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Monday, November 05, 2007

Blogging the Qur'an: Sura 8, "Booty," verses 31-75

Robert Spencer has the installment here.

Since we left off, Mohammed has defeated the Quraysh tribe in the Battle of badr. In verses 38-40 Allah hands out some directives to the prophet (three translations cited here):

YUSUFALI: Say to the Unbelievers, if (now) they desist (from Unbelief), their past would be forgiven them; but if they persist, the punishment of those before them is already (a matter of warning for them).

And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah altogether and everywhere; but if they cease, verily Allah doth see all that they do.

If they refuse, be sure that Allah is your Protector - the best to protect and the best to help.

PICKTHAL: Tell those who disbelieve that if they cease (from persecution of believers) that which is past will be forgiven them; but if they return (thereto) then the example of the men of old hath already gone (before them, for a warning).

And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah. But if they cease, then lo! Allah is Seer of what they do.

And if they turn away, then know that Allah is your Befriender - a Transcendent Patron, a Transcendent Helper!

SHAKIR: Say to those who disbelieve, if they desist, that which is past shall be forgiven to them; and if they return, then what happened to the ancients has already passed.

And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah; but if they desist, then surely Allah sees what they do.

And if they turn back, then know that Allah is your Patron; most excellent is the Patron and most excellent the Helper.

Now, do these references to "unbelievers" refer specifically to the Qurayshi, or to unbelievers in general? Spencer mentions several scholars who claim the latter:

According to Ibn Abbas, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, As-Suddi, Muqatil bin Hayyan and Zayd bin Aslam, the statement that Muslims must fight until there is no more fitnah means that they must fight "so that there is no more Shirk." Shirk is the association of partners with Allah – i.e., calling Jesus the Son of God. [Refer to this article for a more detailed description of shirk - AKH] So this verse, although it was revealed in the aftermath of a seventh-century battle between Muslims and pagans, has a universal application: the Tafsir al-Jalalayn glosses it this way: "And fight them until sedition, idolatry, is, exists, no more and religion is all for God, alone, none other being worshipped…" Muhammad himself said: "I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but Allah, and he who professed it was guaranteed the protection of his property and life on my behalf except for the right affairs rest with Allah."

This section continues to describe the battle itself, and to lay out a few more divine directives.

Click the "Koran" label to see all my posts on this series.

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