What is the actual historical context of the “Kill them wherever you find them” verse in the Quran (2:190-195)?
That is a commonly misunderstood verse.
It’s important whenever one reads a Quranic verse, to read it in its context.
When the passage is examined in context, it is clear that nowhere does it sanction the killing of innocent people.
From verse 2:190 to 2:195, when read, Allah makes it evident to fight those only who fight them, fighting in self-defence.
2:190 Fight in the way of God those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. God does not like transgressors.
2:191 And kill them wherever you find them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah [Persecution] 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.
2:192 And if they cease, then indeed, God is Forgiving and Merciful.
2:193 Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah [Persecution] and [until] worship is for God. But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors.
2:194 [Fighting in] the sacred month is for [aggression committed in] the sacred month, and for [all] violations is legal retribution. So whoever has assaulted you, then assault him in the same way that he has assaulted you. And fear God and know that God is with those who fear Him.
2:195 And spend in the way of God and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction [by refraining]. And do good; indeed, God loves the doers of good.
How many times do we see the above verse repeating the message to make it clear? These verses were revealed at a time when Muslims of Madinah were under constant attack from the Makkans. An example would be when the Makkans conducted the public crucifixion of the companion of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), Khubaib bin Adi.
These would be classified as ‘terrorist activities’ according to the modern usage of the term. So what does this verse say in this context? “Fight in the cause of God those who fight you”, “unless they (first) fight you there” – the context of this verse applies to those who initiate the attack against Muslims. And even after they attack, the verse makes it clear:
“But if they cease, God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [Noble Quran 2:192]
And it also makes clear the purpose for what Muslims fight:
“Fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God”. [Noble Quran 2:193]
Jihad can never be, NEVER BE fought for worldly gain, for conquest, or even for revenge.
Muslims must only fight to protect the lives, property, and freedoms of people, especially their freedom to worship Allah when that freedom is forcibly attacked. They are never allowed to attack innocent people, even when they are themselves attacked by the countrymen of those innocents.
Any people that go against this established principle of Islamic Law and murder civilians are fighting against Islam and everything that it stands for. It is ludicrous for them to call this fighting a Jihad, a word that means striving in the cause of Islam. They are in fact murderers in the light of Islamic Law and should be treated as such.
For clearly understanding the verse,