February 2009: Page 1, 2, 3

Safar 1429

Volume 25 No 2

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Submitters Perspective

Monthly Bulletin of the International Community of Submitters Published by Masjid Tucson

Concept of Jihad, Resorting to War, Aggression and Oppression

The subject of jihad has remained under discussion among both Muslims and non-Muslims for a long time. In context of what happened in Mumbai on and after Nov 26, 2008 we hear the word jihad being used even more frequently than before. Most people, including an overwhelming majority of the Muslims are ignorant of the true meaning of the Quran. They think that the Quran teaches its followers to be fanatic advocates and patrons of wars, that the religion of Islam was spread  by the sword. 

The term jihad has attained a very derogatory connotation. People make a very grave mistake when they speak of jihad but mean “war.” They should check the Quran and see what it says on the issue of war, its true status and laws. Should not its meaning and implication be understood in light of Quranic teaching?

Literally speaking, jihad means struggle and/or striving in the cause of God and in its widest scope includes killing and being killed in His cause. There are two different aspects of jihad or struggle — 1)

against Satan and all enemies of God and His religion, and 2) against the evil inclinations of one’s inner self.

The injunctions on jihad and war are so abundant and comprehensible in the Quran that they leave no reservation or uncertainty in the minds of believers about the spirit of these very clear commands. These are important, undoubtedly, or they would not have been mentioned so many times.

When can we then resort to war? War is only allowed as a measure of security, and is restricted to fighting in self-defense. All aggressors have been strongly condemned. As long as disputes can be settled through conciliatory means and rights and claims can be peacefully attained and imposed, we are required to refrain from fighting. Only, when there is no other option, must we then fight with full vitality and induce the enemy to see his relief in peaceful and equitable co-existence with the believers. The rules of war are explained in the following verses:

[2:190] You may fight in the cause of GOD against those who attack you, but do not aggress. GOD does not love the aggressors.

[2:191] You may kill those who wage war against you, and you may evict them whence they evicted you. Oppression is worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Sacred Masjid, unless they attack you therein. If they attack you, you may kill them. This is the just retribution for those disbelievers.

[2:192] If they refrain, then GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.

[2:193] You may also fight them to eliminate oppression, and to worship GOD freely. If they refrain, you shall not aggress; aggression is permitted only against the aggressors.

We are instructed that all fighting is regulated by the basic rule in 60:8-9. Fighting is allowed strictly in self-defense, while aggression and oppression are strongly condemned throughout the Quran.

Cont'd on page 2

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