Among the most controversial issues that most people, even some Muslims, don’t properly understand about Islam is “The concept of Jihad.” It’s enough to stand amidst any group of people in any western country and say the word “Jihad” in a loud voice to make all people cringe or walk away. Frankly speaking, I don’t blame them, especially after what we see happening everyday in the news, whether in western, or Arab and Muslim countries. I still remember from the days of my youth the terrorist attacks that were made by the so called “Jihadists” in my country, many bombs were planted in public places and hundreds of people were killed, “mostly Muslims.” I remember that once they planted a bomb near a school’s fence to kill the policemen who used to sit inside their patrol car at that location; the end product was killing three policemen, 2 children, a civilian, and many were wounded from the pedestrians and the children who were playing near the fence. I remember my older brother’s narration of what happened in the early 90s when some Jihadists jumped into the faculty of engineering – Cairo university, while escaping from the police forces, and how one of his colleagues received a bullet in his arm during the shooting that followed. Without further indulgence into old stories, I remember my own fear as a child from what these lost souls were doing and could do.
In my opinion, the best way to fight against those secret groups and their sick thoughts, is by spreading the truth about “Jihad” as it was told in the Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad’s traditions. Accusing Islam of being the religion of terrorists will only make things worse and increase fanaticism, especially that the majority of those who are killed by those groups are Muslims. Some may call me an apostate for writing this, but Prophet Muhammad ordered Muslims to tell the truth no matter what, so here we go. Jihadists are not different from Islam haters, both of them are doing their best to destroy the image of Islam with their twisted understandings, and it’s the simple honest Muslims who are sandwiched between the two bitter enemies. This makes them the perfect meal for the awaiting newly manufactured bombs and bullets of the so called “modern countries.”
Our stop in this post is with chapter 4. It was revealed in the 3rd year A.H. It includes the third group of verses that speak about fighting. Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Let those who would exchange [the pleasures of] this worldly life with those of the Hereafter, fight for the cause of Allah. Whoever fights for the cause of Allah, whether he is killed or is victorious, to him We shall give a great reward. And how should you not fight for the cause of Allah: for the helpless old men, women, and children who say, ‘Deliver us, Lord, from this city of wrongdoers, grant us a protector out of Your grace and grant us a supporter?’ The believers fight for the cause of Allah, while those who reject faith fight for Satan. Then fight the allies of Satan, Satan’s scheming is truly weak.” [The Qur’an (4:74-76)]
These verses are extremely important. They hold the definition of “Fighting for the cause of Allah” that most people don’t understand. I remember that I asked a teacher once: “How could Allah Almighty need someone to fight for Him?”
My teacher said: “There is a huge difference between fighting for Allah and fighting for His cause. His cause is achieving freedom for all people from the subjection of men, and teaching them righteousness.”
The above verses confirm this definition, and make it crystal clear that “Combative jihad” is due on Muslims for those who are oppressed and cannot fight for themselves. They also confirm that those who oppress people, deprive them the right to chose their own faith and practice it freely, occupy worship houses and prevent the people from entering them, are the supporters of satan. Combative Jihad should be declared by sincere Muslim rulers upon those who commit such crimes. If Muslims were not strong enough to face those persecutors, the least they can do is to give as much political and logistic support as they can to those who are oppressed.
Those who are oppressed on account of their faith are not only Muslims, they could be people from any faith. Remember the verse quoted in Roots of “JIHAD” Part I: “If Allah did not repel the aggression of some people by means of others, cloisters, churches, synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is continuously invoked, would surely be destroyed. Allah will surely help them who support His cause — Allah is indeed powerful and mighty.” [The Qur’an (22:40-41)]
Putting the verses together, one may instantly understand that: “Jihad for Allah’s cause,” is achieving freedom for all people from the subjection of men, and rooting the sense of righteousness among them.
The above verses of chapter 4 hold the following injunctions:
- Fight for those who are oppressed on account of faith, and cannot fight for themselves.
- Fight against aggressors until there is no more compulsion in religion.
Surly, the concept of freedom of religion is one of the most astounding concepts of Islam. Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Let there be no compulsion in religion, what is rational stands manifest from falsehood, whoever refuses to follow satan’s temptations and believes in Allah has grasped the strong handhold that never breaks, Allah is all hearing and all knowing.” [The Qur’an (2:256)]
“If your Lord willed (O Muhammad) He would have made all people become believers altogether, are you then going to compel people to become believers? It is not for a soul to believe except by the will of Allah, and He casts His wrath upon those who do not use their reason.” [The Qur’an (10:99-100)]
“Say (O Muhammad): ‘O mankind, the truth has come to you from your Lord, so whoever seeks its guidance shall verily be guided for saving his own soul, and whoever goes astray shall verily stray away against it, and I am not a warder over you.’” [The Qur’an (10:108)]
“The truth is from your Lord, so let whomsoever wills believe and whomsoever wills deny.” [The Qur’an (18:29)]
“If they averse, then We did not send you as a warder over them, your duty is but to convey the message.” [The Qur’an (42:48)]
“So remind them, you are only a reminder, you are not a warder over them.” [The Qur’an (88:21-22)]
I hope that now the true meaning of “Jihad” is getting clearer in the mind of the reader. The next stop with the verses that order Muslims to fight shall be dealt with in the next post with Allah’s will.
Written By: Ehab Shawky