Yusuf Estes Corrects Quran MIS-Quotes

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Quran Misquotes
Misquote Quran

Quran Misquotes Corrected
Read the Introduction
1. Verse 1: "Fighting is ordained for you..." (2:216)
2. Verse 2: "Not equal are those who sit at home..." (4:95)
3. Verse 3: "Among the believers are men having fulfilled their covenant..." (33:23)
4. Verse 4: "When you meet the infidels, smite their necks..." (47:4)
5. Verse 5: "There is no blame on those who are old..." (9:91)
6. Verse 6: "Slay them wherever you catch them..." (2:191)
7. Verse 7: "But if they turn away, catch and slaughter them..." (4:89)
8. Verse 8: "Fight the pagans wherever you see them..." (9:5)
9. Verse 9: "They ask you about fighting in the holy month..." (2:217-218)
10. Verses 10: "Fight in God's cause..." (2:244) & (4:76)
11. Verse 11: "Fight those who believe not in God..." (9:29)
* Similar Hadeeth (Narration): "I have been ordered to fight..."

12. Verse 12: "Ruthless to the disbelievers..." (5:54) & (48:29)
13. Verses 13: "I will instil terror into the hearts..." (8:12-13)
14. Verse 14: "The punishment for those who wage war..." (5:33)
*Similar Hadeeth (Narration): "A group from the Ukil/Urayna tribe..."

15. Verse 15: "Take not the Jews and Christians as friends..." (5:51)

What about claims of verses being
* Abrogated?


Misquoted Verse #1

Quran 2:216 Jihad ['Qital'] (holy war in the cause of God) is ordained for you (Muslims), though you dislike it. But it is possible that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and like a thing which is bad for you. But God knows, and you know not.

The first mistake in this translation is that this Quranic verse actually does not use the word “Jihad”. This verse actually uses the word “Qital”, which refers to physical combat in war. Combat is ordained for Muslims in order to defend themselves and their rights, as well as the rights of others. The obligation to physically defend one’s rights, and to establish justice was elaborated on in the previously mentioned article on Jihad. It is sufficient to quote a verse from the Quran in this regard:

4:75 And what is wrong with you that you do not engage in combat for the sake of  Allah, and for those weak, ill-treated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help."

It is most certainly a duty of all human beings to help each other from oppression and injustice. This is what Islam teaches. Commenting on verse 2:216, Abdullah Yusuf Ali writes:

To fight (combat) in the cause of Truth is one of the highest forms of charity. What can you offer that is more precious than your own life? But here again the limitations come in. If you are a mere brawler, or a selfish aggressive person, or a vainglorious bully, you deserve the highest censure. (Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur'an, Text, Translation and Commentary )

Therefore, the fighting ordained by God in the Qur'an is the fighting to establish justice and security in the land, and this is a duty upon all human beings. We will always hope for peace, but we must realize that without justice, freedom, rights and equity, peace will never be able to survive. Likewise, on verse 2:216, Abdul Majid Daryabadi writes:

War, it has been truly said, is sanctioned by the law of nature – the constitution of man and the constitution of society – and is at times a biological and sociological necessity. Islam, the ideal and practical religion has allowed it, but only in cases of sheer necessity. (Daryabadi, The Glorious Qur’an, emphasis added)

Islam has designated war as the last resort and only in cases of sheer necessity, in order for us to defend the rights of ourselves and others. Also, the picture becomes even more clear when we take into consideration the historical context of the revelation. Abdullah Yusuf Ali goes on to explain the historical context in his commentary on verse 2:217:

The intolerance and persecution of the Pagan clique at Mecca caused untold hardships to the holy Messenger of Islam and his early disciples. They bore all with meekness and long-suffering patience until the holy one permitted them to take up arms in self-defence… (Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur'an, Text, Translation and Commentary )

In light of the above quote, it becomes apparent that fighting has been especially ordained in conditions of severe persecution and hardship. Consequently, the Muslims are required to defend themselves from oppression and establish justice. To abstain from helping those under oppression is cowardice. Abdul Majid Daryabadi also explains the historical context of the verse:

Persecuted, harassed, afflicted, poverty-ridden, exiled, and small in number as the Muslims were at the time of the enactment of warfare, it was but natural that they were none too fond of crossing swords with the mighty forces that had conspired for their extirpation. Nothing short of express and emphatic Divine Command could urge them on to the field of battle [in order to defend their rights]. And yet the Islamic jihads are declared to be ‘designed by the Prophet to satisfy his discontented adherents by an accession of plunder!’ (Margoliouth). Such is this European scholar’s love of veracity! Such is his wonderful reading of history! (Daryabadi, The Glorious Qur’an)

The commentary on this verse makes it very clear that Muslims have always understood this verse as the legal right to defend one’s rights from the forces of oppression, but never to transgress limits in defence.

Misquoted Verse #2

Qur'an 4:95 Not equal are those believers who sit at home and receive no injurious hurt, and those who strive hard, fighting Jihad in God's Cause with their wealth and lives. God has granted a rank higher to those who strive hard, fighting Jihad with their wealth and bodies to those who sit (at home). Unto each has God promised good, but He prefers Jihadists who strive hard and fight above those who sit home. He has distinguished his fighters with a huge reward.

First of all, this is a very poor translation of the verse. Let us look at some notable translators:

4:95YUSUFALI: Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of God with their goods and their persons. God hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home). Unto all (in Faith) Hath God promised good: But those who strive and fight Hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward

PICKTHAL: Those of the believers who sit still, other than those who have a (disabling) hurt, are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of God with their wealth and lives. God hath conferred on those who strive with their wealth and lives a rank above the sedentary. Unto each God hath promised good, but He hath bestowed on those who strive a great reward above the sedentary

MUHAMMAD ASAD: Such of the believers as remain passive' -.other than the disabled -cannot be deemed equal to those who strive hard in God's cause with their possessions and their lives:' God has exalted those who strive hard with their possessions and their lives far above those who remain passive. Although God has promised the ultimate good unto all [believers], yet has God exalted those who strive hard above those who remain passive by [promising them] a mighty reward

KHAN/HILALI: Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame, etc.), and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives. Allah has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives above those who sit (at home). Unto each, Allah has promised good (Paradise), but Allah has preferred those who strive hard and fight, above those who sit (at home) by a huge reward;

Now that we have quoted the most common translations, the source for the quoted translation seems questionable. Words such as “Jihadists” are purely media coined terms without any real meaning. In fact, the Oxford American Dictionary says about this term:

USAGE: There doesn’t seem to be a pressing need for this English-friendly form since the Arabic term for a holy warrior, mujahid, has already made it into English in plural forms (mujahideen, mujahedin), along with jihadi, a form more in keeping with Arabic morphology. Jihadist, however, is the preferred form for all writers who are vehemently anti-Arab or anti-Islam.

Having defined Jihad in the previous article, we can describe a Mujahid as someone who strives to uphold justice, perhaps risking his life in the process. So what do these verses say? They are elevating the status of those who are brave to stand up for truth and justice in the face of oppression. The verses elevate their status over that of those who cowardly hide from defending the rights of others, unless they have a disability, which prevents them from doing so. So the Islam-hater finds no support (for their distorted presentation of Islam) in these verses either. Moreover, the verse supports the interpretation of Jihad as any struggle for the sake of God because it has mentioned those who perform Jihad with their wealth by donating it for a good cause, such as humanitarian organizations. As Muhammad Asad writes about this verse:

The term mujahid is derived from the verb jahada, which means "he struggled" or "strove hard" or "exerted himself", namely, in a good cause and against evil. Consequently, jihad denotes "striving in the cause of God" in the widest sense of this expression: that is to say, it applies not merely to physical warfare (qital) but to any righteous struggle in the moral sense as well (Asad, The Message of the Qur’an)

Misquoted Verse #3

Qur'an 33:23 Among the Believers are men who have been true to their covenant with God and have gone out for Jihad (holy fighting ). Some have completed their vow to extreme and have been martyred fighting and dying in His Cause, and some are waiting, prepared for death in battle .

Here the Islam-Hater has conveniently removed the brackets from the translation, so that the reader cannot distinguish between ideas of the translator and the words of the Qur'an. Let us help out by providing a translation without any additional ideas:

33:23. Among the believers are men who have been true to their covenant with Allah, of them some have fulfilled their obligations, and some of them are still waiting, but they have never changed in the least.

It is also clear that the Islam-hater has placed additional ideas into the translation, not supported by any translator. "fighting and dying", "prepared for death in battle", these are not the words of the Qur'an. The Qur'an is praising those early companions who remained steadfast in their faith and true to the covenant. This verse does not mention fighting or Jihad at all. That is one interpretation of this verse, as Ibn Kathir writes:

When Allah mentions how the hypocrites broke their promise to Him that they would not turn their backs, He describes the believers as firmly adhering to their covenant and their promise:
([they] have been true to their covenant with Allah; of them some have fulfilled their Nahbah;)
Some of [the Qur’anic commentators] said: "Met their appointed time (i.e., death).'' Al-Bukhari said, "Their covenant, and refers back to the beginning of the Ayah.
(and some of them are still waiting, but they have never changed in the least.) means, they have never changed or broken their covenant with Allah. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir)

And Abdullah Yusuf Ali writes on verse 33:23:

In the fight for Truth were (and are) many who sacrificed their all – resources, knowledge, influence, life itself – in the Cause, and never wavered. If they won the crown of martyrdom, they were blessed… Other heroes fought valiantly and lived, always ready to lay down their lives. Both classes were staunch: they never changed or wavered. (Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur'an, Text, Translation and Commentary )

Their covenant is their promise to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to protect him and support Islam. Some of the Muslims had already fulfilled it by dying to protect their faith, while others were still fully prepared to do the same. The comprehensive nature of this verse is better understood when we consider the words of Shaykh Abdul Bary Ath-Thubaity, Imam of the Prophet’s Mosque, who said about verse 33:23:

The men about whom we are talking are not those who have sunk deep into the abyss of worldly pleasures, those who do not aim for high moral standards and turn away from their Lord. They are not those of imposing physical stature whose minds are devoid of any sense; for such people are most certainly not real men. The real men whom we are talking about are those whom Allah describes when He says,

“And the slave of the Most-Beneficent (Allah) are those who walk on the earth in humility and sedateness, and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with mild words of gentleness. And those who spend the night before their Lord, prostrate and standing. And those who say Our Lord! Avert from us the torment of Hell. Verily it’s torment is ever an inseparable, permanent punishment. Evil indeed it (Hell) is as an abode and a place of dwell. And those who when they spend, are neither extravagant nor niggardly, but hold a medium (way) between those (extremes).” (Al-Furqan 25: 63-67)(SOURCE)

This is what fulfilling one’s covenant truly means. It refers to fulfilling one’s Islamic obligations with devotion and sincerity, and speaking gently even to those disbelievers who are rude and harsh. On the subject of martyrs, it would be wise to quote from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):

God's Apostle said, "Five are regarded as martyrs: They are those who die because of plague, abdominal disease, drowning or a falling building etc., and the martyrs in God's Cause." -Bukhari #2829 (Volume 4, Book 52, #82) "Whoever dies protecting his religion, he is a martyr; whoever dies protecting his wealth, he is a martyr; whoever dies protecting his family, he is a martyr; and whoever dies protecting his blood (i.e. his life), he is a martyr." - (At-Tirmidhi #1421, Abu Dawud 4772, An-Nasa'i #4100 and Ibn Majah #2580)

These ahadith can deal severe blows to the misconception about martyrdom in Islam refers to those who die in battle only.

As we have seen, the greatest manifestation of Jihad is when one is willing to sacrifice their life for the sake of God, and this can take any of the forms listed in the above narration. Dying in physically defending the rights of others is only one form.

Misquoted Verse #4

Qur'an 47:4 So, when you clash with the unbelieving Infidels in battle, smite their necks until you overpower them, killing and wounding many of them. At length, when you have thoroughly subdued them, bind them firmly, making (them) captives. Thereafter either generosity or ransom until the war lays down its burdens. Thus are you commanded by God to continue carrying out Jihad against the unbelieving infidels until they submit to Islam .

Once again a poor translation serves the purpose of the Islam-haters very well. Let us examine a more accurate translation before analyzing the verse:

47:4 Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers in battle, smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been God's Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of God,- He will never let their deeds be lost.

So we now see some grievous mistakes made in the poor translation quoted. 1. The verse makes NO mention whatsoever of "killing and wounding" 2. "Thus are you commanded by God to continue carrying out Jihad against the unbelieving infidels until they submit to Islam " is a complete addition to the verse and is not found anywhere in the Qur'an! 3. That verse does not use the word Jihad at all It is very clear that the context of this verse is in battle, and when in battle the defenders of humanity should attack the unjust oppressors until they are subdued. Professor Shahul Hameed comments on verse 47:4 by saying:

The context of this verse was when the Muslims were to fight their enemies for their very existence. After thirteen years of endurance and patience, the prophet and his companions had to leave their home town of Makkah and to emigrate to Madinah. When the people of Madinah had welcomed him there and he was accepted as a leader there, the Makkans became unhappy. They wanted to eliminate Muhammad and his religion; and so they sent their army to root out Islam. And the crucial battle took place in Badr. It was just before this that Muhammad received the revelation from God to fight:

{And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits.} (Al-Baqarah 2:190)

This meant that the Prophet and his companions were not to start the fighting; but to defend themselves against aggressors. That was how fighting was ordained; but we must know that once we fight, we fight to defeat the aggressors, so that we can live without fear of molestation and invasion; so that we can live in peace; so that justice is done. Remember God does not command any one to start fighting; rather He permits people to fight in self defence or for the defence of those who are attacked unjustly. (SOURCE)

The historical context again illustrates a condition of constant struggle and war. In such a condition, God reassures the believers that He is with them, and to therefore have full faith, strength and bravery in battle and not to cower from the enemy. As Abdullah Yusuf Ali writes:

When once the fight (Jihad) is entered upon, carry it out with the utmost vigour… (Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur'an, Text, Translation and Commentary )

Likewise, Dr. Maher Hathout writes:

Clearly, these verses are applicable in the heat of battle and against an aggressive combating force. (Hathout, Jihad vs. Terrorism; US Multimedia Vera International, 2002, p.49)

Muslims are encouraged to restrain the enemy by capturing them, and to therefore minimize loss of life. Moreover, the verse specifically mentions that Muslims should subdue the enemies "until the war lays down its burdens", i.e. until the enemy stops fighting. Similar to this verse:

8:61 But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in God: for He is One that hears and knows (all things).

So the verse is very specific, in that it is limited to the context of a battle and the Muslims should only fight until the enemy is subdued or inclines towards peace i.e. they should not transgress limits. In the event of a battle, the verse guides Muslims to abstain from transgressing limits and only to fight the enemy until they are subdued or cease fighting. Shaykh Muhammad Saalih Al-Munajjid comments about the treatment of prisoners:

If the Muslims capture them and take them to a place that has been prepared for them, they should not harm them or torture them with beatings, depriving them of food and water, leaving them out in the sun or the cold, burning them with fire, or putting covers over their mouths, ears and eyes and putting them in cages like animals. Rather they should treat them with kindness and mercy, feed them well and encourage them to enter Islam... ...The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to enjoin the Muslims to treat prisoners well, whereas the Romans and those who came before them the Assyrians and Pharaohs, all used to put out their prisoners’ eyes with hot irons, and flay them alive, feeding their skins to dogs, such that the prisoners preferred death to life. (SOURCE)

Therefore, Islam has laid out clear rules and regulations for Muslims to follow in the event of war, which is only used as a last resort.

Misquoted Verse #5

Qur'an 9:91 There is no blame on those who are old, weak, ill, or who find no resources to spend (on Jihad), if they are sincere (in duty) to God and His Messenger.

Some non-Muslims feel that this verse is proof that Jihad is a Holy War because if it were not the elderly and others would be able to participate. Consequently, this verse is falsely used in an attempt to negate any concept of non-military Jihad. First of all, we have already established that Jihad is of many types and does not necessarily have to be purely spiritual or purely physical. There are several disabilities that prevent a person from performing a certain Jihad. Being old or weak prevents one from participating in a physical Jihad to uphold good. Nor can the weak be expected to be a soldier fighting for justice, like those who fought the Nazis in World War II. Additionally, another form of Jihad is donating money/resources to the poor and needy. Someone devoid of those resources cannot be expected to do that, as the verse mentions. With regards to ill, an example would be if someone has a illness in which they have less control over their desires, then they cannot participate in the spiritual Jihad to control one's desires, like fasting during Ramadan. One who studies the Islamic Law already knows that those who are ill do not have to fast, which is an example of spiritual Jihad. The different forms of Jihad have been described in detail in Islam and is well-known to Muslims. For example, Shaykh Muhammad Saalih Al-Munajjid writes:

Jihaad may be with the tongue (by speaking out), or with weapons (which is qitaal or fighting) or with money. Each of these categories includes numerous subcategories. (SOURCE)

And Dr. Shahid Athar writes:

The word "jihad" means struggle or, to be specific, striving in the cause of God. Any struggle done in day-to-day life to please God can be considered jihad. One of the highest levels of jihad is to stand up to a tyrant and speak a word of truth. Control of the self from wrongdoing is also a great jihad. One of the forms of jihad is to take up arms in defence of Islam or a Muslim country when Islam is attacked. This kind of jihad has to be declared by the religious leadership or by a Muslim head of state who is following the Qur’an and the sunnah. (SOURCE)

The other forms of Jihad are discussed in more detail in the article An Explanation of Jihad.

Misquoted Verse #6

And slay them wherever ye catch them.." (2:191)

A classic and popular example of what Muslim scholars, like Dr. Jamal Badawi, call a ‘cut and paste’ approach. Everything becomes so much easier for the Anti-Islamists when they remove the context. The solution for the Muslim is to simply replace the verse in its context:

2:190-194 Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loves not transgressors. And kill them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for persecution and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, kill them. Such is the reward of those who reject faith. But if they cease, God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God; but if they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression. The prohibited month, for the prohibited month, and so for all things prohibited, there is the law of equality. If then any one transgresses the prohibition against you, transgress ye likewise against him. But fear (the punishment of) God, and know that God is with those who restrain themselves.

How many times do we see the above verse repeating the message to make it clear? These verse were revealed at a time when Muslims of Madinah were under constant attack from the Makkans. An example would be when the Makkans conducted the public crucifixion of the companion of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Khubaib bin Adi. These would be classified as 'terrorist activities' according to the modern usage of the term. So what does this verse say in this context? "Fight in the cause of God those who fight you", "unless they (first) fight you there" - the context of this verse applies to those who initiate the attack against Muslims. And even after they attack, the verse makes it clear: "But if they cease, God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." And it also makes clear the purpose for what Muslims fight: "fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God". It is the duty of Muslims to defend humanity from oppression and persecution and to establish justice. Muslims believe that God has placed us here on earth as his deputy or viceroy, and thus, it is our duty to enjoin the good and forbid the evil, to establish peace and justice in the land. Dr. Maher Hathout writes the following on verses 2:190-194:

These verses were applicable to a particular situation or if, hypothetically, the same situation was to be repeated… Historically, fighting back against the aggressors was prohibited during the thirteen years of the Meccan period. After the migration to Medina and the establishment of the Islamic state, Muslims were concerned with how to defend themselves against aggression from their enemies. The aforementioned verses were revealed to enable them to protect the newly formed state by fighting in self-defence against those who fought them. However, the Qur’an clearly prohibits aggression. The verses explain that fighting is only for self-defence. Thus, a Muslim cannot commit aggression and kill innocent men, women, children, the sick, the elderly, monks, priests, or those who do not wish to fight. A Muslim is also mandated not to destroy plant life of livestock. (Hathout, Jihad vs. Terrorism; US Multimedia Vera International, 2002, p.49, emphasis added)

The historical context is something that must always be considered where developing an understanding of Qur'anic verses. Without knowing the circumstances behind the revelation, one cannot apply the verse as accurately. Shaykh Salman Al-Oadah writes about the general principles in Jihad:

Jihad can never be fought for worldly gain, for conquest, or even for revenge. Muslims must only fight to protect the lives, property, and freedoms of people, especially their freedom to worship Allah when that freedom is forcibly attacked. They are never allowed to attack innocent people, even when they are themselves attacked by the countrymen of those innocents. Any people that go against this established principle of Islamic Law and murder civilians are fighting against Islam and everything that it stands for. It is ludicrous for them to call this fighting a jihâd, a word that means striving in the cause of Islam. They are in fact murderers in the light of Islamic Law and should be treated as such. (SOURCE, emphasis added)

There are strict and detailed laws in Islam, which Muslims must follow carefully. A military Jihad must be performed under these regulations. Abdullah Yusuf Ali writes about verse 2:190:

War is only permissible in self-defence, and under well-defined limits. When undertaken, it must be pushed with vigour, but not relentlessly, but only to restore peace and freedom for the worship of God. In any case strict limits must not be transgressed: women, children, old and infirm men should not be molested, nor trees and crops cut down, nor peace withheld when the enemy comes to terms. (Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, Text, Translation and Commentary )

He then re-iterates the general principles behind Jihad in his commentary on verse 2:191:

In general, it may be said that Islam is the religion of peace, goodwill, mutual understanding, and good faith. But it will not acquiesce in wrong-doing, and its men will hold their lives cheap in defence of honour, justice, and the religion which they hold sacred. Their ideal is that of heroic virtue combined with unselfish gentleness and tenderness, such as is exemplified in the life of the Apostle. They believe in courage, obedience, discipline, duty, and a constant striving by all the means in their power, physical, moral, intellectual, and spiritual, for the establishment of truth and righteousness. (Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, Text, Translation and Commentary )

This is the true focus behind Jihad, and Muslims must never lose this focus. Jihad is solely for the purpose of aiding humanity and bringing justice and freedom to the oppressed. Therefore, all actions must be in-line with this focus and the strict regulations governing Jihad. The focus is to defend, not destroy. One who focuses on the betterment and aid of humanity will realize that destruction will never achieve this. Abdul Majid Daryabadi writes extensively on verse 2:190:

2:190 “And fight in the way of Allah those who fight you” – Violating the truce they themselves had signed. The Muslims, after having borne untold persecution with almost superhuman fortitude for years and years at the hands of the pagans of Makkah, are now for the first time enjoined to take to reprisals. ‘For a full thirteen years the Muslims were subjected to relentless persecution in Mecca. The Prophet and his followers fled for life to Medina, but the enemy would not leave them alone in their refuge. They came to attack them within a year, and the first three battles were fought in the very locality which will whether the Prophet was an assailant or defendant’ (Headley, The Original Church of Jesus Christ and Islam, p. 155). The Makkans had signed a truce and were the first to break it. The words ‘fight with those who fight you’ clearly show, firstly, that the Muslims were not the aggressors, and secondly, that those of the enemy who were not actual combatants – children, women, monks, hermits, the aged and the infirm, the maimed, and the like – had nothing at all to fear from the Muslim soldiery. It was in light of this express Divine injunction that the great Abu Bakr, the first Caliph, charged his troops into Syria, ‘not to mutilate the dead, nor to slay old men, women, and children, nor to cut down fruit-trees, nor to kill cattle unless they were needed for food; and these humane precepts served like a code of laws of war during the career of Mohammadan conquest.’ (Bosworth Smith, Mohammed and Mohammedanism, p. 185). Has not Islam thus, in prescribing war against those who break God’s law, who challenge His righteous authority, and who fill the world with violence and injustice, made every concession short of the impossible? Has any code of military ethics been so chivalrous, so humane and so tender towards the enemy? ‘The moral tone adopted by the Caliph Abu Bakr, in his instructions to the Syrian army, was’, says a modern Christian historian, ‘so unlike the principles of the Roman government, that it must have commanded profound attention from a subject people. Such a proclamation announced to Jews and Christians’ sentiments of justice and principles of toleration which neither Roman emperors nor orthodox bishops had ever adopted as the rule of their conduct’ (Finlay, Greece Under the Romans, pp. 367-368). (Daryabadi, The Glorious Qur’an, emphasis added)

Muhammad Asad explains verse 2:190 in the following manner:

This and the following verses lay down unequivocally that only self-defence (in the widest sense of the word) makes war permissible for Muslims. Most of the commentators agree in that the expression la ta'tadu signifies, in this context, "do not commit aggression"; while by al-mu'tadin "those who commit aggression" are meant. The defensive character of a fight "in God's cause" - that is, in the cause of the ethical principles ordained by God - is, moreover, self-evident in the reference to "those who wage war against you", and has been still further clarified in 22: 39 - "permission [to fight] is given to those against whom war is being wrongfully waged" - which, according to all available Traditions, constitutes the earliest (and therefore fundamental) Quranic reference to the question of jihad, or holy war (see Tabari and Ibn Kathir in their commentaries on 22: 39). That this early, fundamental principle of self-defence as the only possible justification of war has been maintained throughout the Quran is evident from 60: 8, as well as from the concluding sentence of 4: 91, both of which belong to a later period than the above verse. (Asad, The Message of the Qur’an, emphasis added)

And on verse 2:191, he states the following:

In view of the preceding ordinance, the injunction "slay them wherever you may come upon them" is valid only within the context of hostilities already in progress (Razi), on the understanding that "those who wage war against you" are the aggressors or oppressors (a war of liberation being a war "in God's cause"). The translation, in this context, of fitnah as "oppression" is justified by the application of this term to any affliction which may cause man to go astray and to lose his faith in spiritual values (cf. Lisan al-Arab). (Asad, The Message of the Qur’an, emphasis added)

This extensive commentary on this verse should sufficiently address all confusion and misconceptions that resulted from misquoting this verse.

Misquoted Verse #7

But if they turn away, catch them and slaughter them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks." (4:89)

This verse has been misquoted like the previous verse, out of context. Here is the full passage:

4:88-91 Why should ye be divided into two parties about the Hypocrites? Allah hath upset them for their (evil) deeds. Would ye guide those whom Allah hath thrown out of the Way? For those whom Allah hath thrown out of the Way, never shalt thou find the Way. They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): so take not friends from their ranks until they forsake the domain of evil in the way of God (from what is forbidden). But if they revert to [open] enmity, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks. Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (Of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If God had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (guarantees of) peace, then God hath opened no way for you (to war against them). Others you will find that wish to gain your confidence as well as that of their people: every time they are sent back to temptation, they succumb thereto; if they withdraw not from you nor give you (guarantees) of peace besides restraining their hands, seize them and slay them wherever ye get them; in their case We have provided you with a clear argument against them

So in the same manner as the first verse, this verse also only commands Muslims to fight those who practice oppression or persecution, or attack the Muslims. And in the event of a battle, the same laws of war are in place and a Muslim who transgresses limits should prepare for the punishment of God. In response to a question on verses 4:88-89, Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi quotes the verses in their full context and then asks the following:

Now tell me honestly, do these verses give a free permission to kill any one anywhere? These verses were revealed by God to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), at the time when Muslims were attacked by the non-Muslims of Makkah on a regular basis. They were frightening the Muslim community of Madinah. One may say using the contemporary jargon that there were constant terrorist attacks on Madinah and in this situation Muslims were given permission to fight back the “terrorist”. These verses are not a permission for “terrorism” but they are a warning against the “terrorists.” But even in these warnings you can see how much restraint and care is emphasized. (SOURCE, emphasis added)

It is also important to note that the Qur'an clearly condemns murder. The Qur’an says about the prohibition of murder,

6:151 Take not life, which God hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus does He command you, that ye may learn wisdom. 17:33 Nor take life, which God has made sacred, except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, We have given his heir authority (to demand Qisas(retribution) or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the law) 5:32...if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people

So the Qur'an makes it very clear that Muslims cannot initiate an attack against others, unless there is an immediate threat of being attacked. The context of the quoted verses applies only to situations where the oppressors are killing Muslims. In this case, they have a right to defend themselves and others, especially the weak and oppressed.

Misquoted Verse #8

9:5 Kill the disbelievers wherever you find them.

This verse, often called "the verse of the sword", has been misquoted in a manner similar to the previous verses. First, we shall provide the verse in its context:

9:5-6 But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah. and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.

Having presented the verse in context, we can analyze it properly. Dr. Maher Hathout gives an explanation on the historical context of the verse:

This verse was revealed towards the end of the revelation period and relates to a limited context. Hostilities were frozen for a three-month period during which the Arabs pledged not to wage war. Prophet Muhammad was inspired to use this period to encourage the combatants to join the Muslim ranks or, if they chose, to leave the area that was under Muslims rule; however, if they were to resume hostilities, then the Muslims would fight back until victorious. One is inspired to note that even in this context of war, the verse concludes by emphasizing the divine attributes of mercy and forgiveness. To minimize hostilities, the Qur'an ordered Muslims to grant asylum to anyone, even an enemy, who sought refuge. Asylum would be granted according to the customs of chivalry; the person would be told the message of the Qur'an but not coerced into accepting that message. Thereafter, he or she would be escorted to safety regardless of his or her religion. (9:6). (Hathout, Jihad vs. Terrorism; US Multimedia Vera International, 2002, pp.52-53, emphasis added)

Therefore, this verse once again refers to those pagans who would continue to fight after the period of peace. It clearly commands the Muslims to protect those who seek peace and are non-combatants. It is a specific verse with a specific ruling and can in no way be applied to general situations. The command of the verse was only to be applied in the event of a battle. As Abdullah Yusuf Ali writes:

The emphasis is on the first clause: it is only when the four months of grace are past, and the other party show no sign of desisting from their treacherous design by right conduct, that the state of war supervenes - between Faith and Unfaith. (Yusuf Ali, The Holy Qur’an, Text, Translation and Commentary, emphasis added)

If the pagans would not cease their hostilities towards the Muslims, then they were to be fought, especially since they were living in the land of an Islamic state. Dr. Zakir Naik writes concerning this verse:

This verse is quoted during a battle. ...We know that America was once at war with Vietnam. Suppose the President of America or the General of the American Army told the American soldiers during the war: "Wherever you find the Vietnamese, kill them". Today if I say that the American President said, "Wherever you find Vietnamese, kill them" without giving the context, I will make him sound like a butcher. But if I quote him in context, that he said it during a war, it will sound very logical, as he was trying to boost the morale of the American soldiers during the war. ...Similarly in Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 5 the Qur'an says, "Kill the Mushriqs (pagans) where ever you find them", during a battle to boost the morale of the Muslim soldiers. What the Qur'an is telling Muslim soldiers is, don't be afraid during battle; wherever you find the enemies kill them. Surah Taubah chapter 9 verse 6 gives the answer to the allegation that Islam promotes violence, brutality and bloodshed. It says:

"If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure that is because they are men without knowledge." [Al-Qur'an 9:6]

The Qur'an not only says that a Mushriq seeking asylum during the battle should be granted refuge, but also that he should be escorted to a secure place. In the present international scenario, even a kind, peace-loving army General, during a battle, may let the enemy soldiers go free, if they want peace. But which army General will ever tell his soldiers, that if the enemy soldiers want peace during a battle, don't just let them go free, but also escort them to a place of security? This is exactly what Allah (swt) says in the Glorious Qur'an to promote peace in the world. (SOURCE, emphasis added)

Dr. Naik makes some very interesting observations about the verse. Indeed, it is truly amazing how Islam-haters will ignore God's infinite mercy in their attempt to malign Islam. God has always given human beings a way out of any suffering, and has only ordained fighting as a last resort. Muslim scholars have written much commentary on these Qur'anic verses explaining the historical context in such great detail so that there may be no misconceptions. We have quoted extensively from various commentators on these verses and there is no need to repeat the same material again. We will provide one more commentary before moving on. Professor Shahul Hameed writes on verse 9:5:

This is a verse taken from Surah At-Tawba. This chapter of the Qur’an was revealed in the context when the newly organized Muslim society in Madinah was engaged in defending themselves against the pagan aggressors. The major question dealt with here is, as to how the Muslims should treat those who break an existing treaty at will. The first clause in the verse refers to the time-honored Arab custom of a period of warning and waiting given to the offenders, after a clear violation. That is, they will be given four months’ time to repair the damage done or make peace. But if nothing happens after the expiry of these forbidden months, what should be done? This is what the present verse says. According to this verse, fighting must be resumed until one of the two things happens: Either the enemy should be vanquished by relentless fighting. That is what is meant by {then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem [of war]}; or they should repent, establish prayers and pay zakah, etc. This is one of those verses of the Qur’an which are likely to be misunderstood, if quoted out of context. We must understand that this fighting was against a people who forced the Prophet and his companions to leave not only their own homes but all their property and even their hometown of Makkah to Madinah. Once the Muslims were organized into a community in those lawless times, the rules to be followed by the Muslims were clearly laid down, even in the matter of war. Since Islam is a comprehensive system, no human activity could be ignored. And given the nature of mankind, we cannot imagine a situation where fighting is completely ruled out either. As can be seen, the above injunctions on fighting is not on an individual level, but only in the case of a society that strives to flourish and thrive as a nation. But even here the norms are clear: fighting is only in self defence or for the establishment of justice; and always fighting is the last option. And no one is allowed to transgress the limits set by God. (SOURCE, emphasis added)

Ibn al-`Arabi, in his commentary on the Qur’an, 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, emphasis added)

Shaykh Sami al-Majid also makes some very interesting points in his discussion on this verse:

If we look at the verses in Sûrah al-Tawbah immediately before and after the one under discussion, the context of the verse becomes clear. A few verses before the one we are discussing, Allah says:

“There is a declaration of immunity from Allah and His Messenger to those of the pagans with whom you have contracted mutual alliances. Go then, for four months, to and fro throughout the land. But know that you cannot frustrate Allah that Allah will cover with shame those who reject Him.” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 1-2]

In these verses we see that the pagans were granted a four month amnesty with an indication that when the four months were over, fighting would resume. However, a following verse exempts some of them from the resumption of hostilities. It reads:

“Except for those pagans with whom you have entered into a covenant and who then do not break their covenant at all nor aided anyone against you. So fulfill your engagements with them until the end of their term, for Allah loves the righteous.” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 4]

So when Allah says: “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them and beleaguer them and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)” we must know that it is not general, since the verse above has qualified it to refer to the pagan Arabs who were actually at war with the Prophet (peace be upon him) and those who broke their covenants of peace. 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] (SOURCE)

Therefore, the context of the verse within the Surah makes it clear that this refers to those who are persistent in their hostilities and attacks against Muslims, and it is applied in battle only. We recommend that one reads Shaykh Sami Al-Majid's full article entitled There is no Compulsion in Religion.

Misquoted Verse #9

2:217-218 They question you concerning fighting in the sacred month. Say: Fighting therein is a great/grave (matter); but to prevent access to God, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, to expel its members and polytheism are worse than slaughter. Nor will they cease fighting you until they make you renegades from your religion. If any of you turn back and die in unbelief, your works will be lost and you will go to Hell. Surely those who believe and leave their homes to fight in God's Cause have the hope of God's Mercy.

Again the translation has been altered and before answering the quote, we should provide a clear translation:

2:217 They ask thee concerning fighting in the Prohibited Month. Say: "Fighting therein is a grave (offence); but graver is it in the sight of God to prevent access to the path of God, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its members." Persecution and oppression are worse than slaughter. Nor will they cease fighting you until they turn you back from your faith if they can. And if any of you Turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter; they will be companions of the Fire and will abide therein. 2:218 Those who believed and those who suffered exile and fought (and strove and struggled) in the path of God,- they have the hope of the Mercy of God. And God is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

We see now how detrimental it is for the Islam-haters to use authentic unaltered translations, as it exposes their methods of deception. The context of these verses refers to an expedition of a group of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), under the lead of Abdullah bin Jahsh Asadi. The companions recognized a caravan from the Quraysh. Since the Quraysh had openly declared war on the Muslims and had persecuted them to the extent that they drove them out of their homes, and stole their property, the companions present, felt that they could retaliate. They killed one man of from the caravan, and took two as prisoners. When they returned to Madinah, the Prophet Muhammad disapproved of their attack during the Holy Month. But God revealed this verse as a reminder to the Muslims that while killing in the Holy Month was bad, persecution and expelling people from their homes because of their faith is far worse. So the verses make it very clear that in the face of the terrorist attacks of the polytheists, the Muslims should be brave and steadfast and turn to God for help rather than giving in and leaving the truth. As Shaykh Safiur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri writes on verse 2:217:

The Words of Allah were quite clear and said that the tumult created by the polytheists was groundless. The sacred inviolable sanctities repeatedly violated in the long process of fighting Islam and persecuting its adherents. The wealth of the Muslims as well as their homes had already been violated and their Prophet s.a.w.s. had been the target of repeated attempts on his life…Shortly afterwards, the two captives were released and blood money (compensation) was given to the killed man’s father. (fn. For details see Zad Al-Ma’ad, 2/83-85; Ibn Hisham, 1/605; Rahmat-ul-lil’alameen, 1/115. 2/468.) (Al-Mubarakpuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum; Riyadh-Saudi Arabia, Dar-us-Salam Publications, 1996; pp. 205-206, emphasis added)

Misquoted Verse #10

2:244 Fight in God's Cause, and know that God hears and knows all. 4:76 Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and the unbelievers Fight in the cause of Evil, so destroy such minions of the devil!

Verse 4:76 is actually translated as follows:

Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who reject Faith Fight in the cause of Evil: So fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan

We have already established the purpose for which Muslims fight in our commentary on verse 2:216 at the beginning of the article. Dr. Maher Hathout comments on verse 4:76 by saying:

This verse is related to the two preceding verses (see 4:74-75) where it was stated that those who fight for God's cause would be rewarded whether they are victorious or slain. Fighting for God's cause includes the liberation of the oppressed, meaning the helpless men and women who are yearning and praying for freedom. The believers fight for God's cause, and the disbelievers fight for the sake of their idols. An idol may be taken conceptually. For example, evil or greed may figuratively be construed as idols. The believers should put all their trust in God the Almighty and Powerful and fear not the disbelievers and their evil plans. Evil plans are always inferior to goodness. (Hathout, Jihad vs. Terrorism; US Multimedia Vera International, 2002, p.50)

Verse 2:244 is informing the believers not to transgress limits because they should know that "God hears and knows all". So a true Muslim is God-conscious when defending the rights of others and does not overstep his limits in applying justice.

Misquoted Verse #11

9:29 Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which has been forbidden by God and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of truth, [even if they are] of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

Some people have falsely concluded from verse 9:29, that Muslims are commanded to attack all non-Muslims until they pay money. In fact, such an interpretation is completely false and contradicts authentic Islamic teachings. Commenting on this verse, Shaykh Jalal Abualrub writes:

These Ayat (Quranic verses) stress the necessity of fighting against the People of the Scripture, but under what conditions? We previously established the fact that the Islamic State is not permitted to attack non-Muslims who are not hostile to Islam, who do not oppress Muslims, or try to convert Muslims by force from their religion, or expel them from their lands, or wage war against them, or prepare for attacks against them. If any of these offenses occurs, however, Muslims are permitted to defend themselves and protect their religion. Muslims are not permitted to attack non-Muslims who signed peace pacts with them, or non-Muslims who live under the protection of the Islamic State. (Abualrub, Holy Wars, Crusades, Jihad)

Likewise, the following fatwa points out that Muslims cannot attack a peaceful non-Muslim country:

Question: Is it an obligation of an Islamic state to attack the neighboring non-Muslim states and collect ‘jizya’ from them? Do we see this in the example of the rightly guided Caliphs who fought against the Roman and Persian Empires without any aggression initiating from them?

Answered by Sheikh Hânî al-Jubayr, judge at the Jeddah Supreme Court

If the non-Muslim country did not attack the Muslim one nor mobilize itself to prevent the practice and spread of Islam, nor transgress against mosques, nor work to oppress the Muslim people in their right to profess their faith and decry unbelief, then it is not for the Muslim country to attack that country. Jihâd of a military nature was only permitted to help Muslims defend their religion and remove oppression from the people.

The Persians and Romans did in fact aggress against Islam and attack the Muslims first.

The Chosroe of Persia had gone so far as to order his commander in Yemen specifically to kill the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Romans mobilized their forces to fight the Prophet (peace be upon him), and the Muslims confronted them in the Battles of Mu’tah and Tabûk during the Prophet's lifetime.

May Allah guide us all. And May peace and blessing be upon our Prophet Muhammad.
(SOURCE, emphasis added)

The above fatwa refers to the historical context in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) fought against other nations. The Prophet Muhammad did not initiate agression against anyone, rather he and his followers were under attack from all who sought to crush the new Islamic state. The first hostilities between the Muslims and the Roman empire began when the Prophet Muhammad's messenger to the Ghassan tribe (a governate of the Roman empire), Al-Harith bin Umayr Al-Azdi, was tied up and beheaded (Al-Mubarakpuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum, p. 383). The killing of a diplomat was an open act of war, and the Prophet Muhammad sent an armed force to confront the tribe, but the Roman empire brought in reinforcements and the resulting conflict, known as the Battle of Mut'ah, was a defeat for the Muslims. Only after this did subsequent battles between the Muslims and the Roman Empire occur, and the Muslims emerged victorious. Likewise, as mentioned in the above fatwa, hostiltiies between the Muslims and the Persians only began after the Persian emperor Chosroe ordered his governor in Yemen Badham, to kill the Prophet Muhammad pbuh, although his efforts were thwarted when the latter accepted Islam. Other non-muslim groups, such as those in Madinah, also initiated hostilities against the Muslims despite peace treaties as Shaykh Sayyid Sabiq writes:

As for fighting the Jews (People of the Scripture), they had conducted a peace pact with the Messenger after he migrated to Madinah. Soon afterwards, they betrayed the peace pact and joined forces with the pagans and the hypocrites against Muslims. They also fought against Muslims during the Battle of A`hzab , then Allah revealed…[and he cites verse 9:29] (Sayyid Sabiq, Fiqhu as-Sunnah, Vol. 3, p. 80)

In light of the historical context of this verse, it becomes very clear that the verse was revealed in connection with agression initiated against Muslims. As Dr. Jamal Badawi very accurately concludes with regard to verse 9:29 and similar verses:

All of these verses, without exception, if studied carefully, address aggression and oppression committed against Muslims at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), whether by idolatrous Arabs, some of the Jewish tribes in Madinah, or by some Christians. (SOURCE)

Therefore, the command to fight in verse 9:29 relates to those non-muslims who commit agression and not those who are committed to live in peace. The verse is subject to certain conditions that were apparent when it was implemented in the time of the Prophet Muhammad pbuh, as Shaykh Sayyid Sabiq writes:

What we have stated makes it clear that Islam did not allow the initiating of hostilities, except to: 1. repel aggression; 2. protect Islamic propagation; 3. deter Fitnah and oppression and ensure freedom of religion. In such cases, fighting becomes a necessity of the religion and one of its sacred ordainments. It is then called, ‘Jihad’. (Sayyid Sabiq, Fiqhu as-Sunnah, Vol. 3, p. 81)

The verse then proceeds to mention some issues relating to the Islamic state, and governing non-muslim citizens of the Islamic state. Dr. Maher Hathout comments on the regulations in verse 9:29:

Freedom of religion is an essential aspect in an Islamic state. One of the five pillars of Islam is zakat (almsgiving). The People of the Book (Christians and Jews) are not obliged to pay the Islamic zakat that is spent by the state for social necessities and state affairs as defined in the Quran (see 9:60). But they must pay other taxes to share in the state budget. If they refuse to pay this tax to the state and rebel against the state, then it is the obligation of the state to confront them until they pay it. This is what Caliph Abu Bakr did after the death of the Prophet, when some people refused to pay zakat. (Hathout, Jihad vs. Terrorism; US Multimedia Vera International, 2002, p.53)

The verse mentions Jizya, which is unfortunately misunderstood by some people. Like any nation, the Islamic government requires its citizens to pay taxes in return for its services. Since Muslims pay the Zakat, the non-muslim citizens are required to pay Jizya (for more information on Jizya, please refer to Jizya in Islam and Jizyah and non-muslim minorities). Dr. Monqiz As-Saqqar writes concerning the Jizya tax:

The sum of jizya was never large to the extent that the men were unable to pay. Rather, it was always available and reasonable. During the reign of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, jizya never exceeded one dinar annually and it never exceeded four dinars under the Umayyad rule. (SOURCE)

Shaykh Abu'l-Hasan Al-Mawardi (d. 1058CE) explicitly points out that the Jizya should be exacted in accordance with the means of the people, and the Imam should judge the conclude the amount to the satisfaction of the leaders of those being taxed:

The fuqaha (Jurists) differ as to the amount of the Jizya. Abu Hanifa considers that those subject to this tax are of three kinds: the rich from whom forty-eight dirhams are taken; those of average means from whom twenty four are taken, and the poor from whom twelve dirhams are taken: he thus stipulated the minimum and maximum amounts and prohibits any further judgement on behalf of those responsible for its collection. Malik, however, does not fix its minimum and maximum amount and considers that those responsible should make their own judgement as to the minimum and maximum. Ash-Shafi'i considers that the minimum is a dinar, and that it is not permitted to go below this while he does not stipulate the maximum, the latter being dependant on the ijtihad (judgement) of those responsible: the Imam, however, should try to harmonise between the different amounts, or to exact an amount in accordance with people's means. If he has used his judgement to conclude the contract od jizyah to the satisfaction of the leaders of the people being taxed, then it becomes binding on all of them and their descendants, generation after generation, and a leader may not afterwards change this amunt, be it to decrease it or increase it. (Al-Mawardi, al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah, Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd. 1996, pp. 209-210)

Hence, the laws of Islam forbid Muslims from opressing non-muslims and command them to treat others with justice and compassion. In fact, the Prophet Muhammad pbuh himself forbade Muslims from harming non-muslim citizens of an islamic state or any non-muslim with whom there was an agreement of peace, as he said,

"The one who wrongs a covenanter or impairs his right or overworks him or forcibly takes something from him, I will be his prosecutor on the Day of Judgment. (Sunan Abi Dawud 170/3 no. 3052, Sunan an-Nasa'i 25/8 no. 2749, and verified by Al-Albani no. 2626).

In conclusion, verse 9:29 commands Muslims to fight against only those who initiate agression as illustated by its historical context. Muslims may only fight under strict conditions, and are commanded to live peacefully with peaceful non-muslim neighbors.

Similar Narration

Bukhari: God's Apostle said, I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, None has the right to be worshipped but God. (Volume 4, Book 52, Number 196)

With regards to the narration, only part of it has been quoted, and the full text reads:

And the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "I have been ordered to fight the people until they testify that there is no deity worthy of worship other than Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish the prayer, and pay zakat, and if they do this, then their blood and money shall be protected from me, except by an Islamic right, and their account will be with Allah.

This narration lists some of the pillars of Islam that Muslims must adhere to. The fighting being ordained here refers to the enforcement of laws and regulations within an Islamic state. Just as modern governments enforce their legal policies, so to does the Islamic state. These legal policies refer to Muslims paying their Zakat (charity tax) and abiding by the laws in an Islamic state. Those who understood the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the best, were his companions, and we can examine their application of the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to derive a better understanding. We find that after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), many hypocrites who had pretended to be Muslim began to turn away and leave their religious duties, one example was Zakat (the charity tax). They wanted to compromise the commands of God. It was then that Abu Bakr, the First Caliph and the Caliph of that time, cited this narration to make it clear that a compromise would not be tolerated and he would fight them until they agreed to follow Islam in full. The fighting that resulted was known as the Riddah wars. Similarly, we can see that today's governments would not tolerate it if a citizen refused to pay tax or abide by the laws of the country. If one lives in a state or country they must abide by the regulations to ensure a secure and healthy society. We should note that the 'people' referred to in this narration does not refer to all of humanity. As Shaykh Ahmed Ibn Taymiyyah 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)

Clearly, this narration does not refer to imposing Islam upon non-Muslims, since the Qur'an explicitly states:

2:256 There is no compulsion in religion...

Also, we have already dealt with the claims that this verse was abrogated under our discussion of verse 9:5. Once understood in their correct context, these verses and narrations become clear.

Misquoted Verse #12

5:54 Allah will bring a people whom He loveth and who love Him, humble toward believers, stern toward disbelievers, striving in the way of Allah, and fearing not the blame of any blamer. Such is the grace of Allah which He giveth unto whom He will. Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing. 48:29 Mohammed is Allah's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another

Non-Muslims think that this verse tells Muslims to be harsh and cruel to non-Muslims. Let us first provide a better translation:

48:29 Muhammad is the apostle of Allah. and those who are with him are strong against disbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. Thou wilt see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer), seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. On their faces are their marks, (being) the traces of their prostration. This is their similitude in the Taurat; and their similitude in the Gospel is: like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, (filling) the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result, it fills the Unbelievers with rage at them. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous deeds forgiveness, and a great Reward.

The Arabic word "ashidda" does not mean ruthless, but strong and firm. Ruthless is an unacceptable translation. Translations of ashidda:

Pickthall: hard; Yusuf Ali: strong; Daryabadi: stern; Khan-Hilali: severe; F. Malik: strong; Shakir: firm of heart; Arberry: hard; Irving: strict

Also, the disbelievers being referred to in these verses are the those who persecuted and attacked the Muslims. Shaykh Fawzee Al-Atharee said the following:

And similarly the disbeliever, if he has good character with us and good manners with us and good way and treatment with us, then we have good manners with him, good behaviour with him, good way with him and good treatment of him. And if his manners are bad and his behaviour is bad [i.e. abusive and cruel], then we treat him with accordance to how he is treating us. This is something permissible in the legislation. But the Prophet s.a.w.s. has indicated very clearly in all the narrations that have been brought and throughout his life, that there must be a matter of balance and to be just. And that is in dealing with the people of disbelief and also in dealing with those who have faith.

The Muslims were commanded to stand up for their religion and defend themselves against the persecution of the disbelievers. Again, if we examine the historical context, we also find that this is referring to those who attacked the Muslims continuously. So verses apply in a situation similar to the historical context. Since this verse mentions the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and praises their path, let us examine some narrations about the companions. Musab bin Umair was a notable companion of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He was sent to Madinah to share the message of Islam with the people living there. One incident of his related as follows:

Once Musab and Sad were sitting near a well in an orchard of the Zafar clan. With them were a number of new Muslims and others who were interested in Islam. A powerful notable of the city, Usayd ibn Khudayr, came up brandishing a spear. He was livid with rage. Sad ibn Zararah saw him and told Musab: "This is a chieftain of his people. May God place truth in his heart." "If he sits down, I will speak to him," replied Musab, displaying all the calm and tact of a great daiy. The angry Usayd shouted abuse and threatened Musab and his host. "Why have you both come to us to corrupt the weak among us? Keep away from us if you want to stay alive." Musab smiled a warm and friendly smile and said to Usayd: "Won't you sit down and listen? If you are pleased and satisfied with our mission. accept it and if you dislike it we would stop telling you what you dislike and leave." "That's reasonable," said Usayd and, sticking his spear in the ground, sat down. Musab was not compelling him to do anything. He was not denouncing him. He was merely inviting him to listen. If he was satisfied, well and good. If not, then Musab would leave his district and his clan without any fuss and go to another district. Musab began telling him about Islam and recited the Quran to him. Even before Usayd spoke, it was clear from his face, now radiant and expectant, that faith had entered his heart. He said: "How beautiful are these words and how true! What does a person do if he wants to enter this religion?" "Have a bath, purify yourself and your clothes. Then utter the testimony of Truth (Shahadah), and perform Salat. Usayd left the gathering and was absent for only a short while. He returned and testified that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. (SOURCE)

Another example is found in the treatment of Thumamah Ibn Uthal, who was a notorious criminal who had killed many Muslim travelers. Because of this, the Prophet Muhammad declared him a wanted criminal who was to be captured or killed. Soon after, when he was traveling for pilgrimage, some Muslims caught him and took him to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Prophet recognized him and had him kept in the Masjid (mosque) with food and even ordered his own camel to be milked for him. They treated him like a guest rather than a war criminal! The Prophet Muhammad asked Thumamah what he had to say for himself, to which he replied "If you want to kill in reprisal, you can have someone of noble blood to kill. If, out of your bounty, you want to forgive, I shall be grateful. If you want money in compensation, I shall give you whatever amount you ask." The Prophet Muhammad freed him and allowed him to leave. The very same day, Thumamah returned and declared his acceptance of Islam to the Prophet Muhammad. So we find that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions displayed the best character and attitude towards all people and this is what drew so many people to Islam. As the God says in the Qur'an:

3:159. And by the Mercy of God, you dealt with them gently. And had you been severe and harsh-hearted, they would have ran away from about you; so pass over (their faults), and ask (God's) Forgiveness for them; and consult them in the affairs. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in All‚h, certainly, All‚h loves those who put their trust (in Him).

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was commanded by God to bring people to the teachings of Islam through the beautiful character that Muslims must show. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) conveyed this message to others by saying:

He who is not merciful to others, will not be treated mercifully. (Muslim, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 42)

And there are numerous examples one could quote which illustrate the kind and loving nature of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Narrated Abu Huraira: A disbelieving Bedouin urinated in the mosque, and the people rushed to beat him. Allah's Apostle ordered them to leave him, let him finish and pour a bucket or a tumbler (full) of water over the place where he has passed urine. The Prophet then explained to the Bedouin calmly, "This is a place of worship, in it is the worship of God and the reading of Qur'an." After the Bedouin had left, the Prophet then said to his companions, " You have been sent to make things easy (for the people) and you have not been sent to make things difficult for them." (Muslim, Book 2, Number 559 and Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73, Number 149)

This narration, on its own, is sufficient to refute the claim that Islam is intolerant. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not show any anger or resentment to a non-Muslim who urinated in the Muslims place of worship! So Islam teaches gentleness in all things. As the Prophet Muhammad said:

Whoever is deprived of gentleness is deprived of all good. (Muslim, Book 32, Number 6270 & Abu Dawood, Book 41, Number 4791)

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) always displayed tolerance and compassion in his dealings with people, including Non-Muslims. Dr. M. Hamidullah explains the following points:

When the Prophet Mohammed settled down in Medina, he found there complete anarchy, the region having never known before either a State or a king to unite the tribes torn by internecine feuds. In just a few weeks, he succeeded in rallying all the inhabitants of the region into order. He constituted a city state, in which Muslims, Jews, pagan Arabs and also probably a small number of Christians, all entered into a statal organism by means of a social contract. The constitutional law of this first 'Muslim' State - which was the confederacy as a sequence of the multiplicity of the population groups - has come down to us in toto, and we read therein not only in clause 25: "to Muslims their religion, and to Jews their religion," or, "that there would be benevolence and justice," but even the unexpected passage in the same clause 25: "the Jews . . . are a community (in alliance) with - according Ibn Hisham and in the version of Abu-'Ubaid, a community (forming part) of - the believers (i.e., Muslims)." The very fact that, at the time of the constitution of this city-state, the autonomous Jewish villages acceded of their free will to the confederal State, and recognized Muhammad as their supreme political head, implies in our opinion that the non-Muslim subjects possessed the right of votes in the election of the head of the Muslim State, at least in so far as the political life of the country was concerned. (Hamidullah, Introduction to Islam, paragraphs 414-416)

During the life of Prophet Muhammad, there was a Jewish synagogue in Madinah and an educational institute known as Bait Al-Midras. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) preserved and protected both of them. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also honored a group of Christians of najran from Yemen, when they visited his mosques in Madinah. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) held interfaith discussions with them and they prayed in the Mosque in the Christian fashion while the Muslims prayed in the Islamic tradition. The Prophet Muhammad's tolerance is also illustrated in the following narration:

Once the Prophet was seated at some place in Madinah, along with his Companions. During this time a funeral procession passed by. On seeing this, the Prophet stood up. One of his Companion remarked that the funeral was that of a Jew. The Prophet replied, “Was he not a human being?” (Bukhari, Muslim)

If every human being in this world saw the various ethnicities and cultures with these eyes, the world would flourish in peace and harmony. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) set an example for his companions to follow in the way he showed respect and kindness to Non-Muslims. Dr. Farida Khanam also points out the following incidents:

In the present world, everyone’s thinking, tastes, aptitude, likes and dislikes can never exactly coincide. For many reasons, differences do arise in this world. But then, what is the permanent solution to the problem? The solution lies in tolerance, called i‘raz in Arabic. The Prophet’s entire life served as a perfect example of this principle. According to his wife, ‘A’isha, "He was a personification of the Qur’an." That is to say, the Prophet molded his own life in accordance with the ideal pattern of life which he presented to others in the form of the Qur’an. He never beat a servant, or a woman, or anyone else. He did, of course, fight for what was right. Yet, when he had to choose between two alternatives, he would take the easier course, provided it involved no sin.’ No one was more careful to avoid sin than he. He never sought revenge—on his own behalf—for any wrong done to him personally. Only if God’s commandments had been broken would he mete out retribution for the sake of God. It was such conduct which gained the Prophet universal respect. In the early Meccan period when the antagonists far exceeded the Prophet’s companions in number, it often happened that when the Prophet would stand to pray, his detractors would come near him and whistle and clap in order to disturb him, but the Prophet did not even once show his anger at such acts. He always opted for the policy of tolerance and avoidance of confrontation... When the opposition became very strong the Prophet left Mecca for Medina. But his antagonists did not leave him in peace. They began to attack Medina. In this way a state of war prevailed between the Muslims and non-Muslims. Since the Prophet avoided war at all costs, he strove to bring about a peace agreement between him and the Meccans. After great efforts on his part, the non-Muslims agreed to the finalizing of a 10-year peace treaty, which was drafted and signed at the al-Hudaybiyyah. While the al-Hudaybiyyah treaty was being drafted, the Meccans indulged in a number of extremely provocative acts. For instance, the agreement mentioned the Prophet’s name as ‘Muhammad the Messenger of God.’ They insisted that the phrase ‘the messenger of God’ should be taken out, and be replaced simply by ‘Muhammad, son of Abdullah’. The Prophet accepted their unreasonable condition and deleted the appellation with his own hands. Similarly, they made the condition that if they could lay their hands on any Muslim they would make him a hostage, but if the Muslims succeeded in detaining any non-Muslim, they would have to set him free. The Prophet even relented on this point. For the restoration of peace in the region, the Prophet accepted a number of such unjustifiable clauses as were added by the enemy. In this way he set the example of peace and tolerance being linked with one another. If we desire peace, we must tolerate many unpleasant things from others. There is no other way to establish peace in society. (SOURCE)

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also extended the hand of friendship to Christians as well. He maintained good ties with the Christian Negus of Abyssinia throughout his life. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) even selected Non-Muslims as ambassadors. One such example was Amr ibn Umaiyah Ad-Damri. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) sent a message to the Monks of Saint Catherine in Mount Sinai, saying the following: "

This is a message written by Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, far and near, we are behind them. Verily, I defend them by myself, the servants, the helpers, and my followers, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be changed from their jobs, nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they (Christians) are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, this is not to take place without her own wish. She is not to be prevented from going to her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation is to disobey this covenant till the Day of Judgment and the end of the world."

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also advised his companion Mu'adh ibn Jabal by saying:

No Jew is to be annoyed because of their Judaic faith.

We must also examine the Prophet Muhammad's teachings towards neighbors:

Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer.'' It was asked, "Who is that, O Messenger of Allah?'' He said, "One whose neighbor does not feel safe from his evil". (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

"He who believes in God and the Last Day should honour his guest, should not harm his neighbor, should speak good or keep quiet." (Bukhari, Muslim)

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also clearly specified that a Non-Muslim neighbor should receive this excellent treatment:

"Whoever hurts a Non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim state hurts me, and he who hurts me annoys God." (Bukhari)

"He who hurts a Non-Muslim citizen of a Muslim state, I am his adversary, and I shall be his adversary on the Day of a Judgment." (Bukhari)

It is fascinating to note that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was so vocal in his support of good treatment towards humanity that he would even be prepared to stand on the side of the Non-Muslims against the Muslims who did not follow his teachings. This is true justice and this is what lead to the peace and prosperity that Islam brought into the world. The excellent character of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has been noted by many Non-Muslim historians as well, and in fact anyone who has studied his life carefully has been amazed at the golden character of this human being. Washington Irving notes in his book 'Mahomet and His Successors':

In his private dealings he was just. He treated friends and strangers, the rich and poor, the powerful and weak, with equity, and was beloved by the common people for the affability with which he received them, and listened to their complaints. (Irving, Mahomet and His Successors)

To read more about what Non-Muslims have to say about him, refer to the following:

Misquoted Verse #13

8:12-13... I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers. Smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger tips off them. This because they contend against God and his apostle. ...

This is another verse that is commonly quoted out of context, both historical context and the context of the verse itself in the Qur'an. Let us first examine the full verse:

8:12-13 Recall that your Lord inspired the angels: "I am with you; so support those who believed. I will throw terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved. You may strike them above the necks, and you may strike even every finger." This is what they have justly incurred by FIGHTING God and His messenger. For those who fight against God and His messenger, God's retribution is severe.

That is the context of the verse in the Qur'an. The historical context is that this verse was revealed at the Battle of Badr, a battle in which the pagans of Makkah traveled over 200 miles to destroy the Muslims of Madinah. The Pagans of Makkah had an army of about 1000 while the Muslims were only 300 followers. The Prophet Muhammad ((peace be upon him)) and his followers had suffered severe persecutions and torture for 13 years in the city of Makkah. Having fled from Makkah to the safety of Madinah, they found that they were once again threatened. Abul 'Ala Maududi describes the situation that led to the Battle of Badr, beginning with the Muslim activity in Madinah:

In the first year of Hijrah, four expeditions were sent [by the Muslims to the Quraish], that is, the expedition under Hamzah, the expedition under Ubaidah bin Harith, the expedition under Sa'ad bin Abi Waqqas and the Al-Abwa' expedition under the Holy Prophet himself. In the first month of the second year two more incursions were made on the same route. These are known as Buwat Expedition and Zawal Ushairah Expedition. Two things about all these expeditions are noteworthy. First, no blood was shed and no caravans were plundered in any of these expeditions. This proves that the real object of these expeditions was to show to the Quraish which way the wind was blowing. Secondly, not a single man from the people of Al-Madinah was sent by the Holy. Prophet on any of these incursions. All the bands consisted purely of the immigrants from Makkah so that the conflict should remain between the people of the Quraish themselves and should not further spread by the involvement of other clans. On the other side, the Quraish of Makkah tried to involve others also in the conflict. When they sent bands towards Al-Madinah, they did not hesitate to plunder the people. For instance, an expedition under the leadership of Kurz bin Jabir al-Fihrl plundered the cattle of the people of Al-Madinah from the very vicinity of the city to show what their real intentions were. This was the state of affairs when, in Sha'aban, 2 A. H. (February or March, 623 A. D.) a big trade caravan of the Quraish, carrying goods worth $50,000 or so, with only a guard of thirty to forty men, on its way back from Syria to Makkah, reached the territory from where it could be easily attacked from Al-Madinah. As the caravan was carrying trade goods worth thousands of pounds, and was scantily guarded, naturally Abu Sufyan, who was in charge of it, from his Past experience feared an attack from the Muslims. Accordingly, as soon as he entered the dangerous territory, he despatched a camel rider to Makkah with a frantic appeal for help. When the rider reached Makkah, he, following an old custom of Arabia, tore open the ears of his camel, cut open his nose and overturned the saddle. Then rending his shirt from front and behind, he began to cry aloud at the top of his voice, "O people of Quraish despatch help to protect your caravan from Syria under the charge of Abu Sufyan, for Muhammad with his followers is in pursuit of it; otherwise I don't think you will ever get your goods. Run, run for help." This caused great excitement and anger in the whole of Makkah and all the big chiefs of the Quraish got ready for war. An army, consisting of 600 armored soldiers and cavalry of 100 riders with great pomp and show marched out for a fight. They intended not only to rescue the caravan but also to put to an end, once for all, the new menace from the Muslims who had consolidated themselves at Al-Madinah. They wanted to crush that rising power and overawe the clans surrounding the route so as to make it absolutely secure for future trade... ...the Holy Prophet and the true Believers had realized the urgency of that critical hour which required the risk of life: therefore they marched straight to the south-west, wherefrom the army of the Quraish was coming. This is a clear proof of the fact that from the very beginning they had gone out to fight with the army and not to plunder the caravan. For if they had aimed at plundering the caravan they would have taken the north- westerly direction and not the south- westerly one. (Maududi, Tafheem Al-Qur'an, emphasis added)

The Makkans were not satisfied with expelling the Muslims from Makkah and subsequently desired that they be purged from the surroundings of all major trade routes. So God supported the Muslims and informed them that God would allow justice to prevail over oppression. He informed them that they should not fear fighting in God's path, but it is the enemies who should fear God's retribution for their oppression and injustice. Also, God inspired the ANGELS to support the believers and strike the disbelievers. This was NOT a command for the Muslims. Shaykh Safiur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri describes the situation during the Battle of Badr as follows:

[The Makkans] were too much exasperated and enraged and fell upon the Muslims to exterminate them once and for all. The Muslims, however, after supplicating their Lord, calling upon Him for assistance, were made to hold to their position and conduct a defensive war plan that was successful enough to inflict heavy losses on the attackers. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) used to pray to his Lord ceaselessly persistently and day and night to come to their succour. When the fierce engagement grew too hot he again began to supplicate his Lord saying: “O Allâh! Should this group (of Muslims) be defeated today, You will no longer be worshipped.”.... Immediate was the response from Allâh, Who sent down angels from the heavens for the help and assistance of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his companions. The Noble Qur’ân observes:

And recall when your Lord inspired the angels: “Verily, I am with you, so keep firm those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved.” [8:12]

(Al-Mubarakpuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum; Riyadh-Saudi Arabia, Dar-us-Salam Publications, 1996; pp. 219-220)

Also, the previously mentioned laws of Jihad all applied here and the Muslims were commanded:

8:61 But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in God: for He is One that hears and knows (all things).

Believing in a punishment for oppressive disbelievers delivered by the unseen angels is hardly different from believing in an unseen punishment in the next life. In addition, the word 'terror' used in the verse (ru'b) is explained in a following discussion under 'Misquoted Narration #5'.

Misquoted Verse #14

5:33 The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter

The context of this verse itself will clear any negative perceptions against Islam. One cannot quote verse 5:33 without quoting verse 5:32 (prohibition of murder) and verse 5:34 (command to forgive). Let us examine the verse in its proper context:

5:32-34 ...If any one slew a person - unless it be as punishment for murder or for spreading corruption in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land. The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter; Except for those who repent before they fall into your power: in that case, know that Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

There are several points to note here. The first is the gravity of the offense. This is punishment for WAGING WAR against the Prophet of God and spreading evil and destruction. In modern terminology this would be considered "terrorism". This is a punishment for such a severe offense, hence the severity of the punishment. As Muhammad Asad writes on this verse:

The present participle la-musrifun indicates their "continuously committing excesses" (i.e., crimes), and is best rendered as "they go on committing" them. In view of the preceding passages, these "excesses" obviously refer to crimes of violence and, in particular, to the ruthless killing of human beings. (Asad, The Message of the Qur’an)

It is quite shocking to see how many Islam-haters will place this verse under the heading of "inciting Muslims to kill and wage war", whereas the verse commands nothing of this sort! In fact, it comes directly after a verse prohibiting murder and likening the unjust murder of a single individual to the slaughter of humanity. The Qur'an purposefully describes the gravity of the sin before describing the punishment. The crime of murder and committing terrorist activities is regarded as such a severe violation in Islam, that a severe retribution has been prescribed. Waging war against God's prophet is tantamount to waging war against Our Creator Himself. It is ironic that Islam-haters will present this verse to justify their claim that Islam supports terrorism, whereas Muslim scholars have always presented this verse as proof that Islam is vehemently opposed to terrorism. For example, the Islamic Fiqh Council of Saudi Arabia writes about this verse:

Obviously, in view of the enormity of such acts of aggression, which are viewed by the Shari'ah (Islamic law) as an act of war against the laws and the creatures of God, there is no stricter punishment anywhere in the manmade laws. (Islamic Fiqh Council of Saudi Arabia, Terrorism – Islam’s viewpoint, Muslim World League Journal, Jumad al-Ula 1423/July 2002 CE)

Is it logical to inform someone about a certain punishment without telling them about the crime? Yet, this is exactly what the enemies of Islam have done to deceive people into thinking Islam is a violent religion. They cite only verse 5:33 without verse 5:32 or verse 5:34, which brings us to our next point. God has prescribed multiple punishments in this verse using the word "or" between them, indicating various alternatives. The punishment depends on the circumstances and severity of the offence. As Muhammad F. Malik writes in his translation of this verse:

The punishment for those who wage war against Allah and His Rasool and strive to create mischief in the land is death or crucifixion or the cutting off their hands and feet from opposite sides or exile from the land (based on the gravity of their offence)... (Malik, Al-Qur'an: Guidance for Mankind)

Likewise, Abdullah Yusuf Ali comments:

For the double crime of treason against State, combined with treason against God, as shown by overt crimes, four alternative punishments are mentioned, any one of which is to be applied according to circumstances...except that tortures such as "hanging, drawing, and quartering" in English Law, and piercing of eyes and leaving the unfortunate victim exposed to a tropical sun, which was practiced in Arabia, and all such tortures were abolished. In any case sincere repentance before it was too late was recognized as grounds for mercy. (Yusuf Ali, The English Translation of the Holy Qur’an, emphasis added)

Indeed, the subsequent verse immediately states that this punishment is not for those who repent. For verily, God is Oft-Forgiving and Most Merciful. God's infinite Mercy is truly clear when one considers that God is willing to forgive these ruthless acts of terror that deserve such harsh punishments, so long as the offender sincerely repents to Allah, seeking His Pardon and True Guidance. The Muslim scholars have mentioned that whenever Allah warns us of a punishment, He always shows us a way out, a way to avoid the punishment. Many Muslim jurists also cite this verse in the case of punishment for Hirabah (armed robbery/highway robbery). In such instances, depending on the severity of the offence, the punishment is prescribed. When murder has been committed, then execution is prescribed as the punishment. Depending on the circumstances, the judge may choose a lesser punishment. The banishment mentioned in the verse has been interpreted by some schools of thought as imprisonment. The punishment of crucifixion has been mentioned in the verse, but many Muslim scholars have mentioned that they never have even heard of such punishment ever being prescribed. In fact, Imam Malik, the founder of the Maliki school of thought, when as ked about crucifixion, replied that he had never even heard of a single case in which crucifixion was prescribed as punishment for armed robbery. (see Al-Mudawwanah, vol. XV, p. 99). In light of this fact, Shaykh Muhammad S. Al-Awa has said:

This observation of Malik's gives me the impression that this punishment was prescribed solely to deter the potential criminal. (El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law; US American Trust Publications, 1993, p. 11, emphasis added)

Concerning the argument that such punishments are barbaric, Shaykh Muhammad S. Al-Awa writes:

Shaykh Muhammad Abu Zahra, in his previously mentioned book [Al-Jarima wal-'Uqba, pp. 6-11], explains the aim of both Islamic law, as well as the sacred Jewish law contained in the Torah, is to achieve public security and peace for the community as well as the retribution for the criminal minority; accordingly, the necessary means for the attainment of this latter end were prescribed both in the Torah and the Qur'an. The second question concerns the law of pardon for offenders who repent and whether the punishment for Hirabah should be considered a dead letter because of this law. To answer this question, one should again bear in mind that this punishment, and indeed all the hudud punishments in the Islamic penal system, are prescribed mainly to protect society from crime. In order to achieve this purpose, Islamic law, while prescribing punishment for criminals, makes it possible for them to be pardoned when they realize the evil of their conduct and desire to mend their ways. This does not contradict the earlier quotation from Abu Zahra. While punishment may be withheld, provision must be made for all the injuries and harm resulting from the criminal's act. In this way, society does not lose anything. On the contrary, it gains a new member who, if he had not been given the chance to repent, forever would have been considered an outlaw. (El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law; US American Trust Publications, 1993, p. 13, emphasis added)

For further information on the Islamic Criminal Law, the reader may refer to the excellent article, Crime and Punishment in Islam. Other scholars explain the Islamic punishments by comparative means. Shaykh Abdul Majid Daryabadi writes the following on verse 5:33:

Lest some of these penalties may appear 'barbarous' to some hypersensitive Western reader, let him cast a glance on 'drawing and quartering', a penalty of the English Criminal Code maintained as late as the 18th century, inflicted on those found guilty of high treason touching the king's person or government. The person committed was usually drawn on a sledge to the place of execution; there he was hung by the neck from a scaffold, being cut down and disemboweled, while still alive, his head was cut from his body and his corpse divided into four quarters. With the profession of their faith declared as high treason by law many Catholics of England and Ireland suffered this death. 'In this reign of Henry III and Edward I there is abundant evidence that death was the common punishment of felony; and this continued to be the law of the land as to treason and as to all felonies, except petty larceny, down to the year 1826' (Stephen, History of the Criminal Law of England, I. p. 458). In contemporary English law, robbery is larceny with violence; and the guilty is liable to penal servitude for life, and in addition, if a male, to be once privately whipped. The elements of the offence are essentially the same under American law (EBr. XIX. p. 346). (Daryabadi, The Glorious Qur’an, emphasis added)

In light of the above mentioned points, we can clearly reject any claims of this verse supporting "violence and warfare" as baseless. The textual context, historical context, legal context, and comparative analysis of this verse all demonstrate that this verse merely enjoins justice in return for grave offences, and by no means can support the lies of the Islam-haters.

Similar Narration

Bukhari: Some people from `Uraina tribe came to Medina and its climate did not suit them, so Allah's Apostle (pbuh) allowed them to go to the herd of camels (given as Zakat) and they drank their milk and urine (as medicine) but they killed the shepherd and drove away all the camels. So Allah's Apostle sent (men) in their pursuit to catch them, and they were brought, and he had their hands and feet cut, and their eyes were branded with heated pieces of iron and they were left in the Harra (a stony place at Medina) biting the stones. (Volume 2, Book 24, Number 577)

This narration is often quoted in order to present the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as someone who delivered exceedingly cruel and barbaric punishments. Let us examine the narration more closely along with other narrations of the same event. The narration states the following:

-Some people from Urayna (or Ukil) tribe came to Madinah after accepting Islam
-They acquired an illness due to the climate, for which the Arabs used to drink milk and urine of camels as medicine
-The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) allowed them to go to the herds of camels for their medicine
-After recovering from their illness, they killed the sheperd and drove away the camels
-The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ordered their hands and feet cut off, their eyes branded with heated pieces of iron, and they were left in the desert

It is clear that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) prescribed the hands and feet to be cut off in accordance with the Islamic laws concerning hiraabah (armed robbery). What doesn't appear in this narration is the reason for branding their eyes with heated pieces of iron. This is explained in other narrations where it states that this was the punishment because they had done the same thing to the sheperd whom they killed. As Shaykh Abdul Khaliq Hasan Ash-Shareef states about this narration:

It should be made clear that those people who came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) were Muslims and they were sick. The Prophet advised them to go to the herd of camels and to drink their milk and urine (as a medicine). When they became healthy, they killed the herder of the Prophet and drove away all the camels that were allocated for sadaqah (charity). When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) came to know about this, he applied the punishment for Hirabah on them. Hiraba means killing people, robbing their money or raping women by an armed group of people. The punishment for Hirabah is mentioned in the Qur’an. Allah says:

“The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His Messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom” (Al-Ma’idah: 33).

As for branding their eyes, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) branded the eyes of the people of `Ukl or `Uraina with iron because they killed the herder and branded his eyes with iron. Imam Ibn Hajar stated the differences of opinions among scholars and he said, “The killing that took place (that is, in reference to the above hadith) was in retaliation and Allah Almighty says,

‘And one who attacketh you, attack him in like manner as he attacked you’ (Al-Baqarah: 194).”

All in all, using this story as evidence in favor of the permissibility of torturing people in Islam is refuted by the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) applied the punishment for Hirabah on them and that he did not do so for personal vengeance. (SOURCE, emphasis added)

Likwise, Moiz Amjad writes:

There is only one part of the referred narrative, which raises a question-mark in one's mind. It apparently seems strange that after having implemented the punishment prescribed in the Qur'an for crimes committed against the society, in general, why did the Prophet (pbuh) ordered their eyes to be branded. Most of the narratives do not provide an answer to this question. However, in one of the narratives reported in Ibn Al-Jarood's Al-Muntaqaa, Anas (ra) is reported to have explained the reason for this punishment as well. The companion of the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have said:

The Prophet (pbuh) branded their eyes because they had branded the eyes of the herdsmen. (volume 1, Pg. 216)

This explanation adequately clarifies the fact that the Prophet (pbuh) ordered the branding the eyes of the culprits, in compliance with the Qur'anic directive of Qisaas (Al-Baqarah 2: 178, Al-Maaidah 5: 45) for the punishment of murder and inflicting physical injury on someone. In view of the foregoing explanation, I find no reason to consider the incident narrated in the referred narrative to be unauthentic. (SOURCE)

Shaykh Muhammad al-Qannâs, a Professor at Al-Imam University (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia), places the narration in perspective by presenting the views of the various Muslim scholars:

The above mentioned hadîth is narrated in Sahîh al-Bukhârî (6802) and Sahîh Muslim (1671). It reads:
Some people belonging (to the tribe) of `Uraynah came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) at Madînah, but they found its climate uncongenial. So the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to them: If you so like, you may go to the camels that are part of the charity and drink their milk and urine. They did so and were all right. They then fell upon the shepherds and killed them and turned apostates from Islam and drove off the camels of the Prophet (peace be upon him). This news reached Allah’s Apostle (peace be upon him) and he sent (people) on their track and they were (brought) and handed over to him. He got their hands cut off, and their feet, and put out their eyes, and threw them on the stony ground until they died.

The scholars disagree among themselves on this punishment:

1. Some said: This punishment was in retaliation for their act and the Prophet (peace be upon him) punished them in the same way that they killed the shepherds. It is mentioned in Sahîh Muslim

“The Prophet (peace be upon him) put out their eyes because they put out the eyes of the shepherds”.

The people concerned in studying the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) military career said: They dismembered the shipyards. Ibn al-Qayyim said: “It is extracted from the story of al-`Arâniyîn tribe that the criminal will be subject to the same act similar to the one he perpetrated, when they put out the shepherd’s eyes, he put out their eyes.” [Zâd al-Mâ`âd: (3/286)]

2. Other scholars said what is mentioned in the hadîth is abrogated, according to the prohibition of mutilation.

Accordingly, what took place in this hadîth was abrogated. This was adopted by al-Bukhârî. He narrated from Qatâdah that:
“It is been narrated to us from the Prophet (peace be upon him) after that the Prophet (peace be upon him) encouraged charity and prohibited mutilation.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (4192)].

It was narrated by Qatâdah through Muhammad b. Sîrîn that this took place before the revelation on the ruling of punishments. [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (5686)]

Al-Hâzimî said: “This hadîth was abrogated” and he set a chapter “Mutilation and its abrogation”. He said: “A group of people adopted the opinion that these ruling were fixed in the beginning and then were abrogated when Allah sent:
“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger…” [Sûrah al-Mâ’dah: 33]

[Al-I`tibâr fi al-Nâsikh wa al-Mansûkh, page 196].

It could be that this severe punishment was at the beginning because the Prophet (peace be upon him) knew that some of the tough and hardened Bedouins who live around Madînah would not refrain from attacking others unless they heard of some of these severe punishments. The desert Bedouins living in the surrounding wilderness were warlike tribes used to toughness and to causing harassment. Allah says:
“The dwellers of the desert are very hard in unbelief and hypocrisy, and more disposed not to know the limits of what Allah has revealed to His Messenger; and Allah is Knowing, Wise” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 97] (IslamToday fatwa service)


Therefore, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) did not punish them any more than the harm they inflicted upon the sheperd and the Muslim community. He also sent a strong message to other desert tribes who were accustomed to raiding and attacking nearby villages and tribes. This punishment was done for the security of the Muslim community, living in a very dangerous time with no formal legal system governing the arabian tribes. The situation is incomparable to modern times where governments have strong control over their territories - in arabia there existed a tribalistic anarchy. As Shaykh Muhammad 'Ata Al Sid Sid Ahmad writes:

When the criminals of 'Urainah betrayed the community of Madinah which had met them with all love and respect -- by torturing and killing the herder of their camels and escaping with the Muslim's camels as their booty -- the Prophet quickly marshalled all his powers, arrested and dealt with them in the severest manner as the law allowed him. (Al-Sid, Islamic Criminal Law: The Hudud; Malaysia, Eagle Trading Sdn. Bhd., 1995, p. 132)

It should also be noted that many critics of the punishments in Islam are themselves believers in an afterlife in which people will be punished for their crimes, often with eternal torment in Hell. Eternal torment is far more servere than any temporary punishment delivered in this life. The punishments prescribed in Islam are intended to purify the offender of their sin in order that they may be saved from a far greater punishment in the next life. It seems that when one defers a punishment to the afterlife, there is a subconcious belief that such a punishment is not as "real" and consequently it is not as bothering to sentence someone to eternal torture in Hell as it is to prescribe a painful punishment here and now. Such thinking is inherently flawed.

Some writers have also claimed that the punishment delivered to the Ukil/Urayna tribe was prescribed for their apostasy. This is clearly rejected by the text of the hadith as well as the consensus of all Muslim jurists. Shaykh Muhammad S. Al-Awa explains this as well:

On the other hand, the prevalent view among Muslim jurists is that the case of this group of 'Ukal and 'Urayna was a case of hiraba (armed robbery) and it was for this crime that they were punished (fn. See Tabari, Tafsir, vol. VI, pp. 132-146; Ibn al-Qayyim, Zad al-Ma'ad, vol. III, p. 78; Ibn Hajar, Fath Al-Bari, where he criticises Bukhari's view). The text itself demonstrates this very clearly. (El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law; US American Trust Publications, 1993, p. 51)

To conclude, this narration refers to an event of Hiraabah (armed robbery), where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) implemented the law of Qisas (retribution), and the offendors were punished exactly as they had punished the sheperd. The Prophet did not exceed this limit at all in his prescribed punishment, but rather purified the offenders so that the punishment in the next life would be averted.

Misquoted Verse #15

5:51 O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends: They are but friends to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.

The first point to be noted is that, in the verse above, the word Awliya is often incorrectly translated as friends (Awliya is the plural and its singular is wali and the concept is walaah). As a result, many people are under the misconception that this verse commands Muslims to distance themselves from Non-Muslims and to avoid friendship with them. This is far from the truth, as we shall see after examining the meaning of the word Awliya. The Qur'an says:

3:122 ...Allah was their WALI (protector), and in Allah should the faithful (Ever) put their trust.

This verse indicates that a wali is one in whom trust is placed for protection, as the Qur'an always declares God the protector, wali, of the righteous. As Dr. Saeed Ismail Sieny concludes his discussion on Walaah by writing:

As we have discovered above, the root of the word "al-walaah" does not include love, support, etc., and that the core meaning rests on guardianship. (Sieny, The Relationship Between Muslims and Non-Muslims; Toronto, Al-Attique Publishers Inc., 2000, p. 102, emphasis added)

And Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi writes:

In the verse you quoted, the word "Awliya" is used. It is a plural and its singular is "wali". The correct translation of the word ""wali"" is not "friend" but it is someone who is very close and intimate. It is also used to mean "guardian, protector, patron, lord and master". In the Qur'an this word is used for God, such as

“Allah is the Protector (or Lord and Master) of those who believe. He takes them out from the depths of darkness to light…” (Al- Baqarah: 257)

There are many other references in the Qur'an that give this meaning. The same word is also sometimes used in the Qur'an for human beings, such as

“And whosoever is killed unjustly, We have granted his next kin "wali" the authority (to seek judgment or punishment in this case)…”(Al-‘Isra' :33)
(SOURCE emphasis added)

It becomes clear that the word Awliya cannot be taken as simply referring to friendship, as it contains a much more complex meaning, including dependence and guardianship. Therefore, a more accurate translation of the verse would be:

5:51 O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your protectors: They are but protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.

Therefore, the referred verse does not prohibit friendship with Non-Muslims at all. Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi writes:

The Qur'an does not say that non-Muslims cannot be Muslims' friends, nor does it forbid Muslims to be friendly to non-Muslims. There are many non-Muslims who are good friends of Muslim individuals and the Muslim community. There are also many good Muslims who truly and sincerely observe their faith and are very friendly to many non-Muslims at the same time. Islam teaches us that we should be friendly to all people. Islam teaches us that we should deal even with our enemies with justice and fairness. Allah says in the Qur'an in the beginning of the same Surah Al-Ma’dah:

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as witnesses to fair dealings and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just, that is next to piety. Fear Allah, indeed Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do.” (Al-Ma’dah :8)

In another place in the Qur'an, Allah Almighty says:

“Allah forbids you not with regard to those who fight you not for your faith, nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them. For Allah loves those who are just. Allah only forbids you with regard to those who fight you for your faith, and drive you out of your homes and support others in driving you out, from turning to them for protection (or taking them as wali). Those who seek their protection they are indeed wrong- doers.” (Al-Mumtahinah: 8-9)

Moreover, Allah Almighty has described Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, as "a mercy" to the worlds. He was a sign of Allah's Mercy to all, Muslims as well as non-Muslims. In his kindness and fair treatment he did not make any difference between the believers and non-believers. He was kind to the pagans of Makkah and fought them only when they fought him. He made treaties with the Jews of Madinah and honored the treaties until they broke them. He, peace and blessings be upon him, is reported to have received the Christians of Najran with kindness in his Masjid in Madinah. They argued with him about Islam, but he returned them with honor and respect. There are many examples from his life that show that he was the friendliest person to all people. (SOURCE)

And as Muhammad Asad writes:

As regards the meaning of the "alliance" referred to here, see 3:28, and more particularly 4: 139 and the corresponding note, which explains the reference to a believer's loss of his moral identity if he imitates the way of life of, or-in Qur'anic terminology-"allies himself" with, non-Muslims. However, as has been made abundantly clear in 60: 7-9 (and implied in verse 57 of this Surah), this prohibition of a "moral alliance" with non-Muslims does not constitute an injunction against normal, friendly relations with such of them as are well-disposed towards Muslims. It should be borne in mind that the term wall has several shades of meaning: "ally", "friend", "helper", "protector", etc. The choice of the particular term - and sometimes a -combination of two terms-is always dependent on the context. (Asad, The Message of the Qur’an, emphasis added)

The second point to note is that although this verse makes a general statement, the ruling is specific and is to be applied in a context similar to the historical context. Shaykh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi wrote about this topic extensively in response to a similar question:

[The answer to this is that these verses are not unconditional, to be applied to every Jew, Christian, or non-Muslim. Interpreting them in this manner contradicts the injunctions of the Qur'an which enjoin affection and kindness to the good and peace-loving peoples of every religion, as well as the verses which permit marriage to the women of the People of the Book, with all that Allah says concerning marriage

and He has put love and mercy between you” (30:21)

and the verse concerning the Christians:

And thou wilt find those who say, 'Surely we are Christians,' to be nearest to them (the Muslims in affection...(5:82)

The verses cited above [verse 5:51] were revealed in connection with those people who were hostile to Islam and made war upon the Muslims. Accordingly, it is not permissible for the Muslims to support or assist them - that is, to be their ally- nor to entrust them with secrets at the expense of his own religion and community. This point is explained in other verses, in which Allah, The Most High, says:

They will spare nothing to ruin you; they yearn for what makes you suffer. Hatred has been expressed by their mouths, but what their hearts conceal is still greater. Thus have We made clear to you the revelations (or signs), if you possess understanding. Ah! You love them, but they do not love you…(3:118-119)

This ayah throws light on the character of such people, who conceal great enmity and hatred against the Muslims in their hearts and whose tongues express some of the effects of such hostility. (Al-Qaradawi, Al-Halal Wal Haram Fil Islam; US American Trust Publications, 1994, p. 340, emphasis added)

As Shaykh Qaradawi mentioned, verse 5:11 cannot possibly be taken as a prohibition of friendship since the Qur’an allows Muslim men to marry women from the People of the Book:

5:5 … virtuous women of the believers and the virtuous women of those who received the Scripture before you are lawful for you…

And the Qur’an describes the relationship of marriage to be a relationship with the deepest bond of love:

30:21 And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.

Also note that the Qur’an says:

60:8-9 Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of [your] religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show “Birr” with them and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice. Allah only forbids you respecting those who made war upon you on account of [your] religion, and drove you forth from your homes and backed up [others] in your expulsion, that you make friends with them, and whoever makes friends with them, these are the unjust.

The word “birr” is the same word used to describe a Muslim’s relationship with their parents which is considered the most sacred blood relationship in Islam. Therefore, Muslims are clearly commanded to deal with peaceful non-Muslims is a friendly and peaceful manner. The third point is that the specific groups being referred to in this verse were those hostile to Islam, and not all Jews and Christians in general. Concerning the historical context, the verse was revealed during a time when the Muslims were being attacked from many directions, including the Christian Roman empire and the Jews of Madinah. The Muslims had originally made a pact with the Jews of Madinah, but they were betrayed twice. So in this context, the Qur'an was telling the believers to be cautious in dealings with such enemies who oppose Islam, and not to trust them as protectors. As Jasser Auda writes:

It was revealed in certain historic circumstances, in which there was a war between the infant Islamic state on different occasions on four different fronts: the Romans, the Persians, the pagans of Arabia, and the Jews of Madinah. So, the historic context of the revelation of this verse is a situation of war between Muslims and the People of the Book (Jews, internally in Madinah, and Christians, through a Roman crusade). So, yes, Muslims were not allowed to make friends with the enemies who were fighting them and wishing to eliminate them from the face of the earth. Some Muslims say that since the verse has this historic context, then it is part of history and no longer applies. This is not correct! It is true that the verse has a history behind it, but this does not mean that it is no longer relevant. It is totally relevant but only in a context similar to the historic context. So today Muslims are not to make friends with Jews or Christians (or followers of any other religion for that matter) if they try to kill Muslims, kick them out of their homes, etc. (SOURCE)

The Qur'anic verse is relevant in a similar context to the historical context. A Muslim cannot take Jews or Christians or anyone as protectors if they oppose their religion and its teachings. The Muslims are encouraged to rely on each other for support. Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi writes:

It is obvious that Jews patronize the Jews and Christians patronize the Christians, so why not Muslims patronize Muslims and support their own people. This verse is not telling us to be against Jews or Christians, but it is telling us that we should take care of our own people and we must support each other. In his Tafsir, (Qur’an exegesis) Imam Ibn Kathir has mentioned that some scholars say that this verse (i.e. the one you referred to) was revealed after the Battle of Uhud when Muslims had a set back. At that time, a Muslim from Madinah said, "I am going to live with Jews so I shall be safe in case another attack comes on Madinah." And another person said, "I am going to live with Christians so I shall be safe in case another attack comes on Madinah." So Allah revealed this verse reminding the believers that they should not seek the protection from others, but should protect each other. (See Ibn Kathir, Al-Tafsir, vol. 2, p. 68) (SOURCE)[/

The groups prohibited for Muslims to take as protectors are described in the Qur’an:

The Holy Qur'an, 60:1 O ye who believe! Take not my enemies and yours as protectors,- offering them (your) love, even though they have rejected the Truth that has come to you, and have (on the contrary) driven out the Prophet and yourselves (from your homes), (simply) because ye believe in Allah your Lord! If ye have come out to strive in My Way and to seek My Good Pleasure, (take them not as friends), holding secret converse of love (and friendship) with them: for I know full well all that ye conceal and all that ye reveal. And any of you that does this has strayed from the Straight Path. 60:2 If they were to get the better of you, they would behave to you as enemies, and stretch forth their hands and their tongues against you for evil: and they desire that ye should reject the Truth.

So the Qur'an forbids taking those as protectors who expel the Muslims from their homes and who would betray and attack as soon as the opportunity arises. Those who have no respect for a Muslim’s beliefs and desire that the Muslim leaves their faith - they cannot be taken as protectors. This is the correct interpretation based on the context of the verse. To conclude, we once again quote Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi:

Muslims are allowed to have non-Muslims as friends as long as they keep their own faith and commitment to Islam pure and strong. You are correct in pointing out that a Muslim man is also allowed to marry a Jewish or Christian woman. It is obvious that one marries someone for love and friendship. If friendship between Muslims and Jews or Christians was forbidden, then why would Islam allow a Muslim man to marry a Jew or Christian woman? It is the duty of Muslims to patronize Muslims. They should not patronize any one who is against their faith or who fights their faith, even if they were their fathers and brothers. Allah says:

“O you who believe! Take not for protectors (Awliya') your fathers and your brothers if they love unbelief above faith. If any of you do so, they are indeed wrong-doers.” (Al-Tawbah : 23)

In a similar way, the Qur'an also tells Muslims that they should never patronize the non-Muslims against other Muslims. However, if some Muslims do wrong to some non-Muslims, it is Muslim’s duty to help the non-Muslims and save them from oppression . The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said that he himself will defend a Dhimmi living among Muslims to whom injustice is done by Muslims. But Islam also teaches that Muslims should not seek the patronage of non-Muslims against other Muslims. They should try to solve their problems among themselves. (SOURCE)

Islam is a religion of peace and compassion, therefore it requires its adherents to act in the best possible manner to other human beings. Verse 5:51 does not refer to friends, but protectors, and the historical context reveals that this verse prohibits Muslims from seeking the protection and allegiance of those who are hostile to the Islamic faith. It is not a reference to all Non-Muslims, as the scholars of Islam have clarified.


The next issue with this verse concerns abrogation. It has been claimed by some that this verse 9:5 has abrogated all the peaceful verses in the Qur'an. However, this claim results from a misunderstanding of some Qur'anic concepts. In the Qur'an there is naskh and there is also takhsees. Naskh is the abrogation of a ruling by a ruling that was revealed after it. Naskh occurs in matters of Islamic law. Takhsees on the other hand refers to specification, where one verse restricts the application of another verse, or specifies the limits not mentioned in the other verse. As Shaykh Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi writes:

Specification involves one verse limiting or restricting a general ruling found in another verse, whereas naskh involves abrogating the first verse in toto (i.e., it is not applied in any circumstances or conditions). (Qadhi, An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan;UK Al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution, 1999, p. 233)

Shaykh Qadhi also explains that one of the conditions for naskh is that the two conflicting rulings apply to the same situation under the same circumstances, and hence there is no alternative understanding of the application of the verses. As he states:

Therefore, if one of the rulings can apply to a specific case, and the other ruling to a different case, this cannot be considered an example of naskh. (Qadhi, An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan;UK Al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution, 1999, p. 237)

Therefore, verse 9:5 can in no way be considered an example of naskh since it is only a ruling applied to a very specific situation and circumstances. There is a lot of confusion surrounding some verses labeled as cases of naskh because the early Muslims used to use the word naskh to refer to takhsees as well. Therefore, some Muslims failed to realize that some of these cases labeled by early Muslims as 'naskh' were cases of takhsees. This is why some early Muslim scholars are quoted who have classified this verse as a case of 'naskh'. One should realize that they used the term naskh to refer to a broader range of meanings, including takhsees. As Dr. Jamal Badawi writes:

Any claim of naskh must be definitive, not based on mere opinion or speculation. It should be noted that earlier Muslims used the term naskh to refer also to takhsees or specifying and limiting the ruling than abrogating it. (SOURCE, emphasis added)

Shaykh Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi specifically addresses the confusion about verse 9:5, and after citing the different claims he concludes:

It can be seen from the examples and categories quoted that, in reality, most of these verses cannot be considered to have been abrogated in the least. Some of them merely apply to situations other than those that they were revealed for. Almost all of these 'mansookh' (abrogated) verses can still be said to apply when the Muslims are in a situation similar to the situation in which the verses were revealed. Thus, the 'Verse of the Sword' in reality does not abrogate a large number of verses; in fact, az-Zarqaanee concludes that it does not abrogate any! (fn. Az-Zarqaanee, v.2, pps.275-282) (Qadhi, An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur’aan;UK Al-Hidaayah Publishing and Distribution, 1999, p. 254)

Shaykh Sami Al-Majid also states the same thing in his article:

Some people – especially some contemporary non-Muslim critics of Islam – have tried to claim that this verse abrogates the verse “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” They argue that the generality of this statement implies that every unbeliever who refuses to accept Islam must be fought. They support their allegation by pointing out that this verse is one of the last verses to be revealed about fighting. However, this verse in no way abrogates the principle in Islamic Law that there is no compulsion in religion. It may be general in wording, but its meaning is quite specific on account of other verses of the Qur’ân that are connected with it as well as on account of a number of pertinent hadîth. (SOURCE)

Shaykh Jamal Al-Din Zarabozo also deals with this issue in his writings on the verse "There is no compulsion in religion". He mentions the view that this verse has been abrogated as then states:

Al-Dausiri rejects this statement because of the following: A verse cannot abrogate another verse unless it completely removes the ruling of the earlier verse and there is no way to reconcile the contradictory meanings of the verses. (Zarabozo, There is No Compulsion in Religion, Al-Basheer)

This was the view of the great scholars and mufasireen (Qur'anic commentators) both classical and recent, like Ash-Shanqeeti or Ibn Jarir At-Tabari. Shaykh Muhammad S. Al-Awa also comments on this issue in his discussion on the puunishment for apostasy:

At the same time, one can say that the death penalty for apostasy – especially when it is considered as a hadd (prescribed) punishment – contradicts the Qur'anic principle [law] in Surah II, verse 256, which proclaims "No compulsion in religion." Ibn Hazm, to avoid this criticism, claimed that this verse had been abrogated and that compulsion is allowed in religion; consequently, according to him, the punishment for apostasy does not contradict the Qur'an (fn. Muhalla, vol. XI, p. 195). However, this claim is invalid, since Qur'anic scholars have established the abrogated verses and this verse is not among them (fn. Suyuti, Itqan, vol. II, p. 22-24). Accordingly, one can say with the Encyclopaedia of Islam that "In the Qur'an the apostate is threatened with punishment in the next world only." (fn. Heffening, Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol. III, p. 736 under "Murtadd"). (El-Awa, Punishment in Islamic Law; US American Trust Publications, 1993, p. 51, emphasis added)

Therefore, when we discuss the merciful and loving verses of the Qur'an and we receive a claim that they have been abrogated by the specific verses concerning battle, we can dismiss such a claim as mere speculation and invalid. Peace and justice are fundamentals of the religion of Islam and can never be removed from it.


Islam is a religion of mercy and justice. It calls all human beings to the worship of the One God who created us all. What many people falsely present as Islam has actually been proven to be diametrically opposed to the values and laws of Islam. The narrations and verses explained in this article are frequently misquoted by those who seek to malign Islam and spread hatred towards its followers. In doing so, they follow in the footsteps of historical tyrants who performed ethnic cleansing by painting a certain group as evil. Such was the method of the Nazis who slaughter millions of Jews by labelling them as Christ-killers. History repeats itself, and it is unfortunate that people have not learnt from previous atrocities. Today, Muslims are experiencing the same hatred, as people become more tolerant of attacks on Islam. The only cure to this problem is education. Everyone must strive to spread the truth about a misunderstood religion. Islam is not the enemy. Hatred, Intolerance and Ignorance are the enemies of humanity.

May Allah protect us!


#15 Tahir 2015-03-24 08:56
Alhumdulillah Masha'Allah Tabarak'Allah very well written dispelling so many falsifications about Islam on the internet.


Those that slander Islam and attack it do so out of choice and they know very well that their quotes are lies.
#14 jenny 2015-02-20 14:11
Quoting Youssef:
I left islam several times because of the propaganda that exposed itself to me. This one article I think is enough for me to return to islam again. Thank you so much, Yusuf Estes

Brother MashAllah welcome back hold onto it with your teeth
#13 Youssef 2015-02-18 22:10
I left islam several times because of the propaganda that exposed itself to me. This one article I think is enough for me to return to islam again. Thank you so much, Yusuf Estes
#12 qwerty 2015-01-16 07:09
Re Zakir Naik's comments on Al-Qur'an 9:6.
"Dr." Naik is misquoting the verse; That verse is not talking about letting "enemy go free" - it is saying if enemy asks for *asylum* accept him, teach him the world of Allah and keep him secure. Asylum means enemy will defect to you - no question about making the soldier "go free".
#11 Jean J. Stuart 2014-06-06 20:09
Quran 9:5 and 9:29 are historical wars that took place in the 7th century when Muhammad was alive. And according to the most reliable early Islamic sources, they were a war of self defence.
#10 Muhammad Haroon 2014-04-23 09:59
Assalam Alaikum
The verses are not written properly correct then.
Do not touch this matter otherwise some will announce Fatwa.
Explain in your speaches as you say. It will be enough.
Translation of chapter 55 verse 7 & 8 is not correct
by Yousef Ali and other translators.
It is beyond their understanding.
It is scientific terminology which Allah Rabul Ezat explains here.
Insha Allah I shall send you later send me link for it and scientist will be surprised by it
Pray for me.

Hafiz Muhammad Haroon
#9 Sunusi Aminu 2013-12-26 03:32
May Allah reward you for correcting these misquotes.
#8 Fayzel 2013-04-04 19:00
Mashallah, jazakallah for putting this up, I saw so much propaganda on the web about surah 9 verse 5 referring to muslims promoting violence in the quraan, yet these non muslims just assume things, without finding out the real meaning. I was looking for the real meaning and alhamduliiah this is 1 million percent logical and accurate. I had a gut instinct the verse had been misconceived before reading this because its so logical if u are a muslim or if you have studied islam.. The people who accuse this verse to the violent conduct of muslims tries to label us muslims as terrorists. However, they do not know that a meaning of a verse in the Quraan has to be taken into PROPER ANALYSIS to determine the occasion of revelation, i.e the verse\'s meaning in that point of time where the muslims were actually at war against the Pagans. If they read this, KEY points mentions SEVERAL times that Allah says NOT TO TRANSGRESS LIMITS in the occurrence of war, and PEACE is promoted so many times. Also, violence would be only be used if war is waged AGAINST THE MUSLIMS, or if they were in the state of war and enmity. These people should get their facts straight before they accuse us muslims as terrorists. Muhammed (P.B.U.H) was of the most of humble of characters, and in the Quraan, Allah emphasises the importance of good character and humbleness. Muslims are never allowed to attack innocent people, even when they are themselves attacked by the countrymen of those innocents. Anyone who kills innocent people goes against everything Islam stands for. Wake up oh you disbelievers. Islam is such a peaceful religion. Allah is the greatest...
#7 sk 2013-02-21 07:45
there is a punishment for apostasy. read islamqa# 14231, 811, 696.
#6 Petersen 2012-12-31 13:41
Salamu Alaikum
There is no Verse that can abrogate another Verse in the Quran. Abrogation was simply a great lie against the Quran. I had the chance to see one little booklet about this subject in the internet that every Muslim should read as it disect in a very logical way the lie of abrogation, go here:

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