In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Jihad. It’s a word many have heard, a word many use, but by how many is it understood? Some say, “Jihad means religious war, it means the destruction of the infidel, it’s the Muslim’s crusade.” Others, “Jihad is a spiritual struggle, it’s about waking up before daybreak and washing your face no matter how cold the weather so that you can pray.” The truth is jihad is everything you don’t particularly feel like doing that’s good for you. It’s eating your spinach, biting your tongue, spending of your hard earned money on the comforts and needs of others, and yes, if need be, risking your life in the attempt to take out your enemy. After all, who really wants to do any of those? It’s much more fun to be a coward who lives on fried chicken and chocolate cake, says the first thing that pops into his head, and never shares with anyone unless he expects something in exchange.
The thing is, Islam is a religion of law, with a how-to for every eventuality, which means that war being a part of human existence, Islam has regulations for it. The problem is not that the word jihad can be applied to warfare, but that many of today’s “mujaahideen” don’t know the first thing about the Islamic laws regulating war. They seem to believe that anger is a valid reason to fight and kill. The truth is just the opposite. Early in the history of Islam, Ali radiyalllaahu ‘anh* was engaged in hand to hand combat during a battle. He gained the upper hand, and was about to deliver the killing blow, when his opponent spat in his face. So ‘Ali put up his sword. When the opponent asked why he’d been spared, ‘Ali responded, “Until you spat on my face, I was about to kill you for the sake of God, but once you’d done that I grew angry, and so I had to release you, for fear that I would be killing you to satisfy my wrath.” Being a Muslim these days is often difficult. The world is full of unkind, ignorant people who think it’s amusing to insult us and our religion. But no matter how provoked we are, there is no room in the Sharia** for resorting to violence when all that has been hurt is our pride or our feelings.
Many of today’s “mujaahideen”*** have also bought into the idea of collateral damage. This is another concept with no place in the Sharia. Except in one case, the killing of non-combatants is unequivocally forbidden by Islam. The exception to this rule is the case of a ruler, because of the demoralizing effect the assassination of a ruler often has on his/her people. What this means in a practical sense is that bombs are about as unIslamic a weapon as can be found. When there is no way to be discriminating in the killing of one’s targets, no way to ensure that non-combatants are unharmed, how can a weapon possibly be permitted by so stringent a religion? Again, Muslims have been greatly provoked. We all, (Muslims and non-Muslims) live in a world ruled by hypocrites who condemn the slightest bit of violence in the enemy while stooping to every possible low in “pre-emptive strikes.” But again, no matter how provoked we may be, no matter how marginalized we may feel, no matter how many times we are patted on the head and told to roll over and play dead while our resources are plundered, it will always be haraam**** to use bombs.
A third pitfall of today’s “mujaahideen” is that because the rulers of Muslim countries rule with little to no regard for the laws of Islam, many of the more unhappy Muslims have come to believe that is it not only the right, but the duty of every Muslim to go to war, and fight the enemies of Islam. Interestingly enough, this war often takes the form of attacking non-Muslims who have little to do with our grievances with Muslim rulers. There are a few problems with this philosophy. Firstly, Islam forbids Muslims from rebellion unless we are being stopped from praying, (so it’s open season on Communist countries). Secondly, the severest punishments of Islam (crucifixion and/or the severing of a hand and a foot) are reserved for those who break the peace, (highway robbers in days of yore, hijackers today). There is a hadeeth,***** “The best jihad is a true word spoken before a tyrant ruler.” Jihad in these cases isn’t to yell, “Death to America!” or to bring death to America. Jihad is to stand up in front of Bashar Al-Assad and tell him how very much Hajjaaj bin Yusuf****** would enjoy his company.
A fourth problem of today’s “mujaahideen” is that Muslims have bought into the utterly unIslamic belief that one ought always to side with one’s fellow Muslim. The Lockerbie bombing of 1988 ought not to have been Muammar Gaddafi’s cue to rush to the aid of his countrymen, but to their prosecution. Saying things like, “I know we have problems, but we should never admit to them in the presence of non-Muslims,” does not fix the problems. All it does is create a warm nourishing environment for anger and ignorance of Islam to flourish in the hearts and minds of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. There is a hadeeth, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or oppressed.” When the prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam******* was asked how to help an oppressing brother, he replied, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” Giving our fellow Muslims a free pass is not helping them.
Why do I bring all of this up? Because a few days ago, somebody bombed a Shia masjid in Karachi. As a result, people protested. How many of them were Sunni? I don’t know, but I’d be very surprised if even one quarter were. This is my protest. I’m a Sunni, and I believe Shia are wrong to be Shia. I also believe that murderimg 45 people just because they’re a little confused about a few things is even more wrong. If you’re a Sunni and you agree with me, please, speak out. Help your brother, no matter how great an oppressor he is. Tell your leaders what you really think about them, no matter the extent of their tyranny. Swallow your anger, no matter the degree of your provocation. Be the kind of Muslim the prophet Muhammed sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was.
*May God be pleased with him
**Islamic legal code
***People practicing jihad
*****Saying of the prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam
******Notorious Muslim tyrant, (and the reason you’ll never meet anyone named Hajjaaj)
*******May God send peace and blessings to him