Islam = Jihad??

This post continues a critical examination of the assertions expressed in and implied by these statements from the current and proposed resolutions combating defamation of religions.

Also expresses deep concern at attempts to identify Islam with terrorism, violence and human rights violations and emphasizes that equating any religion with terrorism should be rejected and combated by all at all levels;

Expresses deep concern in this respect that Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism

Is Islam wrongly associated with violence? A critical examination of Islam’s canon of scripture, tradition & jurisprudence will provide the answer. The word associated with this question is Jihad. What is the meaning of Jihad and what is its importance? Turning to 2:216 , we find the definition.

216. Jihâd [1] (holy fighting in Allâh’s cause) is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allâh knows but you do not know.

[1] (V.2:216) See the footnote of (V.2:190).

The parenthetical expression is editorial, not Allah’s word. We need to discover what differentiates holy fighting from secular fighting and we need to define Allah’s cause. Lets follow the footnote.

[1] (V.2:190) Al-Jihâd (holy fighting) in Allâh’s Cause (with full force of numbers and weaponry) is given the utmost importance in Islâm and is one of its pillar (on which it stands). By Jihâd Islâm is established, Allâh’s Word is made superior, (His Word being Lâ ilaha illallâh which means none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh), and His Religion (Islâm) is propagated. By abandoning Jihâd (may Allâh protect us from that) Islâm is destroyed and the Muslims fall into an inferior position; their honour is lost, their lands are stolen, their rule and authority vanish. Jihâd is an obligatory duty in Islâm on every Muslim, and he who tries to escape from this duty, or does not in his innermost heart wish to fulfil this duty, dies with one of the qualities of a hypocrite.
Narrated ‘Abdullâh bin Mas‘ûd رضي الله عنه: I asked Allâh’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم “O Allâh’s Messenger! What is the best deed?” He replied, “To offer the Salât (prayers) at their early fixed stated times.” I asked, “What is next in goodness?” He replied, “To be good and dutiful to your parents.” I further asked, “What is next in goodness?” He replied, “To participate in Jihâd in Allâh’s Cause.” I did not ask Allâh’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم anymore and if I had asked him more, he would have told me more. (Sahih Al-Bukhâri, Vol.4, Hadîth No.41).

Contrary to the footnote, Jihad is not generally recognized as one of the pillars or Islam. We learn that it is:

  • physical fighting
  • of utmost importance
  • establishing Islam
  • making Allah’s word superior
  • propagating Islam.

We also learn that abandoning Jihad has consequences:

  • Islam is destroyed
  • inferiority
  • dishonor
  • loss of
  • land
  • authority
  • rule.

Lets look to Umdat as-Salik for confirmation.

O9.0: Jihad (O: Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada signifying warfare to establish the religion. And it is the lesser jihad. As for the greater jihad, it is spiritual warfare against the lower self (nafs), which is why the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said as he was returning from jihad.

Islamic law confirms the definition of Jihad as physical warfare to establish Islam. We still lack a firm fix on Allah’s cause. Perhaps the hadith will provide an answer.

Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 52, Number 65:

Narrated Abu Musa:

A man came to the Prophet and asked, “A man fights for war booty; another fights for fame and a third fights for showing off; which of them fights in Allah’s Cause?” The Prophet said, “He who fights that Allah’s Word (i.e. Islam) should be superior, fights in Allah’s Cause.”

Now we know that Allah’s cause is making Islam superior.

The argument over lesser/greater Jihad is a distraction which should be eliminated. How great is the risk of being injured or killed in Jihad an-Nafs?

4:74. …whoso fights in the Cause of Allâh, and is killed or gets victory, We shall bestow on him a great reward….

What differentiates holy from secular war? Sahih Muslim 19.4294 includes this clue.

…Make a holy war, do not embezzle the spoils; do not break your pledge; and do not mutilate (the dead) bodies; do not kill the children….

Moe took the top 20% of the spoils, which explains the first element in the list. The pledge of loyalty to Moe involved not fleeing from battle. Mutilating corpses was a social taboo in Arabia and killing children would amount to wasting the spoils because captured children were enslaved.
A search ( of the Hilali & Khan translation finds 369 instances of fight and 22 instances of Jihad. Noel Yatom published a list of 164 violent verses. The bottom line is this: Allah issued timeless and unlimited enjunctions to make war upon pagans and Jews & Christians. Moe is quoted confirming those imperatives in Sahih Bukhari 1.8.387. Riyad us-Salaheen Book 11, Chapter 234 contains many of the hadith which prove the status & significance of Jihad. Sahih Bukhari: Jihad, Khumus & Expedition reveal much of what Muhammad said and did concerning Jihad.

The following listed titles from Ibn Kathir’s Tafsir display the ayat & ahadith which mandate conquest and promise victory. Each of them is linked to the corresponding page at Those tafsir establish, beyond doubt, Islam’s intrinsic violence & triumphalism.

Shari’ah, codified in Umdat as-Salik, clearly confirms the Jihad enjunctions and establishes the minimum requirement for their performance. To read the full context, click the link and enter the book letter, chapter & section numbers in the search engine in the frame surrounding the text image. [Emphasis added.]

O9.1: The Obligatory Character of Jihad
…If none of those concerned perform jihad, and it does not happen at all, then everyone who is aware that it is obligatory is guilty of sin, if there was a possibility of having performed it. In the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) jihad was a communal obligation after his emigration (hijra) to Medina. As for subsequent times, there are two possible states in respect to non-Muslims.

The first is when they are in their own countries, in which case jihad (def: o9.8) is a communal obligation, and this is what our author is speaking of when he says, “Jihad is a communal obligation,” meaning upon the Muslims each year….

O9.8: The Objectives of Jihad

The caliph (o25) makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians (N: provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya, def: o11.4) -which is the significance of their paying it, not the money itself-while remaining in their ancestral religions) (O: and the war continues) until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax (O: in accordance with the word of Allah Most High,…


The caliph fights all other peoples until they become Muslim

O25.9 …

-8- and if the area has a border adjacent to enemy lands, an eighth duty arises, namely to undertake jihad against enemies, dividing the spoils of battle among combatants, and setting aside fifth (def: o10.3) for deserving recipients.

Even this brief examination of Islam’s canon of scripture, tradition & jurisprudence proves that the association of Islam & violence is well founded.

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