Mumbai: Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is an Islamic spiritual scholar who has adopted peace as the mission of his life. Well known for his balanced views, he has been actively involved, for decades, in promoting peace and spirituality in order to usher in global peace and unity.
Concept of Jihad in Islam and Missconception around the globe
Shame on those Islamophobes, Islamists and Hindutvawadis that distort the concept of Jehad in Islam. Love Jehad is un-acceptable and the work of mischief-makers!
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-harb”.
In a religious sense, as described by the Quran and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (s), “jihad” has many meanings. It can refer to internal as well as external efforts to be a good Muslims 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.
Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi
The singular exception to the majority opinion was that of Imam Shafi`i, who contended the verses [9:5] and [9:29] support the condition of jihad being a continual war upon the non-Muslims until they repent and accept Islam or else pay jizya [referred to as polltax].” However the majority of jurists argued against this position, citing the succeeding verses as evidence “and if anyone of the polytheists seeks your protection then grant him protection…” [9:6]. The other Imams argued from this that as long as they are submissive and willing to live peacefully among the believers our divine obligation is to treat them peacefully, despite their denial of Islam. The next verse [9:7], is instruction to keep treaty obligations with meticulous care, and not to break them unless the unbelievers break them first, reiterated in the following verse [9:8], in which Allah orders us not to make a treaty with unbelieving enemies who break their oaths and whose intention is to overpower the Muslims. Had jihad’s objective been to fight all unbelievers, then there would have been no need for treaties and no differentiation between polytheists who remain loyal and faithful to their word and those who are treacherous. Based on these arguments of the scholars, the majority concluded that physical fighting is not a permanent condition against unbelievers, but only when treaties are broken or aggression has been made against Muslim territory (dar al-Islam) by unbelievers.
On the other hand, the call to Islam, is a continuous jihad, per the hadith “I have been ordered to fight the people until they declare that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, establish prayers, and pay zakat. If they perform all that, their blood and property are guaranteed protection on my behalf except when justified by Islamic laws. Then their accounts will be done by Allah.” (Bukhari and Muslim). Said Ramadan Buti in “Jihad in Islam”, explains this hadith in detail, showing that contrary to the minority opinion, fighting here does not refer to combat but to struggle, including within it da`wah, preaching, exhortation and establishment of the state apparatus whereby Islamic preaching is protected; not forcing anyone to become Muslim at the point of a sword. Many examples from the Prophet’s r life history show he never forced conversion, nor did his Successors. He explains that the linguistic scholars of hadith showed that the word used by the Prophet (saws) means “fight”, not “kill”. Its Arabic usage denotes defense against an attacker or oppressor; not to attack or assail.
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 says 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
Muqaddimaat, Ibn Rushd (known in the Western world as Averroes), p. 259.
Jihad in Islam, Muhammad Sa’id R. Al Buti, Dar al-Fikr, 1995.
See al-Minhaaj, (the Method), al-Nawawi, p. 210.
Al-sharh al-saghir, Imam al-Dardir
Kashf al-kina’a, Mansour bin Yunes al-Bahhouti, p. 33.
Al-Mughni, Vol. 9, p. 184.
Al-sharh al-saghir by al-Dardir, Vol. 2, p. 274.
Al-Ashbah wal-nadha’ir, Ibn al-Nujum, p.205
Explanation of Sahih Muslim, vol. 2, Al-Bahouri, p259.
Sharh al-aqa’id an-nasafiyya, Imam Abu Hanifa, p.180-181.
Sahih Muslim. Other hadiths with similar purport are: 1) “There will be upon you leaders who you will recognize and disapprove of; whoever rejects them is free, whoever hates them is safe as opposed to those who are pleased and obey them”, they said, “should we not fight them”. He r said, “No, as long as they pray.” 2)”The best of your leaders are those you love and they love you, you pray for them and they pray for you. The worst of your leaders are those who anger you and you anger them and you curse them and they curse you. He said we replied, “O Messenger of Allah r should we not remove them at that?” He r said, “No, as long as they establish the prayer amongst you.”
Narrated by Abu Said al-Khudri in Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi.
Ghazali, in the Ihya’, al-`Iraqi said that Bayhaqi related it on the authority of Jabir and said: There is weakness in its chain of transmission. According to Nisa’i in al-Kuna is a saying by Ibrahim ibn Ablah.
Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Tabarani, Ibn Majah, and al-Hakim.
Related on the authority of Abu al-Darda’ by Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ibn Abi al-Dunya, al-Hakim, Bayhaqi, and Ahmad also related it from Mu`adh ibn Jabal.