To Those Who Are Being Fought
It is no use trying to avoid or evade the battle with false gods that are forced on the callers to the True Lord at every age.
Falsehood does not bear the existence of truth. Even if truth wants to live away from falsehood, leaving their end to the Judgment of Allah, falsehood will not accept that.
It will chase and attack truth until it destroys it. False gods will only leave truth holders when they leave their religion entirely and return to the man-made creeds from which Allah rescued them.
Prophet Shu‘aib (pbuh) said to his people:
(If there is a party of you who believes in that with which I have been sent and a party who does not believe, so be patient until Allah judges between us, and He is the Best of judges.)
(Al-A‘raf 7: 87)
But the disbelieving party did not accept that plan from Shu‘aib (pbuh).
They could not bear to see the truth living or a group delivered from the authority of false gods to worship Allah alone.
(The chiefs of those who were arrogant among his people said, ‘We shall certainly drive you out, O Shu‘aib, and those who have believed with you, from our town, or else you (all) must return to our religion.’)
(Al-A‘raf 7: 88)
Shu‘aib (pbuh) stood for truth and announced his refusal:
(‘Even though we hate it! We would have invented a lie against Allah if we returned to your religion, after Allah has rescued us from it.’)
(Al-A‘raf 7: 88-89)
There is no escape then from fighting the battle, and showing patience and perseverance until Allah Almighty grants victory; and to say as Prophet Shu‘aib (pbuh) said4:
(In Allah (alone) we put our trust. Our Lord, judge between us and our people in truth, for You are the Best of those who give judgment.)
(Al-A‘raf 7: 89)
The whole world around Messenger Muhammad (pbuh) turned into a storm wanting to tear him apart. He (pbuh) still stood firmly and patiently, resisting the forces of darkness with his bare hands.
Before the ‘Aqabah Pledge, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was not permitted to fight. He (pbuh) was commanded to hold on to prayer, patient endurance, and forgiveness.
But evil is wild and armed. It assaults without scruple and beats without mercy. It can force people away from goodness after being guided to it, and away from truth after their hearts opened up to it.
The Quraish brutally persecuted those who followed the Messenger (pbuh), tempting them away from their religion and exiling them from their homeland. Muslims were tempted, tormented at their merciless hands, or forced to flee to other lands – some to Abyssinia and others to Al-Madinah.
It was an insolent rebellion against Almighty Allah Almighty in which the Quraish cast behind their backs the grace He Almighty wanted for them, and used every weapon to deny His Prophet (pbuh), torturing and expelling whoever worshiped Allah alone, believed in His Prophet, and adhered to His Religion.
For faith, righteousness, and truth to live they must be protected and strengthened. Allah Almighty will not leave them defenseless, only depending in their battle on the power of faith and the deep sense of truth and goodness within the hearts. Material forces in the hands of falsehood will ultimately shake the hearts and pull away the souls, as people’s endurance has limits known to their Creator.1 Therefore, Allah gave His Messenger (pbuh) permission to fight and prevail over those who wronged and oppressed them.
The first revealed Ayat to legislate fighting was Allah’s Saying:
(Indeed, Allah defends those who believe. Indeed, Allah likes not any treacherous ingrate to Allah. Permission (to fight) has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. Indeed, Allah is able to give them victory. Those who have been expelled from their homes unjustly only because they said, ‘Our Lord is Allah.’ For had it not been that Allah checks one set of people by means of another, monasteries, churches, synagogues, and Masjids (mosques), wherein the Name of Allah is often mentioned, would surely have been pulled down. And Allah will surely support those who support Him (His Religion). Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might. Those who, if We give them power in the land, perform the Salah, give the Zakah, enjoin good and forbid evil. And with Allah rests the end of (all) matters.)
(Al-Hajj 22: 38-41)
Thus, Muslims were permitted to fight for what they believed in; for believers who, when given power in the land, would offer worship, give alms, enjoin righteousness, and forbid evil and sin.
Then Allah Almighty revealed: (Fight them until there is no more Fitnah), until there is freedom to embrace Islam and believers are no longer subjected to trials and persecution because of their religion;
…and the religion is only for Allah
(Al-Baqarah 2: 193)
the Law of Allah prevails and rules.
After Allah Almighty gave His Messenger (pbuh) permission to fight and the Ansar swore allegiance to him and vowed that they would uphold Islam, support him and those who followed him, and provide shelter for the Muslims, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) commanded his Companions (both those who had emigrated and those who were still with him in Makkah) to emigrate to Al-Madinah and join their brothers from the Ansar.
The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Allah Almighty has made for you brothers and a home where you can be secure.”2
- Sayyid Qutb, In the Shade of the Qur’an, interpretation of Surat Al-Hajj 22: 38-41.
- Ibn Hisham, As-Sirah An-Nabawiyyah, The Command to Fight Sent Down to the Messenger r, vol. 2.