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Myth #31: The Islam that Muhammad Taught Is Not a Religion But a Theocratic Political Ideology

Is Islam a theocratic political ideology rather than a religion?

Islam meets the general basic requirements envisaged for an acceptable religion forwarded by some anti-Islam forces.

1. Adherence to the religion must be a personal choice.

Indeed. As such, God commands in the Holy Qur’an, “There should be no compulsion in religion.” [1] Islam prescribes no worldly punishment for apostasy, blasphemy, and categorically forbids religious compulsion—facts we have established repeatedly throughout this site.

2. No religion should demand that those who leave it be killed.

Agreed. Islam does not prescribe or even allow any worldly punishment for apostasy.

3. A religion must never mandate the killing and subjugation of those who choose not to belong.

See No. 2.

4. A religion must be in accord with basic human rights.

The human rights enshrined in the Qur’an are superior to those in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). In fact, the former President of the United Nations General Assembly, Sir Zafrulla Khan, makes this very argument. In his seminal work, Islam and Human Rights, he compares the UDHR and the Holy Qur’an, proving the latter’s superiority. [2] Likewise, Prophet Muhammad established advanced rules of war, sparing civilians, children, women, elderly, monks, property, and animals—rules that even modern societies today have not uniformly accepted.

[1] Qur’an 2:257.

[2] Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, Islam and Human Rights, available at


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