In Surah Al-Tawba, it is announced, Slay the idolaters wherever you find them. (9/5) How do you explain this verse?
As is known, the Holy Quran was not sent down all at once, but was revealed in 23 years in accordance with the events, which took place. Here what the verse implies is the warfare between the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the first Muslims and pagans. Any country may issue an ultimatum against terrorists by declaring: You have four months to surrender, or else you will be killed wherever you are found.
Likewise, as the first verses of Surah Al-Tawba indicate, the pagans were granted four months. In the meanwhile, they were to be safe. But if they insisted on what they had been doing, they were to be killed. The finale of the verse Slay the idolaters wherever you find them. is Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. The next verse is as follows:
And if any of those who associate partners with God seeks asylum of you (O Messenger), grant him asylum, so that he may hear the Word of God, and then convey him to his place of security. That (is how you should act) because they are a people who have no knowledge (of the truth about Islam). (At-Taubah Surah, 9:6)
It is quite possible to see the signs of the divine mercy for the idolaters in this verse. Therefore, the idolaters must be given the chance to see the beauty of this religion and hear the word of Allah, because they are a people who have no knowledge of Islam. Those among them can live and travel safely in a place where Islam dominates. They can observe the Islamic way of life in the end but they may not become Muslim. If they do not become Muslim, nobody can kill them since they are not Muslim. On the other hand, they are assisted to return to their homeland securely.
History shows us that Muslims did not kill non-Muslims except in wars. If there was any, this is not because of Islam, but his ignorance of Islam. The same situation is also case for the non-Muslim countries. For example if a Muslim is robbed and killed in a non-Muslim country, this not always because of their hostility towards Islam. As todays penal codes also indicate, there are individual crimes. It is contrary to the concept of justice that a group of people be punished due to a crime of some person committed. The Holy Quran announces, That no bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another. (An-Najm Surah, 53:38)
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