Question: Would you please explain the verse 256 of surah Al-Baqarah? Aren't we going to force any Muslim people to obey the commands of Islam? As my wife and children, claiming that they are Muslims, expose their hair and parts below their bellies, should I not to tell them to cover their private parts to comply with Islam? I know such a hadith: "Command your children to pray (salat) when they become seven years old, beat them for it (prayer) when they become ten years old." If no pressure or force is allowed in Islam, how do you explain this hadith?
The basis of religion is belief and the basis of belief is approval of the heart. Heart is the inner-world of human where he is fully free. No belief can be put across forcefully. Not even the most authoritative regimes can succeed it. The 256th verse of Surah Al-Baqarah explains this:
“There is no compulsion in religion. Verily, the Right Path has become distinct from the wrong path. Whoever disobeys the astray and believes in Allah, then he has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that will never break. And Allah is The All-Hearing, The All-Knowing.” (Al-Baqarah/ The Cow 2:256)
People cannot be forced to worship, because worships require niyyah (to intent). Niyyah is the decision to do something sincerely. “Deeds are in accordance with niyyah (intentions).” Only, the person who does the worship and Allah exactly know why a it is being performed. Since worships cannot be done without niyyah, there shall be no compulsion in worships. You could force someone to do the prayer (salat) but that would mean nothing but kneeling and rising if the person has not intended to pray. That doesn’t work.
Therefore, nobody can be forced to become Muslim or behave like a Muslim.
Telling and teaching Islam to our children does not mean to put pressure on them to practice. Wandering around with private parts exposed causes trouble other than belief and therefore attempting to prevent this, does not count as compulsion in religion.
We must keep on representing Islam to everybody, especially to our relatives at every occasion. The Glorified Allah commands:
“Keep up the prayers upon your family and be steadfast therein. We do not ask you for subsistence; We do give you subsistence, and the outcome is for those who protect themselves.” (Ta-Ha 20:132)