Unconditional verses about Jihad
I said that some of the Quranic instructions about jihad against kufar (disbelievers) are unconditional, which means they state only this: "O Prophet Fight with the Kufar and the hypocrites." Or, in the case the verse pertaining to which we recited, after a period which is given to the polytheists (four months), if they have not adopted Islam or haven't migrated, then they are to be killed. (Does it mean in the surroundings of Mecca and around the sanctuary or every place? This question (must be discussed later.) Or that verse with which we began our discussion and which is about the People of the Book.
"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." (9:29).
or another verse:
"O Prophet, Fight the kufar (disbelievers) and hypocrites and be stern against them." (9:73).
If we were to pay attention only to this verse, we would say that Islam fully instructs the Muslims to fight against kufar and hypocrites and they (Muslims) must never be in a state of peace with them, that Muslims must fight them, as vehemently as they can. They must fight them. And if we speak like this we will come to believe that the Quran unconditionally tells us to fight the non-Muslims.
I stated, however, that there is a scholastic rule that when both an unconditional and a conditional command exist, i.e. when there is an instruction that in one place is unconditional but in another place has a condition attached, then, according to the ulema, the unconditional must be interpreted as the conditional. The verses I have just recited are unconditional. Other verses exist that are conditional, meaning that they read like this: "O Muslims. Fight against those polytheists for the reason that they are in aggression against you, because they are in a state of war with you, and therefore you definitely have to fight against them."
Thus it becomes clear that where the Quran says: "O Prophet Fight against the kufar and hypocrites," it means that we must fight those kufar and hypocrites who are fighting us and who will continue fighting if we fight them.
Adapted from the book: "Jihad; The Holy War of Islam and Its Legitimacy in the Quran" by: "Ayatullah Morteza Mutahhari"
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