* His Sayings Clarified *
1. Narration 1: "such a deed as equals Jihad..."
2. Narration 2: "There is no migration now, only Jihad..."
3. Narration 3: "Paradise is under the shade of swords..."
4. Narration 4: "...I am bringing you slaughter!"
5. Narration 5: "I have been made victorious with terror..."
6. Narration 6: "Expel them from the Arabian peninsula..."
7. Narration 7: "Whoever replaces his religion, execute him"
8. Narration 8: "...They are from them"
By Ansar Al-'Adl (www.islamicboard.com)
In our time, we find it becoming more and more common for some people to misquote verses from the Qur’an, or narrations of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), in order to support their twisted presentation of Islam as a hostile and violent religion.
The majority of these verses are either mistranslated, taken out of context, or misunderstood due to lack of basic knowledge.
For example, Jihad is misunderstood by many people today as a “holy war”, hence, whenever it is praised in the Qur’an, it is seen in a negative light. Jihad in reality is a positive concept, not a negative one, and for this reason, one must read about Jihad before reading the rest of this article.
An explanation of Jihad can be read here.
This article intends to clarify the misconception that Islam promotes violence and hatred by re-examining the misquoted verses and narrations. As we shall see, once understood properly, it becomes apparent that Islam teaches nothing but peace, harmony and tolerance for all humanity.
We have selected and quoted the verses/narrations in the way that they are circulated by the Islam-haters, so that the poor translation and other deceptive tactics of the Islam-Haters may be exposed.
Misquoted Verse #1 Misquoted narration #1
Bukhari: A man came to God's Apostle and said, "Instruct me as to such a deed as equals Jihad in reward". He replied, "I do not find such a deed. Can you, while the Muslim fighter has gone out for Jihad, enter a mosque to perform prayers without ceasing and fast forever?" The man said, "No one can do that." (Volume 4, Book 52, Number 44)
Many narrations used by enemies of Islam are similar to the one presented above. All these narrations emphasize the importance of Jihad in Islam. The purpose of Jihad is emphasized clearly in the Qur'an:
4:75 And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause 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
We can understand the Jihad the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) encouraged if we examine the historical situation at that time. Muhammad Husayn Haykal notes the following in his biography of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):
Fighting was permitted in Islam, and carried out by Muhammad and his companions, in order to stop their being persecuted for their faith and to have all the freedom they needed to call men to it.Later, when we see the details and the proofs of this, it will become clear that in all these alliances Muhammad's purpose was the consolidation of the defence of Madinah.The objective was to remove Madinah beyond any design the Quraysh might have against its Muslim inhabitants. Muhammad could not have forgotten that the Makkans once sought to extradite the Muslims from Abyssinia... ...This peaceful show of strength by Islam does not at all mean that Islam, at that time, forbade fighting in defence of personal life and of religion, or to put a stop to persecution.Indeed, Islam did not. Rather, it imposed such defence as a sacred duty.What it did really mean at that time, as it does today or will ever do, was to condemn any war of aggression. "Do not commit any aggression," God commands. He counsels, "God does not love the aggressors."[Qur'an, 2:190] (Haykal, The Life of Muhammad; US North American Trust Publications, 1976, p.206, 208 emphasis added)
Therefore, Islam, being a system which aims for the betterment of humanity, imposes fighting against oppression and injustice as a religious duty.
This is the reason for the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which encourage his followers to fight for the sake of God.
Misquoted narration #2Bukhari: God's Apostle said on the day of the conquest of Mecca, "There is no migration now, only Jihad and good intentions. And when you are called for Jihad, you should come out at once." (Volume 4, Book 53, Number 412)
The reason is very clear why the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has mentioned this. When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) entered Makkah, the city of those who had persecuted him and his followers a decade before, he forgave those who persecuted him. It was this mercy that allowed the entire city to willingly embrace Islam. Muhammad Husayn Haykal writes about the Prophet's entry into Makkah:
The Prophet camped on a height opposite the mountain of Hind and in the proximity of the graves of Abu Talib and Khadijah. He was asked whether he wanted to rest in his old house in Makkah and answered, "No! They have leveled it." The Prophet then retired to his tent grateful to God for this glorious and victorious return, and for bringing to its knees the cruel city which had tortured and banished him. For a moment, he turned his gaze toward the valley of Makkah as well as to the surrounding hills. He recalled that in those hills he often found refuge from the persecution of Quraysh... ...Mounting his she camel, al Qaswa', he rode toward the Ka'bah where he circumambulated the House without dismounting. He then dismounted and called upon `Uthman ibn Talhah to open the Ka'bah for him. Muhammad stood at the door surrounded by the many worshippers who had found their way to the holy House. He delivered a speech to the people present in which he said, quoting the Qur'an... ..."O men, We have created you from male and female and constituted you into peoples and tribes that you might know and cooperate with one another. In the eye of God, highest among you is the most virtuous. God is omniscient and all wise." [Qur'an, 49:13] He continued: "0 Men of Quraysh, what do you think I am about to do with you?" "Everything good," they answered, "for you are a noble brother and a noble nephew of ours." Muhammad went on: "Rise, then, and go. For you are free." With this word, Muhammad gave a general amnesty to all Quraysh and all the Makkans. The Prophet's General Amnesty Oh, the beauty of pardon and forgiveness on the part of the mighty and powerful! How great is the soul of Muhammad which rose above hatred and above revenge, which denied every human feeling and ascended to heights of nobility man had never reached before! There were the Quraysh among whom were people whom Muhammad well knew had plotted to kill him, had persecuted him, and inflicted upon him and his companions all kinds of injury and harm, who fought him at Badr and at Uhud, who blockaded him in the Campaign of al Khandaq, who incited the Arab tribes to rise against him, and who would even then tear him apart if only they had the power. There, the whole of Quraysh stood totally under Muhammad's hand, indeed under his feet, totally subject to his command. Indeed, their very life depended upon the first word emerging from his lips. All these thousands of men, of Muslims in battle array, stood on the ready waiting for that one word to wipe out the whole of Makkah and its people within minutes. Muhammad, however, was no less than Muhammad! He was no less than the Prophet of God! No alienation, antagonism, or hostility could find any permanent abode in his heart. His heart was absolutely free of injustice, of malice, of tyranny or false pride. In the most decisive moment, God gave him power over his enemy. But Muhammad chose to forgive, thereby giving to all mankind and all the generations the most perfect example of goodness, of truthfulness, of nobility and magnanimity. (Haykal, The Life of Muhammad ]; US North American Trust Publications, 1976, pp. 406-408)
At this point, Islam had become the major authority in the Arabian Peninsula and was established as a full state. With this many followers it was clear that in the face of danger, migration was no longer an option for such a large nation as no Muslim could turn their back on a fellow believer. Rather it was imperative that they all recognize the need for standing united in defending against the inevitable attacks from the armies of Persians and Romans.
Misquoted narration #3
Bukhari: Allah's Apostle said, "Know that Paradise is under the shades of swords." (Volume 4, Book 52, Number 73)
This narration is quoted by some in order to depict Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as someone who glorified violence and killing. However, if the full saying is quoted in context, that image is immediately banished. The full saying is found in another narration:
...Allah's Apostle in one of his military expeditions against the enemy, waited till the sun declined and then he got up amongst the people saying, "O people! Do not wish to meet the enemy, and ask Allah for safety, but when you face the enemy, be patient, and remember that Paradise is under the shades of swords." Then he said, "O Allah, the Revealer of the Holy Book, and the Mover of the clouds and the Defeater of the clans, defeat them, and grant us victory over them."(Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 266l)
This narration makes it abundantly clear that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught his followers to hateviolence and never desire conflict with the enemy. However, in the event of a battle, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) encouraged his companions to be patient and informed them of the reward promised by God to those who die fighting oppression and injustice. This saying should be presented in its full context so that the reader may see that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a man who desired peace and patiently endured the struggles thrust upon him by his enemies. As Dr. Jamal Badawi mentioned about this narration:
The hadith deals with the situation where Muslims are forced to the battlefield as the last resort to defend themselves in which case the use of the sword may be necessary and martyrdom (self-sacrifice) is rewarded with Paradise. (SOURCE)
Misquoted narration #4
The Prophet said "I swear by the One in Whose hand is my soul, O Quraysh, that I am bringing you slaughter!" (Musnad Ahmad # 7036, Ibn Hisham 1:289)
Although this narration does not appear in Sahih Muslim or Bukhari, it has been narrated in some other collections and accepted by scholars. To understand this narration, we must examine the historical context in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) made the statement. Shaykh Safiur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri mentions this narration in his biography of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the following context:
Al-Bukhari, on the authority of Ibn Mas‘ud, narrated that once when the Prophet [pbuh] was prostrating himself while praying in Al-Ka‘bah, Abu Jahl asked his companions to bring the dirty foetus of a she-camel and place it on his back. ‘Uqbah bin Abi Mu‘ait was the unfortunate man who hastened to do this ignoble act. A peal of laughter rose amongst the infidels. In the meanwhile, Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet [pbuh], happened to pass that way. She removed the filth from her father’s back. The Prophet [pbuh] invoked the wrath of Allâh upon them, especially upon Abu Jahl, ‘Utbah bin Rabi‘a, Shaibah bin Rabi‘a, Al-Waleed bin ‘Utbah, Omaiyah bin Khalaf and ‘Uqbah bin Mu‘ait. It is recorded that all of them were killed in the battle of Badr. [Bukhari 1/37] Scandal-mongering and backbiting were also amongst the means of oppression that the chiefs of Makkah, in general, and Omaiyah bin Khalaf, in particular, resorted to in their overall process of evil-doing. In this regard, Allâh says: "Woe to every slanderer and backbiter." [Al-Qur'an 104:1] ‘Uqbah bin Al-Mu‘ait once attended an audience of the Prophet [pbuh] and listened to him preaching Islam. A close friend of his, Ubai bin Khalaf, heard of this. He could not tolerate any act of this sort, so he reproached ‘Uqbah and ordered him to spit in the Prophet’s holy face, and he shamelessly did it. Ubai did not spare any thinkable way to malign the Prophet [pbuh] ; he even ground old decomposed bones and blew the powder on him... The Tyrants’ Decision to kill the Prophet [pbuh] Now that all the schemes and conspiracies of Quraysh had failed, they resorted to their old practices of persecution and inflicting tortures on the Muslims in a more serious and brutal manner than ever before. They also began to nurse the idea of killing the Prophet [pbuh]. In fact, contrary to their expectations, this new method and this very idea served indirectly to consolidate the Call to Islam and support it with the conversion of two staunch and mighty heroes of Makkah, i.e. Hamzah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib and ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab[R]. ‘Utaibah bin Abi Lahab once approached the Prophet [pbuh] and most defiantly and brazenly shouted at him, "I disbelieve in: "By the star when it goes down." [53:1] and in "Then he (Gabriel) approached and came closer." [53:8] In other words: "I do not believe in any of the Qur’ân." He then started to deal highhandedly with Muhammad [pbuh] and laid violent hand on him, tore his shirt and spat into his face but his saliva missed the Holy face of the Prophet [pbuh]. Thereupon, the Prophet [pbuh] invoked Allâh’s wrath on ‘Utaibah and supplicated: "O Allâh! Set one of Your dogs on him." Allâh responded positively to Muhammad’s supplication, and it happened in the following manner: Once ‘Utaibah with some of his compatriots from Quraysh set out for Syria and took accommodation in Az-Zarqa’. There a lion approached the group to the great fear of ‘Utbah, who at once recalled Muhammad’s words in supplication, and said: "Woe to my brother! This lion will surely devour me just as Muhammad [pbuh] supplicated. He has really killed me in Syria while he is in Makkah." The lion did really rush like lightning, snatched ‘Utbah from amongst his people and crushed his head. [Tafheem-ul-Qur'an 6/522; Quoted from Al-Isti'ab, Al-Isaba, Dala'il An-Nubuwwah, etc] It is also reported that a wretched idolater from Quraysh, named ‘Uqbah bin ‘Abi Mu‘ait once trod on the Prophet’s neck while he was prostrating himself in prayer until his eyes protruded. [Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool p.113]... ...the tyrants of Quraysh would not be admonished, contrariwise, the idea of killing the Prophet [pbuh] was still being nourished in their iniquitous hearts. On the authority of ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As, some people of Quraysh were in a place called Al-Hijr complaining that they had been too patient with the Prophet [pbuh] , who suddenly appeared and began his usual circumambulation. They started to wink at him and utter sarcastic remarks but he remained silent for two times, then on the third, he stopped and addressed the infidels saying: "O people of Quraysh! Hearken, I swear by Allâh in Whose Hand is my soul, that you will one day be slaughtered to pieces." As soon as the Prophet [pbuh] uttered his word of slaughter, they all stood aghast and switched off to a new style of language smacking of fear and even horror trying to soothe his anger and comfort him saying: "You can leave Abul Qasim, for you have never been foolish." [Ibn Hisham 1/289] ‘Urwa bin Az-Zubair narrated: I asked Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As to tell me of the worst thing that the pagans did to the Prophet [pbuh] . He said: "While the Prophet [pbuh] was praying in Al-Hijr of Al-Ka‘bah, ‘Uqbah bin Al-Mu‘ait came and put his garment around the Prophet’s neck and throttled him violently. Abu Bakr came and caught him by his shoulder and pushed him away from the Prophet [pbuh] and said: "Do you want to kill a man just because he says, My Lord is Allâh?" [Bukhari 1/544] (Al-Mubarakpuri, Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum; Riyadh-Saudi Arabia, Dar-us-Salam Publications, 1996; pp. 94 & 105-108, emphasis added)
It becomes clear that this statement was uttered by a man subjected to abuse and persecution. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said this after being repeatedly tormented while trying to worship his creator in peace. Not only was he tortured, but his followers also suffered immense torture. Professor K. S. Ramakrishna Rao summarizes some of the tortures the early Muslims faced:
Read the history of the early converts to Islam, and every heart would melt at the sight of the brutal treatment of innocent Muslim men and women. Sumayya, an innocent women, is cruelly torn into pieces with spears, An example is made of " Yassir whose legs are tied to two camels and the beast were are driven in opposite directions", Khabbab bin Arth is made lie down on the bed of burning coal with the brutal legs of their merciless tyrant on his breast so that he may not move and this makes even the fat beneath his skin melt." "Khabban bin Adi is put to death in a cruel manner by mutilation and cutting off his flesh piece-meal." In the midst of his tortures, being asked weather he did not wish Muhammad in his place while he was in his house with his family, the sufferer cried out that he was gladly prepared to sacrifice himself his family and children and why was it that these sons and daughters of Islam not only surrendered to their prophet their allegiance but also made a gift of their hearts and souls to their master ? Is not the intense faith and conviction on part of immediate followers of Muhammad, the noblest testimony to his sincerity and to his utter self-absorption in his appointed task ? (Ramakrishna Rao, Islam and Modern Age)
Therefore, Prophet Muhammad's comment (peace be upon) was a warning. It was a warning to the Quraysh to desist from their crimes or face the punishment of their Lord. It should be noted that this was always the function of God's Messengers and Prophets throughout the history of humanity on Earth. They were sent by God to guide people back to the worship of their Creator, towards good deeds and acts of compassion and away from evil deeds and sins. The Prophets warned their people to desist from their crimes before the punishment of God would come. An example would be the nation of Pharaoh who enslaved the Children of Israel and sought to kill Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). For their crimes, God caused them to drown in the sea. Dr. Ja'far Sheikh Idris comments on the destruction of nations by mentioning the following:
Decline or destruction is therefore the ultimate and inevitable destiny of any ungrateful nation, any nation which rebels against God and follows the path of immorality. But this ultimate destruction is brought about in accordance with principles. Here are some of them. a. Destruction or chastisement does not befall a nation until it is sufficiently warned. This warning can come to them through the medium of a Messenger from God: "And never did Thy Lord destroy the townships, till He had raised up in their mother-town a messenger reciting unto them our revelations. And never did we destroy the townships unless the folk thereof were evil doers." (Qu'ran:xxvii,59) "Never did We destroy a population, but had its warners------by way of reminder; and We never are unjust." (Qur'an xxvi,208-209) Or they may be caused to know in some other way that they are guilty and should therefore expect to be punished. (The Process of Islamization, Part 4 © 1977 The Muslim Students' Association of the US and Canada Fourth Printing - January 1983)
So the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was performing his duty of warning the Quraysh of an impending punishment from God if they did not desist from their crimes and sins. In the end, most of the Quraysh did repent and embraced Islam, thus the punishment was averted from them.
Misquoted narration #5
Bukhari: Allah's Apostle said, "I have been made victorious with Terror" (Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220)
The full narration reads as follows:
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "I have been sent with the shortest expressions bearing the widest meanings, and I have been made victorious with ru'b (cast in the hearts of the enemy), and while I was sleeping, the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and put in my hand." Abu Huraira added: Allah's Apostle has left the world and now you, people, are bringing out those treasures (i.e. the Prophet did not benefit by them). (Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 220)
By using the word 'Terror' for ru'b, the Islam-hater intends to convey the following definition of terror:
Violence committed or threatened by a group to intimidate or coerce a population, as for military or political purposes. (The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
However, the word ru'b does not have that meaning at all. It refers to fright and anxiety. In fact, we can derive a better understanding of ru'b by examing other ahadith:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) saod: "I was given victory through Ru`b: the enemy becomes filled with Ru`b even though they are the distance of a month's journey away from me." (Ahmad #20337)
The meaning is thus obvious that when the enemies' attempts to detroy the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) failed, they began to fear him as he grew in strength in Arabia and gained more followers. They feared and hated the religion he brought which preached equality and morality and would remove them from their position of corrupt tyrants who enslaved the poor and the non-arabs. It was fear of the mysterious power which granted Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his followers such rapid success. This fear was not the fear that resulted from past combat, as many Islam-haters would have us believe, rather it was a type of fear which preventedfurther combat. As Jalal Abualrub notes:
Ru`b ', means, ‘Fear': Here is a list of some of the Islamic resources explaining, ‘Ru`b', as, ‘Fear', and, ‘Awe': Fat`h al-Bari bi Shar`h Sahih al-Bukhari ; Tu`hfat al-A`hwadhi bi Shar'h Jami' at-Tirmidhi ; and, Shar`h Sunan an-Nasaii . These books were written by Muslim Scholars explaining Hadeeths contained in, Sahih al-Bukhari , and the Sunan collections of Imams at-Tirmidhi and an-Nasaii, respectively.... ...Al-Waqidi said in his, Maghazi , that Juwairiyah Bint al-Harith said, “ We were at the Muraisii` area when the Messenger of Allah marched forth towards us. I heard my father say, ‘There has come to us a gathering that we cannot resist.' I saw men and horses in such numbers that I cannot describe. After I became Muslim and the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, married me I looked at the Muslims and found their numbers to be less than what I had thought. I knew that this was Ru`b that Allah, the Exalted, throws in the hearts of the polytheists.' ” There are many similar examples in which the enemies of Islam, who, just like the Muraisii` people, had gathered armies to attack Madinah and the Prophet, scattered throughout the desert in fear when they heard that the Prophet had gathered an army to resist their treacherous attacks. Many lives were saved through Allah throwing fear in the hearts of the enemies of Muhammad, peace be upon them, because his enemies feared him, fled and did not meet him in battle. Thus, ‘fear', in the Hadeeth...saved Muslims and many of their enemies the hardship of battle and warfare. (Abualrub, The Prophet of Mercy, emphasis added)
hence, the fear that the disbelievers had of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) can justly be compared to the fear a thief or murderer would have of a police officer. In fact, a Police officer would desire that criminals fear the law in order to maintain a safe and secure society. Some crtitics also claim that this narration proves that the motivation of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was money due to the phrase, "the keys of the treasures of the world were brought to me and placed in my hand". Of course they omit the phrase before that - "While I was asleep". Jalal Abualrub comments on this deceptive tactic as follows:
By doing so, it would appear that the Prophet, peace be upon him, was seeking or wishing to acquire other people's wealth for himself. Contrary to this false illusion, this was a vision that the Prophet saw which contained glad tidings for the generations of Muslims to come. This is why in the same Hadeeth, Abu Hurairah added, as al-Bukhari and Muslim reported from him, “ Allah's Apostle has left the world and now you, people, are bringing out those treasures (i.e. the Prophet did not benefit by them). (Abualrub, The Prophet of Mercy)
There are thousands of narrations which confirm that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) lived a simple life in poverty despite the power and strength he acquired as a leader. Here are a few of such narrations:
Narrated 'Aisha: The family of Muhammad had never eaten their fill of wheat bread for three successive days since they had migrated to Medina till the death of the Prophet. (Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 461) Narrated 'Aisha: The family of Muhammad did not eat two meals on one day, but one of the two was of dates. (Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 462) Narrated 'Aisha: The bed mattress of the Prophet was made of a leather case stuffed with palm fibres. (Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 463) Narrated Qatada: We used to go to Anas bin Malik and see his baker standing (preparing the bread). Anas said, "Eat. I have not known that the Prophet ever saw a thin well-baked loaf of bread till he died, and he never saw a roasted sheep with his eyes." (Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 464) Narrated 'Aisha: A complete month would pass by during which we would not make a fire (for cooking), and our food used to be only dates and water unless we were given a present of some meat. (Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 76, Number 465)
In truth, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) never desired anything of the worldly pleasures. His mission was solely to please his Lord and spread the true message across the land, calling people to morality, justice and peace achieved through submission to God.
Misquoted narration #6
The Prophet said to expel the non-muslims from the arabian peninsula.
The statements of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) concerned are as follows:
Expel the pagans from the Arabian Peninsula (Ar. Jazîrat Al-'Arab), respect and give gifts to the foreign delegates as you have seen me dealing with them. (Sahîh Bukhârî)
I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula (Ar. Jazîrat Al-'Arab) and will not leave any but Muslims. (Sahîh Muslim)
Two religions shall not coexist in the Arab lands (Ar. Ard Al-'Arab). (Muwatta Mâlik)
First let us discuss the meaning of Jazîrat Al-'Arab and Ard Al-'Arab. We shall examine how these terms are geographically defined in connection to their context in the aforementioned Ahâdîth.
When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) gave commands to his companions he spoke using the terminology and the language that they were familiar with. Thus, the regions mentioned were defined according to the cultural and geopolitical setting in Arabia. If we look at how the Prophet's comnpanions understood and implemented his directives, we are able to develop a better understanding of what the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) intended.
The prominent companion of the Prophet, 'Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, relocated the Jewish tribes of Khaybar and Fadak, sending them to other regions in Arabia such as Taymâ and Arîhâ. Scholars have used this, amongst other narrations, as evidence when interpreting the saying of the Prophet Muhammad on the arabian peninsula. Shaykh Sâmî Al-Mâjid writes in his discussion of these Prophetic sayings:
Furthermore, many scholars understand the hadîth to refer only to the Hijâz region surrounding Makkah and Madînah. The proof for this is that `Umar expelled the Jews from Khaybar and Fadak, but did not expel the inhabitants of Taymâ, though it is also located on the Arabian peninsula. (IslamToday Fatwâ)
Commenting on this action of 'Umar, Imâm Abu Zakariyyah An-Nawawî (d. 1300CE) writes:
`Umar sent them to Taymâ and Arîhâ. This is proof that the Prophet (peace be upon him) intended that the Jews and Christians should be evicted from only part of the Arabian Peninsula, specifically the region of Hijâz. This is because Taymâ is part of the Arabian Peninsula but outside of Hijâz. (Sharh Sahîh Muslim 10/212-213)
He also says:
Al-Shâfi`î understood the ruling to apply to part of the Arabian Peninsula, namely the Hijâz region. For him this is Makkah, Madînah, al-Yamâmah and their environs. It does not include Yemen and other areas of the Arabian Peninsula.(Sharh Sahîh Muslim 11/93-94)
Likewise, the Hanbalî scholar Imâm Ibn Qudâmah Al-Maqdisî (d. 1223CE) mentions Imâm Ahmad b. Hanbal's (d. 855CE) opinion that the Arabian Peninsula refers to Madinah and its environs. He then goes on to say:
This means that what is forbidden is for unbelievers to settle in "Madinah and its environs" which includes Makkah, al-Yamâmah, Khaybar, al-Yanbu`, Fadak and their outlying areas. This is the opinion of al-Shâfi`î. It is as if the Arabian Peninsula referred to in those hadîth is intended to mean the Hijâz region. The only reason this reason is named Hijâz, a word implying a boundary or division, is because it divides between the regions of Tihâmah and Najd. It is not forbidden for them to live in the borderlands of Hijâz, like Taymâ and Fayd, since `Umar did not prohibit this.(al-Mughnî 13/242-244)
This is again repeated by Imâm Ibn Hajar Al-'Asqalânî (d. 1449CE):
The pagans are not allowed to settle specifically in the Hijâz region, meaning Makkah, Madînah, al-Yamâmah, and their environs. It does not apply to other regions that are considered part of the Arabian Peninsula. This is because everyone is agreed that they may live in Yemen, though it is part of the Arabian Peninsula. This is the opinion of the majority of scholars.(Fath al-Bârî 6/198)
The conclusion of these quotations is that the Prophet's directive concerning the removal of Non-Muslim groups referred specifically to the Hijâz region (the surroundings of Makkah and Madînah) and not the entire 'Arabian peninsula'.
Having understood the geographical aspect of the directive, the legal aspect may be examined. What is the conclusion of the removal of Non-Muslims from the Hijâz region? The scholars have explained that this removal implies only the prohibition of permanent non-muslim settlements in the region. It does not preclude the presence of all non-muslim activities, so long as permanent settlements are not taken up. As Shaykh Sâmî Al-Mâjid writes:
There are some things that need to be understood about this hadîth. It does not prohibit non-Muslims from residing in the Arabian Peninsula without the intention of permanent settlement. They may live within it for purposes of business, study, or work. There is no prohibition against it. (IslamToday Fatwâ)
Therefore the hadîth of the Prophet (peace be upon him) prohibited the presence of Non-Muslim settlements, in the Hijâz region.
It may be asked as to why the Prophet (peace be upon him) gave such a directive. A number of reasons can be offered. Makkah and Madînah became established as the heart of the Muslim world. The presence of non-muslim settlements in the surrounding region posed a threat if these settlements would grow, gain control and dominate the area, allowing their unislamic customs and beliefs to prevail in the nucleus of the Islamic empire. Even worse, they may turn against the Muslims in the area and eradicate them. Such a fear was quite valid as the Muslims were no foreigners to hostility and agression from non-muslim tribes who sought to wipe them out. Thus, it was crucial that Islam remained the sole power and influence in these lands to ensure the stability of the Islamic nation. The companions implemented the Prophetic commands without violence. There was no destruction of homes or property involved; the Muslims fought only those who initiated the agression against them. They retained peaceful ties with many non-muslim tribes and groups. There were many Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian groups who continued to live peacefully under the Islamic state undisturbed.
The Prophet said, "Whoever replaces his religion, execute him."
In order to understand this issue, we need to examine the Islamic law on apostasy. Since religion is looked on as a personal affair in western society, the notion of state intervention in one's personal choice would naturally seem excessive. However, from the Islamic perspective, a number of points must be observed with regard to apostasy:
1. Islam has never compelled anyone to accept the religion. Anyone who becomes a Muslim does so purely through objective study of the religion. As Allah has informed us in the Qur'an:
2:256 There is no compulsion in religion.
10:99 So would you (O Muhammad) then compel people to become believers?
Likewise, Islam encourages its followers to reflect and contemplate upon the universe around us and to ponder over the beauty of the Qur'anic message:
47:24 Do they not ponder over the Qur'an or are their hearts locked up?
51:20-21. And on earth are signs for those endowed with inner-certainty; and [likewise there are signs] in yourselves, do you not observe?
29:20 Say: "Travel through the earth and see how Allah did originate creation; so will Allah produce a later creation: for Allah has power over all things.
Thus, Islam requires that one's faith be constructed upon logical investigation and study of the universe in which we live. Through logical contemplation, one realizes the supreme authority of the Creator and the veracity of Muhammad's (saws) claim to prophethood. Thus we find that, in the history of Islam, no knowledgeable Muslim has ever left Islam. The only cases we find of former Muslims are people who were never practicing Muslims in the first place, nor did they ever have a good understanding of Islam. Yet on the other hand, the list of educated converts to Islam is immense, and it includes educated leaders such as priests, rabbis and atheists.
2. Those who have left Islam have historically fallen under three categories: those who left having never properly understood the religion often due to social circumstances, those who faked a conversion into Islam in order to undermine the Islamic community from within, and those who left to support opposing forces in battle against the Muslims. Because of the first category, Islam requires that the person who has chosen to forsake the religion be consulted with in order that his doubts may be clarified to him if there is any specific issue of confusion, or so that he may learn the proper Islamic teachings that he may otherwise have not been exposed to. As for the second and third category, this was the original reason behind the Prophet's statement on apostasy. The Qur'an records (3:72) that the Jews of Madinah decided to initiate the practice of pretending to accept Islam and then publicly declare their rejection of it, so as to destroy the confidence of the newly-converted Muslims. Thus, the Prophet Muhammad pbuh ruled that a punishment should be announced so that those who decide to accept Islam do so because of a firm conviction not in order to harm the Muslim community from within.
3. Coming to the actual law of apostasy, the Prophet Muhammad pbuh did say, in the above historical context, "Whoever replaces his religion, execute him" (Bukhari, Abu Dawud) but how exactly do we understand this statement and does it conflict with the principles of freedom? The Prophet Muhammad pbuh himself clarified this statement in another hadith narrated in Sahih Muslim where he mentioned that the one who was to be fought against was the one who "abandons his religion and the Muslim community". It should be noted that every country has maintained punishments, including execution, for treason and rebellion against the state (See Mozley and Whitley's Law Dictionary, under "Treason and Treason Felony," pp. 368-369). Islam is not just a set of beliefs, it is a complete system of life which includes a Muslim's allegiance to the Islamic state. Thus, a rejection against that would be akin to treason. Rebellion against God is more serious than rebellion against one's country. However, one who personally abandons the faith and leaves the country would not be hunted down and assassinated, nor would one who remains inside the state conforming to outward laws be tracked down and executed. The notion of establishing inquisition courts to determine peoples' faith, as done in the Spanish Inquisition, is something contrary to Islamic law. As illustrated by the historical context in which it was mandated, the death penalty is mainly for those who collaborate with enemy forces in order to aid them in their attacks against the Islamic state or for those who seek to promote civil unrest and rebellion from within the Islamic state. When someone publicly announces their rejection of Islam within an Islamic state it is basically a challenge to the Islamic government, since such an individual can keep it to themselves like the personal affair it is made out to be.
4. From Islamic history, we can gain a better understanding of how this law has been implemented. Although the Prophet Muhammad pbuh threatened the death penalty in response to the attempts against the Muslim community, no such executions took place in his time (Imam Shawkani, Nayl Al-Awtar, vol. 7, p. 192) even though there is a report that a Bedouin renounced Islam and left Madinah unharmed in his time (Fath Al-Bari vol. 4, p.77 and vol. 13 p. 170; Sahih Muslim biSharh An-Nawawi, vol. 9, p. 391). Thus, we find that context plays an important role in determining how to deal with apostates. The case of one who enlists nations to fight against the Islamic state is more serious, for example. That is why the scholars of the Hanafi school of thought felt that the punishment only applies to the male apostate and not the female apostate because the latter is unable to wage war against the Islamic state. If someone simply has some doubts concerning Islam, then those doubts can be clarified.
So an Islamic state is certainly justified in punishing those who betray the state, committing treason and support enemy forces. As for anyone else, if they do not publicly declare their rejection of Islam, the state has no interest in pursuing them; if their case does become public, however, then they should be reasoned with and educated concerning the religion so that they have the opportunity to learn the concepts they may not have understood properly and they can be encouraged to repent.
When asked about the possibility of women and children of the polytheists being exposed to danger during a night raid, the Prophet Muhammad said, "They are from them."
Before addressing the specific narration in question, let us first emphasize the fact that Islam prohibits the killing of women and children.
Narrated Ibn 'Umar: A woman was found killed in one of these battles, so the Messenger of God forbade the killing of women and children. (Sahîh Bukhârî, Sahîh Muslim)
Ibn `Abbas says: The Messenger of Allah, when dispatching his troops, would tell them, " ..Do not behave treacherously, nor misappropriate war-booty, nor mutilate [those whom you kill], nor kill children, nor the people in cloisters."(Musnad Ahmad, Sunan At-Tirmidhî)
Another narration records that he said, "…Do not kill a woman, nor a child, nor an old-aged man’ (Sharh as-Sunnah Al-Baghawî)
Narrated Anas ibn Malik: The Prophet said: Go in Allah's name, trusting in Allah, and adhering to the religion of Allah's Apostle. Do not kill a decrepit old man, a young infant, or a child, or a woman; do not be dishonest about booty, but collect your spoils, do right and act well, for Allah loves those who do well. (Sunan Abî Dawûd)
And again, "Do not kill a child, nor a woman, nor an old man, nor obliterate a stream, nor cut a tree…" (Sunan Al-Bayhaqî)
The strict conditions that Islam has laid out in the event of warfare are referred to in the verse:
2:190 Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.