Ali Sina said:
Soon, the Prophet’s efforts bore fruit. Goaded by greed for booty and by
promises of rewards in the afterlife, the Medinan Muslims joined in the banditry
and looting business as well. As Muhammad’s army grew and his ambition
soared, the bandit decided to graduate to potentate. He encouraged his followers
not only to wage war for him “in the way of Allâh” but also to pay for the
expenses of those wars.
And spend of your wealth in the cause of Allâh, and make not your own hands
contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for Allâh loves those who do good.
Note how Muhammad links “doing good” with looting, terror, and
murder. It is by this very twisted sense of morality that Muslims are able to
sacrifice their consciences and take up a sociopathic situational ethics toward
other groups, one that must always be played to their advantage. However a
situation benefits Muslims is considered good. Muhammad made his followers
believe that subsidizing his warfare and committing such acts of terrorism for
Islam were the best deeds that pleased God.
Today, Muslims who cannot fight, compensate by contributing to Islamic
“charities.” These “charities” are not established to build hospitals, orphanages,
schools or senior housing. Rather, they are established to expand Islam, to build
mosques and madrassas, train terrorists, and finance jihad. Islamic charities will
aid the poor only to enlist them for their political cause. A good example of that
is the huge amount of money the Islamic Republic of Iran pays to the Hezbollah
of Lebanon. The masses of Iranians today are living in abject poverty. Those
who are lucky enough to work, try to survive with a salary that amounts to no
more than $100 US dollars per month. They are in dire need of food, jobs and
shelter. Why then take their money and give it to the Lebanese? The idea is to
make Islam taste sweet in their mouths and enlist them in the war against Israel.
When people didn’t pony up enough funds for his military campaigns,
Muhammad would angrily rebuke them:
And what reason have you that you should not spend in Allâh’s way? And Allâh’s is
the inheritance of the heavens and the earth, not alike among you are those who
spent before the victory and fought (and those who did not): they are more exalted in
rank than those who spent and fought afterwards; and Allâh has promised good to
all; and Allâh is Aware of what you do. (Q.57:10)
He cleverly equated the money that Muslims spend on his warfare to a
“loan” given to God, and promised them “goodly interest.”
Who is he that will Loan to Allâh a beautiful loan? For (Allâh) will increase it
manifold to his credit, and he will have (besides) a liberal Reward. (Q.57:11)
While Muhammad made Allâh tell his followers how great will be the
reward of those who finance his warfare expeditions, he did not want them to
brag about their contributions and their sacrifices. Making sacrifices was to be
understood as a privilege. It was the believers who had to be grateful to him for
the opportunity of serving him, and not the other way round:
Those who spend their substance in the cause of Allâh, and follow not up their gifts
with reminders of their generosity or with injury, -for them their reward is with their
Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (Q. 2:262)
After rousing them to wage war and instructing them to smite the necks
of the unbelievers, he assured them of their rewards.
So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when
you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set
them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates. That
(shall be so); and if Allâh had pleased He would certainly have exacted what is due
from them, but that He may try some of you by means of others; and (as for) those
who are slain in the way of Allâh, He will by no means allow their deeds to perish.
In other words, Allâh can kill the unbelievers without the help of the
Muslims, but he wants Muslims to do it in order to test their faith. Thus Allâh is
like a mafia godfather, a thuggish gang-leader who tests the loyalty of his
henchmen by asking them to kill. In Islam, the faith of the believer is ultimately
tested by their bloodthirstiness and readiness to kill. Then he said:
And prepare against them what force you can and horses tied at the frontier, to
frighten thereby the enemy of Allâh and your enemy and others besides them, whom
you do not know (but) Allâh knows them; and whatever thing you will spend in Allâh’s way, it will be paid back to you fully and you shall not be dealt with
unjustly. (Q. 8:60)
Muhammad made empty promises that those who warred (with body or
finances) against unbelievers and accepted him as Allâh’s messenger would find
rewards piled high in the afterlife. In characterizing these rewards, he was
indeed most generous and extravagant. He claimed there would be all kinds of
goodies and endless sexual indulgence in paradise, and warned that punishment
loomed for those who were stingy in subsidizing his warfare: 39
Believers! Shall I point out to you a profitable course that will save you from a
woeful scourge? Have faith in Allâh and His apostle, and fight for Allâh’s cause
with your wealth and with your persons. That would be best for you, if you but
knew it. He will forgive you your sins and admit you to gardens watered by running
streams; He will lodge you in pleasant mansions in the gardens of Eden. That is the
supreme triumph. (Q.61:10-11)
[In Paradise] they shall recline on couches lined with thick brocade, and within
reach will hang fruits of both gardens. Which of your Lord’s blessings would you
deny? Therein are bashful virgins whom neither man nor jinnee will have touched
before. Which of your Lord’s blessings would you deny? Virgins as fair as corals
and rubies. Which of your Lord’s blessings would you deny? (Q.55:53-55)
[In Paradise] theirs shall be gardens and vineyards, and high-bosomed maidens for
companions: a truly overflowing cup. (Q.78:32-33)
Believe in Allâh and His messenger, and spend out of the whereof He has made you
heirs. For, those of you who believe and spend, – for them is a great Reward.
These and similar verses of the Qur’an make it easy to understand why so
many Islamic charities have been caught financing terrorist organizations. One would think that charity and terrorism are diametrically opposed concepts, but
such a distinction is not obvious to Muslims. Islamic charities are meant to
promote Islam and support jihad. To us, this is terrorism; to a Muslim, it is holy
war, an obligation and the most meritorious act in the sight of Allâh.
Thus, to fight in the cause of Allâh became an ordinance, binding upon all
Muslims. Muhammad roused the immigrants against their own people, calling
for vengeance to be taken against those whom he alleged persecuted Muslims.
Fight until there is no fitnah (mischief/dissension) and religion is wholly to Allâh.
When some of his followers showed reluctance to make war, he coerced
them to do his bidding by propitiously “revealing” new injunctions from Allâh,
who warned of their dire fate if they disobeyed.
And those who believe say: Why has not a chapter been revealed? But when a
decisive chapter is revealed, and fighting is mentioned therein you see those in
whose hearts is a disease look to you with the look of one fainting because of death.
Woe to them then! (Q.47:20)
If these verses tell us one thing, it is that Islam is by definition belligerent.
As long as people believe in Islam and think that the Qur’an is the word of God,
Islamic terrorism will always win out. Those within Islam who might call for
reform, tolerance, and a “dialogue between civilizations” are easily silenced by
the authority of the Qur’an, so many of whose verses rouse believers to wage
war against unbelievers.
Fight then in Allâh’s way; this is not imposed on you except in relation to yourself,
and rouse the believers to ardor maybe Allâh will restrain the fighting of those who
disbelieve and Allâh is strongest in prowess and strongest to give an exemplary
punishment. (Q. 4:84)
Giving them the assurances of success:
And Allâh will by no means give the unbelievers a way against the believers. (Q.
And promises of celestial rewards:
Those who believed and fled (their homes), and strove hard in Allâh’s way with their
property and their souls, are much higher in rank with Allâh; and those are they who
are the achievers (of their objects). (Q. 9:20) 42
Muslims scholars everywhere echo this incitement to violence. Saudi
Arabia’s leading religious figure, its grand mufti, defended the spirit of jihad, as
a God-given right. “The spread of Islam has gone through several phases, secret
and then public, in Mecca and Medina,” the holiest places in Islam, said Sheikh
Abdel Aziz Al Sheikh in a statement carried by the state news agency SPA.
“God then authorized the faithful to defend themselves and to fight against those
fighting them, which amounts to a right legitimized by God, ‘This… is quite
reasonable, and God will not hate it,’”43 he said.
Saudi Arabia’s most senior cleric explained that war was not
Muhammad’s first choice: “He gave three options: either accept Islam, or
surrender and pay tax, and they will be allowed to remain in their land,
observing their religion under the protection of Muslims.”44 The Grand Mufti is
right. Violence against non-Muslims was only a last resort, if they refused to
convert or surrender peacefully to the armies of Islam. This is no credit to
Muhammad. Few armed robbers resort to violence if their victim peacefully
cooperates. Criminals only use violence if they encounter resistance.
In an Internet based debate that I held with Mr. Javed Ahmed Ghamidi,
arguably the most prominent Pakistani Islamic scholar, through his student Dr.
Khalid Zaheer, Mr. Ghamidi wrote: “The possibility of killings mentioned in the
Qur’an are either meant for those who were guilty of murder, or causing mischief on earth, or those who were declared unworthy of living in this world
any more after they had denied the clearly communicated and understood
message from God.” Mr. Ghamidi is a moderate Muslim. However, he knows
his religion well and knows that those who reject Islam are “unworthy of living
in this world any more” and must be put to death.45
These verses were revealed at the treaty of Hudaybiyah, or just after it (Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi, Tafsir Jalalayn and Tafsir Ibn Kathir)
Fight in the cause of Allah ˹only˺ against those who wage war against you, but do not exceed the limits.1 Allah does not like transgressors. Kill them wherever you come upon them and drive them out of the places from which they have driven you out. For persecution is far worse than killing. And do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque unless they attack you there. If they do so, then fight them—that is the reward of the disbelievers. But if they cease, then surely Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful. Fight against them ˹if they persecute you˺ until there is no more persecution, and ˹your˺ devotion will be to Allah ˹alone˺. If they stop ˹persecuting you˺, let there be no hostility except against the aggressors. ˹There will be retaliation in˺ a sacred month for ˹an offence in˺ a sacred month, and all violations will bring about retaliation. So, if anyone attacks you, retaliate in the same manner. ˹But˺ be mindful of Allah, and know that Allah is with those mindful ˹of Him˺. Spend in the cause of Allah and do not let your own hands throw you into destruction ˹by withholding˺. And do good, for Allah certainly loves the good-doers. [Quran 2:190–191–192–193–194–195]
1. 2:190 – This verse tells us to “fight those who fight you” i.e., self-defence, but at the same time commands Muslims not to transgress, 1400 years ago (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas and Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi).
2. The next verse (2:191) tells us that the killing involved in the incident was only aimed at those who tried (or did) expelling people by force (Tafsir al-Jalalayn, Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas, and Tafsir Ibn Kathir).
2.1 The next sentence in the verse is the favourite part in which some critics twist. It goes like, “and fitnah is worse than killing”, translated by them as “disbelief (fitna) is worse than killing”.
Their made up interpretation for this verse is that it sanctions killing of non-Muslims, just for following and believing in another religion. This is not true. In fact, the next sentence in the same verse (2:191) under discussion tells Muslims the following:
“…And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them…” – Quran 2:191
The intended meaning for the passage on ‘fitna’ is understood by classical scholars to mean, to hinder and forcefully make Muslims disbelieve in the message of Islam is worse than killing (Mujahid Ibn Jabr (645-722 AD), Tafsir In Kathir and Tafsir Jalalayn). The verse intended meaning was aimed at those early Muslims who were persecuted and killed, just for believing in Islam. The Quraysh forcefully made Muslims leave the religion of Islam, under persecution.
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.
The verse commanded faithful believers then to fight, to end persecution (fitna) as the following Muslim and non-Muslim Quran translations state for 2:191.
`Abdullah bin `Umar came to us and we hoped that he would narrate to us a good Hadith. But before we asked him, a man got up and said to him, “O Abu `Abdur-Rahman! Narrate to us about the battles during the time of the afflictions, as Allah says:– ‘And fight them until there is no more afflictions (i.e. no more worshipping of others besides Allah).'” (2.193) Ibn `Umar said (to the man), “Do you know what is meant by afflictions? Let your mother bereave you! Muhammad used to fight against the pagans, for a Muslim was put to trial in his religion (The pagans will either kill him or chain him as a captive). His fighting was not like your fighting which is carried on for the sake of ruling.”[Sahih al-Bukhari volume 9, Book 88, Hadith 215]
During the affliction of Ibn Az-Zubair, two men came to Ibn `Umar and said, “The people are lost, and you are the son of `Umar, and the companion of the Prophet, so what forbids you from coming out?” He said, “What forbids me is that Allah has prohibited the shedding of my brother’s blood.” They both said, “Didn’t Allah say, ‘And fight then until there is no more affliction?” He said “We fought until there was no more affliction and the worship is for Allah (Alone while you want to fight until there is affliction and until the worship become for other than Allah.” Narrated Nafi` (through another group of sub-narrators): A man came to Ibn `Umar and said, “O Abu `Abdur Rahman! What made you perform Hajj in one year and Umra in another year and leave the Jihad for Allah’ Cause though you know how much Allah recommends it?” Ibn `Umar replied, “O son of my brother! Islam is founded on five principles, i.e. believe in Allah and His Apostle, the five compulsory prayers, the fasting of the month of Ramadan, the payment of Zakat, and the Hajj to the House (of Allah).” The man said, “O Abu `Abdur Rahman! Won’t you listen to why Allah has mentioned in His Book: ‘If two groups of believers fight each other, then make peace between them, but if one of then transgresses beyond bounds against the other, then you all fight against the one that transgresses. (49.9) and:–“And fight them till there is no more affliction (i.e. no more worshiping of others along with Allah).” Ibn ‘Umar said, “We did it, during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) when Islam had only a few followers. A man would be put to trial because of his religion; he would either be killed or tortured. But when the Muslims increased, there was no more afflictions or oppressions.” The man said, “What is your opinion about `Uthman and `Ali?” Ibn `Umar said, “As for `Uthman, it seems that Allah has forgiven him, but you people dislike that he should be forgiven. And as for ‘Ali, he is the cousin of Allah’s Messenger and his son-in-law.” Then he pointed with his hand and said, “That is his house which you see.”[ Sahih al-Bukhari 4513, 4514, 4515]
And the believers say, “If only a chapter was revealed ˹allowing self-defense˺!” Yet when a precise chapter is revealed, in which fighting is ˹explicitly˺ mentioned, you see those with sickness in their hearts staring at you like someone in the throes of death. It would have been better for them to obey and speak rightly. Then when fighting was ordained, it surely would have been better for them if they were true to Allah.[Quran 47:20–21]
Maulana Muhammad Ali:
“20a. The Muslims had been persecuted beyond all measure; they had been oppressed, slain and turned out of their homes. Hence they naturally desired to be allowed to defend themselves. By a chapter is meant a revelation allowing them to fight.
22a. It is the hypocrites who are addressed in these words. Tawallai-tum may mean either that you turn your backs on the Divine commandment to fight in defence of Truth or that you. are put in authority.”
“25 I am rendering the term surah here and in the next sentence as “a revelation”, for whereas there is no surah as such which deals exclusively with questions of war, there are numerous references to it in various surahs; and this is evidently the meaning of this term in the present context as well as in 9::86. There is no doubt that this verse precedes the revelation, in the year 1 H., of 22:39, which states categorically – and for the first time – that the believers are allowed to wage war whenever “war is wrongfully waged” against them (see in this connection note 57 on 22:39).[Dr.Muhammad Asad]
26 This is a reference to 22:39-40. For an explanation of the expression muhkamah (“clear in and by itself”), see note 5 on 3:7. (As in the preceding sentence, the term surah has been rendered here, exceptionally, as “revelation”.)
Fight against them until there is no more persecution—and ˹your˺ devotion will be entirely to Allah. But if they desist, then surely Allah is All-Seeing of what they do. [Quran 8:39]
Reading the above translation, it makes sense that the fighting the Muslims were involved in 624 AD was against those who persecuted the Muslims. Even the contextual context for the verse, reading the verses before and after will show that the fighting mentioned was a result of Quraysh continually fighting the Muslims:
Tell the disbelievers that if they desist, their past will be forgiven. But if they persist, then they have an example in those destroyed before them. Fight against them until there is no more persecution—and ˹your˺ devotion will be entirely to Allah. But if they desist, then surely Allah is All-Seeing of what they do. And if they do not comply, then know that Allah is your Protector. What an excellent Protector, and what an excellent Helper! [Quran 8:38–39–40]
“…Muhammad bin Ishaq said that he was informed from Az-Zuhri, from `Urwah bin Az-Zubayr and other scholars that (until there is no more Fitnah) the Fitnah mentioned here means, until no Muslim is persecuted so that he abandons his religion.”[Ibn Kathir]
Reverend E. M. Wherry:
“(39) ‘If they return’. This probably refers to the declaration of the Quraish that they would return to avenge the defeat of Badr. The exemplary punishment, & c. Abdul Qadir translates, ‘The custom of the former (peoples) has passed before them.’ There is in the saying a subtle allusion to the defeat of the Quraish at Badr, in accordance with the doom of disbelievers in former times.”
Prepare against them what you ˹believers˺ can of ˹military˺ power and cavalry to deter Allah’s enemies and your enemies as well as other enemies unknown to you but known to Allah. Whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be paid to you in full and you will not be wronged. [Quran 8:60]
Context for Quran 55:53
˹namely˺ those with whom you ˹O Prophet˺ have entered into treaties, but they violate them every time, not fearing the consequences. If you ever encounter them in battle, make a fearsome example of them, so perhaps those who would follow them may be deterred. And if you ˹O Prophet˺ see signs of betrayal by a people, respond by openly terminating your treaty with them. Surely Allah does not like those who betray. Do not let those disbelievers1 think they are not within reach. They will have no escape. Prepare against them what you ˹believers˺ can of ˹military˺ power and cavalry to deter Allah’s enemies and your enemies as well as other enemies unknown to you but known to Allah. Whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be paid to you in full and you will not be wronged. If the enemy is inclined towards peace, make peace with them. And put your trust in Allah. Indeed, He ˹alone˺ is the All-Hearing, All-Knowing. [Quran 8:56–57–58–59–60–61]
8:56 – The Banu Qurayzah are the ones mentioned here breaking the treaty that they agreed to abide by, that they would not side with enemies against the Muslims. God Almighty says that they do not fear God, and that they break treaties every time (Muqatil ibn Sulayman al-Balkhi – Muqatil Tafsir, Tabari and Tafsir Baghawi).
8:57 – Here the believers are told to inflict on those hostile enemies a punishment, as to stop further blood from being shed.
8:58 – The only time that is acceptable to throw a treaty back is when it is investigated and found with evidence that they have broken the treaty, and are treacherous (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas, Tafsir al-Jalalayn and Razi).
8:59 – Here God states that those who have persecuted, and done horrible things to innocent believers wont be forgotten, and those responsible will be caught eventually (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas). This verse eludes to the Banu Qurayzah and others who wronged the Muslims, 1400 years ago.
8:60 – Those who waged war, there was only one way to stop them from shedding further blood, by the believers to take up arms against the enemies, and put fear in their hearts, 1400 years ago (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas).
8:61 – If the enemy (Banu Qurayzah) offered peace, and stopped their hostilities, the believers were commanded by God to stop fighting them, and make a treaty with them (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas and Tafsir Ibn Kathir). Even when the enemy were hostile, persecuted believers, the Muslims were always to resort to peace if the enemy sought it.
This shows shows that the wars the Muslims were involved in at the time when Muhammed (p) was alive, was always done so as a consequence of the hostilities, and violence enemies committed. Hence, the goal of the Muslims was peace, not war.
Commentaries for Quran 8:56
those of them with whom you have made a pact not to support the idolaters and then break their pact every time they conclude one and they are not fearful of God in their treachery.[Tafsir al-Jalalayn]
Commentary for Quran 8:57
So if fa-immā here the letter nūn of the conditional particle in ‘if’ has been assimilated with the extra mā you come upon them if you find them anywhere in the war deal with them so as to cause those fighters behind them to scatter to disperse by making an example of them and punishing them so that they the ones behind them might remember that they might take heed from their example.[Tafsir al-Jalalayn]
(If thou comest on them) if you imprison them (in the war, deal with them so as to strike fear in those who are behind them) such that they serve as a lesson to those who are behind them, (that haply they may remember) i.e. take admonition and avoid breaking their treaties.[Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs]
The verse makes it lawful for Muslims to feel absolved of the obligations of a treaty with a people who, despite that alliance, threw the obligations of the treaty overboard and engaged in hostile actions against the Muslims. It would even be lawful for the Muslims to engage in hostilities against them. Likewise, if the Muslims are engaged in hostilities against a people and the non-Muslims who are bound in treaties of alliance or friendship with the Muslims, array themselves on the side of the enemy and fight against the Muslims, it would he lawful for the Muslims to treat them as enemies and kill them. For by their brazen violation of the obligations of the treaty concluded with their people, they had made it absolutely lawful for Muslims to disregard the terms of that treaty concerning the inviolability of the lives and properties of at least those individuals.[Quran Tafsir Tafheem]
Commentaries for Quran 8:58
And if you fear from any folk who have concluded a pact with you some treachery in a pact through some indication that comes to you then cast it back to them dissolve their pact with fairness ‘alā sawā’ is a circumstantial qualifier that is to say while you and they have equal knowledge that the pact has been broken by your apprising them thereof lest they accuse you of treachery. Truly God does not love the treacherous.[Tafsir al-Jalalayn]
(And if thou fearest) and if you know of a (treachery from any folk) from the Banu Qurayzah in that they broke their treaty, (then throw back to them (their treaty) fairly. Lo! Allah loveth not the treacherous) who break their treaties or commit any other act of treachery, whether it is the Banu Qurayzah or others.[Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs]
(If you fear from any people), with whom you have a treaty of peace,
(treachery), and betrayal of peace treaties and agreements that you have conducted with them,
(then throw back (their covenant) to them), meaning their treaty of peace.
(on equal terms), informing them that you are severing the treaty. This way, you will be on equal terms, in that, you and they will be aware that a state of war exists between you and that the bilateral peace treaty is null and void,
(Certainly Allah likes not the treacherous. ) This even includes treachery against the disbelievers. Imam Ahmad recorded that Salim bin `Amir said, “Mu`awiyah was leading an army in Roman lands, at a time the bilateral peace treaty was valid. He wanted to go closer to their forces so that when the treaty of peace ended, he could invade them. An old man riding on his animal said, `Allahu Akbar (Allah is the Great), Allahu Akbar! Be honest and stay away from betrayal.’ The Messenger of Allah said,
(Whoever has a treaty of peace with a people, then he should not untie any part of it or tie it harder until the treaty reaches its appointed term. Or, he should declare the treaty null and void so that they are both on equal terms.) When Mu`awiyah was informed of the Prophet’s statement, he retreated. They found that man to be `Amr bin `Anbasah, may Allah be pleased with him.” This Hadith was also collected by Abu Dawud At-Tayalisi, Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i and Ibn Hibban in his Sahih. At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih.”[Ibn Al Kathir]
Commentaries for Quran 8:59
The following was revealed regarding those who escaped capture on the day of Badr And do not O Muhammad (s) let those who disbelieve suppose that they have outstripped God that is that they have eluded Him indeed they cannot escape they cannot elude Him a variant reading has wa-lā yahsabanna ‘and do not let them suppose’ so that the first direct object is omitted actually being an implied anfusahum ‘themselves’ sc. ‘and do not let them suppose themselves to have outstripped’; and according to another variant reading anna is read instead of inna with an implicit lām sc. ‘because they cannot escape’.[Tafsir al-Jalalayn]
(And) O Muhammad (let not those who disbelieve) whether from the Banu Qurayzah or somewhere else (suppose that they can outstrip) Our punishment due to the things they have done and said. (Lo! they cannot escape) Our punishment.[Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs]
Commentaries for Quran 8:60
(Make ready for them) for the Banu Qurayzah as well as for others (all thou canst of force) of arms (and of horses tethered) of female tethered horses which are prepared for fighting, (that thereby ye may dismay) that you may strike fear by means of these horses in (the enemy of Allah) with regard to religion (and your enemy) by killing them, (and others beside them) besides the Banu Qurayzah and all the Arabs; it is also said that this is a reference to the disbelievers among the jinn (whom you know not) you do not know their number. (Allah knoweth them) Allah knows their number. (Whatsoever) of wealth (you spend in the way of Allah) in obedience of Allah, whether it is arms or horses (it will be repaid to you in full) its reward will be repaid to you, none of it will be diminished, (and ye will not be wronged) your reward will not be diminished.[Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs]
Commentaries for Quran 8:61
(And if they incline to peace) if the Banu Qurayzah incline to and desire peace, (incline you also to it) and desire it, (and trust in Allah) in relation to their breaking or honoring of treaties. (Lo! He is the Hearer) of what they say, (the Knower) of their breaking and honoring of treaties.[Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs]
So when you meet the disbelievers ˹in battle˺, strike ˹their˺ necks until you have thoroughly subdued them, then bind them firmly. Later ˹free them either as˺ an act of grace or by ransom until the war comes to an end. So will it be. Had Allah willed, He ˹Himself˺ could have inflicted punishment on them. But He does ˹this only to˺ test some of you by means of others. And those who are martyred in the cause of Allah, He will never render their deeds void. [Quran 47:4]
Commentators of the Quran are in agreement that chapter 47 was revealed in Madinah. These verses were revealed concerning the battle of Badr (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn Abbas, Tafsir Ibn Kathir and Mawdudi). This battle took place as a consequence of the aggression and hostilities of the Quraysh prior to Badr incident. The Muslims had no choice left but to retaliate against them, 1400 years ago.
Those who disbelieve and hinder ˹others˺ from the Way of Allah, He will render their deeds void. As for those who believe, do good, and have faith in what has been revealed to Muḥammad—which is the truth from their Lord—He will absolve them of their sins and improve their condition. This is because the disbelievers follow falsehood, while the believers follow the truth from their Lord. This is how Allah shows people their true state ˹of faith˺. So when you meet the disbelievers ˹in battle˺, strike ˹their˺ necks until you have thoroughly subdued them, then bind them firmly. Later ˹free them either as˺ an act of grace or by ransom until the war comes to an end. So will it be. Had Allah willed, He ˹Himself˺ could have inflicted punishment on them. But He does ˹this only to˺ test some of you by means of others. And those who are martyred in the cause of Allah, He will never render their deeds void.[Quran 47:1-2-3-4]
47:1 – In this verse were are told that the disbelievers in the life-time of Prophet Muhammed (p) used to prevent people from believing in the message of Islam. There are many ways in which a person is barred from believing in Islam. (1) A person is by force prevented in believing in the religion. (2) That the person is persecuted so much so that it is difficult for one to remain steadfast on his religion. Meaning, that the individual is so oppressed he/she will eventually leave his religion (Tafsir al-Jalalayn).
47:2 – Those who believe in the message of Islam and do good deeds, God will remove their past sins and reward them what is due to them.
47:4 – The whole present verses (47:1-4) relates to war that was in progress in the life-time of Muhammed (p). The striking of necks refers in the battle already in place, 1400 years ago. The barring of others from God, connecting this verse (47:4) lays down the fundamental principle that alone justifies war, namely, fighting so man is free to worship what he wills. Later in the verse it lays down what to do with those prisoners of war, once the war ends and the conflict has ceased. There are two options, (1) to free them graciously or (2) free them for a ransom that is acquired from them. Or exchange the captive for a Muslim prisoner.
And why should you not spend in the cause of Allah, while Allah is the ˹sole˺ inheritor of the heavens and the earth? Those of you who donated and fought before the victory ˹over Mecca˺ are unparalleled. They are far greater in rank than those who donated and fought afterwards.1 Yet Allah has promised each a fine reward. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do. [Quran 57:10]
(Those who spent and fought before the victory are not upon a level (with the rest of you)…) [57:10]. Muhammad ibn Fudayl reported that al-Kalbi related that this verse was revealed about Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, may Allah be well pleased with him. This is evidenced by the report which was related to us from Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abdihi ibn Yahya> Abu’l-Hasan Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Saliti> ‘Uthman ibn Sulayman al-Baghdadi> Ya’qub ibn Ibrahim al-Makhzumi> ‘Amr ibn Hafs al-Shaybani> al-‘Ala’ ibn ‘Amr> Abu Ishaq al-Fazari> Sufyan al-Thawri> Adam ibn ‘Ali> Ibn ‘Umar who said: “As the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, was sitting with Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, who was wearing a cloak which he gathered round his chest with pins, Gabriel, peace be upon him, came down, conveyed Allah’s greetings of peace to him and said: ‘O Muhammad, why is Abu Bakr wearing a cloak which he gathers round his chest with pins?’ He said: ‘O Gabriel, he has spent all his wealth before the conquest [of Mecca]!’ He said: ‘In that case, convey to him Allah’s greetings of peace, glorified and exalted is He, and tell him that your Lord asks you: are you pleased with Me in your state of poverty or are you indignant?’ The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, addressed Abu Bakr: ‘O Abu Bakr, Gabriel is here to convey the greetings of peace of Allah, glorified and exalted is He, and He is asking you: are you pleased with Him in your state of poverty or are you indignant?’ Upon hearing this, Abu Bakr wept and said: ‘How can I be indignant with my Lord? I am pleased with my Lord! I am pleased with my Lord!’ ”[Asbab Al-Nuzul by Al-Wahidi]
(And what aileth you) O believers (that ye spend not in the way of Allah) in obedience of Allah, (when Unto Allah belongeth the inheritance of the heavens and the earth) the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth will all perish, and only Him will remain, and the results of all things will go back to Him? (Those) of you, O believers (who spent and fought) the enemy along with the Prophet (pbuh) (before the victory) before the conquest of Mecca (are not upon a level (with the rest of you)) are not equal in the sight of Allah in terms of merit and obedience. (Such) the people who have this trait (are greater in rank) in merit and standing in the sight of Allah through their obedience and reward-this refers to Abu Bakr al-Siddiq-(than those who spent and fought afterwards) than those who spend after the conquest of Mecca and fight the enemies along with the Prophet (pbuh) thereafter. (Unto each hath Allah promised good) i.e. the Garden through faith. (And Allah is Informed of what ye do) of what you spend.[Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs]
And why should you after having embraced faith not allā the nūn of an an-lā has been assimilated here with the lām of lā expend in the way of God when to God belongs the heritage of the heavens and the earth with all that they comprise so that He will eventually receive all your wealth but without the reward for having expended of it for His cause as opposed to if you had expended and had hence been rewarded. Not equal to the rest of you are those of you who expended and fought before the victory at Mecca. Such are greater in rank than those who expended and fought afterwards. Yet to each of the two groups a variant reading for wa-kullan ‘yet to each’ has nominative wa-kullun as a subject God has promised the best reward Paradise. And God is Aware of what you do and will requite you for it accordingly.[Tafsir al-Jalalayn]
So fight in the cause of Allah ˹O Prophet˺. You are accountable for none but yourself. And motivate the believers ˹to fight˺, so perhaps Allah will curb the disbelievers’ might. And Allah is far superior in might and in punishment. [Quran 4:84]
This passage was revealed just after the battle of Uhud, where the Muslims lost. The Quraysh came from Makkah to Madinah to fight the Muslims, as a result of them losing previously in the battle of Badr.
Furthermore, scholars state the verse was revealed after the battle of Uhud (lesser Badr or third Badr), when the Quraysh became victories. They went back to Makkah and set another date that they would be coming back to fight the Muslims.
“100 Lit., “those from among them who elicit [the truth]”, i.e., the special organs of the state entrusted with gathering and evaluating political and military intelligence.
101 Although primarily addressed to the Prophet, the “thou” in this sentence relates to every believer. The above exhortation is to be understood in the context of a war already in progress, and not as an incitement to war.” 
Maarif-ul-Qur’an Tafhim – Mufti Mohammad Shafi Usman:
“THE BACKGROUND OF REVELATION
When the battle of Uhud came to pass in the month of shawwal, the Holy Prophet (p), in keeping with the promised date set by the disbelievers, started preparations to confront them at Badr in the month of Dhi-Qa’dah (historians identify which as the minor Badr). At that time, some people betrayed a little hesitation in going along because of having been recently wounded, while some others did so because of rumours. Thereupon, Allah Almighty revealed this verse where guidance has been given to the Holy Prophet (p) that he should ignore the infirm and the scared among Muslims and show no hesitation in marching on to Jihad even if it has to be all alone, for Allah is his Helper. With his guidance on hand, he went ahead to Badr Minor with seventy companions as promised to Abu Sufyan after the battle of Uhud. There it is so happened that Allah Almighty put awe and fear in the hearts of Abu Sufyan and his disbelieving accomplices from the tribe of Quraysh. Not one of them showed up for the fight as a result of which they turned out to be false in their solemn promise. Thus, as the text says, Allah Almighty prevented the mischief of the disbelievers and the Holy Prophet (p) returned back with his companions safely (Qurtubi & Mazhari).” 
Tafhim al-Qur’an – Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi:
“113 Different people behave differently and with different results. Some urge on others to exert themselves for the cause of Allah and to exalt His Word and they get its reward. There are others who spread misunderstandings among the people about Allah’s cause, discourage the Muslims and try to dissuade them from exalting the Word of Allah and thus incur punishment.
114 The Muslims were specially exhorted to be very civil and polite to the non-Muslims because at that time their relations were strained on account of the conflict between them. In that state of tension, they were forewarned to be on their guard against incivility and impoliteness. They were, therefore, taught to be equally civil and polite to them when they greeted them respectfully. Nay, they should be even more civil and polite than their opponents.” 
Malik Ghulam Farid:
“641. The command to fight does not relate to the Holy Prophet alone. If that had been the case, the second clause in the verse would have read as Illa Nafsuka, i.e., none is made responsible except thyself, and not as Illa Nafsuka, i.e., thou art not made responsible except for thyself, as in the verse. What the verse means is that every Muslim, not excluding the Holy Prophet, was individually answerable to God. But the duty of the Holy Prophet was twofold, (1) to fight himself, and (2) to urge his followers to fight, though he was not responsible for them.” 
Maulana Muhammad Ali:
“84a. These words show how great was the confidence of the Prophet in the ultimate triumph of the noble cause with which he was entrusted. The primary duty to defend Islam lay on him alone, as against all the hosts of Arabia. This shows that he never put any trust in the prowess of his followers, and his confidence was based solely on Divine help. With no material resources, he was sure not only that he would be able to restrain the fighting of his powerful opponents, but also that they would meet with condign punishment at his hands.” 
˹The hypocrites are˺ those who wait to see what happens to you. So if Allah grants you victory, they say ˹to you˺, “Were we not on your side?” But if the disbelievers have a share ˹of victory˺, they say ˹to them˺, “Did we not have the advantage over you, yet we protected you from the believers?” Allah will judge between ˹all of˺ you on the Day of Judgment. And Allah will never grant the disbelievers a way over the believers. [Quran 4:141]
“156 Lit., “did we not gain mastery over you [i.e., “over your hearts” – cf. Lane II, 664] and defend you against the believers?” The term “believers” has obviously a sarcastic implication here, which justifies the use of the demonstrative pronoun “those” instead of the definite article “the”.[Muhammad Asad]
157 This announcement has, of course, a purely spiritual meaning, and does not necessarily apply to the changing fortunes of life – since (as this very verse points out) “those who deny the truth” may on occasion be “in luck”, that is to say, may gain temporal supremacy over the believers.”
“9a. Verses 8 and 9 contain two different prophecies. In the first of these we are told that all attempts to annihilate Islam will fail, and they did fail. In the second it is affirmed that Islam will be made the predominant religion, the truth of which was witnessed by Arabia in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet. But both prophecies have a wider significance. Attempts are still being made to annihilate Islam, and the Divine promise is that all these attempts shall be brought to naught; while the predominance of Islam over all the religions of the world would in time be established, as clearly as it was in Arabia. The commentators say that this predominance will be brought about through the Promised Messiah (Rz). Polytheists, it should be noted, include the Christians, for they adopted the polytheistic doctrine of Trinity.
13a. The prophecy in the previous verse relates to the Hereafter, while that in this verse relates to the victories of the Muslims over the disbelievers.”
“171 The hypocrites of every age have always enjoyed all the benefits conferred by Islam, by professing it with their tongue, and nominally joining the Muslim Community. At the same time they enjoy all the benefits they can derive from the disbelievers, by mixing with them and assuring them, “We are not bigoted Muslims though we are nominally connected with them. We are akin to you in culture, in thoughts and in the way of life and our interests and loyalties are the same as yours. Therefore, you should rest assured that we will side with you in the conflict between Islam and kufr.” (Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi – Tafhim al-Qur’an – The Meaning of the Qur’an)
“The passage then launches a strong campaign against the hypocrites, using a variety of tools. The hypocrites are those who continued with their hypocrisy as well as those who declared their unbelief after claiming to have accepted Islam. It describes the nature of hypocrisy, painting the ugly sights of what was perpetrated within the Muslim community. They would warmly welcome the believers when they were victorious, but when victory went the way of the unbelievers, the hypocrites would try to impress on them that they themselves, [i.e. the hypocrites]. Had ensured that victory. They approached prayer very reluctantly, putting on a show of piety. They vacillated from one side to another, and their vacillation was indicative of their shiftiness.[Sayyid Qutb]
Included within this campaign are a number of directives and cautions addressed to the believers, which indicates the extent of the damage the hypocrites caused. From these we can understand how large a force the hypocrites represented and how far they could penetrate into the Muslim community and affect its overall situation. We should remember that this campaign had to take into consideration the realities of the Muslim community’s situation at the time as also the need to take it by the hand and isolate it from the hypocrites. Hence, the believers are directed to avoid the hypocrites’ social gatherings where the latter often ridiculed God’s revelations stating that they did not believe in them. The believers were not commanded to impose a direct and complete boycott of the hypocrites. This indicates that there was a strong front of hypocrites able to move within the Muslim community in a way that rendered such a boycott either impartial or impossible. …”
“650 The methods and motives of Hypocrisy are thoroughly unmasked here. It has no principles, but watches for an opportunity to turn any event to its own advantage. If battle is joined between two inconsistent principles, it has no belief in either, but watches the result. There is unceasing fight between Good and Evil in this world. If the Good seems to win, the hypocrites range themselves on its side with unctuous words, taking a great part of the credit to themselves. Perhaps the balance tips the other way later, and they have to make their peace with Evil. ‘Oh!’ they say, we were in the ranks of your enemy before, on purpose to protect you when they were too strong for you!’ This may suit the ways of the world. But the day of their account will come eventually. For the Good must ultimately triumph.”[Scholar Abdullah Yusuf ]
Those who have believed, emigrated, and strived in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives are greater in rank in the sight of Allah. It is they who will triumph. [Quran 9:20]
the Muslims signed a peace treaty with the Quraysh and Banu Bakr that there will be no hostilities on their side. Nor would they side with anyone against the Muslims or their allies. As so it happens, it didn’t take long before Banu Bakr with the help of Quraysh attacked and killed many of Banu Khuza’a (an ally of Muhammed). Hence, the Quraysh broke their treaty which they agreed to abide by.
Will you not fight those who have broken their oaths, conspired to expel the Messenger ˹from Mecca˺, and attacked you first? Do you fear them? Allah is more deserving of your fear, if you are ˹true˺ believers. ˹So˺ fight them and Allah will punish them at your hands, put them to shame, help you overcome them, and soothe the hearts of the believers— removing rage from their hearts. And Allah pardons whoever He wills. For Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. Do you ˹believers˺ think that you will be left without Allah proving who among you ˹truly˺ struggles ˹in His cause˺ and never takes trusted allies other than Allah, His Messenger, or the believers? And Allah is All-Aware of what you do. It is not for the polytheists to maintain the mosques of Allah while they openly profess disbelief. Their deeds are void, and they will be in the Fire forever. The mosques of Allah should only be maintained by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, establish prayer, pay alms-tax, and fear none but Allah. It is right to hope that they will be among the ˹truly˺ guided. Do you ˹pagans˺ consider providing the pilgrims with water and maintaining the Sacred Mosque as equal to believing in Allah and the Last Day and struggling in the cause of Allah? They are not equal in Allah’s sight. And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people. Those who have believed, emigrated, and strived in the cause of Allah with their wealth and their lives are greater in rank in the sight of Allah. It is they who will triumph. Their Lord gives them good news of His mercy, pleasure, and Gardens with everlasting bliss, to stay there for ever and ever. Surely with Allah is a great reward. O believers! Do not take your parents and siblings as trusted allies if they choose disbelief over belief. And whoever of you does so, they are the ˹true˺ wrongdoers. Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “If your parents and children and siblings and spouses and extended family and the wealth you have acquired and the trade you fear will decline and the homes you cherish—˹if all these˺ are more beloved to you than Allah and His Messenger and struggling in His Way, then wait until Allah brings about His Will. Allah does not guide the rebellious people.” [Quran 9:13–14–15–16–17–18–19–20–21–22–23–24]
9:20 – This verse emphasizes just as the previous verse, the rank of those who believed in the message of Islam, emigrated, and fought to defend the community. Those individuals are ‘greater’ in the sight of God than others (Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas & Tafsir al-Jalalayn).
- ‘Kill Them… Fitna (Disbelief) Is Worse Than Killing’? – Quran 2: 191 – 194 – Discover The Truth (discover-the-truth.com)
- “Precise Surah Is Revealed And Fighting Is Mentioned…” – Surah 47:20-21 – Discover The Truth (discover-the-truth.com)
- “Fight With Them Until There Is No More Fitna [Disbelief]…?” – Quran 8:39 – Discover The Truth (discover-the-truth.com)
- Quran 8:56 – 61 Banu Qurayzah – Discover The Truth (discover-the-uth.com)
- “Strike Necks Of The Unbelievers Inflict Great Slaughter…” Surah 47:4 – Discover The Truth (discover-the-truth.com)
- ‘So Fight In The Cause Of Allah; You Are Not Held Responsible…’ – Quran 4:84 – Discover The Truth (discover-the-truth.com)
- “Those Who Wait [And Watch] You; Then If You Gain A Victory…” – Quran 4:141 – Discover The Truth (discover-the-truth.com)
- “The Sword Verse”: Surah 9:13 – 24 – Discover The Truth (discover-the-truth.com)