22 October 2010

Surah 2:190-217 -- Allah's Rules for Holy Warfare

In this section, Allah lays down the rules of war for the religion of peace.

The first rule is that you must "fight in the way of Allah," but only against those that fight against you, and, even then, you can't start the war yourself. So preemptive war is out for Muslims.

Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors. 2:190

I'm confused by the next verse, though. "Slay them wherever you find them." Who is the "them" here? Disbelievers? Those that "persecute" Muslims? Soldiers and civilians? In warfare and in acts of terrorism?

And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. ... Such is the reward of disbelievers. 2:191

But whomever it is that Allah wants you to kill, you're supposed to stop killing them if they stop doing whatever it was (fighting with you, persecuting Islam, being disbelievers?) that you were busy killing them for. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful, Confusing.

But if they desist, then lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. 2:192

Or maybe not. Now Allah says that you must keep fighting until there is no more persecution and everyone on earth is a Muslim. Then you can stop killing people.

And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah. 2:193a

Well, not quite, I guess. If there are any wrong-doers around after you've killed off all the disbelievers, persecutors and aggressors, then you'll have to kill them too.

But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrong-doers. 2:193b

Whatever nasty stuff people do to you in war, you must do to them. Rape for rape, genocide for genocide, torture for torture. Allah is with those who fight evil with evil.

The forbidden month for the forbidden month, and forbidden things in retaliation. And one who attacketh you, attack him in like manner as he attacked you. Observe your duty to Allah, and know that Allah is with those who ward off (evil). 2:194

Always remember that "warfare is ordained for you." Allah wants you to fight in wars. You probably don't want to, but Allah thinks it's good for you. And Allah knows best.

Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not. 2:216

It's you and your religion against them and theirs. They won't stop fighting until they make you a "renegade from your religion" and if they succeed in that so you die in disbelief, Allah will burn you forever in the Fire.

... persecution is worse than killing. And they will not cease from fighting against you till they have made you renegades from your religion, if they can. And whoso becometh a renegade and dieth in his disbelief: such are they whose works have fallen both in the world and the Hereafter. Such are rightful owners of the Fire: they will abide therein. 2:217

So get out there an fight in the way of Allah
(or he'll burn you forever in the Fire after you die).


Bogging the Quran
2:218-242: Allah's guide to alcohol, gambling, menstruation, sex, and divorce

15 comments:

Randomdude123 said...

I have always had problems with Holy Warfare in the Qur'an. It's states in Qur'an 2:24 that if you disbelieve you can never believe. So if they converted when at first they disbelieved but they became Muslim Allah would forgive even though he "sealed there fate". That makes no sense at all.

The Wise Fool said...

Interesting that the Qur'an teaches to attack in like kind. So if you "attack" by drawing a picture of Mohammad, does that mean that they counterattack by drawing Jesus? If an atheist draws Mohammad, would they counter by drawing nothing? Ponderous man, real ponderous.

Randomdude123 said...

@The Wise Fool I don't know. If you draw a picture of Mohammad you must draw "an acceptable drawing of Mohammad". As far as I care it's a mystery. Should be left up for interpretation.

Parkar Atkinson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kat said...

"Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you;...."
Steve are you getting bored?
The Quran claims God is most merciful, most compassionate---why would he then allow wars---which cause sufferring---to happen?---why not wave his magic wand or whatever and make it all dissapear so no human being has to fight another human being....?---that might have been an interesting question to explore?

I will answer the other question soon...but out of time now

Steve Wells said...

Steve are you getting bored?

Kat, are you getting rude?

Lynn said...

Steve,
If you keep at it, and we keep reading, we'll know more about these three books than most of the actual followers.

I'm wondering is Muslims are like a lot of Christians, in that they don't spend much time reading their holy book, and really don't know what all is in there. They just have a vague idea that it's all good.

kat said...

My apologies Steve, an unfortunate word choice may have created the impression of sarcasm though it wasn't meant that way----I was only wondering if you were losing interest?

Hello Randomdude123 ---Surah 2 verse 24(and 23) is a challenge to those who had doubts about revelation during the time of Prophet Muhammed(pbuh)that if they considered the revelations to be man-made---then any man from amongst them should be able to come up with a sura of like quality (in Arabic). (The shortest surah is only about 3 or 4 verses long---1400 years later, the challenge still stands unbroken.) Maybe you are referring to verses 6 and 7 of surah 2? If so, the Quran says
6. "As to those who reject faith...." and 7. "God has set a seal on their hearts...." This indicates that human beings must reject faith of their own free will BEFORE God takes any action---(and this action is reversable whenever a person repents because God is merciful and compassionate.)
The Arabic word "Kaffir" means = one who covers up the truth and comes from the root word "ungrateful". It implies a deliberate rejection of truth/goodness (rather than one due to ignorance or due to a mistaken idea/concept of God....etc) Since the Pagan Arabs were blindly following traditional concept of "God"/"Allah", the Quran is against blind belief and insists that faith must be acquired through the use of our intellectual faculties through which we can arrive at conviction.

kat said...

Who is the "them" here? (191)---"them" would be "those who fight you" from the previous verse 190.
Surah 2 was revealed after the "Hijra" or migration from Mecca to Medina---the Muslims were escaping persecution by the Meccans and the people of Medina(Yathrib) invited the Prophet(pbuh) and his followers to come. (Another group of Muslims had already escaped to the Christian kingdom of Abysinia (Ethiopia) which offered refuge to them). However, the Meccans were not happy that the Muslims left and brought the fight to them in Medina/Yathrib (The battle of Badr and the battle of Uhud).
"Religion"---the Arabic word is Deen and it has a very wide meaning among which is justice and rule of law.
The general principle here is that oppression is wrong and human beings have a responsibility to see that oppression is lifted and justice is restored. Oppression and injustice harms God's creation and it is God's will that human beings have right beliefs that promote right intentions that lead to right actions for the benefit of all of his creation.

---So why do human beings have to make this effort?---why can't God simply eliminate oppression and injustice from the face of the earth?. ---the same reason God does not impose a "religion" on human beings---Our free-will----with free-will comes the responsibility to make choices and take actions.
If we actively participate in life---we could make a difference.

Steve Wells said...

Here are the verses in question.

Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors. And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers. 2:190-191

When Allah commands his followers to "slay them wherever you find them" you say the "them" is "those who fight you." And you might be right about that. That is a possible interpretation. But then Allah adds "for such is the reward of disbelievers" -- which means another possible interpretation is that Allah commands his followers to kill unbelievers wherever they find them. Office buildings, airplanes, wherever.

It's too bad Allah didn't have you write the Quran for him. You'd have done a much better job.

What did Allah mean when he said "such is the reward of disbelievers?"

kat said...

Steve--maybe I was too quick to judge---I didn't realize this was a legitimate question, I thought it was thrown in as a token.....and thankyou for your kind words though I cannot take credit.

Reading the Quran----Muslims and Jews do not read our books of wisdom raw. The Jews have the Talmud (Gemarrah, Mishnah, Rabbinical works etc) Muslims have the Tafsir (Hadith, Sunna, scholarly works etc). These put the wisdom teachings in context. Islam has a rich tradition of scholarly exegesis.

Who are the disbelievers in this verse?---Definition (Characteristics) of disbelievers has already been given ealier in surah 2--they are those who knowingly reject goodness to create "mischief" in the world. Therefore, those who attack in order to create oppression and injustice---even though they know this is wrong---would fall into this category (disbeliever).

To put this in perspective----much (not all) of Surah 2 was revealed in Medina after the Hijra---that means the revelations had already been occurring for more than 10 years in Mecca. Values of Compassion, Charity, Justice, Equality had already been given---so the Meccans cannot say they were unaware/ignorant of guidance to goodness. According to Islamic thought---human beings are created inherently good---this means, even without the guidance of the Quran---human beings have an inherent capacity to recognize and understand goodness---that is why the guidance of the Quran is often called "a reminder" in the Quran itself.
Does this verse apply today?---Yes. Human beings are responsible for promoting justice, liberty, rule of law....etc in their societies. If evil grows within their societies---good men must stand up to it. Does this mean flying planes into buildings (or villages) and killing innocent people is acceptable?--No---that is why the Quran says keep God in mind when fighting in self-defense and do not transgress limits---elsewhere the Quran also specifies not to kill innocents, or damage crops.....etc
(Today, the U.S. is using Drones (remote control planes) to kill innocent villagers on the Pakistan/Afghan border--and these killings are called "collateral damage")

IMO the idea of "reward" is also interesting---human beings have free-will as well as intelligence and this makes us accountable for our good/bad choices. However, these choices can only be excercised here on earth (in life)---not when we are dead. From birth to death---we have opportunities to do good, or if we have done bad, to repent and turn to goodness. The other side of the coin---in this concept---is that we can only be judged according to our time on earth---whether that be short or long. Therefore, the demands of justice require that our accountability be limited (in time) to our use of free-will.

Steve Wells said...

Once again, kat, I don’t know what you are saying, though what you say sounds very nice.

In 2:191, Allah says to “slay them wherever you find them … Such is the reward of unbelievers.” When I asked you what Allah meant when he said, “such is the reward of disbelievers" you answered by defining “unbeliever” as “those who knowingly reject goodness to create ‘mischief’ in the world” – which sounds like complete nonsense to me.

If there ever was an “unbeliever” when it comes to Islam and the Quran, I am one. There are about 5.5 billion others who also disbelieve in the Quran. If the word “unbeliever” has any meaning at all, then the “such is the punishment for unbelievers” applies to us all.

I am also an obvious “mischief” maker, at least when it comes to the Quran. I despise the Quran (as I do the Bible and the Book of Mormon) because of its cruelty, absurdity, and harmful effects. Is that enough mischief for you to call me an unbeliever, kat?

If so, then what is the reward that Allah speaks of in 2:190? (“Such is the reward of unbelievers.”) Doesn’t the “such” refer to the “Kill them wherever you find them” command?

Let’s say that I’m right, kat, (just for the sake of the argument, of course). What if Allah commanded you to kill unbelievers wherever you find them. Would you do as Allah says and try to kill me and the other 5.5 billion unbelievers?
I’m just asking.

Matthew Blanchette said...

...and, as you can see, he didn't respond. Just goes to show.

guineap1g said...

not at all surprised "free will" appears in Qur'anic apologetics(interesting aside - spell-check aptly suggested quarantine)

the new thing is "it's not an instruction book", where book is some holy tome

but when you read either christian or muslim text, it seems quite clear they are just that

21. O ye people! Adore your Guardian-Lord, who created you and those who came before you, that ye may have the chance to learn righteousness;

this verse says a deity created everyone and is reiterated in other verses

6. As to those who reject Faith, it is the same to them whether thou warn them or do not warn them; they will not believe.

this verse clearly says unbelievers will not have the "chance to learn righteousness" because they cannot, will not believe

why is that?

7. Allah hath set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes is a veil; great is the penalty they (incur).

it seems this deity is securing a steady supply of kindling for his fire of men and stone by setting up the rules to avoid his wrath AND creating people who could never follow them

24. But if ye cannot- and of a surety ye cannot- then fear the Fire whose fuel is men and stones,- which is prepared for those who reject Faith.

not much of a challenge then, when the game is rigged to fail

Shad Shahid said...

Dear Steve,
Regarding your question on 2:191 (Thus should such disbelievers be rewarded), Muslim theologians have always defined disbelievers as those to whom the reality of Islam was made manifest (i.e.- when God made it clear to the whole of Arabia that Muhammad was His Prophet and Messenger).

The question of you becoming such a disbeliever can never arise because you did not witness the manifest apostleship of Muhammad.

Would God command us to kill today's unbelievers (as distinct from disbelievers) -this is a fallacious question because God is Perfectly Just and Supremely Merciful.

The Qur'an is the word of God (Allah in Arabic) as revealed in the social context of 7th century Arabia when Muhammad was preaching his Divine mission. The confusion arises when Muslims or non-Muslims take sentences out of context.

Viewed thus, most of the accusations on the Qur'an about punishing disbelievers wither away.

It has always been the way of God to punish those who reject His messengers. This is what happened in Sodom and Gomorrah to the people of Lot, and this is what happened at the time of Noah. In the time of Muhammad, this punishment was meted out by God Almighty through the sword of His Messenger.