Jihad – Warfare

According to Webster’s Dictionary 1828; War means to perplex, embroil, disturb. The primary sense of the root is to strive, struggle, urge, drive, or to turn, to twist. War is a contest between nations or states, carried on by force, either for defense, or for revenging insults and redressing wrongs, for the extension of commerce or acquisition of territory, or for obtaining and establishing the superiority and dominion of one over the other. These objects are accomplished by the slaughter or capture of troops, and the capture and destruction of ships, towns and property. Among rude nations, war is often waged and carried on for plunder. As war is the contest of nations or states, it always implies that such contest is authorized by the monarch or the sovereign power of the nation. When war is commenced by attacking a nation in peace, it is called an offensive war, and such attack is aggressive. When war is undertaken to repel invasion or the attacks of an enemy, it is called defensive, and a defensive war is considered as justifiable. This was the nature of wars Muslims had to fight for their survival, for which they were permitted after 13 years of persecution by pagans of Makkah:

  • “Permission to fight back is hereby granted to the believers against whom war is waged and because they are oppressed; certainly Allah has power to grant them victory” (Qur’an;22:39)
  • “And Fight in God’s cause against those who wage war against you, but do not commit aggression – for, verily, God does not love aggressors.”(Qur’an;2:190).
  • “As for such ([of the unbelievers) as do not fight against you on account of (your] faith), and neither drive you forth from your homelands, God does not forbid you to show them kindness and to behave towards them with full equity: for, verily, God loves the equitable.(Qur’an;60:8)

Ruthless Wars of Extermination in Bible:

Judaism, Christianity and Islam have common roots, through their common ancestor Prophet Abraham [peace be upon him]. Hence a glance at their scriptures is relevant for evaluation. It were not Prophet Muhammad [pbuh] who was the first to introduces warfare and slavery of war captives in human history. Bible mentions about war at great length: “Preparation for war is sometimes the best security for peace”:

The Israelites took possession of the Promised Land by conquest. They engaged in a long and bloody war before the Canaanites tribes were finally subdued. Israel was employed by God to sweep them away from off the face of the earth. In entering on this new stage of the war, the tribe of Judah, according to divine direction, took the lead. In the days of Saul and David the people of Israel engaged in many wars with the nations around, and after the division of the kingdom into two they often warred with each other. They had to defend themselves also against the inroads of the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and the Babylonians. The whole history of Israel from first to last presents but few periods of peace. With occupation of Palestinian lands, through ruthless oppression and persecution the prospects of peace in the world are bleak. The Biblical wars were ruthless wars of extermination; the Old Testament does not mince words:

  • “And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the word. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.” (Leviticus;26:7-8)
  • “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm;149:6-9).
  • “And he said unto them, Thus says the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.” (Exodos;32:26-28)
  • “Now therefore Kill every male among the little ones, and Kill every woman (female) that hath known man by lying (having sex) with him. “But keep Alive for yourselves all the Girls and all the women who are Virgins.”(Numbers;31:17-18).
  • The Jews salvaged for themselves; “and thirty-two thousand persons in all, women who had not known man by lying with him.”(Numbers; 31:35).
  • “But in the cities of these peoples that the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance, (O’ Jews) you shall save alive nothing that breathes,(Deuteronomy;20:16).
  • ‘And they (the Jews) Utterly Destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep, and Ass, with the edge of the sword”(Joshua;6:21),”He (Joshua) let None remain alive.” (Joshua;10:28).
  • Qur’an also motions about Jewish warfare at ;2:54,  5:21-22; 5:26; 2:246, 2:251.
  • In the New Testament the Prophet Jesus Christ, the Son of Mary (peace be upon him) says:
  • “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.”(Luke; 9:27)
  • Saint. Paul, in commending the worthy fruits of Faith, mentions the warriors of the Old Testament as his ideals:
  • “And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets — who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.” (Hebrews; 11: 32-34).
  • The monkish morality of the Gospels in their present form has never been followed by any self-respecting Christian or other nation in history.
  • Pope Urban II (1088-99 C.E) coined the phrase ‘Holy War’, launched the Crusades movement which was subsequently vigorously supported by his followers for two centuries(1095-1291 C.E),  causing death and destruction to millions besides sowing seeds of hatred and enmity among the followers of two great civilizations which still haunts the humanity.
  • The association of Missionaries with Crusades posed a moral theological problem that troubled medieval Christian thinkers.
  • Thirteenth-century Christian theologians held that conversion could not be forced, but most agreed that force could legitimately be used to preserve a situation in which peaceful propaganda was possible, and they continued to support the Crusade.
  • Furthermore, Europe’s fear was such that the Crusade idea persisted well into the 17th century, and the conviction that, in certain circumstances, war might be just became more deeply enrooted in the conscience of the West. Along with the now generally accepted use of the word ‘Crusade’ to denote any ‘Common Endeavour in a Worthy Cause’ (Christian Jihad), this is one of the most enduring results of the movement.
  • After the bloodstained conversions in South America, the colonization of most of the free world by diplomacy, intimidation aggression and coercion took place.  Pope Pius XII was obliged, under the pressures of World War II, to clarify and redefine the church’s teachings on war and peace as well as to work out a strategy of survival. Pope Pius XII , tacitly condoned the Nazi holocaust.
  • The deadly wars and large scale killings of people among weaker nations mostly Muslim which goes unabated on the pretext of war against terror lead by the American Evangelist and Neocons,  the claim of love and peace by the Western (Christian) world appears to be hollow. The saying of Jesus (peace be upon him) is as much applicable to them as before:

“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”(Mathew; 7:5).

Violence and Atrocities in Biblehttp://t.co/XJusYKb

  • NU 31:31-40 32,000 virgins are taken by the Israelites as booty. Thirty-two are set aside (to be sacrificed?) as a tribute for the Lord.
  • DT 2:33-34 The Israelites utterly destroy the men, women, and children of Sihon.
  • DT 3:6 The Israelites utterly destroy the men, women, and children of Og.
  • DT 7:2 The Lord commands the Israelites to “utterly destroy” and shown “no mercy” to those whom he gives them for defeat.
  • DT 20:13-14 “When the Lord delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the males …. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves.”
  • DT 20:16 “In the cities of the nations the Lord is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes.”
  • DT 21:10-13 With the Lord’s approval, the Israelites are allowed to take “beautiful women” from the enemy camp to be their captive wives. If, after sexual relations, the husband has “no delight” in his wife, he can simply let her go.
  • DT 28:53 “You will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you.”
  • More at: http://t.co/XJusYKb

Warfare and Islam:

It may undoubtedly be realized that human beings often resort to war without solid justification, at times over petty matters. One has to look at history, the past and present. War may take defensive or offensive forms or combination of both according to the objectives and resources.  Hence, the great religion as Islam, that provides a complete code of life, must address the possibility of war. The Qur’an certainly does so, and the code it provides is more civilized than any in the whole history of humanity.

JIHAD MYTH & REALITY

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Jihad is a very important doctrine of Islam, which lays down guidelines and principles, to be adhered by a Muslim while striving against various forms of resistance, internal (against selfish desires and evil temptations) or external for the cause of Allah. Muslims are required to make persistent effort to serve the cause of Islam. That effort, whatever its future, falls within the meaning of the term “jihad-fi-Sabi-Lillah” (Jihad for the cause of Allah). Jihad is derived from the Arabic word ‘Juhd’, which means “effort”. The verb Jahida means ‘to be tried as a result of exerting an effort or energy; striving, making endeavor’. So Jihad is to contend with difficulties and to work continually, especially with strenuous effort. The term presupposes that such an effort will be made against resistance. Narrated Abu Sa’id al-Khudri:  The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The best fighting (Jihad) in the path of Allah is (to speak) a word of justice to an oppressive ruler. (Sunan of Abu Dawood:2040). While term ‘Jihad’ has wider application, the term Qital is used in the meaning of ‘warfare’ or armed struggle. Qital may be part of Jihad but every Jihad is not necessarily warfare.

After thirteen years of worst oppression and persecution by the pagans of Makkah, the early Muslims had to migrate to Medina as they were not permitted by God to fight even in self defence. Ultimately the armed struggle was initially permitted to defend the frail expanding Muslim community at Medina(Qur’an;22:39-40;8:75). Later in order to enable the Muslims to extend the influence of Islam outside Arabia, they were enjoined to confront the non-Muslim powers to extend the sovereignty of the Islamic State to grant the freedom to the nonbelievers to accept Islam with free will or choose to follow their old faith, provided they paid Jizyah (poll tax) for their protection and exemption form military service.

  • Jihad [including the form of warfare] is not for self glory or spoils of war but for the cause of Allah only.
  • Non aggression, self defence:Qur’an;22:39, 2:190-193, 8:60.
  • Just war against oppression:Qur’an;8:39
  • Kindness and Equity to Non Aggressors: Qur’an;60:8-9.
  • Killing a believer, major sin: Qur’an;4:93
  • Killing of innocent human not permitted: Qur’an;5:32;17:33.
  • Mischief on Land Rejected: Qur’an; 28:77,2:11-12, 2:60, 206, 3:63, 7:56, 5:33-34.
  • Kindness to Non Combatants: Qur’an; 60:8.
  • Suicide is not permissible in Islam: Qur’an;2:195; 4:29), Sahih Al Bukhari Hadith Numbr:8.126, 486.
  • Resist Persecution: Qur’an;9:41;22:78 3:29:6.
  • Freedom of Faith: Qur’an;2:256.
  • Killing by Burning not Allowed: Sahih Al Bukhari, Hadith, Number.4.259,4.260.
  • Mutilation of  the Dead Bodies is Prohibited : Sahih Muslim Hadith.804.
  • Treachery not acceptable: Qur’an;8:58.
  • Peace offer be Accepted: Qur’an 8:61/
  • Care of Sick & Hungry Captives: Sahih Al Bukhari, Hadith, Number.4.282.
  • Fulfilling Safe Conduct:. Al Muwata Hadith, Number.21.12.
  • Grant of Asylum :Qur’an;9:6.
  • Taking Prisoners of War : Qur’an;47:4.
  • Offer to Prisoners of War:Qur’an;8:70-71.
  • Providing Cloths to Prisoners of War: Sahih Al Bukhari, Hadith, Number.4.252.
  • Prohibitions-of Killing Religious People, Women, Children, Aged, Sick People, Animals  and Cutting Trees  in Military Expeditions : Sahih Al Bukhari, Hadith, Number.4.257,258, Al Muwata Hadith. Number;21.10.
  • Safety of Mosques, Churches and Synagogues: Qur’an;2:114 ;22:40.
  • Mutilation of the dead bodies is prohibited: Sahih Muslim Hadith.804.
  • Women’s Role : Sahih Al Bukhari, Hadith, Number.4.134.
  • Exemption for Physical Disability: Qur’an;4:95.

Exemption of Non Muslim Subject from Warfare: The non Muslims subjects who pay poll tax (Jazya) are exempted form military service and provided protection by the state.

Divine Punishment for Rejecting the Messenger of God:  It must be understood that the mission of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is two folds; firstly on short term basis, specifically the people around him i.e. the people of Arabia were to be guided to the Truth of Islam and trained to become torchbearers of Islam. Secondly on the long term basis these devout Muslims had to pass on this “Torch of Guidance” to the fellow brother to guide whole mankind till the end of the world. His universal mission could not have been achieved if Arabia was not purged of disbelief and pantheism during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).(Qur’an;9:123). According to the traditional procedure of Allah, if a Messenger (Rasool) himself delivers the message of guidance to the community or nations, and if not obeyed, then those nations and communities were punished by Allah, through the hands of followers of the messenger if they are strong enough, but if they are weak in numbers and strength then the Divine punishment befalls upon them through natural calamites resulting in their destruction. The example of Divine punishment to the nations of Nuh, Aad, Samood and Loot (peace be upon them) in the form of destruction through natural calamities like floods, earthquakes, tornados etc are well known. It is mentioned in Qur’an:

“The punishment for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive to create mischief in the land is death or crucifixion or the cutting off their hands and feet from opposite sides or exile from the land based on the gravity of their offense. This will be their humiliation in this world and in the Hereafter they will have grievous punishment, except those who repent before you apprehend them, in such a case, you should know that Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”(Qur’an;5:33-34)

“Messenger have been mocked before you (O Muhammad), but I always gave respite to the unbelievers and finally I seized them, so see how terrible was My requital!”(Qur’an;13:32).

In the case of pagan Arabs, the Divine punishment for disobeying him and Allah was in the form of their destruction through killing by the believers (mostly their relatives) after expiry of warning period continuing in the same Chapter (Number 9; ‘The Repentance’). Allah says:

“Fight them; Allah will punish them by your hands and humiliate them. He will grant you victory over them and soothe the hearts of a believing people.”(Qur’an;9:14).

Similar punishment was ordered for the Jews, who worshiped the calf (Qur’an;2:54) also mentioned in Bible:

“then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Come to me. “And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, `Put every man his sword on his side, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.’ And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses; and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.”(Exodos;32:26-28).

In 630 C.E the bloodless fall of Makkah followed by defeat of pagans at Hunain and fall of Taif paved the way for making the whole of Arabia the ‘Abode of Islam’ (Dar-ul-Islam). The result was that hardly a year had passed after the Battle of Hunain, when the major portion of Arabia came within the fold of Islam. The first part of his mission was almost accomplished during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) except few pockets of resistance in the Arabian peninsula. Arabia was cleansed of pagans and their evil. In 631 C.E Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) personally lead expedition to Tabuk, on information of concentration of Romans, but on hearing that the Prophet is himself leading the forces of Islam, they avoided the conflict. This was the year of Deputations (631 C.E), people form all over Arabia came to accept Islam, thus increasing the numbers many folds. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) died in 632 C.E.

Irrelevance in Present Environments: The Muslims are not required to wage wars for the sake of acquiring worldly glory and power. The concept of Jihad was nevertheless used by some medieval Muslim rulers to justify wars motivated by purely political ambitions, keeping in line with the practice in vogue in the world by other powers of the time. Even presently some heretical militant groups use the pretext of Jihad to kill other Muslims opposed to their ideology which has been declared illegitimate, a heinous sin by prominent scholars of Islam. Gradually, however, Jihad came to be interpreted more in defensive than in offensive terms. In the 20th century the concept of jihad inspired Muslims in their struggle against Western colonialism. The traditional scholars considered the world comprising three zones: the House of Islam (Dar-ul-Islam), where Muslims are ascendant; the House of Peace(Dar-ul-Aman), those powers with whom Muslims have peace agreements; and the House of War(Dar-ul-Harab), the rest of the world. In the present world all the nations are members of United Nations Organization and signatory to its charter of peaceful coexistence and basic human rights, whereby every human being is free to adopt and practice any faith. Hence now whole world could be termed as House of Peace (Dar-ul-Aman), except the conflict zones, where Muslims are under oppression and subjugation under foreign occupation. The critics quote the Qur’anic verses out of context especially those verses relating to the conduct during battle to propagate that Islam sanctions violence and warfare against all non believers, which is totally incorrect, they deliberately ignore following verse:

“Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who Fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loves those who are just. Allah only forbids you, with regard to those who Fight you for (your) Faith, and drive you out of your homes, and support (others) In driving you out, from turning to them (for friendship and protection). it is such As turn to them (in these circumstances), that do wrong.”(Qur’an;60:8-9)

Read more: Jihad: Myth & Reality: http://freebookpark.blogspot.com/2012/06/jihad-myth-teality.html

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