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Saint Augustine
Qur'anic Concepts of the Ethics of War: Challenging the Claims of Islamic Aggressiveness - Endnotes
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Article Index
Qur'anic Concepts of the Ethics of War: Challenging the Claims of Islamic Aggressiveness
Understanding Abrogation
Explaining the Verse of the Sword
The Origins of Self-Defensive Concepts of War
Proportionate Response, Last Resort and Discrimination
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1. Scroll to the bottom for a chronological list commencing in 1980. Access date: 1 April 2011.

2 Muslims make up 23 percent of the world’s 6.8 billion humans. See the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population (Washington, DC: Pew Research Center, October 2009), p. 1. Cf.: Access date: 1 April 2011.

3. The King James Version of the Holy Bible contains 788,280 words: 609,269 in the Old Testament and 179,011 in the New Testament. Cf.:

4. Mapping the Global Muslim Population.

5. The very first word revealed to Muhammad was “Iqra,” which means “recite” and the word Qur’an itself originates from the root word Qara’a, which means “to read out” or “to recite”.

6. The title of Mr Spencer’s most controversial bestseller is: The Truth about Muhammad, Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion (Washington, DC: Regnery Press, 2006). Spencer’s other books include: Islam Unveiled: Disturbing Questions about the World's Fastest Growing Faith (New York: Encounter Books, 2002); Ed., The Myth of Islamic Tolerance: How Islamic Law treats Non-Muslims (New York: Prometheus Books, 2005); The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (And the Crusades), (Regnery, 2005); Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't (Regnery, 2007).

7. Cf. the published works, journalism and internet articles of Daniel Pipes, Benny Morris, David Horowitz, Bernard Lewis, Sam Harris, David Bukay and David Pryce-Jones, among others. I need to make my position clear. As a liberal and an academic I strongly support the liberal arts education model and the enhanced societal contributions made by critically educated minds. At the heart of my philosophy lies a passionate belief in the value of dialogue and debate. I therefore do not challenge the right of these scholars and pundits publicly to express their concerns about Islam, even though I do not share them.

8. There are numerous English-language translations of the Qur’an which give slightly different wordings, but the translation that I consider most reliable, easiest to read and closest to the meaning of the Arabic text is: The Holy Qur’an (English Translation / Irfan-ul-Qur'an) by Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri (Lahore: Minhaj-ul-Quran International, 2006. 2009 edition). I also recommend the readability and reliability of Maulana Wahiduddin Khan's translation, The Quran (New Delhi: Goodword, 2009). Another very popular modern translation is the so-called “Wahhabi translation”: Interpretation of the Meanings of the Noble Qur’an in the English Language: A Summarized Version of At-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir with Comments from Sahih Al-Bukhari: Summarised in One Volume by Dr Muhammad Muhsin Khan and Dr Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali (Riyadh: Darussalam, 1996. Revised edition 2001). It must be pointed out, however, that this easy-to-read translation has not been immune from criticism, particularly with regard to many interpolations that seem to provide a deliberately negative portrayal of Christians and Jews. For that reason I do not use it, and I believe others should read it, should they wish, with this caveat in mind. Cf. Khaleel Mohammed, "Assessing English Translations of the Qur’an," Middle East Quarterly, Volume 12 No. 2 (Spring 2005), pp. 59-72.

9. Jizya was a tax levied by the Islamic state on non-Muslims. In return they gained exemption from military service and guarantees of safety within the state. This taxation arrangement, essentially a type of tribute, was a pre-Islamic practice merely continued by the Muslims. Cf. Majid Khadduri, War and Peace in the Law of Islam (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1955), p. 178.

10. Cf. Ibid., pp. 96, 163; Majid Khadduri, The Islamic Conception of Justice (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984), p. 165. Spencer, ed., The Myth of Islamic Tolerance, pp. 43-44.

11. Cf. Spencer, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam, p. 28. After negatively quoting a statement praising Muhammad as “a hard fighter and a skillful military commander,” Samuel P. Huntington writes that “no one would say this about Christ or Buddha.” He adds that Islamic doctrines “dictate war against unbelievers … The Koran and other statements of Muslim beliefs contain few prohibitions on violence, and a concept of nonviolence is absent from Muslim doctrine and practice.” Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (London: Simon & Schuster, 1996), p. 263.

12. Joshua 6: 21.

13. Deuteronomy 7: 1-3 and 20: 16-17.

14. Polybius, Histories, XXXVIII.21.

15. Sohail H. Hashmi, ed., Islamic Political Ethics: Civil Society, Pluralism, and Conflict (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002), p. 196.

16. Surah 34:28, Surah 39:41 and Surah 81:27.

17. Spencer, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam, pp. 24-26. Cf. also:

18. Cf. David Bukay, “Peace or Jihad: Abrogation in Islam,” in Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2007, pp. 3-11, available online at: Access date: 1 April 2011.

19. Zakaria Bashier, War and Peace in the Life of the Prophet Muhammad (Markfield: The Islamic Foundation, 2006), pp. vii—viii; Khadduri, War and Peace, p. 105.

20. Bukay, “Peace or Jihad,” cited above.

21. Access date: 1 April 2011.

22. Access date: 1 April 2011.

23. This is clearly the judgement of prominent intellectual Tariq Ramadan. Cf. his biography, The Messenger: The Meanings of the Life of Muhammad (London: Penguin, 2007), p. 91.

24. Bashier, War and Peace, p. 284. An interesting introductory book for anyone unfamiliar with Islam is Sohaib Nazeer Sultan’s amusingly titled, The Koran for Dummies (Hoboken: Wiley, 2004). Sultan makes the same point (pp. 278, 281) that the martial verse of the sword and those like it do not abrogate the more numerous peaceful, tolerant and inclusive verses.

25. Bashier, War and Peace, p. 288.

26. Louay Fatoohi, Jihad in the Qur’an: The Truth from the Source (Birmingham: Luna Plena, 2009). Email from Dr Louay Fatoohi to Dr Joel Hayward, 23 August 2010.

27. Muhammad Abu Zahra, Concept of War in Islam (Cairo: Ministry of Waqf, 1961), p. 18, quoted in Hashmi, ed., Islamic Political Ethics, p. 208.

28. Michael Fishbein, trans., The History of al-Tabari (Ta'rikh al-rusul wa'l-muluk): Volume VIII: The Victory of Islam (State University of New York Press, 1997), pp. 162-165; Bashier, War and Peace, pp. 224-226.

29. Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Volume 4 (Surat Al-A’raf to the end of Surah Yunus) (Riyadh: Darussalam, 2003 ed.), pp. 371-375; Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar: Biography of the Noble Prophet (Riyadh: Darussalam, 1979. 2002 ed.), pp. 351-353; Lt. Gen. A. I. Akram, The Sword of Allah: Khalid bin al-Waleed, His Life and Campaigns (New Delhi: Adam, 2009), pp. 97-98; Bashier, War and Peace, pp. 237-238, 241.

30. Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Volume 4, p. 371.

31. W. Montgomery Watt, Muhammad at Medina (Oxford University Press, 1956. 2004 Edition), p. 311; Ibn Kathir, The Life of Muhammad (Karachi: Darul-Ishaat, 2004), pp. 516, 522; Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali, A Thematic Commentary on the Qur’an (Herndon: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 2000), p. 182.

32. Surah 9:6.

33. Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Volume 4, pp. 369ff.; Sayyid Ameenul Hasan Rizvi, Battles by the Prophet in Light of the Qur’an (Jeddah: Abul-Qasim, 2002), pp. 126-130.

34. Ibn Kathir, Life of Muhammad,, pp. 516, 522.

35. Spencer, Religion of Peace?, p. 78.

36. Although Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim, as quoted by Isma’il ibn Kathir (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Volume 4, p. 377) — sees this as a repudiation of Muhammad’s pilgrimage agreements with all pagans, other early sources insist that this was not the case and that it would have reflected intolerance that Muhammad was not known to possess. Rizwi Faizer, “Expeditions and Battles,” in Jane Dammen McAuliffe, ed., Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2002), Vol. II, p. 151.

37. Surah 4:90.

38. Fatoohi, Jihad in the Qur’an, p. 34.

39. Hashmi, ed., Islamic Political Ethics, p. 201.

40. Armstrong, Islam, p. 17.

41. This is certainly the view of the influential eighth-century biographer, Ibn Ishaq: Alfred Gulillaume, trans., The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah (Oxford University Press, 1955. 1967 ed.), p. 212. For modern writers who agree, see: Fatoohi, Jihad in the Qur’an, p. 31; Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet (London: Phoenix, 1991. 2001 edition), p. 168; Martin Lings, Muhammad: His Life based on the Earliest Sources (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1983. Islamic Texts Society edition, 2009), p. 135; Al-Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar, p. 183; Sohail H. Hashmi, “Sunni Islam,” in Gabriel Palmer-Fernandez, ed., Encyclopedia of Religion and War (London: Routledge, 2004), p. 217. Hashmi, ed., Islamic Political Ethics, p. 198.

42. Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Volume 1 (Parts 1 and 2 (Surat Al-Fatihah to Verse 252 of Surat Al-Baqarah)), p. 528.

43. Surah 2:192.

44. Surah 2:193.

45. Hashmi, ed., Islamic Political Ethics, p. 204.

46. Sahih Al-Bukhari, 3025, trans. Dr Muhammad Muhsin Khan Vol. 4 Ahadith 2738 to 3648 (Riyadh: Darussalam, 1997), p. 164; Rizwi Faizer, ed., The Life of Muhammad: Al-Waqidi’s Kitab al-Maghazi (London: Routledge Studies in Classical Islam, 2010), p. 546.

47. Surah 2:216 and see Surah 42:41.

48. Surah 2: 217, 2:191 and 4:75-78.

49. Bashier, War and Peace, pp. 229-233.

50. Ibn Ishaq, p. 553; The History of al-Tabari, Vol. VIII, p. 182.

51. Ibn Ishaq, p. 385; The History of al-Tabari, Vol. VIII, p. 182.

52. Ibn Ishaq, p. 553; The History of al-Tabari, Vol. VIII, p. 183.

53. Surah 8.57.

54. Surah 5:45.

55. Cf. Surah 2:194.

56. Cf. Surah 42:40-43.

57. Cf. Khadduri, War and Peace, pp. 96-98.

58. Ibid., p. 98.

59. Imam Muhammad Shirazi, War, Peace and Non-violence: An Islamic Perspective (London: Fountain Books, 2003 ed.), pp. 28-29.

60. It even applied to the quarrels that the Qur’an criticises most: those between different Muslim groups. If one side aggressively “transgressed beyond bounds,” the other side was permitted to fight back in self-defence, but only until the aggressor desisted, at which point war was to end and reconciliation was to occur. Cf. Surah 49:9-10.

61. Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Volume 1, p. 528.

62. Shirazi, War, Peace and Non-violence, p. 29.

63. Hashmi, ed., Islamic Political Ethics, p. 211; Fred M. Donner, trans., The History of al-Tabari (Ta'rikh al-rusul wa'l-muluk): Volume X: The Conquest of Arabia (State University of New York Press, 1993), p. 16.

64. Surah 6:151, 17:33, 25:68.

65. Surah 5:33-34.

66. Surah 5:8 (and see 5:2).

67. Surah 3:134.

68. Fatoohi, Jihad in the Qur’an, p. 73.

69. Mathnawi I: 3721ff. published online at:

70. Surah 43:88-89.

71. Surah 16:125-128.

72. Surah 49:13. The clause in parentheses is a contextual explanation by the translator.

73. Surah 2:62.

74. Surah 5:69.

75. Fatoohi, Jihad in the Qur’an, pp. 25-26.

76. Surah 25:52.

77. Fatoohi, Jihad in the Qur’an, p. 87.

78. This Hadith is found in the book Kitab al-Durar al-Muntathira fi al-Ahadith al-Mushtahira for Jalal al-Deen al-Suyuti.


80. Cf. Chapter V in Khadduri, War and Peace.

81. Karen Armstrong, “The True, Peaceful Face of Islam” Time, 23 September 2001, available online at:,9171,1101011001-175987,00.html. Access date: 1 April 2011.


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Last Updated on Thursday, 14 July 2011 10:33