𝐒𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐡 𝟗:𝟐𝟗 – 𝐓𝐚𝐛𝐮𝐤 | 𝐑𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐞 𝐓𝐨 ‘𝐑𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐎𝐟 𝐏𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐞’
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
The site Religion Of Peace (TROP), the founder is Glen Roberts – this notorious Christian missionary has written an article in response to our piece on Quran 9:29 which can be see here: “Answering Jihad: ‘Fight Against Those Who Do Not Believe’ – Quran 9:29”
This missionary has been publishing anti-Muslim and Islam articles for many years pretending to be an “expert” on Islam. In reality he has no expertise in any field let alone when it comes to Islam. He is a fraud masquerading as an “expert”. The supposed article he wrote in response to ours – he made a lot of claims without evidence. Usually when a person does a rebuttal to another person, one would attach a URL link for people to read what the author is actually rebutting in order for readers to make their own conclusions. In an unusual turn Glen Roberts did not link our article for his viewers to read.
This article is in response to some of the claims he made. We will link Glen Roberts’ piece in reference section, so people can compare what we have written to his and make their own conclusions up on this matter. 
Glen Roberts begins by claiming that nowhere in the Quran is there any hint that the verse is referred to the Byzantine’s. He then goes on to say that the verse commanded early believers to fight people based on their belief alone as result of them following the Christian or Jewish faith. Then he makes the mistake as other missionaries do usually and writes:
“This is extremely important because the Quran is claimed by Muslims to be perfect and complete. Why would Allah neglect to mention an opposing army if it is critical to interpreting the passage? What’s worse is that instead of laying out the case for self-defense, Allah explicitly curses Jews and Christians in the next verse (9:30).”
There are a number of issues with this approach. The Christian missionary makes the same mistake as his other friends by saying the Quran is complete then there is no need for other outside Prophetic Statements . The Quran is indeed complete. His misunderstanding, the verse of the Quran he refers to indirectly is in regards to Laws in the Quran. The Laws laid out in the Quran are very clear.
This is how scholars have understood the verse he inferred. It has nothing to do with the verse we are speaking about. The Quran speaks about prayer and other ritualistic matters, but we don’t know how to carry them out in our day to day lives unless we approach the Hadith, the Prophetic statements on this.
Furthermore, Glen Roberts cherry picks what we can believe in and what we can’t. You do not have the authority to dictate what Muslims have believed in for 1400 years, and all of sudden claim that those outside sources of the Quran shouldn’t be relied on when it conveniently goes against your article.
The very same Quran tells us that the Prophet Muhammed (p) came to explain, elucidate and these are recorded in the Hadith:
“with manifest signs and with scriptures; and we have sent down the Reminder to thee too, that thou mayest EXPLAIN to men what has been sent down to them, and haply they may reflect.” – Quran 16:44 (Edward Henry Palmer Translation)
As for the claim to connect Surah 9:29 and verse 30 together, these two have no connections whatsoever. Let us explain: you should be aware that just because straight after 9:29 comes the cursing of a group of people who exalted Ezra that does not mean that the verses were revealed on the same occasion. For example, Surah 9:1 all the way to verse 24 was revealed in connection with the Quraysh polytheists, which was revealed over a year before surah 9:29 was revealed.
The discussion surrounding 9:29 and 9:30 refer to two completely different groups. While 9:29 was revealed on the occasion of Tabuk, that is in relation to Byzantine as one of the earliest scholar’s of Islam who met Muhammed’s companions report’s this to us.
He very clearly states that this verse was revealed in relation to Tabuk, the Byzantine’s. Whereas S. 9:30 as the companions of Muhammed have said, the latter verse refers to a group of People who called Ezra the son of God in Madinah. Ibn Abbas (619 – 687 CE) the Prophet Muhammed’s companion states the following in relation to 9:30,
“Ibn Abbas states: Sallam b. Mishkam, Nu’man b. Abi awfa, shas b. Qays, and Malik al-sayf [Jews] came to the Prophet Muhammad (p) and said: ‘How can we follow you if you renounce that which came before you. You do not think that Ezra is the son of God?’ So Allah revealed to him the verse.” (Tafsir al-Baghawi, (4/36), online source, http://islamport.com/l/tfs/799/1238.htm )
Now compare the above with Mujahid Ibn Jabr (645 – 722 CE) who met the companions of Prophet Muhammed, he states in his exegesis for 9:29 that the verse was revealed in connection to the Byzantine’s. The Tabuk expedition more specifically:
“Mujahid Said: ‘This was when Muhammad (p) ordered his companions for Ghazwah Tabook.’
حين أمر محمدٌ وأصحابه بغزوة تبوك (Tafsir al-Tabari, on Surah 9:29, online source, http://quran.ksu.edu.sa/tafseer/tabary/sura9-aya29.html )
Many other classical scholars have said that Surah 9:29 was revealed in connection with Tabuk. Their names are, Hud b. Muhakkam Huwwariyy (9th century) , al-Tabari (838 – 923 CE) , Baghawi (1044 – 1122 AD), Ibn Kathir (1301 – 1373 AD), Al-Zurqani (1645 – 1710 CE).
When we look at the two verses in a historical perspective readers would be aware that the two verses have no connection to each other when they were revealed. Each verse dealt with separate incident’s on two different occasions. Missionaries like Glen and others make frequent mistakes in matters of the Quran, this is as a result of them never studying Islam in basic level or in University.
This is one of the reasons why scholars dedicate years to study and learn the science of revelation i.e., occasions or circumstances of revelation (Asbab al-Nuzul). The Quran is not like any other scripture. Many verses were revealed on different occasions and therefore it is important to know when and why each verse was revealed. Without extensive studies of this field one will make mistakes and make up claims that is in not line with historical understanding of the verse(s).
As for the claim:
“The most obvious problem with this argument is that verse 9:29 bluntly says to fight Jews and Christians on the basis of their religious belief. … The enemy is defined simply as those who “believe not in Allah” nor acknowledge the superiority of Islam.”
Scholar Zakaria Bashier (b. 1940), who obtained his BA and M.litt. in Philosophy from the Universities of Khartoum, Sudan and Durham, UK respectively, and his PhD on Islamic Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh, USA, he has written an interesting and in-depth piece on the Arabic words used for Surah 9:29 alone.
He states that the fact that they were called “Christians” and “Jews” and
(1) did not believe in God (atheists),
(2) they do not believe in the day of Judgement and
(3) non-practicing – based on the Arabic words used he concludes that the verse cannot refer to all Christians and Jews in Arabia, because the Quran unequivocally states elsewhere that there are Christians who are believers in God and the Last Day.
The scholar concludes and says based on the Arabic words used in the verse, that it refers to a specific group only, not all Christians and Jews. For a detailed analysis on the words, please see the following article by Scholar Zakaria Bashier: “Revisiting Quran 9:29 – Tabuk”
Roberts then makes a more outlandish and deceptive claim:
“Given that there is no textual context for self-defense in Sura 9, the next problem for apologists is that the historical record is not terribly cooperative either, even from Muslim sources. In the first place, there is no independent confirmation that there was ever a military advance at Tabuk on Muhammad’s tribe. In other words, there is not a shred of historical evidence that a Byzantine army had been assembled at that time, much less that it was attacking Muslims.”
You asserted that there is no independent outside non-Muslim sources on Tabuk and surrounding events. You may be right here. You should remember that as a Christian you don’t have one shred of independent evidence to corroborate that Jesus existed outside the New Testament. Have you got a source which says Jesus existed and did the things described in the New Testament by any contemporary person that lived at the time Jesus was alive?
You don’t. You base your beliefs of Jesus on sources from within Christianity. Same goes with Islam, we base our evidence on our sources which have been accepted and authentic in Islam for over a 1000 years.
If you’re going with this line of thinking, then be consistent with your approach and accept also that there is no independent contemporary evidence that Jesus existed outside of the New Testament. Thus, you should reject your Christian beliefs because as per your logic, there is no “independent” source outside your NT. You won’t do that. So all we are asking of you is at least use the same measurement of approach to our scripture as you do to your own. Don’t be one-sided and biased.
You then moved on and claimed that there is no historical evidence, not even from Muslim sources of an impending army. Did you skip the number of early reports we cited in the article which clearly state that the Byzantine’s were trying to attack the Muslim community?
Or did you wilfully make this claim up in order to deliberately mislead your readers not to see those facts presented? Is this why you didn’t provide a direct link to our article for your readers to read?
Let’s present some of the earliest sources on the Byzantine army’s attempt to attack the Muslim community. The following report from Sahih Muslim and other sources tell us that Byzantine army had already been encamped at Tabuk. The Hadith clearly mentions that the Prophet and the Muslims had to “confront a large army” of the Byzantine’s:
“…this is my story of remaining back from Allah’s Messenger on the occasion of the Battle of TABUK. Never did I possess means enough and (my circumstances) more favourable than at the occasion of this expedition.
And, by Allah, I had never before this expedition simultaneously in my possession two rides. Allah’s Messenger set out for this expedition in extremely hot season; the journey was long and the land (which he and his army had to cover) was waterless and HE HAD TO CONFRONT A LARGE ARMY,
so he informed the Muslims about the actual situation (they had to face), so that they should adequately equip themselves for this expedition, and he also told them the destination where he intended to go. …” (Sahih Muslim Book 37, Hadith 6670)
“…this is the account of my staying behind from the battle of TABUK. I never had better means and more favourable circumstances than at the time of this expedition. And by Allah, I had never before possessed two riding-camels as I did during the time of this expedition. Whenever Messenger of Allah decided to go on a campaign, he would not disclose his real destination till the last moment (of departure).
But on this expedition, he set out in extremely hot weather; the journey was long and the terrain was waterless desert; and HE HAD TO FACE A STRONG ARMY, so he informed the Muslims about the actual position so that they should make full preparation for the campaign.” (Riyad as-Salihin Book 1, Hadith 21)
“To Tabuk. God’s messenger undertook it in extreme heat, facing a long journey, desert country and A NUMEROUS ENEMY. He made clear to the Muslims what they were about to do in order that they might get ready the equipment for their expedition, telling them where he was going.”
(Mishkat Al-Masabih – English Translation With Explanatory Notes [Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, Publishers, Lahore, Pakistan., 1991] by James Robson, D. Litt., D.D. (Emeritus Professor Of Arabic, The University of Manchester), volume II (Vol. 2), page 836 (Chapter V))
One of the earliest sources on the Tabuk expedition is by Ibn Sa’d (784-845 CE), in his Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir he furnishes us with much detail surrounding this event. He states that reports had reached Prophet Muhammed (p) that the Byzantine (Romans) had “concentrated large forces” and Heracluis had sent some his military to ‘Balqa’. This is when the Muhammed (p) “summoned” his companions to Tabuk:
“They (narrators) saud: It (report) reached the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, that the ROMANS HAD CONCENTRATED LARGE FORCES IN SYRIA had, that Heraclius had disbursed one year’s salary to his soldiers, and that tribes of Lakhm, Judham, ‘Amilah and Ghassan had joined hands with him. THEY SENT HAD SENT THEIR VANGUARDS TO AL-BALQA. THE MESSENGER of Allah, SUMMONED THE PEOPLE TO MARCH.
He set out and informed them about the place which he intended, so that they could make necessary preparations. He sent (messengers) to Makkah and to the tribes of Arabia (asking them) to send help. This took place in the days of intense heat.” (Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, [Translated by S. Moinul Haq (New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 2009)], by Ibn Sa’d, volume 2, page 203-204)
This is also reported by the 9th Century historian Aḥmad Ibn Yaḥya al-Baladhuri (D. 892 CE), in his book ‘Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan’, he states in clear words that the Prophet (p) learned that the Byzantine army “had assembled against him”:
“Tabuk make terms. When in the year 9 AH the Prophet marched to TABUK in Syria for the invasion of those of the Greeks, Amilah, Lakhm, Judham and others WHOM HE LEARNT HAD ASSEMBLED AGAINST HIM, he met no resistance. So he spent a few days in Tabuk, whose inhabitants made terms with him agreeing to pay poll-tax.”
(The origins of the Islamic State, being a translation from the Arabic accompanied with annotations Geographic and historic notes of the Kitab Futuh Al-Buldan of al-Imam Abu’l Abbas Ahmad Ibn Jabir Al Baladhuri, [Translated by Phillip Khurti Hitti, PHD, 1916], volume 1, page 92)
In the version that is narrated by Mu’jam Tabarani (873 – 918 CE), he states that Christians said it is a “appropriate time to attack the Arabs” (Muslims):
“The Battle Of Tabuk
Rajab 9 A. H.
On the authority of Imran Ibn Husayn that the Christian Arabs wrote to Hercules, the King Of Rome that Muhammad passed away and that the people were dying because of the drought that they were experiencing. It was therefore a very appropriate TIME TO ATTACK THE ARABS (MUSLIMS).
immediately issued the order for preparations. A fully equipped army of 40 000 was prepared.” (Mu’jam az-Zawa’id, volume 6, page 191) (Siratul Mustafa [Translated by Maulana Mahomed Mahomedy – Madrasah Arabia Islamia and Zam Zam Publishers – Fifth Authorized Edition, 2015] by Hadrat Maulana Idris Sahib Kandehlawi, volume 3, page 96)
Muhammad al-Zurqani (1645 – 1710 CE) also reports the above accounts:
“It is related that the Prophet (p) received reports of the Byzantine military crossing on the northern frontiers of Arabia with the intend of MOUNTING AN ATTACK ON THE MUSLIMS. The Prophet was informed by some Nabataeans and others that Heraclius was stocking one year’s provisions for his army and drafting the pro-Byzantine tribes of Lakhm, Judham, Amla and GHASSAN under his banner, INTENDING TO COME UPON HIM and that his advance columns had already reached Balqa.” (A Commentary On Al-Mawahib, by Muhammad al-Zurqani, volume 3, page 63 – 64)
It should be noted also that the Pro-Byzantine Ghassasnide (Ghassan) tribe which Ibn Sa’d and Zurqani already mentioned , few months before Tabuk expedition were attempting to attack the Muslim community. But the Muslims did not initiate any fighting. The Muslims only took action when the reports were confirmed as shown in the above accounts in relation to Tabuk expedition.
These are the sources that mention that Pro-Byzantine Ghassan tribe intended to attack. Sahih al-Bukhari reports:
“… I left her (and went home). At that time I had a friend from the Ansar who used to bring news (from the Prophet) in case of my absence, and I used to bring him the news if he was absent. In those days we were afraid of one of the kings of GHASSANID TRIBE. We heard that he INTENDED TO MOVE AND ATTACK US, so fear filled our hearts because of that. (One day) my Ansari friend unexpectedly knocked at my door, and said, “Open Open!’ I said, ‘Has the king of Ghassan come?’ He said, ‘No, but something worse; God’s Messenger has isolated himself from his wives.’ …” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 6, Book 60, Hadith 435. Eng. Tran., https://sunnah.com/urn/45900 )
“I had a friend from the Ansar. When I had been absent (from the company of the Prophet) he used to bring me the news and when he had been absent I used to bring him the news, and at that time we dreaded a KING OF GHASSAN. It was mentioned to us that he INTENDED TO ATTACK US, AND OUR MINDS WERE HAUNTED BY HIM. My friend, the Ansari, came to me, and he knocked at the door and said:
Open it, open it. I said: Has the Ghassanid come? He said: (The matter is) more serious than that. The Messenger of Allah has separated himself from his wives. …” (Sahih Muslim Book 9, Hadith 3508. Eng Tran., https://sunnah.com/muslim/18/41 )
“‘My house was in Al-Awali among those of Banu Umayya, and I had a neighbour among the Ansar, and he and I would take turns visiting the Messenger of God.’ He said: ‘One day I would visit him and bring the news of the Revelation, and one day he would visit him and bring the same. We heard that GHASSAN WERE PREPARING THEIR HORSES TO ATTACK US. He said: ‘
One day he came to me in the evening and knocked on my door, so I went out to him. He said: “A horrible thing has happened.” I said: “Ghassan has come?” He said: “Worse than that. The Messenger of God has divorced his wives.’ … “(Jami at-Tirmidhi volume 5, Book 44, Hadith 3318. Eng. Tran., Sahih Darussalam, https://sunnah.com/urn/680290)
Roberts also claims that the expedition was set out based on “rumours” and not factual evidence, then why did the Muslims few months before Tabuk expedition not set out against the pro-Byzantine the Ghassan tribe when the Muslims heard that they were advancing against them but the Muslims did not do anything but stayed, as shown in the above Hadith reports? For more information on the Ghassan incident see the following article please: “Byzantine’s, Tabuk Expedition And The Rumor Claim”
The fact of the matter is the Muslims only advanced months later when there was clear evidence of Byzantne’s impending army. Readers should also be aware that a year before this event the Ghasanide’s assassinated an envoy, a Messenger of Muhammed which led to the battle of Mut’ah: “The Battle Of Mu’tah (Mutah)”
So far, based on the earliest sources of Islam, we get a clear picture that the Byzantine’s did indeed concentrate large forces in order to overthrow and murder innocent Muslims.
Then author moves away this time claiming that what we used are “weak” sources:
“Even the more questionable sources do not say that there was a real army at Tabuk, just a possible rumor that one was being put together. [Apologists such as “Discover the Truth” routinely interchange reliable and weaker sources to make it appear that Muslims at Medina were in imminent danger at the time.”
Roberts, you claimed that we used weak sources, could you show us what exactly is weak? It should be noted to our respected readers that the critic did not present a single evidence to back his outlandish assertion that we used “weak sources”. A simple Google search would inform readers that Sahih Muslim, Sahih Bukhari, Riyad as-Salihin and other sources we quoted are some of the most authentic sources of Islam.
Glen Roberts then claims that we quoted events that occurred “after Tabuk”:
“They also alter the wording from the original verse and introduce events that occurred after Tabuk as if they preceded it].”
Here he infers on some of the earliest reports from classical scholars who say that Abu Amir along with Byzantine leader prepared to assassinate Prophet Muhammed and murder Muslims. He deceptively claims that this event occurred after Tabuk. The event you misrepresented and inferred to did not happen after Tabuk.
In fact the very sources you claim to have read clearly state that this happened just before the Prophet set out to Tabuk expedition. The sources mention that the Byzantine leader along with Abu Amir attempted to murder the Prophet. The very sources you deliberately misrepresented and not show your readers mention this fact.
The 14th-century respected scholar Abu l-Fidaʾ Ismail Ibn Umar Ibn Kathir (1301-1373 CE), mentions that Abu Amir got the backing of Heraclius to launch an attack on the Muslim community, notice he states “Before Tabuk”:
“Masjid Ad-Dirar and Masjid At-Taqwa
The reason behind revealing these honorable Ayat is that before the Messenger of Allah migrated to Al-Madinah, there was a man from Al-Khazraj called “Abu `Amir Ar-Rahib (the Monk).” This man embraced Christianity before Islam and read the Scriptures. During the time of Jahiliyyah, Abu Amir was known for being a worshipper and being a notable person among Al-Khazraj.
When the Messenger of Allah arrived at Al-Madinah after the Hijrah, the Muslims gathered around him and the word of Islam was triumphant on the day of Badr, causing Abu `Amir, the cursed one, to choke on his own saliva and announce his enmity to Islam. He fled from Al-Madinah to the idolators of Quraysh in Makkah to support them in the WAR AGAINST THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH.
The Quraysh united their forces and the bedouins who joined them for the battle of Uhud, during which Allah tested the Muslims, but the good end is always for the pious and righteous people. The rebellious Abu Amir dug many holes in the ground between the two camps, into one of which the Messenger fell, injuring his face and breaking one of his right lower teeth.
He also sustained a head injury. Before the fighting started, Abu Amir approached his people among the Ansar and tried to convince them to support and agree with him. When they recognized him, they said, “May Allah never burden an eye by seeing you, O Fasiq one, O enemy of Allah!” They cursed him and he went back declaring, “By Allah! Evil has touched my people after I left.”
The Messenger of Allah called Abu Amir to Allah and recited the Qur’an to him before his flight to Makkah, but he refused to embrace Islam and REBELLED. The Messenger invoked Allah that Abu Amir die as an outcast in an alien land, and his invocation came true.
After the battle of Uhud was finished, ABU AMIR realized that the Messenger’s call was still rising and gaining momentum, so HE WENT TO HERACLIUS, THE EMPEROR OF ROME, ASKING FOR HIS AID AGAINST THE PROPHET. HERACLIUS GAVE HIM PROMISES AND ABU AMIR REMAINED WITH HIM. He also wrote to several of his people in Al-Madinah, who embraced hypocrisy, promising and insinuating to them THAT HE WILL LEAD AN ARMY TO FIGHT THE MESSENGER OF ALLAH TO DEFEAT HIM AND HIS CALL.
He ordered them to establish a stronghold where he could send his emissaries and to serve as an outpost when he joins them later on. These hypocrites built a Masjid next to the Masjid in Quba’, and they finished building it BEFORE the Messenger went to TABUK. They went to the Messenger inviting him to pray in their Masjid so that it would be a proof that the Messenger approved of their Masjid.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, last accessed 27th February 2017, http://www.qtafsir.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1590&Itemid=64 )
The plan of assassinating Prophet Muhammed (p) was in preparation long before the Prophet (p) set out to Tabuk. Another classical source, Ibn Juzzay mentions that this group wanted to lure the Prophet (p) into the mosque (Masjid al-Dirar) as a way for them to kill him. He also states that this event happened before Tabuk expedition. So preparation was made to murder the Prophet at Taif battle, this occurred many months before the Tabuk incident.
Tafsir Ibn Juzayy (1321 – 1357 AD) writes:
“… (to create division between the muminun) They meant to separate the believers from the Mosque of Quba’. (and in readiness for those who previously made war on Allah and His Messenger ) i.e. waiting for the one WHO FIGHTS ALLAH AND HIS MESSENGER.
He was Abu ‘Amir ar-Rahib who the Messenger of Allah called a fasiq. He was one of the people of Madina. When the Messenger of Allah came to Madina, he FOUGHT with rejection and hyprocrisy, and then left for Makka and FORMED THE PARTIES OF THE IDOLATERS.
When Makka was conquered, he went to Ta’if. When the people of TA’IF became Muslim, he went to SYRIA AND SOUGHT THE HELP OF CAESAR. He died there. The people of the Mosque of Harm said, “When Abu ‘Amir came to Madina, he prayed in this mosque.” “Before” indicates what he did with the Parties.” (Tafsir Ibn Juzayy, last accessed 27th February 2017, online source, https://bewley.virtualave.net/tawba4.html )
For details surrounding the Ta’if incident, what led to it please see the following article: “The Siege Of Ta’if (Taif)”
So it is quite clear from the above early sources that the Byzantine leader long with Abu Amir were attempting to assassinate Prophet Muhammed before the Tabuk expedition was undertaken.
Glen Roberts then goes on to assert:
“Ibn Kathir is one of Islam’s most respected historians, which even the apologists admit. He worked at a time when Islamic scholars were far less concerned about spin than fact. His research determined that the expedition to Tabuk was about loot and tribute to compensate for the loss of pilgrimage revenue.”
In fact he is either blatantly lying, deliberately misleading people or does not understand the verse and just interprets it how he feels like as a way of attacking Islam. The verse 9:28 was revealed in connection with Hunayn incident which took place long before the expedition of Tabuk.
No doubt they were going to get compensated, but this has no connection in relation to the said incident under discussion. Surah 9:28 did not trigger off the Muslims to fight for mere money. What started the war as we have seen from early sources is the aggression and hostility from the Byzantine’s.
Roberts then goes on to conclude on Ibn Kathir’s quotation:
“The Muslims were not under attack when verses 9:29 and 9:123 were narrated.”
They did attempt to attack the Muslim community. Ibn Kathir himself showed that the Byzantine leader along with Abu Amir attempted to murder the Prophet before Tabuk expedition. Besides this, Ibn Sa’d and Kitab Futuh al Buldan and others who lived long before Ibn Kathir also confirm the account that the Byzantine’s assembled an army to attack the Muslim community.
It is interesting, on one hand he chooses to disparage and attack our classical scholars and earliest sources we quoted on this incident but when it suits him he quotes Ibn Kathir. You can’t have it both ways. Ibn Kathir himself says very clearly that the Byzantine’s were attempting to Murder Prophet Muhammed before the Tabuk expedition was undertaken, as the above reports cited clearly showed.
“’Discover the Truth’ adds a few other embellishments to the story, such as claiming that the opposing army had fled (supported by neither Muslim nor independent accounts)”
The Muslim sources show that an army was there. This is confirmed in Sahih Muslim, Ibn Sa’d, Kitab Futuh al-Buldan and Al-Zurqani as shown earlier. How does that negate the fact that they fled? They left the area they wanted to engage in fighting.
When the confirmed reports show that they were there but when Muslims arrived, they went away, how does that not support our position that they fled? You are clearly clinging to straws here.
Glen Roberts continues:
“and also that “no harm was inflicted on any Christian or Jews” once Muhammad arrived at Tabuk. This is what is called a bald-faced lie. Here is the actual account of what Muhammad did…”
Our statement that no Christian or Jew was attacked was in relation to those who did not engage in fighting.
The very source you quote actually hints to us that there was a fight from both sides hence one person got killed:
“When they came out, the cavalry of the Prophet ENGAGED them, capturing Ukaydir and killing his brother.” (Ibn Kathir volume 4, page 21)
Readers should be aware Khalid was sent to get the leader Ukaydir Ibn Abd al-Malik to the Prophet. Unfortunately the leader did not want to come and instead, it seems he engaged in war against Khalid. In which it resulted in a death of one person. Khalid was not sent to fight but rather to bring the leader Ukaydir to the Prophet and sort things out in words.
If the critic claims that he was sent out to kill, then he needs to answer as to why others weren’t killed? Why was only one person harmed, but the rest were brought to the Prophet (p) and set free? Sunan Abi Dawud reports:
“Narrated Anas ibn Malik ; Uthman ibn Abu Sulayman: The Prophet sent Khalid ibn al-Walid to Ukaydir of Dumah. He was seized and they brought him to him (i.e. the Prophet). He SPARED HIS LIFE AND MADE PEACE WITH HIM on condition that he should pay jizyah (poll-tax). (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 19, Hadith 3031. Eng. Tran., Hasan Al-Albani, https://sunnah.com/abudawud/20/110 )
He concludes on this incident by saying:
“So there’s that. A Christian family going about their business is ruthlessly attacked and robbed on Muhammad’s order. At least one member is killed and the others save their lives. …”
Glen Roberts makes it out as if these people are a normal, law abiding family who have done nothing wrong other than look after their animals. This picture that is portrayed here is typical among missionaries to make the perpetrators that have done wrong as victims whilst Muhammed (p) defending himself and the community as the bad ones. Let’s explain why this picture is not in harmony with the historical sources we have available.
Some might ask what reason was there for Prophet Muhammed to send out Khalid to get Ukaydir Ibn Abd al-Malik? The leader of that region along with his people were on the side and pledged allegiance to the Byzantine’s. Hence, when the expedition of Tabuk was undertaken, these people were on the side of the Byzantine’s. They knew that the Byzantine’s were going to engage in warfare against the Muslim community but still pledged allegiance and supported them. Scholar Shaykh Allamah Shibli Nomani (1857 – 1914 CE) explains:
“Dumat al-Jandal (also pronounced as Daumat al-Jandal), which is five stages from Damascus, there was an Arab chief, UKAIDIR BY NAME, WHO OWED ALLEGIANCE TO THE ROMAN EMPEROR. Khalid Ibn Walid was despatched with four hundred and twenty men to subdue him.
Khalid made captive, and later on released him on condition that he would personally appear before the Prophet (p) to settle terms. Accordingly, he arrived accompanied by his brother and was promised protection.” (Sirat -un- Nabi [Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam] by Shaykh Allamah Shibli Nomani, volume 2, page 238)
The people of that area and their leader of Dumat al-Jandal who was Ukaydir, before the Tabuk expedition took place they engaged in hostility and attempted to attack the Muslim community in Madinah as a number of sources confirm this. Kitab al-tabaqat al-Kabir – Ibn sa’d (784 – 845 CE):
“Then (occurred) the Ghazwah of the Apostle of Allah, to Dumat al-Jandal … They (narrators) said: (The news) reached the Apostle of Allah, that a large number of men had assembled at DUMAT AL-JANDAL and that they treated cruelly the camel-riders when they passed by them, and INTENDED TO ATTACK AL-MADINAH.” (Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, [Translated by S. Moinul Haq (New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 2009)], by Ibn Sa’d, volume 2, page 76)
This is also reported by Abu Ja’far Muhammad b. Jarir al-Tabari (838-923 CE):
“In this year he mounted an expedition against Dumat al-Jandal in the month of Rabi’i. The reason for it was that word reached the Messenger of God that a host had ASSEMBLED THERE AND HAD APPROACHED HIS TERRITORIES…” (The History of Al-Tabari: The Victory of Islam: Muhammad at Medina (“Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-Muluk”) – [Translated by Michael Fishbein – State University of New York Press, 1997], volume VIII (8), page 4 – 5)
It was in the interest of the Muslims to make a peace treaty with this group and to make sure they stop their hostilities against the Muslim community. In which after Khalid’s incident they agreed.
As for his claim,
“agreeing to pay jizya (ie. extortion)…”
Jizya was never “extortion” as the deceptive of an “expert” claims. What was Jizya? In modern times we would understand this as a tax that was used to pay for hospitals, schools, military defence of the country, helping the poor and needy. This tax (Jizyah) was needed for the Government to function, and adequate care for its citizens be met.
The claim that the author seems to push that ‘Jizya’ was oppressive is only found by those who are pushing a certain agenda to paint Islam negatively. In fact, the same tax that was levied on non-Muslims was also imposed on to Muslims, called Zakat. It was compulsory for the Muslims to pay this as a way for the poor and needy Muslim and non-Muslim be fed and clothed. Odd that he conveniently leaves that out to his readers.
There is a remarkable story of the second Caliph Umar Ibn al-Khattab (586 – 644 CE). He was passing along a house when saw an old, blind man begging. Umar immediately touched the old man and asked him, whether he was a Christian or a Jew, the man said that he was from the Jewish faith. The old blind man then further told him that he begged in the day so he could provide himself the daily needs, for his food and pay the Jizya yearly. Umar Ibn Khattab upon hearing this story immediately summoned his people to feed him and allowed the man to longer pay any Jizya:
“To which of the people of the Book do you belong? I am a Jew, responded the blind man. Umar took him by the hand, led him to his own house, GAVE HIM SOMETHING FROM IT (i.e., food) and then sent him to the keeper of the treasure with this message, ‘See to this man and his like, for we have not done right if we devour their youth and neglect their old age.
The religious tax is for the poor and needy. The poor are the Muslims; this man is one of the needy of the people of the Book (Christians and Jews). HE FREED THE MAN FROM THE OBLIGATION TO PAY THE JIZYAH.“ (Kitab al-Kharaj, by Abu Yusuf Yaqub (d. 798), page 71)
And The companion of the Prophet Muhammed (p), Khalid Ibn Walid is said to have exempted non-Muslim men from Jizya and gave them charity and supported their families too for as long as they lived in the Muslims lands:
“Abu Yusuf recorded a report from Khalid Ibn Walid who wrote a pact for the people of al-Heerah, “I have determined for them: Any old man who is weak to work, has been afflicted with an affliction or was rich and is now poor such that his fellow religionists give him charity, he does not have to pay the Jizyah and he shall be supported from the public treasury of the Muslims as well as his dependents for as long as he remains in the land of hijrah and the land of Islam.” (Kitab al-Kharah, bu Abu Yusuf, page 290)
As Roberts was unable to find any credible evidence that concretely agrees with his claims on Q. 9:29, he then concludes by saying Islam spread to every community to Spain, and to the Indian sub-continent after Prophet Muhammed’s death by his companions. Therefore his assertions on Sura 9:29 is correct. This line of claims are not credible nor in accord with history.
No doubt Islam spread to many of the places you mentioned, but you’re leaving out a major factor and that is, many of these countries did not allow Muslims to spread the religion of Islam freely with words and were very oppressive. Missionary activities were forbidden. Hence there was a suppression by the leaders at the time. These lands, their leaders were very oppressive. Hence, it led those countries being conquered. Nobody denies the fact that those countries were conquered.
To prove that conquering was based on there being no freedom of religion is the case of Abyssinia. Abyssinia allowed Muslims to practice their religion freely. To preach openly about their religion without there being suppression or any hostility. The Prophet nor any of the companions attacked Abyssinia.
Nor did they pay any Jizya because the leader was faithful and a righteous Christian man who did not oppress Muslims. Where there was freedom for the Muslim community, the Prophet’s companions never initiated war against them. This is a historical fact. The Prophet’s statement on this matter confirms this:
“Leave the Abyssinians alone, so long as they do not take the offensive (leave you at peace).
Transliteration: utruk al-habasha ma tarkukum.” (Al Sirah al Halabiyah, volume 3, page 294)
“The Messenger of Allah said at that point “Leave the Ethiopians alone so long as they leave you alone, and leave the Turks alone so long as they leave you alone.’” (Sunan an-Nasa’i volume 1, Book 25, Hadith 3178. Eng. Tran., Hasan Darussalam, https://www.sunnah.com/nasai/25/92 )
Sunan Abi Dawud:
“(1594) Chapter: Prohibition Of Agitating The Turks And Abyssinians
“Narrated from Abi Sukainah One of the Companions: The Prophet said: Let (leave) the Abyssinians alone as long as they let you alone, and let the Turks alone as long as they leave you alone.” (Sunan Abi Dawud Book 38, Hadith 4288. Eng. Tran., Hasan Al-Albani, https://www.sunnah.com/abudawud/39/12 )
The relationship between Abyssinia and the early Muslim government is an excellent example for rebutting the claims that have been made by Glen Roberts.
The mission of Prophet Muhammed’s entire life was always to spread the message of Islam and stand up for justice. And he only fought those who oppressed people, as the following prayer (Du’a) of the Prophet (p) demonstrates:
“(O Allah, apportion to us such fear as should serve as a barrier between us and acts of disobedience; and such obedience as will take us to Your Jannah; and such as will make easy for us to bear in the calamities of this world.
O Allah! let us enjoy our hearing, our sight and our power as long as You keep us alive and make our heirs from our own offspring, and make our REVENGE RESTRICTED TO THOSE WHO OPPRESS US, and SUPPORT US AGAINST THOSE WHO ARE HOSTILE TO US let no misfortune afflict our Deen; let not worldly affairs be our principal concern, or the ultimate limit of our knowledge, and let not those rule over us who do not show mercy to us).” (Riyad as-Salihin Book 5, Hadith 834 Eng. Tran., https://sunnah.com/riyadussaliheen/5/21 )
The claims being made against our article on 9:29 does not hold any weight when we examined them. The assertion of Glen Roberts that Surah 9:29 has no connection to Tabuk was not true. The earliest evidence shows that Sura 9:29 was revealed on the occasion of Tabuk is from Mujahid Ibn Jabr , a scholar who met the companions of Prophet Muhammed (p) as we showed earlier. Furthermore, the Arabic words used and the earliest historical sources showed that 9:29 was revealed on occasion to the Tabuk expedition.
The verse targeted and referred to a specific group of people. In which we found that the Byzantine’s alongside other tribes formed an alliance to attack and murder Muslims. Therefore, the claims being made to discredit our article was nothing more than a deceptive piece to deliberately mislead innocent readers. This article thoroughly showed that Glen Roberts claims made on Sura 9:29 were untenable and thus should be rejected by sane light-minded people.  
Sadly the author of the article from TROP has a lot in common extremists right-wingers. They have created this atmosphere, a world of “us” vs “them” mentality, which contributes nothing more than hate and destruction in the world. The only way to win against these extremist bigots on all sides is to give the true message of scripture and bring communities together for a better and peaceful world.
(1) – “Social Conditions: Christians And Jews In Early Period Of Islam”
(2) – “The Relationship Of The Muslim With Non-Muslims”
(3) – “Most Misinterpreted Verses Of The Quran?”
(4) – “The Hadith ‘…Fight Until They Say There Is No god But Allah’ Explained”
(5) – “Early Expeditions And Battles Of Islam”
(6) – “The Truth About Jizyah”
 This is the article that was written by Glen Roberts: “The Myth: Muhammad was Attacked by a Byzantine Army: The Tabuk Expedition and Verse 9:29” (Last accessed 28th February 2017 (*)), https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/muhammad/byzantine-9-29.aspx
 The 9th century scholar Hud b. Muhakkam Hawwari states that Surah 9:29 was revealed as a result of Tabuk, his statement is reported in the book, “Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought” by Asma Afsaruddin, page 75 – 76
 A summary on 9:29 from At-Tabari (838 – 923 CE):
“عَنْ مُجَاهِدٍ قَاتِلُوا الَّذِينَ لا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَلا بِالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ… حِينَ أُمِرَ مُحَمَّدٌ وَأَصْحَابُهُ بِغَزْوَةِ تَبُوكَ
Mujahid reported concerning the verse, “Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day…” that it was revealed when Muhammad and his companions were commanded with the expedition of Tabuk.
The expedition of Tabuk was preceded by the battle of Mu’tah which began when the emissary of the Prophet was assassinated while delivering a letter to a Roman ally. (Tafseer At-Tabari 9:29 Online source, http://altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=1&tTafsirNo=1&tSoraNo=1&tAyahNo=1&tDisplay=yes&UserProfile=0&LanguageId=1 )
 The New Encyclopedia of Islam – Cyril Glasse on the Ghassan tribe:
“Ghassanis. A South Arabian tribe, the Banu Ghassan, who migrated to Syria from the Yemen between the 3rd and 4th century AD and settled in the region of Damascus.
Many of them became monophysite Christians. Their leaders were accorded a Phylarcate, or status of vassal kingdom, under the Byzantine Emperor Justinian (527 – 569).
The Ghassanis protected the southern flank of the Byzantine Empire.” (The New Encyclopedia of Islam – Revised Edition Of The Concise Encyclopedia Of Islam [Introduction by Professor Huston Smith – Altamira Press – Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, INC, 2002], by Cyril Glasse, page 154)
 Mujahid Ibn Jabr (645-722 AD) clearly states in his exegesis that Surah 9:29 was revealed as a result of Tabuk expedition:
“Mujahid Said: ‘This was when Muhammad (p) ordered his companions for Ghazwah Tabook.’
حين أمر محمدٌ وأصحابه بغزوة تبوك (Tafsir al-Tabari, on Surah 9:29, online source, http://quran.ksu.edu.sa/tafseer/tabary/sura9-aya29.html )
 In Sahih al-Bukhari the Prophet (p) is reported to have said that he will not sit down while the enemy is out there trying to persecute him or his community:
“I saw the Messenger of God, on the day of the battle with the confederates while he was carrying so much earth for the trench that his abdomen was covered. The Prophet was saying, “O God, had you not guided us, we would not have given charity nor prayed.
Send tranquility upon us and make our stance firm if we encounter the enemy. Verily, THEY WERE THE FIRST TO TRANSGRESS AGAINST US. IF THEY INTEND PERSECUTION, THEN WE HAVE REFUSED.” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 9, Book 90, Hadith 34, Arabic Tran.)
 “At the battle of Mutah, the Christian Greeks learnt to their cost what it meant to put the valour of Allah’s warriors to the test; and in their hatred of Islam’s steady growth, they busied themselves in mustering a most terrible army to crush it. The Prophet heard of this. He resolved to be first in the field and attack. Only his unshaken confidence in divine protection could have inspired him with such temerity.
How many thousands of soldiers must he gather together so as not to court irretrievable disaster? Now the moment was not in the least favourable: a long drought had withered crops and herbage; flocks were decimated; horrible famine plunged the whole region in desolation; and the torrid heat of the second half of summer destroyed all energy.
The harvest of the savoury fruit of each oasis, watered by inexhaustible wells, alone promised to be abundant and invigorating; and it was precisely when the Faithful were about to profit by the only benefits of this lean year that the Apostle issued his marching orders.
(THE LIFE OF MOHAMMAD – THE PROPHET OF ALLAH BY E. DINET and SLIMAN BEN IBRAHIM, [PARIS – THE PARIS BOOK CLUB, 11, RUE DE CHATEAUDUN], Chapter The Eighth, https://www.gutenberg.org/files/39523/39523-h/39523-h.htm )