Combatants and Non-Combatants
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then says in ayah 91,
سَتَجِدُونَ ءَاخَرِينَ يُرِيدُونَ أَن يَأْمَنُوكُمْ وَيَأْمَنُواْ قَوْمَهُمْ
“You will find others that wish to have security from you and security from their people.”
This refers to a type of people who on the surface appear to be like the type we just mentioned. However, the intention of each type is different, for the latter are hypocrites. They pretend to be Muslims with the Prophet and his Companions, so that they could attain safety with the Muslims for their blood, property and families. However, they support the idolators in secret and worship what they worship, so that they are at peace with them also. These people have secretly sided with the idolators, just as Allah described them in Surah al-Baqarah ayah 14,
وَإِذَا خَلَوْاْ إِلَى شَيَـطِينِهِمْ قَالُواْ إِنَّا مَعَكُمْ
“But when they are alone with their Shayatin, they say: ‘Truly, we are with you’.”
In this Ayah, Allah said,
كُلَّ مَا رُدُّواْ إِلَى الْفِتْنِةِ أُرْكِسُواْ فِيِهَا
“Every time they are sent back to Fitnah, they yield thereto”
meaning, they dwell in Fitnah. As-Suddi said that the Fitnah mentioned here refers to Shirk. Ibn Jarir recorded that Mujahid said that the ayah was revealed about a group from Makkah who used to go to the Prophet ﴿in Al-Madinah﴾ pretending to be Muslims. However, when they went back to Quraysh, they reverted to worshipping idols. They wanted to be at peace with both sides. Allah commanded they should be fought against, unless they withdraw from combat and resort to peace.
This is why Allah said,
فَإِن لَّمْ يَعْتَزِلُوكُمْ وَيُلْقُواْ إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلَمَ وَيَكُفُّواْ أَيْدِيَهُمْ فَخُذُوهُمْ وَاقْتُلُوهُمْ حَيْثُ ثِقِفْتُمُوهُمْ
“…If they withdraw not from you, nor offer you peace, nor restrain their hands take (hold of) them and kill them wherever you find them…”
meaning if they do not revert to peaceful and complacent behavior or refrain from fighting you, then capture them and kill them.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then ends this ayah by saying,
وَأُوْلَـئِكُمْ جَعَلْنَا لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَـناً مُّبِيناً
“And those – We have made for you against them a clear authority.”
meaning an unequivocal and plain warrant.