Surah Al-Baqarah >> Currently viewing Surah Baqarah Ayat 191 (2:191)

Surah Baqarah Ayat 191 in Arabic Text

وَٱقْتُلُوهُمْ حَيْثُ ثَقِفْتُمُوهُمْ وَأَخْرِجُوهُم مِّنْ حَيْثُ أَخْرَجُوكُمْ ۚ وَٱلْفِتْنَةُ أَشَدُّ مِنَ ٱلْقَتْلِ ۚ وَلَا تُقَـٰتِلُوهُمْ عِندَ ٱلْمَسْجِدِ ٱلْحَرَامِ حَتَّىٰ يُقَـٰتِلُوكُمْ فِيهِ ۖ فَإِن قَـٰتَلُوكُمْ فَٱقْتُلُوهُمْ ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ جَزَآءُ ٱلْكَـٰفِرِينَ
Waqtuloohum haisu saqif tumoohum wa akhrijoohum min haisu akhrajookum; walfitnatu ashaddu minal qatl; wa laa tuqaatiloohum ‘indal Masjidil Haraami hattaa yaqaatilookum feehi fa in qaatalookum faqtuloohum; kazaalika jazaaa’ul kaafireen

English Translation

Here you can read various translations of verse 191

Sahih International
And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.

Yusuf Ali
“And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have Turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith.

Abul Ala Maududi
Fight against them wherever they confront you in combat and drive them out from where they drove you out. Though killing is bad. persecution is worse than killing Do not fight against them near the Masjid Haram unless they attack you there.

Muhsin Khan
And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing. And fight not with them at Al-Masjid-al-Haram (the sanctuary at Makkah), unless they (first) fight you there. But if they attack you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.

Pickthall
And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter. And fight not with them at the Inviolable Place of Worship until they first attack you there, but if they attack you (there) then slay them. Such is the reward of disbelievers.

Dr. Ghali
And kill them wherever you catch them, and drive them out from where they drove you out; and temptation (Or: discord, sedition) is more serious (Literally: stronger) than killing; and do not fight with them at the Inviolable Mosque until they fight with you therein; so in case they fight with you, then kill them; thus is the recompense of the disbelievers.

Abdel Haleem
Kill them wherever you encounter them, and drive them out from where they drove you out, for persecution is more serious than killing. Do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque unless they fight you there. If they do fight you, kill them- this is what such disbelievers deserve-

Quran 2 Verse 191 Explanation

For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah Baqarah ayat 191, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.

Ala-Maududi

(2:191) Kill them whenever you confront them and drive them out from where they drove you out. (For though killing is sinful) wrongful persecution is even worse than killing.[202] 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.


202. Here the word fitnah is used in the sense of ‘persecution’. It refers to a situation whereby either a person or a group is subjected to harassment and intimidation for having accepted, as true, a set of ideas contrary to those currently held, and for striving to effect reforms in the existing order of society by preaching what is good and condemning what is wrong. Such a situation must be changed, if need be, by the force of arms.

Bloodshed is bad, but when one group of people imposes its ideology and forcibly prevents others from accepting the truth, then it becomes guilty of an even more serious crime. In such circumstances, it is perfectly legitimate to remove that oppressive group by the force of arms.

Ibn-Kathir

190. And fight in the way of Allah those who fight you, but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors. 191. And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing. And fight not with them at Al-Masjid Al-Haram (the sanctuary at Makkah), unless they (first) fight you there. But if they attack you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers. 192. But if they cease, then Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. 193. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and the religion (all and every kind of worship) is for Allah (Alone). But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimin (the polytheists and wrongdoers).


The Command to fight Those Who fight Muslims and killing Them wherever They are found

Abu Ja`far Ar-Razi said that Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that Abu Al-`Aliyah commented on what Allah said:

﴿وَقَـتِلُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الّذِينَ يُقَـتِلُونَكُمْ﴾

(And fight in the way of Allah those who fight you,)

Abu Al-`Aliyah said, “This was the first Ayah about fighting that was revealed in Al-Madinah. Ever since it was revealed, Allah’s Messenger used to fight only those who fought him and avoid non-combatants. Later, Surat Bara’ah (chapter 9 in the Qur’an) was revealed.” `Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam said similarly, then he said that this was later abrogated by the Ayah:

﴿فَاقْتُلُواْ الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدتُّمُوهُمْ﴾

(then kill them wherever you find them) (9:5).

However, this statement is not plausible, because Allah’s statement:

﴿الَّذِينَ يُقَـتِلُونَكُمْ﴾

(…those who fight you) applies only to fighting the enemies who are engaged in fighting Islam and its people. So the Ayah means, `Fight those who fight you’, just as Allah said (in another Ayah):

﴿وَقَاتِلُواْ الْمُشْرِكِينَ كَآفَّةً كَمَا يُقَـتِلُونَكُمْ كَآفَّةً﴾

(…and fight against the Mushrikin collectively as they fight against you collectively.) (9:36)

This is why Allah said later in the Ayah:

﴿وَاقْتُلُوهُمْ حَيْثُ ثَقِفْتُمُوهُمْ وَأَخْرِجُوهُمْ مِّنْ حَيْثُ أَخْرَجُوكُمْ﴾

(And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out.) meaning, `Your energy should be spent on fighting them, just as their energy is spent on fighting you, and on expelling them from the areas from which they have expelled you, as a law of equality in punishment.’

The Prohibition of mutilating the Dead and stealing from the captured Goods

Allah said:

﴿وَلاَ تَعْتَدُواْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ﴾

(but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors.)

This Ayah means, `Fight for the sake of Allah and do not be transgressors,’ such as, by committing prohibitions. Al-Hasan Al-Basri stated that transgression (indicated by the Ayah), “includes mutilating the dead, theft (from the captured goods), killing women, children and old people who do not participate in warfare, killing priests and residents of houses of worship, burning down trees and killing animals without real benefit.” This is also the opinion of Ibn `Abbas, `Umar bin `Abdul-`Aziz, Muqatil bin Hayyan and others. Muslim recorded in his Sahih that Buraydah narrated that Allah’s Messenger said:

«اغْزُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ، قَاتِلُوا مَنْ كَفَرَ بِاللهِ، اغْزُوا وَلَا تَغُلُّوا وَلَا تَغْدِرُوا وَلَا تَمْثُلُوا وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا وَلِيدًا وَلَا أَصْحَابَ الصَّوَامِع»

(Fight for the sake of Allah and fight those who disbelieve in Allah. Fight, but do not steal (from the captured goods), commit treachery, mutilate (the dead), or kill a child, or those who reside in houses of worship.)

It is reported in the Two Sahihs that Ibn `Umar said, “A woman was found dead during one of the Prophet’s battles and the Prophet then forbade killing women and children. ” There are many other Hadiths on this subject.

Shirk is worse than Killing

Since Jihad involves killing and shedding the blood of men, Allah indicated that these men are committing disbelief in Allah, associating with Him (in the worship) and hindering from His path, and this is a much greater evil and more disastrous than killing. Abu Malik commented about what Allah said:

﴿وَالْفِتْنَةُ أَشَدُّ مِنَ الْقَتْلِ﴾

(And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing.) Meaning what you (disbelievers) are committing is much worse than killing.” Abu Al-`Aliyah, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that what Allah said:

﴿وَالْفِتْنَةُ أَشَدُّ مِنَ الْقَتْلِ﴾

(And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing.) “Shirk (polytheism) is worse than killing.”

Fighting in the Sacred Area is prohibited, except in Self-Defense

Allah said:

﴿وَلاَ تُقَـتِلُوهُمْ عِندَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ﴾

(And fight not with them at Al-Masjid Al-Haram (the sanctuary at Makkah))

It is reported in the Two Sahihs that the Prophet said:

«إنَّ هَذَا الْبَلَدَ حَرَّمَهُ اللهُ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّموَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ، فَهُوَ حَرَامٌ بِحُرْمَةِ اللهِ إِلى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ، وَلَمْ يَحِلَّ لِي إِلَّا سَاعَةً مِنْ نَهَارٍ، وَإِنَّهَا سَاعَتِي هذِهِ حَرامٌ بحُرْمَةِ اللهِ إِلى يَوْمِ الْقِيامَةِ، لا يُعْضَدُ شَجَرُهُ، وَلَا يُخْتَلىَ خَلَاهُ، فَإِنْ أَحَدٌ تَرَخَّصَ بِقِتَالِ رَسُولِ اللهِصلى الله عليه وسلّم، فَقُولُوا: إنَّ اللهَ أَذِنَ لِرَسُولِهِ وَلَمْ يَأْذَنْ لَكُم»

(Allah has made this city a sanctuary since the day He created the heavens and the earth. So, it is a sanctuary by Allah’s decree till the Day of Resurrection. Fighting in it was made legal for me only for an hour in the daytime. So, it (i.e., Makkah) is a sanctuary, by Allah’s decree, from now on until the Day of Resurrection. Its trees should not be cut, and its grass should not be uprooted. If anyone mentions the fighting in it that occurred by Allah’s Messenger, then say that Allah allowed His Messenger, but did not allow you.)

In this Hadith, Allah’s Messenger mentions fighting the people of Makkah when he conquered it by force, leading to some deaths among the polytheists in the area of the Khandamah. This occurred after the Prophet proclaimed:

«مَنْ أَغْلَقَ بَابَهُ فهُوَ آمِنٌ،وَمَنْ دَخَلَ الْمَسْجِدَ فَهُو آمِنٌ، ومَنْ دَخَلَ دَارَ أَبِي سُفْيَانَ فَهُوَ آمِن»

(Whoever closed his door is safe. Whoever entered the (Sacred) Mosque is safe. Whoever entered the house of Abu Sufyan is also safe.)

Allah said:

﴿حَتَّى يُقَـتِلُوكُمْ فِيهِ فَإِن قَـتَلُوكُمْ فَاقْتُلُوهُمْ كَذَلِكَ جَزَآءُ الْكَـفِرِينَ﴾

(…unless they (first) fight you there. But if they attack you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.)

Allah states: `Do not fight them in the area of the Sacred Mosque unless they start fighting you in it. In this case, you are allowed to fight them and kill them to stop their aggression.’ Hence, Allah’s Messenger took the pledge from his Companions under the tree (in the area of Al-Hudaybiyyah) to fight (the polytheists), after the tribes of Quraysh and their allies, Thaqif and other groups, collaborated against the Muslims (to stop them from entering Makkah to visit the Sacred House). Then, Allah stopped the fighting before it started between them and said:

﴿وَهُوَ الَّذِى كَفَّ أَيْدِيَهُمْ عَنكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ عَنْهُم بِبَطْنِ مَكَّةَ مِن بَعْدِ أَنْ أَظْفَرَكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ﴾

(And He it is Who has withheld their hands from you and your hands from them in the midst of Makkah, after He had made you victors over them.) (48:24) and:

﴿وَلَوْلاَ رِجَالٌ مُّؤْمِنُونَ وَنِسَآءٌ مُّؤْمِنَـتٌ لَّمْ تَعْلَمُوهُمْ أَن تَطَئُوهُمْ فَتُصِيبَكمْ مِّنْهُمْ مَّعَرَّةٌ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ لِّيُدْخِلَ اللَّهُ فِى رَحْمَتِهِ مَن يَشَآءُ لَوْ تَزَيَّلُواْ لَعَذَّبْنَا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنْهُمْ عَذَاباً أَلِيماً﴾

(Had there not been believing men and believing women whom you did not know, that you may kill them and on whose account a sin would have been committed by you without (your) knowledge, that Allah might bring into His mercy whom He wills ـ if they (the believers and the disbelievers) had been apart, We verily, would have punished those of them who disbelieved with painful torment.) (48:25)

Allah’s statement:

﴿فَإِنِ انتَهَوْاْ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴾

(But if they cease, then Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.) which means, `If they (polytheists) cease fighting you in the Sacred Area, and come to Islam and repent, then Allah will forgive them their sins, even if they had before killed Muslims in Allah’s Sacred Area.’ Indeed, Allah’s forgiveness encompasses every sin, whatever its enormity, when the sinner repents it.

The Order to fight until there is no more Fitnah

Allah then commanded fighting the disbelievers when He said:

﴿حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ﴾

(…until there is no more Fitnah) meaning, Shirk. This is the opinion of Ibn `Abbas, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi`, Muqatil bin Hayyan, As-Suddi and Zayd bin Aslam.

Allah’s statement:

﴿وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ للَّهِ﴾

(…and the religion (all and every kind of worship) is for Allah (Alone).) means, `So that the religion of Allah becomes dominant above all other religions.’ It is reported in the Two Sahihs that Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari said: “The Prophet was asked, `O Allah’s Messenger! A man fights out of bravery, and another fights to show off, which of them fights in the cause of Allah’ The Prophet said:

«مَنْ قَاتَلَ لِتَكُونَ كَلِمَةُ اللهِ هِيَ الْعُلْيا فَهُوَ فِي سَبِيلِ الله»

(He who fights so that Allah’s Word is superior, then he fights in Allah’s cause.) In addition, it is reported in the Two Sahihs:

«أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَقُولُوا لَا إِلهَ إلَّا اللهُ، فَإِذَا قَالُوهَا عَصَمُوا مِنِّي دِمَاءَهُم وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ إلَّا بِحَقِّهَا وَحِسَابُهُمْ عَلَى الله»

(I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight the people until they proclaim, `None has the right to be worshipped but Allah’. Whoever said it, then he will save his life and property from me, except for cases of the law, and their account will be with Allah.)

Allah’s statement:

﴿فَإِنِ انتَهَواْ فَلاَ عُدْوَنَ إِلاَّ عَلَى الظَّـلِمِينَ﴾

(But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against the wrongdoers.) indicates that, `If they stop their Shirk and fighting the believers, then cease warfare against them. Whoever fights them afterwards will be committing an injustice. Verily aggression can only be started against the unjust.’ This is the meaning of Mujahid’s statement that only combatants should be fought. Or, the meaning of the Ayah indicates that, `If they abandon their injustice, which is Shirk in this case, then do not start aggression against them afterwards.’ The aggression here means retaliating and fighting them, just as Allah said:

﴿فَمَنِ اعْتَدَى عَلَيْكُمْ فَاعْتَدُواْ عَلَيْهِ بِمِثْلِ مَا اعْتَدَى عَلَيْكُمْ﴾

(Then whoever transgresses against you, you transgress likewise against him.) (2:194)

Similarly, Allah said:

﴿وَجَزَآءُ سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِّثْلُهَا﴾

(The recompense for an evil is an evil like thereof.) (42:40), and:

﴿وَإِنْ عَاقَبْتُمْ فَعَاقِبُواْ بِمِثْلِ مَا عُوقِبْتُمْ بِهِ﴾

(And if you punish them, then punish them with the like of that with which you were afflicted. ) (16:126)

`Ikrimah and Qatadah stated, “The unjust person is he who refuses to proclaim, `There is no God worthy of worship except Allah’.”

Under Allah’s statement:

﴿وَقَـتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ﴾

(And fight them until there is no more Fitnah) Al-Bukhari recorded that Nafi` said that two men came to Ibn `Umar during the conflict of Ibn Az-Zubayr and said to him, “The people have fallen into shortcomings and you are the son of `Umar and the Prophet’s Companion. Hence, what prevents you from going out” He said, “What prevents me is that Allah has for bidden shedding the blood of my (Muslim) brother.” They said, “Did not Allah say:

﴿وَقَـتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ﴾

(And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah))” He said, “We did fight until there was no more Fitnah and the religion became for Allah Alone. You want to fight until there is Fitnah and the religion becomes for other than Allah!”

`Uthman bin Salih added that a man came to Ibn `Umar and asked him, “O Abu `Abdur-Rahman! What made you perform Hajj one year and `Umrah another year and abandon Jihad in the cause of Allah, although you know how much He has encouraged performing it” He said, “O my nephew! Islam is built on five (pillars): believing in Allah and His Messenger, the five daily prayers, fasting Ramadan, paying the Zakah and performing Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House.” They said, “O Abu `Abdur-Rahman! Did you not hear what Allah said in His Book:

﴿وَإِن طَآئِفَتَانِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُواْ فَأَصْلِحُواْ بَيْنَهُمَا فَإِن بَغَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الأُخْرَى فَقَـتِلُواْ الَّتِى تَبْغِى حَتَّى تَفِىءَ إِلَى أَمْرِ اللَّهِ﴾

(And if two parties (or groups) among the believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them both. But if one of them outrages against the other, then fight you (all) against the one that which outrages till it complies with the command of Allah.) (49:9) and:

﴿وَقَـتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ﴾

(And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief))

He said, “That we did during the time of Allah’s Messenger when Islam was still weak and (the Muslim) man used to face trials in his religion, such as killing or torture. When Islam became stronger (and apparent), there was no more Fitnah.” He asked, “What do you say about `Ali and `Uthman” He said, “As for `Uthman, Allah has forgiven him. However, you hated the fact that Allah had forgiven him! As for `Ali, he is the cousin of Allah’s Messenger and his son-in-law.” He then pointed with his hand, saying, “This is where his house is located (meaning, `so close to the Prophet’s house just as `Ali was so close to the Prophet himself’).”

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