On the ‘Violent’ Verses of the Qur’an

Abstract. This paper deals with some of the “violent verses” of the Quran, namely Surah al-Baqarah [2]:191; Surah al-Nisa’ [4]:89; and Surah al-Taubah [9]:5. These three verses contain the sentence that similarly reads “kill them wherever you find them”. This paper takes into account both the classical and the modern interpretations (tafsir). Classical books of tafsir that are examined here are that of al-Tabari, al-Razi, al-Qurtubi, and Ibn Kathir, while the modern ones are that of Rashid Rida, al-Sha’rawi, al-Zuhayli, and Quraish Shihab. This paper draws some comparison and differences between the classical and the modern interpretations with regard to those verses. In the end, this paper derives several hermeneutical reflections from the examination.

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