article is based on the "Qur’an’s Fighting Verses". The
comment is therefore necessarily on the principles of war.
The Principles of war that are derived by considering all the verses on
fighting are clear and free from ambiguity. None of the verses make an
exception based on the times and circumstances of the Prophetic mission of
Muhammad (pbuh). The principles are therefore eternal and based as these are on
Divine guidance and inspiration, are common to all the scriptures and may be
taken as guidance by all the people whether they follow the religion of Islam
or not. The clear, unambiguous principles are:
1. There is no compulsion in
religion. Any form of coercion in religion or prevention from following one’s
religion peacefully, constitutes persecution.
2. War is mandated to end any kind
of oppression against any people. The oppression may be religious persecution
or any other form of oppression. The faith of the oppressor and the oppressed
3. Only a ruler with a territory
and people under his political authority can wage war. Civil war is not
permissible. And only people in the territory ruled by such a ruler can
participate in the war effort. People residing in territory under the control
of the oppressor, must migrate from that territory first, if they wish to join
the war effort against the oppressor.
4. The only justifiable cause for
making war is to fight against the oppressors to end oppression. There is no
other justifiable cause.
Once the principles
are understood, and it is seen that every verse on fighting confirms the same, and
no verse contradicts these principles, then there is no longer any need to resort
to rhetoric and defense based on the spurious argument of exceptionalism or
historic relativism. The unending arguments are because the Quran is not
understood based on the underlying principles.
article is based on the principle of exceptionalism - what was allowed to the
Prophet and why but is not allowed to his followers and also on the implicit
rationale of “the end justifies the means” - what was Arabia before and what it
became after. These arguments are not only weak but intrinsically immoral. There
cannot be a universal religion based on the expediencies of its times and
circumstances or that of its Prophet. Islam is fortunately not such a religion
and is based on eternal principles. What are the eternal principles of war?
permission to fight
All the verses relating to fighting are for fighting in the cause
of Allah. What is the meaning of fighting in the cause of Allah? This is
clearly defined in the verses 22:39, 40, 2:191 to 193, 2:217, 2:246, 4:75,
8:36-39 as fighting to end religious persecution and oppression consisting of
turning people out of their homes or places of worship for no other reason
except their faith or hindering them from practicing their faith or torturing
them for their faith. It also means to fight to defend any oppressed people
(4:74 and 4:75).
Specifically, there is no permission to fight against the disbelief
of the disbelievers in any of these verses. The fighting is until the Law of
Allah or the Deen of Allah is established. The law of Allah includes the
freedom of conscience or right to practice any religion.
Who are the people against whom fighting is ordained?
Fighting is not ordained against the Muslims, Christians, Jews,
polytheists, idolaters, atheists or person(s) of any faith, but only against
those who oppress other people for their faith or for any other reason no
matter what the faith professed by the oppressors may be. The Momin are those
who fight for justice and the opressors are the Kafir.
Surah Taubah and the so called ‘sword’
first 29 verses of this Surah are among the last verses of the Surah to be revealed
after the battles of Hunain and Tabuk and exactly a year before the Prophet
(pbuh) performed his last hajj. It was approximately 18 months after Mecca fell
to the Muslims in a bloodless take-over with the Prophet’s army marching in
A (declaration) of immunity from Allah and His Messenger, to those of the
Mushrikin with whom you have contracted mutual alliances:-
Go you, then, for four months, backwards and forwards, (as you will),
throughout the land, but know you that ye cannot frustrate Allah (by your
falsehood) but that Allah will cover with shame the Kafirin.
And an announcement from Allah and His Messenger, to the people (assembled) on
the day of the Great Pilgrimage,- that Allah and His Messenger dissolve
(treaty) obligations with the Mushrikin. If then, you repent, it were best for
you; but if ye turn away, know you that you cannot frustrate Allah. And
proclaim to the Kafaru, a grievous penalty.
(But the treaties are) not dissolved with those Mushrikin with whom you have
entered into alliance and who have not subsequently failed you in aught, nor
aided any one against you. So fulfil your engagements with them to the end of
their term: for Allah loves the righteous.
But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Mushrikin
wherever you find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them
in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers
and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is
Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
If one amongst the Mushrikin ask you for asylum, grant it to him, so that he
may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That
is because they are men without knowledge.
note when a verse uses Mushrikin and when it uses Kafirin or Kafaru and the
manner in which it distinguishes between the two. It is only the Kafirin who
will be covered with shame (9:2) and to whom is proclaimed a grievous penalty
(9:3). Who are these kafaru and what is their kufr?
But if they violate their oaths after their covenant, and taunt you for your
Faith,- fight ye the chiefs of Unfaith (a-immata l-kuf'ri): 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 you fear them? Nay, it is Allah Whom you
should more justly fear, if you believe!
Kufr of the Kafirin was: Violating their oaths and treaties, those who had
plotted to expel the Prophet from Mecca and those who were fighting battles
against the Prophet. In brief, it was religious persecution. The punishment in
9:5 is only for the religious persecutors and they are the kafaru mentioned in
who never broke their treaties nor helped the enemies of the Muslims, nor
fought them (9:4) and those who seek asylum are not considered Kafir but only
people without knowledge (la yalamun 9:6) and exempt from the punishment in
9:5. These are however, disbelievers (la-yuminun) and are barred from entering
the Sacred Mosque from the next hajj (9:28) and are required to pay Jizya
O ye who believe! Truly the Mushrikun are unclean; so let them not, after this
year of theirs, approach the Sacred Mosque.
(29) Fight those who believe not in
Allah (la yuminun) nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been
forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth,
(even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with
willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
does 9:5 say kill the Mushrikin except those exempted under 9:4 and 9:6 if it
is only the Kafirin who are intended? If 9:5 had said kill all the Kafirin
except those exempted in 9:4 and 9:6, it is applying exemptions to the Kafirin
which makes all of them Kafir. The way it is worded, the exemptions in 9:4 and
9:6 are for those Mushrikin who are not Kafir. The remaining Mushrikin are
Kafir to whom the punishment in 9:5 applies.
9:5 appears to be harsh, it had the desired effect, and at the end of the four
month amnesty period, not a single Kafir remained to be meted out the death
punishment. They either accepted Islam or migrated.
who were merely disbelievers but not Kafir, were among the general mass of
people who follow their leaders. Once the (a-immata l-kuf'ri) or the leaders in
kufr accepted Islam, the rest also accepted Islam, and there were no Jiziya
paying Mushrikin. This historical fact
is misinterpreted and the opinion of the scholars is that the Mushrikin had no
choice, but to accept Islam, migrate or be killed. In effect, they say that 9:29 did not apply
to the Mushrikin but only to the People of the Book. This is false. The only people the Quran
accuses of not believing in Allah and the last day are the “Mushrikin” or the
polytheists. There are numerous verses that speak of the Jews and the
Christians but not even one verse accuses them of not believing in Allah or the
last day. There are also numerous verses that speak of the “Mushrikin” which accuse them of not
believing in the last day and associating partners with Allah or disbelieving
both in Allah and the Last Day (44:35, 50:3, 56:47). The Jews and the
Christians are accused of not holding that forbidden which has been forbidden
by Allah and his messenger (4:161, 5:42, 5:62,63) and not acknowledging the
religion of Truth. The subject of the latter part of the verse is therefore the
Jews and the Christians. The verse therefore covers the Polytheists, the Jews
and the Christians and all of them are given a choice to willingly pay Jiziya
or face war.
Fundamental Principles of Islam
Freedom of Conscience
there be no compulsion in Religion (2:256)
the (peaceful) rejecter of the faith be his way and to me mine (109:6)
discussion on the verses of Surah Taubah clearly establish that the above two
principles, were never violated by the Prophet in his battles against the
enemy, and are fundamental principles of Islam. The peaceful Mushrikin had the
choice of retaining their religion and paying Jizya.
The problem lies in orthodox Islam’s division of the world
between darul Islam and darul harab, with Muslims perpetually at war with
non-Muslims until they conquer the whole world. So they had to use the fighting
verses to support their agenda, and put the reconciliatory and peace and
compassion invoking verses in the back burner.
Come this era, the fighting verses serve the agenda of those
who want to project Islam as a violent religion – anti-Islamic non- Muslims and
radical liberal Muslims alike and of course the advocates of Islamic Caliphate
and the militant jihadists, and their tacit supporters in the mainstream Islam
who watch the videos of heinous crimes against innocent people perpetrated
under the banner of Shahada and never make any loud and thunderous protest –
the shameless Ulama of Islam, God witnessing as expounded in my following
The Shamelessness of Ulema of Islam in Bearing with the Penultimate Blasphemy
by ISIS Brutes without a Thunderous Global Protest Is Despicable