Islam does not condone aggression
From the beginning of human history, people have committed aggression against each other. In the first place, the Quran requires human beings to live in peace and justice. We must remember that Islam abhors aggression but defends the right of self-defense. As the Quran deals with the burning issues affecting humanity, a forceful defense is allowed if there is violent aggression.
Torture and killing of Muslims
To understand the Quran’s militant verses, one needs to know the violent historical context when those verses were revealed. It is important to realize that Makkah’s pagans tortured Muslims with physical harm, starvation, social boycott, and murders. Abu Jahl was a prominent polytheist known for his critical opposition towards Muhammad (Peace be upon him). His savage beating made a Muslim slave blind. He killed a Muslim woman named Sumayah, by inflicting her with a mortal wound. https://qpeace.net/?p=1823
Migrating for fear of life
Eventually, the prophet (Peace be upon him) and his followers escaped Makkah and migrated to Madina. A group of Makkan assassins hunted the prophet (Peace be upon him) to kill him on his way. He traveled hundreds of miles through the harsh terrain of dessert to arrive at the city of Madina. The pagans continued to attack the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and his followers in Madina in the following years with armies much stronger than the prophet and his followers could muster. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persecution_of_Muslims_by_Meccans
The contexts must be considered
By all means, these were critical times for the new Muslims, survival being their primary goal. They were facing annihilation in asymmetric combat against a disproportionately strong enemy. In light of these violent aggressions and events of history, the Quran had to direct its followers to defend themselves, yet agreeing to stop the combat at the first opportunity available. The golden rules to understand and interpret these verses are to consider the contexts of revelation and consider all the verses relating to warfare concurrently. Only then can one build a contextual understanding of these “violent” verses.
“Quran 2:190. “…Fight in the path of Allah, those who enter into combat against you but do not commit aggression, for Allah does not love aggressors.
“Quran 2:191. Kill them wherever you encounter them, and drive them out from where they drove you out from, for persecution is more serious than killing. Do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque unless they fight you there. If they do fight you, kill them- this is what such disbelievers deserve.
“Quran 8:61. “…But if they incline towards peace, you [Prophet] must also incline towards it, and put your trust in God: He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing..”
“Quran 2:192. But if they stop, then God is most forgiving and merciful.”
“Quran 2:194. “….Whoever commits aggression against you, retaliate against him in the same measure as he has committed against you. But fear Allah, and know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.”
“Quran 4:94.”So, you who believe, be careful when you go to fight in God’s way, and do not say to someone who offers you peace, ‘You are not a believer’ “
“Quran 41:34. “…Good and evil cannot be equal. [Prophet], repel evil with what is better, and your enemy will become as close as an old and valued friend..”
“Qur’an 76:8-9 “…And they give food, despite their love for it, to the poor, the orphan, and the captive, (Saying): ‘We feed you seeking Allah’s Countenance only. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you”