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"Discover the Truth's" Game

2:191-194:
"Fight Them Until
Religion is for Allah"


From Discover the Truth:

Having analysed the verses, one can clearly see that these verses were revealed at a time when the Muslims, 1400 years ago, were getting persecuted by the Quraysh. As shown, these verses have nothing to do with harming innocent non-believers. They were revealed concerning those who used to oppress, persecute and kill Muslims
(August 12, 2014, April 3, 2016)

What the Quran Says

2:190. And fight in the Way of Allah those who fight you, but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors.
2:191. And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing. And fight not with them at Al-Masjid-al-Haram, unless they fight you there. But if they attack you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.
2:192. But if they cease, then Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
2:193. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah and worship is for Allah. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)
2:194. The sacred month is for the sacred month, and for the prohibited things, there is the Law of Equality . Then whoever transgresses the prohibition against you, you transgress likewise against him. And fear Allah, and know that Allah is with Al-Muttaqun (the pious).

What the Apologists Want You to Believe

From the DTT article:
The verse was revealed at a time when the Muslims were being persecuted by the Quraish. The scholars pointed out that the Arabic word ‘fitna’ used for the verse means, ‘persecution’, and ‘oppression’ i.e., that the verse showed Muslims who were being persecuted for their beliefs, that they were allowed to fight back against the oppressors. To end the persecution and let man be free to practice their religion without interference from anyone.
So, DTT says that the verse was narrated at a time of persecution (against Muslims) and that it only applies to circumstances in which Muslims are being persecuted and must fight in self-defense.


How They Do It: 'Adding' to the Quran

DTT interprets the word fitna to mean "persecution" or "oppression" rather than "unbelief" (or the civil strife resulting from unbelief) on the basis that there is another word for unbelief (kufr) that is not used.  This is a fair point, but there are also more direct Arabic words for persecution (idtihad) and oppression that are not used either. 

Clearly fitna is used deliberately to refer to something more complicated than the traditional view of persecution.  In fact, the true historical context shows that the Muslims to whom this was narrated were not actually being persecuted by the Quraish at the time, since they were in Medina.

Discover the Truth also claims that fighting non-Muslims "until worship is for Allah"  actually means bringing about a state in which "man is free to follow his religion without getting persecuted, oppressed for their beliefs by tyrants" (a comical interpretation that eluded Muhammad himself, as we will see).

How They Do It: Citing Contemporary Apologists and Weak Hadith

The two Discover the Truth articles cite no fewer than 26 modern translators who prefer the word "persecution" or "oppression" to fitna in their version of the Quran.  What they don't mention is that earlier (presumably less biased) translations - and the Noble Quran - usually interpret fitna to mean "disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah."

How They Do It: Ignoring Reliable Sources

In explaining what is meant by fitna, the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir plainly says: "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."

It goes on to say: "(And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing. ) Meaning what you (disbelievers) are committing is much worse than killing."

Furthermore: "(And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing. ) Shirk (polytheism) is worse than killing."

These passages cite a purely religious motive.

How They Do It: Sleight of Hand

According to DTT: "These verses were revealed at the Treaty of Hudaibiya or just after it."  They even mention Tafsir Ibn Kathir to bolster the credibility of their statement.

This is not true.  In his Tafsir, Ibn Kathir plainly states that this sura was "one of the first Surahs to be revealed in Al-Madinah"  Muhammad arrived in Medina in 622, six years before the treaty of Hudaibiya.  At the time, the Muslims were not under persecution from the Quraish in Medina.

Another trick DTT plays is to argue that since verse 191 says "do not fight them... until they fight you there," the entire passage refers to self-defense.  From Discover the Truth:
If the verse as some claim sanctions the killing of non-Muslims, on account of their faith, the same verse wouldn’t say to the Muslims not to start fighting until they fight first. Hence, just reading the verse shows that it was a war of self-defence.
In fact, the passage says "And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out... And fight not with them at Al-Masjid-al-Haram, unless they fight you there.

Clearly, the broader context is to kill these unbelievers "wherever you find them" and the command not to fight them "until they fight you" applies only to the kabaa itself (the Masjid).  Therefore, DTT's logic works against them: the verse would not specify fighting in self-defense at the kabaa if that stipulation applied everywhere.

Why They are Wrong

The verses (2:191-194) were narrated at a time when Muhammad had just migrated to Medina, where the Quraish had no real interest in him.  It was not until he began raiding their caravans that hostilities resumed.  The immediate historical context is that Muhammad was trying to justify his deadly raids during the "sacred months." 

Muhammad said that "fitna is worse than killing" (thus distinguishing the two).  If by fitna, he meant ' killing', 'persecution' or 'oppression', then he would have used those words.  Instead, he used a word that means 'sedition' and is tied to a lack of belief in Allah as a monotheistic god, since that is the only authority against which the Quraish were rebelling. 

This is supported by the rest of the passage.  In verse 193, Muhammad said that the fighting is to continue until all worship is for Allah:
And fight them until there is no more Fitnah and worship is for Allah. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)
A careful reading of verse 193 exposes something else that Discover the Truth is hiding.  Even when the "persecution" has passed, believers are still justified in attacking zalimuna.  This word is translated as "wrong-doer" elsewhere in the Quran.  It is associated with polytheism (2:92), disbelief (2:254, 9:23), not judging by what Allah revealed in the Quran (5:45) and even Christian worship (3:94, 10:68-69) .  So, Muslims are to fight until outward religion is for Allah and even the very lack of belief is stamped out.

Beyond this, Muhammad was laying the groundwork for a conquest of Mecca.  Rather than be content with life in Medina (free of persecution), he ordered his people to "kill them wherever you find them" (an incredibly reckless statement in any context) and to "turn them out from where they have turned you" (meaning Mecca).  This isn't about fighting in self-defense.  It is about marching an army into another city and killing anyone who resists.

The historical progression is that the Muslims proceeded to do exactly that.  Once they took charge of Mecca, they gave the residents three months to convert to Islam or be killed.  Freedom of religion has not existed in Arabia since... yet DTT tells us that verse 193 means that "man is free to follow his religion without getting persecuted, oppressed for their beliefs by tyrants."

The straight-forward interpretation of an apparent command to fight unbelievers (partly on the basis of their unbelief) until religion is for Allah is consistent with the behavior of the Muslim community in the first century following Muhammad's death.  Offensive Jihad was waged wherever it could against hapless populations for reasons having only to do with their non-Muslim status.  Those who fought back were killed and those who accepted a subjugated state were (generally) allowed to live under Muslim rule until they converted under the burden of dhimmitude.

Further Reading

Discover the Truth Propaganda Index

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