Thirdly, I do not find that the Quran teaches you to compel others to follow your way or belief against their wish. This is one of the more emphatic teachings of the Quran that I respect and hold great admiration for – to you your way and to me, mine. The Quran acknowledges and allows for freedom of thought, conscience and faith. The Truth is clear and those who want to understand will. At the end of it all, it is the Creator that will judge between us.
“Say: "Our Lord will gather us together and will in the end decide the matter between us (and you) in truth and justice: and He is the one to decide, the One Who knows all”. (Quran: 34:26)
In the meantime, let us live or co-exist peacefully (slm) without causing mischief. This is the Islam that I understand from the Quran.
It is arrogance and oppressive to compel your religious views on others. Today we find many modern day self-acclaimed religious people and scholars attempting to behave as gods. They wish to compel on the self claim that they alone are qualified or have authority. This is a frightening and dangerous phenomenon because they want to be the sole source of how you think. To me, this has nothing to with Islam since the Quran teaches self accountability and freedom of faith. (To me also, those who delegate their minds and hearts to others are also not really serious about what they believe in).
Indoctrination and compulsion of ideas and ideologies have caused much enmity, misery and sufferings throughout human history. Families have been destroyed, human dignity trampled upon, lives have been lost. This is not Islam to me. Attempts at indoctrination and force have in many instances had an adverse effect in that it pushes people away from the very ideology or idea that are being propagated. The Creator has predicted this too:
“Revile not you those whom they call upon besides God, lest they out of spite revile God in their ignorance. Thus have We made alluring to each people its own doings. In the end will they return to their Lord, and We shall then tell them the truth of all that they did”. (Quran: 6:108)
The Creator clearly asks those who wish to play god on earth by compelling other to believe in things against their wish this question:
“If it had been your Lord's will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! Will you then compel/force mankind, against their will, to believe?!” (Quran: 10:99)
And to those arrogant religious ones who insist on you following their views, the Quran teaches the following response:
“Ask you of them, which of them will stand surety (guarantee) for that!” (Quran 68:40)
Instead or compelling or threatening others into faith, the Creator proposes that we discuss with one another intelligently, wisely and with decorum. There is no need for aggressive outbursts. There is no need to get worked up if someone disagrees with your views – you are simply not his saviour. After all, it may be you that needs “saving” from mental delirium caused by over dosage of religion.
"Call them to the path of your Lord through wisdom and good advice and argue with them in the best manner. God knows well about those who stray from His path and those who seek guidance". (Quran 16:125)
The Ad-Deen approach is able to comprehend the realistic and psychological basis of the teachings of the Creator. It is impossible to force people to truly believe in something they do not. At the best, when you force people, they will become hypocritical.
The religious approach on the other hand cannot accept this position because, among other things, it will involve the views of the religious scholars and tribalism behaviour of some adherents. Religious people generally have a proprietary attitude towards their religion and hence if someone does not share their belief, they take it as a personal attack on their belief. They cannot be at peace (slm) accepting that it is a difference of opinion. It also never dawns on them that they could be wrong.
The often used excuse to compel others to accept their view is that their view is the majority view. However, it is a fact that a lie repeated a thousand times transmitted through generations do not make it a truth and vice versa. On the issue of majority, this is what the Quran says:
“And if you obey most of those in the earth, they will lead you astray from Allah's way; they follow but conjecture and they only lie”. (Quran 6:116)
Today’s information technology has enabled those who are keen to do research on religion to do so quickly, easily and effectively. It is easy to browse through the Quran by using a simple search engine to find out what it has to say on various topics. The amount of open discussion and sharing of information on the internet has raised the knowledge of those who are interested. In this sense, the internet has actually threatened the monopoly of the religious scholars on matters relating to facts and truth - hence the greater insistence by some religious scholars and religionists on blind faith religion and compulsion.
“To every People have We appointed rites and ceremonies which they must follow: let them not then dispute with you on the matter, but you invite (them) to the Lord: for you are assuredly on the Right Way”. (Quran: 22:67)
And what do you do when they reject your call to come to the Way?
“But if they turn away, your duty is only to convey the clear Message”. (Quran 16:82)