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Teachings of the Quran – Part 1
This is the first in a short series of articles to bring together the Koran’s teachings on a number of subjects of interest and importance to non-Muslims. Before the first of these, I would like to draw the readers’ attention to a peculiarity of translation (or interpretation) into English of the Koran.
Translators use both the words “unbeliever” and “disbeliever” to mean “people who do not believe” or, in short, a non-believer. (Some translators even alternate both words without much care.)

The reason seems to be that, in many instances, this non-belief, (the state of being a “Kaffir”) implies that the non-belief is ‘active’ in the sense that it is a choice; something practised deliberately, rather than something arising out of ignorance about Islam.


 Thus the word “disbeliever” does not mean, as it would in strict English grammar, someone who has “ceased to believe” – i.e. an apostate; but, like “unbeliever” someone who chooses not to believe.


To dispel this possible confusion, my usage is simply non-Muslim for “Kaffir” as well as a range of other (derogatory) descriptions of those who are not Muslim – eg “Mushrikoon”.


Teachings of The Quran, part one


Words in ( ) in the main text are the translators’ interpolations, those in [ ] are added by me for:

1.clarifications where necessary,

 2.Amplifications of meaning.

Text in bold highlights key words/phrases.

Be aware that interpretations of the Koran vary in versification, wording and, on occasion, meaning. As a result I have indicated the particular interpretation used for each verse quoted immediately after the Koran reference.


On non-Muslims.


2:98-99 (Shakir): Whoever is the enemy of Allah and His angels and His messengers and Jibreel and Meekaeel, so surely Allah is the enemy of the unbelievers. And certainly We have revealed to you clear communications and none disbelieve in them except the transgressors[= evil-doers in other translations].


Comment: Allah is an enemy of non-Muslims and only evil people don’t believe, see 4:101 (below)


2:161 (Malik): Surely those who are unbelievers and die while they are unbelievers, they are the ones on whom is the curse of Allah…


Comment: Allah curses non-Muslims who don’t become Muslim.


2:257 (Shakir): Allah is the guardian [wali] of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness into the light; and (as for) those who disbelieve, their guardians [auliya] are Shaitans [Satan] who take them out of the light into the darkness; they are the inmates of the fire, in it they shall abide.


Comment: Non-Muslims are allied to “Shaitans” or “devils”. Thus non-Muslims are “in league with the devil” and hence themselves evil, (see also 7:27 which says that devils are the non-Muslims protectors/friends). In 47:11 however the non-Muslims have no “auliya”s at all; thus contradicting the above.


3:19 (Shakir): Surely the (true) religion with Allah is Islam, and those to whom the Book had been given [Jews and Christians] did not show opposition [to Mohammed] but after knowledge [of Islam] had come to them, out of envy among themselves; and whoever disbelieves in the communications of Allah then surely Allah is quick in reckoning.


Comment: This verse comes close to declaring Jews and Christians apostates from Islam. It certainly states that no other religion has any validity. It also shows that the word “disbeliever” does not mean “apostate” but has the same meaning as “unbeliever”.


3:28 (Pickthall):Let not the believers take disbelievers for their [trusted] friends [as in supporters, helpers, protectors; Arabic “auliya”] in preference to believers. Whoso doeth that hath no connection with Allah unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, taking (as it were) security. Allah biddeth you beware (only) of Himself. Unto Allah is the journeying.


Comment: This verse says that Muslims cannot take non-muslims as “trusted friends”(auliya), on pain of becoming apostate; except in a deceitful way if they have to as a “security” to protect themselves against the non-muslims. This verse is also the basis for the doctrine of Taqiyya/Muda’rat. See also 4:144.

Side note:


I think that “trusted friend” is the most succinct translation of “auliya” and its derivatives. This word (auliya) implies someone who can be relied on to help, support, protect or guard; so it is more than just a friendship. Thus the verse does not mean that Muslims can’t be friends with, or friendly to, non-Muslims (despite poor translation in many Korans), rather it means that they should not repose trust or reliance in non-Muslim friends. Some translations use “allies” for auliya (which is better), but I think this too somewhat “undervalues” the meaning, since an ally is not necessarily a friend.


3:31-32 (Malik):Tell the people (O Muhammad): “If you sincerely love Allah, then follow me; Allah will also love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” Also tell them, “Obey Allah and His Messenger.” In spite of this, if they turn back, (then warn them,) that Allah does not love the disbelievers.


Comment: Allah doesn’t love non-Muslims, (in fact he curses and hates them see also 4:10, 4:47, ).


3:56 (Hilali-Khan): “As to those who disbelieve, I [Allah] will punish them with a severe torment in this world and in the Hereafter, and they will have no helpers.”


Comment: Here Allah states that he will punish non-Muslims in this World, simply for being non-Muslims. Thus, since non-Muslims are worthy of Allah’s punishment and Allah only punishes wrong-doers (e.g. 2:286, 3:11, 5:49, 6:47 to give but a few references), no non-Muslim is an innocent. This is often the attitude of the “jihadi” or “mujahid” who thus only regards Muslims as (potential) “innocents”.


3:85 (Shakir): And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers.


Comment: It is not “acceptable” to be non-muslim in this world (here I include atheism etc as a “religion” in the sense that it is a religious position).


3:151 (Pickthall): We shall cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve because they ascribe unto Allah partners, for which no warrant hath been revealed. Their habitation is the Fire, and hapless the abode of the wrong-doers. See also 8:12.


Comment: Different version of this verse use “unbelievers” and “disbelievers” interchangeably. Allah here promises to terrorise non-Muslims (Islam polemically calls all non-Muslims “polytheists”). Other exegetes consider that this verse refers particularly to Christians whom the Koran accuses of worshipping three gods: Allah, Jesus and Mary (4:171, 5:73 and 5:116). This verse was later extended to Hindus and other polytheists as Islam encountered them in its expansionist, Imperialistic wars.


4:10 (Malik): (On the Day of Judgement) it will be said to the disbelievers: “Allah’s hatred towards you was far greater – (during your worldly life) when you were called to the Faith and you used to refuse – than your hatred of yourselves.”


Comment: This verse states that Allah hates non-Moslems (and thus it is obligatory to for Muslims to hate non-Muslims, see doctrine of Al-Wala’ Wal-Bara’) worse than non-Muslims can ever hate themselves.


4:47 (Shakir): O people of the Book (Jews and Christians)! Believe in what We have now revealed (The Qur’an), confirming your own scriptures, before We obliterate your faces and turn them backward, or lay Our curse on you as We laid Our curse on the Sabbath-breakers: and remember that Allah’s command is always executed.


Comment: Allah finds it necessary to threaten to murder and curse Jews and Christians. A person who’s “face is obliterated and turned backwards” has had his/her head beaten in and neck broken.


4:76 (Pickthall): Those who believe do battle [Arabic 'qital' = fight] for the cause of Allah; and those who disbelieve do battle for the cause of idols. So fight the minions of the devil. Lo! the devil’s strategy is ever weak..


Comment: This verse declares non-muslims to be Satan’s “minions”, ie non-muslims are themselves “little satans” and thus evil. (We will also look at this verse in connection with war/jihad.)


4:101 (Pickthall): And when ye go forth in the land, it is no sin for you to curtail (your) worship if ye fear that those who disbelieve may attack you. In truth the disbelievers are an open enemy to you.


Comment: This verse categorically states that all non-muslims are enemies of muslims/Islam and therefore all Muslims must hold all non-Muslims in enmity.


5:51 (Shakir): O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for [trusted] friends [as in supporters, helpers, protectors - auliya]; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.


Comment: Muslims are here expressly forbidden from taking Jews and Christian as trusted friends – to do so makes one an apostate and apostasy is punishable by death under Sharia law.


7:176 (Shakir): … so his parable is as the parable of the dog; if you attack him he lolls out his tongue; and if you leave him alone he lolls out his tongue; this is the parable of the people who reject Our communications [ie remain non-Muslims]; therefore relate the narrative that they may reflect.


Comment: In this verse non-Muslims are compared to dogs – the dog is an “unclean” (ritually polluting) animal in Islam, thus reinforcing the idea that non-Muslims are “najjis” – dirty, filthy, unclean, polluting.


7:177 (Shakir): Evil is the likeness of the people who reject Our communications and are unjust to their own souls.


Comment: non-Muslims are declared evil, yet again.


8:22 (Hilali-Khan): Verily! The worst of (moving) living creatures in the Sight of Allah are the deaf and the dumb, those who understand not (i.e. the disbelievers).


Comment: In other words non-Muslims are not human, they are lower than motile bacteria in Allah’s sight.


8:55 (Shakir): Surely the vilest of animals in Allah’s sight are those who disbelieve


Comment: See 8:22.


9:3-4 (Hilali-Khan): And a declaration from Allah and His Messenger to mankind on the greatest day that Allah is free from (all) obligations to the Mushrikoon and so is His Messenger. So if you repent, it is better for you, but if you turn away, then know that you cannot escape Allah. And give tidings of a painful torment to those who disbelieve. Except those of the Mushrikoon with whom you have a treaty, and who have not subsequently failed you in aught, nor have supported anyone against you. So fulfil their treaty to them to the end of their term. Surely Allah loves the pious.


Comment: The word “Mushrikoon” means polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers – ie all non-Muslims. It also implies that Allah and Mohammed (and their inheritors – the Islamic state in the person of the Caliph) are free from all treaty and other obligations to non-Muslims, unless the non-Muslims have abided by every “jot and tittle” of the condition with no lapses whatsoever – and these treaties are only of fixed term. But it gets worse …


9:7-8 (Malik): How can there be a treaty with the pagans [mushrikooon, non-Muslims] on the part of Allah and His Messenger, except for those with whom you ratified a treaty at the Masjid-al-Haram? So long as they honour it, you also honour: for Allah loves the righteous. How can you trust them? If they prevail against you, they respect neither treaty nor ties of relationship. They just flatter you with their tongues, but their hearts reject you, and most of them are transgressors.


Comment: This verse implies that their can be no treaty between non-Muslims and the Islamic state, with the sole exceptions of those made at the Mecca Mosque – from which all non-Muslims are barred! It also states that non-muslims do not honour treaties with the Islamic state. See also 25:52. And it gets worse yet …


9:10 (Malik): They [non-muslims] neither honour the ties of relationship nor observe the obligations of treaties with the believers; it is they who are the transgressors.


Comment: States that non-Muslims will not abide by a treaty and that in all cases of “breach of treaty”, it is the non-Muslims who are to blame, irrespective of the real cause; thus allowing Muslims to “get in their retaliation first”.


9:28 (Malik): O believers! Know that pagans [non-Muslims] are unclean…


Comment: the word “unclean” is a translation of “Najis” which means filthy/untouchable/impure. Thus contact with non-muslims defiles muslims. So now you know why some Muslims refuse to shake hands.


9:30 (Malik): The Jews say: “Uzair (Ezra) is the son of Allah,” and the Christians say: ” Messiah (Christ) is the son of Allah.” That is what they say with their mouths, imitating the sayings of the former unbelievers. May Allah destroy them! How perverted they are!


Comment: In this verse Allah prays to himself that he will destroy Jews and Christians and calls them “perverts”. This verse is another declaration of enmity between Allah and the other “abrahamic” faiths. See also 38:2. (I’m setting aside the lie towards the Jews in this verse and the absurdity of Allah praying to himself.)


9:73-74 (Arberry): O Prophet, struggle [lit. “wage/make jihad”] with the unbelievers and hypocrites, and be thou harsh with them; their refuge is Gehenna, an evil homecoming! They swear by God that they said nothing, but they indeed said the word of unbelief and disbelieved, after they had surrendered[Arabic: Islamihim].


Comment: A command to wage a harsh jihad against non-Muslims. Also: here “hypocrites” are those that “said the word of disbelief … after they had surrendered” (ie accepted Islam)” (9:72). Thus they apostatised. Hence apostates are classed as “hypocrites” in the Koran (along with Muslims holding heterodox beliefs).


25:52(Pickthall): So obey not the disbelievers, but strive [lit. “wage Jihad”] against them with a great endeavour.


Comment: In this verse Muslims are commanded to disobey non-Muslims and to wage a strenuous Jihad against them. Further note that “ obey not the disbelievers” relieves Muslims of any need to obey non-Muslim authority. See also 26:151, 33:1, 33:48.


26:198-99 (Arberry): If We had sent it [the Koran] down on a barbarian and he had recited it to them, they would not have believed in it.


Comment: Other translations use “non-Arab” or “foreigners” instead of “barbarian” as ‘softer’ translations, but here the Koran is stating the supremacy of the Arabs over all others, including non-Arab muslims.


28:86 (Stephens-Darwish): You did not hope that the book [Koran] would be given to you except as a mercy from your Lord. So do not be a supporter [or: helper] of the unbelievers.


Comment: This verse commands Muslims not to help or support non-Muslims under any circumstances. Does this explain the general paucity of response to emergencies in the non-Muslim world by Islamic states?


33:64 (Malik): Surely Allah has laid a curse on the unbelievers and has prepared for them a blazing fire.


Comment: Yet again Allah curses non-Muslims.


38:2 (Malik): And by the Qur’an which is full of admonition! Surely the unbelievers are in sheer arrogance and perverseness.


Comment: Non-Muslims are in “perverseness”, that is they are perverts – and arrogant as well.


48:29 (Pickthall): Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves…


Comment: The word translated as “Hard” means merciless/ unforgiving /relentless. Thus Muslims are commanded to be merciless/ unforgiving /relentless against non-Muslims.


60:1 (Shakir): O you who believe! do not take My enemy and your enemy for friends: would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the truth, driving out the Messenger and yourselves because you believe in Allah, your Lord? If you go forth struggling hard [i.e. waging Jihadi war] in My path and seeking My pleasure, would you manifest love to them? And I know what you conceal and what you manifest; and whoever of you does this, he indeed has gone astray from the straight path.


Comment: Those who “deny …the truth” of Islam are non-Muslims. This verse declares non-Muslims who oppose Islam to be Allah’s enemy, yet again.


60:4 (Malik):You have an excellent example in Abraham and his companions. They said to their people plainly: “We are clear of you and (your gods) whom you worship besides Allah. We renounce you. Enmity and hate shall reign between us forever until you believe in Allah, the One (and Only God).” But do not emulate what Abraham said to his father: “I will pray for your forgiveness, although I have no power to get anything for you from Allah.” (Their collective prayer was:) “Our Lord! In You we have put our trust, to You we turn in repentance and to You is our final goal.


 Comment: This verse refers to Abraham (or Ibrahim in Arabic), whom Islam claims as the “first Muslim” or as a “proto-Muslim”. His example is “excellent” when he declares eternal “enmity and hatred” of non-Muslims, but bad when he prays for his non-Muslim Dad. Thus the lesson to be learned by Muslims in this verse is to have eternal hatred for non-Muslims.


98:6 (Pickthall): Those who disbelieve, among the People of the Scripture and the idolaters, will abide in fire of hell. They are the worst of created beings.


Comment: Yet again non-muslims are the worst (some translations say “lowest” or “vilest”) of created beings (or: men).


40:35 (Shakir): They [non-Muslims] who dispute the signs [Arabic “ayah” also means Koran verses] of Allah without authority having reached them are greatly hated by Allah and the believers. So Allah seals up every arrogant, disdainful heart.


Comment: This tells muslims to hate any non-muslim who argues with them about Islam and also states that non-Muslims have no “authority” to so argue. Does this explain the Islamic reaction to criticism?


On the other hand:

2:256 (Pickthall): There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is henceforth distinct from error. And he who rejecteth false deities and believeth in Allah hath grasped a firm handhold which will never break. Allah is Hearer, Knower. [AND] 109:6 (Pickthall): Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion.


Comment: These verses are often used by Muslims to claim that you can freely leave Islam, however, see “on Muslim Apostates” in part two of this series. Further, the Ahadith and Sharia judgement is unequivocal; apostasy is punishable by death.


Thus the best interpretation one can give these verses is that the non-Muslim should not be forced/compelled to become Muslim, though s/he can be forced to become a “dhimmi” or second-class citizen, if s/he does not spot how the “ right direction [Islam] is … distinct from error [non-Islam]”. Some Tafseers (Koran commentaries) go further, stating that offering a person the choice “become Muslim or I will kill you” (to put it at its bluntest) does not amount to “forcing” a conversion, since the non-Muslim is given a choice – Islam or death.


However, no Tafseer (of which I am aware) relates either of these verses to apostasy from Islam and, in fact, these verses have nothing to do with apostasy from Islam at all, despite all apologetic statements to the contrary.


9:6 (Hilali-Khan). And if anyone of the Mushrikoon (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) [i.e. non-Muslims] seeks your protection then grant him protection, so that he may hear the Word of Allah (the Quran), and then escort him to where he can be secure, that is because they are men who know not.

 Comment: this verse sounds benign, especially in contrast the the immediately preceding “verse of the sword” (see part four of this series), but it must be remembered that a “protected person” is Islam’s way of describing a “dhimmi”, who is a second-class and dis-enfranchised person.


In summary the Koran teaches that non-muslims are declared by Allah to be his eternal enemies are declared by Allah to be the eternal enemies of muslims are cursed and hated by Allah are not “allowed” to argue with Muslims about Islam – and are to be hated (that’s twice over, once for just being non-Muslim and again for arguing) for daring so to do will be terrorised by Allah (perhaps referring to Christians in particular).


are Satan’s allies and minions are inherently evil, arrogant and perverted.Are never “innocents”. deserve punishment in this world for the sin of “khufr” – non-belief in Islam are not to be taken as trusted friends (this makes a Muslim an apostate) cannot be trusted to uphold treaties or other obligations, so none should be made with them and Muslims are free from all obligations under such treaties are not to be protected, supported or helped.


are not to be obeyed by Muslims; (nor are laws, oaths, treaties etc made by or with non-Muslims). are to have jihad (which includes war, though it is more than merely war) waged against them are to be shown no mercy are vile, unclean sub-human animals of the lowest sort whose mere touch defiles a muslim but you are allowed to become a dhimmi.

 Teachings of The Quran, part two
 Teachings of The Quran, part two
 Words in ( ) in main text are the translators’ interpolations, those in [ ] are added by me for:

clarifications where the text lacks clarity,Amplifications of meaning.

 In the first part of this series “On non-Muslims” I identified the Koran’s attitude to non-Muslims.

So I thought, to be fair, I should now consider the Koran’s view of Islam and Muslims – the “Umma”.

 On Islamic Supremacy.
 8:39 (Malik): (O believers,) fight them [non-Muslims] until there is no more mischief and the Deen of Allah (way of life prescribed by Allah) is established completely…[Hilali-Khan adds: “(over the whole of the Earth)”]
Comment: Thus the “Islamic life” must be established fully. Other translations say “…is for Allah alone” or “…Allah only.” Implicit here is that all people are living according to Sharia Law and thus Islam “rules the World”.
9:33 (Hilali-Khan). It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), to make it SUPERIOR over all religions even though the Mushrikoon (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) hate (it).
48:28 (Hilali-Khan): He it is Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad SAW) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), that He may make it (Islam) SUPERIOR over all religions. And All-Sufficient is Allah as a Witness.

61:9 (Shakir): He it is Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion, that He may make it [Islam] OVERCOME the religions, all of them, though the polytheists may be averse. Note: Pickthall uses “conqueror of all religion” instead of “overcome … them”, Hilali-Khan uses “victorious over” .

Comment: These latter three verses state that Islam must be “superior over” (overcome, conquer) all religions (here meaning “belief systems” thus including agnosticism or atheism), other than Islam. Thus Islam can never exist alongside other belief systems in mutual tolerance. Further, these “superiority/conquest” verses may be taken to mean that Islam must dominate not just theologically but, since Islam is a comprehensive way of life, that it must dominate all aspects of world society. Simply put, Islam must rule the world.

 On Muslims

2.207 (Yousaf Ali): And there is the type of man who gives his life [or: sells himself] to earn the pleasure of Allah: And Allah is full of kindness to (His) devotees [or servants or slaves].

Comment: Allah is kind to Muslims, if they are devoted to him. See also 3:30
3:110 (Saheeh international): You are the best nation produced (as an example) for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah. If only the People of the Scripture had believed, it would have been better for them. Among them are believers, but most of them are defiantly disobedient [or: evil-livers, or: iniquitous]
Comment: here muslims are told that they are the “best people in all the world” and also that most Jews and Christians are “defiantly disobedient”. The word “believers” as applied to “people of the book” means those who become Muslim; i.e. those who don’t convert are defying Allah.
3:139 (Irving): do not falter nor feel saddened since you [Muslims] are superior, if you are believers.

Comment: Here Muslims are told they are “superior” to non-Muslims. Other translations say that Muslims will “gain mastery” over non-Muslims, implying a god-given right for muslims to rule all non-Muslims.


6:18 (Pickthall): He [Allah] is the Omnipotent over his slaves [Arabic:'alqahiru ibadihi', lit: “subjugator of his slaves”] , and He is the Wise, the Knower.


Comment: Muslims are enslaved and, if we take the meaning of “subjugator” literally, there is an element of coercion here, by Allah and have no power over their own lives. See also 6:61.


 7:181 (Hilali-Khan) And of those whom We have created, there is a community [the Muslim Umma] who guides (others) with the truth, and establishes justice therewith.


Comment: Here justice is defined as being what Islam says it is and that it is the duty of the Muslims to “guide others” with it – implying the imposition of Sharia Law on non-Muslims.


 98:7 (Malik): Surely those who believe [in Islam] and do good deeds, are the best of all creatures. Comment: Again, Muslims are the best people in the World. Compare and contrast with the 8:22 8:55 and 98:6 for non-Muslims in the previous article.


 10:106 (Malik): If Allah afflicts you with a calamity, none can remove it but He; and if He intends to bestow a favour, none can withhold His bounty. He bestows it on whomsoever of His servants He pleases; He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.


Comment: Both good and ill come directly from “the god”. If it is a “calamity” only Allah can remove it – so help/charity is either pointless or from Allah. Also implicit here is a duality in the nature of Allah – Allah directly inflicts evil on people as well as doing them “a good turn”.


Note: A common theme in the Koran’s dealing with humanity is to describe the relationship as that of master-slave with Muslims being described as “slaves [=abd] of Allah”. This is variously translated as slave, servant or devotee.


 Everyone starts life as a Muslim (?)


7:172 (MALIK): (O Prophet, remind mankind about the incident) when your Lord brought into existence the offspring from the loins of Adam and his descendants (virtually each single individual of mankind) and made them testify about themselves. (Allah asked them:) “Am I not your Lord?” They all replied: “Yes! We bear witness that You are.” (This We did,) lest you mankind should say on the Day of Resurrection: “We were not aware of this fact (that You are our Lord and that there will be a Day of Judgement.)


Comment: Although this verse is heavily interpolated by the translator the key point is that it states that ALL of mankind (past, present and future) has born witness that Allah is their lord and, by implication, that Mohammed is Allah’s prophet. Thus everybody is born a Muslim and all non-Muslims are, in effect, apostates, who have been “perverted” from the “straight path” of Islam.


This is why many Muslims speak of converts to Islam as “reverts”, in their eyes the person is reverting to the Islam of his/her birth.


 On Muslim Apostates

3:86-87 (Hilali-Khan): How shall Allah guide a people who disbelieved after their belief [i.e. became apostates] and after they bore witness that the Messenger [Muhammad] is true and after clear proofs had come unto them? And Allah guides not the people who are Zalimoon (polytheists and wrong-doers). They [apostates etc] are those whose recompense is that on them (rests) the Curse of Allah, of the angels, and of all mankind.


Comment: Thus Allah, the angels and all mankind curse apostates from Islam – if only that were all!


 4:137 (Shakir): Surely (as for) those who believe then disbelieve [become apostate], again believe and again disbelieve, then increase in disbelief, Allah will not forgive them nor guide them in the (right) path.


Comment: This verse declares that (repeated) apostasy is an unforgivable sin.


 9:11-12 (Saheeh Int’l): But if they [non-Muslims] repent, establish prayer, and give zakat [i.e. become Muslims], then they are your brothers in religion; and We detail the verses for a people who know. And if they break their oaths after their treaty and defame your religion, then fight the leaders of disbelief, for indeed, there are no oaths (sacred) to them; (fight them that) they might cease.


Comment: Here we have non-Muslims who convert to Islam (only Muslims pay Zakat, non-Muslims – dhimmis – pay the Jizya) then “break their oaths after their treaty” (which here means deny the Shahada -the oath, and their submission to Allah -the treaty) which makes them apostates, the verse is a command to fight the apostates’ leaders, though the verse is rather opaque at first sight.


9:66 (Eeman): Make no excuses, you have already become disbelievers [i.e. become apostates] after being Muslims. If We forgive some of you, then We shall chastise others because they were guilty. (or: criminals, sinners).


Comment: In this verse apostasy is declared a crime (and a sin). This conflation of crime and sin is common under Sharia Law. Also here is a promise of punishment by Allah for Apostasy. Those who may be forgiven are usually regarded as those who apostatised temporarily in “a moment of weakness”.


9:73-74 (Pickthall): O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites! Be harsh with them …. They swear by Allah that they said nothing (wrong), yet they did say the word of disbelief, and did disbelieve after their Surrender (to Allah)… If they [both] repent it will be better for them; and if they turn away, Allah will afflict them with a painful doom in the world and the Hereafter, and they have no protecting friend nor helper in the earth.


Comment:The “word of disbelief” is the action of returning to disbelief (kufr). The “hypocrites” who “disbelieve after their surrender [Arabic Islamihim] to Allah” are thus apostates. Hence one meaning of “hypocrite” within the Koran is “apostate”. If we extend the “they” in v.74 to the “disbelievers” – i.e. non-Muslims – then their “word of disbelief” is the action of refusal to convert, but whether this is correct is arguable. Thus (non-Muslims and) apostates, if they “turn away” from Islam by (not converting or) apostatising, will receive a “painful doom” (unspecified) in this world.


 4.88-9 (Hilali-Khan): Then what is the matter with you that you are divided into two parties about the hypocrites? Allah has cast them back (to disbelief) because of what they have earned. Do you want to guide him whom Allah has made to go astray? And he whom Allah has made to go astray, you will never find for him any way (of guidance). They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another). So take not Auliya (protectors or friends) from them, till they emigrate in the way of Allah (to Muhammad SAW). But if they turn back (from Islam), take (hold) of them and kill them wherever you find them, and take neither Auliya (protectors or friends) nor helpers from them.


Comment: This verse is a command to slay apostates. “emigrate in the way of Allah” (Arabic: “yuhajiroo fee sabili Allahi”, transliterated: “make Hijra in the way of Allah”) means; interpreting “hijra” in its spiritual sense, to “become Muslim” and thus people who “turn back” are turning back or away from Islam – ie becoming apostate. Some apologists claim this verse refers to people who failed to follow Mohammed to Medina in the Hijra, but the context makes a mock of this since they were “cast back to disbelief”, making it plain that the verse refers to people who had apostatised from Islam, or adopted heretical belief. This latter is used by both Sunni and Shia to “justify” their fratricide.


 33:60-62 (Malik): If the hypocrites, those in whose hearts is malice and the scandal mongers of Medina [lit. “The City”] do not desist; We shall rouse you against them, and their days in the city – as your neighbours – will be numbered. They shall be cursed wherever they are found and they shall be seized and killed mercilessly. This has been the Way of Allah (regarding such people) among those who lived before you, and you will never find any change in the Way of Allah.


Comment: The word “hypocrite”, as we know, means apostates and/or heretics and they are to be killed mercilessly wherever they are found (not just in Medina) (See also 8:38-39 & 9:38-39 though the reference is obscure). These verses also presage the ethnic cleansing of Medina and, later, the Arabian peninsula.

Further, these verses can be taken as justification for the fatwas calling on Muslims world-wide to catch and kill (e.g.) Salman Rushdie for apostasy. Any Muslim can, under Sharia, “legally” kill an apostate.


In summary the Koran teaches that: Islam is pre-destined to become the sole world-religion and to destroy all other belief systems. Islam is pre-destined to rule the world. Muslims are a superior “master-race”, the best of all people. the Muslim community (civilisation) is superior to all other civilisations.


Everybody is born a Muslim, thus no-one “converts” to Islam, they “revert” to it. Allah is kind to his Muslim slaves – with the proviso that they are devoted to him (i.e. follow Koran, Sunnah, (Tafseer) and Sharia completely and fully). Allah is all-powerful over his Muslim slaves and he can inflict harm on them, or do them good, as he wishes. apostates from Islam are to be killed “wherever they are found”, by whoever identifies them, in a merciless manner.

Teachings of The Quran, part three
Teachings of The Quran, part three

Words in ( ) in main text are the translators’ interpolations, those in [ ] are added by me for:

clarifications where the text lacks clarity,

Amplifications of meaning.


Text in bold highlights key words/phrases.


In the previous two articles in this series I considered what the Koran says on non-Muslims {1} and what it says about Muslims {2}. In this article I consider what the Koran says about itself and about obedience to Allah and Mohammed.


The Koran on Itself – clarity of the message and truthfulness.

2:2 (Hilali-Khan): This is the Book (the Quran), whereof there is no doubt …
Comment: the “no doubt” means both that there (must be) no doubt it is from Allah and no doubt that is is The Truth.

2:99 (SHAKIR): And certainly We have revealed to you clear communications …

Comment: The Koran claims to be “clearly communicated”.

2:185 (Malik) …the Qur’an was revealed,a guidance for mankind with clear teachings…

Comment: The Koran claims it has clear, or easily understood teachings. See also 5:15, 5:19, 47:14, 47:32, 65:11
2:187 (Malik): …Thus Allah makes His revelations clear to mankind…

Comment: Again Allah and the Koran are “clear”, or simple to understand .See also 2:219, 2:221, 2:230, 2:242, 2:266, 5:89, 6:97, 6:98, 6:126, 7:32, 10:15, 19:73,24:18, 24:34, 24:58, 24:59, 24:61, 34:43, 45:25, 46:7, 57:9, 58:5


2:209 (Malik): … after receiving the clear-cut message, …


Comment: the message of Islam is clear-cut, simple to understand. See also 5:19


2:252 (Malik):These are the revelations of Allah; We recite them to you in truth. Surely you, (O Muhammad), are one of Our Messengers.


Comment: This verse declares that the Koran is truth and Mohammed is Allah’s messenger. See also 5:48


4:176 (Malik): … Thus Allah makes His commandments clear to you.


Comment: The commandments in the Koran are clear, unambiguous, easy to understand.


5:3 (Yousaf Ali) in part: …This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.


Comment: Islam is the perfect, or “perfected” religion according to the Koran. Thus it is inerrant and whatever it says must be taken as absolute truth.


11:1-2 (Malik): This Book, whose verses are perfected and issued in detail [or explained/expounded] by the One Who is All-Wise, All-Aware, (teaches) that you should worship none but Allah – indeed I [Mohammed] am a warner and bearer of good news from Him to you.


Comment: This verse states that the Koran is “perfected” or “made perfect” and is “detailed”, which is why some Muslims believe that the Koran contains all the knowledge that they need. Note: that the Koran is “perfected” could be taken to imply that at one point the Koran was imperfect, but that the “errors” have been corrected; cf “Satanic verses”, by the doctrine of abrogation, see below.


12:1 (Malik): … These are the verses of the Book that makes things clear.


Comment: Here the Koran claims it is clear(ly) written. See also 18:1-2, 20:113, 22:16, 28:1


14:4 (Malik): We have not sent any Messenger except that he speaks the language of his own people, so that he could explain to them clearly.


Comment: Mohammed makes it all plain and simple, he explains the Koran (in the Sunnah). See also 16:35, 16:44, 16:64, 16:82, 24:54, 29:18, 41:44, 43:29, 44:13. Thus for complete “clarity” the Ahadith etc is required to fully understand the message of Islam.


The Koran goes to great lengths, with over fifty statements, to state that it is a clear guide with clear and simple commandments and that Mohammed made Allah’s message plain and simple to understand.


At the very least, if we are to believe what the Koran says of itself, we don’t need to tie ourselves in apologetic or casuist knots to understand its verses. What the words say they must mean, otherwise the Koran falsifies itself.


So for instance, if the Koran says “kill the unbelievers” it means “kill the unbelievers”, not “give them a cup of tea and a slice of fruit cake”.


Despite this, the Koran has spawned many explanatory books (Tafsir/Tafseer) which rather “gives the lie” to this claim of clarity, as well as many gymnastic attempts at apologia.


The Koran on Itself – abrogation


2:106 (Malik): We do not abrogate any of Our verses (of the Qur’an) or cause it to be forgotten except that We substitute it with something better or similar; don’t you know that Allah has full power over everything?


Comment: This verse institutes the Koranic doctrine of “abrogation”. This doctrine is ultimately complex, but in the simplest terms means that a chronologically later verse (remember this is not “later” in the Koran; eg. Suras 8 and 9 are amongst the last recited) replaces an earlier verse. See also 16:101, 17:86


13:39 (Yousaf Ali): Allah doth blot out or confirm what He pleaseth: with Him is the Mother [or essence/basis] of the Book.


Comment: Essentially the same as 2:106 (et al) except that this verse and its companion verses is why some Muslims believe that the “original” of the Koran is inscribed on gold sheets in heaven. See also 8:75, 9:36 (nb this latter ref. Can be obscure, being translated as book/ordinance or, in some cases, simply elided).


Note: the doctrine of abrogation is an important tool in the armoury of the apologist. With it he can quote verses of the Koran that “say nice things” without bothering to explain that they have been abrogated. “The Abrogated and the Abrogating” by Rev. Anwarul Haqq Pub.2006 (available on the Web as pdf) indicates that more than 260 verses of the Koran are abrogated (this is nearly 4% of all the verses of the Koran!) and according to “An-Nasikh-wal-Mansukh”, by Ibn Khuzyamh 113 of those are abrogated by the Sword verse, K.9:5, and 9 more by the Fighting verse, K9:29 (both will be discussed in the next part of the series), i.e. nearly 50% of the abrogated verses are abrogated by those two verses of violence alone. In general terms, what this means is that in the Koran abrogation replaces “nice” verses with “nasty” ones – such as K9:5 and 9:29 – especially with reference to non-Muslims.


The Koran on obedience to Allah and Mohammed.


2:108 (Malik): Do you intend to ask questions from your Messenger (Muhammad) as Moses was questioned before? But whoever barters belief for unbelief, has indeed lost the direction of the Right Way.


Comment: In short, don’t ask questions – just submit and do as you are told.


2:208 (Shakir): O you who believe! enter into submission [or: Islam] one and all and do not follow the footsteps of Shaitan; surely he is your open enemy.


Comment: Another “do as you’re told” verse (though not mentioning either Allah or Mohammed) this time anyone who does not obey Islam is following Satan. This verse is also used for “Takfir” – the declaring of a Muslim as an apostate. If a Muslim does not obey Islam closely enough s/he is “follow[ing] in the footsteps of Shaitan” and thus not a “true” Muslim at all, hence an apostate, hence may be killed. C.f. Sunni/Shia fratricide and the widespread killing of other Muslims by Wahhabis/Salafis.


2:285 (Malik): The Messenger [Mohammed] believes in the Guidance revealed to him from his Lord [Allah] and so do the Believers [Muslims]. … And they say: “We hear and we obey.”…


Comment: Muslims do as they are told. See also 5:7, 24:47, 24:51.


3:31-32 (Malik): “Tell the people (O Muhammad): “If you sincerely love Allah, then follow me; [i.e. Mohammed] Allah will also love you and forgive you your sins. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”Obey Allah and His Messenger.”


Comment: Muslims must obey Allah AND Mohammed. The addition of Mohammed is crucial, since the sayings of Mohammed “obey [the] messenger” are recorded in the Hadith and his doings “follow me [i.e. Mohammed]” in the Sira (biography). Thus Mohammed’s actions and sayings are raised to the status of ‘Holy Scripture’. See also 4:13, 4:59, 4:69, 5:92, 8:1, 8:20, 8:46, 9:71, 24:51, 24:52, 24:54, 33:31, 33:33, 33:71, 47:33, 48:17, 49:14, 58:13, 61:10, 64:12. [This is twenty repetitions.]


4:14 (Malik): But the ones who disobey Allah and His Messenger [Mohammed] and transgress His limits will be cast to Hellfire to live therein forever.


Comment: i.e. Obey Allah and Mohammed – or else! See also 4:42, 11:59 (implicit), 33:36, 33:66, 72:23.


4:65 (Arberry): But no, by thy Lord! they will not believe till they make thee [Mohammed] the judge regarding the disagreement between them, then they shall find in themselves no impediment touching thy verdict, but shall surrender in full submission.


Comment: This verse commands complete obedience to Islam and acceptance of Sharia.


4:80 (Malik): Anyone who obeys the Messenger, in fact, obeys Allah. As for those who pay no heed, they should know that We have not sent you as a taskmaster over them.


Comment: Obedience to Mohammed is fully canonised in this verse. Obedience to Mohammed is as important as obedience to Allah and thus Mohammed “speaks with the voice of Allah”. Can also be understood to mean that Mohammed and Allah are one and the same -though this flies in the face of traditional Muslim exegetics.


9:29 (Hilali-Khan): Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger (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.


Comment: Here we see that unless you abide by Mohammed’s “rules” you should be fought against.


24:56 (Malik): … obey the Messenger, so that you may be shown mercy.


Comment: Allah is only merciful to those who obey Mohammed. See also 24:63 (disobeying Mohammed brings problems), this in effect elevates Mohammed to an equal status with Allah. It also means that following the Koran is not enough, you must also follow Mohammed’s sayings and doings as recorded in the Sunnah (Ahadith and Sirat).


26:105-108 (Malik):The people of Noah, also, rejected the Messengers. Remember when their brother Noah asked them: “Have you no fear (of Allah)? Rest assured that I am a trustworthy Messenger (of Allah) towards you, so fear Allah and obey me.


Comment: The point of the whole passage which extends from 26:105 to 26:191 is that not fearing Allah and obeying the “Messenger of the day” brings calamity. Thus (again) Muslims must obey Allah and Mohammed. See also 43:57-67, 60:12, 69:7-12, 71:1-25, 73:15-18


33:21 (Shakir): Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much.


Comment: This reinforces the need to follow not just the teachings but also the deeds of Mohammed, ie to really be a “good” Muslim one must follow the Sunnah.

33:36 (Hilali-Khan): It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error.

Comment: Again you must obey Allah and Mohammed unquestioningly.


59:7(Hilali-Khan): … And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it), and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment. Comment: Here Mohammed is granted authority beyond what is in the Koran. He can now make his own rulings on issues. This verse also implicitly canonises Sharia law which is based on the Koran and Sunnah.

Note: How the Koran hammers home the need to obey Mohammed absolutely and to follow his example -as recorded both in words and deeds in the Sunnah- and that he should not be questioned. These verses also canonise Sharia Law as the outworking of the Koran and Sunnah.

In summary the Koran teaches that: its message, commandments, revelations are clearly communicated and simple to understand, this is stated over 50 times in the Koran it is The Truth (capitals intended) about which there is no doubt. Allah has made the Koran perfect. It must, therefore, be inerrant; with no (unresolvable) contradictions and its teachings are eternal in nature. Any (earlier) imperfections, errors or “time limited” verses have been removed by the process (and doctrine) of abrogation.


Mohammed explained and exemplified the Koran clearly by both his extra-Koranic sayings and his doings. (Together these are the Sunnah.) the commands of Allah and Mohammed are to be followed unquestioningly (in some 38 repetitions) you are not allowed to hold any opinion contrary to that of Allah/Mohammed.

obeying the commands of Mohammed (which are also in the Sunnah, as well as the Koran) is obeying Allah himself. This equates Mohammed to Allah – at least in authority the “excellent” example of Mohammed should be followed precisely, in all respects. Obedience to Mohammed brings mercy and disobedience punishment. The command of unquestioning obedience extends, implicitly at least, to Sharia Law.

 Note: I could have shortened the last six points of the summary to “do what Mohammed says and don’t think about it” since this is clearly the overall thrust of the Koran’s verses on obedience; but I also wished to point out the (near) equality Mohammed achieves with his Allah in these verses and the “canonisation” they give to the Ahadith, Sira and by implication Sharia as well, which Muslims regard as “god’s laws”.
In addition to the verses notes above, the legends in the Koran concerning other prophets (or “warners” as they are commonly called) are used to ram home the same point. The phrase “so obey god and obey me” repeats ad nauseam, with the consequence that not obeying resulted in destruction of those peoples who didn’t obey. Hence the implicit threat is clear: Obey Allah and Mohammed or be destroyed (see for example Sura 26). Such destruction happened at the hands of Muslim armies all too often in history; in the Koran the destruction is – implicitly – at Allah’s hands, though this may be the same thing given that Allah takes credit for Muslim victories in the Koran.