Refuting the Jihadist Interpretation of Surah Nisa-Verse: 89

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Maulana Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqui

One of the verses the extremists quote for calling their ideological followers to fight against the ‘disbelievers’ including the non-Wahhabi Muslims is the verse 89 of Surah Al-Nisa. However by doing so, they are greatly violating the Quran. Let’s see and behold!

Allah Almighty says, “They (the hypocrites) wish that you reject faith as they have rejected (faith) and thus you all become equal (like one another). So do not make friends with (any of) them until they emigrate in the way of Allah. Then, if they turn back (violate their peace treaty and launch aggression against you), seize them and kill them wherever you find them (during the war), and take not (any of) them either for a friend or for a helper.” (4:89)

This verse refers to the hypocrites who rejected their faith and wanted the believers to reject their faith and become equal like one another. They were hidden traitors who wanted to commit treason against the believers. Therefore this verse asked the believers not to make them their friends “until they emigrate in the way of Allah” in order to prove their sincerity and truthfulness. Until now the first half part of the verse did not ask the believers to seize or kill these hypocrites. But if they turn back by not migrating and by violating their peace-treaty and launching aggression against the believers, it is in that sense the second half of the verse asks the believers “to seize them and kill them” wherever they find them during the war, as the command of this verse can’t be applied outside the war.

Its succeeding verse (4:90) clarifies that this verse 4:89 can’t be applied to those who have made a peace-treaty, no matter whether they are hypocrites or any group of disbelievers. Let us read now the verse 4:90!

“But (do not fight) those who have allied with a people that between you and them there is a (peace) treaty, or who (losing heart) come to you in such a state that their breasts are afflicted (with this obsession) whether they should fight you or their own people. If Allah had so willed, He (strengthening their hearts) would have given them supremacy over you. Then they would certainly have fought you. So if they keep away from you and do not fight you and send you (a message) for peace, then (in the interest of peace) Allah has left no way open for you (to launch any aggression) against them.” (4:90)

Having read the afore-mentioned two verses of the Quran, the Islamic nature of war becomes very clear. The war-related verses can’t be applied to the areas or countries where the Muslims and non-Muslims live peacefully under any sort of mutually agreed law or any sort of peace-treaty or constitution. This argument was completely followed and juristically encouraged by the great classical jurists. I am quoting only some of them, as follows;

Violation of Treaty is Not Permissible

“If a peaceful treaty is concluded with the stipulation that there will be no war between parties for one year or so, it should not be violated. It is unlawful to come to war within the stipulated time by breaking the agreement” (Majmaul-anhar, Bahare Shariat, vol: 9, p.137)

There is another Quranic verse 8:72 which significantly teaches the believers to maintain treaty or agreement. That Muslims should keep the promise of treaty in all cases is a universal message. If today’s Muslims have agreed to abide by any constitution, they shall have to keep their promise. Allah Almighty says, “Fulfil the covenant [promise]. Verily the covenant will be questioned about” (17:34).

Injunction of Peaceful Treaty                 

“It is permissible for the Muslims to conclude a peaceful treaty, provided that it is in their favour. If there be a need, the treaty can be concluded even by giving out some wealth. As a matter of expedient measure, it can be broken. But the enemies should be informed of it and fighting should not be begun; just after informing them of the breaking of agreement. There should be an interval sufficient enough for them to make their allies aware of it. This injunction is applicable only when the agreement is broken before the expiry of the stipulated length of time.” (Durre-e-Mukhtar, Raddul Muhtar, Bahare Shariat Vol:9, p.138)

Injunction on Offering Protection to Polytheists

“If a free Muslim man or woman gives shelter to one or a group of polytheists or to the polytheists of a particular town, it is his or her duty to protect his or their life. It is not lawful to kill them, even if the person who gives the shelter is a transgressor, blind or an aged man”. (Durr-e-Mukhtar, Alamgiri, Bahare Shariat)

Injunction on offering Protection to the weak even during War-times

It is also important to note that the collateral damage is not allowed even during war-times. Islam says, it is strictly forbidden to kill women, children, mad, aged, blind, crippled, and lame men, priests, monks, retiring in the worship houses and those whose right hands are either chopped off or affected by rickets, provided that they do not come to avail the enemies. (Durre Mukhtar, Bahare Shariat, Vol:9, p.137). Such views of the Islamic jurists are based on the following ahadith;

(1)      “Do not kill any child, any woman, or any elder or sick person.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)

(2)      “Do not practice treachery or mutilation. (Muwatta Malik)

(3)      “Do not destroy the villages and towns, do not spoil the cultivated fields and gardens, and do not slaughter the cattle.” (Sahih Bukhari; Sunan Abu Dawud)

(4)      “Do not kill the monks in monasteries, and do not kill those sitting in places of worship. (Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal)

(5)      “Do not uproot or burn palms or cut down fruitful trees.(Al-Muwatta)

(6)      “Do not wish for an encounter with the enemy; pray to Allah to grant you security; but when you [are forced to] encounter them, exercise patience.” (Sahih Muslim)

(7)      “No one may punish with fire except the Lord of Fire.” (Sunan Abu Dawud).

To sum up, we can say that the war-related verses are limited to war-times only. Only the state or a government of a country can execute the rulings and laws of war. Individuals or citizens are not allowed to wage war against any group or take laws in hands. Moreover, the war-related verses can’t be applied to the countries where Muslims and non-Muslims are living under their mutual agreement or any sort of peace-treaty or constitution. Therefore, the extremists can’t quote the verse 4:89 to justify their acts in any way. Similarly it would be a great crime, on the part of their followers, to support the call of the extremists.  Source:http://newageislam.com/radical-islamism-and-jihad/ghulam-ghaus-siddiqi,-new-age-islam/refuting-the-jihadist-interpretation-of-surah-nisa—verse-89/d/114936

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