The Quran

Commentaries for 2.190

Al Baqara (The cow) - البقرة

2.190 Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Fight in the way of Allah) in obedience of Allah whether in the Sacred Precinct or in other places (against those who fight against you) against those who initiate fight against you, (but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors) He does not love those who initiate fighting whether in the Sacred Precinct or in other locations.
2.190 Asrar - Kashf Al-Asrar
And fight in the path of God those who fight against you, but do not transgress. God loves not the transgressors.
In the language of the recognizers and the path of the chevaliers, this killing and fighting is another way station of the travelers and another state of the lovers. However, as long as you have not been killed by the sword of struggle in the path of the Shariah and you have not been burned by the fire of love, you will not be allowed to enter by this gate.
Take care not to believe that fire is simply the lamp that you know and nothing more; or that killing is simply the state that you know. Those killed by the Real are one thing, those killed by the throat something else. Being burned by the fire of punishment is one thing, being burned by the fire of love something else.
Thus that great pir said, “How should I have known that this is the smoke of the burning brand's fire? I fancied that wherever there is fire there is a lamp. How should I have known that in friendship the sin belongs to the killed and the judge gives refuge to the adversary!? How should I have known that the bewilderment of union with You is the path, and he who is drowned in You seeks You all the more?”
One day Shiblī went into the desert. He saw forty men, distracted, impassioned, and overcome by this talk. Each of them had gone into the desert, a brick under his head, his life having reached the gullet. The tenderness of affinity appeared in Shiblī's breast and he said, “O God, what do You want from them? You have placed the burden of pain on their hearts, You have struck fire in their haystacks. Will You now kill them all with the sword of jealousy?”
His secret core was addressed with the words, “I will kill them. Once I kill them, I will pay them the wergild.”
Shiblī said, “What is the wergild?”
The address came, “When someone is killed by the sword of My majesty, his wergild is the vision of My beauty.”
I will fight against Your passion's army
and be killed-someone killed has value. The wergild of the one killed by hand is dinars,
the wergild of the one killed by passion is seeing.
2.190 Jalal - Al-Jalalayn
After the Prophet (s) was prevented from [visiting] the House in the year of the battle of Hudaybiyya, he made a pact with the disbelievers that he would be allowed to return the following year, at which time they would vacate Mecca for three days. Having prepared to depart for the Visitation [‘umra], [he and] the believers were concerned that Quraysh would not keep to the agreement and instigate fighting. The Muslims were averse to becoming engaged in fighting while in a state of pilgrimage inviolability in the Sacred Enclosure [al-haram] and during the sacred months, and so the following was revealed: And fight in the way of God, to elevate His religion, with those who fight against you, the disbelievers, but aggress not, against them by initiating the fighting; God loves not the aggressors, the ones that overstep the bounds which God has set for them: this stipulation was abrogated by the verse of barā’a, ‘immunity’ [Q. 9:1], or by His saying [below]:
2.190 Kashani - Kashani
And fight in the way of God with those who fight against you, from among Satan and the faculties of the souls that command [evil], but do not aggress, in fighting against these [faculties] by totally suppressing them and not fulfilling what is rightfully due to them and adhering to [what is] their limits, lest they then fall into excess, shortcoming and laxity. Indeed God loves not the aggressors, on account of their being outside the shadow of love and unity, that itself constitutes justice.
2.190-193 Kathir - Ibn Al Kathir
The Command to fight Those Who fight Muslims and killing Them wherever They are found
Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi said that Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that Abu Al-`Aliyah commented on what Allah said:
وَقَـتِلُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَـتِلُونَكُمْ
(And fight in the way of Allah those who fight you,)
Abu Al-`Aliyah said, "This was the first Ayah about fighting that was revealed in Al-Madinah. Ever since it was revealed, Allah's Messenger used to fight only those who fought him and avoid non-combatants. Later, Surat Bara'ah (chapter 9 in the Qur'an) was revealed.'' `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said similarly, then he said that this was later abrogated by the Ayah:
فَاقْتُلُواْ الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمْ
(then kill them wherever you find them) (9:5).
However, this statement is not plausible, because Allah's statement:
الَّذِينَ يُقَـتِلُونَكُمْ
(...those who fight you) applies only to fighting the enemies who are engaged in fighting Islam and its people. So the Ayah means, `Fight those who fight you', just as Allah said (in another Ayah):
وَقَاتِلُواْ الْمُشْرِكِينَ كَآفَّةً كَمَا يُقَـتِلُونَكُمْ كَآفَّةً
(...and fight against the Mushrikin collectively as they fight against you collectively.) (9:36)
This is why Allah said later in the Ayah:
وَاقْتُلُوهُمْ حَيْثُ ثَقِفْتُمُوهُمْ وَأَخْرِجُوهُمْ مِّنْ حَيْثُ أَخْرَجُوكُمْ
(And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out.) meaning, `Your energy should be spent on fighting them, just as their energy is spent on fighting you, and on expelling them from the areas from which they have expelled you, as a law of equality in punishment.'
The Prohibition of mutilating the Dead and stealing from the captured Goods
Allah said:
وَلاَ تَعْتَدُواْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ
(but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors.)
This Ayah means, `Fight for the sake of Allah and do not be transgressors,' such as, by committing prohibitions. Al-Hasan Al-Basri stated that transgression (indicated by the Ayah), "includes mutilating the dead, theft (from the captured goods), killing women, children and old people who do not participate in warfare, killing priests and residents of houses of worship, burning down trees and killing animals without real benefit.'' This is also the opinion of Ibn `Abbas, `Umar bin `Abdul-`Aziz, Muqatil bin Hayyan and others. Muslim recorded in his Sahih that Buraydah narrated that Allah's Messenger said:
«اغْزُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ، قَاتِلُوا مَنْ كَفَرَ بِاللهِ، اغْزُوا وَلَا تَغُلُّوا وَلَا تَغْدِرُوا وَلَا تَمْثُلُوا وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا وَلِيدًا وَلَا أَصْحَابَ الصَّوَامِع»
(Fight for the sake of Allah and fight those who disbelieve in Allah. Fight, but do not steal (from the captured goods), commit treachery, mutilate (the dead), or kill a child, or those who reside in houses of worship.)
It is reported in the Two Sahihs that Ibn `Umar said, "A woman was found dead during one of the Prophet's battles and the Prophet then forbade killing women and children. '' There are many other Hadiths on this subject.
Shirk is worse than Killing
Since Jihad involves killing and shedding the blood of men, Allah indicated that these men are committing disbelief in Allah, associating with Him (in the worship) and hindering from His path, and this is a much greater evil and more disastrous than killing. Abu Malik commented about what Allah said:
وَالْفِتْنَةُ أَشَدُّ مِنَ الْقَتْلِ
(And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing.) Meaning what you (disbelievers) are committing is much worse than killing.'' Abu Al-`Aliyah, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that what Allah said:
وَالْفِتْنَةُ أَشَدُّ مِنَ الْقَتْلِ
(And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing.) "Shirk (polytheism) is worse than killing.''
Fighting in the Sacred Area is prohibited, except in Self-Defense
Allah said:
وَلاَ تُقَـتِلُوهُمْ عِندَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ
(And fight not with them at Al-Masjid Al-Haram (the sanctuary at Makkah))
It is reported in the Two Sahihs that the Prophet said:
«إنَّ هَذَا الْبَلَدَ حَرَّمَهُ اللهُ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّموَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ، فَهُوَ حَرَامٌ بِحُرْمَةِ اللهِ إِلى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ، وَلَمْ يَحِلَّ لِي إِلَّا سَاعَةً مِنْ نَهَارٍ، وَإِنَّهَا سَاعَتِي هذِهِ حَرامٌ بحُرْمَةِ اللهِ إِلى يَوْمِ الْقِيامَةِ، لا يُعْضَدُ شَجَرُهُ، وَلَا يُخْتَلىَ خَلَاهُ، فَإِنْ أَحَدٌ تَرَخَّصَ بِقِتَالِ رَسُولِ اللهِصلى الله عليه وسلّم، فَقُولُوا: إنَّ اللهَ أَذِنَ لِرَسُولِهِ وَلَمْ يَأْذَنْ لَكُم»
(Allah has made this city a sanctuary since the day He created the heavens and the earth. So, it is a sanctuary by Allah's decree till the Day of Resurrection. Fighting in it was made legal for me only for an hour in the daytime. So, it (i.e., Makkah) is a sanctuary, by Allah's decree, from now on until the Day of Resurrection. Its trees should not be cut, and its grass should not be uprooted. If anyone mentions the fighting in it that occurred by Allah's Messenger, then say that Allah allowed His Messenger, but did not allow you.)
In this Hadith, Allah's Messenger mentions fighting the people of Makkah when he conquered it by force, leading to some deaths among the polytheists in the area of the Khandamah. This occurred after the Prophet proclaimed:
«مَنْ أَغْلَقَ بَابَهُ فهُوَ آمِنٌ،وَمَنْ دَخَلَ الْمَسْجِدَ فَهُو آمِنٌ، ومَنْ دَخَلَ دَارَ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ فَهُوَ آمِن»
(Whoever closed his door is safe. Whoever entered the (Sacred) Mosque is safe. Whoever entered the house of Abu Sufyan is also safe.)
Allah said:
حَتَّى يُقَـتِلُوكُمْ فِيهِ فَإِن قَـتَلُوكُمْ فَاقْتُلُوهُمْ كَذَلِكَ جَزَآءُ الْكَـفِرِينَ
(...unless they (first) fight you there. But if they attack you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.)
Allah states: `Do not fight them in the area of the Sacred Mosque unless they start fighting you in it. In this case, you are allowed to fight them and kill them to stop their aggression.' Hence, Allah's Messenger took the pledge from his Companions under the tree (in the area of Al-Hudaybiyyah) to fight (the polytheists), after the tribes of Quraysh and their allies, Thaqif and other groups, collaborated against the Muslims (to stop them from entering Makkah to visit the Sacred House). Then, Allah stopped the fighting before it started between them and said:
وَهُوَ الَّذِى كَفَّ أَيْدِيَهُمْ عَنكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ عَنْهُم بِبَطْنِ مَكَّةَ مِن بَعْدِ أَنْ أَظْفَرَكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ
(And He it is Who has withheld their hands from you and your hands from them in the midst of Makkah, after He had made you victors over them.) (48:24) and:
وَلَوْلاَ رِجَالٌ مُّؤْمِنُونَ وَنِسَآءٌ مُّؤْمِنَـتٌ لَّمْ تَعْلَمُوهُمْ أَن تَطَئُوهُمْ فَتُصِيبَكمْ مِّنْهُمْ مَّعَرَّةٌ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ لِّيُدْخِلَ اللَّهُ فِى رَحْمَتِهِ مَن يَشَآءُ لَوْ تَزَيَّلُواْ لَعَذَّبْنَا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنْهُمْ عَذَاباً أَلِيماً
(Had there not been believing men and believing women whom you did not know, that you may kill them and on whose account a sin would have been committed by you without (your) knowledge, that Allah might bring into His mercy whom He wills ـ if they (the believers and the disbelievers) had been apart, We verily, would have punished those of them who disbelieved with painful torment.) (48:25)
Allah's statement:
فَإِنِ انتَهَوْاْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
(But if they cease, then Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) which means, `If they (polytheists) cease fighting you in the Sacred Area, and come to Islam and repent, then Allah will forgive them their sins, even if they had before killed Muslims in Allah's Sacred Area.' Indeed, Allah's forgiveness encompasses every sin, whatever its enormity, when the sinner repents it.
The Order to fight until there is no more Fitnah
Allah then commanded fighting the disbelievers when He said:
حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ
(...until there is no more Fitnah) meaning, Shirk. This is the opinion of Ibn `Abbas, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi`, Muqatil bin Hayyan, As-Suddi and Zayd bin Aslam.
Allah's statement:
وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ للَّهِ
(...and the religion (all and every kind of worship) is for Allah (Alone).) means, `So that the religion of Allah becomes dominant above all other religions.' It is reported in the Two Sahihs that Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari said: "The Prophet was asked, `O Allah's Messenger! A man fights out of bravery, and another fights to show off, which of them fights in the cause of Allah' The Prophet said:
«مَنْ قَاتَلَ لِتَكُونَ كَلِمَةُ اللهِ هِيَ الْعُلْيا فَهُوَ فِي سَبِيلِ الله»
(He who fights so that Allah's Word is superior, then he fights in Allah's cause.) In addition, it is reported in the Two Sahihs:
«أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَقُولُوا لَا إِلهَ إلَّا اللهُ، فَإِذَا قَالُوهَا عَصَمُوا مِنِّي دِمَاءَهُم وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ إلَّا بِحَقِّهَا وَحِسَابُهُمْ عَلَى الله»
(I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight the people until they proclaim, `None has the right to be worshipped but Allah'. Whoever said it, then he will save his life and property from me, except for cases of the law, and their account will be with Allah.)
Allah's statement:
فَإِنِ انتَهَواْ فَلاَ عُدْوَنَ إِلاَّ عَلَى الظَّـلِمِينَ
(But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against the wrongdoers.) indicates that, `If they stop their Shirk and fighting the believers, then cease warfare against them. Whoever fights them afterwards will be committing an injustice. Verily aggression can only be started against the unjust.' This is the meaning of Mujahid's statement that only combatants should be fought. Or, the meaning of the Ayah indicates that, `If they abandon their injustice, which is Shirk in this case, then do not start aggression against them afterwards.' The aggression here means retaliating and fighting them, just as Allah said:
فَمَنِ اعْتَدَى عَلَيْكُمْ فَاعْتَدُواْ عَلَيْهِ بِمِثْلِ مَا اعْتَدَى عَلَيْكُمْ
(Then whoever transgresses against you, you transgress likewise against him.) (2:194)
Similarly, Allah said:
وَجَزَآءُ سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِّثْلُهَا
(The recompense for an evil is an evil like thereof.) (42:40), and:
وَإِنْ عَاقَبْتُمْ فَعَاقِبُواْ بِمِثْلِ مَا عُوقِبْتُمْ بِهِ
(And if you punish them, then punish them with the like of that with which you were afflicted. ) (16:126)
`Ikrimah and Qatadah stated, "The unjust person is he who refuses to proclaim, `There is no God worthy of worship except Allah'.''
Under Allah's statement:
وَقَـتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ
(And fight them until there is no more Fitnah) Al-Bukhari recorded that Nafi` said that two men came to Ibn `Umar during the conflict of Ibn Az-Zubayr and said to him, "The people have fallen into shortcomings and you are the son of `Umar and the Prophet's Companion. Hence, what prevents you from going out'' He said, "What prevents me is that Allah has for bidden shedding the blood of my (Muslim) brother.'' They said, "Did not Allah say:
وَقَـتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ
(And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah))'' He said, "We did fight until there was no more Fitnah and the religion became for Allah Alone. You want to fight until there is Fitnah and the religion becomes for other than Allah!''
`Uthman bin Salih added that a man came to Ibn `Umar and asked him, "O Abu `Abdur-Rahman! What made you perform Hajj one year and `Umrah another year and abandon Jihad in the cause of Allah, although you know how much He has encouraged performing it'' He said, "O my nephew! Islam is built on five (pillars): believing in Allah and His Messenger, the five daily prayers, fasting Ramadan, paying the Zakah and performing Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House.'' They said, "O Abu `Abdur-Rahman! Did you not hear what Allah said in His Book:
وَإِن طَآئِفَتَانِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُواْ فَأَصْلِحُواْ بَيْنَهُمَا فَإِن بَغَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الأُخْرَى فَقَـتِلُواْ الَّتِى تَبْغِى حَتَّى تَفِىءَ إِلَى أَمْرِ اللَّهِ
(And if two parties (or groups) among the believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them both. But if one of them outrages against the other, then fight you (all) against the one that which outrages till it complies with the command of Allah.) (49:9) and:
وَقَـتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ
(And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief))
He said, "That we did during the time of Allah's Messenger when Islam was still weak and (the Muslim) man used to face trials in his religion, such as killing or torture. When Islam became stronger (and apparent), there was no more Fitnah.'' He asked, "What do you say about `Ali and `Uthman'' He said, "As for `Uthman, Allah has forgiven him. However, you hated the fact that Allah had forgiven him! As for `Ali, he is the cousin of Allah's Messenger and his son-in-law.'' He then pointed with his hand, saying, "This is where his house is located (meaning, `so close to the Prophet's house just as `Ali was so close to the Prophet himself').''
2.190-192 Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
That is, "Fight with those people who hinder you from the way of Allah; who have become your enemies because you are trying to reform the way of life in accordance with the Guidance of Allah; who are preventing you from the work of reform by force and persecution." Before this, when the Muslims were yet weak and scattered, they were commanded to propagate Islam and bear all tyrannies with fortitude. But when they had established a tiny state at Madinah they were. far the tirst time, allowed to go to war against those who were opposing this reformative movement with force. The battle of Badr took place after this and a series of battles started with it.
The Muslims were warned that the aim of their war should not be self-interest nor material gain nor retaliation. They should not, therefore, go to war against those who were neither opposing them nor hindering them from their work. Besides this, the Holy Prophet gave detailed instructions for keeping the war humane. He asked the Muslims to refrain from barbaric methods in warfare and from doing any kind of harm or injury to children, women, old people and the wounded. He also prohibited the dishonouring of the dead bodies of the slain, the wanton destruction of harvests, trees, animals, etc., and all other forms of cruelty, barbarism and vandalism. The Muslims were allowed to use farce only where it was absolutely indispensable and to the extent it was absolutely necessary.
"Persecution and suppression of opinion by violence, force or threat," is the exact translation of the Arabic word "fitnah," as used in this verse. The verse implies that it is a heinous offence to persecute a person or party by Harassing and oppressive treatment for holding ideas and theories opposed to those in vogue at the time, and it is abominable to intlict on people injury and punishment for adhering to and propagating those ideas and theories with a view to reforming the ways of society. Though bloodshed is an evil thing, to oppress and harass others for adhering to their own faith and principles and to force them to give these up and adopt those of the oppressors is tar worse. Therefore it is lawful and justifiable to use force against such people as a resort to brute force instead of argument.
That is. "You should create in yourselves those qualities which are the attributes of Allah in whom you believe. tie forgives even the worst offenders and criminals and shows mercy to theta. You also should try to mould yourselves after this model. Your war should not he to quench your thirst for revenge but for the cause of Allah. As long as they oppose the way of Allah and continue their light against you, you also should fight against them, but no sooner do they stop fighting and give up their hostile attitude titan you also should stop fighting.
2.190 Qushairi - Al-Qushairi
And fight in the way of God with those who fight against you but do not transgress limits; God loves not the transgressors. Let your lower selves be trusts for the Real: when He commands their restraint restrain and protect them. When He commands [you] to commit them to fighting do not hold them back from His command. This is the meaning of His words but do not transgress limits-that you stop wherever you are made to stop and do what you have been commanded.
2.190 Wahidi - Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi
(Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you…) [2:190]. Said al-Kalbi> Abu Salih> Ibn 'Abbas: “These verses were revealed concerning the treaty of Hudaybiyyah. This is because when the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and his Companions were barred from entering the Sacred House, he immolated his sacrificial offering in Hudaybiyyah. He then signed a treaty with the idolaters which stipulated that he would go back to Medina and return the following year. Mecca will be vacated for him for three days during which he can circumambulate the Sacred House and do there whatever he wished. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, agreed to sign this treaty. In the following year, the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, and his Companions got ready to perform the lesser pilgrimage which they had missed but, at the same time, were afraid that Quraysh would not honour their treaty, bar them from the Sacred House and fight them. The prophetic Companions were apprehensive of fighting them during the Sacred months and in the Sacred Precinct. And so Allah, exalted is He, revealed (Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you), i.e. the Quraysh”.