August 20, 2017

Peace or Violence: The Two Faces of Islam

Matt Recker

Qur’an 5:32: Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely.

In an article I was reading about the recent terrorist rampage by Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik in San Bernardino, California, a Muslim disputed their murderous actions by citing a verse from the Qur’an, saying, “Islam doesn’t allow any kind of killing.” He added, “The Qur’an clearly says that killing one person is killing all of humanity.”

As we live in a time of great world-wide Islamic revival, it is essential for non-Muslims and moderate Muslims alike to recognize why Islam can have two faces, one peaceful and the other violent.

We in the west are continually lectured by Muslim activists, politicians, and journalists that Islam is a peaceful religion. While we witness terrorism and violent jihad, nowhere, we are told, does the Qur’an allow Muslims to fight non-Muslims solely because they refuse to become Muslim. We are told again and again: Islam has been hijacked by Muslim extremists. Then how is it that we witness out of the very cradle of the Muslim world such violence? Why is there such a disconnect? How does Islam have these two faces, one of peace and the other of violence? Let’s first see that some verses are simply taken out of their context.

The verse quoted above is from Qur’an 5:32. This is one of the oft-quoted verses in the Qur’an that Islam is a peaceful religion. “Whoever kills one person it is as if he kills all mankind,” we are told that it says. From this it sounds like Islam is a peaceful religion and that these radicalized Muslims must have gotten the Qur’an wrong.

Muslim groups and media outlets often refer to this verse, Qur’an 5:32, in order to show that Islam teaches murder is wrong and saving lives is the prescribed action for all people.

But this is not what the verse is saying in its context.

First, this verse could well be a command to children of Israel, and not to Muslims. If you read the whole verse, Muslims can actually ignore this verse, it would seem. It begins by saying “We decreed upon the Children of Israel.”

Even if Muslims take this verse for themselves, its actual meaning is exactly opposite to the way it is being used. It clearly states that one can kill those who bring “corruption in the land.” For a Muslim this could be anything not according to Sharia Law or the faith of Islam. The next verse, Qur’an 5:33 (fully quoted below) then says what should be done to those who bring such “corruption.” It says these corrupters should be killed, crucified, or their hands and feet cut off, or exiled from the land. This would be anyone who is not Muslim. This could be those who practice Christianity, Judaism, atheism, or who celebrate Christmas parties as they were doing in San Bernardino. Even a verse they tell us means peace can actually be understood in support of their violent extremist Jihad.

Moderate Muslims are taking this verse out of its context. Some may be doing it naively, but others do it in order to spread the propaganda that Islam is a peaceful religion. We know both by history as well as the present world situation that it is not. A Muslim can take this verse and actually use it for the purpose of Jihad and terrorism. For a radicalized Muslim, such violence is not terror, it is justice.

We will consider next the Muslim teaching of abrogation that also contributes to the two faces of Islam.

(Qur’an 5:33: Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment)


To be continued tomorrow…


Matt Recker is the pastor of Heritage Baptist Church in New York City.


Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

Submit other comments here.