JIHAD- When & Against Whom

The word ‘Jihad’ has commonly been mistranslated as ‘war against unbelievers’ or equated to ‘terrorism’. The Arabic word ‘Jihad’ literally means ‘struggle’ or ‘strive to’ – that is, to exert oneself one way or another. It also pertains to doing good, and to fight evil, physically and mentally. Jihad can also apply when speaking a good word, or removing an obstacle on the road so that people do not get hurt. These are various meanings to the word ‘Jihad’. Let’s turn to the Qur’an and see what it says on the word,

So do not obey the disbelievers, and strive against them with the Qur’an a great striving. [Quran 25:52]

So,the act of preaching and Islamic propagation using the Qur’an is Jihad.Hence, it is understood that the word JIHAD means strive and struggle.

Now in this post of mine I will discuss only Physical Jihad. Jihad as is mandated in the Qur’an is used to maintain or restore order, peace and security or to remove oppression and injustice.Muslims are allowed to fight for the sake of God, but when are they allowed to do so, can they simply go out and fight for no reason? The answer is no, and the rules are found within the Qur’an. The Qur’an explicitly tells us when we are allowed to fight.Those are as follows:

“Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.” [2:190]

So here we have a clear stipulation as to when Muslims can fight, and it is when the Muslim himself is attacked, thereby he has a right to defend himself and fight back. Surely one cannot attack such a principal? In what part of that verse do we see any teaching that is vile, evil, or wrongfully violent? It is clearly a teaching of self defence, to fight back against an oppressor, who has attacked you.

Next Quran tells us,

“And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, “Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?” [4:75]

Indeed, why should you not fight for the oppressed people who are crying for help and justice?Such a war would be not for violence but for the mercy for the weak people. Islam, which is against cruelty, advice believers to serve as a protector and mercy showing people for people under oppression. And in case of peace; Allah orders believers to be just and good. The aim here is to keep peace continuity against war.

The mission of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was to free people from tyranny and exploitation by oppressive systems. Once free, individuals in the society were then free to chose Islam or not. Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) 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.” [Hitti, Philip K., HISTORY OF THE ARABS, St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1970, p. 153]

The defeated rulers of Syria were Roman Christians, and Iraq was ruled by Zoarastrian Persians.

Next, Quran tells us,

“Would you not fight a people who broke their oaths and determined to expel the Messenger, and they had begun [the attack upon] you the first time? Do you fear them? But Allah has more right that you should fear Him, if you are [truly] believers. Fight them; Allah will punish them by your hands and will disgrace them and give you victory over them and satisfy the breasts of a believing people. And remove the fury in the believers’ hearts. And Allah turns in forgiveness to whom He wills; and Allah is Knowing and Wise.” [Quran 9:13-15]

So, this verse is about Repelling the aggression of those who attack the Muslims.

Next, Quran tells us,

“Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.”[ Quran 9:29]

This verse has criticisms. So I would urge you to read the detail explanation along with its historical context here, here, here ,and here .

Next Quran tells us,

“Permission [to fight] has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory. [They are] those who have been evicted from their homes without right – only because they say, ‘Our Lord is Allah’…..” [Quran 22:39-40]

The Qur’an permits fighting to defend the religion of Islam and the Muslims. This permission includes fighting in self-defense and for the protection of family and property.Once again we see a clear stipulation of when physical Jihad can be done, which is when a person attacks you, oppresses you, and kicks you out of your home on account of your religion. If such an act is done against a Muslim, and the Muslim has the power to fight back, then the Muslim has every right to do so. Surely there is no evil and wrong in that, if a person comes and declares war on you, and fights you, all on account of your religious faith, then surely you have a right to fight back and defend yourself. This is common sense, common logic, and how reality works; this is what we call justice.

Finally, Quran tells us,

“Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” [Quran 60:8]

In this verse we are told we should only fight those who fight us because we are MUSLIMS and for that they expel us from our homes. But those who are peaceful and didn’t persecute us, we should do no harm to them.
So with all of this we have seen when physical Jihad can be done.

Further Reading :

Jihad 1 ,and Jihad 2 .

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