Note: This question is NOT a duplicate. It contains some different hadith not found in other questions.

Currently, I am spiritually down and far away from God due to the fact that I am confused about the topic of forced conversion in Islam. Currently, I am studying shia and sunni Islam. I had discussions with Shia Muslims on online forums. According to Shia Islam, there is no such thing as a book that contains 100% infallible hadith. According to shia Islam, since hadith were collected by humans, there is always a chance of error. I am not here to discuss shia-sunni conflict. I belong to a sunni family, but recently I have started to question sunni beliefs. Yes, I find several sunni beliefs to be problematic because several hadiths found in Bukhari clearly contradicts Qur'an, but still sunnis always claim that Bukhari is 100% right WITHOUT answering my real question. So let's begin! According to Qur'an, forced conversion is clearly forbidden. There are several verses in Qur'an like these:-

There is no compulsion in religion (Qur'an 2:256)

And say, "The truth is from your Lord, so whoever wills - let him believe; and whoever wills - let him disbelieve." (Qur'an 18:29)

If it had been thy Lord's will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! wilt thou then compel mankind, against their will, to believe! (10:99)

The message of the Holy Qur'an is very clear. There are several verses that teaches followers of Islam to give freedom of religion to Non-Muslims and not to force anyone to become Muslims. Unfortunately, there is something quite opposite found in Bukhari and Muslim. Of course Sunni turn away and cannot give proper explanation for these. The biggest problem is that several Christians and Atheist love to quote these narrations and Islamic scholars are doing nothing to rebut them. However, let me post some hadith from Sunni's Sahih collection.

Suhail reported on the authority of Abu Huraira that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said on the Day of Khaibar: I shall certainly give this standard in the hand of one who loves Allah and his Messenger and Allah will grant victory at his hand. Umar b. Khattab said: Never did I cherish for leadership but on that day. I came before him with the hope that I may be called for this, but Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) called 'Ali b. Abu Talib and he conferred (this honour) upon him and said: Proceed on and do not look about until Allah grants you victory, and 'Ali went a bit and then halted and did not look about and then said in a loud voice: Allah's Messenger, on what issue should I fight with the people? Thereupon he (the Prophet) said: Fight with them until they bear testimony to the fact that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger, and when they do that then their blood and their riches are inviolable from your hands but what is justified by law and their reckoning is with Allah. (Sahih Muslim, Book 031, Number 5917)

Narrated Qais:

Jarir said "Allah's Apostle said to me, "Won't you relieve me from Dhul-Khalasa?" I replied, "Yes, (I will relieve you)." So I proceeded along with one-hundred and fifty cavalry from Ahmas tribe who were skillful in riding horses. I used not to sit firm over horses, so I informed the Prophet of that, and he stroke my chest with his hand till I saw the marks of his hand over my chest and he said, O Allah! Make him firm and one who guides others and is guided (on the right path).' Since then I have never fallen from a horse. Dhul-l--Khulasa was a house in Yemen belonging to the tribe of Khatham and Bajaila, and in it there were idols which were worshipped, and it was called Al-Ka'ba." Jarir went there, burnt it with fire and dismantled it. When Jarir reached Yemen, there was a man who used to foretell and give good omens by casting arrows of divination. Someone said to him. "The messenger of Allah's Apostle is present here and if he should get hold of you, he would chop off your neck." One day while he was using them (i.e. arrows of divination), Jarir stopped there and said to him, "Break them (i.e. the arrows) and testify that None has the right to be worshipped except Allah, or else I will chop off your neck." So the man broke those arrows and testified that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah. Then Jarir sent a man called Abu Artata from the tribe of Ahmas to the Prophet to convey the good news (of destroying Dhu-l-Khalasa). So when the messenger reached the Prophet, he said, "O Allah's Apostle! By Him Who sent you with the Truth, I did not leave it till it was like a scabby camel." Then the Prophet blessed the horses of Ahmas and their men five times. (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 59, Number 643)

Sahl b. Sa'd reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said on the Day of Khaibar: I would certainly give this standard to a person at whose hand Allah would grant victory and who loves Allah and His Messenger and Allah and His Messenger love him also. The people spent the night thinking as to whom it would be given. When it was morning the people hastened to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) all of them hoping that that would be given to him. He (the Holy Prophet) said: Where is 'Ali b. Abu Talib? They said: Allah's Messenger, his eyes are sore. He then sent for him and he was brought and Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) applied saliva to his eyes and invoked blessings and he was all right, as if he had no ailment at all, and coraferred upon him the standard. 'Ali said: Allah's Messenger, I will fight them until they are like us. Thereupon he (the Holy Prophet) said: Advance cautiously until you reach their open places, thereafter invite them to Islam and inform them what is obligatory for them from the rights of Allah, for, by Allah, if Allah guides aright even one person through you that is better for you than to possess the most valuable of the camels. (Sahih Muslim, Book 031, Number 5918)

It is reported on the authority of Abu Huraira that he heard the Messenger of Allah say:

I have been commanded to fight against people, till they testify to the fact that there is no god but Allah, and believe in me (that) I am the messenger (from the Lord) and in all that I have brought. And when they do it, their blood and riches are guaranteed protection on my behalf except where it is justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah. (Sahih Muslim, book 1, hadith 33)

NOTE: It should be noted that in this hadith it is stated that if they embrace Islam, then their blood and riches are guaranteed protection. So this means that if a non-Muslim does not accept Islam, then he or she should be killed?

I have found several hadith in ibn Kathir's commentary and Ibn Ishaq's Prophetic biography as well. However, I posted hadith from Sahih collection only for now. So, any hardcore Bukhari believer as any answer to these questions or narrations? I am not a hadith rejector, but I can clearly see these hadith contradicting the Qur'an. Kindly answer.

  • 1
    Not a duplicate. My question contains some different hadith from Bukhari and Muslim. Remove the duplicate tag, please.
    – Ren
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 18:28
  • 3
    Duplicate means that the answers to those also answer this question, please read those posts before deciding that it isn't a duplicate.
    – UmH
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 18:28
  • 1
    Which one is your concern? Fishting to spread Islam or apostacy? Either specify one, or split the question into two (or more) questions, one on each topic. They are quite different.
    – III-AK-III
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 2:23
  • 1
    Maybe you should edit your question to remove the concerns that are addressed in the marked duplicate. At least two of your four quoted hadith and your misconception of the Quranic teachings on the matter are addressed by 8:39, 9:5, 48:16 and 9:123 etc.
    – UmH
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 12:31
  • 1
    There is also no shia-sunni dispute on this matter, you are inventing it of your own accord.
    – UmH
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 12:34

1 Answer 1


There is a key concept that needs to be understood:

Accepting Islam forgives all sins that were done before.

If a person accepts Islam, such that his Islam is good, Allah will decree reward for every good deed that he did before, and every bad deed that he did before will be erased. (Sunan an-Nasa'i)

Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) sent us towards Al-Huruqa, and in the morning we attacked them and defeated them. I and an Ansari man followed a man from among them and when we took him over, he said, "La ilaha illal-Lah." On hearing that, the Ansari man stopped, but I killed him by stabbing him with my spear. When we returned, the Prophet (ﷺ) came to know about that and he said, "O Usama! Did you kill him after he had said "La ilaha ilal-Lah?" I said, "But he said so only to save himself." The Prophet (ﷺ) kept on repeating that so often that I wished I had not embraced Islam before that day. (Sahih Bukhari)

So, the maxim is that killing a person who accepts Islam is like killing a sinless child. Think of it like a presidential pardon, except one that you can initiate yourself at any time. This simple fact is what explains all the ahadith.

Let me explain them one by one:

  1. There are a few legitimate ways of dealing with enemy soldiers: ransoming as prisoners, taking no prisoners, etc. The Prophet (SAW) decided (for whatever reason) that in this battle (Khaibar) they will take no prisoners. But, as I explained earlier, accepting Islam forgives all sins and crimes, so those who accept Islam cannot be killed. So, technically to accept Islam is their only way out. But, nobody was forced to accept Islam. All they had to do was not cause hostilities with the Muslims, and they would have been left there peacefully or expelled amiably. But, it was too late after the Battle started. So when Ali (RA) was sent to Khaibar only the "presidential pardon" could save them.

  2. A similar case here. The punishment for divination (at least in the Arabian Peninsula as everything in the Arabia is held to a higher standard) was death. The only way to escape that punishment was to get a "presidential pardon".

  3. Same as above. The time for neutrality and peace has passed. Only way at this point for the People of Khaibar to be saved from the punishment of their crimes is to get a presidential pardon.

  4. A better translation would be: "fight against the people". This a specific statement for the Quraysh. Quraysh (and the Arabs) had sealed their fate by fighting the Muslims so ferociously. Their only escape is a "presidential pardon".

So, it is not that the people were killed for being non-muslim. They were to be killed for crimes and military opposition to the Muslims, and accepting Islam was their only way to get pardon.

  • Not a convincing response at all. You wrote, "Only way at this point for the People of Khaibar to be pardoned is to accept Islam." So you admit that Bukhari sanctions forced conversions.
    – Ren
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 11:46
  • 1
    It might be relevant that the Jews of Khaibar who surrendered were allowed to live and remain on their religion. They were even allowed to retain their properties on the condition of a tribute, see for example here.
    – UmH
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 13:03
  • @Ren . Nobody is forced to convert. To be left alone the People of Khaibar just had to stay neutral in the battles against the muslims. But after the army is marching towards them for their antagonism it is too late to seek neutrality and safety. Just like Islam is not accepted while dying, neutrality is not accepted when the army is at your door. At that point they are to be punished severely and nothing but a "presidential pardon" will save them.
    – The Z
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 14:08
  • Uma@. Your responses are not satistfying at all. Narrations like "I will chop your head off if you don't testify to Islam" is pretty clear and unambiguous.
    – Ren
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 9:37
  • @Ren Neither is your argument, as you have not responded to the content of any of my comments and rather keep repeating yourself. I have no duty to "satisfy" you as I can not make someone understand what they do not want to understand.
    – UmH
    Commented May 16, 2018 at 3:54

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