The Muslim apologists and propagandists, as usual, along with paid Non Muslim agents, say that Koran teaches against using force to convert others to Islam (I rather put the question, 'is Islam against forcing its belief on others?'). They even quote a verse, a part of verse to be accurate, from Koran in their defense as a proof of Islamic tolerance. That verse is:
Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things. (2:256, YUSUF ALI)The real tragedy is that Non Muslims intuitively fall for this verse's outward appearance and falsely think that Islam counsels religious tolerance without ever questioning what is tolerance itself, how and when. With Koran and Sunna as authority and basis, the way Islam defines tolerance is completely different from the normative sense of 'tolerance' that we understand it to be. This verse refers to Non Muslim subjects living under Islamic rule after they have agreed to pay Jizya and to accept other humiliating conditions to remain in their faith. To be precise, Islamic tolerance comes after infidels are conquered and it is no less than worst kind of persecution. Muslims having to fight and subdue Non Muslims is not intolerance of Islam but Islam giving Non Muslims, after they are conquered, option of keeping their faith in exchange for Jizya and dehumanizing status of humiliation and degradation is tolerance according to these Islamic apologists. Any way, this post intends to shed light on true nature of this verse.
A former chief justice of Pakistan, S.A. Rahman, argues that the this Koranic verse contains "a charter of freedom of conscience unparalleled in the religious annals of mankind". This statement could have weight if he has explained why, then, Pakistan has to declare itself as an Islamic republic and all those ridiculous conditions on Non Muslims living in Pakistan should exist. When addressing to wider infidel audience through infidel media in infidel nations, Islamic wolves in sheep clothes quote only the first part of the verse while deliberately leaving later parts fearing that later parts hint at bigotry and hatred towards kafirs that is inherent in Koran. Such is the duplicity. Sure, this verse defines state of relations that can exist between Islamic society and Non Muslims but it is not the only one; there are other verses in Koran emphasizing status of Non Muslims in Islamic society or theology or jurisprudence.
Regarding the textual context of this verse, bigotry obvious in this verse continues in to the next one too:
Allah is the guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness into the light; and (as to) those who disbelieve, their guardians are Shaitans who take them out of the light into the darkness; they are the inmates of the fire, in it they shall abide. (2:257, Shakir)What about the historical context? There is not much disagreement among Islamic scholars regarding the background. Classical exegete Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir says that this verse was reveled when Prophet Mohammad expelled Jews of Banu Nadir from Medina, however, this expulsion was based on a flimsy basis that could be sensed by even novices but not Muslims. With out digressing, let’s read from Ibn Kathir’s work:
“It was reported that the Ansar were the reason behind revealing this Ayah, although its indication is general in meaning. Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas said [that before Islam], "When (an Ansar) woman would not bear children who would live, she would vow that if she gives birth to a child who remains alive, she would raise him as a Jew. When Banu An-Nadir (the Jewish tribe) were evacuated [from Al-Madinah], some of the children of the Ansar were being raised among them, and the Ansar said, `We will not abandon our children.' Then Allah reveled this verse...”Here, Ansars (helpers) refers to people of tribes of Aws and Khazraj. These people are Non Jewish and actual inhabitants, before arrival of Muslims from Mecca, of Medina who converted to Islam probably in the year 621 AD. Prophet along with his about 100 followers was a migrant to Medina from Mecca; he moved to Medina in the year 622AD.
So, children of Ansars were among the Jews. When Jews were expelled, some of the Ansars, who are converts to Islam, refusing to be separated from their progeny decide to leave Medina along with expelled Jews. To resolve this situation, Mohammad comes up with this verse albeit under the Allah’s name.
Here, the verse was not reveled out of generosity towards Non Muslims, Jews in this particular case. It was reveled to spare some Muslim parents from leaving Medina and furhter hardship. Muslims are the ones who benefited from this verse by keeping their Jewish children and all other Jews had to leave Medina. This whole episode happened in the year 625 AD, 3 years after migration, and to a large extent Mohammad and Islam was still dependent on Ansars. He is still relatively week and needs their goodwill. That is why this verse allowed Ansars to keep their Jewish children.
The fact that Muslims have to use this verse with such background for showing Islamic tolerance must give an idea to readers on how intolerant Islam is towards others. After all, if Mohammad has ever really believed in freedom of religion and conscience and was not intolerant, he would not have to leave Mecca in the first place let alone starting wars and looting caravans.
Much of Koran that was reveled while Prophet was in Medina can be ascribed to Mohammad’s need to answer some questions, address certain legal matters and resolve situations; some of these situations have developed randomly, like this incident of children of Ansars.
When he became powerful and was no longer dependent on few individuals or a group, his teachings took a radical turn even to exhorting his followers to terminate even blood relations with infidels even if they are sons or fathers:
O you who believe! do not take your fathers and your brothers for guardians if they love unbelief more than belief; and whoever of you takes them for a guardian, these it is that are the unjust. (9:23, Shakir)
You shall not find a people who believe in Allah and the latter day befriending those who act in opposition to Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their (own) fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kinsfolk; these are they into whose hearts He has impressed faith,....(58:22, Shakir)
It is not fitting, for the Prophet and those who believe, that they should pray for forgiveness for Pagans, even though they be of kin, after it is clear to them that they are companions of the Fire. (9:113, YUSUF ALI)With such background how does one understand this verse of ‘no compulsion in religion’ especially in the light of what verse 8:39, which was reveled in the year 624 AD, says. Read the 1st passage of verses from below:
And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allâh) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allâh Alone [in the whole of the world]. But if they cease (worshipping others besides Allâh), then certainly, Allâh is All-Seer of what they do. (Hilali, 8:39)
Jihâd (holy fighting in Allâh's Cause) is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allâh knows but you do not know. (Hilali, 2:216)Above verse is telling Muslims to fight, obviously, Non Muslims. Let’s accept, for a moment, Islamic explanation that the context is in defensive nature. But the extent of war, which is to continue until there is no fitnah and religion is for Allah Alone (i.e. Islam), indicates real ambition of Islam is imposing its superiority on others; and it also negates the logic of Muslim apologists that fighting is in self defense.
Whether fighting is defensive or offensive in nature, Muslims having to fight until there is no disbelief means the very presence of disbelief in Islam is an act of aggression on Islam and Muslims.
So, are these two verses 2:256 and 8:39 contradicting each other in their rulings? If they are, Koran proposes a rule, principle of abrogation (2:106, 16:101, 17:86 and 13:39), to resolve such situations. The concept of principle of abrogation states that when rulings of two verses contradict each other, the later verses, in chronological order, precede over earlier verses. In this particular case, the verse 2:256 reveled in the year 625 AD abrogates 8:39 which was reveled in the year 624 AD. This is the case if one assumes that ‘let there be no compulsion in religion’ means saying no to violence to convert others to Islam.
The philosophy behind this vague sentence ‘let there be no compulsion in religion’ is still a open mine. Does it mean freedom of conscience and religion like we understand today; if yes, then why Islam and Islamic law propose death penalty for apostates?:
Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.' (Bukhari; 4, 52, 260)
Allah's Apostle said, "The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims." (Bukhari; 9, 83, 17)OR, is it stopping Muslims from fighting for establishing Islamic law and Islamic superiority? Read below hadith:
Al-Mughira replied to Persian, "We are some people from the Arabs;..... Our Prophet, the Messenger of our Lord, has ordered us to fight you till you worship Allah Alone or give Jizya (i.e. tribute); and our Prophet has informed us that our Lord says:-- "Whoever amongst us is killed (i.e. martyred), shall go to Paradise to lead such a luxurious life as he has never seen, and whoever amongst us remain alive, shall become your master." (Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 53, #386)
Prophet would say: Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war....When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. .....If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them. (Sahih Muslim Book 19, #4294)From hadith, it is clear that this verse does not mean how we understand freedom of conscience and religion. Other than hadith, Koran equally explains where this verse (2:256) stands and what it means. For now, let’s read from what Maududi, founder of Jamait-e-Islaami, says regarding the aim of Jihad and Islam in his Tafsir:
The reason why Jihad should be waged against them (Jews and Christians) is that they did not adopt the Law sent down by Allah through His Messenger. This is the aim of Jihad with the Jews and the Christians and it is not to force them to become Muslims and adopt the `Islamic Way of Life.' They should be forced to pay Jizyah in order to put an end to their independence and supremacy so that they should not remain rulers and sovereigns in the land. These powers should be wrested from them by the followers of the true Faith, who should assume the sovereignty and lead others towards the Right Way, while they should become their subjects and pay jizyah.It is clear that 2:256 is not stopping Muslims from fighting to establish Islamic law i.e. Islamic superiority over others. This is what 8:39 (2:193) also says. Ibn Kathir explains that '...until there is no more Fitnah' means Shirk and 'and the religion (all and every kind of worship) is for Allah Alone' means the religion of Allah becomes dominant above all other religions. Immediate aim of fighting for Islam is not converting every one but establishing Sharia law where in Non Muslim subjects become second class citizens.
Many snake oil spokesmen of Islam in the present day world say that the verse’s (2:256) ruling is universal and Islam is tolerant with out telling about Jizya and Islam awarding second class citizenship to Non Muslim subjects for the sake of purpose of proselytizing and deliberate obfuscation of infidels, not that they really believe in tolerance. Ashghar Ali Engineer of India is one such; an Islamic wolf in sheep clothes. From the first glance at this verse, Non Muslims think that Islam teaches against converting others at point of sword as they tend to equate compulsion with violence or threats of violence but compulsion need not be such massive and extreme physical force all the time. Nevertheless, Islam allows and advices physical violence on massive scale to achieve its goal of Islamic superiority, Sharia law, every where:
It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war (and free them with ransom) until he had made a great slaughter (among his enemies) in the land. You desire the good of this world (i.e. the money of ransom for freeing the captives), but Allâh desires (for you) the Hereafter. And Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise. (Hilali, 8:67)To think that these supposedly moderate and slick Islamic scholars are unaware of Islamic law giving conquered kafirs three alternatives of conversion to Islam or death or pay Jizya in addition to accepting humiliating and inhuman conditions of Islamic apartheid (second class citizenship) to choose, whether in India or anywhere, is folly; at times, in addition to humiliating conditions, the burden of Jizya is so heavy that parents have to sell their children in slave markets. We already have seen how Sharia law treats Non Muslims under Islamic rule. Aren't such humiliating conditions that exist in Sharia compulsion and coercive? Only Muslims who have abandoned reason long ago would say no. These conditions mean much more, like they lead to complete obliteration of infidels and their culture over the course of time.
For Maududi, founder of Jamait-e-Islaami, this degradation along with Jizya is the price Non Muslims have to pay for keeping and practicing their erroneous faith which can corrupt Muslims or act as sedition. He even says that this kind of system is humane and Muslims should be proud rather than feeling guilty.
Few classical scholars hold the view that this verse 2:256 was abrogated by later verses but majority of them hold the view that ruling of this verse stands; however this view, as we have seen already, is completely different from the way we infidels understand concept of 'freedom of religion'. Islamic scholar al-Nahas said:
"the scholars differed concerning Q. 2:256. Some said: 'It has been abrogated [cancelled] for the Prophet compelled the Arabs to embrace Islam and fought them and did not accept any alternative but their surrender to Islam. The abrogating verse is Q. 9:73 'O Prophet, struggle with the unbelievers and hypocrites, and be thou harsh with them.' Mohammad asked Allah the permission to fight them and it was granted. Other scholars said Q. 2:256 has not been abrogated, but it had a special application. It was revealed concerning the people of the Book [the Jews and the Christians]; they can not be compelled to embrace Islam if they pay the Jizia (that is head tax on free non-Muslims under Muslim rule). It is only the idol worshippers who are compelled to embrace Islam and upon them Q. 9:73 applies. This is the opinion of Ibn 'Abbas which is the best opinion due to the authenticity of its chain of authority."Late Syed Qutb, 20th century Islamic ideologue from Egypt, is also of the view that this verse is not abrogated. Whether this was abrogated or not, it is clear that Prophet Mohammad fought wars to force people of Saudi Arabia in to Islam and this is compulsion.
Maududi also says this verse was not abrogated as aim of Islam is only to impose Sharia law after overthrowing all Governments in this world and is not about converting people at point of sword; but Maududi has no problem with conscience on imposing state of apartheid on Non Muslims. Maududi’s view, similar to Syed Qutb’s, of Islamic goal and Jihad is in conformity with what Koran, Hadith and Islamic jurisprudence say. Establishing Sharia Law (Allah’s law as it exists in Koran) or Islamic law or Islamic rule is described as Allah’s cause in both Koran and Hadith. Striving for Allah’s cause is Jihad and its aim is Islam should be superior over others. This Jihad is supreme deed. Read the following hadith:
A man came to the Prophet and asked, "A man fights for war booty; another fights for fame and a third fights for showing off; which of them fights in Allah's Cause?" The Prophet said, "He who fights that Allah's Word (i.e. Islam) should be superior, fights in Allah's Cause." (Sahih Bukhari; Vol. 4, Book 52, # 65)
.......The Prophet said, "He who fights so that Allah's Word (i.e. Islam) should be superior, fights for Allah's Cause." (Sahih Bukhari; Vol. 4, Book 53, #355)
A man came to Allah's Apostle and said, "Instruct me as to such a deed as equals Jihad (in reward)." He replied, "I do not find such a deed." (Sahih Bukhari; Vol. 4,Book 52,#44)
Somebody asked, "O Allah's Apostle! Who is the best among the people?" Allah's Apostle replied "A believer who strives his utmost in Allah's Cause with his life and property." (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 52, # 45)
(That Aisha said), "O Allah's Apostle! We consider Jihad as the best deed. Should we not fight in Allah's Cause?" He said, "The best Jihad (for women) is Hajj-Mabrur (i.e. Hajj which is done according to the Prophet's tradition and is accepted by Allah)." (Sahih Bukhari,; Vol 4, Book 52, #43)Besides the views of scholars on this verse 2:256 and in general, let’s look further in to authoritative sources esp. Islamic scripture Koran as it does not lie and does give actual picture. Let’s look at 2nd passage of few more verses which came after this verse, 2:256:
And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allâh) and (all and every kind of) worship is for Allâh Alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zâlimûn (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.) (Hilali, 2:193)
O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be hard against them; and their abode is hell; and evil is the resort. (Shakir, 66:09)
He it is Who hath sent His messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may make it conqueror of all religion however much idolaters may be averse. (Pickthall, 61:09)
Truly Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure. (Yusuf Ali, 61:04)
O ye who believe! Shall I show you a commerce that will save you from a painful doom? (Pickthall, 61:10)
Ye should believe in Allah and His messenger, and should strive for the cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives. That is better for you, if ye did but know. (Pickthall, 61:11)Above passage of verses should remove any doubts if readers have regarding what 2:256 means as it is not stopping Muslims from fighting to conquer and subjugate infidels and establish Islamic law. First, it should be noted that 8:39 and 2:193 are identical. If someone feels 2:256 abrogated 8:39 previously because of contradiction, then they should not object to 2:193 abrogating 2:256 because verse 2:193 came later. But 2:256 is not abrogated because aim of Islam and Muslims fighting is to impose Islamic law, not converting every one by violence. Ruling of verse 2:256 perfectly goes with what 2:193 says to the end.
These (above) verses were reveled well after 625 AD and before the year 630 AD. Allah in Koran even guarantees eventuality of Islamic superiority every where in the verse 61:09. The verses 2:193, repetition of 8:39, and 61:09 openly indicate global wide Islamic imperialist ambition.
By the year 630 AD, Mohammad has conquered Mecca and was more or less the ruler of much of Arabian peninsula. He was the most powerful man in the peninsula. His once arch enemies in Mecca have converted to Islam and even fought, along with Muslims, against infidels and converted them too. Then, comes the chapter 9, probably in the year 631 AD, the last or penultimate chapter (next one being chapter 110 which is insignificant) to be reveled. So, whatever appears in this chapter, the rulings coming from these verses stand for ever. Read the 3rd passage of verses:
So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Shakir, 9:005)
Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (Yusuf Ali, 9:029)
He it is Who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, that He might cause it to prevail over all religions, though the polytheists may be averse. (Shakir, 9:033)
O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell,- an evil refuge indeed. (Yusuf Ali, 9:073)
O ye who believe! fight the unbelievers who gird you about, and let them find firmness in you: and know that Allah is with those who fear Him. (YUSUF ALI, 9:123)The verse 9:33 again prophesies that it is destiny of the world that it has to be ruled by Islam under Sharia law. This is what Taliban of Pakistan said with respect to India (here). At this point, Koran divides Non Muslims, for describing state of relations that should exist between Islam and others, in to two groups: people of book (Jews and Christians) and others (idolaters, polytheists, Zoroastrians, Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs).
Regarding the verse 9:005, full explanation is out of scope of present article but if one is interested in further reading, then read from here. This verse is called verse of sword. Does it look like this verse is counselling defensive warfare? Only Muslims for sake of public face say it. The verbal command 'fight and slay' and conditions for halting fighting 'if they repent and keep up prayer and zakat' convey that this gives choice of death or conversion to Islam to idolaters. This is what Mohammad did by giving ultimatum to pagans in Arabian peninsula. This is how Islam also deals with idolaters like Hindus and Buddhists; 'let there be no compulsion' does not apply to idolaters and is abrogated.
As-Suyuti, famous Islamic scholar, regarding this verse says:
"This is an Ayat of the Sword which abrogates pardon, truce and overlooking. (seize them) is used as evidence for the permission to take captives. (and besiege them) is permission for besieging and raiding and attacking by night. Ibn Abi Hatim reported that Abu 'Imran al-Jawfi said that ribat in the way of Allah is found in the words, "lie in wait for them on every road." (if they make tawba and establish the prayer and pay the zakat, let them go on their way) Repentance from shirk is not enough to let them go their way until they establish the prayer and pay the zakat. Ash-Shafi'i took this as a proof for killing anyone who abandons the prayer and fighting anyone who refuses to pay zakat. Some use it as a proof that they are kafirun."This verse simply ended idolatry in Arabia and forced pagans to accept Islam at point of sword. The best evidence for this comes from history itself which says that right after the death of Mohammad, Pagans abandoned Islam and reverted to their earlier religions. Islam's first caliph Abu Bakr has to fight these people again and these wars are famously called riddah wars (apostasy wars). These wars lasted two years. Logic dictates that unless pagans (idolaters) were forced to accept Islam why will pagans again go back to their old religion? Maududi too confirms these riddah wars and in view of these he completely justifies the verse 9:005:
The wisdom of this grand plan became apparent when the mischief of apostasy broke out in different parts of Arabia a year and a half after this at the death of the Holy Prophet. This disturbance was so sudden and violent that it shook to its foundations, the newly created Islamic State, and would have done a far greater harm if the organized power of shirk had not been broken beforehand by this abrogation. It may be asserted that but for this timely action the mischief of apostasy, that rose at the very beginning of the Caliphate of Hadrat Abu Bakr, would have done ten-fold harm by rebellion and civil war, and might have changed the whole history of Islam.And Ibn Ishaq earliest biographer of Prophet quotes Aisha, Mohammad's favorite wife, saying:
"when the Prophet died the Arabs rejected Islam and drank Judaism and Christianity and the Star of Nifaq."Al-Ghazali (died AD 1127) considered the greatest scholar of Islam, next only to Mohammad, says this:
"After the death of Mohammad, the man of the miracle [the Qur'an] and the apostle of truth and the companions, fearing the weakening of Islam, the decrease of the number of its followers, and the return of masses to their previous infidelity, saw that holy war and invading other countries for the sake of Allah, smashing the faces of the infidels with the sword and making people enter the religion of Allah as the most worthy of all tasks and better than all sciences."This is what a contemporary Islamic scholar Omar Abun-Nasr writes:
"It is important to note that the inhabitants of the Arabic peninsula initially did not accept Islam willingly and sincerely. This explains the force of the apostasy (riddah) after the death of the Prophet ... the Arabs on the perimeter of the peninsula who were recent converts to Islam refused to pay the tax, some rebelled against the Islamic rule while others rejected Islam. The people of Mecca were about to reject Islam, yea they wanted to, until 'Attab Ibn Osayd threatened them ... and if it was not for Sohayl Ibn 'Amr who coerced them they would have not turned back to Islam."This is compulsion in religion and it is violence and Islamic intolerance that made Arabs Muslims as Mohammad says in his farewell speech:
Allah's Apostle said, "I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.' And if they say so, pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us and we will not interfere with them except legally and their reckoning will be with Allah."(Bukhari; Vol. 1, Book 8, # 387)With regard to verse 9:29, it commands Muslims to fight Jews and Christians for the reason that they are not Muslims as 'Fight those who believe not in Allah' suggests. The halting condition for fighting is either Non Muslims converting to Islam or paying Jizya and accepting Islamic superiority for continuing in their old faith. One can see that this verse does not contradict 2:256 as it allows Jews and Christians to keep their faith if they pay jizya. Jizya is not just monetary and there are many other conditions associated with it as the clause 'feel themselves subdued' in the verse 9:29 says (here, here and here). One can read Maududi writing on 9:29 from here and Ibn Kathir's writing here and here.
If one has read from links provided then they should question, 'aren't such conditions amounting to persecution'? Is persecution not compulsion? Only Muslims deny this. The history of Islamic conquests and expansion is filled with macabre stories and is a fact of a great deal of 'compulsion'. Or even in present day world, one can see this 'compulsion' appearing as intolerance in the way Muslims protest in Non Islamic countries and demand special privileges from infidel governments and, at the same time, denying even basic human rights to Non Muslims living in Islamic countries.
There is one important aspect that should be mentioned esp. with regard to why Hindus paid jizya. What I presented above is purely based on Koran and historical sources. In any manner Islam is not just Koranic affair but also sunna. There are hadith which point to Mohammad accepting Jizya from Zoroastrians and based on this fact that option of jizya was later given to Hindus and Buddhists in addition to death and Islam. But not all schools of Islam agree on this. Only Hanafi school of Islam takes this line based on their view that 9:005 is only for Arabs in Arabian peninsula; but other schools, Shafi'i, Maliki and Hambali, differ with Hanafi on this.
Some Muslims might point to few more verses as proof of Islamic tolerance; what they do not point out is that all these verses come when Mohammad was in Mecca and at a time when he was very weak militarily and politically. At the best his followers could count to 150 after 13 years of preaching and some of these Muslims were sent to Ethiopia. Those who understand concept of rule of abrogation in Koran recognize that these so called peaceful Meccan verses are abrogated by verses reveled in Medina. It was just tactical and strategic decision on part of Mohammad for not committing to warfare and violence. With respect to the question of why Allah did not order Muslims to fight in Mecca, Syed Qutb says:
"Another reason may have been that the Muslims were few in number and they lived only in Mecca, as the message of Islam had not reached other parts of Arabia or had reached only as hearsay....Under these circumstances, if fighting had been allowed, this limited warfare would have resulted in the complete annihilation of the Muslims; even if they had killed a great number of their opponents, they would still have been completely annihilated......"Another scholar, Dr. Sobhy as-Saleh, a contemporary, mentions another classical scholar Zarkashi saying that:
Allah the most high and wise revealed to Mohammad in his weak condition what suited the situation, because of his mercy to him and his followers. For if He gave them the command to fight while they were weak it would have been embarrassing and most difficult, but when the most high made Islam victorious He commanded him with what suited the situation, that is asking the people of the Book to become Muslims or to pay the levied tax, and the infidels to become Muslims or face death. These two options, to fight or to have peace return according to the strength or the weakness of the Muslims. (ibid p 270)Another scholar Dr. Mohsin Khan, translator of Hadith of Sahih Bukhari in to English, says in introduction to translation (here) :
Then Allah revealed in Sura Bara'at (Repentance, IX) the order to discard (all) the obligations (covenants, etc.) and commanded the Muslims to fight against all the pagans as well as against the people of the scriptures (Jews and Christians) if they do not embrace Islam, till they pay the Jizya (A tax levied on the Jews and Christians who do not embrace Islam and are under the protection of an Islamic government) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued (as it is revealed in the verse 9:29). So they (Muslims) were not permitted to abandon "the fighting" against them (Pagans, Jews and Christians) and to reconcile with them and to suspend hostilities against them for an unlimited period while they are strong and have the possibility of fighting against them.
So at first "the fighting" was forbidden, then it was permitted and after that it was made obligatory (1) against those who start "the fighting" against you (Muslims) . . . (2) And against all those who worship others along with Allah . . . as mentioned in Sura Al-Baqra (II), Al'Imran (III), and Bara'at (IX) . . . and other Suras (Chapters of the Qur'an).So, when Muslims say there is no compulsion in religion it is pure deceit and sometimes it is just a temporary ploy; Islam does not exist with out compulsion and lies and violence. Many Muslims most of the time say one thing to infidels and infidel media for public consumption and say another thing to Muslims in mosques and Islamic countries. Finally, when Muslims say want to impose sharia on Non Muslims, it is compulsion, persecution and intolerance, you pick the word. Even after reading this, if some one wants to believe Islam is tolerant, they can but that does not make Islam a tolerant one.