Misinterpretation of 9:29

You shall fight the ones among those who received the Scripture who do not believe in God, nor in
the Last Day, nor prohibit what God and His Messenger have prohibited, nor abide by the religion
of truth, until the jizyah (penalty) is enforced on them and they are humbled.
9:29

This verse has often been misinterpreted so as to promote war against all non Muslims, for the simple reason that they are not Muslims! Besides the fact that the Quran allows war only in the case of self defence (see 4:90, 8:61 and 2:190), this verse does not speak of war at all. A key word used in 9:29 is "qatilu" (fight). This word is different from the word 'iqtulu' (kill). The word "qatilu" means to oppose and strive against. For example, we read in 63:4, where the subject is those who claimed that God has a son, the words "qatalahum Allah" which mean: God opposes them and not that God holds a weapon and wages war on them!

The words in
9:29 instruct the believers to oppose all disbelievers who corrupt in the land, until the "jizyah" is enforced on them and they are humbled. The word "jizyah" comes from the word 'jazaa' which means penalty or punishment. The "jizyah" is not a tax since taxes are paid by all citizens and not only the corruptors, nor is it a war reparation payment since the verse does not speak of war in the first place.

The "jizyah" is the punishment, according to the law of the land, which is enforced on all who corrupt or break the law.

We also have other key words in
9:29 which confirm the correct meaning; they
are the words "yutu al-jizyah" which mean 'the penalty is enforced on them'. If the meaning was 'until they give the jizyah' (as most scholars interpret) the word "yutu" (they are given) in this verse would have been 'yatu' (they give).