Fight Non-Muslims until They Accept Islam?!

17 December, 2018
Q Asslamu Alaikum, I have been constantly troubled by Chapter 9 of Quran and the related information that I read about it in Tafsir Ibn Kathir. The troubling points are:-1) It abrogates all other verses in the Quran, even the ones commanding the believers to not mock others religions and help your neighbors even if they are non-believers etc. 2) It explicitly asks for fighting, killing and ambushing the non-believers wherever you find them. So does this mean that it becomes a duty of every Muslim on earth to fight non-Muslims until they accept Islam. Please, provide me a good answer to this. I have looked for an answer on other sites, but everybody seems to be beating around the bush.


Short Answer: In order to understand the Quran properly and avoid misinterpreting it, one must read verses before or after the verse in question, otherwise it will be taken out of context and the true meaning will be lost


Wa Alaykum Assalam Dear Brother,

Thank you for your questions and for contacting Ask About Islam.

I will answer your questions in the order that you posed them. First, let me mention the verses you are indirectly talking about:

{Then, when the months made unlawful for fighting expire, kill the idolaters wherever you find them, and seize them, and besiege them, and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush. But if they repent, and establish prayer and pay alms, then let them go their way for Allah is Forgiving and Compassionate. And if any of the idolaters requests you for protection so that he may come to you (to hear the Word of Allah), give him protection till he hears the Word of Allah; then convey him. to the place of his safety: this should be done because these people are unaware of the Truth.} (At-Tawba, 9:5-6)

1) Chapter 9 abrogates all other verses in the Quran?

There is no such thing in Islamic Jurisprudence as a chapter abrogating all other verses in the entire Quran. There are certain verses of the Quran that abrogate others; therefore a verse abrogates another verse related to the same subject matter but not multiple verses. Also a part of a verse related to a specific subject abrogates a part of another verse of the same subject.

Note that the Quran contains more than 6200 verses and about 10 verses abrogate another 10 verses or part of a verse, so a very small percentage of the Quran has been abrogated. Allah says what means:

{Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?} (Al-Baqarah, 2:106)

Abrogation means that the newer verse contains a newer ruling for the same subject matter. The reason for the abrogation is to introduce the ruling in stages in order to make it easier to accept. For example, Allah says what means:

{O you who believe! Approach not the prayer when you are in a drunken state until you know (the meaning) of what you utter…} (An-Nisa, 4:43)

So this is saying that one may drink alcoholic beverages as long as he is not in a drunken state while performing the prayer. Then came the following verse saying to abstain from consuming all types of intoxicants. Allah says in the Quran:

{O you who believe! Intoxicants (all kinds of alcoholic drinks, etc.), gambling, and …. are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork. So avoid (strictly all) that (abomination) in order that you may be successful.

Satan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drinks, etc) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from the prayer. So, will you not then abstain?} (Al-Maida, 5:91-92)

There is another type of abrogation which is mentioned at the beginning of Surah 9, that is the abrogation of already established peace treaties with the non-believers of Quraish; so a verse abrogated such a treaty since the disbelievers broke the agreement that was established with the Muslims by killing a group of Muslims.

{Freedom from (all) obligations (is declared) from Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) to those of the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans, idolaters, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah), with whom you made a treaty.} (9:1)

{Except those of the Mushrikun (see V.2:105) with whom you have a treaty, and who have not subsequently failed you in aught, nor have supported anyone against you. So fulfil their treaty to them for the end of their term. Surely Allah loves Al-Mattaqun (the pious – See V.2:2-5).} (9:4)

To fully understand abrogation in Islam, please read: Can the Sunnah Abrogate the Quran?

The reason for abrogation of a verse with another is that the Quran was revealed over 23 years and some rulings were gradual. In surah 9, there are three verses that contain some type of abrogation:


Please locate the word “abrogate” within the above text.

2) It explicitly asks for fighting, killing and ambushing the non-believers wherever you find them

Concerning verses 9:5-6 mentioned at the beginning, Maududi explains in his interpretation of the Quran:

“That is, “if during a fight, an enemy makes a request that he should be given an opportunity to understand Islam, the Muslims should give him a surety of protection and allow him to visit them. They should then present Islam before him in order to make him understand it. If, after this, he does not embrace Islam, they should convey him safely to his place”. Such a person who comes to Dar-ul-Islam under the above mentioned protection is called musta’min in the Islamic Code.”

The verses are clearly talking about a state of war with disbelievers and with those disbelievers who are persistent in fighting Muslims and not the ones who are at peace with the Muslims. It is a major sin in Islam to kill a non-Muslim who is not physically fighting against the Muslims in a state of war. We read in the Quran:

{…if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind…} (Al-Maida, 9:32)

So those who persist in fighting Muslims, it is only fair for Muslims to fight them back in any way possible. As for those who are at peace with the Muslims then we should treat them with respect.

If we have the opportunity, we must clear any misunderstandings that they have about Islam. If they don’t accept Islam but still respect Muslims for who they are then it is the duty of the Muslims to protect them if their lives are in danger and if it is only the Muslims who are able to protect them in this particular situation.

In order to understand the Quran properly and avoid misinterpreting it, one must read verses before or after the verse in question, otherwise it will be taken out of context and the true meaning will be lost.

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

How Did Prophet Muhammad Spread Islam to Humanity?

Confusion Over The Fighting Verses

Did Muslims Fight to Convert People?