Tag Archives: sword verse

Ibn Taymiyya Responds To The Claim Of Peaceful Verses Being “Abrogated”

Kaleef K. Karim

Interesting quotation I came across today. In the following quotation scholar Ibn Taymiyyah who lived in the latter part of the 13th century refutes the claim being made that the verses of peaceful preaching and good argumentation are abrogated by the “verses of fighting“, see more details here: https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/05/27/most-misinterpreted-verses-of-the-quran/

Ibn Taymiyyah (1263 – 1328 CE) states:

“The eigth angle [in refuting the claim of abrogation] is that many of the People of the Book claim that Muhammad and his nation established their religion with the sword and not through guidance, knowledge and signs (evidences). Thereafter, when they request knowledge and debate [about Islam] and it is said to them in response: ‘There is no answer to you except the sword’, then this is what corroborates [in their minds] this is FALSE PRESUMPTION [they have to begin with]. And this is from the greatest of what they use as proof amongst themselves for the corruption of Islam, that it is not a religion of a Messenger sent by Allah, but a religion of a King who established it with the sword.” (Al-Jawab al-Sahih, by Ibn Taymiyyah, volume 1, page 244)

Thanks too “IslamAgainstExtremism.com“ website for providing us with this quotation: http://www.islamagainstextremism.com/articles/fbvlntb-has-peaceful-preaching-and-good-argumentation-been-abrogated.cfm

Don’t forget to follow Discover The Truth on Facebook and TwitterPLEASE help spread the word by sharing our articles on your favourite social networks.

(1) – “Prophet Muhammed’s Charity To Non-Muslims” https://discover-the-truth.com/2017/07/08/prophet-muhammeds-charity-to-non-muslims/

(2) – “Generosity Towards Non-Muslim Neighbours” https://discover-the-truth.com/2015/02/01/generosity-towards-non-muslim-neighbours/

(3) – “Social Conditions: Christians And Jews In Early Period Of Islam” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/06/22/social-conditions-christians-and-jews-in-early-period-of-islam/

(4) – “The Relationship Of The Muslim With Non-Muslims” https://discover-the-truth.com/2016/02/12/the-relationship-of-the-muslim-with-non-muslims/

(5) – “What Does Islam Teach about Justice?” https://discover-the-truth.com/2014/02/20/what-does-islam-teach-about-justice/

What Is The Explanation Of “I have Been Commanded To Fight The People Until They Testify…”?

Kaleef K. Karim

Content:

1. Introduction
2. Background
3. Quraysh Broke The Treaty And Waged War
4. Analysing The Hadith
5. The Hadith rejects Forced Conversion Claim
6. The Quran Rejects Forced Conversion Claim
7.  Various Commentaries On The Hadith
8. Conclusion

1. Introduction

The following Hadith quotation (below) has often been quoted by some critics claiming that Prophet Muhammed (p) sanctions and/or approves of Muslims to forcefully convert non-Muslims to Islam:

“I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish the prayer and pay the Zakah.” (Fath al-Bari, volume 1, page 95) (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) [Abridged by A Group of Scholars Under The Supervision Of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri. Maktaba Dar-us-Salam – Second Edition, 2003] volume 4, page 377)”

When we get to read the Hadith and its historical context we find that this claim has no support from the Hadith nor was it interpreted in such a way. So what is the historical understanding of the Hadith report?

2. Background

Some of the earliest to contemporary scholars state that the Hadith report was said in connection to the pagan Arabs in Prophet Muhammed’s life time. Those words were uttered on the occasion of Surah al-Tawbah, specifically Surah 9:5, the “sword verse” as some would like to call it (Tafsir Ibn Kathir and Ibn Juzayy). [1] [2]

We wrote previously an article dedicated to Quran 9:5 – the verse was revealed as a result of the polytheists of Makkah breaking the treaty, attacking and killing Muhammed’s allies. As a result of their heinous and treacherous act, the Prophet (p) engaged the enemy.

Furthermore, it should be noted to our respected readers that in light of the Hadith report we are going to analyse, the Quraysh polytheists persecuted and murdered Muslims in Makkah for over ten years, and even when the Muslims fled to find safe sanctuary in Madinah they were persecuted once more: “Did Quraysh Persecute Muslims When They Fled To Madinah?

3. Quraysh Broke The Treaty And Waged War

Before we analyse the Hadith report, let’s briefly explain what happened on the occasion of Surah 9:5. In the sixth year of Hijri the Muslims and the polytheist Makkans made a treaty. Part of the treaty, the agreement was that neither parties would attack the other, nor would they attack any of their own allies. In this, all parties agreed and went their own ways. It didn’t take long when Banu Bakr tribe (who were an ally of Quraysh) attacked and murdered many of Banu Khuza’a’s tribe (they were the ally of the Muslims). The Quraysh being in the middle, the Muslims presumed that they would have tried to stop their ally (Banu Bakr) attacking and killing Banu Khuza’a. To the contrary, historical reports inform us that the polytheistic Quraysh supported Banu Bakr with weapons and their members also partook in killing Banu Khuza’a members. The Quraysh were the first to breach the terms of the treaty, attacking and murdering Prophet Muhammed’s ally. This is reported from many early sources.

Ibn Kathir (1301 – 1373 AD):

“‘then stand you true to them. Verily, Allah loves those who have Taqwa.’ The Messenger of Allah and the Muslims preserved the terms of the treaty with the people of Makkah from the month of Dhul-Qa`dah in the sixth year of Hijrah, until the QURAYSH BROKE IT AND HELPED THEIR ALLIES, BANU BAKR, AGAINST KHUZA`AH, the allies of Allah’s Messenger . AIDED BY THE QURAYSH, BANU BAKR KILLED SOME OF BANI KHUZA’AH in the Sacred Area! The Messenger of Allah led an invasion army in the month of Ramadan, of the eighth year, and Allah opened the Sacred Area for him to rule over them…It was also said that these Ayat refer to the idolators BREAKING THE PEACE AGREEMENT WITH MUSLIMS AND AIDING BANI BAKR, THEIR ALLIES, AGAINST KHUZA`AH, the ally of the Messenger of Allah. THIS IS WHY THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH MARCHED TO MAKKAH in the year of the victory, thus conquering it…” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) [Supervised by Abdul Malik Mujahid – First Edition, 2000] volume 4, page 377 – 378)

Tafsir Jalalayn:

“‘except for those you made a treaty with at the Masjid al-Haram’ Referring to the Treaty of Hudaybiyya. They are the Quraysh who were exempted before. ‘As long as they are straight with you, be straight with them’ i.e. as long as they carry out the treaty and do not break it, you should fulfill it. The ma is conditional and not adverbial. ‘Allah loves those who have taqwa’ The Prophet WAS STRAIGHT IN HIS TREATY WITH THEM UNTIL THEY BROKE IT BY HELPING THE BANU BAKR AGAINST KHUZA’A. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn on Surah 9:7 – Online source http://bewley.virtualave.net/tawba1.html)

Tafsir al-Jalalayn goes further:

“Will you not (a-la, ‘will not’ or ‘is not’, denotes incitement) fight a people who broke, violated, their oaths, their pacts, and intended to expel the Messenger, from Mecca — for they discussed this between them in their council assembly — initiating, combat, against you first?, when THEY FOUGHT ALONGSIDE BANU BAKR AGAINST KHUZA‘A, YOUR ALLIES? So what is stopping you from fighting them? Are you afraid of them? God is more worthy of your fear, when you fail to fight them, if you are believers.” (Tafsir al-Jalalayn on Surah 9:13, Online source http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=13&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2)

As-Sawi:

“[ As-Sawi: This refers to the Treaty of al-Hudaybiyya which stipulated that there would be no war for twenty years. The Banu Bakr formed an alliance with Quraysh and the Khuza’a with the Prophet. BANU BAKR THEN ATTACKED KHUZA’A AND QURAYSH HELPED THEM WITH WEAPONS, THUS BREAKING THE TREATY. ‘Amr b. ‘Allam al-Khuza’i went and informed the Prophet what had happened. The Prophet said, “You will not be helped if I do not help you,” and made preparations and went to Makka and conquered it in 8 AH. …”(Tafsir as-Sawi on Surah 9:3 – Online source http://bewley.virtualave.net/tawba1.html)

Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas:

“(Will ye not fight a folk) why is it that you do not fight a people, i.e. the people of Mecca (who broke their solemn pledges) which are between them and you, (and purposed to drive out the messenger) and wanted to kill the Messenger when they entered Dar al-Nadwah (and did attack you first) by BREAKING THEIR PLEDGE WHEN THEY HELPED THE BANU BAKR, THEIR ALLIES, AGAINST THE BANU KHUZA’AH, THE ALLIES OF THE PROPHET? (What! Fear ye them?) O believers, do you fear fighting them? (Now Allah hath more right that you should fear Him) because of leaving His command, (if ye are believers).” (Tanwir al-Miqbâs min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas on Surah 9:13 – Online Source http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=13&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2)

Besides the above evidence, many earlier historical sources report similar accounts of this incident. That the Quraysh and Banu Bakr initiated warfare against Muhammed’s ally.

One of the earliest sources is Kitab al-Maghazi by Ma’mar Ibn Rashid (714-770 AD). He states that the Quraysh along with Banu Bakr attacked the Banu Khuza’ah tribe which were an ally of the Muslims at the time:

“During the two-year period of the Messenger of God’s truce with the Quraysh at al-Hudaybiyah, it is said that there was a war between the Bakr clan, allied with the Quraysh, and the KHUZA’AH CLAN, ALLIED WITH GOD’S MESSENGER. Now, THE QURAYSH PROVIDED AID TO THEIR ALLIES AGAINST KHUZA’AH, and when word of this reached the Messenger of God, he said, ‘By Him in Whose hands my soul resides, I will surely deny them what I and my household have been denied!’ He then began making preparations for war against the Quraysh.” (The Expeditions (“Kitab al-Maghazi”)- An Early Biography Of Muhammad by Ma’mar Ibn Rashid – According to the recension of Abd al-Razzaq al-San’ani [Edited and translated by Sean W. Anthony – Foreword by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem., NEW YORK University Press., 2014], page 95)

Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-Muluk – Abu Ja’far Muhammad b Jarir al-Tabari:

THE NIGHT THAT THE BANU BAKR ATTACKED THE KHUZA’AH at al-Watir, they killed a man of Khuza’ah named Munabbih. Munabbih was a man with weak heart. He had gone out with a tribesman of his named Tamim b. Asad. Munabbih said to him: ‘Tamim save yourself! As for me, by God I am a dead man whether they kill me or spare me, for my heart has ceased beating.’ Tamim ran away and escaped, Munabbih they caught and killed. When the Khuza’ah entered Mecca, they took refuge in the house of Budayl b. Warqa al-Khuza’I and the house of one of their mawlas names Rafi. When THE QURAYSH LEAGUED TOGETHER [WITH THE BANU BAKR] AGAINST KHUZA’AH AND KILLED SOME OF THEIR MEN, BREAKING THE TREATY AND COVENANT THAT EXISTED BETWEEN THEM AND THE MESSENGER OF GOD BY VIOLATING THE KHUZA’AH, WHO HAD A PACT AND TREATY WITH HIM, Amr b. Salim al-Khuza’ah, one of the Banu Ka’b, went to the Messenger of God in Medina. This was one the things that prompted the conquest of Mecca. Amr stood before the Messenger of God while he was in the mosque sitting among the people…
AMONG THE TERM ON WHICH THE MESSENGER OF GOD AND QURAYSH HAD MADE PEACE WAS THAT THERE SHOULD BE NEITHER BETRAYAL NOR CLANDESTINE THEFT. QURAYSH AIDED THE BANU BAKR WITH WEAPONS… That is why the Messenger of God attacked the people of Mecca. …” (The History Of al-Tabari (“Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-Muluk”) – The Victory of Islam [Translated and annotated by Michael Fishbein, University of California, Los Angeles – Bibliotheca Persica, edited by Ehsan Yar-Shater – State University Of New York Press, Albany., 1997], by Abu Ja’far Muhammad b Jarir al-Tabari, volume VIII (8), page 162 – 175)

In Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya Ibn Kathir reports in greater detail on this incident:

“’It was stipulated in the truce of al-Hudaybiyya that whoever wished to enter into an alliance with Muhammad could do so, and that those wishing to ally with Quraysh could also do that. Thereafter Khuza’a stated that they wished to be allied with the Messenger of God (SAAS) while Banu Bakr joined with Quraysh. ‘The truce remained in effect for some 17 or 18 months. But THEN BANU BAKR ATTACKED KHUZA’A AT NIGHT at a well called al-Watir, close to Mecca. QURAYSH, THINKING THAT BECAUSE IT WAS NIGHT AND THAT THEY WOULD NOT BE OBSERVED, ASSISTED BANU BAKR BY PROVIDING HORSES AND WEAPONS, AND THEY FOUGHT ALONG WITH THEM in order to express their hatred for the Messenger of God (SAAS). … Then Budayl b. Warq went with a group of Khuza’a to the Messenger of God (SAAS) and told how they had BEEN ATTACKED AND HOW QURAYSH HAD JOINED WITH BANU BAKR AGAINST THEM.” (The Life of the Prophet Muhammed (‘Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya’) [Translated by Professor Trevor Le Gassick, Garnet Publishing – Copyright 2000, The Center for Muslim Contribution To civilization], by Ibn Kathir, volume 3, page 377 – 399)

It is clear from some of the earliest sources that Prophet Muhammed (p) nor his companions initiated war against the polytheist Quraysh. It was the Quraysh with Banu Bakr who provoked – led the Muslims to retaliate against them.

4. Analysing The Hadith

With above out of the way, we can now focus on the Hadith report:

“It was narrated from Anas bin Malik that: The Prophet said: “I have been commanded to fight the idolators until they bear witness to La ilaha illallah (there is none worthy of worship except Allah) and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger. If they bear witness to La ilaha illallah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, and they pray as we pray and face our Qiblah, and eat our slaughtered animals, then their blood and wealth becomes forbidden to us except for a right that is due.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i volume 5, Book 37, Hadith 3971, (Sahih, Darussalam) http://sunnah.com/nasai/37/1 )

And:

“It was narrated from Anas bin Malik that: The Messenger of Allah said: “I have been commanded to fight the idolators until they bear witness to La ilaha illallah (there is none worthy of worship except Allah) and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. If they bear witness to La ilaha illallah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and they face our Qiblah, eat our slaughtered animals, and pray as we do, then their blood and wealth become forbidden except for a right that is due, and they will have the same rights and obligations as the Muslims.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i volume 5, Book 37, Hadith 3972, (Sahih, Darussalam) http://sunnah.com/nasai/37/2 )

The controversy among critics surrounds the following part of the Hadith:

“I have been commanded to fight the idolaters (or ‘people’) until they say La ilaha illallah (there is none worthy of worship except Allah) and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

Some critics have deduced from this part of the report that Prophet Muhammed (p) and his companions roamed around Arabia forcefully converting people to Islam with the point of the sword. This fanciful tale has sadly been perpetuated by orientalists and other critics of Islam for a while.

The classical understanding of the Hadith: as a result of the polytheists breaking the treaty, murdering members of Muhammed’s ally and persecuting the Muslims over for many years, the Muslims had no choice but to deal with those who continued hostility and bloodshed with the point of the sword, 1300 years ago.

Since they murdered and persecuted people for so many years, the polytheist warmongers had no right over their land. Expulsion of the criminals was a must rule in this circumstance in order to save the community from further harm they would commit. If they did abide by the treaty and didn’t do the things they did, they would have still had full control over their territory, but since they persecuted and murdered, they longer had a right to this. Now, the only choice that would have been offered to the criminals was one of the following:

1. Stop their hostilities, put their weapons down and live under the Muslim rule (government).
2. Embrace Islam.
3. Or leave the Muslim lands.

Scholars in the past have interpreted the Hadith slightly different and sometimes offered different choices shown to the one presented. I would argue that this position is in line with what the Prophet (p) did on this incident as our earliest sources confirm this. The decision to add choice number one with the other two was because of the Biography of Prophet Muhammed’s life (Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah) and other sources.

For example, when the Prophet Muhammed (p) conquered Makkah, he commanded his companions only to fight those who fought them. He went further, anybody that goes inside Abu Sufyan’s house or lock their doors and don’t engage in any fighting, they were safe and protected. Furthermore, We understand from history that when the Muslims took over Makkah they gave the polytheists amnesty and forgave them for the wrong they had done. As such, conversion nor expulsion on this occasion was necessary as long as the polytheists laid down their weapons and repented from the wrong they had done.

Sirat Rasul Allah – Ibn Ishaq:

THE APOSTLE HAD INSTRUCTED HIS COMMANDERS WHEN THEY HAD ENTERED MECCA ONLY TO FIGHT THOSE WHO RESISTED THEM… When the apostle of halted in the upper part of Mecca two of my brothers-in-law from B. Makhzum fled to me. (She was the wife of Hubayra b. Abu Wahb al-Makhzumi). Ali came in swearing that he would kill them, so I bolted the door of my house on them and went to the Apostle… Then he came forward and welcomed me and asked why I had come. When I told him about the two men and Ali he said: ‘WE GIVE PROTECTION TO WHOMSOEVER YOU GIVE PROTECTION AND WE GIVE SAFETY TO THOSE YOU PROTECT. HE MUST NOT KILL THEM.’” (The Life Of Muhammad – A Translation Of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah [With Introduction And Notes by A. Guillaume – Oxford University Press, Seventeenth Impression, 2004], page 550 – 552)

Kitab al-Maghazi – Ma’mar Ibn Rashid (714 – 770 AD):

“‘O Messenger of God!’ al-Abbas interjected . ‘Indeed, Abu Sufyan is one of the notables of our tribe, one of its elders. It would please me if you were to grant him something in recognition of his status.’
The Prophet decreed, ‘WHOEVER ENTERS THE HOUSE OF ABU SUFYAN IS SAFE.’ Abu Sufyan replied, ‘My house? My house!’
‘Yes,’ answered the Prophet, ‘AND WHOEVER LAYS DOWN HIS WEAPONS IS SAFE; AND WHOEVER LOCKS THE DOOR TO HIS HOUSE IS SAFE.’
Abu Sufyan left with al-Abbas, and while they were going down the road, al-Abbas feared that Abu Sufyan might still commit some act of treachery, so he sat him down on a mound of earth until the armies passed. …” (The Expeditions (“Kitab al-Maghazi”) – An Early Biography Of Muhammad by Ma’mar Ibn Rashid – According to the recension of Abd al-Razzaq al-San’ani [Edited and translated by Sean W. Anthony – Foreword by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem., NEW YORK University Press., 2014], page 99)

Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-Muluk – Abu Ja’far Muhammad b Jarir al-Tabari (838 – 923 AD):

“So I said to him, ‘Messenger of God, Abu Sufyan is a man who loves glory. Grant him something that shall be [a cause for him] among his clansmen.’ He said, ‘YES, WHOEVER ENTERS THE HOUSE OF ABU SUFYAN SHALL BE SAFE; ANYONE WHO ENTERS THE SANCTUARY SHALL BE SAFE; AND ANYONE WHO LOCKS HIS DOOR BEHIND HIM SHALL BE SAFE.’
… Abu Sufyan departed in haste. When he reached Mecca, he shouted in the sanctuary, ‘People of Quraysh, behold Muhammad has come upon you with forces you cannot resist.’ ‘What then?’ They said, ‘Alas, what will your house avail us!’ He said, ‘ANYONE WHO ENTERS THE SANCTUARY WILL BE SAFE, AND ANYONE WHO LOCKS HIS DOOR BEHIND WILL BE SAFE.’ … When THE MESSENGER OF GOD ORDERED HIS COMMANDERS TO ENTER MECCA, HE CHARGED THEM TO KILL NO ONE except those who fought them…” (The History Of al-Tabari (“Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-Muluk”) – The Victory of Islam [Translated and annotated by Michael Fishbein, University of California, Los Angeles – Bibliotheca Persica, edited by Ehsan Yar-Shater – State University Of New York Press, Albany., 1997], by Abu Ja’far Muhammad b Jarir al-Tabari, volume VIII (8), page 173 – 178)

Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan – al-Imam Abu’l Abbas Ahmad Ibn Jabir Al Baladhuri (d. 892 AD):

“…Kuraish had gathered their mob and followers saying, ‘Let us send these ahead. If they win, we will join them; and if defeated, we shall give whatever is demanded.’ ‘Do ye see’ said the Prophet, ‘THE MOB OF KURAISH?’ ‘We do,’ answered the Ansar. He then made a sign with one hand over the other as if to say, ‘kill them.’ To this the Prophet added, ‘Meet me at ‘as-Safa’. Accordingly we set out, each man killing whomever he wanted to kill, until abu-Sufyan came to the Prophet saying, ‘O Prophet of Allah, the majority of Kuraish is annihilated. … THE PROPHET THEREUPON ANNOUNCED, ‘HE WHO ENTERS THE HOUSE OF ABU SUFYAN IS SAFE, HE WHO CLOSES HIS OWN DOOR IS SAFE, AND HE WHO LAYS DOWN HIS ARMS IS SAFE.’ On this the Ansar the Ansar remarked one to the other, ‘The man is moved by love to his relatives and compassion on his clan.’ …
THE PEOPLE THEN CROWDED TO THE HOUSE OF ABU SUFYAN AND CLOSED ITS DOORS LAYING DOWN THEIR ARMS. … On the occasion of the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet made the following statement, ‘Slay no wounded person, pursue no fugitive, execute no prisoner; and whoever closes his door is safe.’ … On the day of the conquest of Makkah the Prophet asked Kuraish, ‘What think ye?’ To which they replied, ‘What we think is good, and what say is good. A noble brother thou art, and the son of a noble brother. Thou hast succeeded.’ The Prophet then said, ‘My answer is that given by my brother Joseph, ‘NO BLAME BE ON YOU THIS DAY. ALLAH WILL FORGIVE YOU; FOR HE IS THE MOST MERCIFUL OF THE MERCIFUL. …” (The origins of the Islamic State, being a translation from the Arabic accompanied with annotations Geographic and historic notes of the Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan of al-Imam Abu’l Abbas Ahmad Ibn Jabir Al Baladhuri, [Translated by Phillip Khurti Hitti, PHD – NEW YORK: Columbia University, Longmans, Green & Co., Agents – London: P. S. King & Son. Ltd., 1916], volume 1, page 65 – 68)

Although the polytheists were given amnesty and forgiven as long as they laid their weapons down and sought peace, there was an exception to few people. The Prophet (p) ordered his companions to kill certain specific individuals even if they were caught holding on the curtains of the Kab’ah. The names are, Abdullah Ibn Sa’d Ibn Abi Sarh, Abdullah Ibn Khattal, Miqyas b. Subahah, Al-Huwayrith b. Nuqaydh b. Wahb b. Abd. B. Qusayy, Ikrima b. Abi Jahl and Hind b. Utbah and few other names. These individuals persecuted, murdered people cold bloodily, and in some cases committed treachery against the State. As such, the Prophet (p) ordered that they should be dealt with wherever they may be.

It would be similar to a criminal making a run for a serious crime he or she may have committed in America today. If the authorities apprehend him or her they could get the death penalty in the court of law. The seriousness of the crime would not absolve the perpetrator from being tried. This is similar to this incident, 1300 years ago.

Since Prophet Muhammed (p) was the head of State, judge, jury and had the authority from God to execute those who committed heinous crimes, at the same time it was also in his hand to forgive. But in the case of these individuals, the only thing that could save their lives is if they went on the run (left Muslim lands) or embraced Islam, and repented from past crimes they had done. Some ran away, others came to the Prophet (p) asking for forgiveness and were granted. And some were executed for the past crimes.

It should be noted, those who insisted on hostility and warfare against the Muslims, they would have been dealt with the point of the sword or exiled (leave the lands where the Muslims resided), 1300 years ago. They would have no right to stay on the same land with the Muslims or other peaceful tribes who were non-Muslim. These rules were intended to make sure the community as a whole (Muslim and non-Muslim) were safe and were free to live without being persecuted against.

Indeed Prophet Muhammed’s (p) role in the community as a whole was to defend the rights of the marginalised and protect those who were victims of injustice. As such, if the polytheists at the time wanted protection and laid down their weapons, the Prophet (p) protected them as the evidence has shown.

This evidence here shows that the Prophet (p) nor his companions fought as a result of their beliefs. Rather it was due to them breaking the treaty and shedding blood which subsequently led to the Muslims conquering Makkah.

5. The Hadith rejects Forced Conversion Claim

The forced conversions claim, it is not permissible to force anyone to enter Islam. It is haram (forbidden).

In the book “Hidayatul Hayara Fi Ajwibatul Yahud wa al-Nasara” the scholar Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (1292 – 1350 AD) comments on Surah al-Tawbah. He writes that the Prophet (p) never forced anyone to accept Islam:

“When God sent His Apostle (p), most of the followers of these religions responded to him and to his successsors, voluntarily and willingly. NOBODY WAS COMPELLED TO DO SO. THE APOSTLE FOUGHT ONLY THOSE WHO FOUGHT AND WAGED WAR AGAINST HIM. He did not fight those who made peace with him, neither did he fight those who were under the pledge of truce. He was obeying the bidding of God Most Sublime were he said:

‘Let there be no compulsion in Religion: Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects Evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks, and God heareth and knowth all things ‘ (al-Baqarah: 256).

THE APOSTLE DID NOT COMPEL ANYONE TO ADOPT ISLAM. The above quoted verse from the Qur’an negates compulsion in the sense of prohibition that is: do not compel a soul to embrace the Religion. The verse (Sura) was revealed to admonish some of the men among the companions whose children embraced Judaism and Christianity before the advent of Islam, and where with the advent of Islam, their fathers embraced the religion of Muhammad and attempted to compel their children to follow their lead. God Most Exalted prohibited the fathers from resorting to compulsion to inspire their children to embrace Islam out of their choice. … To him who ponders over the biography of the Prophet (p) it becomes clear that he did not compel anyone to embrace his religion, and that he only fought those who fought him. He did not fight those who made truce with him as long as they kept and honoured the truce. He never broke a promise, for God Most High bid him to fulfil his promises to them as long as they kept theirs. A propos, God Most Exalted said:

‘How can there be a league before God and His apostle, with the pagans, except thoe with whom ye made a treaty near the Sacred Mosque? As long as these stand true to you, stand ye true to them for God doth love the righteous’ (AL-TAWBAH: 7).

… Likewise, when the Prophet Muhammad made truce with (the tribe of) Quraysh holding for ten years, HE DID NOT START ANY FIGHT WITH THEM; BUT WHEN THEY VIOLATED THE MUTUAL AGREEMENT AND RAISED ARMS AGAINST HIM, HE FOUGHT BACK… he stopped the fight when they retreated and went off. The point is that he did not compel anyone at all to embrace his religion; but people embraced his RELIGION VOLUNTARILY and willingly. When most of the people earth realized the True Guidance, and that he is genuinely the Apostle of God, they embraced his call. (Guidance To The Uncertain In Reply To The Jews And The Nazarenes (‘Hidayatul Hayara Fi Ajwibatul Yahud wa al-Nasara’) – [Translated by Abdelhay El-Masry, Dar Al-Kotob Al-Ilmiyah] by Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziah, page 25 – 27)

In fact, the very report that is used by proponents tells us that forced conversion is forbidden (haram):

“Jabir narrated that: the Messenger of Allah said: “I have been ordered to fight the people until they say: ‘La ilaha illallah’. So when they say that, their blood and their wealth are safe from me, except for a right, and their reckoning is for Allah.” Then he recited: So remind them – ‘YOU ARE ONLY ONE WHO REMINDS. YOU ARE NOT A DICTATOR OVER THEM’ (Quran 88:22). (Jami at-Tirmidhi volume 5, Book 44, Hadith 3341 (Sahih, Darussalam))

This Hadith is also reported in Sahih Muslim:

“It is narrated on the authority of Jabir that the Messenger of Allah said: I have been commanded that I should fight against people till they declare that there is no god but Allah, and when they profess it that there is no god but Allah, their blood and riches are guaranteed protection on my behalf except where it is justified by law, and their affairs rest with Allah, and then he (the Holy Prophet) recited (this verse of the Holy Qur’an):” THOU ART NOT OVER THEM A WARDEN(lxxxviii (88), 22).” (Sahih Muslim Book 1, Hadith 32 http://sunnah.com/muslim/1/35 )

Notice the words:

“You’re only one who reminds. You are NOT a dictator over them”.

Ibn Kathir commenting on Surah 88:22 states that one cannot force someone to “faith” i.e., force someone to believe in Islam:

“‘You are not a Musaytir over them.’ Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and others said, “You are not a dictator over them.” This means that you CANNOT create faith in their hearts. Ibn Zayd said, “You are NOT the one who can force them to have faith.’” (Tafsir Ibn Kathird (Abridged) – (Surat At-Taghabun to the end of the Qur’an) [Abridged by A group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri., Darussalam., Second Edition, 2003], volume 10, page 464 )

Similarly, this is also said by Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas:

“‘Thou art not’ O Muhammad ‘at all a warder over them’ you are NOT imposed on them such that you force them to accept faith.” (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas on Surah 88:22 online source, http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=88&tAyahNo=22&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )

Tafsir Anwarul Bayan – Muhammad Aashiq Elahi Muhajir Madani states that the responsibility of the Prophet (p) was only to preach the Message and “not force people to believe (in Islam)”:

“…because of his overwhelming concern for his Ummah, the Holy Prophet used to become extremely grieved when people REFUSED TO ACCEPT ISLAM. Therefore, Allah said to him, ‘So give advice, for you are an advisor. You have not been appointed as a warder over them’ i.e., YOUR RESPONSIBILITY IS ONLY TO PREACH THE MESSAGE AND NOT FORCE PEOPLE TO BELIEVE. Whoever believed after the message reached him, shall be successful.“ (Illuminating Discourses On The Quran (“Tafsir Anwarul Bayan”) [Translation Edited by Mufti Afzal Hussain Elias. – Revised by Maulana Arshad Fakhri based on Ma’ariful Quran. – Darul Ishaat, Urdu Bazar, Karachi. First Edition, 2005] by Muhammad Aashiq Elahi Muhajir Madani, volume 5, page 390)

Maarif ul Quran – Mufti Mohammad Shafi says that it is God who guides the “unbelievers”, and Muhammed (p) is only a “preacher”:

“In conclusion of the Chapter, the Messenger of Allah is comforted thus:
… ‘You are not a taskmaster set up over them, … 88:22’
THE HOLY PROPHET IS TOLD THAT HE IS ONLY A PREACHER, and as such he must keep on preaching. He should not worry beyond that. IT IS FOR ALLAH TO CALL THE UNBELIEVERS TO HIM to render account of their deeds and actions…” (Maarif ul Quran: Quran Translation and Commentary [Translated by Maulana Ahmed Khalil Aziz. Revised by Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani] by Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi, volume 8, page 777)

Tafsir-Ul-Qur’an – Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi:

“325. (with either power or authority to force their will).” (Tafsir-Ul-Qur’an – Translation and Commentary Of The Holy Qur’an [Published By Darul Ishaat Urdu Bazaar Karachi: Pakistan. First edition, 1991] by Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi, volume 4, page 498)

The above evidence refutes the “sanctioning compulsion in religion” claim. We see that after declaring the command to fight the polytheistic Quraysh, the Prophet Muhammed recited verses affirming that his and the companions duty is only to deliver the message of Islam, which clearly shows that he was not forcing anyone to Islam.

6. The Quran Rejects Forced Conversion Claim

Furthermore, the Quran also affirms that forced conversion did not take place. It was not obligatory on this occasion for the polytheists to accept Islam in order to make peace with the Muslims. If they stopped their hostilities against the Muslims and sought refuge, then the Muslims were commanded to grant them protection and safe passage even if they did not accept Islam, as the following verse (Quran 9:6) testifies:

“And if anyone of the IDOLATERS SEEKETH THY PROTECTION (O Muhammad), THEN PROTECT HIM so that he may hear the Word of Allah, and AFTERWARD CONVEY HIM TO HIS PLACE OF SAFETY. That is because they are a folk who know not.” – Quran 9:6 (Pickthall Translation)

Some of the earliest exegesis have said that if the polytheists wanted to hear the message of Islam, the Muslims were obligated to convey the message to them. Even if they rejected Islam, they were allowed and should be send back to the area where they felt safe (Mujahid Ibn Jabr (645 – 722 AD) [3], Hud b. Muhakkam (9th Century) [4], Al-Tabari (838 – 923 AD) [5], Al-Wahidi (d. 1075 AD) [6], Al-Zamakhshari (1070 – 1143 AD) [7], Al-Razi (1149 – 1209 AD) [8], Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas (d. 1414 AD) [9], and Tafsir al-Jalalayn (15/16th Century) [10]). The Muslims were commanded by God to take them to a place of safety  where they felt safe. They were not harmed even when they rejected Islam. This verse (Q. 9:6) shows, the Muslims then were only fighting specific individuals from Quraysh as a result of the aggression and hostilities, not because of their beliefs.

7. Various Commentaries On The Hadith

The 13th-century scholar Taqi ad-Din Ahmed Ibn Taymiyyah (1263 – 1328 AD) comments on this Hadith report and says it speaks about those who wage war against the Muslims:

“It refers to FIGHTING THOSE WHO ARE WAGING WAR, whom Allah has permitted us to fight. It does not refer to those who have a covenant with us with whom Allah commands us to fulfill our covenant.” (Majmu al-Fatawa by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, volume 19, page 20)

Shaykh Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo presents Wamaidh al-Umari’s view and he states the fighting that is mentioned in the Hadith is in reference to some “form of wrong or evil” the other side have done:

“According to al-Umari, the goal of the fighting mentioned in this Hadith is not to bring about death to the other party as a type of punishment, as in the Hadith of ibn Masood which is Hadith #14 in this collection. Instead, IT IS FIGHTING FOR THE PURPOSE OF BRINGING TO END SOME FORM OF WRONG OR EVIL. KILLING IN THIS CASE IS AN INCIDENTAL OR UNAVOIDABLE POSSIBLE RESULT OF THE FIGHTING AND NOT A GOAL IN ITSELF. It is similar to the type of fighting that is mentioned in the verse,
‘If two parties of believers fight, make reconciliation between them. If one of them rebels against the other, then fight you [all] against the one who rebels until it complies with the command of Allah (al-Hujuraat 9). When one fights the rebel forces, one is not trying to kill the individual Muslims but to defeat them and make them surrender to what is right. Therefore, this Hadith cannot be used as evidence that the one who does not pray is to be killed as a form of punishment because it is concerned with a completely different topic.” (Fiqh al-Imaan ala Minhaj al-Salaf al-Saalih [Jordan Daar al-Nafaais, 1998], Al-Umari, Wamaidh, page 324) (Commentary On The Forty Hadith Of al-Nawawi [Introduction by Prof. Jaafar Sheikh Idris T., Al-Basheer Company for Publications & Translations., 1999] by Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo volume 1, page 424 – 425)

The late respected scholar Amin Ahsan Islahi (1904 – 1997) writes:

“Some tradition contain following words of the Prophet (sws):
I have been commanded to fight the people until they profess there is no God but Allah. (Bukhari, No: 385)
Apparent and literal meaning of the narrative, disregarding its true context, validates the Orientalists’ view that Islam was spread by the sword. It also entails that the war against unbelief that the Prophet (sws) started has to go on till the whole mankind embraces Islam and declares Allah to be the only deity. THIS IS PLAINLY WRONG. HISTORY FALSIFIES THIS INTERPRETATION. We know that the Prophet (sws) accepted Jizyah from the People of the Book as well as the Magians (al-majus). HE DID NOT FORCE THEM TO SAY THAT THERE IS NO GOD BUT ALLAH. Similarly all such people who contracted treaties with Muslims, before their subjugation (mu‘ahid/ahl al-ṣulḥ), WERE ALLOWED TO FOLLOW THEIR RELIGION. THEY TOO WERE NOT FORCED TO CONVERT.” (Fundamentals of Ḥadith Interpretation An English Translation of Mabadi Tadabbur-e Ḥadith [Translated by Tariq Mahmood Hashmi – AL-MAWRID 51-K Model Town, Lahore – First Edition] by Amin Ahsan Islahi page 42 – 43)

Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali (1917 – 1996):

“… Throughout its suras we find fervent appeals to man to take heed, return to right guidance and to return to right guidance and turn to his Lord. The policy of the big stick only began after the STICKS OF THE ENEMIES HAD INFLICTED PAIN ON THE BACKS OF THE BELIEVERS AND BROKEN THEIR BONES. Allah Almighty revealed,

‘Permission to fight is given to those who are fought against because they have been wronged – truly Allah has the power to come to their support.’ (22:39)

The fact is that fighting was a policy of last resort when all other means had failed. The important thing is that those who are known for their relationship with Allah first of all call people to Allah in an excellent manner and offer opportunities for peace and truces, taking account of the errors to which human nature is prone, Then when they resort to fighting after that, they behave as men and they act in the most noble way. This is what Muhammad, peace be upon him, did, and what is shown clearly in his conduct. But when the first thing a short-sighted Muslim mentions about dealing with the enemies of Islam is the famous Hadith:

‘I was commanded to fight people until they say, There is no god but Allah,’

Then the man is one of those who move words from their proper place and treat the legacy of the Prophet with great stupidity. We explained in another book that this Hadith came at the time when Surat at-Tawba was revealed, about a year before the death of the Messenger, and after a fearsome STRUGGLE WITH THE PAGANS WHOM ISLAM GAVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE WHILE THEY OFFERED ONLY DEATH. He lived with them for a time on a basis of,

‘To you your deen and to me my deen,’

BUT ALL HE EXPERIENCED FROM THEM WAS DECEIT AND ASSASSINATION. …
The beginning of SURAT AT-TAWBA GIVES COMPLETE PICTURE OF THAT INSOLENT TREACHEROUS PAGANISM, AND IT WAS IN THIS ATMOSPHERE THAT THIS HADITH WAS UTTERED: ‘I have been commanded to fight people until they say, ‘There is no god but Allah,’ It is not permitted for an ignorant person to take it out of context.” (The Sunna Of The Prophet – The People of Fiqh Versus the People of Hadith [Translation by Aisha Bewley, Editor Abdalhaq Bewley. – Sixth Edition – Dar Al Taqwa Ltd., 2009] by Muhammad al-Ghazali, page 104 – 105)

Professor Jonathan A.C. Brown, says that the Hadith was understood to mean that the conquered polytheists will agree to submit to the Muslim rule:

“Jihad was understood as the unceasing quest to ‘make God’s word supreme,’ as Hadiths described, through the ongoing expansion of the rule of God’s law on earth. THIS WAS NOT ENVISIONED IN ANY WAY AS A QUEST FOR FORCED CONVERSION, which never featured in the Islamic conquests. The Qur’anic edict of ‘no compulsion in religion’ governed the interpretation of Hadiths like the authenticitated report of the Prophet declaring, ‘I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God, establish prayer and pay the charity tithe.’ Read in light of the Qur’anic prohibition on coerced belief, this mission to extract confessions of belief WAS NOT INTERPRETED LITERALLY. Rather, it was understood as referring either only to Arabia’s pagans (not followers of monotheistic religions) or as a metaphor for the conquered non-Muslims agreeing to submit to Muslim rule.” (Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices Of Interpreting The Prophet’s Legacy [Oneworld Publications, 2014], by Jonathan A. C. Brown, page 102)

Abdul Hamid Siddiqi’s commentary on the Hadith report:

“This hadith has been made the target of criticism by the hostile critics of Islam. They wrongly assert that it is by sheer force that people are converted to Islam. But THERE IS NOT AN IOTA OF TRUTH IN IT. They do not look into the words used by the Holy Prophet. Here the verb قات is highly meaningful. A person who is conversant even with the rudiments of Arabic grammar knows fully well that it is from the bab مفا علم which implies that it is not a one-sided action but a participation of both sides. Thus according to the bab of the verb used, IT BECOMES CLEAR THAT THE HOLY PROPHET EXHORTED TO FIGHT AGAINST THOSE WHO HAD RAISED ARMS AGAINST THE MUSLIMS. THIS COMMAND IS NOT DIRECTED AGAINST EVERY NON-MUSLIM.” (Commentary Of: Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 30 – Abdul Hamid Siddiqi’s Commentary – [Dar Al Arabia, Chapter IX] – volume1, page 16-17 (footnote 54))

Professor Asma Afsaruddin provides Dr. Buti’s assessment in regards to this report, and he says that the Hadith speaks about someone who “opposes you” or “fight someone who attacks you”:

“The seemingly problematic Hadith related by Ibn Umar, ‘I have been commanded to fight people until they bear witness that there is no god but God…’ has led to grave misunderstanding of its meaning because most people do not take note of the fundamental distinction between the two verbs uqatil and aqtul and tend to confuse and/or conflate the two, continuous al-Buti. The first would mean ‘[that] I fight’ and the second would mean [that] I kill.’ If the second verb had occurred in the Hadith, then that would indeed have been contrary to the texts of numerous Qur’anic verses and hadiths that prohibit coercion in matters of religion. The actual verb uqatil as it occurs in the Hadith is not contrary to these texts because it broadly means, according to the third verbal form, ‘TO FIGHT SOMEONE WHO OPPOSES YOU,’ AND MORE NARROWLY MEANS ‘TO FIGHT SOMEONE WHO ATTACKS YOU FIRST WITH INTENT TO KILL.’ For it is the aggressor (al-badi) who is called qatil, and ‘the one who resists the aggressor’ is called muqatil.’ On the basis of the linguistic analysis, it is compellingly established that THE PURPOSE OF FIGHTING IN THIS HADITH IS DEFENDING ONESELF IN RESPONSE TO A PRIOR ACT OF AGGRESSION. The proper meaning of Hadith may then be rendered as follows:
I have been commanded to prevent any act of aggression [directed] at my summoning of the people to faith in the oneness of God, even if this prevention of aggression against this summoning is accomplished through fighting the aggressors, for that is a duty I have been commanded to [undertake] by God, and which must be carried out. …” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought by Asma Afsaruddin, page 250)

Shaykh Sami al-Majid, professor at al-Imam Islamic University, Riyadh, writes:

“… This is further emphasized a few verses later where Allah says: “Will you not fight people who broke their covenants and plotted to expel the Messenger and attacked you first?” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 13]
Ibn al-`Arabi, in his commentary on the Qur’ân, writes: “It is clear from this that the meaning of this verse is to kill the pagans who are WAGING WAR AGAINST YOU.” [Ahkam al-Qur’an: (2/456)]
Allah also say right after the verse under discussion: “How can there be a covenant before Allah and His Messenger with the pagans except those with whom you have made a treaty near the Sacred Mosque? As long as they stand true to you, stand true to them, for Allah does love the righteous.” [Surah al-Tawbah: 7]
Another misunderstood text is the hadith where the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I have been commanded to fight the people until they bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that I am Allah’s Messenger. If they do so, then there blood and their wealth are inviolable except in the dispensation of justice, and their affair is with Allah.” [Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim]
There can be no qualms about this hadith’s authenticity, since it is recorded in both Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. However, THIS HADITH IS ALSO NOT TO BE TAKEN GENERALLY, out of context, and in complete disregard to all the other textual evidence.
The term “people” here is not referring to all humanity. Ibn Taymiyah says: “It refers to fighting THOSE WHO ARE WAGING WAR, whom Allah has permitted us to fight. It does not refer to those who have a covenant with us with whom Allah commands us to fulfill our covenant.” [Majmu` al-Fatawa (19/20)]
ISLAM COMMANDS THE MUSLIMS TO BE JUST WITH PEOPLE OF OTHER FAITHS, WHETHER THEY BE JEWS, CHRISTIANS, OR PAGANS. ISLAM CALLS US TO TREAT THEM KINDLY and try to win their hearts as long as they do not take up arms against us. Allah says: “Allah forbids you not with regard to those who neither fight against you for your faith nor drive you out of your homes from dealing kindly and justly with them, for Allah loves those who are just.” [Surah al-Mumtahanah: 9-10]
ALLAH COMMANDS MUSLIMS TO RESPECT THEIR NON-MUSLIM PARENTS AND TO ACCOMPANY THEM IN THIS WORLD IN A GOOD MANNER.
The Qur’an commands us to argue with them in the best manner. Allah says: “Argue with the People of the Scripture in the best manner except those among them who act oppressively. Say: We believe in the revelation that has come down to us and in that which came down to you. Our God and your God is one, and it is to Him we submit ourselves as Muslims.” [Sûrah al-`Ankabût: 46]
We are ordered to uphold our covenants with the non-Muslims and not betray them or transgress against them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) gave a stern warning to us against killing a non-Muslim with whom we are at peace. He said: “WHOEVER KILLS ONE WITH WHOM WE HAVE A COVENANT WILL NOT SMELL THE SCENT OF PARADISE.” [Sahîh Muslim]
The faith of a Muslim is not acceptable unless he believes in all of the Prophets who were sent before (peace be upon them all). Allah says: “O you who believe! Believe in Allah, His Messenger, the scripture that He revealed to His messenger and the scripture that he revealed before. Whoever disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His books, His Messengers, and the Last Day has gone far astray.” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 136]” (“Let there be no compulsion in religion” by Sheikh Sami al-Majid, professor at al-Imam Islamic University, Riyadh, online source, last accessed 22st December 2016, http://en.islamtoday.net/artshow-262-3441.htm )

Dr. Jamal Badawi:

“There is no single verse in the Qur’an properly interpreted in its context and historical circumstances that ever allowed the Muslim to fight non-Muslims simply because they are non-Muslims. The opposite is true; in Chapter 60, verse 8 and 9 in the Qur’an, it clearly says that non-Muslims who are not fighting against Muslims or oppressing them are ENTITLED TO KIND AND JUST TREATMENT. Also, in the Qur’an, Chapter 2, verse 256, it says: let there be no compulsion in religion.” It is in the light of these two verses and many others in the Qur’an that the Hadith referred to should be understood.
The word “people” in this hadith and in the Qur’an may mean a subset of people but not all of them. There are a lot of evidences of variant usage in the Qur’an and also in this hadith. This hadith in all likelihood REFERS TO THE PAGAN ARABS WHO PERSECUTED MUSLIMS, MURDERED THEM, AND BROKE THEIR TREATIES WITH THEM. As such, they deserved capital punishment, yet they are given the opportunity to repent in which case they are to be forgiven, and their property will be protected. This shows, like other instances in the Qur’an and in hadith, that the purpose of Islam is punitive, but rehabilitative. To interpret this hadith in a generalized way is to violate the text of the Qur’an and basic rules of interpretation.” (Towards a Better Muslim/Non-Muslim Relation: Does Islam Teach Violence? By Jamal Badawi – online source http://web.archive.org/web/20110401225017/http://livedialogue.islamonline.net/livedialogue/english/Browse.asp?hGuestID=GRdp6I )

Shaykh Muhammad Hashim Kabbani:

“The Imams argued from this that as long as the unbelievers are willing to live peacefully among the believers our divine obligation is to treat them peacefully, despite their denial of Islam. The succeeding verse affirms this: So long as they are true to you, stand you true to them. Verily! God loves those who fear God. (Qur’an 9:7) This verse instructs the Muslims to observe treaty obligations with meticulous care, and not to break them unless the other side breaks them first. On the basis of the clear arguments of the scholars of Qur’an and Hadith, the majority concluded that physical fighting is not a permanent condition against unbelievers, but is resorted to only when treaties are broken or aggression has been made against Muslim territory (dar al-Islam) by unbelievers. On the other hand, educating non-Muslims about Islam is a continuous Jihad, per the agreed-upon, multiply transmitted hadith: The Messenger of God said, ‘‘I have been ordered to fight the people until they declare that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is His Messenger, establish prayers, and pay Zakat….’’39 In his book al-Jihad fil-Islam, Dr. Sa‘id Ramadan al-Buti explains this hadith in detail based on the understanding of the majority of jurists, showing that linguistically the word ‘‘fight’’ here and in many other places does not refer to combat, rather to struggle, including in its scope da‘wa, preaching, exhortation, and establishment of the state apparatus whereby Islamic preaching is protected. IT DOES NOT MEAN FORCING ANYONE TO BECOME MUSLIM at the point of a sword, and numerous examples can be cited from the life history of the Prophet showing that he never forced conversion, nor did his successors.
Dr. Buti explains that the linguistic scholars of Hadith showed that the word uqatil used by the Prophet in fact means ‘‘fight’’ and not aqtul, ‘‘kill.’’ In Arabic, THIS WORD IS USED IN TERMS OF DEFENDING AGAINST AN ATTACKER OR AN OPPRESSOR; IT IS NOT USED TO MEAN ATTACK OR ASSAIL.
In light of this, Dr. Buti shows that this hadith connotes: I have been ordered by God to fulfill the task of calling people [peacefully] to believe that God is One and to defend any aggression against this divine task, even though this defense requires fighting aggressors or enemies.40
Dr. Buti explains that this hadith is reminiscent of a saying by the Prophet on the occasion of the Treaty of Hudaybiyya: where he told his mediator, Badil ibn Waraqa, ‘‘But if they do not accept this truce, by God in whose Hands my life is, I will fight with them, defending my Cause till I get killed.’’41
By these words, Badil ibn Waraqa was tasked with inviting the Quraysh to peace, and simultaneously, warning of the ongoing war which had already exhausted them. Dr. Buti remarks: The Prophet’s words ‘‘I will fight with them defending my Cause,’’ in this context certainly means that he, while inclining to peace with the enemy, would react to their combative aggression in the same way, if they had insisted on their aggression.42 Jihad in Islam 233 Note also that in the years after the Treaty was signed, it was the Quraysh who violated the treaty. Near the end of the seventh year after the migration to Medina, the Quraysh along with the allied Banu Bakr tribe attacked the Banu Khuza’a tribe, who were allies of the Muslims. The Banu Khuza’a appealed to the Prophet for help and protection. The Banu Khuza’a sent a delegation to the Prophet requesting his support. Despite the Meccan provocation and clear violation of the treaty, the Prophet avoided acting in haste to renew hostilities. Instead he sent a letter to the Quraysh demanding payment of blood money for those killed and the disbanding of their alliance with the Banu Bakr. Otherwise, the Prophet said, the treaty would be declared null and void. Quraysh then sent an envoy to Medina to announce that they considered the Treaty of Hudaybiyya null and void. However, they immediately regretted this step—and therefore, the leader of Quraysh Abu Sufyan himself traveled to Medina to renew the contract. Despite having been the greatest enemy of the Muslims, and despite the Quraysh already being in violation of the pact they had solemnly entered into, no hand was laid on this Qurayshi chief—someone who is infamous for his persecution and harm to Muslims in Mecca. He was even permitted to enter the Prophet’s mosque and announce his desire to reinstate the treaty. From this, one can argue that if a state of unbelief were sufficient pretext for war, then the Prophet would have been warranted in seizing Abu Sufyan and initiating hostilities against the Quraysh then and there. However, on the contrary, Abu Sufyan came and went from Medina freely and only after some time were the hostilities renewed based on the Meccans’ aggressive violation of the pact. (Voices of Islam – Voices Of The Spirit, by Shaykh Muhammad Hashim Kabbani, volume 2, page 232 – 234)

The late Egyptian Sunni scholar and Islamic theologian Mahmoud Muhammad Shaltut (1893 – 1963) writes:

“Some people who were bent on disparaging Islam did not go beyond the ostensible interpretation of “…fight the unbelievers that are near to you…’ and pretended that the Islamic religion ordered to fight the unbelievers in general, regardless of whether they had committed aggression or not, until they had been converted to Islam. They said that this rule was founded on this verse. However, the meaning of the word “unbelievers” in this and similar verse is: “THOSE HOSTILE POLYTHEISTS WHO FIGHT THE MOSLEMS, COMMIT AGGRESSION AGAINST THEM, EXPEL THEM FROM THEIR HOMES AND THEIR PROPERTY AND PRACTISE PERSECUTION FOR THE SAKE OF RELIGION”. The morals of those polytheists have been discussed in the opening verses of Surat al-Tawbah. The word “people” in the tradition: “I have been ordered to fight the people” should be understood in the same manner. For according to the Consensus [ijma], fighting must only cease at what is mentioned in this tradition…” (The Quran And Combat [MBDA – English Monograph Series — Book No. 18], Imam Mahmoud Muhammad Shaltut, page 87)

Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi:

“The main goal of fighting people, then, is not to make them testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah. If the People of the Book are excluded from the above mentioned hadith, then does the hadith deal with all polytheists and idolaters? The answer is definitely “no”! In another authentic hadith, the Magians are included with the People of the Book, as the hadith states, “Treat them as you treat the People of the Book” (reported by Malik, Al-Bayhaqi, and others. It was deemed weak by Sheikh Al-Albani). Hence, the fact is that this hadith is pertinent to the Arab polytheists who were reluctant to respect Islam and its followers, SEEKING TO DESTROY THEM COMPLETELY, AND WHO ALSO FAILED TO RESPECT ANY CONCLUDED TREATY or given covenant. Those people were granted four months to reconsider their situation and rectify their stance. If they insisted upon obliterating Islam, then it would be necessary to fight them. …
Ibn Taymiyah dealt with this hadith in his thesis entitled, A Rule in Fighting Against the Disbelievers. He adopted another approach in his understanding and explanation of this hadith, which is entirely different from what is said by the majority of Muslim scholars. Hence, we have to state this view on account of its depth, clarity and significance. Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, “The meaning of the Prophet’s saying “I have been ordered to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah, and I am the Messenger of Allah. If they did so, then they would save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws, and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah” is just a mention of the objective during which fighting against them will be permissible. Hence, if those people carried out what the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked them for, then fighting against them would be prohibited … Thus, this hadith does not mean that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was commanded to fight against all people only for this objective, as this meaning contradicts the religious texts and the consensus of Muslim scholars. Yet, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) never committed such an act; rather, he (peace and blessings be upon him) USED TO MAKE PEACE WITH THOSE WHO WANTED TO MAKE PEACE WITH HIM. (Fiqh of Jihad (“Fiqh al-Jihad”), [Online pdf] volume 1, page 327-337)

Scholar Zaid Shakir:

“First of all, many of the classical exegetes explain that these verses do not apply to Jews and Christians. Their discussion of the verses in question center on relations with the polytheists, to the exclusion of the “People of the Book.” For example, Imam al-Qurtubi (d. 671AH [22]/ 1272 CE), renowned for his exposition on the legal implications of the Qur’anic text, states, concerning the verse in question, “… it is permissible to [understand] that the expression ‘polytheists’ does not deal with Jews and Christians (Ahl al-Kitab).” [23] This opinion is reinforced by the interpretation of a related prophetic tradition, “I’ve been ordered to fight the people until they testify that there is no deity but God. …” [24] Imam Nawawi mentions in his commentary on this tradition, “Al-Khattabi says, ‘It is well-known that what is intended here are the people of idolatry, not the people of the Book (Jews and Christians).’” [25] Among contemporary exegetes, Dr. Mustafa al-Bugha says, commenting on the term for people (nas), which occurs in this tradition, “They are the worshipers of idols and the polytheists.” [26] Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Ahmad, and most contemporary scholars are of the opinion that the polytheists who are to be indiscriminately fought were those living in the Arabian Peninsula. [27] As that area has been free from polytheism since the earliest days of Islam, according to their opinion, the order is now a dead letter.
Just as we can argue that the people who are to be fought against are not an unrestricted class, based on a classical understanding of the “Verse of the Sword,” there are also considerations governing when the restricted classes can be fought. In the verse preceding the “Verse of the Sword,” we read, … except those you have convened a treaty with from the polytheists; when they have not breeched any of its conditions, nor supported anyone in aggression against you, complete the terms of the treaty. [9:4]
Imam al-Qurtubi says concerning this verse, “Even if the terms of the covenant are for more than four months.”[28] This condition and others mentioned in the verses following the “Verse of the Sword,” lead Abu Bakr b. al-‘Arabi (d. 543AH/ 1148 CE), the great Maliki exegete and jurist, to conclude, “It is clear that the intended meaning of the verse is to kill those polytheists WHO ARE WAGING WAR AGAINST YOU.” [29] IN OTHER WORDS, FIGHTING THEM IS CONDITIONAL ON THEIR AGGRESSION AGAINST THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY. THIS POSITION, THE PERMISSIBILITY TO FIGHT IN ORDER TO REPULSE AGGRESSION, IS THE VIEW OF THE MAJORITY OF THE SUNNI MUSLIM LEGAL SCHOOLS as has been explained in great detail by Dr. Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti in his valuable discussion of the rationale for Jihad. [30] ” (Jihad is Not Perpetual Warfare, Imam Zaid Shakir, online source, last accessed 21st December 2016, http://www.newislamicdirections.com/nid/notes/jihad_is_not_perpetual_warfare#sthash.SkfRDRLn.dpuf )

With the above in perspective, the command of the Hadith was specific to one group only, those who caused bloodshed and showed open aggression against the Muslims and their non-Muslim allies, 1300 years ago.

Furthermore, it should be noted while this issue with the polytheist Quraysh was taking place, Quran 9:4 tells us that the Prophet (p) had treaties with other polytheists in Arabia who were faithful and did not engage in any hostility against the Muslims nor their allies. Here the Muslims are ordered to abide by this treaty:

Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty, and who have since abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. (As for these), fulfil their treaty to them till their term. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him).” – Quran 9:4 (Pickthall Translation)

Quran 9:7 also repeats this treaty. Here, the Muslims are commanded to abide by the treaty so long as they are true to the Muslims:

“How can there be an agreement for the idolaters with Allah and with His Messenger; except those with whom you made an agreement at the Sacred Mosque? SO AS LONG AS THEY ARE TRUE TO YOU, BE TRUE TO THEM; SURELY ALLAH LOVES THOSE WHO ARE CAREFUL (OF THEIR DUTY).” – Quran 9:7

We see here the Prophet and his companions did abide by the treaty with other polytheists like the Banu Kinanah, Banu Damra, Banu Mudlaj and other tribes who were peaceful (Surah 9:4, 7) and weren’t touched as classical and contemporary exegesis have reported to us. This clearly shows that the Prophet (p) did not fight the Quraysh polytheists because of their beliefs. [11] [12] [13] [14] [15]

8. Conclusion

We see the historical context in which those words were uttered – the Muslims made a treaty with the Quraysh and the agreement was that no party would break the treaty, nor attack them or any of their own allies. Everyone agreed to the treaty’s order at the time. It didn’t take long before the Quraysh with Banu Bakr attacked, and murdered Muhammed’s non-Muslim ally at night. Soon after this, the Prophet and his companions led to conquering Makkah. The uttering of the statement was in the context of the Quraysh criminals who broke the treaty and murdered members of Muhammed’s ally and were given a choice of the following to choose:

1. Stop their hostilities, put their weapons down and live under the Muslim rule (government).
2. Embrace Islam.
3. Or Leave the land.

Final words, as we have seen, this hadith refers to some polytheistic Arabs who persecuted, murdered Muslims and their allies, and broke their treaties with them. As such, some deserved capital punishment, yet they are given the opportunity to repent in which case they are to be forgiven, and their property will be protected. This shows, the command of the Hadith was specific to one group only, those who caused bloodshed and showed open aggression against the Muslims and their non-Muslim allies, 1300 years ago. And history is a witness that no one was forced to accept Islam, since the very report and other early historical sources refute this claim. [16]

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Related articles:

(1) – “Early Expeditions And Battles Of Islam

(2) – “Muhammed A Mercy: Analysing Dogs Killed In Madinah

(3) – “What Happened To The Captive Women In Awtas Incident?

(4) – “Most Misinterpreted Verses Of The Quran?

(5) – “‘Those Who Wage War And Make Mischief’ – Quran 5:33

(6) – “Did Jews Get Expelled From Arabia?

.

References:

[1]  Kathir mentions the exact battle this Hadith was uttered – Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) [Supervised by Abdul Malik Mujahid – First Edition, 2000], volume 4, page 377
[2] Ibn Juzayy mentions that the Hadith was first said in relation to Surah 9:5, which was revealed in connection with the conquest of Makkah. Tafsir Ibn Juzayy, last accesed 22st December 2006 http://bewley.virtualave.net/tawba1.html
[3] Mujahid Ibn Jabr (645 – 722 AD) on Surah 9:6:
“…this verse guarantees the safety of people in general (insan) who came to listen to the Prophet recite from the Qur’an until they had RETURNED TO THE PLACE OF REFUGE WHENCE THEY CAME.” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought [Oxford University Press; 1st Edition., 2013] by Asma Afsaruddin, page 88)
[4] The 9th Century scholar Hud b. Muhakkam on Surah 9:6:
“…the polytheists who requests safe conduct from Muslims in order to listen to the word of God is to be so granted and returned unharmed to his place of origin, whether he embraces Islam or not. This was the view of Mujahid, for example. Al-Kalbi is quoted as saying that the verse referred instead to a group of polytheists who wished to renew their pact with Muhammad asked them to profess Islam, offer prayers, and pay the zakat, they refused, and the Prophet LET THEM RETURN SAFELY TO THEIR HOMES. Ibn Muhakkam further notes that al-Hasan al-Basri had remarked thus on the status of this verse: ‘It is valid and unabrogated (muhkama) until the Day of Judgement.’” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought [Oxford University Press; 1st Edition., 2013] by Asma Afsaruddin, page 88)
[5] Al-Tabari (838 – 923 AD):
“…in this verse God counsels Muhammad, ‘If someone from among the polytheists (al-Mushrikun) – those whom I have commanded that you fight and slay after the passage of the sacred months – were to ask you, O Muhammad, for safe conduct in order to listen to the word of God, then grant this protection to him so that he may hear the word of God and you may recite it to him.’ Such an individual, according to the verse, is to be subsequently ESCORTED BACK TO HIS PLACE OF SAFETY EVEN IF HE REJECTS ISLAM AND FAILS TO BELIEVE AFTER THE PROPHET’S RECITATION OF THE QUR’AN BEFORE HIM. SCHOLARS IN THE PAST WHO HAVE AGREED WITH THIS GENERAL INTERPRETATION INCLUDE IBN ISHAQ, AL-SUDDI, AND MUJAHID…” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought [Oxford University Press; 1st Edition., 2013] By Asma Afsaruddin, page 89)
[6] Al-Wahidi (d. 1075 AD):
“…should someone from among the same group of polytheists request safe conduct and refuge among Muslims so that he may listen to the word of God and learn of its positive commandments and interdictions, he is to be so granted and ESCORTED BACK TO A PLACE OF SAFETY. This is so because they are an ignorant people, and SO SHOULD BE GIVEN PROTECTION and the opportunity to acquire knowledge and perhaps submit to Islam.” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought [Oxford University Press; 1st Edition., 2013] by Asma Afsaruddin, page 89)
[7] Al-Zamakhshari (1070 – 1143 AD):
“…if one of the polytheists, with whom no pact (mithaq) exists, were to request safe conduct from the Muslims in order to listen to the Qur’an, then he should be granted it so that he may reflect God’s words. AFTERWARD, HE IS TO BE ESCORTED BACK TO HIS HOME WHERE HE FEELS SAFE. This, al-Zamakhshari says, is established practice for all time. Al-hasan al-Basri had similarly maintained that this verse is ‘valid till the day of resurrection.’ …” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought [Oxford University Press; 1st Edition., 2013] by Asma Afsaruddin, page 89)
[8] Al-Razi (1149 – 1209 AD):
“on the authority of Ibn Abbas, who relates that a polytheist man asked Ali b. Abi talib, ‘if we wished to approach the Messenger after the end of this period (the four sacred months) in order to listen to the word of God or for some other reason, will we be killed?’ Ali replied in the negative and recited this verse, affirming the granting of safe conduct to him so that he may listen to the Qur’an. … al-Razi further comments that this verse indicates that imitation of precedent (al-taqlid) is not sufficient in religion, and that critical inquiry (al-nazar) and the seeking of proofs (al-istidlal) are indispensable requirements within religion.
If emulation of precedent were enough, he argues, then this verse would not have granted a respite to this unbeliever, and would have been merely given a choice between professing his belief [In Islam] or death. As this did not occur, IT CONFIRMS THAT MUSLIMS ARE REQUIRED TO OFFER SAFE CONDUCT TO SUCH PERSON and thereby assuage his fears and allow him the opportunity to deliberate upon the proofs of religion. How long such a respite should last is not known; perhaps it should be determined according to the prevalent custom (bi-l-urg), he says.” (Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought [Oxford University Press; 1st Edition., 2013] By Asma Afsaruddin, page 89 – 90)
[9] Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas (d. 1414 AD) states that Prophet Muhammed granted safe passage to any of the idolaters who asked for it. So that they may hear the Quran. If he does not believe (i.e., embrace Islam), then he is to be left alone and granted safe passage back to the land he come from:
(And if anyone of the idolaters seeketh thy protection (O Muhammad), then protect him so that he may hear the word of Allah) so that he may hear your recitation of the words of Allah; (and AFTERWARD CONVEY HIM TO HIS PLACE OF SAFETY) TO THE PLACE HE IS GOING, IF HE REMAINS AN UNBELIEVER. (That) which I have mentioned (is because they are a folk who know not) Allah’s command and His divine Oneness. (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas on Surah 9:6 online source http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=6&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )
[10] Tafsir al-Jalalayn also emphasizes that they were left alone if they didn’t believe in Islam, and were taken to their place of safety:
“And if any one of the idolaters (ahadun, ‘one’, is in the nominative because of the [following] verb [istajāraka, ‘seeks your protection’] that validates it) seeks your protection, requests security from you against being killed, then grant him protection, provide security for him, SO THAT HE MIGHT HEAR THE WORDS OF GOD — THE QUR’AN — AND AFTERWARD CONVEY HIM TO HIS PLACE OF SECURITY, THAT IS, THE DWELLING-PLACES OF HIS FOLK, IF HE DOES NOT BELIEVE, SO THAT HE MIGHT REFLECT UPON HIS SITUATION — that, which is mentioned, is because they are a people who do not know, the religion of God, and so they must [be made to] hear the Qur’ān in order to [come to] know [religion]. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn on Surah 9:6 – online source http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=6&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )
[11] Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas on Surah 9:4,
“(Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty) i.e. the Banu Kinanah after the year of al-Hudaybiyyah, (and who have since abated nothing of your right) who they did not break their treaties, i.e. those who had a nine month treaty (nor have supported anyone) of your enemies (against you. (As for these), fulfil their treaty to them till their term) i.e. nine months. (Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him)) by not breaking their treaties.” (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas on Surah 9:4, online source http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=73&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=4&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2 )
[12] As-Sawi on 9:4,
:“[As-Sawi notes that the exception is made to the absolute statement in the first ayat. This is the Banu
“[As-Sawi notes that the exception is made to the absolute statement in the first ayat. This is the Banu Damra who still had nine months of their treaty remaining.]” (As-Sawi on Surah 9:4 – online source http://bewley.virtualave.net/tawba1.html )
[13] Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi:
“…commanded in the fourth verse of Surah Al-Taubah where Muslims were required to fulfil their treaty obligations to the tribes of Banu Damurah and Banu Mudlaj for the remaining nine months.” (Maarif ul Quran: Quran Translation and Commentary [Translation by Prof. Muhammad Hasan Askari & Prof. Muhammad Shamim Revised by Justice Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani] by Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi, volume 4, page 311)
[14] Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi’s commentary on 9:7,
“2 This declaration of the abrogation of the treaties with the mushriks was made in accordance with the law enjoined in VIII: 58 regarding the treacherous people, for it is treachery from the Islamic point of view to wage war against any people with whom a treaty of peace had been made, without openly declaring that the treaty had been terminated. That is why a proclamation of the abrogation of the treaties was necessitated against those clans who were always hatching plots against Islam in spice of the treaties of peace they had made. They would break the treaties and turn hostile on the first opportunity for treachery, and the same was true of all the mushrik clans WITH THE EXCEPTION OF BANI KANANAH, BANI DAMRAH AND ONE OR TWO OTHER CLANS. …
9 That is: Bani Kinanah and Bani Khuza`ah and Bani Damrah.” (Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi – Tafhim al-Qur’an – The Meaning of the Qur’an, on Surah 9, online source http://englishtafsir.com/Quran/9/index.html)
[15] Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi also mentions Kinana tribe and others who were true to the treaty:
“201. The reference is to Banu Dhamra and Banu Mudlaj, two classes of Kinana tribe, who, it was expected, would keep the pledge.” (Tafsir-Ul-Qur’an – Translation and Commentary Of The Holy Qur’an [Academy of Islamic Research And Publications, Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow – 226 007, (Indian)] by Maulana Abdul Majid Daryabadi volume 2, page 217)
[16] According to al-Shanqeeti the action is performed by bother sides. From the scholar’s writing he suggests to us that there was a war:
“However, as Ibn Daqeeq al-Eid pointed out, it seems very clear that this particular Hadith cannot be used as evidence that a person who intentionally does not pray is to be put to death. There is a difference between ‘fighting’, which implies opposing struggle between two parties, and ‘killing’ someone. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used the faa’il form of the word. THIS IMPLIES THAT THE ACTION BEING PERFORMED BY BOTH PARTIES INVOLVED. (Kauthar al-Maani al-Daraari fi Kashf Khabaaya Saheeh al-Bukhaari [Beirut: Muassasat al-Risaalah., 1995], by Al-Shanqeeti, Muhammad al-Khidr, volume 2, page 55)

 

refutation

Quran 9:29, Tabuk, Jizyah

Surah 9:29 has been misunderstood and abused a lot by critics who have no knowledge why the verse was revealed. When was it revealed and for who? Historically speaking, we are certain with the evidences that this verse was revealed concerning the Tabuk expedition. We argued extensively in previous articles, which can be seen here, here and here, that the verse was revealed in relation too one group of people who were hell bent on destroying Islam and Muslims, 1400 years ago. The Byzantine’s intention were of mounting an attack on the Muslims.

This particular group as we showed, were preparing their troops to attack the Muslim community. Reports had reached Prophet Muhammed (p) that the army had reached southwards and were in Balqa. With this, the Prophet (p) and his companions (Sahaba) prepared to engage the enemy head on. The following new report illustrates the threat posed by the Byzantines, 1400 years ago:

“What was the genesis of this expedition? It is related that the Apostle got reports of Byzantine forces converging on the northern frontiers of Arabia with the intention of MOUNTING AN ATTACK ON THE MUSLIMS. … the Apostle was informed by the Nabataeans that Heraclius was, after stocking one year’s provisions for his army and drafting the pro-Byzantine tribes of the Lakhm, Judham, Amla and Ghassan under his banner, INTENDING TO COME UPON and that his advance columns had already reached Balqa.” (Al-Zurqani, commentary on Al-Mawahib, volume 3, page 63 – 64) [1]

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Reference:

[1] Muhammad Rasulullah: The Apostle Of Mercy, [Translated by Mohiudin Ahmad, Academy of Islamic Research And Publications, Lucknow (India) – Series No. 126 – Edition English 2nd Lucknow, 1982]S. Abul Hasan Ali, page 349

Related Articles:

The Truth About Jizyah

Social Conditions: Christians And Jews In Early Period Of Islam

Sword Verse In Its Historical Context: Quran 9:5

Kaleef K. Karim

This article seeks to examine chapter 9, verse 5 of the Quran in its historical context. Some claim that the verse ‘sanctions the killing of innocent people’, and this is how it was implemented by Prophet Mohammed (p). We shall respond to these claims in this piece.

The verse (9:5) is one of the most misquoted by opponents who want to paint the Islamic faith negatively. Whenever the verse is cited, it is sliced to pieces.

“…then slay the idolaters wherever you find them…” – Quran 9:5

 

From historical persepective, the reports (Ibn Ishaq and Tabari), and exegesis inform us that these verses were directly revealed concerning the polytheists of Arabia (Tafsir Ibn Kathir [1], Tafsir Jalalayn [2], As-Sawi [3] and Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas [4]).

To recap, in the sixth year of Hijri the Muslims and the idolaters made a treaty. Part of the treaty was that neither parties would attack the other, nor would they attack any of their allies. This they agreed and went their ways. It didn’t take long when the Banu Bakr tribe (who were an ally of Quraysh) attacked and killed many of Banu Khuza’a tribe (they were allies of the Muslims). The Quraysh being in the middle, the Muslims would have presumed that they would have tried to stop their ally (Banu Bakr) attacking and killing Banu Khuza’a. However, historical reports inform us that the polytheistic Quraysh supported banu Bakr with weapons and their members also partook in killing Banu Khuza’a. From historical point of view, we see that the Quraysh were the first to breach the terms of the treaty.

The Prophet Muhammed (p) receiving news of what Banu Bakr and Quraysh idolaters did, he and his Companions assembled an army to march against them. It was on this occasion that the Muslims conquered Makkah (Tafsir Anwarul bayan).

NOTE: Although Surah Tawbah (Surah Bara’ah) mostly was revealed after the conquest of Makkah, however, these verses cited in this article (below) were revealed before that:

“‘Ruhul Ma’ani’ writes that although Surah Bara’ah was revealed after the conquest of Makkah, these verses were revealed before.” (Ruhul Ma’ani, volume 10 page 62). [5]

Analysing Verses

9:1 (This is a declaration of) immunity by Allah and His Messenger towards those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement

9:2 So go about in the land for four months and know that you cannot weaken Allah and that Allah will bring disgrace to the unbelievers.

9:3 And an announcement from Allah and His Messenger to the people on the day of the greater pilgrimage that Allah and His Messenger are free from liability to the idolaters; therefore if you repent, it will be better for you, and if you turn back, then know that you will not weaken Allah; and announce painful punishment to those who disbelieve.

9:4 Except those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement, then they have not failed you in anything and have not backed up any one against you, so fulfill their agreement to the end of their term; surely Allah loves those who are careful (of their duty).

9:5 So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

9:6 And if one of the idolaters seek protection from you, grant him protection till he hears the word of Allah, then make him attain his place of safety; this is because they are a people who do not know.

9:7 How can there be an agreement for the idolaters with Allah and with His Messenger; except those with whom you made an agreement at the Sacred Mosque? So as long as they are true to you, be true to them; surely Allah loves those who are careful (of their duty).

9:8 How (can it be)! while if they prevail against you, they would not pay regard in your case to ties of relationship, nor those of covenant; they please you with their mouths while their hearts do not consent; and most of them are transgressors.

9:9 They have taken a small price for the communications of Allah, so they turn away from His way; surely evil is it that they do.

9:10 They do not pay regard to ties of relationship nor those of covenant in the case of a believer; and these are they who go beyond the limits.

9:11 But if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, they are your brethren in faith; and We make the communications clear for a people who know.

9:12 And if they break their oaths after their agreement and (openly) revile your religion, then fight the leaders of unbelief– surely their oaths are nothing– so that they may desist.

9:13 What! will you not fight a people who broke their oaths and aimed at the expulsion of the Messenger, and they attacked you first; do you fear them? But Allah is most deserving that you should fear Him, if you are believers.

9:1 – In the first verse we are informed that there was a treaty which the Quraish (and other tribes) broke, except the Banu Kinanah tribe who stayed faithful (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas).

9:2 – The idolaters are told that they can go about freely in the land for four months, once the timing comes they will be dealt with, 1400 years ago.

9:3 – For breaking their treaty, God Almighty is inviting them to repent and turn away from the hostilities. Their plots do not in any way weaken God. There will be a punishment for those who broke the treaty and continue with their aggression.

9:4 – The punishment which the Muslims would have inflicted were only aimed at those who actively took up arms against the Muslims and broke the pact. This verse shows that the idolaters that were at peace and weren’t siding with the enemy were left alone. In Fact, God Almighty commands Muslims to fulfil their agreement with them and leave them be at peace since they have done nothing wrong against them (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas and Tafsir Ibn Kathir).

9:5 – The end of the four months, and the slaying of the idolaters, refers to those who broke the treaty, and fought against the Muslims. As the previous verse showed, not all idolaters were fought against. Only those who broke the treaty and actively participated in warfare were dealt with.

9:6 – Even those idolaters who actively fought the Muslims, if they were to ask ‘protection’ from the Muslims, God Almighty commanded the believers to protect them and take them to a safe place so that they may hear the Words of the Quran. From this verse we can see that those who wanted peace and stopped their hostilities, after hearing the recitation of the Quran – they were allowed to go freely anywhere they wished. They were not forced to convert to Islam (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas, Tafsir al-Jalalayn and Tafsir Ibn Kathir).

9:7 – How can there be an agreement with the idolaters when they have broken pacts and fought the Muslims many times. The only agreement that is still binding are those who didn’t break the treaty. Those who didn’t fight the Muslims, their treaty was still binding. The Muslims are ordered by God to stay true to the agreement with those who stayed faithful (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas).

9:8 – This verse is in reference to those who broke the pact and waged war against the Muslims, as explained before. The verse informs us, how can they have a pact when they get an upper hand against the Muslims, they would not hesitate to break the pact and attack the Muslims without hesitation. In short, it shows how treacherous and warlike these people were who the Muslims were up against (Tafsir al-Jalalayn and Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas).

9:9 – The disbelievers of Makkah forcefully prevented people believing in the message of Islam (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas and Tafsir Ibn Kathir).

9:10 – Here in the verse we are told that these treacherous folk do not respect ties of kinship nor any treaty. They are truly transgressors (Tafsir al-Jalalayn and Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas).

9:11 – If some of those who were at war with the Muslims repented from their past transgressions, prayed, pay zakat (poor-rate), they are brothers of the Muslims (Tafsir al-Jalalayn and Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas). A  reminder to readers, those that did become Muslim, done so freely. Forced conversion in Islam is Haram (forbidden).

9:12 – Although the verse says to fight those who broke the pact and openly revile Islam. The previous verses (and Q. 9:13) show that breaking the pact and reviling Islam was not the only crime these people committed. As shown before, they also physically fought the Muslims (Khuza’a). The very next verse (9:13) clearly tells us that they attacked the Muslims (Banu Khuza’a).

9:13 – Here God says to the Muslims, why is it that you will not fight those idolaters who broke their oaths, aimed to expel Prophet Muhammed (p), and attacked the Muslims first (Tafsir al-Jalalayn and Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas). It seems from the verse that some of the Prophet’s companions, were unwilling to fight these warmongers.

Where we have addressed the verses one by one, we can see the textual context for the verses alone show that the Muslims were only fighting the idolaters as a result of them (1) breaking their treaty, (2) tried expelling the Prophet – (3) fought, and attacked the Muslims (Banu Khuza’ah). Furthermore, in light of the aforementioned information, we would like to add that majority of earliest scholars like Ibn Abbas (619 – 687 AD), a companion of Prophet Muhammed, Ata b. Abi Rabah (653 – 732 AD), Mujahid b. Jabr (645 – 722 AD), and Muqatil b. Sulayman (d. 767 AD) and later exegete like Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (1149 – 1209 AD) forbade initiation of military attacks and used surah 2:190 as proof.

Professor Asma Asfaruddin:

“… early exegetes and Jurists like Ibn Abbas, Ata b. Abi Rabah, Mujahid b. Jabr, and Muqatil b. Sulayman and later exegetes like Fakhr al-Din al-Razi firmly maintained that Qur’an 2:190 unambiguously forbade the initiation of military hostilities and that military activity could ony be launched against actual, not potential, combatants. …” [6]

Tafsir al-Qurtubi:

“Then this ayat was revealed, meaning that it is lawful for you to fight if the unbelievers fight you. So the ayat is connected to the prior mention of hajj and entering houses by the back door. After this the Prophet fought those who fought him and refrained from those who refrained from fighting him until the ayat in Surat at-Tawba (9:5) was revealed, ‘Fight the idolaters,’… Ibn Abbas, Umar Ibn Abd’l – Aziz and Mujahid said that it is an ayat whose judgement REMAINS OPERATIVE and means: ‘FIGHT THOSE WHO FIGHT YOU and do not transgress by killing women, Children, monks and the like,’ as will be explained. An-Nahhas said that THIS IS THE SOUNDER POSITION IN TERMS OF BOTH THE SUNNA AND IN TERMS OF LOGIC. As for the Sunna, there is a Hadith reported by Ibn Ibn Umar that, during one of his expeditions the Messenger of Allah, saw a woman who had been killed and he ABHORRED THAT and FORBADE the killing of women and children. As for logic, it applies to children and those like them, like Monks, the chronically ill, old men and hirelings who clearly should not be killed. When Abu Bakr sent Yazid Ibn Abi Sufwan to Syria, he commanded that he should not do harm to certain groups. Malik and others transmitted this. …” [7]

Although we touched upon Surah 9:6 briefly, it needs further clarification. Some individuals are fond of twisting the verse to mean something it was never intended to say. It is claimed that the polytheists were forced to convert to Islam or faced the sword. This claim, historically speaking is simply not true.

The seemingly all-out war verse (9:5) when we look at the verse that follows (9:6) it shows opposite of what Surah 9:5 seems to convey. The classical commentators of the Quran say that 9:6 refers to all people who want to ask for protection. Hence, if the idolaters who were at war, stopped their hostilities and asked the Muslims then to hear the message of the Quran, and later rejected Islam. The Muslims were commanded by God to take them to a place of safety i.e., they were not killed even when they rejected Islam. This verse alone shows, the Muslims then were only fighting as a result of Quraysh’s aggression and hostilities, not for their beliefs.

Mujahid Ibn Jabr (645 – 722 AD):

“…this verse guarantees the safety of people in general (insan) who came to listen to the Prophet recite from the Qur’n until they had returned to the place of refuge whence they came.” [8]

 

9th Century scholar Hud b. Muhakkam:

“…the polytheists who requests safe conduct from Muslims in order to listen to the word of God is to be so granted and returned unharmed to his place of origin, whether he embraces Islam or not. This was the view of Mujahid, for example. Al-Kalbi is quoted as saying that the verse referred instead to a group of polytheists who wished to renew their pact with Muhammad asked them to profess Islam, offer prayers, and pay the zakat, they refused, and the Prophet LET THEM RETURN SAFELY TO THEIR HOMES. Ibn Muhakkam further notes that al-Hasan al-Basri had remarked thus on the status of this verse: ‘It is valid and unabrogated (muhkama) until the Day of Judgement.’” [9]

Al-Tabari (838 – 923 AD):

“…in this verse God counsels Muhammad, ‘If someone from among the polytheists (al-Mushrikun) – those whom I have commanded that you fight and slay after the passage of the sacred months – were to ask you, O Muhammad, for safe conduct in order to listen to the word of God, then grant this protection to him so that he may hear the word of God and you may recite it to him.’ Such an individual, according to the verse, is to be subsequently ESCORTED BACK TO HIS PLACE OF SAFETY EVEN IF HE REJECTS ISLAM AND FAILS TO BELIEVE AFTER THE PROPHET’S RECITATION OF THE QUR’AN BEFORE HIM. SCHOLARS IN THE PAST WHO HAVE AGREED WITH THIS GENERAL INTERPRETATION INCLUDE IBN ISHAQ, AL-SUDDI, AND MUJAHID…” [10]

 

Al-Wahidi (d. 1075 AD):

“…should someone from among the same group of polytheists request safe conduct and refuge among Muslims so that he may listen to the word of God and learn of its positive commandments and interdictions, he is to be so granted and escorted back to a place of safety. This is so because they are an ignorant people, and so should be given protection and the opportunity to acquire knowledge and perhaps submit to Islam.” [11]

Al-Zamakhshari (1070 – 1143 AD):

“…if one of the polytheists, with whom no pact (mithaq) exists, were to request safe conduct from the Muslims in order to listen to the Qur’an, then he should be granted it so that he may reflect God’s words. AFTERWARD, HE IS TO BE ESCORTED BACK TO HIS HOME WHERE HE FEELS SAFE. This, al-Zamakhshari says, is established practice for all time. Al-hasan al-Basri had similarly maintained that this verse is ‘valid till the day of resurrection.’ …” [12]

Al-Razi (1149 – 1209 AD):

“on the authority of Ibn Abbas, who relates that a polytheist man asked Ali b. Abi talib, ‘if we wished to approach the Messenger after the end of this period (the four sacred months) in order to listen to the word of God or for some other reason, will we be killed?’ Ali replied in the negative and recited this verse, affirming the granting of safe conduct to him so that he may listen to the Qur’an. … al-Razi further comments that this verse indicates that imitation of precedent (al-taqlid) is not sufficient in religion, and that critical inquiry (al-nazar) and the seeking of proofs (al-istidlal) are indispensable requirements within religion.
If emulation of precedent were enough, he argues, then this verse would not have granted a respite to this unbeliever, and would have been merely given a choice between professing his belief [In Islam] or death. As this did not occur, it confirms that Muslims are required to offer safe conduct to such person and thereby assuage his fears and allow him the opportunity to deliberate upon the proofs of religion. How long such a respite should last is not known; perhaps it should be determined according to the prevalent custom (bi-l-urg), he says.” [13]

 

Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas (d. 1414 AD) states that Prophet Muhammed granted safe passage to any of the idolaters who asked for it. So that they may hear the Quran. If he does not believe (i.e., embrace Islam), then he is to be left alone and granted safe passage back to the land he come from:

(And if anyone of the idolaters seeketh thy protection (O Muhammad), then protect him so that he may hear the word of Allah) so that he may hear your recitation of the words of Allah; (and AFTERWARD CONVEY HIM TO HIS PLACE OF SAFETY) TO THE PLACE HE IS GOING, IF HE REMAINS AN UNBELIEVER. (That) which I have mentioned (is because they are a folk who know not) Allah’s command and His divine Oneness. (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas on Surah 9:6 online Source)

Tafsir al-Jalalayn also emphasizes that they were left alone if they didn’t believe in Islam, and were taken to their place of safety:

And if any one of the idolaters (ahadun, ‘one’, is in the nominative because of the [following] verb [istajāraka, ‘seeks your protection’] that validates it) seeks your protection, requests security from you against being killed, then grant him protection, provide security for him, SO THAT HE MIGHT HEAR THE WORDS OF GOD — THE QUR’AN — AND AFTERWARD CONVEY HIM TO HIS PLACE OF SECURITY, THAT IS, THE DWELLING-PLACES OF HIS FOLK, IF HE DOES NOT BELIEVE, SO THAT HE MIGHT REFLECT UPON HIS SITUATION — that, which is mentioned, is because they are a people who do not know, the religion of God, and so they must [be made to] hear the Qur’ān in order to [come to] know [religion]. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn on Surah 9:6 – Online source)

 

Classical Commentaries: Quraysh Initiated War

It is interesting to note, although some of the classical exegesis emphasized on offensive Jihad and used 9:5 as evidence. They themselves acknowledged in their commentaries that the verse was revealed as a consequence of the Quraysh (Banu Bakr) initiating war first. From their exegesis, they say that Prophet Muhammed (p) nor his companions initiated war against the idolaters. It was the Quraysh with Banu Bakr who provoked – led the Muslims to retaliate against them. Sadly this important information is always left out by those who want to paint the Islamic faith negatively. Let’s now read what the exegesis say.

Ibn Kathir (1301 – 1373 AD):

(then stand you true to them. Verily, Allah loves those who have Taqwa.) The Messenger of Allah and the Muslims preserved the terms of the treaty with the people of Makkah from the month of Dhul-Qa`dah in the sixth year of Hijrah, until the Quraysh broke it and helped their allies, Banu Bakr, against Khuza`ah, the allies of Allah’s Messenger . Aided by the Quraysh, Banu Bakr killed some of Bani Khuza`ah in the Sacred Area! The Messenger of Allah led an invasion army in the month of Ramadan, of the eighth year, and Allah opened the Sacred Area for him to rule over them…” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir on Surah 9:7, Online Source).

Ibn Kathir:

“It was also said that these Ayat refer to the idolators breaking the peace agreement with Muslims and aiding Bani Bakr, their allies, against Khuza`ah, the ally of the Messenger of Allah. This is why the Messenger of Allah marched to Makkah in the year of the victory, thus conquering it…”  (Tafsir Ibn Kathir on Surah 9:13 – Online Source).

Tafsir Jalalayn:

(except for those you made a treaty with at the Masjid al-Haram) Referring to the Treaty of Hudaybiyya. They are the Quraysh who were exempted before. (As long as they are straight with you, be straight with them) i.e. as long as they carry out the treaty and do not break it, you should fulfill it. The ma is conditional and not adverbial. (Allah loves those who have taqwa) The Prophet was straight in his treaty with them until they broke it by helping the Banu Bakr against Khuza’a. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn on Surah 9:7 – Online source)

Tafsir al-Jalalyn:

“Will you not (a-la, ‘will not’ or ‘is not’, denotes incitement) fight a people who broke, violated, their oaths, their pacts, and intended to expel the Messenger, from Mecca — for they discussed this between them in their council assembly — initiating, combat, against you first?, when they fought alongside Banu Bakr against Khuza‘a, your allies? So what is stopping you from fighting them? Are you afraid of them? God is more worthy of your fear, when you fail to fight them, if you are believers.” (Tafsir al-Jalalayn on Surah 9:13, Online source)

As-Sawi:

“[ As-Sawi: This refers to the Treaty of al-Hudaybiyya which stipulated that there would be no war for twenty years. The Banu Bakr formed an alliance with Quraysh and the Khuza’a with the Prophet. Banu Bakr then attacked Khuza’a and Quraysh helped them with weapons, thus breaking the treaty. ‘Amr b. ‘Allam al-Khuza’i went and informed the Prophet what had happened. The Prophet said, “You will not be helped if I do not help you,” and made preparations and went to Makka and conquered it in 8 AH. …”(Tafsir as-Sawi on Surah 9:3 – Online source)

Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas:

“(Will ye not fight a folk) why is it that you do not fight a people, i.e. the people of Mecca (who broke their solemn pledges) which are between them and you, (and purposed to drive out the messenger) and wanted to kill the Messenger when they entered Dar al-Nadwah (and did attack you first) by breaking their pledge when they helped the Banu Bakr, their allies, against the Banu Khuza’ah, the allies of the Prophet (p)? (What! Fear ye them?) O believers, do you fear fighting them? (Now Allah hath more right that you should fear Him) because of leaving His command, (if ye are believers).” (Tanwir al-Miqbâs min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas on Surah 9:13 – Online Source)

Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya (1292 – 1350 AD) commenting on Quran 9:7,

“When God sent His Apostle (p), most of the followers of these religions responded to him and to his successsors, voluntarily and willingly. NOBODY WAS COMPELLED TO DO SO. The Apostle fought only those who fought and waged war against him. He did not fight those who made peace with him, neither did he fight those who were under the pledge of truce. He was obeying the bidding of God Most Sublime were he said:

‘Let there be no compulsion in Religion: Truth stands out clear from error: whoever rejects Evil and believes in God hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks, and God heareth and knowth all things ‘ (al-Baqarah: 256).

The Apostle did not compel anyone to adopt Islam. The above quoted verse from the Qur’an negates compulsion in the sense of prohibition that is: do not compel a soul to embrace the Religion. The verse (Sura) was revealed to admonish some of the men among the companions whose children embraced Judaism and Christianity before the advent of Islam, and where with the advent of Islam, their fathers embraced the religion of Muhammad and attempted to compel their children to follow their lead. God Most Exalted prohibited the fathers from resorting to compulsion to inspire their children to embrace Islam out of their choice. … To him who ponders over the biography of the Prophet (p) it becomes clear that he did not compel anyone to embrace his religion, and that he only fought those who fought him. He did not fight those who made truce with him as long as they kept and honoured the truce. He never broke a promise, for God Most High bid him to fulfil his promises to them as long as they kept theirs. A propos, God Most Exalted said:

‘How can there be a league before God and His apostle, with the pagans, except thoe with whom ye made a treaty near the Sacred Mosque? As long as these stand true to you, stand ye true to them for God doth love the righteous’ (al-Tawbah: 7).

… Likewise, when the Prophet Muhammad made truce with (the tribe of) Quraysh holding for ten years, HE DID NOT START ANY FIGHT WITH THEM; BUT WHEN THEY VIOLATED THE MUTUAL AGREEMENT AND RAISED ARMS AGAINST HIM, HE FOUGHT BACK… he stopped the fight when they retreated and went off. The point is that he did not compel anyone at all to embrace his religion; but people embraced his religion voluntarily and willingly. When most of the people earth realized the True Guidance, and that he is genuinely the Apostle of God, they embraced his call. [14]

From the above classical commentaries we read that it was Banu Bakr and Quraysh idolaters who waged war. Which led to the Muslims assembling an army against them.

As part of this article, we are also going to provide scholarly contemporary commentaries for Surah 9:5, to get a better understanding.

Professor Asma Afsaruddin:

“…The Qur’an further asserts that it is the duty of Muslims to defend those who are oppressed and who cry out to them for help (4;75), except against a people with whom the Muslims have concluded a treaty (8:72). With regard to initiation of hostilities and conduct during war (jus in bello), the Quran has specific injunctions. Verse 2:190, which reads, ‘Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not commit aggression, for God loves not aggressors,’ forbids Muslims from initiating hostilities.

Recourse to armed combat must be in response to a prior act of aggression by the opposite side. The Qur’an further counsels (5:8), ‘Let not rancor towards others cause you to incline to wrong and depart from justice. Be just; that is closer to piety.’ This verse may be understood to complement 2:190 in spirit and intent, warning against excesses that may result from an unprincipled desire to punish and exact revenge. During the month of Ramadan in the third year of the Islamic calendar (624 CE), full-fledged hostilities broke out between the Muslims and the pagan Meccans in what became known as the battle of Badr. In this battle, a small army of Muslims decisively routed a much larger and more experienced Meccan army. Two years later, the battle of Uhud was fought, in which the Muslims suffered severe reverses, followed by the battle of Khandaq in 627. Apart from these three major battles, a number of other minor campaigns were fought until the Prophet’s death in 632. Some of the most trenchant verses exhorting the Muslims to fight were revealed on the occasions of these military campaigns. One such verse is 9:5, which has been termed the sword verse (ayat al-sayf). It states:

‘And when the sacred months are over, slay the polytheists wherever you find them, and take them captive, and besiege them, and lie in wait for them at every conceivable place.


The first of the sword verses (9:5), with its internal reference to the polytheists who may be fought after the end of the sacred months, would circumscribe its applicability to only the pagan Arabs of Muhammad’s time; this is, in fact, how many medieval scholars, such as al-Shafi’I and al-Tabari, understood the verse. The second of the sword verses is seemingly directed in general at the People of the Book – that is, Jews and Christians – but again, a careful reading of the verse clearly indicates that it does not refer to all the People of the Book, but only those from among them who do not, in contravention of their own laws, believe in God and the Last Day and do not forbid wrongdoing. This understanding is borne out by comparing verse 9:29 to verses 3:113-15, for example, which state:

‘They are not all the same. Among the People of the Book are a contingent who stand [in prayer] reciting the verses of God at all times of the night while they prostrate. These are they who believe in God and the Last day and enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. They hasten to [perform] goods and they are among the righteous. And whatever they do of good will not be rejected [by God] and God knows best the God-fearing.’

The Qur’an, in another verse (2:193), makes unambiguously clear that, when hostile behaviour on the part of the foes of Islam ceases, then the reason for engaging them in war also lapses. This verse states:

‘And fight them on until there no chaos (fitna) and religion is only for God, but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression.’

The Harshness of the two sword verses is thus considerably mitigated, and their general applicability significantly restricted, by juxtaposing with them conciliatory verses, such as the ones cited above, and other such verses. Among other such verses is the one that has been characterized as the peace verse (8:61):

‘If they incline toward peace, incline you toward it, and trust in God. Indeed, He alone is all-hearing, all-knowing.’
And

‘Slay them wherever you catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for persecution is worse than slaughter. But if they cease, God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful (2:191-192).’

‘God does not forbid you from being kind and equitable to those who have nether make war on you on account of your religion nor driven you from your homes. God loves those who are equitable (60:8).’

These verses make warring against those who oppose the propagation of the message of Islam, and consequently resort to persecution of Muslims, contingent upon their continuing hostility. Should they desist from such hostile persecution and sue for peace instead, the Muslims are commanded to accede to their request. The Qur’an (60:8) further makes clear that non-Muslims of goodwill and peaceableness cannot be the targets of war simply on account of their different religious backgrounds.” [15]

Dr. al-Buti:

“As a matter of fact, reading verse 5 of chapter 9 in isolation supports the view that Muslims should fight pagans for their Disbelief, but this same verse must be read together with the proceeding verses of the same chapter. Hence, if we read this verse (9:5) in the light of the following three verses only (9:6,7, and 8) the claim for killing pagans for their paganism becomes void. …” [16]

Conclusion:

We have examined the historical and the scholarly side related to chapter 9 (specifically 9:5), there is one conclusion that can be drawn: Chapter 9, verse 5 was meant to be defensive. In the sense, that it was revealed concerning the pagan Arabs who broke the treaty and fought the Muslims (Khuza’a). Prophet Muhammed (p) did not fight them for their beliefs, rather for breaking the treaty and killing Banu Khuza’a’s people.

As shown, the true Islam, real Islam which was practised by Prophet Muhammed (p) was to repel evil and the brutality of Quraysh.

References:

[1] Ibn Kathir:
“(then stand you true to them. Verily, Allah loves those who have Taqwa.) The Messenger of Allah and the Muslims preserved the terms of the treaty with the people of Makkah from the month of Dhul-Qa`dah in the sixth year ﴿of Hijrah﴾, until the Quraysh broke it and helped their allies, Banu Bakr, against Khuza`ah, the allies of Allah’s Messenger . Aided by the Quraysh, Banu Bakr killed some of Bani Khuza`ah in the Sacred Area! The Messenger of Allah led an invasion army in the month of Ramadan, of the eighth year, and Allah opened the Sacred Area for him to rule over them, all thanks are due to Allah. …” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir on Surah 9:7, Online Source).
AND
Tafsir Ibn Kathir:
“It was also said that these Ayat refer to the idolators breaking the peace agreement with Muslims and aiding Bani Bakr, their allies, against Khuza`ah, the ally of the Messenger of Allah. This is why the Messenger of Allah marched to Makkah in the year of the victory, thus conquering it…” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir on Surah 9:13, Online Source).
[2]  Tafsir Jalalayn:
(except for those you made a treaty with at the Masjid al-Haram) Referring to the Treaty of Hudaybiyya. They are the Quraysh who were exempted before. (As long as they are straight with you, be straight with them) i.e. as long as they carry out the treaty and do not break it, you should fulfill it. The ma is conditional and not adverbial. (Allah loves those who have taqwa) The Prophet was straight in his treaty with them until they broke it by helping the Banu Bakr against Khuza’a. (9:7). (Tafsir al-Jalalayn on Surah 9:7, Online source)
AND
Tafsir al-Jalalyn 9:13
Will you not (a-la, ‘will not’ or ‘is not’, denotes incitement) fight a people who broke, violated, their oaths, their pacts, and intended to expel the Messenger, from Mecca — for they discussed this between them in their council assembly — initiating, combat, against you first?, when they fought alongside Banu Bakr against Khuza‘a, your allies? So what is stopping you from fighting them? Are you afraid of them? God is more worthy of your fear, when you fail to fight them, if you are believers. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn on Surah 9:13, Online source)
[3] As-Sawi:
[ As-Sawi: This refers to the Treaty of al-Hudaybiyya which stipulated that there would be no war for twenty years. The Banu Bakr formed an alliance with Quraysh and the Khuza’a with the Prophet. Banu Bakr then attacked Khuza’a and Quraysh helped them with weapons, thus breaking the treaty. ‘Amr b. ‘Allam al-Khuza’i went and informed the Prophet what had happened. The Prophet said, “You will not be helped if I do not help you,” and made preparations and went to Makka and conquered it in 8 AH. In 9 AH, the Prophet wanted to make hajj and he was told that the idolaters were there doing tawaf of the House naked. He said, “I do not want to go on hajj until that no longer takes place. So he sent Abu Bakr that year as amir over the hajj to carry out the hajj for the people. Then he, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, sent Ô Ali to recite these verses on the Day of Sacrifice and to say that after that year, no idolater could make hajj nor do tawaf of the House naked.] (Tafsir as-Sawi on Surah 9:3 – Online source)
[4] Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas:
“(Will ye not fight a folk) why is it that you do not fight a people, i.e. the people of Mecca (who broke their solemn pledges) which are between them and you, (and purposed to drive out the messenger) and wanted to kill the Messenger when they entered Dar al-Nadwah (and did attack you first) by breaking their pledge when they helped the Banu Bakr, their allies, against the Banu Khuza’ah, the allies of the Prophet (pbuh)? (What! Fear ye them?) O believers, do you fear fighting them? (Now Allah hath more right that you should fear Him) because of leaving His command, (if ye are believers).” (Tanwir al-Miqbâs min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas on Surah 9:13 – Online Source)
[5] Tafsir Anwarul Bayan volume 2, page 427
[6] Islam and International Law: Engaging Self-Centrism from a Plurality of Perspectives, Asma Asfaruddin, volume 7, page 60
[7] Tafsir Al Qurtubi, Classical Commentary Of The Holy Qur’an, [Dar al-Taqwa], volume 1, page 490 – 491
[8] Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought By Asma Afsaruddin, page 88
[9] Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought By Asma Afsaruddin, page 88
[10] Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought by Asma Afsaruddin, page 89
[11] Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought by Asma Afsaruddin, page 89
[12] Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought By Asma Afsaruddin, page 89
[13] Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought By Asma Afsaruddin, page 89 – 90
[14] Guidance To The Uncertain In Reply To The Jews And The Nazarenes (‘Hidayatul Hayara Fi Ajwibatul Yahud wa al-Nasara’) – [Translated by Abdelhay El-Masry, Dar Al-Kotob Al-Ilmiyah] by Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziah, page 25 – 27
[15] Crescent and Dove: Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam [United States Institute Of Peace Press Washington, D.C., 2010] by Asma Afsaruddin, page 44 – 47
[16] Muslims and Non-Muslims : Peace and Convenant [2004], by Mashhad Al-Allaf, page 39 – 40

95 verse

Examining Quran 9:29 – Does Islam sanction the killing of Christians and Jews?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Kaleef K. Karim

The answer is no! This verse (Q. 9:29) is by far the most problematic I have come across when reading the Quran. I say it’s ‘problematic’ because this verse is the only one that I know of which does not give context. When looking at any other verses in the Quran, reading the verses before and after have always happened to give an explanation. However, this passage (Q. 9:29) does not. Let’s read it below:

Quran 9:29 Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.

Islamophobes happen to always come across this verse, and show it to people who know little about Islam. They give the impression that Islam sanctions the killing of Jews and Christians at all times. It is important to always get info from the most authentic sources i.e., by reading and collecting information from Muslims, rather than Islamophobes, since their job is to bash Islam and Muslims. For example, would someone go to a Nazi to learn about Judaism – or would you do so to a better source such as a Jew who practices their religion on a daily basis? The answer would be obvious, is that you would learn from a Jewish person about Judaism. Upon commenting on this particular verse, one of the staunchest critics of Islam, Reverend E.M. Wherry, writes:

Vers. 29-128 refer to the events connected with the expedition to Tabuq, which occurred in Rajab of A.H. 9. They were not, however, all enunciated at one time, but partly before the expedition, partly on the march, and partly after the return. Vers. 29-35 may be referred to the time of arrival at Tabuq, when the Christian prince, John of Aylah, tendered his submission to Muhammad, paying tribute (Jazya). [1]

When reading this passage in its historical context, it is clear that it was sent down by God to Prophet Muhammad (p) to fight against the Byzantine (Roman) empire, who mobilised troops in order to attack the Muslims. In one of our authentic early Islamic sources, ‘Sahih Muslim’, it says:

He (Hadrat ‘Umar further) said: I had a companion from the Ansar and, we used to remain in the company of the Messenger (ﷺ) turn by turn. He remained there for a day while I remained there on the other day, and he brought me the news about the revelation and other (matter), and I brought him (the news) like this. And we discussed that the Ghassanids were shoeing the horses in order to attack us. Id y companion once attended (the Apostle). And then came to me at night and knocked at my door and called me, and I came out to him, and he said: A matter of great importance has happened. I said: What is that? Have the Ghassanids come? He said: No, but even more serious and more significant than that: the Prophet (ﷺ) has divorced his wives. [2]

From the above narration, there is clear evidence that the Muslims were informed of an impending invasion by the Ghassanids, who were part of the Byzantine Empire. Additionally, Ibn Sa’d in his book Kitab al-tabaqat al-kabir writes:

“They (narrators) saud: It (report) reached the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, that the Romans had concentrated large forces in Syria, that Heraclius had disbursed one year’s salary to his soldiers, and that tribes of Lakhm, Judham, ‘Amilah and Ghassan had joined hands with him. They had sent their vanguards to al-Balqa. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, summoned the people to march. He set out and informed them about the place which he intended, so that they could make necessary preparations. He sent (messengers) to Makkah and to the tribes of Arabia (asking them) to send help. This took place in the days of intense heat.” [3]

Again, we see clear evidence that it was the Byzantine (Roman) empire who started this war. What does one expect the Messenger Muhammad (p) to do? Sit back and do nothing while Muslim lives were going to get slaughtered? Of course, he had done the right thing, assembling the Muslim community to go out and fight against these aggressors. In another early Islamic source, Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan, written by the eminent 9th Century Imam, Aḥmad Ibn Yaḥyā al-Balādhurī, the author says:

“Tabuk make terms. When in the year 9 AH the Prophet marched to Tabuk in Syria for the invasion of those of the Greeks, Amilah, Lakhm, Judham and others whom he learnt had assembled against him, he met no resistance. So he spent a few days in Tabuk, whose inhabitants made terms with him agreeing to pay poll-tax.” [4]

So far, as we have read early Islamic sources, when one reads the passage (9:29) in its historical perspective, it is a fact that the Byzantines (Romans) were the ones who intended to wage war with the Muslims. Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri in his work of Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar) writes:

The invasion and the conquest of Makkah was considered a decisive one between the truth and the error. As a result of which, the Arabs had no more doubt in Muhammad’s mission. Thus we see that things went contrary to the pagans’ expectations. People started to embrace Islam, the religion of Allah in great numbers. This is manifested clearly in the chapter. The delegations, of this book. It can also be deduced out of the enormous number of people who shared in the Hajjatul-Wad⦣145; (Farewell Pilgrimage). All domestic troubles came to an end. Muslims, eventually felt at ease and started setting up the teachings of All Laws and intensifying the Call to Islam.

THE UNDERLYING REASONS

The Byzantine power, which was considered the greatest military force on earth at that time, showed an unjustifiable opposition towards Muslims. As we have already mentioned, their opposition started at killing the ambassador of the Messenger of Allah [pbuh], Al-Harith bin, Umair Al-Azdi, by Sharhabeel bin, Amr Al-Ghassani. The ambassador was then carrying a message from the Prophet [pbuh] to the ruler of Busra. We have also stated that the Prophet consequently dispatched a brigade under the command of Zaid bin Haritha, who had a fierce fight against the Byzantines at Mu’tah. Although Muslim forces could not have revenge on those haughty over proud tyrants, the confrontation itself had a great impression on the Arabs, all over Arabia.
Caesar, who could neither ignore the great benefit that Mu’tah Battle had brought to Muslims, nor could he disregard the Arab tribes’ expectations of independence, and their hopes of getting free from his influence and reign, nor he could ignore their alliance to the Muslims, realizing all that, Caesar was aware of the progressive danger threatening his borders, especially Ash-Sham-fronts which were neighbouring Arab lands. So he concluded that demolition of the Muslims power had grown an urgent necessity. This decision of his should, in his opinion, be achieved before the Muslims become too powerful to conquer, and raise troubles and unrest in the adjacent Arab territories.
To meet these exigencies, Caesar mustered a huge army of the Byzantines and pro-Roman Ghassanide tribes to launch a decisive bloody battle against the Muslims.

GENERAL NEWS ABOUT THE BYZANTINES AND GHASSANIDE PREPARATIONS FOR WAR

No sooner news about the Byzantine’s preparations for a decisive invasion against Muslims reached Madinah than fear spread among them. They started to envisage the Byzantine invasion in the least sound they could hear. This could be clearly worked out of what had happened to, Umar bin Al-Khattab one day.
The Prophet [pbuh] had taken an oath to stay off his wives for a month in the ninth year of Al-Hijra. Therefore, he deserted them and kept off in a private place. At the beginning, the Companions of the Messenger of Allah were puzzled and could not work out the reason for such behaviour. They thought the Prophet [pbuh] had divorced them and that was why he was grieved, disturbed and upset. In Umar’s version of the very story he says: “I used to have a Helper friend who often informed me about what happened if I weren’t present, and in return I always informed him of what had taken place during his absence. They both lived in the high part of Madinah. Both of them used to call at the Prophet alternatively during that time of suspense. Then one day I heard my friend, knock at the door saying: “Open up! Open up!” I asked wondering, “What’s the matter? Has the Ghassanide come?” “No it is more serious than that. The Messenger of Allah [pbuh] has deserted his wives.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/730]
In another version, Umar said, “We talked about Ghassanide preparations to invade us. When it was his turn to convey the news to me, he went down and returned in the evening. He knocked at the door violently and said Is he sleeping?’ I was terrified but I went out to meet him. Something serious had taken place.’ He said. Has the Ghassaindes arrived?’ I Said ‘No,’ he said, it is greater and more serious. The Messenger of Allah [pbuh] has divorced his wives.’” [Sahih Al-Bukhari 1/334]
This state of too much alertness manifests clearly the seriousness of the situation that Muslims began to experience. The seriousness of the situation was confirmed to a large degree by the hypocrites’ behaviour, when news about the Byzantines’ preparations reached Madinah. The fact that the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] won all the battles he fought, and that no power on earth could make him terrified, and that he had always proved to be able to overcome all the obstacles that stood in his way – did not prevent the hypocrites, who concealed evil in their hearts, from expecting an affliction to fall upon the Muslims and Islam….

PARTICULAR NEWS ABOUT THE BYZANTINE AND GHASSANIDE PREPARATIONS FOR WAR

A magnified image of the prominent danger threatening the Muslims life was carried to them by the Nabateans who brought oil from Ash-Sham to Madinah. They carried news about Heraclius’ preparations and equipment of an enormous army counting over forty thousand fighters besides Lukham, Judham and other tribes allied to the Byzantines. They said that its vanguard had already reached Al-Balq. Thus was the grave situation standing in ambush for the Muslims. The general situation was aggravated seriously by other adverse factors of too much hot weather, drought and the rough and rugged distance they had to cover in case they decided to encounter the imminent danger.
The Messenger of Allah [pbuh] concept and estimation of the situation and its development was more precise and accurate than all others. He thought that if he tarried or dealt passively with the situation in such a way that might enable the Byzantines to paddle through the Islamic controlled provinces or to go as far as Madinah, this would, amid these circumstances, leave the most awful impression on Islam as well as on the Muslims’ military credibility.
The pre-Islamic beliefs and traditions (Al-Jahiliyah) which were at that time dying because of the strong decisive blow that they had already had at Hunain, could have had a way to come back to life once again in such an environment. The hypocrites who were conspiring against the Muslims so that they might stab them in the back whereas Byzantines would attack them from the front. If such a thing came to light and they succeeded in their evil attempts, the Prophet and his Companions’ efforts to spread Islam would collapse and their profits which were the consequences of successive and constant fights and invasions would be invalidated. The Messenger of Allah [pbuh] realised all that very well. So in spite of the hardships and drought that Muslims were suffering from the Prophet [pbuh] was determined that the Muslims should invade the Byzantines and fight a decisive battle at their own borders. He was determined not to tarry at all in order to thwart any Roman attempt to approach the land of Islam.
When the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] had made up his mind and took his final decision, he ordered his Companions to get ready for war and sent for the Makkans and the other Arab tribes asking for their assistance.
Contrary to his habit of concealing his real intention of the invasion by means of declaring a false one, he announced openly his intention of meeting the Byzantines and fighting them. He cleared the situation to his people so that they would get ready, and urged them to fight in the way of Allah. On this occasion a part of Surat Bara’a (Chapter 9 The Repentance) was sent down by Allah urging them to steadfastness and stamina.
On the other hand, the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] cherished them to pay charities and to spend the best of their fortunes in the way of Allah.
No sooner had the Muslims heard the voice of the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] calling them to fight the Byzantines than they rushed to comply with his orders. With great speed they started getting ready for war. Tribes and phratries from here and there began pouring in Madinah. Almost all the Muslims responded positively. Only those who had weakness at their hearts favoured to stay behind. They were only three people. Even the needy and the poor who could not afford a ride came to the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] asking for one so that they would be able to share in the fight against the Byzantines. But when he said:
“…I can find no mounts for you’ they turned back while their eyes overflowing with tears of grief that they could not find anything to spend (for Jihad).” [Al-Qur’an 9:92]
The Muslims raced to spend out money and to pay charities to provide this invasion. Uthman, for instance, who had already rigged two hundred, saddled camels to travel to Ash-Sham, presented them all with two hundred ounces (of gold) as charity. He also fetched a thousand dinars and cast them all into the lap of the Messenger of Allah[pbuh], who turned them over and said: “From this day on nothing will harm Uthman regardless of what he does.” [Jami’ At-Tirmidhi 2/211 (The virtues of ‘Uthman)] Again and again Uthman gave till his charity toped to nine hundred camels and a hundred horses, besides the money he paid.
Abdur Rahman bin Awf, on his side, paid two hundred silver ounces, whereas Abu Bakr paid the whole money he had and left nothing but Allah and His Messenger as a fortune for his family. Umar paid half his fortune. Abbas gifted a lot of money. Talhah, Sa’d bin Ubadah and Muhammad bin Maslamah, gave money for the welfare of the invasion. Asim bin Adi, on his turn, offered ninety camel-burdens of dates. People raced to pay little and much charities alike. One of them gave the only half bushel (or the only bushel) he owned. Women shared in this competition by giving the things they owned; such as musk, armlets, anklets, ear-rings and rings. No one abstained from spending out money, or was too mean to grant money or anything except the hypocrites:
“Those who defame such of the believers who give charity (in Allah’s cause) voluntarily, and those who could not find to give charity (in Allah’s cause) except what is available to them, so they mock at them (believers).” [Al-Qur’an 9:79]

THE MUSLIM ARMY IS LEAVING FOR TABUK

Upon accomplishing the equipment of the army, the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] ordained that Muhammad bin Maslamah Al-Ansari should be appointed over Madinah. In another version Siba bin Arftah. To Ali bin Abu Talib he entrusted his family’s safety and affairs and ordered him to stay with them. This move made the hypocrites undervalue Ali, so he followed the Messenger of Allah pbuh] and caught up with him. But the Prophet made Ali turn back to Madinah after saying: “Would it not suffice you to be my successor in the way that Aaron (Harun) was to Moses’?” Then he proceeded saying: “But no Prophet succeeds me.”
On Thursday, the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] marched northwards to Tabuk. The army that numbered thirty thousand fighters was a great one, when compared with the previous armies of Islam. Muslims had never marched with such a great number before.
Despite all the gifts of wealth and mounts the army was not perfectly equipped. The shortage of provisions and mounts was so serious that eighteen men mounted one camel alternatively. As for provisions, members of the army at times had to eat the leaves of trees till their lips got swollen. Some others had to slaughter camels, though they were so dear, so that they could drink the water of their stomach; that is why that army was called “The army of distress”.
On their way to Tabuk, the army of Islam passed by Al-Hijr, which was the native land of Thamud who cut out (huge) rocks in the valley; that is “Al-Qura Valley” of today. They watered from its well but later the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] told them not to drink of that water, nor perform the ablution with it. The dough they made, he asked them to feed their camels with. He forbade them to eat anything whatsoever of it. As an alternative he told them to water from that well which Prophet Salih’s she-camel used to water from.
On the authority of Ibn ?Umar: “Upon passing by Al-Hijr the Prophet [pbuh] said:
“Do not enter the houses of those who erred themselves lest what had happened to them would afflict you, but if you had to do such a thing let it be associated with weeping.”
Then he raised his head up and accelerated his strides till he passed the valley out.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/637]
Shortage of water and the army’s need to it made them complain to the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] about that. So he supplicated to Allah who sent a rainfall cloud. It rained and so all people drank and supplied themselves with their need of water.
When they drew near Tabuk, the Prophet said: “If Allah will, tomorrow you will arrive at Tabuk spring. You will not get there before daytime. So whoever reaches it should not touch its water; but wait till I come.” Muadh said: “When we reached the spring it used to gush forth some water. We found that two men had already preceded us to it. The Messenger of Allah [pbuh] asked them: Have you touched its water?’ They replied: ‘Yes’. He said what Allah inspired him to say, then he scooped up little water of that spring, thin stream which gathered together, he washed his face and hand with it and poured it back into it; consequently plenty of water spouted out of it so people watered. Muadh’, said the Messenger of Allah, if you were doomed to live long life you will see in here fields full of vegetation.’” [Sahih Muslim 2/246]
On the way to Tabuk, or as soon as they reached Tabuk, the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] said: Severe wind will blow tonight, so none of you should stand up. Whoever has a camel should tie it up.’ Later on when the strong wind blew, one of the men stood up and the wind carried him away to Tai’ Mountain. [ibid. Sahih Muslim 2/246]
All the way long the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] was intent on the performance of the combined prayer of noon and the afternoon; and so did he with sunset and evening prayers. His prayers for both were either pre-time or post-time prayers.

THE ARMY OF ISLAM AT TABUK

Arriving at Tabuk and camping there, the Muslim army was ready to face the enemy. There, the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] delivered an eloquent speech that included the most inclusive words. In that speech he urged the Muslims to seek the welfare of this world and the world to come. He warned and cherished them and gave them good tidings. By doing that he cherished those who were broken in spirits, and blocked up the gap of shortage and mess they were suffering from due to lack of supplies, food and other substances.
Upon learning of the Muslims’ march, the Byzantines and their allies were so terrified that none of them dared set out to fight. On the contrary they scattered inside their territory. It brought, in itself, a good credit to the Muslim forces. That had gained military reputation in the mid and remote lands of Arabian Peninsula. The great and serious political profits that the Muslim forces had obtained, were far better than the ones they could have acquired if the two armies had been engaged in military confrontation.
The Head of Ailah, Yahna bin Rawbah came to the Messenger of Allah [pbuh], made peace with him and paid him the tribute (Al-Jizya). Both of Jarba’ and Adhruh peoples paid him tribute, as well. So the Messenger of Allah [pbuh] gave each a guarantee letter, similar to Yahna’s, in which he says:
“In the Name of Allah the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
This is a guarantee of protection from Allah and Muhammad the Prophet, the Messenger of Allah to Yahna bin Rawbah and the people of Ailah, their ships, their caravans on land and sea shall have the custody of Allah and the Prophet Muhammad, he and whosoever are with him of Ash-Sham people and those of the sea. Whosoever contravenes this treaty, his wealth shall not save him, it shall be the fair prize of him that takes it. Now it should not be lawful to hinder the men from any springs which they have been in the habit of frequenting, nor from any journeys they desire to make, whether by sea or by land.”
The Messenger of Allah [pbuh] dispatched Khalid bin Al-Waleed at the head of four hundred and fifty horsemen to Ukaidir Dumat Al-Jandal and said to him: “You will see him hunting onyxes.” So when Khalid drew near his castle and was as far as an eye-sight range, he saw the onyxes coming out rubbing their horns against the castle gate. As it was a moony night. Khalid could see Ukaidir come out to hunt them, so he captured him, though he was surrounded by his men, and brought him back to the Messenger of Allah [pbuh], who spared his life and made peace with him for the payment of two thousand camels, eight hundred heads of cattle, four hundred armours and four hundred lances. He obliged him to recognize the duty of paying tribute and charged him with collecting it from Dumat, Tabuk, Ailah and Taima’.
The tribes, who used to ally the Byzantines, became quite certain that their dependence on their former masters came to an end. Therefore they turned into being pro-Muslims. The Islamic state had therefore enlarged its borders to an extent that it, touched the Byzantines’ and their agents’ borders. So we see that the Byzantine agents’ role was over.
THE INVASION OF TABUK AND ITS FAR-REACHING RAMIFICATIONS
The effect of this invasion is great as regards extending and confirming the Muslims’ influence and domination on the Arabian Peninsula. It was quite obvious to everybody that no power but Islam’s would live long among the Arabs. The remainders of Jahiliyin and hypocrites, who used to conspire steadily against the Muslims and who perpetually relied on Byzantine power when they were in need of support or help, these people lost their expectations and desires of ever reclaiming their ex-influence. Realizing that there was no way out and that they were to submit to the fait accompli, they gave up their attempts.

THE QUR’ANIC VERSES RELATING TO THIS INVASION

Many verses of Bara’a (Tauba) Chapter handling the event of Tabuk were revealed. Some verses were revealed before the march, while others after setting out for Tabuk, i.e. in the context of the battle. Some other verses were also revealed on the Prophet’s arrival in Madinah. All of which covered the incidents that featured this invasion: the immanent circumstances of the battle, exposure of the hypocrites, the prerogatives and special rank earmarked for the strivers in the cause of Allah acceptance of the repentance of the truthful believers who slackened and those who hung back, etc. [5]

 

From that historical point, Quran 9:29 was a war of self-defence. If the Muslims had not done nothing and sat back, the Muslim community as a whole would have been wiped off in Arabia, by the Byzantine (Romans) and other enemies.

More Muslim and non-Muslim scholarly commentaries on Quran 9:29

Dr. Mustafa As-Sibaa’ie, ‘The life of Prophet Muhammad highlights and lessons’ writes,

The Battle of Tabook
This is also known as Ghazwat al-Usrah (the campaign of hardship). It took place in Rajab 9 AH.
Tabook is a place between Wadi al-Qura, in the Hijaz, and Syria. The reason for this battle was that the Byzantines had gathered a huge number of troops in Syria, including the tribes of Lakhm, Judhaam, ‘Aamilah and Ghassan, who were Christianized Arabs. They did so because Heraclius intended to attack Madeenah and put an end to the state that was developing in the Arabian Peninsula, as the news of this state and its victories had filled Heraclius with fear and terror. So theProphet ordered the people to prepare for a campaign. That was a time of great and intense heat. The sincere Muslims responded willingly, but three of them remained behind, even though their faith was sincere. The Prophet commanded the rich to provide equipment for the army, and they brought a huge amount of money. Abu Bakr brought all of his wealth, which was forty thousand dirhams. Umar brought half of his wealth, and Uthmaan gave a large amount in charity that day equiped one-third of the army. The prophet prayed for him and said, “Nothing that Uthmaan does can harm him after this day.” A number of the poor Sahaabah came to him who had no animals to ride, and the Messenger said, “ I do not have anything that I can give you to ride.” They turned away with tears streaming dwn their faces because they did not have the means to prepare themselves to join the army. Eighty-odd of the hypocrites stayed behind, and a number of Bedouin gave invalied excuses, but the Prophet accepted them.
The Messenger of Allah set out with the people. There were thirty thousand warriors with him, and ten thousand horses. This was the greatest army that the Arabs had seen at that time. He marched until he reached Tabook, where he stayed for twenty days, during which he did not engage in any fighting. [6]

Scholar Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi

What was the genesis of this expedition? It is related that the Apostle got reports of Byzantine forces converging in the northern frontiers of Arabia with the intention of mounting an attack on the Muslims. Ibn Sa’ad and Waqidi had reported that the Apostle was informed by the Nabataeans that Heraclius was intending to come upon him and that his advance party had already reached Balqa. This was after storing on year’s provision for his army and drafting the pro-Byzantine tribes of Lakhm, Jodham, Amla and Ghassan under his banner. [7]

Maulana Muhammad Ali in his book, ‘The Holy Quran, Arabic Text with English Translation, Commentary and comprehensive Introduction’,

29a “The last word on the wars with the idolaters of Arabia having been said, this verse introduces the subject of fighting with the followers of the Book. Though the Jews had for a long time assisted the idolatrous Arabians in their struggle to uproot Islam, the great Christian power, the Roman Empire, had only just mobilized its forces for the subjection of the new religion, and the Tabuk expedition followed, which constitutes the subject-matter of a large portion of what follows in this chapter. As the object of this Christian power was simply the subjection of the Muslims, the words in which their final vanquishment by the Muslims is spoken of are different from those dealing with the final vanquishment of the idolatrous Arabians. The Qur’an neither required that the idolaters should be compelled to accept Islam, nor was it in any way its object to bring the Christians into subjection. On the other hand, the idolaters wanted to suppress Islam by the sword, and the Christians first moved themselves to bring Muslim Arabia under subjection. The fate of each was, therefore, according to what it intended for the Muslims. The word jizyah is derived from jaza, meaning he gave satisfaction, and means, according to LL, the tax that is taken from the free non-Muslim subjects of the Muslim Government whereby they ratify the compact that ensures them protection; or, according to AH, because it is a compensation for the protection which is guaranteed them, the non-Muslim subjects being free from military service.
The phrase ‘an yad-in has been explained variously. The word yad (lit., hand) stands for power or superiority, the use of the hand being the real source of the superiority of man over all other animals, and the apparent meaning of the phrase is in acknowledgement of your superiority in protecting their lives, etc. (AH). It may also be added that the permission to fight, as given to the Muslims, is subject to the condition that the enemy should first take up the sword, Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you (2:190). The Holy Prophet never overstepped this limit, nor did his followers. He fought against the Arabs when they took up the sword to destroy the Muslims, and he led an expedition against the Christians when the Roman Empire first mobilized its forces with the object of subjugating the Muslims. And so scrupulous was he that, when he found that the enemy had not yet taken the initiative, he did not attack the Roman Empire, but returned without fighting. Later on, however, the Roman Empire, like the Persians, helped the enemies of Islam and fomented trouble against the newly established Muslim Kingdom, as a result of which both these empires came into conflict with the Muslims and, notwithstanding the fact that both the Persians and the Romans were very powerful nations with unlimited resources and strong military organizations, and that they both tried at one and the same time to subjugate Islam, the result was what is predicted here in clear words — they were both reduced to a state of subjection by an insignificant nation like the Arabs.” [8]

Professor John Andrew Morrow

…..the early Muslims had to fend of all sorts of aggressive assaults of the unbelievers from the Quraysh and their allies among the bedioun and Jewish tribes, in such well-known Battles as those of Uhud, Al-Khandaq, Mu’tah and Tabuk[9]

Malik Ghulam Farid commentary on Quran 9:29

1175. The expression ‘An Yadin’ means (1) Willingly and in acknowledgement of the superior power of Muslims. (2) In ready money and not in the form of deferred payment.
* In this verse … is not translated. After the translation … will read as: ‘and Allah is most Forgivving, Merciful.’
(3) Considering it as a favour from Muslims; the practice ‘an meaning, on account of, and Yad denoting power and favour (Lane). The verse refers to those People of the Book who lived in Arabia. Like the idolaters they too had been actively hostile to Islam and had planned and plotted to exterminate it. Muslims were, therefore, ordered to fight them unless they agreed to live as loyal and peaceful subjects. The Jizyah was a tax which these non-Muslims had to pay as free subjects of the Muslim state in return for the protection they enjoined under it. It may be noted that as against Jizyah which was imposed on non-Muslims, a much heavier tax- Zakat was levied on the Muslims, and in addition to Zakat they had to perform military service from which non-Muslims were exempt. Thus the latter in a way fared better, for they had to pay a lighter tax and were also free from military duty. The word Saghirun expresses their subordinate political status; otherwise they enjoyed all social rights equally with Muslims. The idolaters of Arabia and Jews and Christians who lived in their neighbourhood were the principal adversaries of Islam. After having dealt with the believers relations with the People of the Book, especially with their religious beliefs and doctrines. [10]

Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali states in his commentary on surah nine,

Muslims are therefore basically opposed to war and are never the ones to start it. By the imperative of their own religion, they are taught not to impose their beliefs on others by force. Their mission is to impart and communicate God’s message, leaving people free to decide whether to believe or reject it. Those who refuse to believe are free to pursue their lives in peace as long as they do not pose any obstacle or threat to Islam and the Muslims, who perceive their faith as the strongest and most vital binding relationship between God and humankind and that it is their responsibility to make others aware of it and provide them with the opportunity to understand and appreciate it. This is the basis of the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in Islamic society. God says elsewhere in the Qur’an: ‘Therefore if they (the unbelievers) do not trouble you and cease their hostility towards you and offer you peace, God gives you no authority over them’ [al-Nisa: 90]. Those who take up arms against a Muslim state or parts of it must be met by force, and if they are overcome, they should be disarmed. Once that is achieved, they are free to lead their own lives and practise their beliefs in peace and security under the protection of the Muslim authorities, in return for which they have to pay a levy.

This is the background against which prescription of the Jizyah, or exemption tax, came into being. It is not due from those who are neutral and have never taken arms against the Muslim state. The surah gives ample explanation for the reasons behind the establishment of this tax, for it stipulates who should pay it. They are those ‘who do not believe in God and the Last Day, who do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden, and who do not follow the true religion, until they pay the exemption tax unreservedly and with humility. [11]

In the book ‘Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia’, Alexander Mikaberidze, commenting on 9:29 writes,

The following verses are widely acknowledged to be the first to grant Muslims permission to bear arms:
Permission [to fight] is given to those against whom war is being wrongfully waged, and indeed, God has the power to help them: those who have been driven from their homes against all right for no other reason than their saying, ‘Our Provider is God!’ For, if God had not enabled people to defend themselves against one another, monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques- in all of which God’s name is abundantly glorified- would surely have been destroyed. (22:39-40)
In these verses, the Koran asserts, if people were not allowed to defend themselves against aggressive wrongdoers, all the houses of worship- it is worthy of note here that Islam is not the only religion indicated here- would be destroyed and thus the word of God extinguished. Another verse states:
They ask you concerning fighting in the prohibited months. Answer them: ‘Fight therein is a serious offence. But to restrain men from following the cause of God, to deny God, to violate the sanctity of the sacred mosque, to expel its people from its environs is in the sight of God a greater wrong than fighting in the forbidden month. [For] discord and strife (fitna) are worse than killing.’ (2:217)
Wrongful expulsion of believers- Muslims and other monotheists- from their homes for no other reason than their avowal of belief in one God is one of the reasons- jus ad bellum- that justify recourse to fighting, according to these verses. Earlier revelations (Koran 42.40-43) had allowed only non-violent self-defence against wrongful conduct of the enemy. In another verse (2:291), the Koran acknowledges the enormity of fighting, and thus the potential taking of human life, but at the same time asserts the higher moral imperative of maintaining order and challenging wrongdoing. Therefore, when both just cause and righteous intention exist, war in self-defence becomes obligatory.
Fighting is prescribed for you, while you dislike it, but it is possible that you dislike. But it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and that you love a thing which is bad for you. But God knows and you know not. (2:216)
The Koran further asserts that it is the duty of Muslims to defend those who are oppressed and cry out to them for help (4.75), except against a people with whom the Muslims have concluded a treaty (8.72)
With regard to initiation of hostilities, the Koran has specific injunctions. Koran 2.190 reads, ‘Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not commit aggression, for God loves not aggressors,’ which forbids Muslims from initiating hostilities. Recourse to armed combat must be in response to a prior act of aggression committed by the opposite side.
In the month of Ramadan in the third year of the Islamic calendar (624), full-fledged hostilities broke out between the Muslims and the pagan Meccans in what became known as the Battle of Badr. In this battle, the small army of Muslims decisively trounced a much larger, and more experienced, Meccan army. Two years later, the battle of Uhud was fought in which the Muslims suffered severe reverses, followed by the Battle of Khandaq in 627. Apart from these three major battles, a number of other minor campaigns were fought until the Prophet’s death in 632. Some of the most trenchant verses exhorting the Muslims to fight were revealed on the occasions of these military campaigns. One such verse is 9.5, which is one of what have been termed the ‘Sword verses’ (Ayat al-sayf), states,
And when the sacred months are over, slay the Polytheists wherever you find them, and take them captive, and besiege them, and lie in wait for them at every conceivable place.
Another verse that is often conjoined to the previous verse runs:
Fight against those who- despite having been given revelation before- do not believe in God nor in the Last Day, and do not consider forbidden that which God and His Messenger have forbidden, and do not follow the religion of the truth, until they pay Jizyah with willing hand, having been subdued. (9.29).
The first of the sword verse verses (9.5), with its internal reference to the polytheists who may be fought after the end of the sacred months, would circumscribe its applicability to only the pagan Arabs of Muhammad’s time; this is how in fact manu medieval jurists, such as al-Shafii (d. 820), understood the verse. The second of the sword verses is seemingly at the People of the Book, that is, Jews and Christians, but again, a careful reading of the verse clearly indicates that it does not intent all the people of the Book but only those from among them who do not, in contravention of their own laws, believe in God and the Last Day and, in a hostile manner, impede the propagation of Islam.
The Koran, in another verse (2.193), makes clear, however, that should hostile behaviour on the part of the foes of Islam cease, then the reasons for engaging them in battle also lapses. This verse states: ‘And fight them on until there is no more chaos (fitna) and religion is only for Gd, but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression.’ [12]

‘Debating the War of Ideas’, written by two Scholars, John Gallagher and Eric D. Patterson say that the Quran ‘forbids aggressive warfare’,

The Quran also developed a just war ideology. It forbids aggressive warfare and the pre-emptive strike, and makes it clear that self-defence was the only possible justification for hostilities. War was always a terrible evil, but it was sometimes necessary in order to preserve decent values, such as freedom of worship. Even here, the Quran did not abandon its pluralism: synagogues and churches as well as mosques should be protected. The Quran insists on the importance of mercy and forgiveness, even when during armed conflict. While engaged in hostilities, Muslims must fight steadfastly in order to bring the war to a speedy end, but the moment the enemy asked for peace, Muslims must lay down their arms. They must accept any truce, even if they suspect the enemy of double-dealing. And it is always better to sit DOWN AND solve a problem by rational, courteous discussion. True, retaliation was permitted as in the Jewish tradition- eye FOR EYE, tooth for tooth- but it must be strictly confined to those who had actually perpetrated the atrocities and ‘he who shall forgo it out of charity will atone better for some of his past sins.’ Later Islamic Law developed additional principles of humane warfare. It forbids war against a country where Muslims are permitted to practice their religion freely; it outlaws the killing of civilians, the deliberate destruction of property, and the use of fire in warfare.

Holy war was not one of the essential principles of Islam The word Jihad does not refer to armed conflict but to the ‘effort’ and ‘struggle’ required to implement God’s will in a flawed and violent world. Muslims are exhorted to strive in his endeavour on all fronts: intellectual, social, economic, spiritual, moral, and domestic. Sometimes they would have to fight, but this was not their chief duty. An oft-quoted tradition recalls Muhammad telling his companions after a battle: ‘We are returning from the lesser Jihad (the battle) and going to the Greater Jihad,’ the immeasurably more important and difficult struggle to reform their own society and they own hearts. It is true that Muslim rulers often engaged in wars for territorial aggrandizement and personal interest and dignified their military activities by calling it a Jihad, but, like other Kings and imperialists, they were motivated by political ambition rather than by religion. [13]

‘Out of darkness into light: Spiritual guidance in the Quran with reflections from Christian and Jewish sources’ written by Ann Holmes Redding, Jamal Rahman and Kathleen Schmitt Elias,

The Jihad that is so feared in Western society is known in Islam as the ‘lesser jihad’, and again, the fear is based on misinterpretation not only by non-Muslims but also by Muslim extremists who carry jihad lengths that were never sanctioned or condoned by the Quran. This lesser Jihad is about defending and protecting oneself and others when under attack- and only when under attack. “Fight in the way of God those who fight you,” says the Quran, “but begin not hostilities, for God loves not the aggressors” (2:190). This verse has also been interpreted to mean “do not transgress limits in the fight.” War is permitted only in self-defence, and the limits are well defined: no hostilities toward women, children, and the aged, no destruction of trees and crops, and no continuation of war once the enemy sues for peace. In the brutal world of the seventh century the terms of lesser Jihad were remarkably enlightened, but in any age there are those who ignore the words of scriptures and prophets, wreaking havoc on the earth by over-reaching their role as vice-regents of our compassionate and merciful God. Properly understood, the lesser Jihad of self-defence is entirely legitimate, but it will always be secondary to the greater Jihad of self-realization as a beautiful manifestation of the Divine. In Rumi’s metaphor, the Lion who breaks the enemy’s ranks is a minor hero compared with the lion who over-comes himself. [14]

In the book, ‘The History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era’, Professor Micheline R. Ishay,

The notion of specified limits on the use of violence is also embedded in Islamic teaching, as the Quran echoes the biblical standard of “life for life, eye for eye, ear for ear, tooth for tooth and wound for wound equal for equal.” Yet following the teaching of Jesus and Mohammad, one can still ‘remit retaliation by way of charity’ (Surah 5:45). While retaliation against an evil must be proportionate to that evil (Surah 42:40), there are instances in which retaliation by means of war, or Jihad (literally meaning ‘exertion’) is, as in the Christian notions of just war, legitimated. The Quran justifies wars for self-defence to protect Islamic communities against internal or external aggression by non-Islamic populations, and wars waged against those who ‘violate their oaths’ by breaking a treaty (Surah 9:12, 9:13, 42:40-43).
If God commands us to go to war, a better afterlife, exhorts the Quran, is promised to the true soldiers of faith: “And if ye are slain or die, in the way of Allah, forgiveness and mercy from Allah are fare better than all they could amass [in wealth]” (Surah 3:157). If some modern Islamic religious zealots, such as Osama Bin laden, have found in the concept of the holy war a justification for terrorist activities, they have overlooked the fact that the same Quran, drawing from the Hebrew Bible, urges a soldier of faith “to protect the life of non-combatants, aged ones, children and women, as well as the life of imprisoned soldiers.” Temperance, the Quran states, I also mandated: ”Fight in the name of God those who fight you; but exceed not the limit. For God loves not those who exceed the limit…. Fight till there is no persecution, and the judgement be God’s. But if they desist, let there be no hostilities save against the unjust.” One should not forget, after all, that Islamic juridical writings urging tolerance and moderation in war, such as the Abbou Hassan of Baghdad (1036), the Hedaya (1196), and the Vikayat printed in Spain (1280) were composed five hundred years before Grotius and the Christian humanists. Those views live on in the contemporary Islamic writings of the Lebanese Sobhi Mahmassani. [15]

All the above evidence refutes the assertion made by Islamophobes, that the Muslims fought the Jews and Christians (Byzantines/Romans) for no reason. According to bigoted Isamophobes, Muslims are somehow bloodthirsty animals, and just want war with everyone who is not Muslim, but as shown above, these claims are false and expose their deceitful intentions. In conclusion, the Quranic verse 9:29 commanded Muslims to fight only those that were involved in aggression against them, as shown by its historical context. Muslims only fought the Byzantines in self-defence, to save the themselves from oppression and extinction.

 

References:

[1] A comprehensive commentary on the Quran By the Reverend E. M. Wherry volume 2 page 274
[2] Reference: Sahih Muslim 1479 e, 1475 b In-book reference : Book 18, Hadith 44. USC-MSA web (English) reference: Book 9, Hadith 3511http://sunnah.com/muslim/18/44
[3] Ibn Sa’d’s Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Translated by S. Moinul Haq (New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 2009) Vol.II, 203-204
[4] The origins of the Islamic State, being a translation from the Arabic accompanied with annotations Geographic and historic notes of the KITAB FUTUH AL-BULDAN of al-Imam Abu’l Abbas Ahmad Ibn Jabir Al Baladhuri, By Phillip Khurti Hitti, PHD, [1916], volume 1, page 92
[5] Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar) Memoirs of the Noble Prophet [pbuh] by Saifur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri page 272- 280
[6] The life of Prophet Muhammad highlights and lessons by Dr. Mustafa As-Sibaa’ie page 116 – 117
[7] Muhammad Rasulullah The Apostle of Mercy By S. Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi, page 320
[8] The Holy Quran, Arabic Text with English Translation, Commentary and comprehensive Introduction by Maulana Muhammad Ali, [Year 2002 Edition], Page 404
[9] Islamic Images and Ideas: Essays on Sacred Symbolism, by Professor John Andrew Morrow, page 31
[10] The Holy Qur’an Arabic Text with English Translation & Short Commentary, Malik Ghulam, Farid Page 383 – 384
[11] A Thematic Commentary on the Qurʼan, by Scholar, Shaykh Muḥammad Ghazālī page 182 – 183
[12] Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia [Copyright 2011] by Alexander Mikaberidze page Volume 1, 929 – 930
[13] Debating the War of Ideas by John Gallagher, Eric D. Patterson page 57
[14] Out of darkness into Light: Spiritual guidance in the Quran with reflections from Christian and Jewish sources Ann Holmes Redding, Jamal Rahman, Kathleen Schmitt Elias PAGE 53
[15] The History of Human Rights: From Ancient Times to the Globalization Era By Micheline R. Ishay page 45 – 47