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Monday, December 03, 2007

Blogging the Qur'an: Sura 9, "Repentance," verse 29

Robert Spencer has the latest installment here.

An entire column on just one verse? What's so special about that verse?

YUSUFALI: Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

PICKTHAL: Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.

SHAKIR: Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger 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.

Interesting that the Pickthal translation skips over the reference to the "People of the Book" - meaning Christians and Jews. Without this qualifier, a skeptic might question whether the scope of this command were limited to the enemy fought in the Battle of Badr, the backdrop of Suras 8 and 9 (see this article for historic context).

But the reference to Jews and Christians, who played no role in the battle, reveals that this is a universal command, that Muslims must kill or subjugate all non-Muslims. Leading Islamic scholars agree, as quoted in Spencer's column.

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

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