Refutation of the Essay “Maulana Maududi on Jihad in Islam” Posted on New Age Islam
By Ghulam Ghaus, New Age Islam
August 31, 2013
Jamaat-e-Islami founder-ideologue Mr. Abul A'la Maududi's essay on Jihad in Islam (as posted on this site - please see link below) presents Islam as the religion of sword, violence, extremism and Jihadism. Mr. Maududi quotes the totally unrelated verses of the holy Qu’ran out of context to provoke wars against non-Muslims and Muslims of other sects in the name of countering evil; these quotations, at the same time, contradict other verses of the Quran promoting universal peace. He then holds these fabricated facts to underpin his hypothetical agenda - a detrimental objective for the entire humanity and a merely complicated and confusing theory which has now spread evil in practically all parts of the world.
Mr. Maududi's theory of Jihad purports to eliminate wrongdoings and non-Islamic systems of governance by force of arms, describing Jihad as offensive and intolerant. The theme of the essay, based upon totally mis-contextualized meanings that Mr. Maududi concocted from the verses meant for some specific situations. The sword and coercion he attached with the prophet and the holy companions as a key role in spreading Islam was neither authorized nor enacted in the whole history of Islam.
Before proceeding to the refutation of the article, it is essential to keep briefly in mind who Mr. Abul Ala Maududi was. He founded Jamaat-e-Islami (J-e-I), an Islamist party in the pre-Partition, undivided Indian which included today's Pakistan and Bangladesh. It was the counterpart of the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt. He worked as a newspaper editor who had no theological grounding as a scholar. Since he had a key influence on many Islamist ideologues, his ideas based upon compulsion are now being spread in the mosques, mohallas (inner city areas) and public places through speeches, articles and booklets etc, under the pretext of Dawah work (Islamic duty to invite people to perform good deeds).
Consequently, the ordinary Muslim Ummah easily gets attracted towards his ideas, thinking that they are messages of God the Almighty and the traditions of the prophet (peace be upon him). Such ideas strongly affect the Muslim youth in particular and incite them to seek to forcibly establish an Islamic system of government. This makes both Muslims and non-Muslims think of Islam as a religion that spread by sword. Relatively, on the one hand, some non-Muslims get misconceptions and have grudge against the entire Muslim Ummah without any exception, regardless of the fact that the overwhelming majority consists of moderate Muslims. On the other hand, some Muslims become extremists and commit suicide attacks and wanton killings of innocent civilians including women, children and old, infirm persons. Taking into account the fatal consequences of such ideas today we are suffering from, I feel tremendous urge to refute the article in the light of the Quranic rulings and the Prophetic sayings (Hadith) to the best of my ability. Fully aware of his reputation, undeserved in my view of being a great theologian, I hope the present refutation (God willing) will help curb the pernicious ideas of justifying extremism and absolute Jiahdism. I am producing here the refutation of Maulana Maududi’s ideas about Islamic Jihad and state.
Maududi’s ideas of uprooting non-Islamic states by means of offensive Jihad
Mr. Maududi believed that the Islamic state should not be limited just to being the "homeland of Islam". It is for the entire world. 'Jihad' should be waged with the purpose of eliminating un-Islamic rule and establishing the worldwide Islamic state. He writes “Those who propagate religion are not merely preachers or “missionaries”; they are the functionaries of Allah (so that they may be witnesses for the people, and it is their duty to wipe out oppression, wrongdoing, strife, immorality, arrogance and unlawful exploitation from the world by force of arms. It is their objective to shatter the myth of the divinity of “demi-gods” and false ‘deities’ and to reinstate good in the place of evil”. He then consecutively quotes three unrelated verses of the Quran as follows:
“(1) “And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah.” (Al-Qur’an 2:193)
(2) “...Unless you do this (protect each other), there would be tumult and oppression on earth, and great mischief...” (Al-Qur’an 8:73)
(3) “It is He Who has sent His Apostle with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, to proclaim it over all religion, even though the Pagans may detest (it).” (Al-Qur’an 9:33)”
The founder of Jamaat-e-Islami, Mr. Maududi also believes Islamic Jihad as both offensive and defensive at one and the same time. To prove it, he said: “This is the same policy which was implemented by the Holy Prophet (SAW) and the Rightly- Guided Khalifahs (RA) who succeeded him.”
The refutation of Mr. Maududi’s unrelated context
The first verse appears during a series of verses only about the pagans in the Arabian Peninsula at the time of the prophet. Perhaps Maududi has intentionally turned a blind eye to the verse (2:190) where the God Almighty asks Muslims to fight only those who fight them and forbids them any transgression. Quran says “Allah does not like transgressors”. This was when the pagans denied the Muslims human rights to freely practice their religion, drove them out of their homeland, Mecca, and attacked them even in their new refuge, the Medina. Earlier the prophet and his holy companions were not allowed even to defend their lives. They suffered persecutions for over a decade. When it exceeded every limit and no other option was left for even mere survival, God the Almighty allowed only defensive wars with the then pagans. That is why we find in the verse “fight those who fight you” and “do not transgress the limits”. Had this verse been meant for all the coming ages, God the Almighty would not have limited it to the then pagans in terms of defensive wars.
Referring these verses to the present-days pagans is completely meaningless. Islamic Ulema, jurists and the Qur'anic exegetes apply these verses to the modern ages only in the defensive situations as they were basically meant for the early period of Islam when there was left no ray of hope to freely enjoy Islam. These verses do not allow Muslims today to engage in act of violence. As for defensive war, of course, every country and constitution allows people to defend their right to life.
Mr. Maududi misinterpreted these three verses to establish an Islamic state by means of armed struggle. The reason as he mentions in the article is, “Likewise, it is impossible for a Muslim to succeed in his aim of observing the Islamic pattern of life under the authority of a non-Islamic system of government”. On this very basis, Maududi allows fighting non-Muslims until the Islamic authority is established. According to him, it is impossible for a Muslim to practice Islam under a non-Muslim authority. What we see is that this idea is completely contrary to the facts of the situation. We realize that countries like India and America or European states for that matter are non-Islamic states but allow Muslims far more religious rights and protection of their culture than Saudi Arabia does in the case of majority of Muslims living in its territory. For example, a Muslim in India enjoys complete and unfettered freedom to practice Islamic rituals and celebrate the birthdays of the prophets of God Almighty with all fanfare, something they would not be allowed in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, Muslims have no need to think of an Islamic state, as they have every right and facility to practice religion in non-Muslim majority countries, something they can’t even imagine in Muslim countries.
The exegetic opinions about the relative verses:
A great exegete Ibn Katheer writes under the context of the verse 2:190:
"This was the first Ayah about fighting that was revealed in Al-Madinah. Ever since it was revealed, Allah's Messenger used to fight only those who fought him and avoid non-combatants”.
He then explains the meaning of transgression (ولا تعتدوا):
“Al-Hasan Al-Basri stated that transgression (indicated by the Ayah), "includes mutilating the dead, theft (from the captured goods), killing women, children and old people who do not participate in warfare, killing priests and residents of houses of worship, burning down trees and killing animals without real benefit.''
Fathul Qadeer, the most valued Sunni commentary of Sahih al-Bukhari, written by Ibn Hajr Asqalani, describes with reference to the verse 2:190:
“The prophet fought those who fought him and did not fight those who did not fight him”
Tafseer Tabari, Tafsir Baghawi, Fathul Qadeer, and Tafseer Qurtabi- all of them give the same explanation of the transgression (لا تعتدوا) as follows:
“Do not transgress,” means do not kill women, children, or non-combatants.”
At-Tabari reported: Ibn Abbas explained the verse saying:
“Do not kill women, or children, or old men, or whoever comes to you with peace and he restrains his hand from fighting; for if you did that, you would certainly have transgressed”. (Tafseer At-Tabari 2:190)
Also “A woman was found killed in one of the battles of the Messenger of Allah, so he condemned the killing of women and children”. (Sunan Abu Dawud 2668 Grade: Sahih)
It is clear from the above exegetic references that these verses do not support indiscriminate slaughter, killing of non-combatants and peace-loving people, or murderer of innocent persons. They only permit defensive war if needed, hence offensive war has no place in Islam. So, If anyone contradicts these Qur’anic verses, he will be counted as a transgressor.
Let us imagine what will happen if Mr. Maududi's followers in Jamaat-e-Islam embark on their program of pulling down non-Islamic states, including those run by Muslims, what will happen? Apart from the ridiculousness of the proposition, they will have to kill innocent non-Muslims (including Muslims most of whom they consider out of the purview of Islam) including women, children and old persons. Without doing so, it is impossible for them to achieve their goal. For example, in India non-Muslims are non-combatants but according to Mr. Maududi, offensive Jihad is a must, then think, what will take place in such a war? There will be nothing other than mass killing of innocent lives, even if Jamaat-e-Islami has the ability to fight a war, which clearly it doesn't and is not going to have in the foreseeable future. All that can possibly happen and is happening is that its offshoots like SIMI and Indian Mujahedin maybe engaging in terrorism. In addition to how the perpetrators of such crimes will be accountable to God the Almighty, it is these people whom the Quran calls transgressors and clearly says God doesn't like them. So while they may think they are reserving a place for themselves in Heaven, as far as one can see, they are actually reserving space for themselves in Hell.
Refutation of Mr. Maududi’s views in the light of the Quran
The verses above that Mr. Maududi quoted in his article to forcibly establish Islamic state and justify offensive Jihad contradict other verses of the Quran as they refer to an unrelated theme. Let us analyze those verses which refute the ideas of Maududi.
It has been repeatedly mentioned in the holy Qur’an that when non-Muslims refuse to accept the call and turn away, the Messenger of Allah himself is prohibited to force them to embrace Islam. He was asked to not apply any unusually forceful arguments even in the case of his beloved uncle Abu Talib so as to convert him to Islam.
Allah says to prophet:
“Surely you cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whom He pleases, and He knows best the followers of the right way” (28:56).
This verse was revealed concerning Abu Talib when death approached him. The prophet loved his uncle a lot. That was why he strongly pleaded with his uncle to come in the fold of Islam. But this kind of subtle emotional force too was prohibited in terms of Dawah work (preaching, inviting to Islam). It is not the Messenger who guides the person, but Allah who guides whom He wills; the mission of the Messenger is only to convey the message.
God the Almighty says:
“So if they dispute with you, say ‘I have submitted my whole self to God, and so have those who follow me, and say to the people of the scripture and the unlearned; do you also submit yourselves? If they do, then they are on the right guidance. But if they turn away, your duty is only to convey the message. And in God’s sight are all of his servants.” (3:20)
“The messenger’s duty is but to proclaim the message.” (5:99)
These verses do not allow even the prophet (peace be upon him) to forcibly call anyone, not even his uncle Abu Talib to Islam. So how can anyone else use force in the matter of religion?
God the Almighty further says:
“There is no compulsion in the religion” (Quran 2: 256)
“For you is your faith, and for me, my faith."(109:7)
“If it had been your lord’s will, all of the people on the earth would have believed. Would you then compel the people so to have them believe? (Quran: 10:99)
“O mankind, indeed we have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” Surah al-Hujurat (49:13)
“If we had so willed, we could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance” (As-Sajdah 32:13).
“If your Lord had so willed, He could have made mankind one people: but they will not cease to dispute” (Hud 11:118).
“It is He Who has created you; and of you are some that are unbelievers, and some that are believers: and Allah sees well all that you do” (At-Taghabun 64:2).
"And if one of the pagans seeks protection from you, grant him protection till he hears the word of Allah, then make him attain his place of safety; this is because they are a people who do not know” (At-Taubah 9:6).
“Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land, it is as if he had killed all mankind. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely”. (5:32)
Any verse that is quoted out of context misses the whole point of the message of the Qur'an. The following two verses undeniably reject the idea of Mr Maududi’s offensive Jihad:
“Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes - from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” (60:8)
"But if the enemies incline towards peace, you too should incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: Surely, He is the All-hearing and the All- knowing. (8:61)
All the verses above clearly refute Maududi’s ideas of uprooting non-Islamic states by means of offensive Jihad. At the same time these verses make us think that Islam did not spread by force. A man of sense can realize after the study of the Quran that when the prophet was prohibited to use any kind of coercion in spreading Islam, how can anyone else do that to establish the domination of Islam? The prophet and his rightly guided successors (Khalifas) fought only defensive wars rather than offensive ones.
Mr. Maududi’s ideas of intolerance in non-Muslim states
According to Abul Ala Maududi, tolerating the authority of an inimical doctrine is the sign of a weak and false faith. He says: “If you put up with the authority of an inimical doctrine in the state, this is proof positive that your faith is weak and false.”
A man of slightest intelligence can easily oppose Maududi’s intolerant ideology. God has repeatedly commanded his believers to be moderate, secular and maintain peace in the land. As the verses (28:56), (3:20), (5:99), (2: 256), (109:7), (10:99), (32:13), (11:118), (64:2), and (9:6) mentioned above give Muslims the concept of tolerance in non-Muslim majority states.
Besides, the Qu’ran says “Do what you like; surely He sees what you do” (surah Hameem- Sajda: 40) and “you shall be requited only for what you did” (At-tur: 16). In these two verses, God clearly says that every virtuous and vicious act is performed by people themselves and nobody is accountable to God for others’ sins. This is a freedom that the God almighty gives to the whole mankind in terms of evil and good deeds. Every man will be rewarded or punished according to his actions. This is a will of the God that he created both evil and good deeds to test the people and hence no one has the right to kill non-Muslims in the name of extirpating evil.
As for weak and strong faith of a believer, it comes from piety and devotion (Taqwa), and not from intolerance. This can be elaborated as follows:
There are three basic things regarding Islam. The first is faith, the second is Practice and the third is the higher stage of excellence (spiritual perfection). Faith is known as Iman, which means peace. Practice is known as Islam, which also means peace. Spiritual excellence is known as Ehsan, which translates to peace and mercy.
The prophet addressed the people on Hujjat-ul-wida, “O people! Allah says O mankind! We created you from a male and female couple and split you into tribes and nations to distinguish you from one another. Truly, in the eyes of God, the most righteous among you is the most honoured of you” (49:13)
The prophet continued that in the light of this Qur'anic verse no Arab had any superiority over a non-Arab, nor was a white in any way better than a black or vice versa. The only criterion of superiority and respectability is the element of piety. (The last Sermon of Prophet Muhammad pbuh)
It is narrated by Abu Shuraih: The Prophet said:
"By God he is not a believer, he is not a believer, he is not a believer,” It was said, "Who is that, O Allah's Apostle?” the one who could not provide peace and security to his neighbours." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 8, Number 45)
The Hadith applies to all neighbours whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims; a Muslim is one who provides peace and security to all neighbours regardless of their creed or colour. This Hadith obviously refutes Mr. Maududi’s remarks about practising intolerance in the non-Muslim states.
The in-depth study of the Qur'anic verses and Hadith mentioned above makes one declare that Islam rejects the ideas propagated by Mr Maududi pertaining to intolerance, extremism, offensive Jihad and uprooting non-Islamic states and Muslim states that are not Islamic enough for Mr. Maududi,.
Now, what we need to do for establishing tolerance and peace is bring the rightly interpreted messages of God the Almighty to Mr. Maududi's followers in Jamaat-e-Islam and like-minded extremist Muslims. Otherwise, the violence spawned by Mr. Maududi's followers will keep leading to more violence in the name of Islam. We should remember that unless we mainstream Muslims decry the violently interpreted teachings of Islam to the rest of the Muslim community, the ultimate result will continue to be the suffering of the world as we now see in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq and Egypt etc. We must follow peaceful ways. Of course, a holy goal can never be attained by following an evil and criminal path. Similarly, the objectives of peace cannot be achieved through cruel and oppressive ways.The Islamic teachings on this subject can be summed up in the following verses.
"Perhaps God will grant love (and friendship) between you and those whom ye (now) hold as enemies. For God has power (over all things), and God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (60:7)
(Truly, God knows the best)
A regular columnist for New Age Islam, Ghulam Ghaus is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background. He has completed the classical Islamic sciences from a Delhi-based Sufi Islamic seminary Jamia Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia Zakir Nagar, New Delhi with specialization in Tafseer, Hadith and Arabic. He completed his Alimiat and Fazilat respectively from Jamia Warsia Arabic College, Lucknow and Jamia Manzar- e- Islam, Bareilly, U.P. He has graduated in Arabic Hons. from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.