TOPIC: UNDERSTANDING THE ISLAMIC CONCEPT OF JIHAD (PART 1)
Audhu billah minash shaytanir rajeem Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem. Alhamdu lil laahi Rabbil aalameen. Was salatu was salamu ala nabiyyillah Muhammad al Mab’uthi rahmatan lil aalameen
The concept of jihad is one of the several concepts that have been misunderstood by both Muslims and non-Muslims alike to the extent that some critics have associated violence with Islam, particularly in contemporary times. Attacks on Muslims are justified by such critics on the grounds that Islamic aggression and intolerance are threats that must be curtailed. Such aggression is attributed wrongly to the injunctions of Islam, specifically, the concept of Jihad.
In this sermon which will be in series for a couple of weeks in shaa Allah,attempt is made to:
1) clarify the broad meaning of the jihad from the Qur’an, Sunnah and views of Muslim jurists.
2) discuss the conditions for engagement, conduct and disengagement of warfare in Islam.
3) give special attention and clarification to the “verse of the sword” and the claim by some scholars that it abrogates verses of the Qur’an and hadith that relate to peaceful coexistence with peaceful non-Muslims.
4)give a brief background to some of the major battles fought by the Prophet for a better understanding of their purpose in protecting the nascent Muslim community, and the freedom of faith.
Looking at the meaning of the Arabic word “Jihad” in the Islamic context, one will find out that Jihad” (from the verb “jahada”) on its own simply means “to struggle”, “to exert effort” or “exert oneself”, “to toil” or “to strive”. In Islam, the word refers to the unceasing effort that an individual must make towards self-improvement and self purification. It also refers to the duty of Muslims, both at the individual and collective level, to struggle against all forms of evil, corruption, injustice, tyranny and oppression – whether this injustice is committed against Muslims or Non-Muslims, and whether by Muslims or Non-Muslims. In this context, jihad may include peaceful struggle or, if necessary, armed struggle.
THE TERM JIHAD ACCORDING TO THE QUR’AN, HADITH AND JURISTS.
While the Qur’an generally uses the term “jihad” in the broader sense of struggle in God’s cause (which could include fighting), it was first used in the Qur’an in verses revealed at Makkah (Q.29:6 and 69, and 25:52), long before the early Muslims were permitted to fight: And those who engage in jihad (striving) in Our (cause), We will certainly guide them to Our paths. (Q.29:69) And whoever engages in jihad (striving), he does so for his own soul… (Q.29:6) Therefore, listen not to the unbelievers, but engage in jihad (striving) against them (with the utmost endeavour),with it (the Qur’an). (Q.25:52)
THE VARIOUS MEANINGS OF JIHAD IN THE HADITH.
It is important to note that the usage of the term “jihad” in the ahadith below testifies to the fact that its injunction was not limited in meaning by the Prophet (SAW) for all Muslims alike. These include: striving against one’s own self and desires,saying the truth before an oppressive ruler,performing hajj and taking care of one’s parents.
Abu Dharr said that the Messenger (SAW) said,“The best jihad is for one to perform Jihad against his own self and against his desires.” Another man asked, “What kind of jihad is best?” The Prophet (SAW) replied,“A word of truth before an oppressive ruler.”Aisha asked, “O Messenger of Allah, we see jihad as the best of deeds, so shouldn’t we join it?” He replied, “Hajj is the most excellent of all jihad (for women).” The Messenger (SAW) also said, “…the one who engages in jihad (mujāhid) is he who strives against himself for the sake of God, and the one who emigrates (muhājir) is he who abandons evil deeds and sinfulness.” Ibn Umar reported, “A man came to the Prophet of Allah (SAW) and said, ‘Allow me to fight.’ The Prophet (SAW)asked him, ‘Are your parents alive?’ ‘Yes,’ replied the man. ‘Then go back and exert your utmost (jihad) in their service,’ said the Prophet.” The Messenger(SAW) said (during his farewell Hajj).
USE OF THE TERM JIHAD BY JURISTS
Even though the Qur’an and Sunnah give a variety of meanings to the term “jihad” (as illustrated above), scholars of Islamic jurisprudence and law have usually been more concerned with the military form of jihad as this requires more elaboration, legal regulations and jurisprudence (fiqh). Hence, the sections to do with warfare in traditional Islamic law literature are usually under sections or books titled “Jihad”. This has unfortunately led many students of Islam to the idea that “jihad” has the exclusive meaning of fighting or warfare. However, not once in the Qur’an is the word “jihad” used with the sole meaning of fighting.
It will be convenient to conclude this sermon by stating that the most commonly used word for purely fighting in both the Qur’an and hadith literature is “qitāl”. Hence, one should differentiate the meaning of the two in the sense that not all forms of jihad is qitaal but qitaal is a form of jihad.
As for those who strive for Us—We will guide them in Our ways. Allah is with the doers of good. (Q29:69)
May Allah (swt) count us amongst the doers of good.
IET. BASIC TRAIN-THE-TRAINERS COURSE (TTC) IN ISLAM AND DIALOGUE Module 101