Why Saudi Arabia for peace talk? Jihad and Paradise (2)
By Isola Haroon Balogun
There was a gang of nine men in the city causing corruption in the land and not putting things right. They said, “Let us make an oath to one another by Allah that we will fall on him and his family in the night and then say to his protector, we did not witness the destruction of his family and we are telling the truth.”
They hatched a plot and We hatched a plot while they were not aware. (Surat an-Naml, 48-50). So, the fact that people do things “in the name of Allah” or even swear by His name does not mean that what they do is in conformity with the religion. On the contrary, what they do are against the will of Allah and the morality of religion. As it is in Islam on this matter, so it is in other religion.
Therefore, the actions of these terrorists should not be accepted as representing Islam in any way. It contradicts the teachings of all religions; human and moral values.
Non-Muslims are quick to refer to Islamic term of Jihad. Not many of them read the Quran or the hadiths to know exactly what the term means.
Those of them who take Comparative studies or those who assume to know usually have a warped knowledge of the term as a result of sentiment of ‘mine is the only way’. They have refused to be guided by the substance in what they read; rather, they twist it, and allow themselves to be ruled by sentiments. You will be surprised by the idea of a Pastor on Jihad, or the meaning a student at the seminary will give to Jihad.
Even when you explain to them, they still hold firmly to what they think they know because it serves them a purpose. I have had to explain ‘Jihad and the virgins’ a number of times to some of my non-Muslim colleagues, yet, it has not changed anything; they still hold on to their idea.
Islam is all about mercy, about virtue, about sacrifice and about duty to humanity. It encourages moral perfection and any activity that is far from these, no matter the colouration, is not Islam. As Muslims, there is no room for fanaticism, for hatred, for racism, for terrorizing or killing innocent people in Islam, even in a state of war. Shedding innocents’ blood constitutes a form of injustice that cannot be tolerated by Islam.
The Qur’an states that to kill one innocent person is like killing all of humanity. Now, for the umpteenth time, Jihad, which literally means ‘struggle,’ has an internal, societal and combative dimension. The internal dimension of Jihad encompasses the struggle against the evil inclinations of the self, and the spiritual project to adorn the self with virtues such as justice, mercy, generosity and gentleness.
Secondly, the societal dimension includes struggling against social injustice and creating a communal identity based on charity, respect and equality; while the third aspect of jihad is only to be used as self-defense against aggression or to fight oppression, and, even at that, it is strictly within the limit of good conduct, justice and preservation of life of the innocents and the sanctity of the environment.
For those who don’t know, this latter type of Jihad can only be declared by a legitimate, recognized religious authority, not any individual or a group of people with no legal identity or acceptability.
Some have asked that those involved in the act of terrorism are nominal Muslims and I said to them: it is not impossible but sincere Muslims who fully abide by the Qur’an will not be a part of such repressive act of killing innocent people. The people who carry out this oppression are the followers of shaytan.
They are people who foolishly attempt to apply their aberrant ideas in the name of Islam, and who think in a way that is diametrically opposed to the moral values of the religion.
In any case, professing Shaadah or being a Musa, or Abdullahi, or Abubakar does not totally make one a true Muslim. Just as I said above of hypocrites, only Almighty Allah knows who serves Him rightly. The Prophet said: “The most excellent jihad is that for the conquest of self.”
“Whoever suppresseth his anger, when he has it in his power to show it, God will give him a great reward.” “Do you love your Creator? Love your fellow beings first.”
On suicide, he says: “Wish not or supplicate for death before its time cometh.”
According to the Qur’an, war is only possible for defensive purposes, when property, lives or virtue are in danger. But even then, Muslim are warned never go to excess, and have a responsibility to treat the captives kindly. We read several examples of early Muslim who even gave their prisoners food while they themselves go hungry. They established peace without delay and to protect the innocents.
It is clear from the life of our Prophet (s.a.w) the kind of behavior in this regard that Islam demands. Throughout the 13 years they lived in Makkah, Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) and the Companions were subjected to terrible torture, attacks and slanders; they were forced to leave their homes when they were threatened with death. But they never resorted to violence despite all these aggression and oppression.
When the oppression in Makkah became unbearable, they migrated to Madinah, and during the Madinah period they only engaged in wars that were unavoidable and for defensive purposes. For example, the Battle of Badr began when the Makkah pagans gathered their armies and attacked the Muslims, intending to exterminate them.
The Muslim erected obstacles around the city in order to protect themselves, and the fighting was purely defensive. In short, none of the wars in the past was offensive. All of them were the result of direct and ferocious attacks on Muslims by the pagans.