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"Discover the Truth's" Game

4:89
"If They Turn Away, Seize
Them and Kill Them..."


From Discover the Truth:

[This] verse is used and manipulated by critics to show that Muslims are allowed to wage war against disbelievers
(September 26, 2014)

What the Quran Says

4:89. They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal.  So take not Auliya' (protectors or friends) from them, till they emigrate in the Way of Allah. But if they turn back (from Islam), take (hold) of them and kill them wherever you find them, and take neither Auliya' (protectors or friends) nor helpers from them.
4:90. Except those who join a group, between you and whom there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with their breasts restraining from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. Had Allah willed, indeed He would have given them power over you, and they would have fought you. So if they withdraw from you, and fight not against you, and offer you peace, then Allah has opened no way for you against them.


What the Apologists Want You to Believe

DTT says that verse 4:89 only applies to those who are fighting Muslims.  Therefore the verse is about self-defense, rather than targeting people because of their faith - or lack thereof.


How They Do It: 'Adding' to the Quran

If you pay no attention to verse 89 and hold your hand over most of verse 90 until you get to the part about "if they withdraw and fight not against you, and offer peace..." then, yeah... it does kind of read that way.


How They Do It: Citing Contemporary Apologists and Weak Hadith

DTT finds a 20th century scholar who tells us that there are "six different conjectures" which he "need not puzzle the reader with."  He also assures us of other contemporary scholars who concur with the assessment that "if any people offered peace, there are not to be fought against".


How They Do It: Sleight of Hand

According to Discover the Truth, critics say that this verse means to kill all non-Muslims.  This is a straw man argument, since critics don't actually say this.  What they do point out is that the verse is taken to mean that apostates - those who "turn back" from Islam - are to be killed.


How They Do It: Ignoring Reliable Sources

The part of Islamic law which calls for killing apostates is based in part on verse 4:89, meaning that centuries of Muslim scholars, who devoted their lives to studying Islam, somehow missed what 20th and 21st century apologists recently 'discovered'.

This may be because Muhammad really did say to kill anyone who leaves their Islamic religion - as recorded in many sahih hadith verses.

Also, according to Ibn Kathir (tafsir), there are two sahih hadiths which say that the verse was a response to an incident in which Muslims wanted to kill two former Muslims who were in no way threatening them.  This caused a dispute as to whether apostasy was grounds for killing - which 4:89 then sanctions.


Why They are Wrong

Neither the textual or historical context supports the interpretation that verse 4:89 pertains only to those who are attacking Muslims and has nothing to do with religious faith.  In fact, the people to whom it refers were not attacking Muslims, but wanting not to be attacked themselves (Tafsir, Ibn Kathir on 4:89).

The verse says to "seize them and kill them wherever you find them."  According to the reading, it plainly refers to those who "reject faith" and "turn back."  This is obviously speaking of religious faith, thus making conscience a capital crime in the Islamic worldview.

The prevailing view seems to be that the 'hypocrites' referred to are the [former] Muslims who remained at Mecca and did not emigrate as Muhammad demanded.  This is even referred to within the verse.  They were not harming Muslims (nor do the verses say they were), but were accused of reverting to polytheism after saying they were Muslim.  Verse 91 suggests that they were simply trying to get along with everyone and not take sides.  Even verse 89 says that they wanted "equality" between groups, which Muhammad rejected.

The exceptions in verse 90 (that DTT makes much of) do appear to mitigate the mandate to kill in those cases in which the 'apostate' agrees to subjugation and banishment (the word for 'withdrawal' shares the same root as 26:12).  If they do not withdraw, they should be killed. 
The sharia says this is justified if the subject makes his or her unbelief known and refuses to repent. 

There is no feasible reason for verse 4:89 other than to make lawful the blood of the 'hypocrites' on the basis of their beliefs.  Even DTT seems to view it more as an obstacle to explain away.  The verse is near the mid-point of the Quran's epic pivot from earlier verses which are tolerant of other religions (109:6) to the later ones that call for harsh treatment of unbelievers and hypocrites alike.  By the time Muhammad took Mecca, he required that all residents convert, leave or be killed.

Further Reading

Discover the Truth Propaganda Index

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