Indeed we now live in an age where Islam is being continuously and viciously attacked from all sides. The attacks now range from everything we Muslims believe in, from the Noble Qur’an, to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and to the Islamic law.
So what should the Muslim do in the face of such assaults and attacks against the true and mighty religion of Islam? Well for starters we should remain calm, and not give in to the provocations because that is one of the intended goals of these people. They want the Muslims to become very angry and do something foolish; therefore we should not give into this and must remain calm at all times. Let your rationality overcome your anger.As the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us Muslims:
Narrated Abu Huraira:Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 6114]
So a Muslim should always keep his anger in check. I know it is hard, but when we become angry we lose our senses and this makes us unfit to defend Islam as we are not thinking properly.
So what should we do in the face of such attacks against our religion? The answer is extremely logical; we must study our religion so that we will be able to defend it. How can we defend our religion when we do not even know much about it? Thus, if Muslims want to do something about it then they should start learning about their faith.
So the answer in such times is not anger, it is wisdom. It is not shouting and burning things down. Truth will always crush the falsehood and lies, as the Quran says:
“Truth has come, and falsehood has departed. Indeed is falsehood, [by nature], ever bound to depart.” [Quran 17:81]
Nay, We hurl the Truth against falsehood, and it knocks out its brain, and behold, falsehood doth perish! Ah! woe be to you for the (false) things ye ascribe (to Us).
So all we need is the truth and we do have the truth. All we must do is reveal the truth against the lies and the lies shall crumble and fall apart.
These points are crucial for a Muslim to understand because if there is no wisdom in defending the religion, then the religion shall never be defended and the lies shall continue to be spread against the true religion of Islam.
One of the most maligned Islamic principle has been none other than JIHAD, this term has been constantly attacked and abused by Christian missionaries, Secularists, and your common anti-Islamic Islamophobes .All of them make the claim that Jihad is Holy war, Holy violence, the right for Muslims to go and murder innocent civilians who happen to be non-Muslims, all in the name of Islam. This is absolutely false allegation, fabrication, deceit, white lie, reflecting either total ignorance, lack of knowledge of Islam, or the nefarious designs with evil intentions to defame Islam through false propaganda and baseless allegations.Jihad means struggling in the name of Allah Almighty. Jihad doesn’t always mean a war or battle. Any mean for spreading Islam and the Truth, or to fight for what is right and condemn what is wrong (such as fighting the bad and helping the oppressed even if they were not Muslims) are considered Jihad.I am doing Jihad right now by maintaining my website, because it is a tool that can be used for spreading Islam and the Truth. And because it is also a Media tool, it could be used for fighting for what is right and condemning what is wrong.
In this article I shall give an over-view of Jihad, what it is, when it is allowed, and how it’s supposed to be done, by doing all of this it will give both Muslims and non-Muslims a more clear and truthful picture of Jihad, as opposed to the picture Islamophobes often like to give.
What is Jihad?
A good starting place would be to ask what is Jihad? What does it mean and signify? Well Jihad simply means to strive, or to struggle, so to basically strive and struggle in God’s path. A Muslim who goes on a program to stop smoking is doing a Jihad, a Muslim who goes on a program to cure their alcohol addiction is doing a Jihad, any of these of acts is considered to be a Jihad.
There are literally hundreds and hundreds types of Jihad, and one of those Jihad’s is physical Jihad, when a Muslim fights for the sake of God, and it is this specific type of Jihad that is constantly attacked and vilified. JIHAD comes from arabic root word JA-HA-DA; which means to strive or struggle.Although very often the Arabic word Jihad is glossed as “holy war”, if we were to translate “holy war” back into Arabic we would have “al-harb al-muqaddas”, a term which does not exist in any form in the Islamic tradition. Neither you will find this particular terminology in Qur’an nor in Hadees. Jihad means to struggle. Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression “striving in the way of God”.
So to clarify, Jihad comes in all forms, Jihad does not simply mean war, or holy war, or a person going on a battle or a fight, this is simply one form of Jihad and it is in the minority of Jihad. So with that said let us get into the specifics of physical Jihad, we will discuss;
- when a Muslim is allowed to make a physical Jihad,and,
- how he is supposed to conduct this Jihad.
Now 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 Quran, the Quran explicitly tells us when we are allowed to fight:
Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. [Quran 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.Elsewhere in the Quran this same message is repeated, fight if you are fought, we read:
To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid;- (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, “our Lord is Allah”. Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);- for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will). [Quran 22: 39-40]
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.
In fact these two verses were the first verses whereby Muslims were finally allowed to fight, these verses were revealed after the Muslims had emigrated to Madinah, and God had finally given the Muslims the right to fight back against the pagan oppressors who were living in Makkah, the pagans who had forced the Muslims out.Hence Muslims in the present day must follow this same example, apply the verses in the same manner in which they were applied and meant for, and that is to fight back when someone fights you, oppresses you, and kicks you out of your land based on your religious identity.
Islam is indeed a religion of peace, but it is not a pacifist religion, and people seem to mix the two together. Whenever a Muslim says Islam is a religion of peace, non-Muslims assume we’re saying that Islam is pacifist, no, what we are saying is that Islam is not here to cause you trouble or to bring violence upon you. However so Islam does allow the Muslims to physically fight, in a self-defence situation.
In fact it would be completely illogical and UN-PEACEFUL if Islam had taught the opposite, if Islam had said don’t fight back at all while you are oppressed, that would be the true definition of going against peace, because whether one likes it or not, when one allows oppression and murder to freely walk, it will only increase, and by you remaining silent and doing nothing about it, you become complicit in it because you did nothing to stop it when you could have. If someone were to come to your house, and rape your family, would you stop by and do nothing about it? Of course not, so why any different when it comes to a person who is oppressing and killing you off your own land? There is no difference between the two, pacifists have no moral high ground, they simply have a very illogical ideology which itself is cruel, unjust, and against peace. If we lived in a pacifist world then that would mean all the Jews of Germany would be murdered by Hitler, and all the Bosnian Muslims would have been murdered by the Serbs, and on it goes.
True mercy and justice is when you are allowed to fight back against tyranny and oppression, that is the definition of justice, to fight against evil and to completely crush it out and replace it with good and something better. This is what physical Jihad is for, to fight against tyranny and oppression:
“And why should ye 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 thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!” [Quran 4:75]
Indeed, why should you not fight for the oppressed people who are crying for help and justice?
So with all of this we have seen when physical Jihad can be done, now let us move onto explaining how a Muslim is to conduct himself.
Rules of War
Now we know that Muslims are allowed to fight, yet how are Muslims supposed to fight, are we allowed to simply go out and kill everyone in sight? Well Islam yet again gives strict guidelines concerning this issue. Qur’an is very clear on sanctity of human life, believer or non believer.We read the following rule:
Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. [Quran 2:190]
But whoever kills a believer intentionally – his recompense is Hell, wherein he will abide eternally, and Allah has become angry with him and has cursed him and has prepared for him a great punishment. [Quran 4:93]
“…that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely…” [Quran 5:32]
And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except by right. And whoever is killed unjustly – We have given his heir authority, but let him not exceed limits in [the matter of] taking life. Indeed, he has been supported [by the law].
Say: “Come, I will rehearse what Allah hath (really) prohibited you from”: Join not anything as equal with Him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want;- We provide sustenance for you and for them;- come not nigh to shameful deeds. Whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom. [Quran 6:151]
To kill or seek to kill an innocent human being, be it Muslim or non Muslim, is to kill all innocent people. On the other hand, to save an individual life in the same circumstances is to save a whole community. What could be stronger condemnation of individual assassination and revenge?
Qur’anic verses which says Muslims are forbidden from attacking others who do not attack them:
“Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loveth not transgressors.” [Quran, 2:190]
Fighting in the cause of GOD Almighty those who fight us is what “Jihad” is all about. I can’t go and kill a non-Muslim just because he is a non-Muslim. That is absolutely forbidden in Islam:
“On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.” [Quran 5:32]
“Those who invoke not, with God, any other god, nor slay such life as God has made sacred except for just cause, nor commit fornication; – and any that does this (not only) meets punishment. (But) the Penalty on the Day Of Judgement will be doubled To him, and he will dwell Therein in ignominy.” [Quran, 25:68-69]
Jihad can only be declared when the Muslims are attacked. Muslims are not allowed to attach those who do not attack them. And even when war breaks out, if the enemy offers an honest peace, then we should accept it and end the blood shed:
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.[Qur’an 60:8]
“But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in God: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things).” [Quran, 8:61]
And if a treaty of peace was made, then we must honor that treaty to the end:
“Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty (of peace), or those who approach you with hearts restraining them from fighting you as well as fighting their own people. If God had pleased, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you: Therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (Guarantees of) peace, then God Hath opened no way for you (to war against them).” [Quran, 4:90]
“How can there be a league, before God and His Apostle, with the Pagans, except those with whom ye made a treaty near the sacred Mosque? As long as these stand true to you, stand ye true to them: for God doth love the righteous. (Quran, 9:7)”
“But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in God: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things).” [Quran, 8:61)]
“If thou dost stretch thy hand against me, to slay me, it is not for me to stretch my hand against thee to slay thee: for I do fear God, the cherisher of the worlds. [Quran, 5:28]
Basically put, if our attackers lay down their arms (weapons), we too must lay down our arms (weapons). This is the true meaning of not transgressing the limits set by Allah(swt).
We have already quoted this verse above, and as you can see, Allah tells the Muslims to not transgress the limits, this means that Muslims should not act like savages, should not kill innocent women and children, should not kill the elderly, should not kill anyone who is not involved in the war etc. As the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught:
Narrated Ibn `Umar:During some of the Ghazawat of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) a woman was found killed, so Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) forbade the killing of women and children. [Sahih al-Bukhari 3015][Sahih Muslim 1744 a][Sahih Muslim 1744 b]
Ibn `Abbas says: The Messenger of Allah, when dispatching his troops, would tell them, ” ..Do not behave treacherously, nor misappropriate war-booty, nor mutilate [those whom you kill], nor kill children, nor the people in cloisters.”[Narrated by Ahmad, Tirmidhi (who graded it hasan sahih ]).
Another contains, “…Do not kill a woman, nor a child, nor an old aged man’ [Narrated by Baghawi, through his isnad [Sharh al-Sunnah, 11/11]. He said, “This is an authentic hadith, narrated by Muslim.]
“You are neither hard-hearted nor of fierce character, nor one who shouts in the markets. You do not return evil for evil, but excuse and forgive.” [Sahih Bukhari Book 65, Hadith 4838]
Narrated Anas ibn Malik: The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Go in Allah’s name, trusting in Allah, and adhering to the religion of Allah’s Apostle. Do not kill a decrepit old man, o a young infant, or a child, or a woman; do not be dishonest about booty, but collect your spoils, do right and act well, for Allah loves those who do well. (Sunan Abu Dawud , Book 14, Number 2608)
Another contains, “…Do not kill a woman, nor a child, nor an old, aged man…” [Narrated by Baghawi, through his isnad [Sharh al-Sunnah, 11/11]]
Another contains, “Do not kill a child, nor a woman, nor an old man, nor obliterate a stream, nor cut a tree…” [ Narrated by Bayhaqi,vide I`la al-Sunan, 12/31 ]
‘Avoid the seven ruinous [sins] … associating partners with Allah, sorcery, unrightfully taking life which Allah has prohibited , consuming riba, consuming the property of an orphan, fleeing on the day of marching [in battle], and accusing a chaste, oblivious believing woman of adultery (Narrated by Bukhari, Muslim, Nasa’i, Abu Dawud)
Ibn `Umar said, “Allah curses the one who does this. Verily, the Messenger of Allah cursed the one who takes something with a soul as a target.” [Narrated by Muslim via Ibn `Umar as quoted, and by Nasa’i via 2 routes (Ibn `Umar and Ibn `Abbas)]
Another version says, “The Messenger of Allah forbade taking something with a soul as a target.”[Narrated by Tirmidhi (who graded it hasan sahih).and Ahmad, via Ibn `Abbas. Both of them included mention of Ibn `Abbas witnessing an incident involving a pigeon, similar to that witnessed by Ibn `Umar as in the preceding narration.]
Allah curses the one who takes something with a soul as a target (Narrated by Ahmad, through a sound, contiguous chain of transmitters (Hushaym-Abu Bishr-Sa`id ibn Jubayr-Ibn `Umar)
The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) would also give the following commands to Muslims before they were sent out for a raid:
It has been reported from Sulaiman b. Buraid through his father that when the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) appointed anyone as leader of an army or detachment he would especially exhort him to fear Allah and to be good to the Muslims who were with him. He would say: Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a war, do not embezzle the spoils; do not break your pledge; and do not mutilate (the dead) bodies; do not kill the children. When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action. If they respond to any one of these, you also accept it and withold yourself from doing them any harm. Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them. Then invite them to migrate from their lands to the land of Muhairs and inform them that, if they do so, they shall have all the privileges and obligations of the Muhajirs. If they refuse to migrate, tell them that they will have the status of Bedouin Muilims and will be subjected to the Commands of Allah like other Muslims, but they will not get any share from the spoils of war or Fai’ except when they actually fight with the Muslims (against the disbelievers). If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah’s help and fight them. When you lay siege to a fort and the besieged appeal to you for protection in the name of Allah and His Prophet, do not accord to them the guarantee of Allah and His Prophet, but accord to them your own guarantee and the guarantee of your companions for it is a lesser sin that the security given by you or your companions be disregarded than that the security granted in the name of Allah and His Prophet be violated When you besiege a fort and the besieged want you to let them out in accordance with Allah’s Command, do not let them come out in accordance with His Command, but do so at your (own) command, for you do not know whether or not you will be able to carry out Allah’s behest with regard to them. [Sahih Muslim 1731 a,b]
So as you can see from this hadees, the Muslim army is supposed to conduct itself in a very good manner, not to mutilate bodies, not to kill children, and not to simply go and massacre everyone in sight.
We also see that a Muslim must give the enemies two choices that can avoid a conflict,
1) The enemies come to Islam,
2) They should pay the jizya.
The jizya is a tax imposed on non-Muslims who are living under Islamic rule, the jizya applies to non-Muslim states that have been captured through war, for instance if a nation attacked the Muslims, and the Muslims fought back and were victorious, the enemy nation would be forced to pay the jizya tax. Some say the jizya tax is oppressive, which is far from the truth, the jizya tax has been historically very cheap, and it excludes children and women, the elderly, and the disabled. Also if someone is poor, and is unable to pay the jizya tax, then they too will be exempt from the tax and the Islamic state itself will provide for that poor citizen. Muslims themselves also have to pay a tax, called the Zakat, which has usually been higher than the jizya, and which is a payment the non-Muslims do not have to make, so just like the non-Muslims have their tax to pay, the Muslims have their own. All the taxes are used by the state to provide services for it’s citizens, just like in modern societies, people pay taxes for public services that their government provides them.
Further rules of war are also given by Abu Bakr, the prophet Muhammad’s right hand man, and the first Islamic ruler to come after the prophet Muhammad, he said the following:
Prohibition against Killing Women and Children in Military Expeditions.
Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said that Abu Bakr as-Siddiq was sending armies to ash-Sham. He went for a walk with Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan who was the commander of one of the battalions. It is claimed that Yazid said to Abu Bakr, “Will you ride or shall I get down?” Abu Bakr said, “I will not ride and you will not get down. I intend these steps of mine to be in the way of Allah.” Then Abu Bakr advised Yazid, “You will find a people who claim to have totally given themselves to Allah. Leave them to what they claim to have given themselves. You will find a people who have shaved the middle of their heads, strike what they have shaved with the sword. “I advise you ten things| Do not kill women or children or an aged, infirm person. Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees. Do not destroy an inhabited place. Do not slaughter sheep or camels except for food. Do not burn bees and do not scatter them. Do not steal from the booty, and do not be cowardly.” [Maliks Muwatta Book 21, Hadees Number 10]
So as you can see, the Muslims are to not act like savages, the Muslims are to fight with honour, not killing the women and children, not killing the elderly, not killing those who aren’t involved, not even to kill the insects! Islam is so merciful it tells the Muslims to be mindful of even the insects! And this is a religion of terrorism?
In fact during warfare a person from the enemies can even come to the Muslims and ask for protection:
If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge. [Quran 9:6]
So even during war, a person from the enemy camp can come to the Muslims seeking protection, and the Muslims are to take him in and grant him protection.
Now what about captives of war, as we know, during warfare people are captured, so how are we to treat those who come under our control? Well Islam gives strict rulings yet again, we read:
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: “When the slave of anyone amongst you prepares food for him and he serves him after having sat close to (and undergoing the hardship of) heat and smoke,he should make him (the slave) sit along with him and make him eat (along with him), and if the food seems to run short, then he should spare some portion for him (from his own share)- (another narrator) Dawud said:” i. e. a morsel or two”. 4097. [Sahih Muslim, The Book of Oaths (Kitab Al-Aiman), Book 015, Number 4096]
Narrated Al-Ma’rur: “At Ar-Rabadha I met Abu Dhar who was wearing a cloak, and his slave, too, was wearing a similar one. I asked about the reason for it. He replied, “I abused a person by calling his mother with bad names.” The Prophet said to me, ‘O Abu Dhar! Did you abuse him by calling his mother with bad names You still have some characteristics of ignorance. Your slaves are your brothers and Allah has put them under your command. So whoever has a brother under his command should feed him of what he eats and dress him of what he wears. Do not ask them (slaves) to do things beyond their capacity (power) and if you do so, then help them.’
[Sahih Bukhari, Belief, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 29]”
We cannot even beat them
Abu Mas’ud al-Ansari reported: “When I was beating my servant, I heard a voice behind me (saying): Abu Mas’ud, bear in mind Allah has more dominance over you than you have upon him. I turned and (found him) to be Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him). I said: Allah’s Messenger, I set him free for the sake of Allah.Thereupon he said: Had you not done that, (the gates of) Hell would have opened for you, or the fire would have burnt you.
[Sahih Muslim, The Book of Oaths (Kitab Al-Aiman), Book 015, Number 4088]
We are not allowed to rape or sexually abuse the female captives
Let those who find not the wherewithal for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah gives them means out of His grace. And if any of your slaves ask for a deed in writing (to enable them to earn their freedom for a certain sum), give them such a deed if ye know any good in them: yea, give them something yourselves out of the means which Allah has given to you. But force not your maids to prostitution when they desire chastity, in order that ye may make a gain in the goods of this life. But if anyone compels them, yet, after such compulsion, is Allah, Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (to them), [Qur’an 24:33]
And here the two statements by two major classical Islamic scholars:
In our view the man who rapes a woman, regardless of whether she is a virgin or not, if she is a free woman he must pay a “dowry” like that of her peers, and if she is a slave he must pay whatever has been detracted from her value. The punishment is to be carried out on the rapist and there is no punishment for the woman who has been raped, whatever the case. [Imam Maalik, Al-Muwatta’, Volume 2, page 734]
“If a man acquires by force a slave-girl, then has sexual intercourse with her after he acquires her by force, and if he is not excused by ignorance, then the slave-girl will be taken from him, he is required to pay the fine, and he will receive the punishment for illegal sexual intercourse.” [Imam Al Shaafi’i,Kitaabul Umm, Volume 3, page 253]
So Muslims are clearly not allowed to violate, abuse, and rape their captives, Muslims are not allow to treat their captives like what we saw in Abu Ghuraib.
Now what about the issue of peace? Well Islam gives rules regarding this as well, we read:
And fight them on until there is no more Tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah;but if they cease, Let there be no hostility except to those who practise oppression. [Quran 2:193]
So if the enemies end their fighting, then there shall be no hostility and the Muslims will hold back as well. This is repeated elsewhere in the Quran:
But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things). [Quran 8:61]
So in conclusion, all of the above is physical Jihad, it’s contexts, and conditions. Can anyone truly and honestly say that any of the above is barbaric, cruel, or terrorism?