Jihad in the Koran
Calling for Peace
The Verse of the Sword, the Salvific Covenant and the letter from God’s Messenger, his Declaration of War, threatening to impose Islam by force would indicate that believers who fight, kill and die in the pursuit of a universal Islam are legally and morally justified in doing so.
Until Allah or His Messenger declares an end to the hostilities against the unbelievers they have no choice in the matter.
Writers on Islam, like Fouad Laroui, would disagree with what appears to be the Prophet and Allah’s sanctioning of extreme measures to establish His kingdom on earth in many of the verses presented so far. In his book On Islamic Fundamentalism – A personal denunciation of religious extremism (my understanding of De L’Islamisme – Une réfutation personnelle du totalitarisme religieux) Laroui quotes from verse 4:171 to support his argument that Allah does not approve of violence to get others to accept Islam as their religion.
4:171 O People of the Book, do not exceed the bounds of your religion…
So far so good; but like in so many revelations, Allah muddles the message by qualifying his instructions about not exceeding “the bounds of your religion” by adding that you must still tell the truth, your religion’s unassailable truth which contradicts another religion’s unassailable truth.
4:171 … nor say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, is only Allah’s Messenger and His Word, which he imparted to Mary, and is a spirit from Him! So believe in Allah and His Messengers and do not say “three” [gods]. Refrain; it is better for you. Allah is truly One God. How – Glory be to Him – could He have a son To him belongs what is in Heaven and on earth? Allah suffices as a Guardian!
In the never-ending-war to spread Allah’s unassailable truth and make Islam “triumph over every religion”, should you seek peace with the unbelievers? Only if you are losing or they call for peace, revelation 8:61, but be wary, revelation 8:62.
47:35 So do not weaken and call for peace, while you have the upper hand and Allah is with you. He will not stint you your actions.
47:36 Indeed, this present life is but sport and amusement; and if you believe and are God-fearing, He will give you your wages and will not ask you for your possessions.
8:61 And if they incline to peace, incline to it too, and put your trust in a Allah. He is truly the Hearer, the Knower.
8:62 And if they wish to deceive you, then Allah is Sufficient for you and so are the believers, it is He who has strengthened you with His Support and with the believers;
8:63 He brought their hearts together. Had you spent all there is on earth, you could not have brought their hearts together, but Allah has brought them together. He is Mighty and Wise.
Here the allusion is to that strong bond of love and brotherhood that developed among the Arabs who embraced Islam and whose conversion brought them solidarity. This strong solidarity existed despite the fact that they came from a variety of tribes which had long-standing traditions of mutual enmity.
Considering the superiority of believers as warriors and the fact that they have the only god that matters on their side meant that the call for peace was and would remain a call seldom made.
8:64 O Prophet, Allah is Sufficient for you and so are the believers who follow you.
8:65 O Prophet, urge the believers to fight. If there are twenty steadfast men among you, they will defeat two hundred; and if there are a hundred, they will defeat a thousand of the unbelievers, because they are a people who do not understand.
8:66 Now Allah has lightened your burden; He knows that there is a weakness in you. So, if there are a hundred steadfast men among you, they will overcome two hundred; and if there are a thousand men among you, they will overcome two thousand, by Allah’s Leave. Allah is with the steadfast.