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Answering Islamophobic Claims

Does the Quran command Muslims to terrorise non-believers?

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Critics of Islam who often try to argue that Islam is a barbaric faith that commands violence against non-believers will often quote the following verse from the Quran to try and substantiate their argument:

Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them." 
(8:12)

So they quote this verse and say that it proves that Islam commands Muslims to terrorize unbelievers. In actuality though, they never quote the verse in it’s entirety, most times they use this verse they quote it like this:

I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them

They only specifically quote this part of the verse to try and prove their argument. So is this verse what the critics would like us to believe? As usual, the context of the verse has been ignored, in fact the text of the verse itself as been ignored as well!

If you read the verse, it clearly mentions that God inspired the angels, the verse is saying what God told the angels to do, so now you know why the critics leave that part out because that part of the verse alone is enough to debunk their silly article. God was addressing the angels.

Secondly, this verse was in reference to a battle, yes, a battle as in when two sides were on a battlefield engaged in a fight.

Let’s read Ibn Kathir’s tafsir, explanation of this verse:

Allah commands the Angels to fight and support the Believers

Allah said next,

 ((Remember) when your Lord revealed to the angels, "Verily, I am with you, so keep firm those who have believed.'')

This is a hidden favor that Allah has made known to the believers, so that they thank Him and are grateful to Him for it. Allah, glorified, exalted, blessed and praised be He, has revealed to the angels -- whom He sent to support His Prophet, religion and believing group -- to make the believers firmer. Allah's statement,

(I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved.) means, `you -- angels -- support the believers, strengthen their (battle) front against their enemies, thus, implementing My command to you. I will cast fear, disgrace and humiliation over those who defied My command and denied My Messenger

(so strike them over the necks, and smite over all their fingers and toes.) strike them on their foreheads to tear them apart and over the necks to cut them off, and cut off their limbs, hands and feet. It was said that,

(over the necks) refers to striking the forehead, or the neck, according to Ad-Dahhak and `Atiyyah Al-`Awfi. In support of the latter, Allah commanded the believers,

(So, when you meet (in fight Jihad in Allah's cause) those who disbelieve, smite (their) necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, take them as captives).) [47:4]

Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said, "In the aftermath of Badr, the people used to recognize whomever the angels killed from those whom they killed, by the wounds over their necks, fingers and toes, because those parts had a mark as if they were branded by fire.'' Allah said,

(and smite over all their fingers and toes.)

Ibn Jarir commented that this Ayah commands, "O believers! Strike every limb and finger on the hands and feet of your (disbelieving) enemies.'' Al-`Awfi reported, that Ibn `Abbas said about the battle of Badr that Abu Jahl said, "Do not kill them (the Muslims), but capture them so that you make known to them what they did, their ridiculing your religion and shunning Al-Lat and Al-`Uzza (two idols).'' Allah than sent down to the angels,

(Verily, I am with you, so keep firm those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks, and smite over all their fingers and toes.)

In that battle, Abu Jahl (may Allah curse him) was killed along with sixty-nine men. `Uqbah bin Abu Mua`it was captured and then killed, thus bring the death toll of the pagans to seventy,

So as we read, these events were taking place during a battle.

Now off course during a battle in those days you would aim for the neck to get an immediate blow, and off course you would also aim for their fingers, once taking out their fingers the enemy would not be able to carry his sword hence you neutralize the enemy.

This might sound barbaric, but that’s how people fought in battle back then, if we were going to give a description even today of what happens on the battlefield, it wouldn’t sound too pleasing but that’s how it is. Even though war is ugly, westerners never get tired of calling their soldiers and armies as being heroes, and good guys.

So in conclusion, this verse was referring to what happened during a battle, Islamophobes yet again have been guilty of distorting the passage out of it’s context, and not only out of it’s context, but often times not even having the integrity to quote the whole verse but only part of the verse to give a misleading picture. 

 

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