Quran advocates total freedom, tolerance, perfect peace and justice, and so does Islam. So there is no place of aggression, oppression, injustice, violence or terrorism in it. But it is unfortunate that violence or terrorism has got an attention of media due to evil and selfish goal of some people or groups or organizations who abuse Islam belong to one group called “Radical Islam” or “Islamic extremists” or “Islamic terrorists”. Many observers concur that this label is completely wrong, because killing and hurting innocent people is the total opposite of Islam as detailed in the Quran.This is not only anti Islam but also against any religious faith in the world. However, there is no doubt that they are misguided but claim themselves Muslims, and misguide others even quoting certain verses of the Quran out of context. They are successful to build a network of the ignorant wicked who are committed to take innocent lives of others or to kill themselves for killing others expecting to go to Paradise without realizing that they are committing horrendous crimes and that they are only destined to Hell.
Fighting at a glance
Fighting was a great concern of the believers at the time of revelation of the Quran when they were prevented from practicing God’s religion freely as well as to eliminate aggression, oppression and injustice. There are 71 instances of “Qatal” in the Quran referring to ‘fighting’ based on context found in 50 verses while the Quran has given us a specific set detailing fighting in 51 verses across 18 suras including 1 instance of “in’tahaw” meaning ‘cease’ in another verse directly related to fighting. If the relevant sura and verse # are added, the sum is a multiple of 19 => 4655 = 19 x 245 as shown in the table below along with the key messages stated in the relevant verses as well:
Note: The instance of intahaw in 2:192 meaning cease is highlighted orange, which has a reference to both preceding and proceeding verses to define the war rules.
- The believers shall fight for the cause of God until the elimination of oppression and the establishment of the religion for Him but there is no fighting in the Sacred Masjid unless the disbelievers attack the believers as well as if the disbelievers cease fighting (2:190-193&2:216).
- Fighting is sacrilege in the sacred months but repelling from the path of God as well as disbelieving in Him and the Sacred Masjid, and driving out its people is a great sin. When the believers are oppressed, they express their willingness to go for fighting but if it is decreed for them, they would not have fought. Fighting is decreed as the people has disputed the proofs that came down through His messengers (2:217, 2:244, 2:246 & 2:253).
- War plan and exposure of hypocrites and promise of a great reward from God for those who are killed in the battle for the cause of God while those who turn their back from the battle would not be helped (3:13, 3:111, 3:121, 3:146, 3:167 & 3:195).
- The believers fight in the cause of God while the disbelievers fight in the cause of evil. Thus, He grants a great reward to those who fight except those who have treaty or have come restraining their hearts to fight, whether they are killed or achieve victory (4:74-77, 4:84& 4:95).
- Those who believed with Moses expressed their unwillingness to fight (5:24).
- Those who turn back in the battle without a battle plan have incurred God’s wrath while He strengthened them to fight and defeat a large number of disbelievers (8:16,8:39 & 8:65).
- You shall fight those who break their treaty, disbelieve in God, forbid what God has made lawful, and denounce your religion even if they are close to you as God wishes to punish and humiliate them by your hands whereas in certain case He will punish and humiliate His enemies by Himself. Those who fight in the cause of God, if they kill or get killed will receive reward from God as He purchased lives and wealth of the believers in exchange of Paradise but do not fight them in the four sacred months nor if they cease (9:12-14, 9:29-30, 9:36, 9:83, 9:111 & 9:123).
- Those who are being prosecuted will fight, and God will give them victory (22:39).
- You shall fight for the party that is being oppressed in any conflict between two parties when Moses punched and killed one of the two men who were fighting one another (28:15).
- God is Powerful and Almighty. He supports those who fight in His cause to defeat the disbelievers (33:20 & 25).
- Those who have disease in their hearts are afraid of fighting as if death has already come to them (47:20).
- If the believers obey when they are called to fight without turning back, God will grant them a good reward (48:16) and when the believers fight the disbelievers, they would turn around and flee, who would not have any protector nor a helper (48:22).
- You shall even fight for the party that is being oppressed in case of any conflict between two parties of the believer until to make peace and just between them (49:9).
- God has promised a higher status with Him for those who spent and fought before the victory (57:10).
- The hypocrites promised to fight the disbelievers but they did not fight them, even those who fought them turned around and fled as they are liars (59:11-12 & 59:14).
- You shall fight those who fight you for your religion and driving you out of your homes but be nice and just with those who do not do so (60:8-9).
- God loves those who fight all together like bricks in a wall in His cause as it increases strength to defeat the enemies (61:4).
- There are a people who may please you by their looks and speaking but they are the real enemies and God will punish and humiliate them by Himself (63:4).
- God wants His believers to implore Him and study the Quran in every night as much as they can while He has exempted those who are traveling seeking His bounty, who are sick or who are fighting in His cause. But He has not exempted them from observing Salah, paying Zakah, giving God a loan of righteousness, and seeking His forgiveness in a regular basis to deserve a better reward with Him reflecting on His two great attributes of Forgiving and Merciful (73:20).
The message regarding fighting outlined in the above 51 verses across 18 suras in the Quran can be summarized as follows:
(1) Objectives – God has decreed fighting for the believers to establish His religion as well as to eliminate aggression, oppression and injustice while He wishes to punish and humiliate the disbelievers by the hands of true believers as well as by Himself. He exposes the hypocrites as well as those who have diseases in their hearts, what they say is not in their hearts.
(2) War rules and restrictions – The believers shall fight in the cause of God until the elimination of oppression and to establish the religion for Him. They shall fight those who break their treaty, disbelieve in God, forbid what God has made lawful, and denounce God’s religion, and drive the believers out of their homes but they shall be nice and just with those who do not do so. There is no fighting in the Sacred Masjid unless the disbelievers attack the believers as well as if the disbelievers cease fighting while fighting is sacrilege in the sacred months.
(3) War plan and victory – Those who are being prosecuted will fight, and God will give them victory. He is Powerful and Almighty and supports those who fight in His cause to defeat the disbelievers. God loves those who fight all together in His cause as it increases strength to defeat the enemies.
(4) Reward and punishment – Those who fight in the cause of God will be granted a great reward as well as victory. If they kill or get killed will receive reward from Him as He purchased lives and wealth of the believers in exchange of Paradise while those who spend and fight before the victory will have a higher status with Him. The disbelievers will be punished as they fight in the cause of evil, and those who turn their back from the battle unless it is a war plan would not be helped as well as have incurred His wrath.
Misinterpretation of certain verses
Islam (submission to God) being a religion of freedom, peace and justice does cover the legitimacy of fighting in the Quran as and when it is required and justified, even forced and when it is unjustified. The believers at the time of the revelation of the Quran had to face hostile opposition because of their religious views, and were in many cases forced to fight to save their lives as well as to stay in their homes and to practice religion freely. But it is unfortunate that the misguided groups who claim them Muslims have quoted certain verses or their parts out of context in support of their terrorist activities in the cause of God to enter Paradise and so do the critics of the Quran to trace the presence of violence in Islam. However, below are the verses which are often taken out of context, eventhe message is very clear being the commandment of fighting for the believers when their lives and properties are in danger as well as to continue it as a war rule to eliminate aggression and oppression while aggression and oppression are always forbidden, can be confirmed studying the Quran being sincere by anyone of us not to be confused that Quran is the book only forthe Muslims:
[2:191] And you may kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from where they drove you out. Oppression is worse than killing. Do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid, unless they fight you in it. But if they fight you, then you may kill them. Such is the requital for the disbelievers.
[4:101] And when you travel in the land, then there is no blame on you if you shorten the Contact Prayer, if you fear that those who disbelieve may harm you. Indeed, the disbelievers are open enemy for you.
[8:12] When your Lord inspired to the angels, “I am with you; so strengthen those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. so strike above the necks, and strike from them every fingertip.”
[8:13] That is because they have opposed God and His messenger, and whoever opposes God and His messenger, then God is, surely severe in retribution.
[9:5] Then, when the sacred months have passed, then you may kill the idol worshipers wherever you find them, and may take them (captives), and may surround them (to capture), and may ambush for them at every point. But if they repent, and observe the contact prayer, and give the obligatory charity, then you shall let them go. Indeed, God is Forgiving, Merciful.
[9:14] You shall fight them; God will punish them by your hands and humiliate them and grant you victory over them and heal the chests of a people of the believers.
Fighting was a great concern of the believers at the time of revealing the Quran when they were prevented from practicing God’s religion freely as well as to eliminate aggression and oppression.There are misinterpretation in the commandment of fighting and innovations in Islam while some groups who have entirely invented their own religion but claim that they are Muslims and belong to Islam. They do not only take innocent lives but also advocate their members to kill themselves in the cause of God to enter Paradise for eternal happiness. However, those who misinterpret or disobey the commandment in the Quran then their actions are evil. They belong to what they have invented as their religion but for sure, not God’s religion as mentioned in the Quran. Thus, taking innocent lives of others is a murder and selves killing to kill others expecting to go to Paradise is a suicide, which are horrendous crimes as fighting is absolutely in the cause of God according to the Quran.
Since these groups insist on calling themselves “Islamic”, they belong to one group, which is called “Radical Islam” or “Islamic extremist” or “Islamic terrorist” in the media. Such labeling of these groups is completely wrong, because killing and hurting innocent people is the total opposite of the religion of Islam as detailed in the Quran. Hence, what would be justified to label them is “Anti-Islamic” or “Terrorist” as Islam is the religion of total freedom, tolerance, perfect peace and justice. These criminals are breaking, disobeying, and doing the opposite of every major moral requirement of the Quran, and therefore, are not Islamic whatsoever! Since aggression, oppression and killing innocent people in the name of religion is unquestionably against the teachings of Islam, they can accurately be labeled “Anti-Islamic” or “Terrorist” instead of “Radical Islam” or “Islamic extremist” or “Islamic terrorist” to isolate them from the rest of the Muslim community in the world.
Islam is a religion of God that forbids all aggression, oppression, eviction, killing or any other violence or evil behavior. The goal of the true believers is to achieve, maintain and advocate righteousness defined by God being truthful, reverent to Him, obedient to the rites as prescribed by Him through upholding the Quran being a source of knowledge, guidance, healing and mercy. There is a clear indication even from a subset of the Quranic verses through mathematical confirmation that we can stand up for our rights and fight for self-defense, but never aggress or oppress or take innocent lives.
The Quran was revealed about 1500 years ago but God’s words are unchanged, even we have found irrefutable evidences in the Quran that it is from God and we have opportunity to confirm our beliefs and practices what have been corrupted over the period of time. However, the Middle East based terrorist groups have entirely invented their own religion but they claim they belong to Islam (submission) and they are Muslims (submitters) to achieve their evil and selfish goal. They do not only take innocent lives but also advocate their members to kill themselves in the cause of God to enter Paradise for eternal happiness. But whatever may be their goal when they go against God’s words – the Quran then all of their actions are not “Islamic”. Thus, taking innocent lives of others is murder and selves killing expecting to go to Paradise is suicide which are horrendous crimes and unforgiveable sins according to the Quran, and their destination is Hell when they meet their Lord.
In fact, the religion of Islam focuses on worshipping God, leading a righteous life and attaining salvation in the Hereafter while fighting is permitted when it is justified. Since all the Muslims all over the world is a single community, there is no place of territorial disputes from religious view. However, in modern concept, every state is to preserve and protect the right of her citizens and to ensure the freedom of practicing their religion. We live in a world when we must understand and apply the war rules and restrictions that fit to the era that we live now as Islam is a progressive religion of God. There are international bodies and forums to ensure political, economic and religious freedom of the people for peaceful living in this world limiting any threat of war and the Quran strongly support it. Thus, we have the opportunities to resolve any issue or dispute by negotiating through the world bodies, on the other hand, it is advised to the ignorant wicked who are committing horrendous crimes to read the Quran to verify so that they may keep them away from such horrendous crimes.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.