“I will instill terror into the hearts unbelievers. Smite ye above their necks and smite off all their fingertips”
No reasonable person would interpret this to mean a spiritual struggle. The targets of violence are “those who disbelieve” – further defined in the next verse (13) as “defy and disobey Allah.” Nothing is said about self-defense. In fact, the verses in sura 8 were narrated shortly after a battle provoked by Muhammad, who had been trying to attack a lightly-armed caravan to steal goods belonging to other people.
NOTE: Not our commentary. Click here for link.