Smite at their necks
By Sami Zaatari
There are certain anti-Islamic people out there who often claim the Quran is a book of terror, that it orders the death and destruction of all none-believers, one of the most common verses they use to prove their argument is verse 4 of Surah Muhammad which is the 47th Surah in the Noble Quran. The verse reads:
YUSUFALI: 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.
The non-Muslims quote this and start claiming terrorism and murder. However so is that the case? Or is the same case as always, that the non-Muslim is simply being dis-honest with themselves, and their fellow people. Well you make that choice after the explanation is given.
Let us analyse this verse to see if it does truly preach terrorism or not. Obviously the part that non-Muslims use the most with this verse is when it reads:
Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks;
The verse is referring to battle, and war, that in a battle, when we meet the unbelieving army that we should aim for the neck. Is that terrorism, is that barbaric? Off course not, this is very logical, and this is the harsh reality of wars and battles, people get killed, and people go into a battle and war with the intention of killing their enemy. It is like if an army gives you instructions on how to attack your enemy during combat, would that be classified as terrorism? Off course it wouldn't, so why is it classed as terrorism or barbarity when the Quran gives Muslims instructions on how they should fight during a battle with an enemy?
So therefore there is nothing wrong with this part of the verse, it does not preach terrorism, or barbarity, not even close!
The second part of the verse that the non-Muslim has a problem with is when it reads:
bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom
What exactly is wrong with this command? Logically after a battle there is a winner and a loser, and obviously after a battle several enemy combatants will come into the hands of the opposition, and logically they will be taken in as prisoners and held for ransom. Is this cruel? Is this barbarity? Not even close, this is the simply the harsh reality of war, in war and battle you risk death, and you risk capture, this is the reality of such events. Secondly, notice that the verse even says the prisoners can be released out of generosity! Basically a ransom is not the only means of freedom, a Muslim has two options, either let the person go out of your own generosity, or if you want, you can get a ransom out of the prisoner.
So in conclusion this verse preaches no terrorism, it preaches no barbarity, all it gives are commands for the Muslims on how they should fight their enemy during battle, and what they should do with any prisoners they have.
And Allah Knows Best!