Jihad Tolerance & Coexistence

Islam, the complete way of life   has not ignored this important aspect, as at times war becomes unavoidable, especially against aggression. Islam is the only religion which laid down ethics and guiding principles for conduct of warfare as evident from form following verses deliberately ignored by the critics:

“Permission to fight back (Qital) 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).

“If one amongst the pagans ask thee for asylum [in battle] 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” (Qur’an;9:6).

“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. Allah only forbids you to make friendship with those who fought you on account of your faith and drove you out of your homes and backed up others in your expulsion. Those who will take them for friends are indeed the wrongdoers. (Qur’an;60:8-9)

The Quranic verses related with the conduct of warfare in battlefield are frequently quoted out of their context, there by misleading the reader to misperceive Islam as a militant religion. It should be understood that in order to fully comprehend the doctrines of Qur’an one has to see the overall “The Message of The Qur’an” in the light of all the verses related to the particular subject [no abrogation] and their complete context, like the verse: “fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them”(Qur’an;9:5) is very popular among the critics of Islam but they do not quote the next verse: “If one amongst the pagans ask thee for asylum grant it to him so that he may hear the word of Allah and then escort him to where he can be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.”(Qur’an;9:6).Quoting a verse or part of a verse in isolation does not serve the true purpose, this is the practice of followers of previous scriptures : “Then, for having broken their solemn pledge, We rejected them and caused their hearts to harden – [so that now] they distort the meaning of the [revealed] words, taking them out of their context; and they have forgotten much of what they had been told to bear in mind; and from all but a few of them thou wilt always experience treachery. But pardon them, and forbear: verily, God loves the doers of good.”(Qur’an; 5:13)

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; i.e. internal (against selfish desires and evil temptations) or external for the cause of God. Jihad is derived from the Arabic word ‘Juhd’, which means “effort”, verb Jahada, means “he struggled” or “strove hard” or “exerted himself”, namely, in a good cause and against evil. Consequently, Jihad denotes “striving in the cause of God” in the widest sense of this expression: that is to say, it applies not merely to physical warfare (qital) but to any righteous struggle in the moral sense as well; thus, for instance, the Prophet described man’s struggle against his own passions and weaknesses (Jihad An-Nafs) as the “Greatest Jihad” (Bayhaqi, on the authority of Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah).

The great German scholar Muhammad Asad, who reverted Islam, in his commentary “The Message of Qur’an”, while explaining verse 2:190, writes: ‘This  [2:190] and the following verses lay down unequivocally that only self-defence (in the widest sense of the word) makes war permissible for Muslims. Most of the commentators agree in that  the expression la ta’tadu signifies, in this context, “do not commit aggression”; while by  al-mu’tadin “those who commit aggression” are meant. The defensive character of a fight “in God’s cause” – that is, in the cause of the ethical principles ordained by God – is, moreover, self-evident in the reference to “those who wage war against you”, and has been still further clarified in 22:39 – “permission [to fight] is given to those against whom war is being wrongfully waged” – which, according to all available Traditions, constitutes the earliest (and therefore fundamental) Qur’anic reference to the question of Jihad, or holy war (see Tabari and Ibn Kathir in their commentaries on 22:39). That this early, fundamental principle of self-defence as the only possible justification of war has been maintained throughout the Qur’an is evident from 60:8, as well as from the concluding sentence of 4:91, both of which belong to a later period than the above verse. In view of the preceding ordinance, the injunction “slay them wherever you may come upon  them” is valid only within the context of hostilities already in progress (Razi), on the understanding that “those who wage war against you” are the aggressors or oppressors (a war of liberation being a war “in God’s cause”). The translation, in this context, of fitnah as “oppression” is justified by the application of this term to any affliction which may cause man to go astray and to lose his faith in spiritual values (cf. Lisan al-‘Arab). Consequently, the concept of a defensive war in God’s cause (Jihad) plays a very prominent role in the socio-political scheme of Islam and is frequently alluded to throughout the Qur’an. The general circumstances in which war is permitted are mentioned at verses 2:190-194, 22:39, 60:8-9.

Read more:

  1. Jihad: Myth & Reality
  2. Takfir- Docrine of Terror
  3. Islamic Decree [Fatwa] Against Terrorism
  4. FAQ-99 Anti-Islam
  5. Tolerance


  1. Terrorism and Jihad
  2. Is Terrorism a Muslim Monopoly?



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