Quran Facts | 9:14 – Allah Will Humiliate The Disbelievers
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9:14 – Allah Will Humiliate The Disbelievers

Introduction

It is alleged that several verses of the Holy Quran incite believers to commit violence against non-Muslims by way of aggression. Such verses are misused by extremists to commit acts of violence against non-Muslims. However, a holistic and consolidated study of the verses, the teachings of the Holy Quran and the historical narratives of the aggression of the opponents of Islam, as well as the broader context of the Roman-Persian wars clearly demonstrates that these wartime injunctions were defensive in nature. The conflicts occurred due to oppression of fundamental freedoms including the freedom of conscience and practicing one’s religion of choice. Islamic teachings permits military engagement as a defense and protection of fundamental human freedoms.

Fight them, that Allah may punish them at your hands, and humiliate them, and help you to victory over them, and relieve the minds of a people who believe; (9:14)

 

Allegation

It is alleged that this verse promotes hatred, offensive wars, justification for terror and terrorist groups who advocate hatred towards the West. Humiliating and hurting non-believers not only has the blessing of Allah, God forbid, but is mentioned as a means of carrying out His punishment and even as a ‘healing’ of the hearts of Muslims.

 

Context

Verse 9:12 (And if they break their oaths after their covenants, and attack you religion, then fight these leaders of disbelief– surely they have no regard for their oath– that they may desist) leaves no doubt as to the fact that Muslims were bidden to fight disbelievers only if they broke their covenant and attacked Islam. It also makes it clear that the object in fighting disbelievers was to make them “desist” from further transgression.

 

The words تعنوا فی دینکم (“attack your religion”) in 9:12 are proof that this verse is referring to a defensive stance against aggressors.

 

In 9:13, the words, “who plotted to turn out the Messenger”, do not refer to the Meccans, but to those who, when the Holy Prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace) went on an expedition to the Syrian border, plotted to bring about his downfall by making the different tribes of Arabia stand up against him on his return (see 9:3-4). The Meccans did not merely plot to turn out the Holy Prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace) but actually turned him out (see 47:14). Therefore this is speaking specifically about the attempt to turn the Holy Prophet Muhammad (on whom be peace) out of Medina, an act which was being stirred up by various treacherous parties who by merely the act of their plotting, were committing treason against the then established government of Medina.

 

The words in 9:13, “they were the first to commence hostilities against you”, also refer not to the Meccans but to those, whether open or secret, who lived in and about Medina. The words provide conclusive proof of the fact that far from being the transgressor, Islam was transgressed against. It was the infidels who first began hostilities. They acted treacherously and resorted to all sorts of foul means to annihilate Islam. It was only such men that Muslims had been commanded to fight.

 

Verse 9:14 states that the enemies of Islam had made themselves deserving of divine punishment by their treacherous and wrongful conduct. Humiliation was only a form of Divine punishment that had been prescribed for them because of their initial aggression and misconduct. It was certainly not resorted to in order to compel them to embrace Islam.


Fundamental Teachings of Islam

The following verses of the Holy Quran clearly state that fighting is only permitted as a defensive recourse against oppression and that fundamental freedom of religion and conscience must be maintained at all times.

 

1) Conditions on permission to fight– must be defensive and to protect universal freedom of conscience

Permission to fight is given to those against whom war is made, because they have been wronged — and Allah indeed has power to help them. Those who have been driven out from their homes unjustly only because they said, ‘Our Lord is Allah’. And if Allah did not repel some men by means of others, there would surely have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft commemorated. And Allah will surely help one who helps Him. Allah is indeed Powerful, Mighty. (22:40-41)

 

The fundamental verses of the Quran (22:40-41) that permit Muslims to undertake military engagement clearly outline conditions which are defensive and where Muslims were being attacked and persecuted on the basis of their beliefs. Further, the verses clearly state that such undertaking must extend to a universal freedom of conscience where churches, cloisters and synagogues must be protected. This is also further validated by Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (on whom be peace) covenants with the Christians instructing Muslims to never attack Christians on the basis of religion and beliefs.

 

And fight them until there is no persecution and religion is wholly for Allah. But if they desist, then surely Allah is Watchful of what they do. (8:40)

 

Verse 8:40 above further endorses the principle that taking up an armed conflict must only be in context of protecting freedom of religion, and if the enemy desists then one should cease hostilities.

 

Some allegation narratives consider that ‘religion being wholly for Allah’ in this verse means that only Islam is to be enforced as a religion. However this allegation is negated by 22:40-41 above which clarifies that the principle of the Quran is freedom of religion and fighting is not permitted to enforce any one religion.

 

2) Peace and reconciliation with the enemy must be sought at all times

The Quran states that during wartime, seeking peace and reconciliation is a duty. This is emphasized to such a great degree that even if one fears that the enemy is seeking peace out of deception (as a strategy of war) one should still incline to it and put their trust in Allah (see 8:62-63 below).

 

And if they incline towards peace, incline thou also towards it, and put thy trust in Allah. Surely, it is He Who is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. And if they intend to deceive thee, then surely Allah is sufficient for thee. He it is Who has strengthened thee with His help and with the believers. (8:62-63)

 

And if two parties of believers fight against each other, make peace between them; then if after that one of them transgresses against the other, fight the party that transgresses until it returns to the command of Allah. Then if it returns, make peace between them with equity, and act justly. Verily, Allah loves the just. (49:10)

 

And fight them until there is no persecution, and religion is freely professed for Allah. But if they desist, then remember that no hostility is allowed except against the aggressors. (2:194)

 

3) Peace as a fundamental desired state of affairs in Quran

The term ‘Islam’ itself is derived from the root ‘Salema’ which means peace. The traditional greeting used by Muslims translated to ‘peace be with you’. Peace is a prominent theme in the Holy Quran and a fundamental desired state of affairs. Following are a few verses from the Holy Quran that illustrate the fundamental value of peace.

Peace on you-- a word of greeting from the Merciful Lord. (36:59)

And make not Allah a target for your oaths that you may thereby abstain from doing good and acting righteously and making peace between men. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (2:225)

Thereby does Allah guide those who seek His pleasure on the paths of peace, and leads them out of every kind of darkness into light by His will, and guides them to the right path. (5:17)

And Allah calls to the abode of peace, and guides whom He pleases to the straight path. (10:26)

And the servants of the Gracious God are those who walk on the earth in a dignified manner, and when the ignorant address them, they say, ‘Peace!’ (25:64)

He is Allah, and there is no God beside Him, the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace, the Bestower of Security, the Protector, the Mighty, the Subduer, the Exalted. Holy is Allah far above that which they associate with Him. (59:24)

 

4) There can be no compulsion in religion

The Holy Quran declares in 2:257 that there can be no compulsion in religion. The meaning of any given verse of the Holy Quran must comply with this rule. Therefore, any given verse of The Holy Quran addressing armed engagement cannot be taken to mean waging war on disbelievers or infidels on account of their beliefs. This negates the assertion that Quran sanctions violence against disbelievers.