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Sūratu’l-Baqarah [The Cow] : (2:193)

Sūratu’l-Baqarah [The Cow] : (2:193)

وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتّٰى لَا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدّ۪ينُ لِلّٰهِ

“(But if they persist in causing disorder, continue to) fight against them until there is no longer disorder (rooted in rebellion against God), and the religion (the right for worship and the authority to order the way of life) is recognized for God.” (Al-Baqarah 2:193)

One of the most meaningful comments of this verse was expressed by ‘Ab-dullāh ibn ‘Umar during the fighting between ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Umar, ‘Ab-dullāh ibn Zubayr, and Hajjaj ibn Yūsuf, who was known as “The Cruel Haj-jaj.”

During these unfortunate events, two people came to ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Umar and said to him:

“Everybody is having trouble and people are dying; however, you, a Companion of God’s Messenger, are staying at home, not struggling together with us?”

Ibn ‘Umar answered,

“God’s prohibition of Muslims not to shed the blood of each other prevents me from fighting together with you.”

They asked,

“Yet, is it not God who commands, ‘Fight until there is no longer disorder?’”

Then, Ibn ‘Umar responded to them remarkably:

“We struggled until there was no longer disorder, and the religion was Allāh’s. As for you, you are struggling in order to cause disorder and so that the religion is dedicated to other than Allāh.”

▪During the Makkan period of his Messengership, which constitutes more than a half of it, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, always maintained his struggle according to the Divine command:

“Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and argue with them in the best way possible” (An-Nahl 16:125).

▪For 13–14 years, Muslims never gave up responding to their enemies with forgiveness, a warm heart, and tolerance in spite of the constant deportation and the hatred, anger, and transgression shown by their enemies. Only after God’s Messenger and his believing followers were forced to leave Makkah, their native town, and settled in Madīnah did God permit the believers to use force against their aggressive enemies.

▪This permission was given so that the believers could survive against the onslaughts of their refractory enemies, whom even the most sincere treatment and mildness could not soften, and so that the attacks on their religion and the lives of innocent people might be prevented and a ground might be established where everyone could live according to their faith freely. In the beginning, during the Makkan period and the initial years in Madīnah, during which the Muslims were seriously harassed and attacked by Makkans, the Muslims were ordered perseverance and forgiveness.

▪When the very lives of the Muslims were in danger, God allowed them to defend themselves. After that, in a world where might equaled justice and plunder and war dominated, in order to secure peace and security in their homeland and to live according to their faith, and in order to discipline and establish decisive rules for fighting, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, was permitted, and when necessary ordered his followers, to wage war against their offensive enemies.

▪It was mentioned in previous Divine Scriptures that he was allowed to fight. If he had not been allowed to fight when it was necessary, fighting would not have been made dependent on certain rules.

Rather than denying the reality of war and human impulses toward fighting in a vain idealistic manner, what was important and necessary was to establish rules to make war just, in respect to both its motives and purposes, as well as its means and conduct, so that the harm of it may be contained and the good in it may benefit the people in general. For this reason, the Qur’ān and the Sunnah have put human tendencies in order, closed the doors to their misuse, and directed them to moral excellence.

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