Jihad i.e. fighting in the cause of Allah, means the lawful struggle against the suppression and unjust activities in the society. Some schools of thought present the concept of Jihad in a discriminatory manner. They associate Jihad with the use of power, force and oppression by launching a war against a particular state. This is altogether wrong. In Islam, the true sense of Jihad deals with the struggle against the suppression and there are different forms of Jihad i.e. with oneself as well with material resources. Also, one raising his/her pen against tyranny and suppression through upright speech and writing is accounted as Jihad.
The Best Jihad
Islam promotes the dominance of good over the evil. Holy Quran teaches the human being to address himself first of all and then spread the teachings to the others. Islam is a practical religion and it asks people to get rid of their internal conflict at high priority basis. “Jihad BilNaffs” is the term used for the struggle to control your inner worldly desires. This is the best Jihad according to the Islamic teachings. The reason is that when a person gets rid of materialistic thoughts then the others are inspired by him. In this way, the Islamic code of conduct spreads in a society.
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) never preached anything without practically implementing it in his own life. This is why more and more people entered the circle of Islam at that time. It was the influence and motivation from the personality and piousness of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that people accepted the truth without the use of force. Unfortunately, the greatest dilemma of Muslim Ummah today is that we are very good at preaching goodness yet what we reflect from our own action is simply reverse. Unless and until, we don’t go for “Jihad BilNafs”, we cannot claim to be true Muslims.
Knowledge as an Integral Part of Jihad
The core purpose of Jihad is to implement the Islamic code of conduct and educate people about the teachings of Islam. The preferred method in this regard is to gain knowledge and then spread it. People ask for the logical justifications and without knowledge no one can provide logical justifications.
Why is Europe more powerful than the Muslim world today? The only reason is that Europe relied on the Islamic culture of knowledge before the medieval period. On the contrary, Muslims started to focus on dynasties and they ignored knowledge as the important part of the state affairs. Today, Muslims are lacking behind the whole World just because of the lack of knowledge. Islam gives a great importance to research, cognition and understanding of natural phenomenon. Unfortunately, Muslims tried to seek quick access to distant lands through warfare. Warfare, is the last and final form of jihad when all efforts of peaceful negotiations with the unbelieving states prove to be a failure. The most remarkable conquests that Muslims achieved were in the reign of second great Caliph of Islam, Hazrat Umar (RadiAllahuAnho) who was one of the learned men of Makkah even before the advent of Islam. After Allah Almighty’s special guidance, it was indeed his acumen that made Islam reach all corners of the world.
Allah never asked the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to prepare for the warfare during the very early stages of Islam rather Muslims migrated to Habshah and then Madinah, to remain save from the mischievous unbelievers of Makkah. The very first revelation of the Holy Quran starts from the word “Iqra” which means read. What had made Islam so powerful in Madinah? It was the brotherly, sincere, sacrificing and honest conduct of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his companions. Then, it was the knowledge and guidance from the Holy Quran which enabled the Islam to emerge as a powerful religion. We should note that Allah Almighty never asked the Muslims cause any kind of threat to the Jews or the Christians though they were open enemies to Muslims. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) followed the concept of peaceful living which is very admirable and successful way of running an Islamic state.
Warfare is the last preferred way of Jihad. It is allowed in the extreme situation where the Muslims are not left with any other option. I want to tell all the readers that please do not misinterpret the concept of Jihad by associating it with the use of force. Warfare is not the primary constituent of the concept of Jihad.
“Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of Allah, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly.” (Surah Al-Anfal, 8:60)
In this comprehensive Ayah of the Nobel Quran, Muslims are ordered to keep them always ready against unbelieving forces. It means, Muslims should not be lazy but remain prepared all the time to fight in the cause of Allah with their weapons alert. It is necessary to let the infidels know that we cannot allow them to harm Islam and Islamic ideology in any way. Jihad is the sixth main pillar of Islam and cannot be ignored at any cost.
The reward of fighting in the cause of Allah through one’s own life is immense and beyond our calculation. If a Muslim who gets killed during war, he is referred to as a martyr not a dead body. Holy Quran declares a martyr as alive who is also provided with sustenance, but human don’t have knowledge of it.
Also, the reward of spending ones material resources in the way of Allah Almighty for the purpose of preparing against unbelievers is great. Allah Almighty has promised to repay it in full or even more with utter justice.
Here, I also think important to remind the reader not to confuse terrorism with jihad. Both are totally different concepts. As earlier mentioned, Jihad never allows killing anyone unjustly especially women, children and older people. It is to fight with those who are in the battle field against Muslims. Islam never allows forcing the non-Muslims to enter into its fold nor does it justify unjust killing of even a single person. The so called terrorism war by those who claim them as Muslims yet ruthlessly kill innocent people (like the tragic Peshawar Attack in which around 150 students and school staff have been heartlessly martyred and several injured) is nothing but an agenda of enemies of Islam to defame it. Let them fail in their heinous plans as Holy Quran clearly states:
“…if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind…” (Surah Al- Maida, 5:32)