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