The previous two articles show clearly that neither Allah, Most High, nor the Prophet (PBUH), nor any of the dignified Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) had ever identified a particular verse in the Quran as the Verse of Sword. They also prove that none of the three verses recorded in the Chapter of Al-Tawbah could be the verse in question. This article will thereby attempt to examine the last verse identified by some as the Verse of Sword, with the aim of arriving at an objective conclusion on it.
Allah, Most High, says, “Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.” (The Quran, 9:29)
Amazingly enough, this verse too does not contain the word “sword”, so why shall we depict it as such?!
Away from any exegetical commentaries on this verse, we shall ask the following question, “Is Kufr (i.e. disbelief) the reason for fighting the disbelievers?!”
Had any Muslim responded in the affirmative to that question, this would have meant that Islam forces non-Muslims to embrace it, which is a sheer wrong, since this is against the nature of Islam and its instructions that clearly tell that “there is no compulsion in religion.” (The Quran, 2:256) Also, if this was the case, Prophet Muhammad would not have entered into agreements with the Jews of Medina, nor would he (PBUH) have sent with missives to the Roman, Persian, and Egyptian leaders of his time in which he (PBUH) called them to embrace Islam peacefully.
Furthermore, how can we believe that this verse tells us to fight against the People of the Book for no reason, although the Prophet (PBUH) himself did otherwise, which means either one of two points: either he (PBUH) acted against the Quran, which is impossible to happen, or that those who understand it to be the Verse of Sword are wrong. This point is supported by the Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH) in which he is reported to have said: “Let the Abyssinians alone as long as they let you alone, and let the Turks alone as long as they leave you alone.” (Hassan/Good Hadith) In this Hadith, he (PBUH) orders his followers not to start war with the Abyssinians – People of the Book – unless they fight against Muslims first.
Based on the above discussion, we can reach the following points: -
- The word “sword” is never ever mentioned in the Quran, even once.
- The Quran calls for the spread of mercy among mankind, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, determining the point that Allah is the One Who will hold people accountable for their deeds on the Day of Resurrection.
- Neither Allah, nor the Prophet nor any of the companions defined any verse in the Quran as the “Verse of Sword”; but rather it is a matter of personal understanding of some Muslim scholars, thus should be rejected if not compatible with the sound Islamic instructions and guidance.