see also IDOLATERS.
The Qur'anic Attitude towards those who do not believe its message
The Qur'an has a wide range of imagery and insults for those who refuse to believe in Islam. They are likened to cattle (camels, cows, sheep), a goat-herd, dogs, asses, etc. (cf. Surah 25:44, 2:171, 7:175-177, 62:5), but in some passages it is much worse than that:
In a word, as the Koran is the word of Allah for all Muslims, it holds for all times and all peoples until the end of the world. It must be applied according to the indications that Allah himself gives to his believers. This logically explains what is today happening in the Sudan, in Algeria, and in numerous Islamic countries. To idealize Islam is the greatest wrong that one can do to the Muslims themselves.
The statement that "Unbelievers are worse than the viles beasts" is topped yet again by another verse:
The worst of anything God ever created, whether it be the unclean pigs, or bacteria, cancer cells or the AIDS virus. Unbelievers, even those among the People of the Book, are worse than that.
The Qur'an breeds contempt for anyone who is not a Muslim. If statements like this would be printed anywhere outside of the Qur'an, the authors would be dragged before the courts for hate-speech.
The consequence of such statements quickly is: If such people are not really human beings, but are on a level of wild and vile beasts, then you do not need to treat them as human beings. Psychologically it is the same dynamic as used by Nazi Germany in regard to the Jews. First calling them sub-human (to remove the barrier that is naturally in every person's conscience against killing another human being), and then seeking to eradicate them.
In fact, Islam has the clear rule that a Muslim is not to be killed for murder of a non-Muslim:
Narrated Abu Juhaifa:
I asked 'Ali "Do you have anything Divine literature besides what is in the Qur'an?" Or, as Uyaina once said, "Apart from what the people have?" 'Ali said, "By Him Who made the grain split (germinate) and created the soul, we have nothing except what is in the Quran and the ability (gift) of understanding Allah's Book which He may endow a man, with and what is written in this sheet of paper." I asked, "What is on this paper?" He replied, "The legal regulations of Diya (Blood-money) and the (ransom for) releasing of the captives, and the judgment that no Muslim should be killed in Qisas (equality in punishment) for killing a Kafir (disbeliever)." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 83, Number 50; cf. Volume 1, Book 3, Number 111; Volume 4, Book 52, Number 283)
Narrated Ali ibn AbuTalib:
Qays ibn Abbad and Ashtar went to Ali and said to him: Did the Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) give you any instruction about anything for which he did not give any instruction to the people in general?
He said: No, except what is contained in this document of mine. Musaddad said: He then took out a document. Ahmad said: A document from the sheath of his sword.
It contained: The lives of all Muslims are equal; they are one hand against others; the lowliest of them can guarantee their protection. Beware, a Muslim must not be killed for an infidel, nor must one who has been given a covenant be killed while his covenant holds. If anyone introduces an innovation, he will be responsible for it. If anyone introduces an innovation or gives shelter to a man who introduces an innovation (in religion), he is cursed by Allah, by His angels, and by all the people. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 39, Number 4515)
Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'As:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: A believer will not be killed for an infidel. If anyone kills a man deliberately, he is to be handed over to the relatives of the one who has been killed. If they wish, they may kill, but if they wish, they may accept blood-wit. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 39, Number 4491)
For a more detailed discussion on the rules of capital punishment in Islam, cf. Examining the Quran's Ruling on the Consequence of Premeditated Murder.
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