This is a reply to a visitor who read many of the posts about Terrorism in Islam. I felt some regret that my posts seemed to have little or no change in his way of thinking but rather he insisted to list a rather long list of verses from the Qur’an and also Hadith which readily show the “hunger” of Muslims to slaughter, massacre or generally kill non- Muslims.
I will not get into this so deeply simply for the fact that he has taken all of these out of context of the situation they were revealed. All of those from the Quran were revealed after the believers had been attacked and were forced to fight. When you take only one verse out of its setting yes you will be shocked and say wow those Muslims are horrible and only know about terror. However let us see the real situation.
Why are there verses in the Qur’an that encourage Muslims to kill non-believers wherever they find them?
The Importance of Context
The word ‘context’ has two dictionary meanings:
1. The parts of a written or spoken statement that precede or follow a specific word or passage, usually influencing its meaning or effect. 2. The set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc.
Any discussion on Qur’anic verses that refer to violence would be meaningless, without a study of the surrounding context. Before we study the verses in question, therefore, let us examine this issue in a wider perspective:
The Sanctity of Life
The Glorious Qur’an says:
“…take not life, which God hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.” [Al-Qur’an 6:151]
Islam considers all life forms as sacred. However, the sanctity of human life is accorded a special place. The first and the foremost basic right of a human being is the right to live. The Glorious Qur’an says:
“…if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” [Al-Qur’an 5:32]
The value of human life is so great, that the Qur’an equates the taking of even one human life unjustly with the killing of all humanity.
The Verses of War
The words that often cause consternation among those unfamiliar with Islam, are: “…and slay them wherever ye catch them…”
The truth is that this is only part of verse 191 of Chapter 2 of the Qur’an. Let us read the verses 190 to 191 in order to get a complete picture:
“Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. 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.” [Al-Qur’an 2:190-191]
It is a well-known fact of Islamic history, that fighting against aggressors was prohibited during the first thirteen years of the Prophet’s mission. After Muslims migrated to Medina, the verses above were revealed to enable the community to fight in self-defense. The verses that follow clearly indicate Islam’s prohibition on aggression and inclination towards peace:
“But if they cease, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practise oppression.” [Al-Qur’an 2:192-193]
The verses above specifically refer to fighting against oppression and in defense of religious freedom as the Glorious Qur’an says:
“Let there be no compulsion in religion” [Al-Qur’an 2:256]
Fair-Dealing Towards All
When read in context, the above verses do not even remotely suggest an exhortation for Muslims to be vicious or hateful towards people of other faiths. Far from this, the Qur’an actually requires that Muslims conduct themselves with fairness and dignity in all matters, and especially in regard to interfaith relations, as indicated by the following verse:
“Allah 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 Allah loveth those who are just.” [Al-Qur’an 60:8]
The verse you posted up do not reflect the other verses that are around them. For example, let us read this verse.. what do you think about it? [2:191] You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid, unless they attack you therein. If they attack you, you may kill them. This is the just retribution for those disbelievers.
You will feel it is very aggressive. Now put it into context with the situation that was occurring at that time,,,,
Rules of War*
[2:190] You may fight in the cause of GOD against those who attack you, but do not aggress. GOD does not love the aggressors.
[2:191] You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid, unless they attack you therein. If they attack you, you may kill them. This is the just retribution for those disbelievers.
[2:192] If they refrain, then GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
[2:193] You may also fight them to eliminate oppression, and to worship GOD freely. If they refrain, you shall not aggress; aggression is permitted only against the aggressors.
[2:194] During the Sacred Months, aggression may be met by an equivalent response. If they attack you, you may retaliate by inflicting an equitable retribution. You shall observe GOD and know that GOD is with the righteous.
[2:195] You shall spend in the cause of GOD; do not throw yourselves with your own hands into destruction. You shall be charitable; GOD loves the charitable.
They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks;-
Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If Allah had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: Therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (Guarantees of) peace, then Allah Hath opened no way for you (to war against them).
So you can see that always the path of peace and treaties is best and most loved by God however if someone is aggressing against you or attacking you then you have the right, and must, defend yourself. It is so simple as that.
Here, taken from a Christan dialog on the web: When the desertion of the hypocrites at Uhud nearly caused a disaster to the Muslim cause there was great feeling among the Muslims of Madinah against them. One party wanted to put them to the sword; another to leave them alone. The actual policy pursued avoided both extremes, and was determined by these verses.
It was clear that they were a danger to the Muslim community if they were admitted into its counsels, and in any case they were a source of demoralization. But while every caution was used, no extreme measures were taken against them. On the contrary, they were given a chance of making good.
If they made a sacrifice for the cause (“flee from what is forbidden”, see next verse) their conduct purged their previous cowardice, and their sincerity entitled them to be taken back. But if they deserted the Muslim community again, they were treated as enemies, with the additional penalty of desertion, which is enforced by all nations actually at war.
Even so, a human exception was made in the two cases specified in 4:90.
As Christians, we get upset when atheists quote the Bible out of context during their attacks on our faith.
It is therefore indefensible for a Christian to practice the same deceit.
I have to applaud this Christian for being open minded and honest and being able to see through all the media hype and mis information
I hope that this helps to clarify the issue of war being mentioned in the Qur’an and that people need to realize that these events really took place and the issues dealt with specifically are related to those events with general teachings given through them.
Basically you need to understand that Muslims should not be the aggressor – as stated clearly in the Qur’an, but have every right – and duty– to defend one self, community, homes, person, and family from aggression and attack.