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Jihad, Terrorism and Suicide Bombing: The Classical Islamic Perspective

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Article Index
Jihad, Terrorism and Suicide Bombing: The Classical Islamic Perspective
The Meaning of Jihad
Ibn Qayyim’s Fourteen Categories of Jihad
Jihad in History and Law
The Jihad of Education
Establishment of the Islamic Nation/State
First Legislation of Combative Jihad
Religious Freedom of Non-Muslims
Forced Conversion?
Conditions for Combative Jihad
Is Islam by Nature Hostile to non-Muslims?
Does Islam Call for Ongoing War against Non-Muslims?
Who is Involved in Combat?
Jihad Between Muslims
Conduct of Combat
Prohibition of Suicide
False Rulings Supporting Suicide Attacks
Rebellion Against Rulers
The Inner Jihad
Dhikr: the Remembrance of Allah
Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
All Pages

In this presentation we would like to shed light on the meaning of Jihād, a term that has become universally known today. One can find countless interpretations of this term which differ from its true spirit and the meaning that Allah intended it in the Holy Qur’ān and in the narrations of the Prophet . On the contrary people are use the term Jihād in this time in a way that suits their own whims without realizing the damage that they are causing Islam and Muslims.

What is meant by Jihād? The concept of “holy war” does not occur in the term Jihād, which in Arabic would be al-ħarb al-muqaddasah. Throughout the entire Qur’ān, one cannot find a term that expresses the meaning “holy war.” Rather the meaning of combative Jihād expressed in Qur’ān or hadith is simply war.

That said, we will show in this presentation, that Jihād in the classical sense does not simply mean war. In fact Jihād is a comprehensive term which traditionally has been defined as composed of fourteen different aspects, only one of which involves warfare.

In this presentation we will explain unambiguously the different aspects of Jihād defined by the Prophet together with what renowned mainstream Muslims scholars have written about this subject citing them at length in order to arrive at an accurate understanding of this term.

Islamic thought includes all educational endeavors and scholarly opinions made in distinguishing Islam’s core principles, its simplicity and its tenderness and compassion in its approach to all aspects of human relations.
Today there are many individuals who study Islam from a superficial point of view and emerge with their own ideas and imaginary interpretations which often diverge greatly from the established legislation in the area of study. Because of such studies lacking a true basis in Islamic jurisprudence, many non-Muslims are given a bad understanding about Islam.
So in this presentation we will return to the original source texts bringing up the issue of Jihād in order to explain its various different facets and clarify its understanding once and for all.


The Meaning of Jihad

Jihād in its meaning is ‘to struggle’ as a general description. Jihād derives from the word juhd, which means at-ta'b, fatigue. The meaning of Jihād fī sabīlillāh, struggle in the Way of Allah, is striving to excess in fatiguing the self, to exhaust the self in seeking the Divine Presence and in bringing up Allah’s Word, all of which He made the Way to Paradise.
For that reason Allah said:

َجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ

And strive hard (jāhidū) in (the way of) Allah, (such) a striving a is due to Him;

It is essential to understand that under the term jāhidū come many different categories of Jihād, each with its specific context. The common understanding of Jihād to mean only war is refuted by this tradition of the Prophet’s:

‏حدثنا ‏ ‏عبد الرحمن بن مهدي ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏سفيان ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏علقمة بن مرثد ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏طارق بن شهاب ‏ ‏أن رجلا سأل رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏وقد وضع رجله في ‏ ‏الغرز ‏ ‏أي الجهاد أفضل قال كلمة حق عند سلطان ‏ ‏جائر

A man asked the Prophet “Which Jihād is best?” The Prophet said, “The most excellent Jihād is to say the word of truth in front of a tyrant.”

The fact that the Prophet mentioned this Jihād as “most excellent” means that there are many different forms of Jihād.


Ibn Qayyim’s Fourteen Categories of Jihad

Islamic scholars, from the time of the Prophet until today, have categorized Jihād into more than fourteen distinct categories. Jihād is not simply the waging of war, as most people today understand. War in fact, or combative Jihād, according to many scholars, is only one of fourteen different categories of Jihād.
In his book Zād al-Ma'ad, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzīyyah divided Jihād into fourteen distinct categories:

Jihad Against the Hypocrites

1.15. By heart
1.16. By tongue
1.17. By wealth
1.18. By person.

Jihad Against the Unbelievers

1.19. By heart,
1.20. By tongue
1.21. By wealth
1.22. By person.

Jihad Against the Devil

1.23. Fighting him defensively against everything of false desires and slanderous doubts in faith that he throws towards the servant.
1.24. Fighting him defensively from everything he throws towards the servant of corrupt passion and desire.

Jihad of the Self

1.25. That he strives to learn guidance and the religion of truth which is there is no felicity or happiness in life or in the hereafter except by it. And when he neglects it, his knowledge is wretched in both words.
1.26. That he strives to act upon it after he has learned it. For the abstract quality of knowledge without action, even if he commits no wrong, is without benefit.
1.27. That he strives to call to Allah and to teach it to someone who does not know it. Otherwise he will be among those who conceal what Allah had revealed of guidance and clarity. His knowledge doesn’t benefit him or saves him from Allah’s penalty.
1.28. That he strives with patience in seeking to call to Allah. When the creation harms him he bears it all for the sake of Allah.

Ibn Rushd’s Categorization of Jihad

Ibn Rushd, in his Muqaddimah, divides Jihād into four kinds:
1. Jihād of the heart
2. Jihād of the tongue
3. Jihād of the hand
4. Jihād of the sword.

Jihad of the Heart – the Struggle against the Self

The Jihād of the heart is the struggle of the individual with his or her own desires, whims, erroneous ideas and false understandings. This includes the struggle to purify the heart, to rectify one’s actions and to observe the rights and responsibilities of all other human beings.

Jihad of the Tongue – Education and Counsel

He defines Jihād of the tongue as:
To commend good conduct and forbid the wrong, like the type of Jihād Allah ordered us to fulfill against the hypocrites in His Words, “O Prophet! Strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites” .
This is the Jihād the Prophet waged in struggling to teach his people. It means to speak about one’s cause and one’s religion. This is known as the Jihād of Education and Counsel.
Allah first revealed:

اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ

Read in the name of Thy Lord!

The first aspect of Jihād of Education is through reading. Reading originates with the tongue.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ جَاهِدِ الْكُفَّارَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَاغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْ

O Prophet! strive hard [jāhid] against the unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be firm against them.

Jihad of the Hand – Development of Civil Society and Material Progress

Jihād of the hand includes the struggle to build the nation through material development and progress, including building up civil society, acquiring and improving every aspect of technology and societal progress in general. This form of Jihād includes scientific discovery, development of medicine, clinics and hospitals, communication, transportation, and all necessary underlying infrastructure for societal progress and advancement, including educational institutions. Building also means to open opportunities to the poor through economic programs and self empowerment.
Another aspect of Jihād by Hand is through writing, for Allah said:

الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ عَلَّمَ الْإِنسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ

He taught by means of the pen, taught mankind what he did not know

The meaning writing includes the use of computers and all other forms of publication.

Jihad of the Sword – Combative War

Finally Jihād of the hand includes struggle by the sword (Jihādun bis-sayf), as when one fights the aggressor who attack you in combative war.


Jihad in History and Law

Following this brief summary, let us now consider the nature of Jihād more fully as it appears in the history and law of Islam. Sa'īd Ramaļān Būţi, a contemporary Orthodox scholar from Syria states, in his seminal work on the subject Jihād in Islam :

The Prophet invited the unbelievers peacefully, lodged protests against their beliefs and strove to remove their misgivings about Islam. When they refused any other solution, but rather declared a war against him and his message and initiated the fight, there was no alternative except to fight back.

The most fundamental form of Jihād, usually overlooked in today's pursuit of newsworthy headlines, is the Jihād of presenting the message of Islam—da'wah. Thirteen years of the Prophet’s 23-year mission consisted purely of this type of Jihād. Contrary to popular belief, the word Jihād and related forms of its root word jāhada are mentioned in many Makkan verses in a purely non-combative context.

Combative Jihād in the technical usage of Islamic law means “the declaration of war against belligerent aggressors.” It is not a haphazard decision taken by anybody but only by the leader of the nation. The principles of Islamic jurisprudence state that the actions of the leader must be guided by the interests of the people.


The Jihad of Education

Thus we see that the building blocks of today’s democracy present in the Prophet’s message from its very outset when the Jihād of Education took on the aspects of struggle in the Messenger’s first years of preaching, as the chiefs of the Makkan tribes sought to suppress the freedom of expression, speech and debate that were sought by the Prophet in teaching the new faith. Allah states in the Qur’ān:

ادْعُ إِلِى سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِالْحِكْمَةِ وَالْمَوْعِظَةِ الْحَسَنَةِ وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِالْمُهْتَدِينَ

Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.

Calling people to Islam and making them acquainted with it in all its aspects through dialogue and kind persuasion is the first type of Jihād in Islam, in contrast to the imagined belief that Jihād is only of the combative form. This is referred to in the Qur’ān where Allah says:

فَلَا تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِينَ وَجَاهِدْهُم بِهِ جِهَادًا كَبِيرًا

So obey not the disbelievers, but strive against them (by preaching) with the utmost endeavor with it (the Qur’ān)

Here the word “strive,” jāhidū, is used to mean struggle by means of the tongue—preaching and exhortation—and to persevere despite the obstinate resistance of some unbelievers to the beliefs and ideals of Islam.

Ibn 'Abbās

Ibn 'Abbās, and others said that Allah’s words “strive with the utmost endeavor” denote the duty of preaching and exhortation as the greatest of all kinds of Jihād. Ibn 'Abbās said that “with it” refers to the Holy Qur’ān. Thus Jihād here considered as most essential by Ibn 'Abbās, cousin and associate of the Prophet and foremost exegete of the Qur’ān, is the call to the Word of Allah; the Jihād of Education.

Imām Mālik bin Anas

Imām Mālik bin Anas stated in al-Mudawwanat al-kubrā:
The first of what Allah has sent His Messenger is to call people to Islam without fighting. He didn’t give him permission to fight nor to take money from people. The Prophet stayed like that for thirteen years in Makkah, bearing all kinds of persecutions, until he left for Madīnah.

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzīyyah

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzīyyah says in Zād al-ma'ād:
Allah commanded the Jihād of Education when He revealed:

وَلَوْ شِئْنَا لَبَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ قَرْيَةٍ نَذِيرًا فَلَا تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِينَ وَجَاهِدْهُم بِهِ جِهَادًا كَبِيرًا

If We willed, We could raise up a warner in every village. Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness, with the (Qur’ān).

This is a Makkan Chapter, therefore He command therein the Jihād of the non-Muslims by argumentation, elocution and conveying the Qur’ān.

Imām Nawawī

Imām Nawawī in his book al-Minhāj, when defining Jihād and its different categories, said:

…one of the collective duties of the community as a whole (fard kifāyah) is to lodge a valid protest, to solve problems of religion, to have knowledge of Divine Law, to command what is right and forbid wrong conduct.

Imām ad-Dardīr

The explanation of Jihād in Imām al-Dardir's book Aqrab al-Masālik is that it is propagating the knowledge of the Divine Law commending right and forbidding wrong. He emphasized that it is not permitted to skip this category of Jihād and implement the combative form, saying, “the first [Islamic] duty is to call people to enter Islam, even if they had been preached to by the Prophet beforehand.”

Imām Bahūtī

Similarly, Imām Bahūtī commences the chapter on Jihād in his book Kashf al-qinā’a by showing the injunctions of collective religious duties (kifāyah) that the Muslim Nation must achieve before embarking on combative Jihād, including preaching and education about the religion of Islam, dismissing all the uncertainties about this religion and making available all the skills and qualifications which people might need in their religious, secular, physical and financial interests because these constitute the regulations of both this life and the life to come. Hence, da'wah—performing the activities of propagating Islam and its related fields of knowledge—is the cornerstone of the 'building' of Jihād and its rules; and any attempt to build without this 'stone' would damage the meaning and reality of Jihād.

Dr. Sa'īd Ramāļān al-Būţī

Al-Būţī says in his book al-Jihād fīl-islām

The most significant category of Jihād was the one established simultaneously with the dawn of the Islamic da'wah (calling for Islam) at Makkah. This was the basis for the other resulting kinds accorded with the situations and circumstances.

Removing all misconceptions and stereotypes in clarifying the image of Islam held by non-Muslims, building a trusting relationship and working with them in ways that accord with their way of thinking, are all primary forms of Educational Jihād. Similarly, establishing a strong community and nation which can fulfill all physical needs of its people, thereby creating for them conditions in which the message will be heard, rather than being lost in the strife and struggle of everyday life, are requirements and form a basic building block of the Jihādic concept. These foundations fulfill the Qur’ānic injunction:

وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَأُوْلَـئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: and these it is that shall be successful.

Until this is accomplished the conditions of combative Jihād remain unfulfilled.

Sayyid Sābiq

Sayyid Sābiq, in his renowned work Fiqh as-Sunnah says:

Allah sent His Messenger to all of mankind and ordered him to call to guidance and the religion of truth. While he dwelled in Makkah, he called to Allah by using wisdom and the best exhortation. It was inevitable for him to face opposition from his people who saw the new message as a danger to their way of life. It was through the guidance of Allah that he faced the opposition with patience, tolerance and forbearance. Allah says:

وَاصْبِرْ لِحُكْمِ رَبِّكَ فَإِنَّكَ بِأَعْيُنِنَا

So wait patiently (O Muhammad) for thy Lord's decree, for surely thou art in Our sight

فَاصْفَحْ عَنْهُمْ وَقُلْ سَلَامٌ فَسَوْفَ يَعْلَمُونَ

Then bear with them (O Muhammad) and say: Peace. But they will come to know

فَاصْفَحِ الصَّفْحَ الْجَمِيلَ

So forgive, O Muhammad, with a gracious forgiveness

Here we see that Allah does not permit the fighting of evil with evil, or to wage war on those who fight opposed the message of Islam nor to kill those who cause discord to the Muslims. And He said:

ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ

Nor can goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!

As the persecution continued, it became harder and harder to bear, reaching its peak when the Quraysh conspired against the life of the Noble Messenger . At this time, it became imperative that he migrate from Makkah to Madīnah, both for his personal safety, for the very survival of the new faith, and in an effort to avoid war. Thus thirteen years after the commencement of Qur’ān’s revelation, the Prophet ordered his companions to emigrate to Madīnah.

Here we see that the Prophet did not engage in repulsing the aggressive attacks against the Muslims by his tribesmen, but sought to avoid conflict and avoid their persecution by means of migration.


Establishment of the Islamic Nation/State

Sayyid Sābiq continues:

وَإِذْ يَمْكُرُ بِكَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ لِيُثْبِتُوكَ أَوْ يَقْتُلُوكَ أَوْ يُخْرِجُوكَ وَيَمْكُرُونَ وَيَمْكُرُ اللّهُ وَاللّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ

And when those who disbelieve plot against thee (O Muhammad) to wound thee fatally, or to kill thee or to drive thee forth; they plot, but Allah (also) plotteth; and Allah is the best of plotters

Madīnah thus became the new capital of Islām. As a nation-state for the Muslims, and their new home, an entirely new political situation had evolved. Whereas before the Muslims had been a persecuted minority with no land or political base, upon establishing Madīnah as a nation ruled by the legislation of Islam, and a sanctuary to which new Muslims under persecution could flee, it was imperative to protect this homeland from the aggressive designs of the enemy, who sought nothing less than the complete extirpation of the Muslim faith and killing of its adherents. Thus when the enemies opened war against them the situation of the Muslims became gravely dangerous, taking them to the brink of destruction at the hands of the enemy, in which case the very message was in danger of being lost.

So Jihād in its combative sense did not come about until after the Prophet and his Companions were forced to leave their country and hometown of Makkah, fleeing for safety to in Madīnah after thirteen years of propagating the call to the faith and calling for freedom of belief. Allah said:

ثُمَّ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لِلَّذِينَ هَاجَرُواْ مِن بَعْدِ مَا فُتِنُواْ ثُمَّ جَاهَدُواْ وَصَبَرُواْ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ مِن بَعْدِهَا لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

But verily thy Lord,- to those who leave their homes after trials and persecutions, - and who thereafter strive and struggle [for the faith] and patiently persevere, - Thy Lord, after all this is oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

So we see that after the migration to Madīnah, Allah described Jihād as a struggle which was suffered patiently through persecution and trial.


First Legislation of Combative Jihad

Even then the legislation to fight was not made until the Makkans set out to eliminate the newly established Islamic nation, by building an army and setting forth with the intention of assaulting and destroying the community in Madīnah.
Sayyid Sābiq continues:

The first verse revealed regarding fighting was:

أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَاتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُوا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِن دِيَارِهِمْ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ إِلَّا أَن يَقُولُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ اللَّهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُم بِبَعْضٍ لَّهُدِّمَتْ صَوَامِعُ وَبِيَعٌ وَصَلَوَاتٌ وَمَسَاجِدُ يُذْكَرُ فِيهَا اسْمُ اللَّهِ كَثِيراً وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ الَّذِينَ إِن مَّكَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَلِلَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ الْأُمُورِ

Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged; and Allah is indeed Able to give them victory; Those who have been driven from their homes unjustly only because they said: Our Lord is Allah. For had it not been for Allah's repelling some men by means of others, cloisters and churches and oratories and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft mentioned, would assuredly have been pulled down. Verily Allah helpeth one who helpeth Him. Lo! Allah is Strong, Almighty. Those who, if We give them power in the land, establish worship and pay the poor due and enjoin kindness and forbid iniquity. And Allah's is the sequel of events.

This verse shows that permission for fighting is granted for three reasons:

1) They were oppressed by their enemies and expelled by them from their homes unjustly for no reason except that they practice the religion of Allah and say, “Our Lord is Allah.” They then came under the obligation to take back the country from which they had been expelled.

2) Where not for Allah’s permission for this type of defense, all places of worship, [including churches, synagogues and mosques] would have been destroyed in which the name of Allah is remembered [see page 418] for a more detailed explanation of this aspect] because of the oppression of those who aggressively oppose belief.

3) The goal of victory is to establish the freedom of religion, establish the prayer, to give charity and to command the good and forbid what is disliked.

This last justification also means that as long as preaching and practice are not circumscribed, the Muslims cannot fight a Jihād against a country in which Muslims freely practice their religion and teach Islam.
In the second year after the Migration, Allah ordered the Muslims to fight by saying:

كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَى أَن تَكْرَهُواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَى أَن تُحِبُّواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ وَاللّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ

Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not.

This verse shows that in general warfare was disliked, not something sought after, but despite this, it was called for at times when the security of the nation was threatened by external belligerency.

Thus, with a simple studious examination of the relevant verses, we discover then that there were two different kinds of Jihād: that of Makkah and that of Madīnah. The one in Makkah was primarily by education. In Madīnah Jihād was by two methods:
1) education and
2) fighting after the enemies attacked the Prophet within his own city-state. Additionally, the Muslims who had been expelled invoked the right to return to their homeland, and if opposed to use force.

As we explained earlier there are fourteen different categories of Jihād, only one of which entails fighting. Since it is this, the combative Jihād, which is now so much the focus of this paper we will now speak on the principles of such combat, who can declare combative Jihād and the reasons Muslims fight.
Combative Jihād was authorized only after the Prophet migrated along with his followers from Makkah to Madīnah, having been persecuted and finally expelled from their country running from persecution and torture. This is not unlike what we see today: people running from persecution in their home countries, becoming refugees in foreign nations. And the supporters, al-Anšār, of Madīnah, welcomed the refugees al-Muhājirūn, and shared with them all they possessed of their wealth and their homes.

The struggle in the way of Allah, Jihādun fī sabīlillāh, when the Prophet began by teaching the Qur’ān in his country, Makkah, was primarily one of enlightenment and education while in Madīnah his message became the basis for a model constitution for civic society and social life. This is borne out by the emphasis the Prophet made on caring for the poor, the emancipation of slaves, giving rights to women and building a civic society by levying taxes on the rich to benefit the poor, establishing community centers and community homes in which people could meet. These teachings were brought to a society in Makkah in which anarchy ruled and for this reason the Prophet was persecuted and fled to Madīnah. There he was able to establish a nation-state based on freedom of speech, and freedom of religion where all religions flourished together without conflict.
In establishing this society in Madīnah, the Prophet sought to keep his new nation safe, just as today every country has security as a dominant concern. Therefore he built up an army of his followers to keep his borders safe from any enemy attack. In particular they were under great threat due to the Prophet’s teaching opposing the hegemony of tyrants.

Thus Madīnah became the first city for the believers in which the new message, Islam, was established and they sought to keep it safe. Just as all nations do today, they built up an army and weaponry. And, just as done in the modern world, if anyone attacks a nation, they are obliged to respond and repel those who attacked them.

So the majority of Muslims scholars including Imām Abū Ħanifa, Imām Mālik and Imām Aħmad ibn Ħanbal say that combative Jihād is to defend oneself and to attack the aggressors.


Religious Freedom of Non-Muslims

It is a right for the people of the Book to practice the laws of their religion, judges and courts, enforcing the rules of their own religion among themselves. Their churches or temples are not to be demolished nor are their crosses [religious symbols] to be broken.

اتركوهم وما يدينونه

The Messenger of Allah said, “Leave them to what they worship.”

Additionally, it is the right of a Christian or Jewish spouse of a Muslim is that she is taken to the church or to the temple. And it is not the right of her husband to prevent her from going.

Islām permits them the foods that their religion allows for food or otherwise. Swine are not killed because of them nor is their wine destroyed as long as it is permitted to them. Therefore they have more latitude than the Muslims, who are prohibited from wine and eating pork.

They have the freedom in the laws of marriage, divorce and charity and to conduct these affairs as they wish without any conditions or limits.

Their honor and rights are under the protection of Islām and they are given freedom to the right of deliberation and discussions within the limits of reason and decorum, while adhering to respect, good conduct and avoiding rudeness and harshness. Allah says:

وَلَا تُجَادِلُوا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ إِلَّا بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مِنْهُمْ وَقُولُوا آمَنَّا بِالَّذِي أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَأُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَإِلَهُنَا وَإِلَهُكُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ

And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, “We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our God and your God is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam)."

وَإِنْ أَحَدٌ مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ اسْتَجَارَكَ فَأَجِرْهُ حَتَّى يَسْمَعَ كَلاَمَ اللّهِ ثُمَّ أَبْلِغْهُ مَأْمَنَهُ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لاَّ يَعْلَمُونَ

If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.

This also shows that even if unbelievers come to the Muslims, seeking to live and work in their nation for any reason, it is ordered to grant them safety and security to demonstrate the great care and compassion Islam takes in the care of others. Then such are free to move where they like. This clarifies the understanding that combative Jihād is only against transgressors.

In the view of some schools, Islam equates the punishments for Muslims and non-Muslims except for those things permitted in their faith such as drinking wine or eating pork.
Islām makes lawful eating what the People of the Book slaughter and Muslim men are permitted to marry their women where Allah says:

الْيَوْمَ أُحِلَّ لَكُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتُ وَطَعَامُ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَابَ حِلٌّ لَّكُمْ وَطَعَامُكُمْ حِلُّ لَّهُمْ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ الْكِتَابَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ إِذَا آتَيْتُمُوهُنَّ أُجُورَهُنَّ مُحْصِنِينَ غَيْرَ مُسَافِحِينَ وَلاَ مُتَّخِذِي أَخْدَانٍ ...

This day are (all) things good and pure made lawful unto you. The food of the People of the Book is lawful unto you and yours is lawful unto them. (Lawful unto you in marriage) are (not only) chaste women who are believers, but chaste women among the People of the Book, revealed before your time,- when ye give them their due dowers, and desire chastity, not lewdness, nor secret intrigues...

Islām sanctions visiting and counseling their sick, offering them guidance and dealing with them in business. It is established that when the Messenger of Allah passed to his Lord, his armor was given as credit for a debt from a Jewish person.

In another case, when some of the Companions sacrificed a sheep the Prophet said to his servant, “Give this to our Jewish neighbor.”

It is obligatory for the leader of the Muslims (caliph) to protect those of them who are in Muslim lands just as he would Muslims and to seek the release of those of them who are captured by the enemy. The Messenger of Allah forbade killing a covenanter when he said:

مَنْ قَتَلَ مُعَاهِداً، لَمْ يَرَحْ رَائِحَةَ الجَنَّةِ

The one who kills a convenanter will not smell the fragrance of paradise.

And it can be truly said that in Arab and Muslim nations, the Christians, the Jews and all other non-Muslims are in fact covenanters, for they pay their taxes supporting the nation’s standing army, so it is the duty of the ruler to protect the safety of the covenanter. The concept of a covenant of protection, while not explicitly spelled out today, is fulfilled through government taxation.

The popular, yet controversial, Islamic scholar Shaykh Yūsuf al-Qaradāwī said:

Jihād is an obligation on everyone but not killing and fighting.

Citing Ibn Qayyim’s division of Jihād into thirteen different levels including struggle against the ego, shaytan, the establishment of education, etc., only one of them being combat against an aggressor, Shaykh al-Qaradāwī states:

Whoever looks into the sources as to the understanding of Jihād, will see that one can be a mujāhid [of the 13 categories] but it is not necessary to be a combatant; that is only when combat is forced on you by the invasion of your country.


Forced Conversion?

We have seen above that the foundation of Jihād is Islamic propagation (da'wah). The question often asked is whether Islam condones and teaches the forced and armed conversion of non-Muslims. This is the image sometimes projected by Western scholars and as any Muslim scholar will tell you, is seriously flawed. The Qur’ān clearly states:

لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ

There is no compulsion in religion, the path of guidance stands out clear from error

In this verse, the word rushd or “path of guidance" refers to the entire domain of human life, not just to the rites and theology of Islam.

There is no debate about the fact that pre-Islamic Arabia was a misguided society dominated by tribalism and a blind obedience to custom. In contrast, the clarity of Islam and its emphasis on reason and rational proofs excluded any need to impose it by force. This verse is a clear indication that the Qur’ān is strictly opposed to the use of compulsion in religious faith. Similarly, Allah addressed the Prophet saying:

فَذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَا أَنتَ مُذَكِّرٌ

Remind them, for you are only one who reminds.

Allah addresses the believers, urging them to obey the injunctions of Islam:

وَأَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَاحْذَرُواْ فَإِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ فَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّمَا عَلَى رَسُولِنَا الْبَلاَغُ الْمُبِينُ

Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and beware (of evil): if you do turn back, then know that it is Our Messenger's duty to proclaim (the message) in the clearest manner.

However, this verse makes it clear that the Messenger's duty is only to proclaim and preach the message; it remains to each individual to accept and to follow.

As for forced conversion, no reliable evidence exists that Muslims ever intended or attempted to impose the specific rites and beliefs of Islam. The histories of Central Asia, Spain, India, the Balkans and all of Southeast Asia are concrete proof of this.

Islam’s History of Good-treatment of non-Muslims

It is thus well-established in history, that when persecution took place in non-Muslim lands against the People of the Book, they would seek refuge with the leader of the Muslims (caliph), and this refuge was not refused. A well-known example of this is the plight of the Jews in Andalusia after it was conquered by the pish and taken from the hands of the Muslim Moors. With the imposition of the infamously cruel Inquisition in 1492, Jews and Muslims had no choice but to flee their homes, convert to Catholicism or die. The Jews sought the protection of Sultan Suleyman of the Ottoman Empire and caliph of the Muslims and asylum was granted. For this reason, one finds a sizable population of Jews in Istanbul, which was seat of the Ottoman Empire at that time.


Conditions for Combative Jihad

The ruler, the Imām, is completely answerable to the people and their legal apparatus, the most important representatives of whom are the scholars. The position of the law is that only at such a time when it can be reasonably proven that;

• there are aggressive designs against Islam; and,

• there are concerted efforts to eject Muslims from their legally acquired property; and,

• that military campaigns are being launched to eradicate them.

At such a time the ruler can declare and execute the provisions of combative Jihād.

Pre-Condition: Leadership

Sa'īd Ramāļān al-Būţī Jihād in Islam in says:

It is known that Islamic Shari‘ah rules can be divided into two groups: first the Communicative Rules (Aħkām at-Tablīgh) – that inform you of how to behave in your life, including all matters of worship and daily life and second the Rules of Leadership (Aħkām al-Imāmah) which are related to the judicial system, the Imām or leader.

The Rules of Leadership are those rules that have been directed from the leader to the citizens. In the time of the Prophet he was leader, so this applied to anything directed from himself to the Muslims. After the Prophet , such directives became the responsibility of the caliph, his successor. This means the Imām of the Muslims is the leader of every Muslim nation. He is the person responsible for the application of the rules as he sees fit. These rules are flexible within the geographical, societal and cultural norms of the nation, which the leader can exercise by Allah’s grace, to apply them for the benefit of all the people.

Declaring combative Jihād is the topmost responsibility of the Imām (leader, president or king of a nation). He is the only responsible body that can declare the time and place of Jihād, lead it or terminate its mission. It is in no way the responsibility of individual Muslims to declare Jihād without the order of the leader.

Note in this regard the 'ulama are not in the position to issue a call for combative Jihād.

There are two kinds of combative Jihād. One is the combative Jihād to fight a nation which aggresses against a Muslim nation, under the orders of the Imām, or leader. The second category of combative Jihād, which is called aš-ša’il, means the fight against an assailant, attacker or violater. We will not go into this aspect as it falls under the Communicative Rules, not the Rules of Imāmate. This is based on the hadith related by 'Abd Allāh ibn 'Umar, in which the Prophet said, “He who is killed in defense of his belongings or in self-defense or in defense of his religion is a martyr.”

The category aš-ša’il refers to someone defending his private possessions as when someone attacks him at home or his business in order to steal, to harm, or out of hatred due to differences of religion. This does not come under the aspect of Imāmah, where nations are involved.

Ibn Qudāma

It is an essential pre-condition that there be a leader of the Muslims, an Imām, to declare combative Jihād. In al-Mughni, Ibn Qudāma, a respected scholar of the Ħanbalī school, states:

Declaring Jihād is the responsibility of the Ruler and is his independent legal judgment. And it is the duty of the citizens to obey whatever he regards appropriate.

Al-Dardīr

Al-Dardīr says: “proclaiming Jihād comes through the Ruler’s assignment of a commander.”

Al-Jazā’irī

Abū Bakr Al-Jazā’irī states that the pillars of combative Jihād are:

A pure intention and that it is performed behind a Muslim Ruler and beneath his flag and with his permission.... And it is not allowed for them to fight without a Ruler because Allāħ says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ

O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you.

al-Tahanūī

According to Kashf al-qinā’a by al-Tahanūī:

Ordering combative Jihād is the responsibility of the Imām and his legal judgment (ijtihād) because he is the most knowledgeable about the enemy’s status and their nearness or farness, their intention and conspiracy.

Al-Qirafī

Al-Qirafī said:

The leader [president or king] is the one who has been elected for the foreign policy of his county, and he has entrusted by the propel to conduct the common affairs of the state, sign treaties, forbid wrong deeds, suppress criminals, fight aggressors, and settle people down in their homes and the like.

Mawardī

Mawardī, a Shafi'ite authority, while enumerating the obligations of a Muslim ruler says:

His sixth obligation is to conduct [combative] Jihād against those who show hostility against Islam…

Al-Sarkhasī

Al-Sarkhasī in al-Mabsūţ said:

The Ruler of the Muslims must almost always exert all efforts to lead an army himself or dispatch a military detachment of Muslims; and trust in Allah to aid him in achieving victory.

Ash-Sharbīnī

Ash-Sharbīnī said:

Collective-duty Jihād becomes applicable when the Imām fortifies the frontiers (to gain equal military parity with the enemy), reinforces the fortresses and ditches, and arms his military leaders. It also becomes relevant by the Imām or his deputy’s leading the army...

The Pakistani monthly Renaissance, in discussing the authorization for declaring combative Jihād says:

Both the Qur’ān and the established practice of the prophets of Allah explicitly say that Jihād can only be waged by a state. No group of people have been given the authority to take up arms, because individual groups if given this license will create great disorder and destruction by fighting among themselves once they overcome the enemy. A study of the Qur’ān reveals that the Makkan Surahs do not contain any directive of combative Jihād for the fundamental reason that in Makkah the Muslims did not have their own state.

Islam does not advocate “the law of the jungle.” It is a religion in which both human life and the way it is taken hold utter sanctity. Thus Islam does not give Muslims any right to take life unless certain conditions are fulfilled. So, it was not until an Islamic state was established in Madīnah that the Qur’ān gave the Muslims permission to take up arms against the onslaught mounted by the Quraysh:

أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَاتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُوا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِن دِيَارِهِمْ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ إِلَّا أَن يَقُولُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ اللَّهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُم بِبَعْضٍ لَّهُدِّمَتْ صَوَامِعُ وَبِيَعٌ وَصَلَوَاتٌ وَمَسَاجِدُ يُذْكَرُ فِيهَا اسْمُ اللَّهِ كَثِيرًا وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ

To those against whom war is made, permission is given [to fight] because they have been oppressed and verily Allah is Most Powerful to help them. [They] are those who have been expelled from their homes without any basis, only because they said: ‘Our Lord is Allah.’

Consequently, the Prophet never retaliated in Makkah to the inhuman treatment which was given to him as well as to some of his Companions. He preferred to suffer and be persecuted than to counter attack his enemies, since Muslims at that stage had not fulfilled this all important pre-requisite of combative Jihād: establishment of a state.

Similarly, the earlier prophets were not allowed by the Almighty to wage war unless they had established their political authority in an independent piece of land. For instance, the Prophet Moses, as is evident from the Qur’ān, was directed to wage war only after he had fulfilled this condition. Since the Prophet Jesus and his Companions were not able to gain political authority in a piece of land, they never launched an armed struggle to defend themselves, despite intense persecution.

Consequently, there is a consensus among all authorities of Islam that only an Islamic State has the authority to wage Jihād. [And where is the Islamic state today, with its fundamental principles? Therefore one easily concludes that today there is no valid state under which to wage combative Jihād.] Groups parties and organization have no authority to raise the call to arms. Whoever undertakes war without the authorization of the ruler in fact disobey the religion.

Referring to the pre-requisite of state authority, the Prophet said:

A Muslim ruler is the shield (of his people). A war can only be waged under him and people should seek his shelter (in war).

Sayyid Sābiq

This condition is so explicit and categorical that all the scholars of this Ummah unanimously uphold it. Sayyid Sābiq, while referring to this consensus, writes:

Among kifāyah obligations, there is a category for which the existence of a ruler is necessary e.g., [combative] Jihād and administration of punishments.

Zafar Aħmad 'Uthmānī

Zafar Aħmad 'Uthmānī, a Ħanafīte jurist writes:

It is obvious from the Hadith narrated by Makħūl that Jihād becomes obligatory with the ruler who is a Muslim and whose political authority has been established either through nomination by the previous ruler similar to how Abū Bakr transferred the reins [of his Khilāfah to ‘Umar] or through pledging of allegiance by the 'ulama or a group of the elite …in my opinion, if the oath of allegiance is pledged by 'ulama or by a group of the elite to a person who is not able to guard the frontiers and defend honour [of the people] organize armies or implement his directives by political force neither is he able to provide justice to the oppressed by exercising force and power, then such a person cannot be called ‘Amir’ (leader) or ‘Imām’ (ruler). He, at best, is an arbitrator and the oath of allegiance is at best of the nature of arbitration and it is not at all proper to call him ‘Amir’ (leader) or an ‘Imām’ (ruler) in any [official] documents nor should the people address him by these designations. ...It is not imperative for the citizens to pledge allegiance to him or obey his directives and no [combative] Jihād can be waged alongside him.

Imām Farāhī

In the words of Imām Farāhī:

In one’s own country, without migrating to an independent piece of land, [combative] Jihād is not allowed. The tale of Abraham and other verses pertaining to migration testify to this. The Prophet’s life also supports this view. The reason for this is that if [combative] Jihād is not waged by a person who holds political authority, it amounts to anarchy and disorder.

Al-Albānī

The Salafi scholar Al-Albānī, stressing the necessity of Jihād being established by the ruler of the Muslims said:

In the present time there is no Jihād in the Islamic land, while undoubtedly there is combat taking place in numerous places but there is no Jihād, established under a solely Islamic banner that abides by Islamic legislation.

From this we can understand that it is not permitted for a soldier to act according to his own wishes, but he is obliged to follow the rules of the commander and his commands and that commander who was delegated with proper authority by the Caliphate of Muslims. So we can ask ourselves today, “Where is the Caliphate of Muslims in the present time?” Since there is no caliphate the fundamental principle of leadership is no longer present. So while there still remains combat between one nation and another it is no longer considered as fulfilling the religious obligation that Jihād entails.

These represent only a sampling of many quotes from scholars regarding the combative Jihād demonstrate the responsibility of the Imāmate in ordering it. The Imām [Ruler] in fact, is the only one responsible in repelling aggressors and to see what actions are fitting for the country. The actual title whether he be called Imām, caliph, king or president, is not important – his position as ruler is what counts. The leader is the one who has been elected to administer the foreign policy of his nation, and he has been entrusted by the people to conduct the common affairs of the state, sign treaties, forbid wrong deeds, suppress criminals, fight aggressors, and settle people down in their homes and the like.

This specific duty can never devolve to a group of people living in a country who come against a government by terrifying innocent citizens. It is not acceptable in Islam by any means for someone to declare combative war if he is not in the position of leadership.
The many aforementioned rulings of scholars and the many verses of Qur’ān and hadith citation expose the methods of the so-called “Islamic parties”' who establish states within the state and act as if they are the rightful rulers of Muslims.

Their methodology is to initiate war by attacking non-Muslims in their country or other countries, and they do this without the permission of the Muslim rulers or the Muslim nation and without the consensus of its scholars. What happens then? The result is that everyone suffers from the disastrous consequences of their actions. This subject is discussed in detail on page 460.

Self-Defense

Naturally every community has the right to self-defense and in the case of Islam, where religion is the primary dimension of human existence, war in defense of the nation becomes a religious act. A lack of understanding of this quality of Islam, its non-secularism; has also contributed considerably to the fear that when Islam talks about war it means going to war to convert. This might be true in other cultures, but Islam must be allowed to speak for itself.
Al-Dardīr says of this:

Jihād becomes a duty when the enemy takes [Muslims] by surprise.

Sa'īd Ramaļān al-Būţī shows that fighting in this case is an obligation of the community as a whole.

عن سعيدِ بنِ زيدٍ قال: سمعتُ رسُولَ اللَّهِ صلَّى اللَّهُ عليهِ وسَلَّم يقول: “من قُتلَ دونَ مالهِ فهو شهيدٌ. ومن قُتلَ دونَ دمهِ فهو شهيدٌ. ومن قُتلَ دونَ دينهِ فهو شهيدٌ".

This is based on the Prophet’s saying, “He who is killed in defense of his belongings, or in self-defense, or for his religion, is a martyr.”

Allah said:

لَا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ

Allah does not forbid you from those who do not remove you from your homes (by force) and who do not fight you because of your religion, that you act kindly and justly towards them...

This verse mentions a fundamental principle of Islam regarding Muslim/Non-Muslim relationships. Muslims are enjoined to act kindly and justly towards members of other faiths except in two circumstances; firstly, if they dispossess Muslims of their legitimate land-rights, and; secondly, if they engage in hostilities towards Muslims by killing or attacking them, or show clear intent to do so (al-ħirābah) because of their religion. In the second eventuality, it is the duty of the Muslim ruler to declare combative Jihād as a defensive action to repel such attacks.

It is evident from the Qur’ān and other sources that the armed struggle against the polytheists was legislated in the context of specific circumstances after the Prophet had migrated from Makkah to Madīnah. There he secured a pact with the Jewish and Arab tribes of the city, who accepted him as the leader of their community. In the milieu of this newly-founded base of operations, under the governance of Divine legislation and the leadership of the Prophet , Islam attained the status of a nation with its corequisite territory and the accompanying need to protect its self-interests. At that time the divine command was revealed permitting Jihād, but this occurred only after:
• Persistent refusal of the Makkan leadership (the Prophet being in Madīnah at the time) to allow the practice of Islam’s religious obligations, specifically to perform the Ħajj at Makkah. Note that despite this belligerency, the Prophet agreed to a truce.
• Continuous unabated persecution of Muslims remaining at Makkah after the Prophet’s emigration to Madīnah triggered an armed insurrection against Qurayshite interests in the Hijāz.
• Makkans themselves starting off military campaigns against the Muslims at Madīnah with the sole objective of eradicating Islam.
• Key security pledges being abrogated unilaterally by a number of tribes allied to the Prophet , forcing him into a dangerously vulnerable position.

These conditions for defensive Jihād involving armed struggle were then clearly specified in the Qur’ān:

وَقَاتِلُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلاَ تَعْتَدُواْ

And fight in the way of Allah those who fight against you, and do not transgress [limits] for Allah likes not the transgressors.

Explaining this verse, Sayyid Sābiq states:

This verse also consists of prohibiting aggression due the fact that Allah does not love aggression. This prohibition is not abrogated by any verse and is a warning that aggression is devoid of Allah’s love. Verses that consist of such warnings are not abrogated because aggression is tyranny and Allah never loves tyranny. Therefore a legal war is justified only when it is to prevent discord and harm to the Muslims and for them to have the freedom to practice and live according to their religion.

Allah says:

أَلاَ تُقَاتِلُونَ قَوْمًا نَّكَثُواْ أَيْمَانَهُمْ وَهَمُّواْ بِإِخْرَاجِ الرَّسُولِ وَهُم بَدَؤُوكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ

Will you not fight a people who have violated their oaths and intended to expel the Messenger while they did attack you first?

The clear picture that emerges here is that the command to fight was given in relation to specific conditions. Thus the declaration of war is not an arbitrary act at all.

أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَاتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُوا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ

To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid;

Expulsion

The Qur’ān then goes on to describe the conditions of those who are permitted to fight:

وَمَا لَنَا أَلاَّ نُقَاتِلَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَقَدْ أُخْرِجْنَا مِن دِيَارِنَا وَأَبْنَآئِنَا

They said: “How could we refuse to fight in the cause of Allah, seeing that we were turned out of our homes and our families?”

الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِن دِيَارِهِمْ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ إِلَّا أَن يَقُولُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ اللَّهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُم بِبَعْضٍ لَّهُدِّمَتْ صَوَامِعُ وَبِيَعٌ وَصَلَوَاتٌ وَمَسَاجِدُ يُذْكَرُ فِيهَا اسْمُ اللَّهِ كَثِيراً وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ

(They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, “our Lord is Allah". Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);- for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will).

Explaining this verse, Imām Abū Ja‘far ibn Jarīr aţ-Ţabarī explained that were Allah not to check one set of people by means of another then “monasteries belonging to Christians, synagogues belonging to Jews and mosques belonging to Muslims, where Allah's Name is often mentioned, will all be destroyed.” Thus Islam here makes the upholding of religious freedom, not for Muslims alone, but as is stressed by the order of the religions mentioned in the verse in which the rights of non-Muslims are upheld first, and lastly those of Muslims.

The Qur’ān then goes on to describe the attributes those whom He ordains for defense of the faith, and protecting the right of religious freedom, saying:

الَّذِينَ إِن مَّكَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَلِلَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ الْأُمُورِ

(They are) those who, if We establish them in the land, establish regular prayer and give regular charity, enjoin the right and forbid wrong: with Allah rests the end (and decision) of (all) affairs.

Here Allah describes them as those who are sincere and pious, for they establish prayer and give charity, prevent wrongdoing and enjoin good conduct.

Denial of Religious Freedom

In later times, the Muslims engaged in warfare to establish the “Pax Islamica" or Islamic Order. The legal and political order must flow from the divine imperative (Qur’ān, Sunnah, etc.). It alone guarantees the rights of every individual by keeping in check all the dark psychic tendencies of man and so preventing him from indulging in anti-social behaviors, from political aggression, right down to the commonest criminal act. It is for this that the Qur’ān calls on the believers to go forth in defense of those whose rights and liberty have been trampled by the unbridled tyranny of oppressors and conquering armies, or who are prevented from freely hearing the word of Allah espoused to them by preachers and educators. Allah says:

وَمَا لَكُمْ لاَ تُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاء وَالْوِلْدَانِ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَـذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ نَصِيرًا

How should ye not fight for the cause of Allah and of the feeble among men and of the women and the children who are crying: “Our Lord! Bring us forth from out this town of which the people are oppressors! Oh, give us from Thy presence some protecting friend! Oh, give us from Thy presence some defender!”

This verse gives two explanations, among other reasons for fighting:

1. Fighting in the cause of Allah, which is the intent the religion calls for until discord has vanished and the religion is practiced freely for Allah alone. This means one cannot fight a Jihād against a country in which Muslims can freely practice their religion and teach Islam to others.

2. The second one is fighting for the sake of the weak, such as those who converted to Islām in Makkah, but were unable to undertake the migration to Madīnah. The Quraysh tortured them until they prayed to Allah for liberation. They had no means of protection from the persecution of the oppressors.

Allah permitted armed Jihād against an aggressor, where He said:

إِنَّ اللّهَ اشْتَرَى مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُم بِأَنَّ لَهُمُ الجَنَّةَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ فَيَقْتُلُونَ وَيُقْتَلُونَ وَعْدًا عَلَيْهِ حَقًّا فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالإِنجِيلِ وَالْقُرْآنِ وَمَنْ أَوْفَى بِعَهْدِهِ مِنَ اللّهِ فَاسْتَبْشِرُواْ بِبَيْعِكُمُ الَّذِي بَايَعْتُم بِهِ وَذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’ān.

So the rule of repelling aggression is not specifically for Muslims, but is the role of anyone following the Torah and the Gospel—the right to fight those who attack them. Giving one’s self in Allah’s Way, means repelling the aggressor. “A promise binding on Him in truth” means Allah took it on Himself as a right, not only in the Qur’ān but in the Torah and the Gospel, giving the believers the Garden of Paradise in exchange for their selves and their lives.

He said, “Allah bought from the believers their lives and their wealth.” This also means to give one’s wealth for building up society, for the welfare of others, for establishing hospitals, school and civic society.

Can Muslims Fight if Religious Practice is not Proscribed?

Allah said:

لَا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ إِنَّمَا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ قَاتَلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَأَخْرَجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ وَظَاهَرُوا عَلَى إِخْرَاجِكُمْ أَن تَوَلَّوْهُمْ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُمْ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just.

Allah only forbids you, with regard to those who fight you for (your) Faith, and drive you out of your homes, and support (others) in driving you out, from turning to them (for friendship and protection). It is such as turn to them (in these circumstances), that do wrong.

One sees here that Allah does not hinder the Muslims from dealing justly and kindly with those who do not fight them for their religion. Thus we see that Muslims today live in many non-Muslim nations, and they are living in peace, observing all their religious obligations and are free to practice their faith.
Today one cannot find any nation in which mosques are forced to close, or the authorities are removing the Qur’ān or other religious books, or Muslims are prevented from praying, paying their poor-due, fasting or attending the pilgrimage. Instead we find that all Muslims today are free to practice their faith in every nation, around the globe.
On the contrary, we find that in non-Muslim universities Islamic texts are kept and preserved, including large troves of ancient manuscripts.

فَاحْكُم بَيْنَهُمْ بِالْقِسْطِ إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ

Judge between them with justice. Surely Allah loves those who are just.

This shows that Islam urges the believers to practice goodness with those who are doing good to them, and thus they are not permitted to attack them.

وَإِنْ أَحَدٌ مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ اسْتَجَارَكَ فَأَجِرْهُ حَتَّى يَسْمَعَ كَلاَمَ اللّهِ ثُمَّ أَبْلِغْهُ مَأْمَنَهُ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لاَّ يَعْلَمُونَ

If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.

This also shows that even if unbelievers come to the Muslims, seeking to live and work in their nation for any reason, it is ordered to grant them safety and security to demonstrate the great care and compassion Islam takes in the care of others. Then such are free to move where they like. This clarifies the understanding that combative Jihād is only against transgressors.

Possibility of Success

Jihād against countries who are guilty of oppression and persecution only becomes compulsory after all political negotiations have failed, if the enemy is set on aggression. Additionally, the Muslims may fight when there is a likelihood of success. The state must make preparation of whatever is necessary from weapons, materials and men with the utmost possible scope as Allah says:

وَأَعِدُّواْ لَهُم مَّا اسْتَطَعْتُم مِّن قُوَّةٍ

Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force

This means the leader must prepare and establish what is necessary of weapons, material and men with the utmost possible scope, as well as spending to the utmost from the nation’s capability and expending every effort, for it is Allah’s rule that without strength you cannot fight, or to do so would result in killing one’s self and killing one’s people and the creation of mayhem (fitnah), which in fact is worse than killing, where Allah says:

وَالْفِتْنَةُ أَشَدُّ مِنَ الْقَتْلِ

for tumult and oppression (fitnah) are worse than slaughter;

Creating mayhem (fitnah) might grow to become a war or become a hate crime against innocent people. That is why Allah said it is worse than killing. Fitnah is the work of munāfiqīn, hypocrites. This is in fact conspiracy, the result of which may be a great war instigated between one or more nations, which may end up in the death of thousand or millions of innocents.

الآنَ خَفَّفَ اللّهُ عَنكُمْ وَعَلِمَ أَنَّ فِيكُمْ ضَعْفًا فَإِن يَكُن مِّنكُم مِّئَةٌ صَابِرَةٌ يَغْلِبُواْ مِئَتَيْنِ وَإِن يَكُن مِّنكُمْ أَلْفٌ يَغْلِبُواْ أَلْفَيْنِ بِإِذْنِ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ

Now Allah has lightened your [task] for He knows that there is weakness among you. So if there are of you a hundred steadfast person, they shall overcome two hundred, if there are a thousand of you, they shall overcome two thousand with the leave of Allah and Allah is with the patient.

Thus Allah declared that if the ratio of Muslim warrior to their opponents is half (1:2) they may fight and they will be given Divine Support in an open fight facing the enemy directly, warrior-to- warrior. This was a reduction from the original ratio, in which the believers were obligated to fight even if the ratio of Muslims to their opponents was one to ten.

Without Adequate Fighting Capacity Should War be Instigated?

The above verse also means if there the enemy is twice the Muslim force, then there is no possibility of success and therefore at that time you must not set forth. To do so will create nothing but fitnah—a state of hostility and confusion.

Here the question arises: how can a group declare combative Jihād against an entire nation, when the group possesses no more than a few dozen or a few hundred dedicated warriors? If it is not permitted for 19 people to fight a group in excess of 38, what then about instigating war against a massively fortified and armed nation of over 250 million? This is in reality nothing more than mayhem, and the result is endangerment of the entire Muslim Ummah. This is nothing but fitnah: confusion, sedition, disorder and mayhem, and the Prophet declared those who create turmoil to be under Allah’s curse:
The Prophet said:

Confusion/sedition/mayhem (fitnah) is dormant. Allah curses the one who rouses it.

Today’s radicals justify combative Jihād without state authority by citing the skirmishes carried out by one of the Muslim converts against the Makkans. Renaissance’s Shehzad Saleem explains:

We know from history that after the treaty of Hudaybiyyah, Abū Basīr defected to Madīnah. According to the terms of the treaty he was duly returned back to the Quraysh by the Prophet . He was sent back in the custody of two people of the Quraysh. He killed one of his two custodians and again defected to Madīnah. When he arrived in Madīnah, the Prophet was angry with what he had done. Sensing that the Prophet would once again return him to the Quraysh, he left Madīnah and settled at a place near Dhu’l-Marwah, where later on other people joined home. From this place, they would attack the caravans of the Quraysh.

If these guerrilla attacks are analyzed in the light of the Qur’ān, the basic thing which comes to light is that whatever Abū Basīr and his companions were doing was not sanctioned at all by Islam. The Qur’ān says that the actions and deeds of a person who has not migrated to Madīnah are not the responsibility of an Islamic state:

وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَمْ يُهَاجَرُوا مَا لَكُمْ مِنْ وَلَايَتِهِمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ حَتَّى يُهَاجِرُوا

And as to those who believed but did not migrate [to Madīnah], you owe no duty of protection until they migrate.

Not only did the Qur’ān acquit the newly founded Islamic state of Madīnah from the actions of these people, we even find the following harsh remarks of the Prophet about Abū Basīr when he returned to Madīnah after killing one of his two custodians:

وَيْلُ أُمِّهِ مِسْعَرَ حَرْبٍ لَوْ كَانَ لَهُ

His mother is unfortunate! Though he has the right, he is going to ignite the flames of war.


Is Islam by Nature Hostile to non-Muslims?

The idea, often postulated in the media, that Islam is hostile to non-Muslims simply because they are non-Muslims, is a major a misconception. According to the majority of scholars, beyond the conditions described above, there exists no valid reason to hold any hostility towards them. Sayyid Sābiq says:

The relationship of Muslims with non-Muslims is one of acquaintance, cooperation, righteousness and justice for Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوباً وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّه عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).

And in advising righteousness and justice He says:

لَا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ

Allah does not forbid you from those who do not remove you from your homes (by force) and who do not fight you because of your religion, that you act kindly and justly towards them…

Among the basics of this relationship is mutual, general well-being (or welfare) of a society and strengthening human relations. The reference in this verse is to the non-Muslims in general.

Loyalty and Enmity (Al-wala wal-bara’a)

Many of today’s self-appointed Islamic leaders and scholars state:

Enmity for the sake of God (al-barā’a) means to declare opposition in deed, to take up arms against His enemies...

Sayyid Sābiq says:

This meaning doesn’t permit prevention of friendship with the non-Muslims. The prohibition exists when friendship with the non-Muslims is meant in aggression against the Muslims. Serious dangers to the existence of Islam come from assisting the non-Muslims who are [actively] working against the Muslims, weakening the power [and security] of the believing society.

As far as the relationship between the Muslims and non-Muslim subjects (dhimmis) living in Muslim nations, harmony, peace, with good manners and courtesy, friendly social intercourse, mutual welfare and cooperation for the sake of righteousness and good conscience are all that Islām calls for.

Even with regard to those who fought against the Muslims, despite their enmity, Allah says:

عَسَى اللَّهُ أَن يَجْعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ وَبَيْنَ الَّذِينَ عَادَيْتُم مِّنْهُم مَّوَدَّةً وَاللَّهُ قَدِيرٌ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

It may be that Allah will grant love (and friendship) between you and those whom ye (now) hold as enemies. For Allah has power (over all things); And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.


Does Islam Call for Ongoing War against Non-Muslims?

Some Orientalists as well as some radical interpreters of Islam, assert that Islām condones an ongoing combative Jihād, that it means a continual war upon the non-Muslims until they repent and accept Islam or else pay the polltax. However the majority of Muslims scholars reject this view, citing as evidence:

وَإِنْ أَحَدٌ مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ اسْتَجَارَكَ فَأَجِرْهُ حَتَّى يَسْمَعَ كَلاَمَ اللّهِ ثُمَّ أَبْلِغْهُ مَأْمَنَهُ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لاَّ يَعْلَمُونَ

…and if anyone of the polytheists seeks your protection then grant him protection, so that he may hear the Word of Allah, and then escort him to where he can be secure, that is because they are men who know not.

The Imāms argued from this that as long as the condition that they are submissive and willing to live peacefully among the believers our divine obligation is to treat them peacefully, despite their denial of Islam. The succeeding verse:

فَمَا اسْتَقَامُواْ لَكُمْ فَاسْتَقِيمُواْ لَهُمْ إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ

So long as they are true to you, stand you true to them. Verily! Allah loved those who fear Allah.

This verse instructs the Muslims to observe treaty obligations with meticulous care, and not to break them unless the other side breaks them first.

Based on the clear arguments of the scholars from Qur’ān and hadith, the majority concluded that physical fighting is not a permanent condition against unbelievers, but only when treaties are broken or aggression has been made against Muslim territory (dār al-Islām) by unbelievers.

On the other hand, Educating non-Muslims about Islam is a continuous Jihād, per the agreed-upon, mass-transmitted hadith:

عن ابي هريرة، عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال‏:‏ ‏"‏امرت ان اقاتل الناس حتى يشهدوا ان لا اله الا الله...

The Messenger of Allah said, “I have been ordered to fight the people until they declare that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, establish prayers, and pay poor-due...”

In his book al-Jihād fīl-Islām, Dr. Sa'īd Ramaļān Būţi explains this hadith in detail based on the understanding of the majority of jurists, showing that linguistically the word “fight” here and in many other places does not refer to combat, rather to struggle, including in its scope da'wah, preaching, exhortation and establishment of the state apparatus whereby Islamic preaching is protected. It does not mean forcing anyone to become Muslim at the point of a sword, and numerous examples can be cited from the life history of the Prophet showing he never forced conversion, nor did his Successors.

Dr. Būţi explains that the linguistic scholars of hadith showed that the word uqātil أقاتل used by the Prophet in fact means “fight” and not aqtul أقتل “kill”. In Arabic, this word is used in terms of defending against an attacker or an oppressor, it is not used to mean attack or assail.

In light of this, Dr. Būţī shows that this hadith connotes:

I have been ordered by Allah to fulfill the task of calling people [peacefully] to believe that God is One and to defend any aggression against this divine task, even though this defense requires fighting aggressors or enemies.

Dr. Būţī explains that this hadith is reminiscent of a saying by the Prophet on the occasion of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah:

وإن هم أبوا فوالذي نفسي بيده لأقاتلنهم على أمري هذا حتى تنفرد ‏ ‏سالفتي ‏ ‏ولينفذن الله أمره

where he told his mediator, Badil ibn Warqa, “But if they do not accept this truce, by Allah in whose Hands my life is, I will fight with them, defending my Cause till I get killed.”

By these words, Badil ibn Warqa was tasked with inviting the Quraysh to peace, and simultaneously, warning of the ongoing war which had already exhausted them. Dr. Būţī remarks:

The Prophet’s words “I will fight with them defending my Cause,” in this context certainly means that he, while inclining to peace with the enemy, would react to their combative aggression in the same way, if they had insisted on their aggression.

Note also that in the years after the Treaty was signed, it was the Quraysh who violated the treaty. Near the end of the seventh year after migration, the Quraysh along with the allied Banī Bakr tribe, attacked the Banī Khuza'ah tribe, who were allies of the Muslims. The Banī Khuza'ah appealed to the Prophet for help and protection.

The Banī Khuza'ah sent a delegation to the Prophet requesting his support. Despite this provocation and clear violation of the treaty, the Prophet avoided acting in haste to renew hostilities. Instead he sent a letter to the Quraysh demanding payment of blood money for those killed, and a disbandment of their alliance with the Banī Bakr. Otherwise, the Prophet said, the treaty would be declared null and void.

Quraysh then sent an envoy to Medina to announce that they considered the Treaty of Hudaybīyyah null and void. However they immediately regretted this step—and therefore the leader of Quraysh Abū Sufyān, himself traveled to Madīnah to renew the contract. Despite having been the greatest enemy of the Muslims, and despite the Quraysh already being in violation of the pact they had solemnly entered into, no hand was laid on this Qurayshi chief—someone who infamous for his persecution and harm to Muslims in Makkah. He was even permitted to enter the Prophet’s mosque and announce his desire to reinstate the treaty.

From this, one can argue that if the state of unbelief were sufficient pretext for war, then the Prophet would have been warranted in seizing Abū Sufyān and initiating hostilities against the Quraysh then and there. However, on the contrary, Abū Sufyān came and went from Madīnah freely and only after some time were the hostilities renewed based on the Makkans aggressive violation of the pact.
Allah says:

...وَقَاتِلُواْ الْمُشْرِكِينَ كَآفَّةً كَمَا يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ كَآفَّةً وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللّهَ مَعَ الْمُتَّقِينَ

...and fight the mushrikūn, [polytheists Pagans] all together as they fight you all together. But know that Allah is with those who restrain themselves.

Here we understand “fight the unbelievers collectively as they fight you collectively” means “treat them in the same way as they treat you.” Commenting on this, Dr. Būţī says, “You should deal with the unbelievers kindly and equitably, unless they are rampant and out to destroy us and our faith. Hence the motive for [combative] Jihād becomes self-defense.”
Finally Allah says:

فَإِنِ اعْتَزَلُوكُمْ فَلَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ وَأَلْقَوْاْ إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلَمَ فَمَا جَعَلَ اللّهُ لَكُمْ عَلَيْهِمْ سَبِيلاً

So, if they hold aloof from you and wage not war against you and offer you peace, Allah alloweth you no way against them.

This verse is referring to the people who were not among those people involved in fighting the Muslims and they stayed away from the battle between the two groups and this is what Islām calls for. We see here an explicit statement from Allah, that it is not permitted to fight with those who are not engaged in belligerency, despite their being non-believers in Islam.


Who is Involved in Combat?

Communal Obligation

Let us begin with the most prevailing common understanding held by both Muslims and non-Muslims who are not Islamic scholars, that Jihād means war against unbelievers.

Combative Jihād is not an obligation on every individual among the Muslims, rather it’s an communal obligation (fard kifāyah) fulfilled when some take on the duty to repel the enemy. Allah says:

وَمَا كَانَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِيَنفِرُواْ كَآفَّةً فَلَوْلاَ نَفَرَ مِن كُلِّ فِرْقَةٍ مِّنْهُمْ طَآئِفَةٌ لِّيَتَفَقَّهُواْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلِيُنذِرُواْ قَوْمَهُمْ إِذَا رَجَعُواْ إِلَيْهِمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَحْذَرُونَ

And the believers should not all go out to fight. Of every troop of them, a party only should go forth, that they (who are left behind) may gain sound knowledge in religion, and that they may warn their folk when they return to them, so that they may beware

We see from this verse that Allah is showing that combative Jihād is not for everyone. If a group of people have been assigned to go for combative Jihād by their leader, the rest must not go. Rather their duty is to stay behind and study, in order to educate themselves and to educate others.

So from this verse, Allah split the people who participate in Jihād into two categories: One group goes to battle and the other stays behind to develop understanding of the religion in order to teach others. So even when combative Jihād has been called for, both those who go forth to combat and those who stay behind to develop understanding of religion are participants in Jihād. This verse makes those who stay behind and study the religion equal to those who go forth to battle, by saying: “their duty is to stay behind and study, in order to educate themselves and to educate others.”

In this verse Allah emphasized that not all the believers should go out to fight. This indicates that there is a decision to be made: who will go to fight and who will not? This implies existence of leadership who must first decide if it is necessary to go for fighting or not. It is not the case that people from here and there may issue a call to go for fighting, which will result in nothing but anarchy.
Mu'adh ibn Jabal related:

Acquire knowledge because doing so is goodness, seeking it is worship, reviewing it is glorifying Allah and researching it is Jihād...

From this we can see that to learn the religion becomes more important than participation in battle, for it will elaborate for you all the beliefs and the rulings of all that Muslims must do in this life. To understand the rulings of the religion, including those related to Jihād, is essential and can only be accomplished by study and education. If someone has not studied comprehensively the rulings of Jihād, he will easily come to the conclusion that every issue that is raised entails combative Jihād, whereas this indeed is not the case.

Conscription

Participation in combative Jihād becomes assigned to an individual when he is ordered by the leader to be present in the line of fire:

لاَ هِجْرَةً، وَلَكِنْ جِهَادٌ وَنِيّةٌ، وَإذَا اسْتُنْفِرْتُمْ فَانْفِرُوا

Hence the Messenger of Allah said: “There is no migration (after the opening of Makkah), but Jihād and good intention. So when you are called to go forth in stopping aggression, then do so.”

This means when you are called out by your leader, and we have explained before who has the right to issue a declaration of war, the Imāmate leader, you must obey, as that is part of obedience to Allah, the Prophet and those in authority. And the condition for such a declaration of war is when the enemy suddenly attacks a land. In that case combative Jihād is appointed on its inhabitants and they must go forth to defend their nation from aggression.

Along with this it is incumbent on any group who seek to fight as soldiers in the way of Allah against aggression by unbelievers, to firstly pledge themselves to their leader—someone who fits the profile of Imāmate from knowledge, piety and effectiveness—who organizes the army. Thereafter they organize their ranks, and prepare them to fight.
Setting forth when called is mandatory on the Muslim when: male; possesses sound reason; attained the age of maturity; is healthy and whose family possesses sufficient funds for what they need until he completes the duty assigned him by the leader.

Allah said, setting the rules for Jihād, “and the believers should not all go out to fight”

The verse begins with that statement to emphasize that not every person goes forth to battle, and it goes on to explain that “from every troop of them, a party only should go forth, that those who are left behind may gain some knowledge in religion and that they may warn their folk when they return tot hem that they may beware.”

Allah is showing that from every group, only a party of them goes forth. That means the army is to be taken from different citizens from various parts of the country, “from every group of them,” and today means volunteers or recruits who have been assigned and trained go forth to fight, while the rest of the citizens remain behind to train and educate themselves.

لَّيْسَ عَلَى الضُّعَفَاء وَلاَ عَلَى الْمَرْضَى وَلاَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لاَ يَجِدُونَ مَا يُنفِقُونَ حَرَجٌ إِذَا نَصَحُواْ لِلّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ

Not unto the weak nor unto the sick nor unto those who can find naught to spend is any fault (to be imputed though they stay at home) if they are true to Allah and His messenger.

This verse means there is no obligation on those who have a weak personality, or a radical mentality, nor on those who have no talent, to go forth, for war will not be good for them. This indicates only those persons selected by the Ruler or his appointed leaders should go forth; not those who might commit rash actions because of excessive emotional zeal nor those who are mentally ill and might commit crimes like the throwing of bombs, suicide attacks and so forth.

As Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzīyyah said in Zād al-ma‘ād:
The Prophet said:

المجاهد من جاهد نفسه في طاعة الله والمهاجر من هجر الخطايا والذنوب

The fighter is the one who fights himself in obedience to Allah and the one who emigrates is the one who emigrates from iniquities.

The Jihād of the self is a prerequisite over the Jihād of the enemy in the open and initial basis for it.

Without a doubt, the one who didn’t fight his self (or someone who does not do what he is commanded and does not leave what has been forbidden goes to battle in the way of Allah) it is not possible for him to make combative Jihād against the external enemy. How is this it possible for him to fight his [external] enemy, when his own enemy which is right beside him, dominates over him and commands him? So as he did not wage war on the [internal] enemy of Allah, it is even more impossible for him to set out against the enemy until he fights himself in order for departure.

لَيْسَ عَلَى الْأَعْمَى حَرَجٌ وَلَا عَلَى الْأَعْرَجِ حَرَجٌ

There is no blame for the blind, nor is there blame for the lame, nor is there blame for the sick (that they go not forth to war).

Surprise Attack

When the enemy suddenly arrives in a place which the Muslims reside, it is obligated for the inhabitants to go out and fight them and it is not allowed for anyone to be exempt from this obligation.

Age Requirement

Ibn 'Umar said, “I was presented to the Messenger of Allah at the time of the battle of Uħud when I was fourteen years of age, and he didn’t give me permission to fight.”
This is because Jihād is not obligated except on the one who has reached the appropriate age.

Jihad of Women

‘Ā'ishā asked, “O Messenger of Allah , is Jihād obligated for women?” He said, “Jihād without fighting. Ħajj and ‘Umrah [are their Jihād].”
Allah says:

وَلاَ تَتَمَنَّوْاْ مَا فَضَّلَ اللّهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ لِّلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبُواْ وَلِلنِّسَاء نَصِيبٌ مِّمَّا اكْتَسَبْنَ وَاسْأَلُواْ اللّهَ مِن فَضْلِهِ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا

And covet not the thing in which Allah hath made some of you excel others. Unto men a fortune from that which they have earned, and unto women a fortune from that which they have earned. (Envy not one another) but ask Allah of His bounty. Lo! Allah is ever Knower of all things

It is reported by 'Ikrimah that some women inquired about Jihād and other women said, “We wish that Allah grant us a portion of the reward the military expeditions receive from the reward of what the men share.”
This does not prevent women from going out to treat the wounded.

It is reported that the Prophet was out on a military expedition and Umm Salīm was with him and other women from the al-Anšār. They were giving water to the fighters and treating the wounded.

Parents’ Permission

In the case of a major, obligatory combative Jihād, the parents’ permission is not required, but as far as the voluntary combative Jihād, their permission is a must but from just one if the other has passed away.

Ibn Mas'ūd related:
I asked the Messenger of Allah which action is most loved to Allah and he said, “Prayer in its time. Then I said, “then what,” and he said, “Being good to your parents.” Then I said, “what after that?” He said, “Jihād in the way of Allah.”

Ibn '`Umar said:
A man came to the Prophet and asked permission for combative Jihād and he said, “Are not your parents alive?” He said, “Yes.” Then he said, “Then ask them first, then fight.”

One does not go out in Jihād except if he has completed providing for the needs of his family and the service of his parents. For this is the prerequisite of Jihād; even more it is the best Jihād.


Jihad Between Muslims

Properly speaking Jihād, in the case of internal dissension, only occurs when two conditions are met and the Muslims fight in support of the Imām against the offending parties:
1) a just leader (Imām)
2) fighting unjustifiable insurrection. In Islam allegiance and obedience to a just authority is obligatory.

It must be noted also that rebellions against authority and especially political authority simply for the sake of rebellion have no place in the concept of Jihād. In this age of relativism, the spirit of rebellion seems to have penetrated every layer of society. However, Islam and its principles cannot be made subservient to these cultural trends.

In some of the contemporary “Islamic" groups, Jihād has been adapted to a virtually Marxist or Socialist concept of class revolt aimed at overthrowing the authority of the state. In the often fervently materialistic milieu of contemporary political and revolutionary ideologies, Islam is inevitably reduced to nothing more than a social philosophy. This reductionism simply amounts to an abysmal misunderstanding of the essential function of Islam, which is to turn the “face" of the human receptacle away from the world of disharmony and illusion to the tranquility and silence of Divine awareness and vision. Inward Jihād, as we alluded to at the beginning of this presentation, has a key role to play in this respect.

Seeking Peace

The ruler, the political leader of the whole country, has the power to ratify peace treaties consistent with the interests of the Muslims.
Allah said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ ادْخُلُواْ فِي السِّلْمِ كَآفَّةً وَلاَ تَتَّبِعُواْ خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ

Enter into peace completely and do not follow the steps of Satan.

And:

وَإِن جَنَحُواْ لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللّهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

And if they incline to peace, incline thou also to it, and trust in Allah.

Sayyid Sābiq states:
This verse is the command to accept peace when the enemy accepts it, even if their acceptance is known to be beforehand to be deception and deceit.

Allah says:

وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ لِلّهِ فَإِنِ انتَهَواْ فَلاَ عُدْوَانَ إِلاَّ عَلَى الظَّالِمِينَ

And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease, Let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression.

From this verse we see that fighting is exhorted until oppression is ended. Thus with the words, “but if they cease,” Allah legislates that once justice prevails and no one is prevented from observing their belief in Allah, then fighting should end. Allah grants that arms be set aside, “except to those who practice oppression.”

وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لاَ تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ كُلُّهُ لِلّه فَإِنِ انتَهَوْاْ فَإِنَّ اللّهَ بِمَا يَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ

And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah altogether and everywhere; but if they cease, verily Allah doth see all that they do.

Thus peace is not only permitted but called for, after the adversary, even if still inimical, ceases its aggression. However precaution and watchfulness is not to be abandoned in this situation, for here Allah reminds the Muslims of His Own Attribute, “verily Allah doth see all that they do.”

The Prophet said, after establishing the Islamic state in Madīnah, that the way of the Muslims is one. No single group can autonomously declare war or fight, nor can any one group make peace by itself, but the entire country must make peace. A peace treaty can be made by the country’s leader and all subjects of the country are bound by that decision, regardless of whether the leader was appointed or elected. The final decision is up to the ruler after his consultation with others.

If a state has no leader then it must select one, or all the neighboring states and nations must come together and agree on a treaty with any foreign country. This applies today in the case of the Middle East Crisis. This applies as much to peace as it does to war. No individual or group may come forth and declare a Jihād: such will be a false Jihād. All Muslim nations and their leaders must come together for a decision of war or peace and that is the only accepted process.

It is imperative to keep in mind that all such verses were revealed a specific times pertaining to specific historical events. Our concern today is that radical extremists employ these verses outside their proper historical and revelatory context, merely cutting and pasting together what suits their evil inclinations, without accurate or sufficient knowledge of the applicability or otherwise of such verses.

Taxation

Ibn Qudāma said that a treaty of peace involves agreeing with combatant non-Muslims for an end to hostility for a period of time, whether it involves paying a tax or not. He asserted that Muslims are allowed to make peace treaties that do not require non-Muslims to pay a tax, because the Prophet of Allah did so on the occasion of the Hudaybīyya Treaty. Ibn Qudāma says that Imām Aħmad gave this opinion as did Imām Abū Ħanīfa.


Conduct of Combat

Prohibition of Killing Non-combatants

Islam prohibits utterly the killing of those who are not actual military personnel.

حدثنا ‏ ‏عثمان بن أبي شيبة ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏يحيى بن آدم ‏ ‏وعبيد الله بن موسى ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏حسن بن صالح ‏ ‏عن ‏ ‏خالد بن الفزر ‏ ‏حدثني ‏ ‏أنس بن مالك ‏أن رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏قال ‏ ‏انطلقوا باسم الله وبالله وعلى ملة رسول الله ولا تقتلوا شيخا فانيا ولا طفلا ولا صغيرا ولا امرأة ولا ‏‏ تغلوا ‏‏ وضموا ‏‏ غنائمكم وأصلحوا وأحسنوا إن الله يحب المحسنين {وَأَحْسِنُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ}

The Prophet sent the following message to his military leaders who were setting forth in the way of Jihād to stop hostile advances and defend Muslim territories:

Advance in the name of Allah, with Allah, on the pattern of the Messenger of Allah . That means do not to kill the elderly, infants or children and women. Do not exceed the proper bounds. Gather your spoils and make peace

وَأَحْسِنُوَاْ إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ

“and do good. Lo! Allah loveth those who do good.”

حدثنا ‏ ‏أبو الوليد الطيالسي ‏ ‏حدثنا ‏ ‏عمر بن المرقع بن صيفي بن رباح ‏ ‏قال ‏رباح بن ربيع ‏ ‏قال ‏ ‏كنا مع رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏في غزوة فرأى الناس مجتمعين على شيء فبعث رجلا فقال انظر علام اجتمع هؤلاء فجاء فقال على امرأة قتيل فقال ما كانت هذه لتقاتل قال وعلى المقدمة ‏ ‏خالد بن الوليد ‏ ‏فبعث رجلا فقال قل ‏ ‏لخالد ‏ ‏لا يقتلن امرأة ولا ‏ ‏عسيفا

The Prophet passed by a woman who was killed and said, “She was not engaged in fighting.” The Prophet then sent to the Muslim leader Khālid ibn al-Walīd the following message, “The Prophet orders you not to kill women or servants.”

This was to show the reason in the prohibition of killing her was due to the fact she was not with the fighters. The inference here is “the reason we fight them, is because they fight us, not on the simple principle that they are disbelievers.” This is clear evidence the woman was not a fighter and the Prophet prohibited her killing. From the strong expression the Prophet made, going so far as to send a letter to his topmost military commander, we see how concerned he was to prevent any such incidents, and to insure that every single Muslim warrior was aware of the rules of combat.

The question arises here: when someone explodes a bomb or commits a suicide attack in a public place, how many innocent women, children and elderly people are killed? If for one woman’s death, the Prophet scolded his top general, Khālid ibn al-Walīd, what then about killing twenty, thirty or even hundreds of non-combatants, some of whom may even be Muslim?

Just as the Messenger of Allah forbade the killing of women and the young he forbade killing priests.
The first caliph Sayyidina Abū Bakr aš-Šiddīq’s commandment to the leader of the first Islamic military expedition after the Prophet was:

...No hermit should be molested...Only those should be killed who take up arms against you.

So we see from these various narrations of the Prophet ―and there are many more like them―that the Prophet prohibited the Muslims to fight anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim, even if they are unbelievers, if they are not transgressors against the security of the nation.

This shows that terrorist acts, in particular suicide attacks which kill indiscriminately, are utterly unacceptable forms of combat, even during valid combat authorized for defense of the nation.

Prohibition of Burning the Enemy

‏‏أن رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏أمره على ‏ ‏سرية ‏ ‏قال فخرجت فيها وقال إن وجدتم فلانا فأحرقوه بالنار فوليت فناداني فرجعت إليه فقال ‏ ‏إن وجدتم فلانا فاقتلوه ولا تحرقوه فإنه لا يعذب بالنار إلا رب النار

It is prohibited to burn the enemy with fire because the Messenger said, “Kill [the enemy] but do not burn him. For no one punishes with fire except the Lord of the Fire.”

This hadith illustrates the Prophet’s emphasis on mercy and avoidance of harm when he established such laws of conduct on the battlefield. In modern times only were such rules of warfare established, as the Geneva Convention, in which it is impermissible to kill or torture prisoners of war. Similarly, we see that 1400 years ago, the Prophet established details rules of warfare in which even using fire in combat was prohibited, something which modern legislators of warfare have been loathe to adopt.

According to this hadith, weapons of fire are not approved by Allah. Allah prohibited burning, yet the majority of attacks by Islamic groups today involve bombs and explosions, such as the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11, where 3,000 people were incinerated.

Prohibition of Mutilating the Dead

‏ ‏كان نبي الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏‏ يحثنا على الصدقة وينهانا عن ‏‏ المثلة ‏ ‏فأتيت ‏ ‏عمران بن حصين ‏ ‏فسألته فقال كان رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏‏ يحثنا على الصدقة وينهانا عن ‏‏ المثلة ‏.

Imrān bin Ħušayn said the Messenger of Allah encouraged us to give charity and forbade us from mutilation.

Prohibition of Despoiling

Abū Bakr aš-Šiddīq commanded the leader of the first Islamic military expedition after the Prophet saying:
...No fruit-bearing trees are to be cut down and no crops should be set on fire. No animal should be killed except those slaughtered for eating...Only those should be killed who take up arms against you.

Suicide Attacks

One of Islam’s fundamental principles is the sanctity of life. Islam prohibits killing those who are not combatants, except those involved in a direct battle face-to-face between warriors. There is simply no room for maneuver in Islam to justify the killing of innocents, even as a form of mass retribution, which many radicals today use as justification for their large-scale attacks on civilians. For Islam prohibits blood feud and specifies retribution only towards the one who committed a crime.
Allah says:

وَلاَ تَقْتُلُواْ النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللّهُ إِلاَّ بِالْحَقِّ

Slay not the life which Allah has made sacrosanct unless it be in a just cause.

وَمَن يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًا مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَآؤُهُ جَهَنَّمُ خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَغَضِبَ اللّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَعَنَهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُ عَذَابًا عَظِيمًا

And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide therein, and the Wrath and the Curse of Allah are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him,

Since no one can say for sure “this person is not a believer” it becomes forbidden to kill any human being without just cause.
Suicide itself is specifically prohibited in:

وَلاَ تَقْتُلُواْ أَنفُسَكُمْ إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ بِكُمْ رَحِيمًا

Kill yourselves not, for Allah is truly merciful to you.

and:

وَلاَ تُلْقُواْ بِأَيْدِيكُمْ إِلَى التَّهْلُكَةِ وَأَحْسِنُوَاْ

Throw not yourselves into the mouth of danger.

Thus we see the general principle enunciated here that killing oneself is forbidden. The Qur’ān did not leave anything without an explanation. This is a general principle that no one is permitted to kill another or to kill himself.

Killing Non-combatants

The one who attacks the enemy in repelling his aggression, fighting under the authorized leader of the Muslims, and fights and is killed becomes a martyr (shahīd). But to attack a public location where the ones killed are killed randomly without knowing if they are combatants or not, is forbidden.
Today’s militant radical Islamists cite a ruling by the Shafi‘ī scholar al-Mawardī in which he stated that when involved in combative Jihād, if the enemy has mixed non-combatants among warriors either by chance or intentionally as “human shields” then Muslim archers are allowed to fire on the enemy, despite the fact that due to the randomness of shooting, non-combatants might die. Spinning off this, they argue that this ruling justifies bomb attacks against civilian areas.

This is nothing but a twisting of the law to suit their purposes. This ruling is very specific in that it allows such attacks on the assumption that it is the combatants that are targeted by the archers, not the civilians, who only happen to be present or, in the worst case, have been placed as “human shields.” The assumption of the jurist is also that the Muslims and the enemy are engaged in face-to-face fighting, between combatants. However, the attacks carried out by such militants in fact do not target combatants: rather they are typically placed in public locations more frequented by civilians, including innocent women, children and non-military persons.

In Islamic law, one cannot build a case on doubtful assumptions, such as “those people are likely all engaged in fighting Muslims.” Such an argument is false and the result is the killing of innocent without justification.


Prohibition of Suicide

Islam utterly forbids suicide.

عن عمران بن حصين قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم:"من قتل نفسه بشيء في الدنيا عذب به في الآخرة".

On this the Prophet said:

Whoever killed himself in the world with anything, then Allah will punish him by that same thing on the Day of Judgment.

‏... ‏ ‏جندب بن عبد الله ‏ ‏في هذا المسجد ... ‏ ‏قال قال رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏‏ كان فيمن كان قبلكم رجل به جرح فجزع فأخذ سكينا فحز بها يده فما ‏ ‏رقأ ‏ ‏الدم حتى مات قال الله تعالى ‏ ‏بادرني عبدي بنفسه حرمت عليه الجنة

The Prophet said:
Among those who were before you, there was a man who was inflicted with wounds. He felt despair, so he took a knife and with it he cut his hand; blood kept flowing until the man died. Allah the Exalted said, “My slave has caused death on himself hurriedly; I forbid Paradise to him.”

حدثنا حبَّان بن موسى: أخبرنا عبد الله: أخبرنا معمر، عن الزُهري، عن سعيد بن المسيَّب، عن أبي هريرة رضي الله عنه قال: شهدنا مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم خيبر، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لرجل ممن معه يدَّعي الإسلام: (هذا من أهل النار). فلما حضر القتال قاتل الرجل من أشد القتال، وكثرت به الجراح فأثبتته، فجاء رجل من أصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: يا رسول الله، أرأيت الذي تحدثت أنه من أهل النار، قد قاتل في سبيل الله من أشد القتال، فكثرت به الجراح، فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: (أما إنه من أهل النار). فكاد بعض المسلمين يرتاب، فبينما هو على ذلك إذ وجد الرجل ألم الجراح، فأهوى بيده إلى كنانته فانتزع منها سهما فانتحر بها، فاشتد رجال من المسلمين إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقالوا: يا رسول الله صدَّق الله حديثك، قد انتحر فلان فقتل نفسه، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: (يا بلال، قم فأذِّن: لا يدخل الجنة إلا مؤمن، وإن الله ليؤيِّد هذا الدين بالرجل الفاجر

Narrated Abū Hurayra:

We were in the company of Allah's Messenger on an expedition, and he remarked about a man who claimed to be a Muslim, saying, “This (man) is from the people of the (Hell) Fire.” When the battle started, the man fought violently till he got wounded. Somebody said, “O Allah's Apostle! The man whom you described as being from the people of the (Hell) Fire fought violently today and died.” The Prophet said, “He will go to the (Hell) Fire.” Some people were on the point of doubting (the truth of what the Prophet had said) while they were in this state, suddenly someone said that he was still alive but severely wounded. When night fell, he lost patience and committed suicide. The Prophet was informed of that, and he said, “Allah is Greater! I testify that I am Allah's Slave and His Apostle.” Then he ordered Bilāl to announce amongst the people: 'None will enter Paradise but a Muslim, and Allah may support this religion (i.e. Islam) even with a disobedient man.'

‏عن‏ ‏أبي هريرة ‏ ...‏أن رسول الله ‏ ‏صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ ‏قال ‏ ‏من قتل نفسه بحديدة فحديدته في يده ‏ ‏يتوجأ ‏ ‏بها في بطنه في نار جهنم خالدا مخلدا فيها أبدا ومن قتل نفسه بسم فسمه في يده ‏ ‏يتحساه ‏ ‏في نار جهنم خالدا مخلدا فيها أبدا ومن ‏‏ تردى ‏‏ من جبل فقتل نفسه فهو ‏ ‏يتردى ‏ ‏في نار جهنم خالدا

The Prophet said:
Whoever throws himself down from a high mountain and kills himself will be throwing himself down from a mountain in the Fire of Hell for all eternity. Whoever takes poison and kills himself will be taking poison in the Fire of Hell for all eternity. Whoever kills himself with a weapon (literally, iron) will be holding it in his hand and stabbing himself in the stomach in the Fire of Hell for all eternity).

The Prophet said:
Indeed, whoever (intentionally) kills himself, then certainly he will be punished in the Fire of Hell, wherein he shall dwell forever.

أخبرنا اسحق بن منصور قال أنبأنا أبو الوليد قال حدثنا أبو خيثمة زهير قال حدثنا سماك عن أبي سمرة:-أن رجلا قتل نفسه بمشاقص فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أما أنا فلا أصلي عليه

A person [engaged in battle] killed himself with a broad-headed arrow. The Messenger of Allah said, “As for me, I will not pray over him.”

Even the mufti of the most fundamentalist school of law in Islam, the “Wahhabi/Salafi” school of thought, declared that suicide bombings have never been an accepted method of fighting in Islam. The Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh 'Abd Al-'Azīz Āl-Shaikh declared, “To my knowledge so-called 'suicide missions' do not have any legal basis in Islam and do not constitute a form of Jihād. I fear that they are nothing but a form of suicide, and suicide is also prohibited in Islam.” This echoes an earlier fatwā by his predecessor, the late Saudi mufti Shaykh 'Abd Al-'Azīz bin Bāz.

Like the suicide attackers of September 11th, those who commit such atrocities in the name of religion are wrong. They can find no support for their actions in our creed. Nor can those who explode themselves and others indiscriminately in shopping centers, theaters or houses of worship find any justification in the faith’s pristine teachings.

One justification the terrorists make is the following account from the life of the Prophet in which the Prophet’s paternal cousin az-Zubayr ibn al-'Awwām, was participating in a battle against the Byzantine Army. Az-Zubayr said to a group of Muslim soldiers, “Who will promise to go with me and fight our way through the enemy lines until we reach the end of their lines, then go around their camp back to our current position?” A group of fighters said, “we promise.” Az-Zubayr lead a group of fighters and fought their way through many enemy lines until they reached the end of the Roman camp. They then went around the Roman camp and returned to the Muslim army.

The logic the terrorists use is that they were certain to die and thus committed suicide while fighting the enemy. In fact az-Zubayr did not tell his companions “let us kill ourselves,” especially before going on this challenging task. He only exposed himself and them to what is commonly expected in any form of warfare—the probability of being killed by the enemy. He did not intend to die, but to fight, and with Allah’s support to win, else to die by the enemy’s hand. This is not suicide, rather it is bravery and heroism. Thus the terrorists’ “logic” is shown for what it is, illogical.

Islam has always required perfect chivalry and discipline. For that reason, soldiers are ordered to endure and fight even in the face of tremendous odds. The Islamic rules of military conduct never permit using civilians as targets or as hostages. In Islam, even so-called “collateral damage” is unacceptable. Therefore, if a Muslim kills himself, along with innocents, it is a doubly forbidden act.

Shaykh Yūsuf al-Qaradāwī issued a fatwā condemning the tragic suicide attacks of 9-11, stating:

Even in times of war, Muslims are not allowed to kill anybody save the one who is indulged in face-to-face confrontation with them.” He added that they are not allowed to kill women, old persons, or children, and that haphazard killing is totally forbidden in Islam. Shaykh Qaradāwī on another occasion defined terrorism as “the killing of innocent people...with no differentiation between the innocent and the foe.

Another widely followed religious scholar, As-Sayyid Tantāwī, Grand Shaykh of Islam’s highest institution of learning, the University of Al-Azhar, has said that attacks against women and children are “not accepted by Islamic law.” Al-Azhar’s Research Academy, shortly after September 11, declared that a “Muslim should only fight those who fight him; children, women and the elderly must be spared.” Therefore terrorism and its crime against civilians is impermissible under any interpretation of Islamic law. This ruling does not change based on geographical locality.

The Prophet said:

...Whoever fights under the banner of a people whose cause is not clear, who gets flared up with family pride, calls people to fight in the cause of their family honor or fights to support his kith and kin, and is killed, then he dies in a state of jāhilīyyah. Whoever indiscriminately attacks my Ummah, killing the righteous and wicked among them, sparing not even those firm in faith, and fulfilling not a pledge made with whoever was given a promise of security, has nothing to do with me and I have nothing to do with him.

This shows us very clearly, that those who indiscriminately attack both Muslims and non-Muslims by suicide bombings, killing innocent people, and without focusing on anyone in particular, are rejected completely by the Prophet . Such is the case in many Muslim countries today, including the land of Hijaz, Pakistan, Darfur, Egypt, Algeria, Iraq and so forth. What is taking place in these nations today is clearly are described in this hadith, “Whoever indiscriminately attacks my Ummah, killing the righteous and wicked among them, sparing not even those firm in faith.”

Emphasis in this hadith on “fulfilling not the pledge made with whoever was given a promise of security” is reference to those citizens who keep their civic obligations by paying taxes and pledging their allegiance to the government. Thus both Muslim and non-Muslim citizens are encompassed in the scope of meaning of this hadith, and as for those who aggress against them, “he has nothing to do with” the Prophet and the Prophet has “nothing to do with him.”
If someone asks, “What about suicide bombings against non-Muslims?”

We say: “This is utterly wrong.”


False Rulings Supporting Suicide Attacks

Often those who justify suicide attacks cite as evidence the story of the Companion al-Bara' ibn Mālik at the Battle of Yamāma, in which the Muslims fought Musaylima the Liar, who had begun the war by attacking the Muslims.

The Muslims gained ground against the idolaters the day of Yamāma until they cornered them in a garden in which Musaylima was staying. Al-Bara' ibn Mālik said: “O Muslims, throw me to them!” He was carried aloft until when he was above the wall, he penetrated [the enclosure]. Then he fought them inside the garden until he opened it for the Muslims and the Muslims entered. Then Allah killed Musaylima.

Al- Bara' threw himself onto them and fought them until he opened the gate after having received more than eighty cuts. Then he was carried away and tended. Khālid [ibn al-Walīd] visited him for a month.

The Companion threw himself into the ranks of the enemy, in order to throw open the fortress' door, knowing full well that he would likely be killed in the process.

Studying this analogy, one finds that it is not relevant, for in the incident cited the two combatant armies were fighting face-to-face. In the process he did not kill innocent people. He threw himself with the intention of either opening the door or dying in the attempt. In fact his death was expected at the hands of the enemy, not by his own action. And this, like the earlier example of az-Zubayr ibn al-'Awwām, is exemplary of chivalry and bravery, not of intent to commit suicide.

Suicide bombings are something in which innocent people are killed, some might even be supporters of one’s cause, while others are innocent. Thus this example does not apply. Such an act on the contrary is not suicidal; it is an act of bravery which is accepted in every nation and culture.

This means that whoever goes on his own and declares his own rulings, independent of the ruler of the Muslim Nation, falls under the label of Jāhilīyyah – pre-Islamic ignorance and unbelief. Such a person establishes his own group and his own false rulings on fighting, causing all the people to fall into tribulations due to his aggression.

This hadith demonstrates the Prophet's emphatic opposition to those who would declare a false combative Jihād. This 1400 year-old hadith is also a very clear prediction by the Prophet , that a people will arise who will create havoc and confusion, who are arrogant and proud of themselves, and who despite appearances, are in fact fighting for the sake of their families and tribes. And this is not Jihād by any means but in fact falsifies the concept of Jihād totally.

Here we see the Prophet extended shelter to a combatant pagan who was promised shelter by a Muslim woman. How then are we allowing today’s beheadings of those people who are working to help stability and bringing provision and supporting human rights in Iraq. They take innocent people and behead them, people who have been given shelter by the existing government and they are non-combatants.

“Whoever indiscriminately attacks my Nation killing the righteous and the wicked among them, and fulfilling not a pledge made with whoever was given a promise of security, has nothing to do with me and I have nothing to do with him."

This portion of the hadith makes it abundantly clear that if someone attacks a person whose safety has been pledged by the nation's government to uphold, the Prophet is abandoning the attacker and dissociating himself from him. For the believer, nothing could be more distressing than for the Prophet to abandon him.

Prisoners of War

In regard to prisoners of war, Allah says:

حَتَّى إِذَا أَثْخَنتُمُوهُمْ فَشُدُّوا الْوَثَاقَ فَإِمَّا مَنًّا بَعْدُ وَإِمَّا فِدَاء حَتَّى تَضَعَ الْحَرْبُ أَوْزَارَهَا

At length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens.

قال الرسول : يا ام هاني اجرنا من اجرتي

It was related from Umm Hānī bint Abī Ţālib ¯, who said to the Prophet , “My brother 'Alī said he will kill a person to whom I gave shelter, so-and-so son of Hubayra,” who was a combatant pagan at that time. The Prophet said, “We shelter the person whom you have sheltered.”

In a similar vein, the hadith where the Prophet said:
He who gives a promise of safety to a man in regards to his life, then kills him, I am innocent of the actions of the killer, even if the one killed was a disbeliever.

It is established that the Prophet captured prisoners yet never did he compel or force anyone to embrace Islām. The same holds true for his Companions.
The Companions of the Messenger of Allah used to ransom captives and rejected killing them saying, “What would we gain from killing them?”


Rebellion Against Rulers

The scholar Ibn Nujaym said, “it is not permitted for there to be more than one state leader (Imām) in a time period. There may be many judges, even in one state, but the leader is one." Al-Bahjūri said, “It is an obligation to obey the leader, even if he is not fair or trustworthy or even if he committed sins or mistakes." Abū Ħanifa's school says that the head of the state, the Imām, cannot be expelled for being a corrupt person (fāsiq).

Al-Bahjūrī

Al-Bahjūrī said, “… you have to obey the Ruler even if he is oppressive.”
This means that a group or individual are not permitted to declare war against the ruler of a nation, especially by means of terrorizing the people through planting bombs, and suicide attacks which kill innocents and incite mayhem.
And in his explanation of Saħīħ Muslim al-Bahjūrī said, “…it is forbidden to come against the ruler,”

Amin Ahsan Islahi

While commenting on the underlying reasons which form the basis of state authority for combative Jihād, Amīn Aħsān Išlāħī writes:

The first reason [for this condition] is that Allah Almighty does not like the dissolution and disintegration of even an evil system until a strong probability exists that those who are out to disintegrate the system will provide people with an alternative and a righteous system. Anarchy and disorder are unnatural conditions. In fact, they are so contrary to human nature that even an unjust system is preferable to them....this confidence [that a group will be able to harmonize a disintegrated system and integrate it into a united whole] can be reposed in such a group only as has actually formed a political government and has such control and discipline within the confines of its authority that the group can be termed as al-Jama‘ah [the State]. Until a group attains this position, it may strive [by religiously allowable means] to become al-Jama‘ah – and that endeavor would be its Jihād for that time – but it does not have the right to wage an ‘armed’ Jihād.

The second reason is that the import of power which a group engaged in war acquires over the life and property of human beings is so great that the sanction to wield this power cannot be given to a group the control of whose leader over his followers is based merely on his spiritual and religious influence on them [rather than being based on legal authority]. When the control of a leader is based merely on his spiritual and religious influence, there is not sufficient guarantee that the leader will be able to stop his followers from fasād fi’l-ard (creating disorder in the society). Therefore, a religious leader does not have the right to allow his followers to take out their swords (that is to wage an armed struggle) merely on the basis of his spiritual influence over them, for once the sword is unsheathed there is great danger that it will not care for right and wrong and that those who drew it will end up doing all [the wrong which] they had sought to end. Such radical groups as desire revolution and the object of whom is nothing more than disruption of the existing system and deposition of the ruling party to seize power for themselves play such games – and they can, for in their eyes disruption of a system is no calamity, nor is it cruelty or any kind an evil. Everything is right to them [as long as it serves their purpose].

يَكُونُ بَعْدِي أَئِمَّةٌ لاَ يَهْتَدُونَ بِهُدَايَ، وَلاَ يَسْتَنُّونَ بِسُنَّتِي، وَسَيَقُومُ فِيهِمْ رِجَالٌ قُلُوبُهُمْ قُلُوبُ الشَّيَاطِينِ فِي جُثْمَانِ إنْسٍ".
قَالَ: قُلْتُ: كَيْفَ أَصْنَعُ؟ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ إِنْ أَدْرَكْتُ ذَلِكَ؟ قَالَ: “تَسْمَعُ وَتُطِيعُ لِلأَمِيرِ، وَإِنْ ضُرِبَ ظَهْرُكَ، وَأُخِذَ مَالُكَ، فَاسْمَعْ وَأَطعْ

Hudhayfa bin al-Yaman narrated a hadith in which he said:

The Prophet said, “there will be after me leaders who do not follow my guidance and do not follow my Sunnah, and there will be among them men whose hearts are like those of Satan in the body of a human being.” And I asked the Prophet , “What I should do at that time if I reach it?” He said, “listen and obey the ruler, even if he lashed your back and took your money, listen and obey."

أفلا نقاتلهم؟ قال: لا، ما صلوا “ ومن حديث عوف بن مالك رفعه في حديث في هذا المعنى “ قلنا يا رسول الله أفلا ننابذهم عند ذلك؟ قال: لا، ما أقاموا الصلاة “ وفي رواية له “ بالسيف “ وزاد “ وإذا رأيتم من ولاتكم شيئا تكرهونه فاكرهوا عمله ولا تنزعوا يدا من طاعة

In another narration, Awf bin Mālik ¦ said, “O Prophet of Allah, do you recommend that we fight them?” He said, “No, don't fight them as long as they do not prevent you from your prayers. And if you see from them something that you dislike, dislike their acts, do not dislike them. And do not take your hand out from obedience to them.”

مَنْ كَرِهَ مِنْ أَمِيرِهِ شَيْئاً فَلْيَصْبِرْ عَلَيْهِ، فَإِنَّهُ لَيْسَ أَحَدٌ مِنَ النَّاسِ خَرَجَ مِنَ السُّلْطَانِ شِبْراً، فَمَاتَ عَلَيْهِ، إِلاَّ مَاتَ مِيتَةً جَاهِلِيَّةً

It is narrated from 'Abdullāh ibn al-'Abbās ¦, that the Prophet said:

If someone dislikes his ruler, he must be patient, because if he comes against the ruler in a rebellious or destructive manner by only a handp and dies, he dies in a state of pre-Islamic ignorance (jāhilīyyah) and sin.

Other hadiths with similar purport are:

سَتَكُونُ عَلَيْكُمْ أَئِمَةٌ تَعْرِفُونَ مِنْهُمْ وَتُنْكِرُونَ، فَمَنْ أَنْكَرَ قال أبُو دَاوُدَ قالَ هِشَامٌ بِلِسَانِهِ فَقَدْ بَرِيءَ، وَمَنْ كَرِهَ بِقَلْبِهِ فقَدْ سَلِمَ وَلكِنْ مَنْ رَضِيَ وَتَابَعَ، يَا رَسُول الله أَفَلاَ نَقْتُلُهُمْ؟ قال أبُو دَاوُدَ: أَفَلاَ نُقَاتِلُهُمْ؟ قالَ: لاَ مَا صَلّوْا"

The Prophet said, “There will be upon you leaders who you will recognize and disapprove of; whoever rejects them is free, whoever hates them is safe as opposed to those who are pleased and obey them,” they said, “should we not fight them.” He said, “No, as long as they pray.”

وعن عوف بن مالك رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنهُ قال سمعت رَسُول اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيهِ وَسَلَّم يقول: <خيار أئمتكم الذين تحبونهم ويحبونكم، وتصلون عليهم ويصلون عليكم. وشرار أئمتكم الذين تبغضونهم ويبغضونكم، وتلعنونهم ويلعنونكم!> قال: قلنا يا رَسُول اللَّهِ أفلا ننابذهم؟ قال: <لا ما أقاموا فيكم الصلاة، لا، ما أقاموا فيكم الصلاة...

The Prophet said, “The best of your leaders are those you love and they love you, you pray for them and they pray for you. The worst of your leaders are those who anger you and you anger them and you curse them and they curse you.” We replied, “O Messenger of Allah should we not remove them at that,” He said, “No, as long as they establish the prayer amongst you...”

These source texts are clear evidence that whoever lives under a particular government must obey the ruler and live peacefully. They are prohibited from taking up arms against him. Uprising or violence by any group against the ruler is completely rejected in Islam, and was prohibited by the Prophet and will be a cause of death on the way of ignorance (jāhilīyyah). Thus Islam considers rebellion against the ruler a great iniquity. These hadith affirm that one must be patient with one's ruler, even if he commits oppression. These hadith refer to the leader of a nation, not the leader of a small group. Therefore groups that take up violent struggle against their regimes are prohibited in Islam and are by default illegal and blameworthy.

In fact the true path to correction of the mistakes of a ruler is according to the hadith “a most excellent Jihād is when one speaks a word of truth in the presence of a tyrannical ruler." Note here the hadith does not mention fighting the ruler, but rather praises the one who corrects the ruler by speech. Armed and violent opposition to a state regime can never be recognized as Jihād in the way of Allah, despite the claims of many groups. Unfortunately we see today countless individuals and groups who label their rulers and their governments apostates or unbelievers, thereby giving themselves the excuse to declare “Jihād" against them, asserting that this is because they do not rule by what was revealed to the Prophet . Even worse, they go further by terrorizing and killing government officers, members of the armed forces and public servants, simply because they are easy targets. These groups use a “militant Islamic" ideology to justify such felonious action, declaring the ruler, the government, and its officers to be criminals standing in the way of “true Islam", who must be eliminated. Thus, those who are innocent of any crime, but who are earning a living and raising their families, such as officers and officials of ministries and departments, county and city officials and police, become targets of these extremist ideologues. Such groups do not hesitate to kill them in surprise attacks, terrorizing the entire nation by blasting here and there and harming the innocent.

If the ruler commits wrong, it is not permitted to label him an apostate, nor to indoctrinate people to use militancy to oppose him. In the time of the Prophet after the conquest of Makkah, a Companion named Ħātib ibn Abī Balta, assisted some of the enemy by supporting them extensively and passing them secret information. It may be that no one today supports a tyrannical ruler as Ħātib supported the unbelievers at that time.

قال: يا رسول الله لا تعجل علي، إني كنت أمرأ ملصقا في قريش، ولم أكن من أنفسها، وكان من معك من المهاجرين لهم قرابات بمكة، يحمون بها أهليهم وأموالهم، فأحببت إذ فاتني ذلك من النسب فيهم، أن أتخذ عندهم يدا يحمون بها قرابتي، وما فعلت كفرا ولا ارتدادا، ولا رضا بالكفر بعد الإسلام، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: (لقد صدقكم)

When questioned as to his motives, Ħātib replied:

O Prophet of Allah! Don't hasten to give your judgment about me. I was a man closely connected with the Quraish, but I did not belong to this tribe, while the other emigrants with you, had their relatives in Mecca who would protect their dependents and property. So, I wanted to compensate for my lacking blood relation to them by doing them a favor so that they might protect my dependents. I did this neither because of disbelief nor apostasy nor out of preferring disbelief (kufr) to Islam.

The Prophet of Allah said, “Ħātib has told you the truth.”

We see here that the Prophet though fully aware of Ħātib's actions, never considered him to be outside the fold of Islam, nor did he inflict any punishment on him. Regarding Ħātib and his support of the unbelievers Allah revealed the following verse:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا عَدُوِّي وَعَدُوَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَاء تُلْقُونَ إِلَيْهِم بِالْمَوَدَّةِ وَقَدْ كَفَرُوا بِمَا جَاءكُم مِّنَ الْحَقِّ يُخْرِجُونَ الرَّسُولَ وَإِيَّاكُمْ أَن تُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ رَبِّكُمْ

O you who believe! Do not take My enemy and your enemy for friends: would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the truth, driving out the Messenger and yourselves because you believe in Allah, your Lord?

Though the verse reprimands Ħātib showing him in the wrong, nonetheless Allah did not take him out of the state of faith yet continued to address him with the honorable title “O you who believe,” despite his assisting the enemies of Islam.

This constitutes proof that even if someone assists a regime that does not support Islam, one cannot harm that person as the Prophet did not inflict any punishment on Ħātib. One wonders then how today so many groups freely label those working for the government as renegades and apostates, and issue fierce edicts to kill them? Their work with the government might be for their livelihood, or for building a bridge of trust for the Islamic community to ensure a better future relationship or a better understanding of Islam. Such actions are baseless in Islam and are founded on an extremist ideology, far removed from the middle path which always constitutes this blessed religion of Allah.


The Inner Jihad

Islam is not a rhetorical religion, it is based on unity, love and rational action. Soon after the Prophet’s death, Islam radiated outwardly from its earthly center, the Ka’aba, implacable symbol of the faith. Jihād was the dynamic of this expansion. Outwardly it embodied the power of Islam against error and falsehood, while inwardly it represented the means of spiritual awakening and of transcending the self. Referring to this, the Prophet said while returning from battle:

قدمتم خير مقدم، وقدمتم من الجهاد الأصغر إلى الجهاد الأكبر: مجاهدة العبد هواه

We are now returning from the lesser Jihād to the greater Jihād, the Jihād against the self.

The Prophet is reported to have said during the Farewell Pilgrimage:

المجاهد من جاهد نفسه في الله

... The Fighter in the Way of Allah is he who makes Jihād against himself (jāhada nafsah) for the sake of obeying Allah.

Allah says in the Holy Qur’ān,

وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا

Those who have striven for Our sake, We guide them to Our ways.

In this verse, Allah uses a derivative of the linguistic root of the word “Jihād” to describe those who are deserving of guidance, and has made guidance dependent on Jihād against the false desires of the soul. Therefore, the most perfect of people are those who struggle the most against the selfish promptings of the ego for Allah's sake. The most obligatory Jihād is that against the base side of the ego, desires, the devil, and the lower world.

The great Sufi Al-Junayd said:

Those who have striven against their desires and repented for Allah's sake, shall be guided to the ways of sincerity. One cannot struggle against his enemy outwardly (i.e. with the sword) except he who struggles against these enemies inwardly. Then whoever is given victory over them will be victorious over his enemy, and whoever is defeated by them, his enemy defeats him.


Dhikr: the Remembrance of Allah

عَنْ أَبِي الدَّرْدَاءِ؛ أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ (أَلاَ أُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِخَيْرِ أَعْمَالِكُمْ، وَأَرْضَاهَا عِنْدَ مَلِيكِكُمْ، وَأَرْفَعِهَا فِي دَرَجَاتِكُمْ، وَخَيْرٍ لَكُمْ مِنْ إِعْطَاءِ الذَّهَبِ وَالْوَرِقِ، وَمِنْ أَنْ تَلْقَوْا عَدُوَّكُمْ فَتَضْرِبُوا أَعْنَاقَهُمْ، وَيَضْرِبُوا أَعْنَاقَكُمْ؟) قَالُوا: وَما ذَاكَ؟ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ!قَالَ ذِكْرُ اللهِ

The Prophet said:

Shall I tell you something that is the best of all deeds, constitutes the best act of piety in the eyes of your Lord, elevates your rank in the hereafter, and carries more virtue than the spending of gold and silver in the service of Allah, or taking part in Jihād and slaying or being slain in the path of Allah?” They said: “Yes!” He said: “Remembrance of Allah."

Thus one finds the principles of the spiritual Jihād are based on eliminating the ugly, selfish and ferocious characteristics of the ego through spiritual training and mastery of dhikr, the Remembrance of Allah. This remembrance takes many forms: each school of Sufism focuses on a different form of ritual dhikr to enable the seeker to approach the Divine Presence, varying from individual silent recitation and chanting to vocal group sessions. It is this spiritual struggle that raises humankind and instills in him the sense of relationship with His Creator, and the proper perspective in relating to all creation, always calling for love between humanity and striving in Allah’s Way for better understanding between various communities of all faiths. Through this spiritual Jihād the effect of the selfish ego on the soul of the seeker will be removed, uplifting his state from depression, anxiety and loneliness to one of joy, satisfaction and companionship with the Most High.


Conclusion and Policy Recommendations

It is apparent that the understanding of Jihād as a concept is dismally blurred by the ongoing rhetoric employed by financially-empowered Islamist activists and extremist scholars. Disregarding centuries of classical scholarship, using a simplistic, literal approach to the Qur’ān and holy traditions of the Prophet, they have built a convincing picture of Jihād as militant, continuing warfare between the Muslims and non-Muslims; a situation they contend will maintain until the end of time.

The only way to dispel the false notions of Jihād put forth by the extremists, who are massively funded by external sources, is an equally strong effort put forth by Muslim governments in re-education of their populations, in particular the youth, with a correct understanding of this term. Such efforts must be sustained and ongoing and must have the support of modern, moderate Muslim scholars in each nation.

We propose the following recommendations for each nation engaging in these re-education efforts:
1) follow-on discussions to create a response to the current abuse of the term Jihād;
2) development and staging of public presentations to educate the public based on the information and discussions in (1);
3) publish literature detailing the accurate definition of Jihād and distributing this literature in large quantities;
4) encourage modern, moderate scholars to stand up and speak up in opposition to the extremists;
5) Create a national podium for modern, moderate scholars;
6) Publish in public media the proceedings of the above-mentioned debates and discussions by modern, moderate scholars.