Islam expressly forbids force or compulsion in the matter of faith and religion. This may be hard to believe in our contemporary time fraught with so much hatred, bloodshed and insecurity. Ironically, the labels “Muslim” and “terrorists” have become synonymous, and the in-fighting between and among Muslims is also gaining shocking momentum. This is seen clearly in the instances of violence perpetrated by Muslims against Muslims. Therefore this is an opportune time for us to be reminded that Islam advocates peaceful co-existence with people who hold different beliefs, and demands that we establish cordial and cohesive bonds with other Muslims irrespective of regional, cultural, racial or linguistic differences.

These powerful verses from the Quran give a very clear message:

There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong (chapter 2 verse 256).

And

I do not worship what you worship

Nor are you worshippers of what I worship

Nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship

Nor will you be worshippers of what I worship

For you is your religion, and for me is my religion (chapter 109 verses 2-6).

Here Allah, our Creator, who knows us best and who knows what is best for us, is commanding us never to use force or coercion in the matter of religion. Islam has differentiated between right and wrong, but it is up to an individual to decide his or her own beliefs. To follow one religion or another is a matter of personal choice. The freedom of religion is, and should be, one of the fundamental rights of all humans. “For you is your religion and for me is my religion” is an eloquent and dignified affirmation that we can all follow our religion without impinging on, or antagonizing someone else’s religion or way of life.

No Muslim can ever refute what is written in the Quran, as it is the direct word of Allah. This being the case, no Muslim should try to force anyone to accept Islam or any of its tenets.