There is a verse in the Qur’an that basically says, “Believe what you want to believe, let me believe what I am going to believe” – kind of a “let’s all live together and everyone be happy” teaching. This was written early on in Muhammad’s dictation of the Qur’an.
Later, however, there are verses like Sura 9:29, which says,
“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Apostle, 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.”
This passage doesn’t tell Muslims to fight those who attack them or stand in oppression to Islam. It actually tells them to fight those among the Jews and Christians (the People of the Book) who refuse to believe in Allah, until they pay the Jizya or tax charged to non-Muslims.
The justification for this is listed in the very next verse:
“The Jews say, “Ezra is the son of Allah “; and the Christians say, “The Messiah is the son of Allah .” That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved [before them]. May Allah destroy them;”
So, according to the Qur’an, because these people believe that God has a Son, then they should be destroyed. Firstly, we know that Jews do not believe that Ezra nor Jesus is the Son of God, so that’s inaccurate. Secondly, chapter nine of the Qur’an is the final major chapter to be revealed to Muhammad. So, as he is leaving the Muslims, he leaves them with these marching orders: fight the Jews and Christians until they pay the Jizya.
Verse five of the same chapter is even worse:
“…slay the infidels wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them, and lie in ambush everywhere for them” (Sura 9:5)
So, when a Muslim says, “Islam is a religion of peace” and then list off all the peaceful verses in the Qur’an, do not deny they are there. In fact, these messages are, in fact, within the pages of the Qur’an. However, they were abrogated. They were repealed, contradicted, and made obsolete by chapter nine of the Qur’an and many other violent passages.
Early on, the Qur’an says things like Jews and Christians are friends and will go to heaven if they do good deeds. However, later on, Muhammad leaves an entirely different message which overturns those more peaceful messages.
Then, for further clarification, all you have to do is turn to the Hadith, which serves as interpretation for the Qur’an.
One of these is a whole book on jihad. It’s this Hadith work that the Sunni Muslims believe is the most trusted of them all. This accounts for such great disparity in views between Muslims around the world.
Therefore, don’t dismiss or ignore the fact that there are peaceful instructions in the Qur’an. But, know that when Muslims purport that these are the guiding principles of Muhammad’s teachings, know that they are actually contextualizing Islam to a modern, Western worldview. They are trying to say, “We understand that human rights involves tolerance and we should be peaceful with one another. Therefore, we are going to revamp our faith in order to make it fit within the context of Western culture.”
But, throughout history, Islam taught that contextualizing the Qur’an is forbidden. Every Muslim must perform exactly as Muhammad instructed in the Qur’an and the Hadith.
So, which is the true Islam? The instructions and legacy that Muhammad left is not a peaceful religion.
So, what should our response be? In regards to learning about the histories of Islam, Muhammad and the Qur’an, it is our job to make sure that when we share the Gospel, it is Jesus Christ who is the center of what we say. When a Muslim asks, “Why should I become a Christian?”; don’t ever answer, “Because your faith is ridiculous.”
Instead simply tell them that Christ is Lord and tell them about the truth of who Jesus is.
With this in mind, then any fear of getting to know and talking with Muslims should be alleviated. The Bible tells us Christians to be above fear, willing to suffer, to give even our enemies something to drink if they are thirsty and clothes if they are in need.
Therefore, as Christians, our response to Muslims is not to lambast something that people feel is very important to them; but to be knowledgeable and share the Gospel in love.