Misperceptions about Islamic jihad | Pakistan Today

Misperceptions about Islamic jihad

  • Why no focus on jihad in Hinduism, Bible or Torah?

France is a cradle of modern human rights. How come its slogan `liberty, equality and fraternity’ allows it to drag out mosque-goers from inside the mosques? Or insult them in a myriad ways? France continues to publish and republish cartoons injuring sentiments of Muslim community. Some leaders have called for banning Muslim immigration to France.

Long before Islamic jihad, terrorism was a familiar phenomenon. The anti-Muslim media exploited 9/11 to tarnish the image of Islam. Islamic jihad fascinates people more than terrorist outfits such as the Irish Republican Army, the Ku Klux Klan, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and so on.

The term has meant different things to different people. The oldest ‘terrorists’ were holy warriors who killed civilians. Recent examples of religious terrorists are Aum Shinrikyo (Japanese), Rabbi Meir Kahane and Baruch Goldstein and Yigal Amir (Jews). The Jewish-controlled media describes Hezbollah and Hamas as ‘religious terrorists’. In first-century Palestine, Jews publicly slit Romans’ throats. In seventh-century India, thugs stranguled gullible passersby to please the Hindu goddess Kali. And in the 19th century, adherents of Narodnaya Volya (People’s Will) mercilessly killed pro-Tsar rivals. The term `terrorism’ became notorious during the French Reign of Terror in 1793-4.

It is now common to dub one’s adversary a ‘terrorist’. Doing so forecloses the possibility of political negotiation, and gives the powerful definer the right to eliminate the ‘terrorist’.

India is now engaged against Pakistan in what Kautliya calls maya yuddha (war of tricks) or koota yuddha (all-out warfare). She is out to isolate Pakistan, get it dubbed as a terrorist state. Pakistani leaders, including ex-PMs and PMs-to-be should take off their blinkers and try to understand how India, through koota yuddha, hands in glove with likeminded countries, is trying to wreck the economy and country

Non-Muslim writers not only mistranslate the word  jihad for qitaal (blood-shed), but also distort the true meaning of Quranic texts by quoting them out of context. The Qur’an gives a clear instruction that there is no compulsion in religion (2: 256). It states that people will remain different (11: 118), they will always have different religions and ways and this is an unalterable fact (5:48). God tells the Prophet that most people will not believe ‘even if you are eager that they should’ (12: 103). Quran enjoins wars are to be avoided (Quran 8:61, 47:35; Bukhari 56:112, 156:94:8 Sahih of Muslim).

Islamic jihad (Al-Quran 25: 52) does not mean ‘Holy War’. That term does not exist in Arabic and its translation from Arabic sounds quite alien. Jihad is always described in the Qur’an as fi sabil l’illah. It can mean preaching, donation or actual fighting. The term, which is specifically used for fighting, is qitaal (a compulsion when you are attacked and flushed out of your homes).

Quranic verses were twisted out of context to show that they are incendiary and fan hatred against other communities. Since 9/11, the world has been fixated on Islam and trying to prove that terrorism was ushered in by Islamic tenets.

Verse 191 Chapter 2 of the Holy Quran is often quoted to argue that Islam is a violent religion: “And kill them wherever you encounter them and expel them from where they expelled you. Oppression is indeed worse than murder. Do not fight them at the Masjid Al-Haram (Ka’aba) unless they fight you therein. If they fight you, then kill them; such is the penalty of the disbelievers.” 2: 193 says: “And fight them until there is no more oppression and the religion is for God, but if they cease, then no aggression is permitted except against the transgressors.”

191: 2 was revealed when Muslims on the Hajj pilgrimage were attacked and killed by the non–Muslim Quraysh who had signed a treaty with the Prophet to not attack pilgrims.

Verse 193 is no different from what Krishna taught Arjun. How is this any different from Lord Krishna telling Arjun in the Bhagavad Gita to fight as his dharmic duty?  BG 2.33: “O Arjuna! If you do not fight for this religion and turn away from your religion, then you will lose your fame and glory.” Surely, Hindus will know the context.

Bible: Deuteronomy 20:1-4: “When you go out to war against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and an army larger than your own, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And when you draw near to the battle, the priest shall come forward and speak to the people and shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, today you are drawing near for battle against your enemies: let not your heart faint. Do not fear or panic or be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory’.”

Numbers 31:1-10 say: ‘The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Avenge the Israelite people on the Midianites; then you shall be gathered to your kin.” Moses spoke to the people, saying, and “Let men be picked out from among you for a campaign, and let them fall upon Midian to wreak the LORD’s vengeance on Midian. You shall dispatch on the campaign a thousand from every one of the tribes of Israel.” … “The Israelites took the women and children of the Midianites captive, and seized as booty all their beasts, all their herds, and all their wealth. And they destroyed by fire all the towns in which they were settled, and their encampments.”

The Ramayana and the Mahabharata wars elucidate various types of yuddha (wars). In ancient India there were three schools of war. Bhishma’s school of warfare belonged to dharma yuddha (ethical or just war). Two other schools, Brihaspati’s and Krishna’s school of warfare belonged to koota yuddha (all-out war) or maya yuddha (war by tricks or stratagems). There is much negative publicity about Islamic jihad. But, there is little attention to koota yuddha, which signifies all-out, no-holds-barred or unethical warfare.

Bhishma stressed chivalry and ruled out surprise and deception. But, Brihaspati recommended that the king should attack an enemy only if the enemy’s strength is one-third of his own (Udyog Parva). He suggested that the king should never trust the enemy or spare him, no matter how old or virtuous.

Similarly, the keynote of Krishna’s military philosophy was `end justifies the means’. He laid great stress on deception. `Truth may often have to be sacrificed in pursuit of victory’ (Karma Parva). He advocated use of force to defeat the enemy if he was superior in strength or capability (Shalya Parva). Opportunity once wasted never returns (Shanti Parva).

Hindu military writers believe India’s prosperity, for example during the Maurya and the Gupta periods, rose or fell with the rise or fall of military leadership (Major General Rajendra Nath in Military Leadership in India: Vedic Period to Indo-Pak War).

Since Partition, Hindu leaders put a lid on their desire for koota yuddha with Pakistan because of political expediency. India’s confidence-building measures did not contribute to the solution of the Kashmir, or Sir Creek issues.

India is now engaged against Pakistan in what Kautliya calls maya yuddha (war of tricks) or koota yuddha (all-out warfare). She is out to isolate Pakistan, get it dubbed as a terrorist state. Pakistani leaders, including ex-PMs and PMs-to-be should take off their blinkers and try to understand how India, through koota yuddha, hands in glove with likeminded countries, is trying to wreck the economy and country.

The writer is a freelance journalist, has served in the Pakistan government for 39 years and holds degrees in economics, business administration, and law. He can be reached at [email protected]



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