Examination of Verse 57 of Surat al-Anfal:
We also need to assess this verse in the light of the perspective and evidence we have been looking at in detail. It must not be forgotten that the Medinan period when some verses were sent down was a time of intense fighting. This was purely the result of injustice perpetrated against Muslims “who were expelled from their homes without any right, merely for saying, ‘Our Lord is God’...” (Qur’an, 22:40) as stated in one verse. Moreover, as the verse goes on to say, “If they keep away from you and do not fight you and submit to you, God has not given you any way against such people.’’ Muslims have a responsibility to stop the fighting and not to insult the other side when it does come to an end.
Looking at a few verses before verse 57 of Surat al-Anfal, we see that communities with which Muslims had reached agreement are being referred to. As almost every verse that gives permission for legitimate self-defense states, these communities are ones which had broken their truce with Muslims and then immediately attacked them.
It is important to produce a deterrent force in the face of that community which engages in one attack after another, refuses to listen to reason and creates corruption by constantly breaking peace agreements because once that is done, those communities that have become accustomed to spreading corruption will no longer have the strength to do so and other groups of polytheists preparing to follow their lead and create corruption and start attacking will thereby lack the courage to do so. This is a necessary and important precautionary measure against that community that breaks every peace treaty, and one that will prevent subsequent conflict. Great importance is attached to sanctions being “deterrents” in the constitutions of just about all countries of the world and in international law. The aim is to prevent an offense being committed by the same or another person. These precautions in international law are extremely appropriate, and it is unjust, as well as a violation of both common sense and fairness, for people who regard them as necessary for states of law to oppose the same measures when it comes to Islam.