This post courtesy of ‘ITS 47’ which may or may not have anything to do with what I am on about here, nevertheless, here we are.
The major theme pertaining to Surah 47 Muhammed (pbuh) is War. There is no obscuring the fact that Chapter 47 lays down the rules for what is considered an acceptable way to wage War; God having given the Prophet an explicit injunction to fight since he and his followers were being persecuted.
I suppose arrogance ranges far and wide all these centuries among 'leaders' thinking they, too, wield the office of Prophethood and that God had also given them the express order to fight; how else can anyone justify any war that has occured since the Last Prophet was given an uncontested right to carry on a War.
Any War and not just a Holy War; if you have in any way participated in such a thing subsequent to 630 AD and you yourself were not a Prophet or acting under the auspeces of a Prophet (even the Pope does not count unless he is keeping company with The Michael or The Gabriel, which I think not), your actions have all been rendered useless. More on that later.
Prior to the injunction to fight The Prophet had been driven away (Hijra from Mecca to Medina) and his followers were being dispossessed and massacred in pits of fire. There is no arguing the fact since there is historical reference to this being the case that the Muslims only fought under the aegis of the Prophet, and even then only once the Prophet himself got the Word to fight.
I am referring to the Battle of Badr 624 AD between Medina and Mecca where the Muslims met to fight off the invading forces from Mecca. The second battle at Uhud did not turn out well for the Muslims and they failed to gain control of Mecca. However, by 630 AD, the Muslim contingent had grown to such large numbers that no force was needed to overtake Mecca since the Meccans did not even bother to fight against such a large host; the Meccans all stayed in their homes and closed their doors and the conquering Muslims simply rode into town to become victorious.
How many wars since have been fought so well?
"In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy's
country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good."--From The Art of War, by Sun Tzu
It is a historical fact that the first injunctions to fight were given once the Muslims had been already forced to take flight for safety and found they were still being persecuted.
2 Al-Baqara (The Cow)
وَقَاتِلُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلاَ تَعْتَدُواْ إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُحِبِّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ 2:190
2.190. Fight against those who fight against you in God’s way (cause), but do not transgress, for God does not love transgressors.
2:191 وَاقْتُلُوهُمْ حَيْثُ ثَقِفْتُمُوهُمْ وَأَخْرِجُوهُم مِّنْ حَيْثُ أَخْرَجُوكُمْ
وَالْفِتْنَةُ أَشَدُّ مِنَ الْقَتْلِ
وَلاَ تُقَاتِلُوهُمْ عِندَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ حَتَّى يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِيهِ
فَإِن قَاتَلُوكُمْ فَاقْتُلُوهُمْ كَذَلِكَ جَزَاء الْكَافِرِينَ
2.191. Kill them whenever you confront them and drive them out from where they drove you out. (While killing is sinful) wrongful persecution is even worse than killing. Do not fight against them near the Holy Mosque unless they fight against you; but if they fight against you kill them, for that is the reward of such unbelievers.
It is clear in 2:190 and of paramount importance to remember that the option to avoid killing had already been exhausted and that the Muslims were not to be the transgressors and only to fight in self-defense. And 2:191 clarifies further that killing is wrong, even in war, and is only accepted to remedy a worse evil, that being persecution. Personally, I prefer the vicarious option.
It is also very clear that the Muslims were not fighting other believers; not Christians, not Jews, not Sabaian, or what have you; they were fighting the pagan Quraish who were the transgressors (remember the definition of Believer is broad, and none of us can judge who is or is not a Believer (do you know what is in other people’s hearts/minds?, even if they profess it?);
42 Ash-Shura (The Consultation)
42:13 شَرَعَ لَكُم مِّنَ الدِّينِ مَا وَصَّى بِهِ نُوحًا وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ
وَمَا وَصَّيْنَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَى وَعِيسَى أَنْ أَقِيمُوا الدِّينَ وَلَا تَتَفَرَّقُوا فِيهِ
42:13 He Initiated for you the Guardianship of the Religion that He had enjoined upon Noah - and into which We have inspired in you through Revelation as well as that which We had enjoined upon Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus; steadfastly uphold the faith, and do not break up its Unity…
On the other hand, the pagan Quraish were demonstrably non-believers (setting people on fire) and acting the part of the transgressor.
I’m not much into war, but for the interested student, there are rules of engagement and more importantly, rules regarding how to treat those you are warring against, especially should you take prisoners.
47 Muhammed (The Last Prophet, Muhammed pbuh)
47:4 فَإِذا لَقِيتُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَضَرْبَ الرِّقَابِ حَتَّى إِذَا أَثْخَنتُمُوهُمْ فَشُدُّوا الْوَثَاقَ فَإِمَّا مَنًّا بَعْدُ
وَإِمَّا فِدَاء حَتَّى تَضَعَ الْحَرْبُ أَوْزَارَهَا ذَلِكَ وَلَوْ يَشَاء اللَّهُ لَانتَصَرَ مِنْهُمْ وَلَكِن لِّيَبْلُوَ بَعْضَكُم بِبَعْضٍ
وَالَّذِينَ قُتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَلَن يُضِلَّ أَعْمَالَهُمْ
47:4 Now when you meet [the transgressor in battle/war;; notice it does not say in the middle of the street, schoolhouse, nearby place of worship or hotel lobby, etc.] those who disbelieve, then smite their necks (subdue them) until, you have routed them; then make fast bondage (take prisoners; implies they are actively fighting against you and not hostages that would imply they are civilians); and afterward either generosity (release the prisoners of war) or ransom (the prisoners of war) until the war lay down its burdens (i.e., do not kill the prisoners of war, (or anyone else that you have bound), etc.). Thus (is the ordinance, i.e., that’s an order). And if God willed He could have punished them (without you) but (it is ordained) that He may try some of you by means of others. And those who are slain in God’s cause (way/path), He does not let their works (actions) go to waste.
The assurance being that if you are fighting in God's cause (and sometimes it can be a battle to just get up in the morning) and are killed or die in the way, God will never let any of your deeds go to waste. Compare this to the weight your life's deeds carry if you are among the ones making it so unbearable for the rest:
الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَصَدُّوا عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَضَلَّ أَعْمَالَهُمْ 47:1
47:1 (As for) those who disbelieve (transgressors) and bar (others) from the path of God (God’s cause/path/way)- (their) deeds will He let go to waste (fritter away; i.e., their deeds are null and void)
It is very interesting that Surah 47 opens with this Sign. Right off the bat, if you are the 'bad apples', nothing you do or ever did will count for anything. This begs the question: If a nonbeliever kills you and given their actions don't count, do you die? in war or in any other way. For A Page In The Life followers keyed into the language usage, multiplicity, and meaning aspects of this blog, you probably are also into Latin and you may already know that 'apple' and 'evil' share similar Latin words (malus —apple, malum —evil) and homophones in the plural (mala). I don't know Latin but search the Internet.
At this point in my communiqué that last line about the 'apples' and 'evils' will help us transition to the next unexpected item on the agenda; What exactly did Satan 'tempt' Adam and Eve with that she 'tested' the 'forbidden fruit' of the 'tree,' best to have been avoided, bearing that 'bad apple' that came to be the 'root of all evil'?