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Radical Islamism and Jihad ( 21 Aug 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Dr. Muhammad Farooq Khan on Jihad versus Terrorism - Part 3: The Purpose of Jihad


By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

(The sense and the meaning of the original has been maintained.)

The Purpose of Jihad:

 The purpose of Jihad is to end oppression. It means that war is permissible against any kind of oppression launched by a group or some government and the oppressed ones can be helped.

 The Quran says:

“And why should you not fight for the cause of Allah, and for the helpless old men, women and children who say: “Deliver us, Lord, from this city of Wrongdoers; send forth to us a guardian from your presence; send to us one that will help us?” (Al-Nisa 4:75)

The above Quranic verse makes it clear that the justification of Jihad in Islam is only to end oppression.

Jihad and Keeping of Treaties:

In Islam honouring the accords made with other nations is even more important than Jihad. It is essential that all such treaties are honoured according to their true spirit.  Islam also encourages make treaties of peace and the offer of peace from any country should be accepted without unnecessarily doubting their sincerity. It is also not permissible to fight against a nation with which there is a treaty even if it is found guilty of oppressing its Muslim citizens. The Quran says: “If they (your enemies) keep away from you and cease their hostility and offer you peace, Allah bids you not to harm them”. (Al-Nisa 4:90)

It further says:

“If they (your enemies) incline to peace, make peace with them, and put your trust in Allah. Surely He is the Hearing, the knowing. Should they seek to deceive you, Allah is all-sufficient for you”. (Al-Anfal 8:61-62)

 The commitment to an agreement is so important to God that even the help to the oppressed Muslims is not allowed in its presence. The Quran says:

 “But if they (the Muslims outside your state) seek your help in the cause of your religion, it is your duty to aid them, except against a people you have a treaty with”. (Al-Anfal 8:72) If the Muslims fear that their enemy might break the treaty and attack them in secret, they must openly declare the cancellation of the treaty first and then think of any action of war. The Quran says:

“If you fear treachery from any of your allies, you may throw back to them (their treaty) fairly. Allah does not love the treacherous. (Thus you Muslims) must also dislike the treacherous). (Al-Anfal 8:58)

 Mufti Muhammad Shafi says in its explanation:

“The Prophet, through this verse has been told about an important section of the law for war and peace which, along with the importance of commitment to an accord also tells that in case of any danger of deceit from the enemy, the Muslims are not bound to continue the agreement. But it is also not just to take any action without having cancelled it openly. Rather, the enemy must be properly informed that their deceitfulness has come to your knowledge and that you are no more bound to honor the treaty and they are also free to take any action against you. The wording of the verse is as under:

“If you fear treachery from any of your allies, you may throw back to them (their treaty) fairly. Allah does not love the treacherous”.

It means that it is dishonesty to fight against any of your allies as Allah does not love the treacherous though such lack of action favours your enemy. However, if treachery is feared from the enemy they must be informed openly about the cancellation of the treaty but in such a way that it makes both the parties equal to each other. This declaration should not be made after having prepared yourself for war rather the enemy must be given ample time to get prepared and any preparation for war must be made after the cancellation of the treaty”. (Ma’araf-al-Quran Vol 4, Page 269)

 Maulana Maudoodi, after a detailed discussion in explanation to this verse says:

 “According to this verse, it is not at all valid for us to consider the annulment of treaty by ourselves and adopt a resultant attitude if we have some complaint of non-commitment from any of our allies. On the contrary, we are made bound to inform the other party, before taking any action of war that the treaty has been cancelled so that the enemy must not have any confusion. According to this instruction of God, the Holy Prophet had devised a permanent principle for the international policy of Islam, “We are not to dishonour the treaty with any of our allies before the time limit is expired or bringing the other party to equality, their treaty must be thrown back to them”. Then enlarging the canvas under the same principle, applied it on all matters, “Do not show treachery to the one who shows no treachery to you”.

 (……..) Moreover if we fall in dispute with any of our allies and find the other party not inclined to settle it through negotiations or any international mediation, it is just for us to use force but the above quoted Quranic verse binds us morally to use such force after an open declaration. It is immoral and against the teachings of Islam to launch secretive activities of offence which we are not ready to acknowledge openly”.  (Tafheem-Ul-Quran vol 2, Page: 153-155)

Means for a Successful War Strategy:

 It is essential before undertaking Jihad that a successful war strategy is devised that shows a clear prospect for victory and the absolute destruction of oppression. The strategy should take into account required manpower, necessary armament and other equipment, favourable circumstances, all required resources and a strategy for the safe evacuation of Muslim army in case of emergency. Hence Jihad is not a suicidal attempt. It is also not merely an adventure rather it is an extremely serious activity that requires befitting application of best possible mental, political and military potentials.

 The Quran has pointed out on various occasions and the whole life of the Holy Prophet reflects this strategy. As we have discussed earlier that there was no concept of ‘Jihad as war’ during the thirteen year period of Makkah rather there are only verses that teach patience, restraint and forbearance in the face of persecution. Even during the early days of Medinite period when the state of Madinah was not yet stable, the Muslims were ordered not to indulge themselves in a war unnecessarily. Afterwards what was needed was to persuade the Muslims to fight against their enemy, Quran expressed it as under:

 “Consider those to whom it has been said (before): ‘Lay down your arms; recite your prayers and pay the alms – tax ; when they were ordered to fight, some of them feared men (pagan) as much as they fear Allah or even more”. (Al-Nisa 4:77)

 The Quran says about war preparation:”Muster against them all the men and cavalry at your disposal, so that you may strike terror into the enemies of Allah and your enemy, and besides them whom you do not know but Allah does”.(Al-Anfal 8:60)

 In the same way it is also essential that Muslims must have such a proportion of manpower as compared to their enemy that they have bright prospects of success. During the early period of Islam when the moral level of the Prophet’s companions was the highest in the whole human history, God promised that they would dominate their enemy even with the ratio of one to ten. Later when there was decline in faith, God reduced the ratio to 1:2. It meant that the Muslims could fight their enemies even if they were double in number. The Quran says:

  “O Prophet, rouse the faithful to arms. If there are twenty steadfast men among you, you shall vanquish two hundred; and if there are a hundred, they shall rout a thousand unbelievers, for they are devoid of understanding. Allah has now lightened your burden, for He knows that you are weak. If there are a hundred steadfast men among you, they shall vanquish two hundred; and if there are a thousand, they shall byAllah’s will, defeat two thousand. Allah is with those that are steadfast”.(Al-Anfal 8:66)

 Today, when the Muslims’ faith is very weak, the ratio for a good chance of success against the enemy may be hardly 1:1. In case of a better equipped enemy, it will be evn worse. However this ratio cannot be more than 1:2 because it was the ratio for the faith of the Prophet’s companions whereas we stand nowhere in comparison to them.

 If there is no possibility of success in war, it is also necessary to devise a strategy so as to save the lives of the Muslim army. This happened in the war of Mautah when Muslims were, unexpectedly surrounded by a big army of the unbelievers and three of their chiefs of staff were martyred. When Khalid bin Waleed took the charge, he had just two options;either to continue war bravely which might harm the enemy but Muslims in a large number were likely to be martyred or to evacuate Muslims from the siege of unbelievers wisely. Khalid went for the second option and he did the right thing. The Quran says:

 "O ye who believe! when ye meet the Unbelievers in hostile array, never turn your backs to them. If any do turn his back to them on such a day - unless it be in a stratagem of war, or to retreat to a troop (of his own)- he draws on himself the wrath of Allah, and his abode is Hell,- an evil refuge (indeed)!" Al-Anfaal verse 15 & 16

The Prophet did the same in the war of Ahzab. The number of the enemy was far greater than the number of Muslims. Therefore he dug a moat around the city of Madina to defend themselves rather than march out to meet the enemy and get wiped out. The Quran says:

 “And do not put yourselves to destruction”. (Al-Baqura 2:275)

 Although the original context of this verse conveys the sense that it would be fatal for Muslims in this world and the hereafter if they do not spend their money for the cause of their faith, but as these are the general words, the reference indicated through them has been discussed by Mufti Muhammad Shafi as under:

 “Some people say that taking steps towards Qital amounts to killing oneself if the defeat is imminent. Qital, in such a situation is disallowed through this Quranic verse”. (Ma’araf-al-Quran, Vol 1, page: 474)

 Thus Jihad does not mean suicide, passion and purposeless bloodshed. It means that Qital itself serves no purpose if the termination of oppression is not expected through it.

 Suitability of the circumstances is also necessary before Jihad. This is why Holy Prophet entered into agreements with several pagan tribes and Jewish groups. No attack was launched against a tribe or a group until it had been isolated politically. Muslims were grieved at the time of treaty of Hudaibiyah as they considered the terms of the treaty equal to humiliation. But the Prophet knew that the treaty would isolate the Quraish absolutely. When the Prophet attacked Makkah, Quraish had no allies to help them when three years earlier, they had attacked the Muslims at Medina with a 10000 strong army comprising many tribes from Arabia. The Muslims now had the support of most of the tribes who had supported the Meccans earlier and the tables were turned.

 The above instructions regarding Jihad are full of wisdom. They also indicate that God’s Shariat is so proven and unchangeable that there can be no better instructions possible for the good of humanity. For example the principle that Jihad is not allowed without the order, management and decision of the government is unparalleled.

 In fact, only a government can organize an army, support their families and run the institution of an army in a disciplined way subject to a command/control structure. On the contrary, if a few people declare Jihad by forming their own group it would lead to the formation of several more such organizations. All such groups, owing to no binding of any rule or law upon them would exercise absolute liberty of action. They may fight with each other or indulge in local politics and sectarianism. Every organization would come up with its own political agenda. They will unite to face a common enemy against which they can succeed but fight with each other when there is no common enemy or when the enemy is too strong to overcome. Such groups will always end up fighting with each other and this point requires no elaboration as we can see the proof of it in today’s World where every Islamic country that has private armies, is at war with itself.

Dr. Muhammad Farooq Khan, an associate and student of Javed Ahmad Ghamidi was martyred by Taliban on October 2, 2010

(This limited permission to New Age Islam is in accordance with the copyrights transferred to Al-Mawrid by the family of Dr. Muhammad Farooq Khan.)

URL for the original article:


All Parts of the Article:

Dr. Muhammad Farooq Khan On Jihad Versus Terrorism - Part 1: The Four Principle Of ‘Jihad As War’

Dr. Muhammad Farooq Khan on Jihad versus Terrorism - Part 2: Refutation of the Excuses or Justifications Offered By the Terrorist Groups

Dr. Muhammad Farooq Khan on Jihad versus Terrorism - Part 3: The Purpose of Jihad


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