Excerpt from Chapter 7 – “THE SWORD VERSES”Published March 19, 2018
These verses, which bear resemblance to the Sword Verses, are
directed against the hypocrites, whose only offense as disclosed
in the above verses is that “they really wish that you should also
become disbelievers, as they themselves are so that both may
become alike.” This may have entitled the Quran to instruct its
followers not to take the hypocrites as friends “unless they
migrate in the way of Allah,” but can this form the basis to
“seize them wherever you find them and slay them”? Can this
represent pluralism in any form?*
That the Quran never meant to promote pluralism is also
visible from other verses, such as “O Prophet, wage Jihad against
the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them.
Their abode is Hell, and an evil abode it is!” (66:9).27 The
discussion in Chapter 8 (“The Jews of Medina”) is relevant, too.
It thus transpires that the Sword Verses are not the exception
but that there is a consistent progression towards intolerance,
which is discernible in other verses as well. Even if the Sword
Verses had stood alone, however, while an ethic of pluralism was
otherwise consistently upheld, could one have ignored these
verses altogether? Not quite!