THE TRUE JIHAD
In this modern day and age, when the world has become considerably smaller because of the technological advancement of the various forms of media, a word has arisen clouded with doubt, distortion and mysticism from the East to the West, before finally gaining international attention. This word is “Jihad”, or as it is better known in the West, ‘Holy War’.
The actual root of the Arabic word ‘Jihad’ is ‘Jahd’ which signifies endurance or rigorous conditions. Thus, in essence Jihad means to strive to the utmost for the achievement of a purpose and to leave nothing undone in its pursuance. Its Islamic conception is first introduced in the following verse of the Quran.
“Permission (to fight) is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed, and most surely Allah is well able to assist them.” (22: 40).
This verse throws a flood of light on what the Islamic concept of Jihad actually purports and it clearly shows that Jihad is fighting in defence of Truth. But whereas Islam, like I have told you before, allows no aggressive war, it regards the waging of it to defend one’s honour, country or faith as an act of the highest virtue. According to Islam, man is God’s noblest handiwork. He is the cause of His creation, its aim and end. Therefore, it is only natural that the religion which has raised man to such a high pedestal should also have attached very great importance and sanctity to honour life. Of all things, man’s life, according to the Quran is most sacred and inviolable. It is a sacrilege to take it except under rare circumstances which the Quran has specifically mentioned in the following verses:
“Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter.” (5: 34).
“And do not kill anyone whom Allah has forbidden, except for a just cause, and whoever is killed unjustly, We have indeed given to his heir authority (to either retaliate or forgive), so let him not exceed the just limits in slaying. Indeed, he will be helped.” (17: 34).
Moreover, Verse 40 of the Quranic Chapter 22, Al-Haj is the first verse according to consensus of scholarly opinion in Islam which gave Muslims the permission to take up arms in self-defence. The verse states:
“Permission (to fight) is given to those upon whom war is made because they are oppressed.” (22: 40).
This verse lays down principles according to which Muslims can wage a defensive war, and set forth along with the following verses the reasons which led a handful of Muslims, without arms and other material means, to fight in self-defence after they had suffered at Mecca ceaseless persecutions for years, and had been pursued with relentless hatred to Medina and were harassed there. So the first reason given in this verse is that they have been wronged, and oppressed.
In the next verse, that is, Verse 41 of Chapter 22 gives the second reason. The verse states:
“Those who have driven out of their homes unjustly, only because they said: ‘Our Lord is Allah’…” (22: 41).
This second reason is that Muslims were driven out from their properties, lands and homes without a just and legitimate cause, their only offence being that they believed in One God.
For years the Muslims were persecuted at Mecca, then they were driven out from it and were not left in peace even in their exile in Medina. Islam at the time was threatened with complete extermination by a combined attack by the Arabian tribes around Medina. Medina itself was honeycombed with sedition and treachery, and the Jews, compact and united were utterly opposed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It is under these highly unfavourable circumstances that Muslims had to take up arms to save themselves, their faith and the Holy Prophet (pbuh) from extermination. If ever a people had a legitimate cause to fight, it was indeed the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his companions, and yet the critics of Islam have accused him of waging wars to impose his faith on an unwilling people. After giving the reason why the Muslims had the great need to take up arms, the verse mentions the object and purpose of the wars of Islam:
“… And if Allah had not repelled some people by means of others, cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft-remembered would surely have been destroyed.” (22: 41).
Thus, the object was never to deprive other people of their homes and possessions, or to deprive them of national freedom and compel them to submit to foreign yoke, or to explore new markets and get new colonies as the western powers do. It was to fight in self-defence and to save Islam from extermination and to establish freedom of conscience and liberty of thought. It was also to defend places of worship belonging to other religions – the churches, and synagogues, the temples and cloisters.
Thus, the first and foremost object of the wars of Islam was and will always be, to establish freedom of belief and worship and to fight in defence of country, honour and freedom against an unprovoked attack. Is there any person who can say that there is a better cause to fight for than this?
Islamic Jihad is basically of three types. First, there is the Jihad against oneself, which in islamic idiom is called the greatest Jihad (Jihad-i-Akbar).
Secondly, the Jihad that is waged against Satan and satanic teachings and designs and is called the great Jihad (Jihad-i-Kabir).
Thirdly, there is the Jihad that is waged against the enemy of freedom of conscience; this is called the lesser Jihad (Jihad-i-Asghar).
I urge my community – Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam – to carry Jihad all the time. The Jihad of this age is to strive in upholding the word of Islam, to refute the objections of the opponents, to propagate the excellences of the Islamic faith and to proclaim the truth of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) throughout the world. This is Jihad till Almighty Allah brings about other conditions in the world like I have said last week in my sermon concerning those of our brothers and sisters in Islam who are being oppressed and bombed because of their faith. Our era is indeed critical for Islam and the Muslims. Global plans are being made to wipe out Islam and to convert the Muslims and their pious nature and attire to the western cultures.
Besides a defensive war to re-establish justice and fairness in religion, I reject the very idea of upholding the sword for the propagation of religion, I reject the concept of Jihad by the sword unless it becomes absolutely necessary to do so, and in the times of a Messenger of Allah, a reformer of Islam, it is indeed under the blessed instructions of Allah that such a Messenger and Khalifatullah will be able to do so. Neither the Promised Messiah Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) nor I – the Khalifatullah of the age – have abrogated Jihad by the sword, and we could have never done so for we in capacity as Muslims are bound by the Quran, and when all limits are exceeded, we are bound to stand up to defend our faiths and our persons so that Islam may live on forever as promised by Allah in the Holy Quran.
I conclude by saying that those who equate the term Jihad with fanaticism and terror and who seek to justify their horrific and barbaric acts of violence in the name of religion, are in great error and have not understood the true teachings of Islam and the Holy Quran.
Jihad, the true Jihad is thus to be done with our own selves, to vanquish every evil which may reside within us. When we shall succeed in this Jihad, then we shall be able to reap the pleasure of Allah. And remember, as long as we do the greatest Jihad with ourselves, then whenever and wherever we are being threatened and persecuted, it is Allah Himself who shall come to our aid. He shall provide us the means and ways to be victorious for the true cause, for truth and true faith and to make survive His true teachings among men in the world. Insha-Allah, Ameen.
----Extracts from the Friday Sermon of 02 September 2016 ~(29 Dhul Qaddah 1437 AH) delivered by Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.