“Do not hanker for peace with the infidels; behead them when you catch them” 47:4

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 47:4 “So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either [confer] favor afterwards or ransom [them] until the war lays down its burdens. That [is the command]. And if Allah had willed, He could have taken vengeance upon them [Himself], but [He ordered armed struggle] to test some of you by means of others. And those who are killed in the cause of God – never will He waste their deeds.”

Let’s read from the previous verses (47:1-4)

Chapter 47 of the Quran was revealed at a time when Muslims were getting persecuted, killed by the pagan Quraish, 1400 years ago. The verse was specifically revealed straight after some of the Muslims immigrated to Madinah, fleeing persecution.

Let’s start reading few verses before to get a better understanding:

47:1 “Those who disbelieve and avert [people] from the way of God – He will waste their deeds.”

47:2 “And those who believe and do righteous deeds and believe in what has been sent down upon Muhammad – and it is the truth from their Lord – He will remove from them their misdeeds and amend their condition.”

47:3 “That is because those who disbelieve follow falsehood, and those who believe follow the truth from their Lord; thus does God present to the people their comparisons.”

47:4 “So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either [confer] favor afterwards or ransom [them] until the war lays down its burdens. That [is the command]. And if Allah had willed, He could have taken vengeance upon them [Himself], but [He ordered armed struggle] to test some of you by means of others. And those who are killed in the cause of God – never will He waste their deeds.”

Reading verse 4 of chapter 47 of the Quran, the passage was revealed at a time in Madinah, when people were told to fight against tyranny and persecution, 1400 years ago. When we take a closer look towards the end of the verse it says, “Those who are killed in the cause of Allah”, these same words are used in the following verses of the Quran,

Quran 2:190 “Fight in the way of God those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. God does not like transgressors.”

Quran 2:246 “Have you not considered the assembly of the Children of Israel after [the time of] Moses when they said to a prophet of theirs, “Send to us a king, and we will fight in the way of God“? He said, “Would you perhaps refrain from fighting if fighting was prescribed for you?” They said, “And why should we not fight in the cause of God when we have been driven out from our homes and from our children?” But when fighting was prescribed for them, they turned away, except for a few of them. And God is Knowing of the wrongdoers.”

Quran 4:75 “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?”

So by reading the above verses, it becomes evident that Qur’an 47:4 does not encourage violence against the innocent. This shows that Quran 47:4 was revealed to fight in God’s cause in order to free people from oppression and tyranny, 1400 years ago.