Jihad in the Koran

War, the Life-Giver

Jihad in the KoranThe verse about war as a life-giver, revelation 8:24, the implication being that life really begins in the Hereafter i.e. once you are dead, was revealed during or a short time after the Battle of Badr, the first battle between the Meccans and the believers which would mark the beginning of the Arab civil war.

The war would end with the Prophet in almost absolute control of the entire Arabian Peninsula.

8:24 O believers, respond to Allah and to the Messenger if he calls you to that which will give you life; and know that Allah stands between a man and his heart, and that unto Him you shall be gathered.

8:25 And fear a calamity which will not only afflict the wrongdoers among you; and know that Allah is Severe in retribution.

8:26 And remember when you were few and were deemed weak in the land, fearing that the people will snatch you away; but He gave you a shelter*, strengthened you with His support and provided you with the good things**, that perchance you may give thanks.

* The reference is to the oasis city of Medina where the Prophet and his followers took refuge after being driven out of Mecca. It is from Medina that God’s Messenger launched raids against the Meccan caravans passing between the city and the Red Sea which ignited an Arab civil of which the battle of Badr was the first major engagement.

** The good things being the plunder from the raids on the Meccan caravans.

Life in the Hereafter is even better than life in the here-and-now complete with wealth and children.

8:27 O you who believe, do not betray Allah and the Messenger, nor betray your trusts knowingly.

8:28 And know that your wealth and your children are a temptation, and with Allah is a great reward.

Allah promises those who fear that what He and His Messenger are asking them to do is wrong, that, not only will He provide them with the means to know the difference between right and wrong but also absolve them of any sins and forgive them should they die fighting on His and His Messenger’s behalf.

8:29 O you who believe, if you fear Allah, He will provide you with a criteria [to distinguish right from wrong], and absolve you from your sins and forgive you. Allah’s Bounty is great.

Sedition, A New Definition

It was at the battle of Badr, or shortly thereafter that Allah added to the definition of sedition, as including individuals who would take a religion other than Islam.

8:38 Say to those who disbelieve (including Abu Sufyan, the Meccan leader, and his companions): “If they desist, He will forgive them what is already done; but if they go back, then [they should remember] what befell those before them.”

8:39 And fight them, so that sedition might end and the only religion will be that of Allah. Then, if they desist, Allah is fully aware of what they do.

8:40 But if they turn away, then know that Allah is your Protector; and what an Excellent Protector and Supporter He is!