Monday, 16 November 2015


In response to yesterday's post, a friend put the following image on my Facebook page, and I saw it again later in the day (in a different guise) on another friend's page:

The intent is to portray Islam as a religion of peace - would that it was. However, having read the Quran from cover to cover (and it's even more turgid and infinitely repetitive than the Bible), I smelled the faint whiff of apologetics and cherry-picking, although not with that intent in mind on the part of those who posted it.

You can find references aplenty, but here's what WikiIslam has to say about the quote:


This verse cannot be found in any printed copy of the Qur'an, regardless of whether or not it is in the original Arabic or in one of its many English translations. The reason for this is simple: the verse in question does not exist.

What is actually presented by apologists is a distorted, out-of-context and misleading paraphrasing of the following verse: 

On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone slew a person - unless it be in retaliation for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew all mankind: and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all humanity.

Its Context:

This verse is written in past tense (Ordained, not Ordain) and clearly does not apply to Muslims but to "the Children of Israel" i.e. the Jews who, according to Islam, received an earlier set of scriptures. In fact, it is mistakenly referencing a rabbinical commentary found in the Talmud as if it were the words of Allah.

Also, when the clause which allows killing is reinserted and the passage is read in context with the following two verses directed at Muslims (notice the reference to Allah's messenger and the switch to present tense), what first appeared on the surface to be a peaceful message, is in actual fact a warning to non-believers:

The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter; Except for those who repent before they fall into your power: in that case, know that Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.


In this instance, as in many others, it is the apologists, not the skeptics, who are misinterpreting verses and quoting them out of context. A simple reading of the verse and those that surround it makes this clear. In the Islamic world, those who propagate their non-Islamic faiths or publicly criticize Islam are often harassed, imprisoned and even executed by their communities or their governments, under laws against "spreading disorder [mischief] through the land" and apostasy. 

If verse 5:32 means what some apologists claim it to mean, why are they so reluctant to quote the verse accurately rather than presenting a misleading paraphrasing of what they wished the verse had said? 

Furthermore, why are moderates unable to silence fellow Muslims on an intellectual level by using that very verse? They are unable to because their claim is false, and (as proven by the actions of many) anyone who is familiar with the Qur'an already knows this.

I make no comment but merely present the facts in context, and context is all as far as the fundamentalist fanatic is concerned, as that governs his or her actions.


  1. As it was myself that posted the image, then I apologise for not doing my homework! But as so many of my Muslim friends had expressed condolences and were horrified that this was done in the name of their religion, I though that it fitted the moment! Having lived and worked in the Middle East for the last 15 years (mostly in conflict areas), and my current assignment in support of the Peshmerga fighting ISIS I speak from what I see and hear, and the overwhelming response from my muslim friends is that this is an outrage and not in their name, or there religions name.

    1. I concur, but ISIS calls such people apostates. That is what has to be overcome. Are we seeing the early stage of a Reformed Islam that eschews the voilence?

  2. If I were to adopt a religion then it would be a Sikh.