Jihad and Its
By Dr. Bashir Ahmad
The recent wanton
killing of innocent commuters in London by AL-Qaeda
operatives was a contemptible abomination. AL-Qaeda
operatives are engaged in killing innocent people
in different countries on the basis of their absolutely
false interpretation of the Qur’anic verse
about jihad. The Al-Qaeda has debased, depraved
and defiled the honor of the Islamic faith in the
world, and has made it a target for the media to
sully and mock at it.
Not surprisingly, Jonah Goldberg, a syndicated columnist
has written the following under the caption of terrorism.
“---like fascism and communism, radical Islam
provides a sense of purpose and meaning for losers
and misfits who blame their misfortunes on ‘the
system’”. (St. Louis Post Dispatch 8/8/05)
One is amazed to see that Muslim scholars have not,
so far, in my opinion forcefully refuted, rebutted
or repudiated the false interpretation of ‘Jihad’
WHAT IS JIHAD
Jihad , as ordained in the Qur’an, does not
consist of killing and being killed, but entails
striving hard to win the pleasure of God by reforming
one’s self and conveying His message to mankind.
It is of three kinds:
1. Jihad against one’s evil desires and propensities
for self-reform and purification.
- Qur’an 22/79 and 29/7.
2. The greater jihad is to preach the message of
the Holy Qur’an. Qur’an 25/53.29/70,16/126,3/105-111/
3. Jihad against the enemies of truth, which includes
fighting in self-defense.
Prophet Muhammad (SAS), after migrating to Medina,
was forced to take up arms in self-defense to fight
the enemies of truth. On returning from one such
expedition, he observed with a sigh of relief, “We
have returned from a lesser jihad to a greater jihad”.
emphasizing that the real jihad is self purification
and spreading the message of the Qur’an.
I shall be presenting below the translation of the
few verses related to jihad.
“So obey not the disbelievers and strive by
means of it (i.e. Qur’an) a great striving”
- Qur’an 25/53.
The highest jihad, therefore, is jihad or striving
with the help of the Qur’an. The Qur’an,
the message of God, does attract people by its intrinsic
According to the Qur’an it is a sin to try
to convert people through fear or favor.
“There shall be no compulsion in religion.
Surely, right had become distinct from wrong”.
- Qur’an 2/257/
Every individual, according to the Qur’an,
is free to believe or not to believe. He is free
to follow reason.
COMMANDMENT S IN THE QUR’AN ABOUT FIGHTING
“And fight in the cause of Allah against those
who fight against you, but do not transgress. Surely
Allah loves not the transgressors”. Qur’an
A religious war is to be waged against those who
make war on Muslims because of religion, who seek
to convert Muslim by force. Even in such a war Islam
forbids transgression of limits. Islam sanctions
war, it is not in order to destroy or harm any religion.
It is to promote religious freedom. The following
verse clarifies this point.
“Permission to fight is given to those against
whom war is made, because they have been wronged.
And Allah indeed has the power to help those who
have been driven out of their homes unjustly only
for saying ‘Our Lord is Allah’. And
if Allah did not repel some men by means of others,
cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques
would have been pulled down wherein the name of
Allah is often remembered. And Allah will surely
help him who help Allah. Allah is indeed powerful,
mighty.” Qur’an 22/40-41/
A religious war, even when permitted is not intended
to force people to give up their faith nor is its
purpose to desecrate or destroy places of worship,
or to kill. The purpose of the religion war is to
protect every religion, and to save from disgrace
and destruction all places of worship irrespective
of denomination to which they belong. Islam is no
party to violence or cruelty.
PROPHET MUHAMMAD’S (S.A.W.) PRECEPT ABOUT
Following are the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (
SAW) on the subject of war and peace.
1. Muslims are forbidden altogether to mutilate
the dead. (Muslim)
2. Muslims are forbidden to resort to cheating.
3. Children are not to be killed, nor women. (Muslim)
4. Priests and religious functionaries and religious
leaders are not to be interfered with. (Tahavi).
5. When Muslims enter enemy territory they should
not strike terror into the general population. They
should permit no ill-treatment of common folk. (Muslim).
6. The old and decrepit and women and children are
not to be killed. The possibility of peace should
always be kept in view. (Abu Daud).
7. A Muslim army should not camp in a place where
it causes inconvenience to general public. When
it marches it should take care not to block the
road nor cause discomfort to other wayfarers.
8. No disfigurement of the face is to be permitted.
(Bukhari and Muslim).
9. The least possible losses should be inflicted
upon the enemy. (Abu Daud.)
10. When prisoners of war are put under guard, those
closely related should be placed together. (Abu
11. Prisoners should live in comfort. Muslims should
care more for the comfort of their prisoners than
for their own. (Tirmidhi)
12. Emissaries and delegates from other countries
should be held in great respect. Any mistakes or
discourtesies they commit should be ignored. (Abu
13. If a Muslim commits the sin of ill treating
a prisoner of war, atonement is to be made by releasing
the prisoner without ransom.
14. When a Muslim takes charge of a prisoner of
war, the latter is to be fed and clothed in the
same way as the Muslim himself. (Bukhari).
Prophet Muhammad (SAW)was insistent that any Muslim
who did not follow these rules would be fighting
not for God but for his own mean self.
Hazarat Abu Bakr, the first Khalifa, supplemented
the prophet’s orders with a few of his own.
15. Public building sand fruit-bearing trees are
not to be damaged. (Mu’atta).
When we closely study the teaching of the Qur’an
and the tradition and practices of Prophet Muhammad
(SAW) it becomes manifestly clear that Islam is
indeed a religion of absolute peace and justice