There has been a steady growth of extremist movements/militant outfits across the Muslim world. Some are internally-directed against their rulers; others target the West. Some do both. Some of these groups are called the Al-Qaeda, al-Nusrah, al-Shabab and Daesh.


In its history, the Taliban has established their ‘model’ of rigid Islamic rule and turned Afghanistan into a haven for Arab/ Islamic extremists affecting neighboring countries. Meanwhile, Al-Qaeda and the Daesh have emerged as the focal terrorist networks targeting Western interests and pro-Western countries.


The misinterpretation of selective Quranic verses and Hadith by these obscurantists, without reference to the context, promotes religious hatred and violent extremism against non-Muslims and rival Muslim sect. We can see that there is emphasis on the militant or extremist interpretation of Jihad and justification for use of terrorism against civilian targets in its name


More importantly, Quranic verses and Hadith preaching religious tolerance, peaceful coexistence with other religions or promoting the cause of humanity are deliberately ignored.


What are the Quranic verses used by these violent extremists to promote their ideology? Here are some of their widely used verses which they exploit and give perverted interpretations that promote hate and anger.


1.) Al Imran (The Family of Imran) – 3: 28 


“Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends, guardians, and councilors in preference to the believers. Whoever does that is not on a way from God and has no connection with Him, unless it be to protect yourselves against them and take precautions (against the danger of being persecuted and forced to turn away your Religion or betray your community, or of losing your life). And God warns you that you beware of Himself; and to God is the homecoming.”


This verse is used by extremists to encourage Muslims not to befriend anyone who is not Muslim (kafir). They say that Muslims are not allowed to be friends or ‘friendly’ with non-Muslims. However, the prohibition of Muslims not being allowed to be friends with non-Muslims is only in war, making alliances with the enemy over the Muslims. That is what the passage is speaking about. There is no prohibition against Muslims having cordial friendly, everyday relations with non-Muslims. Moreover, ‘to guard’ themselves is only allowed when the enemy is capable of hurting the Muslims.


2.) Al Baqarah (The Cow) – 2: 193


“(But if they persist in causing disorder, continue to) fight against them until there is no longer disorder rooted in rebellion against God, and the religion (the right for worship and the authority to order the way of life is recognized) for God. However, if they desist, then there is no hostility except to the wrongdoers.”


The context clearly shows that the condition of society when this verse was revealed was not safe and free for adoption of the way of Allah. That is why the Muslims have been exhorted to continue the fight to change this state of affairs and to restore peace and freedom. The aim of war in Islam is to establish Allah’s way so as to enable people to live as servants of Allah in accordance with the Divine Law. Today, the terrorists are the ones who spread fear and panic and they are the ones who do not adopt the way of Allah.


3.) Al Anfal (Gains of War) – 8:60


“(Believers:) make ready against them whatever you can of force and horses assigned (for war), that thereby you may dismay the enemies of God and your enemies and others besides them, of whom (and the nature of whose enmity) you may be unaware. God is aware of them (and of the nature of their enmity). Whatever you spend in God’s cause will be repaid to you in full, and you will not be wronged.”


This generally means that Muslims should be equipped with military resources and should have a standing army in a state of preparedness to be used when needed. Never should it happen that the Muslims are caught unaware and have to hurriedly look around right and left to build up their defenses and collect arms and supplies. For extremists, this is already a call to start a war against the non-believers. However, Allah only calls for Jihad when the religion of Islam is being challenged, meaning non-Muslims are disallowing them to practice their beliefs or even persecuting them. Today, religious freedom is being practiced around the world with respect.


Violent extremists promote dualism or the constant battle among the believers and non-believers; painting the picture of urgency to rise up and defend the Muslim community which is allegedly being oppressed and corrupted; urging for the dismantling of man-made laws and leadership; and to establish a caliphate that truly enforces the puritanical Islamic Laws.


However, does Islam promote violent extremism? No. Islam, recommends moderation and balance in everything: in belief, ibadah, conduct, and legislation. This is the straightforward path that Allah (SWT) calls al Sirat al mustaqim, one distinct from all the others which are followed by those who earn Allah’s anger and those who go astray.