Does Islam support proselytizing? Many people I talk to seem to be of the opinion that Islam believes in conversion by force; however, the following verse clearly states:

There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing. Al-Baqarah, 2:256

Does that mean that proselytizing in Islam is not supported and one must not force a change in religion? Are there other verses in this matter?

3 Answers 3


NO islam does not believe in conversion by force. The people say that to trademark Islam as a barbaric religion. If you have ever seen people converting live on tv or in an open meeting, the person converting them actually asks if they have been forced or in proper state of mind or questions that are something similar in nature.

also stated "Let there be no compulsion in religion...." (Al-Baqarah: 256)

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Also another proof that forcing is not allowed is

And say, The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills - let him believe; and whoever wills - let him disbelieve. (Surat Al-Kahf 18:29)

Also as Ansari said - Religion is heart (❤).

That is very true. Also our prayer to Allah get answered if they are made from the heart not mind. A forceful conversion will only include the mind not the heart.

  • Religion is good advice , islamqa.com/en/ref/34770
    – user940
    Sep 28, 2013 at 8:52
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    This answer completely ignores the massive literature on offensive jihad, the death penalty for apostasy, and a number of other issues very closely related to freedom of religion that give a completely different verdict than this verse taken out of its doctrinal and context historical context does.
    – G. Bach
    Mar 17, 2017 at 9:23

That verse is usually not the proof for not forcing conversions. More direct proofs would be for example this verse:

And say, "The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills - let him believe; and whoever wills - let him disbelieve." ...


and also a more direct proof is the body of actions of the Prophet (saws). He (saws) never compelled anyone to believe.

And this is easy to understand logically as well - you can't compel someone's heart, and Islam begins with having firm faith in the heart. It doesn't matter how many times you make someone say something with their mouth but if they don't believe in their heart it's pointless.


By "no compulsion in religion" [Surah Baqarah in the Quran], it doesn't mean Islam gives the freedom of choice of religion and says "it's okay if you are a polytheist or atheist". This is weird and wrong because Islam came to remove polytheism and shirk (worshiping anything other than Allah) and not with freedom of choice. And if Islam allows freedom of choice, why is there Jihad legislated and Islamic Shariah? By no compulsion, it means as Ansari explained, one cannot be compelled to accept Islam in heart. Because, the control of hearts is with God and no one can guide a person's heart but Allah. Because, Allah guides whomever he wills not whom "we will". That is what "no compulsion in Religion" means. Moreover, this verse was revealed with reference to the People of the Book and Magians who are not compelled to embrace Islam if they pay Jizyah (poll tax required from non-Muslims living in an Islamic state) regularly.

And the proof that this verse (2:256) is specific to the Ahlul Kitaab is what Abu Dawood and Ibn Abu Haatim and Nasaa’ee and Ibn Hibbaan and Ibn Jareer have narrated from the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas (radiyAllaahu anhu), that there was a woman, and every time she bore a child, the child died. So she made an oath binding upon herself that if one of her sons were to live, then she would make him a Jew. So when the Jewish tribe of Banee Nabeer was kicked out of Madeenah, and from amongst them were the sons of the Ansaar, and they said that “we will not leave our sons,” so Allaah (subhaana wa ta’laa) said:

There is no compulsion in religion. (Al-Baqarah 2:256).

As for the polytheists, they have to be invited to Islam. Everyone has to be invited to Islam. If the Polytheists accept the invitation, then all praise be to Allah Alone; otherwise, Muslims have to fight against them until they accept Islam (the Legislated fighting i.e. When a Muslim ruler calls for it, and not individually taking up arms and fighting like terrorists).

And even if the "No compulsion in religion" verse were to be considered, it is known that this verse is abrogated by the verses of fighting. Such as the statement of Allaah in Qur'an also says:

Then when the Sacred Months (the 1st, 7th, 11th, and 12th months of the Islâmic calendar) have passed, then kill the Mushrikûn wherever you find them, and capture them and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush. But if they repent and perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and give Zakât, then leave their way free. Verily, Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.[Surah At-Tawbah 9:5]

And it is known that Sooratul-Baqarah is from one of the first of what has descended after the Prophet’s (salallahu alayhi wassalam) hijrah to Madeenah. And Sooratut-Tawbah is from some of the last verses that have descended. And the statement of abrogation is narrated from Ibn Mas’ood and Zayd ibn Aslam. And according to other situations, the verses of the sword have descended after the verse:

There is no compulsion in religion. (Al-Baqarah 2:256)

. And the verses that have been descended after are more forthcoming and probable to hold onto than the previous verses.


“I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: ‘Laa ilaaha illAllaah’ (None has the right to be worshipped but Allaah)” (Bukhaaree, no. 388 and no. 2754).

Source:Tafsir of Ayah: No compulsion in Religion,

Q&A by Shaykh Ahmed al-Wasaabee

  • 4
    @ashes999 Of course, he did. I did not deny that and we can also live in peace with mushrikeen. I am not calling for attack of mushrikeen but rather, I am saying that the concept of offensive Jihad exists. Read my citation. Also, you cannot say it is a wrong understanding. What about the Caliphs [Abu Bakr and others]? They made conquests against the mushrikeen though they did not attack in the first place.
    – Abdullah
    Jun 21, 2012 at 17:01
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    @Ansari Completely agree. I never said Muslims living in the Non-muslim lands should do it. That is why I specifically mentioned, when a ruler calls for it. There are several conditions to be met to carry out offensive Jihad and many Scholars have written about that.
    – Abdullah
    Jun 21, 2012 at 17:03
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    @ashes999 You have examples for both in Islamic history. Once a person was tied in mosque for the whole day until he accepted Islam.
    – Abdullah
    Jun 21, 2012 at 17:19
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    @ashes999 Honestly, this is not my understanding. It is understanding of the scholars. And they are more knowledgeable than both of us. Why do you refuse that as an answer when I have cited the source? Are you saying, their understanding is wrong?
    – Abdullah
    Jun 21, 2012 at 17:25
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    @ashes999 If you want another source, here it is - islamqa.com/en/ref/34770 . Please read what that ayah means.
    – Abdullah
    Jun 21, 2012 at 17:27

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