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

October 29th, 2011

Issue 27

Issue 27 [@ 20:32] Robert Spencer – Traditional Islamic theology has it that the 9th Chapter of the Quran, Surah 9 is the last revealed in the career of the Prophet. And it is the only one that does not begin with Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Raheem – in the name of Allah the Compassionate the Merciful. Some have said that is because there is no compassion or mercy in this particular chapter and that it is the Quran’s last word on Jihad and in particular on how Muslims should behave toward unbelievers. In it is the celebrated verse of sword.

Rebuttal 27: Lo and behold, now Spencer is sanctifying himself by referring to “Traditional Islamic theology” without identifying it. He uses the “Traditional Islamic Theology” to segue into a fabrication that Chapter 9, Surah Al-Bar’at – Immunity which is also called Al-Taubah or Repentance, is the “Quran’s last word on Jihad and how Muslims should behave toward unbelievers.” As to why this Chapter does not start with the usual “Bismillah Ar Rahman Ar Raheem,” Muhammad Ali in his commentary of Quran writes – This is the only chapter of the Quran not opening with Bismillah, “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful”, as it is, in a sense, a continuation of the last chapter [8 – Al-Anfal or Voluntary Gifts]. Rebuttal 23 fully deals with the initial part of Chapter 9.

Interestingly, nowhere in the documentary the meaning of Jihad is mentioned so far. Why? The mere fact is that if and when the true meaning of Jihad is mentioned the documentary will self-negate itself and implode under the weight of its falsehood. Muhammad Ali in his book Religion of Islam under the chapter “Jihad in Islam” expounds the meaning of Jihad:

Significance of Jihad

The word jihad is derived from jahd or juhd meaning ability, exertion or power, and jihad and mujahida mean the exerting of one’s power in repelling the enemy [Al-Mufridat fi Ghairibi-l-Qur’an, of lmam Abu-l-Qasim al-Husain ibn Abu-l-Fadzl al-Raghib.]. The same authority then goes on to say: “Jihad is of three kinds; viz., the carrying on of a struggle: 1. against a visible enemy, 2. against the devil, and 3. against self (nafs).

According to another authority, jihad means fighting with unbelievers and that is an intensive form (mubalaghah), and exerting one’s self to the extent of one’s ability and power whether it is by word (qaul) or deed (fi‘l) [al-Nihayah fi Gharibi-l-Iadithi wa-lAthar, by al-Mubarak ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad Jazrs, commonly called Ibn Athsi.].

A third authority gives the following significance: “Jihad, inf. n. of jahada, properly signifies the using or exerting of one’s utmost power, efforts, endeavours or ability, in contending with an object of disapprobation; and this is of three kinds, namely a visible enemy, the devil, and one’s self; all of which are included in the term as used in the Kur. xxii. 77” (Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon.) Jihad is therefore far from being synonymous with war, while the meaning of “war undertaken for the propagation of Islam”, which is supposed by European writers to be the significance of jihad, is unknown equally to the Arabic language and the teachings of the Holy Qur’an.

The arguments of Spencer are no more than a tunnel vision for Jihad in Islam. He never understood the concept of Jihad. The following is an excerpt of the analysis by Muhammad Ali in his book Religion of Islam under the chapter “Jihad in Islam” which deals with Jihad in light of Quran:

Use of the Word Jihad in Makkah Revelations:

Equally, or even more important is the consideration of the sense in which the word is used in the Holy Qur’an. It is an admitted fact that permission to fight was given to the Muslims when they had moved to Madinah, or, at the earliest, when they were on the eve of leaving Makkah. But the injunction relating to jihad is contained in the earlier as well as in the later Makkah revelations. The 29th chapter of the Holy Qur’an is one of a group which was undoubtedly revealed in the fifth and sixth years of the Call of the Holy Prophet; yet there the word jihad is freely used in the sense of exerting one’s power and ability, without implying any war. In one place it is said: “And those who strive hard (jahadu) for Us, We shall certainly guide them in Our ways, and Allah is surely with the doers of good” (29:69). The Arabic word jahadu is derived from jihad or mujahadah, and the addition of fina (for Us) shows, if anything further is needed to show it, that the jihad, in this case, is the spiritual striving to attain nearness to God, and the result of this jihad is stated to be God’s guidance to those striving in His ways. The word is used precisely in the same sense twice in a previous verse in the same chapter: “And whoever strives hard (jahada) strives (yujahidu) for his self,” that is, for his own benefit, “for Allah is Self-Sufficient, above need of the worlds” (29:6). In the same chapter, the word is used in the sense of a contention carried on in words: “And we have enjoined on man goodness to his parents, and if they contend (jahada) with thee to associate (others) with Me, of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not” (29:8).

Among the later revelations may be mentioned al-Nahl, the 16th chapter, where it is said, towards the close: “Then surely thy Lord, with respect to those who flee after they are persecuted then struggle hard (jahadu) and are patient (sabaru), surely thy Lord after that is Protecting, Merciful (16:110). There is another prevalent misconception, namely, that at Makkah the Holy Qur’an enjoined patience (sabr) and at Madinah it enjoined jihad, as if patience and jihad were two contradictory things. The error of this view is shown by the verse quoted, since it enjoins jihad and patience in one breath.

Two more examples may be quoted of the use of the word jihad in the Makkah revelations. In one place it is said: “And strive hard (jahidu) for Allah with due striving (jihad)” (22:78). And in the other: “So obey not the unbelievers and strive (jahid) against them a mighty striving (jihad-an) with it” (25:52), where the personal pronoun it refers clearly to the Holy Qur’an, as the context shows. In both these cases, the carrying on of a jihad is clearly enjoined, but in the first case it is a jihad to attain nearness to God, and in the second it is a jihad which is to be carried on against the unbelievers, but a jihad not of the sword but of the Holy Qur’an. The struggle made to attain nearness to God and to subdue one’s passions, and the struggle made to win over the unbelievers, not with the sword but with Holy Qur’an is, therefore, a jihad in the terminology of the Holy Qur’an, and the injunctions to carry on these two kinds of jihad were given long before the command to take up the sword in self-defence.

Jihad in Madinah Revelations:

A struggle for national existence was forced on the Muslims when they reached Madinah, and they had to take up the sword in self-defence. This struggle went, and rightly, under the name of jihad; but even in the Madinah chapters the word is used in the wider sense of a struggle carried on by words or deeds of any kind. As a very clear example of this use, the following verse may be quoted which occurs twice: “O prophet! strive hard (jahid from jihad) against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be firm against them; and their abode is Hell; and evil is the destination” (9:73; 66:9). Here the Holy Prophet is bidden to carry on a jihad against both unbelievers and hypocrites. The hypocrites were those who were outwardly Muslims and lived among, and were treated like, Muslims in all respects. They came to the mosque and prayed with the Muslims. They even paid the zakat. A war against them was unthinkable, and none was ever undertaken. On the other hand, they sometimes fought along with the Muslims against the unbelievers. Therefore the injunction to carry on a jihad against both unbelievers and hypocrites could not mean the waging of war against them. It was a jihad carried on by means of the Holy Qur’an as expressly stated in 25:52, a striving hard to win them over to Islam. In fact, on other occasions as well, it is a mistake to think that jihad means only fighting; the word is almost always used in the general sense of striving hard, including fighting where the context so requires. “ Those who believe and those who fled (their homes) and strive hard in the way of Allah”(2:218; 8:74), is a description which applies as much to the fighters as to those who carry on the struggle against unbelief and evil in other ways. And the sabirin (those who are steadfast or patient), and the mujahidin (those who struggle hard ), are again spoken of together in a Madinah revelation as they are in a Makkah revelation: “ Do you think you will enter the Garden while Allah has not yet known those from among you who strive hard (nor) known the steadfast?” (3 :141).

Pickthall brings to light the fallacy of the West with regards to Jihad and realigns the historical Jihad of Moses and Jesus in the person of Muhammad as follows:

Marmaduke Pickthall on the true concept of Jihad

“The error with regard to the common view regarding Islam arises from misapprehension of the meaning of the word ‘Jihad’, a word which in the hands of the C.I.D. [- U.K. equivalent of FBI in U.S.A.] reporters has caused much groundless fear to the British in India.

In English ‘Jihad’ is commonly translated ‘holy war’, with a meaning like crusade. It properly denotes the whole effort, individual and collective, of the true believer against evil, beginning with the conquest of a man’s own passions and ending possibly, but not necessarily, in persecution and exile or upon the battlefield. Every prophet made Jihad in his own way. That of Moses took the form of emigration to escape from evil. That of Jesus was of a non-violent and passive kind. That of Muhammad shows three stages: first a non-violent endurance of hostility and persecution while fulfilling his own mission, like that of Jesus; second, when the persecution threatened to exterminate his people, emigration, the Jihad of Moses; and third, when he and his followers formed an independent State, however small and weak, and when the persecutors still persisted in attacking them, then and not till then he was enjoined to fight.

The term ‘Jihad’ applies to all those stages, but in the minds of Europeans it is restricted to the third. That is the reason for the whole mistake. The sort of Jihad prescribed for peoples in a subject state differs from that prescribed for the same people in a state of independence. And the Jihad for subject peoples who are persecuted is the Jihad of Jesus, which was followed by Muhammad during thirteen years at Mecca.”

— Loyal Enemy by Anne Fremantle, published by Hutchinson & Co. Ltd., London 1938, pages 323, 324.

For the lame duck falsification and labeling of “the celebrated verse of the sword” by the documentary see earlier Rebuttal 26 and the Rebuttal 28 coming later.

Religion of Islam – Muhammad Ali
Marmaduke Pickthall on the true concept of Jihad

Comments are closed.