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Continuing from the Previous article, We Ponder the Phrase "...Stern against the Disbelievers..." (Quran 48:29)


Continuing from the Previous article, We Ponder the Phrase "...Stern against the Disbelievers..." (Quran 48:29)


Published in March 13, 2019

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy







 We have received many comments on the previous article in which we have pondered on this Quranic phrase "Muhammad the messenger of God and those with him..." (48:29) (see the article, in English, on this link:   ). The chief comment came from Dr. Othman M. Ali who requested from our person to ponder on another phrase in the same Quranic verse: "...stern against the disbelievers..." (48:29). We write the present article to respond to this request, especially that this Quranic phrase is misunderstood and intentionally misinterpreted by most of the Muhammadans.



1- We have proved in the previous article ( that not everyone among those who were with Muhammad (i.e., his contemporaries who were near him) will enter into Paradise as per this Quranic phrase: "...God has promised those among them who believe and do good deeds forgiveness and a great reward." (48:29). This means those with him who will not enter into Paradise will enter into Hell in the Hereafter after the Day of Judgment. We have mentioned the following in the previous article: (...... The underlined words show clearly that some (and NOT all) of those who were with Muhammad will enter into Paradise and that they will die as sincere, monotheistic believers who performed good deeds and God will remit their sins and accept their repentance. This implies that some of those who were (with Muhammad) and drew near to him in terms of physical proximity were hypocrites adamant in hypocrisy and will die a such; i.e., as unrepentant disbelievers who hypocritically pretended to be believers......They are mentioned here: "Among the Desert-Arabs around you there are some hypocrites, and among the inhabitants of the city too. They have become adamant in hypocrisy. You do not know them, but We know them. We will torment them twice; then they will be returned to a severe torment." (9:101). Hence, they pretended to be pious in public to deceive Muhammad and other believers; they concealed their true stance of disbelief very well; their high stature as the nearest 'friends' of Muhammad allowed them to assume rule and control once he died and they committed the grave sins and the most heinous crimes (while abusing the name of Islam) within the Arabs conquests and the Arab civil strife; they are the sinful caliphs whose footsteps are followed by many rulers/sultans. More details concerning this topic are found in our "Quranic Moment" YouTube subtitled-into-English videos ( ) about the devilish prayers of the four sinful pre-Umayyad caliphs and within our book, in English, titled "The Unspoken-of History of the Pre-Umayyad 'Righteous' Caliphs", found on this link within our website:

2- We add here the fact that those who were adamant in hypocrisy needed to put on the appearance of piety (and loyalty to Muhammad and believers) in an exaggerated manner in order to be known by the dwellers of Yathreb as stern against the disbelievers and compassionate towards the sincere believers: "Muhammad the messenger of God and those with him are stern against the disbelievers, yet compassionate amongst themselves. You see them kneeling, prostrating, seeking blessings from God and approval. Their marks are on their faces from the effects of prostration. Such is their description in the Torah, and their description in the Gospel: like a plant that sprouts, becomes strong, grows thick, and rests on its stem, impressing the farmers. Through them He enrages the disbelievers. God has promised those among them who believe and do good deeds forgiveness and a great reward."" (48:29).   



  Being stern against disbelievers is part of the self-defense fighting legislations in the Quranic text which is the Only Source of Islam.

1- Within Arabia, most Arabs (away from Mecca and the powerful, affluent Qorayish tribe which controlled he Kaaba and pilgrimage) used to typically fight for grazing areas and sought within raids to enslave women and children and to get spoils (i.e., money, food and water, animals, etc.). Of course, at the time, the defeated tribes sought revenge and fighting and raids went on among Arabian tribes. This bad habit of raiding other tribes ended when Arabs converted to the religion of peace  en masse and became brethren in peace despite their different faiths (i.e., monotheists and polytheists): "When there comes God's victory and triumph. And you see the people entering God's religion in multitudes. Then celebrate the praise of your Lord, and seek His forgiveness. He is the Accepter of Repentance." (110:1-3).

2- The Islamic self-defense fighting is never practiced against peaceful non-Muslims (i.e., polytheists or rejecters of the Quran) who have other faiths; those peaceful ones who do not believe in the Quran are to be dealt with in peace and justice because they are brethren in Islam in terms of behavior (i.e., adhering to peace) regardless of their faiths: "As for those who have not fought against you for your religion, nor expelled you from your homes, God does not prohibit you from dealing with them kindly and equitably. God loves the equitable." (60:8). The Islamic self-defense fighting is practiced against polytheists/disbelievers in terms of aggressive, violent, non-peaceful behavior (their faiths/beliefs are not the issue here) who attack peaceful believers; the Lord God prohibits that believers would ally themselves to such aggressors: "But God prohibits you from allying yourselves to those who fought against you over your religion, and expelled you from your homes, and aided in your expulsion. Whoever takes them for allies - these are the unjust ones." (60:9).

3- Unlike mobile, moving nomads, Bedouins, and Desert-Arabs in their tribes in Arabia, the Yathreb city-state was a tempting target for Meccan and non-Meccan aggressors and belligerent ones who raided the early believers many times for several reasons; some of them hated the new faith (i.e., the Quran) and some merely sought looting and raiding typical at the time; the worst type of aggressors were the Meccans of Qorayish whose sole aim was to end the new faith and to annihilate believers altogether if they would not reject Islam (i.e., the Quran): "They ask you about fighting during the Sacred Month. Say, "Fighting during it is deplorable; but to bar others from God's path, and to disbelieve in Him, and to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and to expel its people from it, are more deplorable with God. And persecution is more serious than killing. They will not cease to fight you until they turn you back from your religion, if they can. Whoever among you turns back from his religion, and dies a disbeliever - those are they whose works will come to nothing, in this life, and in the Hereafter. Those are the inmates of the Fire, abiding in it forever." (2:217). This is why the Meccans of the powerful Qorayish tribe attacked Yathreb several times; at first, the early believers who settled in Yathreb were very weak; they were commanded not to defend themselves at all against any aggressors.

4- The Lord God has imposed military preparation to deter and frighten potential aggressors: "And prepare against them all the power you can muster, and all the cavalry you can mobilize, to terrify thereby God's enemies and your enemies, and others besides them whom you do not know, but God knows them..." (8:60).

5- The peaceful believers who settled in Yathreb were at first commanded to adhere to peace and never to defend themselves while Qorayish and non-Qorayish aggressors attacked them repeatedly; later on, when the military preparation was complete, the divine permission to them to engage into self-defense fighting was revealed to Muhammad here: "Permission is given to those who are fought against, and God is Able to give them victory. Those who were unjustly evicted from their homes, merely for saying, "Our Lord is God." Were it not that God repels people by means of others: monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques - where the name of God is mentioned much - would have been demolished. God supports whoever supports Him. God is Strong and Mighty." (22:39-40).

6- The military and logistical preparation did not coincide with psychological preparation for the peaceful believers whose leaning to peace in their lives made them inclined to submission to aggressors; many of them protested against the Quranic permission of engaging into self-defense fighting and asked to postpone any confrontation with the Meccan aggressors of the Qorayish tribe; yet, this Quranic response came to them: "Have you not considered those who were told, "Restrain your hands, and perform your prayers, and spend in regular charity"? But when fighting was ordained for them, a faction of them feared the people as God is ought to be feared, or even more. And they said, "Our Lord, why did You ordain fighting for us? If only You would postpone it for us for a short while." Say, "The enjoyments of this life are brief, but the Hereafter is better for the righteous, and you will not be wronged one bit."" (4:77).

7- The battle of Badr was a psychological test for them as it was the very first military confrontation with the powerful Meccan aggressors of the Qorayish tribe who kept attacking Yathreb several times; we see here the description of those who feared to participate in the self-defense fighting: "Even as your Lord brought you out of your home with the Truth, some believers were reluctant. Arguing with you about the Truth after it was made clear, as if they were being driven to death as they looked on. God has promised you one of the two groups - that it would be yours - but you wanted the unarmed group to be yours. God intends to prove the truth with His words, and to uproot the disbelievers." (8:5-7).

8- In order to treat/heal and face this fear of engaging into self-defense fighting, this verse, among others, was revealed: "And fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not commit aggression; God does not love the aggressors." (2:190).

8/1: We find here the prohibition of forsaking the battle of self-defense; those who run away, thus jeopardizing the lives of others in the self-defense troops, deserve Hell: "O you who believe! When you meet those who disbelieve on the march, never turn your backs on them. Anyone who turns his back on them on that Day, except while maneuvering for battle, or to join another group, has incurred wrath from God, and his abode is Hell - what a miserable destination!" (8:15-16).

8/2:  Sternness and severity within self-defense military endeavors against polytheistic attackers or disbelieving aggressors who breach peace treaties/pledges is also the source of deterrence to stop potential aggressors in the future: "The worst of creatures in God's view are those who disbelieve. They do not believe. Those of them with whom you made a treaty, but they violate their agreement every time. They are not among the pious ones." (8:55-56). This Quranic legislation is about military confrontation with them: "If you confront them in battle, make of them a fearsome example for those who follow them, that they may take heed." (8:57). This means that deterring aggressors leads to stopping bloodshed as attackers would stop their unjust war and stop breaching peace treaties and as potential aggressors would think twice before launching any attacks.

8/3: We assert here that the Quranic Chapter Eight is the first one to mention the military confrontation between (1) Muhammad and the early believers of Yathreb and (2) the Meccan/Qorayish polytheistic/disbelieving aggressors and other aggressors who were not from Qorayish. We see that in the Quranic Chapter Nine, there is a repeated command to believers to be severe and stern when fighting, within self-defense, those disbelieving aggressors who attacked them; the Yathreb city-state was also attacked by those disbelieving aggressors living near it whether they allied themselves to the aggressive Qorayish tribe or not: "O you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who attack you, and let them find severity in you, and know that God is with the pious ones." (9:123).

9- This is linked to urging believers to engage into the legitimate self-defense fighting to deter and stop the polytheistic aggressors who attacked them several times: "O prophet! Rouse the believers to battle. If there are twenty steadfast among you, they will defeat two hundred; and if there are a hundred of you, they will defeat a thousand of those who disbelieve; because they are a people who do not understand. God has now lightened your burden, knowing that there is weakness in you. If there are a hundred steadfast among you, they will defeat two hundred; and if there are a thousand of you, they will defeat two thousand by God's leave. God is with the patient ones." (8:65-66); this is addressed to Muhammad himself when the aggression of disbelievers/polytheists was repeated: "So fight in the cause of God; you are responsible only for yourself. And rouse the believers. Perhaps God will restrain the might of those who disbelieve. God is Stronger in Might, and More Punishing." (4:84).

10- The believers at the time obeyed these Quranic commands eventually; they fought within self-defense bravely, severely, and steadfastly against the disbelieving/polytheistic aggressors and were merciful toward peaceful believers as per what we infer from this Quranic verse: "Muhammad is the Messenger of God. Those with him are stern against the disbelievers, yet compassionate amongst themselves..." (48:29).



 The sternness or severity in self-defense fighting does not pertain to injustice; rather, it was within the framework of justice and peace. Let us exemplify this in the following points.

1- Muhammad was never allowed to attack any of the treacherous enemies who intended to mobilize their troops and attack Yathreb or to breach peace treaties/pledges; he must make sure that they violated the treaties first and that they are actually marching towards Yathreb before launching the self-defense military endeavors; he must announce first to the enemies the news he received about them and if such news would be true or not: "If you fear treachery on the part of a people, warn them beforehand in an equitable manner. God does not like the treacherous." (8:58). This is justice, of course. Believers must verify any news they would receive: "O you who believe! If a sinful person brings you any news, investigate, lest you harm people out of ignorance, and you become regretful for what you have done." (49:6). 

2- We see that justice and peace is of paramount importance within legislations regarding military preparation for the sake of deterrence (to preemptively prevent potential aggressors from attacking peaceful people and to defend those peaceful people against aggressors who attack them): "And prepare against them all the power you can muster, and all the cavalry you can mobilize, to terrify thereby God's enemies and your enemies, and others besides them whom you do not know, but God knows them. Whatever you spend in God's way will be repaid to you in full, and you will not be wronged." (8:60). This is because weakness of countries or states tempt aggressors to attack or invade them. Peaceful countries need military might to deter any potential aggressors to prevent future aggression; this is for the sake of stopping potential bloodshed and to impose peace through deterrence. This is part of justice, of course. Thus, the aim of military preparation is to make peace prevail; even after aggressors have leaned towards peace, Muhammad has been commanded here to accept peace treaties even if the enemies deceived him: "But if they incline towards peace, then incline towards it, and put your trust in God. He is the Hearer, the Knower. If they intend to deceive you - God is Sufficient for you. It is He who supported you with His aid, and with the believers." (8:61-62). 

3- Within this Quranic verse about self-defense fighting, we see that military aggression is a grave sin prohibited by the Lord God; such aggressors are the enemies of the Dominant Lord God: "And fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not commit aggression; God does not love the aggressors." (2:190).



 The sternness or severity in self-defense fighting does not pertain to injustice; rather, it was within the framework of piety; this is proven by the fact that all Quranic verses about self-defense fighting legislations contain a reminder of piety within fear of the Lord God. Let us exemplify this in the following points.

1- Within retaliation in cases of aggression: "...Whoever commits aggression against you, retaliate against him in the same measure as he has committed against you. And be conscious of God within piety, and know that God is with the pious ones." (2:194).

2- When the Meccan polytheists prevented believers from entering into the Sacred Kaaba Mosque, this was never a reason to attack the Qorayish tribe as such attack is a crime/sin: "...And let not the hatred of people who barred you from the Sacred Mosque incite you to aggression. And cooperate with one another in virtuous conduct and piety, and do not cooperate with one another in sin and hostility. And fear God. God is severe in punishment." (5:2). This Quranic verse is in utter contrast with the heinous crimes known as the Arab conquests committed by the sinful pre-Umayyad caliphs once Muhammad died; i.e., a year or less after the revelation of the Quranic verse 5:2. 

3- When polytheistic aggressors attack peaceful believers, the believers must retaliate and defend themselves: "...And fight the polytheists collectively, as they fight you collectively, and know that God is with the pious ones." (9:36).

4- We find here warning against committing aggression against those who never beached peace treaties and pledges.

4/1: "Except for those among the polytheists with whom you had made a treaty, and did not violate any of its terms, nor aided anyone against you. So fulfill the treaty with them to the end of its term. God loves the pious ones." (9:4).

4/2: "How can there be a treaty with the polytheists on the part of God and His Messenger, except for those with whom you made a treaty at the Sacred Mosque? As long as they are upright with you, be upright with them. God loves the pious ones." (9:7).

5- This being stern and severe when dealing with disbelieving aggressors is always within the framework of piety and fear of the Lord God: "O you who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who attack you, and let them find severity in you, and know that God is with the pious ones." (9:123).

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