“Kill the Non-believers wherever you find them!”
JIHAD – Then and Now: The Myth and Reality
By: Aftab Ahmad Khan
Jihad is a very important doctrine of Islam, which lays down guidelines and principles, to be adhered by a Muslim while striving against various forms of resistance, internal (against selfish desires and evil temptations) or external for the cause of Allah. Muslims are required to make persistent effort to serve the cause of Islam. That effort, whatever its future, falls within the meaning of the term “Jihad for the cause of Allah”. Jihad is derived from the Arabic word ‘Juhd’, which means “effort”.
The verb Jahida means ‘to be tried as a result of exerting an effort’. Moreover, the term presupposes that such an effort will be made against resistance. The term “Jihad” has much wider significance than a military campaign and open warfare as commonly perceived. Jihad could be with “the heart” (intentions or feelings), with “the hand” (weapons etc) a simple action, such as standing firm in defence of the cause of Islam or “with tongue” (expression through speech or writing etc). This may require speaking out in public, against ignoring Islamic principles, and writing articles or publishing books to promote Islam. Islam is the faith of “Peace”, the early Muslim community was urged to conduct the Bigger Jihad (Jihad Kabira), through Qur’an, i.e. preaching of Allah’s message, they were not permitted to fight their opponents despite excessive oppression. It was only when Islam gained strength at Medina, Jihad by sword was permitted to defend the frail expanding Muslim community. Qur’an says; “To those against whom war is made permission is given (to fight) because they are wronged and verily Allah is Most powerful for their aid. (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right (for no cause) except that they say "Our Lord is Allah." Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another there would surely have been pulled down monasteries churches synagogues and mosques in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid His (cause); for verily Allah is Full of Strength Exalted in Might.(Qur’an, 22:39-40).”
The aim of Jihad is to preserve Islam, provide protection to Muslims and make sure that its message continues to be conveyed to people in its true form so that they may accept it freely. Hence like any other struggle, Jihad also has defensive as well as offensive implications depending upon social, geopolitical, socioeconomic, military, religious and other considerations. It may also take the form of reminding people of their Islamic duties and motivating them to conduct their lives according to Islam. Jihad is a life-long mission for the Muslims to struggle against all evils, socio-economic, cultural, educational and political dogmas; superstitious and mythological concepts; and directing the Muslims towards obedience to Allah, enlightenment, refinement, scientific progress, dignified character and honest actions. Its top and most noble form is to fight the enemies of Islam in battle in order to foil their attempts to suppress the call of Islam or Muslims.
Jihad was permissible as in the previous (uncorrupted) scriptures, as mentioned in Qur’an; “Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an…”(Qur’an, 9:111). As regards actual ‘fighting with the sword’ there has been some difference in theological theories at different times, but very little in the practice of those who framed those theories. The Jewish wars were ruthless wars of extermination.
The Old Testament does not mince matters on this subject. Moses ordered the killing of guilty Jews; "And when Moses said unto his people: O my people! Ye have wronged yourselves by your choosing of the calf (for worship) so turn in penitence to your Creator, and kill (the guilty) yourselves. That will be best for you with your Creator and He will relent toward you. Lo! He is the Relenting, the Merciful.”( Qur’an, 2:54). “O my people! Go into the holy land which Allah hath ordained for you. Turn not in flight, for surely ye turn back as losers: They said: O Moses! Lo! a giant people (dwell) therein, and lo! we go not in till they go forth from thence. When they go forth, then we will enter (not till then).( Qur’an, 5:21-22). (Their Lord) said: For this the land will surely be forbidden them for forty years that they will wander in the earth, bewildered. So grieve not over the wrongdoing folk.(Qur’an, 5:26). “Bethink thee of the leaders of the Children of Israel after Moses, how they said unto a Prophet whom they had: Set up for us a King and we will fight in Allah's way. He said: Would ye then refrain from fighting if fighting were prescribed for you? They said: Why should we not fight in Allah's way when we have been driven from our dwellings with our children?
Yet, when fighting was prescribed for them, they turned away, all save a few of them. Allah is Aware of evil-doers.”( Qur’an, 2:246). “So they routed them by Allah's leave and David slew Goliath; and Allah gave him the kingdom and wisdom, and taught him of that which He willeth. And if Allah had not repelled some men by others the earth would have been corrupted. But Allah is a Lord of Kindness to (His) creatures.”( Qur’an, 2:251).
In the New Testament Saint. Paul, in commending the worthy fruits of Faith, mentions Gideon, Barak, and other warriors of the Old Testament as his ideals, "Who through faith subdued kingdoms... waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens..." (Hebrews, xi. 32-34). "Now therefore Kill every male among the little ones, and Kill every woman (female) that hath known man by lying (having sex) with him. "But keep Alive for yourselves all the Girls and all the women who are Virgins." (Numbers 31:17-18) "And the Jews salvaged for themselves 32,000 virgins, verse 35 &40. ‘But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou (O’ Jews) shall save alive Nothing that Breathes.(Deuteronomy 20:16) 'And they (the Jews) Utterly Destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, ox and sheep, and Ass, with the edge of the sword " (Joshua 6:21) "He (Joshua) let None remain alive." (Joshua 10:28). The monkish morality of the Gospels in their present form has never been followed by any self-respecting Christian or other nation in history. Nor is it common-sense to ignore lust of blood in stubborn man as a form of evil which has to be combated “within the limits”, set by Allah.
It may undoubtedly be realized that human beings often resort to war without solid justification, at times over petty matters. One has to look at history, the past and preset. Hence, the great religion as Islam, that provides a complete code of life, must address the possibility of war. The Qur’an certainly does so, and the code it provides is more civilized than any in the whole history of humanity; “Fight for the cause of Allah those who fight against you, but do not commit aggression. Allah does not love aggressors. Kill them wherever you may find them, and drive them away from wherever they drove you away; for oppression is even worse than killing. However, do not fight them near the Sacred Mosque unless they fight you first there. Should they fight you, then kill them.
Thus shall the unbelievers be rewarded. But, if they desist, know that Allah is Much Forgiving, Merciful. Fight them until there is no more oppression and submission is made to Allah. If they desist, let there be no hostility except against the wrongdoers.”( Qur’an, 2:190-193). “As for such of the unbelievers who do not fight against you on account of your faith, and neither drive you forth from your homelands, Allah does not forbid you to show them kindness and to behave toward them with full equity. Indeed Allah loves those who act equitably. Allah only forbids you to turn in friendship toward such as fight against you because of your faith, and drive you forth from your homelands, or aid others in driving you forth. Those who turn toward them in friendship are truly wrongdoers.”(Qur’an, 60:8-9).
The believers are told; "Go forth, light-armed and heavy-armed, and strive with your wealth and your lives in the way of Allah. That is best for you if you understand" (Qur’an, 9:41). "And strive in the cause of Allah with the endeavour which is His right. He has exalted you and has laid no hardship on you in religion (Deen); the faith of your father Abraham." (Qur’an, 22:78). "So those who have migrated and were driven forth from their homes and have been persecuted in My Cause, and have fought and have been slain, verily I shall remit their evil deeds from them and verily I shall bring them into Gardens."(Qur’an, 3:195). "And whosoever strives, strives only for himself, for verily Allah is altogether independent of His creatures of the world" (Qur’an, 29:6).
Jihad is meant to serve Allah's cause ALONE. Qur’an says; "Fight against them until there is no more oppression, and all submission is to Allah alone."(Qur’an, 8:39). The whole earth is populated by human beings that are being subjected to tyrannical authorities exercised by fellow human beings. Why does Islam, then, move forward to fight, and why has Allah bought the believers' souls and property, so that "they fight for Allah's cause, kill and get killed"? The answer is that jihad has a reason which is totally different from compelling other people to accept Islam.
Indeed jihad seeks to guarantee the freedom of belief. Islam lays down a rule stating that "No compulsion is admissible in matters of belief. The right way now stands clearly distinguished from the wrong way."( Qur’an, 2:256). “Say "The Truth is from your Lord": let him who will believe and let him who will reject (it): for the wrongdoers We have prepared a Fire…. (Qur’an, 18:29). The choice is granted to humanity in the limited Free-will which involves a corresponding personal responsibility. Killing of innocent people is strictly prohibited; “…if anyone slew a person unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land it would be as if he slew the life of all mankind: and if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind. Then although there came to them Our apostles with clear Signs yet even after that many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.”(Qur’an, 5:32). Initially permission to fighting was granted for self defence;( Qur’an, 22:39-40).“Those of the believers who sit still, other than those who have a (disabling) hurt, are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah with their wealth and lives. Allah hath conferred on those who strive with their wealth and lives a rank above the sedentary. Unto each Allah hath promised good, but He hath bestowed on those who strive a great reward above the sedentary;”( Qur’an, 4:95)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) highlighted the importance of Jihad and participants, he is reported to have said; "The person who participates in (Jihad by sword) in Allah's cause and nothing compels him to do so except belief in Allah and His Apostles, will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward, or booty (if he survives) or will be admitted to Paradise (if he is killed in the battle as a martyr). Had I not found it difficult for my followers, then I would not remain behind any sariya (small force of 5 to 400) going for Jihad and I would have loved to be martyred in Allah's cause and then made alive, and then martyred and then made alive, and then again martyred in His cause." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith:1.35 Narrated by Abu Huraira).
A man asked the Prophet; "What deeds are the best?" The Prophet said: (1) To perform the (daily compulsory) prayers at their (early) stated fixed times, (2) To be good and dutiful to one's own parents. (3) and to participate in Jihad in Allah's Cause."(Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 9.625 Narrated by Ibn Masud). The women are not required to participate in Jihad, as per Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.128, Narrated by Aisha (The mother of the faithful believers); “The Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked by his wives about the Jihad and he replied, "The best Jihad (for you) is (the performance of) Hajj.”
It must be understood that the mission of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is two folds; firstly on short term basis, specifically the people around him i.e. the people of Arabia were to be guided to the True path and trained to become torchbearers of Islam.
Secondly on the long term basis these devout Muslims had to pass on this “Torch of Guidance” to the fellow brother to guide whole mankind till the end of the world. His universal mission could not have been achieved if Arabia was not purged of disbelief and pantheism in his lifetime. “Believers, fight those of the non-believers who are near you and let them find you tough; and know that Allah is with those who are Allah-fearing.”(Qur’an, 9:123). Therefore “war was declared against them”, as per the war instructions, enough warning time was given; “But when the forbidden months are past then fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them and seize them beleaguer them and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war); but if they repent and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful. If one amongst the pagans ask thee for asylum grant it to him so that he may hear the word of Allah and then escort him to where he can be secure: that is because they are men without knowledge.”(Qur’an, 9:5-6).
On the expiry of warning period they were given three options; to either accept Islam or face death or leave the holy places (the war orders or instructions are issued for the State of War and not applied in peacetime). Those who had not previously taken the Message seriously and seek asylum were to be taken to the place of safety and provided protection to ponder and make decision to accept Islam by free choice in the light of Qur’an; “Let there be no compulsion in religion”(Qur’an, 2:256). According to the traditional procedure of Allah, if the Messenger (Rasool) sent to a nation was not obeyed, that nation was punished and destroyed by Allah, example of punishment to the nations of Prophet Nuh, Aad, Samood and Loot in the form of destruction through natural calamities like floods, earthquakes, tornados etc are well known. In the case of pagan Arabs, the Divine punishment was in the form of their destruction through killing by the believers (mostly their relatives) after expiry of warning period. Similar punishment was ordered for the Jews, who worshiped the calf; “And remember Moses said to his people: "O my people! Ye have indeed wronged yourselves by your worship of the calf so turn (in repentance) to your Maker and slay yourselves (the wrong-doers); that will be better for you in the sight of your Maker." Then He turned toward you (in forgiveness); for He is Oft-returning Most Merciful.”(Qur’an, 2:54)
The conquest of Makka and defeat of pagans at Hunain (630 C.E) paved the way for making the whole of Arabia the 'Abode of Islam' (Dar-ul-Islam). The result was that hardly a year had passed after the Battle of Hunain, when the major portion of Arabia came within the fold of Islam. The first part of his mission was almost accomplished during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) except few pockets of resistance in the Arabian peninsula.
The Pagans were eradicated from Arabia, and the concourse of pilgrims from all parts of the world increased the numbers more than a hundred-fold. After Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), it is the duty of every Muslim to spread the message of Islam all over the world: “Then We have given the Book (Qur’an) for inheritance to such of Our servants as We have chosen (Muslims)……” (Qur’an, 35:32). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had invited the rulers of neighbouring big powers (Byzantine, Persians etc) to Islam. Due to negative response, Jihad was the only alternative. The object of Jihad was not to coerce them to accept Islam, but to ensure that freedom of choice is provided to the people of neighbouring areas to choose between truth (Haqq) and falsehood (Batil). Hence they were enjoined to subdue the non-Muslim powers to establish the sovereignty of the Islamic State.
The world was much different from the present, wherein as per international law every human being is free to adopt and practice any faith, (at least in theory) but this was not the case at that time. The great Roman (Christian) and Persian (Zoroastrian) Empires were the biggest hindrances in the way of spread of Islam. They were to be prevented from thrusting forcibly their disbelief upon their subjects and the future generations hence the conflict with them was inevitable. By the period of Caliph Omar bin Khattab (634-644 C.E), not only Arabia was purged of non believers but other areas as far as Afghanistan and Egypt were also brought under the folds of Muslims.
The Muslims granted the freedom to the nonbelievers if they chose to follow their old faith, provided they paid tax (Jizyah) as a sign of their submission to the Islamic State and protection. The existence of statue of Buddha for fourteen centuries of Muslim rule at Afghanistan stood as testimony to the same till its unfortunate destruction by intolerant Taliban. The long history of Islamic rule spread over hundreds of years is witness to the fact that Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Hindus and followers of other faiths lived in peace under the Muslim rule.
There was no forced conversion as a policy of state in the light of Qur’an: “Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error; whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things”(Qur’an, 2:256). Spain and India are the living examples with majority non Muslim population despite Muslim rule for centuries. It is not permissible in an Islamic state to start killing the unbelievers unless they are in a state of war or convicted by courts for specified offences. One has to live in peace and preach Islam by inviting them to the real message of Qur’an.
The Constitution, also known as the Charter of Medina (622 C.E) was the first written constitution signed between Muslims, Jews and other communities living at and around Medina. It concerns the rights and responsibilities of the Muslim, Jewish, and other Arab and tribal communities of Medina during peace and war between that city and its neighbours. The Constitution of Medina was a social contract derived from a treaty. The contract was built upon the concept of one community of diverse tribes living under the sovereignty of One God as one nation - Ummah. The Medina Constitution also instituted peaceful methods of dispute resolution among diverse groups living as one people but without assimilating into one religion, language, or culture. This can serve as a role model even today of Medina.
The Muslims are not required to wage wars for the sake of acquiring worldly glory, power, and rule only. According to traditional Islamic law, the world is divided into three zones: the House of Islam (Dar-ul-Islam), where Muslims are ascendant; the House of Peace (Dar-ul-Aman), those powers with whom Muslims have peace agreements; and the House of War (Dar-ul-Harab), the rest of the world. In the present world all the nations are members of United Nations Organization and signatory to its charter of peaceful coexistence and basic human rights, whereby every human being is free to adopt and practice any faith.
Hence now the whole world could be termed as House of Peace (Dar-ul-Aman). It is seen that most of Muslim societies are under the state of ‘utmost oppression and exploitation’ by non believers as well as their own brothers in power. “Allah's Apostle said, "A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, so he should not oppress him, nor should he hand him over to an oppressor..." (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith: 3.622, Narrated by Abdullah bin Umar).
There is menace of conflict, injustices, ignorance, illiteracy, corruption and moral degradation, generally considered as the legacy of colonialism. The ‘Submission to Allah Alone’ is mostly oral; in actions they mostly follow their vain desires.
Requirement of “Jihad Kabira” (Bigger Jihad) seems to be the need of hour. According to Qur’an; “And Allah would turn to you in mercy; but those who follow vain desires would have you go tremendously astray.”(Qur’an, 4:27). “Say: O People of the Scripture! Stress not in your religion other than the truth, and follow not the vain desires of folk who erred of old and led many astray, and erred from a plain road.”(Qur’an, 5:77). Hence initially Jihad has to be against these evils of society, to establish just Islamic welfare societies which should provide knowledge (religious and secular) justice, fair play and equal opportunities for their people, so that they do not have to look and run towards developed countries to earn the bread and butter.
The concept of Jihad was nevertheless used by some medieval Muslim rulers to justify wars motivated by purely political ambitions, keeping in line with the practice in vogue in the world by other powers of the time. Gradually, however, Jihad came to be interpreted more in defensive than in offensive terms. In the 20th century the concept of jihad inspired Muslims in their struggle against Western colonialism. The term Jihad is widely misunderstood and misquoted term in the present era, beside the Western writers even majority of Muslims are not fully aware of true spirit of Jihad.
Some verses of Qur’an were revealed for specific occasions and carry instructions for similar circumstances if they ever exist again; out of context quotation of such verses in parts, by any one is misleading. Such efforts to twist the meanings, with ulterior motives, result in tarnishing the image of Islam. One such example is a part of verse 5 of Surah At-Tauba; “fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them”. It appears to indicate that the Muslims are free to kill the pagans or non believers where ever they find them. A look at verses (Qur’an, 9:1-6) in Qur’an revealed before conquest of Makka, is self explanatory; “A (declaration) of immunity from Allah and His apostle to those of the pagans with whom ye have contracted mutual alliances.
Go ye then for four months backwards and forwards (as ye will) throughout the land but know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allah (by your falsehood) but that Allah will cover with shame those who reject him. And an announcement from Allah and His apostle to the people (assembled) on the day of the Great Pilgrimage that Allah and His apostle dissolve (treaty) obligations with the pagans. If then ye repent it were best for you; but if ye turn away know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allah. And proclaim a grievous penalty to those who reject faith. (But the treaties are) not dissolved with those pagans with whom Ye have entered into alliance and who have not subsequently failed you in aught nor aided anyone against you. So fulfil your engagements with them to the end of their term: for Allah loveth the righteous. But when the forbidden months are past then fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them and seize them beleaguer them and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful. If one amongst the pagans ask thee for asylum grant it to him so that he may hear the word of Allah and then escort him to where he can be secure: that is because they are men without knowledge.”(Qur’an, 9:1-6). The italic part, if quoted separately would give different meanings to what is actually intended.
Therefore if complete verses (Qur’an, 9:1-6) are read together the meanings are self evident: The emphasis is on the first clause; it is only when the four months of grace are past, and the other party show no signs of desisting from their treacherous designs by right conduct, that the state of war supervenes-between Faith and Unfaith. When war becomes inevitable, it must be prosecuted with vigour. The fighting may take the form of killing, capture, or siege, or ambush and other stratagems of war. But even then there is room for repentance and amendment on the part of the guilty party, and if that takes place, then the duty is forgiveness and the establishment of peace.
The repentance must be sincere, and that is shown by conduct-a religious spirit of true prayer and charity. In that case the gate against the repentant should not be barred. On the contrary Muslims must do all they can to make their way easy, remembering that Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. Even among the enemies of Islam, actively fighting against Islam, there may be individuals who may be in a position to require protection. Full asylum is to be given to them, and opportunities provided for hearing the Word of Allah. If they accept the Word, they become Muslims and brethren, and no further question arises. If they do not see their way to accept Islam, they will require double protection: (1) from the Islamic forces openly fighting against their people, and (2) from their own people, as they detached themselves from them. Both kinds of protection should be ensured for them, and they should be safely escorted to a place where they can be safe. Such persons only err through ignorance, and there may be much good in them. These verses contain excellent rules for conduct of war, which are so humane that never in the history of mankind one can find grant of privileges and rights to the fallen enemies.
The Muslim society finds itself at the crossroads. There are divergent views on conduct of Jihad. The one group feels that due to suppression and exploitation of Muslims countries by neocolonialist powers (Western) on one hand and politico-military suppression of Muslims at Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir, Philippines and occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan, on the other hand, there is no other option but to resort to Jihad with arms. Due to ineptness of world and Muslim powers, the extremist non government armed groups are resorting to violence and extremism. Being weak in the modern weaponry, they follow the old dictum. “every thing is fair in love and war”. The term Jihad is being used by such groups who are at times involved in suicide bombing and violence against innocent civilians including women and children. At times some extremist Islamic groups declare their fellow Muslims who differ with them as Kafirs or infidels and declare Jihad against them. Weather they achieve their objectives or not but these non conventional military ventures by few zealots are having disastrous consequences for the entire Muslim community (Ummah) and adding to their isolation.
The other group think that due to the weak state of their faith and non adherence to the fundamental Islamic practices, the Muslim societies of today in general may be considered closer the initial Makkan period of Islam (initial 13 years at Makka, 610-622 C.E) when Jihad with sword was not permitted, they were instructed by Qur’an; “Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness(Jihad Kabira) with the (Qur'an).”(Qur’an, 25:52). The Bigger Jihad (Jihad Kabira) through Qur’an is preaching Allah’s message orally, through pen or other means. They think that this is the time to understand, practice and preach Allah’s message orally, through pen or other means of communication.
The achievement of the spiritual perfection in faith and Islamic practices, should lead towards establishment of firm Islamic Welfare States on the pattern of State of Medina established by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and later by four Rightly Guided Caliphs. These Islamic Welfare states should be politically, economically and militarily independent. They will act as a beacon of light for the spread of the real message of Islam through peaceful means. The Muslim Ummah has to find a solution, which is not easy due to the complexity of non existence of any central authority like Khilfah which could give direction in the light of Qur’an and Sunnah. The Muslim states have to first put their own house in order through Jihad Kabira then decide about conduct of external Jihad for particular situation to help brothers under oppression. The decision by a state for the level of participation and type of support to the Jihad declared by others has to be taken in consultation with their genuine religious scholars (Ulema) while keeping in view their national political, economic, social, geographical and strategic interests.
The Organization of Islamic Countries may also play enhanced role. In any case the Muslim states have to follow the path of development in all affairs. All out efforts should continuously be made against tyranny and suppression of humanity specially against Muslims, efforts of Dawah should be enhanced by teaching and preaching on regular basis. One of the purpose of Jihad is to provide freedom of choice to the people to opt for Islam or otherwise. In the modern democracies there is complete freedom of preaching (Dawa) or practicing any faith including Islam (at least in theory).
Generally the governments do not impose restriction on peaceful preaching, consequently Islam is considered as the fastest growing religion in Europe and North America. While difference on their other policies do exist, violence against innocent population may not be justified on this account alone. It may have negative effects on preaching and spread of Islam due to tarnishing of the image of Islam by presenting it as a religion of violence and bloodshed. Requirement for tolerant, moderate, modern, progressive but powerful and strong Muslim society having a say in the international affairs proportionate to their ideology, population and resources to safeguard their interests is the need of the hour, which will help to achieve the main objectives of Jihad.
It is difficult to agree to any one of the groups in totality. One may have to look for the middle course, but someone has to find an answer to the question: Is killing of innocent civilians, women and children whether Muslims or non Muslims justified on the name of Jihad? Can the declaration of Jihad with arms be left at the discretion of few individuals or religious zealots? Or should it be the responsibility of the Islamic states keeping in view the teachings of Islam, national interests and the prevalent system of international relations (UN, OIC and other forums)? Muslim scholars and leadership through dialogue with the international community, have to analyse the reasons of this pathetic state of affairs and find out practicable, realistic and just solutions on long term basis to make the world safer place for everyone.
Aftab Ahmad Khan has served in the Pakistan Army and has been studying Semitic religions since 1999.