What does the verse “Kill the unbelievers where you find them” mean?
“When the forbidden / untouchable months come out, kill those polytheists wherever you find them, capture and imprison them, watch over them at all crossing points…” (The Quran, at-Tawba  5).
Importance of Context
To distort Islam, some verses are pulled with tweezers and presented out of context. However, each verse must be evaluated together with the context in which it takes place.
Who is this verse about?
This verse is not about all the polytheists, but only about a group that broke the treaty, especially the ringleader (verse 1, 12).
What did the aforementioned polytheists do?
* They betrayed the peace treaty (Hudaybiyyah) and their oaths (verses 7, 12, 13).
* They tried to expel the messenger from his home and
* they started the war (verse 13).
Muslims will abide by the treaty with those who act honestly and do not cooperate with the aggressors until the previous treaty is over (verses 4 and 7).
What are the options offered to these polytheists?
* An ultimatum was given to them for 4 months (verse 2).
* The polytheists were advised that it would be better for them to repent, that is, to give up fighting (verse 3).
* If they establish salah / support, zakah / purification, that is, if they purify themselves and stop shooting Muslims in the back, their path will be opened (verse 5, 11).
* If one of the polytheists leaves the state of war and seeks asylum, he will be assured until he hears and listens to the word of Allah! After listening to the word of Allah, it will be left to his own decision whether to become a Muslim or not. If he still does not become a Muslim, he will be transported safely to his destination (verse 6).
What should be done to those who persist in aggression despite all these options?
If these war criminal polytheists who broke the treaty were given 4 months but did not leave Mecca, then they will be fought against (verse 5).
* at-Tawba  is not a verse that contains a general principle, but is about those who made a treaty with Muslims, violated them, and began a war.
* The verse is about punishment for betrayal, ongoing hostilities and conflicts.
* This verse does not talk about converting someone who has another religion or belief to Islam by force of arms.
* Still, they are presented with various options if they give up on their mistakes.
* Therefore, it is impossible for those who do not attack the Muslims, do not continue the war with them, or even take refuge in them, to be killed!