseph was "one of the doers of good." (verse 36 of chapter 12) The implication is that there was no time lapse in which the men could have found out about Joseph's character! But it's possible that that wasn't the way it was meant.

Yes, there are stories in the Bible that some people might find difficult to believe, but they are not illogical like the versions in the Koran!

The Koran says that King Solomon (of Israel) was given the power to control the wind. (See Chapter 21 Verse 81) Again, the Bible, although telling the story of King Solomon, gives no hint of this. If Solomon really had been given such a great gift by God, why would the Jews have wanted to conceal the fact and ensure it was left out of the Bible?!

The Koran also says that Solomon said he'd been taught the language of birds. That's the beginning of what appears to be a strange, occultic legend, which starts with the gathering together of birds, spirits and men under Solomon's authority, which the Bible certainly makes no mention of! (See Chapter 27 Verse 16-44) One of the central figures is the queen of Sheba, whom the Bible does mention, merely to say that she visited Solomon with a large number of attendants to ask him tough questions in order to find out whether the reports of his amazing wisdom were true. (See 2 Chronicles Chapter 9, NIV) It mentions that many kings came to hear his wisdom. It says that the queen of Sheba was very impressed and told Solomon that she hadn't actually believed the reports about him before she'd arrived, but his wisdom and the way he'd organised things in Jerusalem surpassed even what she'd heard. They exchanged large gifts and she went home.

The Koran says that Solomon first heard about the queen of Sheba when a bird, the hoopoe, brought him a report of her and her people, whom he said were worshipping the sun instead of Allah. Solomon sent her a letter ordering her to come to him "in submission", which she took to be a threat of war. She didn't want a war, so she sent Solomon a present, which he refused to accept and vowed that he would make war on her country and humiliate them. The Bible says that Solomon was not a warlike man and reigned in peace, although some of his dominions were other countries that his father David had conquered. (See 1 Chronicles Chapter 22) Also (1 Kings Chapter 4, NIV) and for a record of King Solomon's father's conquests (See 2 Samuel Chapter 8, NIV)

The Koran goes on to say that Solomon asked his "chiefs" which one of them could bring the queen of Sheba's throne to him "before they come to me in submission". A spirit offered to bring it to him before he even got up from his place, and one offered to bring it in an instant! Then the throne was "settled beside him".

When the queen of Sheba herself came to Jerusalem, the Koran says: "[27.44] It was said to her: Enter the palace; but when she saw it she deemed it to be a great expanse of water, and bared her legs. He said: Surely it is a palace made smooth with glass. She said: My Lord! surely I have been unjust to myself, and I submit with Sulaiman to Allah, the Lord of the worlds."

That's the end of the story. Why would baring your legs in error make you decide to submit to Allah?

The Koran claims that when Adam, the first ever man, was created, the angels were made to do obeisance to him. (See Chapter 7 Verse 11) Again, the Bible does not say such a thing.

The Koran refers to an incident which the Bible says took place among the Israelites in the desert while their leader, Moses, who had delivered them from slavery in Egypt by the command of God, was absent from them. (See Exodus Chapter 32, NIV) Both say that the people made a golden calf to worship out of ornaments. The Bible says that these were earrings that were melted down in a mold. The Koran says that the gold calf "made a mooing sound". (See Chapter 7 Verse 148) The Bible does not say this.

It's difficult to understand how a gold calf made of earrings using the technology of the ancients could have been made to do it. Having said that, the Bible mentions one or two things that seem equally implausible, like staffs being thrown down and turned into snakes by Pharaoh's magicians, although it's probable that they used the power of illusion, as modern magicians do. (See Exodus Chapter 7 verses 1-13)

The Koran says that the Israelites sacrificed a cow to Allah. Then a man was killed, and afterwards a disagreement concerning the matter arose, and so they brought the dead man back to life by striking his dead body with part of the dead cow, as Allah had commanded them. (See Chapter 2 Verses 67-73) Again, the Bible does not say this. Nor is there anything in the Bible that resembles it. According to the Bible's accounts, when Jesus did his miracles of raising the dead, he did not need to resort to any such antics or use any props. Where rituals are used in the Old Testament, there is always a lesson in them pointing to a greater truth. See an article on the Laws of Moses and their significance for Christians. For instance, the New Testament says that the animal sacrifices that God commanded the people to do to pay for their sins in Old Testament times were merely an illustration, pointing to the supreme sacrifice of Christ on the cross when he died to pay once and for all for sins.

It's difficult to work out what lesson can be drawn from a dead man being struck with part of a dead cow!

In verses 60-82 of Chapter 18, the Koran narrates a story about Moses, the like of which isn't even in the Bible!

Why would Allah have wanted to wait a couple of thousand years before causing it to be written down? Or maybe the Jews concealed the story by somehow taking it out of the Bible after it had been in it. But why? It's more moralistic than some of the incidents recorded in the Books of Moses, all about how Moses asked to be taught by a "wise" person, who took him on a journey where he did three things that seemed completely contrary to reason, - which incidentally included killing a boy before he became disobedient to his believing parents! - but then explained the supposed wisdom of them later.

The Koran recounts an episode that it says took place soon after Moses was born, when his mother had to put him out of the house because of Pharaoh's command that all Hebrew baby boys should be killed. (See Exodus Chapter 1-2, NIV for the Bible's account) The Bible says that when the mother of the baby Moses could no longer hide him, she put him in a basket which she put in the rushes on the bank of the river. His sister waited at a distance to see what would happen to him. Then Pharaoh's daughter came down to the river with her servants to bath, and she saw the basket and asked one of her servants to get it, and then found the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. She thought he must be one of the Hebrew babies. Moses' sister asked if she'd like her to get a Hebrew woman to nurse him for her, and she said she would. Moses' sister called their mother, who looked after the baby till he was older, when she gave him back to Pharaoh's daughter who adopted him as her own son.

The Koran's version (See Chapter 28) is a little different. For instance, it says that it was the wife of Pharaoh who suggested they might take Moses in as a son.

Why the minor discrepancy there? The Bible has been corrupted by the Jews? Why would anybody bother altering such an insignificant detail as the identity of the member of Pharaoh's family who wanted Moses as a son?

Unlike the Bible, which says that Moses' sister watched at the river side to see what would happen to him and introduced herself to Pharaoh's daughter there when she first discovered the baby and wanted to take care of him, the Koran says in Chapter 20 that Moses was actually put in the river and then washed up on the shore, and after that he was taken in by Pharaoh. In Chapter 28 of the Koran it says that after Moses had been taken in by the family of Pharaoh, his mother told his sister to go and watch what was happening to him. And it says that it had been preordained that baby Moses would not feed from any foster mother. It says in verse 7 that Allah had assured Moses' mother beforehand that he would be brought back to her.

So presumably, instead of the easy solution to the problem of keeping Moses alive that the Bible tells us happened, Moses' sister would have had to go and stalk Pharaoh's family, watching them trying to hire foster mothers for Moses and rejecting them because Moses wasn't feeding from them - and how she could have seen all that is a bit of a mystery! Then she would somehow have had to discern that Pharaoh's family had given up looking for foster mothers and didn't know what to do with the child, which would presumably have been her cue to engineer a "chance" meeting with them and somehow impress them and manipulate the conversation so that they - the royal family - confided in her - a young stranger - the fact that they couldn't find a foster mother for this baby they'd picked up! That would be her opportunity to say that she knew of a home where he could be taken care of. And the family of Pharaoh must presumably have wanted someone to take him off their hands by then, or why would they have agreed to the offer, or thought it possible that the family that Moses' sister was convinced could look after him could do a better job than anyone they themselves chose to hire? Why would Allah have wanted to ordain that Moses wouldn't feed from any foster mother and cause Moses' sister all the strain of engineering the situation so she could reclaim him - from the royal family of all people! - when there was a natural and easy solution to the problem, - the one the Bible presents? Which story is the more credible? The Bible's or the Koran's?

The Bible says that when Moses grew up, he went to see how his own people were doing one day and he saw an Egyptian mistreating a Hebrew, and he killed the Egyptian. The next day he went out again and saw two Hebrews fighting and tried to reconcile them, but the one who was mistreating the other asked if he wanted to kill him as he'd killed the Egyptian the day before. The Koran narrates that story, (see Chapter 28) but with significant altered details, one of them being that the reason Moses got involved in the fight on the second occasion was because the man he'd helped the previous time cried out to him for aid.

It seems to me that with so many Hebrew slaves around, it's unlikely that it was the same person needing aid on both occasions, and if it was, then why would the Jews have wanted to conceal that detail? What harm could it have done them if it had been left in the Bible?

The Koran goes on to say that a man from "the remotest part of the city" (see Chapter 28 Verse 20) ran and told Moses that it was known that he had killed an Egyptian. The Bible says that the man mistreating the other was the one to mention it. The Jews would need to have deliberately altered that bit if the Koran's version is accurate.

Why?! What harm could there have been in saying that the one who told Moses that his crime was known was a man who came in from the remotest part of the city? What would have been the point of changing insignificant details?! If the Jews had wanted to alter or remove bits of the Bible, surely they'd have been much more likely to have done it with the incriminating bits about how sinful they were and how angry God became with them from time to time rather than little details like that! And could not the all-powerful, all-knowing Allah have prevented the Bible from being altered in the first place? Why did he have to wait till the Koran was written roughly two thousand years later to amend the errors?

In Chapter 26 of the Koran, it appears that the pharaoh who Moses returned to in order to rescue the Israelites from slavery after his long absence from Egypt was the same one he'd fled from after his crime of murder had become known. The Bible says that that one had died.

Again, for what possible reason could the Jews have falsified the account? Is it not more likely that the author of the Koran used erroneous second-hand accounts of the Bible stories for his source material or imperfect memories of them, embellished with a liberal supply of imagination, plus perhaps a few legends that happened to be circulating in the area at the time?

If you'd like to study findings about the real origins of the Koran and about contradictions and scientific inaccuracies within it, visit:Is the Qur'an the Word of God?

Verses From The Koran That Islamic Extremists Might Use To Justify Terrorism Or Other Violent Actions, And Which Could Convince Muslims That God Wants Them To Engage In Violence Against Non-Muslims

It may be that the verses about going to war in the Koran should be taken as instructions which were only relevant to the occasions on which they were written and to the particular situations in which the Muslims found themselves at the time. However, they will not necessarily be taken as such by all followers of Islam, especially those who use them as a precedent to behave in the same way in which the early Muslims behaved.

Many verses that could incite Muslims to violence against unbelievers and people whom extremists can make a case against are quoted as follows:

Chapter 8 verses 12-19, 38-39 and 58-71. The verse in bold is an encouragement to die for Allah:

[8.12] When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.
[8.13] This is because they acted adversely to Allah and His Apostle; and whoever acts adversely to Allah and His Apostle-- then surely Allah is severe in requiting (evil).
[8.14] This-- taste it, and (know) that for the unbelievers is the chastisement of fire.
[8.15] O you who believe! when you meet those who disbelieve marching for war, then turn not your backs to them.
[8.16] And whoever shall turn his back to them on that day-- unless he turn aside for the sake of fighting or withdraws to a company-- then he, indeed, becomes deserving of Allah's wrath, and his abode is hell; and an evil destination shall it be.
[8.17] So you did not slay them, but it was Allah Who slew them, and you did not smite when you smote (the enemy), but it was Allah Who smote, and that He might confer upon the believers a good gift from Himself; surely Allah is Hearing, Knowing.
[8.18] This, and that Allah is the weakener of the struggle of the unbelievers.
[8.19] If you demanded a judgment, the judgment has then indeed come to you; and if you desist, it will be better for you; and if you turn back (to fight), We (too) shall turn back, and your forces shall avail you nothing, though they may be many, and (know) that Allah is with the believers.

* * * * *

[8.38] Say to those who disbelieve, if they desist, that which is past shall be forgiven to them; and if they return, then what happened to the ancients has already passed.
[8.39] And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah; but if they desist, then surely Allah sees what they do.

* * * * *

[8.58] And if you fear treachery on the part of a people, then throw back to them on terms of equality; surely Allah does not love the treacherous.
[8.59] And let not those who disbelieve think that they shall come in first; surely they will not escape.
[8.60] And prepare against them what force you can and horses tied at the frontier, to frighten thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them, whom you do not know (but) Allah knows them; and whatever thing you will spend in Allah's way, it will be paid back to you fully and you shall not be dealt with unjustly.
[8.61] And if they incline to peace, then incline to it and trust in Allah; surely He is the Hearing, the Knowing.
[8.62] And if they intend to deceive you-- then surely Allah is sufficient for you; He it is Who strengthened you with His help and with the believers
[8.63] And united their hearts; had you spent all that is in the earth, you could not have united their hearts, but Allah united them; surely He is Mighty, Wise.
[8.64] O Prophet! Allah is sufficient for you and (for) such of the believers as follow you.
[8.65] O Prophet! urge the believers to war; if there are twenty patient ones of you they shall overcome two hundred, and if there are a hundred of you they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they are a people who do not understand.
[8.66] For the present Allah has made light your burden, and He knows that there is weakness in you; so if there are a hundred patient ones of you they shall overcome two hundred, and if there are a thousand they shall overcome two thousand by Allah's permission, and Allah is with the patient.
[8.67] It is not fit for a prophet that he should take captives unless he has fought and triumphed in the land; you desire the frail goods of this world, while Allah desires (for you) the hereafter; and Allah is Mighty, Wise.
[8.68] Were it not for an ordinance from Allah that had already gone forth, surely there would have befallen you a great chastisement for what you had taken to.
[8.69] Eat then of the lawful and good (things) which you have acquired in war, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
[8.70] O Prophet! say to those of the captives who are in your hands: If Allah knows anything good in your hearts, He will give to you better than that which has been taken away from you and will forgive you, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
[8.71] And if they intend to act unfaithfully towards you, so indeed they acted unfaithfully towards Allah before, but He gave (you) mastery over them; and Allah is Knowing, Wise.

Chapter 59 verses 1-4:

[59.1] Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth declares the glory of Allah, and He is the Mighty, the Wise.
[59.2] He it is Who caused those who disbelieved of the followers of the Book to go forth from their homes at the first banishment you did not think that they would go forth, while they were certain that their fortresses would defend them against Allah; but Allah came to them whence they did not expect, and cast terror into their hearts; they demolished their houses with their own hands and the hands of the believers; therefore take a lesson, O you who have eyes!
[59.3] And had it not been that Allah had decreed for them the exile, He would certainly have punished them in this world, and m the hereafter they shall have chastisement of the fire.
[59.4] That is because they acted in opposition to Allah and His Apostle, and whoever acts in opposition to Allah, then surely Allah is severe in retributing (evil).

Chapter 9 Verses 1-5, 12-14, 25-36, 38-39, 51-57, 73, 111, and 123. Verse 38 is about dying for Allah:

[9.1] (This is a declaration of) immunity by Allah and His Apostle towards those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement.
[9.2] So go about in the land for four months and know that you cannot weaken Allah and that Allah will bring disgrace to the unbelievers.
[9.3] And an announcement from Allah and His Apostle to the people on the day of the greater pilgrimage that Allah and His Apostle are free from liability to the idolaters; therefore if you repent, it will be better for you, and if you turn back, then know that you will not weaken Allah; and announce painful punishment to those who disbelieve.
[9.4] Except those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement, then they have not failed you in anything and have not backed up any one against you, so fulfill their agreement to the end of their term; surely Allah loves those who are careful (of their duty).
[9.5] So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

* * * * *

[9.12] And if they break their oaths after their agreement and (openly) revile your religion, then fight the leaders of unbelief-- surely their oaths are nothing-- so that they may desist.
[9.13] What! will you not fight a people who broke their oaths and aimed at the expulsion of the Apostle, and they attacked you first; do you fear them? But Allah is most deserving that you should fear Him, if you are believers.
[9.14] Fight them, Allah will punish them by your hands and bring them to disgrace, and assist you against them and heal the hearts of a believing people.

* * * * *

[9.25] Certainly Allah helped you in many battlefields and on the day of Hunain, when your great numbers made you vain, but they availed you nothing and the earth became strait to you notwithstanding its spaciousness, then you turned back retreating.
[9.26] Then Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Apostle and upon the believers, and sent down hosts which you did not see, and chastised those who disbelieved, and that is the reward of the unbelievers.
[9.27] Then will Allah after this turn (mercifully) to whom He pleases, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
[9.28] O you who believe! the idolaters are nothing but unclean, so they shall not approach the Sacred Mosque after this year; and if you fear poverty then Allah will enrich you out of His grace if He please; surely Allah is Knowing Wise.
[9.29] Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.
[9.30] And the Jews say: Uzair 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!
[9.31] They have taken their doctors of law and their monks for lords besides Allah, and (also) the Messiah son of Marium and they were enjoined that they should serve one God only, there is no god but He; far from His glory be what they set up (with Him).
[9.32] They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths, and Allah will not consent save to perfect His light, though the unbelievers are averse.
[9.33] He it is Who sent His Apostle with guidance and the religion of truth, that He might cause it to prevail over all religions, though the polytheists may be averse.
[9.34] O you who believe! most surely many of the doctors of law and the monks eat away the property of men falsely, and turn (them) from Allah's way; and (as for) those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah's way, announce to them a painful chastisement,
[9.35] On the day when it shall be heated in the fire of hell, then their foreheads and their sides and their backs shall be branded with it; this is what you hoarded up for yourselves, therefore taste what you hoarded.
[9.36] Surely the number of months with Allah is twelve months in Allah's ordinance since the day when He created the heavens and the earth, of these four being sacred; that is the right reckoning; therefore be not unjust to yourselves regarding them, and fight the polytheists all together as they fight you all together; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil).

* * * * *

[9.38] O you who believe! What (excuse) have you that when it is said to you: Go forth in Allah's way, you should incline heavily to earth; are you contented with this world's life instead of the hereafter? But the provision of this world's life compared with the hereafter is but little.
[9.39] If you do not go forth, He will chastise you with a painful chastisement and bring in your place a people other than you, and you will do Him no harm; and Allah has power over all things.

* * * * *

[9.51] Say: Nothing will afflict us save what Allah has ordained for us; He is our.Patron; and on Allah let the believers rely.
[9.52] Say: Do you await for us but one of two most excellent things? And we await for you that Allah will afflict you with punishment from Himself or by our hands. So wait; we too will wait with you.
[9.53] Say: Spend willingly or unwillingly, it shall not be accepted from you; surely you are a transgressing people.
[9.54] And nothing hinders their spendings being accepted from them, except that they disbelieve in Allah and in His Apostle and they do not come to prayer but while they are sluggish, and they do not spend but while they are unwilling.
[9.55] Let not then their property and their children excite your admiration; Allah only wishes to chastise them with these in this world's life and (that) their souls may depart while they are unbelievers.
[9.56] And they swear by Allah that they are most surely of you, and they are not of you, but they are a people who are afraid (of you).
[9.57] If they could find a refuge or cave or a place to enter into, they would certainly have turned thereto, running away in all haste.

* * * * *

[9.73] O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.

* * * * *

[9.111] Surely Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property for this, that they shall have the garden; they fight in Allah's way, so they slay and are slain; a promise which is binding on Him in the Taurat and the Injeel and the Quran; and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Rejoice therefore in the pledge which you have made; and that is the mighty achievement.

* * * * *

[9.123] O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil).

Chapter 47 verses 1-7:

[47.1] (As for) those who disbelieve and turn away from Allah's way, He shall render their works ineffective.
[47.2] And (as for) those who believe and do good, and believe in what has been revealed to Muhammad, and it is the very truth from their Lord, He will remove their evil from them and improve their condition.
[47.3] That is because those who disbelieve follow falsehood, and have given them their dowries, taking (them) in marriage, not fornicating nor taking them for paramours in secret; and whoever denies faith, his work indeed is of no account, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers.
[47.4] So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates. That (shall be so); and if Allah had pleased He would certainly have exacted what is due from them, but that He may try some of you by means of others; and (as for) those who are slain in the way of Allah, He will by no means allow their deeds to perish.
[47.5] He will guide them and improve their condition.
[47.6] And cause them to enter the garden which He has made known to them.

[47.7] O you who believe ! if you help (the cause of) Allah, He will help you and make firm your feet.

Chapter 57 verse 25:

[57.25] Certainly We sent Our apostles with clear arguments, and sent down with them the Book and the balance that men may conduct themselves with equity; and We have made the iron, wherein is great violence and advantages to men, and that Allah may know who helps Him and His apostles in the secret; surely Allah is Strong, Mighty.

Chapter 49 verse 9:

[49.9] And if two parties of the believers quarrel, make peace between them; but if one of them acts wrongfully towards the other, fight that which acts wrongfully until it returns to Allah's command; then if it returns, make peace between them with justice and act equitably; surely Allah loves those who act equitably.

Chapter 61 verse 4:

[61.4] Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way in ranks as if they were a firm and compact wall.

Chapter 110:verses 1-3

[110.1] When there comes the help of Allah and the victory,
[110.2] And you see men entering the religion of Allah in companies,
[110.3] Then celebrate the praise of your Lord, and ask His forgiveness; surely He is oft-returning (to mercy).

Chapter 2 verses 154, 190-194, 216-217, 243-245, Fighting Oppressors:

[2.154] And do not speak of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead; nay, (they are) alive, but you do not perceive.

* * * * *

[2.190] And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits.
[2.191] And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers.
[2.192] But if they desist, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
[2.193] And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors.
[2.194] The Sacred month for the sacred month and all sacred things are (under the law of) retaliation; whoever then acts aggressively against you, inflict injury on him according to the injury he has inflicted on you and be careful (of your duty) to Allah and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil).

* * * * *

[2.216] Fighting is enjoined on you, and h is an object of dislike to you; and it may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you, and it may be that you love a thing while it is evil for you, and Allah knows, while you do not know.
[2.217] They ask you concerning the sacred month about fighting in it. Say: Fighting in it is a grave matter, and hindering (men) from Allah's way and denying Him, and (hindering men from) the Sacred Mosque and turning its people out of it, are still graver with Allah, and persecution is graver than slaughter; and they will not cease fighting with you until they turn you back from your religion, if they can; and whoever of you turns back from his religion, then he dies while an unbeliever-- these it is whose works shall go for nothing in this world and the hereafter, and they are the inmates of the fire; therein they shall abide.

* * * * *

[2.243] Have you not considered those who went forth from their homes, for fear of death, and they were thousands, then Allah said to them, Die; again He gave them life; most surely Allah is Gracious to people, but most people are not grateful.
[2.244] And fight in the way of Allah, and know that Allah is Hearing, Knowing.
[2.245] Who is it that will offer of Allah a goodly gift, so He will multiply it to him manifold, and Allah straitens and amplifies, and you shall be returned to Him.

Chapter 22 verses 39 and 58-60, Fighting Oppressors:

[22.39] Permission (to fight) is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed, and most surely Allah is well able to assist them;

* * * * *

[22.58] And (as for) those who fly in Allah's way and are then slain or die, Allah will most certainly grant them a goodly sustenance, and most surely Allah is the best Giver of sustenance.
[22.59] He will certainly cause them to enter a place of entrance which they shall be well pleased with, and most surely Allah is Knowing, Forbearing.
[22.60] That (shall be so); and he who retaliates with the like of that with which he has been afflicted and he has been oppressed, Allah will most certainly aid him; most surely.Allah is Pardoning, Forgiving.

Chapter 5 verses 33-34:

[5.33] The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle 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,
[5.34] Except those who repent before you have them in your power; so know that Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Chapter 28 verses 58-59:

[28.58] And how many a town have We destroyed which exulted in its means of subsistence, so these are their abodes, they have not been dwelt in after them except a little, and We are the inheritors,
[28.59] And your Lord never destroyed the towns until He raised in their metropolis an apostle, reciting to them Our communications, and We never destroyed the towns except when their people were unjust.

Chapter 3 verses 118-128, 151-152, 156-158, and 165-171. Verses in bold include promise of reward for dying for Allah:

[3.118] O you who believe! do not take for intimate friends from among others than your own people; they do not fall short of inflicting loss upon you; they love what distresses you; vehement hatred has already appeared from out of their mouths, and what their breasts conceal is greater still; indeed, We have made the communications clear to you, if you will understand.
[3.119] Lo! you are they who will love them while they do not love you, and you believe in the Book (in) the whole of it; and when they meet you they say: We believe, and when they are alone, they bite the ends of their fingers in rage against you. Say: Die in your rage; surely Allah knows what is in the breasts.
[3.120] If good befalls you, it grieves them, and if an evil afflicts you, they rejoice at it; and if you are patient and guard yourselves, their scheme will not injure you in any way; surely Allah comprehends what they do.
[3.121] And when you did go forth early in the morning from your family to lodge the believers in encampments for war and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.
[3.122] When two parties from among you had determined that they should show cowardice, and Allah was the guardian of them both, and in Allah should the believers trust.
[3.123] And Allah did certainly assist you at Badr when you were weak; be careful of (your duty to) Allah then, that you may give thanks.
[3.124] When you said to the believers: Does it not suffice you that your Lord should assist you with three thousand of the angels sent down?
[3.125] Yea! if you remain patient and are on your guard, and they come upon you in a headlong manner, your Lord will assist you with five thousand of the havoc-making angels.
[3.126] And Allah did not make it but as good news for you, and that your hearts might be at ease thereby, and victory is only from Allah, the Mighty, the Wise.
[3.127] That He may cut off a portion from among those who disbelieve, or abase them so that they should return disappointed of attaining what they desired.
[3.128] You have no concern in the affair whether He turns to them (mercifully) or chastises them, for surely they are unjust.

* * * * *

[3.151] We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve, because they set up with Allah that for which He has sent down no authority, and their abode is the fire, and evil is the abode of the unjust.
[3.152] And certainly Allah made good to you His promise when you slew them by His permission, until when you became weak-hearted and disputed about the affair and disobeyed after He had shown you that which you loved; of you were some who desired this world and of you were some who desired the hereafter; then He turned you away from them that He might try you; and He has certainly pardoned you, and Allah is Gracious to the believers.

* * * * *

[3.156] O you who believe! be not like those who disbelieve and say of their brethren when they travel in the earth or engage in fighting: Had they been with us, they would not have died and they would not have been slain; so Allah makes this to be an intense regret in their hearts; and Allah gives life and causes death and Allah sees what you do.
[3.157] And if you are slain in the way of Allah or you die, certainly forgiveness from Allah and mercy is better than what they amass.
[3.158] And if indeed you die or you are slain, certainly to Allah shall you be gathered together.

* * * * *

[3.165] What! when a misfortune befell you, and you had certainly afflicted (the unbelievers) with twice as much, you began to say: Whence is this? Say: It is from yourselves; surely Allah has power over all things.
[3.166] And what befell you on the day when the two armies met (at Ohud) was with Allah's knowledge, and that He might know the believers.
[3.167] And that He might know the hypocrites; and it was said to them: Come, fight in Allah's way, or defend yourselves. They said: If we knew fighting, we would certainly have followed you. They were on that day much nearer to unbelief than to belief. They say with their mouths what is not in their hearts, and Allah best knows what they conceal.
[3.168] Those who said of their brethren whilst they (themselves) held back: Had they obeyed us, they would not have been killed. Say: Then avert death from yourselves if you speak the truth.
[3.169] And reckon not those who are killed in Allah's way as dead; nay, they are alive (and) are provided sustenance from their Lord;
[3.170] Rejoicing in what Allah has given them out of His grace and they rejoice for the sake of those who, (being left) behind them, have not yet joined them, that they shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve.
[3.171] They rejoice on account of favor from Allah and (His) grace, and that Allah will not waste the reward of the believers.

Chapter 4 verses 71-77, 83-84, 89-91, and 95-96. Verse 74 says there is a reward for dying for Allah:

(Incidentally, any women considering becoming Muslims ought to know that it says in chapter 4 that women should be obedient to their husbands, and verse 34 instructs men to make wives from whom they fear disloyalty sleep alone and to beat them.)

[4.71] O you who believe! take your precaution, then go forth in detachments or go forth in a body.
[4.72] And surely among you is he who would certainly hang back! If then a misfortune befalls you he says: Surely Allah conferred a benefit on me that I was not present with them.
[4.73] And if grace from Allah come to you, he would certainly cry out, as if there had not been any friendship between you and him: Would that I had been with them, then I should have attained a mighty good fortune.
[4.74] Therefore let those fight in the way of Allah, who sell this world's life for the hereafter; and whoever fights in the way of Allah, then be he slain or be he victorious, We shall grant him a mighty reward.
[4.75] And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper.
[4.76] Those who believe fight in the way of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight in the way of the Shaitan. Fight therefore against the friends of the Shaitan; surely the strategy of the Shaitan is weak.
[4.77] Have you not seen those to whom it was said: Withhold your hands, and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate; but when fighting is prescribed for them, lo! a party of them fear men as they ought to have feared Allah, or (even) with a greater fear, and say: Our Lord! why hast Thou ordained fighting for us? Wherefore didst Thou not grant us a delay to a near end? Say: The provision of this world is short, and the hereafter is better for him who guards (against evil); and you shall not be wronged the husk of a date stone.

* * * * *

[4.83] And when there comes to them news of security or fear they spread it abroad; and if they had referred it to the Apostle and to those in authority among them, those among them who can search out the knowledge of it would have known it, and were it not for the grace of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would have certainly followed the Shaitan save a few
[4.84] Fight then in Allah's way; this is not imposed on you except In relation to yourself, and rouse the believers to ardor maybe Allah will restrain the fighting of those who disbelieve and Allah is strongest in prowess and strongest to give an exemplary punishment.

* * * * *

[4.89] They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah's way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.
[4.90] Except those who reach a people between whom and you there is an alliance, or who come to you, their hearts shrinking from fighting you or fighting their own people; and if Allah had pleased, He would have given them power over you, so that they should have certainly fought you; therefore if they withdraw from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah has not given you a way against them.
[4.91] You will find others who desire that they should be safe from you and secure from their own people; as often as they are sent back to the mischief they get thrown into it headlong; therefore if they do not withdraw from you, and (do not) offer you peace and restrain their hands, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them; and against these We have a clear authority.

* * * * *

[4.95] The holders back from among the believers, not having any injury, and those who strive hard in Allah's way with their property and their persons are not equal; Allah has made the strivers with their property and their persons to excel the holders back a (high) degree, and to each (class) Allah has promised good; and Allah shall grant to the strivers above the holders back a mighty reward:
[4.96] (High) degrees from Him and protection and mercy, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Chapter 73 verse 20:

[73.20] Surely your Lord knows that you pass in prayer nearly two-thirds of the night, and (sometimes) half of it, and (sometimes) a third of it, and (also) a party of those with you; and Allah measures the night and the day. He knows that you are not able to do it, so He has turned to you (mercifully), therefore read what is easy of the Quran. He knows that there must be among you sick, and others who travel in the land seeking of the bounty of Allah, and others who fight in Allah's way, therefore read as much of it as is easy (to you), and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and offer to Allah a goodly gift, and whatever of good you send on beforehand for yourselves, you will find it with Allah; that is best and greatest in reward; and ask forgiveness of Allah; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Chapter 48 verses 15-25:

[48.15] Those who are left behind will say when you set forth for the gaining of acquisitions: Allow us (that) we may follow you. They desire to change the world of Allah. Say: By no means shall you follow us; thus did Allah say before. But they will say: Nay! you are jealous of us. Nay! they do not understand but a little.
[48.16] Say to those of the dwellers of the desert who were left behind: You shall soon be invited (to fight) against a people possessing mighty prowess; you will fight against them until they submit; then if you obey, Allah will grant you a good reward; and if you turn back as you turned back before, He will punish you with a painful punishment.
[48.17] There is no harm in the blind, nor is there any harm in the lame, nor is there any harm in the sick (if they do not go forth); and whoever obeys Allah and His Apostle, He will cause him to enter gardens beneath which rivers flow, and whoever turns back, He will punish him with a painful punishment.
[48.18] Certainly Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts, so He sent down tranquillity on them and rewarded them with a near victory,
[48.19] And many acquisitions which they will take; and Allah is Mighty, Wise.
[48.20] Allah promised you many acquisitions which you will take, then He hastened on this one for you and held back the hands of men from you, and that it may be a sign for the believers and that He may guide you on a right path.
[48.21] And others which you have not yet been able to achieve Allah has surely encompassed them, and Allah has power over all things.
[48.22] And if those who disbelieve fight with you, they would certainly turn (their) backs, then they would not find any protector or a helper.
[48.23] Such has been the course of Allah that has indeed run before, and you shall not find a change in Allah's course.
[48.24] And He it is Who held back their hands from you and your hands from them in the valley of Mecca after He had given you victory over them; and Allah is Seeing what you do.
[48.25] It is they who disbelieved and turned you away from the Sacred Mosque and (turned off) the offering withheld from arriving at its destined place; and were it not for the believing men and the believing women, whom, not having known, you might have trodden down, and thus something hateful might have afflicted you on their account without knowledge-- so that Allah may cause to enter into His mercy whomsoever He pleases; had they been widely separated one from another, We would surely have punished those who disbelieved from among them with a painful punishment.

Chapter 33 verses 16-20, 25-27, and 60-62, 66-68:

It seems from verses 60-62 of chapter 33 that the instructions to kill the journalist Daniel Pearl who was murdered in January 2002 may have been perceived by his killers to have come straight from the Koran:

[33.16] Say: Flight shall not do you any good if you fly from death or slaughter, and in that case you will not be allowed to enjoy yourselves but a little.
[33.17] Say: Who is it that can withhold you from Allah if He intends to do you evil, rather He intends to show you mercy? And they will not find for themselves besides Allah any guardian or a helper.
[33.18] Allah knows indeed those among you who hinder others and those who say to their brethren: Come to us; and they come not to the fight but a little,
[33.19] Being niggardly with respect to you; but when fear comes, you will see them looking to you, their eyes rolling like one swooning because of death; but when the fear is gone they smite you with sharp tongues, being niggardly of the good things. These have not believed, therefore Allah has made.their doing naught; and this is easy to Allah.
[33.20] They think the allies are not gone, and if the allies should come (again) they would fain be in the deserts with the desert Arabs asking for news about you, and if they were among you they would not fight save a little.

* * * * *

[33.25] And Allah turned back the unbelievers in their rage; they did not obtain any advantage, and Allah sufficed the believers in fighting; and Allah is Strong, Mighty.
[33.26] And He drove down those of the followers of the Book who backed them from their fortresses and He cast awe into their hearts; some you killed and you took captive another part.
[33.27] And He made you heirs to their land and their dwellings and their property, and (to) a land which you have not yet trodden, and Allah has power over all things.

* * * * *

[33.60] If the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease and the agitators in the city do not desist, We shall most certainly set you over them, then they shall not be your neighbors in it but for a little while;
[33.61] Cursed: wherever they are found they shall be seized and murdered, a (horrible) murdering.
[33.62] (Such has been) the course of Allah with respect to those who have gone before; and you shall not find any change in the course of Allah.

* * * * *

[33.66] On the day when their faces shall be turned back into the fire, they shall say: O would that we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Apostle!
[33.67] And they shall say: O our Lord! surely we obeyed our leaders and our great men, so they led us astray from the path;
[33.68] O our Lord! give them a double punishment and curse them with a great curse.

Fed on a diet of that, is it any wonder that some Muslims become filled with hatred towards, and feel it to be their God-given duty to commit violent acts against non-Muslim nations?

Having said that, there may be people who call themselves Muslims because they come from Muslim backgrounds, but who don't actually know much about what the Koran really says. So it would be wrong to be hostile towards someone just because they call themselves a Muslim. However, it must be easy for Islamic "extremists" to drum up support for terrorism, by quoting the Koran in conjunction with portraying Ameirica as an evil oppressor because of its domination in global issues and the results of the influence that that has enabled it to gain, - its self-interested support for repressive dictators and organisations in the past, its support for Israel - which is seen as support for the oppressor of their fellow Muslims the Palestinians, the spread of American cultural values which undermine the moral teaching of Islam, and the economic sanctions and trading terms that America or Americans have been responsible for imposing on some countries, which have been to the detriment of the financial well-being of some Muslims. The more America uses military might against people in Muslim countries, the easier it will be for the supporters of terrorism to convince other Muslims that it is an evil oppressor which Allah commands them to fight. Osama Bin Laden and his colleagues do in fact use just these arguments, along with exaggerated propaganda. See a World Islamic Front Statement Urging Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders. Judging by the terrorists' past record of attacking civilians and the Statement's assertion that civilians are considered desireable targets, they will probably choose to attack civilians in the future.

For more information on how verses from the Koran have been used recently to encourage and justify killing Americans/unbelievers, read a Translation of a Letter Left By Some of the Terrorists of Sept 11 (2001).

It may be, however, that several terrorist organisations that are thought of as Islamic would actually still exist if it wasn't for Islam, but use methods that didn't involve "martyrdom", since they wouldn't be led to believe that they'd receive an eternal reward for what they were doing. For an insight into the mixed motives of some terrorists, visit: Inside the Mind of a Suicide Bomber.

Since America's support for Israel is one of the main reasons terrorists are angry, here are some articles on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, some from the point of view of the Israelis and some favouring the Palestinians.

The History of the Palestinian Conflict and Recent Arab/Jewish Relations:

The concerns of Muslims about American military aggression are legitimate. See, for example:

And for an insight into why many people hate America in general:

A Possible Way Of Reducing Terrorism And a Request For Action

One way of reducing the number of Muslims available to be recruited into terrorist organisations is to peacefully combat Islam itself, both with arguments that will cause Muslims to question their religion, and with something they will find more attractive.

I read in an article on a website - I can't remember where now - that the author, who said he'd spent years in the Middle East, claimed that Muslims are "enraged with the West", because the Western countries, - which are incidentally the countries formerly known as Christian countries and reputed to have had the most people dedicated to genuine Christianity living in them - are the prosperous ones, rather than the Muslim countries; and they see this as a challenge to the veracity of their religion.

There are several other reasons why many Muslims resent Western culture and the behaviour of various Western Governments, as I've pointed out. However, if Muslims can be made to bring themselves to face the fact that their religion can indeed be proven logically to be false, while at the same time being presented with a more attractive alternative, it will hopefully go some way to changing their attitudes and causing them to lose their hostility towards the West, because they will no longer believe that they ought to obey their main holy book's commands to fight unbelievers, and they will no longer be angry because the prosperity of the West casts into doubt the truthfulness of Islam.

However, in order for Islam to be combated, Western governments need first to put pressure on Muslim world leaders to introduce freedom of religion and freedom of expression into their countries, as presently, there are harsh penalties imposed in Muslim countries on anyone who speaks out against Islam, so it's very difficult to challenge it successfully.

If you are from a Western country and are concerned about the matter, please inform the politician who represents you of the real nature of Islam and of how it can fuel drives to recruit terrorists, backing up what you say with evidence from the Koran and from the writings/speeches of people who use it to justify terrorist acts today (see previous links). Urge them to ask your government to put pressure on Muslim world leaders to introduce freedom of religion and freedom of the press into their countries in order that their people - or at least the ones who can read - and that will include a lot of the people who teach other people that they ought to commit violent acts in the name of Islam, - can at least be informed of alternative viewpoints to Islam. Also, please ask your government to urge Muslim world leaders to bring to justice the criminal elements in their countries who persecute non-conformists to strict Islam, so that people can feel free to speak out against it without as much fear of retribution. Please ask your representative to tell you what the government has done or said about the matter after he/she has spoken to them, and please don't let the matter drop until you have a concrete answer from the government as to whether they will put this issue before the leaders of Muslim countries or not.

These goals are also aspired to by some former Muslims. See, for example: Help stop Terrorist Attacks! This website, run by ex-Muslims who were raised in Islamic countries, phrases the request that Islam be checked in much stronger terms than I have!

There are a number of websites where you can find information about government-sponsored human rights abuses against people who don't follow strict Islam in Muslim countries, including:

The intervention of Western politicians, however, may not be enough, since the Koran commands Muslims to oppose people who don't believe it, saying religion should be "only for Allah", and so any Muslim leader who takes it seriously will be unwilling to act in opposition to its commands. Or they may fear the reactions of people who do take it seriously within their own countries. Early Muslim writings ordered the death penalty for people who turn away from the Muslim faith. And Muhammad is said to have killed people who turned away from Islam and instructed that such things should be done. See, for example:

So many Muslims may see action that may cause people to do this as a very grave matter. Also, at least one government has repeatedly been asked to introduce freedom of religion into its country before, without success. See the International Religious Freedom Report 2002: Saudi Arabia (U.S. Department of State). Therefore, other ways ought to be sought of persuading people in Muslim countries that Islam is a false religion, preferably ways that will not involve anyone risking the punishment that often befalls anyone caught dissuading people from following Islam there. It's also important that fundamentalist Muslims living in Western countries are presented with reasoned arguments pointing out the flaws in their religion in order to lessen the chances of them being recruited into terrorist organisations. The chances of them doing this may be further reduced if they are given an alternative religion to consider.

Violence In The Bible

There are several passages in the Bible that are just as gruesome, if not much more so, than those in the Koran. It is possible that people could use parts of the Old Testament as a precedent to justify ridding the land of Paganism or Pagans by force, since the Jews were commanded to clear their land of the worship of other gods, which would necessitate clearing it of the worshippers as well. (See Deuteronomy Chapter 7, NIV) However, in the New Testament it says that the purpose of the Law of Moses, which commanded the Jews to do this, was to show people how guilty they are when they sin. (See Galatians Chapter 3, NIV) Obviously a harsh penalty meant that the offence of worshipping other gods was considered to be very serious. Indeed it would have been, since it often involved the murder of children as sacrifices to the gods.

There were also other reasons for the violence written about in the Old Testament. I've written an article that argues that it was never intended to be used as a precedent for violence today, and that the New Testament taught that Christians ought to behave differently towards unbelievers from the way the ancient Jews were commanded to behave. To read it, visit: An Attempt to Defend Gruesome Bible Passages.

There is nothing in the New Testament whatsoever that could be used to justify violence in the name of Christianity. In John's Gospel, the Bible says that after Jesus was arrested, after having told one of his disciples not to fight to prevent it from happening, while he was being questioned by the Roman governor, "Jesus said, "My kingdom does not belong to this world; if my kingdom belonged to this world, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities. No, my kingdom does not belong here!" (See John Chapter 18 Verse 36, NLT) If Christ's kingdom does not belong on the earth, then Christians should presumably not fight physically to establish Christ's kingdom here. And we are told that Jesus instructed his followers to pray for those who persecute them rather than to fight them. (See Matthew Chapter 5 Verse 44, NLT)

Later in the New Testament, in chapter 3 of the apostle Paul's First Letter to Timothy (See 1 Timothy Chapter 3 Verse 2-3, NIV) and in chapter 1 of his Letter to Titus, (See Titus Chapter 1 Verse 7, NIV) he says that church leaders should not be violent men. And the New Testament says that Christians in general should have a gentle attitude towards people and live in peace with everyone as far as it depends on them. As far as I'm aware, these commands were given in peacetime. No instructions are given to Christians about what to do in time of war. But it seems logical to conclude that Christians should only fight in wars for very good reasons. God-fearing Old Testament kings were not told not to go to war against invaders. The Bible says that they called out to God in prayer, and when they went out to fight, he helped defeat their enemies. (See, for instance, the Story in 2 Chronicles Chapter 20, NLT) So it might be appropriate in some circumstances to follow their example. But the Bible tells Christians to get rid of hateful feelings, and to be gentle and peaceful towards people whenever possible.

Back to the beginning of the article.

That's interesting!... Would you like to read more about the non-violent way in which the Bible says Christians generally ought to behave?

Muslims who don't like the violence of the Koran or who are open to being persuaded of the possibility that their religion is a false one may be interested in contrasting verses from the Koran with Bible teaching on the peaceful way in which it says Christians ought to live. It could be useful for non-Muslims to read up about it so they can inform Muslims of the differences. Or you may be interested in it simply for its own sake. In any case, if you'd like to find out more, visit a selection of Bible passages on that and related issues: Violence, Anger, Jealousy, Arguments, And Living In Peace With Each Other.

The verses from the Koran quoted here are taken from the Koran as translated by M.H. Shakir and published by Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an, Inc, in 1983, and can be viewed on the UMICH website. As far as I've been led to believe, there is no copyright on it, and thus there are no restrictions on quoting it. (It appears that in this respect, the publishers have higher moral values than Christian publishing houses who place restrictive copyrights on the Bible - the book that they presumably believe to be the Word of God!)

The verses from the Bible are quoted from the New Living Translation (NLT) or New International Version (NIV) on the Website

If you would like to see if there are any other passages about violence in the Koran or look up references to anything else, or browse chapters, Go to a search facility on the Umich Website. The names of people in the Bible are not quite the same in this translation of the Koran as they are in English Bibles. But I'm sure there are other facilities on the internet that make it easier to search for names.

Warning Against Believing Everything you Hear or Read

Don't be afraid to question the truth of what a religious authority figure tells you, or even the Bible or other holy books themselves, or certain people's interpretation of them. Nothing to do with religion or the supernatural is so well established in fact it shouldn't be questioned. To find out why caution is a good idea, visit:

The Beauty of the New Testament's Moral Teaching and Other Important Pages on this Website

Are you up to trying the challenges of the New Testament's moral guidelines, and would you like to know more of what it says about the love of Jesus? Here are some links to Bible quotes about the beautiful ideals the New Testament encourages Christians to try to live up to:

There are a lot of pages on this website with quotations from the Old Testament on them. Many of these are unfortunately rather gruesome, since the main theme of the Old Testament is warnings and stories about how it says societies were punished for mass lawless and hurtful behaviour, even to the extent of having war brought on them by God, that seem to have been designed to scare societies where crime and violence were rampant into behaving more ethically. In case there is any misunderstanding, it should be understood that this website does not endorse war as anything other than a last resort. The position of the website owner can be gleaned from the articles:

Fancy some light relief or laughter therapy? Then go to the first of our jokes pages:

If you have a problem affecting your mental health or well-being, like depression, a difficulty with life-damaging worry, panic attacks, phobias or OCD, marriage problems, an addiction, an eating disorder, recovering from the trauma of sexual abuse or domestic violence, coping with bullies in the workplace, or bullying and teasing at school, trying to lose weight, raising difficult teenagers, caring for someone with a disease like Alzheimer's, wanting to recover from anorexia or self-harm, or grieving for someone you were close to or feeling lonely, and you'd like some ideas on coping or getting past it, visit our Self-help series.

If this is the first page you have visited on this site, this is part of, a website about social and psychological issues, what the Bible says about social problems and other topics, and how they affect people's lives today.

Go to the home page to find out more.....

Email us! To comment on this article, please Email the author.
To report broken links (thanks in advance!), suggest changes to the layout of the site, or indeed anything to do with the look of the site itself and/or the HTML, please Email the webmaster.
All feedback on any design issue is very gratefully received. Thanks.