A messenger, not an enforcer
God sent all His Prophets (peace be upon them all) to deliver His message to the people. He has clearly distinguished the truth from the error in His Divine messages. It must be remembered that, it is up to the people, if they choose to accept or reject the message. By all means, the role of a true Muslim is to follow God’s message, be a good example of a moral being to others and invite others to the Divine truth. There is no compulsion in religion, and this motto can be considered as a religious obligation. https://qpeace.net/?p=3122
Quran 2: 256 “…Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from Error. whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks…”
Quran 42:48 “…But if they turn away (O Prophet, know that) We have not sent you to be their keeper: your duty is just to deliver (the message)…”
Quran 18:29 “…Say, “The truth is from your Lord”: Let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject….”
Quran 88:21-88:22 ‘…So, [O Prophet,] keep on preaching. Your task is only to preach. You can not compel them [to believe]….”
Why is compulsion in religion not an option?
Allah created human souls with an innate spiritual goodness and awareness of the Divine. The Quran describes this spiritual awareness of the Divine and the ability to differentiate between good and bad of humans as their “natural predisposition” (Fitrah). https://qpeace.net/?p=1716
Divine blueprint for the soul
1. Firstly, God allowed some of His own spirit to enter human souls during the process of creation of souls (Quran 32:9, 38:72). God placed awareness of His Divine presence inside the souls at very early stage of their creation. (Quran 7:172).
2. Secondly, He perfected human souls with the moral faculty to differentiate between right and wrong and the ability to act upon them. Thus human souls received instincts, both good and bad (Quran 91:7-8).
3. Accordingly, the Quran suggests that, the people who nurture their good instincts are the ones who will be successful. Conversely, Those who nurture their bad instincts will see ultimate failure. (Quran 91:9-10)
4. Finally, people who with their free will choose to nurture their instinct to do good, Allah will facilitate and make it easy for them to perform other good deeds, that will lead them to the extreme ease of heaven. On the contrary, people who with their free will choose to nurture their evil instincts, Allah will facilitate and make it easy for them to indulge in more bad deeds that will lead them to extreme distress of hell (Quran 30:5-10)
Compulsion is not in the Divine plan
Consequently, in the Quran, Allah urges human beings to align their actions with their God given primordial nature which He gave them at the time of their creation. With this in mind, we can see that it is the voluntary submission or voluntary rejection to God’s will is what in the test. With any effort to coerce, the actions are no longer considered voluntary. For this reason, compulsion is not a part of the divine spiritual design for human beings.
Was Islam spread by force?
The narrative that claims that Islam wants to convert all “infidels” to Islam or kill them is a bizarre Islamophobic trope. Muslims did not force convert people to help spread Islam over the centuries of history of Islam. The Quran implies strict no compulsion in religion motto. Forced conversion, if happened over the centuries of Islam’s spread, happened against the values that Quran teaches and has been “rare” * or “exceptional”** rather than a norm. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forced_conversion:
References: *Waines (2003) “An Introduction to Islam” Cambridge University Press. p. 53) ** Michael Bonner (2008). Jihad in Islamic History. Princeton University Press. pp. 89–90.).