Islam comes from the root word Salaam, which means peace. It also means submitting one’s will to Allah. The word Salaam is also an attribute of God. Islam makes it obligatory upon Muslims to stand by the helpless regardless of their race, colour, religion or relationship and say no to the oppressor and ask him to respond to the voice of reason and justice. Allah says:
قَاتِلُوهُمْ يُعَذِّبْهُمُ اللَّهُ بِأَيْدِيكُمْ وَيُخْزِهِمْ وَيَنصُرْكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَيَشْفِ صُدُورَ قَوْمٍ مُّؤْمِنِينَ
“Fight them – Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them, and will heal (the) breasts (of) a people (who are) believers.” (Surah At-Tawbah, 9: 13)
Many people in western misunderstood the concept of being against the oppressor and responding to the voice of reason and justice so we are going to discuss in detail in this article about Jihad is basically “to work hard for something in the way of Allah.”In this context, it means ‘The Giver of Peace. Muslim to live in a safe and peaceful environment and to make efforts for the spread and continuity of peace. Islam is called “the Religion of Peace”. Allah says::
وَأَعِدُّوا لَهُم مَّا اسْتَطَعْتُم مِّن قُوَّةٍ وَمِن رِّبَاطِ الْخَيْلِ تُرْهِبُونَ بِهِ عَدُوَّ اللَّهِ وَعَدُوَّكُمْ وَآخَرِينَ مِن دُونِهِمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَهُمُ اللَّهُ يَعْلَمُهُمْ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا مِن شَيْءٍ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تُظْلَمُونَ
“And prepare for them whatever you able (to) of force and of cavalry (to) terrify therewith (the) enemy of Allah, and your enemy and others besides them, you (do) not know them (but) Allah knows them. And whatever you spend from (any) thing in (the) way (of) Allah it will be fully repaid to you, and you (will) not be wronged.” (Surah Al-Anfal, 8: 60)
Muslims to fight against the enemies of Allah, with all covertness they could gather in order to succeed, and also emphasize on spending their properties and money for this cause. That fulfils the basis of Islam which is putting forward one`s everything for the Almighty Lord. These lines tell them about making harmony with those who seek peace, which is the realization of the secondary significance of this belief, i.e. extending peace in the world. Allah says:
وَلَا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا السَّيِّئَةُ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ
“And not (are) equal the good (deed) and the evil (deed). Repel by (that) which [it] (is) better; then behold! One who, between you and between him, (was) enmity, (will become) as if he (was) a friend intimate.” (Surah Fussilat 41:34)
The Qur’an refers to Paradise as the “abode of peace”. Thus peace is a goal that Muslims are required to strive for, in their own selves, in their families and in their communities. It is ironic, therefore, that Islam is perceived by many as being the motivation behind the wanton killing of innocent people. Islam does not call for violence; relatively it disliked all forms of violence and terrorism. No matter against Muslims or Non-Muslims, Islam calls for peace, cooperation and maintaining justice for humanity as a whole. Allah says:
وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ
“And who (is) better (in) speech than (one) who invites to Allah and does righteous (deeds) and says, “Indeed, I am of those who submit?” (Surah Fussilat 41:33)
Jihad in the Quran
Like any other obligatory and supreme acts in the religion of Islam, Jihad is also a God-given responsibility to the Muslims, which should only be analyzed according to the Sacred Scripture i.e. The Holy Quran, and not what the uninformed people do by manipulating its actual denotation. Allah says:
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَهَاجَرُوا وَجَاهَدُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةً عِندَ اللَّهِ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ
So, Jihad is actually the name of doing one`s best in terms of both fighting and expanding everything one has. As property is among the most important things one has, it is imperative to spend as much as one can, besides going in to direct battle with the enemies of Islam. Now, the act of warfare needs to be elaborated, as it is greatly misjudged and linked with wrong motives. Allah says:
وَقَاتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ
“And fight in (the) way (of) Allah those who fight you and (do) not transgress. Indeed, Allah (does) not like the transgressors.” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:190)
The phrase “Who Fight You” clearly indicates that the Almighty has ordered to clash with only those who brawl with Muslims and try to destroy them. So, there is no way one could say that Jihad is an alternate name for spreading aggression and slaughtering people. It also means that one cannot instigate a war against others, but only defend themselves. After it has become evident that Jihad is only meant for self-defence and not the other way around, it is necessary to have a look at the following verse. Allah says:
وَاقْتُلُوهُمْ حَيْثُ ثَقِفْتُمُوهُمْ وَأَخْرِجُوهُم مِّنْ حَيْثُ أَخْرَجُوكُمْ وَالْفِتْنَةُ أَشَدُّ مِنَ الْقَتْلِ وَلَا تُقَاتِلُوهُمْ عِندَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ حَتَّىٰ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِيهِ فَإِن قَاتَلُوكُمْ فَاقْتُلُوهُمْ كَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ الْكَافِرِينَ
“And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from wherever they drove you out, and [the] oppression (is) worse than [the] killing. And (do) not fight them near Al-Masjid Al-Haraam until they fight you in it. Then if they fight you, then kill them. Such (is the) reward (of) the disbelievers.” (Surah Baqarah, 2: 191)
Haters of Islam only quote the very first line of the above verses and argue that Muslims are cruel and are meant to kill others wherever they find them, but that is not actually true. It has been added in the following verse by Allah SWT that if they ask for mercy, then there is no need to fight and kill them. This is the whole concept of Jihad from the above lines of the Quran and it should not be misquoted. Allah says:
“And We made from among them (Children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under Our Command when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayat (proofs, verses, signs, revelations, etc.)” (As-Sajdah: 24).
So, it’s crystal clear from the previous lines of the Quran that combating is only obligated once Muslims are under attack, and when they need to protect themselves. Jihad is said to be “fighting for the cause of Allah”, but there is increased requisite to comprehend what this phrase actually means, as the word fighting is being misused by extremist organizations operating in different regions of the world and portray it as the religious duty.
WHAT JIHAD IS
- The Arabic word “jihad” is often translated as “holy war,” but in a purely linguistic sense, the word ” jihad” means struggling or striving.
- The Arabic word for war is: “al-hard”.
- In a religious sense, as described by the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (s), “jihad” has many meanings. It can refer to internal as well as external efforts to be a good Muslim or believer, as well as working to inform people about the faith of Islam.
- If military jihad is required to protect the faith against others, it can be performed using anything from legal, diplomatic and economic to political means. If there is no peaceful alternative, Islam also allows the use of force, but there are strict rules of engagement. Innocents – such as women, children, or invalids – must never be harmed, and any peaceful overtures from the enemy must be accepted.
- Military action is therefore only one means of jihad and is very rare. To highlight this point, the Prophet Mohammed told his followers returning from a military campaign: “This day we have returned from the minor jihad to the major jihad,” which he said meant returning from armed battle to the peaceful battle for self-control and betterment.
- In case military action appears necessary, not everyone can declare jihad. The religious military campaign has to be declared by a proper authority, advised by scholars, who say the religion and people are under threat and violence is imperative to defend them. The concept of “just war” is very important.
- The concept of jihad has been hijacked by many political and religious groups over the ages in a bid to justify various forms of violence. In most cases, Islamic splinter groups invoked jihad to fight against the established Islamic order. Scholars say this misuse of jihad contradicts Islam.
- Examples of sanctioned military jihad include the Muslims’ defensive battles against the Crusaders in medieval times and before that some responses by Muslims against Byzantine and Persian attacks during the period of the early Islamic conquests.
- Jihad against one’s self
- Jihad against Shaytaan
- Jihad by the tongue/pen
WHAT JIHAD IS NOT
- Jihad is not a violent concept.
- Jihad is not a declaration of war against other religions. It is worth noting that the Koran specifically refers to Jews and Christians as “people of the book” who should be protected and respected. All three faiths worship the same God. Allah is just the Arabic word for God and is used by Christian Arabs as well as Muslims.
- Military action in the name of Islam has not been common in the history of Islam. Scholars say most calls for violent jihad are not sanctioned by Islam.
- Warfare in the name of God is not unique to Islam. Other faiths throughout the world have waged wars with religious justifications. Allah says:
وَمَا لَكُمْ لَا تُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاءِ وَالْوِلْدَانِ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَٰذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ نَصِيرًا
“And what for you (that) not you fight in (the) way (of) Allah, and (for) those who are weak among the men and the women and the children, those who say, “Our Lord take us out of this [the] town [the] oppressor(s) (are) its people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper.” (Surah An-Nisa, 4: 75)
Conditions for Combative Jihad
The ruler, the Imām, is completely answerable to the people and their legal apparatus, the most important representatives of whom are the scholars. The position of the law is that only at such a time when it can be reasonably proven that;
- there are aggressive designs against Islam; and,
- there are concerted efforts to eject Muslims from their legally acquired property; and,
- that military campaigns are being launched to eradicate them.
At such a time the ruler can declare and execute the provisions of combative Jihād.
Naturally, every community has the right to self-defence and in the case of Islam, where religion is the primary dimension of human existence, the war in defence of the nation becomes a religious act. A lack of understanding of this quality of Islam, its non-secularism; has also contributed considerably to the fear that when Islam talks about war it means going to war to convert. This might be true in other cultures, but Islam must be allowed to speak for itself.
“Let there be no compulsion in religion” (Al-Qur’an 2:256)
Jihad is of two kinds: major (struggling against inner self) and minor (combating enemies of Islam). It consists of all kinds of efforts which are for the sake of resoluteness to one`s religious convictions. It includes responding aggressively to enemies of Islam who try to wipe out Muslims by force, help the oppressed, but try to have harmony with them if they require it. If the enemy offers peace, it should be accepted even at the risk of possible deception. Allah says:
وَإِن جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
“And if they incline to peace, then you (also) incline to it and put (your) trust in Allah. Indeed, He (is) All-Hearer, All-Knower.” (Surah Al-Anfal 8:61)
Regardless of how legitimate a cause may be, Islam does not condone the killing of innocent people. Terrorizing the civilian population, whether by individuals or states, can never be termed as jihad and can never be reconciled with the teachings of Islam. In short, Jihad is not just only fighting against enemies.