It is interesting how many people’s critique of the Quran can be so incredibly shallow. The Quran is the greatest text in all of human history, yet the detractors attempt to discredit it by extrapolating the most surface level interpretation.
God warns us repeatedly of such false and lazy analysis of the Quran.
[6:112] We have permitted the enemies of every prophet—human and jinn devils—to inspire in each other fancy words, in order to deceive. Had your Lord willed, they would not have done it. You shall disregard them and their fabrications. [6:113] This is to let the minds of those who do not believe in the Hereafter listen to such fabrications, and accept them, and thus expose their real convictions.
[6:114] Shall I seek other than GOD as a source of law, when He has revealed to you this book fully detailed? Those who received the scripture recognize that it has been revealed from your Lord, truthfully. You shall not harbor any doubt.
[6:115] The word of your Lord is complete, in truth and justice. Nothing shall abrogate His words. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient. [6:116] If you obey the majority of people on earth, they will divert you from the path of GOD. They follow only conjecture; they only guess. [6:117] Your Lord is fully aware of those who stray off His path, and He is fully aware of those who are guided.
The Quran is 6346 verses, and not just a single verse. If we are to look at only a single verse in isolation it is very possible we can extrapolate the complete wrong message from the text. Therefore, it is essential that in order for an interpretation of a verse to be considered valid that it should not form any contradictions between other verses.
What individuals like the one in the tweet above attempt to do is to portray a completely wrong narrative based on an over extrapolation of a single verse. Such understandings if we take them from surface value inevitably will lead people astray.
The Quran in no uncertain terms utilizes the non-aggression principle, where individuals are allowed to defend themselves but they are not allowed to be the aggressors in any situation. These rules are clearly spelled out in the following verses in addition to numerous other verses in the Quran.
Rules of War
[2:190] You may fight in the cause of GOD against those who attack you, but do not aggress. GOD does not love the aggressors. [2:191] You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque (Masjid), unless they attack you therein. If they attack you, you may kill them. This is the just retribution for those disbelievers. [2:192] If they refrain, then GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful. [2:193] You may also fight them to eliminate oppression, and to worship GOD freely. If they refrain, you shall not aggress; aggression is permitted only against the aggressors. [2:194] During the Sacred Months, aggression may be met by an equivalent response. If they attack you, you may retaliate by inflicting an equitable retribution. You shall observe GOD and know that GOD is with the righteous.
From the above verses we see that God is setting the parameters for when a believer is allowed to fight and take a life. That it must be done in self-defense and that under no circumstances is a follower of the Quran allowed to be the aggressor.
Then when we contrast this with 4:89 we realize that this is in the context of war and that any interpreatiom cannot contradict the commandments in other verses, like the ones stated in 2:190 – 194.
[4:89] They wish that you disbelieve as they have disbelieved, then you become equal. Do not consider them friends, unless they mobilize along with you in the cause of GOD. If they turn against you, you shall fight them, and you may kill them when you encounter them in war. You shall not accept them as friends, or allies.
Additionally, when we read the following verses in 4:90-91, it further clarifies that the context of 4:89 is for the times of war, and echos the same sentiments as stated in 2:190-194.
[4:90] Exempted are those who join people with whom you have signed a peace treaty, and those who come to you wishing not to fight you, nor fight their relatives. Had GOD willed, He could have permitted them to fight against you. Therefore, if they leave you alone, refrain from fighting you, and offer you peace, then GOD gives you no excuse to fight them. [4:91] You will find others who wish to make peace with you, and also with their people. However, as soon as war erupts, they fight against you. Unless these people leave you alone, offer you peace, and stop fighting you, you may fight them when you encounter them (in war). Against these, we give you a clear authorization.
Again we see from these verses that the non-aggression principle is utilized, where fighting is only permitted against aggressors, and under no circumstances is a follower of the Quran allowed to be the aggressor.
There are obviously more verses on this topic, but this analysis is meant to provide a general framework for a proper way to go about when analyzing the Quran, and the importance of making sure when we attempt to interpret its meanings that we do not form contradictions between verses. If a contradiction is formed then it is a clear indicator that our understanding is incorrect and that it requires more refining.