Is Islam a religion of Peace?

Sam Shamoun

Introduction

The following is the material which I prepared for my debate with Nadir Ahmed that took place on November 3, 2007 at Hope International University, Fullerton, CA. The thesis of the debate was, "Is Islam a Religion of Peace?" (1, 2). Lord willing, tapes and/or DVDs of the debate will be made available to the public shortly which we will announce on our site. [Update: the debate can now be viewed on Google video. Access it here.]

Following the Example of the Salafs and the Caliphs

Salafis (which Nadir Ahmed professes to be) are to follow the example of the first three generations of Muslims since Muhammad stated that they were the best:

Narrated 'Abdullah:
The Prophet was asked, "Who are the best people?" He replied: "The people of my generation, and then those who will follow (come after) them, and then those who will come after the later; after that there will come some people whose witness will precede their oaths and their oaths will go ahead of their witness." Ibrahim (a sub-narrator) said, "When we were young, our elder friends used to prohibit us from taking oaths by saying, 'I bear witness swearing by Allah, or by Allah's Covenant."' (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 78, Number 652)

'A'isha reported that a person asked Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) as to who amongst the people were the best. He said: Of the generation to which I belong, then of the second generation (generation adjacent to my generation), then of the third generation (generation adjacent to the second generation). (Sahih Muslim, Book 031, Number 6159)

Muhammad also commanded his followers to cling to the Sunna of the rightly-guided caliphs:

On the authority of Abu Najih Al-Erbadh bin Sariah, who said:

The messenger of Allah gave us a sermon by which our hearts were filled with fear and tears came to our eyes. We said: "O Messenger of Allah, it is as though this is a farewell sermon, so counsel us." He said: "I counsel you to fear Allah and to give absolute obedience even if a slave becomes your leader. Verily he among you who lives [long] will see great controversy, so you must keep to my sunnah and to the sunnah of the rightly-guided Khalifahs - cling to them stubbornly. Beware of newly invented matters, for every invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is a going astray, and every going astray is in Hell-fire."

Related by Abu Dawud and Al-Tirmidhi, who said that it was a fine and true Hadith. (Al-Nawawi's Forty Hadith, Number 28; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Muhammad further likened Umar to a prophet, to a person who speaks with inspiration:

Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "Amongst the people preceding you there used to be 'Muhaddithun' (i.e. persons who can guess things that come true later on, as if those persons have been inspired by a divine power), and if there are any such persons amongst my followers, it is 'Umar bin Al-Khattab." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 675)

And:

‘Ali: So what is stopping you from asking ‘Umar to make du’a for you? Do you know, Ibn Qurt, that his du’a is never rejected and always reaches Allah and that Rasulullah said in his regard: "Were there to be another prophet after me it would have been ‘Umar." Is he not that man whose decisions corresponded to that of the Quran until Rasulullah said, "Were punishment to fall from the sky to Earth, none would escape it except ‘Umar bin al-Khattab."

Do you not know that Allah revealed clear verses about him? Is he not ascetic, pious and always engaged in worship? Does he not greatly resemble the prophet Nuh? Should he offer du’a on your behalf it would be answered. (Al-Imam al-Waqidi, The Islamic Conquest of Syria, A Translation of Futuhusham: The Inspiring History of the Sahabah’s Conquest of Syria, translated by Mawlana Sulayman al-Kindi [Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd., London 2005], Part 3: Al-Yarmuk, pp. 287-288; bold and italic emphasis ours)

Amazingly, Umar even inspired Allah to inspire Muhammad!

Narrated Anas:

Umar said, "I agreed with Allah in three things," or said, "My Lord agreed with me in three things. I said, ‘O Allah's Apostle! Would that you took the station of Abraham as a place of prayer.’ I also said, ‘O Allah's Apostle! Good and bad persons visit you! Would that you ordered the Mothers of the believers to cover themselves with veils.’ So the Divine Verses of Al-Hijab (i.e. veiling of the women) were revealed. I came to know that the Prophet had blamed some of his wives so I entered upon them and said, ‘You should either stop (troubling the Prophet) or else Allah will give His Apostle better wives than you.’ When I came to one of his wives, she said to me, ‘O ‘Umar! Does Allah’s Apostle haven't[sic] what he could advise his wives with, that you try to advise them?’" Thereupon Allah revealed:--

"It may be, if he divorced you (all) his Lord will give him instead of you, wives better than you Muslims (who submit to Allah)…" (66.5) (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 60, Number 10)

This means that Nadir must consult the Islamic source material to see how Muhammad and his followers interpreted and implemented the Quran. He cannot merely cite his opinion and tell us what he thinks the verses on Jihad actually mean since he would cease to be a faithful Salafi Muslim if he does so.

Muhammadan Model of Dealing with Enemies

The Quran presents Muhammad as the example to follow:

You have had a good example in God's Messenger for whosoever hopes for God and the Last Day, and remembers God oft. S. 33:21

This is important in understanding the position and status of Muslims living in the West. Muhammad went through three specific stages depending on his circumstances, stages which Muslims implement till this day.

Stage 1 – Preach tolerance when outnumbered by unbelievers/No retaliation stage.

And for his saying, 'My Lord, surely these are a people who believe not' -- yet pardon them, and say, 'Peace!' Soon they will know. S. 43:88-89

Say: 'O unbelievers, I serve not what you serve and you are not serving what I serve, nor am I serving what you have served, neither are you serving what I serve To you your religion, and to me my religion!' S. 109

Stage 2 – Permit Defensive Fighting when there are enough Muslims and weapons to successfully carry it out.

And fight in the way of God with those who fight with you, but aggress not: God loves not the aggressors. And slay them wherever you come upon them, and expel them from where they expelled you; persecution is more grievous than slaying. But fight them not by the Holy Mosque until they should fight you there; then, if they fight you, slay them -- such is the recompense of unbelievers -- but if they give over, surely God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is God's; then if they give over, there shall be no enmity save for evildoers. S. 2:190-194

Leave is given to those who fight because they were wronged -- surely God is able to help them -- who were expelled from their habitations without right, except that they say 'Our Lord is God.' Had God not driven back the people, some by the means of others, there had been destroyed cloisters and churches, oratories and mosques, wherein God's Name is much mentioned. Assuredly God will help him who helps Him -- surely God is All-strong, All-mighty who, if We establish them in the land, perform the prayer, and pay the alms, and bid to honour, and forbid dishonour; and unto God belongs the issue of all affairs. S. 22:39-41

Stage 3 – After amassing a large number of soldiers and resources permission is given to carry out Offensive Warfare in order to kill the pagans and humble the Christians and Jews.

An acquittal, from God and His Messenger, unto the idolaters with whom you made covenant: 'Journey freely in the land for four months; and know that you cannot frustrate the will of God, and that God degrades the unbelievers.' A proclamation, from God and His Messenger, unto mankind on the day of the Greater Pilgrimage: 'God is quit, and His Messenger, of the idolaters. So if you repent, that will be better for you; but if you turn your backs; know that you cannot frustrate the will of God. And give thou good tidings to the unbelievers of a painful chastisement; excepting those of the idolaters with whom you made covenant, then they failed. you naught neither lent support to any man against you. With them fulfil your covenant till their term; surely God loves the godfearing. Then, when the sacred months are drawn away, slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and perform the prayer, and pay the alms, then let them go their way; God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. And if any of the idolaters seeks of thee protection, grant him protection till he hears the words of God; then do thou convey him to his place of security -- that, because they are a people who do not know. S. 9:1-6

O believers, the idolaters are indeed unclean; so let them not come near the Holy Mosque after this year of theirs. If you fear poverty, God shall surely enrich you of His bounty, if He will; God is All-knowing; All-wise. Fight those who believe not in God and the Last Day and do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden -- such men as practise not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book -- until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled. The Jews say, 'Ezra is the Son of God'; the Christians say, 'The Messiah is the Son of God.' That is the utterance of their mouths, conforming with the unbelievers before them. God assail them! How they are perverted! They have taken their rabbis and their monks as lords apart from God, and the Messiah, Mary's son -- and they were commanded to serve but One God; there is no god but He; glory be to Him, above that they associate -- S. 9:28-31

Muslim Scholars’ Exegesis of Q. 9:5 and 29

This is the Ayah of the Sword...

<But if they repent and perform the Salah, and give Zakah, then leave their way free. Verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.>

Abu Bakr As-Siddiq used this and other honorable Ayat as proof for fighting those who refrained from paying the Zakah. These Ayat allowed fighting people unless, and until, they embrace Islam and implement its rulings and obligations... In the two Sahihs, it is recorded that Ibn ‘Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said,

<I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish the prayer and pay Zakah.>

This honorable Ayah (9:5) was called the Ayah of the Sword, about which Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim said, "It abrogated every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolator, EVERY TREATY, AND EVERY TERM." Al-‘Awfi said that Ibn ‘Abbas commented: "No idolator had any more treaty or promise ever since Sura Bara’ah was revealed. The four months, in addition to, all peace treaties conducted before Bara’ah was revealed and announced had ended by the tenth of the month of Rabi’ Al-Akhir." (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Surat Al-A’raf to the end of Surah Yunus, abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; First Edition: May 2000] Volume 4, pp. 375, 377; source; capital and underline emphasis ours)

The following quotes were taken from these two pages (1, 2).

Ibn Juzayy:

(Then when the sacred months are over) i.e. the four months designated for them. Those who say that they are Shawwal, Dhu’l-Qa’da, Dhu’l-Hijja and al-Muharram, says that they are the well-known Sacred Months - with the addition of Shawwal and omission of Rajab. They are called "sacred" because the majority dominates in an Arabic phrase. Those who say that they last until Rab' ath-Thani calls them sacred because of their inviolability and because fighting in them was forbidden.

(kill the mushrikun wherever you find them) ABROGATING EVERY PEACE TREATY IN THE QUR’AN. It is said that it abrogates, "by setting them free or ransom." (47:4) It is also said that it is abrogated by it and so setting them free and ransom are permitted. (seize them) means to capture, and the one taken is the captive.

(If they make tawba) after disbelief. Then He connects belief to the prayer and zakat. That is an indication that one should fight anyone WHO ABANDONS THE PRAYER AND ZAKAT as Abu Bakr as-Siddiq did. The ayat encompassed the meaning of the Prophet’s words, "I am commanded to fight people until they say, 'There is no god but Allah and establish the prayer and pay the zakat." (let them go on their way) granting them security…

(Fight those of the people who do not have iman in Allah and the Last Day) A command to fight the People of the Book and denying their belief in Allah because of the words of the Jews, "'Uzayr is the son of Allah" and the words of the Christians, "The Messiah is the son of Allah." Their belief in the Last Day is denied because their belief in it is incorrect. They do not accept the Next World or the Reckoning.

(who do not make haram what Allah and His Messenger have made haram) because they consider as lawful carrion, blood, pork, etc. (and do not take as their deen the deen of Truth) i.e. THEY DO NOT ENTER ISLAM.

(who were given the Book) Clarifying those they were commanded to fight. When this ayat was revealed, the Messenger of Allah set out on the expedition to Tabuk to fight the Christians.

(until they pay the jizya) Scholars agree about accepting jizya from the Jews and Christians. The Magians/Zoroasterians have been added to them going by the words of the Prophet, "Treat them as People of the Book." There is disagreement about accepting it from idolaters and Sabians. It is not collected from women, children or the insane. Malik says that it is 4 dinars for the people who use gold and 40 dirhams for the people who use silver. It is a head tax. (with their own hands) This has two interpretations. One is that the dhimmi pays it with his own hand and does not send anyone with it nor postpone it as is said, "from hand to hand." The second is submission and obedience as you say, "he gave his hand to so-and-so [an _expression meaning "he surrendered to so-and-so"]." (STATE OF ABASEMENT) i.e. they are humble.

as-Suyuti

This [Q. 9:5] is an Ayat of the Sword WHICH ABROGATES PARDON, TRUCE AND OVERLOOKING. (seize them) is used as evidence for the permission to take captives. (and besiege them) is permission for besieging and raiding and attacking by night. Ibn Abi Hatim reported that Abu 'Imran al-Jawfi said that ribat in the way of Allah is found in the words, "lie in wait for them on every road." (if they make tawba and establish the prayer and pay the zakat, let them go on their way) Repentance from shirk is not enough to let them go their way until they establish the prayer and pay the zakat. Ash-Shafi'i took this as a proof FOR KILLING ANYONE WHO ABANDONS THE PRAYER and fighting ANYONE WHO REFUSES TO PAY ZAKAT . Some use it as a proof that they are kafirun

(Fight those of the people who do not have iman in Allah and the Last Day) This is the basis for accepting jizya from the People of the Book, and it is a refutation of those who accept it from others. "With their own hands". It is related by Abu Hatim from Qatada to be BY FORCE, and by Abu Sufyan to be by ability. Its literal meaning is that it is not taken from someone in a state of hardship as Ibn al-Majishun stated. Ibn 'Uyayna said that "with their own hands" means that it is not sent with someone else. This is used as evidence by those who say that a Muslim cannot be delegated to do it, nor can he guarantee it for him nor transfer it from him to himself, but the dhimmi must pay it in person.

(state of abasement) Ibn 'Abbas said: they are pushed. Ibn Abi Hatim transmitted that. It is transmitted that al-Mughira told Rustam, "I call you to Islam or else you must pay the jizya while you are in a state of abasement." He said, "I know what jizya means, but what does 'a state of abasement' mean?" He replied, "You pay it while you are standing and I am sitting AND THE WHIP HANGING IS OVER YOUR HEAD." Abu'sh-Shaykh related that Sa'id ibn al-Musayyab said, "I prefer that the people of the dhimma become tired by paying the jizya since He says, 'until they pay the jizya with their own hands in a state of complete abasement.'" It is used as a proof by those who say THAT IT IS TAKEN IN A HUMILIATING WAY, and so the taker sits and the dhimmi stands with his head bowed and his back bent. The jizya is placed in the balance and the taker seizes his beard and hits his chin. This is rejected according to an-Nawawi who said, "This manner is invalid." This ayat is used as a proof by those who say that the people of the dhimma are left in the land of Islam because it is understood that one refrains from fighting them when they pay it. (Capital and underline emphasis ours)

Jihad entails the pillaging and enslavement of people as well as the raping of women

The Quran allows Muslim men to rape their captive women if they happened to be married!

Also married women, except those whom you own as slaves . Such is the decree of God. All women other than these are lawful to you, provided you seek them with your wealth in modest conduct, not in fornication. Give them their dowry for the enjoyment you have had of them as a duty; but it shall be no offence for you to make any agreement among yourselves after you have fulfilled your duty. God is all-knowing and wise. S. 4:24 Dawood

The ahadith document the manner in which Muhammad and his men implemented this ruling:

Abu Sirma said to Abu Sa'id al Khadri (Allah he pleased with him): O Abu Sa'id, did you hear Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) mentioning al-'azl? He said: Yes, and added: We went out with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Bi'l-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing 'azl (Withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid conception). But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah's Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born. (Sahih Muslim, Book 008, Number 3371)

Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri said: The Apostle of Allah sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain. They met their enemy and fought with them. They defeated them and took them captives. Some of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Quranic verse: "And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess." That is to say, they are lawful for them when they complete their waiting period. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Volume II, Book V. Kitab Al-Nikah (Book of Marriage), Chapter 711: To Have Intercourse With Female Captives Of War, Number 2150, p. 577)

This means that if the faithful Muslims ever get the chance to implement the third stage they will then have the luxury of enslaving and raping the women who come under their control, as well as sell them off as chattel.

Lying and Deception in Islam

When functioning in either stage 1 or 2, Muslims can and do lie in the face of unbelievers in order to conceal Islam’s true agenda. This actually permitted in the Quran

Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Whoso doeth that hath no connection with Allah unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, taking (as it were) security. Allah biddeth you beware (only) of Himself. Unto Allah is the journeying. S. 3:28 Pickthall

The exegetes explain that:

The Prohibition of Supporting the Disbelievers

Allah prohibited His believing servants from becoming supporters of the disbelievers, or to take them as comrades with whom they develop friendships, rather than the believers. Allah warned against such behavior when He said…

<And whoever does that, will never be helped by Allah in any way> meaning, whoever commits this act that Allah has prohibited, then Allah will discard him…

Allah said next…

(unless you indeed fear a danger from them) meaning, except those believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers. In this case, such believers are allowed to show friendship to the disbelievers OUTWARDLY, but never inwardly. For instance, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Ad-Darda' said, "We smile in the face of some people ALTHOUGH OUR HEARTS CURSE THEM.'' Al-Bukhari said that Al-Hasan said, "The TUQYAH is allowed until the Day of Resurrection... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir; source; underline and capital emphasis ours)

And:

Let not the believers take the disbelievers as patrons, rather than, that is, instead of, the believers - for whoever does that, that is, [whoever] takes them as patrons, does not belong to, the religion of, God in anyway - unless you protect yourselves against them, as a safeguard (tuqatan , 'as a safeguard', is the verbal noun from taqiyyatan), that is to say, [unless] you fear something, in which case you may show patronage to them through words, but not in your hearts: this was before the hegemony of Islam and [the dispensation] applies to any individual residing in a land with no say in it. God warns you, He instills fear in you, of His Self, [warning] that He may be wrathful with you if you take them as patrons; and to God is the journey's end, the return, and He will requite you. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Again:

(Let not the believers take) the believers ought not to take [the hypocrites:] 'Abdullah Ibn Ubayy and his companions [and] (disbelievers) the Jews (for their friends) so as to become mighty and honourable (in preference to believers) who are sincere. (Whoso doeth that) seeking might and honour [by taking the hypocrites and disbelievers as friends] (hath no connection with Allah) has no honour, mercy or protection from Allah (unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them) save yourselves from them, (taking (as it were) security) saving yourselves from them by speaking in a friendly way towards them with, while your hearts dislikes this. (Allah bideth you beware (only) of Himself) regarding the shunning of unlawful killing, unlawful sex, unlawful property, consuming intoxicants, false testimony and associating partners with Allah. (Unto Allah is the journeying) the return after death. (Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn ‘Abbs; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Finally:

This verse explains all the verses quoted above which forbid taking the kaafirs as friends in general terms. What that refers to is in cases where one has a choice, but in cases of fear and TAQIYAH it is permissible to make friends with them, as much as is essential to protect oneself against their evil. That is subject to the condition that one's faith should not be affected by that friendship and the one who is behaves in that manner out of necessity is not one who behaves in that manner out of choice.

Shaykh Muhammad al-Saalih al-'Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked about the ruling on mixing with the kuffaar and treating them kindly hoping that they will become Muslim. He replied:

Undoubtedly the Muslim is obliged to HATE the enemies of Allaah and to disavow them, because this is the way of the Messengers and their followers...

Based on this, it is not permissible for a Muslim to feel any love in his heart towards the enemies of Allaah who are in fact his enemies too...

But if a Muslim treats them with KINDNESS and gentleness in the hope that they will become Muslim and will believe, there is nothing wrong with that, because it comes under the heading of opening their hearts to Islam. But if he despairs of them becoming Muslim, then he should treat them accordingly. This is something that is discussed in detail by the scholars, especially in the book Ahkaam Ahl al-Dhimmah by Ibn al-Qayyim ... (Question #59879: What is meant by taking the kuffar as friends? Ruling on mixing with the kuffar; source; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Muslim Scholars on Offensive Jihad: Expanding Islam through Military Expeditions

The following Salafi Muslim source admits that Jihad can be offensive in nature with the purpose of subjugating people to the rule of Muhammad:

Physical jihad is the pinnacle of Islam, and some scholars regarded it as the sixth pillar of Islam…

One of the strangest things to note is that we are living in a time when some of the Muslims are embarrassed to quote the verses and ahaadeeth on jihad in front of their kaafir friends. Their faces turn red because they are too shy to mention the rulings on the jizyah, slavery and killing prisoners of war. They wish that they could erase these verses and ahaadeeth from the Qur’aan and Sunnah so that they would not be criticized by this world with its backward principles despite its claims to be civilized. If they cannot erase them then THEY TRY TO MISINTERPRET THEM and distort their meanings so that they suit the whims and desires of their masters. I will not say so that they suit their whims and desires, for they are too weak to have their own whims and desires, and too ignorant. Rather it is the whims and desires of their masters and teachers among the missionaries and colonialists, the enemies of Islam."

‘Umdat al-Tafseer, 1/46…

Those who proclaim the verses and ahaadeeth of jihad nowadays are subject to a number of accusations. They are called terrorists, extremists, enemies of peace and bloodthirsty, and are accused of wanting to destroy twentieth century civilization…

Allaah has commanded us to support His religion and to wage jihad against His enemies.

There are so many verses that enjoin jihad against the mushrikeen and fighting them until all submission is for Allaah alone; they clearly state that it is obligatory and is prescribed and is compulsory. Allaah says [quotes Q. 2:216] …

Rulings on jihad

The scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) have mentioned the rulings on jihad and have stated that jihad is of two types:

1 – Taking the initiative in fighting

This means pursuing the kaafirs in their lands and calling them to Islam and fighting them if they do not agree to submit to the rule of Islam.

This kind of jihad is fard kifaayah (a communal obligation) upon the Muslims. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning) [quotes Q. 8:39; 9:5, 36, 41] …

It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "I have been commanded to fight the people until they bear witness that there is no god but Allaah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, and establish regular prayer, and pay zakaah, If they do that then their blood and wealth is safe from me, except by the laws of Islam, and their reckoning will be with Allaah."

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 24; Muslim, 29.

Muslim (3533) narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Whoever dies without having fought or thought to himself about fighting has died following one of the branches of hypocrisy."

All of these texts – and many others in the Qur’aan and Sunnah – mean that it is obligatory for the Muslims to wage jihad against the kuffaar and take the initiative in that. The scholars are unanimously agreed that jihad against the kuffar, and seeking them in their own lands, and calling them to Islam, and waging jihad against them if they do not accept Islam or accept paying the jizyah, is obligatory and has not been abrogated.

Shaykh al-Islam (28/249) said:

Everyone who hears the call of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to the religion of Allaah with which he was sent and does not respond to it must be fought so that there will be no fitnah and so that submission will all be for Allaah…

This is the ruling on physical jihad in Islam, whether that is taking the initiative to call the kuffaar to enter this religion and subjugate them to the rule of Islam, or jihad to defend the religion and honour of the Muslims. (Question No. 34830: Is it obligatory for every Muslim to go out for jihad? Or is jihad mustahabb and not obligatory?; source; bold, underline and capital emphasis ours)

And here is how one Muslim tome explains offensive jihad:

o9.0 JIHAD

(O: Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion.  And it is the lesser jihad.  As for the greater jihad, it is spiritual warfare against the lower self (nafs), which is why the Prophet said as he was returning from jihad,

"We have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad."

The scriptural basis for jihad, prior to scholarly consensus is such Koranic verses as:

(1)  "Fighting is prescribed for you" (Koran 2:216);

(2) "Slay them wherever you find them" (4:89);

(3)  "Fight the idolaters utterly" (Koran 9:36);

and such Hadiths as the one related by Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet said:

"I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform the prayer, and pay zakat.  If they say it, they have saved their blood and possessions from me, except for the rights of Islam over them.  And their final reckoning is with Allah.";

and the hadith report by Muslim,

"To go forth in the morning or evening to fight in the path of Allah is better than the whole world and everything in it."

Details concerning jihad are found in the accounts of the military expeditions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), including his own martial forays and those on which he dispatched others. The former consist of the ones he personally attended, some twenty-seven (others say twenty-nine) of them. He fought in eight of them, and killed only one person with his noble hand, Ubbay ibn Khalaf, at the battle of Uhud. On the latter expeditions he sent others to fight, himself remaining at Medina, and these were fourty-seven in number.

THE OBLIGATORY CHARACTER OF JIHAD

o9.1 Jihad is communal obligation… When enough people perform it to successfully accomplish it, it is no longer obligatory upon others…

and Allah Most High having said:

"Those of the believers who are unhurt but sit behind are not equal to those who fight in Allah’s path with their property and lives.  Allah has preferred those who fight with their property and lives a whole degree above those who sit behind.  And to each Allah has promised great good."  (Koran 4:95)…

o9.3 Jihad is also obligatory for everyone able to perform it, male or female, old or young when the enemy has surrounded the Muslims…

o9.8 The caliph makes war upon the Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians (N: provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya, def: o11.4)… until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax (O: in accordance with the word of Allah Most High,

"Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and who forbid not what Allah and His messenger have forbidden – who do not practice the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book – until they pay the poll tax out of hand and are humbled."  (Koran 9:29),

… The caliph fights all other peoples until they become Muslim…" (Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, Reliance of the Traveler: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, In Arabic with Facing English text, Commentary and Appendices Edited and Translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller [Amana Publications, Beltsville, Maryland, Revised Edition 1994], p. 599-603; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Verses Commonly Used to Prove Islam is Peaceful

In this section w will examine some of the common texts which Muslims quote to prove that Islam teaches peace and tolerance.

1. Q. 2:256 – "No compulsion is there in religion…"

Response – The apologists fail to inform their audience that some scholars believe that this verse has been abrogated. Other scholars believed that this passage only applies to the people of the Book, that they cannot be forced to convert provided they pay Jizya as a sign of their humiliation and subjugation:

The scholars explained that these two verses, and other similar verses, have to do with those from whom the jizyah may be taken, such as Jews, Christians and Magians (Zoroastrians). They are not to be forced, rather they are to be given the choice between becoming Muslim or paying the jizyah.

Other scholars said that this applied in the beginning, BUT WAS SUBSEQUENTLY ABROGATED by Allaah’s command to fight and wage jihad. So whoever refuses to enter Islam should be fought WHEN THE MUSLIMS ARE ABLE TO FIGHT, until they either enter Islam or pay the jizyah if they are among the people who may pay jizyah. The kuffaar should be compelled to enter Islam if they are not people from whom the jizyah may be taken, because that will lead to their happiness and salvation in this world and in the Hereafter. Obliging a person to adhere to the truth in which is guidance and happiness is better for him than falsehood. Just as a person may be forced to do the duty that he owes to other people even if that is by means of imprisonment or beating, so forcing the kaafirs to believe in Allaah alone and enter into the religion of Islam is more important and more essential, because this will lead to their happiness in this world and in the Hereafter. This applies unless they are People of the Book, i.e., Jews and Christians, or Magians, because Islam says that these three groups may be given the choice: they may enter Islam or they may pay the jizyah and feel themselves subdued.

Some of the scholars are of the view that others may also be given the choice between Islam and jizyah, but the most correct view is that no others should be given this choice, rather these three groups are the only ones who may be given the choice, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) fought the kuffaar in the Arabian Peninsula and he only accepted their becoming Muslim. And Allaah says [quotes Q. 9:5] …

He did not say, "if they pay the jizyah". The Jews, Christians and Magians are to be asked to enter Islam; if they refuse then they should be asked to pay the jizyah. If they refuse to pay the jizyah then the Muslims must fight them IF THEY ARE ABLE TO DO SO. Allaah says [quotes Q. 9:29] …

And it was proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) accepted the jizyah from the Magians, but it was not proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) or his companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) accepted the jizyah from anyone except the three groups mentioned above.

The basic principle concerning that is the words of Allaah [quotes Q. 8:39; 9:5] …

This verse is known as Ayat al-Sayf (the verse of the sword).

These and similar verses ABROGATE the verses which say that there is no compulsion to become Muslim.

And Allaah is the Source of strength. (Question No. 34770 : There is no compulsion to accept Islam; source; bold, underline and capital emphasis ours)

And:

The reason for the revelation of this verse was that the women of Ansar used to make a vow to convert their sons to Judaism if the latter lived. And when the tribe of Bani an-Nadhir was expelled from Madinah, some children of Ansar were among them, so their parents could not abandon them; hence Allah revealed: <There is no compulsion in religion...> narrated by Ibn Jarir, on the authority of Ibn Abbas, Abu Dawud and an-Nasa’i, on the authority of Bandar, Abu Hatim, and Ibn Hiban from the Hadith of Shu‘bah, Mujahid and others. However Muhammad Ibn Ishaq narrated that Ibn Abbas said: it was revealed with regard to a man from the tribe of Bani Salim Ibn Awf called al-Husayni whose two sons converted to Christianity but he was himself a Muslim. He told the Prophet: "Shall I force them to embrace Islam, they insist on Christianity", hence Allah revealed this verse. BUT, THIS VERSE IS ABROGATED BY THE VERSE OF "FIGHTING": "You shall be called to fight against a people given to great warfare, then you shall fight them, or they shall surrender" (sura 48:16). Allah also says: "O Prophet! Strive hard against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be harsh against them" (9:73), and He says, "O you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are close to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who are the Pious, (9:123). (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 253 to 286 Surah Al-Imran, ayat 1 to 92, Abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rifa‘i [Al-Firdous Ltd, London: 1999: First Edition], Part 3, pp. 37-38; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Finally:

Scholars disagree and hold various positions regarding the legal status and meaning of this ayat.

And here is Q. 9:29:

Fight those who believe not in God and the Last Day and do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden -- such men as practise not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book -- until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled.

Sunni commentator Ibn Kathir wrote in reference to Q. 9:29 that:

The Order to fight People of the Scriptures until They give the Jizyah

Allah said …

<Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth among the People of the Scripture, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.>

Therefore, when People of the Scriptures disbelieved in Muhammad, they had no beneficial faith in any Messenger or what the Messengers brought. Rather, they followed their religions because this conformed with their ideas, lusts and the ways of their forefathers, not because they are Allah's Law and religion. Had they been true believers in their religions, that faith would have directed them to believe in Muhammad, because all Prophets gave the good news of Muhammad's advent and commanded them to obey and follow him. Yet when he was sent, they disbelieved in him, even though he is the mightiest of all Messengers. Therefore, they do not follow the religion of earlier Prophets because these religions came from Allah, but because these suit their desires and lusts. Therefore, their claimed faith in an earlier Prophet will not benefit them because they disbelieved in the master, the mightiest, the last and most perfect of all Prophets . Hence Allah's statement

<Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth among the People of the Scripture,>

This honorable Ayah was revealed with the order to fight the People of the Book, after the pagans were defeated, the people entered Allah's religion in large numbers, and the Arabian Peninsula was secured under the Muslims' control. Allah commanded His Messenger to fight the People of the Scriptures, Jews and Christians, on the ninth year of Hijrah, and he prepared his army to fight the Romans and called the people to Jihad announcing his intent and destination. The Messenger sent his intent to various Arab areas around Al-Madinah to gather forces, and he collected an army of thirty thousand. Some people from Al-Madinah and some hypocrites, in and around it, lagged behind, for that year was a year of drought and intense heat. The Messenger of Allah marched, heading towards Ash-Sham to fight the Romans until he reached Tabuk, where he set camp for about twenty days next to its water resources. He then prayed to Allah for a decision and went back to Al-Madinah because it was a hard year and the people were weak, as we will mention, Allah willing. (Source; underline emphasis ours)

And:

Paying Jizyah is a Sign of Kufr AND DISGRACE

Allah said …

<until they pay the Jizyah>, if they do not choose to embrace Islam …

<with willing submission>, in defeat and subservience …

<and feel themselves subdued.>, DISGRACED, HUMILIATED AND BELITTLED. Therefore, Muslims are not allowed to honor the people of Dhimmah or elevate them above Muslims, FOR THEY ARE MISERABLE, DISGRACED AND HUMILIATED. Muslim recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said …

<<Do not initiate the Salam to the Jews and Christians, and if you meet any of them in a road, FORCE THEM TO ITS NARROWEST ALLEY.>>

This is why the Leader of the faithful `Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, demanded his well-known conditions be met by the Christians, THESE CONDITIONS THAT ENSURED THEIR CONTINUED HUMILIATION, DEGRADATION AND DISGRACE. The scholars of Hadith narrated from `Abdur-Rahman bin Ghanm Al-Ash`ari that he said, "I recorded for `Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, the terms of the treaty of peace he conducted with the Christians of Ash-Sham:

‘In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. This is a document to the servant of Allah `Umar, the Leader of the faithful, from the Christians of such and such city. When you (Muslims) came to us we requested safety for ourselves, children, property and followers of our religion.

We made a condition on ourselves that we will neither erect in our areas a monastery, church, or a sanctuary for a monk, nor restore any place of worship that needs restoration nor use any of them for the purpose of enmity against Muslims.

We will not prevent any Muslim from resting in our churches whether they come by day or night, and we will open the doors [of our houses of worship] for the wayfarer and passerby.

Those Muslims who come as guests, will enjoy boarding and food for three days.

We will not allow a spy against Muslims into our churches and homes or hide deceit [or betrayal] against Muslims.

We will not teach our children the Qur'an, publicize practices of Shirk, invite anyone to Shirk or prevent any of our fellows from embracing Islam, if they choose to do so.

We will respect Muslims, MOVE FROM THE PLACES WE SIT IN IF THEY CHOOSE TO SIT IN THEM.

We will not imitate their clothing, caps, turbans, sandals, hairstyles, speech, nicknames and title names, or ride on saddles, hang swords on the shoulders, collect weapons of any kind or carry these weapons.

We will not encrypt our stamps in Arabic, or sell liquor.

We will have the front of our hair cut, wear our customary clothes wherever we are, wear belts around our waist, refrain from erecting crosses on the outside of our churches and demonstrating them and our books in public in Muslim fairways and markets.

We will not sound the bells in our churches, except discretely, or raise our voices while reciting our holy books inside our churches in the presence of Muslims, nor raise our voices [with prayer] at our funerals, or light torches in funeral processions in the fairways of Muslims, or their markets.

We will not bury our dead next to Muslim dead, or buy servants who were captured by Muslims. We will be guides for Muslims and refrain from breaching their privacy in their homes.’

When I gave this document to `Umar, he added to it, `We will not beat any Muslim. These are the conditions that we set against ourselves and followers of our religion IN RETURN FOR SAFETY AND PROTECTION. If we break any of these promises that we set for your benefit against ourselves, then our Dhimmah (promise of protection) is broken and you are allowed to do with us what you are allowed of people of defiance and rebellion.’" (Source; capital and underline emphasis ours)

As if Islam’s disdain towards Jews and Christians couldn’t be any clearer note what the following narratives say:

512. When a dhimmi writes and gives the greeting, he is answered

1101. Abu 'Uthman an-Nahdi said, "Abu Musa wrote to a Persian grandee and greeted him in his letter. He was asked, 'Do you greet him when he is an unbeliever?' He replied, 'He wrote to me and greeted me, so I have answered him.'"

1102. Abu Basra l-Ghifari reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "I will ride to the Jews tomorrow. Do not give them the greeting first. If they greet you, then say, 'and on you.'"

1103. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Do not give the People of the Book the greeting first. FORCE THEM TO THE NARROWEST PART OF THE ROAD."

519. The People of the Book are forced to the narrowest part of the road

1111. See 1103.

521. When someone greets a Christian whom he does not recognise

1115. 'Abdu'r-Rahman said, "Ibn 'Umar passed by a Christian who greeted him and Ibn 'Umar returned the greeting. He was told that the man was a Christian. When he learned that, he went back to him and said, 'Give me back my greeting.'" (Al-Adab al-Mufrad by Al-Bukhari, translated by Aisha Bewley, chapter XDIII. The People of the Book; source; underline, capital and italic emphasis ours)

Muslims are permitted to greet Jews and Christians first, and can allow them to walk on the road alongside of them, only when they are in the minority and/or are under the rule of disbelievers. However, they are not do so when they are uppermost and have control of an area. As the following Muslim source admits:

Chapter 41. What Has Been Related About Greeting The People Of The Book With Salam

1602. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: Do not precede the Jews and Christians with the Salam. And if one of you meets one of them in the path, then force him to its narrow portion. (Sahih)

[He said:] These are narrations on this topic from Ibn Umar, Anas, and Abu Basrah al-Ghifari the Companion of the Prophet.

[Abu Eisa said:] This Hadith is Hasan Sahih. And regarding the meaning of the Hadith: Do not precede the Jews and Christians: Some of the people of knowledge said that it only means that it is disliked because it would be honoring them, AND THE MUSLIMS WERE ONLY ORDERED TO HUMILIATE THEM. For this reason, when one of them is met on the path, then the path is not yielded for him, because doing so would amount to honoring them.

Comments:

IN NORMAL CONDITIONS, WHEN MUSLIMS ARE IN POWER AND THEY ARE NOT LIVING AS A MINORITY, AND THEY ARE NOT UNDER ANY COMPULSION OR SUBJUGATION, IT IS AN ORDER for Muslims that they should not give such leeway to the non-Muslims and they should not greet them first nor yield the way for them. Some of the people of knowledge said that it only means that it is disliked because it would amount to honoring them, AND THE MUSLIMS WERE ONLY TO HUMILIATE THEM. FOR THIS REASON, when one of them is met on the path a Muslim is not to yield for him because doing so would amount to honoring them. In a country where Muslims are living as a minority, THEY ARE ALLOWED TO GIVE SUCH LEEWAY TO NON-MUSLIM RULERS FOR THE GREATER INTEREST OF THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY. (Tuhfat Al-Ahwadhi v.2, p.397.) (English Translation of Jami At-Tirmidhi, Compiled by Imam Hafiz Abu Eisa Mohammad Ibn Eisa At-Tirmidhi, translated by Abu Khaliyl (USA), ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Tahir Zubair Ali Zai [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, First Edition: November 2007], Volume 3, 19. The Chapters On Military Expeditions From The Messenger of Allah, pp. 365-366; capital emphasis ours)

2. Q. 60:8-9 – "God forbids you not, as regards those who have not fought you in religion's cause, nor expelled you from your habitations, that you should be kindly to them, and act justly towards them; surely God loves the just. God only forbids you as to those who have fought you in religion's cause, and expelled you from your habitations, and have supported in your expulsion, that you should take them for friends. And whosoever takes them for friends, those -- they are the evildoers."

Response – Again, the apologist is forgetting to inform his audience that criticizing Muhammad or his religion is considered fighting and is punishable by death:

But if they violate their oaths after their covenant, and attack your religion with disapproval and criticism then fight (you) the leaders of disbelief (chiefs of Quraish - pagans of Makkah) - for surely their oaths are nothing to them - so that they may stop (evil actions). S. 9:12 Hilali-Khan

The very immediate context of surah 60 itself substantiates this interpretation since we read there that:

If they come on you, they will be enemies to you, and stretch against you their hands AND THEIR TONGUES, to do you evil, and they wish that you may disbelieve. S. 60:2

The reference to "THEIR TONGUES" clearly alludes to the criticisms directed against Muhammad by the unbelievers, i.e. that the unbelievers challenged his prophetic claims as well insulted him for trying to foist this scam on them. Those who would dare challenge Muhammad and critique his religion are enemies that must be vanquished.

One renowned Muslim scholar stated:

"As for those who cannot offer resistance or cannot fight, such as women, children, monks, old people, the blind, handicapped and their likes, they shall not be killed, unless they actually fight with words [e.g. by propaganda] and acts [e.g. by spying or otherwise assisting in the warfare]. Some [jurists] are of the opinion that all of them may be killed, on the mere ground that they are unbelievers, but they make an exception for woman and children and they constitute property for Muslims." (Sheikh Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah, The Religious and Moral Doctrine of Jihad, p. 28; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

This explains why Muhammad murdered or permitted people to be killed in cold blood simply for criticizing him for his atrocious acts, examples of which include:

SALIM B. ‘UMAYR'S EXPEDITION TO KILL ABU ‘AFAK

Abu ‘Afak was one of the B. ‘Amr b. ‘Auf of the B. ‘Ubayda clan. He showed his disaffection when the apostle killed al-Harith b. Suwayd b. Samit and said:

Long have I lived but never have I seen
An assembly or collection of people
More faithful to their undertaking
And their allies when called upon
Than the sons of Qayla when they assembled,
Men who overthrew mountains and never submitted,
A rider who came to them split them in two (saying)
‘Permitted’, ‘Forbidden’, of all sorts of things.
Had you believed in glory or kingship
You would have followed Tubba‘.

The apostle said, ‘Who will deal with this rascal for me?’ whereupon Salim b. ‘Umayr, brother of B. ‘Amr b. ‘Auf, one of the ‘weepers’, went forth and killed him. Umama b. Muzayriya said concerning that:

You gave the lie to God's religion and the man Ahmad! [Muhammad]
By him who was your father, evil is the son he produced!
A hanif gave you a thrust in the night saying
‘Take that Abu ‘Afak in spite of your age!’
Though I knew whether it was man or jinn
Who slew you in the dead of night (I would say naught).

(Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasulullah (The Life of Muhammad), translated by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, tenth impression 1995], p. 675)

And:

When the apostle heard what she had said he said, "Who will rid me of Marwan's daughter?"  Umayr b. Adiy al-Khatmi who was with him heard him, and that very night he went to her house and killed her.  In the morning he came to the apostle and told him what he had done and he [Muhammad] said, "You have helped God and His apostle, O Umayr!"  When he asked if he would have to bear any evil consequences the apostle said, "Two goats won't butt their heads about her", so Umayr went back to his people.

Now there was a great commotion among B. Khatma that day about the affair of bint [girl] Marwan.  She had five sons, and when Umayr went to them from the apostle he said, "I have killed bint Marwan, O sons of Khatma. Withstand me if you can; don't keep me waiting."  That was the first day Islam became powerful among B. Khatma; before that those who were Muslims concealed the fact. The first of them to accept Islam was Umayr b. Adiy who was called the "Reader", and Abdullah b. Aus and Khuzayma b. Thabit.  The day after Bint Marwan was killed the men of B. Khatma became Muslims because they saw the power of Islam." (Ibid., p. 676)

Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas:

A blind man had a slave-mother who used to abuse the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and disparage him. He forbade her but she did not stop. He rebuked her but she did not give up her habit. One night she began to slander the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and abuse him. So he took a dagger, placed it on her belly, pressed it, and killed her. A child who came between her legs was smeared with the blood that was there. When the morning came, the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) was informed about it.

He assembled the people and said: I adjure by Allah the man who has done this action and I adjure him by my right to him that he should stand up. Jumping over the necks of the people and trembling the man stood up.

He sat before the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and said: Apostle of Allah! I am her master; she used to abuse you and disparage you. I forbade her, but she did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not abandon her habit. I have two sons like pearls from her, and she was my companion. Last night she began to abuse and disparage you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her.

Thereupon the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Oh be witness, no retaliation is payable for her blood. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38, Number 4348)

Narrated Ali ibn AbuTalib:

A Jewess used to abuse the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and disparage him. A man strangled her till she died. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) declared that no recompense was payable for her blood. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38, Number 4349)

DEALING WITH SOME MUSLIM MYTHS

Here we will respond to some typical Muslim myths.

Myth 1 – The pagans antagonized and persecuted Muslims.

Fact – Muhammad antagonized and threatened the pagans. They literally begged him to stop but to no avail:

Ibn Humayd - Salamah - Ibn Ishaq: The Messenger of God proclaimed God’s message openly and declared Islam publicly to his tribesmen. When he did so, they did not withdraw from him or reject him in anyway, as far as I had heard, UNTIL he spoke of their gods and denounced them. When he did this, they took exception to it and united in opposition and hostility to him, except for those of them whom God had protected from error by means of Islam. The latter were few in number and practiced their faith in secret. His uncle Abu Talib was friendly to him, however, and protected him and shielded him from them. The Messenger of God continued to do God’s work and to proclaim his message, undeterred by anything. When Quraysh saw that he would not give them any satisfaction, they objected to his departing from their ways and denouncing their gods, and seeing that Abu Talib protected him, shielded him from harm, and would not hand him over to them, a number of the nobles of Quraysh, consisting of such men as ‘Utbah b. Rabi‘ah, Shaybah b. Rabi‘ah, Abu al-Bakhtari b. Hisham, al-Aswad b. al-Muttalib, al-Walid b. al-Mughirah, Abu Jahl b. Hisham, al-‘As b. Wa’il and Nubayh and Munabbih, the sons of al-Hajjaj, went to Abu Talib and said, "Abu Talib, your nephew has reviled our gods, denounced our religion, derided our traditional values and told us that our forefathers were misguided. Either curb his attacks on us or give us a free hand to deal with him, for you are just as opposed to him as we are, and we will deal with him for you." Abu Talib gave them a mild answer and declined courteously, and they left him. The Messenger of God continued as before, proclaiming the faith of God and summoning people to it.

After this, Muhammad was estranged from the Quraysh, and they withdrew from him and harbored a secret hatred for him. They talked about him frequently amongst themselves and urged one another against him. Eventually they went to Abu Talib once again. "Abu Talib," they said, "we hold you in respect among us on account of your age, your nobility and your standing. We asked you to forbid your nephew TO ATTACK US, but you did not do so. By God, we can no longer endure this vilification of our forefathers, this derision of our traditional values and this abuse of our gods. Either you restrain him or we shall fight both of you over this until one side or the other is destroyed," or words to that effect. Then they left. This breach and enmity with his tribe weighed heavily on Abu Talib, but he could not reconcile himself to surrendering the Messenger of God to them or deserting him.

Muhammad b. al-Husayn- Ahmad b. al-Mufaddal- Asbat- al-Suddi: A number of men of the Quraysh gathered together with a number of other shaykhs of the Quraysh, and said to one another, "Let us go to Abu Talib and speak to him about Muhammad, so that he will give us justice against him and order him to desist from reviling our gods and we will leave him to the god whom he worships for we fear that this old man may die and we may do something which the Arabs will reproach us for and say, ‘They let him alone until his uncle died, and then they laid hands on him.’"

They sent one of their number, whose name was al-Muttalib, to Abu Talib to ask permission for them to enter. He said, "Here are the shaykhs and nobles of your tribe asking permission to visit you." He told him to ask them to come in, and when they had done so they said, "Abu Talib, you are our elder and our chief, so give us justice against your nephew and order him to desist from reviling our gods, and we will leave him to his god."

Abu Talib sent for the Messenger of God, and when he came in he said, "Nephew, here are the shaykhs and nobles of your tribe. They have asked for justice against you, that you should desist from reviling their gods and they will leave you to your god." "Uncle," he said, "shall I not summon them to something which is better for them than their gods?" "What do you summon them to?" he asked. He replied, "I summon them to utter a saying through which the Arabs will submit to them and they will rule over the non-Arabs." Abu Jahl said from among the gathering, "What is it, by your father? We would give you it and ten like it." He answered, "That you should say, ‘There is no deity but God.’" They took fright at that and said, "Ask for anything rather than that!" But he said, "If you were to bring me the sun and put it into my hand, I would not ask you for anything other than this."

They rose up to leave in anger and said, "By God, we shall revile you and your god who commands you to do this!" "The chiefs among them hurried about, exhorting; Go and be staunch to your gods! This is a thing designed…" to the words "naught but an invention." (The History of al-Tabari: Muhammad at Mecca, translated and annotated by W. Montgomery Watt and M. V. McDonald [State University of New York Press, Albany 1988], Volume VI, pp. 93-95; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

Myth 2 – Muhammad only attacked Jews and Christians when they threatened his safety and security.

Fact – Again, it was Muhammad who antagonized the Jews and Christians after he saw that they weren’t buying his claims. In the beginning he tried to win their support and even followed some of their practices:

According to Yunus b. ‘Abd al-A‘la – Ibn Wahb – Ibn Zayd: The Prophet turned towards Jerusalem for sixteen months, and then it reached his ears that the Jews were saying, "By God, Muhammad and his companions did not know where their Qiblah was until we directed them." This displeased the Prophet and he raised his face toward Heaven, and God said, "We have seen the turning of your face to Heaven." (The History of Al-Tabari: The Foundation of the Community, translated by M. V. McDonald, annotated by W. Montgomery Watt [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1987], Volume VII, p. 25; bold emphasis ours)

Notice how this renowned Muslim historian and exegete candidly admits that Muhammad changed the prayer direction due to the Jews making fun of him!

After realizing that they wouldn’t believe in him he turned against them and threatened them:

VI: Expelling the Jews from the Arabian peninsula

'Umar said that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "We will let you remain in that as long as Allah lets you remain there."

2996. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "While we were in the mosque, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, came out and said, ‘Go to the Jews.’ We went out until we came to the house of al-Midras. He said, ‘Become Muslim AND YOU WILL BE SAFE. Know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Messenger. I want to expel you from this land. Whoever of you has some property should sell it. However, the earth belongs to Allah and His Messenger.’" (Aisha Bewley, Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 63. Chapters on the Jizya and Truces; source; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

Moreover, Muhammad had sent a threatening letter to the Byzantine Emperor:

Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas:

Heraclius then asked for the letter addressed by Allah's Apostle which was delivered by Dihya to the Governor of Busra, who forwarded it to Heraclius to read. The contents of the letter were as follows: "In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful (This letter is) from Muhammad the slave of Allah and His Apostle to Heraclius the ruler of Byzantine. Peace be upon him, who follows the right path. Furthermore I invite you to Islam, and if you become a Muslim you will be safe, and Allah will double your reward, and if you reject this invitation of Islam you will be committing a sin by misguiding your Arisiyin (peasants). (And I recite to you Allah's Statement:)

'O people of the scripture! Come to a word common to you and us that we worship none but Allah and that we associate nothing in worship with Him, and that none of us shall take others as Lords beside Allah. Then, if they turn away, say: Bear witness that we are Muslims (those who have surrendered to Allah).' (3:64)

Abu Sufyan then added, "When Heraclius had finished his speech and had read the letter, there was a great hue and cry in the Royal Court. So we were turned out of the court. I told my companions that the question of Ibn-Abi-Kabsha) (the Prophet Muhammad) has become so prominent that even the King of Bani Al-Asfar (Byzantine) is afraid of him. Then I started to become sure that he (the Prophet) would be the conqueror in the near future till I embraced Islam (i.e. Allah guided me to it)." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 1, Number 6)

The noted historian al-Tabari provides additional details (much of which is simply mythical and clearly embellished):

According to Ibn Humayd – Salamah – Muhammad b. Ishaq – Khalid b. Yasar – a very old Syrian, who said: When Heraclius was about to leave the land of Syria for Constantinople because of the report he received about the Messenger of God, he assembled the Romans and said: "People of the Romans, I shall present certain matters to you. Consider what I have decided." "What are they?" they asked. He said: "You know, by God, that this man is a prophet who has been sent [sic]. We find him in our book [sic]. We know him by the description whereby he has been described to us. Let us follow him, that our life in this world and the next may be secure." They said, "Shall we be under the hands of the Arabs, when we are mankind’s greatest kingdom, most numerous nation, and best land?" He said, "Then let me give him TRIBUTE453 each year, SO THAT I CAN AVERT HIS VEHEMENCE FROM ME AND FIND REST FROM HIS WARFARE BY MEANS OF MONEY THAT I GIVE HIM." They said, "Shall we concede to the Arabs [our own] HUMILIATION AND ABASEMENT BY A TAX THAT THEY TAKE FROM US when we are mankind’s most numerous nation, greatest kingdom, and most impregnable land? By God, we will never do it!" He said, "Then let me make peace with him on condition that I give him the land of Syria and that he leave me with the land of al-Sha’m." … They said to him: "Shall we give him the land of Syria, when you know that it is the navel of al-Sha’m? By God, we will never do it!" They having refused, he said, "By God, you shall see that, if you hold back from him, you will be defeated in your own city." …

453. Arabic jizyah, later the technical term for the poll tax paid by members of protected minorities, here is used in the general sense of tribute… (The History of al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam, translated by Michael Fishbein [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany 1997], Volume VIII, pp. 106-107; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

Pay close attention to the details. Heraclius’ statement to paying tribute or Jizyah in order to avoid any warfare with Muhammad presupposes that Muhammad threatened him and his empire with violence and bloodshed if the Byzantine emperor refused to submit to Islam. Further notice that the people realized that paying such tribute was a sign of their humiliation and abasement, providing clear evidence that it was Muhammad who antagonized and harassed his enemies not the other way around.

Muhammad even threatened and harassed the Christian tribe of Ghassan, a group that were in league with the Byzantines:

In this year the Messenger of God sent out messengers. He sent out six persons in the month of Dhu al-Hijjah, three of them setting out together: Hatib b. Abi Balta‘ah of Lakhm, a confederate of the Banu Asad b. ‘Abd al-Uzza, to al-Muqawqis; Shuja‘ b. Wahb of the Banu Asad b. Khuzaymah, a confederate of Harb b. Umayyah and veteran of Badr, to al-Harith b. Abi Shimr al-Ghassani; and Dihyah b. Khalifah al-Kalbi to Caesar…

According to Ibn Ishaq: The Messenger of God sent Shuja‘ b. Wahb, a member of the Banu Asad b. Khuzaymah, to al-Mundhir b. al-Harith b. Abi Shimr al-Ghassani, the ruler of Damascus.

According to Muhammad b. ‘Umar al-Waqidi: He wrote to him via Shuja‘:

Peace be with whoever follows the right guidance and believes in it. I call you to believe in God alone, Who has no partner, AND YOUR KINGDOM SHALL REMAIN YOURS.

Shuja‘ b. Wahb brought the letter to him, and he read it to them. Al-Mundhir said: "Who can wrest my kingdom from me? It is I who will go against him!" The Prophet said, "His kingdom has perished." (Ibid., pp. 98, 107-108; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

And:

423… The mission was to the ruler of the Banu Ghassan, an Arab tribal kingdom with its capital at Busra (Bostra) in Syria. The Ghassanids were Monophysite Christians and ruled as a client state of the Byzantine Empire… (Ibid., p. 98)

In light of this, does anyone really blame the Jews and Christians for wanting to rid themselves of such a tyrant? Moreover, however we may view this today, would anyone be surprised that the Ghassanite ruler killed Muhammad’s messenger for bringing such a letter (assuming, of course, that these Islamic tales are recounting actual historical events)?

Another example of Muhammad’s interest in the north is the expedition that set out for Syria and was defeated by Byzantine troops and their Arab allies at Mu’tah in Jordan during the month of Jumada I, A.H. 8 (August-September 629). Al-Tabari’s account, which relies almost entirely on Ibn Ishaq, says nothing about the causes of the expedition. Al-Waqidi (W, II, 755) indicates that the immediate occasion was the killing by Shurahbil b. ‘Amr al-Ghassani (the Banu Ghassan were allies of the Byzantines) of a messenger whom Muhammad had sent to the ruler of Busra in Syria. Thus, although the motive for this mission remains a mystery, the immediate motive for the expedition was retaliation… (Ibid., p. xviii)

What would Muslims do to a person who would dare bring such a letter that threatened their lives and lands?

For a detailed analysis of the gross errors with this Islamic version of the history of Heraclius’ meeting with Muhammad’s messenger Dihyah b. al-Kalbi and Abu Sufyan we recommend these articles (1, 2).

Myth 3 – Islam did not spread by the sword.

Fact – Here is what Muslim scholars say about this commonly propagated myth:

Islam was spread by proof and evidence, in the case of those who listened to the message and responded to it. And it was spread by strength and the sword in the case of those who stubbornly resisted, until they had no choice and had to submit to the new reality. (Question No. 5441: Was Islam spread by the sword?; source)

These next quotes candidly admit that Islam cannot be established without military, offensive Jihad:

Undoubtedly taking the initiative in fighting has a great effect in spreading Islam and bringing people into the religion of Allaah in crowds. Hence the hearts of the enemies of Islam are filled with fear of jihad…

The orientalist Thomas Arnold wrote his book The Preaching of Islam with the aim of killing off the spirit of jihad among the Muslims and proving that Islam was not spread by the sword, rather that it spread by means of peaceful preaching, free from any use of force.

The Muslims fell into the trap that was set up for them. When they heard the orientalists’ accusations that Islam was spread by the sword, they said: You are mistaken, listen to a refutation from one of your own people, this Thomas says such and such.

The defeatists among the Muslims come out to defend Islam, and they want to disavow Islam of this so-called lie, so they deny that Islam was spread by the sword, and they say that jihad is not prescribed in Islam, except in the case of self-defence. There is no such thing in Islam as taking the initiative in fighting in their view. This goes against what the Muslim scholars have stated, let alone the fact that it goes against the Qur’aan and Sunnah.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 28/263.

The purpose is that all religion should be for Allaah alone, and that the word of Allaah should be supreme. The word of Allaah is a comprehensive phrase that refers to His words that are contained in His Book. Hence Allaah says [quotes Q. 57:25; 27:25]…

So whoever deviates from the Book is to be brought back with iron, i.e. by force. Hence the soundness of the religion is based on the Qur’aan and the Sword. It was narrated that Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded us to strike with this, meaning the sword, whoever turns away from this, meaning the Qur’aan.

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Faroosiyyah (p.18):

Allaah sent him – meaning the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) – with the guiding Book and the conquering sword, ahead of the Hour, so that Allaah alone would be worshipped with no partner or associate, and his provision was placed beneath the shade of his sword and spear. Allaah has established the religion of Islam with proof and evidence, and with the sword and spear, both together and inseparable.

This is some of the evidence from the Qur’aan and Sunnah. The evidence clearly indicates that the sword is one of the most important means that led to the spread of Islam [quotes Q. 22:40; 2:251] …

2 – Allaah has commanded us to prepare the means of fighting against the kuffaar and frightening them. He says [quotes 8:60] …

If Islam was only spread by peaceful means, what would the kuffaar have to be afraid of? Of mere words spoken on the tongue? In al-Saheehayn it is narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "I have been supported with fear as far as a month’s journey." Would the kuffaar be afraid of being told, "become Muslim, but if you do not then you are free to believe and do whatever you want"? or were they afraid of jihad and the imposition of the jizyah and being humiliated? That may make them enter Islam so that they may be spared this humiliation.

3 – When the Messenger called people to Islam, his call was accompanied by the sword, and he commanded his leaders to do likewise, so that when the people saw the serious of the Muslims in calling people to their religion, that dispelled any confusion…

So this call to Islam was accompanied by the force of arms…

So the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told his commanders to call the kuffaar to Islam whilst wielding their swords over their heads. If they refused to become Muslim then they should pay the jizyah with humility. If they refused then there was nothing left for them but the sword – "If they refuse then seek the help of Allaah and fight them"

4 – The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "I have been sent ahead of the Hour with the sword so that Allaah will be worshipped alone, and my provision has been placed in the shade of my spear, and humiliation has been decreed for those who go against my command, and whoever imitates a people is one of them." Narrated by Ahmad, 4869; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2831.

The fact that the sword and power were means of spreading Islam is not a source of shame for Islam, rather it is one of its strengths and virtues, because that makes people adhere to that which will benefit them in this world and in the Hereafter. Many people are foolish and lacking in wisdom and knowledge, and if they are left to their own devices they will remain blinded to the truth, indulging in their whims and desires. So Allaah has prescribed jihad in order to bring them back to the truth and to that which will benefit them. Undoubtedly wisdom dictates that the fool should be prevented from doing that which will harm him, and should be forced to do that which will benefit him.

Al-Bukhaari (4557) narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: " ‘You (true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah) are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind’ [Aal- Imraan 3:110 – interpretation of the meaning]." He said: "You are the best (i.e., the most beneficial) of people for mankind, you bring them in the chains that are around their necks until they enter Islam." Can people be brought in chains except in the case of jihad??

This is something for which Islam deserves to be praised, not condemned. The defeatists should fear Allaah lest they distort this religion and cause it to become weak on the basis of the claim that it is a religion of peace. Yes, it is the religion of peace but in the sense of saving all of mankind from worshipping anything other than Allaah and submitting all of mankind to the rule of Allaah. This is the religion of Allaah, not the ideas of any person or the product of human thought, so that those who promote it should feel ashamed to state its ultimate goal, which is that all religion (worship) should be for Allaah alone. When the ideas that people follow are all produced by human beings and the systems and laws that control their lives are all made up by human beings, then in this case each idea and each system has the right to live safely within its own borders so long as it does not transgress the borders of others, so the various ideas and laws can co-exist and not try to destroy one another. But when there is a divine system and law, and alongside it there are human systems and laws, then the matter is fundamentally different, and the divine law has the right to remove the barriers and free people from enslavement to human beings

Fiqh al-Da’wah by Sayyid Qutb, 217-222. (Question No. 43087: Was Islam spread by the sword?; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

And:

Al-Jihad (Islamic Holy War) in Allah’s Cause [with a large number of Muslims (union), equipped with the latest modern weapons)], is placed at the top in Islam, and is one of its pillars. Islam CANNOT be established EXCEPT with Jihad and with it is made high (superior) the Word of Allah (La ilaha il Allah – None has the right to be worshiped but Allah, Islam, etc.), and with it – Jihad, is propagated Allah’s Religion (Islam). And by abandoning it – Jihad, [And we seek refuge with Allah from it], there is the DESTRUCTION of Islam and its people (Muslims), with the loss of honour and their country and a severe decline in their rule and kingdom. Jihad is prescribed (as an obligatory duty to Allah), on every Muslim, and he who does not fight in Allah’s Cause and does not (even) speak to his personal-self for fighting in Allah’s Cause, then he will die (as a hypocrite), while committing one of crime [sic], items of hypocrisy. (Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud Din Al-Hilali & Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Interpretation of the Meanings of the Noble Qur’an: With Comments from Tafsir At-Tabari, Tafsir Al-Qurtubi and Tafsir Ibn Kathir and Ahadith from Sahih Al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim and other Ahadith Books [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Lahore, Houston, New York, First Edition: January 2000], Part 2. From Surah 6 to 9, Q. 9:24, fn. 1, p. 338; capital and underline emphasis ours)

Again:

Al-Jihad (Holy fighting) in Allah’s Cause (with full force of numbers and weaponry) is given the utmost importance in Islam and is one of its pillars (on which it stands). BY JIHAD ISLAM IS ESTABLISHED, ALLAH’S WORD IS MADE SUPERIOR, (His Word – La ilaha illallah – none has the right to be worshiped but Allah), AND HIS RELIGION ISLAM IS PROPAGATED. By ABANDONING Jihad (may Allah protect us from that) Islam IS DESTROYED and the Muslims fall into an inferior position; their honor is lost, their lands are stolen, their rule and authority vanishes. Jihad is an obligatory duty in Islam on every Muslim, and he who tries to escape from this duty, or does not in his innermost heart wish to fulfill this duty, dies with one of the qualities of a hypocrite. (Ibid., Q. 9:44, fn. 1, p. 383; capital emphasis ours)

In light of this rather honest admission it shouldn’t come as a surprise to the readers that Muhammad is reported to have made the following statements:

LXXXVII: What is said about spears

It is mentioned from Ibn 'Umar from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, "My provision has been placed under the shadow of my spear, and abasement and humility have been placed on the one who disobeys my command." (Bewley, Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 61. Book of Jihad and Military Expeditions; source)

Myth 4 – Islam prohibits the killing of women and children.

Fact – There is nothing explicit within the Quran that prohibits their killing, and the hadith literature presents contradictory teachings on this issue:

Chapter 9: PERMISSIBILITY OF KILLING WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN THE NIGHT RAIDS, PROVIDED IT IS NOT DELIBERATE

It is reported on the authority of Sa'b b. Jaththama that the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said: They are from them. (Sahih Muslim, Book 019, Number 4321)

It is narrated by Sa'b b. Jaththama that he said (to the Holy Prophet): Messenger of Allah, we kill the children of the polytheists during the night raids. He said: They are from them. (Sahih Muslim, Book 019, Number 4322)

Narrated Samurah ibn Jundub:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Kill the old men who are polytheists, but spare their children. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 14, Number 2664)

Al-Tabari also mentioned that Muhammad had the young boys of the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayzah beheaded:

The Messenger of God had commanded that all of them who had reached puberty should be killed. (The History of Al-Tabari, Volume VIII, p. 38)

Another source tells us how they determined whether a person had reached puberty:

Narrated Atiyyah al-Qurazi:
I was among the captives of Banu Qurayzah. They (the Companions) examined us, and those who had begun to grow hair (pubes) were killed, and those who had not were not killed. I was among those who had not grown hair. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 38, Number 4390)

These conflicting reports led one Muslim to admit that:

2018. This tradition allows to kill women and children of the infidels IN THE BATTLE. The other traditions indicate that it is prohibited to kill women and children in the battle. These CONTRADICTORY traditions have been reconciled by saying that the tradition of al-Sa‘b b. Jaththamah has been abrogated. The other interpretation is that it is allowable to kill women and children when the settlements of the infidels are attacked AT NIGHT, as they cannot be distinguished from the fighting men in the dark. (Sunan Abu Dawud, English translation with explanatory notes by Prof. Ahmad Hasan [Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters; Lahore, Pakistan, 1984], Volume II, p. 739; capital emphasis ours)

Besides, the reason why scholars accept the view that women and children are not to be killed is because they are considered chattel which Muslims can rape, sell, or enslave:

"As for those who cannot offer resistance or cannot fight, such as women, children, monks, old people, the blind, handicapped and their likes, they shall not be killed, unless they actually fight with words [e.g. by propaganda] and acts [e.g. by spying or otherwise assisting in the warfare]. Some [jurists] are of the opinion that all of them may be killed, on the mere ground that they are unbelievers, but they make an exception for woman and children and they constitute property for Muslims." (Sheikh Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah, The Religious and Moral Doctrine of Jihad, p. 28; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Myth 5 – The Quran doesn’t prohibit befriending Jews and Christians.

Fact – Actually it does:

O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends (auliya). They are friends (auliya) one to another. He among you who taketh them for friends is (one) of them. Lo! Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk. S. 5:51 Pickthall

Some claim that auliya doesn’t mean friends, but protectors, that Muslims shouldn’t take unbelievers as their protectors. The problem is that this is not substantiated by the Islamic reference works such as Ibn Kathir:

The Prohibition of Taking the Jews, Christians and Enemies of Islam as FRIENDS

Allah forbids His believing servants from having Jews and Christians as FRIENDS, because they are the enemies of Islam and its people, may Allah curse them. Allah then states that they are FRIENDS of each other and He gives a warning threat to those who do this, ...

<And if any among you befriends them, then surely he is one of them.>

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that ‘Umar ordered Abu Musa Al-Ash‘ari to send him on one sheet of balance the count of balance what he took in and what he spent. Abu Musa then had a Christian scribe, and he was able to comply with ‘Umar’s demand. ‘Umar liked what he saw and exclaimed, "This scribe is proficient. Would you read in the Masjid a letter that came to us from Ash-Sham?" Abu Musa said, "He cannot." Umar said, "Is he not pure?" Abu Musa said, "NO, BUT HE IS CHRISTIAN." Abu Musa said, "So ‘Umar admonished me and poked my thigh (with his finger), saying, ‘DRIVE HIM OUT (FROM AL-MADINAH).’ HE THEN RECITED,...

<O you who believe! Take not the Jews and Christians as friends...> "

Then he reported that ‘Abdullah bin ‘Utbah said, "Let one of you beware that he might be a Jew or Christians, while unaware." The narrator of this statement said, "We thought that he was referring to the Ayah, ...

<O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as friends,> " ...

The Prohibition of Being Loyal FRIENDS with Disbelievers

This Ayah [5:57] discourages and forbids taking the enemies of Islam and its people, such as the People of the Book and the polytheists, as friends. These disbelievers mock the most important acts that any person could ever perform, the honorable, pure acts of Islam which include all types of good for this life and the Hereafter. They mock such acts and make them the subject of jest and play, because this is what these acts represent in their misguided minds and cold hearts. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) Volume 3, Parts 6, 7 & 8 (Surat An-Nisa, Verse 148 to the end of Surat Al-An’am), abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; First Edition: January 2000], pp. 204-205, 210; source; capital emphasis and bracketed statements ours)

This same word is used for those who are friends of Allah:

Lo! verily the friends of Allah (auliya Allahi) are (those) on whom fear (cometh) not, nor do they grieve! S. 10:62 Pickthall

Are we to assume that this means that Allah has people who protect him?

Myth 6 – The Quran says to seek peace if the enemy wants peace:

And if they incline to peace, do thou incline to it; and put thy trust in God; He is the All-hearing, the All-knowing. S. 8:61

Fact – This passage is contradicted by the following reference:

So be not weak and ask not for peace (from the enemies of Islam), while you are having the upper hand. Allah is with you, and will never decrease the reward of your good deeds. S. 47:35

The contradiction led some Muslims to assume that Q. 8:61 has been abrogated whereas other scholars believed that it is be implemented only when the Muslims do not have the upper hand:

(So do not falter) do not weaken, O believer, upon fighting the disbelievers (and cry out for peace) and it is said this means: for Islam before fighting (when you (will be) the uppermost) when you are the victorious and the ultimate consequence will be in your favour, (and Allah is with you) He helps you to defeat your enemy, (and He will not grudge (the reward of) your actions) and He will not diminish the works in which you engage during Jihad. (Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn ‘Abbs; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

So do not falter, [do not] be weak, and [do not] call for peace (read salm or silm), that is to say, a truce with the disbelievers should you encounter them, when you have the upper hand (al-a'lawna: the third letter of the triliteral root, waw, has been omitted), [when you are] the victors, the vanquishers, and God is with you, helping and assisting, and He will not stint you, diminish you, in [the reward for] your works, that is to say, of the reward for them. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

And if they incline to peace (read silm or salm, meaning, 'settlement'), then incline to it, and conclude a pact with them: Ibn 'Abbas said, 'This has been abrogated by the "sword verse" [Q. 2:191]'; Mujahid said, 'This [stipulation] applies exclusively in the context of the People of the Scripture, for it was revealed regarding the Banu Qurayza; and rely on God, put your trust in Him; truly He is the Hearer, of words, the Knower, of actions. (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Again:

<So do not lose heart>, meaning, do not be weak concerning the enemies…

<and beg for peace>, meaning, compromise, peace, and ending the fighting between you and the disbelievers while you are in a position of power, both in great numbers and preparation

<So do not lose heart and beg for peace while you are superior.>

meaning, in the condition of your superiority over your enemy. If, on the other hand, the disbelievers are considered more powerful and numerous than the Muslims, then the Imam (general commander) may decide to hold a treaty if he judges that it entails a benefit for the Muslims. This is like what Allah’s Messenger did when the disbelievers obstructed him from entering Makkah and offered him treaty in which all fighting would stop between them for ten years… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged) (Surat Al-Jathiyah to the end of Surat Al-Munafiqun) [First Edition: September 2000], Volume 9, p. 118; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Finally, here is what this Islamic reference says regarding truces:

Truces are permissible, not obligatory. The only one who may effect a truce is the Muslim ruler of the region (or his representative) with a segment of the non-Muslims of the region, or the caliph (o25) (or his representative). When made with other than a portion of the non-Muslims, or when made with all of them, or with all in a particular region such as India or Asia Minor, then only the caliph (or his representative) may effect it, for it is a matter of the gravest consequence because it entails the nonperformance of jihad, whether globally or in a given locality, and our interests must be looked after therein, which is why it is best left to the caliph under any circumstances, or to someone he delegates to see to the interests of the various regions.

There must be some interest served in making a truce other than mere preservation of the status quo. Allah Most High says,

"So do not be fainthearted and all for peace, when it is you who are the uppermost" (Koran 47:35).

Interests that justify making a truce are such things as Muslim weakness because of lack of numbers or materiel[sic], or the hope of an enemy becoming Muslim, for the Prophet made a truce in the year Mecca was liberated with Safwan ibn Umayya for four months in hope that he would become Muslim, and he entered Islam before its time was up. IF the Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary, for the Prophet made a truce with Quraysh for that long, as is related by Abu Dawud. It is not permissible to stipulate longer than that, save by means of new truces, each of which does not exceed ten years.

The rulings of such a truce are inferable from those of the non-Muslim poll tax (def: o11); namely, that when a valid truce has been effected, no harm may be done to non-Muslims UNTIL IT EXPIRES.) (Reliance of the Traveler: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, p. 605; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)


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