WAR AND FIGHTING IN THE CONTEXT OF AL-QUR’ÂNIC AYÂT
Many non Muslims refer to chapter 9 verse 5 only, to take it out of context. To understand the context of verse 5, one has to read from verse 1 to verse 24 of chapter 9 to get a clear understanding of verse 5, as this refers to a number of treaties Muhammad had made with certain kuffâr tribes (pagan / idol worshippers). Some of these tribes were continuously breaking the treaties so the warning was given to the kuffâr four months in advance that they must adhere to the treaties they signed or it will be dissolved, and then only war will be declared by the Muslims. Special note must be taken of verse 6, in which it says that even during fighting if any unbeliever asks for protection / asylum, then it is a command of Allâh that the Muslims MUST protect him and convey him to a place of safety.
Chapter 9: verses 1 to 13:
1. “A (declaration) of immunity from Allâh and His Messenger, to those of the Pagans with whom ye have contracted mutual alliances: - (addressing the idol worshippers of Makkah)
2. Go ye, then, for four Months, backwards and forwards, (as ye will), throughout the land, but know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allâh (by your falsehood) but that Allâh will cover with shame those who reject Him (Allâh).
3. An announcement from Allâh and His Messenger, to the people (assembled) on the Day of the great Pilgrimage, (Hajj) - that Allâh and His Messenger dissolve (treaty) obligations with the pagans. If then, ye repent, (keep to the treaty) it were best for you; but if ye turn away, know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allâh, and proclaim a grievous penalty to those who reject Faith.
4. (But the treaties are) not dissolved with those Pagans with whom ye have entered into alliance and who have not subsequently failed you in aught, nor aided any one against you. So fulfill your engagements with them (pagans) to the end of their term: for Allâh loves the Righteous.
5. But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allâh is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
6. If one amongst the pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allâh. And then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.”
7. How can there be a league, before Allâh and His Messenger, with the pagans, except those with whom ye made a treaty near the sacred Mosque? As long as these stand true to you, stand ye true to them: for Allâh doth love the Righteous.
8. How (can there be such a league), seeing that if they get an advantage over you, they respect not in you the ties either of kinship or of covenant? With (fair words from) their mouths they entice you, but their hearts are averse from you; and most of them are rebellious and wicked.
9. The Signs of Allâh have they sold for a miserable price, and (many) have they hindered from His way: evil indeed are the deeds they have done.
10. In a believer they respect not the ties either of kinship or of covenant! It is they who have transgressed all bounds.
11. But (even so), if they repent, establish regular prayers, and practise regular charity, - they are your brethren in faith: (thus) do WE (Allâh) explain the signs in detail, for those who understand.
12. But if they violate their oaths after their covenant, and taunt you for your Faith, - fight ye the chiefs of unfaith: for their oaths are nothing to them: that thus they may be restrained.
13. Will ye not fight people who violated their oaths, plotted to expel the messenger, and took the aggressive by being the first (to assault) you? Do ye fear them? Nay, it is Allâh whom ye should more justly fear, if ye believe!”
Give the unbelievers notice of four months before the Muslims dissolve the treaties with the tribes who break the treaties:
Chapter 8 verse 58. “If thou fears treachery from any group, throw back (their covenant) to them, (so as to be) on equal terms: for Allâh loves not the treacherous.”
Chapter 22: Note: Muslims are permitted to fight a defensive war!
Chapter 22 verse 39. “To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged; - and verily, Allâh is Most powerful for their aid;-
Chapter 22 verse 40. “(They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right, - (for no cause) except that they say, "our Lord is Allâh.And if Allâh did not check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allâh is commemorated in abundant measure. Allâh will certainly aid those who aid His (cause); - for verily Allâh is full of strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will).”
If the kuffâr (unbelievers) want peace, then make peace as is the ORDER BY ALLÂH!
Chapter 8 verse 61. “But if the enemy incline towards Peace, do thou (also) incline towards Peace, and trust in Allâh. For He (Allâh) is one that hears and knows (all things).”
Muslims are not allowed to fight the kuffâr if they withdraw:
Chapter 4 verse 90. “[…] therefore if they withdraw from you and fight you not, and (instead) send you (guarantees of) Peace, then Allâh hath opened no way for you (to war against them).”
Muslims must only fight a defensive war:
Chapter 2 verse 191. “And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress Faith.
Chapter 2 verse 192. “But if they cease, Allâh is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
Chapter 2 verse 193. “And Fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and Faith in Allâh. But if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression.”
Do not fight those who do not fight you - refer to footnote number 3
Chapter 60 verse 8. “Allâh forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allâh loves those who are just.
Chapter 60 verse 9. “Allâh only forbids you, with regard to those who fight you for (your) Faith, and drive you out of your homes, and support (others) in driving you out, from turning to them (for friendship and protection). It is such as turn to them (in these circumstances), that do wrong.”
Chapter 2 verse 190. “Fight in the way of Allâh those who fight against you, but transgress not the limits. Truly Allâh likes not the transgressors”.
After the war Muslims have a choice: Generosity or ransom:
Chapter 47 verse 4. “Therefore, when ye meet the unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; at length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allâh’s will, He (Allâh) could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (Allâh lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the way of Allâh, - He (Allâh) will never let their deeds be lost.”
It is very important to note that there is no compulsion for anyone to accept Islam. It is a personal choice: but it the duty and obligation on each and every Muslim to invite towards Islam.
Chapter 2 verse 256. “Let there be no compulsion in religion: truth stands out clear from error: …”
Chapter 10 verse 99. “If it had been Thy Lord's will, they would all have believed, - all who are on earth! Wilt thou then compel mankind, against their will, to believe?!”
Chapter 18 verse 29. “Say, "The truth is from your Lord": let him who believe, and let him who will, reject (it): …”
THE BIBLE: quoted for the benefit of Christians:
The Christians seem to overlook the fact that Jesus also taught war as is mentioned in:
Luke chap 22 verse 36.: “Then said he (Jesus) unto them, but now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword let him sell his garment, and buy one. (Also stated in Mark 14:47)
Numbers 18:10: “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus).
Interesting fact: In Arabic the word ‘sword’ has twelve different words to describe it. The word ‘sword’ appears 448 times in 404 verses in the Bible.
Question: DOES ‘JIHAD’ MEAN HOLY WAR IN ISLAM?
Answer: Jîhâd has a wide meaning in Islam. The western media loves to portray this word as ‘a war on the west’, which terrifies non-Muslims the world over. The essential meaning of JÎHÂD is to “struggle and strive against one’s own passion”. In Al-Qur’ân the Arabic word is ‘ja’hâ’dâ, meaning to strive in the propagation of the truth, which is Al-Qur’ân. The word jîhâd appears more than 40 times in 5 derived forms. In Chapter 21 verse 45, chapter 50 verse 45, chapter 6 verse 19, chapter 5 verse 67 Allâh says to strive with Al-Qur’ân to propagate the truth. There are many such verses. Please refer to Al-Qur’ân to verify as they are not quoted in this document.
Chapter 22 verse 78. “And strive (jâ-hî’dû) in His (Allâh’s) cause as ye ought to strive, (with sincerity and under discipline). He (Allâh) has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the cult of your father Abraham. It is He (Allâh) who has named you Muslims, both before and in This (Revelation); that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and ye be witnesses for mankind! So establish regular prayer, give regular charity, and hold fast to Allâh. He is your Protector - the best to protect and the best to help!”
In this manner Jîhâd is the Muslims’ purest sacrifice; to struggle to live a perfect life and completely submit ones-self to Allâh as is stated in the Glorious Qur’ân, and practically demonstrated by the Prophet of Islam according to the Qur’ân. Another level of Jihad is to propagate the truth of Islam to the non-Muslims and call them with wisdom and good preaching to study the Qur’ân for themselves.
Chapter 16 verse 125. “Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and Most Gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best who have strayed from His (Allâh’s) path, and who receive guidance.”
Chapter 9 verse 24. “Say: if it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred; the wealth that ye have gained; the commerce in which ye fear a decline: or the dwellings in which ye delight - are dearer to you than Allâh, or His Messenger, or the striving in His (Allâh’s) cause; - then wait until Allâh brings about His decision: and Allâh guides not the rebellious.”
The aspect of Jihad that is commonly known to non-Muslims is that of fighting - or holy war -through the propaganda machines of the western media. It is essential to understand what is condoned and condemned in warfare according to the Qur’ân, and as practiced by the Prophet of Islam. Islam does not justify aggressive warfare; but stresses the need to defend oneself against aggression. Islam allows defensive warfare. Islam prohibits the killings of non-combatants, the old and infirm, women and children, destroying of crops and homes and the like. History records that the Muslim armies practiced all of the above. The Glorious Qur’ân states very clearly this in just one verse (there are many verses but this one should suffice to prove the above statements)
Chapter 2 verse 190. “Fight in the way of Allâh those who fight against you, but transgress not the limits. Truly Allâh likes not the transgressors”.
The Qur’ân warns those who do not have knowledge of things not to make foolish statements as they will be held accountable for that, and not to distort the meanings of the verses:
Chapter 17 verse 36. “And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning).”
Chapter 41 verse 40. “Those who pervert the truth in Our Signs are not hidden from Us (Allâh). Which is better? - he that is cast into the fire, or he that comes safe through, on the Day of Judgment? Do what ye will: verily He (Allâh) seeth (clearly) all that ye do.”
Al- Qur’ân: Chapter 5 verses 22-24: “Allâh is He, than whom there is no other god—Who knows (all things) both secret and open; He, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Allâh is He, than Whom there is no other god—the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace (and perfection) the Guardian of Faith the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible. The Supreme: Glory to Allâh! (High is He) above the partners they attribute to Him. He is Allâh, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms (or colours); to Him belongs the Most Beautiful names: whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare His praises and glory: and he is the Exalted in Might the Wise.”
The late Mr. Archie Augustine (a Roman Catholic) from Estcourt, Kwa Zulu Natal put it beautifully when he said the following about the Qur’ân:
“Despite your religious or non-religious attitudes, the Holy Qur’ân is a boon to your intellectual and moral strength. Even if you are not concerned with moral issues, then pamper your intellectual curiosity and read the Qur’ân. The greater the level of your education, in any field, or the greater your social or political standing in your community, the more reason why you should procure your own copy of the Book and begin to read it”.
“Nothing, but nothing, is left ambiguous or unanswered. It is a Book of Law interwoven in morality till it touches every facet of the human experience. It includes politics, economics, moral behaviour, personal cleanliness and propriety, inter-family relationships, bequests and inheritance, inter-religious respect and tolerance, charity, the sin of taking and of giving commercial interest, the importance of prayer, the belief in ONE GOD, religious-sociology and oneness of humankind. Bring any manner or word, concept or subject matter to mind and you will find, not only a reference to such a matter, but a treatise, succinctly and poignantly illustrating, advising, illuminating and directing”.
“Western critics of the Qur’ân frequently point to the allegedly “incoherent” references to Allâh - often in one and the same phrase - as “He”, “Allâh”, “We” or “I”, with the corresponding changes of the pronoun from “His” to “Ours” or “My”, or from “Him” to “Us” or “Me”. They seem to be unaware of the fact that these changes are not accidental, and not even what one might describe as “poetic licence”, but are obviously deliberate, a linguistic device meant to stress the idea that Allâh is not a “person” and cannot, therefore, be really circumscribed by the pronouns applicable to finite beings.”
“Allâh has got no length and breath as these are attributes of a body which is an originated thing. Its Creator existed from before it. So how would Allâh enter in a body, as Allâh existed by Himself before all originated things and there was nobody along with Him? Allâh is an All Knowing, Almighty, Willing Creator. These attributes are impossible for a body. Allâh exists by Himself without the substances of a body. Allâh is not like any worldly thing, rather He is ever living, ever-lasting, and nothing is like Him. Where is the similarity of the Creator with the created, the Fashioner with the fashioned? Hence it is impossible that anything can ever resemble Him!” (Imam Ghazzali: “The Revival of the Religious Sciences” Vol 1 page 130)
Ahmed Moosa (22 April 2015)
Please follow this link to access more documents on various topics from Al-Qur’ân: Google drive: http://bit.do/quranonly: No Copyrights on all the documents. Download for free!
Biography of Muhammad the Messenger of Allâh from Al-Qur’ân only
The Meaning of Ahadîth from Al-Qur’ân
Meaning of Sunnah in Al- Qur’ân
Explanation of how to perform Salat from Al-Qur’ân
Women’s marriage Rights in Al-Qur’ân
History of the six hadîth writers
Sectarianism and its consequences stated in Al-Qur’ân
Law of Interpretation of Al- Qur’ân
No killing of apostates mentioned in Al-Qur’ân