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Surah At-Taubah - interpretation of Verses 2 to 14

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Author Topic: Surah At-Taubah - interpretation of Verses 2 to 14  (Read 1871 times)
Zainab_M
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« on: January 16, 2007, 10:59:08 pm »

 BismEm
 salamem


Surah At-Taubah - the 9th Surah of the Glorious Qur'aan.  Interpreting Verses 2-14

2. Travel freely in the land four months, and know that ye cannot escape Allah and that Allah will confound the disbelievers (in His Guidance).
 
3. And a proclamation from Allah and His messenger to all men on the day of the Greater Pilgrimage that Allah is free from obligation to the idolaters, and (so is) His messenger. So, if ye repent, it will be better for you; but if ye are averse, then know that ye cannot escape Allah. Give tidings (O Muhammad) of a painful doom to those who disbelieve,
 
4. Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty, and who have since abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. (As for these), fulfil their treaty to them till their term. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him).
 
5. Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
 
6. And if anyone of the idolaters seeketh thy protection (O Muhammad), then protect him so that he may hear the Word of Allah, and afterward convey him to his place of safety. That is because they are a folk who know not.
 
7. How can there be a treaty with Allah and with His messenger for the idolaters save those with whom ye made a treaty at the Inviolable Place of Worship ? So long as they are true to you, be true to them. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty.
 
8. How (can there be any treaty for the others) when, if they have the upper hand of you, they regard not pact nor honour in respect of you ? They satisfy you with their mouths the while their hearts refuse. And most of them are wrongdoers.
 
9. They have purchased with the revelations of Allah a little gain, so they debar (men) from His way. Lo! evil is that which they are wont to do.
 
10. And they observe toward a believer neither pact nor honour. These are they who are transgressors.
 
11. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then are they your brethren in religion. We detail Our revelations for a people who have knowledge.
 
12. And if they break their pledges after their treaty (hath been made with you) and assail your religion, then fight the heads of disbelief - Lo! they have no binding oaths - in order that they may desist.
 
13. Will ye not fight a folk who broke their solemn pledges, and purposed to drive out the messenger and did attack you first ? What! Fear ye them ? Now Allah hath more right that ye should fear Him, if ye are believers
 
14. Fight them! Allah will chastise them at your hands, and He will lay them low and give you victory over them, and He will heal the breasts of folk who are believers.

SURAH AT-TAUBAH, 9:2-14



-------------------------

Surah At-Taubah is the only chapter of the Glorious Qur'aan that does not begin with "BismAllah Ar Rehman Ar Raheem."  The reason for this is unknown.  Some people have said that when the Prophet (pbuh) was heard reciting this Surah, he didn't mention "BismAllah .."  while he (pbuh) always mentioned it before reciting other Surahs.  However, the exact reason is only known to Allah and His messenger.  It's best not to speculate about it.
 
Verses 2 - 14 of Surah At-Taubah (quoted ABOVE) are often misunderstood by those who have scant knowledge of the history and circumstances of the time these verses were revealed.  Thus, they blindly presume that the verses "support violence."   Needless to say, this opinion is totally false.  The reason why these people come to such strange conclusions is because they have already pre-conditioned their minds.  Hence, they pick verses at random, taking them out of context and breaking the historical chain on the basis of which many verses have been revealed.  It's important to know that various verses of the Qur'aan are a direct reference to specific conditions or incidents of a certain period.

First of all, the word "pagan" in this Surah does not refer to all non-Muslims of all times to come, but only to a certain group of people of the Arabian peninsula after the fall of Makkah who were constantly on the offensive.
 
After the conquest of Makkah when the entire Arabian peninsula embraced Islam, some communities still remained polythiests.  While Islam gave them complete freedom to follow their religion and traditions, they were also required to follow the law of that land which was under Muslim rule by that time.  As we know, even today, it is incumbent upon everyone to abide by the laws of the country they are living in.  E.g.  Muslims living in Europexpected to respect European laws to the fullest, otherwise they are liable to be punished or even deported to their countries of origin.  Therefore, those pagans who refused to accept Islam were given the freedom not to do so, but they were expected to live peacefully as law abiding citizens respecting the laws of the Muslim state.  Otherwise, they were given the choice to leave the land within a certain time frame.  Perfectly civilized and reasonable. 
 
Let's not forget that in this era Europe was tightly under the grip of the authoritarian Catholic church where there was no such concepts of living peacefully with a minority following a different faith.  So much so, that it was this amazing intolerance of the Catholic clergy that eventually led to the separation of the state and church in the West during the 19th century. 

Coming back to our topic, it is also important to know that many of those idolaters of Makkah and Arabia were not 'peaceful civilians.'  Rather they were the hostile lot who had carried out numerous pre-emptive attacks on Medinah in the past and killed many Muslims.  They also tried to fatally harm the Prophet (pbuh).  And now, after the conquest of Makkah, their hearts were still not reconciled.   They would intentionally follow offensive traditions to antagonize the Muslims e.g. perform 'tawaf' around the Kaaba naked as was the pagan custom in pre-islamic era which was totally unacceptable after Islam spread in Makkah and the idols were removed from the Kaa'ba.  They were perpetually scheming against the Muslims and would ambush them whenever they got the opportunity was a recurrent problem.
 
Thus, Surah At-Taubah talks about this segment of the Makkan community that was still hostile and combative, carrying out pre-emptive attacks. 
 
Neither Surah Taubah nor any other Surah of the Qur'aan ever says to spread Islam 'by the sword.'  This is nothing beyond a calculated myth, perpetrated intentionally for the purpose of defamation of the Divine Faith and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).  In the Qur'aan, Allah has made it clear that He guides and changes (for the better) the hearts of only those who want to listen and reflect upon His Message.  Islam does NOT force itself upon people who do not have the desire to reach out to it.  The Qur'aan says it loud and clear that "there is no compulsion in religion."  It goes without saying, any war prescribed in the Qur'aan to the believers is a defensive strategy, NOT an offensive one.

'Turning the other cheek' is only a rhetorical phrase which even those who preach it do not practice .. we surely have ample evidence of that today! 

The Qur'aan teaches love and also a practical way of life.  It doesn't preach anything that's against human nature .. anything that can just be talked about and not practiced.  Having said this, the Qur'aan lays great emphasis on forgiveness which is the best course but at the same also gives the right to those who've been wronged to seek justice.  And if someone's life is in danger because of the aggressive designs of others, they have every right to defend themselves .. and one cannot defend oneself by 'turning the other cheek.'
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« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2007, 02:08:09 am »

Alhamdulilah.  fine input.  very correctly elucidated.  these verses of Surah At-Taubah have been misconstrued by ignorant minds way too often.  this is one of the best clarifications i've read so far.  thanks sister.
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2007, 01:37:26 am »

 wsalam   Interesting interpretation.  thanks sister. 
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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2009, 09:59:09 pm »

BEWARE OF MAULANA MAUDUDI'S MISINTERPRETATIONS THAT ARE INCORRECT

I was going thru the Hadith talks on death penalty for apostasy and how close it is to this law borrowed from the Old and New Testaments, when I dashed into a tafsir by Syed Abul Ala Maududi who is looked upon by the mullah circles as a 'great scholar.'  The purpose of putting this post of mine is only to let people beware that this so-called scholar named Maududi has totally misinterpreted the above verses of Surah At-Taubah for the purpose of upholding the death sentence for apostasy.  Apparently Maududi personally supports death for apostasy so he has very cleverly manipulated his tafsir by overlooking plenty of vital contents from the above mentioned Quranic verses of Surah At-Taubah.  I quote Maududi's tafsir on these verses.  I'm sure you will be able to discern his clever manipulations.  The underlined portions are the falsehoods and manipulations penned by Maududi in his following tafsir.

Quote --
During the pilgrimage (hajj) in A.H. 9 God Most High ordered a proclamation of an immunity. By virtue of this proclamation all those who, up to that time, were fighting against God and His Apostle and were attempting to obstruct the way of God's religion through all kinds of excesses and false covenants, were granted from that time a maximum respite of four months. During this period they were to ponder their own situation. If they wanted to accept Islam, they could accept it and they would be forgiven. If they wanted to leave the country, they could leave. Within this fixed period nothing would hinder them from leaving. Thereafter those remaining, who would neither accept Islam nor leave the country, would be dealt with by the sword." In this connection it was said: "If they repent and uphold the practice of prayer and almsgiving, then they are your brothers in religion. If after this, however, they break their covenant, then war should be waged against the leaders of kufr (infidelity). Here "covenant breaking" in no way can be construed to mean "breaking of political covenants". Rather, the context clearly determines its meaning to be "confessing Islam and then renouncing it". Thereafter the meaning of "fight the heads of disbelief" ([Qur'an 9:11]) can only mean that war should be waged against the leaders instigating apostasy."
Unquote --

Source of this above tafsir is Wikipedia.  Scroll down to title "According to Tafsir."

This tafsir by Maududi is so WRONG that it's impossible he really believes in what he's written.  It's obvious that he has purposely twisted it.  Shame on him!  Let me tell you how clear it is to perceive and catch his manipulations. 

Maududi hasn't just lied about the Noble Quran in this tafsir but he has lied in a very bold manner.  This is because he has taken it for granted that the naive faithfuls never read the Quran so he can twist the verses anyhow to suit his ideology, perhaps for making matters compatible with his favorite Hadiths.  Not to mention, in this process he has also given a an excuse in the hands of the non-Muslim enemies of Islam to attack the Quran with false accusations of upholding apostasy. 

"Thereafter those remaining, who would neither accept Islam nor leave the country, would be dealt with by the sword."

Absolutely wrong interpretation by Maududi!!  If you particularly read verses 9:8, 9:9 and 9:10, Allah clearly mentions of the disbelievers as people who do not honor any pact and who debar others from the way of Allah.  It is so clear that Allah is referring to those disbelievers who are the trouble-makers, that is, those who are waging war against the believers by initiating the attack.  The verses do NOT refer to those disbelievers who are minding their own business.


"If after this, however, they break their covenant, then war should be waged against the leaders of kufr (infidelity). Here "covenant breaking" in no way can be construed to mean "breaking of political covenants". Rather, the context clearly determines its meaning to be "confessing Islam and then renouncing it."

Again, the Mr. Maududi couldn't be more wrong and absurd.  He especially underscores the issue of 'breaking of the covenant' saying that it doesn't refer to political covenant.  But the Quran refers to it precisely as a political pact in the clearest of terms.  Allah says in verse 9:8 "How (can there be any treaty for the others) when, if they have the upper hand of you, they regard not pact nor honour in respect of you ?"

This Quranic line is so simple to understand that it's about those miscreants who break peace pacts or treaties.  It has nothing to do with the covenant of Faith at all.  Then again, verse 9:10 says  "And they observe toward a believer neither pact nor honour. These are they who are transgressors." Here also, the terms "pact nor honor" does NOT refer to the covenant of Faith as Mr. Maududi wrongly suggests, but it means the pact to live peacefully made between the two parties which the idolaters didn't respect and never fulfiled.


"fight the heads of disbelief" ([Qur'an 9:11]) can only mean that war should be waged against the leaders instigating apostasy." 

To expose Mr. Maududi's nasty lie in his above statement, let me quote verses 9:12 and 9:13.

And if they break their pledges after their treaty (hath been made with you) and assail your religion, then fight the heads of disbelief - Lo! they have no binding oaths - in order that they may desist.  9:12
 
Will ye not fight a folk who broke their solemn pledges, and purposed to drive out the messenger and did attack you first ? What! Fear ye them ? Now Allah hath more right that ye should fear Him, if ye are believers  (9:13)


Both the above verses are clear as ever and state plainly that Muslims are to fight these disbelievers because they were the aggressors.  They attacked the Muslims first by breaking the pact.  It's only because of this pre-emptive hostility of the disbelievers that Allah gives the right to the Muslims to protect themselves in self-defense.  There's absolutely NO talk of apostasy in any of these verses, nor anywhere else in the Noble Quran.

People like Mr. Maududi and his likes are trying their best to uphold the falsehoods of Shariah that's been constructed by the writings of the medieval imams in the name of Hadith.  And to defend this man-made Hadith and Shariah, Maududi is playing this wicked game.  He is a typical example of a sly mullah with ulterior motives, and respecting the Quran and adhering to the truth is evidently not in his list of priorities.  It's all so very shameful!
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2009, 10:13:07 pm »

I would also wish to highlight my statement by explaining further that these verses do NOT refer to those disbelievers who are minding their own business.

I quote verse 9:4 "Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty, and who have since abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. (As for these), fulfil their treaty to them till their term. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him)."  In this verse Allah says in clear terms that those disbelievers who have not resorted to violence must not be attacked.  Then, verse 9:5 goes back to referring to those idolaters who perpetrate hostilities.  Please check it above in the original post, if you like.  Then again, let's look at verse 9:6  "And if anyone of the idolaters seeketh thy protection (O Muhammad), then protect him so that he may hear the Word of Allah, and afterward convey him to his place of safety. That is because they are a folk who know not."  In this verse Allah makes it perfectly plain that the Muslims are not to attack those idolaters who come to them for help.  Obviously those who come to the Muslims for help and protection are not the aggressive ones .. or at least, at that moment they do not have the intent to attack.  Thus, Allah gives permission to the Muslims to protect and assist them, and also to safely return them to their homes.  

Therefore, the Allah's ruling towards the non-aggressive disbelievers is perfectly clear.  This flatly refutes any misinterpretations for upholding apostasy still more.  
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2009, 01:51:00 am »

Thank you dear sister Cat, for this very intelligent input.  I am indeed shocked to read Maududi's interpretation of that portion of Surah At-Taubah.  I always knew he was a staunch Hadither.  But enjoying the status of a "scholar" which he does, I didn't expect him to deviate from the truth to such an extent for the purpose of trumpeting his motives.  He has no doubt misinterpreted the Glorious Quraan by wavering far away from the accurate meaning of those verses.  And you are absolutely right.  His purpose is to justify the introduction of death sentence for apostasy by Hadith and Sharia.

Thanks again sister.  Salaam and peace.
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2009, 07:08:20 pm »

OMG!  how could Mr. Maudoodi say such things?  Shocked   I thought he was a more rational and perceptive guy compared to the rest in his circle. 

Thank you for exposing its discrepancies, sister Cat. 
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