Ibn ʿUmar’s Interpretation of the Qur’ānic Verse ‘Fight them until Fitnah is No More’ and its Relevance to Contemporary Muslims
The main focus of this article is to bring the Qurʾānic verse (2: 193) under discussion and specifically the interpretation of a popular Islamic term fitnah in it that not only changes the verse’s meaning, but overall the purpose of dīn (religion). There are multiple meanings of fitnah, the term used in verse (2: 193), available in the early exegetical literature but majority exegetes have adopted its meanings as ‘polytheism (shirk) or disbelief (kufr) which resulted in numerous complications and shall duly be examined in this study. Next the interpretation of fitnah as ‘religious persecution’ shall be discussed in detail by a famous companion of the Prophet, ʿAbd Allah b. ʿUmar that he offered in the days of civil unrest (fitan wars). It is this specific interpretation that forms the focus of this research. The heart of the argument lies in the interpretation of fitnah as ‘religious coercion’ rather than polytheism (shirk) or disbelief (kufr) that has many positive aspects. First, Ibn ʿUmar’s interpretation does not lead to any complications or contradictions. Second, by adopting this, the verse (2: 193) does not lose its relevance and remains as relevant to the contemporary times as it was in the yester years. Third, on the part of Muslims this commentary enhances in the virtuality of peace and refutation of religious extremism.
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