7. Hamas has deliberately murdered hundreds of Israeli civilians, including children, and left hundreds more with physical disability, mental impairment (from brain damage) and chronic pain. They have also killed Americans. Do you condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization?
Yes, when they directly or indirectly harm/kill those that have not been actively engaged in opressing and harming them. Their Israeli enemy, although using different methods, is just as guilty of terrorism as them, when they equally harm and kill, directly or indirectly, those that have not been actively engaged in opressing and harming them.
Now as to the wider issue of physical struggle/jihad, we have to analyze the context of its use in the times of the last prophet and before.
It is the unalterable law of God that when He sends a messenger in a people, these particular people are left with no option, but to hearken His warnings and calls during an interval of time whose expiry can not be hastened nor delayed except by Allah 15:5,16:61,53:58. Allah states about this period that His messengers show the community, starting from the leaders in mischief greatly responsible for the general moral degradation of their people down to the poorest and most insignificant elements of the community 17:16,73:11 the signs of the truth in the heavens and earth, as well as in their own deepest selves 41:53,51:27 to the point that the people must recognize it and mend their evil ways.
They are seized with affliction or tried with a sign from God when they reject the messenger 11:52-60,64-68 sent to them in order to humble themselves and mend their ways 7:94. They are urged to reason and ask for God's forgiveness lest the fate of past sinful nations each greater than other in might 43:8, to whom God's messengers were sent with the bayinat ie the undeniable evidence and signs befalls them, and they are uprooted by a grasp so encompassing and violent that it is pictured as beginning from their foundations (the area one would naturally be inclined to seek shelter in during a calamity) up 16:26,40:22,18:55,22:42-8"And if they reject you, then already before you did the people of Nuh and Ad and Samood reject (prophets). And the people of Ibrahim and the people of Lut, As well as those of Madyan and Musa (too) was rejected, but I gave respite to the unbelievers, then did I overtake them, so how (severe) was My disapproval. So how many a town did We destroy while it was unjust, so it was fallen down upon its roofs, and (how many a) deserted well and palace raised high. Have they not travelled in the land so that they should have hearts with which to understand, or ears with which to hear? For surely it is not the eyes that are blind, but blind are the hearts which are in the breasts. And they ask you to hasten on the punishment, and Allah will by no means fail in His promise, and surely a day with your Lord is as a thousand years of what you number. And how many a town to which I gave respite while it was unjust, then I overtook it, and to Me is the return".
Mankind is continuously encouraged to research and analyse the history of past nations, unavoidably seeing in it the divine pattern. Being the only extensive evidential base for the contemplation and analysis of how societies function, history then leads to moral reform, providing a backround for one to test his own moral sense against that of individuals and societies of the past when faced with similar complex situations. The past causes the present, and so the future.
This shows that even in this life, the Creator's relationship with man is not merely based on the physical law, as with other creatures devoid of moral accountability and freewill but the moral law also is working side by side with it. The application of the moral law consequently to the humans' moral acts itself points to the truth that a time must come in this kingdom when on the completion of man's role in the physical world full results of his moral acts should also appear strictly in accordance with the moral law because in the physical world they do not appear fully.
Some of these nations completely mend their ways during their time of respite and prior to their annihilation by Divine affliction, as happenned in the prophet Jonas' lifetime during which they all believed 10:98"When they believed, We removed from them the chastisement of disgrace in this world's life and We gave them provision till a time". If they dont and in addition try uprooting or killing the messengers sent to them with the undeniable bayinat, continuously oppose them and conspire against them to prevent the establishement of the way of God 42:13 then those who are finally and definately pointed as the guilty ones by the prophets 44:22 in these nations will incure Divine affliction through several means ranging from being put to the sword by the believers themselves as in Moses and Muhammad's time, to complete annihilation by natural cataclysms, to the sending of a powerful ennemy to bring destruction as happened to Jesus' nation, or the subjugation of the rejecters to the followers of the messengers for generations to come. Concerning this reality, the Psalmist states Ps46:9"Go and see the works of the Lord, that He has wrought devastation in the earth".
As regards the first option, the Quran retells the stories of past nations who were ordained, against a mightier ennemy and with God's help, to uproot unrighteousness and establish the will of God in a specific land. Such was the case with the Israelites back in the times of Moses who were commanded to cleanse the blessed land of Canaan from its unrighteous dwellers, to Saul/Talut and David 2:246-252, down to the Ishmaelites and the cleansing of the ancient temple of monotheism in Mecca by Muhammad from its unworthy guardians who had swayed into the ways of polytheism and prevented the re-establishement of the original way of Ibrahim 22:40-1"Those who have been expelled from their homes without a just cause except that they say: Our Lord is Allah. And had there not been Allah's repelling some people by others, certainly there would have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques in which Allah´s name is much remembered; and surely Allah will help him who helps His cause; most surely Allah is Strong, Mighty. Those who, should We establish them in the land, will keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and enjoin good and forbid evil; and Allah´s is the end of affairs".
So just like it was ordained to Muhammad and the Children of Ishmael, Allah previously ordered in the days of Moses and the prophets of the children of Israel to fight in His way for specific purposes Deut1:41,Deut7,9:4-6,12:1-3,20:16-18 and allthroughout Deuteronomy where the Israelites are commanded to cleanse the land from idolatry, and later on through the succeeding prophets that were similarly ordered to transmit God's will of purging evil from the land, by the sword without holding back whether it involves killing Jews or non Jews as prophecised in Isa1:25, and whether the ones doing the task are Jews or not as stated in Jer48:10 concerning the Chaldeans sent to destroy the Moabites "Cursed be he who performs the Lord's work deceitfully, and cursed be he who withholds his sword from blood" or the Assyrians of Sennacherib raised by God and through whom He destroyed, exiled and enslaved the Kingdom of Israel Amos6:11-14 or the Babylonians of Nebuchadnezzar whom God calls His servant for being the performer of His will, sent firstly to inflict massacre upon the Israelites for their repeated transgressions, and then upon those Ammonites and Edomites that occupied the holy lands and reintroduced idolatry Jer25:9,49:19. Later on it would be the non-Jew Cyrus, king of Persia who would be divinely aroused and commanded to wage war against the Babylonians until their defeat, expulsion from the holy land and the return of the Jews to Israel Jer50:14-21,51:1,53.
In the case of the prophet Muhammad it was prophecied that the unrighteous ones perpetuating the spiritual corruption of the sacred land in which God's will was to be re-established, will try exiling him and his followers so consequently they will be ultimately uprooted from the land they had complete dominion over 17:76-7.
Besides the people of Jonas/Yunus practically all nations to whom messengers were sent with such warnings faced the punishment of death and sometimes complete annihilation as described for the messengers of old throughout sura 7 and 11,26,29,40:5,14:13-15,58:5"Surely those who act in opposition to Allah and His Messenger shall be laid down prostrate as those before them were laid down prostrate; and indeed We have revealed clear communications, and the unbelievers shall have an abasing chastisement" 26:208-9"And We did not destroy any town but it had (its) warners, To remind, and We are never unjust". This divine scourge does not befall the sinful nation so long as all the righteous and the prophets have fled the land 4:165,8:33,11:58,12:110,17:15,19:46-50,20:77,28:59.
God does not directly interact with the people, he in the first instance sends Messengers to a nation, human or else, to whom the people are given time to present all their objections and make up their minds. During this time the messengers and their followers have to show patience and perseverance in the face of all persecution and do their utmost with God's guidance to make good and bad, truth and falsehood perfectly clear 17:15"..nor do We chastise until We raise a messenger" 8:33"nor is Allah going to chastise them while yet they ask for forgiveness". The Messengers are a means of communicating the truth of God in such an ultimate form to their addressees that they are left with no legitimate excuse to deny it, especially considering the perseverance of their prophets with the hope of bringing them back from their spiritual degeneration 46:27. If their efforts are unable to influence them, then it only means that nothing can change and reform them. The messengers therefore remove all excuses the rejecters might have on the Day of Resurrection 20:134"And had We destroyed them with chastisement before this, they would certainly have said: O our Lord! why didst Thou not send to us a messenger, for then we should have followed Thy communications before that we met disgrace and shame" and any excuse they might have for the just punishement they will imminently face in this world for their rejection 21:109"But if they turn back, say: I have given you warning in fairness and I do not know whether what you are threatened with is near or far". This particular point of warning the nation to an extent that its continuous rejection becomes inexcusable before the sending of the divine scourge, is demonstrated through the story of the prophet Jonas/Yunus who left his people/qawm in wrath thinking the time of the divine chastisement had come due to their refusal to hearken his repeated calls and was stopped in his journey by God Himself who mercifully returned him to his people whose time of respite hadnt expired and who ultimately all ended up believing in him before the sending of the scourge 10:98,21:87-8,37:139-148. The manner in which he was brought back to his people was nothing short of miraculous, a display of God's favor to the righteous and pious as well as a demonstration that God's mercy and forgiveness are open to all so long as their time of respite hasnt come to an end. After he was designated as the one to be thrown to the sea by the boat's crew members, he was swallowed by a sea creature, and would have tarried in it till the day of resurrection in the way we see up to this day the remarkably intact fossilized remains of several millions years old sea creatures, including of their belly's contents. But the fish was made to take him back to a specific location, regurgitate him after several days, and a type of vegetaion made to grow over him that he might recover from the ordeal and be protected. It was probably the sight of his miraculous return that deeply struck the people's hearts and made them understand God's loving mercy to all His creatures, that He would send His own prophet to the brink of death and back for the sake of avoiding an ungrateful nation's destruction.
God makes sure his messengers are protected, assisted along with their followers, succesfull over the rejectors whether through the implementation of moral reforms or the destruction of a nation that continues to reject, and His communications correctly propagated 37:171-3,40:5,51 during the various phases of warning, augmented and pronounced warning, communicating the truth to the extent that no one is left with an excuse to deny it, migration and acquittal. Between each phase the messenger and his followers are told to wait for God's instructions as only He knows when each step has reached its term. In fact in 68:48 Muhammad is told to "wait with patience for the command of your Lord, and be not like the Companion of the Fish". This excellent institution of prophethood in spite of its accompanying clear evidence and miracle, is not able to eradicate the differences of people in belief and disbelief because this difference is caused by the people themselves 2:213. Such a difference cannot be removed by those arguments and evidence because it is not based on reason but on envy and rebellion. The fact remains that if Allah had so wished He could have prevented this difference 2:253,5:48,6:35,149,11:118 but He has established a system of cause and effect in the universe, endowed man with freewill, this resulted in differences among the people, some were resolved through the sending of prophets but not all as God doesnt compel mankind to follow a certain path, it depends on each person's will. As a result of these differences created by the people came conflicts, and fighting was ordained on the believers and their prophets in the way of Allah as a criterion of faith 8:37"so that Allah might separate the impure from the good”, 29:3“and most certainly Allah will know those who believe and most certainly He will know the hypocrites”.
The Quran addresses the Arabs and tells them that the result of their rejection will be similar to the peoples of the Messengers of old such as Noah, Hud, Lot, Shuayb, Salih, Moses etc. The court of justice which will be set up for every person on the Day of Judgement was set up on a lower but nonetheless terryfing scale for these nations who rejected God's communications 69:1-12.
The Quran reminds Muhammad and the believers of this reality and comforts them with the fact that this Law of God will never change because the rejecters are not denying the messenger, the individual; they are denying the Lord of the Universe 6:33-4"We know indeed that what they say certainly grieves you, but surely they do not call you a liar; but the unjust deny the communications of Allah. And certainly messengers before you were rejected, but they were patient on being rejected and persecuted until Our help came to them; and there is none to change the words of Allah, and certainly there has come to you some information about the messengers".
As shown above, the philosophy of armed struggle/jihad is strictly confined to the prophetic era during which a previously warned nation is to be destroyed, as well as in the context of establishing the will of God on a specific land (Canaan in the times of Moses, Mecca in the times of Muhammad). Outside these 2 scenarios, the 3rd and last context to which armed jihad is applicable, is in self-defence.
2:190-5 allowed retaliation for the first time against the polytheists of Mecca and explained the limits of defensive warfare because it now became inevitable that they should fight in self-defense or they would be destroyed: the believers are told to stand up to religious opression and persecution of their people 2:217,28:57,60:1,22:39-40"Those who have been expelled from their homes without a just cause except that they say: Our Lord is Allah" even though war is something they disliked 2:216 and all members of the community feared due to the overwhelming superiority of their opponents 8:5-6,9:86-7. But they are fully justified in fighting back, and will be helped in the process 22:38"Surely Allah will defend those who believe; surely Allah does not love any one who is unfaithful, ungrateful". They are enjoined to fight only the people who attack them
, showing that waging war in Allah's way isnt predicated on personal whims or desires, everywhere except near the Kaaba where fighting is conditional on an initial attack by their enemies because Muslims should not initiate proceedings to violate any thing which is sacred, and if the ennemy desists from deliberate aggression then fighting must stop. This in turn indicates, as other verses below will further stress, that there should be no rancor against the enemy when they correct themselves or even when they end the hostility.
Fighting must also stop in the sacred months during which it is considered 2:217"a grave matter" but "persecution is graver than slaughter" so Muslims were allowed to retaliate (this came as a relief to the muslim pilgrims afraid of performing their rites as they were attacked in the sacred months in the years of Hudaybiyah 6AH by the Meccans) according to the degree of aggression they are subject to, for inaction in that case would be suicidal "and they will not cease fighting with you until they turn you back from your religion".
Besides uprooting the unworthy custodians of God's temple on account of their transgressions, the objective is to deliver the weak and powerless men, women and children among them from the unjust, ungodly physical and spiritual oppression 96:9-10,85:8-10"And they did not take vengeance on them for aught except that they believed in Allah, the Mighty, the Praised. Whose is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; and Allah is a Witness of all things. Surely (as for) those who persecute the believing men and the believing women, then do not repent, they shall have the chastisement of hell, and they shall have the chastisement of burning" 4:75"And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper" 8:26"And remember when you were few oppressed in the land, fearing that the people may abduct you".
"And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you" the root qaf-t-l means to kill. Its form is interractive in nature and suggests killing opposite killing or killing against killing. Its use in 9:123 for instance is most appropriate as it mentions those who are "near" the Muslims, in the sense that they constitute an imminent death threat, and thus the interractive qaatilu is used.
To translate it as simply "kill" as some critics would like to, would therefore convey an unconditional injunction while the meaning and form of the Arabic verb do not allow it, let alone the Quranic rules of war that are solely restricted to fighting in self-defence. Literally speaking it should be rendered "engage in killing opposite killing" and because of a lack of non-Arabic word conveying that sense, the interractive word "fight" has been preferred and used by both Muslim and non Muslim translators, in all instances where the same form is used. Another example to illustrate the point is in 9:111, explaining what the consequence of qaatilu/"engage in killing opposite killing" entails; it either results in killing the opposite party, or being killed and that is because there is a clear will to kill from the opposite side. If qatilu simply meant "to murder", then the outcome would not necessarily entail being killed in the process. And finally, when the original order to qaatilu was issued in 2:190, it came with 2 important messages for those who are told to qaatilu:
- do it against those who yuqaatilunakum
- do not transgress the limits when applying the command to qaatilu
What constitutes transgression in that context? To apply the command of qaatilu in a different way than prescribed in the verse, ie against people other than those who "yuqaatilunakum".
This again, not only agrees with what was said about the verb being interractive in nature, as attested by its usage and the dictionaries stating that the word is used "in a context of a counter-effort to kill", but also with the Quran's overall message, which is to live at peace with anyone, Muslim or else, that does not agress the Muslims unjustly, and defend against those that engage in hostilities without any reason other than hatred for the religion.
The 3rd type of jihad is therefore strictly limited to fighting in self-defence 4:75,8:26,3:167"fight in Allah's way, or defend yourselves", for the delivrance from spiritual and physical opression, while the oppressor is said to be fighting "in the way of the devil" 4:76.
In this atmosphere of constant threat from inside and outside the city, the early Medinite Muslim communtiy would never lay down to sleep except with their weapons with them and had to be in constant preparation for attacks from all sides, by the pagans of all Arabia, and their allies among the people of the book 8:60"And prepare against them what force you can and horses tied at the frontier, to frighten thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them, whom you do not know (but) Allah knows them". This is one of the features of defensive Jihad, military preparedness does not have the purpose of invading or aggressing unjustly, but is done to dissuade the potential enemy, known or hidden, or a least make him think twice before aggressing the Muslims. And in the case he decides to launch an assault, then the counter attack will not delay so as to imperil the community. This deterring method creates an atmosphere where diplomacy might be preferred than risking confrontation. However even in such an atmosphere, Muslims themselves should never beg for peace when they are in an state of inferiority. This is simple common sense from a military perspective, as it would expose a weak mindset to the enemy who would in turn be further emboldened in his belligerent attitude. Only in a state of superiority should they go and seek peace from the enemy in order to avoid further bloodshed. But should on the other hand the opposite party come with a peace offer then the believers are told to rely on Allah and "incline", ie be receptive to it 8:61"And if they incline to peace, then incline to it and trust in Allah; surely He is the Hearing, the Knowing", He will strenghten them as He did in the past in case their aggressors seek to deceive them 8:62.
The believers are never once told to go forth to battle because of war booty and in fact the Quran says that only those who sell this world's material life for the hereafter are worthy of fighting in Allah's way for the defense of the helpless 4:74-5. This is particularly pictured through the oath sworn in 100:1-11 and the ungrateful use of resources and possessions for looting, causing chaos, bloodshed and corruption to spread in the earth. Neither is fighting for the propagation of Islam once mentionned in the whole of the Quran.
48:18-19 relate events that have passed and how Allah tranquilized the hearts of the believers among those who swore allegiance to the prophet, rewarded them with a victory soon after as well as war booty which they acquired consequently to the battle.
Then in 48:20 the Quran reminds of God's promise to the rest of the believers regarding war booty. It was His intent to give victory to the believers fighting in His way and reward them in this very world, consequently to their succesful passing of a trial 8:17"that He might test the believers by a good trial from Him". However the Quran repeatedly warns the believers that wordly gains are not the objective of Jihad 4:94"when you go to war in Allah's way, make investigation, and do not say to any one who offers you peace: You are not a believer. Do you seek goods of this world's life? But with Allah there are abundant gains". The believers can never go to war boastfully and for the sake of empty glory 8:47. The Quran relates in 8:5-8 how Allah tested the believers' motives in battle in order to purge them from their greed; if they would run after the booty or stand firm with the prophet to defend Islam. When the aqcuisition of slaves became restricted to battles after which they had to be freed either voluntarly or as a ransom, God warned the Muslims that during battle the motive must be the attainement of the military objectives before any consideration for war gains, and once the objective is fully accomplished, only then the taking of war prisonners and seasing of other spoils is allowed 47:4. In a later verse following the battle of Badr, God admonished those among the Muslims who had shown weakness in their general outlook on life, who had succombed to their greed and begun capturing soldiers while the battle was still raging and the enemy threat hadnt been entirely contained 8:67"you desire the frail goods of this world, while Allah desires (for you) the hereafter; and Allah is Mighty, Wise" but since God had permitted in 47:4 the ransoming of war prisonners, the wealth they had gathered through this mean was considered lawful 8:68-9"Were it not for an ordinance from Allah that had already gone forth, surely there would have befallen you a great chastisement for what you had taken to. Eat then of the lawful and good (things) which you have acquired in war, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful".
The believers are then strongly admonished in 3:152 for their attitude during the battle of Uhud and them becoming "weak-hearted" for having "desired this world" after Allah "had shown you that which you loved" ie the war booty whether physical (the prisonners they could then ransom) or material. This shows that going to battle with the unique motive of wordly gains is not considered noble in God's eyes.
The Quran would therefore stir up the believers for battle based on the reality of their physical and spiritual opression, whether men, women, old and young alike 2:217,4:75,8:26,22:39-40,28:57,60:1,85:8-10,96:9-10 so they must overcome any fear and trust in that Allah's help will come at the battlfield and will weaken the struggle of the rejecters and opressers no mater the forces they can muster 4:84. Part of the 613 Jewish commandments is to similarily be fearless in battle and fully trust in God Deut3:22,7:21,20:3 and in fact the reason why the Jews were punished with a 40 years desert wandering prior to their entry into the land promised to their forefathers was because they had shown fear and mistrust in God's capacity to defeat, through a weak army, a much stronger adversary. Besides the wordly necessity of waging war in God's way, the Quran asssures those who fear death and the loss of this present world that it is a shallow reasoning since this world is ephemeral and the Hereafter awaiting the righteous believers, including those that went forth for a just war, is perduring 4:74. And although the believers are promised wordly gains as a result of their faith in God and His prophet, as a result of their personal sacrifices for the sake of their cause against all odds, the Quran stresses that these wordly gains must never be the true motive.
Just as obeying a divine injuction to fight in Allah's way results in being rewarded in this world as well as the next 48:18-21, turning one's back to the enemy and refusing to fight in Allah's way makes a person 48:16,8:16"deserving of Allah's wrath" in this world as well as the next, as stated in the Hebrew Bible in Jer48:10"A curse on anyone who is lax in doing the Lord’s work! A curse on anyone who keeps their sword from bloodshed". As already said above, history bares testimony to this fact with the example of the Israelites who had refused to put their trust in the prophet Musa to go forth and fight in Allah's way. Their wordly reward was consequently taken away and they were forbidden entry into the blessed land and sent to wander 40 years in the desert until the last one of those who had shown cowardice was dead and a new generation raised instead that would willingly take up arms, fight and conquer as divinely ordained. See the Quran in 2:243,5:21-26 as well as the Hebrew Bible in Numbers13:28-33,14:1-35,21:14-35,26:64-65 and Deut2:7,14-19,Josh5:6.
The Muslims are warned that the same fate awaits those who turn their backs to the prophet when they are called to struggle in Allah's way 9:38-39"If you do not go forth, He will chastise you with a painful chastisement and bring in your place a people other than you, and you will do Him no harm; and Allah has power over all things". The Believers should rejoice at the opportunity of serving God's cause but what God wishes to accomplish isnt really dependent on them for He could easily uproot them in case of disobedience and rise another people instead. However, those who followed the prophet Muhammad in times of peace and war are the opposite example. Contrary to the majority of Israelites in Moses' time who refused to march forth despite witnessing all kinds of divine miracles, the majority of Muhammad's followers fought when ordered to. Because of all their sacrifices and because they went forth when they were commanded to, they were made successors in the land 6:133-134 and they earned Allah's rewards in this world as well as, God wills, in the next.
In addition, the Muslims are commanded not to neglect the obligatory prayers, even when facing the enemy at the battlefield 4:101-3. This shows the true objective of these warriors fighting to free themselves and their people from religious bondage; fighting was not their primary occupation for when the time of holding the timed and ordained communion with their Lord arrived, they performed their spiritual obligations despite the imminent danger.
For all the above mentionned noble reasons, the oppressed believers are urged and compelled, despite the natural fear of having to confront a superior enemy, to stand for war 2:216,8:65 if they are fit physically, mentally and financially 9:91,48:17 against all aggressors outside the fold of Islam 9:29 while relying on Allah; He knows their material and physical weakness and will assist them 8:66.
Jihad, in all of its aspects, whether for the establishment of God's will in a specific land, the punishment of rejecters in the prophetic era, or the timeless right to self defence, is limited to the principle of "and do not exceed the limit. Verily, Allah loves not those who exceed the limit". Self defence, especially in the face of spiritual opression, is a divinely sanctionned right 22:39"Permission (to fight) is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed, and most surely Allah is well able to assist them" 60:1,22:40"Those who have been expelled from their homes without a just cause except that they say: Our Lord is Allah".
The limits in reprisals are also: fighting someone before engaging in peaceful negotiations 8:39-40, in a dominant position the Muslims must remain concious of their past weakness before Allah strenghtened them and not refuse the hand of peace from non-muslims 4:94, or starting a war, or killing women and children, the retaliation must be 22:60"with the like of that with which he has been afflicted and he has been oppressed". 2:194"Thus, if anyone commits aggression against you, attack him just as he has attacked you - but remain conscious of God" and the door to patience and total pardon in lieu of a retaliation when one has taken the upper hand is still open to those who have reached a higher spiritual level, restraining themselves and forgiving for the sake of Allah and in the way of Allah 42:39-43,16:126-8"but if you are patient, it will certainly be best for those who are patient..Surely Allah is with those who guard (against evil) and those who do good (to others)".
The sensitivity of the issue is pictured in God's address to David, the prophet-king 34:10-11. As he was given mastery over a crucial component in warfare -iron-, he and all those after him are told that in their use of that martial technology, God is ever seeing of what they do, indicating that they should use this means in the path of righteous deed, not in the way of oppression, cruelty, and sin.
8:39,2:193"And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors" the verse and its wider context are speaking of religious persecution. It is the right and duty of every Muslim to defend himself against that persecution causing him fear or preventing him completely from practicing his religion, or even compromising some of it to please the oppressor.
"and all the religion is for Allah" explains why religious persecution must be fought; by THE religion (singular, pointed with a definite article ie Islam) should be entirely for Allah, what is meant is there cannot be any forceful compromise between this way (Islam) and any other way or form of worship out of fear. Muslims should be able to worship freely and without any fear just as the followers of previous revelations had the right to worship safely and without any compulsion which is why it is said in 22:40 that throughout the ages Allah repelled some men by means of others to keep safe synagogues, churches and cloisters 2:251"And were it not for Allah's repelling some men with others, the earth would certainly be in a state of disorder; but Allah is Gracious to the creatures".
The end of the verse 2:193 re-stresses against whom fighting must be exclusively directed, showing that the aim is not to erase all other forms of worship, but only to stop fitna/religious persecution "but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors". (see 10:83,16:110,85:10 for fitna).
If they desist from persecution, the Muslims are at once to stop fighting against them, and hostilities are not to be continued against any except the aggressors. The interpretation that these words mean that fighting is to be continued until all people accept Islam, is therefore belied, not only by the clear wording of the verse itself, but by the rest of the Quran speaking of peaceful coexistance regardless of faith so long as no hostility is initiated against the Muslims, and also belied but by history itself. The forceful, worldwide dominion of one religion above all others in this life isnt a Quranic concept, but a Biblical one that will occur in the Messianic Age. See Zech14 for example among messianic passages, relating how "utopian" the world will become once all other religions, along with those that keep practicing them despite the warnings, are wiped out and only the Jewish God is worshiped. This is not to mention that among the 613 commandements revealed at Sinai are the laws concerning the erradication of specific nations, and these are still binding upon the Jews up to this day due to their failure in executing these laws fully in the past Deut20:16,17,25:19.
For example in 9:4, the Muslims are told to leave the Idolators who do not break their aggreements, do not fight them or incite others. 8:38 further states that "if they desist, that which is past shall be forgiven to them; and if they return, then what happened to the ancients has already passed". The "desisting" and the "returning" refer to the struggle of the disbelievers against the Muslims. They are urged to stop the fitna lest they be destroyed when their appointed time of respite expires 15:5 like the past nations of vehement rejectors to whom God's messengers were sent 33:60-2"If the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease and the agitators in the city do not desist, We shall most certainly set you over them, then they shall not be your neighbors in it but for a little while. Cursed: wherever they are found they shall be seized and murdered, a (horrible) murdering. (Such has been) the course of Allah with respect to those who have gone before; and you shall not find any change in the course of Allah".
There is no coercion in religion because truth is made plain through the revelation 2:256,18:29 it becomes self evident against falsehood and thus must naturally prevail over any form of worship that is not the surrender to Allah 3:19,9:33,34:46-47,48:28,61:9. This is according to a universal system established upon Truth, and where falsehood is therefore bound to vanish 15:85,17:81,21:16-8. This prophecy which the prophet saw the fulfillement in his lifetime on the land of Arabia, is particularly made clear in 48:27-8 and does not signify that other religions would at any time entirely disappear. It only indicates that the superiority of the religion of Islam over all other religions will at last be established, and Islam will be the religion of the majority of the nations of the earth. Although it initially addresses a specific nation 6:92,42:7 since the one charged to deliver it was from that particular location, the Quran, because of its pristine nature in relation to the original monotheism and to all of humanity's innate disposition, as well as its universal, timeless relevancy, was meant as mercy to the entire world 62:3"and [to cause this message to spread] from them unto other people as soon as they come into contact with them".
It is the natural right of all Muslims and every human being to 26:227"defend themselves after they are oppressed". The divinely sanctionned right, throughout the ages and nations, of jihad in self defense has a clear objective which is not to gain territorial expansion but to dispel mischief, and corruption/fasad on the earth and stop religious oppression 2:251,22:40. Even though the object of the enemies of Islam when they take on arms and engage Muslims in war is to exterminate them entirely, the Muslims are told that the Divine object in assisting the believers in punishing the disbelievers at war is not to exterminate them, but to deliver a blow that would deter them from continuous agression 3:127.
Those among non-Muslims against whom self-defensive jihad cannot be directed are those 60:8"who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes..show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice" or those who come in peace without any desire to fight 4:90 and this is because not all non-muslims are alike, and even among the ennemies of Islam some do not strive actively for the extermination of Muslims, they could be influenced by their comunity 60:7"It may be that Allah will bring about friendship between you and those whom you hold to be your enemies among them; and Allah is Powerful; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful".
Many verses, in addition to the ones previously mentionned, and passages lay out the limits of reprisal when one is exercizing his right to self-defence. That aspect of Jihad cannot be directed are those 60:8"who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes..show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice" or those who come in peace without any desire to fight 4:90 and this is because not all of Islam's opponents are alike, some do not strive actively for the extermination of Muslims and should therefore not be fought in the same way as one would engage an armed enemy. They, as well as others could be influenced by their comunity and so the benefit of the doubt is on their side 60:7"It may be that Allah will bring about friendship between you and those whom you hold to be your enemies among them; and Allah is Powerful; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful".
Those upon whom the law of armed self-defense is ordained are 60:9"those who made war upon you on account of (your) religion, and drove you forth from your homes and backed up (others) in your expulsion". In situations of opression and the infliction of evil on them, the believers must retain their composure and live up to their level of faith and God-consciousness
by keeping in mind the higher realities. Although they will be in no way blamable for retaliating and defending themselves with the same level of evil they have suffered, they should prefer magnanimity whenever pardoning can be conducing to reconcilement and possible reforming of the evil doer. And since in that case it necessarily involves the selfless act of
supressing of one's own feelings for the sake of a higher truth, Allah reassures the person that the corresponding reward is well kept with Him and the Quran concludes once again by upholding and praising the virtues of patience and forgiveness in adversity, as well as recognizing the great resolve such an attitude requires 2:177,42:37-43.
The Prophet's conflict with his tribe was not because of any worldly reason; it was only for the freedom to practice the religion of God 4:74,94 in the place originally dedicated for it.
He wanted the leaders of the Quraysh to fulfill their obligations towards the House of God because they were its custodians. If they were not ready for this, then they had no right to keep it in their custody nor did they have any right to stop people through persecution from embracing the religion of God or practicing their worship on a land settled for the universal worship of the One God since the days of Ibrahim 22:25-9. This was Allah's way before in regards to a land declared sacred but whose purpose was perverted and progressively abandonned by a people who despite knowing God, had perverted His ways Gen15:16,Deut9,1Sam4:7. They would intimidate any convert to Islam or anyone willing to embrace it. It was to eliminate this fitna that the Prophet was ordered to dislodge the Quraysh from Mecca. And when he did so as prophecied publicly as a matter of warning at the very beginning of his prophetic call, people hastened to accept Islam in multitudes now that they were suddenly afforded with the liberty to choose their own religion, in total freedom from the shackles of the Quraysh. 110:2 predicted this reality long before the conquest of Mecca "And you see men embrace the religion of God in multitudes", and this was through the guidance of the Heavenly Book that transcended all obstacles to give life to the spiritually dead 6:122.