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Radical Islamism and Jihad ( 20 Aug 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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


Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam

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

For the “war” in 1979 against the Russian occupation in Afghanistan, several private armed Jihadi organizations within the Muslim Ummah were formed which violate the principle and have forwarded various arguments to justify themselves. Let us analyze each argument:

1.    The first justification is that God has ordained Jihad for every Muslim. The Holy Prophet did not announce it during the Makkan period because he was not strong enough to do so. Had he gained sufficient strength, he would certainly have declared it there as well.

 The answer to this allegation is that at one time during the Makkan period, Muslims were in such a large number that Jihad could have been declared. The code of assistance for the companions of the Prophet declared by God through Al-Anfal 65-66 says that the war would have resulted in their favour even if they had been ten against a hundred. 

Except for the first few years, the ratio of the Muslim population in Makkah was more than 10% which as per the Quran was sufficient for the Muslims to overwhelm the pagans with Allah’s help. However, the permission to fight was given only after the Prophet (pbuh) had become a ruler in Madina. 

 “Permission (to take up arms) is hereby to those who are attacked, because they have been wronged. Allah has power to grant them victory”.

 Mufti Muhammad Shafi writes in explanation to the above Quranic verse:

 The First Order of Jihad against the Pagans:

 “The pagans were so cruel to the Muslims of Makkah that everyday some new victim was brutalized. The Muslims during the last period before migration to Madinah had grown to a sizeable strength. They complained against the brutalities of the pagans and asked for the permission of Qital. The Prophet advised tolerance and patience, as he had not yet been allowed Qital. The situation persisted for ten years. Before the first Quranic Verse was revealed about the Qital of the pagans, more than seventy verses were revealed earlier advising restraint and patience in the face of the persecution”. (Ma’araf-al-Quran) Vol. 6, page 269-270)

 There is therefore no truth in the statement that numerical strength is the basis for waging a war.

2.    The Quran had issued instructions on several issues during the Madinite period and all such instructions become applicable to all.

 There are instructions meant for an individual which must be followed by all irrespective of their circumstances. For example, fasting during the month of Ramadhan was made obligatory upon Muslims during the Medinite period and every individual has to follow it. On the contrary punishing a criminal is solely the state’s responsibility. No individual can claim the right to punish a criminal under the pretext that such orders have been issued by God. If an individual’s claim is accepted as correct, people will take the law into their own hands resulting in great injustice besides lawlessness and disorder. This is a sure way to criminalize the society rather than curbing crime. Therefore, all matters relating to the people as a whole fall under the purview of the State.

3.    The third objection is that the validity of a war without state is proved through the historical event of Abu Baseer’s attacks on the trade caravans of Quraish in an individual capacity.

 The above statement is not true. In fact several Muslims had their dwellings outside Madinah too at the time when a peace accord had been signed between the Prophet and Quraish. The Quran, through Al-Anfal: 72 laid the clear principle that all such people would not be declared as the citizens of Madinah unless they migrate to the city and hence responsibility of any of their actions or speech does not lie on the Prophet’s shoulders. The translation of the relevant portion of this Quranic Verse is as under:

 “And those that have embraced the faith but have not migrated from their homes share in no way become your responsibility until they do that. But if they 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)

 Maulana Maudoodi explains this Quranic Verse as under:

 “This verse affects foreign policy of an Islamic state as well. As per this order responsibility of a Muslim state is restricted to the Muslims living within its territories and not to those who live outside the territory……….. Similarly the Islamic state has uprooted the very dispute that generally causes complications at international level as whenever a government shares the responsibilities of the minorities outside its jurisdiction, it causes such complexities which cannot be set aright despite the repeated battles. (Tafheem-ul-Quran Vol 2, Page: 161-162)

 Abu Baseer and several other Muslims like him lived outside Madinah and were not a responsibility of the Holy Prophet. This is why the Prophet said, “ I am not responsible for the safety of a Muslim who lives among infidels”. So far as the Prophet’s opinion regarding Abu Baseer’s individual actions is concerned, it becomes clear through the narrative no 2734 of the Bukhârî:

 “He will certainly wage a war if he finds some companions”.

 This is why when Quraish urged upon the Prophet to check the activities of Abu Baseer, he called him along with his companions to the city of Madinah and made him a citizen of the city. He never took any step individually after that. (Please see Tafseer Ibn KaseerVol 5, Page 166-167 and Tafheem-ul-Quran Vol. 5, Page 34-42)

4.     The fourth objection is that Hazrat Hussain Bin Ali fought against Yazeed though he had no state to rule over.

 The above statement is also historically incorrect. In fact Hazrat Hussain had been invited to visit Iraq through hundreds of letters from Iraqis who had promised their submission to him. Obviously, the letters did not provide the true picture of the ground realities. Hence, Hazrat Hussain set off towards Iraq along with his family to ascertain the situation. He was not accompanied by an army nor did he intend to fight.

 It should be clear that those who intend to fight do not take their family with them including the infants nor take with them an army of only seventy two persons to fight against an enemy having an army comprising of thousands of soldiers. When his caravan had been checked by the army of Ibn-e-Ziyad he proposed three options to resolve the matter. First that Hazrat Hussain should return to Madinah. Second that he should meet Yazeed and accept his rule. Third that he should leave the country. All the three proposals were reasonable and they indicated that Hussain wanted to avert a confrontation in a graceful manner. But Ibn-e-Ziyad tried to insult him to submit first to Yazeed and put down his weapons if he wanted to have a dialogue. Eventually his army besieged the caravan of Hussain, attacked it and consequently the tragic event took place.

 It is clear through the above narration that Hussain tried his best to avert war in every possible and graceful manner till the last moment. He did not attack anyone rather he had been attacked. He had not yet sought submission from anyone till that moment.

 It is also a fact that all the nobles of Madinah had tried to stop Hussain from going to Iraq as they could smell the danger.

5.    The fifth excuse is that the rulers of the present Muslim world are cowards. They don’t have the courage to fight with the enemy and so they don’t declare Jihad. For the same reason, we’ll have to announce Jihad by ourselves instead of sitting idle waiting for the state declaration. All Muslims busy in their armed struggle today without any state declaration equip themselves with the same logic. Hence, it requires a deeper insight.

 We have already discussed that even the prophets were not permitted by God to declare Jihad unless they were first granted political power and gained a state to rule over. There is no instance of any prophet becoming ruler of a state through armed struggle either. The Prophet became ruler of Madina without any armed struggle and only through the willing consensus of the people. It is also clear that every people rose against their Prophets and opposed them. Despite this, no prophet without being a ruler was permitted to declare Jihad. No Muslim can claim firmness of his faith more than a prophet and none of the enemies of Islam today are as bad as the enemies of the prophets. Therefore how can ordinary Muslims claim to have a right which was not granted to the prophets?

 Also, only a ruler has the right to form treaties and therefore only a ruler can make war.

 Also armed struggle on individual basis would give birth to anarchy and disorder in the whole world. People everywhere would start making decisions at their own discretion and hundreds of militant organizations would come into existence. Sectarianism would become rampant in society and official orders and agreements would become a mockery. Under the pretext of this permission several militant organizations with evil purposes would also be formed and the end result would be the disintegration of the Ummah which would be stricken with Kalashnikov culture. It is the same situation which has been termed by the Quran as “standing by the ditch of fire” which destroys a nation and brings it under subjugation.

 Thus the stance that common people can also launch armed struggle forming their own factions if the government of the country does not follow Islam completely is absolutely wrong and can only end in disaster for all the people.

 It must be borne in mind that there has been consensus among the whole Ummah over it. Out of thousands of theologians throughout the last several centuries, just Abu HafsBalqeeni is in favor of granting some relaxations in this context. All the four theological schools of thought in the Ummah agree on the issue that the existence of a valid government and a legal ruler is a prerequisite before the declaration of Jihad. No one other than a ruler has the right to announce Jihad. There is no room for any relaxation in this principle.

6.    The sixth excuse is that Jihad is of two kinds; attempt and defence. The Jihad in attempt is conditional with the declaration and the management by the state. Jihad in defense is a duty and an obligation of all Muslims.

This is another untenable argument. Every kind of ‘Jihad as war’ is related with the state. When a country attacks another country, it is called attempt while when a country responds to an attack by its enemy, the action taken is called defense. Since a state is bound to safeguard its geographical boundaries it must be taken for granted that it would certainly respond to any attack against it. Hence it is considered an established principle that when a country is attacked, its army on the borders will respond without waiting for a formal announcement. Thus it is an established policy rather than an order that the border commanders would offer resistance to the enemy with immediate effect in case of attack so that the information, in the meanwhile is communicated to the capital and the regular forces be moved. Obviously it seems suitable in such a situation that the resistance is offered immediately. Therefore our theologians in the past had distinguished between the Jihad in attempt and Jihad in defense according to the circumstances that occurred hundreds of years ago and it was also related with an Islamic state already in existence. This distinction is generated through common sense and the Quran and Sunnah don’t mention any such thing. Today when circumstances are altogether changed, we can get latest information due to fast modes of communication, the forces have their regular patrolling on the borders and the countries have regular armies for their protection, the distinction between Jihad in attempt and Jihad in defense has become null and void and the common people have no obligation or duty to take any action except self-protection.

 The first two verses of Quran revealed in the context of Jihad deal in fact with Jihad in defence. Surah Hajj allows Muslims to fight when their state is attacked. This instruction assumes the status of an order in Al-Baqura 2:190 urging upon Muslims to fight with those who attack them. Obviously it is the state which is addressed in both the Quranic verses.

7.    The seventh excuse is that all orders issued by the Quran in the context of Jihad are meant only for the ones who had newly embraced Islam. Those who were already Muslims and lived in non-Muslim states are exempted from these orders and hence are free to devise any strategy for themselves.

 This is also an invalid excuse and there is no difference between the new Muslims and the born Muslims in Islam.

 However, apart from this fact, Quran has discussed two such incidents in detail which deal with the born Muslims. One such nation was Bani Israel. They were generally Muslims and were great in number while pharaoh was the ruler. Therefore Hazrat Musa, during his stay in Egypt never talked of Jihad. He first took his nation out of the country, organized them in the form of a state and a government and then launched Jihad.

 In the same way the incidents about Holy Christ are narrated in detail in the Holy Quran. We come to know that the Romans ruled Bani Israel at the time of Christ. Bani-Israel were, in fact spoiled Muslims. Christ as a prophet was sent to them. If allowed by God, Christ would have liberated Bani Israel by organizing them into an army but the Quran is proof that Jesus entire mission excluded ‘Jihad as war’. On the contrary, his words registered in Bible are, “If you are slapped on one cheek, offer the other one too” and, “Give Qaisar what belongs to him and give to God what belongs to Him”.

 The above quoted examples prove that the Muslims living under the rule of non-Muslim government may safeguard their rights through a peaceful strategy within the local laws but they cannot take up arms.

 If the Muslims living under a non-Muslim government are persecuted religiously, it is obligatory upon independent Muslim states to help them but such help can only be accorded under international treaties.

8.    The eighth excuse used by some private Jihadi organizations is that their activities are with the support, encouragement and tacit approval of the government.

 Islam instructs us not to violate any treaty and any war initiated by a Muslim government disregarding an existing treaty would not be considered as “Jihad Fi-Sabilillah”. It is therefore necessary to urge upon the government that every step is taken by an army working under the same discipline and answerable to the government. The government must be reminded that this is nothing but deceit and lies which is a grave sin and a nation which indulges in the same loses its honor among the world community. Above all, if a government itself violates its own laws, there would be no one else to uphold the respect of law.

The Quran clearly directs Muslims not to co-operate with anyone in any matter that is a sin or in lies or deceit or oppression. A Muslim is expected to stand up and boldly oppose anyone who does so, no matter whether he is his own kin.

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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