Are Muslims Always Fighting?
Name of Questioner: Selim
Date: 29-12-2015 02:20:02 PM
Consultant: Ask About Islam Editorial Staff
Are Muslims Always Fighting?
Thanks a lot for this very serious question.
Since the Second World War it has become almost fashionable in the west to be a pacifist. In earlier times the notion of fighting for a good cause, and being a warrior for God against the forces of evil, was considered a noble ideal. In Islam these principles still apply.
Muslims are not always fighting; the very word ‘Islam’ implies peace. What Islam does do is insist that it is a good and honorable thing to fight in the defense of that which matters – and to a Muslim, God matters most. Jihad, which is usually interpreted in the West to mean “holy war” or military action for the sake of Allah, actually means striving or struggle for Allah.
It has a much wider meaning than the military action, mainly as the struggle against temptation to stray from Allah’s way in this life. When Jihad does imply military action, it is only justified against oppressive or corrupt tyrants, or those who deliberately seek to stamp out Islam. In other words, Muslims are provoked by injustice, and regard it as cowardice to turn a blind eye.
The decision to declare Jihad is taken very seriously. As the British chose to fight in defense of their nation and on behalf of the Jews against the tyranny of Hitler, so Muslims would regard it as their moral duty to fight for what they considered right, even if it meant the sacrifice of their own lives.1 There can be no just peace if people still live without security from harm.
The state of military Jihad can only be declared for two valid reasons – the first is defense, and the second is the undoing of injustice. When an Islamic State is attacked, it is the Muslim’s duty to defend its land and people at all costs. As regards injustice, Muslims are the vice regents of God Himself, and regard it as a religious duty to rise up and end it. They have the responsibility to redress tyranny and evil wherever it occurs. A war entered into to restore the balance of justice is holy.
The rules of Jihad require that once the enemy surrenders, all hostility is to cease. There should be no reprisals, all prisoners should be treated humanely, and if possible, returned safely to their own families. There should be no torture, rape, or injury done to prisoners. If no prisoner feels gratitude at being captured by a Muslim, then something was very wrong with the supposed Muslim’s Islam! Obviously, when abuses arise, the fault lies with the individual concerned, not with the faith.
Muslims regard human life as a gift from God. Everything ultimately belongs to God, and must be returned to Him. As Jesus said: ‘No man has greater love than this – that he is willing to lay down his life for his friends’ (John 15:13), or, if need be, for God. The sign of a Muslim’s true submission is that, if need be, his or her life is ready to be sacrificed in the service of God. A Muslim who gives up his or her life for God is known as a shahid.
Source: Taken from a book entitled “What Every Christian Should Know about Islam”