Refuting the Extremist Interpretations of the Text and the Prophetic Traditions: The Case of Qur’an 2:256

  • Hakan CoruhEmail author
Part of the Middle East Today book series (MIET)


This chapter takes Q. 2:256 as a case study to show how radicalised groups such as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) understand it, refuting this narrative by relying on mainstream understandings of war and peace-related scriptural texts. While Q. 2:256 states “there is no compulsion in religion,” proponents of offensive jihad claim this verse was abrogated by the sword verse (Q. 9:5). Some classical jurists were influenced by a war-based relationship in the medieval period. Therefore, some verses from the last stage of the Qur’anic revelation, such as Q. 9:5, are interpreted in such a way that fighting against unbelievers will be a continuing norm and other verses, such as Q. 2:256, are interpreted accordingly. Q. 2:256 declares a final universal principle about the freedom of religion and unconditionally fighting due to faith is not a mainstream Islamic approach.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Charles Sturt UniversitySydneyAustralia

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