Quran 8:12 – ‘I will Cast Terror Into the Hearts Of Those Who Disbelieve. Therefore Strike Off Their Heads’

Quran 8:12 – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” No reasonable person would interpret this to mean a spiritual struggle.

And

Quran 8:15 – “O ye who believe! When ye meet those who disbelieve in battle, turn not your backs to them. (16)Whoso on that day turneth his back to them, unless maneuvering for battle or intent to join a company, he truly hath incurred wrath from Allah, and his habitation will be hell, a hapless journey’s end.”

The historical context for the above passages (Quran 8:12 and 8:15) is that it was revealed at the battle of Badr. A battle in which the disbelievers (Pagans) of Makkah travelled 100s of miles to kill Muslims in Madinah. The pagans had 1000 soldiers, while the Muslims all they could gather to fight back in defence, had only 300 soldiers. Even though Prophet Muhammad (p) had left Makkah to find peace for its community without being persecuted, oppressed, they once again were trying to terrorize the Muslim community. Let’s read from Q. 8:9 to 8:19,

8:9 [Remember] when you asked help of your Lord, and He answered you, “Indeed, I will reinforce you with a thousand from the angels, following one another.”
8:10 And Allah made it not but good tidings and so that your hearts would be assured thereby. And victory is not but from Allah . Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.
8:11 [Remember] when He overwhelmed you with drowsiness [giving] security from Him and sent down upon you from the sky, rain by which to purify you and remove from you the evil [suggestions] of Satan and to make steadfast your hearts and plant firmly thereby your feet.
8:12 [Remember] when your Lord inspired to the angels, “I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike [them] upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip.”
8:13 That is because they opposed Allah and His Messenger. And whoever opposes Allah and His Messenger – indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.
8:14 “That [is yours], so taste it.” And indeed for the disbelievers is the punishment of the Fire.
8:15 O you who have believed, when you meet those who disbelieve advancing [for battle], do not turn to them your backs [in flight].
8:16 And whoever turns his back to them on such a day, unless swerving [as a strategy] for war or joining [another] company, has certainly returned with anger [upon him] from Allah , and his refuge is Hell – and wretched is the destination.
8:17 And you did not kill them, but it was Allah who killed them. And you threw not, [O Muhammad], when you threw, but it was Allah who threw that He might test the believers with a good test. Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
8:18 That [is so], and [also] that Allah will weaken the plot of the disbelievers.
8:19 If you [disbelievers] seek the victory – the defeat has come to you. And if you desist [from hostilities], it is best for you; but if you return [to war], We will return, and never will you be availed by your [large] company at all, even if it should increase; and [that is] because Allah is with the believers.

When we read the verses before and after, we get a clear picture that this was a battle. The killing that is mentioned in Q. 8:12 is on the battlefield, which took place 1400 years ago. When we read Q. 8:17 it says, that it was not Muhammed (or his companions) who killed the enemy, but it was Him (God) who had done so. Furthermore, Q 8:19 offers peace to the enemy, if the enemy desist from hostilities against Muslims,

8:19 If you [disbelievers] seek the victory – the defeat has come to you. And if you desist [from hostilities], it is best for you; but if you return [to war], We will return, and never will you be availed by your [large] company at all, even if it should increase; and [that is] because Allah is with the believers.

When we get to read the verses in its context, does it promote the killing of innocents? The answer is NO! Even when Muslims were being persecuted by the mighty army of Quraish, God Almighty encouraged Muslims to offer peace if they, the enemy stopped hostilities against them (Muslims).

Commentaries

The Holy Quran Arabic Text with English Translation, Commentary and comprehensive Introduction – Maulana Muhammad Ali

“19a It is related that when the Quraish left Makkah to attack the Muslims, they held on to their curtains of the Ka’bah and prayed thus; ‘O Allah, assist the best of the two forces and the most rightly directed of the two parties and the most honoured of the two groups and the most excellent of the two religions’. Others say that Abu Jahl prayed in the field of battle, saying: ‘O Allah, whoever of us is the greater cutter of the ties of relationship and more wicked, destroy him tomorrow morning’ (Rz).” [1]

Reference:

[1] The Holy Quran Arabic Text with English Translation, Commentary and comprehensive Introduction[Year 2002 Edition] by Maulana Muhammad Ali page 381

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10 Responses »

  1. Wow this article is full of shit. Battle of Badr was an offensive campaign by the Muslims. The 1000 men marching against the Muslims was to protect a Abu Sufyan’s caravan.

  2. a confusion. as far as i know 8;12 was revealed after the battle of badr

  3. May Allah bless you for this enlightening explanation.

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