Showing posts with label war. Show all posts
Showing posts with label war. Show all posts

Saturday, April 13, 2019

What 'Jihad' Really Means


Which Jihad ?

'Jihad' is a religious duty, an act of faith, prescribed by the Holy Quran for every Muslim. 

Alas, Islamic teachings are, on the one hand, so little known by Muslims, and on the other, so vilified by non-Muslims, that many false conceptions have settled in people’s minds. 

For many people, it seems convenient and legitimate to cover under the term jihad (holy war) any struggle to settle a dispute where their interests are at stake (and thus, all means, even the most reprehensible, seem to be good). For the non-Muslim jihad has long been equated with the holy war against non-believers, for the spread of Islam. It seems to me necessary - through this series of sermons on jihad, terrorism and Islamophobia - to return to the sources of Islam, through the Holy Quran and the traditions of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) to explain what jihad really is, for the objective minds.

The term jihad is derived from jahada which means making intense efforts to the ultimate limit (Al-Ankabut, 29:7). Jihad is such an important injunction for Muslims that it is mentioned in no less than 36 occasions in the Holy Quran.

Three types of Jihad

In fact, it is of such importance that all the acts of faith prescribed for the believer (prayer, fasting, zakah, and pilgrimage to Mecca) are spiritual exercises designed to overcome the weaknesses of the individual and prepare him for the accomplishment of jihad. Jihad, as it appears from the reading of the the Holy Qur’an, denotes three types of fighting:
  1. The fight against oneself (nafs).
  2. The fight against evil in all its forms.
  3. Armed combat against the visible enemy.
We can differentiate between the three types of jihad by calling them respectively Jihad-i-Akbar (greatest jihad), Jihad-i-Kabir (the great jihad) and Jihad-i-Saghir (the little/ lesser jihad). The Holy Prophet of Islam (pbuh) considered that Jihad-i-Akbar is the supreme, noblest combat and he said, when his troops returned from the Tabuk expedition: “You have accomplished the minor jihad now; there remains the supreme jihad.”

Djihad-i-Akbar:- it is the tireless fight against oneself, against one’s bad tendencies and inclinations. It is not therefore a fight of the State (the Country/ State/ Government, especially the Islamic One), but a struggle peculiar to the individual against his weak instincts/ carnal desires, such as infidelity, adultery, lies, dishonesty and materialism. However, the State has the obligation to help the citizen in this fight, creating the conditions conducive to his internal purification. It is the duty of the State to rid the social environment of any obstacle that may hinder the path of the individual to inner purity (e.g. the sale of alcoholic beverages, drugs, the practice of debauchery and games of chance).

The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said, “Purity (or Cleanliness) is half of faith.” This purity denotes the purity of the spirit. According to my analysis, a soul encumbered with unhealthy desires remains hermetically closed to divine grace. By purifying one’s soul of every bad inclination, the individual accomplishes this supreme jihad and reaches half of the faith by becoming fit to receive the grace of his Creator and to follow the path of spiritual progress.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Pulwama: Beyond Terror and Vengeance

On the Pulwama Tragedy

The suicide attack on Thursday, 14 February 2019 against an Indian military convoy in Pulwama, Kashmir revived tensions between India and Pakistan. This attack claimed the lives of at least 41 Indian soldiers. Delhi is multiplying diplomatic initiatives to isolate its Pakistani neighbour, while preparing a military response. 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has consistently referred to what has become a national tragedy in the country. He declared on Sunday, 18 February 2019: “The fire that embraces your heart also embraces mine.” This statement was made to a crowd gathered for a political meeting, shortly after asserting that “the blood of India was boiling.” 

Fury has seized social networks and several TV channels close to the government call for revenge. For the Indian Prime Minister, the moment is critical: never has an attack raised so much emotion in the country since the terrorist attack of Bombay (Mumbai) which had made 174 dead in November 2008. The moment is also crucial for its political future just weeks away from the scheduled elections in April and May. 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Faith Matters: No Coercion

'Jihad': Never Through Compulsion!

Allah says in the Quran: 

Laa-Ikraaha fid-Deen. 
« There is no compulsion in religion. »---(Al-Baqara, 2 : 257)

It is indeed one of the most well-known Quranic verses and, moreover, of relevance, considering the conditions that prevail today. Even those who are totally ignorant of the teachings of the Holy Quran, have already heard about them. - This verse highlights the relationship between religion - in this case Islam - and compulsion and at what level compulsion can influence religious beliefs.

Some Ulema of other Jamaats, after [the revelation of] this verse, try to prove that the use of force is absolutely legal in matters of religion, but we, the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam demonstrates the opposite.

The Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam accepts this verse in its entirety, and fully appreciates its message. Another aspect of this teaching, different from that of the Orthodox, was put forward by the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam. Not only is there no doubt about the prohibition of the use of force, whatever its form in matters of faith, but it is impossible to achieve the goal sought by such means. This is what the following verse tells us.
   
Two Forms of Compulsion

Compulsion can be in two ways:

1. The use of force to spread a religion.
2. Forcibly remove someone from his religion.

So this verse tells us that we cannot force someone to accept a new faith, much less, we cannot force him to give up his faith. But those who do their utmost to dissociate Islam from its most faithful believers, will not succeed, because the verse tells us, further.

... and whoever believes in Allah will surely have grasped a solid and unbreakable handhold ...” (Al-Baqara 2: 257).

This is the most tangible meaning of this verse. Those who are not convinced that one cannot force anyone to embrace or renounce a religion, need only try it. Besides, history confirms the veracity of this Quranic verse.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

'Muslims, Stand Up for Refugees'

THE THREAT TO ISLAM

Islam does not accept the idea, widespread amidst the West (mainly the non-Muslims), of a boundary between the inner life of man and his public actions. This belief (i.e. the Islamic belief that there is no boundary between the inner life of man and his public actions) may become a sure force that will convince non-Muslims to rediscover the link between daily life and a moral order. But in doing so it goes against the current conventional Western wisdom. For some time already, the very notion of Islam makes the non-Muslims tremble. They think that the Muslim world is heading towards a confrontation with the other parts of the world who do not share its beliefs. This thus makes the European and even the US (Americans) very nervous. A quick analysis of the current situation where Islam is seen as a blood-thirsty religion only reinforces this fear. But they forget the many wrongs, the murders of poor and defenceless Muslims which they committed in order to conquer lands and properties, but primarily to eradicate Islam from these places.

In Europe, more than twenty years ago, Bosnian Muslims were, for a long brutally mistreated by the Serbians who theoretically are Christians. On the border between Europe and Asia, Armenians Christians annihilated Azerbaijanis (Azeri) Muslims, and Jews and Muslims to this day continue to kill each other in Palestine. Further to the East, there is the brutality of the Indian army in Kashmir, and the destruction in 1992 of the Ayodhya mosque by the Hindus. Such bitter experiences suggest to the Muslims that the world is against them. If this is the case, so they are against the world. This explains the xenophobia that foreigners are murdered by terrorists who brandish Quranic verses in Iraq and Syria and in other Islamic states.

Monday, September 5, 2016

'Terror' is Not 'Jihad'

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:

Friday, August 26, 2016

Islam on Rules of Warfare

Islam does not teach aggression as did Judaism through the law of retaliation. Nor does it, like present-day degraded Christianity, preach a contradiction. It does not ask us to turn the other cheek and at the same time to sell our clothes to buy a sword. 

The teaching of Islam fits into the natural instincts of man, and promotes peace in the only possible way. Indeed, Islam preaches the middle way, neither too extreme, nor too lenient, but justice should be justly done according to the situation prevailing, but like Allah advises in the Holy Quran, forgiveness and patience are best especially in respect to killings and aggression.

All in all, Islam forbids aggression, but it urges us to fight if failure to fight jeopardises peace and promotes war. If failure to fight means the extirpation of free belief and of the search of truth, it is our duty to fight. This is the teaching on which peace can ultimately be built, and this is the teaching on which the Holy Prophet of Islam, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) based his own policies and his practice.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Right to Self-Defence against Aggression

Islam forbids aggression, but orders us to fight if the limits of decency and freedom of conscience are exceeded and that truth and peace are in danger. In this case, the Muslim is called to fight and should not shrink from the fight to protect the religion approved by Allah, that is to say, Islam and the Muslims. 

This is the teaching on the basis of which the Holy Prophet (pbuh) set his own line of conduct. He continued to suffer in Mecca and did not fight the aggression of which he was the innocent victim. Even after his flight to Medina, the enemy went there to extirpate Islam; he had to fight for truth and freedom of conscience, but the fights he had subsequently directed were ordained by Allah, especially on self-defence basis and to save the worship of God and His sincere adherents/ servants.

“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. Those who have been driven from their homes unjustly only because they said: Our Lord is Allah - For had it not been for Allah's repelling some men by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. 

And Allah will surely support those who support Him – Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might – Those who, if We give them power in the land, establish worship and pay the Zakat and enjoin kindness and forbid iniquity. And with Allah rests the end of (all) matters.” (22: 40-42).

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Islam on Slavery and Prisoners of War

Prophets and other messengers of God come to liberate humans from their chains. Divine teachings, in their pristine essence, are designed to emancipate them from their slavish bondages.

Compared to all other religions of the past, Islam provides far more evolved teachings that are mindful of the predicament of slaves. Its teachings are designed to abolish and root out this abominable practice through radical transformation of the social order, even as it provides teachings for fair treatment of all, including in times of war to the Prisoners of War. Islam permits defensive war against the enemies of the State when it is faced with aggression by other nations and peoples. In the course of such inter-State conflicts, Muslims can capture and retain prisoners of War till the end of hostilities and thereafter, release them as a grace or for ransom.

In the history of the world, rise and fall of nations is a reality. Likewise, profound teachings get blurred in the distance of time. People forget the true traditions and invent new customs of religions, and thereby alter and reshape original teachings. Hence, though Prophets in the past never took slaves, their followers have abused that legacy of freedom and fairness.  Hence, slavery had been perpetrated also by the so called men of religion. Despite Islam’s clearest exposition on the dignity and equality and equal rights of all human beings, like Jews and Christians and the Hindus among them in society, even Muslims cannot fully absolve themselves from the stigma of practicing slavery. 

In a religious and international context, where the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) practices slavery against its enemies in the name of Islam, and also many other world nations permitting working/labour/social/political conditions amounting to modern forms slavery that infringes upon elementary considerations of humanity, the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius warns the world community on the need for returning to the just teachings of Islam that seek to abolish slavery and ensure fair treatment of all, including even to prisoners of war in times of hostilities.  

Reproduced below are extracts from the Friday Sermon of 05 February 2016 ~(25 Rabi’ul Aakhir 1437 Hijri):

Friday, January 30, 2015

'Show Respect for Human Rights'

On oppression and discrimination in history 

Throughout ages, history has borne witness to the inequalities which man inflicts upon himself. He callously degrades some of his identical selves (humans like himself), while elevating others. Thus, man and man got separated through the passage of time because of colour, race, creed, culture and ethnicity. Some became superiors while some inferiors. And the inferiors had to comply with the wishes and commands of those who had the upper hand upon them, for if they refuse to do so, they would be severely punished and degraded further. (Inset: Le Morne Cultural Landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site- a  rugged mountain that juts into the Indian Ocean in the southwest of Mauritius. "It was used as a shelter by runaway slaves, maroons, through the 18th and early years of the 19th centuries. Protected by the mountain’s isolated, wooded and almost inaccessible cliffs, the escaped slaves formed small settlements in the caves and on the summit of Le Morne. The oral traditions associated with the maroons, have made Le Morne a symbol of the slaves’ fight for freedom, their suffering, and their sacrifice, all of which have relevance to the countries from which the slaves came - the African mainland, Madagascar, India, and South-east Asia. Indeed, Mauritius, an important stopover in the eastern slave trade, also came to be known as the “Maroon republic” because of the large number of escaped slaves who lived on Le Morne Mountain").

Spirituality and human rights

Prophets of Allah came to bring about a change in that state of affairs. The commandments of Allah came through to bring about hope in the life of those whom society viewed as inferior and as having no dignity and the freedom to express their rights as fellow human beings.

Prophets of Allah tried their best to bring about a change, but every time their heartfelt wishes were crushed until the ultimate saviour of mankind was born and promised to create a new world where every man should live as equals, for this is the absolute command of God Almighty who has created all humans alike, except in piety, for those who are truly pious, they are those who truly realise the goal of life, and that of their own creations and presence on earth. That promised hope came in such a country where hope was previously absent, where men and women were treated as the worst of animals, where it existed such a society which were devoid of human attributes.  It was in that society which Allah chose to raise His greatest and the seal of all prophets (last law-bearing prophet), to accomplish a miracle by transforming the lives of those barbarous people, and teaching them humanity, morality and spirituality.

Unfortunately, despite the clear signs of Allah, of Islam and the Holy Prophet of Islam Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh), by sending and implementing respectively the divine commandments to bring about transformation in the lives of those barbarous people, and turn them in real affectionate and compassionate human beings and servants of God, yet despite all these, Islam and its prophet are vehemently viewed as greatest promoters of terror for some ignorant people who have not studied the heart itself of the extraordinary life of the best of men and prophets of Allah.

On Islam's alleged 'tolerance' of Slavery 

In the context of the Abolition of Slavery which is commemorated in Mauritius every February 01 – and for which it is a public holiday – I have chosen to talk to you about one allegation against Islam and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It is alleged that Islam encourages slavery, but it a fact that Islam is the greatest enemy of slavery, and has put an end to all modes of reducing men to slavery which were current in pre-Islamic days. Islam forbids the reduction to slavery of men who are captured for no reason, or merely because they belong to a hostile tribe or nation, or who have been taken prisoners in worldly wars.