“And Kill Them Wherever You Find Them” Qur’an 2:191
Non-believers believe the Qur’an is full of evil and oppression and promotes terrorism. This is because they do not understand the Qur’an’s context as they read like they do with the bible. I recently received a question in my WhatsApp inbox “My Muslim brother, you claim Islam is a religion of peace, how do you answer this?” He sent me a list of Qur’anic verses which he and others believe the Qur’an is evil.
This article is my answer to the Christian friend and I hope it shall be helpful to Muslim brothers and sister who encounter the same questions.
Qur’an 2:191 “And kill them wherever you find them…”
When quoting a verse, if your aim is to understand the meaning of the context, then you must quote the whole verse and not just part of it. You may also refer to the previous verse (2:190) and you will definitely find the meaning. You may also read the next two or more verses, because the story is extended to more than one verse and even chapters.
If you take the whole verse, you will read this:
“And kill them wherever you find them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah (oppression) is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram (the sacred Mosque) until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.”
There are many similar verses on this issue.
As I said, go to the previous verse (2:190) and you will read:
“Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors”.
During the early days of the rise of Islam, non-believers tried to stop the religion by killing innocent men, women and children. Muslims never reacted to the torture because they weren’t allowed to do so. When the torture and killing reached to a worst point, Allah ordered them to protect themselves by fighting back.
Muslims did not fight except to defend themselves and protect their belief, as you read in your quoted verse:
But if they fight you, then kill them
and they never fought without the command of Allah, as you read:
Fight in the way of Allah…
and in another verse (22:39), you can read:
“Permission [to fight] has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory.”
The fights were arranged by non-believers sides based on their mission of putting off the calling to Islam. Muslims were defending themselves and their faith. So just because Allah was helping the Muslims by sending his army (Angels) to fight against oppression, as you can read:
And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory.
Non-believers always lost. So today they say Islam was spread by the sword … Muslims kill … The Qur’an commands Muslims to kill … etc.
Now, go to 2:193, and you will read:
“And fight them until there is no more oppression and the religion is for God, but if they cease, then no aggression is permitted except against the transgressors.”
That means we should stop fighting them if they wish to stop. The only ones we should still fight are those who transgress the limits (i.e. cheap tricks such as killing someone behind their backs during ceasefire, or they keep trying to fight us after their entire army officially surrendered).
My advice to you is that you should not derive a Qur’anic rule from a single verse in isolation, as the Qur’an usually scatters information about one topic everywhere. It is called Qur’an because of its repeatable narrations. Verse 2:190 says not to aggress. Aggression is unprovoked hostility towards one another. That means we have no right to fight anyone if they do not provoke us or do anything to us. And verses 8:61 and 4:90 say that if the enemy asks for peace and surrender, we have no right to fight them.
So Qur’an 2:191 Commands Muslims to Fight Back, Not to Attack the Innocent Souls.