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Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful

The emphasis is on the first clause; it is only
when the four months of grace are past, and the other
party show no signs of desisting from their treacherous
designs by right conduct, that the state of war
supervenes-between Faith and Unfaith.


When war becomes inevitable, it must be
prosecuted with vigour.
According to the English phrase, you cannot fight with
kid gloves. The fighting may take the form of killing,
capture, or siege, or ambush and other stratagems.
But even then there is room for repentance and
amendment on the part of the guilty party, and if that
takes place, our duty is forgiveness and the
establishment of peace


The repentance must be sincere, and that is
shown by conduct-a religious spirit of true prayer and
charity.
In that case we are not to bar the gate against the
repentant. On the contrary we must do all we can to
make their way easy, remembering that Allah is Oftforgiving, Most Merciful

References:

Yusuf Ali, Abdullah. Translation and Commentary of the Quran. (surah 9 verse 5). Microsoft Word – 009 Tawbah.doc (quran4u.com)

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