You are here

Answering Islam

  • Summary: 

    One of the most frequently quoted Quranic verses is chapter 9 verse 5. This verse is known as "The Verse of the Sword." Muslim terrorists cite it to justify their violent jihad. Correspondingly, critics of Islam claim that it commands Muslims to act with offensive aggression towards the non-Muslims of that period, and contributes to Islam’s final theological doctrine of aggression towards all non-Muslims of all times. Apologists for Islam claim that 9:5 is purely defensive. Which side is right?

    As the Islamic source materials are examined it will become evident that verse 9:5 is part of the theology of jihad and is meant to be both offensive and defensive. It is directed against Pagans living both near to and far away from Muhammad.

    Understanding 9:5 in context requires an examination of the passage in which it is found. This passage consists of 29 to 41 verses or so (depending on which scholar’s view you hold). Because of time and space constraints however, I will only review the first 8 or so verses. I believe that they set the passage’s tone and belay its directives.

    Islam’s final theological position regarding the use of violence to further its domain does not rest upon one verse or passage. Rather the entire Quran, other Islamic source materials, and Muhammad’s actions and lifestyle (Sunnah) must be examined and evaluated. We’ll do that with a view toward Sura 9:5.

    I have attempted to keep this article focused on 9:5 within the broad theology of jihad. 9:5 is a foundational stone in the building of jihad and general aspects of jihad must be discussed. There is also the related topic of abrogation, but that has been dealt with elsewhere1, 2, 3, 4.

  • Author(s):


    In this article we intend to supplement the following excellent discussion of Q. 9:5 by our dear brother Silas: 

    Our purpose is to examine Q. 9:5 and 29 in light of the testimony of Muslim sources in order to see whether these texts refer to defensive jihad, e.g. fighting only those who attack and oppress Muslims. Or do these texts actually command Muslims to attack and/or subjugate the disbelievers in the context of offensive military warfare for the purpose of expanding Islam politically and geographically.

    The Passage

  • Author(s):


    One of the most telling observations about the character of people is how they deal with their enemies. When we are put under pressure by being challenged and questioned, then our real character and personality is revealed that might easily be hidden when everything is under control. The allegedly "flawless character of Muhammad" is often used as evidence that he is the prophet of God and his message, the Qur'an, the very word of God. This page will provide you with source material and our conclusions so that you can read and make your own evaluation and informed decision what you will believe about this historically very important person who greatly influenced our world for better or worse. The following are names of people whose execution was suggested, requested or ordered by Muhammad. Many of them were assassinated, some got away for reasons of unforeseen circumstances. But deeds are judged by intention and the intention or request for assassination is serious in itself.

Subscribe to Answering Islam