Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Jihad and Nonviolence : Prof. Mehboob Desai

In the present times, the terrorists are using the word ‘Jihad’ for justifying their inhumane violence against their enemies. We know that no religion supports terroristic violence. Hence, no terrorist is a follower of any religion. A terrorist believes in his own narrow-minded brand of ideology. He joins his own type of terrorism to an ancestral religion.
The theosophical meaning of Jihad, that is, the real meaning of Jihad is not well know to common people in our society. Jihad means to strive in the way of Allah with one’s own life, means and measures to get His blessings. For achieving His mercy, one has to face the difficulties with patience, but not to create difficulties impatiently for others. Jihad means to strive. This can be any kind of striving in the way of God, which involves either spiritual or personal effort, material resources, or arms. Jihad is also used to refer to a war waged by the Muslims for the defence or advancement of Islam; it's interests and ideals. In this regard, Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said,
“Strive against selfish desires and greediness.”
“Let us be freed ourselves from little striving. In the little striving, Muslims shall have to fight with nonbelievers. It happens once in a while. Let us practice the great striving, that is against selfishness. Muslims shall have to Jihad against selfishness.”
The word striving or Jihad is used profusely in Holy Quran. But, in the whole of Holy Quran, the word ‘Jihad’ is not used in relation to indiscriminate war, innocent blood-shedding and indiscreet violence. As far as I know, in Arabic language, the word ‘Jihad’ means ‘to strive; to attempt’. To strive in the way of Allah is called Jihad in Islam. If one strives with all might and main to serve the poor people, feed the needy people, to restrain oneself, to pray consistently, to advise wisely, to guide others on right path, to make efforts for achieving righteous things, such things are called Jihad. Holy Quran says,
“Do Jihad with patience.”
Jihad word includes many righteous efforts of Muslims in the way of Allah. Many people of Makkah had migrated to Ethiopia, ruled by a Christian King, to safeguard their religion and their lives. It was also called Jihad by Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him. If a person served his old parents, his service was called Jihad. If a woman performed Umra or Hajj, the performance was called Jihad. Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah used Jihad in many contexts. While giving guidance to Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, Allah says in Holy Quran,
“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His apostle nor acknowledge the religion of truth (even if they are) of the People of the Book until they pay the Jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.”
This guidance is binding on all Muslims. Aisha, the Mother of Muslims (RA) narrated,
“I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Shouldn't we participate in Holy battles and Jihad along with you?” He replied, "The best and the most superior Jihad for women is Hajj which is accepted by Allah.” Aisha added: Ever since I heard that from Allah's Apostle I have determined not to miss Hajj.”
One day, a man asked Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah,
“Who is the best of Muslims?”
Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, replied,
“One that strives in the way of Allah with all of his means and might.”
The person asked for clarification,
“What does it mean?”
Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, replied,
“One that strives in the way of Allah means one that fasts in the day time and performs Salat in the night time.”
Likewise, Abdullah Bin Mas’ud narrated,
“I asked Allah's Apostle, "O Allah's Apostle! What is the best deed?” He replied, "To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times.” I asked, "What is next in goodness?” He replied, "To be good and dutiful to your parents.” I further asked, what is next in goodness?” He replied, "To participate in Jihad in Allah's cause.” I did not ask Allah's Apostle anymore and if I had asked him more, he would have told me more.”
Also, Abu Said narrated,
“Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) was asked who would be most excellent and most exalted in degree in Allah's estimation on the Day of Resurrection, and replied, "The men and women who make frequent mention of Allah.” He was asked if they would be superior even to the man who had fought in Allah's cause. Allah’s Messenger replied, "Even though he plied his sword among infidels and polytheists till it was broken and smeared with blood, the one who made mention of Allah would have a more excellent degree than he.”
Once one person asked Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah,
“Which is the best way of Jihad?”
Mohammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, replied,
“The best way of Jihad is to keep restraint on one’s actions and to fight against one’s own anger and greediness. That is the best way of Jihad.”
In Islamic terminology, the best way of Jihad is called ‘Jihad E Akbari’.
Thus, Jihad is not used only for war and blood shedding. Many a time, Jihad is used to indicate the striving and struggling in the way of Allah, without using any deadly weapons. Many a time, a striving and struggling with weapons is mentioned by ‘Qatal’ or ‘Qatl’ means ‘to kill ’.
Even the word ‘qatl’ is used few times in the Holy Quran, like in Surah Al Baqara and in Surah Al Israa. When the word Jihad indicates such beautiful meanings of theological status, it is not befitting to use Jihad for causing the unwanted terrorism and meaningless murders by some misguided people. When the people come to know about the difference in between Jihad and qatl, the concept of Islam will take a new mode, then, the Critics stops to relate the terrorism with Islam, the Peace.

1 comment:

  1. SIR,