Allah’s war covenant with the Muslims, pt.2

Jon MC


In part one of this series I discussed the key verses (emboldened in the list below) that form Allah’s war covenant with the Muslims.

In this part I will consider some of the supporting evidence found in the Koran.

A point to note is that many of the supporting verses are woven around the war covenant verses time-wise, what this means is that the full meaning of these verses was not understood at the time of their first recitation and only became apparent after the recitation of the war covenant verses was completed.

A list of verses.

Here is the list of the verses to be considered. They have been sequenced chronologically{1} rather than in the sequence of Suras in the Koran. Muslim sources{2,3} have been used for this.

44:51-54; 78:31-33; 2:216; 8:12, 65-69; 3:139-143, 3:154, 3:195; 33:15, 23-24, 25-27; 4:74, 4:76, 4:84; 47:4; 47:35; 55:46-76; 49:15; 61:10-13; 48:18:21; 5:54; 9:16, 9:52, 9:88, 9:111.

The verses emboldened are those that declare the war covenant (and were dealt with in part 1).

All these verses (except the first two) come from Medina and thus near to the end of the ‘revelation’ of the Koran. The verses from Sura 9 being from the penultimate Sura.


Allah’s war covenant with the Muslims.

Sword-jihad is a religious obligation laid on Muslims by Allah (2:216). Allah buys the Muslims’ souls as his slaves (9:111) to perform relentless (47:35) sword-jihad against non-Muslims until all non-Muslims are vanquished (3:139, 47:35). In recompense for the risks of war, Allah promises that the Mujahideen will have a great reward (4:76). This “great reward” is multi-faceted: Allah guarantees absolution from all sins (including, implicitly, war-crimes) and immunity from hell (61:10-13). Furthermore, those that die during sword-jihad are guaranteed entry to paradise immediately (3:195) whereas those that survive will get war-booty (4:74) eventually equalling all the wealth of the world (48:20-21) and guaranteed entry to paradise on their deaths. Allah also promises quick victories (61:10-13).

This agreement is seen as a (holy) covenant between Allah and the Muslims (33:15,23).

 It is this absolute guarantee of entry to paradise that makes sword-jihad not merely an obligation, but – in view of these benefits – the best and most ‘holy’ thing that a Mussalman can do to please Allah.

Sword-jihad is the only certain way a Mussalman can get to paradise. It should be added that the Mussalman must first be a “true believer” in Islam of course.

Supporting verses from the Koran.

The interpretations of these verses are from the three “classical” Tafseers of; al-Jalalayn, ibn Abbas and ibn Kathir (this latter is considered a pre-eminent Sunni Tafseer) and three modern (20th Century) Tafseers; those of Maududi, Qutb and Shafi.

First a general comment. In part one I showed that the only Muslims who can truly claim to be “pious” or “true-believer” Muslims are those who are, at a minimum, willing to kill non-Muslims in sword-jihad. The relevance is that verses of the Koran addressed to the “pious” (Ar. Muttaqoon) are, therefore, addressed to Mujahids (Islamic fighters) – or if we wish to be pedantic certainly include Mujahids within the category of “the pious”.

44:51-54 Verily! The pious [“true-believer” Muslims] will be in place of Security (Paradise) among Gardens and Springs, dressed in fine silk and (also) in thick silk, facing each other. So (it will be), and We shall marry them to Houris (female fair ones) with wide, lovely eyes.

In this verse (and the next) we see a promise of beautiful, sexy women for Muslim soldiers when they reach paradise – either through death whilst killing non-Muslims or even through old age. Al-Jalalayn makes it clear that those rewarded with Houris will enjoy “conjugal” (i.e. sexual) relations with them. This is supported by ibn Kathir. Ibn Abbas, Maududi, Qutb add nothing to the verse. Shafi offers two interpretations based on the word tazwij, translated as “marry” or “pair”. Either the Mussalmen in paradise will wed the Houris or else the Houris will be a gift (as in sex-slaves) for them. Either way, the idea of sexual intercourse with them is self-evident.

78:31-33 Verily, for the Muttaqoon, there will be a success. Gardens and grape-yards and young full-breasted maidens of equal age.

Al-Jalalayn and Shafi add nothing to the verse. Ibn Abbas, ibn Kathir, Maududi, Qutb state that the Houris will all be of the same age as each other and Ibn Abbas specifies this age as 33 (surprisingly old, considering). Maududi adds that the maidens will also be of equal age to their ‘husbands’ (what this means for a Mujahid who dies at age 90 is debatable…).

Both of the above passages were recited prior to the verses constituting the “war covenant” and as such their full impact would not have been understood at the time of their first recitation. It was only after the war covenant was recited and understood that the full import of these verses was clear: not only did the war covenant absolutely guarantee forgiveness of sins and entry into paradise but now paradise is filled with very sexy and willing women – the Houris – for your perpetual carnal pleasure along with a cornucopia of food and drink. Indeed all physical pleasures will be sated in full.

8:12 (Nooraddin & Omar): “(Remember) when your Lord revealed to the angels (to convey to the believers), `I am with you;’ (and He commanded the angels) to make those who believe stand firm and fast, and [said] `(O believers!) I will indeed strike terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. So smite on (your enemy’s) necks and above these (on their heads) and strike off all their finger-tips.’”

Islam sees terror as a legitimate tactic (remember in war it is Allah who is “really” doing things{4}) and this is a call to terrorise, behead and/or mutilate non-Muslims in war (cf. the treatment of prisoners of war by the Taliban). Ibn Kathir is particularly vicious saying this verse means that Muslims should “tear them [non-Muslims] apart”.

8:65-69: O Prophet! Urge the believers to fight. If there are twenty steadfast persons amongst you, they will overcome two hundred, and if there be a hundred steadfast persons they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are people who do not understand. Now Allah has lightened your (task), for He knows that there is weakness in you. (66)So if there are of you a hundred steadfast persons, they shall overcome two hundred, and if there are a thousand of you, they shall overcome two thousand with the Leave of Allah. And Allah is with As-Sabirin (the patient ones). It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war (and free them with ransom) until he had made a great slaughter (among his enemies) in the land. You desire the good of this world (i.e. the money of ransom for freeing the captives), but Allah desires (for you) the Hereafter. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise. Were it not a previous ordainment from Allah, a severe torment would have touched you for what you took [of ransom]. So enjoy what you have gotten of booty in war, lawful and good, and be afraid of Allah. Certainly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

A general rule is that what applies to Mohammed, unless specifically stated to be for him alone, applies to all Muslims and it is in this light that we must understand the phrase “it is not for any prophet …”(v.67) which thus applies to all Muslim armies etc. This makes these verses particularly vicious even by the standards of the Koran. Al-Jalalayn, ibn Kathir, Shafi state that v.65 is abrogated by v.66. Al-Jalalayn makes it plain that no prisoners should be ransomed, but should instead be killed until the Muslims have slaughtered their enemies. Ibn Abbas, ibn Kathir say that prisoners should be killed until the land is conquered “by means of fighting” (ibn Abbas). Shafi has a parallel statement. Ibn Kathir, Qutb sees this “urging” as reminding the Muslims that the way to paradise lies through death in sword-jihad. Ibn Kathir, Shafi also say that the fate of prisoners of war (PoWs) is in the hands of the Muslims’ leader(s) and that PoWs may still be killed even when it is ‘legitimate’ to take prisoners. Maududi parallels much of the above, but offers a different view of the error that produced the threat of “severe torment” (v.68) – it was that the Muslims had not “crushed down” or “broken” (Shafi) the power of the non-Muslims (here Meccan polytheists) before taking booty. His view is thus that fighting must continue until all organised resistance and the possibility thereof is destroyed. Qutb parallels Maududi. All Tafseers state that the war-booty is clearly stated as lawful.

This complex passage then leads to the following: sword-jihad is offensive and relentless and all PoWs are to be murdered until the power of non-Muslims is crushed or broken – i.e. all organised military resistance ceases. When the Muslims are fully victorious the fate of any (remaining) PoWs lies with the Muslims leaders who may order them murdered, enslaved or freed – with or without ransom. Importantly the legality of taking and using (“eat”ing in Arabic) war-booty is definitively stated.

3:140-41 (Arberry): “If a [war] wound touches you, a like wound already has touched the heathen; such days We deal out in turn among men, and that God may know who are the believers, and that He may take witnesses [Ar.. “Shaheed” also translated as “martyr”{5}] from among you; and God loves not the evildoers{6}; and that God may prove the believers, and blot out the unbelievers.”

These verses state that, when the Muslims suffer reverses (as happened at the battle of Uhud), Allah will be testing the Muslims’ (adherence to the war-covenant), but that (eventually) Allah will use the Muslims to “blot out” (Qutb) or “destroy” (al-Jalalayn, ibn Abbas, ibn Kathir) or “crush down” (Maududi) the non-Muslims through war – i.e. the (eventual) victory is assured (ibn Kathir). This idea of Allah testing the faith of Muslims through war, or sorting out the true believers by their willingness to wage war (Maududi) is developed further:

3.142-3 Did you think that you would enter Heaven without God testing those of you who fought hard (in His Cause) and remained steadfast? Truly you used to wish for martyrdom before you met it (in the field). Now you have seen it [death] with your eyes!

Allah tests Muslims by seeing if they are willing to fight and die for him whilst remaining “steadfast” in faith (ibn Abbas, Ibn Kathir, Maududi, Qutb). Al-Jalalayn adds that the Muslims were wishing for a death as victorious ‘martyrs’ as at Badr, rather than one as losers as at Uhud. Qutb also emphasises the need for “patience in adversity” and all the other aspects of Jihad. Shafi emphasises the need for the Muslims to learn from their (military) mistakes to ensure that they are not defeated again.

3:154 (Haleem): “…Tell them [Mohammed], ‘Even if you had resolved to stay at home, those who were destined to be killed would still have gone out{7} to meet their deaths.’ God did this in order to test everything within you and in order to prove what is in your hearts.”

Thus the Muslim’s death is pre-ordained, so he might as well ensure that he goes to paradise by undertaking sword-jihad willingly{8} (Qutb). Al-Jalalayn, ibn Abbas, ibn Kathir & Shafi state (or imply) that those who were destined to die would have died on the battlefield at Uhud no matter what – i.e. they would have been “driven” to their deaths on the battlefield by Allah had they not been willing to fight.

33:25-27.And Allah drove back those who disbelieved in their rage, they gained no advantage (booty, etc.). Allah sufficed for the believers in the fighting (by sending against the disbelievers a severe wind and troops of angels). And Allah is Ever All-Strong, All-Mighty. And those of the people of the Scripture [i.e. Jews of Bani Quraiza] who backed them (the disbelievers) Allah brought them down from their forts and cast terror into their hearts, (so that) a group(of them) you killed, and a group (of them) you made captives. And He caused you to inherit their lands, and their houses, and their riches, and a land which you had not trodden (before). And Allah is Able to do all things.

In these verses we see that Allah causes the Muslims “to inherit” all the property of non-Muslims(Shafi{9}) (here the Jews of Banu Qurayza) the “group you slew” were the men and the “group you made captive” were the women and children (al-Jalalayn, ibn Abbas, ibn Kathir{10},Qutb{11}). Thus these verses reinforce the “fight and get booty (including sex-slaves)” section of the war covenant.

4:76 (Yusuf Ali): Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who reject Faith fight in the cause of Evil [or: Satan]: So fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan.

This verse states categorically that to be a Muslim means fighting against “unbelievers”. Non-Muslims who fight against Muslims are fighting for “Satan” (al-Jalalayn, ibn Abbas, ibn Kathir, Maududi{12}, Qutb, Shafi), even if they are fighting against Islamic aggression, thus warfare against non-believers is always justifiable as fighting against evil (all six Tafseers agree on this).

4:84 (Malik): Therefore, (O Muhammad), fight in the path of Allah [wage Jihad], you are accountable for no one except for yourself. Urge the believers to fight, it may be that Allah will overthrow the might of the unbelievers, for Allah is the strongest in might and severe in punishment.

“incite them [the Muslims] to fight and make them desire it.” (Al-Jalalayn) “he should not shelve …the mission of inducing other Muslims to join in the Jihad.” (Shafi). This verse encourages Muslims to fight non-Muslims and to trust in the “might” of Allah when waging war on non-Muslims (all the commentaries carry this meaning) .

47:4 (Shakir): So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks [kill] until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favour or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates{13}. If Allah 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 Allah, He will by no means allow their deeds to perish.

Again a clear command that Muslims should kill non-Muslims in battle until the Muslims overcome (all) the non-Muslims to the point that all organised resistance ceases (all the commentaries). It also states that Allah will test Muslims in war against non-Muslims and that those Muslims who are killed will be rewarded ( 72 virgins etc) (al-Jalalayn, ibn Kathir, Maududi).

55:46-76. But for him (the true believer Muslim) who fears the standing before his Lord, there will be two Gardens (i.e. in Paradise)…With spreading branches… In them will be two springs flowing (free) [and] every kind of fruit in pairs… Reclining upon the couches lined with silk brocade, and the fruits of the two Gardens will be near at hand…Wherein both will be those (maidens) looking bashfully at their husbands, whom no man or jinn has opened their hymens with sexual intercourse before them [i.e. their husbands]… (In beauty) they are like rubies and coral. Is there any reward for good other than good? And besides these two [gardens], there are two other Gardens (i.e. in Paradise)… Dark green (in colour)…In them (both) will be two springs gushing forth water… In them (both) will be fruits, and date- palms and pomegranates. In the gardens will be fair (wives) good and beautiful… Houris (beautiful, fair females) restrained in pavilions… whom no man or jinn has opened their hymens with sexual intercourse before them [i.e. their husbands])… reclining on green cushions and rich beautiful mattresses.

(In the verses above I have omitted the repeated refrain “Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both (jinns and men) deny?” which fills in every lacuna above.) Al-Jalalayn, ibn Abbas, ibn Kathir, Maududi make it explicit that the Houris are there for the Mussalmen-in-paradise to deflower and with whom these Mussalmen will enjoy (sexual) “bliss” (al-Jalalayn). Maududi adds that Muslim women will be re-created young, beautiful and virgin for their husbands who will get them as well as the Houris. Qutb refers to the Houris as “mates” implying that the Mussalman will gain sexual gratification from them. Shafi states this “means sexual intercourse with a virgin” and states that the Houris will be “gorgeous” to behold.{14}

These verses actually extend the ideas of K.44:51-54 and K.78:31-33 in that as well as having sex with gorgeous and beautiful women when you get to paradise, all other physical desires will be fully sated also.

49:15 Only those are the believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and afterwards doubt not but strive with their wealth and their lives for the Cause of Allah. Those! They are the truthful.

In this verse it is made clear that you are only a “true-believer” or “pious” Muslim if you wage jihad, risking your life (ibn Abbas, ibn Kathir, Qutb){15} – i.e. fight in sword-jihad.

5:54 (Malik): O believers! Whoever among you renounce Islam, (let them do so); soon Allah will replace them with others [because apostasy is punishable by death!] whom He will love and they will love Him, who will be humble towards the believers, mighty against the unbelievers, striving hard [waging jihad] in the way of Allah, and will have no fear of reproach from any critic. Now this is the grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He pleases. Allah has boundless knowledge.

As ibn Kathir puts it: “Nothing prevents them [true-believers] from obeying Allah, [and] fighting His enemies”, Maududi has it: “a Believer will be firm … militant towards the opponents of Islam, [the believer] would rather die than yield”, Qutb writes: “It is being proud of the faith [Islam] they have chosen and being honoured to fight unbelievers under the banner of faith!” Shafi says: “Therefore, when comes the time to fight … it would be against those who are hostile and disobedient to Allah and His Messenger.” – i.e. non-Muslims. These four commentators make it clear that “true-believer” Muslims must be ready and willing to wagejihad in the clear sense of “wage war” and “fight/kill”{15} non-Muslims.

9:16: “Do you think that you will be left untested without God identifying which of you will strive and fight for His cause and take no supporters apart from God, His Messenger, and other believers? God is fully aware of all your actions.”

Although the words “and fight” are not in the Arabic text, it is interesting to note that some translations (Dawood, Hilali-Khan, Sale, Stephens-Darwish) and commentaries (as-Sawi, ibn Abbas, ibn Kathir) interpolate them without parentheses. The reason is that the passage from which this verse comes is so clearly about fighting that the context demands this meaning. Maududi speaks of the “sacrifice [of] your lives” for Islam. Qutb‘s commentary makes it clear that the jihad spoken of is sword-jihad{16,17}.

9:52 Say: “Do you wait for us (anything) except one of the two best things (martyrdom or victory); while we await for you either that Allah will afflict you with a punishment from Himself or at our hands. So wait, we too are waiting with you.”

Thus the “two best things” in Islam are either “martyrdom” – i.e. being killed whilst fighting non-Muslims, or winning a victory – thus getting booty (all the commentaries). Note also that in this verse Allah’s punishment of the non-Muslims can be at the hands of the Muslims – i.e. when Muslims attack, kill and despoil non-Muslims they are simply visiting “Allah’s punishment” on them. This is supported by al-Jalalayn, ibn Abbas, ibn Kathir and Shafi. Ibn Juzayy makes it clear that the punishment meted out by the Muslims is the killing of non-Muslims. Qutb says it will be the (military) defeat of non-Muslims.

9:88 (Shakir): But the Messenger and those who believe with him strive hard with their property and their persons; and these it is who shall have the good things and these it is who shall be successful.

Another verse commanding Muslims to “strive hard … with their persons(Maududi; or: lives – al-Jalalayn, ibn Abbas, ibn Kathir, Shafi), i.e. risk death in fighting jihad. Ibn Abbas and ibn Juzayy note that “the good things means beautiful maidens in the Hereafter”. Ibn Kathir makes it plain that the good Muslims “strove hard and fought with their wealth and their lives.” thus clearly linking the verse to sword-jihad.


From the selection of verses above, which is not claimed to be exhaustive, we can see that there are plenty of verses which confirm the importance of “striving” or “waging jihad” with one’s life. Whilst the phraseology of the Koran is a little elliptical the Tafseers make it plain that this “striving with [one’s] person/life” means engaging in sword-jihad against non-Muslims (i.e. killing them) – and thus risking personal death or injury. This is further emphasised by the fact that sword-jihad is not to be waged against fellow Muslims{18}.

“True-believer” Muslims{19} are told that they must be prepared to fight non-Muslims (“Kaffirs”) and that this willingness is a test of faith. No Muslim can possibly claim to be a “true-believer” unless they are at least willing to engage in sword-jihad and the concomitant killing of non-Muslims.

“True-believer” Muslims who fight in sword-jihad are the “party of Allah” (Ar. “Hesbollah”) and fighting for “god and the angels”. Their enemies (the “Kaffir”) are the friends and allies of Satan or the “party of Satan” – implicit here is that non-Muslims themselves are “satanic” or “evil” to some degree.

Such enemies of Islam deserve to be blotted out, destroyed or crushed (i.e. killed) and sword-jihad should be kept up until this goal is achieved in the sense that all effective resistance to the Muslims ceases{20} – only then should Muslims take their enemies prisoner.

It therefore follows that sword-jihad against such “evil people” is inherently righteous – a ‘good and holy deed’ which makes a Muslim successful both in terms of expressing his Islam and Iman{21} as well as guaranteeing him either achieving “paradise” or gaining war-booty (including sex-slaves).

We also see that the fruits of sword-jihad (the only “sure-fire” route to the Islamic paradise) will not only include abundant food and drink but sexual intercourse with many exquisitely beautiful and perpetually re-virginised women. This latter must be a powerful inducement to many young men to fight, kill and die “in the way of Allah”.

Thus these verses re-affirm the war covenant, provide some important details as to how sword-jihad should be waged and restate both the earthly and paradisical rewards for so doing.

In the next part of the series we will look at some “highlights” pertaining to the war covenant from the major Sunni hadith collections.

Footnotes and references.

  1. Whilst beyond the scope of this article, there are problems with accurately dating verses in the Koran. In short this means that all such attempts (apart from those verses clearly linked to known historical events) are speculative to one degree or another.

  2. “The History of the Quran” by Allamah Abu Abd Allah al-Zanjani.


  4. 8:12 Maududi: From what we have learned about the basic principles from the Qur’an, we are of the opinion that the angels were not employed directly to take part in fighting and killing but probably they were used to help the Muslims in making their strokes hard and effective. But the true knowledge is with Allah.”

  5. 3:140-141. In Islam “martyrs” are those who kill for their religion and die in the process, in other faiths martyrs are those who die for their religion without killing in the process.

  6. 3:140-141. Qutb has this to say: “The statement that God does not love such people [non-Muslims aka Kaffirs] generates in the believers’ hearts a feeling of hatred for wrongdoing and wrongdoers.” Thus Qutb says that Muslims must hate non-Muslims. Other parts of his commentary make it clear that to him jihad or “striving” is about violently fighting non-Muslims.

  7. 3:154 Maududi recounts this statement as: “Even though you had remained in your houses, those, who were destined to be slain, would have gone forth of their own accord to the places where they were destined to be slain.” Which makes a greater nonsense of the verse than the original Koran text.

  8. 3:154 Qutb writes:Say: “Had you stayed in your homes, those of you who were destined to be killed would have gone to their deathbeds.”

  9. 33:25-27. Shafi’s commentary is particularly clear:In the last verse (27), good news of future victories has been given. Gone is the time when disbelievers attacked. Now the cycle of Muslim victories will begin and they will come to be on lands their feet have not touched yet. And this prophecy unfolded itself during the tenure of the noble Sahabah and everyone witnessed the spectacle of great empires ruled by Cyrus and Caesar come under them.”

  10. 33:25-27. Muslim commentators make the slaughter of the Jews of Banu Qurayza the responsibility of Sa’d rather than Mohammed, but this absolves neither Mohammed nor Allah from responsibility since both acceded to Sa’d’s viciously vengeful ‘judgement’. Ibn Kathir has Mohammed say “You have judged according to the ruling of Allah from above the seven heavens.” and in another tradition “You have judged according to the ruling of the Sovereign.” both of which return the responsibility for this squarely to Allah/Mohammed.

  11. 33:25-27. Qutb quotes Ibn Ishaq an early “historian” (c. 750 A.D.) of Islam and Mohammed (best known in the West in the version titled “The Life of Mohammed” – English translation by Guillame, Oxford University Press.) extensively in order to (A) thoroughly demonise the Jews of Banu Quarayza and thus (B) ‘justify’ Mohammed’s murderous attack.

  12. 4:76. Maududi’s commentary is illuminating: “In the sight of Allah, there are two distinct parties of fighters. One party is that of the Believers who fight for the cause of Allah in order to establish his way on His earth, and every sincere Believer is bound to perform this duty. The other party is that of unbelievers who fight in the way of Taghut so as to establish the rule of the rebels against Allah on His earth and no Believer would side with them in this evil work.” The word “Taghut” is understood to mean false deities of all kinds – including atheism.

  13. 47:4. Maududi has a very lengthy commentary on this verse which highlights all the options for treating prisoners of war. In it he says that the fighting must continue until the Muslims “break the fighting power of the enemy [and] it is crushed”. Only then are captives permissible. Captives may be: killed, enslaved, dhimmified, freed (with ransom, though this is disapproved of) or exchanged for Muslims captured by the enemy. Maududi also makes it clear that once a person is captive (and has passed the “shall we kill him or not?” stage) PoWs are to be fed and clothed and “well-treated” (though this seems to mean “not tortured” in practice). An interesting point is this: “When a prisoner becomes a Muslim after falling into the hands of the Muslims as a captive, he will not be killed, but will remain a slave.” On this very point the jurists of Islam have unanimously ruled that the prisoner who becomes a Muslim after being taken captive cannot escape slavery.” Thus Maududi upholds slavery and the enslaving of one Muslim by another. Qutb and Shafi also have lengthy commentaries though their views differ to that of Maududi and each other.

  14. 55:46-76. Another note-worthy aspect to these verses is that they apply not only to Mussalmen but to the “Jinn” as well. Several commentators state that the Muslims amongst the Jinn go to paradise as well where they receive the same rewards as the Mussalmen; food, drink and female Jinn “houris” as their sex-partners.

  15. 49:15 & 5:54. The other commentaries use ambiguous language that could refer to “jihad bil qalb/nafs” (“jihad of the heart/soul” – the “internal jihad” against the Muslims’ un-Islamic desires) or other non-violent forms of jihad.

  16. 9:16. By using phrases such as “struggling hard” or “striving your utmost” other Koran translators seek to soften the meaning of the verse to something other than “fought non-Muslims”. Others interpolate after striving “in the cause of Allah” which is ambiguous since this phrase mostly means sword-jihad (at least it opens up both meanings). As can be seen, Koran commentators throughout the ages have understood the verse in it’s more violent (and accurate) sense.

  17. (9:16) For Sura 9 alone, I have a reference to other commentaries, thus references to ibn Juzayy, as-Sawi etc. appear.

  18. That Muslims are always waging sword-jihad against one another is a 1400 year tragedy for the planet. Whilst this is commanded against in the Koran and Shariah Law (see Takfir), Muslims have always found the excuse in regarding their fellows from different branches or sects as either “not true-believers” – i.e. hypocrites, “infidels” or apostates (“Murtadds”). With this excuse Muslims cheerfully kill each other quite believing that they are “striving in the way of Allah” and doing their god’s will.

  19. I would call these “Islamists” and define Islamists as those who seek to fully follow Islam as set out by the Koran, Sunnah, Tafseers and Shariah law. Note that this also means that “moderate” and “reformist” Muslims are not true-believers – by definition.

  20. Given that today there is no Islamic Caliphate to call for sword-jihad against non-Muslims, one school of thought says that sword-jihad cannot legitimately be waged – hence the interest in restoring the Caliphate in the Mid. East especially post-“Arab spring” (2010-2012). A second school of thought says that it is now up to the individual to decide when, where and how s/he may wage sword jihad against the “Kaffir” and those “not Muslim enough”.

  21. Islam means “surrender” or “submission”. As such Islam is obtained through a simple declaration of faith (the Shahada) and a willingness to abide by “Allah/Mohammed’s laws” (today Shariah law). Iman means (simply put) faith. Ergo only the “true-believer” Muslim really has iman.


  1. “Tafsir al-Jalalayn.” Jalal al-Din al-Mahalli & Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (Trans. Feras Hamza), 2007 Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, Amman, Jordan.

  2. “Tanwir al-Miqbas min Tafsir Ibn ‘Abbas”, attributed to: Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas or Muhammad al-Firuzabadi. (Trans. Mokrane Guezzou), 2007. Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought, Amman, Jordan

  3. “Tafsir ibn Kathir”, Alama Imad ud Din Ibn Kathir (concise version).

  4. “Tafhim al-Qur’an.” Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.

  5. “Maariful Quran.” Maulana Mufti Mohammed Shafi. (Revised by and also attributed to: Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani), 1995-2004. Darul Uloom Karachi, Pakistan.

  6. In the Shade of the Quran.” Sayyid Qutb. (Trans. Adil Salahi).

  7. “Interpretation of the meanings of The Noble Quran”, Dr.M.T.Hilali & Dr.M.Khan. English language pdf and hardback versions. (Other Koran translations also used as identified).

Jon MC

Jon MC is a retired Chemist, Physicist and teacher (not necessarily in that order) who still has professional commitments. His interest in Islam was kindled when he met some "radical Muslims up close and personal" and he has studied the foundational texts of Islam ever since. He writes under a nomme de plume in order to keep his professional life and views separate.

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