Quran 2:191 [Killing Infidels?]

And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers [Quran 2:191]


If somebody is persecuting and fighting a group of people, they have a right to resist or fight back. That is a right recognized by all almost all systems of jurisprudence, and it should not be considered as a call for violence. The next two verses say:

[2.192] But if they desist, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

[2.193] And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors.

So if they desist, Muslims should do the same.

Explanations by Muslim Exegetes

Maududi: Here the word ‘fitnah’ is used in the sense of ‘persecution.’ It refers to a situation whereby either a person or a group is subjected to harassment and intimidation for having accepted, as true, a set of ideas contrary to those currently held, and for striving to effect reforms in the existing order of society by preaching what is good and condemning what is wrong. Such a situation must be changed, if need be, by the force of arms. Bloodshed is bad, but when one group of people imposes its ideology and forcibly prevents others from accepting the truth, then it becomes guilty of an even more serious crime. In such circumstances, it is perfectly legitimate to remove that oppressive group by the force of arms.


10 thoughts on “Quran 2:191 [Killing Infidels?]

  1. Pete Frens February 2, 2013 at 3:51 am Reply

    So when the Muslims come to our country and demand that they get prayer rooms in our schools or place of work. And demand for us to remove things from our school that offend them, or I cannot serve pork or other food that isn’t halal because the one Muslim worker overrules all of the others. Or they demand the permission to build a mosque in my town even though 95% of the people say no. Then I would have the right to use force to stop this imposing of their ideology you are saying?

    • sincereadvisor February 3, 2013 at 4:56 am Reply

      I am not sure how that is related to verse 2:191, which I explained above. But I will answer your question. First of all, not all Muslims “come here.” About 30% of all Muslims in the US are converts or children of converts. Secondly, the “demands,” as you call them, could simply be a demand for equal treatment. Many Muslims see Jews having special privileges and they want the same. You, in the majority, always have the right to refuse. But, if you think about it, how is it hurting you? Most schools have chapels. You can allow them to use those. In offices, if there is common area or a lunch room that Muslims can use for just 15 minutes for prayers and make up for that time by working extra hours, what’s wrong with it? I do not know of any Muslims who insist that pork be disallowed for Christians or only Halal meat be served in cafeterias. If that is so, they are wrong. Finally, if the 5% in the community want to build a mosque, what’s wrong with it? There are only 2% Jews in America but there are thousands and thousands of synagogues. Let every one build whatever they want to build, as long as they meet the building codes. In competition, you can build a much bigger church for the remaining 95%. It would be good for the construction industry.

    • Abdul Ahad Malhi June 2, 2013 at 4:21 pm Reply

      If a Muslims persecutes he or she is no Muslim at all until they stop and ask for forgiveness remember “God is all forgiving”.

  2. Pete Frens February 3, 2013 at 3:41 pm Reply

    Well I guess you don’t know too much – Because Christians are not allowed to bring bibles to school nor to have prayer times in public schools yet when the Muslims are denied that privilege they cry racism. And I am talking about a Muslim staff I have and he tries to demand that I must buy Halal food (Meals are supplied at my work) so he can eat there. I say if you don’t like the food bring your own. He thinks I’m racist. This is only one case I know of many. In fact at my sister-in-laws work the Muslims demanded a nice prayer room and so the staff lounge was taken away from the general workers so the demanding Muslims could have their prayer room, because it was politically incorrect to not give in to their demands. Then some Muslim students went to a Catholic School and demanded that the crucifix be removed. So again Christians are not allowed to bring bibles to school, yet the Muslim girls demand that they could wear the religious hijab. ETC ETC. When in Rome dress like the Romans – When in my country dress like we do. I don’t like it that our police have to allow somebody to dress different when they want to be a police. If you don’t like our police uniform you do not have to try to be a police. The Muslims demanded that they should be able to use Sharia law in Ontario Canada – Could thing that is one where the province did not give in. There were many Muslim ladies the majority were those that immigrated to Canada that were against the Sharia. That tells me something about how Sharia is very gender biased. And according to your comment once our country would have Muslim Majority then you would be allowed to kill us all, if we did not convert to Islam.

  3. sincereadvisor February 4, 2013 at 5:08 am Reply

    You have brought up many different issues, and I am not sure if I can answer in a way that would satisfy you, but I will try.

    Prayer in Schools: You are perhaps confusing school sanctioned prayer with prayers offered privately by a group of students. The two are not the same. I am sure if a group of Christian students request that the school provides them chapel space, where they can go and offer their own prayers, I am sure the school wouldn’t mind. I have in the past proposed that schools allow church groups to rent classroom space before the start of school in the morning to coach their own young adherents. This would raise much needed cash for schools and allow parents to drop off their kids early.

    Meals at Lunch: I have never heard of meals being provided by the employer. Do you work for a state institution? If that is so, the state may have an obligation to treat all people fairly. If it’s a private company, then your Muslim staff member is just wrong. He can either have vegetarian meals or bring his own. On that point, I side with you.

    Staff Lounge: Muslims don’t pray all day! So, the company should have rules that Muslims can use it for 15 minutes and then put everything back to where it was. There is no reason to let the Muslims occupy the entire room for the whole day.

    Hijab is not exactly a religious symbol. It’s also very cultural, and I have seen many Christian women wearing a scarf in the Middle East and even here in the US. I have never been in favor of banning religious symbols. You should have the freedom to wear a cross any time, any place. It seems to me your problem is with radical secularism rather than with Muslims.

    Police Uniform: Not sure what you mean. Is it the scarf issue again? Do you have the same issue with Sikhs wearing a turban? Why can’t a Muslim police officer wear a scarf and a Sikh police officer wear a turban? It doesn’t seem to be an issue in England, where such things are common.

    Shariah Laws: My problem with your comment is that most people who are against Shariah cannot define it. Often, what they think is part of Shariah is clearly not. So unless you are more specific as to which part of Shariah you are against, it’s difficult for me to comment. However, the part of Shariah that some Western Muslims do want is related to marriage, divorce and inheritance laws, which do not really affect non-Muslims. See also my section, Shariah Laws on this web page.

  4. Pete Frens February 5, 2013 at 3:59 am Reply

    Well I see cases of women who refuse to take off their face and head covering even in court – This is unacceptable – You should not have the right to hide your identity in court or when boarding a plane or any other public transport system. What if someone started a religion that said men should wear a balaclava – would you feel safe with men having their faces completely covered? Of course not, neither do I feel safe when a totally face covered person boards the plane without having been totally checked, and I have had to board planes like that. They just let those ladies with their face covered on the plane to prevent trouble with being called racist.

    • sincereadvisor February 7, 2013 at 4:06 am Reply

      Covering the face has very little to do with Islam, and in fact during Haj, the annual pilgrimage, women are actually forbidden to cover their face! It is more of a cultural tradition, and it really doesn’t bother me that much. If some women like to do it, they should have the freedom to do so. As far as getting on planes and security, you can have women officers look at their face, so that is not much of an issue.


  5. Melanie August 6, 2013 at 8:59 am Reply

    Your ability to clarify the issues that were brought up with such grace is commendable. It seems a constant that people confuse culture and religion. Whatever the reason, ignorance and oppression is not the answer. Getting to know the ‘whys’ with an open mind can help all parties come to an agreeable environment.

    • sincereadvisor August 8, 2013 at 3:15 am Reply

      Melanie, thank you for your very kind words, and I fully agree with your latter statement.

  6. Saif July 6, 2014 at 4:47 pm Reply

    This site is such an admirable endeavor. Me and my Muslim family is not religious (something I am not exactly proud of but that’s the way it is). My father was a Muslim and mother a Protestant Christian. Our father never forbade us to visit a Church, though, my paternal family being Muslim, we followed a lot of Muslim cultural activities and festivals.

    My mother passed away last year and I got her buried in a Christian graveyard, as was her wish. Recently, my sister got married to a Catholic and is very happy.

    The point of all this is that there are all kind of Muslims in the world. Unfortunately, there is only a certain kind which is depicted in popular media. This site is a great help to understanding this religion better – for Muslims and Non-Muslims alike.

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