Issue 36 [@ 30:54]: Abdullah Al-Araby – “Jihad in Islam can be spiritual or physical. The spiritual Jihad is striving to be a better Muslim. But also there is a physical part of Jihad that you cannot take it away from Islam.”
Comment 36: Even though the above statement will be later used by the documentary to build up a case against Islam, but if taken at its face value, Al-Araby is correct in his statement to a certain extent. Just like – idea and action, noun and verb, body and soul, brain and mind, wood and fire, physical hygiene and spiritual growth, healthy food and healthy mind – where each is an inherent property of another and are inseparable – similarly, Jihad has its own components i.e. physical and spiritual. But the interesting point is that since Jihad is sum total of physical and non-physical effort, hence its rewards are both physical and non-physical. Simplistically, a student has to physically and mentally strive in his or her studies before the spiritual and material benefits come forth as rewards e.g. a doctoral degree with is material reward of salary and spiritual rewards of a social status and benefit to humanity. It is because of these secular principles, unlike Christianity, monasticism and asceticism have no room in Islam. Because these apparently high moral offices in Christianity are all talk but no action. Factually, Jihad in Islam is inseparable from life of a Muslim, because the ultimate goal of a Muslim is to assume Allah’s colors which in words of Al-Abraby is “striving to be a better Muslim,” and that is a dictate of Quran:
2:138. (Assume) the attributes of Allâh! and who is fairer than Allâh in attributes? We are His worshippers ever.
By being worshippers ever of Allah, Muslims are constantly toiling on towards their Lord:
84:6. O Mankind! verily you are (by nature) toiling on towards your Lord a laborious toiling, then (through arduous service to Him) you shall surely meet Him.
Such is the goal of life in Quran which directs every man to walk with God by treading along with a message of peace – Islam.
The matter of Jihad has been explained and clarified by various authors in previous issues, namely Muhammad Ali (Issue 27), Pickthall (Issue 27) and Zahid Aziz (Issue 33). The following is another discourse about Jihad which is taken (and referenced verses inserted) from the introductory comments in Translation of Quran by Nooruddin – “JIHÂD -HOLY WAR- A MISCONCEPTION”[p. 37A-38A]
And strive your hardest to win the pleasure of Allâh, as hard a striving as is possible and as it behoves you. He has chosen you and has imposed no hardship upon you in the matter of your faith, (so follow) the creed of your father Abraham. He named you Muslims (both) before this and (again) in this (Qur’ân) (22:78).
A great misconception prevails, particularly among the Christians, propagated by their zealous missionaries, with regard to the duty of JIHÂD in Islam. Even the greatest research scholars of West have not taken pains to consult any dictionary on Arabic, or to refer to the Qur’ân to find out the meaning of the word. The word Jihâd according to the Arabic-English Lexicon of E. W. Lane and the great scholar of Islam Râghîb means: The use of or exerting of one’s utmost powers, efforts, endeavours or ability in contending with an object of disapprobation, and this is of three kinds, namely; a visible enemy, the devil and against one’s own self. All these meanings are used in the Qur’ân when a reference of JIHÂD is made. The duty of JIHÂD is far from being synonymous with that of war, and the meaning of JIHÂD, ‘the Holy war’ as supposed by the western writers is unknown equally to Arabic and the fundamental teachings of the Holy Qur’ân. Even in the Traditions of the Prophet (Hadîth), this word was never synonymous with ‘the Holy war’. The Prophet of Islam called the greater Pilgrimage to Makkah (Hajj) as JIHÂD (Bukhârî 25:4).
22:40. Those who have been driven out of their homes without any just cause. Their only fault was that they said, ‘Our Lord is Allâh.’ If Allâh had not repelled some peoples by means of others, cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques wherein the name of Allâh is mentioned very frequently, would have been razed to the ground in large numbers. And Allâh will surely help one who helps His cause. Allâh is, indeed, All-Powerful, All-Mighty.
The permission to fight (22:40) under certain circumstances has no connection with the preaching of the religion by force and at no time did Islam permit the use of force for the purpose of preaching.
9:41. Go forth (all whether) light (- being ill-equipped) or heavy (- being well-equipped) and strive hard with your possessions and your persons in the cause of Allâh. That is better for you, if only you knew (your own gain or loss).
Again the Qur’ân says: ‘Strive hard with your possessions and your persons in the cause of Allâh’ (9:41) and:
25:52. So do not follow the disbelievers, and strive hard against them with the help of this (Qur’ân), a mighty striving.
‘Strive hard against them (the enemies of Islam, the nonbelievers) with the help of this (Qur’ân, which is full of arguments and reasoning) a mighty striving’ (25:52). God expects from us a JIHÂD against our souls, against our NAFS AMMÂRAH, our commanding self which is continuously inciting us towards evil.
2:114. And who can be more unjust than those who prohibit the name of Allâh from being extolled in (any of His) houses of worship and strive to ruin them. It was not proper for such, ever to enter these (places) except in fear and awe. For them is disgrace in this world, and there awaits them a severe punishment in the Hereafter.
God has not given us any permission to use any kind of force to prohibit people from going to places of worship – Churches, Synagogues and Temples – ‘where the names of God are being glorified’ (2:114).
The way this documentary distorts the meaning of Jihad is analogous to Health as to how much weights can a person lift. The word Health has a wide spectrum of connotations with it. Health is not just physical health but it also includes mental health, spiritual health, economic health, social health and so on for a person. Thus, when one discusses health or gives advice about health, one has to take into consideration all these aspects under the rubric of health. Given this spectrum of implications of health, if some health buff only equates health to how much weights can one lift in a gym, it would be a sign of pure ignorance. Such a person will rightfully earn the title of health fanatic. To such a tunnel vision of health, a child or an older person cannot be healthy as they will not be able to lift any significant pounds. But still, a weight lifter can be accepted as healthy as long as he stays within the moral and ethical boundaries of not doping, else such a person is no more than a drug addict who presents to the world his muscles as false representation of health.
Similarly, as mentioned before by Nooruddin, Muhammad Ali, Pickthall, Zahid Aziz and others, in light of Quran, the word Jihad has implications of – The use of or exerting of one’s utmost powers, efforts, endeavours or ability in contending with an object of disapprobation, and this is of three kinds, namely; a visible enemy, the devil and against one’s own self. Similar to example of a healthy weightlifter, a war against a visible enemy is a sub-component of Jihad as long as it is in self-defense, else an aggressive war might outwardly be sold as Jihad, but it is no different than that of a weightlifter who apparently is healthy, but for all intent and purposes is a doper. The “experts” of this documentary only present to the world the doped-up Jihad as actual Jihad, which is wrong and willfully dishonest. The audience who cheer the these “experts” are no more than the audience who cheer the prime-time mock fights of dopers on steroids who sell wrestling as athletics to the ignorant.
The Holy Quran – Noourddin