Home > Islam > Murder, Suicide, and Terrorism in the Koran

Murder, Suicide, and Terrorism in the Koran

The suicide bombings carried out by radical, extremist, Islamic terrorists have created fear and hatred in the minds of many non-Muslims. Unfortunately, this fear and hatred have caused many of the moderate and progressive Muslims to become objects of hatred and discrimination by the non-Muslims. Much disinformation and hate propaganda regarding Islam and the Muslims has found its way onto the internet. Although it is true that there are Muslims who use the Koran and the other sacred literature of Islam to justify their terrorist activities. There are still many who understand the Koran in a different light, thus having a more positive and peaceful attitude toward non-Muslims. I am going to provide some citations from the Koran regarding murder, suicide, and terrorism in the Koran in order to show that these things are not encouraged by the Muslims’ holy book.

First, let us look at the prohibitions against murder in the Koran. In the third surah, it says:

Lo! Those who disbelieve the revelations of Allah, and slay the prophets wrongfully, and slay those of mankind who enjoin equity: promise them a painful doom. (Koran 3:21, Pickthall)

The “revelations of Allah” are the Bible and the Koran. Actually, the Koran had not been written down in the form of a complete book until after Muhammad’s death. Some scribes wrote down the revelations that Muhammad claimed to have received from the Archangel Gabriel. They wrote these down on palm leaves, bones, stones, etc. So, the Bible is principally intended here. The people who “slay the prophets wrongfully” are those Jews who murdered the Old Testament prophets, John the Baptist, and John’s father, Zachariah. Those who “slay those of mankind who enjoin equity” are people who murder those who encourage righteous living. The consequences of these activities is “a painful doom” in Hell.

The fourth surah contains another prohibition against murder.

O ye who believe! Squander not your wealth among yourselves in vanity, except it be a trade by mutual consent, and kill not one another. Lo! Allah is ever Merciful unto you. Whoso doeth that through aggression and injustice, We shall cast him into Fire, and that is ever easy for Allah. (Koran 4:29,30, Pickthall)

Here in these verses Hell is promised to those who kill others “through aggression and injustice.”

In the same surah there is more about the subject of murder.

It is not for a believer to kill a believer unless (it be) by mistake. He who hath killed a believer by mistake must set free a believing slave, and pay the blood-money to the family of the slain, unless they remit it as a charity. If he (the victim) be of a people hostile unto you, and he is a believer, then (the penance is) to set free a believing slave. And if he cometh of a folk between whom and you there is a covenant, then the blood-money must be paid unto his folk and (also) a believing slave must be set free. And whoso hath not the wherewithal must fast two consecutive months. A penance from Allah. Allah is Knower, Wise. Whoso slayeth a believer of set purpose, his reward is hell for ever. Allah is wroth against him and He hath cursed him and prepared for him an awful doom. (Koran 4:92,93, Pickthall)

These verses deal with killing a believer, that is, another Muslim. I think that they could also apply to a righteous Jew or a righteous Christian who has not adopted any of the heresies condemned in the Koran. (The heresies I am referring to are the subject of another blog.) The monotheist who has surrendered his will to Allah is according to some verses in the Koran a Muslim although he is not an Islamic one. (See Koran 2:62, 133; 3:52, 65-68, 113-115, 199; 4:125; 5:44-48; 7:159; 22:67; 29:69; 35:24; 37:71,72.) Verse 92 of this surah tells about the consequences for accidental manslaughter of a Muslim. (Contrast this with Numbers 35:9-34 and Deuteronomy 19:4-10.) The following verse tells about the punishment for murdering a Muslim. That punishment is “hell for ever.” Furthermore, Allah has “cursed him and prepared for him an awful doom.”

The sixth surah has a prohibition against abortion and murder.

Say: Come, I will recite unto you that which your Lord hath made a sacred duty for you: That ye ascribe no thing as partner unto Him and that ye do good to parents, and that ye slay not your children because of penury – We provide for you and for them – and that ye draw not nigh to lewd things whether open or concealed. And that ye slay not the life which Allah hath made sacred, save in the course of justice. This He hath command you, in order that ye may discern. (Koran 6:152, Pickthall)

The words, “slay not your children because of penury,” are often interpreted by Muslims as a prohibition against abortion. Muslims disagree among themselves regarding when the soul enters the fetus or embryo. There are some Muslims who agree with Christians and say that life begins at conception. There are others who say that life begins when the embryo is implanted in the womb. (Conception takes place in the fallopian tube and about 11 days later the embryo becomes implanted in the womb of a pregnant woman.) The majority of Muslims, however, believe that ensoulment occurs 120 days after conception. They base this belief on a hadith written down over two hundred years after Muhammad’s death. (Sahih al-Bukhari: 6594) As for the latter part of this verse, it clearly speaks of the sanctity of life. The only time that life can be taken is “in the course of justice.” Capital punishment for certain crimes is permissible in Islam.

Another prohibition against abortion occurs in the 17th surah.

Slay not your children, fearing a fall to poverty, We shall provide for them and for you. Lo! the slaying of them is great sin. (Koran 17:31, Pickthall)

Here abortion is called a great sin.

In verse 33 of the same chapter, the sacredness of life is reiterated.

And slay not the life which Allah hath forbidden save with right. Whoso is slain wrongfully, We have given power unto his heir, but let him not commit excess in slaying. Lo! he will be helped. (Koran 17:33, Pickthall)

Here murder is forbidden. No life can be taken “save with right.” That means capital punishment for certain crimes and war when waged lawfully permit the taking of life, but in all other instances it is forbidden. In order to understand the words, “We have given power unto his heir,” read Koran 4:92,93 again.

The verse that is used by Muslims to indicate that suicide is forbidden is in the second surah.

Spend your wealth for the cause of Allah, and be not cast by your own hands to ruin; and do good. Lo! Allah loveth the beneficent. (Koran 2:195, Pickthall)

It says in this verse, “be not cast by your own hands to ruin.” Although the context of the passage indicates that one who does not spend his wealth for the cause of Allah, that is, to help the poor,  help build mosques, help spread the Islamic faith, etc., would be casting himself to ruin, it has another application. Do not harm yourself spiritually, physically, or in any other way. The principle of not casting oneself to ruin indicates a broader interpretation. Suicide is therefore forbidden. Also, remember the sanctity of life verses: Koran 6:152 and 17:33. One should regard his own life as sacred as well as that of others.

Finally, there is a passage in the Koran that many moderate and progressive Muslims cite against terrorism. It is found in the Fifth Surah.

For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah’s Sovereignty), but afterwards lo! Many of them became prodigals in the earth. The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom; save those who repent before ye overpower them. For know that Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 5:32-34, Pickthall)

Verse 32 of this chapter indicates how much value is placed on the human life by Allah. Killing someone is equivalent to killing all mankind. Saving the life of someone is equivalent to saving all mankind. The idea here is the same idea expressed in the Jewish Talmud. He who destroys a man destroys a world. Those who do commit murder, of course, are destined for Hell. (See the previous citations in this blog.) St. John the Theologian would agree. He says, “No murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (I John 3:15) The words, “strive after corruption in the land,” are interpreted as applying to terrorism.

The terrorist is indiscriminately killing innocent people, even Muslims. Terrorists killed and injured over one hundred Muslims in Ankara, Turkey on October 10, 2015. Those people were simply holding a peace rally. They wanted Turkey to stop fighting the Kurds. On November 13, 2015, terrorists killed more innocent people in Paris. They even killed some Muslims during their attacks. Terrorists also killed several thousand people on September 11, 2001. Many of the people who died during those attacks were also Muslims. These terrorists who call themselves Muslims do not hold life sacred as Koran 6:152 teaches. They do not regret destroying many worlds as that is what the Koran teaches concerning the value of human life. (Koran 5:32) They apparently carry out these horrible acts not even fearing the eternal consequences for doing so. Whatever kind of Hell awaits these people, I would not want to see. It must be something enormously terrifying.

Here is a video which explains Islam from a moderate Muslim viewpoint. Koran 5:32 is quoted in it.


Here is another video about a Muslim viewpoint regarding ISIS.


I think the narrator in the last video is a Shi’ite. The Shi’ites believe that there will not be an Islamic state until Jesus returns. However, there are plenty of Sunni Muslims who also denounce ISIS. ISIS is using religion to advance their own political agenda. Their version of Islam is extreme and is contrary to many of the teachings of the Koran.

There is also this matter regarding abrogation in the Koran. Koran 2:106 says:

Such of Our revelations as We abrogate or cause be forgotten, We bring (in place) one better or the like thereof. Knowest thou not that Allah is Able to do all things? (Koran 2:106, Pickthall)

Many people are saying that the more benign verses in the Koran have been abrogated by the harsher ones like the Sword Verse (Koran 9:5).

Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 9:5, Pickthall)

Maybe ISIS is teaching its followers this, but it really seems to be quite absurd. Koran 2:106 says that a revelation is replaced by one that is better or similar, that is, almost the same as the revelation that is abrogated. Is destroying thousands of worlds indiscriminately something that Allah wants people to do? (Each human life is valued as the value of all humanity. Koran 5:32) Does Allah want to turn warners and bearers of good tidings into warlords now? No one can believe without the permission of Allah. (Koran 100:101) This is absolutely ridiculous!

Anyway, what is Islam basically all about? It is about believing in the existence of only one God, believing that God sent Muhammad to convert polytheists to monotheism, praying five times a day, fasting,  giving to the poor, and making a trip to Mecca at least once during one’s life. Living a morally upright life is also what Islam is all about. No adultery, no fornication, no theft, truthfulness and just dealing with people is all taught in the Koran. The honor killings, the terrorism, and the other rubbish that gets media attention is not in the Koran. I have been reading it. It is not there! The first suicide bomber was back in the 1980s, not in the 7th century!

Not all Muslims agree about which verses and how many verses have been abrogated. There are some in the past who said 300. In recent times, there are Muslims who believe that fewer verses have been abrogated. One Muslim on his website said that only 21 were abrogated. Another Muslim said that a Muslim imam or sheik said that there are only five abrogated verses. Still another Muslim says that none were abrogated. He says that the revelations that were abrogated were those found in former revelations before the Koran. I think that he is referring to the Bible.

The revelation that abrogates must be better or similar to the one abrogated. I think that that is the test. Taking lives that Allah holds dear and sacred is not better. Since when has murder become better than saving someone’s life? “Whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.” (Koran 5:32, Pickthall)

During my research on Islam, I have discovered that not all Muslims agree on what the Koran means. There are many different interpretations of the Koran and the Sunna among Muslims. Furthermore, they cannot even agree on which hadiths are authentic. (A hadith is short quote from Muhammad written down 200 to 300 years after his death. There is supposed to be chain of guarantors that authenticate the hadith. I think that a modern day lawyer would say that all of those hadiths are hearsay.) The Sunnis, the Shi’ites, and the Ibadis have different collections of hadiths. So, there is really not one version of Islam that all 1.25 to 1.7 billion Muslims subscribe to. The Wahhabis and the Salafis are the extremists. Ayatollah Khomeini did not teach traditional Shi’ite theology. He went off on the deep end and tried to establish an Islamic state in the 1980s contrary to the teachings of the Shi’ites. No Islamic state until Jesus returns. That is the traditional Shi’ite belief. There are even some Muslims today who call themselves Koranists. They accept none of the hadiths. They base their religious beliefs solely on the Koran. Then, of course, there are the Ahmadiyyah Muslims. They are a very peaceful sect of Muslims. Their sect was established in Pakistan a little over a hundred years ago. There are the Sufis and the Alevis. These are mystical Muslims. They are more interested in prayer and meditation than in world domination. My point here is that not all Muslims are terrorists. Some Muslims, who in my non-Muslim opinion, pervert the teachings of the Koran, are terrorists. I do not think that the Koran promotes murder, suicide, and terrorism.

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