The true Jihad
THE TRUE JIHAD
- Preface 4
- The True Jihad10
- The Jihad Movements of Modern Times23
- Peace in the Quran27
- The Teachings of Islam28
- The Example of the Prophet Muhammad, May Peace be Upon
- War: A State Action34
- The Difference Between the Enemy and the Aggressor 37
- The Power of Peace39
- Clarification of a Fallacy41
- Non-Violence and Islam44
- Peaceful Beginning48
- Success Through the Non-Violent Method 51
- Political Revolt Unlawful56
- The Command of War in Islam60
- The True Jihad
- The Modern Age and Non-Violence68
- The Manifestation of Religion71
- Islam in the Present Age79
- The True Jihad through Da‘wah Activism85
- Peace and Justice 87
- Muslims Displaced90
- Tolerance!! Its Significance Today96
- Tolerance: The Price of Peace102
A perusal of the Qur’an followed by a study of latter-day Muslim history will reveal a blatant contradiction between the two—that of principle and practice.
Where recent developments in some Muslim countries bespeak the culture of war, the Qur’an, on the contrary, is imbued with the spirit of tolerance. Its culture is not that of war, but of mercy.
At the very beginning of the Qur’an, the first invocation reads: “In the name of God, the most Merciful, the most Beneficent.” Throughout the Qur’an, God’s name is thus invoked no less than
113 times. Moreover, the Qur’an states that the prophets were sent to the world as a mercy to the people (21:107).
The word ‘jihad’ has nowhere been used in the Qur’an to mean war in the sense of launching an offensive. It is used rather to mean ‘struggle’.
The action most consistently called for in the Qur’an is the exercise of patience. Yet today, the ‘Muslim
Mujahideen’ under unfavourable conditions have equated “God is Great” with “War is Great.” For them, the greatest reward is to be able to wield a Kalashnikov rifle.
In the light of on-going conflict, we must ask why so great a contradiction has arisen between the principles of Islam and the practices of Muslims. At least one root cause may be traced to historical exigency.
Since time immemorial, military commanders have been accorded positions of great eminence in the annals of history.
It is a universal phenomenon that the hero is idolized even in peacetime and becomes a model for the people.
It is this placing of heroism in the militaristic context which has been the greatest underlying factor in the undue stress laid on war in the latter phase of Islam’s history.
With the automatic accord in Muslim society of a place of honour and importance to the heroes of the battlefield, annalists’ subsequent compilations of Islamic history have tended to read like an uninterrupted series of wars and conquests.
These early chronicles having set the example, subsequent writings on Islamic history have followed the same pattern of emphasis on militarism.
The Prophet’s biographies were called maghazi, that is, ‘The Battles Fought by the Prophet,’ yet the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him, in fact did battle only three times in his entire life, and the period of his involvement in these battles did not total more than one and a half days.
He fought; let it be said, in self-defence, when hemmed in by aggressors, where he simply had no option.
But historians—flying in the face of fact— have converted his whole life into one of confrontation and war.
We must keep it in mind that the Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him, was born at a time when an atmosphere of militancy prevailed in Arab society, there being, in their view, no other path to justice.
But the Prophet always opted for avoidance of conflict. For instance, in the campaign of Ahzab, the Prophet advised his Companions to dig a trench between them and the enemies, thus preventing a head-on clash.
Another well-known instance of the Prophet’s dislike for hostilities is the Hudaibiyyah peace treaty in which the Prophet accepted all the conditions of the enemy.
In the case of the conquest of Makkah, he avoided a battle altogether by making a rapid entry into the city with ten thousand Muslims—a number large enough to awe his enemies into submission.
In this way, on all occasions, the Prophet endeavoured to achieve his objectives by peaceful rather than by war-like means.
It is, therefore, unconscionable that in later biographical writing, all the events of his life have been arranged under the heading of ‘battles’ (ghazawat).
How he managed to avert the cataclysms of war has not been dealt with in any of the works which purportedly depict his life.
Ibn Khaldun, the celebrated 14th century historian, was the first to lay down definite rules for the study and writing of history and sociology.
He followed the revolutionary course of attempting to present history as a chronicle of events centering on the common man rather than on kings, their generals and the battles they fought.
But since war heroes were already entrenched as the idols of society, the caravan of writers and historians continued to follow the same well-worn path as had been trodden prior to Ibn Khaldun.
When people have come to regard war heroes as the greatest of men, it is but natural that it is the events of the battlefield which will be given the greatest prominence in works of history.
All other events will either be relegated to the background or omitted altogether.
In the past when the sword was the only weapon of war, militancy did not lead to the mass-scale loss of life and property such as modern warfare brings in its wake.
In former times, fighting was confined to the battlefield; the only sufferers were those engaged in the battle.
But today, the spear and sword have been replaced by mega bombs and devastating long-range missiles, so that killing and destruction take place on a horrendous scale.
It is the entire human settlement which has now become the global arena of war. Even the air we breathe and the water we drink are left polluted in war’s aftermath.
Hence people in the West find Islam outdated and irrelevant precisely because of its militant interpretation.
Demands for a reform in Islam are on the increase, as the ‘old’ version of Islam cannot apparently keep pace with the modern world.
But, in reality, it is not reformation which is urgent, but revival.
What is needed is to discard as superficial and erroneous the militant and political interpretation of Islam, and to adopt the original, ‘old’ version of Islam based on peace, mercy and the love of mankind.
The so-called Muslim Mujahideen have been exhorting their co-religionists to do battle all over the world.
But the Qur’an says: ‘…and God calls to the home of peace’ (10:25). It is up to right-thinking people everywhere to reject the militant version of Islam, and to start seeing and accepting Islam as it is truly represented by the Qur’an. Wahiduddin Khan
THE TRUE JIHAD
“Read! In the name of your Lord…” (The Quran, 96:1)
The Quran exhorts believers to “strive for the cause of Allah as it behoves you to strive for it.” (22:78) This earnest struggle is expressed in Arabic by the word ‘jihad’ which is derived from the root ‘juhd’, which means to strive, to struggle, that is, to exert oneself to the utmost to achieve one’s goal.
Thus the original meaning of jihad in Arabic is striving very hard’. Since the early Muslims had to strive hard during wars with aggressors, these wars came, in an extended sense, to be called jihad. However, the actual word for such a war in Arabic is qital, not jihad.
War with an aggressor is a chance occurrence, taking place as warranted by particular situations, while jihad is a continuous action which is at the core of the believer’s life day in and day out. It is an ongoing process.
This constant jihad means strict adherence to the will of God in all aspects of one’s life, and the prevention of any obstacle coming in the way of fulfilling God’s will—for instance, the desires of the self, the urge to serve one’s own interests, the compulsion of social traditions, the need for compromises, ego problems, greed for wealth, etc.
All these things directly thwart righteous actions. Overcoming all such hurdles and persevering in obeying God’s commands are the real jihad. And the word jihad has been used primarily in this sense.
We quote here some traditions, as recorded in Musnad Ahmad, which define the role of the mujahid.
- A mujahid is one who struggles with himself for the sake of God. (6/20)
- A mujahid is one who exerts himself for the cause of God (6/22)
- A mujahid is one who struggles with his self in submission to the will of God.
The present world is a testing ground: the entire fabric of this world has been designed with a view to fulfilling the purposes of the divine trial of man. This being so, the human being is necessarily faced
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