Part One: The Importance of Da’wah 

From its very beginning, Islam was spread politically and occupied territories by two arms: Jihad, the violent arms of occupation, violence and war-mongering, and Da‘wah, the diplomatic and propaganda arm with the aim of Islamization. We are all well acquainted with Jihad, with its varied manifestations of violence, how it originated from Qur’anic commandments, and we have put our most attention, energies and resources on preventing it. From Islamic perspective, it is critical to internalize that killing and being killed is the utmost of Islamic ideals. This is a win-win situation and it means even killing the Mujahid’s parents, brothers and sisters if they are not Muslims. This is a win-win situation: if the Muslim is killed on the battleground, he becomes Shahid and enjoys all the glories of Paradise; and if he wins on the battleground, he becomes master of the infidels and gets booty.

However, though Jihad is the notorious instrument of all Muslim doctrines, Islam means first and foremost conquering the world by Da‘wah, by propaganda, by proselytizing, by winning the hearts of all human beings to believe in Islam as the supreme religion. Da‘wah is the important arm with the aim to submit and to capitulate. All through Islamic history it has served as the religious legitimization basis to invite all human beings to accept Islam as the only supreme religion. The operational order was always Da‘wah first, and if it fails, than Jihad: Da’wah Qablal-Jihad.

The contemporary Islamic onslaught against the free world to conquer and to submit it to Islamic rule precisely shows these tendencies. Da‘wah is perpetuated as diplomacy of deceit. It is the secretive lethal enemy that the Free World is even unaware of; it approaches the infidels in moderate, tender, and graceful ways. It is the non-violent stealth strategy of coercion and capitulation; the concept of missionary activity to enforce its will through the Shari‘ah. Da‘wah is intended to change our minds and our behavior and to subvert our mode of thinking. It is a cultural coercive strategy aimed at toppling the democratic liberal regimes and eliminating freedoms and civil rights. By infiltrating Western technology and societies’ fabrics the Islamic aim is to destroy them from within.

There is a political, non-combatant wing of the global Jihad movement that acts inward, to the Islamic community, and outward, to the infidels. Inwardly, it serves as a production line of terrorism, manufacturing millions of Muslims with a Salafi religious orientation and worldview to what they consider true Islam, with the aim of portraying its past glories in order to bring it back to global leadership.

Although Barry Rubin refers to “what Marxism was to Communism, and fascism to Nazism, Jihadism is to Islamism,” a deeper acquaintance with Islam should put Da‘wah as the main component even above Jihad. In the Islamic tradition it is phrased as “Da‘wah Qablal-Jihad.” This reality was historically presented by the Hadīth, based on 9:29 in the Qur’an. 

“Muhammad said: when you meet your enemies among the unbelievers, offer them three choices, whichever of these they agree to, accept it from them and cease hostilities: call them to Islam. If they accept … make peace with them … if they refuse, demand that they pay the Jizyah. If they agree, accept it from them … If they still refuse …fight against them and slay them for the sake of Allah.”

Da‘wah is the first to approach the enemies of Islam. Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406) clearly articulates this division: because of the universalism of the Muslim mission, it becomes a religious duty to convert to Islam or to bring them under Islamic rule, either by persuasion (Da‘wah) or by force (Jihad).

While the operation of Jihad and Da‘wah are carried out by different actors and perpetrators, they are all part and parcel of the objective to recreate the caliphate as Allah’s kingdom on earth.  This objective is compulsory on Muslims, according to the principle of al-Wala‘ wal-Bara‘ (loyalty and enmity), which is a declaration of complete loyalty to the Shari’ah. Malik elaborates this interaction between Jihad and Da‘wah:

“…our main objective is the opponent’s heart or soul, and our main weapon of offence against this objective is the strength of our own souls … (These) are not only a means, but the end itself … It can be instilled only if the opponent’s faith and belief systems are destroyed.”

This has become a pattern, a fascinated strategy, as one arm terrorizes and intimidates and the other deceives and misleads, and by that sow confusion and disorientation among the infidels. But it is much more: Islam relentlessly works on each and every degree on the spectrum and uses all possible means of Jihad and Da‘wah arms, from persuasion of sweet talk to intimidation and harassment and to a total inhuman terrorism. Everything and anything is legitimized in the march of Islam, for the sake of Allah.

What are the Religious Sources of the Da‘wah?

a) First, from verses of the Qur’an, Allah himself deceives the infidels, being the best plotter. This is the supreme example for the believers to follow. If Allah deceives the infidels, believers have all the religious justification and the cultural legitimacy to mislead, to deceive, to disorient and to cheat the infidels wherever and whenever they are.

b) Second, the religious permission in the Qur’an to use the Taqiyah. Literally it means dissimulation, concealing one’s own beliefs and religious values, a permission to renounce Islam or even to twist its real meanings. Muslims are permitted to behave like infidels, even worship other gods, in order to promote the Islamic interests. These acts and utterings do not lead to infidelity as long as the heart is with Islam and the believer is comfortable with the faith. Islamic history demonstrates the broad applicability and the fundamental importance of Taqiyah in Islam, and not only among Shiites. Today, Taqiyah is highly prevalent in Islamic politics and has become the mainstream strategy of propaganda machinery; one may call the diplomacy of deceit.

c) Third, the Kitman principle, which means telling only part of the truth. Muslims are allowed to freely deny any part of the Islamic faith if it influences the infidels, the Kuffar, that it is peaceful and compassionate religion, and by that help to promote the Islamic cause to subdue the world. This means that Muslims can swear allegiance to the US constitution or the Israeli Knesset without binding to it, since the inner belief of Islam is uppermost.

d) Fourth, Lying to the infidels. If telling part of the truth (Kitman) is not enough, Muslims are allowed to lie for Islam’s sake: Muhammad said: “a man, who brings peace to the people of Islam by making up good words or by saying nice things, though untrue, does not lie.” Ali said: “when I say something unrelated to Muhammad, it might be very well a lie, so that I deceive the Muslims’ enemies… so kill the apostates wherever you find them.”

e) Fifth, agreements with infidels are all temporary and not binding. Contrary to international military affairs, the constant situation in Islamic conception is the division between Dar al-Islam, the Islamic territories, and Dar al-Harb, the territories of the infidels. These two are constantly in a war-like situation, and what connects them is Jihad as a perpetual war, until the entire universe comes under Islamic rule. There is also Dar al-‘Ahd, a territory of the infidels that is in contract with Islam. However, this situation is only temporary and must not be constant and regular. According to the example of the Khudaybiyah Treaty, signed by Muhammad with the Meccans in year 628, treaties must be of temporary duration, and Muslims may abrogate them for Islamic interests. In Muslim legal theory, the normal relations between Muslim and non-Muslim territories are not peaceful, but warlike. This is according to the Qur’an verse; there must be benefit (Maslahah) in making a truce with the enemy other than the status quo.

From the early days of Islam, Da‘wah was used extensively to denote the mission of Muhammad: to follow him and to believe in Allah’s Tawhid (uniqueness). By that the words Sunnah, Shari‘ah, Din and Da‘wah are exchangeable and replaceable by one another. That means Da‘wah represents the real Islam in its full context, and a clear message to the world concerning Islamic intentions. For Idris Tawfiq, a contemporary Islamic exegete, “the meaning of Da‘wah is very clear: to summon all the people to accept Islam as the only true religion.” One can find on many Internet Islamic sites huge passages and detailed instructions how to approach the infidels and to deceive them about the character and nature of Islam.

Today Da‘wah is used as the chief diplomatic operation of Islamic propaganda to deceive, to disorient and to confuse the infidels about the real objectives of Islam. Moreover, Da‘wah helps to redirect and twist reality. From their perspective, it is not only in order to convert people to Islam, but to liberate them from the dark slavery in which they live in by showing them the beauty of Islamic way of life. This is clearly echoed in the Muslim Brotherhood periodical, al-Da‘wah, which indicates that the Da‘wah is the genuine instrument of the Islamic cultural and historical personality and identity, for recreating true Islamic society, the Ummah. Only the Da‘wah has the total cure for sick, collapsing societies.

The other side of the Da‘wah is the political use to divert public opinion from the horrors of Jihad, to whitewash Islamic terrorism: one hand butchers and demolishes, and the other condemns and misleads. So it turns that after a terrorist Jihad act is executed, Muslim organizations and NGOs rush immediately up to deny any connection to Islam and to reassure that Islam is a peaceful, compassionate religion and that the terrorists are in fact not Muslims. Unfortunately, their success is tremendous, as Western leaders echo all these deceitful slogans willingly and enthusiastically, and by that blind their peoples about the true intentions of Islam.

Part Two: Falsifying the Meaning of the Qur’an Verses

Condemning and denying is only one aspect of Da‘wah propaganda. There is also the strategy aimed at subduing public opinion by subjecting it to Islamic will. It is elaborated by misquoting verses and twisting their real implications. Few examples will suffice to exhibit the trend:

The most important verse that was quoted again and again by the presidents of the US, prime ministers of Britain, and many other Western leaders to show that Islam is really moderate, compassionate and aa proof that it is a religion of peace is Surat al-Ma’idah, 5:32:

“If anyone slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the entire human race.”

However, this is only part of the verse. The full text is as follows:

“That is why we decreed for the Children of Israel that if anyone slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading corruption and mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the entire human race. Our apostle brought clear proofs to them, but even after that most of them committed excesses in the land.”

Moreover, the next verse (5:33), which is tightly connected to the previous, reveals the whole issue clearly by declaring:

“The punishment for those who wage war against Allah and his prophet and perpetrate corruption in the land is to kill and hang them or have a hand on one side and a foot on the other cut off. Or banish them of the land. Such is their disgrace in the world, and in the hereafter their doom shall be dreadful.”

Now it is understood: the aim of verse 5:32 is intended for the Muslim community. It is taken from the Jewish exegetes’ declaration in book of Sanhedrin, chapter 4 verse 5, in the Mishna:

“Therefore, humans were created singly, to teach you that whoever destroys a single soul, Scripture accounts it as if he had destroyed a full world; and whoever saves one soul of Israel, Scripture accounts it as if she had saved a full world.”

However, Muhammad used this verse against the Jewish community by blaming the Jews:

“Our apostle brought clear proofs to them, but even after that most of them committed excesses in the land [last part of 5:32], and therefore the punishment for those who wage war against Allah and his prophet and perpetrate corruption in the land is to kill and hang them or have a hand on one side and a foot on the other cut off. Or banish them of the land. Such is their disgrace in the world, and in the hereafter their doom shall be dreadful” [5:33].

This verse (5:32) is absolutely not one that proves Islam to be peaceful and compassionate, but to the contrary: it shows the real face of Islam, being a violent, murderous and hate-mongering religion. It commands the Muslims to torture, to banish, and to kill the other. There is neither tolerance nor peacefulness.

Another example used by Muslim propagandists and their Western supporters to prove that Islam is against violence and terrorism is found in Surat al-Anfal 8:61.

“But if the enemy inclines towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for he is one that hears and knows (all things).”

This verse is misleading and taken out of context, because it is closely attached to the previous verse, 8:60, and together they explain the horrific Islamic reality:

“… strike terror in the hearts of the enemy of Allah and your own, and others beside you not known to you but known to Allah …”

Now verse 8:61 is understood, and it is absolutely not peaceful. The Muslims must prepare any means to strike terror against their enemies and the enemies of Allah. And then, only then, if the enemy submits and yields and inclines to make peace with the Muslims, meaning to accept Islam’s superiority, then the Muslims make peace with them. This is not peace between two sovereign entities but subordination and control. Moreover, verse 8:60 is the slogan of the Muslim Brotherhood, and its first word, Wa‘iddu, is found in its flag.

Another example of propaganda of deceit is found in Surat al-Mumtahanah, 60:8.

“Allāh does not forbid you from being kind and acting justly towards those who did not fight over faith with you, nor expelled you from your homes. Allāh indeed loves those who are just.”

This seems to be an innocent verse until it is read along with the next verse (60:9), which unfortunately is not quoted by the propagandists though tightly knit to the previous one:

“He only forbids you from making friends with those who fought over faith with you from your homes, and aided in your exile. Whoever makes friends with them is an oppressor.” 

Now it is understood. Allah commands Muslims to fight and butcher those infidels who fight Muslims over religion. Yet, those who do not fight the Muslims over religion, meaning they accept Islam or ready to come to terms with Islam, are treated kindly and justly.

Islamic propagandists also bring narrations from the Hadith, in which Muhammad forbade killing of women and children, so as to exhibit how Islam is defined as a religion of compassion and mercy (as if killing women and children is common and acceptable). However, according to Sahih al-Tirmidhi, the only reason for sparing the life of women and children is to take them captives, to convert the children to Islam, and to take the women as concubines and a factories for more children:

“And there is no group of people on earth in which you cannot bring to me from them Muslims. And the best I like that you bring their wives and sons and kill their men.”

This Hadith precisely shows the teachings of Islam: no compassion but ruthlessness; no peace but war-mongering; and no tolerance but coercion by force. There is no cooperation and no co-existence but hatred to the other.

Another example used to prove that Islam is tolerant, is found in Surat Kafirun 109:6.

“Say, O apostates, I do not worship what you worship; nor you worship of what I worship; nor will I be a worshipper of what you worship; nor will you be worshippers of what I worship. For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.”

This Surah is not a proof of tolerance, nor peaceful. On the contrary, it is a renunciation from the deeds of the idolaters and it commands a complete disavowal of the Muslims from them. According to Ibn Kathir, the entire Surah, consisting of six verses, includes the renunciation of every apostate on the face of the earth, though it is particularly directed towards the Quraysh of Mecca. Allah commands his messenger to disavow himself from their religion completely. Allah alone has no partner, and the Messenger and his followers worship Allah according to what He has legislated. This is why the statement of Islam is “There is no God worthy of being worshipped except Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” Therefore, “To you be your religion, and to me my religion.” This is similar to Allah’s statement in (10:41): “For me are my deeds and for you are your deeds. You are innocent of what I do, and I am innocent of what you do.” al-Bukhari said. It has been said, “to you be your religion,” means apostasy; and “to me my religion,” means, Islam.

However, the utmost example of Islamic propaganda is found elsewhere. There is no other verse that is more frequently cited by Muslim preachers and propagandists to depict Islam as peaceful and compassionate than Surat al-Baqarah, 2:256, which is made to declare “There is no Compulsion in religion.” Again, it is quoted in part and out of context. Reading the entire verse enables us to understand the real meaning. Contrary to Sheikh Abdur Rahman, the chief justice of Pakistan, who explains this verse “contains the charter of freedom of conscience unparalleled in the religious annals of mankind,” there is no tolerance and accepting the other. The entire verse reads:

“There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever denies the wrong and believes in Allah he indeed has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks off and Allah is Hearing, Knowing.”

The partial quote contrasts with the other part. The entire verse emphasizes the division between truth from wrong and the good from evil, and commands the Muslims to hold to the only true religion. Al-Nahhas, with the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas (both were close to Muhammad and important narrators of him), said: “Scholars differed concerning 2:256. Some said that the Prophet compelled the Arabs to embrace Islam and to fight those that had no alternative but to surrender to Islam. Others said that it is not concerning the People of the Book, but only the infidels who are compelled to embrace Islam.” For al-Suyuti, one of the respected exegetes, it means postponing the fight until Muslims become strong. When Muslims were weak, Allah commands them to be patient. So, “there is no compulsion in religion” only means weighing the balance of power, and waiting for circumstances that bring Islam’s victory.

Ibn Kathir analyzes the verse as follows:

“Do not force anyone to become Muslim, for Islam is plain and clear, and its proofs and evidence are plain and clear. Therefore, there is no need to force anyone to embrace Islam. Rather, whoever Allah directs to Islam, opens his heart for it and enlightens his mind, will embrace Islam with certainty. Whoever Allah blinds his heart and seals his hearing and sight, he will not benefit from being forced to embrace Islam.

“It was reported that the Ansar [the supporters of Muhammad in Medina] were the reason behind revealing this Ayah. Ibn Jarir recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that “When (an Ansar) woman would not bear children who would live, she would vow that if she gives birth to a child who remains alive, she would raise him as a Jew. When Banu al-Nadir were evacuated from al-Madinah, some of the children of the Ansar were being raised among them, and the Ansar said, `We will not abandon our children.’ Then Allah revealed, ‘There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the right path has become distinct from the wrong path.’’ Abu Dawud and al-Nasa’i also recorded this Hadith.

“‘Whoever shuns the rivals of Allah, the idols, and those of Satan, and whoever believes in Allah’s oneness, worships him alone and testifies that there is no deity worthy of worship except him, he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. ‘He will have hold of the true religion with the strongest grasp.’ Mujahid said, ‘The most trustworthy handhold is Iman (faith);’ al-Suddi said that it refers to Islam only.”

If there is still any doubt about the real meaning of this verse, or that it has nothing to do with tolerance one must look at the following verse, which is tightly connected to it: Surat al-Baqarah, 2:257

“Allah is the ally of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into light. And those who are infidels, their allies are Taghut [false dieties]; they take them out of the light into darkness. Those are the dwellers of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein.”

As Ibn Kathir reads the verse,

“Allah stated that whoever follows what pleases him, he will guide him to the paths of Islam. He delivers his believing servants from the darkness of disbelief to the light of the plain, clear, easy and unequivocal truth. He also stated that Satan is the supporter of the infidels who beautifies the paths of ignorance and misguidance that they follow, thus causing them to deviate from the true path into disbelief and wickedness. This is why Allah mentioned the light in the singular while mentioned the darkness in the plural, because truth is one, while apostasy comes as several false types.”

There are a few additional verses that Muslim propagandists bring as being mild and showing the ‘true face of Islam, [as] being peaceful and compassionate,’ but most of them have also been twisted and falsified. Some, very few, are really mild and peaceful, but they are all from the Meccan era, when Muhammad and his followers were small in number and weak in power, and they had no choice but to keep low profile. All of these verses were taken by others from the Medinan period, but this is another issue to deal with and analyze.

* David Bukay is a Professor of Middle East Studies at the University of Haifa.

Show more