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Islamic Society (22 Sep 2014 NewAgeIslam.Com)


War and Peace in Islam

 

 

By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

September 22, 2014

An accepted principle for evaluating a system or ideology is to differentiate between its declared principles, on the one hand, and the actual practice of the people who claim to stand for or represent it. So, too, is the case with Islam. To understand what Islam really is, you need to study the texts which contain its principles. These are the Quran and authentic reports that reflect the Sunnah or practice of the Prophet of Islam.

There are more than one billion people in the world who claim to be Muslims. To understand Islam, one needs to study the Quran and Sunnah, rather than the actual behaviour of these people who claim to be its followers. The right method of studying Islam is to differentiate between Islam, on the one hand, and Muslims, on the other. Muslims have to be judged in the light of Islamic teachings, and not vice versa.

To properly understand and appreciate Islam, we also need to know what its principal objectives are. The Quran clearly tells us that the mission of the Prophet is peaceful dissemination of the Divine message. For example, it says:

“[O Prophet] remind them: your task is only to remind, you are not a master over them.” (88:21)

There is no Quranic verse that directs Muslims to establish ‘Islamic rule’. This kind of commandment is alien to the Quranic scheme of things. Political rule is a relative part of Islam, and not an essential part of Islam.

An important social teaching of Islam is reflected in this Quranic verse: “As-Sulh Khair”. (4:128). That is, “Reconciliation is the best.” According to this verse, Muslims must try to establish peaceful relations with others. They are not commanded to impose any system on others. If they try to impose any system, it would lead to conflict, and thus their real mission would get jeopardized.

As far as the socio-political system is concerned, there is no ideal model for it in Islam. It depends on the actual situation prevailing in any given period. The socio-political system emerges from within a given society, rather than being imposed from outside. Muslims must reconcile with this system. That is, they must accept the principle of status quo in this matter. It is in the best interests of Muslims to establish peace between people, because peace leads to normalcy, and normalcy helps in availing opportunities for the Da’wah mission, the mission of inviting people to God’s path.

The Quran mentions another important principle: “As long as they act straight with you, act straight with them.” (9:7). It means, in other words, that as long as others are not creating problems for you, you should avoid creating problems for them. This indicates that Islam believes in accepting the political status quo. Islam commands its followers to adhere to the status quo unless the other party takes such steps that Muslims are compelled to follow a different strategy. Under normal circumstances, Muslims are exhorted to engage in peaceful Da’wah and to abstain from a confrontational approach.

In general, Islam does not permit Muslims to engage in war against anyone. The only exception to this is in case of aggression by others. The Quran clearly mentions that there should be no war unless one is faced with aggression from another party. This means that in Islam there is only legitimate form of war, and that is defensive war. Muslims have not been commanded to initiate war. Nor are they allowed to engage in wars of aggression. However, if another party begins war, then Muslims can engage in self-defence.

The Quran says:

“And fight in God’s cause against those who wage war against you, but do not commit aggression—for surely, God does not love aggressors.” (2:190).

This verse clearly states that Islam allows only defensive war. Aggressive war is not permitted in Islam. No exception whatsoever is acceptable in this regard.

The Quran does contain some verses that refer to war. These pertain to those situations when Muslims were at war. One such verse is:

“Fight those from among the People of the Book who believe neither in God, nor in the Last Day, nor hold as unlawful what God and His Messenger have declared to be unlawful, nor follow the true religion, until they pay the tax willingly and agree to submit.” (9:29)

It is important to note that this verse does not say that Muslims should wage war with “so and so”. It only means that Muslims should fight in defence, against those who have waged war against them. This verse speaks of war against attackers: this is the real reason to engage in war against them. Their being non-believers is not the reason to war with them. The mention of non-believers here is not to indicate that their being non-believers is the reason for war. Rather, it is only to specify who they were. The reason for war was not that they were non-believers, but, rather, that they were attackers. This verse should, therefore, be understood in the light of the verse quoted before this one, that is, 2:190.

Another point to bear in mind is that the prophetic period of the Prophet of Islam lasted for twenty-three years. More than half this period was spent in Makkah. There were non-believers in Makkah then, but no verse was revealed to the Prophet commanding him to wage war against these non-believers. Had the justification to wage war with people been their being non-believers, the command for war would have been given earlier, when the Prophet was in Makkah itself. But a verse of this kind was revealed only after the Prophet’s migration to Madinah. This was because at that time, the opponents of Islam realized that Islam was flourishing on account of having found a strong base in Madinah. It was then that they took to violent aggression. In the Meccan period, Muslims were merely considered a different religious sect by their opponents, but in the Madinan period they were taken as a grave threat. That is why in the Meccan period, the opponents of Islam were only engaged in opposition, but when the Prophet migrated to Madinah, these opponents launched armed military aggression against them. It was at this point in time that the following verse was revealed:

“Permission to fight is given to those who are fought against, because they have been oppressed.” (22:39)

In this verse, the word “oppression” (Zulm) is meant in the sense of aggression. As is known, during the thirteen-year period of the Prophet’s life as a prophet in Makkah, the opponents of Islam continuously subjected the Muslims to persecution. However, in this period, no commandment for war was revealed. Such a command was revealed only after the Prophet migrated to Madinah, when the opponents of Islam embarked on military aggression against the Muslims. Therefore, in this verse “oppression” implies aggression, and not non-aggressive oppression.

A related issue that needs clarification is that of jizyah or tribute. It must be noted that jizyah is not a permanent command of Islam. Instead, it was a temporary order. At the time of the Prophet, it was common practice among governments to impose a levy like the jizyah as a temporary punitive tax on those who had waged an unprovoked war. This same practice was applied to the contemporary opponents of the Prophet. Jizyah was therefore a temporary tax imposed on those opponents of the Prophet who were his contemporaries. According to my understanding, those Muslim rulers who continued with the practice of jizyah after the Prophet were not right—this was an Ijtihadi Khata (error of judgement) on their part. Jizyah is not at all applicable to the present age. Those who extend the imposition of jizyah to the present age have misinterpreted verse 9:29 of the Quran.

Yet another issue that needs clarification in this discussion about war and peace in Islam is a Hadith report that is contained in Bukhari’s collection, which is translated as: “I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: ‘La Ilaha Illallah’ (‘There is no god but God’), and whoever said ‘No god other than Allah’ will save his property and his life from me.”

 In this Hadith, “al-Nas”, or ‘people’ refers to the people of Makkah. So, this Hadith report must be interpreted only in the light of the actual conduct of the Prophet of Islam towards the people of Makkah. It is on record that at the time when the Prophet victoriously entered Makkah in 630 CE, most of the Meccans were non-believers. They were brought before the Prophet while he was in the premises of the Kaa’bah. The Prophet did not offer them these two choices: ‘Convert to Islam or you shall be put to death.’ On the contrary, he said to these Meccans: “Iz-Habu Fa-Antum Al-Tulaqa” (Ibn Hisham). That is: ‘Go, you all are free.’ Although these people embraced the faith of Islam later on, their acceptance of Islam was completely by choice. It was not a forced conversion. In the above Hadith report the words “till they say: ‘La Ilaha Illallah’” symbolically implies surrender, or the ending of war.

After the death of the Prophet, there were some wars between the Companions of the Prophet and the two adjacent empires—the Byzantine Empire and the Sassanid Empire. But, these wars were started as defensive wars by the Companions, because both these empires had exhibited clear aggression by killing the ambassador of the Muslim state and sending their armies at the borders of the territory of Arabia. This led to initiation of war by the two empires.

20th century Muslim leaders wanted to revive the Muslim Ummah. However, their starting-point was wrong. They sought the revival of Muslim history of the later period, when Muslims had established empires. The right beginning for these leaders would have been to seek to revive the original method of the Prophet of Islam, which was Da’wah Ilallah, or conveying the message of God to mankind. But Muslim leaders did not begin their endeavours from Da’wah. This was clearly an erroneous reasoning on their part, and it led to all sorts of problems. It goaded some of them to take to violence as a means to pursue their goals, resulting in the enormous tragedies that are unfolding all around us now.

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan heads the New Delhi-based Centre for Peace and Spirituality

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-society/maulana-wahiduddin-khan/war-and-peace-in-islam/d/99197

 




TOTAL COMMENTS:-   24


  • the Quran and Sunna of your prophet gave birth to jehadism of no parallel
    how long you will take refuse in faulty interpretations. those interpretations know Arabic in which the Quran is written know more than you.
    your imams knew the Quran and Hadith more than you. they created and implemented the sharia which commands Muslim to lie, curse, kill, flog, stone the people

    By rational mohammed yunus - 9/23/2014 10:03:47 PM



  • Rational says, "Is there any indication in the quran, the war verses belong to specific times? will not the quran be guide if such situation occurs in the future."


    This is a good example of how ignorant people can use the Quran to increase their ignorance. Reading the Quran with the wrong attitude can turn a person into either a moron or an apostate.


    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 9/23/2014 9:27:56 PM



  • Is there any indication in the quran, the war verses belong to specific times? will not the quran be guide if such situation occurs in the future.
    there are hadith, to tell near to qayamah Jesus will follow the sharia of hz mohmmed and will establish Muslim rule, kill swine, and jews?
    where from the sharia came?
    lies of modeartes have no parallels.

    By rational mohammed yunus - 9/23/2014 8:52:58 PM



  • Suhail, the verse "there is no sin on them both if they make terms of peace between themselves; He then said, and making peace is better," has wider applicability than you suggest. Your perverse pedantry seems to have only one purpose, and that is to tarnish Islam in whatever way you can.
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 9/23/2014 1:12:45 PM



  • Hats Off says, "what mr wahdiddin khan says is that muslims need an entirely unhindered right to evangelize. understood and accepted. but he fails to mention that the moment this theological aggression is resisted, that state, nation, or community immediately becomes dar ul harb. jihad is permitted."


    Maulan Wahiduddin Khan neither said it nor, as far as I know, believes it. Please stop lying. And finding fault with the verse, "And fight in God’s cause against those who wage war against you," is petty nitpicking. "God's cause" refers to those who waged war against the Prophet and his mission.

     


    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 9/23/2014 1:06:46 PM



  • "“And fight in God’s cause against those who wage war against you, but do not commit aggression—for surely, God does not love aggressors.” (2:190)."

    this essentially takes the wind out of the sails.

    are all those who wage war against "you" also against "god"?

    if no, there will should be no wars in the "support" of god.

    if yes, then you are equating yourself with god. both are sharp and capable of amputation. a rock and a hard place, if you will.

    By hats off! - 9/23/2014 10:31:21 AM



  • By hats off! - 9/23/2014 8:09:35 AM

    “The more pious a man claims to be, the more brazen his lies will be. this test has never failed”.

    Well said!

    We should not be surprised at what Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is doing, as according to sharia, in certain situations, deception – also known as 'taqiyya', based on Quranic terminology, – is not only permitted but sometimes obligatory. For instance, Muslims who must choose between either recanting Islam or being put to death are not only permitted to lie by pretending to have apostatized, but many jurists have decreed that, according to Quran, Muslims are obligated to lie in such instances.

    According to the authoritative Arabic text, Taqiyya (deception) is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it. We can go so far as to say that the practice of taqiyya is mainstream in Islam. Taqiyya is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era.

    The primary Quranic verse sanctioning deception with respect to non-Muslims states: "Let believers not take for friends and allies infidels instead of believers. Whoever does this shall have no relationship left with Allah – unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions." (Quran 3:28)

    Al-Tabari's (838-923 AD) Tafsir, or Quranic exegeses, is essentially a standard reference in the entire Muslim world. Regarding 3:28, he wrote: "If you (Muslims) are under their (infidels') authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them, with your tongue, while harboring inner animosity for them... Allah has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels in place of believers – except when infidels are above them (in authority). In such a scenario, let them act friendly towards them.

    Regarding 3:28, the Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir (1301-1373) wrote: "Whoever at any time or place fears their (infidels') evil, may protect himself through outward show of friendship."

    As proof of this, he quotes hz Muhammad's companions. Abu Darda said: "Let us smile to the face of some people while our hearts curse them."

    Despite such limitations on religious freedom, the Saudis have been pushing for more dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims. At the  inter-faith conference in Madrid in July 2008, King Abdullah asserted: "Islam is a religion of moderation and tolerance, a message that calls for constructive dialogue among followers of all religions."

    Days later, it was revealed that Saudi children's textbooks still call Christians and Jews "infidels", "hated enemies" and "pigs and swine". A multiple-choice test in a book for fourth-graders asks: "Who is a 'true' Muslim?" The correct answer is not the man who prays and fasts, but rather: "A man who worships God alone, loves the believers and hates the infidels". These infidels are the same people the Saudis want dialogue with. This raises the question of whether, when Saudis call for dialogue, they are merely following hz Muhammad's companion Abu Darda's advice: "Let us smile to the face of some people while our hearts curse them".

    However, according to all four recognized schools of Sunni jurisprudence, war against the infidel goes on in perpetuity, until "all chaos ceases, and all religion belongs to Allah" (Quran 8:39). According to the definitive Encyclopedia of Islam (Brill Online edition): "The duty of the jihad exists as long as the universal domination of Islam has not been attained. Peace with non-Muslim nations is, therefore, a provisional state of affairs only; the chance of circumstances alone can justify it temporarily. Furthermore there can be no question of genuine peace treaties with these nations; only truces, whose duration ought not, in principle, to exceed ten years, are authorized. But even such truces are precarious, inasmuch as they can, before they expire, be repudiated unilaterally should it appear more profitable for Islam to resume the conflict."

    Maulana Wahiduddin knows this doctrine of deception very well and is dutifully using it in promoting his conversion mission .

     

     

     

     

     


    By Khalid Suhail - 9/23/2014 10:06:30 AM



  • the more pious a man claims to be, the more brazen his lies will be. this test has never failed.

    on the other hand anyone who is man enough to accept that he has his faults will be a lot less likely to lie.

    By hats off! - 9/23/2014 8:09:35 AM



  • How can I be accused of being selective when I did not quote a single verse from the Quran to prove or disprove anything in this particular comment of mine. I have only exposed the selective use of the Quranic verses by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan who is always willing to use lies and deception if it will suit his purpose of promoting his DAWAH mission.


    By Khalid Suhail - 9/23/2014 7:56:44 AM



  • "After the death of the Prophet, there were some wars between the Companions of the Prophet and the two adjacent empires—the Byzantine Empire and the Sassanid Empire. But, these wars were started as defensive wars by the Companions, because both these empires had exhibited clear aggression by killing the ambassador of the Muslim state and sending their armies at the borders of the territory of Arabia. This led to initiation of war by the two empires."

    but what the ambassadors said to kings of those two nations?
    it is like telling half story means telling half truth

    By rational mohammed yunus - 9/23/2014 4:01:39 AM



  • mr wahiduddin khan can do all the dawah to his hearts full satisfaction.

    in a democracy you can do whatever is not illegal. you can even be televangelizing like mr zakir naik. mr zakir naik says it as it is while mr wahiduddin khan is tempered by political correctness. that is all the difference.

    but that is neither here nor there and entirely immaterial.

    what mr wahdiddin khan says is that muslims need an entirely unhindered right to evangelize. understood and accepted.

    but he fails to mention that the moment this theological aggression is resisted, that state, nation, or community immediately becomes dar ul harb. jihad is permitted against such stae/community/nation/whatever for islam knows no countries. only the ummah. the community of believers. and in no case is an unbeliever ever equal in the slightest to the believer. to believe that there is such an equality is shirk. ask at any seminary, or even from some agnostic.

    but what about banning christian groups from calling to god in dearborn, michigan? how about allowing a little christian missionary work in indonesia, sudan? why did the whole ummah (including perhaps all moderates) when mrs mariam ibrahim of sudan was sentenced to death, her dear brother said on open television session that she ought to be given a chance to recant and that if she does not he would be glad to see her killed. how about allowing pentacostal missionaries in pakistan, bosnia, afghanistan, saudi arabia, maldives, brunie, tower hamlets, certain ares of bradford, all areas of middle east and say kashmir. or even lakemba in australia.

    talk parity. not unilateralism. if you want the freedom to poach you should give others the freedom to poach too. it is a very simple matter - entirely understood on the basis of equality.

    this equality is missing from islam and the moderates are only going to sugar coat this inherent supremacy for public consumption. listen to mehdi hassan exhort his australian audience never ever to be like the kuffar.

    while islam condemns and accuses without a shred of proof that people of other religion have corrupted their scriptures, and that their religion is defunct, a similar suggestion anywhere will lead to nasty showdowns, as is currently happening in australia where muslims are protesting the right of australian police to arrest potential jehadis intent on beheading a random white australian citizen.

    so what is going to be the islamic argument?

    that the australians slaughtered aborigines and stole their children. so how can they be sermonizing to us? i fervently hope not.

    By hats off! - 9/23/2014 3:51:41 AM



  • mr wahiduddin khan can do all the dawah to his hearts full satisfaction.

    in a democracy you can do whatever is not illegal. you can even be televangelizing like mr zakir naik. mr zakir naik says it as it is while mr wahiduddin khan is tempered by political correctness. that is all the difference.

    but that is neither here nor there and entirely immaterial.

    what mr wahdiddin khan says is that muslims need an entirely unhindered right to evangelize. understood and accepted.

    but he fails to mention that the moment this theological aggression is resisted, that state, nation, or community immediately becomes dar ul harb. jihad is permitted against such stae/community/nation/whatever for islam knows no countries. only the ummah. the community of believers. and in no case is an unbeliever ever equal in the slightest to the believer. to believe that there is such an equality is shirk. ask at any seminary, or even from some agnostic.

    but what about banning christian groups from calling to god in dearborn, michigan? how about allowing a little christian missionary work in indonesia, sudan? why did the whole ummah (including perhaps all moderates) when mrs mariam ibrahim of sudan was sentenced to death, her dear brother said on open television session that she ought to be given a chance to recant and that if she does not he would be glad to see her killed. how about allowing pentacostal missionaries in pakistan, bosnia, afghanistan, saudi arabia, maldives, brunie, tower hamlets, certain ares of bradford, all areas of middle east and say kashmir. or even lakemba in australia.

    talk parity. not unilateralism. if you want the freedom to poach you should give others the freedom to poach too. it is a very simple matter - entirely understood on the basis of equality.

    this equality is missing from islam and the moderates are only going to sugar coat this inherent supremacy for public consumption. listen to mehdi hassan exhort his australian audience never ever to be like the kuffar.

    while islam condemns and accuses without a shred of proof that people of other religion have corrupted their scriptures, and that their religion is defunct, a similar suggestion anywhere will lead to nasty showdowns, as is currently happening in australia where muslims are protesting the right of australian police to arrest potential jehadis intent on beheading a random white australian citizen.

    so what is going to be the islamic argument?

    that the australians slaughtered aborigines and stole their children. so how can they be sermonizing to us? i fervently hope not.

    By hats off! - 9/23/2014 3:51:31 AM



  • Suhail,

    You display a very selective knowledge of the Quran. There are other verses also that support making treaties such as: .

    “If they (your enemies) incline to peace, make peace with them, and put your trust in Allah. Surely He is the Hearing, the knowing. Should they seek to deceive you, Allah is all-sufficient for you”. (Al-Anfal 8:61-62) 

    The verse is even saying that do not unnecessarily doubt the intentions or fear treachery but put your trust in God and make peace!


    The attitude of reconciliation is further evident in:

    (29:46) And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, "We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam)."
    (47) And thus (it is) that We have sent down the Book to thee. So the People of the Book believe therein, as also do some of these (pagan Arabs): and none but Unbelievers reject our signs.

    and 

    (3:64) Say: "O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah." If then they turn back, say ye: "Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah´s Will).


    Conversion is not implied in the verses above. There are many Christians, Jews and maybe Hindus or Buddhists also who may accept the Quran as a revealed Book and also accept  Muhammad (pbuh) as a prophet without converting. Only those who reject the Quran after having read it are disbelievers and not those who do not convert. One can remain in one's own religion and still be a believer.

    The Quran was not revealed for the Arabs alone. Eighty five percent of the Muslims are non Arab.

    Muslims believe in  all the earlier prophets and scriptures too and without such belief, they are not Muslims.

    The purpose of dawah is to inform as well as to invite people to understand the message of the Quran. Since we are agreed that all people are people of the scriptures there is nothing wrong in listening to each others scriptures. I have attended a month long session on the Bhagawad Gita by swamy Chinmayananda  in my school days and also invited him to our school to address the kids. The kids loved it. 


    By Observer - 9/23/2014 3:21:26 AM



  • dear Khalid Suhail - 9/23/2014 2:32:00 AM
    these both moderate Mullahs cry "out of context" if you quote something. but they will not demand any context from Maulana.

    distortion and hiding is the foul play all moderates play.
    if they don't hide who will listen to their seductive tidings.


    By rational mohammed yunus - 9/23/2014 3:09:17 AM



  • Rational ask, "what about Hindus and Buddhists? are they bereft of any kind of tidings?" . . .


    The Hindu "reconversion" program as well as the tribal conversion programs are is in full swing. The Constitution and the UN Human Rights Charter grants the same rights to all.


    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 9/23/2014 2:54:31 AM



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