Interpretation of Sura Cow - Verses 191-192
191. " And slay them wherever you find them, and drive them away from where they drove you away. And persecution is more grievous than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Sacred Mosque unless they fight with you therein; then, if they fight with you, slay them; such is the retribution of the infidels."
192. " But if they desist, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful."
This verse tells Muslims to fight against the idol worshippers of Mecca, who had expelled them (Muslims) from their own home and city, and to drive them (the idol worshippers) out from that city, since they had persecuted the Muslims for years. That treatment was more grievous than slaughter, because slaughter is taking the worldly life of a person instead of which the one reaches the prosperity of the next world, while in torture the one has neither the comfort of the present world nor the pleasure and ease of the coming world. Yet, it enjoins Muslims not to fight at the Sacred Mosque in order to preserve the security and sanctity of it. But, if pagans did not observe the respect of the Mosque and fought against Muslims, they would do the same amd punish them.
1- Reciprocation and conclusiveness with harshness is certain in some respects.
2- Sacred premises of Mecca and the Sacred Mosque are holy but the esteem of the blood of Muslims is more sacred. So, here, the comparison of the state of important and more important is considered.
3- Since Muslims should not initiate in fighting, they must not initiate destroying the sacred things, either.
4- Knowing the reason of a commandment is the secret of mirth and obedience. The Qur'an expresses the reason for the command of fighting. It says that they persecuted you for years, and that torture is more grievous and dangerous than slaughter. If the Qur'an issues the command of expulsion, it is for the reason that they had expelled the Muslims from their houses for years.
" And slay them wherever you find them, and drive them away from where they drove you away. And persecution is more grievous than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Sacred Mosque unless they fight with you therein; then, if they fight with you, slay them; such is the retribution of the infidels."
In the next verse it says that Allah accepts their repentance if they put aside the custom of infidelity and idolatry and, consequently, they will be brethren of Muslims. They will be even exempted from the taxes and from the punishments that offenders must tolerate.
" But if they desist, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." The clemency enjoined by Islam upon its adherents even against their blood thirsty enemies in the battle-field, has no match in any religion. The Muslims have been definitely commanded to sheathe their swords if the enemy desists from fighting. The fight allowed by Islam has to be only against the wrong done, and there should be no rancour against the enemy when they correct themselves or even when they end the hostility.
Adapted from the book: "The Light of The Quran - Interpretation of Sura Al-Baqarah (The Cow)" by: "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani and A Group of Muslim Scholars"
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