New Age Islam
Wed May 12 2021, 11:38 AM

Radical Islamism and Jihad ( 13 Sept 2019, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Jihad and Khilafat: Two Tools in the Hands of Terrorist Outfits

By S. Arshad, New Age Islam

14 September 2019

A close look at the theory and practices of the terrorist organisations will make the fact clear that they flourish due to the wrong and misplaced concepts of Jihad and Khilafat. The terrorist organisations like Taliban, Al Qaida and the ISIS circulate and spread the concept of Khilafat as the ideal form of government that was in vogue in the early period of Islam. They also spread the belief that to achieve this goal, Jihad (war against the infidels) is mandatory

The modern scholars of Islam right from Muhammad Asad to Mohammad Iqbal and Murad Wilfred Hoffman believe that the Quran does not envisage any particular form of government and that it only gives an outline of the ideal Islamic government: it will be based on the Quranic principle of Amruhum Shura Baynahum and will be based on justice, equality and social and ethical values inculcated by the Quran and Sunnah.

Though Mohammad Iqbal initially opposed democracy, he later developed the opinion that Social Democracy was compatible with Islam. Muhammad Asad held the view that Presidential form of government with modifications to suit Islamic requirements was best suited to Islam.

However conservative scholars like Shah Waliullah and his mentors and contemporary scholars believed that only Khilafat was the ideal Islamic form of government because this form of government was adopted by the four rightly guided caliphs. He even wrote a book on Khilafat titled Azalatul Khafa an Khilafatul Khulafa. In this book he tries to prove that Khilafat as a form of government was justified by the Quran.

The belief in Khilafat as the best and only Islamic form of government got wide acceptance because the caliphate of the four rightly guided caliphs was the golden era of Islam during which Muslims dominated half the world and they attained scientific and political superiority and growth. Therefore, Muslims had a deep itched belief that the success and prosperity of Muslims was a gift of Khilafat and so if Khilafat is established today, Muslims of this age too will attain the same degree of prosperity and dominance. This belief of the Muslims was misplaced and founded on myth. The caliphate of the early period of Islam was a great success only because it was led by the four great sahaba of the holy prophet pbuh who had great characterial integrity, sincerity and honesty of purpose, deep commitment to the cause of Islam and there strict adhere to the Quran and Sunnah. Therefore, they enjoyed reverence and obedience of the entire Muslim community which was united and were ready to sacrifice their life for the cause of Islam.

After the caliphate of Hadhrat Ali the caliphate was replaced by autocratic dynasties. Umayyid, Abbasid and Ottoman dynasties ruled the Islamic world though they called themselves caliphate. These dynasties were more interested in expanding their empires and less in shaping their government according to the Quran and Sunnah. Muslim community was also divided in sects and gave more importance to national and cultural identities. This was the reason Kemal Ataturk abolished the Ottoman Empire which was considered by Muslims of the world the caliphate in 1924. Kemal Ataturk was more obsessed with his Turkic nationalism and cultural identity than Pan Islamism. The entire Islamic world condemned Ataturk for abolishing Khilafat and he was branded an enemy of Islam.

Ironically, during the same period and along with the Ottoman Empire, the Kingdom of Saud dynasty was flourishing and in 1932, the Saud dynasty was consolidated with the ideological backing of founder of Wahhabism Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab. Ibn-Wahhab, though a staunch follower of puritanical Islam supported the autocracy of Al-e-Saud. He did not fight against him for the establishment of Khilafat because he thought Saudi kingdom was more conducive to the consolidation of his religious authority and spread of his new ideology.

In his book Azalatul Khafa an Khilafatul Khilafat, Shah Waliullah writes that the holy prophet predicted two phenomena:

1) Appearance of mischief (sharr) after the period of Khair (peace and virtue)

2) Prevalence of mulukiyat (autocracy) after nubuwwat (prophethood).

It is important to note that an Islamic scholar that Ibn Abdul Wahhab was, he ignored the prophetic predictions and supported and strengthened mischief by helping in the establishment of the Kingdom of Mohammad bin Saud at the cost of Khilafat.

Today, the terrorist and militant organisations support and propagate Ibn-e-Wahhab's ideology but don't question his and his descendants' support of dynastic autocracy and advocate the establishment of Khilafat at any cost irrespective of political circumstances. Today mainstream Muslim organisations and scholars also believe that only Khilafat can guarantee the prosperity and dominance of Muslims over the world. This belief compels them to overtly and covertly support the terrorist organisations because they claim that their objective is to establish Khilafat. The support of Maulana Salman Nadvi and some other Muslim scholars including Qaradawi for the so-called Khilafat of the ISIS is a glaring example. It is important to note that no Muslim country today wants to its government to be called Caliphate, neither Sunny countries like Saudi Arabia or Qatar nor Shia countries like Iran and Syria. The state of Saudi Arabia is called the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Saudis have no qualms about calling their state a kingdom while Iran calls itself a republic. The UAE calls itself an Emirate.

The reason behind it is that the entire Islamic world believes that when it comes to governance and fulfilling the objectives of governance in particular geographical and social conditions, the end not the means is important. That's why different Muslim Countries adopted different forms of governments according to their historical and political preferences. They tried to shape their governments on the principles laid down by the Quran and Sunnah.

However, the terrorist organisations insist that only a government called Khilafat can be accepted as an Islamic government and all other forms of government are un-Islamic and therefore should be toppled at any cost.

These organisations do not have the support of the majority community of Muslims and live as outcasts in jungles and mountains. The leaders of these outfits are not known for their scholarship and knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence, yet they claim to be the Emir of Muslims The majority of Muslims today believe in the democratic principles of the Quran and want to live in a plural society in peace with the followers of other religions. But these terrorist organisations exhort Muslims to remain at war with non- Muslims all the year round and try to establish Khilafat. Violence against non-Muslims and killing of innocent people including women and children is justified by their own theology. They ignore the hadiths which enjoin on Muslims to always follow the majority community (jama'ah) and resolve their issues through consultation. Here are some hadiths:

"Follow the largest group"(Ibne Majah, on the authority of Abdullah Ibne Umar)

"It is your duty to stand by the united community and the majority."(Ahmad Ibne Hambal, on the authority of Muadh Ibn Jabal)

"The hand of God is upon the community (Al jama' ah) and he who sets himself apart from it will be set apart in hell fire."(Tirmidhi on the authority of Abdullah Ibne Umar)

"Never will God make my community agree on a wrong course (Al Tirmidhi, on the authority of Abdullah Ibne Umar).

The above qouted hadiths prove the terrorist organisations wrong as they form a tiny minority at loggerheads with the majority community. They have set themselves apart from the Jama' ah (the ummah) and have rendered themselves outcasts. Islam does not support violent means of reformation and propagation of Deen. The holy prophet pbuh lived in the society and worked for the reform of society from within the society. For that, he and his companions were subjected to torture and hardships but they never left the society. These so called flag bearers of Islam have alienated themselves from the community and live as outcastes launching attacks on residential areas, hospitals, mosques, mazars, graveyards, schools, school buses, peaceful rallies and marriage ceremonies and killing innocent people and non-combatants. They justify this violence and killing by calling it Jihad.

They use the wrong interpretations of Jihad to justify their violence. The holy Quran uses the word jihad for peaceful struggle in the path of God. It also means enduring hardships for the sake of Deen. The root of the word jihad is jahd meaning continued efforts .The use of force is the last resort and should be made in self defence. A true Muslim will always struggle to spread the message of the Quran with love and through selfless service to mankind. He will do jihad against his own self which is called Jihadan Kabira or Jihad-e-Akbar (Al Furqan: 52)

The Quran uses the word jahd and jihad meaning struggle or efforts and enduring hardships in surah Taubah: 82, Al Hajj:78, Al Maidah:54 Al Nisa:59, At Rum:69, AsSaff:11 etc. But the terrorist organisations translate the word as only killing non-Muslims and Muslims opposing their ideology irrespective of whether combatants or non-combatants.

It is time the two terms of Jihad and Khilafat are explained correctly in the light of the Quran and in the context of modern political, social and religious compulsions, circumstances and requirements so that the militant outfits cannot misuse the concept of jihad and Khilafat to fulfil their nefarious designs and to mislead the Muslim ummah on the path of seclusion, isolation and violence.

S. Arshad is a regular columnist for


New Age IslamIslam OnlineIslamic WebsiteAfrican Muslim NewsArab World NewsSouth Asia NewsIndian Muslim NewsWorld Muslim NewsWomen in IslamIslamic FeminismArab WomenWomen In ArabIslamophobia in AmericaMuslim Women in WestIslam Women and Feminism