Guest Commentary


What Does Koran 

Actually Teach?

Briefing Four


2003 Paul J. Tetreault Jr., Esq.

Note: this is part two of a four part briefing that presents major themes in the Koran as expressed in several parallel translations of that book.

As promised, here is the sura that says Muslims can force non-Muslims to pay "Jizya" - a tax to have "protection" - i.e., any legal rights - under Islamic government:

Sura 9:29

"Fight against such as of those to whom the Scriptures were given as believe in neither God nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what God and His apostle have forbidden, and do not embrace the truth Faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Dawood)

Here is the same sura in three other translations:

YUSUFALI: "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."

PICKTHAL: "Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low."

SHAKIR: "Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection. "




I have found two new links that you might find useful in your own research. The first has the three translations of the Koran, Yusufali, Pickthall, and Shakir:


To use the page, scroll to the bottom and click on the chapter in Koran (the sura) you want to read. There are other helpful resources and a search function on the page.

Second is a link to the "Hadith":



To use this page, I recommend finding the heading that says "Large Collections" then clicking on the link that says "A collection of the ahadith in Sahih Bukhari."

Let me give you some background. Since the Koran is conflicting and incomplete, Muslims resorted to stories about what Muhammad had said and done during his life. These stories are called the "Hadith" or "Sunnah" of the prophet.

Collecting and analyzing sayings and events to be included in Hadith formed a principle part of Muslim theological and legal scholarship in the centuries after Muhammad's death. There are now several Hadiths - several collections of sayings and stories. The Hadith compiled by Al Bukhari is the most popular, it is considered authoritative by Sunni Muslims. Shiite Muslims have their own versions of Hadith, but my sense is they are not very different, at least on the points of interest to us.

Here's an example of how Hadith amplifies Koran. Here is a portion of a Hadith relating to Jizya:

Our Prophet, the Messenger of our Lord, has ordered us to fight you till you worship Allah Alone or give Jizya (i.e. tribute); and our Prophet has informed us that our Lord says:-- "Whoever amongst us is killed (i.e. martyred), shall go to Paradise to lead such a luxurious life as he has never seen, and whoever amongst us remain alive, shall become your master."

This is from Volume 4, Book 53, Number 386 of Al-Bukhari's Hadith,which I found by searching on the word "Jizya" using the search link on the main page of the Bukhari Hadith.



We've seen many verses that tell Muslims to kill non-Muslims and that Koran and Hadith command extortion of Jizya. Muslims can also take non-Muslims captive as slaves, but only after they have made "slaughter in the land."

Sura 8:67

YUSUFALI: It is not fitting for a prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he hath thoroughly subdued the land. Ye look for the temporal goods of this world; but Allah looketh to the Hereafter: And Allah is Exalted in might, Wise.

PICKTHAL: It is not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise.

SHAKIR: It is not fit for a prophet that he should take captives unless he has fought and triumphed in the land; you desire the frail goods of this world, while Allah desires (for you) the hereafter; and Allah is Mighty, Wise.

But there is a peaceful face of Islam. There are suras that say "be kind to the People of the Book" and that Muslims and Jews and Christians have the same God:

Sura 29:46

YUSUFALI: And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, "We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam)."

PICKTHAL: And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our Allah and your Allah is One, and unto Him we surrender.

SHAKIR: And do not dispute with the followers of the Book except by what is best, except those of them who act unjustly, and say: We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our Allah and your Allah is One, and to Him do we submit.

The fighting verses outnumber these "nice" verses, but there is an historical reason why the nice verses are there at all.

Muhammad began to have his revelations while he lived in Mecca, and he thought he would get support from Jews and Christians. But the people of Mecca thought he was a whacko and forced him to flee.

Muhammad fled to the town of Medina along with a small band of followers. This flight is called the "Hijra" or "Hejira." The date of the Hijra - 622 if I recall correctly - is the date that forms the basis for Muslim dating. The letters "A.H." appear in Muslims dates, meaning "after Hijra."

Once in Medina, Muhammad gained many followers, formed an army, and eventually subdued all the tribes of Arabia. He also killed or drove out all the Jews and Christians on the Arabian peninsula.

While in Medina, Muhammad's revelations changed from liking Jews and Christians to commanding they be killed.

Like all traditions of Muhammad, Muslims have adopted this pattern in their own efforts at political conquest. If they don't conquer a land through war, they infiltrate, appear peaceful, and then seize power when they are strong enough. This subterfuge is obviously ideal for attacking a nation like the U.S. where folk have forgotten the ideas our constitution is based on.

Koran itself condones this kind of deceipt because it says Allah is a plotter and deceiver:


YUSUFALI: Remember how the Unbelievers plotted against thee, to keep thee in bonds, or slay thee, or get thee out (of thy home). They plot and plan, and Allah too plans; but the best of planners is Allah.

PICKTHAL: And when those who disbelieve plot against thee (O Muhammad) to wound thee fatally, or to kill thee or to drive thee forth; they plot, but Allah (also) plotteth; and Allah is the best of plotters.

SHAKIR: And when those who disbelieved devised plans against you that they might confine you or slay you or drive you away; and they devised plans and Allah too had arranged a plan; and Allah is the best of planners.

Sura 4:142 ALLAH THE DECEIVER (excerpt)

"The hypocrites seek to deceive God, but it is He who deceives them." (Dawood)



The Koran gives non-Muslims a test to apply to determine whether the Koran is from God. Sura 4:82 says if Koran is not from God, unbelievers will be able to find contradictions in it:

Sura 4:82

YUSUFALI: Do they not consider the Qur'an (with care)? Had it been from other Than Allah, they would surely have found therein Much discrepancy.

PICKTHAL: Will they not then ponder on the Qur'an? If it had been from other than Allah they would have found therein much incongruity.

SHAKIR: Do they not then meditate on the Quran? And if it were from any other than Allah, they would have found in it many a discrepancy.

DAWOOD: Will they not ponder on the Koran? If it had not come from God, they could have surely found in it many contradictions.

There are entire websites devoted to pointing out the factual, scientific, and doctrinal contradictions in Koran, and we've already looked at many. The contradiction between courting Jews and Christians and killing them is just one more!



The biggest contradiction in Koran is that it says the Koran can be contradicted at any time. God can change his mind, and change verses in the Koran, with or without telling Muslims. This principle is called the "Doctrine of Abrogation."

The doctrine arose from a practical dilemma. Muhammad wanted to marry his daughter in law, but he had already "revealed" the suras that prohibit Muslims from marrying their daughters in law. Muhammad's solution was the doctrine of abrogation - the idea that Allah, through Muhammad, can change his mind about anything at anytime and Muslims have to shut up and obey:

Sura 33:36

YUSUFALI: It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.

PICKTHAL: And it becometh not a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His messenger have decided an affair (for them), that they should (after that) claim any say in their affair; and whoso is rebellious to Allah and His messenger, he verily goeth astray in error manifest.

SHAKIR: And it behoves not a believing man and a believing woman that they should have any choice in their matter when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he surely strays off a manifest straying.

Sura 2:106

YUSUFALI: None of Our revelations do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar: Knowest thou not that Allah Hath power over all things?

PICKTHAL: Nothing of our revelation (even a single verse) do we abrogate or cause be forgotten, but we bring (in place) one better or the like thereof. Knowest thou not that Allah is Able to do all things?

SHAKIR: Whatever communications We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it. Do you not know that Allah has power over all things?

Isn't that convenient? Fundamentalists like Osama say the fighting verses have abrogated the verses telling Muslims to be nice to Jews and Christians.



The conflict over allowing the Jews to have Palestine for a homeland actually violates Koran. Koran says God gave the Holy Land to the Jews:

Sura 5:20-21

YUSUFALI: Remember Moses said to his people: "O my people! Call in remembrance the favour of Allah unto you, when He produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave you what He had not given to any other among the peoples. "O my people! Enter the holy land which Allah hath assigned unto you, and turn not back ignominiously, for then will ye be overthrown, to your own ruin."

PICKTHAL: And (remember) when Moses said unto his people: O my people! Remember Allah's favour unto you, how He placed among you prophets, and He made you kings, and gave you that (which) He gave not to any (other) of (His) creatures. O my people! Go into the holy land which Allah hath ordained for you. Turn not in flight, for surely ye turn back as losers:

SHAKIR: And when Musa said to his people: O my people! remember the favor of Allah upon you when He raised prophets among you and made you kings and gave you what He had not given to any other among the nations. O my people! enter the holy land which Allah has prescribed for you and turn not on your backs for then you will turn back losers.

I don't know what Arafat would say about this, but it appears the Muslim claim to Jerusalem arises from the fact that one of their principal holy sites - a mosque called the "Dome of the Rock" - was built on the site of the Jewish temple in 691-92. The "rock" is supposed to be the place from which Muhammad ascended into heaven, in Muslim tradition.

The following sura says unbelievers can't be allowed to approach the "holy mosque" - the mosque in Mecca. This is the verse Osama relies on to say the U.S. military should not be in Saudi Arabia. It may also be relevant to whether Jews and Christians should be allowed in Jerusalem or Palestine in general. As you know, the Crusades were fought because the Muslims refused to allow Jews or Christians to visit or live in Jerusalem after they conquered Palestine.

Sura 9:28

YUSUFALI: O ye who believe! Truly the Pagans are unclean; so let them not, after this year of theirs, approach the Sacred Mosque. And if ye fear poverty, soon will Allah enrich you, if He wills, out of His bounty, for Allah is All-knowing, All-wise.

PICKTHAL: O ye who believe! The idolaters only are unclean. So let them not come near the Inviolable Place of Worship after this their year. If ye fear poverty (from the loss of their merchandise) Allah shall preserve you of His bounty if He will. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise.

SHAKIR: O you who believe! the idolaters are nothing but unclean, so they shall not approach the Sacred Mosque after this year; and if you fear poverty then Allah will enrich you out of His grace if He please; surely Allah is Knowing Wise.



Koran's command that Muslim women must wear veils comes from Muhammad's concern that guys would lust after his beautiful wives - he married one when she was only six years old.

Sura 33:59

YUSUFALI: O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

PICKTHAL: O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognised and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.

SHAKIR: O Prophet! say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they let down upon them their over-garments; this will be more proper, that they may be known, and thus they will not be given trouble; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.




Sura 8:17

YUSUFALI: It is not ye who slew them; it was Allah: when thou threwest (a handful of dust), it was not thy act, but Allah's: in order that He might test the Believers by a gracious trial from Himself: for Allah is He Who heareth and knoweth (all things).

PICKTHAL: Ye (Muslims) slew them not, but Allah slew them. And thou (Muhammad) threwest not when thou didst throw, but Allah threw, that He might test the believers by a fair test from Him. Lo! Allah is Hearer, Knower.

SHAKIR: So you did not slay them, but it was Allah Who slew them, and you did not smite when you smote (the enemy), but it was Allah Who smote, and that He might confer upon the believers a good gift from Himself; surely Allah is Hearing, Knowing.

Allah is also a murderer, according to this verse.



Sura 9:13-14


YUSUFALI: Will ye not fight people who violated their oaths, plotted to expel the Messenger, and took the aggressive by being the first (to assault) you? Do ye fear them? Nay, it is Allah Whom ye should more justly fear, if ye believe! Fight them, and Allah will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame, help you (to victory) over them, heal the breasts of Believers,

PICKTHAL: Will ye not fight a folk who broke their solemn pledges, and purposed to drive out the messenger and did attack you first? What! Fear ye them? Now Allah hath more right that ye should fear Him, if ye are believers Fight them! Allah will chastise them at your hands, and He will lay them low and give you victory over them, and He will heal the breasts of folk who are believers.

SHAKIR: What! will you not fight a people who broke their oaths and aimed at the expulsion of the Messenger, and they attacked you first; do you fear them? But Allah is most deserving that you should fear Him, if you are believers. Fight them, Allah will punish them by your hands and bring them to disgrace, and assist you against them and heal the hearts of a believing people.

Obvioulsy, any attempt to limit Muslims or Islamic teaching in the U.S. would cause some Muslims to use this sura to justify jihad.



Sura 8:12

YUSUFALI: Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them."

PICKTHAL: When thy Lord inspired the angels, (saying): I am with you. So make those who believe stand firm. I will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Then smite the necks and smite of them each finger.

SHAKIR: When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.

Since Muslims are Allah's instruments to fight with, this sura commands Muslims to use these tactics.



>From Hadith, Vol. 1, Book 2, Number 25, quoted at this URL:



Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle was asked, "What is the best deed?" He replied, "To believe in Allah and His Apostle (Muhammad). The questioner then asked, "What is the next (in goodness)? He replied, "To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah's Cause." The questioner again asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?" He replied, "To perform Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca) 'Mubrur, (which is accepted by Allah and is performed with the intention of seeking Allah's pleasure only and not to show off and without committing a sin and in accordance with the traditions of the Prophet)."



Click here for Briefing  Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3


Paul J. Tetreault, Jr., Esq. is a U.S. Naval Academy grad and a 25 year Navy veteran who has served as a law clerk to judges on the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals. He holds a Finance MBA and J.D. and is currently an Economics Ph.D. student. he is also the International Director of Citizen Soldier.



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