Qur'an, Hadith and Scholars:Defensive Fighting Permitted then Mandated

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Defensive Fighting Permitted[edit]

These verses call on Muslims to defend themselves if they are attacked, but they do not require Muslims to defend themselves.

Several months after the Muslims' arrival in Medina, the Muslims started to raid the caravans of the Meccan traders who passed near their area. These Muslim raids would eventually cause the Meccans to attack the Muslims in defense of their caravans; with the first Meccan attack, known as the Battle of Badr, occurring in 624.

It was at this time that Muhammad gave permission to the Muslims to defend themselves by fighting and killing the idol worshiping Meccans. These new verses abrogated the previous non-aggressive verses that were revealed by Muhammad.


Permission is given to Muslims to go to war in order to defend themselves.

To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid;-

(They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, "our Lord is Allah". Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);- for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will).

(They are) those who, if We establish them in the land, establish regular prayer and give regular charity, enjoin the right and forbid wrong: with Allah rests the end (and decision) of (all) affairs.
Qur'an 22:39-41

Allah will reward those Muslims who die while waging Jihad.

Those who leave their homes in the cause of Allah, and are then slain or die,- On them will Allah bestow verily a goodly Provision: Truly Allah is He Who bestows the best provision.

Defensive Fighting Mandated[edit]

These Islamic texts mandate that Muslims defend themselves if they or their fellow Muslims are being attacked.

A few months after Muhammad gave permission to the Muslims to defend themselves from attacks, Muhammad made defensive fighting obligatory for all able Muslims. These verses abrogated the previous verses that only gave permission, but did not mandate, that Muslims are to fight in self defense; new commands which themselves would later be abrogated by even newer commands that ordered Muslims to attack and subdue all non-Muslims (Kuffar).

At this stage Muhammad did not consider the Jews to be his enemies since he was still expecting them to embrace him as their prophet, but the Jews who did not accept him as a prophet would later become Muhammad's enemies. Starting with the Battle of Uhud the hypocrites, who were Muslim only in name and who did not actually believe in Muhammad, started becoming Muhammad's enemies.


Forgive and overlook unbelieving Jews.

Quite a number of the People of the Book wish they could Turn you (people) back to infidelity after ye have believed, from selfish envy, after the Truth hath become Manifest unto them: But forgive and overlook, Till Allah accomplish His purpose; for Allah Hath power over all things.

If attacked then Muslims are to fight against their attackers until the attackers desist from fighting, stop persecuting Muslims and Islam to be established.

Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.

And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have Turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the Sacred Mosque, unless they (first) fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith.

But if they cease, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

And fight them on until there is no more Tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease, Let there be no hostility except to those who practise oppression.

The prohibited month for the prohibited month,- and so for all things prohibited,- there is the law of equality. If then any one transgresses the prohibition against you, Transgress ye likewise against him. But fear Allah, and know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.
Qur'an 2:190-194

Defensive fighting against attacking Arab Meccans is now obligatory, but during Zul-Hajj it's an offense.

Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not.

They question thee (O Muhammad) with regard to warfare in the sacred month. Say: Warfare therein is a great (transgression), but to turn (men) from the way of Allah, and to disbelieve in Him and in the Inviolable Place of Worship, and to expel His people thence, is a greater with Allah; for persecution is worse than killing. And they will not cease from fighting against you till they have made you renegades from your religion, if they can. And whoso becometh a renegade and dieth in his disbelief: such are they whose works have fallen both in the world and the Hereafter. Such are rightful owners of the Fire: they will abide therein.

Lo! those who believe, and those who emigrate (to escape the persecution) and strive in the way of Allah, these have hope of Allah's mercy. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
Qur'an 2:216-218

If you defeat your attackers then don't force them to convert to Islam, but if they don't convert to Islam then they shall be sent to hell.

Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.

Allah is the Protector of those who have faith: from the depths of darkness He will lead them forth into light. Of those who reject faith the patrons are the evil ones: from light they will lead them forth into the depths of darkness. They will be companions of the fire, to dwell therein (For ever).
Qur'an 2:256-257

The spoils of war that are captured after fighting the Arab Meccans belong to Allah and Muhammad.

They ask thee concerning (things taken as) spoils of war. Say: "(such) spoils are at the disposal of Allah and the Messenger: So fear Allah, and keep straight the relations between yourselves: Obey Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe."

Cut the necks and finger-tips of those who contend against Allah and Muhammad and never turn your backs to them.

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."

This because they contended against Allah and His Messenger: If any contend against Allah and His Messenger, Allah is strict in punishment.

Thus (will it be said): "Taste ye then of the (punishment): for those who resist Allah, is the penalty of the Fire."

O ye who believe! when ye meet the Unbelievers in hostile array, never turn your backs to them.

If any do turn his back to them on such a day - unless it be in a stratagem of war, or to retreat to a troop (of his own)- he draws on himself the wrath of Allah, and his abode is Hell,- an evil refuge (indeed)!

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).

That, and also because Allah is He Who makes feeble the plans and stratagem of the Unbelievers.
Qur'an 8:12-18

Fight the unbelievers until they stop fighting, they stop persecuting Muslims and they allow Islam to be established. A fifth of all war booty goes to Muhammad.

Say to the Unbelievers, if (now) they desist (from Unbelief), their past would be forgiven them; but if they persist, the punishment of those before them is already (a matter of warning for them).

And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah altogether and everywhere; but if they cease, verily Allah doth see all that they do.

If they refuse, be sure that Allah is your Protector - the best to protect and the best to help.

And know that out of all the booty that ye may acquire (in war), a fifth share is assigned to Allah,- and to the Messenger, and to near relatives, orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer,- if ye do believe in Allah and in the revelation We sent down to Our servant on the Day of Testing,- the Day of the meeting of the two forces. For Allah hath power over all things.

Remember ye were on the hither side of the valley, and they on the farther side, and the caravan on lower ground than ye. Even if ye had made a mutual appointment to meet, ye would certainly have failed in the appointment: But (thus ye met), that Allah might accomplish a matter already enacted; that those who died might die after a clear Sign (had been given), and those who lived might live after a Clear Sign (had been given). And verily Allah is He Who heareth and knoweth (all things).
Qur'an 8:38-42

When fighting, call on Allah, be united, be patient, persevere, and listen to Muhammad.

O ye who believe! When ye meet a force, be firm, and call Allah in remembrance much (and often); that ye may prosper:

And obey Allah and His Messenger; and fall into no disputes, lest ye lose heart and your power depart; and be patient and persevering: For Allah is with those who patiently persevere:
Qur'an 8:45-46

If you defeat them in battle then treat those who are treacherous with treachery and terrorize them. Allah will repay what you have spent. If they ask for peace then give them peace.

If ye gain the mastery over them in war, disperse, with them, those who follow them, that they may remember.

If thou fearest treachery from any group, throw back (their covenant) to them, (so as to be) on equal terms: for Allah loveth not the treacherous.

Let not the unbelievers think that they can get the better (of the godly): they will never frustrate (them).

Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly.

But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things).
Qur'an 8:57-61

Fight with patience and perseverance, because you shall eventually win. Kill the Arab Meccans and do not take any prisoners until the land is subdued. Muslims shouldn't fight to get material goods, but if they do then Allah will forgive their mistake this time.

O Prophet! rouse the Believers to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the Unbelievers: for these are a people without understanding.

For the present, Allah hath lightened your (task), for He knoweth that there is a weak spot in you: But (even so), if there are a hundred of you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred, and if a thousand, they will vanquish two thousand, with the leave of Allah: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere.

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.

Had it not been for a previous ordainment from Allah, a severe penalty would have reached you for the (ransom) that ye took.

But (now) enjoy what ye took in war, lawful and good: but fear Allah: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
Qur'an 8:65-69

If captives want to be believe in Islam then they will be blessed, otherwise power over them has been given to Muhammad by Allah.

O Prophet! say to those who are captives in your hands: "If Allah findeth any good in your hearts, He will give you something better than what has been taken from you, and He will forgive you: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful."

But if they have treacherous designs against thee, (O Messenger!), they have already been in treason against Allah, and so hath He given (thee) power over them. And Allah so He Who hath (full) knowledge and wisdom.
Qur'an 8:70-71

Fighters and helpers are brothers in the struggle for Islam.

Those who believed, and adopted exile, and fought for the Faith, with their property and their persons, in the cause of Allah, as well as those who gave (them) asylum and aid,- these are (all) friends and protectors, one of another. As to those who believed but came not into exile, ye owe no duty of protection to them until they come into exile; but if they seek your aid in religion, it is your duty to help them, except against a people with whom ye have a treaty of mutual alliance. And (remember) Allah seeth all that ye do.

Cut your opponent's necks and subdue them, then be generous.

Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been Allah's Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the Way of Allah,- He will never let their deeds be lost.

Soon will He guide them and improve their condition,

And admit them to the Garden which He has announced for them.
Qur'an 47:4-6

Martyrs will receive paradise where there are rivers of water, wine, milk and honey along with fruits.

(Here is) a Parable of the Garden which the righteous are promised: in it are rivers of water incorruptible; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine, a joy to those who drink; and rivers of honey pure and clear. In it there are for them all kinds of fruits; and Grace from their Lord. (Can those in such Bliss) be compared to such as shall dwell for ever in the Fire, and be given, to drink, boiling water, so that it cuts up their bowels (to pieces)?

The battle of Uhud took place in 625 A.D. and it was the second of the three major battles against the Quraish. Allah gave the Muslims permission to annihilate their enemy, but the Muslims failed Allah's test by coveting the things of this world; but still, Allah forgave them their sins.

Allah did indeed fulfil His promise to you when ye with His permission Were about to annihilate your enemy,-until ye flinched and fell to disputing about the order, and disobeyed it after He brought you in sight (of the booty) which ye covet. Among you are some that hanker after this world and some that desire the Hereafter. Then did He divert you from your foes in order to test you but He forgave you: For Allah is full of grace to those who believe.

Martyrs will have all of their sins forgiven by Allah when they die.

And if ye are slain, or die, in the way of Allah, forgiveness and mercy from Allah are far better than all they could amass.

The Muslims were defeated in battle because they did not truly believe in Allah and in Islam.

What! When a single disaster smites you, although ye smote (your enemies) with one twice as great, do ye say?- "Whence is this?" Say (to them): "It is from yourselves: For Allah hath power over all things."

What ye suffered on the day the two armies Met, was with the leave of Allah, in order that He might test the believers,-

And the Hypocrites also. These were told: "Come, fight in the way of Allah, or (at least) drive (The foe from your city)." They said: "Had we known how to fight, we should certainly have followed you." They were that day nearer to Unbelief than to Faith, saying with their lips what was not in their hearts but Allah hath full knowledge of all they conceal.

(They are) the ones that say, (of their brethren slain), while they themselves sit (at ease): "If only they had listened to us they would not have been slain." Say: "Avert death from your own selves, if ye speak the truth."
Qur'an 3:165-168

Martyrs will go to paradise after death and they will bring glory to their loved ones who did not die.

Think not of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord;

They rejoice in the bounty provided by Allah: And with regard to those left behind, who have not yet joined them (in their bliss), the (Martyrs) glory in the fact that on them is no fear, nor have they (cause to) grieve.

They glory in the Grace and the bounty from Allah, and in the fact that Allah suffereth not the reward of the Faithful to be lost (in the least).
Qur'an 3:169-171

Those who strive for Allah will be rewarded.

And their Lord hath accepted of them, and answered them: "Never will I suffer to be lost the work of any of you, be he male or female: Ye are members, one of another: Those who have left their homes, or been driven out therefrom, or suffered harm in My Cause, or fought or been slain,- verily, I will blot out from them their iniquities, and admit them into Gardens with rivers flowing beneath;- A reward from the presence of Allah, and from His presence is the best of rewards."

Allah lives those who fight in his name without faltering.

Truly Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure.

Allah will grant a speedy victory, absolution of sins and admission into paradise to those Muslims who fight with their property and their persons.

That ye believe in Allah and His Messenger, and that ye strive (your utmost) in the Cause of Allah, with your property and your persons: That will be best for you, if ye but knew!

He will forgive you your sins, and admit you to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, and to beautiful mansions in Gardens of Eternity: that is indeed the Supreme Achievement.

And another (favour will He bestow,) which ye do love,- help from Allah and a speedy victory. So give the Glad Tidings to the Believers.

O ye who believe! Be ye helpers of Allah: As said Jesus the son of Mary to the Disciples, "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah?" Said the disciples, "We are Allah's helpers!" then a portion of the Children of Israel believed, and a portion disbelieved: But We gave power to those who believed, against their enemies, and they became the ones that prevailed.
Qur'an 61:11-14

Those who fight for Allah against Satan are rewarded, but there is no reward for the cowardly.

Let those fight in the cause of Allah Who sell the life of this world for the hereafter. To him who fighteth in the cause of Allah,- whether he is slain or gets victory - Soon shall We give him a reward of great (value).

And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?- Men, women, and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!"

Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who reject Faith Fight in the cause of Evil: So fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan.

Hast thou not turned Thy vision to those who were told to hold back their hands (from fight) but establish regular prayers and spend in regular charity? When (at length) the order for fighting was issued to them, behold! a section of them feared men as - or even more than - they should have feared Allah: They said: "Our Lord! Why hast Thou ordered us to fight? Wouldst Thou not Grant us respite to our (natural) term, near (enough)?" Say: "Short is the enjoyment of this world: the Hereafter is the best for those who do right: Never will ye be dealt with unjustly in the very least!

"Wherever ye are, death will find you out, even if ye are in towers built up strong and high!" If some good befalls them, they say, "This is from Allah"; but if evil, they say, "This is from thee" (O Prophet). Say: "All things are from Allah." But what hath come to these people, that they fail to understand a single fact?
Qur'an 4:74-78

You should fight in defense and rouse other believers to fight as well. If the group of Muslims is divided (betrayal) then do not join the hypocrites, instead seize them and slay them wherever ye find them.

Then fight in Allah's cause - Thou art held responsible only for thyself - and rouse the believers. It may be that Allah will restrain the fury of the Unbelievers; for Allah is the strongest in might and in punishment.

Whoever recommends and helps a good cause becomes a partner therein: And whoever recommends and helps an evil cause, shares in its burden: And Allah hath power over all things.

When a (courteous) greeting is offered you, meet it with a greeting still more courteous, or (at least) of equal courtesy. Allah takes careful account of all things.

Allah! There is no god but He: of a surety He will gather you together against the Day of Judgment, about which there is no doubt. And whose word can be truer than Allah's?

Why should ye be divided into two parties about the Hypocrites? Allah hath upset them for their (evil) deeds. Would ye guide those whom Allah hath thrown out of the Way? For those whom Allah hath thrown out of the Way, never shalt thou find the Way.

They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks;-
Qur'an 4:84-89

There are two classes of deserters who may be given leniency.

Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If Allah had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: Therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (Guarantees of) peace, then Allah Hath opened no way for you (to war against them).

Others you will find that wish to gain your confidence as well as that of their people: Every time they are sent back to temptation, they succumb thereto: if they withdraw not from you nor give you (guarantees) of peace besides restraining their hands, seize them and slay them wherever ye get them: In their case We have provided you with a clear argument against them.
Qur'an 4:90-91

Those Muslims who fight in the cause of Allah are a grade higher than those Muslims who stay home.

Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home). Unto all (in Faith) Hath Allah promised good: But those who strive and fight Hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward,-

Ranks specially bestowed by Him, and Forgiveness and Mercy. For Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
Qur'an 41:95-96

Martyrs are guaranteed a reward by Allah.

He who forsakes his home in the cause of Allah, finds in the earth Many a refuge, wide and spacious: Should he die as a refugee from home for Allah and His Messenger, His reward becomes due and sure with Allah: And Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

In 627 A.D. Allah gave victory to the Muslims in their third and final attack against Medina, called the battle of the Trench. Allah allowed the Muslims to defeat both the idolaters and the Jews supporting them.

And Allah turned back the Unbelievers for (all) their fury: no advantage did they gain; and enough is Allah for the believers in their fight. And Allah is full of Strength, able to enforce His Will.

And those of the People of the Book who aided them - Allah did take them down from their strongholds and cast terror into their hearts. (So that) some ye slew, and some ye made prisoners.

And He made you heirs of their lands, their houses, and their goods, and of a land which ye had not frequented (before). And Allah has power over all things.
Qur'an 33:25-27

Allah has given permission for you to take the capture women as your concubines in addition to your wives.

O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts, and daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts, who migrated (from Makka) with thee; and any believing woman who dedicates her soul to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her;- this only for thee, and not for the Believers (at large); We know what We have appointed for them as to their wives and the captives whom their right hands possess;- in order that there should be no difficulty for thee. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Allah will provide for Martyrs all the necessary provisions for happiness in the afterlife.

Those who leave their homes in the cause of Allah, and are then slain or die,- On them will Allah bestow verily a goodly Provision: Truly Allah is He Who bestows the best provision.

Verily He will admit them to a place with which they shall be well pleased: for Allah is All-Knowing, Most Forbearing.
Qur'an 22:58-59

Strive in Allah's cause with sincerity and discipline.

And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive, (with sincerity and under discipline). He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the cult of your father Abraham. It is He Who has named you Muslims, both before and in this (Revelation); that the Messenger may be a witness for you, and ye be witnesses for mankind! So establish regular Prayer, give regular Charity, and hold fast to Allah! He is your Protector - the Best to protect and the Best to help!

Allah will punish those who lag behind with the exception of the lame, the blind and the sick. Those who fight in the cause of Allah will be rewarded with paradise.

Those who lagged behind (will say), when ye (are free to) march and take booty (in war): "Permit us to follow you." They wish to change Allah's decree: Say: "Not thus will ye follow us: Allah has already declared (this) beforehand": then they will say, "But ye are jealous of us." Nay, but little do they understand (such things).

Say to the desert Arabs who lagged behind: "Ye shall be summoned (to fight) against a people given to vehement war: then shall ye fight, or they shall submit. Then if ye show obedience, Allah will grant you a goodly reward, but if ye turn back as ye did before, He will punish you with a grievous Penalty."

No blame is there on the blind, nor is there blame on the lame, nor on one ill (if he joins not the war): But he that obeys Allah and his Messenger,- (Allah) will admit him to Gardens beneath which rivers flow; and he who turns back, (Allah) will punish him with a grievous Penalty.
Qur'an 48:15-17

Muslims attempted to enter Mecca to perform the pilgrimage in 628 A.D. but they were prevented from entering the city by the Meccan forces. There was no fighting between the Muslims and the Meccans and the Muslims and Meccans came to an agreement called the Treaty of Al-Hudaybiyah, which permitted the Muslims to perform their pilgrimage one year later in return for a 10 year truce.

If the Unbelievers should fight you, they would certainly turn their backs; then would they find neither protector nor helper.

(Such has been) the practice (approved) of Allah already in the past: no change wilt thou find in the practice (approved) of Allah.

And it is He Who has restrained their hands from you and your hands from them in the midst of Makka, after that He gave you the victory over them. And Allah sees well all that ye do.
Qur'an 48:22-24

Muslims are strong against unbelievers, but they are compassionate to one another.

Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, (but) compassionate amongst each other. Thou wilt see them bow and prostrate themselves (in prayer), seeking Grace from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure. On their faces are their marks, (being) the traces of their prostration. This is their similitude in the Taurat; and their similitude in the Gospel is: like a seed which sends forth its blade, then makes it strong; it then becomes thick, and it stands on its own stem, (filling) the sowers with wonder and delight. As a result, it fills the Unbelievers with rage at them. Allah has promised those among them who believe and do righteous deeds forgiveness, and a great Reward.

Fight against the unbelievers and the hypocrites.

O Prophet! Strive hard against the Unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell,- an evil refuge (indeed).

The only true believers are those Muslims who believe in Allah and Muhammad, have never doubted, and who wage Jihad with all that they possess.

Only those are Believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and have never since doubted, but have striven with their belongings and their persons in the Cause of Allah: Such are the sincere ones.

See Also[edit]