Questions about Jihad
"And Fight those who have not faith in God, nor in the Hereafter, and (who) forbid not what God and His Prophet have forbidden and (who ) are not committed to the religion of truth, of those who have been brought the Book, until they pay tribute by hand, and they are the low." (9:29)
This Quranic verse concerns the People of the Book, meaning those non-Muslims followers of one of the holy books, namely the Jews, Christians and perhaps the Zoroastrians.
The verse is one of war with the People of the Book, but at the same time, it does not tell us to fight them; it tells us to fight only those of them who have no faith in God, in the Hereafter, and who do not abide by the rule of God, allowing what He has forbidden - and who are not religious according to the religion of truth. It is these People of the Book whom we are to fight until they pay the Jezyah (tribute). That is, when they are ready to pay the Jezyah and are humble before us, we are to fight them no more.
This verse gives rise to many questions which remain to be answered through a study of those Quranic verses pertaining to jihad, which we will set apart and review.
The first question that arises is what exactly is meant by the words, "Fight those who have not faith in God"
Do they mean that we are to drop everything and start fighting or is it meant that we must fight them the moment they go beyond their territory and violate ours? In the terms of the learned of Islam, the ulema, this is an unconditional verse which, if there are similar verses that are conditional, must be interpreted as being onditional.
Adapted from the book: "Jihad; The Holy War of Islam and Its Legitimacy in the Quran" by: "Ayatullah Morteza Mutahhari"
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