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in category Hadith

Do hadiths suggest terrorism: 'I have been ordered to fight people till they testify there is no god but Allah...'?

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Masters in Education from Nottingham University in the UK. Also studied Masters in Islamic Studies and Islamic Banking & Finance. Political activist with interests in Geopolitics, History and Phil ...
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The full hadith was stated by the Prophet (saw) in Medinah:

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ الْمُسْنَدِيُّ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو رَوْحٍ الْحَرَمِيُّ بْنُ عُمَارَةَ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ وَاقِدِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ أَبِي يُحَدِّثُ، عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ "‏ أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَشْهَدُوا أَنْ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ، وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلاَةَ، وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ، فَإِذَا فَعَلُوا ذَلِكَ عَصَمُوا مِنِّي دِمَاءَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ إِلاَّ بِحَقِّ الإِسْلاَمِ، وَحِسَابُهُمْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ‏"‏‏.‏

Allah's Messenger (saw) said: "I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Messenger (saw), and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning will be done by Allah." (Bukhari)

He is saying his polity would wage war against nations whose collective ideological premise was other than Islam and thus unjust and oppressive.

It was about changing the social order to one where Islam dominated thereby guaranteeing security, welfare and peace, to allow communities to live by their deen.

People interpret Islam as a personal religion which then results in a misconception of traditions such as this.

I can understand out of frustration and bigotry you have either deliberately or unknowingly cited these texts out of context and misread them literally. This text in the Hadith is about fighting with the combatants in the war, not with every random person walking on earth.

Here are explanations from two senior classical scholars.

The Shafi'i jurist Ibn Rajab stated:

وقد ظن بعضهم أن معنى الحديث أن الكافر يقاتل حتى يأتي بالشهادتين ، ويقيم الصلاة ، ويؤتي الزكاة ، وجعلوا ذلك حجة على خطاب الكفار بالفروع ، وفي هذا نظر ، وسيرة النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في قتال الكفار تدل على خلاف هذا

And some of them thought the interpretation of this hadith is disdisbdisbelievers should be fought until they profess shahada, establish prayers and pay zakat. And they have made this an evidence over addressing the disbelievers in furu (ancillaries of the deen) and this is disputable because the biography of the Prophet (saw) on fighting with disbelievers proves against this (interpretation). (Jami al-Uloom wa al-Hukm)

The Hanbali scholar Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:

وقول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم “أمرت أن أقاتل ….” مراده قتال المحاربين الذين أذن الله بقتالهم، ولم يُرد قتال المعاهَدين الذين أمر الله بوفاء عهدهم

And statement of the Messenger of Allah (saw) "I have been commanded to fight"... Is intended to fight with the combatants for whom Allah has permitted to fight. He didn't intend to fight those who have peace treaty with Muslims, about whom Allah has commanded to fulfill treaty with them. (Majmu al Fatawa 19/20).


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