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.
When once the fight (Jihad) is entered upon,
carry it out with the utmost vigour, and strike home your
blows at the most vital points (smite at their necks),
both literally and figuratively. You cannot wage war with
In the first onset there must necessarily be
great loss of life; “after the enemy’s numbers are fairly
thinned down,, prisoners may be taken”.
When once the enemy is brought under control,
generosity (i.e., the release of prisoners without ransom)
or ransom is recommended.
Yusuf Ali, Abdullah. Translation and Commentary of the Quran. (surah 47 verse 4). Quran Arabic with English Translation & Commentary (Tafsir) by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Free Download (quran4u.com)