It seems as if the ‘Ghazwat-ul-Hind’ theorists are making the news headlines across the border!
It was a ‘black valentine day’ on February 14, when a ghastly terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama martyred over 40 CRPF Indian soldiers. Now almost majority of the terrorists who happened to be fidayeen—medieval-styled militants of the Jaish-e-Muhammad—have been killed. On Tuesday morning, 12 Indian Air Force Mirage-2000 jets bombed terror camps of Pakistan-based terror outfit in Balakot. This Indian air strike has been dubbed ‘surgical strikes 2.0’. As news of the attack trickled in early morning, both Indian and Pakistani press went into overdrive with varying news reports. While Indian media praised the precision and success of the attack, many Pakistani media outlets confirmed the attack but reported that the Indian jets jettisoned their payload of fuel and “fled” after Pakistani forces retaliated.
India’s foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale, in his press note, confirmed the air strike and said a large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, and senior commanders were eliminated at the largest terror training camp in Balakot. “The camp was led by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, brother-in-law of JeM Chief Masood Azhar”, he stated. He also added that the camp was located on a hilltop, deep in a forest, and far away from any civilian presence. But the Pak press is trying to refute India’s statement that a large number of JeM terrorists were eliminated in the IAF operations on Tuesday, as the leading English daily in Pakistan Dawn avers. It quoted Balakot police chief Saghir Hussain Shah as saying that he had sent teams to the site which was mostly a “deserted wooded area: and found “no casualties or damages…”
In a clear violation of the journalistic ethics, Pakistani media reported the surgical strike as ‘LoC violation’ and without producing any piece critical of the Jaish-e-Muhammad’s atrocities, it accuses Indian army of ‘warmongering’. An article in Dawn ran this headline yesterday, “Pakistan will respond to Indian aggression at time and place of its choosing: NSC on LoC violation”. The report is based on the statement by Pakistan’s National Security Committee which met in a special meeting convened by PM Imran Khan in the wake of the attacks. Another English daily Express Tribune is currently running this headline: “Pakistan chases away Indian jets after LoC violation.” The newspaper chose to extensively quote Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s statement that IAF action was a “violation of the Line of Control (LoC)” and that “Pakistan reserved the right to respond to the IAF fighter jets’ air strike”. In a similar tone and tenor, Samma TV, which is vastly popular among the Urdu-speaking viewers, reported that Pakistan Air Force succeeded in foiling India’s attempt to breach the LoC. “India violated the Line of Control Monday night but their attempts to enter Pakistan were foiled by the Pakistan Air Force,” it said. The Daily Times focused on the meeting of Pakistani Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Chief of Air Staff Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan. It also released a press statement that Pakistani armed forces were fully prepared to give a befitting response to any Indian “aggression or misadventure”.
But what has come more bluntly in the analysis of the Pakistani media reports, which are based less on proper journalistic investigation than on vociferous emotionalism and a feeling of revenge, is the shallow doctrine of ‘Ghazwat-ul-Hind’, a so-called Islamic expedition against India which is reported in one of the six most authentic collections of Hadith compilations (Sunan al-Nasa’i).
Orya Maqbool Jaan, an ultra-fundamentalist Islamist writer who is a regular columnist with the leading Urdu daily Jang, looks at the Indian surgical strike as the beginning of the battle that the Prophet (pbuh) predicted to his companion, Hazrat Abu Huraira (r.a) i.e. Ghazwat-ul-Hind. On Feb 26, in an interview to the Pakistani TV channel, Neo TV Network, Jaan avers that all Hadith predictions that spoke of the battles (Ghazwah) in Syria, Yemen and now in India has proven true. This special Pakistani talk show titled “Harf-e-Raaz” puts up a few bullet points on the Ghazwat-ul-Hind including this: “Ghazwa-e-Hind is the part and parcel of the Islamic faith”. A thread of comments can be seen under this 10-minute video. One of them reads in Urdu:
میں تو بہت بڑا خواہشمند ہوں شہادت کا آپ لوگوں سے گزارش ہے کہ اللہ پاک سے دعا کریں میری زندگی میں ہی غزوہ ہند شروع ہو اور میں اس میں لڑتے لڑتے شہید ہو جاؤں۔۔۔امین امین امین ثم امین
(I am so keen on the attainment of Shahadat (Islamic martyrdom). I request all of you to pray that the Ghazwa-e-Hind begins in my lifetime so that I may get martyrdom fighting for it)
Earlier in the same talk show “Harf e Raaz with Orya Maqbool”, Jaan clearly stated: “I believe in ‘Jihad-e-Hind’ (Ghazwa-e-Hind) as much as I believe in Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). (Source: www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBZk-qFPD6w))
Now when the well-spirited and strongly-worded condemnations of Pakistan-based terror factories are coming out in India, it is an opportune time for the well-established Indian ulema to offer concrete rebuttals to the radical jihadist narratives in order to prevent Pakistan’s extremist rhetoric from creeping into the country. The larger narrative of Pakistani Jihadist organisations like Jaish-e-Muhammad is: “Ghazwah-al-Hind” which is found in Sunan al-Nasa’i, one of the Sihah-e-Sitta (the six collections of Hadith texts regarded by the Sunni imams as the most authentic). Since all the six hadith reports in Sunan al-Nasa’i talk about the Ghazwah-al-Hind with lofty positions and rewards for those who would participate in it, it can obviously influence the misguided and alienated youths of Kashmir. But the Islamic clergy of all sects—Deoband, Bareilly, Nadwa and Ahl-e-Hadith—have ignored commenting on the authenticity of these ahadith (plural of hadith) being fed as part of the terrorist propaganda. One of the few contemporary Islamic scholars in India who have seriously engaged with them is Dr. Maulana Waris Mazhari, a graduate of Darul Uloom Deoband. He questioned the veracity of the hadith reports of Ghazwa-al-Hind in an article titled “Ghazwa-e-Hind Aur Masla-e-Kashmir Par Uska Intibaq” (Ghazwa-e-Hind and its applicability to the Kashmir conflict). Maulana Mazhari writes in clear terms:
“The dream of establishing ‘Muslim hegemony throughout the entire world’ was fanciful. The term ghalba-e-Islam (the domination or the supremacy of Islam) used in the context of the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet (Hadith) doesn’t refer to any political project of Muslim domination, but, rather, to the establishment of the superiority of Islam’s ideological and spiritual message.”
He also makes a pertinent point when he writes that “Ghazwa-e-Hind exists only in one of the Sihah Sittah in the collection by al-Nasai.” The texts on Ghazwa-e-Hind would have been narrated by many more companions of the Prophet and would have been cited in multiple collections of the Hadith “considering the merits or rewards of the Ghazwa-e-Hind that it talks about”, he argues. Thus, Maulana Mazhari is strongly dismissive of the Pakistani jihadist propaganda of Ghazwa-al-Hind as “rhetoric of the self-styled jihadists” which is “based less on proper scholarly analysis of the Islamic textual tradition than on strident, heated emotionalism and a deep-rooted hatred and feeling of revenge.” Also, he doesn’t rule out the possibility of this Hadith report having been manufactured in the period of the Umayyad Caliphs to suit and justify their expansionist political designs.