Jihad is the most propagandist and misunderstood phenomenon today,
mostly linked with war and killing of the non Muslims in the Name of Allah.
Mostly Jihad is being categorized in four forms; Jihad of the heart, Jihad of
the tongue, Jihad by the hand and Jihad by sword. Many scholars believe that it
is the sixth pillar of Islam because so much impetus has been given in Quran on
the subject. Many books have been written on Jihad and there are many Hadith
being quoted to support the theory that Jihad is nothing but the war against
The other term Jihad is being largely politicized to support respective causes. Scholar David Cook has pointed out the same dilemma. He says that, “In reading Muslim literature — both contemporary and classical — one can see that the evidence for the primacy of spiritual jihad is negligible. Today it is certain that no Muslim, writing in a non-Western language (such as Arabic, Persian, and Urdu), would ever make claims that jihad is primarily non-violent or has been superseded by the spiritual jihad.”
Whether it is fighting in Kashmir, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine and elsewhere in the world everybody claims that their war is Jihad. The existence of the word Jihad came to prominence in the late 1980s when the United States of America wanted to defeat the Russians in their war against the Afghans. They politicized the word Jihad for their own benefit and made every effort to spread it across Afghanistan. USA succeeded in building up a force of Afghans — the infamous Taliban. With the help of Taliban they kicked Russia, the then super power, out of Afghanistan, which also resulted in the disintegration of USSR (Union of Soviet Socialists Republic).
One of the reasons behind all the prevailing misconception of the word Jihad is the translation of the Holy Quran by the religious scholars, which leads one to believe that Jihad is about war and the killing of the polytheists with sword. Most of the translations fail to differentiate between the Arabic word Qital and Jihad. The word Qital in Holy Quran is specifically used for killing which for some strange reasons is being overlapped with the term Jihad essentially derived from the word Johad. The fundamental meaning of the word Johad is to work hard, strive and make every effort to achieve the target or destination you have set for yourself. Whatever you do to pull off the particular target comes under the umbrella of Johad.
In Arabic language this word, as far as the meaning is concerned, has no demarcation and limitation; the connotation will remain the same no matter how much you enlarge the canvas. Ideally, the human being should establish the best meaning of this word for himself. In a way, that there should be no better goal and target in sight than the one he sets for himself. And after that whatever hard work he will do and all the steps he will take to achieve that target will come under the term Johad.
In nutshell, Jihad is basically to do your utmost to achieve the goal, target and the purpose of life you have determined for yourself. Therefore, a thief stealing, a murderer killing, an adulterer committing adultery, a drinker getting drunk or the effort a person to earn for his living all could in literal sense be constituted as Jihad.
However, we should keep in mind the Will of The Owner and The Creator of The Universe, God. He has sent us a message through the Holy Quran as to what the real purpose of our creation is: “Look, you were not born all by yourself but by My Will and Affection. There is a universal and centralized purpose behind your creation and your existence in this mortal world, and that is to worship Him (Allah) so that you can achieve the target of understanding the Magnificence of your True Lord.”
This word worship in reality is a pact of life; nothing else but striving towards the achievement of a goal. While offering prayers or fasting or giving away Zakat there is a definite intention behind doing all this which is to become successful and stand tall before The Owner and The Creator. To achieve this goal, some desire that they don’t get punishment and for some it is the reward but there are certain people, who neither want punishment nor have a desire for reward; in their opinion, the driving force behind the deeds they perform or intent to perform is to seek the blessings of Allah and that He be pleased with them. This class has very few people, though. However, if we look closely in to all the three classes, we will find out that the goals of all three are different. Now to achieve their own goals whatever effort, hard work and the steps they will take all will come under the definition of the word Johad.
Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him) always taught His followers to come out of the league of Asfala Saafleen and try to become Adam, once you have grown to be Adam, commence the journey towards becoming human. Bring to light those abilities, within yourself, which The Creator and The Owner of the Universe Has granted you, the abilities you were created to express and highlight. It is neither the purpose nor the meaning of His Creation that you simply come in to this fatal world eat and drink, have kids, spend 50-60 years and leave the world. This is not the underlying principle of life and it should never be. Life has a distinctive purpose which every person determines it for him.
With the advent of Islam the very first desire was to not only enter in to peace and serenity but also pass on and preach this message of peace in its true form and spirit to others and win over them. Unfortunately, during the lifetime of Muhammad (PBUH) the non-believers always made the first offensive move in order to snub this thought and message presented by him. Still, the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (PBUH) never took the sword in his hand. The first acts of violence by the disbelievers each time forced him to align his companions, particularly in Badar (The first battle between the believers of truth (Islam) and the forces of evil was fought on the battle field of Badar, 60 miles (96.56 km) from Medina towards Makkah) where the non Muslims resolved to finish them all, stop the message of peace and impede the preaching of it. At that time only three out of his three hundred and thirteen Companions had a sword and that too was their personal. (It was a norm in Arab civilization that those who could afford kept arms.) Others were holding sticks and pieces of wood just for the purpose of self-defence. Among them, there were some people who only had twigs in their hands. The historical fact is that Muslims, in those times, had no official arms and ammunition for war as a rule, community and government.
There is no doubt and this has to be admitted today that their march for defence in the war of Badar was in fact a giant leap towards the achievement of the goal. And the goal was to have Almighty’s concurrence and to spread His message and state it publicly and if required, lay down their lives for the cause. Whether it is about their own self or of the others they will enlighten them with The True Message, and they will not allow anyone to challenge and subjugate them in their mission. By and large there was no such intention of killing anyone behind this commitment. It is a historic fact that Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) never opted for a war, be it the battle of Badar, Uhad (Mount Uhud is a mountain in north of Medina. It is 1,077 m (3,533.46 ft) high) or Khandaq (the battle of Trench), it was always imposed on him and for the purpose of self-defence only he used to suggest his Companions to get aligned and march towards the oppressors in order to stop them from entering the city area. This happened in Badar as well as in Uhad. But by the time of the third war, Khandaq, the non-believers have increased in numbers and it was felt that if the Muslims will stride towards them, they might not be able to stop. At that time Suleiman Farsi (A.S) put forward the proposal of creating a Khandaq around the city to halt the movement of the assailants towards the city area. These tactics were for the self-protection only; by any chance, there was no intention of killing people with sword and one fail to find any such instance throughout the sacred life span of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
As a matter of fact, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) indeed lead from the front, but it was only to motivate the people, who were with him to safeguard their own self and the city area, with just one aim; that in whatever shape they have received this blessing from The Creator and The Owner of The Universe, which has enabled them to recognize their best possible goals and targets, they should achieve it comes what may. They shall not give anyone a chance to suppress them and stop them from marching towards their goal, and they should defend themselves; which nowadays is being perceived as the Jihad of sword. This did happen but the motives behind it were not the one being presented today.
In an incident, authenticated by many religious scholars, when the Prophet’s Companions returned victorious from the war of Badar, they humbly informed Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that, they have accomplished the greater Jihad (Jihad-e-Akbar). Today whatever they have done was to achieve that goal and the destination envisaged by him for which they were willing to sacrifice their lives. At that point in time Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stopped them and said, “do not think like this, whatever you have done today is Jihad but of lesser category. Come; I will guide you about the greater Jihad (Jihad-e-Akbar).” Bewildered, all of them asked, “Is there another form of Jihad as well?” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) replied, “Yes. The greater Jihad is to suppress the temptations which arise within your own self and to abstain from doing what is not required or to act the way it should not have been; striving for it is the real target and goal and make your best effort to achieve it. It is not a matter of one time only but this endeavour is for every single breath you breathe and the moment you live. The achievement of this goal in reality is greater Jihad.”
While explaining what Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had said to his companions after the war of Badar, Ali (A.S) said that, “encumber on your own self and suppress all the emerging wrongful temptations. Once they will be suppressed, you will be able to get acquainted with your own self and this acquaintance will finally form the basis of the understanding of the Magnificence of Almighty Allah.” So the foundation of this greater Jihad, as explained by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), is the resolve and the struggle which a person undertakes to achieve the self-determined goal of his life. But, if a person unfortunately chooses an insignificant and wrong target, neither he will be able to succeed before his True Lord in the hereafter, nor he will be able to proclaim that I have done the greater Jihad.
Today, whatever type of Jihad is doing rounds and the way this sacred word is being misused, this innovation/extemporization in the true form and spirit of Jihad is our own creation. It would not be wrong if I say that this innovation has not come from the true believers but from the Zionist forces. In their effort to not only tarnish this sacred word and its sanctified meaning, they have instilled this new aspect of Jihad in our hearts fearing that the believers of the message of Holy Prophet (PBUH) would die after this holy word Jihad. They contrived a plan to abuse this word so much and present it in such a form to leave even the upright people puzzled and to reach a point where they too would start fearing and won’t come close to it. This is in fact part of a very big international conspiracy. The Jihad of sword and all that is being currently orchestrated by the agencies in the name of Jihad is not even slightly close to real spirit of Islam, the same religion, which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) presented and spread for the betterment of mankind. It is impossible to find even a hint of what is happening nowadays in the whole life span of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The proponents of this innovation should come forward to prove and show at least one incident where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has ever said these words, “Annihilate the community of disbelievers.” The philosophy of Muhammad (PBUH) was that the non-believers should be allowed to live peacefully so that the True Message could reach them or be preached to them.
At Ta’if (a city in the Mecca Province of Saudi Arabia), the ingrates did so much harm to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that his holy eyes filled with blood. It is an authenticated Hadith that at that time Angel Gabriel came and said, “If you permit I can crush the town by slamming the mountain of Uhad on it.” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “No. If, there is one such person among them who understands my message, I can forgive them all for the sake of him.” Gabriel said, “I have got it confirmed from Allah, there is no one among them who understands your message.” He maintained that, “If anyone from their offspring understands my message, I can forgive them all for the sake of him.” Gabriel once again said, “There is no one in their offspring who understands your message.” Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, “If there is anyone among the child of their offspring who listen to my message, I can stop this action for his sake.”
Now look at this incident with a different approach. Gabriel possessed supernatural power, the kind of concept we get today in the Superman, Spiderman type movies, and the one who has decisive control over this activity is Apostle of Allah Muhammad (PBUH) and the moment he will wish that the mountain befall on them, the one who will do this activity will instantaneously show up and take out the orders. The state of pain He (PBUH) was in, drenched in blood, any other person in this situation would have easily got upset and said, “Do it”, but despite the immense pain Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) forgave them, just to achieve his objective. With this level of forgiveness and passion for the achievement of the target, how can Muhammad (PBUH) utter the directive of massacre, it looks impossible.
Nowadays, these words, that “He preached Islam using the sword” are inventively associated towards Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Those who say that must also prove this, that from where they have got this indication, because in the true life span of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) there is no such reference available. Even a person who possesses very little knowledge about the religion Islam and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) cannot even dare to say these words, then from where we are making up these stories. All of this is in fact being injected and projected by means of an international conspiracy. They force people to keep beard and make them learn the Islamic declaration of faith (Kalimah), and then ask them to carry out certain activities. It has happened in the past where some people have blown themselves after saying “Allah-o-Akbar” (All the Greatness is for Almighty Allah). It is all part of a very dubious sort of planning. In reality these people don’t know anything about Allah and His Greatness.
A person, who gets to know Allah, even in bits, cannot imagine doing such heinous act. The manner in which the Most Affectionate Has Created the whole Universe and the way He provides the means of livelihood to every living being, even to the insects, bacteria, viruses, as well as animals, birds, fishes, human beings etc., irrespective of their actions. No matter how sinful or pious someone is He keeps providing the means for him to live. The True Lord Has His Own Philosophy and Method. Almighty could never appreciate one of His Creation holding up a sword and killing the other one in the name of Jihad; the holy word, the significance of which has been lucidly explained in the Holy Quran. In fact so much importance is given to ‘Jihad’ that the Almighty Himself mentioned in Quran that those who carry out Jihad gratify Him, and He likes their gratification and call them benefactors. In fact, it is mentioned in the Quran that those who carry out Jihad gratify Allah. And the Owner and Creator of The Universe in Quran Himself say that they are benevolent.
The entire judicious minds of the world have accepted this fact that the victory of Mecca was the biggest triumph in the human history. The biggest victory of the world, the largest event on the face of the earth and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was standing in the middle with nothing in his hand not even a stick, let alone the sword. Although it would have been very easy to cut the heads of the non-believers who were genuflected at that time and no one could have questioned this act as the Muslims were victorious. It was an easy task; as compared to the vandalism of the non-believers. Since, Muhammad (PBUH) had a definite purpose and being Blessing for the whole Universe, Holy Prophet (PBUH) spread the words of peace and tranquility for the agnostics instead of using the sword.
We have so many names in the history who did what Muhammad (PBUH)
didn’t, as triumphant they could not control themselves and used sword, arms
and ammunition to kill the people; like Changhez Khan, Halaku Khan,
Adolf Hitler etc. We don’t count them as Jihad but when someone lifts a sword
or a rifle here, it is unanimously called Jihad. This is most unfortunate but
to accept this is our fault, and we are all responsible for it; those
who are getting stained by this, those who are suffering because of it and
those who are quiet and not doing anything.
If only we could understand the correct meaning of ‘Jihad’, in a manner that we could be aware of the true form and spirit of the concept. God Willing, all these people who study and comprehend the topic will spread that knowledge to other people around them and within the community. We need this to happen, in order to get rid of the root cause of this menace that comes from the wrong interpretation of Jihad.