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Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam

The worst of creations with Good are those deaf, those dumb who do not use their intellect (Quran;2:18) . "And Allah gives another...

Jihad: Myth & Reality

"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; the faith of your father Abraham." (Qur’an;22:78).“Behold, God has bought of the believers their lives and their possessions, promising them paradise in return,[and so] they fight in God's cause, and slay, and are slain: a promise which in truth He has willed upon Himself in [the words of] the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Qur'an. And who could be more faithful to his covenant than God? Rejoice, then, in the bargain which you have made with Him: for this, this is the triumph supreme!”(Qur’an;9:111)
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Introduction:

In the present environment of universal turmoil especially in the post 911 scenario, the Muslims have become a target of universal hate propaganda. Some verses from Qur’an are mostly misquoted to defend killing of non believers and to project a permanent state of armed conflict (Jihad) between Muslims and non believers. The ignorant terrorists thus facilitate the anti Muslim lobbies to propagate and project all Muslims as intolerant, war mongers and terrorists. Even some ignorant Muslims also fall pray to this fallacy. It is important that the misconceptions are removed by understanding the concept of Jihad in the light of Qur’an and Sunnah. ‘Tolerance’ has always been hallmark of Islamic heritage; as evident from abridged version of the 1927 Lecture of Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, included in the 2nd part below.
Jihad - Important Doctrine:
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-fi-Sabi-Lillah” (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 or energy; striving, making endeavor’. So Jihad is to contend with difficulties and to work continually, especially with strenuous effort. The term presupposes that such an effort will be made against resistance. Narrated Abu Sa'id al-Khudri:  The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The best fighting (Jihad) in the path of Allah is (to speak) a word of justice to an oppressive ruler. (Sunan of Abu Dawood:2040). While term ‘Jihad’ has wider application, the term Qital is used in the meaning of ‘warfare’ or armed struggle.Qital may be part of Jihad but every Jihad is not necessarily warfare.
After thirteen years of worst oppression and persecution by the pagans of Makkah, the early Muslims had to migrate to Medina as they were not permitted by God to fight even in self defence. Ultimately the armed struggle was initially permitted to defend the frail expanding Muslim community at Medina; strategically it was defensive in nature:  “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).” “Those who believe and adopt exile and fight for the faith in the cause of Allah as well as those who give (them) asylum and aid these are (all) in very truth the believers: for them is the forgiveness of sins and a provision most generous.”(Qur’an;8:75).
Later in order to enable the Muslims to extend the influence of Islam outside Arabia, they were enjoined to confront the non-Muslim powers to extend the sovereignty of the Islamic State to grant the freedom to the nonbelievers to accept Islam with free will or choose to follow their old faith, provided they paid Jizyah (poll tax) for their protection and exemption form military service:
“O believers! Fight the unbelievers who hem you in, to let them know how tough you are; you should know that Allah is on the side of the God fearing.””(Qur’an;9:123).
Misconceptions:
Meanings of Jihad: 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 defense of the cause of Islam or “with tongue” (expression through speech or writing etc). This may require speaking out in public, for extending invitation of Islam to non believers (Dawah, preaching), against ignoring Islamic principles, and writing articles or publishing books to promote Islam. Since 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. Allah says in Qur’an: “therefore, do not yield to the unbelievers, and make Jihad (strive) against them with this Qur'an, a mighty Jihad (strenuous striving).”(Qur’an;25:52). The aim of making Strenuous Efforts (Jihad) is three fold:
(1)  The first and foremost is to; ‘Strive Against Selfish Desires’ (Nafs ammarah), to purify the heart, so that the faith (Eman) of Islam is deeply rooted in the heart, to become fully subservient to the commands of God and His Apostle. Allah says: “The Bedouin Arabs say: "We have believed." Tell them: "You have not believed; rather say 'We have become Muslims;' for faith has not yet found its way into your hearts. If you obey Allah and His Apostle, He will not deny you the reward of your deeds; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”(Qur’an;49:14),  “(We take our) color from Allah, and who is better than Allah at coloring. We are His worshippers.”(Qur’an;2:138). Abu Bakr is reported to have said; To fight against the infidels  is Jihad, but to fight against  your evil self (Nafs ammarah) is greater Jihad. It may also take the form of reminding people of their Islamic duties and motivating them to conduct their lives according to Islam. God says: “The true believers, both men and women, are protectors of one another. They enjoin what is just and forbid what is evil; they establish prayer (Salah), practice regular charity (Zakah), and obey God  Allah and His Apostle. It is they on whom God will have His mercy; surely God is Mighty, Wise.”(Qur’an;9:71).
(2)  Secondly, making strenuous efforts (Jihad) to convey the Last message of God (Islam) to the humanity(Dawah) because Allah says: “Thus We have appointed you (Muslims) a middle nation, that ye may be witnesses against mankind, and that the messenger may be a witness against you.”( Qur’an;2:143), : “You (Muslims) are the best of peoples evolved for mankind enjoining what is right forbidding what is wrong and believing in Allah.”(Qur’an;3:110),  “We have given the Book as an inheritance to those of Our servants (Muslims) whom We have chosen”.(Qur’an;35:32). The Prophet (peace be upon him) in his last sermon said: “O’ People, no prophet or apostle will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur'an and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness oh Allah that I have conveyed your message to your people.” As true followers of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), it is the obligation of Muslims to pass on the Guidance and the Religion of Truth (Islam) to the humanity. This is a great responsibility so Muslims have to gain knowledge of Islam, practice it and then convey to the humanity.
(3)  Thirdly Jihad is to be conducted to provide protection to Muslims and non Muslims against oppression. Allah says: “He is the Lord of the east and the west: there is no God but Him, therefore, take Him as your Protector”(Qur’an;73:9), “And what reason do you (Muslims) have not to fight in the cause of God, to rescue the helpless oppressed old men, women, and children who are crying: "Our Lord! Deliver us from this town whose people are oppressors; send us a protector by Your grace and send us a helper from Your presence?”(Qur’an;4:75).  All out efforts are to be made to preserve Islam, and to create conducive environments for freely conveying the message of Islam to all the people, without any coercion. So that they may ponder and accept or reject it by their free choice using their reason and intellect in line with the teachings of Qur’an: “as for those who are bent on denying the truth and on barring (others) from the path of God - all their (good) deeds will He let go to waste;'”- - - “Now when you meet (in war) those who are bent on denying the truth,smite their necks until you overcome them fully, and then tighten their bonds; but thereafter [set them free,] either by an act of grace or against ransom, so that the burden of war may be lifted: thus [shall it be]. And [know that] had God so willed, He could indeed punish them [Himself]; but [He wills you to struggle] so as to test you [all] by means of one another. And as for those who are slain in God's cause, never will He let their deeds go to waste: (Qur’an;47:1 & 4).  Hence like any other struggle, Jihad also has defensive as well as offensive implications depending upon social, geopolitical, socioeconomic, military, religious and other considerations. According to the traditional procedure of Allah, the rejection of Message by the direct recipient form the Apostle (Rasool) are entitled to Divine punishment through the messenger and his followers. This Divine punishment was accomplished in case of Arabs in the life time of Apostle and for the neighboring powers through his companions. It is no more applicable now. Jihad is a life-long mission for the Muslim as a community 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 Muslims and the invitation to Islam. ........
This book covers the concept of Jihad comprehensively as evident form the index:-
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Index

Extremism, Terrorism & Jihad:


Jihad: Myth & Reality: http://goo.gl/Xtq1W

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