Ustaz Abubakr Siddeeq Muhammad — May 15, 2015 3:12 am | Leadership Newspaper
- “Terrorise and behead those who believe in scriptures other than the Qur’an.” 8:12
Again, to make proper sense of the verse quoted here, you go back a bit. The way out of the mischief is in not allowing anyone to misdirect your attention to one verse out of its general context. A historical context will be missing if you dwell on just verse 12 and ignore the verses before and after it. This principle will guide anyone, Muslim and non-Muslim, to the truth of the matter. There is no verse in the Qur’an, which orders anybody to behead anyone for their faith. What we have are verses ordering the Muslims to fight when attacked, to be as ferocious as the attackers, and to stop when the hostilities cease and to be patient and Allah-conscious. This is what history bears out from Muslims of that era and subsequent eras.
The Surah in question is Al Anfaal (The Spoils of War). In the opening verses, it is clear that the chapter was addressing certain situations pre and post war. The issues of what to do with the war booty after a war, the issues of desertion on the battlefield among others were those Allah addressed here. Other parts of the chapter dealt with rules of engagement and how to encourage troops during a battle. The custom of cherry-picking verses to suit evil purposes is not new but the evil motive is always defeated in the end. Let us look at the parts of the Surah that were ignored and which would have shed light on the matter:
(9) When ye sought help of your Lord and He answered you (saying): I will help you with a thousand of the angels, rank on rank.
(10) Allah appointed it only as good tidings, and that your hearts thereby might be at rest. Victory cometh only by the help of Allah. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise.
(11) When He made the slumber fall upon you as a reassurance from him and sent down water from the sky upon you, that thereby He might purify you, and remove from you the fear of Satan, and make strong your hearts and firm (your) feet thereby.
(12) When thy Lord inspired the angels, (saying): I am with you. So make those who believe stand firm. I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Then smite the necks and smite of them each finger.
(13) That is because they opposed Allah and His messenger. Whoso opposeth Allah and His messenger, (for him) lo! Allah is severe in punishment.
(14) That (is the award), so taste it, and (know) that for disbelievers is the torment of the Fire.
(15) O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them.
(16) Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless manoeuvring for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey’s end.
Without as much as an exegesis, it is clear, what is mentioned here has to do with a battle that was on at the time. In fact, it was the famous Battle of Badr when the pagans of Makkah travelled to the outskirts of Madeenah at a place called Badr. There were a little over 1,000 of them and there were only 313 Muslims. They sought to crush the earliest Muslims who had migrated from Makkah to Madeenah due to religious persecution. It was in the desert and the Muslims were fasting the month of Ramadan. The Messenger of Allah sought Allah’s help and they were victorious. How this can be interpreted to mean that Muslims should be attacking Christians or anyone for that matter is unfathomable.
Furthermore, the verses discuss events leading up to a war. The Muslims were living peacefully in Madeenah. The pagans in Makkah, who did not like the fact of a new religion, which calls to the worship of the One True God, decided to invade Madeenah. The Muslims were few and ill equipped, besides, they were fasting. They prayed for help and Allah helped them and braced them up for the fight with words of encouragement. He told them to fight and be brave, not minding their scant number.
How does that say Muslims should go around murdering anyone who believes in a different scripture? Unless those people want to act like the pagans of Makkah 1400 years ago, these verses will never apply to any non-Muslim. Only at the outbreak of war between Muslims and any aggressor group would these verses apply. They will not apply to people who have neither attacked nor aided an attack on Muslims.
- “Muslims must muster all weapons to terrorize the non-Muslims.” 8:60
You must have noticed a common trend in the selection of verses by the fear mongers who compiled the list of references. The response here is the same as the one before it:
I have started from verse 55:
(55) Lo! the worst of beasts in Allah’s sight are the ungrateful who will not believe.
(56) Those of them with whom thou madest a treaty, and then at every opportunity they break their treaty, and they keep not duty (to Allah).
(57) If thou comest on them in the war, deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them, that haply they may remember.
(58) And if thou fearest treachery from any folk, then throw back to them (their treaty) fairly. Lo! Allah loveth not the treacherous.
(59) And let not those who disbelieve suppose that they can outstrip (Allah’s Purpose). Lo! they cannot escape.
(60) Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force and of horses tethered, that thereby ye may dismay the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others beside them whom ye know not. Allah knoweth them. Whatsoever ye spend in the way of Allah it will be repaid to you in full, and ye will not be wronged.
(61) And if they incline to peace, incline thou also to it, and trust in Allah. Lo! He, even He, is the Hearer, the Knower.
(62) And if they would deceive thee, then lo! Allah is Sufficient for thee. He it is Who supporteth thee with His help and with the believers,
Again, as before, this is from Q8 that deals extensively with issues of war and its ethics for the believers. It was in reference to specific events during which rulings were needed and sought. Allah provided the rulings here. Again, it provides no license to murder anyone here, it merely instructs the Muslims of the era what to do in battle when they were under attack and it is useful to the Muslims of all eras who find themselves under a similar threat.
The verses are self-explanatory. The Muslims signed non-aggression and defence treaties with some of the non-Muslim tribes in Madeenah and the outskirts. Some of them broke the terms of the treaty by aiding attacks on the Muslims in some instances and attacking them in other instances. Allah ordered the His Messenger to cancel treaties with such tribes and make an example of them if they meet on the battlefield. It does not require rocket science to realise that the verses are not asking the Muslims to go on a killing spree.