Verse (ayah) 256 of Al-Baqara is a very famous verse in the Islamic scripture, the Quran.[1] The verse includes the phrase that "there is no compulsion in religion".[2] Immediately after making this statement, the Quran offers a rationale for it: Since the revelation has, through explanation, clarification, and repetition, clearly distinguished the path of guidance from the path of misguidance, it is now up to people to choose the one or the other path.[1] This verse comes right after the Throne Verse.[3]

The overwhelming majority of Muslim scholars consider that verse to be a Medinan one,[4][5][6] when Muslims lived in their period of political ascendance,[7][8] and to be non abrogated,[9] including Ibn Taymiyya,[10] Ibn Qayyim,[11] Al-Tabari,[12] Abi ʿUbayd,[13] Al-Jaṣṣās,[14] Makki bin Abi Talib,[15] Al-Nahhas,[16] Ibn Jizziy,[17] Al-Suyuti,[18] Ibn Ashur,[19] Mustafa Zayd,[20] and many others.[21] According to all the theories of language elaborated by Muslim legal scholars, the Quranic proclamation that 'There is no compulsion in religion. The right path has been distinguished from error' is as absolute and universal a statement as one finds,[22] and so under no condition should an individual be forced to accept a religion or belief against his or her will according to the Quran.[23][24][25][26]

The meaning of the principle that there is no compulsion in religion was not limited to freedom of individuals to choose their own religion. Islam also provided non-Muslims with considerable economic, cultural, and administrative rights.[27]

These verses indicate that compulsion is strictly prohibited.

These verses indicate that compulsion is strictly prohibited.[22][27][29][34][36][50][51]

See also