If, after the truth is conclusively conveyed by messengers of God, they and their companions are able to acquire political authority in some place, it is the verdict of God that there are only two situations which will be faced by their rejecters. If there are polytheists among them, they shall be put to death and if there are people among them who are monotheists to any extent, they shall be subjugated. It was in order to implement this verdict that the Almighty directed Muslims to wage war and to carry out mass killings of the polytheists of Arabia in Surahs Baqarah, Anfal and Tawbah. This directive has nothing to do with the shari‘ah and its injunctions. In my book, Mizan, I have written:
It is evident from these details that all these armed campaigns and offensives were not merely qital(war), they were in reality a divine punishment. This punishment, which is meted out to those to whom the truth is communicated to such an extent that they are left with no excuse to deny it, is an established practice of God. As a divine scheme, it descended first upon the Idolaters and the People of the Book of Arabia and then to certain other nations outside it. Consequently, it is absolutely certain that fighting those who have deliberately rejected the truth and forcing the vanquished to lead a life of subjugation by imposing jizyah on them is no longer allowed. Till the Day of Judgement, neither can any one attack any nation of the world for this purpose, nor does he have the authority to subjugate the vanquished by imposing jizyah on them. For Muslims, the only ground for war is injustice and oppression. This is the sole reason for warfare which they can now justify. They cannot wage war in the name of religion on any other ground.
About the progeny of Abraham (sws) also, the verdict of God is that if they adhere to the truth andpresent it to other peoples of this world with full certainty and while maintaining full integrity of its contents, the Almighty will grant them dominance over their addressees who reject them. However, if the progeny of Abraham (sws) do not adhere to the truth, then the Almighty will mete out the punishment of humiliation and subjugation to them through these very addressees. This promise is both to the Israelites and the Ishmaelites. The Qur’an (22:78) has specifically pointed out that the Ishmaelites were chosen to bear witness to religion in the same way that the Israelites were chosen for this task before them. So, the promises which are mentioned in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy, 28:1-25) for the Israelites, and the Qur’an has referred to them at various places, (eg. 2:40; 17:8), will be understood to also exist for the Ishmaelites. However, this does not mean that the Ishmaelites can take the initiative with regard to themselves and attack various nations of the world. They have been given this right neither in the Old Testament, nor in the Qur’an. The promise of dominance manifests itself at the behest of God and it is brought about by God Himself through various circumstances that He Himself creates. The only obligation of the Ishmaelites is to follow all the directives of God, and to discharge, as much as they can, the responsibility of bearing witness to religion with sincerity and honesty – the responsibility for which God has chosen them.
One corollary of this verdict is that the Almighty has specifically allocated the area of Palestine and its surrounding land of Kanan to the Israelites and the area of the Arabian peninsula to the Ishmaelites so that all the nations of the world are able to observe God’s close link with these nations and receive guidance. Thus, for this very reason, He directed the Israelites to expel the inhabitants of this area of their inheritance, leave no polytheist or disbeliever alive in that area and leave no territory adjacent to this area in the political control of the polytheists or disbelievers except if they agreed to live in subservience by paying tribute. If these nations did not agree to this, then the Israelites were directed to execute their men and enslave their women and children. In the twentieth chapter of the book of Deuteronomy, this directive is mentioned in full detail. It is on the basis of this directive that the Prophet Solomon (sws) forced the queen of Sheba to submit to his rule. After the conquest of Makkah, all contracts with the Idolaters of the Arabian peninsula were revoked on its basis as well. The injunction of لا يجتمع دينان في جزيرة العرب (two religions cannot exist together in the land of Arabia) should also be seen in the light of this directive. Consequently, on this very basis, in the land of Arabia, neither can a place of worship be built to worship someone other than God nor can a polytheist or a disbeliever be allowed to live. All these directives are related to this centre of monotheism – the land of Arabia and do not relate to any other part of the world.
These are the verdicts of God which are mentioned very clearly in divine scriptures. The Torah also elucidates them with all their details and so does the Qur’an. Muslims are unfortunate that in recent times some of their celebrated thinkers have been unable to understand the true nature of these verdicts. The political interpretation of Islam has been born from the womb of these verdicts. It is under the influence of this interpretation that a number of militant and jihadi movements have sprung up all over the globe and as a result the entire Muslim ummah is suffering its consequences. In order to redress this state of affairs, it is essential that an awareness be created about these verdicts at the global level and people be educated about them so that no extremist is left with a possibility of creating nuisance by wrongly generalizing the scope of these verdicts.
(Translated by Dr Shehzad Saleem)