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Sunday, September 27, 2020

What is jihad?

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8.     Banishing those who act treacherously

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Allah orders the Muslims in the Quran: “If you fear treachery from any group, throw back (their treaty) to them, (so as to be) on equal terms. Lo! Allah loves not the treacherous.” (Qur’an 8:58)  Prophet Muhammad undertook a number of armed campaigns to remove treacherous people from power and their lodgings. He had entered into pacts with several Jewish tribes, however, some of them proved themselves treacherous. Prophet Muhammad launched armed campaigns against these tribes, defeated and exiled them from Medina and its surroundings.

 

9.     Defending through preemptive strikes

 Indeed, it is difficult to mobilise people to fight when they see no invaders in their territory; however, those who are charged with responsibility see dangers ahead of time and must provide leadership. The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, had the responsibility to protect his people and the religion he established in Arabia. Whenever he received intelligence reports about enemies gathering near his borders he carried out preemptive strikes, broke their power and dispersed them. Allah ordered Muslims in the Qur’an: “Fighting is prescribed upon you, and you dislike it. But it may happen that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you. And Allah knows and you know not.” (Qur’an 2:216)

 

10.  Gaining freedom to inform, educate and convey the message of Islam in an

 open and free environment

 Allah declares in the Qur’an: “They ask you (Muhammad) concerning fighting in the Sacred Month. Say, ‘Fighting therein is a grave (offense) but graver is it in the sight of Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its inhabitants. Persecution is worse than killing. Nor will they cease fighting you until they turn you back from your faith, if they can…”  (Qur’an 2:217)

 “And those who, when an oppressive wrong is inflicted on them, (are not cowed but) fight back.”

 (Qur’an 42:39).  To gain this freedom, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Strive (jahidu) against the disbelievers with your hands and tongues.” [Sahih Ibn Hibban #4708].  The life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was full of striving to gain the freedom to inform and convey the message of Islam. During his stay in Makkah he used non-violent methods and after the establishment of his government in Madinah, by the permission of Allah, he used armed struggle against his enemies whenever he found it inevitable.

 

11.  Freeing people from tyranny

Allah admonishes Muslims in the Qur’an: “And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? – Men, women, and children, whose cry is: ‘Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You, one who will protect; and raise for us from You, one who will help.'” (Qur’an 4:75).

 The mission of the Prophet Muhammad was to free people from tyranny and exploitation by oppressive systems. Once free, individuals in the society were then free to choose Islam or not. Prophet Muhammad’s successors continued in his footsteps and went to help oppressed people. For example, after the repeated call by the oppressed people of Spain to the Muslims for help, Spain was liberated by Muslim forces and the tyrant rulers removed. After the conquest of Syria and Iraq by the Muslims, the Christian population of Hims reportedly said to the Muslims: “We like your rule and justice far better than the state of oppression and tyranny under which we have been living.”  The defeated rulers of Syria were Roman Christians, and Iraq was ruled by Zoroastrian Persians.

 

What should muslims do when they are victorious?

Muslims should remove tyranny, treachery, bigotry, and ignorance and replace them with justice and equity. We should provide truthful knowledge and free people from the bondage of ‘associationism’ (SHIRK, or multiple gods), prejudice, superstition and mythology. Muslims remove immorality, fear, crime, exploitation and replace them with divine morality, peace and education. The Qur’an declares: “Lo! Allah commands you that you restore deposits to their owners, and if you judge between mankind that you judge justly. Lo! It is proper that Allah admonishes you. Lo! Allah is ever Hearer, Seer.” (Qur’an 4:58)

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah’s witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to Piety and fear Allah. And Allah is well acquainted with all that you do.”  (Qur’an 5:8)

 “And of those whom We have created there is a nation who guides with the Truth and establishes

 justice with it.”  (Qur’an 7:181)

 “Lo! Allah enjoins justice and kindness, and giving to kinsfolk, and forbids lewdness and abomination and wickedness. He exhorts you in order that you may take heed.” (Quran 16:90).

 “Those who, if We give them power in the land, establish prescribed prayers (salah) and pay the poor-due (zakah) and enjoin right conduct and forbid evil. And with Allah rests the end (and decision) of (all) affairs.” (Qur’an 22:41).

 

Did Islam spread by force, swords or guns?

The unequivocal and emphatic answer is NO! The Quran declares: “Let there be no compulsion (or coercion) in the religion (Islam). The right direction is distinctly clear from error.”  (Quran 2:256).

Here is a good study of the question of the spread of Islam by a Christian missionary, TW Arnold:  “…of any organised attempt to force the acceptance of Islam on the non-Muslim population, or of any systematic persecution intended to stamp out the Christian religion, we hear nothing. Had the caliphs chosen to adopt either course of action, they might have swept away Christianity as easily as Ferdinand and Isabella drove Islam out of Spain, or Louis XIV made Protestantism penal in France, or the Jews were kept out of England for 350 years. The Eastern Churches in Asia were entirely cut off from communion with the rest of Christiandom throughout which no one would have been found to lift a finger on their behalf, as heretical communions. So that the very survival of these Churches to the present day is a strong proof of the generally tolerant attitude of Mohammedan [sic] governments towards them”. Islam does not teach, nor do Muslims desire, conversion of any people for fear, greed, marriage or any other form of coercion.

In conclusion, jihad in Islam is STRIVING IN THE WAY OF ALLAH by pen, tongue, hand, media and, if inevitable, with arms. However, jihad in Islam does not include striving for individual or national power, dominance, glory, wealth, prestige or pride.

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