The Most Misleading Passage Ever Quoted From the Koran


“…if anyone killed a person, it would be as if he killed the whole of mankind; and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole of mankind…”

Have you heard this quote? It is from the Koran (5:32). It seems like a straightforward quote, and Muslim apologists use it all the time to illustrate that the Muslims beheading people or blowing up non-Muslims are going against the teachings of Islam. This is misleading. And anyone who knows the Koran and Islam knows it is misleading.

Given that Muslims often respond to violent quotes from the Koran by saying they are quoted out of context, it is ironic that one of their mainstay "positive" Koranic quotes is itself taken out of context.

When Muslims (and news organizations) use this quote, they're trying to convey the idea that in Islam, murder is wrong and saving lives is good. But that's not the meaning of the passage. In fact, it's really the opposite of what the verse conveys.

This is the whole verse (5:32): "On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that 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 anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land."

In other words, this was a commandment to the "Children of Israel" (Jews). This is not a commandment to all people. It is definitely not a commandment to Muslims, so using it as a quote from the Koran showing how peaceful Islam is definitely qualifies as misleading.

And even if this were a commandment to Muslims, it has the qualification, "unless it be for murder or spreading mischief in the land." So according to this verse, someone "spreading mischief" can be killed.

That's bad enough. But the very next verse of the Koran (5:33) goes even further. It says: "The punishment of those who wage war against God and His Apostle, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter."

This explains that the correct punishment for mischief is execution, crucifixion, etc. This is a command given to Muslims from the Almighty Himself.

As you can see, this adds up to a much different message than the one so often misleadingly quoted. The fact that Muslims must take a passage out of context in order to get a semi-nice quote out of the Koran tells you something about the Koran. I've read the Koran twice, and I can tell you from personal experience that there is no "kindness toward all people" in the entire book.

I believe that simply sharing the information above wherever that quote is used — this, all by itself — would go a long way to opening peoples' eyes to not only the true nature of Islam, but to the effort being made to deceive us about Islam.

For more information about this passage, check out the excellent site, Answering Muslims.

Also, Robert Spencer has some good information about this passage: Blogging the Qur’an: Sura 5.

The article above is also posted on Inquiry Into Islam here.

Watch a video about this: David Wood on the Qur’an and the Siege of Paris.


Walter Sieruk 11:04 AM  

Actually to view Islam in balance the Koran instructs in violence and death. This is something the apologists for Islam won't tell people. For example, the Koran teaches in 9:11. "Then believers fight in Allah's cause, they slay and are slain, they kill and are killed." Furthermore ,many times many militant jihad minded Muslims have chanted "We love death, they love life." In great contrast this this is Christianity. For Jesus taught "I have come that they might have life, and have it more abundantly." John 10:10. [K.J.V.]

Walter Sieruk 11:23 AM  

One of the many verses that the propagandists for Islam tell people is that the Koran is a manual of violence and killing. For example, the Koran in 47:4 instructs "Whenever you encounter the unbelievers strike off their heads until you make a great slaughter among them..." Therefore, jihad minded Muslims, as the jihadists of ISIS follow this and other same kind of Koranic teaching of ruthless killing. Moreover as the the murderous ISIS thugs who follow this deadly and destructive instruction of the Koran are very similar to ,in character, to the heinous villains described in the Bible in Romans 3:15-17. Which reads "Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are their ways, and the way of peace have they not known." [K.J.V.]

Ibn Matti 11:35 AM  

The passage is also discussed in Robert Spencers "Blogging the QuranSura 5, “The Table,” verses 1-60":

Robandrews33304 6:20 AM  

So I guess from all that I have read that the Qu'ran is both.From History channel documentaries I've seen there's two periods in the prophets life. The Mecca and Medina periods.

The latter Medina period is when the militarism comes in. By then he had a small militia.So no wonder he had "new revelations", telling him to spread belief through conquest.

Robert Spencer's book is good along with "Why I am not a Muslim". by Ibn Warraq. I goes into more detail about the two periods and the later Hadith.

Babs 10:28 AM  

Hi Citizen,

Islam, as we know is predominantly derivative. It's a magpie belief system which plagiarises other belief systems. Like so many koranic injunctions this was misappropriated and the meaning distorted by the subsequent verses, as you say, by whoever wrote the koran, having been stolen from the Jewish Talmud.

The original is "He who saves a single life saves the entire world" and of course the koranic statement is a corollary. The original Talmudic quote has no qualifiers and goes on to describe what happens to those who kill innocents.

I perceive the subsequent koranic verses which qualify the distortion to be an index of the Muslim prophet's paranoia and control-freakery. The Muslim prophet could not countenance anyone but himself as the saviour of the world.

Anonymous 10:53 PM  

"unless it be murder or spreading mischief in the land..." The Muslim propagandists conveniently "forget" to quote and elaborate on that specific part in the verse from the Quran they always quote to naive Westerners who are uninformed about the actual violence and killing that is part of the essence of Islam.

Many Muslims understand that "spreading mischief in the land " well applies to Christians who engage in evangelicalism of the Gospel of Christ the land or any land. The Christian gospel as seen in, for example First Corinthians 15:1-8.

Therefore Christians engaging in gospel evangelism in Pakistan Saudi Arabia ,Iran , any other Islamic country is ,according to the Quran is allowed to be killed by Muslims,

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