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Essence & Meaning Of Jihad In Islam

This was a call for a total and universal revolution. It unequivocally declared that ‘Sovereignty belongs to none but Allah’. No one has the right to become self-appointed ruler and order and prohibit whatever he likes on his own violation and authority. In fact the root cause of all corruptions and evils is the pretension of authority of a human being to order and to prohibit as it is tantamount to admitting him as partner in the absolute authority of Allah. Allah has created man in his true nature and has shown him the right way of life. The human being deviate from this straight path only when they forget Allah the supreme and thus forget their origin. This state of affairs inevitably encourages some ambitious persons to claim supreme authority openly. This is the root-cause of the tyranny, confrontation and unlawful exploitation all over the world and thus forget the foremost target for Islam to hit this fake authority and inhuman exploitation. Islam openly declares: “And they obey not the dictates of the transgressors who spread mischief on the earth and reform nothing” [26:151-152] “And obey not those whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance, who follows his own lust and goes to extremes in the conduct of his affairs” [18:29] The call of Islam is not merely a call to accept a religious creed in the same conventional sense as is commonly the call of other religious creeds. It’s a call for a real social revolution. Some had openly declared themselves to be the supreme authority besides Allah and demanded submission and devotion from the people as their hereditary right. Some had created false gods in the form of idols and temples to exploit the ignorance of the common man and use these idols and temples as a cover to acquiesce their own divine rights and authority. Hence the call of Islam against heresy, polytheism and idolatry and invitation to submit to the sole authority of Allah came into direct conflict with the interests of the government and of the classes supporting its authority or depending on its support. The people in power always hastened to bar this call with all their might and main along with all the privileged classes and the exploiters. They opposed the Prophets tooth and nail for the call of Prophets was never a metaphysical proposition but a character of a complete social revolution.

Why Jihad?

Islam is not merely a religious creed or a set of rituals but it’s a comprehensive system that tends to annihilate all tyrannical and evil systems in the world and to enforce its own reformation programme which it deems best in the interest of mankind. Islam even calls upon all the classes who oppress and exploit the people; its call is addressed even to the monarchs and the elite to confine themselves within the lawful limits enjoined upon them by their Lord. Islam assures that they will gain peace and salvation if they accept this just and balanced system. This system harbours no animosity against any human being. Its animosity is directed exclusively against tyranny, strife, immorality and transgression of one’s natural limits in order to expropriate what is not appointed to him by the law of nature. Those who affirm faith in this ideology become members of the party of Islam with equal status and equal rights without any distinction of class, race, nation or country. 

Thus comes into being a international revolutionary party which is called Hizb Allah by the holy Qur’an and which is also known as Islamic Party or the Muslim Ummah. This party launches its struggle to achieve the purpose of existence from the very first day. It’s but natural that this party starts an all out campaign (Jihad in Islamic terminology) to eliminate the hegemony an un-Islamic systems replacing them with a balanced social and cultural order called the Word of Allah by the holy Qur’an. If this party does not strive to bring about a change in the system and establish the Islamic system of government, it fails in its very purpose of existence. This party has no other aim before it but to strive and struggle for the establishment of the rule of Allah. The holy Qur’an describes it as

“You’re the best community raised for the guidance of mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah” [3:110]

It’s not a party of religious preachers or missionaries but a team of the functionaries of Allah and it is their duty to wipe out oppression and mischief, strife and high handedness and unlawful exploitation and immorality from the world by force. The holy Qur’an enjoins:

“Fight with them until there is no turbulence and persecution and submission to Allah becomes supreme.” [2:193]

“He is Allah Who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the right way, so that He may make it prevail over all other ways even though the polytheists be much averse to it” [9:33]

Hence there is no other way left for this party but to capture power, for, an evil system takes roots and flourishes under the patronage of an evil government and a righteous culture can never be established without wrestling power and authority from the wicked and the corrupt and vesting it into reformers. No party believing in a particular system can survive under the rule of a conflicting ideology. A communist cannot live according to the communist ideology in England or America for the capitalist system will prevail by dint of power and the communist would not escape retribution of the law of the land. Similarly a Muslim cannot order his life according to the teachings of Islam under the authority of a non-Islamic government. All the laws and regulations that a Muslim considers wrong, the taxes that he deems unlawful, all the matters he believes to be illegitimate, the culture and the way of life which he considers obnoxious, the education system which seems to him detrimental to his creed and culture will be so inexorably imposed on him, on his home and on his children that he will not be in a position to avoid.

A World Revolution

This discourse amply elaborates that the objective of Jihad in Islam is to liquidate the suzerainty of an un-Islamic system of life and replace it with the rule of Islam. This Islamic revolution is not confined to any particular state or states but meant for the world as a whole. To start with, those who subscribe to this idea will strive to bring about this revolution in the country they live in, but their ultimate goal is no less than a world revolution. The nature of such revolution demands worldwide change as its not confined to a particular people or country but for whole mankind.

The truth can never rest confined in geographical boundaries. Whatever is right and true is fine everywhere irrespective of all geographical limits. The Holy Qur’an puts this idea as follows:

“Why should you then not fight in the way of Allah for the sake of those helpless men, women and children, who being weak, have been oppressed and are crying out, ‘Our Lord, deliver us from this habitation which is ruled by tyrants’” [4:75]

The social aspect of human relations is so universal in its nature that in spite of the division of mankind in nations and countries no state can fully implement their ideology without expanding it to her neighbouring states. Hence it is imperative for Muslim missionaries not to rest content with the establishment of Islamic system of life in a particular piece of land but to extend the suzerainty of Islam to all the neighbouring lands as far as its resources can carry it.

On the other hand subject to resources and strength, they should subdue and liquidate all those anti-Islamic powers that are usurping the genuine rights of people and oppressing them by dint of force. This policy was adopted by Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alayhi wasallam) and the succeeding illustrious Caliphates (may Allah be pleased with them). The country of Arabia where this Islamic revolution started was the first to be brought under the suzerainty of Islam. Later on, Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alayhi wasallam) sent invitations to other neighbouring states to accept and embrace the faith and ideology of Islam. Wherever the ruling class refused the true faith of Islam and to submit before Allah, the Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alayhi wasallam) resolved to take military action against them. The campaign of Tabuk was the first in the series of military actions. When Hazrat Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) assumed leadership of the Muslim revolutionaries after the departure of the holy Prophet Muhammad (sallalahu alayhi wasallam) from this world, he took military action against the world powers of Rome and Iran, who were all out to crush the revolution of Islam. Later Hazrat Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) carried his military campaign to vicious end. The people of Egypt, Syria, Rome and Iran mistook these military actions as the imperialist policy of the Arabs and believed that the Arabs too, like other imperialists powers, had set out to subjugate other nations It led them to fight against Muslims under the banners of Julias Caesar and Chosroes. But when they came to know the revolutionary ideology of Islam and it dawned on them that Muslim armies were not fighting with imperialistic designs, or to establish the suzerainty of a nation over all other nations. They were in fact missionaries striving to rescue the common man from the tyranny and oppression of Caesars and the Chosroes, turning this disclosure turned the sympathies of the downtrodden people towards the forces of Islam. The people began to forsake their allegiance to their Kings and they did not fight against Muslims with their heart and soul. This resulted in astounding victories for Muslims. Further when the people of these newly won territories saw the Islamic system of equity and justice, they willingly joined this international revolutionary party.

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