“Infidels /Unbelievers/ Kafirs” in general meant those who did not believe what you believed and opposed and persecuted you for what you believed. The persecutors may have been idol worshippers, but why brand them all as idol worshippers? A majority of idol worshippers are good kind people, just like a majority of us. We need to explore the wisdom of this. God cannot be a petty guy. Quran is an ocean full of wisdom, and it is a book of guidance to all humanity (not just Muslims) to create a world where all of us can live in harmony and Peace. That is indeed the un-expressed purpose of Islam.
Why do we need to interpret them as Idol worshippers? Those who opposed and persecuted the Prophet’s tribe could be anyone. From the book “American Muslim Agenda” available at Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, etc.
A similar mistake was made in the interpretation of another verse. Which the Muslim scholars of the past falsely wrote, “Jews who did not observe Sabbath would be turned into Apes.” The Quran did not say that. What the Quran said was, “those who did not observe Sabbath would act like apes, meaning if you don’t take a day off, week after week, you could behave unreasonably.
The common God of the universe would not discriminate one of his creations from the other; neither is HE a villain of his creation.
That is the reason to take a day off on Sabbath to take rest and rejuvenate.
FORMULA ABOUT JUSTICE VERSE
All the justice verses in the Quran have a formula based on the following seven or, at a time, three or five steps:
1. If the bad guys pull over their truck in front of your house, you tell them to back off.
2. If the bad guys keep coming at you, you ask them to back off.
3. If the bad guys jump on you and want to throw you out of your own space, you act and chase them.
4. If the bad guys run and hide behind the bushes, you find them wherever they are. The verse is, “Kill the infidels wherever you find them.”
5. Now you can shoot the bad guys in self-defense to end the misery.
The above is a normal process with anyone in most of the states in the United States. The Quran is no different but goes two steps further.
6. When you about smite them on their necks, and they beg for mercy and seek forgiveness, the Quran advises you to take a step back.
7. The Quran instructs you to stop the aggressive reaction and forgive the criminal. The best one among you is the one who forgives. It prevents the revenge mechanism and frees you to live in peace.
The following statement was made by Robert Spencer’s favorite: “When the sacred months are over, slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them and lie in ambush everywhere for them” (Quran 9:5).
The Actual Verse
The explanations to the numbers in parenthesis follow:
And so, when the sacred months are over , slay those who ascribe divinity to aught beside God wherever you may come upon them,  and take them captive, and besiege them, and lie in wait for them at every conceivable place ! Yet if they repent, and seek to prayer, and render the purifying dues, let them go their way: for, behold, God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace . (Quran 9:5)
IN RESPONSE TO THE FOLLOWING POSTING
Does the Quran call for killing Christians?
Many Islamophobes use this verse to claim it does: “kill them wherever you find them.” (Qur’an 2:191).
Is this passage in the Quran urge Muslims to kill Christians? No, it doesn’t. Why? Because it is taken out of context and misinterpreted.
The verse is talking about a specific situation between the Muslims who had to run for their lives from Makah to Medina and their previous oppressors and enemies, the idol worshippers of Quraish: “Fight in God’s path against those who fight you, but do not be aggressors, for God does not love aggressors. (02:190) [If they start a fight] kill them wherever you find them, and expel them from wherever they expelled you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Holy Sanctuary unless they fight you in it. If they fight you, kill them. That is the reward of the unbelievers. (02:191) If they stop, God is forgiving and Merciful-to-all.”
First, the “unbelievers” in this context who were fighting the Muslims are the idol worshipers of Quraish. They are not Christians.
Second, it does not refer to Christians and Jews whom the Quran view as believers.
Third, it says, “if they fight you, then kill them.”
Fourth, it says Do not be aggressors, If the idol worshipers start a fight, kill them, and finally, If they stop, God is forgiving and Merciful-to-all. Accept their repentance and stop being aggressive.
Ibn Al-Qayyim (1292-1350 ) wrote, “The Prophet never forced the religion upon anyone, but rather he only fought those who waged war against him and fought him first. As for those who made peace with him or conducted a truce, then he never fought them, and he never compelled them to enter his religion, as his Lord the Almighty had commanded him: There is no compulsion in religion, for right guidance is distinct from error (2:256). The negation in verse carries the meaning of the prohibition. Namely, you may not force your religion upon anyone.”
Source: Hidayat Al-Hayara 237
Dr. Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, author, business consultant, community organizer, news-maker, and an interfaith wedding officiant. He is deeply committed to Religious Freedom, Human Rights, and Pluralism in Religion, Politics, Societies, and the workplace. He is dedicated to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day to the media and civic, religious and political leaders.