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The fact that Islam is a religion of peace and security is as bright as the sun. Without doubt, there is no room for violence or tyranny and there is no secret agenda for unjust war and mindless violence within the Islamic scriptures. According to Islam, all human beings possess the human dignity (karamat e insani), and all have the right to peace, security and freedom. The massage of Islam is one of safety and security and this is not limited to any specific country or area. Rather, the mercy of peace is extended to all people, regardless of race, culture or location, as self-evident from most Verses of the Qur’an and a large part of the sunnah/ Prophetic Tradition.
Of course, there are certain verses of the Qur’an which mention killing and murder. But it should be made clear that there is a specific reason and context behind those verses related to Qital, which is different from Jihad (which actually menas “fighting physically” and Jihad is not literally a physical fight, but rather a spiritual struggle).
However, a group of people have taken these verses out of context and have not tried to understand the story behind them and raised objections against these verses and against the Holy Qur’an.
It has become the habit of these people to portray Qur’an as a scripture of murder and mayhem and especially with an aim to peddle communal hatred and disharmony and foment Shia-Sunni sectarianism, as evidenced by the recent incidents in our country.
They are using these verses to turn people into an increasing number of ‘Islamophobes’ and to malign its actual teachings. It is the effort of these narrow-minded people to portray Islam as a violent and dangerous religion and all Muslims, without an exception, as aggressive mischief-makers. By portraying Islam as having been spread by the sword and Muslims as blood-thirsty savages, the attempt is being made to turn global public opinion against Muslims and the religion of Islam.
But as a matter of fact, in India Islam was spread more by the great character and morals of Sufi saints and less by the
sword of the tyrant rulers. The esteemed prophets and the exalted ambassadors of Islam–right from Hazrat Adam (peace be upon him) to Hazrat Nooh A.S. and Hazrat Sheesh A.S. (also known as ‘Seth’ in the Roman Traditions) have illuminated this land of Mystics which they visited through various physical and spiritual forms, especially through their noble teachings, blessings, morals and character in spite of having to wield a sword and perpetrate cruelty and oppression. There were occasions when they had to take up arms in order to defend themselves against those who were threatening them. This is exactly what has happened to Shri Krishna who had to command Arjuna to fight against his own kith and kin. Even though Arjuna pleaded for mercy for his former gurus and elderly teachers. But Shri Krishna strongly recommended that ‘it was not Arjun, but in fact the Krishn himself who was divinely inspired to fight against the enemies’, as Shrimad Bhagwat Gita has clearly mentioned. Similarly, this is precisely how verses of Qital (fighting) in the Qur’an were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
As for the Jihad (struggle), it has been variously defined is the Sunnah of the holy Prophet. Jihad has a great number of meanings in Islamic Tradition. It can mean a variety of things. For example, Jihad with the heart, jihad with the mind, jihad with the knowledge, jihad with the tongue, jihad with the character and jihad with the pen etc. Speaking the words of truth in front of a tyrant is a great jihad. But jihad against unlawful carnal desires of the heart is even better than that. It is reported that upon returning from battle on one occasion, the Prophet (pbuh) said to his companions, ‘you have returned from the minor jihad to the greater jihad. Fighting against one’s carnal desires is the greatest jihad (Kanz al-ummal).”
Jihad and its implications in the 24 Qur’an verses
One can neither blindly approve every act of the Muslim organizations active in different countries nor side with them. Similarly, it is not morally correct to brand every act of Muslim organizations as unlawful, thus go on opposing them. Jihad is an all-embracing term as regards meaning, provided that they not only honour and respect the limits set by Allah but conduct their activities in the most humane manner. The merciless and indiscriminate killings cannot be blindly termed as Qital, which is a terminological word for Jihad in the Qur’an. Various measures taken by the Muslim organizations, in different parts of the world, against their adversaries or the attacks launched by them for that matter can be termed as self-defense mechanism or steps towards taking revenge. But they cannot be termed as Jihad at all.
Does Islam give sanction to suicide attacks in the name of Jihad?
Suicide has been explicitly declared to be unlawful under all circumstances. This sinful act of timidity earns abode in hell, the place of blazing fire. During the permissible Jihad, if a Muslim launches a suicide attack on the enemies, he earns the recompense of suicide, a grave sin in Islam. And if one launches a suicide attack during the state of non-Jihad, one will reap the dire consequences of two sins: suicide and killing others without reason or rhyme.
During the process of carrying out Jihad, many civilians were indiscriminately killed. Is such killing in consonance with the concept of Jihad?
Not to speak of the present-day wars in the name of Jihad, even during actual warfare of Jihad, Islam does not permit the killings of innocent civilians, women, children, elderly men and women and those who are engaged in pious acts of devotion in their worship houses. It is also not justifiable, in Islam, to destroy worship places and public institutions. How can Islam justify such acts perpetrated by the fighters?