Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Islam: War and Nonviolence : Prof. Mehboob Desai

Since his childhood, Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, was loved by all in Makkah. In his teen age and in his youth, he was praised as ‘Trustworthy’ and ‘Modest’. But, soon as he started propagating the teachings of Islam, for thirteen years, he faced the people of Makkah as hostile as they could be. He lived in negative atmosphere and tolerated all types of hurdles created by his neighbours and relatives, not to speak of other citizens. The people of Makkah took him and his followers to task. During these thirteen years, many Ayats of Holy Quran were revealed to him. These Ayats were full of advice to Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, to keep patience and tolerance against the maltreatment and misbehaviour of people of Makkah and other pagan people. He was advised to live a righteous, pious and patient life even in those treacherous conditions.
Thereafter, Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, migrated to Yathrib along with a few of his followers. This migration is called Hijrat. Then, many people reached there. Yathrib became Madinah, or a City. Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah was not spared in this city also. The people of Makkah had tried their level best to kill Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, who was staying then in Madinah. The people of Makkah gathered an army to attack Madinah. Then, for the first time in Holy Quran, Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, was guided to defend himself against those offensives by the pagan people. The permitting Ayat of Holy Quran reads,
“To those against whom war is made permission is given to fight, because, they are wronged. Verily, Allah is Most powerful for their aid. 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. (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.”
The defensive war was permitted. But, even in the defence war, the violence is restricted by Islam. In another Ayat, holy Quran says,
“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.”
The defensive war is permitted to help the helpless. In this regard, special instructions is also given. Holy Quran says,
“Let those fight in the cause of Allah who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter. To him who fighteth in the cause of Allah whether he is slain or gets victory soon shall We give him a reward of great (value). And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who being weak are ill-treated and oppressed? Men women and children whose cry is: "Our Lord! rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from Thee one who will protect; and raise for us from Thee one who will help!” Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil: so fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan”
But, even in war, Muslims should not negligent of discrimination and transgressing. Quran says,
“O ye who believe! When ye go forth to fight in the way of Allah, be careful to discriminate, and say not unto one who offereth you peace: "Thou are not a believer;” seeking the chance profits of this life so that ye may despoil him. With Allah are plenteous spoils. Even thus, as he now is, were ye before; but Allah hath since then been gracious unto you. Therefore, take care to discriminate. Allah is ever informed of what ye do.”
“Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors.”
When the Holy Quran had given guidance as such, Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, had fought 24 times with his enemies in the battle fields. None of those fights was meant for kingly power, for the formation of royal kingdom, or for showing off a patriotic attitude. The Muslim armies were gathered for the defensive wars for the safety of believers. The bloodshed was done less. The number of martyred soldier in those 24 wars was 125 in total. The number of dead in the enemy army was 923. Many of them were killed due to natural calamities.
As per the instructions of Holy Quran, the main aim of those defensive wars was to protect the weak and innocent people, who wanted to follow Islam, what they believe in. they were not fought for any land or property or power. Therefore, Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, was used to give strict instructions to Muslim soldiers prior to any battle.
“Don’t use the weapon in war for violence only. A weapon is meant for self-defence. It is not meant for violence.”
In the second year of Hijri, on the 17th day of Ramadan, the armies of pagan people of Makkah were to attack the army of Muslims at Badr. Before the war, Muslims were called for Salat. Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, led the prayer. After the Salat, Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, gave instructions to his soldiers,
“Remember, victory never depends neither on the majority of soldiers, nor on power nor on might nor on full supply of armaments. Victory depends on patience, confidence and the belief in Allah.”
The theosophical personality of Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, was not separated from the administrator’s personality of him. The two personalities were unique but one in the Messenger of Allah. Whatever Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, had preached as the principals of Islam, he had kept those discourses in practice in his real day-to-day life sincerely. Thus, Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, became a best model for Muslims in the society of pagans. He ran the administration of his Islamic society in righteous manner. He demonstrated the truth through his life that Islam was not full of violence, but full of peace, dedication, contribution and sacrifice of selfishness.

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