How could the promises made by the polytheists be relied upon when they do not have the remotest understanding of the Greatness of Allaah-SWT and His-SWT Messenger-SW. Polytheism and denial have become a permanent feature of their temperaments and nothing good can be expected of them. They suffered for breaking their promises while the believers honoured their promise and were victorious. However, there was a group of non believers who had made a Treaty with the Muslims near the Haram. Although they were yet deprived of faith, but they were better than the polytheists, because they had honoured their words.
A Virtuous Act is Appreciated
In other words, an act of goodness must be appreciated even if it is done by a non believer. Virtue is after all virtue. Such an act becomes an example for the believer that he should not miss out a good deed, which even a non believer is doing. Referring to the group of non-believers who honoured their word, the Quran commands that if they themselves do not initiate a breach of the Treaty, the Muslims must also honour their word, because Allah-SWT appreciates those who are cautious in their conduct. Therefore, the believers must be careful in their dealings even with the enemy and the infidels.
States of Qalb Determine a Person's Conduct
The believers must not expect any goodness from those non believers who breached the treaties and did not honour their word. If they had power over the believers they would subject them to atrocities without any regard to their treaties or relationships. This is because they only try to appease the believers through diplomacy while their hearts are full of malice against them. The actions and conduct of a person are certified by the state of his heart. Unless the Qalb is purified, many an articulate preachers indulge themselves in acts similar to those of the polytheists. They merely seek mundane benefits and in the bargain do not hesitate to sell the Divine Commandments. In this way, they continue to misguide the people.
Din Must be Preferred Over Worldly Benefits
A believer must prefer his Din over mundane benefits and obey the Divine Injunctions, which require him to uphold his promises. It is indeed a great blunder to compromise over Din for worldly pleasures. This attitude has turned these infidels into unscrupulous people, who do not value any relationship or commitment, and are indeed ruthless. However, they do have the basic human rights, and it is only their conduct which is loathsome ignominious. If they mend their ways, repent sincerely, accept Islam, establish Salat and pay Zakat, they must not be admonished over their past follies. This is because Islam guarantees forgiveness over all previous wrongdoings. Thus the believers must not reproach new converts over their past actions. By embracing faith they have become the members of the Islamic brotherhood and their rights as brothers-in-faith have to be fully safeguarded.
Proof of Confession of Faith
Here the outward symbols of the members or the Islamic brotherhood have been recounted. A verbal proclamation of faith must be complemented with the establishment of Salat and the payment of Zakat. Then a person must exert his best efforts to worship Allah-SWT, without being deterred from His-SWT obedience by the love of wealth. Only then does he qualify to be a member of the Islamic brotherhood, and is entitled to enjoy the rights given by it. Otherwise he will be deprived of these rights, like those who had refused to pay Zakat were subjected to Jihad. Allaah-SWT reveals everything clearly for people of understanding. However, if the infidels persist on disbelief and continue to break their promises and mock at Islam, they deserve no concessions. They indeed are the leaders of infidelity and must be dealt with an iron hand.
Mockery of Din and the Term’ Imam' Explained
Besides breaching their treaties, the non believers also indulged in ridiculing Islam, which must never be tolerated. If a so-called Muslim commits this offence he will not only be guilty of disbelief but it will be obligatory for the Muslims to also wage Jihad against him. Today's intellectuals and politicians who criticise the Islamic punishments as brutal are undoubtedly non believers, rather are the leaders of disbelief. This Ayah also explains the meaning of the word Imam, which is not an office in terms of Shari'ah, but merely denotes leadership. If someone leads people on the path of righteousness, he will be termed as an Imam in the positive sense, like the Prophets-AS who have been called A'imah. However, if a person is leading the wrongdoers or the non believers, he too will be termed as an Imam like in the expression "A'ematul Kufr” (leaders of infidelity). Imam is not an office like the office of Prophethood.
Criticism and Censure
Allah-SWT declares that those who criticize Islam cannot be trusted, even if they swear or make tall claims. Their words are not worthy of any heed and when they assail Islam, Jihad must be waged against them. On the other hand, even a non believer seeking knowledge is allowed to critically analyze Islam, but no one will be permitted to be sarcastic or to belittle it. Nor will any one be permitted to utter words, which may hurt the feelings of the believers. Jihad, as distinct from war, will be initiated against such violators.
Difference Between Jihad and War
The aim of war is to crush the opponent so that he may never be able to stand up again. Since Islam is a well wisher of humanity, it has replaced the conventional war with Jihad. Jihad is waged only to stop the opponent from transgression and not for extending the perimeters of the dominion. It is not driven by greed or a desire to obliterate the enemy. The enemy will be fought against until he renounces transgression and reforms his attitude. Certainly, it is aimed at welfare and reformation.
Exile of The Holy Prophet-SW
Allah-SWT asks the reason for not fighting those who have planned to exile the Holy Prophet-SW .The Ayah points at the Jews of Madinah, who had said that they would drive the believers out of the city. Allaah-SWT Commanded the believers to declare Jihad against them and as a result they themselves were expelled from the city in disgrace. Similarly anyone who stands in the way of Islam in an Islamic State, or promotes any other system besides Islam is guilty of exiling the Holy Prophet-SW and therefore, must be fought against. Allaah-SWT says that such people always initiate mischief and if the believers tolerate their intrigues and do not draw their swords, it would mean that the believers are afraid of them. Mark that a believer is only afraid of Allah-SWT, and it is only He Who rightfully deserves to be feared. It does not befit the believers to be afraid of anyone save Allaah-SWT or to be overawed by the resources or material strength of the non believers.
Mode of Punishing the Non Believers
The believers are commanded to fight the non believers, as Allaah-SWT will punish them at the hands of the former. The times have changed and no longer will it be the swallows casting stones at the enemy of Islam, because the raising of the Holy Prophet-SW has taken the power of such miraculous nature and handed it, down to the believers. Therefore, O' Ummah of the Holy Prophet-SW! To enjoin good and forbid evil is now your responsibility. All those who transgress and conspire against Islam must be punished at your hands. They shall no longer be punished with fire or stones from the heavens. The guardians of the K'abah now, are not the swallows but the Muslim Ummah. Therefore, with all sincerity strive for the enforcement of Islam and upholding the truth through Jihad. Allaah-SWT will inflict pain and defeat on the non believers at your hands and they shall be disgraced. It is Allah-SWT's Promise that He-SWT will bless the believers with victory over the enemies of Islam. This will also be a source of satisfaction for the believers, as they will get a chance to punish the enemy for a continuous breach of treaties and blasphemy. The believers will be elevated, comforted and honoured.
However, it must be remembered that the door to repentance is open for as long as one lives. So even if someone repents after a lifetime of mischief, the believers must not reject him. It is upto Allaah-SWT to accept the penitence, for He-SWT knows the deeds of all. He-SWT is the Wisest and the Most Gracious. Therefore, Jihad will not be a barrier to the repentance by the non believers. In fact whenever a non believer, no matter how staunch, resorts to repentance, he will find the door of Islam ajar for him.
And remember that a mere verbal confession of faith will not guarantee eternal salvation, which awaits those who sincerely exert in Jihad and maintain a deep-hearted relationship only with Allah-SWT, His-SWT Prophet-SW and the faithful. If all worldly affiliations put together fail to deter a believer from Jihad, only then can he qualify for Allah-SWT's Nearness. Those who evade participation in Jihad or shun practical life shall face serious reprisal. Allaah-SWT is well Aware of the intentions behind the actions of people. Besides, maintaining an intimate relationship with the non believers whereby secrets are shared with them is totally forbidden and a true believer can never commit this mistake.