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Offline Reader Questions

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Repent or Revert to?
« on: March 29, 2012, 02:49:34 AM »
Dear Brother Salam
Here are two different translations of 9:3
Kamal Omar
And (there is) an Announcement from Allah and His Messenger to mankind (on the) Youm ('Day', the afternoon of the 9th Day of the closing month of the lunar year) of Al-Hajj-il-Akbar that Allah is free from (all) obligations to the Mushrikun, and (so is) His Messenger. So if you (Mushrikun) repented (and returned to the teachings of Al-Kitab) then it (is) better for you, and if you turned away (as polytheists or pagans), then know that you are not one who can frustrate Allah. And give tidings to those who have disbelieved for a painful torment;
And a proclamation from God and His Apostle [is herewith made] unto all mankind on this day of the Greatest Pilgrimage: "God disavows all who ascribe divinity to aught beside Him, and [so does] His Apostle. Hence, if you repent, it shall be for your own good; and if you turn away, then know that you can never elude God!" And unto those who are bent on denying the truth give thou [O Prophet] the tiding of grievous chastisement.
Question: What are these Mushrikeen asked to come back/revert/repent to? Stop breaking treaties and live as peaceful citizens (while keeping their faith)  or renounce Shirk and return to Islam.
If we take the latter meaning, then the question is were these Mushrikeen once Muslims? If they were not former Muslims but are being asked to accept Islam then would this not be taken as compulsion in Deen?

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Repent or Revert to?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2012, 03:35:29 AM »
Dear brother,

Salamun Alaikum.

The following illustration may help.

I will endeavour to respond to the question in sections with a view to also deal with areas which are often misunderstood not only by non-Muslims but Muslims as well.


War was only pronounced on serious grounds of repeated aggression by the offending party against the new believers on account of their religion. Surah Tauba (Chapter 9) makes this absolutely clear.

We know that aggression was the primary reason and not their rejection of faith alone because of verses which clearly only make war permissible during repeated hostilities, the Quran's complete freedom of faith and many theological deductions from Quranic verses themselves. For example we note:

"And if one of the idolaters seek protection from you, grant him protection till he hears the word of God, then make him attain his place of safety; this is because they are a people who do not know"

Therefore, even in this context of war, God still gave extra protection to the polytheists and further opportunities for them to appreciate and acknowledge the truth that had been sent by Him. Furthermore, they were to be granted safe haven if they were willing to listen (9:6).

The reason why such a manifestation of truth was important was not to 'force' belief. Rather, the intention was to address the very reason for the aggression in the first place which was hostilities against the believing community on account of their religion.

"God does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely God loves the doers of justice

"Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loves not transgressors"


Not only did some transgressors deny clear proof once the truth was manifested to them by a Prophet of God (Itmam ul-Hujjah [2]), but they also transgressed by way of numerous treaty violations, in some cases based on ignorance. Furthermore, this 'war' was not pronounced on all 'polytheists' as the verses clearly indicate (See diagram [3]).  It only applied to a section of them. (9:4)

-   Some showed aggression by attacking first
-   They violated oaths and taunted with regards to religion (9:12)

Also, this fight was only against the leaders of the transgressors. See 9:12 and the Arabic: 'faqatilu a-immatal-kufr' which approximately renders as 'then fight the leaders (immama) of the 'kafir''. This point is seldom addressed by Muslims. This clearly does not indicate a full scale war against idolaters and the People of the Book that it is usually implied by a section of both Muslims and overtly critical Non-Muslims.

Therefore, some bar had to be set given the reasons for the hostilities and resulting state of 'war', in order to recognise the conditions of a truce.

The only way they would stop aggressing, was if they accepted the truth based on some actions (Salat and Zakat). This was the appropriate bar that had been set in this context of war given the primary reason for the aggression in the first place.

The Arabic verb in question is 'Taba' and in the context of the condition "If they do 'tauba'". 'Taba' means to return to a condition, return in repentance or to readapt to a situation.

To remove the aggression, the cause had to be addressed (establish salat and pay the zakat by accepting the truth), otherwise the hostilities would have simply continued.

Other polytheists and People of the Book that had not aggressed or broken treaties, had the right to continue to practice and believe whatever they wanted to (9:4, 9:7).

At no point was the freedom of choice in religion every compromised. Only hostilities on account of religion were tackled.

I hope that helps, God willing.

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'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell