What is the position
of Islam on war and conflict?
From "What Islam Is All About", by Yahiya Emerick
Allah has said in the Qur 'an that He does not love those who create trouble in the Earth. (16:90, 9:111) He also said that people who do wrong will be punished. Now this doesn't mean that Islam is against fighting or defending one's self. Allah said, "And those who, when they are oppressed wrongly, help and defend themselves." (42:39)
What Islam is against is random violence and senseless killing. According to the Qur'an, "If you kill a life it is as if you killed all life." Of course the life in question is of an innocent person. (See 190,2:229 and 16:90 for example.)
Now the word Jihad literally means, to struggle or strive, or to work for something with determination. It does not mean war. The Arabic word for war is Harb and the word for fighting is Qital.
This is important to know, because making Jihad is any action which is done to further the cause of Allah. Even giving da'wah in a tough place, going to learn knowledge or donating money when it's a hardship can be a type of Jihad. (4:81)
However, the word jihad is most often associated with the act of physically confronting evil and wrong-doing, hence, it can be applied to the act of fighting as well. (3:110) But the goal of a physical Jihad is not to have a big war, gain riches or kill people, it is to further the cause of Allah and to create justice on Earth. (5:0) Then, when the evil is removed, or the other side wants peace, we are to make peace as well. (8:61) A person came to the Blessed Prophet and asked, "A man fights for treasure, another for fame and a third for bravery. Whose fighting is for the Cause of Allah?"
The Blessed Prophet answered, "The one who fights so that the Word of Allah becomes supreme, his fight is for Allah. (Agreed)
A physical Jihad may only be initiated for three reasons:
- 1) To defend the Muslim community against aggression.
- 2) To eliminate an evil force which is oppressing people. And
- 3) To remove any barrier to the free flow of Islamic da'wah. (8:39)
The first two are easy to understand. The third would be necessary if for example, there was a Country which forbade the practice of Islam or its preaching.
Obviously they are wrong-doers and are attempting to stop the truth from being preached.
It's interesting to note that the Prophet once mentioned to a companion of his after a battle that "You have left the lesser Jihad, now you are coming to the greater jihad. The struggle against yourself."
(Meaning your own soul and the temptations which affect it.)
If Muslims are being oppressed or victimized, then we can fight back. (16:41-42) If anyone dies in a Jihad they automatically will go to Paradise. A Shaheed or Martyr, is described this way by Allah, "Don't think that those who were killed in Allah's Cause are dead.
No, they are alive, finding their bounty in the presence of their Lord." (3:169)
A person who engages in Jihad is called a Mujahid, or Struggler for Allah. Allah also explained for us the reasons why fighting is sometimes a part of Jihad. He said: "Let those fight in the Cause of Allah who sell the life of this world for the next life. To the one who fights in the Cause of Allah, whether he is Killed or achieves victory, We shall soon give him a great reward. And why shouldn't you fight in the Cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are mistreated, the men, women and children whose only cry is 'Our Lord! Save us from this land whose people are oppressors and bring to us from You someone who will protect us and bring to us from You someone who will help.'
Those who believe fight in the Cause of Allah, and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil. So fight against the friends of Shaytan. Weak is the plan of Shaytan." (4:74-76)
We can declare a Jihad, or struggle against an evil oppressor. (8:65-66) But commanding the Ummah to do Jihad can only be done by the Amir, or leader of the Ummah. (4:59) We don't have one right now.
Muslims are settled all over the world and are quite comfortable, especially in non-Muslim lands. But after building countless Masjids and schools and social networks, we never even bothered to elect a Kilalifa or Amir. And we dare to even talk about Jihad? The Blessed Prophet commanded Muslims to make a leader even if there were only three people present.
We're not even following that rule, so who are the people who want to declare a Jihad?
If we did have a leader, elected by the community, then he could look after the affairs of the Ummah and declare a Jihad if necessary. If a real Jihad was declared, then we, as Muslims, must obey and follow the rules of Islam in our conduct. (9:38-41,7:56)
According to Islamic teachings, a Muslim army should only fight against those who are fighting us. (22:3940) We are not allowed to hurt women, children, innocent people, old people, farmers, the sick, nor are we allowed to harm plants, homes, property or animals. Anyone who declares a Jihad, but then doesn't follow these rules, is a wrong-doer and must be stopped.
If we were called upon to participate in a true Jihad, declared by our chosen leader, then we must give our all in the effort. (3:142-143) Allah has promised at those who struggle (make Jihad) with their strength, property and lives will be rewarded with the highest rank near to Him. (9:20 & 3:195 & 49:15))
There is no such thing as terrorism in Islam.
16:90). Nor can a Muslim ever be a fundamentalist because there is only one way to follow Islam - the right way. And the non-Muslim media is controlled by people who like to make Islam and Muslims look bad. (48:55-56) But never forget, there are misguided Muslims who seem to do everything in the world to make themselves, and Islam, look bad as well. (2:19)))
We must correct our own understanding of Islamic teachings by studying them for ourselves, directly from the Qur'an and Sunnah. Only then can we properly carry out the duty of Jihad and stand out for justice