War Aspect of Islamic Civilization
The meaning of jihad in Islam and its status:
To fight with the enemies for protecting the sanctuaries of Islam is jihad. The best type of jihad is to fight against one’s nafs (oneself) and spend wealth in the way of Allah (Ta’ala). Jihad is obligatory upon every sane, mature and sound Muslim provided that the enemies of Islam have invaded a Muslim country. Otherwise, it is obligatory only in the sense that if some Muslims have performed this, others will not be sinful for not performing it.
In Islam the status of jihad is very high and lofty. It is one of the beneficial trades with Allah. Allah the Exalted says:
« يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا هَلْ أَدُلُّكُمْ عَلَى تِجَارَةٍ تُنجِيكُمْ مِنْ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ (10) تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَتُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنفُسِكُمْ ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ (11) يَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَيُدْخِلْكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ وَمَسَاكِنَ طَيِّبَةً فِي جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ (12) وَأُخْرَى تُحِبُّونَهَا نَصْرٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَفَتْحٌ قَرِيبٌ وَبَشِّرْ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ (13)» [الصف : 10-13]
Translation of Meaning: “O ye who believe! Shall I show you a commerce that will save you from a painful doom? Ye should believe in Allah and His messenger, and should strive for the cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives. That is better for you, if ye did but know. He will forgive you your sins and bring you into Gardens underneath which rivers flow, and pleasant dwellings in Gardens of Eden. That is the supreme triumph. And (He will give you) another (blessing) which ye love: help from Allah and present victory. Give good tidings (O Muhammad) to believers.”[As-Saff:10-13]
This meaning, the companions (may Allah be pleased with them) understood well. According to a hadith, when the polytheists came near Muslims in the Battle of Badr, the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
«قُومُوا إِلَى جَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَوَاتُ وَالأَرْضُ ». قَالَ يَقُولُ عُمَيْرُ بْنُ الْحُمَامِ الأَنْصَارِىُّ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ جَنَّةٌ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَوَاتُ وَالأَرْضُ قَالَ « نَعَمْ ». قَالَ بَخٍ بَخٍ. فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- « مَا يَحْمِلُكَ عَلَى قَوْلِكَ بَخٍ بَخٍ ». قَالَ لاَ وَاللَّهِ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِلاَّ رَجَاءَةَ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا. قَالَ « فَإِنَّكَ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا ». فَأَخْرَجَ تَمَرَاتٍ مِنْ قَرْنِهِ فَجَعَلَ يَأْكُلُ مِنْهُنَّ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَئِنْ أَنَا حَيِيتُ حَتَّى آكُلَ تَمَرَاتِى هَذِهِ إِنَّهَا لَحَيَاةٌ طَوِيلَةٌ – قَالَ – فَرَمَى بِمَا كَانَ مَعَهُ مِنَ التَّمْرِ. ثُمَّ قَاتَلَهُمْ حَتَّى قُتِلَ» [مسلم و أحمد]
Translation: “Now stand up and proceed towards Jannah which is as wide as are the heavens and the earth.” Umair bin Al-Humam (Radhi Allahu Anhu) asked: “Is Jannah as wide as are the heaven and the earth?” The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) replied in the affirmative. ‘Umair remarked: “Great!” The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) asked him what had urged him to say so. He replied: “Nothing, O Messenger of Allah! But hope that I might become one of the inhabitants of Jannah.” The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “You will definitely be among them.” ‘Umair then took some dates out of his quiver and began to eat them, but after a short time he said: “If I survive till I eat my dates, it will mean a long life.” So he threw away the dates which he had with him and then fought with the enemy till he was killed.” [Muslim & Ahmad]
In Islamic jihad none has the right to violate others’ rights whether it is related to faith or life; nor is one allowed to violate the tiniest human right. Jihad, in fact, is done for domination of the religion so that Allah’s message reaches the world over. Jihad is done against anyone who becomes a hurdle in the way of reaching Allah’s words to the whole world. Allah says:
« وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ لِلَّهِ فَإِنْ انتَهَوْا فَلا عُدْوَانَ إِلاَّ عَلَى الظَّالِمِينَ (193)» [البقرة: 193]
Translation of Meaning: “And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrong−doers.”[Al-Baqarah:193]
It became clear that jihad is for defending the faith. Muslims may either fight the enemies who have invaded their countries or the sacred places, or fight those who opposed the invitation to Allah and stopped people from it. It is incumbent, in such a situation, to fight them so that Allah’s words reach to people. Thereafter, people are free; they may either opt to enter Islam or remain with their religion because in Islam there is no compulsion upon anyone to embrace a certain religion.