The Concept of Jihad as Qur'an reveals it
Yes, nations were destroyed for their wrong belief systems and unjust societies. For either not heeding to Allah's warnings or making mockery of them. Not because it harmed Allah (for none can do so) but it contributed to immorality, injustice, oppression and waste of God-given resources on frivolous things. But we read also that was the domain of Allah and His method of destroying them. He did not ask, for instance, Nuh (AS) to capture the miscreants and kill them all!
That is the issue here. Allah sends messenger who presents them to the people with reason and discussion.They are given warnings to mend their ways. When they reject the message due to their vested interest, Allah takes over.
In Messenger Muhammad 's(S) case we find things are a bit different (He, for instance did not choose to destroy them by forces of nature,say by a flood or earthquake) Why? because Allah chose a different way for the changing times which is His prerogative.
In 9:14 that you refer, the Muslims were told to fight because they were being attacked by those who had no regard for treaties or human life. Allah was telling them to fight back!! Please read that there were idolaters who were not to be harmed because they had fulfilled their treaty obligations and had not aided the enemies of Muslims (9:4).
"Fight in God's cause against those who wage war against you; but do not commit aggression, for, verily, God does not love aggressors" 2:190) and "If they do not let you be, and do not offer you peace, and do not stay their hands, seize them and slay them whenever you come upon them; and it is against these that We have clearly empowered you [to make war](4:91). Which clearly shows these verses relate to warfare being waged because of self-defense.
Please read chapter 60 where you find Allah speaks to those present in Muhammad's (S) times (and by implication to us as well) and says (8) As for such [of the unbelievers] as do not fight against you on account of [your] faith, and neither drive you forth from your homelands, God does not forbid you to show them kindness and to behave towards them with full equity: for verily God loves those who act equitably."
Please also read "64:12 "Pay heed, then, unto God, and pay heed unto the Apostle; and if you turn away, [know that] Our Apostle's only duty is a clear delivery of this message"
You will not find any verse/verses that say or mean "Force people to accept Islam and if they don't fight and kill them, and kill those also who accept Islam and then reject it."
As for 2:256 let us read the entire verse "There shall be no coercion in matters of faith. Distinct has now become the right way from [the way of] error: hence, he who rejects the powers of evil and believes in God has indeed taken hold of a support most unfailing, which shall never give way; for God is all-hearing, all-knowing". Yusuf Ali comments:
"Compulsion is incompatible with religion: because (1) religion depends upon faith and will, and these would be meaningless if induced by force; (2) Truth and Error have been so clearly shown up by the mercy of Allah that there should be no doubt in the minds of any persons of good will as the the fundamentals of faith(end quote). This fundamental principle was true in the times of The Messenger and true now. If you believe Muhammad (S)was to force faith or kill anyone who rejects faith or become an apostate , then you Sir need to seriously study the Qur'an one more time. There are tons of verses that tell the Rasool to leave his tormentors alone; Allah would deal with them (directly) or through disastrous results of their actions. People are being presented with proofs from nature to appeal to their faculties of reason. Far numerous verses to mention here. There is a verse that says as for the matter of him (or those) who accept faith, reject it, them accept it again to reject it, will never find inner peace (sorry forgetting the number).
For a better translation of the Qur'an may I humbly suggest you visit www.ourbeacon.com and read it.
Best regards and prayers to Allah to help us in our efforts to learn the truth.
I am sure you would agree that we need to understand the Qur’an the way it is; neither I nor anyone else has a right to insert meanings into the book of God it is refusing to accept. While interpreting the Qur’an, it is important that all verses of the Qur’an, and not a few of them, should be placed in their proper perspective. Of course, while making an attempt to do so sincerely, we can always disagree.
The fact that the Qur’an required the Prophet to preach the message of Islam and to not be bothered by the stubbornness of the disbelievers is clearly mentioned in the book. It has also been mentioned in it that the non-believers who don’t show open enmity against Muslims are not the ones with whom friendship can’t be established. It is also clear that the Qur’an is requiring Muslims to not react to the insulting remarks of disbelievers etc. However, verses such as the ones that give these messages are not the only ones to be found in the Qur’an.
I would like you to have a careful look at the following points as well:
i)The Qur’an is very clear that like the disbelievers of the earlier messengers, the disbelievers of Muhammad, Alaihissalaam, too will have to face punishment of destruction and death (54:41-45). It also clarifies that the promised punishment can come during the lifetime of the prophet or after his demise (43:41-42). If we are claiming that there wasn’t any punishment inflicted on the disbelievers, we are suggesting that the Qur’an warned the disbelievers all along in the Makkan period of something which never actually happened.
ii)The Qur’an itself declares the day of the battle of Badr as the day when the truth would be distinguished from the falsehood (al-Furqan) (8:41). It also clarifies that what transpired on that day wasn’t something that was actually done by the Prophet himself; it was God Who caused it to happen (8:17).
iii)The Qur’an clearly mentions that the polytheists of Makkah were to be executed as a punishment for not believing after the lapse of a certain period (9:5). Your claim that these were the people who had violated their treaties with the Muslims is not convincing even from your own point of view because the punishment for violating treaties should not normally be death. And the Qur’an does stipulate death as their punishment. Moreover, the Book of Allah goes on further to mention that those groups with who Muslims have had treaties were to be spared only until the time of the lapse of those treaties. In other words, after the duration of those treaties were over, they too were to be killed (9:4).
iv)Also, the Qur’an is very clear that the polytheists of Arabia had no chance of being spared from the punishment of death except in case they repented, said prayers, and paid Zakat, in other words except in case they became Muslims (9:5).
v)The Jews and the Christians were also to fought against and punished imply for the reason that they didn’t accept Islam as their religion. The only difference in their case was that their punishment was to be confined to them living as second-rate citizens on paying Jizya (9:29).
vi)The only people who were to be temporarily spared from this punishment were the people who had not as yet learned about the message of the Qur’an. The Qur’an asks Muslims not to punish them until they hear the Book of Allah and then they be left at a secure place.
All these Qur’anic evidences lead one to believe that the punishment for the polytheists of Arabia for not believing in the message of Islam after it had been clearly communicated to them was death and for the disbelieving People of the Book it was to lead a life of second-rate citizens as a subjugated nation. Only those people were to be spared from such punishment who became Muslims.
The above explanation is the only valid one that clarifies all the verses of the Qur’an in a manner that it presents a coherent message. You don’t have to declare a single verse redundant and unexplainable. However, it is equally clear that none of these punishments is applicable to the people of other times, because they never became direct addressees of the message of the messenger. An apostate of that time would therefore be subjected to death for the simple reason that he had no choice but to believe in the message in the first place. Such a ruling has nothing to do with the apostates of any other time.
And Allah knows the best.