I need some assistance with some Ayaat of the Quran, which include and are similar to the following Ayah:
فَإِذَا انْسَلَخَ الْأَشْهُرُ الْحُرُمُ فَاقْتُلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدْتُمُوهُمْ وَخُذُوهُمْ وَاحْصُرُوهُمْ وَاقْعُدُوا لَهُمْ كُلَّ مَرْصَدٍ ۚ فَإِنْ تَابُوا وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ فَخَلُّوا سَبِيلَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
“So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (9:4)
How can we prove that they don’t have a general meaning to include all Moshrikin (idolaters) at all times?
1. Kafir in the terminology of the Quran means ‘the one who arrogantly and knowingly rejects the truth (i.e.Islam). If you search the usage of the term in the Quran you can easily come to this conclusion. So Kafir is the one سواء علیهم أآنذرتهم ام لم تنذرهم لایؤمنون “And it is alike to them whether you warn them or warn them not: they do not believe” (36:10)
2. Most of the Jihadi Ayaat are clearly talking about a defence. So, one idea is to interpret the one you mentioned and similar to that in Surah al-Baqara, on those who had already waged a war against Muslims.
3. Narrations under the Ayah clearly state that its about مشرکی العرب that means those idolaters who have been fighting Muslims for more than a decade; those whom if you don’t kill them they will kill you. [Ref. Tafsirul-Borhan, under the Ayah]
4. There is no historical evidence that the Prophet of Islam (P) has ever just sent Muslims to ambush and kill any idolater, just because he was an idolater. For controversial cases please see my article: http://www.ihic.org.au/Book.aspx?id=16
5. The famous opinion amongst our jurists is that ‘the principle of freedom of religion’ applies only on the followers of divine religions, not idolaters.
6. The famous opinion amongst our jurists is that the ‘initial Jihad’ is permissible under the authority of Imam Ma’soom (a divinely protected Imam), thus Imam Khomeini and many other jurists have named the chapter of Jihad in their Resale’ ‘the book of Defence’.
Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei