Hatred and Violence in the Qur’an Awareness Month: “Prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah”
Both hatred and violence in today’s installment:
Indeed, the worst of living creatures in the sight of Allah are those who have disbelieved, and they will not [ever] believe — the ones with whom you made a treaty but then they break their pledge every time, and they do not fear Allah.
So if you, [O Muhammad], gain dominance over them in war, disperse by [means of] them those behind them that perhaps they will be reminded.
If you [have reason to] fear from a people betrayal, throw [their treaty] back to them, [putting you] on equal terms. Indeed, Allah does not like traitors. And let not those who disbelieve think they will escape. Indeed, they will not cause failure [to Allah ].
And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged. (Qur’an 8:55-60)
“The worst of living creatures in the sight of Allah are those who have disbelieved” (v. 55) “” another indication that unbelievers are worthy of no respect or consideration, but should merely be despised.
Meanwhile, if the Muslims “fear from a people betrayal,” they should simply break the treaty they have with them (v. 58). Ibn Kathir says this means that Muslims should tell the unbelievers “that you are severing the treaty. This way, you will be on equal terms, in that, you and they will be aware that a state of war exists between you and that the bilateral peace treaty is null and void.”
Then comes war: Muslims should “prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy” (v. 60). Islamic apologists in the West often make much of the next verse: “And if they incline to peace, then incline to it [also] and rely upon Allah . Indeed, it is He who is the Hearing, the Knowing.” However, this is the peace of subjugation and dhimmitude (cf. Qur’an 9:29), not a peace treaty between equals. Moreover, some do not believe this truce should be indefinite in length. Sayyid Qutb explains:
At the time when this surah was revealed, God instructed His Messenger to remain at peace with those groups who refrained from fighting him and the Muslims, whether they entered into a formal treaty with the Muslims or not. The Prophet continued to accept a peaceful relationship with unbelievers and people of earlier revelations until Surah 9 was revealed, when he could only accept one of two alternatives: either they embraced Islam or paid jizyah [a tax levied on non-Muslims, per Qur"an 9:29] which indicated a state of peace. Otherwise, the only alternative was war, whenever this was feasible for the Muslims to undertake, so that all people submit to God alone.
That is, to Islam.