The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement Blog

Miracles, Myths, Mistakes and MattersSee Title Page and List of Contents

See: Project Rebuttal: What the West needs to know about Islam

Refuting the gross distortion and misrepresentation of the Quran, the Prophet Muhammad and Islam, made by the critics of Islam

Read: Background to the Project

List of all Issues | Summary 1 | Summary 2 | Summary 3

February 18th, 2009


Submitted by Bashir.

Personally, I am utterly confused by HMGA’s definition of Jihad.

HMGA claims to have re-defined JIHAD, or he claims to give the correct interpretation of it. If that is true, then we have to believe that the muslims in general, for the last 1400 years misinterpreted JIHAD.

Did Abu Bakr misinterpret jihad?
Did Imam Abu Hanifa misinterpret Jihad?

HMGA used his ijtihad (judgement) to come to this conclusion. These ideas of “anti-war” were floating around many muslim circles in those days. Ironically enough, Mualvi Muhammad Hussain Batalvi also agreed with HMGA in this respect.

Just some ideas I wanted to throw out there….

14 Responses to “Jihad”

  1. I just read “Jihad and the British Govt.”

    These are the facts from reading this book:

    1.  The injunction of Jihad was a temporal one, meant only for the early muslims.

    2.  The Messiah was tasked to remove this misconception, the reference is given to a hadith of Bukhari in which it is written that:
    “…he would bring an end to religous wars”
    another reading of the above would be that he would remove the jizya, or vice versa.

     My questions:

    1.  Are there any other injunctions in the Koran that are temporal??
    1.a.  I think not eating pork was a temporal injunction.
    1.b. I think purda was a temporal injunction.
    1.c.  I think polygamy was a temporal injunction.

    2.  The hadith that refers to the messiah abolishing the wars was always understood to mean that he would provide peace and tranquillity.  Furthermore, all peoples would embrace Islam.  This is how the messiah would erase the jizyah.  Only non-muslims pay jizyah.  If there are no non-muslims, then there is one left to pay the jizyah.  We must not forget that this same hadith goes further to say that the messiah would make wealth abundant, so much so that people would not want wealth at all. 

    I will find the exact hadith and post it shortly. 

    Currently I am not sold on HMGA’s theories on Jihad.  I will do a search of Jihad/Strive in the Koran.  I will post my results. 

  2. You haven’t told us what you currently believe Jihad is. What is the “injunction of jihad”  which you say Hazrat Mirza sahib declared as only for the early Muslims? How should Muslims living in the West (like you and me) carry it out today?

    If a Muslim has never fought in a battle against non-Muslims, nor assisted in such a battle, while capable of doing so, does it mean that he has never participated in jihad?

    The injunctions you mention in 1a, b, c, relate to clearly defined activities. People know exactly what it is to eat or to not eat pork. People know, with some differences, what constitutes purda.  Polygamy is a clearly definable situation (a man marries more than one wife at one time). You can look at someone and tell whether he/she is adhering or not adhering to these. There can be laws of the land relating to these (e.g. law of female dress and movements in Iran and Saudi Arabia).

    But how do you define Jihad? Are you, Bashir, engaged in a jihad of trying to understand Islam?

    The Quran even mentions jihad conducted by unbelievers to make a person give up belief in One God:

    “And We have enjoined on man goodness to his parents. But if they contend (jahada) with thee to associate (others) with Me, of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not.” 29:8

    “And if they strive (jahada) with thee to make thee associate with Me that of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not, ” 31:15

  3. Bukhari has an entire chapter that deals with Jihad.  HMGA should have reviewed this before commenting on Jihad.  Each and every report should have been evaluated. 

    Currently I am dabbling with the idea that Jihad=military service.  Or service in the support of muslims.  Whether wartime or peace time, it doesnt really matter much, I must say that the fighters in the early islam were given a priviledge that is not accrued to any other muslims, see Koran Chapter 4 verse 70.  This was an injunction meant only for the fighters of early Islam.   Some of these fighters were barbaric stone cold killers, some were Ali, Abu Bakr and Uthman.   Nevertheless, Allah promised them something that he never promised anybody else, and rightfully so–my opinion. 

    I am preparing a detailed paper on this topic.  I will post my preliminary thoughts..of course these are subject to change as I learn more.  I have the ability to change my beliefs because I am learning, without any divine help.  I have an open mind, and I admit when I am wrong. 

    The christian missionaries were owning Islam on the principle of Jihad.  The christian missionaries were arguing that Islam was a violent religion.  Christianity promoted peace, Islam promoted violence–this was a good argument. 

    At this time the arabs weren’t intelligent enough to fight for Islam.  The christians had infiltrated India for HER resources (See east india tea company).   India was a melting pot of 4 religions.  The christian missionaries were much more intellgent than the muslims/sikhs/hindus.  The christian missionaries were highly successful in converting many people to christianity. 

    Because of the above stated environment.  Muslims including the famous Sir Syed, Maulvi Muhammad Hussain Batalvi, HMGA and Noorrudin began promoting a broader scope of Jihad.  These contemporaries began claiming that Jihad has/had a much greater scope.  I cant say that I disagree. 

    I think HMGA was forced to re-define because of the negative impression that Jihad has/had.  I think Jihad was defined by the muslims for the last 1400 years consistently to mean fighting for Islam. 

    HMGA broke down Jihad in its technical sense in urdu “lughwi manai”.  Just like he broke down prophethood.    HMGA explained his prophethood as in the technical sense of the word.  This appears to me a major theme of his argumentative thought process.

  4. The chapter on Jihad in the book The Religion of Islam by Maulana Muhammad Ali is a full treatment of this subject. It is available as a separate booklet at this link.

    Our submission in 1985 at the Cape Town court case is also a very useful study. Here is the link.

    This material shows that Hazrat Mirza sahib and his followers have done the most detailed analysis of this issue.

    Jihad has no technical meaning in the way that, for example, Salat (prayer) or Hajj have a definition in Islamic theology. The Quran and the Holy Prophet very commonly use it in a general sense, as in the hadith:

    “The greatest jihad is to speak the word of truth to a tyrant.”  (Mishkat, Book of Rulership and Judgment)

  5. HMGA does not explain as to when he began to re-interpret Jihad. 
    Was it 1880?  Was it 1889?

    What led him to believe this? 
    What revelation was it?? 
    Is it purely research?  
    Can we categorize this with the story of the virgin birth of Jesus?
    Is this open to interpretation?
    Did he at any point in his life agree with the mainstream muslims on this principle?

    Many questions were left un-answered by HMGA.  I understand that in 3rd world countries it is somewhat taboo to ask a teacher questions. 

    Did M.  Ali ever ask HMGA any questions pertaining to his beliefs? 

  6. I don’t think he ever re-interpreted it. Other leading Muslim leaders in India had declared from the mid-1860s onwards that Jihad did not mean war. This is all published. Maulvi Chiragh Ali published his famous book on Jihad (in English) in the early 1880s. He was well known to Hazrat Mirza sahib and his name is mentioned in Barahin Ahmadiyya.

    Hazrat Mirza sahib accepted the same views on Jihad, and moreover he went on to write that the Mahdi would also not be waging a war-like Jihad, as commonly thought.

    As to whether it is “open to interpretation”, does this mean that, for example, all those Muslim leaders who have been declaring since September 2001 that such outrages are not the Jihad taught in Islam, will one day suddenly discover that they were wrong in their interpretation, and that Islam does teach a violent jihad of killing innocent non-Muslims?!

    As to agreeing with “mainstream Muslims” on jihad, what exactly do the mainstream believe about Jihad? The mainstream in Pakistan are facing bomb explosions daily carried out by groups who believe that they are conducting the true Jihad. Do the mainstream agree?

    Your experiences may perhaps have given you the impression that it is taboo in the 3rd world to ask your teacher questions. It certainly doesn’t apply to the great religious figures of Islam.

    Just read in the Quran how often it says “they ask you (Prophet Muhammad)…”. Read the verse: “as for the one who asks (a question), do not chide him”. Read how Allah reprimanded the Holy Prophet in the Quran for turning away from the question asked by an ordinary blind man. Read those hundreds of hadith reports in which it is stated that so and so “asked the Messenger of Allah”.

    Hazrat Mirza sahib stressed to all those who asked him questions: if even the slightest doubt remains in your mind about my answer, don’t keep it in your mind, put it to me again.

  7. Jihad of course doesnt mean WAR.  Jihad means to strive.  In the Koran ALLAH allowed muslims to strive with the sword.  Offensively and defensively.    That is the fact.  ALLAH allowed muslims to strive offensively.  Not even Muhammad could disallow something that ALLAH allows.   Once ALLAH allowed this, it became a commandment, so to speak. 

    In my opinion, this applies to all races and creeds.  If any people are being unjustly occupied, or are persecuted, they have the right to attack.  Nobody can cancel this injunction.  I believe that the palestinians are unjustly occupied.   

    Hence, they have the right to resist, offensively.  Personally, I think that they are not in a position to do so.  They should desist from fighting the jews immediatly.  They should focus on sending there sons to school.  That is the type of JIhad that they shoudl employ. 

    Here is the hadith that HMGA refers to:

    By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, surely (Jesus,) the Son of Mary will soon descend amongst you and will judge mankind justly (as a Just Ruler); he will break the Cross and kill the pigs and there will be no Jizyah (i.e. taxation taken from non Muslims). Money will be in abundance so that nobody will accept it, and a single prostration to Allah (in prayer) will be better than the whole world and whatever is in it.” Abu Huraira added “If you wish, you can recite (this verse of the Holy Book): — “And there is none Of the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) But must believe in him (i.e Jesus as an Apostle of Allah and a human being) before his death. And on the Day of Judgment He will be a witness against them.” (Quran 4:159)
    (Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 4, Book 55, No. 657; Fateh-ul Bari, Vol. 7, P. 302)

  8. It is quite true that wherever people are under attack they have a right to fight back if necessary. But when a group of Muslims is in that position and fights back, that does not become what Islam calls Jihad as it was in the time of the Holy Prophet. That Jihad in early Islam was primarily for saving Islam itself. Muslims today fighting somewhere may well be pursuing a just cause, but it is for material ends, e.g. regaining your lost property and land. Also, many other motives get mixed in as well.

    If Palestinians fight and win all their just demands, it will not take them one step closer to Allah. Nor will Pakistanis get one step closer to Allah by fighting and winning a so-called jihad to gain Kashmir.

    Hazrat Mirza sahib made an interesting observation. He said Muslims obtain their weapons from European powers, and even the Sultan of Turkey relies on those powers to get weapons for his armed forces. So how are Muslims going to fight against those powers?

    Also, in the Holy Prophet’s time and till a little, all Muslims were fighting on one side. Now we have wars with Muslims on both sides, each side regarding it as jihad.

    And what about when Muslims are the oppressors? Presumably others have the right to fight back.

    In this hadith, “There will be no jizyah” may well mean that Muslims will not be ruling non-Muslims at the time of the Promised Messiah in his country.

  9. HMGA claimed that the injunction of Jihad with the sword(offensive or defensive) was temporal in nature and remedial in terms of time period. 

    ZA:  I have a simple question

    Is there any other suggestion in the Koran that is temporal?

    This idea that one injunction of the Koran being temporary is an anomoly.  All Koranic passages are commands that possess an unlimited scope in space and time.  That is why Muhammad(saw) is the final prophet.  Allah had completed his favor upon us.  It was up to us to evolve into higher levels of thought formation. 

    Again, is there any other injunction that was temporal???

  10. The answer is yes.

    The Quran says: “And if they incline to peace, incline thou also to it, and trust in Allah.” (8:61). So the injunction to fight doesn’t apply if the other side offers peace.

    “But if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors.” (2:193). If they desist, there is no jihad by the sword.

    “Say to those who disbelieve, if they desist, that which is past will be forgiven them” (8:38)

    When conditions don’t exist, there is no jihad by the sword.

    Here are some injunctions that are temporary:

    Marry your slave girls (4:3, 4:25, 23:6).

    Keep your male and female slaves in a married condition (24:32).

    “And those of your slaves who ask for a writing (of freedom), give them the writing, if you know any good in them, ” (24:33).

    As slavery has been abolished, these injunctions cannot be applied.

    Then, relating to jihad, there are Ulama who believe that Muslims can still make slaves of the prisoners of war, male and female, who are captured by them during a jihad. Then, they say, the female ones can be made concubines (“those whom your right hands possess”) by the soldiers who capture them. Is this still in force?

    And what injunctions apply to jihad where there are Muslims on both sides (Iraq war today, Afghanistan war today, conflict in Pakistan against Taliban, war between Iran and Iraq in the late 1980s, Bangladesh war of 1971, etc.), where we have two sides fighting jihad against each other, and soldiers on both sides believe they are earning shahadat (martyrdom)?

  11. ZA:  You make some interesting points. 

    1.  Jihad(striving) with the intent to kill another human being is conditional. 

    1.a.  For a muslim to apply this law of Allah many conditions must be met. 

    2.  Were slaves freed in the Koran?  Did allah himself free the slaves or was it some other person. 

    3.  Allah allowed muslims to drink alcohol, then later changed his mind.  Allah allowed muslim women to roam freely, later he stopped this. 

    1.b  No one can ever say that this is a temporal law.  It’s not temporal, it is conditional. 

    1.c.  The palestinians meet all the conditions.  When the soviet union invaded afghanistan, the afghanis met the criteria.  The USA has funded the Jews of Israel.  The USA has given them crucial supplies that has made them a world power.  It is highly debatable whether the USA is innocent in this respect.

    1.d.  Muslims vs. muslims do not fit the criteria.  

  12. I am not quite clear about the relevance of the points about who freed slaves and about alcohol. If something is conditional, in this case jihad by arms, then it doesn’t apply when the conditions don’t exist. In other words, it is temporary, i.e., not always applicable.

    Slavery doesn’t exist anymore, and there are no more women “whom your right hands possess” due to ownership. That is what Allah wanted to happen and encouraged. So commands relating to them were only for times till these practices existed.

    Regarding the so-called jihad by the Afghans against the Soviet Union, those mujahideen (the title by which the Western press also referred to them) were formerly bandits and highway robbers. They were fighting to restore that way of life. They received massive support from the USA through the CIA. Without that support, they would have been crushed by the Soviet forces. Is that a jihad, which is sponsored by a non-Muslim power for its own ends (against the USSR)? And that same power a few years later, again for its own interests, turned against the same mujahideen.

    Since when did it become an Islamic jihad to fight as tools for the interests of a non-Muslim power with weapons provided by the latter?

  13. ZA: I understand your point about the afghanis, and yes that could be categorized as a gray area.  Unfortunatley, The palestinian situation is not a gray area.  Those poor muslims have been oppressed and unjustyl dominated.  My suggestion for them is non-violent resistance.  They should educate thier children, they should wait until they have the technology to actually win a war, even if that takes 100 years.  Then they should make their move. 

    The british were allowing muslims to pray freely.  But they were outsiders who had no right to occupy a foreign land.  The only reason that the british were in India was to make money off of the muslims, hindus and sikhs.  I think the british were nice because of the fact that the money was rolling in.  The british played a great game of divide and conquer.  As they did in Africa and almost every other continent in the world. 

    I disagree with HMGA’s exposition of Jihad as temporal, then I disagree with his explanation of the haidth in which it is written that the messiah was supposed to abolish war.  The majority of the related hadith say JIZYAH, not WAR.  The science of hadith states that you must follow the consensus. 

    The hadith about mujadids coming every century is only found in one book, that is abu daud(i think).  How can this be viewed as authentic, the science of hadith is against this. 

    Bukhari doesnt mention anything about the Mahdi, what is a muslim to think of this. 

    My question is, Didnt Allah abolish slavery in the Koran?

    If not, then please enlighten me as to how slaves were freed in Islam.

    Is there any other injunction which is temporal, or did you only find one?

  14. HMGA also wrote that the miltary Jihad is conditional.  I didnt know this before.

    See The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement by Maulana Muhammad Ali.
    pg. 78

    “There is not the least doubt that the conditions laid down for jihad [in the Holy Quran] are not to be met with at the present time and in this country; so it is illegal for the Muslims to fight for [the propagation of] religion and to kill anyone who rejects the Sacred Law, for God has made clear the illegality of jihad when there is peace and security.”

    Tuhfa Golarwiyya, Supplement, p. 30.

Leave a Reply