Quran 47:4 – “Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah’s Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah,- He will never let their deeds be lost.”
What is wrong in this?
Allah the sublime, is clearly telling the way an Army should behave during battle. Do you not see the words “until the war lays down its burdens”?
This is one verse where I don’t even need the context of verses ABOVE or BELOW to justify because it is so clear to justify.
If you are under an impression that this verse tells the Muslims to slaughter disbelievers under ALL circumstances then this article is of no use to you. You don’t pick a battle cry from a book and paint the entire book in the same color.
The fact that the verse specifically says “until the war lays down its burdens” means that the contextual limit which this verse imposes on the reader is the context of War. If you understand this and re-read the verse you will see that in just one verse Allah has laid several conditions and instructions that make this verse among the noblest verses that can be said during Battle.
This verse answers the following Questions –
1. Who should you kill?
Kill the Disbelievers who have also rallied against you ready to fight and kill you.
2. How do you know the disbelievers have also rallied before you to fight and kill?
A war is not a war if there is only one army and the verse cannot be more clearer that it is in the context of war because it says clearly “until the war lays down its burdens“.
3. How should you kill?
“smite at their necks” – Strike at their necks giving them a Quick Death. Do not Mutilate, amputate, disfigure, rape, dishonor or let them bleed slowly to death or starve to death. You will be surprised when you read history and see what armies do before killing. Just read your own histories from whichever land you are. Among the several options that an army has to kill, this verse commands the Muslims to use ONLY ONE and FORBIDS ALL OTHER ways.
4. Till when should you fight them?
Fight till you have “thoroughly subdued them” is what this verse commands us which is perfectly fair. Should you fight till you kill each and every one of them? Should you fight till you kill one or two people and return back further infuriating the enemy and prolonging the duration of war? This is foolish and Allah the Sublime gives a definite answer i.e Fight till they are “thoroughly subdued” meaning till they are not in a position to harm you.
5. What should you do after you have Subdued them?
Should you kill them which is what many “federal” and “democratic” armies have done in the past? Should you imprison them and send to torture cells like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay like the USA did.
No! Allah the Sublime instructs us to “bind a bond firmly (on them)” which can mean two things. i.e Disarm them and take them Captive. It can also mean to bind them with a peace treaty which essentially prevents them from harming you again.
6. What do you do with the Captives?
Again, do you kill them? or Rape them? or torture them? or destroy their homes, crops and properties? all which the modern armies are very experienced in doing. No! The answer which Allah gives in this verse is this, “thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom“.
This is the best part which the mischief mongers and seekers of hate overlook. I challenge you to search history and produce a Battle Speech which is better than this verse which has the element of “Mercy”, Generosity, conditions of stoppage of war, the purpose of going to war, the reward of going to war, the behavior during the war, all in such little words i.e in just one small verse you find all these things.
QURAN VERSE 47:4 IS AMONG THE BEST BATTLE SPEECHES and a verse which truly dictates peace by laying down strict and clear code of conduct for battles – you can certainly compare the battle speeches of famous historical figures and see what priorities they have during war.
- Winston Churchill, 1940 to England –
“We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be… we shall never surrender!”
If defense was the only thing in mind then You don’t have to go to France to defend England. Well I do not know the details and I am sure there were other aspects. But where are the various elements of war that Quran verse 47:4 has?
- George S Patton – A world war II senior officer of US army –
“I don’t care what color you are, so long as you go up there and kill those Kraut sons of bitches,..If you need me, you can always find me in the lead tank.” [761st Black Panther Tank Battalion]
- Pope Urban II – says this to his Christian crusaders to fight against Muslims –
“Let those who have been accustomed unjustly to wage private warfare against the faithful now go against the infidels and end with victory this war which should have been begun long ago. Let those who for a long time, have been robbers, now become knights. Let those who have been fighting against their brothers and relatives now fight in a proper way against the barbarians. Let those who have been serving as mercenaries for small pay now obtain the eternal reward. Let those who have been wearing themselves out in both body and soul now work for a double honor. Behold! on this side will be the sorrowful and poor, on that, the rich; on this side, the enemies of the Lord, on that, his friends.”
Muslims are people who follow the instructions of Quran to the letter. Verse 47:4 is a hallmark as a battle guide and the best of speeches with a wisdom that can only be divine.