Monthly Archives: October 2017

Sword verse

Chapter (Surah) 9 verse 5 (Ayat) is often referred to by anti-Islamists and others as the “the verse of the sword”. This verse has been severely distorted by it being taken out of context. In no way is this verse a command for Muslims to engage in any kind of unjust violence.

This verse is in reference to a specific situation in the past during a time in which war could not be avoided. Which is made clear by its context and in commentary on.

5-6 And when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them and capture them and besiege them and sit in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they should repent, establish prayer, and give zakah, let them [go] on their way. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah . Then deliver him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know.

“It is clear from this that the meaning of this verse is to kill the pagans who are waging war against you.” (Ahkam al-Qur’an: 2/456)

“The injunction contained in the first part of the verse establishes the fact that whole verse relates to certain idolatrous Arab tribes who had broken engagements with the Muslims, and who had now been apprised of a similar repudiation by the Muslims. 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 things are made lawful.” (The Holy Qur’an Arabic text English translations and commentary by Maulana Muhammad Ali P. 398, ISBN 0-913321-01-X)

“This verse was revealed towards the end of the revelation period and relates to a limited context. Hostilities were frozen for a three-month period during which the Arabs pledged not to wage war. Prophet Muhammad was inspired to use this period to encourage the combatants to join the Muslim ranks or, if they chose, to leave the area that was under Muslims rule; however, if they were to resume hostilities, then the Muslims would fight back until victorious. One is inspired to note that even in this context of war, the verse concludes by emphasizing the divine attributes of mercy and forgiveness. To minimize hostilities, the Qur’an ordered Muslims to grant asylum to anyone, even an enemy, who sought refuge. Asylum would be granted according to the customs of chivalry; the person would be told the message of the Qur’an but not coerced into accepting that message. Thereafter, he or she would be escorted to safety regardless of his or her religion.” (Dr. Hathout, Jihad vs. Terrorism; US Multimedia Vera International, 2002, pp.52-53)

 

 

Interpretation

Esoteric interpretations of the Qur’an are interpretations of verses (Ayat) which are allegorical in nature. In Islam such interpretations are known as taʾwīl (تأويل). A concept and term that appears in the Qur’an seventeen times. One example being chapter (Surah) Ali ‘Imran which gives us a fundamental definition of:

5-7 Surely nothing in the earth or in the heaven is hidden from Allah. He it is Who shapes you in the wombs as He pleases. There is no god but He, the Mighty, the Wise. He it is Who has revealed the Book to thee; some of its verses are decisive — they are the basis of the Book — and others are allegorical.

Arabic:

5-7 هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُّحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ ۖ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ ۗ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ۗ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا ۗ وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّا أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ هُوَ الَّذِي يُصَوِّرُكُمْ فِي الْأَرْحَامِ كَيْفَ يَشَاءُ ۚ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَخْفَىٰ عَلَيْهِ شَيْءٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ

In the definition above it is made clear that the purpose of such interpretations is to make a distinction between verses that are “decisive” (muhkamat) and verses which have hidden meaning (mutashabihat) i.e. “allegorical”.

Such interpretations however, can only be made by people who have sought guidance from Allah. Said definition also makes clear that it is Allah who “revealed the Book” and “nothing… is hidden from”.