The contextual and structural analysis of the verse “Kill the Mushrikin wherever you find them” (9:5)
Main points discussed in Part 4
· The Hanafi principle ‘Dalalat Siyaaq al-Kalam’ refers to the situation where the literal meaning of any word is dropped due to the context and structure (Siyaaq) of the speech (Kalam)
· The context and structure of the full relevant text of verse 9:5 demands that only the religious persecutors and violators of the peace treaty are to be fought
· Those who did not breach the peace treaty were not commanded to be fought against
· The classical exegetes interpret the word “Mushrikin” in the verse 9:5 as “Nakithin” i.e. those who breached the peace treaty and restored the state of war
By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
16 November 2019
This is the fourth part of Refutation of Jihadi Ideology That Uses the Verse, ‘Kill the Mushrikin Wherever You Find Them’ To Justify Terrorism in 21st Century. Supported by the Hanafi principle ‘Dalalat Siyaaq al-Kalam’, this part of Refutation is purely based on the contextual and structural analysis of the verse “Kill the Mushrikin wherever you find them” (9:5).
According to the Hanafi Principles of Jurisprudence, one of the five situations in which the literal (Haqiqi) meanings are not taken is due to the ‘Dalalat Siyaaq al-Kalam’.
The Hanafi principle ‘Dalalat Siyaaq al-Kalam’ refers to the situation where the literal meaning of any word is dropped due to the context and structure (Siyaaq) of the speech (Kalam). There are some clues, in such a situation, which indicate that the literal meaning of the word is not meant.
For example the Arabic word “Rajul” literally means ‘an adult human male’. If anyone says to his enemy during war, “come to face me if you are a man (Mard)”—the prevailing situation indicates that it is not reference to his gender, but to his bravery. Here the literal meaning ‘a male human being’ is omitted due to the ‘Dalalat Siyaaq al-Kalam’, that is, due to the context and structure of the speech.
Similarly if a person narrates the story of anyone’s bravery and says, “A man was fighting during a war. He was a lion”—here due to the context and structure of the sentence, the word ‘lion’ would not be taken for the literal meaning. It would not be said that the man was “a large wild animal of the cat family” but it would mean that the man was brave like a lion.
Based on this Hanafi-jurisprudential principle of ‘Dalalat Siyaaq al-Kalam’, let us understand the word ‘Mushrikin’ mentioned in the verse “kill the Mushrikin wherever you find them” (9:5).
The literal meaning of the word “Mushrikin” means those who commit the acts of Shirk, that is, those who worship other than Allah Almighty and attribute an equal partner to Allah in His Essence (Zaat) and Attributes (Sifat).
The literal meaning of the word ‘Mushrikin’ mentioned in the verse 9:5 demands that all those who commit shirk should be killed. But the context and structure of the full relevant text of the verse 9:5 demands that only those who are religious persecutors, violators of peace-treaty and have restored the war should be killed. So based on the principle of ‘Dalalat Siyaaq al-Kalam’, the literal meaning of the word ‘Mushrikin’ would be dropped here.
As for the context of the verse 9:5, we have discussed it in the previous parts along with some explanatory notes from the classical scholars. Briefly speaking here, the Mushrikin of Arab mentioned in this verse were those who had persecuted the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his followers for as long as 14 or 15 years in the city of Makkah. The Muslims continued to suffer heartless oppression, torture and abuse for thirteen years, yet they were not allowed to exact a measure of retaliation. Initially they were commanded to persevere patiently. During the thirteenth year after the declaration of his Prophet-hood, Allah commanded the prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions to migrate. They carried out Allah’s command worshipfully and migrated to Madina –nearly 300 miles away from Makkah. Still the animosity of the inveterate Mushrikin of Arab had not subsided. They inflicted fresh injuries on the Muslims; robbed them of the peace of mind and heart. When the aggression and ruthlessness of the Arab Mushrikin grew more hotly than ever, Allah granted permission to the believers to take up arms in their own defence.
As regards the structure of the verse 9:5, we should understand it from the verse 9:1, which reads “Absolution (i.e., renunciation) is declared from Allah and His Messenger to those Mushrikin with whom you had made a treaty of peace (but they breached the truce and restored the state of war)”. In the context discussed above we have seen the Mushrikin of Arab were the religious persecutors with whom, according to the verse 9:1, the peace-treaty was established but when they breached this truce, a divine “renunciation was declared”. Here an exception was also made to those who did not breach the truce as mentioned in the verse 9:4, “Except those Mushrikin with whom you made an agreement, who then did not show any latitude (in executing the truce) and who did not support (or reinforce) anyone against you. So fulfil the treaty with them till the end of the term. Surely, Allah loves those who fear Him”. This indicates that those who did not breach the truce were not commanded to be fought against. From the structure of all this divine speech it can be easily understood that they were fought not because they were Mushrikin but because they were the persecutors who even after making the truce breached it. This understanding is also supported by the verse which reads, “And if any of the Mushrikin seeks asylum with you, provide him with protection until he listens to the Words of Allah. Then escort him to his haven. This is because these people do not possess the knowledge (of the truth)” (9:6).
Given the context and structure of the divine speech, the literal meaning of the word “Mushrikin” would not be meant. Rather its literal meaning would be dropped and interpreted with explanatory notes that the Mushrikin mentioned in this verse were the Mushrikin of Arab who were religious persecutors and violators of peace-treaty. For the same reason we also come across such explanatory notes in the books of Tafasir written by the well-known classical scholars, Imam Baydawi, Allama Alusi, Allama Jassas, Ibn Hatim, Ibn Munzir and Suyuti etc.
Imam Baydawi says, “The word “Mushrikin” in the verse 9:5 refers to “Nakithin” which means those who breached the peace-treaty and restored the state of war. (Baydawi, “Anwar al-Tanzeel wa Asrar al-Taweel (The Lights of Revelation and the Secrets of Interpretation, V. 3, p. 71, 9:5- trans. from Arabic edition). In the same way, Allama Alusi also dropped the literal meaning of the word Mushrikin due to the context and structure of the divine speech and thus they interpreted the word “Mushrikin” as “Nakithin” (Alusi, Rooh al-Ma’ani, v. 10, p. 50, - 9:5, trans. from Arabic edition). Imam Suyuti writes, “Imam Ibn Munzir, Ibn Abi Hatim and Abu Shaikh (may Allah be pleased with them) have quoted Hazrat Muhammad bin Ibad b. Jafar as saying “These Mushrikin are Banu Khuzaima b. Amir who belong to Bani Bakr b. Kananah” (see Suyuti, Durr-e-Manthoor, V.3, p.655- translation from Urdu version). In the words of Allama Abu Bakr al-Jassas, “The verse (Kill the Mushrikin wherever you find them) was particular to the Mushrikin of Arab and does not apply to anyone else” (Ahkam al-Quran lil Jassas, V. 5, p. 270, translation from Arabic edition)
Other Parts of the Article:
A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar), with a Sufi-Sunni background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. He has also done B.A (Hons.) in Arabic, M.A. in Arabic and M.A in English from JMI, New Delhi. He is Interested in Islamic Sciences; Theology, Jurisprudence, Tafsir, Hadith and Islamic mysticism (Tasawwuf).
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