The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
Western peoples fear the word "Jihad." They learned to fear it because it has historically been characterized by fanaticism and war. It appears to be irrational and unstoppable save by any means but total military defeat. It is the perception of the Western mind that Islam is militant and relentless. Modern Islamic terrorists give much credence to this perception, and a careful examination of history will show that this perception is a valid one.
Never the less, Muslims today attempt to alleviate this fear of Islam by saying that westerners do not really understand the Islamic concept of Jihad. They will assert that Jihad is really the personal and individual struggle to overcome those things in one's life that Allah would have eliminated from their life. This assertion is true, but it is not the exclusive use of the term Jihad.
In the Qur'an, Jihad is used to describe the personal struggle to purify one's own nature.
Surah 29:68-69, (Al-Ankabut) introduces the idea that the Muslim will encounter many who are practitioners of error, and it is their duty to be alert to error and not succumb to it.
29:68 And who does more wrong than he who invents a lie against God or rejects the Truth when it reaches Him? Is there not a home in Hell for those who reject Faith? 29:69 And those who strive (Jihad, NR) in Our (Cause), We will certainly guide them to Our Paths: for verily God is with those who do right.
While the term "Jihad" or "struggle" is used in this sense, it is not so used very often.
Jihad is also used to describe an intellectual struggle with unbelievers.
In Surah 25:51-52 (Al-Furqan) Muslims are instructed to "struggle" against unbelievers with the Qur'an. This places the struggle in the realm of an intellectual struggle.
25:51 Had it been Our Will, We could have sent a warner to every center of population, 25:52 Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive (Jihad, NR) against them with the utmost strenuousness, with the (Qur'an).
The most common use of Jihad in the Qur'an is to indicate literal warfare. But before we analyze this aspect of Jihad, it is important to understand what Muslims believe about evangelism by Christians.
Evangelistic activity by Christians is considered aggression against Muslims and Islam. This is demonstrated by Ahmed Deedat in his book, Crucifixion or Crucifiction?:
"In the battle for the hearts and minds of mankind, "cruci-FICTION" is the only card the Christian holds. Free him from his infatuation and you will have freed the Muslim world from missionary aggression and harassment." Crucifixion or Crucifiction by Ahmed Deedat, Published by Islamic Propagation Centre International, Madressa Arcade, Durban 4001, R.S.A., 1st print March 1984, P.9
Surah 61, (As-Saff-The Battle Array) appropriately titled "The Battle Array" was written immediately after a conflict known as "The Battle of Uhud." In this battle, the Muslims were apparently victorious, but when they were distracted by their plundering of the slain, the Quraysh rallied, counter attacked, and were victorious. The Muslims were routed and many killed. The admonition of Surah 61 was then given in Madinah to encourage the Muslims to give their wealth, and if need be, their lives for the cause of Islam. It is definitely a passage that advocates war.
61:9 It is He Who has sent His Apostle with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, that he may proclaim it over all religion, even though the Pagans may detest (it). 10 O ye who believe! shall I lead you to a bargain that will save you from a grievous Penalty?- 11 That ye believe in God and His Apostle, and that ye strive (Jihad, NR) (your utmost) in the Cause of God, with your property and your persons: that will be best for you, if ye but knew!
Surah 9, (At-Taubah) was written when the Muslim forces returned to Mecca after mobilizing to defend themselves against a rumored attack by Byzantine (Roman) forces near the Arabian border. During their absence from Mecca, many pagans were charged with abusing the privileges of freedom granted them and violations of treaties they had made with the Muslims. Those Muslims who stayed behind were given this rebuke and challenge. It is a promise of heaven to those who die in battle for the cause of Allah
9:19 Do ye make the giving of drink to pilgrims, or the maintenance of the Sacred Mosque, equal to (the pious service of) those Who believe in Allah and the last day, and strive with might and main in the cause of Allah? And Allah guides not those who do wrong. 20 Those who believe, and suffer exile and strive with might and main, in God's cause, with their goods and their persons, have the highest rank in the sight of God: They are the people who will achieve (salvation).
Surah 9, (At-Taubah) further denies those who refuse to make such sacrifices of goods, money, labor, and even lives, the privilege of entering heaven.
9:78-83 Know they not that God doth know their secret (thoughts) and their secret counsels, and that God knoweth well all things unseen? 79 Those who slander such of the believers as give themselves freely to (deeds of) charity, as well as such as can find nothing to give except the fruits of their labor, and throw ridicule on them, God will throw back their ridicule on them: and they shall have a grievous penalty. 80 Whether thou ask for their forgiveness or not, (their sin is unforgivable): if thou ask seventy times for their forgiveness, God will not forgive them: because they have rejected God and His apostle; and God guideth not those who are perversely rebellious. 81
Those who were left behind (in the Tabuk expedition) rejoiced in their inaction behind the back of the apostle of God: they hated to strive and fight, with their goods and their persons, in the cause of God: they said, "Go not forth in the heat. Say, "The fire of Hell is fiercer in heat." If only they could understand! 82 Let them laugh a little: much will they weep: a recompense for the (evil) that they do. 83 If, then, God bring thee back to any of them, and they ask thy permission to come out (with thee), say: "Never shall ye come out with me, nor fight an enemy with me: for ye preferred to sit inactive on the first occasion: then sit ye (now) with those who lag behind."
Surah 2, (Al-Baqarah) is a body of regulations for the Islamic community or state. Several times, the subject of war or Jihad is discussed. It is regulated, but is prescribed as the solution to aggression.
2:190 Fight in the cause of God, those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loveth not transgressors. 191 And slay them wherever ye catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out: For tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; But fight them not at the sacred Mosque unless they first fight you there; But if they fight you, Slay them. Such is the reward of those who suppress faith.
2:216 Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But God knoweth, and ye know not. 217 They ask thee concerning fighting in the Prohibited Month. Say: "Fighting therein is a grave (offense); but graver is it in the sight of God to prevent access to the path of God, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its members. Tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter. Nor will they cease fighting you until they turn you back from your faith if they can. And if any of you turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter; they will be Companions of the Fire and will abide therein.
2:244 Then fight in the cause of God, and know that God heareth and knoweth all things. 245 Who is he that will loan to God a beautiful loan, which God will double unto his credit and multiply many times? It is God that giveth (you) want or plenty, and to Him shall be your return.
It should come as no surprise to learn that Allah is on the side of the Muslims when they go to war. Surah 22, (Al-Hajj) makes this abundantly clear.
22:38 Verily God will defend (from ill) those who believe: verily, God loveth not any that is a traitor to faith, or shows ingratitude. 39 To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight) because they are wronged-and verily, God is Most powerful for their aid- 40 (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right-(for no cause) except that they say, "Our Lord is God." Did not God check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of God is commemorated in abundant measure. God will certainly aid those who aid His (cause); for verily God is Full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (Able to enforce His Will).
Surah 4, (An-Nisa) promises heaven for those who fight in the Cause of Allah, and calls all who oppose Islam the "friends of Satan."
4:74 Let those fight in the cause of God who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter, to him who fighteth in the cause of God, whether he is slain or gets victory, soon shall We give him a reward of great (value). 75 And why should ye not fight in the cause of God and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men, women, and children whose cry is: "Our Lord! rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from Thee one who will protect; and raise for us from Thee one who will help!"
76 Those who believe fight in the cause of God, and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil: so fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan. 77 Hast thou not turned thy vision to those who were told to hold back their hands (form fight) but establish regular prayers and spend in regular charity? When (at length) the order for fighting was issued to them, behold! a section of them feared men as, or even more than, they should have feared God: they say: "Our Lord! why hast Thou ordered us to fight? Wouldst Thou not grant us respite to our (natural) term, near (enough)?" Say: "Short is the enjoyment of this world: the Hereafter is the best for those who do right: never will ye be dealt with unjustly in the very least!
Surah 47, (Muhammad) again promises paradise to the believer who dies in battle.
47:4 Therefore, when ye meet the Unbelievers (in fight), smite at their necks; at length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them): thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom: Until the war lays down its burdens. Thus (are ye commanded): but if it had been God's Will, He could certainly have exacted retribution from them (Himself); but (He lets you fight) in order to test you, some with others. But those who are slain in the way of God, He will never let their deeds be lost. 5 Soon will He guide them and improve their condition. 6 And admit them to the Garden which He has announced for them. 7 O ye who believe! if ye will aid (the cause of) God, He will aid you, and plant your feet firmly. 8 But those who reject (God), for them is destruction, and (God) will render their deeds astray (from their mark).
Surah 8, (Al-Anfal) promises that God will bestow victory to the Muslims against outlandish odds.
8:60 Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of God and your enemies, and others besides, whom ye may not know, but whom God doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the cause of God, shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly.
8:65 O apostle! rouse the believers to the fight. If there are twenty amongst you, patient and persevering, they will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, they will vanquish a thousand of the unbelievers: for these are a people without understanding.
Surah 9:29, (At-Taubah) has definite instructions for Muslims to subdue even Christians and Jews, to make them acknowledge the authenticity and superiority of Islam, and to demonstrate that submission and acknowledgement by paying a tax called the Jizya.
9:29 Fight those who believe not in God nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God 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.
What Westerners do not understand, and it is imperative that they do so, is that absolutely any attempt to turn a Muslim away from Islam is considered aggression against them, and thus justifies a militant and physical response.
2:217 They ask thee concerning fighting in the Prohibited Month. Say "Fighting therein is a grave offense; But graver is it in the sight of Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its members. Tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter. Nor will they cease fighting you until they turn you back from your faith if they can. And if any of you turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter; they will be companions of the fire and will abide therein. 218 Those who believed and those who suffered exile and fought (and strove and struggled) in the path of God, they have the hope of the Mercy of God; and God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.