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Debunking Islamophobic and Jihadi Myths about 26 Wartime Verses: Part 1 on Verse 9:5

Removing Misconceptions about 26 Wartime Verses of the Quran

Main Points:

1.    Verse 9:5 was revealed in the historical context of war between Muslims and the Pagans of Makkah.

2.    Verse 9:5 is not to be applied to the present circumstances where there is the rule of law that does not allow religious persecution.

3.    The word Mushrikin in verse 9:5 refers to those who violated the peace treaty and attacked Muslims.


By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam

26 March 2022

Some people have recently objected to the 26 verses of the Holy Quran, despite the fact that they were revealed in the historical context of war between Muslims and the Pagans of Makka. Despite the fact that their appeals were rejected by the Supreme Court, some social media users continue to circulate misleading information about these verses. An ordinary student of theology,  I have based my research and understanding of these verses on articles and interpretations found on New Age Islam and other publications. I hope people become more aware of the truth and refrain from spreading false information, as lying is forbidden in all Dharmas and Belief systems.

The most common and first verse used to spread false information is as follows:

“And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give Zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (9:5)

This is one of the verses of Surah Tawbah. It is necessary to comprehend the circumstances and reasons for the revelation of Surah At-Tawbah before understanding this verse.

According to Mufti Badruddoja Razvi,

The first 30 or 40 verses of Surah At-Tawbah were revealed in the 9th AH after the conquest of Makkah. With Allah Almighty's permission and the Holy Prophet's approval, the Muslims arranged a peace covenant with the polytheists of Makkah and other Arab tribes. Both sides had to adhere to this covenant. Muslims were true to their word. The polytheists of Makkah and Arab tribes broke the contract, with the exception of the Banu Zamra and Banu Kanana, who are expressly listed in verse 4 of Surah At-Tawbah. They also disregarded the Hudaybiyyah Peace-Treaty. The Hudaybiyyah Peace Conditions appeared to be pointing to the vulnerability of the Muslims.

In the current day and age, the non-Muslim world accepts the pact and considers it binding in all circumstances. The treaty has received a lot of attention in Islam. Several times in the Holy Qur'an, it is ordered to keep the covenant. It has also been stated that you must keep the covenant. The covenant will undoubtedly be called into question. (17:34)

However, when one side breaks a covenant, the covenant is immediately broken, as was the case with the Hudaybiyyah peace contract. When the pagans of Makkah failed to keep their commitment, the Prophet (peace be upon him) dispatched Hazrat Abu Bakr to Makkah on the occasion of Hajj in the ninth Hijra, appointing him Emir of Hajj. On the day of Tarwiyah (8th Dhul-Hijjah), Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq preached a discourse in which he detailed the Hajj procedures. Addressing the polytheists of Makkah in the valley of Jamrah on the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah, Hazrat Ali said:

“O People! I have come to you as the Messenger of the Prophet (peace be upon him)." The polytheists enquired, "What message have you brought for us?" After reciting the first 30 or 40 verses of Surah At-Tawbah, Hazrat Ali announced, "I have come to you with the command of four things." (1) After this year, no polytheists will visit the Kaaba. (2) Circumambulating the Kaaba while naked is prohibited. (3) Only those who believe will be permitted to enter Paradise. (4) Each Dhimmi's covenant must be honoured.”

The above statement clarifies that the polytheists who are commanded in verse 5 to be killed or fought after the passing of holy months refer only to the Arab polytheists who not only broke the covenant with the Muslims but also spent their filthy efforts to violate the call of Islam, as the commentator Abi Saud writes in his commentary on the verse, "the word Mushrikin in verse 9:5 specifically refers to Nakithin. As it is obvious from the straight meaning of the verse, as well as the Dalalat al-Nass' (i.e. a scenario in which the literal meaning of any word is discarded due to the context and structure of the text), no other Mushrikin will be battled.” [Abi Saud's Tafsir, vol. 4, p. 43]

The author of Tafsir-e-Madarik commented on it as well, saying, "The word Mushrikin refers to those who violated the peace treaty and attacked upon you.” [Tafsir al-Nusafi, vol. 2, p. 166]

The instruction to murder the polytheists and infidels contained in verse 9:5 does not pertain to common infidels, polytheists, and fellow citizens and brothers of India, according to these legitimate and credible commentators. However, it refers to the polytheists of Makkah and the Covenant Arab tribes who committed horrific crimes against the Muslims, such as murder, treason, and breach of covenant.

The Qur'an does not encourage shooting individuals with AK-47s while walking for no reason, or orphaning hundreds of children, or plucking honeycomb off the heads of hundreds of women. According to the Qur'an, if a human being kills another human being for no reason, regardless of religion, he is a killer of all human beings on earth, and if a human being saves the life of an oppressed, weak, and feeble human person, he is a saver of all human beings on earth.

The lives, property, and rights of non-Muslim minorities are as secure as the lives, property, and rights of the Muslim majority wherever the Islamic system of governance is in effect. They must have the same freedom to exercise their religion and construct a house of worship as the Muslim majority, since the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) stated, “Whoever murders a person of a treaty other than his own, God prevents him from entering Paradise.” (Al-Mustadrak Lil-Hakim, V: 2, p. 142)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said, “He who kills a person with whom there is a peace pact will not take the smell of paradise, which is found after a five-hundred-year voyage.” (Al-Jawami` Lil-Suyuti, V: 9, p. 721)

“Indeed, a sign will be raised on the Day of Resurrection for the one who violated the covenant, and it will be claimed that he betrayed such and such a person,” the Prophet (peace be upon him) says of the one who breaks covenant after forming it. (Al Jawami` Lil-Suyuti, V: 8, p. 370)

A Muslim who had killed a non-Muslim with whom there had been a peace accord was once brought before Hazrat Ali (May Allah be pleased with him). When the evidence of murder was revealed, Hazrat Ali ordered that this Muslim be put to death. "Don't kill him!" exclaimed the victim's brother. “I'm sorry, but I've forgiven him.” Hazrat Ali speculated, “Perhaps these guys have intimidated and terrorised you?” He responded, “No, they murdered my brother, and now I can't bring him back. They offered me blood money, which I gladly accepted.” Hazrat Ali explained to the non-Muslim, “You know well well that a person under our protection has the same sanctity as we do, and his blood money is equal to our blood money”. (Al-Sunan Al-Kubra Lil-Baihqi, V: 8, p. 63, Al-Jarrah Al-Hadith Book: 15934, Dar Al-Kotob Al-Ilmiyah, Beirut, Lebanon)

See: The Verses of Jihad: Meaning, Denotation, Reason of Revelation and Background- Part 2

In his article consisting of five parts, Islamic scholar Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi says

This verse “And kill them [Mushrikin] wherever you overtake them... (2:191)” was revealed for the Makkans who tortured and persecuted the Muslims for about 14 years. The verse right before it says, “Fight in the cause of God only those who fight you and do not commit aggression” (2:190). And the verse right after it says, “But if they cease fighting, then let there be no hostility except against the oppressors” (2:192). These verses were revealed because the Muslims were afraid they would be attacked while on their sacred pilgrimage when fighting is prohibited. The passage in context clearly prohibits fighting those who are not fighting.” (Summarized:  'Kill Them Wherever You Find Them (2:191)': What Quran Actually Means By This Command?)

Also Read:  Refuting ISIS While Interpreting the Quranic Verse ‘Kill the Mushrikin Wherever You Find Them’


Kaniz Fatma is a classic Islamic scholar and a regular columnist for New Age Islam.


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