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See: Project Rebuttal: What the West needs to know about Islam

Refuting the gross distortion and misrepresentation of the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad and Islam, made by the critics of Islam

Read: Background to the Project

List of all Issues | Summary 1 | Summary 2 | Summary 3‎ — completed, 28th June 2013


October 5th, 2011

Issue 23

Issue 23 [@ 19:08]: Serge Trifkovic – :It is indeed a very curious concept for a non-Muslim to accept the notion that God may change his mind about a topic and issue one injunction in AD 614 [Slide projected– The Noble Koran – 2:256 There is no compulsion (i.e. coercion) in religion.] And then a very different one in AD 627. [Slide projected – The Noble Koran – 9:5 Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them…But if they repent and accept Islam…then leave their way free.] But this is indeed what happened in Islam.:

Rebuttal 23: None of what Serge Trifkovic states happened in Islam or history. It is best known to him the context and logic of his connecting verse 2:256 with 9:5. This is all illogical and non-contextual. He is not interested in verse 2:256. Instead, he tries to confabulate its contradiction in verse 9:5.

What the audience do not know is that Trifkovic is borrowing a page from Islam haters of the yore. These are the same arguments that were construed almost a century ago. They were rebutted then by various members of this organization in India in their speeches, debates and books at that time. Subsequently, these allegations were put to rest in full context of Quran by Muhammad Ali.

The following is a direct rebuttal excerpted from translation and commentary of Quran by Muhammad Ali, which was recently edited by Zahid Aziz:

Chapter 9 – Al-Bar’at – Immunity
[Preamble] The name of this chapter (which is also called Al-Taubah or Repentance) refers to the declaration in its opening verses that Muslims were now not subject to their agreements with certain idolatrous Arab tribes who had been constantly breaking them (verses 7–13). The chapter thus first deals with the subject of agreements with them as depending on their adherence to them…This chapter was revealed in 9 A.H. This is the only chapter of the Quran not opening with Bismillah, “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful”, as it is, in a sense, a continuation of the last chapter.

Section 1: Declaration of Immunity
9:1. A declaration of immunity from Allah and His Messenger to those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement.

[comment] This is a declaration of immunity from obligations with such of the idolatrous tribes of Arabia as had repeatedly broken their agreements with the Muslims. They broke their agreements again and again (8:56),**

8:56. those with whom you make an agreement, then they break their agreement every time, and they do not keep their duty.

[comment] It shows how the opponents of Islam disregarded their responsibility and violated their agreements. The use of the words every time shows clearly that the Muslims never hesitated in making a new agreement when one was violated, but the disbelievers did not even then respect their agreements; hence, as a last resort, Muslims were allowed to repudiate un-respected agreements (v. 8:58).

8:58. And if you fear treachery on the part of a people, throw back to them (their treaty) on terms of equality. Surely Allah does not love the treacherous.

[comment] If the other party does not remain faithful to the agreement of peace, Muslims may also repudiate it. The word fear does not indicate that a mere apprehension, unsupported by any action on the other side’s part, is sufficient for repudiation. Read it along with v. 8:62, and the meaning is clear.

8:62. And if they intend to deceive you, then surely Allah is sufficient for you.

[comment] The deceit is in relation to what has been said in the previous verse [8:61. And if they incline to peace, you (must) incline to it also,
and trust in Allah. Surely He is the Hearer, the Knower.], the meaning being that if they intend to deceive you under the cloak of peace, even in such a case peace is to be accepted.

He it is Who strengthened you with His help and with the believers,

**yet the Muslims were enjoined to accept peace if the disbelievers consented to it, even after repeated violations (8:61[see above]). But this state of things could not continue long, for it was soon found that it was impossible to trust such neighbours. This repudiation of agreements took place on a large scale when the Muslims were absent on the Tabuk expedition.

9:2. So go about in the land for four months and know that you cannot escape Allah and that Allah will disgrace the disbelievers.

9:3. And an announcement from Allah and His Messenger to the people on the day of the greater pilgrimage that Allah is free from liability to the idolaters, and so is His Messenger.

[comment] The first thirteen verses of this chapter were publicly proclaimed by Ali on the occasion of the pilgrimage in 9 A.H.

So if you repent, it will be better for you; and if you turn away, then know that you will not escape Allah. And announce painful punishment to those who disbelieve —

9:4. except those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement, then they have not failed you in anything and have not backed up anyone against you; so fulfil their agreement to the end of their term. Surely Allah loves those who keep their duty.

[comment] The exception given here makes it clear that the Muslims were not fighting with the idolaters on account of their religion, but on account of their having been untrue to their agreements.

9:5. So when the sacred months have passed, kill the idolaters, wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush.

[comment] The clear exception of the last verse shows that by the idolaters here are meant, not all idolaters or polytheists wherever they may be found in the world, not even all idolaters of Arabia, but only those idolatrous tribes of Arabia assembled at the pilgrimage who had first made agreements with the Muslims and then violated them. The order to kill them and to make them prisoners and to besiege them and ambush them amounts clearly to an order to fight against them, as it is in war only that all these actions are made lawful. (Editor’s Note: The expression “kill them wherever you find them” has also been used in 2:190–191, where it is also declared clearly: “And fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you but do not be aggressive”. Thus “wherever you find them” means wherever you find those who are engaged in fighting against you, after they have been the first to attack you.)

But if they repent and keep up prayer and give the due charity, leave their way free.

[comment] The whole verse relates to certain idolatrous Arab tribes who had broken their engagements with the Muslims, and who had now been apprised of a similar repudiation by the Muslims. They had so often broken their word that they could no more be trusted. Yet, if they joined the brotherhood of Islam, and there was an absolute change in their condition, the punishment which they otherwise deserved could be remitted. It was a case of forgiving a guilty people who had repented. Nothing could be further from the truth than the allegation that this offers to the disbelievers the alternative of either being killed or accepting Islam.

Surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

9:6. And if anyone of the idolaters seek your protection, protect him till he hears the word of Allah, then convey him to his place of safety. This is because they are a people who do not know.

[comment] This verse leaves no doubt that the Holy Prophet was never ordered by God to kill anyone on account of his religion. Any idolater seeking the protection of the Muslims in order to learn about Islam was to be granted safe conduct to return home in case he did not think it fit to embrace Islam.

9:7. How can there be an agreement for the idolaters with Allah and with His Messenger, except those with whom you made an agreement at the Sacred Mosque? So as long as they are true to you, be true to them. Surely Allah loves those who keep their duty.

[comment] So long as the idolaters were true to their agreements, Muslims were required to be true to them. Just as in the case of war, Muslims were not allowed to fight until the enemy had first attacked, so, in the case of repudiation of agreements, it was the enemy who first repudiated the agreement.

9:8. How (can it be)? And if they prevail against you, they respect neither ties of relationship nor covenant in your case. They would please you with their mouths while their hearts refuse; and most of them are transgressors.

9:9. They have taken a small price for the messages of Allah, so they hinder (people) from His way. Surely evil is what they do.

9:10. They respect neither ties of relationship nor covenant in the case of a believer. And these are they who go beyond the limits.

[comment] Note the repeated assertions of the Quran that the disbelievers were not to be fought against for their disbelief but for their being first in starting war or repudiating agreements.

9:11. But if they repent and keep up prayer and give the due charity, they are your brethren in faith. And We make the messages clear for a people who know.

9:12. And if they break their oaths after their agreement and revile your religion, then fight the leaders of disbelief — surely their oaths are nothing — so that they may cease.

[comment] Those leaders of disbelief are to be fought against who break their oaths after their agreements.

9:13. Will you not fight a people who broke their oaths and aimed at the expulsion of the Messenger, and they attacked you first?

[comment] Editor’s Note: This again makes clear that Muslims are only required to fight those who attacked them first.

Do you fear them? But Allah has more right that you should fear Him, if you are believers.

9:14. Fight them; Allah will punish them at your hands and bring them to disgrace, and assist you against them and relieve the hearts of a believing people,

9:15. and remove the rage of their hearts. And Allah turns (mercifully) to whom He pleases. And Allah is Knowing, Wise.

9:16. Do you think that you would be left alone while Allah has not yet known those of you who struggle hard and do not take anyone as an intimate friend besides Allah and His Messenger and the believers? And Allah is Aware of what you do.

Trifkovic might be surprised to find out that Quran actually encourages friendly relations with non-Muslims, that might include the whole documentary crew and its “experts”:

60:7. It may be that Allah will bring about friendship between you and those of them whom you hold as enemies. And Allah is Powerful; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

[comment] This verse makes it clear that the prohibition against friendly relations with the disbelievers was only temporary, to be operative only so long as the war continued. The friendship prophetically referred to here was brought about after the conquest of Makkah.

60:8. Allah does not forbid you, with regard to those who do not fight you for religion, nor drive you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly. Surely Allah loves the doers of justice.

[comment] This verse and the next, revealed at a time when the relations between Muslims and the disbelievers were most strained on account of a continual state of war between the two parties, settle conclusively that friendly relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, as such, are not prohibited. It is in the light of these verses that all the verses forbidding friendly relations with the disbelievers should be read, because here the true principle is revealed in unmistakable language, allowing friendly relations with one class of disbelievers and prohibiting such relations with those of another class.

60:9. Allah forbids you only with regard to those who fight you for religion, and drive you forth from your homes and help (others) in your expulsion, that you make friends of them; and whoever makes friends of them, these are the wrongdoers.

Even if Trifkovic brushes aside the above context of verse 9:5, he cannot ignore what the democracies and leaders of free world of today have to say about rules of engagement in a state of war:

Eric Holder, Attorney General of the Obama administration told the US Senate Judiciary Committee on May 4 at Capitol Hill that “if someone is an enemy combatant, it does not matter if he is unarmed or not, because lethal force is permitted against enemy fighters and commanders in the course of an ongoing armed conflict, and sometimes in cases of self-defense.” [Asian Tribune, May 10, 2011]

Ilya Somin, a professor at George Mason University’s School of Law – “targeting individual enemy combatants in war is perfectly legal and moral”. [Al Jazeera, May 5, 2011]

Reader pay attention – the above quotes are from the top cop and a law professor of a country that exports democracy and human rights and is also willing to go to war for such values. In light of these “civilized” standards of the most advanced country ever, the question is to Trifkovic – where were Quran and Muhammad in error for defending their government from the constant aggression he faced? The above verses clearly speak of forgiveness even of treachery and to accept peace treaties despite their repeat breaches by the enemy. Peace was to be preferred even at the cost of deceit from the enemy. These are the Divine standards of Quran and Muhammad, which are yet to be matched by modern “democracies” or non-Islamic history. Mr. Trifkovic, now the readers are curious about you – what material, academic and moral world you live in and whom do you represent when you falsify and misconstrue Quran and history?

Quran addresses the makers and participants of the documentary in reference, who deliberately distort and conceal its Message:

2:174. Surely, those who hide (any part of the teaching) which Allâh has revealed in this perfect Book and take a paltry price (- worldly gains) for it, it is these who feed their bellies with nothing but fire, and Allâh will not speak to them (with affection and mercy) on the Day of Resurrection, nor He will treat them as pure, and there awaits them a grievous punishment.

2:175. It is these who have preferred error to guidance and punishment to protection. (The onlookers of these sufferers will say,) `How very enduring they are at (the punishment of) the Fire!’

2:176. That (punishment) is because, whereas Allâh caused the perfect Book to be revealed to suit all the requirements of truth and wisdom (they have rejected it outright). Surely, those who dissented from the perfect Book have indeed gone far astray in enmity (of the truth) and in obstinacy. [Nooruddin]

Note: Use of [Brackets] are editorial comments by the writer of this Rebuttal and are not part of the original cited sources.

References:

Lethal force permitted even against surrendering unarmed enemy fighter – US Attorney General
Holy Quran – Muhammad Ali, edited by Dr. Zahid Aziz [all the quoted verses unless indicated otherwise]
Holy Quran – Nooruddin

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