Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Boko Haram killings: Does Abu Qaqa understand Quran 9 vs 29?

Does the Quran Actually Enjoin the Killing of Non-Muslims for Not Converting to Islam?

In justifying the bomb attacks on three churches in northern Nigeria on Sunday, 17th June 2012, Abu Qaqa cited Quran chapter 9 verse 29.  The verse is quoted below:

"9:29 - Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah … until they pay the tribute (the Jizya) readily, being brought low [subdued]."- The Quran.

However, the same Quran contradicts Abu Qaqa’s bloodthirsty jihadist instincts, as you can deduce from the following verses of the Quran!

2:109 – “Many of the people of the Scripture [Book] long to make you disbelievers.... Forgive and be indulgent [toward them] ….”

2:256 – “There is no compulsion in religion.”

18:29 – “Whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve."

109:6—“Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion."  In fact the whole of Quran chapter 109 supports the freedom of religion.

In order to understand the reason for the “fight” recommended in Quran chapter 9:29, one should examine the word “jizya” as well as the reason for it.  Wikipedia states as follows:

From the point of view of the Muslim rulers, jizya was a material proof of the non-Muslims' acceptance of subjection to the state and its laws, "just as for the inhabitants it was a concrete continuation of the taxes paid to earlier regimes." In return, non-Muslim citizens were permitted to practice their faith, to enjoy a measure of communal autonomy, to be entitled to the Muslim state's protection from outside aggression, and to be exempted from military service and the zakat taxes obligatory upon Muslim citizens.
In return for the tax, those who paid the jizya were permitted to keep their non-Muslim religion. Their economic and political security was guaranteed by the Islamic state, provided that they accepted Islamic control. They could not serve in the military or bear arms, but their community was considered to be under the protection of the Muslim state, subject to their meeting certain conditions. If someone refused to pay the jizya, he could be imprisoned.”

We can therefore correctly deduce from the above that the “fight” meant at Sura 9:29 is jizya-based fight or jizya-informed fight or jizya-related fight. It means using the arm of the law by way of imprisonment; this is because if Quran 9:29 enjoins the killing of Christians and other non-Muslims for not converting to Islam, then Quran 2:109, 2:256 especially, 18:29 and all of chapter 109 would not have been written.  The “fight” has to do with that tax (jizya) – the non-payment of which would be tantamount to rejection of the Muslim state.  The “fight’ does not mean annihilation of the non-conformists in a Muslim state.  Note that such “fight” applies only in a Muslim state.  But as Nigeria is a secular state, that sort of “fight” is not applicable and will be unwarranted. It must therefore be regarded as anarchy and insurgency.  This is why Abu Qaqa and his Boko Haram are wrong in levying war against Christians in the North.  It is in the light of this that correct interpretation of Quran 9:29 should be sought together with the accurate understanding of “jihad.”

Besides, one wonders at the killing of Christians in northern Nigeria as if they are the only non-Muslims.  Are there no animists, Guru Maharajii, Hare Krishnans, Eckists and other non-Muslim religionists in the North?  This bias against Christians alone can therefore be said to have some Middle-eastern political undertones.

C.F. Monye
25 June 2012