بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
This post is a succession of the series of posts about ‘Non-physical fighting’ which reviews verses in Al-Quran normally thought to be regarding physical war-fare. We have previously seen that believers are expected to be constantly engaged in ideological fight with those who are bent on violence and blood-shed on earth.
Some people ask, why did the older generations before us glorify holy wars and did not abstain from warfare and physical killing in the name of religion. Is this something new being propagated to stay away from physical fighting. Allah asks the same question in below ayat so that the present generation (in all eras) can learn from the past generation’s mistakes and take heed.
11:116 فَلَوْلَا كَانَ مِنَ الْقُرُونِ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ أُولُو بَقِيَّةٍ يَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْفَسَادِ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِّمَّنْ أَنجَيْنَا مِنْهُمْ ۗ وَاتَّبَعَ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مَا أُتْرِفُوا فِيهِ وَكَانُوا مُجْرِمِينَ
Why were there not, among the generations before you, persons possessed of balanced good sense, prohibiting from fasad/mischief in the earth – except a few among them whom We saved (from harm)? But the wrong-doers pursued the enjoyments which were given to them, and they were criminals/sinful.
In this post we will be primarily looking at those ayahs which are thought to be related to traditional wars in Islamic history at the time of prophet (pbuh) i.e Badr, Ohad and Hunain.
2:26-27 إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَسْتَحْيِي أَن يَضْرِبَ مَثَلًا مَّا بَعُوضَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا ۚ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ ۖ وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَيَقُولُونَ مَاذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَٰذَا مَثَلًا ۘ يُضِلُّ بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَيَهْدِي بِهِ كَثِيرًا ۚ وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلَّا الْفَاسِقِينَ الَّذِينَ يَنقُضُونَ عَهْدَ اللَّهِ مِن بَعْدِ مِيثَاقِهِ وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَا أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَن يُوصَلَ وَيُفْسِدُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ
Allah does not shy away from citing the example of a mosquito, or anything above it. As for those who believe, they know that it is the truth from their Lord. As for the rejecters, they Say: What does Allah intend with this example? He lets many stray by it, and He guides many, but He does not let let any stray with it except the fasiqeen/evil-doers. Those who break Allah’s Covenant after it is ratified, and who cutoff what Allah Has ordered to be joined, and do violence on earth, they are the losers.
Many times we hear people quoting a part of above ayahs that Allah guides lot of people with Al-Quran and at the same time many people are mis-guided with Quran. But misguided are only those who are Fasiqeen (wrong doers) as per above ayahs. Those fasiq’s who break the covenant of Allah. The covenant of Allah is stated in below ayat 2:84, which categorically asks Bani-Israeel not to shed their blood with physical fighting. The examples of fight in Quran are cited for believer’s ideological fight with violence mongers on earth. However these people who are bent upon physical fighting as Holy wars, cannot accept that the fighting examples cited by Allah are for ideological fight in which you are prohibited to shed blood and kill the nafs/psyche only of rejecters. When they break the covenant of not shedding blood and become fasiq who get misguided by Al-Quran into raging violence and blood shed on earth in the name of Jihad and Holy wars.
2:84 وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَكُمْ لَا تَسْفِكُونَ دِمَاءَكُمْ وَلَا تُخْرِجُونَ أَنفُسَكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ ثُمَّ أَقْرَرْتُمْ وَأَنتُمْ تَشْهَدُونَ
And when We took a covenant with you, not to shed your blood and do not expel your souls/selves from your circles then you confirmed and you are witness to it.
It is expected that Allah will test the believers with their wealth and their nafs (psyche). They will constantly be hearing painful statements and insults from people who have the Book and people who join others with Allah.
3:186 لَتُبْلَوُنَّ فِي أَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنفُسِكُمْ وَلَتَسْمَعُنَّ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ أَشْرَكُوا أَذًى كَثِيرًا ۚ وَإِن تَصْبِرُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ
Certainly you shall be tested in your wealth and in your nafs; and you shall certainly hear from those who were given the Book before you and from those who joined partners (with Allah) a lot of annoying things. And if you persevere patiently, and take guard,- then surely that is of the strengthened resolve.
Earlier on this site, we have discussed that Allah created and established His laws in the Universe. He sent the code of conduct for humanity to follow in the world and sent his messengers and prophets to explain His ‘Word’ to mankind. People after getting knowledge about Allah’s message, differed among themselves and formed themselves into many differing religions and schools of thoughts. Allah’s message to mankind is that they are to do good and lead peaceful life in the world and not to engage in violence and temptations in the world and they will be judged in the hereafter for their deeds. However, deviant schools of thoughts developed who made it appear a virtuous act of forcing one’s belief system on others by use of force. Allah’s messengers were sent repeatedly to direct people to revert to Allah’s Word and leave alternative teachings.
Allah’s book tells us that majority of the people in the world are not on the right path as majority don’t take their guidance from the Book of Allah. A person who is born in a particular religion and school of thought, initially accepts the ideas and beliefs of the environment in which he is born. Then at some point in life, he is presented with the ayahs/signs of Allah. If he accepts the divine message, then this journey on Allah’s straight path starts. The people in his environment wants him back in their system of belief. They try their best however when they don’t succeed they say what Allah has described in ayahs 2-142-143.
After a believer takes the major decision of ‘migration in belief‘ from his previous belief system to the belief system as prescribed in Quran ( see previous post ‘migration in belief’ ) and continuing his spiritual journey towards Allah, a believer will grow in his belief and understanding of the spirit of ayahs. This will show in his behavior with disbelievers when engaged in ideological fight with them.
48:29 مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ اللَّهِ ۚ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ ۖ تَرَاهُمْ رُكَّعًا سُجَّدًا يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانًا ۖ سِيمَاهُمْ فِي وُجُوهِهِم مِّنْ أَثَرِ السُّجُودِ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ مَثَلُهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ ۚ وَمَثَلُهُمْ فِي الْإِنجِيلِ كَزَرْعٍ أَخْرَجَ شَطْأَهُ فَآزَرَهُ فَاسْتَغْلَظَ فَاسْتَوَىٰ عَلَىٰ سُوقِهِ يُعْجِبُ الزُّرَّاعَ لِيَغِيظَ بِهِمُ الْكُفَّارَ ۗ وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ مِنْهُم مَّغْفِرَةً وَأَجْرًا عَظِيمًا
Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. You will see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer), seeking grace from Allah and (His) good pleasure. On their faces are their marks, the traces of their prostration. This is their similitude in the Taurat; and their similitude in the Injeel, like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, (filling) the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result, it fills the unbelievers with rage at them. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous deeds forgiveness, and a great reward.
In the initial stage of spiritual journey towards Allah, a believers feels left alone in the world as he does not relate to the religious beliefs of his close community any more. He also listens a lot of annoying things from the associaters around him. The believer in initial stages may not have answers to many questions to respond to them. This situation may bring him into a depressive state. At this time the messenger (invoked in one’s psyche/nafs) consoles the believer and Allah sends unseen forces to help the believer in upholding the Word of Allah against the word of unbelievers.
9:40 إِلَّا تَنصُرُوهُ فَقَدْ نَصَرَهُ اللَّهُ إِذْ أَخْرَجَهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ثَانِيَ اثْنَيْنِ إِذْ هُمَا فِي الْغَارِ إِذْ يَقُولُ لِصَاحِبِهِ لَا تَحْزَنْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَنَا ۖ فَأَنزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَيَّدَهُ بِجُنُودٍ لَّمْ تَرَوْهَا وَجَعَلَ كَلِمَةَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا السُّفْلَىٰ ۗ وَكَلِمَةُ اللَّهِ هِيَ الْعُلْيَا ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
If you people won’t help him, Allah did indeed help him, when the unbelievers drove him out. He was the second of the two when; they two were in the cave (deep in despair), and he said to his companion, “Have no fear, for Allah is with us”. Then Allah sent down His peace upon him, and strengthened him with forces which you people did not see, and made the sayings of the rejecters lowly and the Word of Allah is exalted one for Allah is Exalted in Might, Wise.
Early in their spiritual journey when the believers are supposedly not that strong to take on, stalwarts of unbelief in ideological fight, Allah helps them. Badr means ‘early or spontaneously’. The below ayat is referring to an early stage of believers when they were helped by Allah and got victory over the rejecters.
3:123 وَلَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ بِبَدْرٍ وَأَنتُمْ أَذِلَّةٌ ۖ فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
And Allah had helped you with Badr/forthwith, when you were weak; thus take guard of Allah; so that you be thankful.
For those people who are stuck with false beliefs and dogmas and unable to submit to the message of God, Al-Quran cites the examples of them as having yokes stuck in their necks. ‘Banan’, means finger tips, fixed things and also grips. So the angels are asked to strike at the necks where they have fixated yokes and also to strike their fingers/grips on false- hood on which the rejecters are holding tight. The angels help the believers in their ideological fight by making them stead fast in their beliefs and striking the very foundations of belief systems of the unbelievers.
8:12 إِذْ يُوحِي رَبُّكَ إِلَى الْمَلَائِكَةِ أَنِّي مَعَكُمْ فَثَبِّتُوا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ۚ سَأُلْقِي فِي قُلُوبِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا الرُّعْبَ فَاضْرِبُوا فَوْقَ الْأَعْنَاقِ وَاضْرِبُوا مِنْهُمْ كُلَّ بَنَانٍ
Remember your Lord inspired the angels, “I am with you, so you make the believers persevere. I will instill awe in the hearts of the rejecters, thus you strike above the necks and strike among them all the fixed ones/grips.”
Thus with an early and forthwith help from Allah, believers are encouraged and as per ayat 48:29 keep on gaining spiritual strength by the will of Allah. However, getting understanding of the spirit of ayahs is not an instantaneous process. It comes with the will of Allah only, and for some it may take a lot of time to make them impatient.
20:114 فَتَعَالَى اللَّهُ الْمَلِكُ الْحَقُّ ۗ وَلَا تَعْجَلْ بِالْقُرْآنِ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يُقْضَىٰ إِلَيْكَ وَحْيُهُ ۖ وَقُل رَّبِّ زِدْنِي عِلْمًا
High above all is Allah, the King of the Truth! be not in haste with the Qur’an before it’s inspiration to you is completed, but say, “O my Lord! advance me in knowledge.”
The above ayat 20:114 should be a reminder to believers that even the messenger (pbuh) cannot be hasty with Quran before the spirit of it, is inspired on him. Therefore there is no way that believers can force their way in getting spirit of Quran until the time decreed by Allah.
The below ayahs informs about another stage when believers have achieved some intellectual maturity and knowledge. It seems at this stage some of them become over-confident and assume that they can take on any unbeliever in ideological fight. Some of them even get tempted to do it as a show off of their knowledge to gain admiration of people. They get some initial successes which makes them keep going at it, however, forcing your way in understanding of ayahs without spirit of Allah is tantamount to making your voice louder than the prophet (pbuh) and in this way, those who do it, would end up conflicting with each other and are then faced with one distress after another.
3:152-3 وَلَقَدْ صَدَقَكُمُ اللَّهُ وَعْدَهُ إِذْ تَحُسُّونَهُم بِإِذْنِهِ ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا فَشِلْتُمْ وَتَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ وَعَصَيْتُم مِّن بَعْدِ مَا أَرَاكُم مَّا تُحِبُّونَ ۚ مِنكُم مَّن يُرِيدُ الدُّنْيَا وَمِنكُم مَّن يُرِيدُ الْآخِرَةَ ۚ ثُمَّ صَرَفَكُمْ عَنْهُمْ لِيَبْتَلِيَكُمْ ۖ وَلَقَدْ عَفَا عَنكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ ذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذْ تُصْعِدُونَ وَلَا تَلْوُونَ عَلَىٰ أَحَدٍ وَالرَّسُولُ يَدْعُوكُمْ فِي أُخْرَاكُمْ فَأَثَابَكُمْ غَمًّا بِغَمٍّ لِّكَيْلَا تَحْزَنُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَاتَكُمْ وَلَا مَا أَصَابَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ
Allah did indeed made true His promise to you when you, with His permission overwhelmed them,-until you lost courage and disputed in the order, and disobeyed after He brought you in sight of what you covet. Among you are some who are after the World and some who desire the Here-after. Then He diverted you from them in order to test you, and indeed He forgave you, for Allah is full of grace to those who believe. When you were climbing up, without turning back to anyone, and the messenger was calling you from behind, there did Allah gave you one distress after another so that you do not grieve for what had escaped you and for (the ill) that had befallen you, for Allah is well aware of all that you do.
Believers cannot force the spirit of the Word and when they would forge ahead and engage in ideological fight with rejecters before the proper time, then they are bound to be defeated. After defeat they will be facing grief and in their grief a party of them may start thinking that all this spiritual journey so far may have been wasteful and even false.
3:154 ثُمَّ أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّن بَعْدِ الْغَمِّ أَمَنَةً نُّعَاسًا يَغْشَىٰ طَائِفَةً مِّنكُمْ ۖ وَطَائِفَةٌ قَدْ أَهَمَّتْهُمْ أَنفُسُهُمْ يَظُنُّونَ بِاللَّهِ غَيْرَ الْحَقِّ ظَنَّ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ ۖ يَقُولُونَ هَل لَّنَا مِنَ الْأَمْرِ مِن شَيْءٍ ۗ قُلْ إِنَّ الْأَمْرَ كُلَّهُ لِلَّهِ ۗ يُخْفُونَ فِي أَنفُسِهِم مَّا لَا يُبْدُونَ لَكَ ۖ يَقُولُونَ لَوْ كَانَ لَنَا مِنَ الْأَمْرِ شَيْءٌ مَّا قُتِلْنَا هَاهُنَا ۗ قُل لَّوْ كُنتُمْ فِي بُيُوتِكُمْ لَبَرَزَ الَّذِينَ كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْقَتْلُ إِلَىٰ مَضَاجِعِهِمْ ۖ وَلِيَبْتَلِيَ اللَّهُ مَا فِي صُدُورِكُمْ وَلِيُمَحِّصَ مَا فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِذَاتِ الصُّدُورِ
After the distress, He sent down calm on you which encompassed slumber on a party of you, while another party was stirred to anxiety, moved by wrong suspicions on Allah due to ignorance. They said. “Do we have any thing (any say) in the order?” You (the Messenger) tell them. “Indeed, the order is fully for Allah.” They hide in their nafs/psyche what they do not reveal to you. They say “If we had anything to do with this Order, We would not have been killed here.” Say. “Even if you were in your homes, those for whom fight is written, would be brought to their places “; but (all this was) that Allah might test what is in your breasts and purge what is in your hearts, for Allah knows well the secrets of the hearts.
After the distress and defeat in ideological fight, causes some of them to go to their pre-belief assumptions and some of them may start doubting the messenger. They think they should have some leeway in understanding of Allah’s Orders. Some start doubting why we had to fight in that manner. At that stage to some of them, Satan was able to dissuade for the time being, however, they were forgiven by Allah.
3:155 إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَوَلَّوْا مِنكُمْ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِ إِنَّمَا اسْتَزَلَّهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ بِبَعْضِ مَا كَسَبُوا ۖ وَلَقَدْ عَفَا اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ حَلِيمٌ
Those of you who turned back on the day the two accumulations met,-it was Satan who caused them to falter, with some (evil) they had earned and certainly Allah forgave them for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Forbearing.
There may come yet another stage and situation, when believers would have gained a lot of spiritual strength, knowledge and maturity and they would be in good number as well. That would make them over confident and they would take the opposition lightly, at that time they would face unexpected defeat from their opposition.
9:25 لَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ فِي مَوَاطِنَ كَثِيرَةٍ ۙ وَيَوْمَ حُنَيْنٍ ۙ إِذْ أَعْجَبَتْكُمْ كَثْرَتُكُمْ فَلَمْ تُغْنِ عَنكُمْ شَيْئًا وَضَاقَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْأَرْضُ بِمَا رَحُبَتْ ثُمَّ وَلَّيْتُم مُّدْبِرِينَ
Indeed, Allah had helped you in many places and on the day of ‘Hunain’ your great number elated you, but they availed you nothing and the land despite its vastness became constrained for you and you had to retreat on your backs.
Then after their defeat due to their over confidence, Allah would help them and punished the rejecters.
9:26 ثُمَّ أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَعَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَنزَلَ جُنُودًا لَّمْ تَرَوْهَا وَعَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ الْكَافِرِينَ
Then Allah poured His calm on the messenger and the believers and sent those forces which ye did not see and punished the rejecters thus is the reward of the rejecters.