There are around 124 verses in the Quran which preach tolerance, that can be quite confusing. This ambiguity allows Muslims to have their personalized “divine guidance” based on their own preferences. Those who like tolerance or want to present Islam as a tolerant religion can quote parts of the Quran that advocate tolerance, while the hardliners, the fundamentalists and even the terrorists can quote those parts of the Quran that foment hate and killing of the disbelievers. Therefore ironically everyone can find what he is looking for in that book. However, the Quran makes it clear that in case of a conflict, the later verses abrogate the earlier ones. The verses preaching tolerance and patience are mostly early Meccan verses when Muhammad and his followers were in a minority. But after Muhammad became powerful, the later Medinan verses were ‘revealed’ which are very intolerant.
9:123 Oh ye who believe! Murder those of the disbelievers and let them find harshness in you
8:12 I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off.
3:85 Whoso desires another religion than Islam, it shall not be accepted of him; in the next world he shall be among the losers.
9:5 Slay the idolaters wherever you find them
9:29 Fight those who do not believe in God and the last day… and fight People of the Book, who do not accept the religion of truth (Islam) until they pay tribute by hand, being inferior”
47:4 When you meet the unbelievers, strike off their heads; then when you have made wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives.
8:65 O Prophet! rouse the Believers to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the Unbelievers
8:60 Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies
60:4 Hatred and Enmity shall reign between us until you believe in Allah alone
Quran (8:39) – “And fight with them until there is no more fitna (disorder, unbelief) and religion is all for Allah”
Quran (8:67) “It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he had made a great slaughter in the land…“
There is a comprehensive debate on the infamous ‘Sword Verse’ (Chapter 9, Verse 5) of the Quran. It is in the LAST Chapter of the Quran, and in this debate M A Khan (Editor of www.islam-watch.org) has shown that it is not in any context, it is the final status of non-Muslims in Islam. This debate is of December 2008. But now it is necessary to reproduce it here in light of such continuous attacks, and rise of ISIS. This debate will prove once and for all that the final status of all non-idolators & polytheists in Islam is this- CONVERT or DIE and that this verse has nothing to do with any treaty, or any context.
Websites like www.faithfreedom.org and www.islam-watch.org are the only ones which reveal the harsh truth. Unfortunately, they are being banned rapidly by non-Islamic Governments (Muslim nations already have banned them). To read some of the most important articles it is necessary to preserve another copy of them. This is one of them.
The infamous ‘Sword Verse’ of the Quran (Chapter 9, Verse 5) says: “When the sacred months have passed, slay the idolators wherever you find them, take them captive, besiege them, seize them, ambush them. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Benevolent, Merciful!”
Is this is the final status of unbelievers in Islam, or is the above quote irrelevant, out-of-context and has some other meaning? The below debate answers this question comprehensively.
Challenge to Close Down Islam-watch: Debate on Quran 9:5, the ‘Sword Verse’
by MA Khan & Ahmed 03 Dec, 2008
Part 1: Challenge to Close Down Islam-watch: Debate on Quran 9:5, the ‘Sword Verse’
Part 2: Challenge to Close Down Islam-watch: Muhammad, Not Meccans, Broke Hudaybiyah Treaty
Part 3: Challenge from Ahmed: Islam-watch Remains Live; Ahmed Leaves with Respect
Dear readers, we received the following challenge from a Muslim brother, named Ahmed, to close down our site (www.islam-watch.org). We are very keen to close it down if the brother can prove us wrong; we have promised it and we will stand by it. Below is our exchange so far:
Subject: I challenge you
I am a Muslim, who is determined in destroying one of your silly concepts that Surah 9:5 advocates Terrorism. I would like to debate you regarding this Surah, as I already did to other Christians (knowing you’re all not), and refuted this claim. I challenge you for it, and if you ever did win me, I promise you, I am ready to leave Islam!! This is to show you my determination my friends, and hopefully realize your grave mistakes.
MA Khan’s reply:
To our understanding, this verse was designed for Idolaters/Polytheists, which defines their final status in Islam. It gives them the choice between death and Islam. Please send your arguments and let the debate begin. We look forward to be proved wrong and close the site.
Do you know this verse was brought in a war situation? The context is, the pagans and the Muslims had a peace treaty between them; the treaty was called the Treaty of Hudaiybiyah. But the Pagans have broken the treaty by attacking Muslim’s allies. Then, out of mercy, they were given three options:
1) To break the treaty
2) To break their relationship with Banu Bakr (the Pagans allies who attacked the Muslim allies – Banu Khuza)
3) To pay blood-money for the dead Khuza.
But the pagans, to show their non-interest in peace with Muslims, decided they have to break the treaty, they chose option one. After that, Mohammed (pbuh) and his army declared war with those pagans. Then they were given yet ANOTHER option, which is to either repent of their DEEDS, and become good citizens OR be killed to discontinue their filthy actions. So this was actually justified.
But as you can see, the whole thing was started by the pagans (looking at the whole context through hadith, the Quran and tafsir).
Do you have an objection to this? If so, why?
MA Khan’s response:
This verse has no relations with the breaking of the Hudaibiyah Treaty.This verse was revealed one year after Muhammad conquered Mecca in the 8th year of Hijra. The early part of the Sura, verses 1–37, was revealed on the occasion of Hajj in the 9th year of Hijra. Maududi comments on the revelation of Sura that, The first discourse (vv. 1-37), was revealed in Zil-Qa’adah A.H. 9 or thereabout. As the importance of the subject of the discourse required its declaration on the occasion of Haj the Holy Prophet despatched Hadrat Ali to follow Hadrat Abu Bakr, who had already left for Makkah as leader of the Pilgrims to the Ka’abah. He instructed Hadrat Ali to deliver the discourse before the representatives of the different clans of Arabia so as to inform them of the new policy towards the mushriks.
Ibn Kathir comments on the revelation of the verse that,
The first part of this honorable Surah was revealed to the Messenger of Allah when he returned from the battle of Tabuk, during the Hajj season, which the Prophet thought about attending. But he remembered that the idolators would still attend that Hajj, as was usual in past years, and that they perform Tawaf around the House while naked. He disliked to associate with them and sent Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, to lead Hajj that year and show the people their rituals, commanding him to inform the idolators that they would not be allowed to participate in Hajj after that season. He commanded him to proclaim, ﴿بَرَآءَةٌ مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ﴾
Ibn Kathir adds:
Abu Ma’shar Al-Madani said that Muhammad bin Ka’b Al-Qurazi and several others said, “The Messenger of Allah sent Abu Bakr to lead the Hajj rituals on the ninth year (of Hijrah). He also sent ‘Ali bin Abi Talib with thirty or forty Ayat from Bara’ah (At-Tawbah), and he recited them to the people, giving the idolators four months during which they freely move about in the land. He recited these Ayat on the day of ‘Arafah (ninth of Dhul-Hijjah). The idolators were given twenty more days (till the end) of Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram, Safar, Rabi’ Al-Awwal and ten days from Rabi` Ath-Thani. He proclaimed to them in their camping areas, ‘No Mushrik will be allowed to perform Hajj after this year, nor a naked person to perform Tawaf around the House.”’ So Allah said,
Quran 9:5 says,
But when the forbidden months (i.e., 4-month grace-period given in verse 9:2) are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
On the significance of verse 9:5, the verse of the sword, Ibn Kathir writes:
(Caliph) Abu Bakr As-Siddiq used this and other honorable Ayat as proof for fighting those who refrained from paying the Zakah. These Ayat allowed fighting people unless, and until, they embrace Islam and implement its rulings and obligations. Allah mentioned the most important aspects of Islam here, including what is less important. Surely, the highest elements of Islam after the Two Testimonials, are the prayer, which is the right of Allah, the Exalted and Ever High, then the Zakah, which benefits the poor and needy. These are the most honorable acts that creatures perform, and this is why Allah often mentions the prayer and Zakah together. In the Two Sahihs (hadiths), it is recorded that Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said, «أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَشْهَدُوا أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللهِ وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاة» (I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, establish the prayer and pay the Zakah.) This honorable Ayah (9:5) was called the Ayah of the Sword, about which Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim said, “It abrogated every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolator, every treaty, and every term.” Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas commented: “No idolator had any more treaty or promise of safety ever since Surah Bara’ah was revealed. The four months, in addition to, all peace treaties conducted before Bara’ah was revealed and announced had ended by the tenth of the month of Rabi` Al-Akhir.”
Therefore, in the words of Islamic scholars whom you advise me to consult, this verse is the verse of the sword. It also defines the final status of Idolaters, Pagans, Animist Atheists etc. in Islam, which is conversion to Islam or the sword of Islam.
I hope you are convinced that you did not do your homework for the challenge you declared. We are still keen to shut down this side. We look forward to your next installment; but please do your homework before you send your next response. Otherwise, it’s waste of our time.
To the question of breaking the Hudaibiyah Treaty, it is Muhammad who broke the treaty, not the Quraysh. I have an article on Hudaibiyah Treaty for your reference: Tactics of Hamas and the Prophet’s Treaty of Hudaibiyya.
Challenge to Close Down Islam-watch: Muhammad, Not Meccans, Broke Hudaybiyah Treaty; It Has No Connection with Sword Verse 9:5- Part II of the debate
by MA Khan 06 Dec, 2008 Readers, Mr. Ahmed has returned me the following response to the first installment in this debate. My response follows.
I also take this opportunity to announce that my book, entitled Jihad: A Legacy of Forced Conversion, Imperialism and Slavery, will soon be published.
Debate between editor MA Khan and Mr. Ahmed:
Part 1: Challenge to Close Down Islam-watch: Debate on Quran 9:5, the ‘Sword Verse’
Part 2: Challenge to Close Down Islam-watch: Muhammad, Not Meccans, Broke Hudaybiyah Treaty
Part 3: Challenge from Ahmed: Islam-watch Remains Live; Ahmed Leaves with Respect
From Mr Ahmed:
Here is the response for your arguments.
I fear you made a huge mistake in your arguments, and to make matters worse, you said a lot of things but wouldn’t provide any evidence, especially from Hadith or Quran.
Let me provide you myself with evidences:
Here, first, this is how the treaty was pledged:
“In the name of God. These are the conditions of Peace between Muhammad (SAW), son of Abdullah and Suhayl ibn Amr the envoy of Mecca. There will be no fighting for ten years. Anyone who wishes to join Muhammad (SAW) and to enter into any agreement with him is free to do so. Anyone who wishes to join the Quraish and to enter into any agreement with them is free to do so. A young man, or one whose father is alive, if he goes to Muhammad without permission from his father or guardian, will be returned to his father or guardian. But if anyone goes to the Quraish, he will not be returned. This year Muhammad (SAW) will go back without entering Mecca. But next year he and his followers can enter Mecca, spend three days, perform the circuit. During these three days the Quraish will withdraw to the surrounding hills. When Muhammad and his followers enter into Mecca, they will be unarmed except for sheathed swords which wayfarers in Arabia always have with them.” (Sahih Muslim 19:4401)
And here is the evidence that Pagans broke the treaty:
Taken from here:
Khuza’ah had no choice but to inform the Messenger, their ally, that Banu Bakar and their allies Quraysh had unilaterally broken the treaty of Hudaybiyah by attacking them. The Messenger promised them, “I will prevent from you what I will prevent from myself.” (Ibn Hishaam)
The Quraish realized they had broken the treaty with the Messenger by attacking the Muslims’ allies.
Some further evidence:
In 629 AD, the Muslims made The first pilgrimage. Two years later, in 630 AD, a skirmish between the Bedouin tribe of Khuza’a and the Banu Bakr tribe which was an ally of the Quraysh occurred; this was a breach of the treaty as one of the clauses of the treaty was ‘An attack on an ally of the party, will be considered an attack on the party itself’. Muhammad offered the Quraish three alternatives:
1. Dissolve their alliance with the Banu Bakr.
2. Compensate by paying blood money.
3. State that the treaty stood dissolved.
The Quraish chose the third alternative. Thus, Muhammad was left with ‘no alternative’ but to march on Mecca. He, along with 10000 men, marched to Mecca where he gave orders that old or sick men, children, men who dropped their arms, men who stayed in their homes, or people who stayed in Abu Sufyan’s home were not to be harmed and no trees were to be cut.. Thus, there was no bloodshed in the conquest.
Islam spread widely and quickly during the two years that the treaty was in effect. While Muhammad had one thousand four hundred followers when he signed the treaty in Hudaybiyya, he had well over ten thousand for his conquest of Mecca two years later. (Sirat ul Rasool )
And here is some historical evidence for you my friend: Behind the Treaty of Hudaybiyya
ISLAMIC SUPREME COUNCIL OF AMERICA – SUMMER 2002
Recently, a number of authors and commentators in the media have referred to the Treaty of Hudaybiyya – between Prophet Muhammad and his adversaries, the Quraysh – as something on which recent Mideast peace efforts have been based. Unfortunately, such references have stated, more often than not, that the Hudaybiyya Treaty was a temporary truce into which the Prophet Muhammad entered with the leaders of Mecca, then subsequently violated.
ISCA is concerned that this falsehood, that the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, violated the Treaty of Hudaybiyya is being repeated throughout the world. For the sake of better understanding, we will briefly elucidate the actual circumstances of the breaking of the Treaty of Hudaybiyya.
The treaty was established in 628 CE between Prophet Muhammad and the Quraysh tribe, rulers of Makkah, several years after the Prophet migrated to Madina to escape the Quraysh’s vicious persecution of the Muslim faithful.
In the years preceding the treaty, the Prophet had transformed Madina into a city-state ruled by a constitution (agreed upon among the local Arab tribes, Jews and Muslims), and had begun to propagate the faith, sending preachers throughout Arabia and nearby lands.
Seeing Islam’s successful and rapid growth, the Quraysh had sent armies time and again to destroy the fledgling Muslim state, without success. Fearing the loss of their prestige and power as custodians of Arabia’s idolatrous religion, the Quraysh continued fighting the new Muslim community, but lost a series of decisive battles. Six years after migrating to Madina, the Prophet decided to make the lesser pilgrimage to Makkah, which years of warfare with the Quraysh had prevented. Despite his willingness to enter the Holy City with his companions unarmed, and with the intention to perform the rites of the pilgrimage and leave, the Quraysh refused him entry. The Prophet’s companions urged him to fight to defend his right to perform the ritual, but the Prophet always preferred to seek a peaceful solution instead of resorting to bloodshed. Therefore, at a place known as Hudaybiyya, he agreed to a truce – an agreement that he would return to Madina without completing the pilgrimage. Other conditions were imposed that were disadvantageous to the Muslims but the Prophet agreed to them in order to avoid bloodshed.
It was agreed that:
1. All hostilities should cease for ten years;
2. Any one leaving the Quraysh to join the Prophet without the permission of his guardian or chief should be returned to Makkah;
3. Any Muslims joining the Quraysh should not be returned to the Muslims;
4. Any tribe seeking to enter into alliance with either with the Quraysh or the Muslims should be at liberty to do so;
5. The Muslims should return to Madina on the present occasion without advancing further; and
6. They should be permitted in the following year to visit Makkah and to remain there for three days.
The following year, the Prophet made the pilgrimage, according to the terms of the Treaty and unopposed by the Quraysh.
Near the end of the seventh year after migration, the Quraysh and the tribe of Bani Bakr attacked the Bani Khuzaah tribe, who were allies of the Muslims. This incident directly violated the treaty of Hudaybiyya (cf. item 1 above) and the Bani Khuzaah appealed to the Prophet for help and protection.
However, even then the Prophet did not act in haste. Instead he sent a letter to the Quraysh demanding payment of blood money for those killed, and a disbandment of their alliance with the Bani Bakr. Otherwise, the Prophet said, the treaty would be declared null and void.
Quraysh then sent an envoy to Madina to announce that they themselves considered the Treaty of Hudaybiyya null and void. However, they immediately regretted this step and Quraysh leader Abu Sufyan himself traveled to Madina to renew the contract. Despite being the greatest enemy and persecutor of the Muslims, no hand was laid on him. He was permitted to enter the Prophet’s mosque and announce that he was reinstating the Treaty of Hudaybiyya.” His tardy announcement was unheeded by the Muslims and Abu Sufyan returned to Makkah in humiliation before his people.
It was only then, after the Muslims had honored a treaty that was largely disadvantageous to them, after they refused to respond to the Quraysh’s breach of the contract, and the Quraysh’s subsequent nullification of said contract, that the Prophet prepared to retake of Makkah. He, therefore, did not breach the Treaty of Hudaybiyya.
So you’re just taking and considering things on your own without any Islamic support. The story which you have failed to understand is, to why Allah revealed Surah Tawba (Bara’at). He said the Muslims have to break any treaty with the deceptive pagans:
Look at the verses:
9:1. A (declaration) of immunity from Allah and His Messenger, to those of the Pagans with whom ye have contracted mutual alliances:-
9:2. Go ye, then, for four months, backwards and forwards, (as ye will), throughout the land, but know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allah (by your falsehood) but that Allah will cover with shame those who reject Him.
As you can see that we are talking about the pact here whose performance has been made void on Muslims by God Almighty.
Verse 9:2–3 speaks of the warning to given to pagans and dissolution of the treaty. Muslims are commanded to grant asylum to pagans if they ask for one. This shows us the tolerant nature of Islam. Pagans were welcomed and protected in Muslim community. This destroys all arguments that Muslims are to kill pagans/non Muslims.
Now you said that Muslims were the first one who broke the treaty and hence were the offenders which is absolutely wrong and hilarious. Our focus now would be verse 4:
9:4. (But the treaties are) not dissolved with those Pagans with whom ye have entered into alliance and who have not subsequently failed you in aught, nor aided any one against you. So fulfil your engagements with them to the end of their term: for Allah loveth the righteous.
As you can see in the emphasized text that Muslims are to continue performance of the treaty with those Pagans who have not violated the terms of the treaty. But only with those who made treacherous attempts against Muslim Community, The Messenger Of God by taking part with the enemies of Islam and betrayal of trust.
It is clearly written in the next half part of Verse 4 that treaty should be fulfilled of its term. So again it goes against your argument that Muslims first broke the treaty. As orders given to Muslim were to stop performance AGAINST THOSE who have BREACHED THE TERMS OF TREATY. So the terms of treaty were violated first.
And read the whole verse of Surah 5. It says if they repent, they would be forgiven.
And also, see what it says here:
12. But if they break their solemn pledges after having concluded a covenant, and revile your religion, then fight against these archetypes of faithlessness who, behold, have no [regard for their own] pledges, so that they might desist [from aggression].
13. Would you, perchance, fail to fight against people who have broken their solemn pledges, and have done all that they could to drive the Apostle away, and have been first to attack you? Do you hold them in awe? Nay, it is God alone of whom you ought to stand in awe, if you are [truly] believers!
This clearly shows that the Muslims stand true to those who stand true to them, AND if they are attacked or provoked, they have the right to defend themselves. In verse 13, it clearly says wouldn’t the Muslims fight the people who brake their treaties and wish to drive them away.
Now I think I have done my homework, and hopefully you understand that your misconception is totally wrong, and just wish that you at least read the whole Surah and the historical contexts.
Thanks and waiting for your response.
MA Khan’s response:
Mr Ahmed insisted that verse 9:5 is somehow related to the Hudaibiyah Treaty for which I could not see any evidence in the commentaries of the star Islamic scholars, whom he asked to me consult. The articles he has pasted above also do not make this claim. He proves that the great scholars whom he initially asked me to refer are nothing but a bunch of ignorants, idiots. Mr. Ahmed also wants to prove that he himself is the greatest scholar of Islam, although he did not produce any evidence of his credentials. He is obviously very little read in Islamic literatures other than copying and pasting some contents from various Islamic Websites.
When I inquired with him whether he agrees with the great scholars of Islam who proudly called Quran 9:5 as the “ayah of the Sword” (Ibn Kathir in his tafsir of Quran 9:5 gives the title: “This is the Ayah of the Sword”) and that it gives a general choice of death and Islam to all idolaters, he disagreed. He insisted that it only applied to the pagan Quraysh. His assertion not only rebuffs the great scholars of Islam but also makes a mockery of his God Allah’s sanity; He loads the Quran with so many verses like 9:5 that has no relevance today. The Quraysh and pagans of Arabia were exterminated by such verses 14 centuries ago and Muslims still have to ape these poisonous verses, also of no significance to their life. Mr Ahmed proves Allah is a big-size idiot.
A couple of points first:
1. Mr Ahmed accuse of me using no Quranic and Hadith references in my previous comment. I hope, this response would would satisfy him.
2. Mr Ahmed says, “read the whole verse of Surah 5. It says if they repent, they would be forgiven.”
Mr Ahmed is being deceptive here and using that part of the verse that suits him. Actually it says, “but if they repent, and establish regular prayers (Namaaz) and practise regular charity (Zakat), then open the way for them….” In other words, if the pagans become Muslims, then forgive them. Mr Ahmed feels that they should be killed even after they become good Muslim.
Moving on, I will first prove once again that Muhammad broke the Hudaybiyah Treaty, not the Quraysh. Then I will prove conclusively that verse 9:5 has no connection to this treaty at all.
Before proceeding, I also want to assure Mr Ahmed that although he has promised to leave Islam if he failed to succeed in his challenge, I personally would not insist that he leaves Islam. ‘Leaving Islam’ is the most difficult proposition for Muslims although I feel that any human being having a reasonable understanding of this religion would not want to be pat of it for a second.
I am happy that he engaged in a decent debate, that he is willing to engage with us, instead of trying to terrorize or throw vulgarities. However, I would assure him that I will close his site if proven wrong: I have made this promise when I set up this site and will stand by it.
The Genesis of the Hudaibiyah Treaty. The drama of Hudaybiyah Treaty started when Muhammad saw a dream of occupying Mecca in early 628 CE [Ibn Ishaq, p. 505]. Thereupon, Muhammad ordered preparation for attacking Mecca. He urged all nearby non-Muslim tribes to join his expedition; none came on board as it was a dangerous mission. Meccans were the strongest community in the Hejaz. At length, Muhammad marched toward Mecca with some 1,300 to 1,525 armed Muslims during the lesser pilgrimage (omra) in April 628.
When the Meccan heard of Muhammad’s approach, they prepared themselves to stop the invaders at any cost. Hearing of this determined preparation of the Meccans, who had assembled some 10,000 fighters a year earlier in the Battle of the Ditch, Muhammad camped at Hudaybiyah outside Mecca. And changing his tune, he sent a message to Mecca that he did not come for fighting but to perform omra only. After an intense negotiation, a treaty was signed, which Mr Ahmed has cited above. The fact that Muhammad’s original intention was to occupy Mecca comes from the following passage in Ibn Ishaq [p. 505]:
The apostle’s companions had gone out without any doubt of occupying Mecca because of the vision which the apostle had seen, and when they saw the negotiations for peace and a withdrawal going on and what the apostle had taken on himself, they felt depressed almost to the point of death.
In case, Mr. Ahmed would still deny that Muhammad wanted to attack and occupy Mecca on this occasion, let us hear from Al-Zuhri, a prominent companion of Muhammad. In order to appease the unhappy murderous Jihadis who were game for blood, notes Al-Zuhr: ‘The apostle then went on his way back (from Hudaybiya) and when he was half-way back, the sura al-Fath (Victory) came down: ‘We have given you a plain victory that God may forgive you your past sin and the sin which is to come and may complete his favor upon you and guide you on an upright path’’ [Ibn Ishaq, p. 505–06].
Muhammad, a more level-headed military strategist, signed the rather disadvantageous treaty fearing that an armed confrontation could involve immense blood-shedding on his own side; it could probably be the end of his religious mission, too. Howsoever nonsensical it sounds, Allah and his apostle did not feel least ashamed of calling this treaty—a disadvantageous one as every Muslim including Mr. Ahmed knows—a Victory (in Sura al-Fath) for Muslims.
Muhammad had no right to enforce the Hudaybiyah Treaty: Before proceeding further to examine who breached the treaty, let us first examine whether Muhammad had any right to enforce the signing of the treaty. To a rational, fair-minded person, he had no right. Ka’ba was the centre of religious devotion for the pagans of Arabia; omra and hajj were centuries-old pre-Islamic pagan rituals. Muhammad, as founder of a new religion, had no right to perform the rituals of the pagans, and less so, in latter’s temple. For a rational person, Muhammad should have created his own set of rituals and his own centre of religious devotion to perform them. This clearly demonstrates Muhammad’s mental and intellectual incapacity of the highest degree. And his attempt to usurp the pagans’ religious rituals and perform them in their most sacred temples through a potentially blood-letting military attack makes the whole thing abhorrent; it was nothing less than a barbaric attempt on Muhammad’s part.
Who truly breached the treaty: As Mr. Ahmed cited above, Muslims universally claim that the Meccans broke the treaty, not Muhammad [Saudi Ministry of Hajj Website]. Many Western scholars have also joined the Islamic chorus. One such Kafir scholar is Dr Daniel Pipes, who is universally hated by Muslims for his objective analysis of Islam. He says, ‘Muhammad was technically within his rights to abrogate the treaty, for the Quraysh, or at least their allies, had broken the terms’ [Pipes, p. 185]. This alleged breach by the Quraysh relates to an ongoing feud between two third-party tribes: Banu Bakr and Banu Khuza’a. Banu Bakr was an ally of the Quraysh, while Banu Khuza’a was of Muhammad.
According to Al-Tabari, a merchant named Malik bin Abbad of the Banu Bakr confederate, on his trade-journey was attacked by Banu Khuza’a; they killed him and took his property. In retaliation, Banu Bakr killed a man from Banu Khuza’a. In their second turn of attack, Banu Khuza’a killed three brothers, the leading men of Banu Bakr, namely Salma, Kulthum and Dhu’ayb. In the counter retaliation, Banu Bakr killed one Banu Khuza’a man, named Munabbih—in which, a few Quraysh men allegedly assisted Banu Bakr in the darkness of night [Al-Tabari, Vol. VI, p. 160-162].
Since Banu Khuza’a was now Muhammad’s Mawla [confederate], the Quraysh has breached the Hudaybiya Treaty according to scholars like Pipes and 1.4b Muslims. With the Hudaybiya Treaty broken, Muhammad was legally justified in attacking Mecca. Let me address a few crucial points ignored here:
The first thing ignored here is that the Banu Khuza’a initiated the feud by killing and robbing a merchant from Banu Bakr. Banu Khuza’a had attacked Banu Bakr twice, killing four men. Banu Bakr attacked twice, to retaliate only, and killed two Banu Khuza’a men. Khuza’a had killed two extra Banu Bakr men, the leading ones of the tribe. Mr Ahmed and his 1.4b Muslim cohorts talk about the payment of blood money. Ahmed says that Muhammad gave the Quraysh ultimatum to “Compensate by paying blood money.” If Mr Ahmed has some minimum human sense, it is Khuza’a and their Mawla Muhammad who owed ‘blood money’ for the killing of two extra men from Banu Bakr.
Secondly, if blood money was to be demanded, it should have been demanded from Banu Bakr, the directly involved party in the feud. If they refused, Muhammad, if he had any human sense of justice, could, at best, have assisted Banu Khuza’a in attacking Banu Bakr, not the Quraysh. Howsoever unjust that might have been, Muhammad could at best help in Banu Khuza’a’s attack of Mecca; he had no right whatsoever to attack Mecca for his own conquest. In civilized sense, Muhammad’s attack of Mecca was totally without any ground: a barbarous one at that.
Muhammad broke the treaty, not the Quraysh: The second-most important point, the likes of Pipes and 1.4b+ Muslim cohorts totally ignore is the fact that Muhammad broke the terms of the treaty at the earliest opportunity, time and again before the preposterous claim of Quraysh’s breach of it came up. Soon after the treaty, Abu Basir, who had embraced Islam but was held back by his parents in Mecca, escaped and came to Muhammad at Medina. When two Meccans came to take him back, Muhammad obliged as he was bound to send him back according to the treaty. On the way back, Abu Basir took the sword from his escorts and slaughtered one of them. The other man ran to Muhammad; Abu Basir chased him wielding the blood-soaked sword. Muhammad mildly rebuked him and let go. Muhammad broke the treaty twice here: firstly failing to return Abu Basir to Mecca and secondly, killing a Meccan. Killing a Kafir is the most halal thing in Islam; no blood-money, no justice applies.
That was not the end of Muhammad’s breach of Hudaybiyah Treaty; more barbarous breaches were to come. With connivance, probably secret encouragement, of Muhammad, Abu Basir formed a raiding brigand consisting of some 70 of Muhammad’s followers and unleashed a barbarous spree of attacking and plundering Meccan caravans, sparing none of the attendants alive. Ibn Ishaq writes of Abu Basir’s actions:
Then Abu Basir went off until he halted at al-‘Is in the region of Dhu’l-Marwa by the sea-shore on the road which Quraysh were accustomed to take to Syria… About seventy men attached themselves to him, and they so harried Quraysh, killing everyone they could get hold of and cutting to pieces every caravan that passed them.
Seeing no hope that Muhammad would at all respect treaty, the Quraysh gave up on it; instead, says Ibn Ishaq, the ‘Quraysh wrote to the apostle begging him by the ties of kinship to take these men in… so the apostle took them in and they came to him in Medina.’ The fact that Abu Basir’s brigand gave up their barbarous actions as soon as Muhammad called them back to Medina means that their activities were directed by him. It must not be forgotten that Muhammad killed in hundreds of those who did not accept his invitation to embrace Islam (i.e., Jews of Banu Quraiza, Khaybar and Banu Mushtaliq etc.) [Ibn Ishaq, p. 507–08]. His disciples could no way disobey him.
A woman convert named Umm Kulthum d. ‘Uqba b. Abu Mu’ayt, also held back by her family, escaped from Mecca and came to arrived Medina. Muhammad refused to return her when the Meccans came to take her back [Ibn Ishaq, p. 509]. He broke the treaty once again.
No connection between ‘Sword Verse 9:5’ and Hudaybiyah Treaty: Described above is the story of the Hudaybiyah Treaty. Undoubtedly, Muhammad’s attempt to occupy Mecca in 628, which led to the treaty, was totally unacceptable. Secondly, Muhammad breached the treaty directly and multiple times from the word ago, often in the most cruel and barbarous manners. Thirdly, regarding the allegation of Quraysh’s breach of Hudaybiyah Treaty, Islamic literatures say that a few Quraysh men helped the Banu Bakr’s attack of Banu Khuza’a in the ‘darkness of night.’ This means that nobody saw them; this sounds to me an unfounded accusation to invent an excuse to attack Mecca (nothing new for Muhammad; he did it quite often like his attack of Banu Nadir in 625). Even if the allegation was true, Muhammad and his Mawla Banu Khuza’a still owed the blood-money for killing two extra Banu Bakr men. (Indeed, Muhammad directly owed the blood-money for killing many Quraysh men and plundering their caravans during the two-year period of Hudaybiyah Treaty before Muhammad threw it away.) If at all, Muhammad should have helped Banu Khuza’a in attacking Banu Bakr, who were directly involved in the feud; he could no way attack the Quraysh for his own conquest of the city.
Moving on, because of the preposterous allegation of Quraysh’s breach of the treaty, Muhammad attacked Mecca in 630 and quenched his vengeance. Let’s accept it, Muhammad did the right thing; the issue was settled. But the verse 9:5 (indeed, verses 9:1-37) was revealed in 631, one year after Muhammad threw away the Hudaybiyah Treaty and captured Mecca. If Mr Ahmed was to link up verse 9:5 with Hudaybiyah, the question naturally arises:
Why Allah and Muhammad bring up the ‘Hudaybiyah breach’ issue again one year after it had been settled?
It appears that Mr Ahmed, his God and Prophet believe in double-vengeance for the same breach.
Why the ‘Sword Verse 9:5’ or Quran 9:1–37 was revealed? Indeed, the first part of Sura Tauba (i.e., Quran 9:1–37), which included the ‘Sword Verse 9:5’, was for Muhammad’s double-vengeance of some kind; to be accurate, for creating an excuse for the next round of vengeance and violence against the Meccans and all idolaters of Arabia with any ground, whatsoever. In Muhammad’s conquest of Mecca, some kind of tolerance, although cruel at its best, was given to the Pagans of Mecca. It comes from the following story in Ibn Ishaq (and other pious biographies of Muhammad).
When Muhammad approached Mecca in 630 with his huge invincible army, the Quraysh leader Abu Sufyan, one of Muhammad’s many fathers-in-law, quickly set off in the darkness to meet Muhammad for persuading him not to attack the city. On the way, Abu Sufyan met his brother Al-Abbas, who had joined Muhammad’s party. Al-Abbas promised to protect him and led him to Muhammad. On the way, Omar al-Khattab (second caliph of Islam) wanted to cut off his head, but al-Abbas stopped him [Ibn Ishaq, p. 547].
The next morning Abu Sufyan was brought to Muhammad’s presence. According to Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad said, ‘Isn’t it time that you should recognize there is no God but Allah?’ Abu Sufyan never believed that Mohammed was a prophet and hesitated. To this, an angry Muhammad exclaimed, ‘Woe to you, Abu Sufyan! Isn’t it time that you recognized that I am the apostle of God?’ To which he answered, ‘As to that I still have some doubt.’ Seeing a grave situation that Abu Sufian would lose his head right away, al-Abbas forcefully intervened and told Abu Sufian, ‘Submit and testify that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the apostle of God before you lose your head.’ Abu Sufyan had no choice but to comply to save his head. Al-Abbas then requested Muhammad to do something for Abu Sufyan’s people. To this request, Muhammad said, ‘He who enters Abu Sufyan’s house is safe, and he who locks his door is safe and he, who enters the mosque (the Ka’ba) is safe’ [Ibn Ishaq, p. 547–48].
Abu Sufyan returned to the Quraysh and informed them of this concession Muhammad gave to them. He also had famously said, ‘Aslim Taslam’: that is, ‘be a Muslim and you are safe’ (some commentators also attribute it to Muhammad). Accordingly, when Muhammad entered Mecca the next day, only a small group of recalcitrant Meccans, who fell on Khalid ibn Walid’s army, showed a meek resistance. Khalid slaughtered those who fell within his reach and pursued others who ran to save their lives up the hills. The rest, terrified as they were, did not resist and were not violated by Muhammad. A large number of them, some 2,000, also took up Abu Sufyan’s or Muhammad’s warning ‘Aslim Taslam’ and accepted Islam. The day of hajj pilgrimage soon arrived; this year, both the remaining idolaters and Muslims, including Muhammad, performed hajj together. The ‘agreement’ or ‘treaty’, mentioned in these verses of Surah Tauba, refers to this concession given to the Quraysh at the time of the conquest of Mecca in 630, not the ‘Hudaybiyah Treaty’ signed three years earlier (628).
Why Allah (aka Muhammad) needed this verse? After the conquest of Mecca, Muhammad had become the undisputed dictator of Arabia. Now was the time for the final settlement of issues with the remaining non-Muslims of Arabia: Pagans, Jews and Christians. The early part of Sura Tauba [Quran 1–37] was revealed to settle the question of the Pagans, Jews and Christians; it defines their final status in Islam.
Muhammad began his mission mainly to abolish polytheism from Arabia. Monotheistic Judaism, Christianity etc. could be tolerated by giving its followers hard choices; but polytheism, idol-worship, partnership to God are the most abhorrent, evil deeds in the world to Muhammad and his Allah. It could not be tolerated; less so their access to the Ka’ba and presence in the holy city of Mecca. Allah slowly devised his strategy to exterminate the remaining Pagans, most urgently from Mecca, the heart of Islam. After taking Mecca in 630, one whole year the polytheists were allowed to worship in the Ka’ba—a permission Muhammad had given them at the time of its capture. But Muhammad, having now become the undisputed tyrant of Arabia, could not tolerate it any further. He had become so abhorrent of idolatry that he skipped the hajj pilgrimage of next year (631); he did not want to come in contact with the idolaters while performing hajj alongside them. He could not keep away from the Ka’ba, the centre of his whole mission, for long either. So, Allah revealed these verses of Surah Tauba in order to completely purify Mecca and the Ka’ba from the filth of idolatry. Muhammad sent Ali to announce these verses during the hajj rituals of 631, so that Muhammad could perform hajj the next year without coming in contact with the filthy, abhorrent polytheists. And, indeed, Muhammad went performed hajj the next year (632), incidentally the last for him as he soon died. This was also the first time that only Muslims performed the centuries-old Pagan ritual of hajj in the Ka’ba. Idolaters were never permitted to the Ka’ba, not even in the holy city of Mecca and Medina to this day.
While conquering Mecca, Muhammad, in haste, agreed that those Pagans, who would not oppose his entry into Mecca, would be allowed to practice their religion without setting any time-limit, i.e., indefinitely. He did not realize that they would resist Islam for long. So, to exterminate those recalcitrant Quraysh pagans, the initial verses of this Sura were revealed. In Quran 9:1, Allah dissolves the mutual agreement that was made with the Quraysh (through Abu Sufian) while conquering Mecca; he now gave them four months to decide on accepting Islam; if not, they must face the sword [Quran 9:2,5]. In verses 9:3 and 3:7, some treaties with friendly Pagan tribes, namely Bani Kinanah, Bani Khuza’ah and Bani Damrah, were excluded from this dissolution [See Maududi’s tafsir of verse 9:7]. The durations (one, two, three years or whatever) of those treaties were allowed to be completed before they must convert to Islam. But Ibn Kathir says in the tafsir of verse 9:3 that those treaties were also not allowed to exceed the four-month grace period given in verse 9:2. Muhammad had also probably changed his mind about those friendly tribes soon afterward. Moreover, since Muhammad wanted to perform hajj next year in the absence of filthy idolaters, verse 9:28 banned them from entering the Ka’ba any further:
O ye who believe! Truly the Pagans are unclean; so let them not, after this year of theirs, approach the Sacred Mosque…
I have said that this part of the Sura [Quran 9:1–37] was to finalize the status of non-Muslims in Islam. Verses 9:1–28 outlined a blueprint for wiping out the idolaters/polytheists from Islamic lands, who cannot be tolerated according to canonical Islam, Muhammad’s Islam. Thereafter, in remaining verses, namely Quran 29–37, Allah defined the final status of monotheists (Jews, Christians etc.) in Islam. Verse 9:29 commands Muslims to fight and kill them until they are defeated; their women and children are enslaved (as happened with Banu Quraiza, Khaybar and Banu Mustaliq Jews); they feel subdued to Islam and pay jizyah in willing humiliation:
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.
I think I have explained the issue to the satisfaction of readers. I am sure, Mr Ahmed and any diehard Muslim would not agree with it and will come back with some cut and paste counter. These modern scholars of Islam, whom Mr Ahmed cuts and pastes, are the master liars in the world (and they will never give any references from original sources or only what suits their case. How will they give proper references from original sources? They are truthful; these modern lies cannot to be found in them). As an example, the first article pasted by Mr Ahmed says:
Seeing Islam’s successful and rapid growth (in Medina), the Quraysh had sent armies time and again to destroy the fledgling Muslim state, without success. Fearing the loss of their prestige and power as custodians of Arabia’s idolatrous religion, the Quraysh continued fighting the new Muslim community, but lost a series of decisive battles.
This is an absolute lie. The Quraysh never aggressively attacked Muslims. The first bloody confrontation between the Meccans and Muhammad’s party took place at Nakhla, when Muhammad sent a group of raiders there. One must take into account that Nakhla was nine days’ journey from Muhammad’s abode Medina and only two days’ from Mecca. The Meccan party consisted of a trade-caravan attended by three Quraysh men and Muhammad’s side had eight armed attackers. Muslims killed one of the Quraysh, enslaved one with another escaped and plundered the caravan. Next, the Badr battle occurred when the Quraysh sent a rescue army to save a huge trade-caravan which was returning from Syria under Abu Sufyan’s care and Muhammad’s army tried to plunder. The battle of the Ditch, the only battle in which the Quraysh took the initiative, occurred because Muhammad’s continued plundering of Meccan caravans along any routes in Arabia had made their life-sustaining caravan-trades with foreign lands nearly impossible. Read any original biography of Muhammad—by Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Sa’d, Al-Waqidi or Al-Tabari; this is the story they will unequivocally tell, never otherwise.
If Mr Ahmed comes with some convincing counter-arguments from original sources, instead of pasting articles of the current generation of master liars of Islam, I will respond. Else, this is my last in this debate. I am hard-pressed on time.
- Ibn Ishaq, The Life of Muhammad, Oxford University Press, Karachi
- Al-Tabari, The History of al-Tabari, State University of Press, New York
- Allah, The Quran (Three most accepted translations available at http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/quran/)
- Maududi AA, Tahfeem-ul-Quran, Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi; also available online at (http://www.tafheem.net/main.html)
- Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, http://www.tafsir.com
- Pipes, D, Militant Islam Comes to America, WW Norton, New York
Challenge from Ahmed: Islam-watch Remains Live; Ahmed Leaves with Respect (Part III)
by MA Khan & Ahmed 03 Dec, 2008
Debate between editor MA Khan and Mr. Ahmed:
Part 1: Challenge to Close Down Islam-watch: Debate on Quran 9:5, the ‘Sword Verse’
Part 2: Challenge to Close Down Islam-watch: Muhammad, Not Meccans, Broke Hudaybiyah Treaty
Part 3:Challenge from Ahmed: Islam-watch Remains Live; Ahmed Leaves with Respect
Greetings Mr. Khan,
I will be with all honesty with you. I admit, I am unable to continue now, and that I have checked all Islamic sources as I can, but I couldn’t find refutations to your claim. All people who engage in a debate on this issue do claim 9:5 has a relation with Treaty of Hudaibiyyah, but you have some kind of solid proof against me. So I admit defeat in this. I am not a scholar, so I am not ready to continue in a very hard debate.
Let me tell you something. Although you and many of your supporters have shown little to nothing amount of respect towards me or any Muslim, I do respect you for your research and works. After seeing Ali Sina’s site, www.faithfreedom.org, and your site, a seed of doubt have been planted in my heart and ever since, and the more I looked, the more I feel separated from Islam. I tried to search for the truth. I am a Muslim, as for now, and I have been raised Muslim, and truthfully saying, I do not see any other faith which is more logical than Islam. Christianity is the most illogical religion, as well as Hinduism. Judaism is completely baseless – they are still waiting for a Messiah!! And many other faiths have problems too.
But let me ask you a question: If you think Islam is not true, than what is the truth? Which is the path to God? And if you are an atheist, please do not tell me that there is no God, because I find that the claim about this existence and universe came by accident even more illogical than these illogical religions! I firmly believe in the existence of God, and ONE God.
I am in complete state of confusion. My children and my wife are Muslims, and they look upon me as their role model, and I feel ridiculous and very, very bad to be like this. I now know, that Islam may not be the truth that has been told to me, and Mohammed may not be a ‘proper’ prophet and role model – but I also know that there is no other logical religion other than it.
This has been happening for more than a year now – and I do need someone to help me find the truth. Jesus said seek the truth and the truth will set you free, but his prophesy is not getting fulfiled according to me.
One of the reasons why I started to doubt about Mohammed is when I saw Jesus says “”love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”
But I never recalled Mohammed saying things like this! Even if it is Paul who said those words, I am generally against violence – I want to follow a path of love, tolerance, peace, and filled with justice – but worshipping one God.
Anyways, sorry for making this long, and thanks for your debate and patience. I will continue to search for the truth – if Islam is indeed the ultimate truth, I will pray for guidance for me as well as for all you.
I am deeply moved by your honesty. I am also impressed by your level of decency, where, to be true, I have failed myself. A few comments I made could have been more restrained. I will undoubtedly learn and improve in future.
I also urge my readers, the supporters in particular, to be more restrained against attacking the individuals; our attacks, which means unrestrained criticism in decent language, should be targeted at Islam, Muhammad and Allah included.
I am personally an atheist and a liberal humanist. It’s hardest to be an atheist, I know. I am atheist just because I did not come across any irrefutable argument in support of the existence of God.
My overall philosophy is that whether there is a god or not, it does not matter but living a good, honest and contributory life does. If there is a God, everything human beings do, or are capable of doing—good or bad—also ultimately spring from God. Our biological constitution—created by none else but God (I say ‘nature’)—is entirely responsible for all our actions. God cannot punish us for doing things, which He has made us capable of doing. In this regard, I like Einstein’s words most: “I cannot believe in a God who will sit in judgment of his own creation.”
Most of all, even no human father, with all his frailties and short-comings, would not wish to punish his sons or daughters for whatever crime they commit in the way Allah wants to punish humans in hellfire. Not even Hitler would have liked to punish the Jews the way Allah promises to punish sinners—his own creation, created out of his love. If He truly wants so, He is not worth the respect of civilized, compassionate human beings like you and me. I would rather protest this barbarity of Allah and happily join billions of otherwise good, humane and very valuable human beings, who will be in the pit of fire for eternity after death.
As you are on a path to find truth, I will advise you to start with the biography of the Prophet (by Ibn Ishaq or al-Tabari, the latter is more systematic but harder to get), followed by the Quran. This will help you understand Islam. If you are satisfied, stay with it. If not, move on to explore more.
Wish you best in your journey.