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IslamQA: Explanation of the “kill them where you find them” verse of the Quran

How do I defend the ”kill them where you find them verse” in the Quran?

In that verse the Quran is laying out the laws of warfare. That verse tells us that during warfare a Muslim army is allowed to fight in cities and in the countryside, on land, sea, in the air and in outer space. Some use this verse to imply that Islam is a violent religion. They ignore the verse that comes right before it, commanding us not to be aggressors:

And fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not commit aggression; God does not love aggressors. (Verse 2:190)

Those who use such verses to imply that Islam is violent are doing exactly what terrorists do, which is to cut out a few verses and ignore the rest of the book’s teachings to make a deranged religion out of it. No respectable scholar of Islam acts this way, whether they are a Muslim or non-Muslim. We relate every verse of the Quran to the rest of it to make a holistic system out of it. When one verse says “kill them where you find them” and another verse says “do not be aggressors”, the obvious conclusion (unless we assume the writer of the book was insane) is that we are not supposed to commit aggression, but if we are forced into a defensive war, then the general rule of warfare is that fighting can take place wherever necessary.

And God knows best.
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