The Concept of Jehad:
It is well known
that the concept of Jehad is subject to certain conditions. Jehad is meant
for upholding the uprightness of the Word of Allah, for the victory of the
suppressed, for safeguarding the places of worship and for defence against
the aggression and atrocities of the tyrants. It is not meant for
eliminating other religions, destruction of their places of worship or
unwarranted massacre of Non-Muslims. For propagation and acceptance of its
teachings Islam recommends interesting and suitable form of preaching,
persuasion and discussion.
(all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue
with them in ways that are best and most gracious. "(Surah Al Nahl,
verse 125) Do not utilize power of the sword and so-called ‘Jehad'.
Jehad has been given for defence or in unavoidable circumstances, that
too, subject to certain conditions. It does not mean that if you find a
Non-Muslim or their group, you rush for beheading them.
In Islamic Shariah,
the direction or order for killing is applicable to those enemies of
Islam, engaged in fight against Muslims. It applies to such enemies of Islam
who are determined to seize their lands. Not only that they are determined
to deny the freedom to pronounce the name of Allah on the earth. So far as
peace loving and non-fighting parsons are concerned, who are not inclined
to murder the servants of Allah, nor they are interested in throwing them
out of their homes, Islamic Shariah does not recommend or permit Jehad
against them. On the contrary Islamic Shariah emphasizes treating them in
fair and just manner, as explained earlier.
Objectives of Jehad:
Objectives of Jehad
as laid down in Islamic Shariah do not provide that the earth should be free
from the followers of religions other than Islam. The main object of Jehad
is defence against the tyrants by restraining the aggressor from continuing
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". (Surah Al
Hajj. Verse 39-40)
The suppressed are
permitted to fight against enemies of Islam and infidels, because they are
oppressed and Allah has the power to help them. The victims are those who
have been thrown out of their houses for no fault of theirs. Their only
fault is nothing else but thy claim that their Providence is Allah.
ofSurah Al Baqarah recommends fight with those who take the initiative
to fight Muslims. Further it has been provided hat there would be no excess
in the matter.
the cause of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress limits. "
There are many similar verses in the Holy Quran, in which the object of
Jehad has been defined 'self-defence'. The suppressed Muslims are those who
are victims of aggression..
2. There is another
purpose of the fight. It may be fought to save others, who are weak and
suppressed by the tyrants.
It has been stated
in the verse 75 ofSurah Al Nisaa: "And why should ye not
fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated
(and oppressed}?- Men, women, and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord!
Rescue us from this town.
Whose people are
oppressors; and raise for us from Thee one who will protect; and raise for
us from Thee one who will help!"
The verse refers to
two objects of Jehad, for Allah as well as in support of the weak and
suppressed. The latter is included in the former. Jehad in support of the
suppressed is also for Allah. That verse confirms that Jehad is the
practical response to the cry for assistance by the afflicted and suffering
to their God.
3. According to
Holy Quran an important object of Islamic Jehad is the protection of places
of worship. The definition of a place of worship does not include the places
of worship belonging to only Muslims. That refers to the places of worship
belonging to the followers of other religions also.
Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely
have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosque, in
which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure." (Surah
Al Hajj, verse 40)
It is worth noting
that by according priority to the places of worship, belonging to other
religions e.g. Jews and Christians, Islam has provided an ideal specimen of
important object of Jehad is end of mischief in the Society and upper hand
for the religion of Allah. Mischief implies everything, which creates
problems on account of distinction between the Right and Wrong. Among them,
the pride of place belongs to paganism and blasphemy, as they qualify for
death. Paganism and blasphemy refer to elements that are inimical to
Believers. Those who are bent upon destroying Islam and Muslims. That
definition excludes Non-Muslims who are peace loving and willing to live
with cordial relations with Muslims.
Surah AI Baqarah,
which advocates Jehad against enemies of Islam, for end of mischief,
also recommends peaceful living with fraternal and cordial relations with
peace-loving Non-Muslims. Verses 190 to 194 clarify the position, "And
fight them on until there is no more persecution and the religion
becomes Allah S. But if they cease, let there be no hostility
except to those who practice oppression. "
(Surah Al Baqarah, verse 193)
Wherever Jehad for
killing is mentioned in Holy Quran, it refers to defense in the state of
war. In normal conditions of peace, fight with peace-loving followers of
other religions is not envisaged. However, if information is available about
the preparations for aggression by a group and if strategy demands,
initiative for Jehad is permitted. However, that is rare. In the history of
Islam many among the battles are of defensive type and not of the aggressive
type. For propagation of Islam the right method is of peaceful proclamation
and not Jehad and fight.
Conditions of Jehad:
Islamic Jehad is
not unprovoked armed conflict of action against enemies, motivated by
national sentiment or extension of domain, as projected by enemies of Islam.
Under Islamic Shariah certain rules and regulations are attached to it. The
first condition of Jehad is that it should be for upholding the name of
Allah. If the conflict is for personal fame or for acquisition of land,
wealth or other material benefits, it has nothing to do with Jehad. Judged
from the standards laid down by Shariah, it has no merit at all. Therefore,
the condition, "For the sake of Allah" has been laid down for
Jehad. In the books of Islamic history and Islamic jurisprudence there are
many traditions and events, in which, battles have been waged for personal
ends or in pursuance of regional or national sentiments. Such conflicts have
been excluded from the category of Jehad. According to a famous tradition of
the Prophet that one who fights or dies, motivated by prejudice is not one
among us. (Kitab-ul-Jehad, Abu Dawood)
Battle for national
cause, caste or community does not qualify for Jehad Islamic Jehad is only
for upholding the name and message of Allah. According to Kitab-ul-Jehad of
Bukhari, the fight for upholding the name of Allah is Jehad for Allah.
Jehad is not an
individual action. Jehad does not mean that anyone rises and starts fighting
somebody. According to Islamic Shariah, Islamic Jehad can be conducted by a
government or elected leader according to Shariah. That has been laid down
in an established tradition. (Muslim Shrreef, Kitabul-Emarat) An Imam,
according to Shariah is like a shield for leading the fight The rules and
conditions attached to Jehad have been discussed in detail in the books of
Ibn-e-Qodama Hanbali, the matters relating to Jehad depend on the discretion
of the Imam or leader. The elected leader, Imam or Ameer shall lead Jehad,
defensive or offensive. Another condition laid down is that the required
strength and resources accompany Jehad and it is conducted independently.
Unless the required conditions are fulfilled Jehad is neither justified nor
likely to serve a useful purpose.
When Jehad is a
necessity according to Shariah, those opting for Jehad do not have
independent or autonomous position. Without the direction or consent of the
leader, the Imam or Ameer a few individually or as a group opt for
extraordinary action like Jehad, that is likely to cause disruption and
mischief. That will provide the aggressor with the opportunity for further
Therefore it is
essential for Jehad that requisite strength is available under the
leadership of the elected leader, to ensure desired results.
But if someone is
killed while defending his legitimate rights, life and property against the
aggressors, he shall be deemed a martyr and his fight shall qualify for
Limitations of Jehad:
In addition to the
conditions, Islam has laid down certain rules and limitations for Jehad.
From Islamic point of view, Jehad is constructive action for ending
mischief. It is not desperate action for loot, destruction and carnage.
killing of the aged and worshippers. Even during a battle Islam has strictly
forbidden arson, killing of women, children, aged, worshippers and those
incapable or participating in the battle. At several places in Holy Quran,
it has been emphasized that it should be ensured that those not connected
with the battle should not be harmed. Fight should be confined to the
participants in the battle. The Prophet (Pbuh) has clearly dissuaded from
killing persons not concerned with the battle. "Do not kill the weak,
small children, women and aged during the battle."
(Kitab-ul-Jehad by Abu Dawood)
have held that even the intention of killing the weak, aged, women and
children is unlawful even in the course of battle. Killing the worshippers
and priests, who keep aloof from the fight, is forbidden. Imam Abu Yusuf and
Imam Abu Mohammad in 'Aseer-ul-Kabeer' have cited the opinion of Imam Abu
Hanifa on the subject. Other details may be found in Al Mabsoot, Volume X
by Imam Sarkhasi and Allama Mawardi in 'Ahkam-us-Sultaniya'.
Devastation. Islam has strictly forbidden general devastation. Unless it is
unavoidable, the fields, orchards and settlements should not be destroyed.
Killing innocent persons has been declared unlawful. In the present
civilized world everything belonging to enemies, although having nothing to
do with the battle is targeted for destruction. However, Islam regards that
disorder and mischief.
turns his back, his aim everywhere is to spread mischief through the earth
and destroy crops and progeny but Allah /oveth not mischief" (Surah Al
Baqarah, verse 205)
Hazrat Abu Bakar
Siddiq, while sending off the troops, instructed them that fruit-bearing
trees should not be cut or burnt. Settlements and crops should not be
In the course of a
battle the prophet (pbuh) came to know that a few Muslim soldiers had looted
goats and intended to cook and eat their meat. He turned upside down the
utensil used for cooking.
the Battle of Khaibar, after Peace Treaty was executed with the people of
Khaibar. A few fresher of the Islamic Army beat Jew women, forcibly took
away their fruits, took possession of their animals and consumed them. The
chiefs of the Jews lodged a complaint with the Prophet. The Prophet sternly
addressed his soldiers, 'Allah has not held it proper for your that you may
enter the houses of men of Books, without their permission and maltreat
their women and take possession of their fruits.'
Islam forbids the
murder of prisoners. The commitment of Islam to peace is confirmed by the
provision that it forbids pursuit of men fleeing from the scene of war.
After the conquest
of Mecca, the Prophet (pbuh) issued special instructions that Islam is
dedicated and committed to peace, justice and humanity. There is no place of
disorder and terrorism in Islam. Islam invites mankind towards virtue. Those
who link Islam, its teachings and symbols, practices, institutions with
destruction and terrorism are terrorists themselves and pose a threat to
peace, security and healthy civilized life. Islam remains the best specimen
of peace and a lighthouse for the whole humanity.