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Regensburg lecture/Controversial Statements about Qur'an Chapter 2

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Part of the series on the
Regensburg lecture
Pope Benedictus XVI january,20 2006 (17)
'Lecture by
Pope Benedict XVI'
Pope Benedict XVI's lecture
Initial reactions
Subsequent Vatican statements
Open letters from top Muslim clerics
Protests, attacks and threats
Controversial Statements about Qur'an Chapter 2
Assessment of the lecture's purpose
Article discussion

Controversial Statements about Qur'an Chapter 2

Another point of controversy, widely covered in Arab media,[1][2][3][4] but much less so in Western media,[5] was the Pope's assessment that sura (i.e. Chapter) 2 in the Qur'an, which includes the verse "There is no compulsion in religion", was "one of the suras of the early period, when Muhammad was still powerless and under threat", and that instructions "concerning holy war" had come later.

Many scholars of Islam have taken this as a classification of the sura as stemming from the earlier Meccan period and have shown the Pope to be mistaken by pointing out that Surah 2 was revealed in various stages and that this verse was revealed after Muhammad's hijra from Mecca, during his period of stay in Medina and hence is from the Medinan period which was the final stage of the revelation of the Qur'an when the Muslims were becoming numerous and increasingly powerful and safe from the immediate dangers that had overshadowed them for 13 years in Mecca. The scholars also point out that the Pope failed to mention that even if this verse was revealed when the Muslims were weak, they could have easily abrogated it with another verse which gave them permission to forcefully convert people once they finally conquered Mecca; this, however, did not happen.[6].


  1. The other side of the coin. What's after the Pope's lecture? By Saifuddin Tajuddin. Al Sharq Al Awsat, 28 September 2006 (in Arabic)
  2. The Pope and his speech. From infallibility to naïve simplification…!, by Atallah Muhajirani, Al Sharq Al Awsat, 26 September 2006 (in Arabic)
  3. The challenge of Vatican's leader, by Al Sadiq Al Mahdi, Al Sharq Al Awsat, 24 September 2006 (in Arabic)
  4. The Pope, the Emperor and the Persian sage, by Amir Tahiri, Al Sharq Al Awsat, 22 September 2006 (in Arabic)
  5. Serious errors of both fact and judgment, by Ruth Gledhill, The Times, 16 September 2006
  6. Lapsus ratisbonæ, by Pablo Tornielli. (Spanish)

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