Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(And fight them) if they initiate fighting against you whether you are in the Sacred Precinct or not (until persecution is no more) until there is not association of partners with Allah in the Sacred Precinct, (and religion is for Allah) and Islam and worship of Allah reign in the Sacred Precinct. (If they desist) from fighting you in the Sacred Precinct, (then let there be no hostility) you are not allowed to kill them (except against wrong-doers) except those who start the fight against you.
Fight them till there is no sedition, no idolatry, and the religion, all worship, is for God, alone and none are worshipped apart from Him; then if they desist, from idolatry, do not aggress against them. This is indicated by the following words, there shall be no enmity, no aggression through slaying or otherwise, save against evildoers. Those that desist, however, are not evildoers and should not be shown any enmity.
Fight them till there is no sedition, caused by their contention, motives and worship, and the religion is for God, by the orientation of all of these towards the Holy and their falling on the side of the mystery in being oriented towards the Truth, wherein neither Satan nor desire has any share; then if they desist, there shall be no enmity, against them, [save against evildoers], except against the transgressors who overstep their bounds.
(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:
(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
(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:
(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
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:
(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:
(...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:
(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)
(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.
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:
(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.)
(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:
(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:
(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').''
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
Here the word "fitnah" has been used in a different sense from that in verse 191. The context clearly shows that here it denotes that condition of society which is not safe and free for adoption of the way of Allah. That is why the Muslims have been exhorted to continue the tight to change this state of affairs and to restore peace and freedom fur the way of Allah. It should also be noted that the Arabic word din' which has been translated here into "Way"' originally means "submission" and is technically used for the way of life which is built on the sovereignty of someone whose commands and regulations are to he followed. Therefore that condition of society in which there is the rule and sovereignty of man over man and in which it is not possible for anyone to follow the Way of Allah is fitnah. The aim of war in Islam is to abolish fitnah and establish Allah's Way so as to enable people to live as servants of Allah in accordance with the Divine Law.
It does not wean that Islam incites the believers to go to war to force unbelievers at the point of sword to give up disbelief and polytheism and adopt the Way of Allah instead. War is to be waged only to make them give up fitnah. As a matter of fact, Islam allows freedom of belief to all non-Muslims. One may adopt any way of life that one chooses and may or may not worship anyone or anything. It exhorts the believers to preach and to persuade the unbelievers and the wrong doers by argument to give up their false faith and evil ways, but it does not allow the unbelievers the right to enforce on God's earth any ungodly law and make the servants of Allah the servants of some one else. In order to remove such an unjust condition, Islam allows both preaching and fighting according to the requirements of the occasion. The believers, therefore, cannot rest content unless this fitnah, political domination and legal sovereignty of unbelievers, is eradicated and freedom for the Way of Allah is secured.
From the words, "Then if they desist from it, there should be no more hostility except against those who had been guilty of cruelty and brutality," it has been deduced that when the Islamic rule replaces ungodly rule, there should be a general amnesty save for those who had been extremely cruel and tyrannous in opposing the Truth when in power. Although in this case also it behoves the believers to show forgiveness at the time of victory, yet they would be perfectly justified in punishing those who broke all limits in their blind opposition and persecution. The Holy Prophet, who was an embodiment of mercy and clemency, himself availed of this permission and sentenced to death `Uqbah bin Abi Mu'ait and Nadr bin Harith, two prisoners of war taken in the battle of Badr: Moreover, although a general amnesty was proclaimed after the conquest of Makkah, seventeen persons who were the worst offenders against Islam were made an exception and four of these were sentenced to death.
Fight them till there is no sedition and the religion is for God; then if they desist there shall be no enmity save against evildoers. The allusion in the verse is to combat against the lower selves nufūs for your worst enemy is your lower self nafs within you. That is to say “Hold completely to the precepts of spiritual disciplines riyāḌāt until nothing remains of carnal human traces āthār bashariyya. Submit the self nafs and heart qalb to God so there will be no opponent or combatant from within you [fighting] to protect [yourself] taking instruction [from the lower self] managing [your own affairs] or exercising free choice in any state. The vicissitudes [of life] will flow over you as He wills them and you will be effaced from making any choices aside from what comes with the decree.” When the self nafs surrenders there is no enmity except toward the masters of holding back arbāb al-taqṣīr but those who uphold the right of [God's] command are far removed from any obligation to compel [others to do so].