Archive for the ‘The definition and Use of Jihad’ Category

As many of you might already know the ICNA put out an educational pamphlet which presents some very interesting thoughts about jihad. The original communique focused on the fact the article quoted Al Hasan al-Banna (MB) and the purpose of jihad.

The two above facts are significant. But I believe that what is not mentioned in the communique is of greater importance because ISNA provides the readers with an official corporate definition of jihad and it radically different from their public stance. It is buried in footnote 113:

“Footnote 113: The word Allah used in Arabic is: wa Jaahada Fee Sabeelillah – meaning: made Jihad in the path of Allah. It is incorrect to translate the word Jihad to mean strive/striving because Jihad is a legal terminology with a specific meaning, and that is, fighting in the path of Allah and the struggle therein. Translating the word Jihad to mean ‘Striving’ is misleading as it gives a meaning different to the intending meaning in the verse. Unfortunately, this error has become a common practice amongst the translators, so let them be careful from falling into such errors.”

So, jihad does not mean to strive which is the public position of every Islamic group. Instead, it is a legal term with a fixed meaning which is to fight in the path of Allah which always refers to physical warfare. Keep this definition in mind as you read what else is said of jihad.

“Overemphasizing certain conspicuous works, even to the point of going against the Sunnah: Some people become fixated on a certain type of work to the point where Satan can incite them on account of it to go against the Sunnah or to violate Islamic law. Take jihad for instance, since some of our young people today have become very interested in it. No doubt it is a great act of devotion. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There are one hundred levels in Paradise that Allah has prepared for those who engage in jihad for the cause of Allah. The distance between any two levels is like the distance between the sky and the Earth.”111 He also said that the pinnacle of Islam is jihad in the way of Allah.112 Allah makes jihad the greatest of works when he says: “Do you consider the giving of drink to the pilgrims or the maintenance of the Sacred Mosque equal to the service of those who believe in Allah and the Last Day and strive113 with might and main in the cause of Allah? They are not equal in the sight of Allah; and Allah guides not those who do wrong. Those who believe and emigrate and strive with might and main in Allah’s cause with their wealth and their lives have the highest rank in the sight of Allah. They are the people who shall achieve success. Their Lord gives them glad tidings of mercy from Himself, of His good pleasure, and of Gardens for them wherein are delights that endure. They will dwell therein forever. Verily with Allah is a great reward.” [Sûrah al-Tawbah: 19-22]. Page 170

“The Islamic movement is a universal organization that reaches out to encompass the workers in the Islamic field all over the world. This outreach is a precondition for success in conveying purely and clearly the Islamic message in ways relevant to the needs of the present time. This outreach is designed to call people to Islam, strengthen their belief in it, and organize them to work and to wage jihad in its cause.” Page 191

“b) Preparatory: Identifying good and reliable cadre to bear the burden of initiating and sustaining jihad. This is a period of building wisdom among the leaders and military discipline among the recruits. At this stage no one will be admitted to the movement except those willing to carry out their responsibilities in full obedience.” page 196

“Psychological independence. There has been much discussion about the -feeling of isolation- that Syed Qutb called for when he said, “There should be a group that takes the lead and proceeds alone in the middle of the ignorance found everywhere on this earth. This group should be in this environment but isolated from it, and should not be of this environment, though it should communicate with it.” The concept of isolation referred to here by Syed Qutb is distinct from the nihilist or rejectionist isolation of many non-Muslim groups. Muslims are isolationist in the sense of psychological independence, based on the manner and behavior, and of their feelings. This is what the Prophet (s) called when he warned: “Do not be a follower who says, I am with the people right or wrong. But maintain disciplined behavior, so when people do good, you should too and when they do evil, you should avoid it.” Effective work, movement, and Da’awah are not possible if one is physically isolated and out of contact with people, because one must be sensitive to their differences and tailor one’s approach accordingly. These people who are committed to Islam as individuals but reject the duties of work in a movement must be approached in one way. Some people are open enemies of Allah and his Messenger (s), both as individuals and as members and leaders of non-believing groups. Other people are proud of being Muslims but do not live in accordance with its rules. These people, who represent the majority of Muslims today, cannot be equated with those who deny non-believers. Each group must be addressed distinctly and with the personal knowledge that comes from communication. The message of the callers to Islam should be adapted to the closeness or distance of the potential audience, to their acceptance or rejection of the message, and to their friendship or enmity. Some of them need awareness, education, and guidance, while others, as a last resort in self-defense need the sword. This flexibility requires the callers to Islam to remain in contact with all elements of society. This relationship should aim at affecting the others positively, while avoiding a negative effect on oneself, and at purifying their lives while avoiding contamination of one’s own. The Prophet (s) said: “The patience of one of you (in jihad) is better than (worshipping) Allah for 60 years.” Page 198

“Our predecessors in faith heard the call to Allah, so they believed, and we pray that Allah
will make this faith beloved to us as it was to them because this love of Allah and Islam is
our faith. Our faith is our greatest strength and our most powerful tool; it is also the source
of the second most powerful instrument of the Islamic movement, which is jihad. The
companions of the Prophet (s) knew that Islam prevails only through the sacrifice of self
and wealth in jihad, and they were right.” Page 201

“There is the Work of Struggle (Jihad)
It would be aimed at liberating Muslim land, fighting the forces that oppose the Islamic Call
and the Muslim Nation, and preserving the freedom of the Muslim will and the independence of the Muslim decision.” Page 210

“The Holy Qur’an forbade that all of the Muslims at the Prophet’s time should go to the field
of jihad – and what a holy field it was! – And neglect another field that was no less sacred than the field of jihad, and might even have been more sacred at some times because it paved the way for it and reminded Muslims of it and warned them against neglecting it: it is the field of learning their religion well.” Page 211

“In Surah Al-Tawbah [Repentance], which denounced those who held back from jihad and promised severest punishment for those who dragged their feet on the way to the battlefield, Allah the Almighty says “Nor should the believers all go forth together. If a contingent from every expedition remained behind, they could devote themselves to studies in religion and admonish their people when they return to them, so that they (may learn) to guard themselves” [122]. . . “This is a strong call for specialization and for distribution of forces among the fields that need them.” Page 211

“To state it simply, prayer must exist, for without it Islam can not stand. The Prophet, upon
whom be peace, said, “The head of the matter is Islam, its pillar is the prayer, and the top
of its hump is jihad in the way of Allah.” It was the first act of worship that was made
obligatory by Allah.” Page 214

“By means of these two prohibitions, which concern men, Islam’s aim is to achieve certain
noble educational and moral objectives. Since it is the role of jihad (striving) and strength, Islam must safeguard the manly qualities of men from any show of weakness, passivity, and lethargy. Allah has made the physique of the man different from that of the woman, and it does not befit a man to wear clothes made of fine material or to adorn his body with costly ornaments.” Page 308

PDF: Tarbiyah Guide Stage 1