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Muslims and Islamophobia ( 19 Dec 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Refuting Islamophobic Claim That Jihadists Represent Traditional and Mainstream Interpretations of Islam: Part 2 on Imperativeness of Reclaiming ‘Muslim Land’

New Age Islam Special Correspondent

19 December 2020

Having confronted three totalitarian revolutionary movements in 20th century; Nazism, communism and fascism, the world is now under threat of a fourth such movement known as Jihadism, Salafi militants, Islamo-fascists or Jihadis, to name a few. Several counter-Jihadism projects are actively engaged in defying the Jihadist narratives, most of which are based on new tactics while they should also have gone through the traditional and classical approaches of Islam to make their projects more effective, as mainstream Muslims abruptly start trusting the traditional Islam. However we have to face challenges not only from Jihadists but Islamophobes also, as we discussed in the previous part that the latter claim that Jihadism is based on the narratives of traditional Islam. In that part, we refuted this claim of Islamophobes, focusing specifically on the concept of ‘Hakimiyya’. Now the study of another Jihadist concept on liberating or reclaiming “Muslim land” in comparison to the classical view on the same makes our creed firm that there are indeed points of disagreement between Jihadists and traditional Islam, and hence this refutes the claim of Islamophobes too.

One of the shared objectives of all Jihadists is to reclaim or liberate the perceived Muslim land. They opine that the land whether Islamised through conquest or proselytisation is a Muslim land and thus always an Islamic land. For example, the south Asian group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET also known as Jama’at-ud-Da’awa) headed by Pakistan’s Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, enumerated eight reasons for its agenda listed in the pamphlet titled “Why Are We waging Jihad?”, one of which is the restoration of Islamic rule over all parts of India.

The pamphlet says,

“Muslims ruled Andalusia (Spain) for 800 years but they were finished to the last man. Christians now rule (Spain) and we must wrest it back from them. All of India, including Kashmir, Hyderabad, Assam, Nepal, Burma, Bihar and Junagadh were part of the Muslim empire that was lost because Muslims gave up Jihad. Palestine is occupied by the Jews. The holy Qibla-e-Awwal (the first centre of prayer) in Jerusalem is under Jewish control. Several countries such as Bulgaria, Hungary, Cyprus, Sicily, Ethiopia, Russian Turkistan and Chinese Turkistan…were Muslim lands and it is our duty to get these back from unbelievers. Even parts of France reaching 90 kilometres outside Paris and some of the forests and mountains of Switzerland were home to Muslim mujahideen but are now under the occupation of unbelievers” (Hum Jihad Kyun Kar Rahe Hain? (Why Are We Waging Jihad?)

Warning Europeans on the Danish cartoon affair, Hamas leader Khaled Mash’al, in his Al-Jazeera-televised sermon, said, “Tomorrow, our nation will sit on the throne of the world. This is not a figment of the imagination, but a fact. Tomorrow we will lead the world, Allah willing”.

The Hamas Charter, in its Article Eleven, says, “Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king or president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that. Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. This being so, who could claim to have the right to represent Moslem generations till the Judgement Day? This is the law governing the land of Palestine in the Islamic Sharia and the same goes for any land the Moslems have conquered by force, because during the times of (Islamic) conquests, the Moslems consecrated these lands to Moslem generations till the Day of Judgement.”

The Hamas Charter further states that “any procedure in contradiction to Islamic Sharia where Palestine is concerned is null and void”. (The Hamas Charter, Article Eleven, copied from Routledge Handbook on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict- page 402)

To observe the shared ideology of Hamas and Al-Qaeda, one must read what Abdullah Yusuf ‘Azzam, known as the father of Global Jihad, the former mentor to Osama Bin Laden and Co-founder of Al-Qaeda with Laden and Zawahiri, wrote in his earliest Jihadist text,

“It is not permitted to include a condition in the treaty that relinquishes even a hand span of Muslim land to the Kuffar. Because, the land of Islam belongs to no one, therefore none can make negotiations over it”.

From all the above Jihadist narrative of the Muslim land, it can be deduced that, according to Jihadists, it is Muslims’ duty to reclaim the previously conquered Muslim land and return it to Islamic land and any treaty of peace at the cost of relinquishing even a hand span of Muslim land to the Kuffar is completely null and void.

On the contrary to the Jihadist ideology, the traditional and classical Islamic jurists have long accepted the idea of treaties as a legitimate form of recognizing the validity of others’ sovereignty and of their own polity to others. According to the traditional version of Islam, making treaties with non-Muslims is permitted by a divine legislation which runs as follows;

“How can such polytheists have a treaty with Allah and His Messenger, except those you have made a treaty with at the Sacred Mosque? So, as long as they are true to you, be true to them. Indeed Allah loves those who are mindful of Him” (9:7)

This verse permits peace-treaties with any non-Muslims who are true to their words of treaty. This Quranic command is supported by precedent. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) made a variety of treaties, such as the conciliation treaty between the Aws and Khazraj tribes, to which the Jews of Madina adhered and which constituted a charter for that city, and the Treaty of Hudaybiya which established a temporary peace between the Muslims and the Polytheists of Makka.

A hadith is also reported that the Prophet said, “The Byzantines will be making a secure peace with you (Muslims)”.

On the basis of the Quran and hadith, the classical Muslim jurists are agreed that a peace treaty with the enemy, if it serves Muslim interests is valid, the provisions of which must be binding upon all Muslims. Thus the jurists’ agreement, forming an ijma (consensus), and the early practice of caliphs, rendered treaty-making idea an integral part of Islamic laws.

Once the treaty is concluded, all the classical Muslim jurists are strict in regard to the necessity of fulfilling its terms and provisions, because the Quran commands Muslims “not to break their oaths after making them”. According to them, it is mandatory upon the Muslim rulers to honour the terms and conditions prescribed in the treaty he has undertaken on behalf of Muslims, unless he fears a sudden attack from the enemy or if the enemy has violated or repudiated the treaty.

As for the duration of treaty, the early traditional Muslim jurists selected the Hudaybiyya treaty as a model for subsequent treaties. Their views differed with regard to the duration of treaties. The study of traditional version of Islam points out that when a state of war was the normal relationship between the darul Islam and the darul Harb, conditions of peace could have been created only by peace-treaties. The maximum possible duration, according to the early jurists (Mutaqaddemin) was to last no more than ten years.  However the practice of Muslim states has not necessarily been consistent with this duration-principle. Interestingly we find that the later jurists (Muta’akhkhirin) omitted the discourse specifying a ten-year limit on peace-treaties. They argued that both the Quran and Sunnah have not explicitly stated any time limit and indeed the Prophet made several perpetual peace-treaties with non-Muslims. They not only ended up negating an old normative principle regarding the maximum duration of peace-treaties, but also encouraged a permanent state of peace, with the condition that the enemy must have been true to their peace-treaties.   

The Shafi’i jurist-theologian, Imam Nawawi writes,

“In this [Treaty of Hudaybiyya] there is evidence for the permissibility of making treaties with non-Muslims if there is an interest or benefit (maslaha) in doing so. There is a consensus on this when there is a need. In our opinion, this should not exceed ten years, but there is a sound view that it is permissible without a time restriction. And Imam Malik said there is no limit at all and it is allowed for a short time or protracted period according to the opinion of the ruler” (Imam Nawawi, Al-Minhaj li Sharh Muslim)

The classical Cordoban exegete (mufassir) and scholar of Maliki jurisprudence, Abu ‘Abdullah Al-Qurtubi explains the verse, “If they incline towards peace then you must incline towards it” (8:61) that peace treaties were acceptable for a range of time frames and in a range of circumstances. He says,

“Ibn Habib narrated from Imam Malik, “It is permitted to have treaties with polytheists for a year, two years, three years, or without any time restriction (Ghair Muddat). This can take place when the ruler deems fit. It can also take place without winning anything from the enemy and in fact when there is a need, even by handing over properties belonging to the Muslims, as the Prophet did”.

As for the previously conquered Muslim land around the world in which Muslims are presently living in minorities, the classical principle is that if Muslims are endowed with religious rights, such as ritual prayers, annual fast, call to prayers (azan) etc., they should remain therein peacefully, in addition to abiding by the terms and provisions prescribed in the treaty.

The in-depth understanding of the corpus of  Hanafis, Shafiis, Malikis and Hanbalis suggests that open practice of Islamic acts such as ritual prayers, annual fast, call to prayers [azan] etc. are sufficient for the land to be considered Darul Islam even if it is a non-Muslim majority country. For example, the Shafi position is based on a sunna (as narrated in a hadith) that fighting or Jihad should not take place in a region where the call to prayer (azan) is heard, as the free practice of Islam indicates that the land in general was not hostile to Muslims and Islam. Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim report a hadith in this regard,

“Whenever Allah’s Apostle attacked some people, he would never attack them till it was dawn. If he heard the Azan [the call to prayer], he would delay the fight, and if he did not hear the Azan, he would attack them immediately after dawn” (Sahih Bukhari)

Imam Nawawi, a popular classical Syrian scholar, interprets this hadith,

This hadith is evidence that verily the call to prayer [azan] forbids invading a people of that area and this is an evidence of their Islam.

    “If a Muslim is able to declare his Islam openly and living therein (non-Muslim majority countries), it is better for him to do so, because this fulfils the criteria for a country to be Darul Islam”

If we taken into consideration the laws of the countries which were listed in the Jihadist narratives, such as India etc, we find that the laws of such countries completely grant religious freedom. Above all, Muslim civilians have promised to live peacefully according to the constitutional rights. Therefore it is not imperative to reclaim or liberate the previously conquered Muslim land, as long as the Muslims are endowed with the constitutional rights which grant them religious freedom and security. In such cases if at any time they are persecuted by any non-Muslim individuals, it is their constitutional rights to go to the court of Justice or simply tolerate this behaviour, not to show their fear but to practice a noble character. 

All the above discourse strongly shows a wide gap between the Jihadist narrative and the traditional presentation of Islam and hence Islamophobes have no right at all to claim that the Jihadist narratives are based on the traditional or classical version of Islam.

First Part of the Article:  Refuting Islamophobic Claims That Jihadists Represent Traditional and Mainstream Interpretations of Islam: Part 1- On the Hakimiyyah


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