The Doctrine of Loyalty and Disavowal

محمود دويكات في الأحد 20 سبتمبر 2009

for example, talks about an ancient history, one should not apply the specific verses absolutely on the present. Also, for instance, if the general context of the Surah talks about war, then the specific verses should not be applied in times of peace at all.
6 - Many Muslims disconnect the meanings of the verses out of their context, thus making a fatal error which leads them to the intolerance and lack of acceptance of others merely because of differences in beliefs or thoughts. Examples of these verses is one (Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Whoso does that has no connection with God unless that you guard yourselves against them, taking (as it were) security. God warns you to be aware (only) of Himself. To God is the destiny.) 3:28 In this verse two main interpreation errors are made by many of current Muslims: The first error  is the interpretation of the word "disbeliever" as the one not following Islam. The second error is that this verse asks them to disavow, disdain, and boycott anyone not following the Islamic religion. The main reason for such heinous and serious errors in understanding is that the verse is deducted from its general context. If we read a few verses before this verse we see that the context is talking about those who specifically kill the Prophets (analogous to killing reformists) wrongfully, and kill the people who ask for justice (Those who disbelieve the revelations of God and slay the prophets wrongfully, and slay those of mankind who guide to equity: promise them a painful doom.) 3:21.  Utilizing the general sense of the context, the meaning of disbeliever is anyone with all these descriptions that fit firmly with the perpetrators of terrorist acts.  Therefore, using the general context of the verses, we understand that the verse asks the Muslims to reject and disavow anyone who kills peaceful people, or who commits crimes in order to deprive people from justice.
7 – Similar verses that are disconnected out of their context and are wrongfully understood by many Muslims, are those verses in Surah of “Women” such as: (You who believe! do not take the unbelievers for friends rather than the believers; do you desire that you should give to God a manifest proof against yourselves?) 4:144. Most Muslims interpret the verse as requiring them disrespect and not to deal with non-Muslims at all. However, the context of the verses from which this verse is taken talks about a certain type of hypocrites who work tenaciously to urge wars among Muslims. The overall context is clearly shown in these verses that preceded the earlier verse, and there I underlined the words that most Muslims choose to neglect generally; (What is the matter with you, then, that you have become two parties about the hypocrites, while God has made them return (to unbelief) for what they have earned? Do you wish to guide him whom God has caused to err? And whomsoever God causes to err, you shall by no means find a way for him. They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they direct themselves to God’s path; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper. Except those who reach a people between whom and you there is an alliance, or who come to you, their hearts shrinking from fighting you or fighting their own people; and if God had pleased, He would have given them power over you, so that they should have certainly fought you; therefore if they leave you alone and do not fight you and offer you peace then God has not given you a way against them. You will find others who desire that they should be safe from you and secure from their own people; as often as they are sent back to the mischief they get thrown into it headlong; therefore if they do not leave you alone, and (do not) offer you peace and restrain their hands, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them; and against these We have given you a clear authority. ) 4:88-91 Many Muslims ignore underlined words when trying to understand these verses in a general sense. It is very clear that the context of verses talks about a group of hypocrites and disbelievers that are fighting a direct war against Muslims. This type or category of hypocrites and the unbelievers (who keep attacking and raiding the houses of Muslims) should be discarded and fought back if they continued to fight the peaceful. This understanding is manifested by another verse in the same context of verses (You who believe! when you go into war in God’s path, make investigation, and do never say to anyone who offers you peace: “You are not a believer!” Do you go after bounties of this world's life! But with God there are abundant gains) 4:94. As it is clear from the verse within its context, any peaceful people (whoever they are) must not be described  as “unbeliever”.  Therefore, the meaning of “unbeliever” in the context of these verses is restricted to those who wage wars and commit mischief and crimes against the peaceful.   Thus, we should not get the verses out of context and claim that we should not be loyal to the non-Muslims. 
8 - In conclusion: Many Muslims totally misunderstand the idea of loyalty and disavow. Based on this distorted understanding, many Muslims justify not being loyal and honest with non-Muslims.  Radical groups even go further and allow the killing and disrespect of any non-Muslim (or whoever does not belong to their group) describing them as infidel while Quran strictly orders that anyone offering peace should never be described as “unbeliever” (Surah 4:94). In addition to the fact that in the verses where Quran asks peaceful Muslims not to support unbelievers, the context is directed at groups waging wars and raiding the houses of Muslims, therefore, the description of “unbeliever” or “infidel” applies to the group that kill and terrorizes the innocent and peaceful people. 

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