بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Kaleef K. Karim
“Let those fight in the way of Allah who sell the life of this world for the other. Whoso fighteth in the way of Allah, be he slain or be he victorious, on him We shall bestow a vast reward.” – Quran 4:74
“Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah…” – Quran 4:76
Deceptive critics of Islam quote first part of Q 4:74 and beginning of Q 4:76-77, and show people who have no knowledge about Islam, that Muslims are encouraged in the Quran to wage violence against unbelievers. However, when we read the passage in its context, it exposes Islamophobe lies. Let’s read the passage in textual context,
4:74 So let those fight in the cause of Allah who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter. And he who fights in the cause of Allah and is killed or achieves victory – We will bestow upon him a great reward.
4:75 And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of God and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, “Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?”
4:76 Those who believe fight in the cause of God, and those who disbelieve fight in the cause of Taghut. So fight against the allies of Satan. Indeed, the plot of Satan has ever been weak.
4:77 Have you not seen those who were told, “Restrain your hands [from fighting] and establish prayer and give zakah”? But then when fighting was ordained for them, at once a party of them feared men as they fear God or with [even] greater fear. They said, “Our Lord, why have You decreed upon us fighting? If only You had postponed [it for] us for a short time.” Say, The enjoyment of this world is little, and the Hereafter is better for he who fears God. And injustice will not be done to you, [even] as much as a thread [inside a date seed].”
As context of the verses show, verse 75 tells us, “And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, “Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper”, this tells Muslims to fight to defend innocent civilians. What is wrong with defending civilians? As shown, when the verses are examined carefully in context, critics deceit is clearly exposed.
Tafsir al-Jalalayn commentary
“What is wrong with you, that you do not fight: this is an interrogative of rebuke, in other words, there is nothing to prevent you from fighting, in the way of God, and for, the deliverance of, the oppressed men, women, and children, whom the disbelievers persecuted and prevented from emigrating. Ibn ‘Abbās, may God be pleased with him and his father, said, ‘My mother and I were among them’; who say, supplicating, ‘O, our Lord, bring us forth from this town, Mecca, whose people are evildoers, through unbelief, and appoint for us a protector from You, to take charge of our affair, and appoint for us from You a helper’, to defend us against them. God responded to their supplication and facilitated escape for some of them, while others remained behind until Mecca was conquered — in charge of them the Prophet (s) placed ‘Attāb b. Asīd, who proceeded to seek justice for the wronged from those that had wronged them.” 
‘The Holy Quran Arabic Text with English Translation, Commentary and comprehensive Introduction’ – Maulana Muhammad Ali
“This verse explains what is meant by fighting in the way of Allåh. While most of the believers who had the means had escaped from Makkah, which is here spoken of as the city whose people are oppressors, there remained those who were weak and unable to undertake a journey. These were still persecuted and oppressed by the Makkans, as is clearly shown by the words of the verse, and not only men, but even women and young children, were persecuted. Fighting to deliver them from the persecution of the oppressors was really fighting in the way of Allåh. The next verse shows that these very oppressors are spoken of as fighting in the way of the devil.” 
‘Quran Translation and Commentary’ – Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi
“Answering the call of the oppressed
Left behind in Makkah were Muslims who were unable to migrate because of physical weakness and insufficiency of resources. Later on, the disbelievers themselves stopped them from going and started hurting and harassing them in all sots of ways so that they turn away from their faith in Islam. The names of these are preserved in exegetic works, for example, Sayyidna Ibn Abbas and his mother, Sulyma Ibn Hisham, Walid Ibn Walid and Abu Jahal Ibn Sahl, may Allah be pleased with them all (Qurtubi). These blessed people kept facing tyranny and torture because of their unflinching faith showing no signs that they would ever surrender their firm stand on Islam. However, they did continue praying to Allah Almighty for deliverance from this hard life which was finally accepted by Him He commanded Muslims to wage Jihad against the disbelievers and rescue the oppressed from their coercion and persecution. According to this verse, Muslims had requested Allah Almighty the favour of two things – that they be rescued from that town (meaning Makkah) and that they be blessed with some supporter and helper. The fact is that Allah Almighty granted both these prayers when He provided some of them with the opportunity to move out from there which was the fulfilment of their first wish. However, some of them remained staying right there until the Conquest of Makkah. At that time, the Holy Prophet appointed Sayyidna ‘Attab Ibn Aid as their caretaker and who had the oppressed Muslims delivered from their oppressors. Thus, granted was their second wish as well. It will be noted that the Holy Qur’an, rather than give a straightforward command to fight in this verse, has elected to use the words: … (What has happened to you that you do not fight in the way of Allah?). Here the hint given is that fighting and Jihad is a natural duty under such conditions, not doing which is certainly far from a reasonable man.
Praying to Allah is the panacea from all hardships
The words of prayer in verse 75: … tell us that one of the reasons why the command to fight came was the prayer made by these weak Muslims men and women. Allah Almighty responded to their prayer and commanded Muslims to wage Jihad against their oppressors and which put an end to their hardships immediately.” 
 Tafsir al-Jalalayn commentary http://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=74&tSoraNo=4&tAyahNo=75&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=2
 The Holy Quran Arabic Text with English Translation, Commentary and comprehensive Introduction [Year 2002 Edition] by Maulana Muhammad Ali page 217
 Quran Translation and Commentary by Maulana Mufti Mohammad Shafi Page 502 – 503