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Radical Islamism and Jihad ( 26 March 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Here’s Why the Ulema Refuse to Issue a Fatwa for Jihad against ‘Oppressors’ Of Muslims!


By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

27 March 2018

Both Jihad Al-Talab and Jihad Al-Difa’a Are Abrogated In the Nation States by International Law and Constitution Supported By the Consensus (Ijm’a) Of the Authoritative Islamic Scholars

The slain militant in Kashmir who was reportedly working for the ISIS, Eisa Fazili castigated all anti-terror Fatwas issuers. In a video which he probably recorded just before the Kashmir encounter, castigated the Indian Ulema who issued several anti-terror Fatwas.

Fazili asked as to why the Ulema refused to issue a fatwa for jihad against 'non-Muslim oppressors'. After several anti-terror Fatwas have recently been launched in various large Islamic conclaves in Delhi, extremists like Eisa Fazili are critical of those Ulema who participated in them. Accusing them of 'siding with the government', Fazili warned:

"One day these Ulema have to show their faces to Allah who will punish them for failing in their duties to give a call for Jihad fi Sabilillah (armed struggle in the path of Allah)".

Notably, maximum Fatwas against terrorism were issued by the Indian Ulema. Nearly all established schools and sects of Islam in India have denounced the violent offshoot of the neo-Kharijism—the ideology of Daesh (ISIS).

Indian Muslim community's resilience against the radical narratives has been stronger than that of Muslims in other parts of the world. Remarkably, India's strength in fighting off the terror ideology lies in the fact that not only did the Sunni Sufis and Shias decreed against the extremist thoughts. Even the Salafi strain of Islam in India—Ahl-e-Hadith—which is seen as the ideological underpinning behind the violent Jihadism in several Muslim countries, has reportedly issued the first fatwa against terrorism in this country. Their recent counter-terror conference in Delhi’s Ramlila ground sought to awaken the Salafi followers about the ‘terror tactics’ of the ISIS and similar extremist outfits that are working to disrupt the national security and communal harmony. Tellingly, a collective anti-terror fatwa endorsed by 40 senior clerics associated with the New Delhi-based Markazi Jamiat Ahle-Hadees Hind has been reiterated at his conference. However, this came to many as an utter surprise. They wonder how come the Ulema of Ahle Hadith who adhere to the ultra-orthodox Salafist theology, outcry against the “terror tactics” of the Daesh (ISIS).

While the significance of these conferences as collective community resilience against extremism cannot be undermined, most of the counter-terror Fatwas were not sharp rebuttals to the radical narratives in unequivocal terms.

In India, radical narratives are largely based on promoting the victimhood mentality. Aggressive social media campaigns are underfoot to promote a mindset of victimhood among Muslims to pave the way for a defensive jihad (Jihad Al-Difa’a). This sometimes influences the gullible and immature minds of even the educated youth with little religious literacy.

The hidden extremist ideologues on social media keep dictating to the Indian Muslim youth the ‘pathetic plight’ of Muslims in several parts of the world, particularly in Palestine, Kashmir, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Consequently, they influence one’s position with an indoctrination to peddle hatred for the leaders and other people of these territories as ‘oppressors’ of Muslims. These social media campaigns not show the rulers and regimes of those territories as ‘unjust’ to the believers. They also term them as lands of manifest error (Fisq o Fujur), prevailing oppression (Zulm) and dominating disbelief (Kufr al-Ashad) as prerequisites for the legitimacy of the Jihad al-Dif’a (defensive armed struggle).

An antidote to this extremist victimhood narrative is highly required which is missing from most of the counter-terror Fatwas and clerical statements recently issued in different parts of India. However, they unanimously agreed upon the illegitimacy of the combatant Jihad, non-state actors’ use of force and all forms of militancy against the state. The strong consensus (Ijma’a) of the Ulema and Muftis in India is that only state can declare jihad as defensive war. Delegitimizing every act of violence carried out in the name of Islamic expedition—Qital or jihad—the Indian Ulema of all hues have declared the war-time verses of the Qur’an as contextual and inapplicable today. 

But the extremists bred by the home-grown fanatics and foreign radical ideologies feed the sword verses of the Qur’an as immutable commandments of the continuing combat against the perceived ‘disbelievers’ and ‘oppressors’. Brazenly misquoting the war-time texts of the Qur’an and Hadith, most particularly the verses of (1:191), (1:193) and (9:29), they justify the rebellious fringes’ calls for the combat against the state as ‘Jihad al-Talab’ (Jihad of demand).

Before we refute this pernicious concept of combat, it should be kept in view that the Islamic jurists (Fuqaha) of all schools of thought categorized the combatant jihad into two types:

(1)      Jihad al-Talab (jihad of demand): This becomes legal when the state itself declares it in defense of the national interests.

(2)      Jihad al-Difa’a (Jihad of defense): This acquired legitimacy when a Muslim country was attacked by the foreign forces in the medieval period. At that time, the Ulema decreed that people of such a country were permitted to defend themselves and fight back the attackers under the banner of the state.

Thus, both types of the combatant jihad were legalized by the rationale (Illa’t) of defending the country, its sovereignty and the national interests. But now, the reason or rationale (Illa’t) for both the Jihad al-Talab and Jihad al-Difa’a has vanished in the nation states, clearly because the international law and constitution are supported by the consensus (Ijm’a) of the authoritative Islamic scholars across the world. They have endorsed that it is the prerogative of the state to declare war in defense of the nation. No no-state actor has any role or right to fight or wage a war against the perceived ‘enemies’.

As for the above war-time verses of the Qur’an and their citations by the extremists today, they stand untenable and self-contradictory. For instance, take this verse:

“Expel them from wherever they have expelled you” (2:191).

Clearly, it was a commandment to ward off attacks, not to initiate such attacks. This position is substantiated by the end of the very verse:

“And if they cease, then indeed, Allah is the most forgiving and merciful” (2:192).

The context of all such war-time verses in Surah Taubah (9th chapter) or any other chapter of the Qur’an is self-explanatory that they do not constitute a general case. Rather, they were revealed concerning the pagans of Mecca who initiated enmity and consequent attacks against the Muslims living in the state of Madina under a peace treaty. But it was only when the peace treaty was broken that the jihad al-Difa’a was allowed. Not only the pagans, even many self-styled Muslims who were later known as ‘Munafiqun’ (hypocrites and rebels) were fought in the Jihad al-Talab explicitly declared by the state of Madina.

Regular Columnist with, Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is a classical Islamic scholar and English-Arabic-Urdu writer. He has graduated from a leading Islamic seminary of India, acquired Diploma in Qur'anic sciences and Certificate in Uloom ul Hadith from Al-Azhar Institute of Islamic Studies. Presently, he is pursuing his PhD in Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.


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