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PostSubject: What is Jihad? -- Islamic Holy War? Muslims Killing Jews & Christians   What is Jihad? -- Islamic Holy War? Muslims Killing Jews & Christians EmptyWed Jan 19, 2011 10:08 pm

What is Jihad?
Islamic Holy War? Muslims Killing Jews & Christians?

That is what we are told - by the western media. But what is the real truth behind this word JIHAD?

Jihad Explained

by Dr. Amir Ali, Ph.D. (May Allah have Mercy on him)

In the linguistic sense, the Arabic word "jihad"
means struggling or striving and applies to any effort exerted by
anyone. In this sense, a student struggles and strives to get an
education and pass course work; an employee strives to fulfill his/her
job and maintain good relations with his/her employer; a politician
strives to maintain or increase his [1] popularity with his
constituents and so on. The term strive or struggle may be used for/by
Muslims as well as non-Muslims; for example, Allah, the One and Only
True God says in the Quran:

"We have enjoined on people kindness to parents; but if they STRIVE
(Jahadaka) to make you ascribe partners with Me that of which you have
no knowledge, then obey them not..." [Noble Quran 29:8; also see 31:15]

In the above two verses of the Quran, it is non-Muslim parents who
strive (Jahadaka) to convert their Muslim child back to their religion.

In the West, "jihad" is generally translated as "holy war," a usage the
media has popularized. According to Islamic teachings, it is UNHOLY to
instigate or start war; however, some wars are inevitable and
justifiable. If we translate the words "holy war" back into Arabic, we
find "Harbun Muqaddasatu," or for "the holy war," "Al-Harbu
Al-Muqaddasatu." WE CHALLENGE any researcher or scholar to find the
meaning of "jihad" as holy war in the Quran or authentic Hadith
collections or in early Islamic literature. Unfortunately, some Muslim
writers and translators of the Quran, the Hadith and other Islamic
literature translate the term "jihad" as "holy war," due to the
influence of centuries-old Western propaganda. This could be a
reflection of the Christian use of the term "Holy War" to refer to the
Crusades of a thousand years ago. However, the Arabic words for "war"
are "Harb" or "Qital," which are found in the Quran and Hadith.

For Muslims the term JIHAD is applied to all forms of STRIVING and has
developed some special meanings over time. The sources of this
development are the Quran (the Word of God revealed to Prophet Muhammad
(peace be upon him). The Quran and the Hadith use the word "jihad" in
several different contexts which are given below:


It is human nature to love what is seen with the eyes and felt with the
senses more than the UNSEEN REALITY. The Creator of the Universe and
the One God is Allah. He is the Unseen Reality which we tend to ignore
and not recognize. The Quran addresses those who claim to be believers:

"O you who believe! Choose not your fathers nor your brethren for
protectors if they love disbelief over belief; whoever of you takes them
for protectors, such are wrong-doers. Say: if your fathers, and your
children, and your brethren, and your spouses, and your tribe, and the
wealth you have acquired, and business for which you fear shrinkage, and
houses you are pleased with are dearer to you than Allah and His
Messenger and STRIVING in His way: then wait till Allah brings His command to pass. Allah does not guide disobedient folk." [Noble Quran 9:23, 24]

It is indeed a struggle to put Allah ahead of our loved ones, our
wealth, our worldly ambitions and our own lives. Especially for a
non-Muslim who embraces Islam, it may be a tough struggle due to the
opposition of his family, peers and society.

Once a person has made up his mind to put the Creator of the Universe
above all else, he often comes under intense pressures. It is not easy
to resist such pressures and STRIVE to maintain dedication and love of
Allah over all else. A person who has turned to Islam from another
religion may be subjected to pressures designed to turn him back to the
religion of the family. We read in the Quran:

"So obey not the rejecters of faith, but strive (Jahidhum) against them by it (the Quran) with a great endeavor." [Noble Quran 25:52]


Allah says in the Quran:
"And STRIVE (JADIHU) for Allah with the
endeavor (JIHADIHI) which is His right. He has chosen you and has not
laid upon you in the DEEN (religion) any hardship..." [Noble Quran

"And whosoever STRIVES (JAHADA), STRIVES (YUJAHIDU) only for himself, for lo! Allah is altogether independent of the universe." [Noble Quran 29:6]

As for those who strive and struggle to live
as true Muslims whose lives are made difficult due to persecution by
their opponents, they are advised to migrate to a more peaceful and
tolerant land and continue with their struggle in the cause of Allah. Allah says in the Quran:

"Lo! As for those whom the angels take (in death) while they wronged
themselves, (the angels) will ask: 'In what you were engaged?' They will
say: 'We were oppressed in the land.' (The angels) will say: 'Was not
Allah's earth spacious that you could have migrated therein?'" [Noble
Quran 4:97]

"Lo! Those who believe, and those who emigrate (to escape persecution) and STRIVE (JAHADU) in the way of Allah, these have hope of Allah's mercy..." [Noble Quran 2:218]

Allah tests the believers in their faith and their steadfastness:

"Or did you think that you would enter Paradise while yet Allah knows not those of you who really STRIVE (JAHADU), nor knows those (of you) who are steadfast." [Noble Quran 3:142]

"And surely We shall try you with something of fear and hunger, and
loss of wealth and lives and fruits; but give tidings to the
steadfast." [Noble Quran 2:155]

We find that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his clan were
boycotted socially and economically for three years to force him to
stop his message and compromise with the pagans but he resisted and
realized a moral victory [2].


Allah declares in the Quran:
"As for those who STRIVE (JAHADU) in Us (the
cause of Allah), We surely guide them to Our paths, and lo! Allah is
with the good doers." [Noble Quran 29:69]

When we are faced with two competing interests, it becomes jihad to choose the right one, as the following Hadith exemplify:

"Ayshah, wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him) asked, 'O Messenger of
Allah, we see jihad as the best of deeds, so shouldn't we join it?' He
replied, 'But the best of jihad is a perfect Hajj (pilgrimage to
Makkah).'" [Sahih Al-Bukhari #2784]

At another occasion, a man asked the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):

"'Should I join the jihad?' He asked, 'Do you have parents?' The man said, 'Yes!' The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, 'Then strive by serving them!'" [Sahih Al-Bukhari #5972]

Yet another man asked the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him):

"'What kind of jihad is better?' He replied, 'A word of truth in front of an oppressive ruler!'" [Sunan Al-Nasa'i #4209]

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "...the MUJAHID (one who carries out jihad) is he who STRIVES against himself for the sake of Allah, and the MUHAJIR (one who emigrates) is he who abandons evil deeds and sin." [Sahih Ibn Hibban #4862]

================================================== =

The Quran narrates the experiences of a large number of Prophets and
good people who suffered a great deal trying to convey the message of
Allah to mankind. For examples, see the Quran 26:1-190, 36:13-32. In
the Quran, Allah specifically praises those who strive to convey His

"Who is better in speech than one who calls (other people) to Allah,
works righteous, and declares that he is from the Muslims." [Noble
Quran 41:33]

Under adverse conditions it takes great courage to remain a Muslim,
declare oneself to be a Muslim and call others to Islam. We read in the

"The (true) believers are only those who believe in Allah and his messenger and afterward doubt not, but STRIVE with their wealth and their selves for the cause of Allah. Such are the truthful." [Noble Quran 49:15]


Allah declares in the Quran:
"To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to defend
themselves), because they are wronged - and verily, Allah is Most
Powerful to give them victory - (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'..." [Noble Quran 22:39-40]

The Quran permits fighting to defend the religion of Islam and the
Muslims. This permission includes fighting in self-defense and for the
protection of family and property. The early Muslims fought many
battles against their enemies under the leadership of the Prophet
Muhammad (peace be upon him) or his representatives. For example, when
the pagans of Quraysh brought armies against Prophet Muhammad (peace be
upon him), the Muslims fought to defend their faith and community [3].
The Quran adds:

"Fight in the cause of Allah against those who fight against you, but
do not transgress limits. Lo! Allah loves not aggressors. ...And fight
them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah. But if
they desist, then let there be no hostility except against
transgressors." [Noble Quran 2:190, 193]

to be continued


In the late period of the Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) life,
the tribe of Banu Khuza'ah became his ally. They were living near
Makkah which was under the rule of the pagan Quraysh, Prophet
Muhammad's (peace be upon him) own tribe. The tribe of Banu Bakr, an
ally of Quraysh, with the help of some elements of Quraysh, attacked
Banu Khuza'ah invoked the treaty and demanded Prophet Muhammad (peace
be upon him) to come to their help and punish Quraysh. The Prophet
Muhammad (peace be upon him) organized a campaign against Quraysh of
Makkah which resulted in the conquest of Makkah which occurred without
any battle [4].


Allah orders the Muslims in the Quran:
"If you fear treachery from any group, throw back (their treaty) to
them, (so as to be) on equal terms. Lo! Allah loves not the
treacherous." [Noble Quran 8:58]

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) undertook a number of armed
campaigns to remove treacherous people from power and their lodgings.
He had entered into pacts with several Jewish tribes, however, some of
them proved themselves treacherous. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon
him) launched armed campaigns against these tribes, defeated and exiled
them from Medina and its surroundings [5].


Indeed, it is difficult to mobilize people to fight when they see no
invaders in their territory; however, those who are charged with
responsibility see dangers ahead of time and must provide leadership.
The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (peace be upon him), had the
responsibility to protect his people and the religion he established in
Arabia. Whenever he received intelligence reports about enemies
gathering near his borders he carried out premptive strikes, broke
their power and dispersed them [6]. Allah ordered Muslims in the Quran:

"Fighting is prescribed upon you, and you dislike it. But it may happen
that you dislike a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that
you love a thing which is bad for you. And Allah knows and you know
not." [Noble Quran 2:216]


Allah declares in the Quran:
"They ask you (Muhammad) concerning fighting in the Sacred Month. Say,
'Fighting therein is a grave (offense) but graver is it in the sight of
Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent
access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its inhabitants. Persecution
is worse than killing. Nor will they cease fighting you until they
turn you back from your faith, if they can..." [Noble Quran 2:217]
"And those who, when an oppressive wrong is inflicted on them, (are not cowed but) fight back." [Noble Quran 42:39]

To gain this freedom, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

"STRIVE (JAHIDU) against the disbelievers with your hands and tongues." [Sahih Ibn Hibban #4708]

The life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was full of
STRIVING to gain the freedom to inform and convey the message of Islam.
During his stay in Makkah he used non-violent methods and after the
establishment of his government in Madinah, by the permission of Allah,
he used armed struggle against his enemies whenever he found it

Allah admonishes Muslims in the Quran:
"And why should you 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 You, one who will protect;
and raise for us from You, one who will help.'" [Noble Quran 4:75]

The mission of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was to free
people from tyranny and exploitation by oppressive systems. Once free,
individuals in the society were then free to chose Islam or not.
Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) successors continued in his
footsteps and went to help oppressed people. For example, after the
repeated call by the oppressed people of Spain to the Muslims for help,
Spain was liberated by Muslim forces and the tyrant rulers removed.
After the conquest of Syria and Iraq by the Muslims, the Christian
population of Hims reportedly said to the Muslims:

"We like your rule and justice far better than the state of oppression and tyranny under which we have been living." [7]

The defeated rulers of Syria were Roman Christians, and Iraq was ruled by Zoroastrian Persians.


Muslims should remove tyranny, treachery, bigotry, and ignorance and
replace them with justice and equity. We should provide truthful
knowledge and free people from the bondage of 'associationism' (SHIRK,
or multiple gods), prejudice, superstition and mythology. Muslims
remove immorality, fear, crime, exploitation and replace them with
divine morality, peace and education. The Quran declares:

"Lo! Allah commands you that you restore deposits to their owners, and
if you judge between mankind that you judge justly. Lo! It is proper
that Allah admonishes you. Lo! Allah is ever Hearer, Seer." [Noble
Quran 4:58]

"O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah's witnesses to fair
dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to
wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to Piety and fear
Allah. And Allah is well acquainted with all that you do." [Noble Quran

"And of those whom We have created there is a nation who guides with
the Truth and establishes justice with it." [Noble Quran 7:181]

"Lo! Allah enjoins justice and kindness, and giving to kinsfolk, and
forbids lewdness and abomination and wickedness. He exhorts you in
order that you may take heed." [Noble Quran 16:90]

"Those who, if We give them power in the land, establish prescribed
prayers (SALAH) and pay the poor-due (ZAKAH) and enjoin right conduct
and forbid evil. And with Allah rests the end (and decision) of (all)
affairs." [Noble Quran 22:41]


The unequivocal and emphatic answer is NO! The Quran declares:
"Let there be no compulsion (or coercion) in the religion (Islam). The
right direction is distinctly clear from error." [Noble Quran 2:256]

Here is a good study of the question of the spread of Islam by a Christian missionary, T. W. Arnold:

"...of any organized attempt to force the acceptance of Islam on the
non-Muslim population, or of any systematic persecution intended to
stamp out the Christian religion, we hear nothing. Had the caliphs
chosen to adopt either course of action, they might have swept away
Christianity as easily as Ferdinand and Isabella drove Islam out of
Spain, or Louis XIV made Protestantism penal in France, or the Jews were
kept out of England for 350 years. The Eastern Churches in Asia were
entirely cut off from communion with the rest of Christiandom throughout
which no one would have been found to lift a finger on their behalf,
as heretical communions. So that the very survival of these Churches to
the present day is a strong proof of the generally tolerant attitude
of Mohammedan [sic] governments towards them" [8].

Islam does not teach, nor do Muslims desire, conversion of any people for fear, greed, marriage or any other form of coercion.

In conclusion, jihad in Islam is STRIVING IN THE WAY OF ALLAH by pen,
tongue, hand, media and, if inevitable, with arms. However, jihad in
Islam does not include striving for individual or national power,
dominance, glory, wealth, prestige or pride.

[1]. For the sake of simplicity and easy reading,
masculine pronouns have been used throughout this brochure. No
exclusion of females is intended.
[2]. Haykal, M. H., THE LIFE OF MUHAMMAD, Tr. Isma'il R. Faruqi, American Trust Publications, 1976, p. 132.
[3]. Haykal, pp. 216, 242, 299 and 414 for the Battles of Badr, Uhud, Al-Khandaq and Hunayn, respectively.
[4]. Haykal, p. 395 for the conquest of Makkah.
[5]. Haykal, pp. 245, 277, 311 and 326 for campaigns against the tribes
of Banu Qaynuqa', Banu Al-Nadir, Banu Quraydhah and Banu Lihyan,
respectively. Also, see p. 283 for the Battle of Dhat Al-Riqa'.
[6]. Haykal, pp. 284, 327, 366, 387, 393, 443 and 515 for the Battles
of Dawmat Al-Jandal, Banu Al-Mustaliq, Khaybar, Mu'tah, Dhat
Al-Salasil, Tabuk and the Campaign of Usamah Ibn Zaid, respectively.
[7]. Hitti, Philip K., HISTORY OF THE ARABS, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1970, p. 153.
PROPAGATION OF THE MUSLIM FAITH, Westminister A. Constable & Co.,
London, 1896, p. 80.

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