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['Aalim Network QR] Jihad

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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\

Salamun `Alaykum

The following question was kindly answered by Mulla Bashir Rahim.

Fee Amaanillah,

Akil Karim

---------- Forwarded message ----------


I like to find out what is the meaning of jihad, and when is jihad called
for and what are the circumstances that people will be ready. Also the
kinds of jihad, like jihad Akber etc. 


Thank you for posing this very important question. Please accept my
apology for the delay in responding.

The term 'jihad' is derived from the root word 'jahad' which means to
strive, to be diligent.  From that comes another specific verb 'jaahad'
which means specifically, to endeavour, to struggle, to strive, to contend
with, to fight against. 'Jihaad' (or as it is more commonly transliterated
as 'jihad') is from the latter verb. 

There are two kinds of jihad, the major jihad and the minor jihad. 


This is the struggle against one's inner self (nafs) to subjugate and
control one's passions and carnal desires. The base or carnal self
(nafs-e-ammarah) must be controlled by the conscience (nafs-e-lawwamah),
and only when one succeeds in this struggle does one attain the perfect
self, the self at peace with itself (nafs-e-mutmainnah).  In respect of
those who attain this state, Allah says:

"O the soul at peace, return to your Lord, pleased with His good pleasure
AND enter into the company of My true servants. And enter my Garden!"


This means to struggle for Islam. Not for extension of boundaries, not for
personal glory, not for the glory of any tribe, community or nation, but
for the defence of Islam and the protection of its values. Such a struggle
can take many forms, through the use of pen, through the use of tongue or
through the use of the sword. This last form is often referred to in the
Qur'aan as qitaal (warfare).

In Shi'ah theology, while self defence is permitted at any time, a general
qitaal can be declared only by an Imam. In any case no qitaal can be
regarded as a jihad if it is for territorial expansion or material gain or
to fulfil any personal, tribal or national ambition.

For the benefit of the members I would like to discuss the above in a
little more detail.

Unfortunately, more by design than through ignorance or by accident, the
orientalists of the past always gave only one meaning to the term 'jihad'
and that is warfare. The Muslims were led to believe, and many still do,
that taking up arms for any cause of muslims was a jihad whether or not
that cause related to Islam. This group is convinced that conquests were
achieved and empires founded through jihad. This suited those who were
inimical to Islam and gave a sense of pride in the past glory, to the
ignorant believers. The views expressed by the Shi'ah 'ulemah were
unheeded if not dismissed as anti-Islam. The majority distanced themselves
from the true meaning of jihad and developed a kind of religious fervour
based on implacable hostility. 

Tabarsi as quoted by Allamah Majlisi in Bihaar, gives the following hadith
of our 6th Imam (A.S.):

"If a person takes up arms and calls people to himself (to his help), and
if there is someone among the Muslims who is more knowledgeable than him,
then he (the one declaring jihad by calling people to arms) is certainly
misguided and false." 

The Holy Imam made this statement to a group which was supporting Muhammad
al-Nafs as-Zakiyya who was a descendant of our second Imam and who had
declared Jihad on the regime. 
Imam Ridha (A.S.) is reported to have said that Jihad is obligatory only
with a just Imam. 

Shaykh Tusi (A.R.) as quoted by Dr. Abdulaziz Sachedina in his "The Just
Ruler" (pp. 112-115)  wrote as follows: 

"The presence of al-imam al-adil is a pre-condition [for waging jihad
against unbelievers].  Without his permission it is not allowed to engage
in fighting ...."

Shaykh Tusi like all the other jurists have, however, declared it
permissible to engage in qitaal for the defence of life, property or
national boundaries.

Maulana Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi restates the above view in his booklet
entitled 'Islam'.

Let me conclude this part with following hadith from Wasa'il al Shiah
cited by Dr. Sachedina.

Abbad al-Basri met our fourth Imam (A.S.) in Mecca and reproached him: "O
'Ali bin Hussain, you have abandoned jihad and its hardships and accepted
the hajj and its comforts" and went on to recite ayah 111 of Surah IX
which describes the activities and merits of those participating in jihad. 
[The Ayah reads as follows: "Indeed Allah has bought from the believers
their lives and their wealth because jannah shall be theirs. They shall
fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise
which is binding upon Him (Allah) in the Torah, and the Injeel and the
Qur'an."] The Holy Imam replied "If we had seen those who are thus
described (that is people with the same motives and dedication to Allah
among those who are fighting now), then joining them in jihad would
certainly be superior to hajj."

Allah and His Prophet (SAWA) knew the diabolical trap the ummah was likely
to fall into, if they failed to grasp the meaning of jihad in its
entirety.  On return from one of the battles the Holy Prophet addressed
the Muslims as follows:

"You have now returned from jihad al-asghar. The jihad al-akbar continues
to remain a duty with you." The Holy Prophet and all our Holy Imams
reiterated the duty of every muslim to undertake jihad al-akbar time and
again and explained at length how this obligation can be fulfilled. I
shall try to briefly summarise what jihad al-akbar is but for a more
detailed study I would refer the readers to the writings of Ayatullah
Khumaini, Ayatullah Khui, Sayyid Hussain Nasr, Shaykh Fadlillah Haeri any
many other thinkers.

Ayatullah Khumaini describes jihad al-akbar as a migration from one's ego
to eternal Truth where the Creator's wishes become the desires of the
creature. Iqbal in his famous couplet has described the struggle as rising
above the ego to such a height where the Creator becomes anxious to make
the creature's pleasure His pleasure. I would particularly urge my young
readers to study Ayatullah Khumaini's lecture on Suratul Fateha and to
read the book entitled "The Light Within Me." This will be an experience
which is bound to effect the future course of you lives.

In more prosaic terms jihad al-akbar means fulfillment of our obligations
to Allah and to his creatures. To be concerned with the welfare of the
muslim ummah. To wage war (i) against ignorance by acquiring and
disseminating knowledge; (ii) against disease by employing our resources; 
(iii) against poverty by ensuring that every member of the community has
the means of basic subsistence; (iv) against dissension by giving up our
pernicious habit of point scoring and by trying to understand the points
of view of others; (v) against anti-islamic forces from within, by amr bil
ma'ruf and nahya anil munkir; (vi) against religion becoming a mere ritual
by making every effort to raise the level of our spirituality and last,
but not the least (vii) against the possible loss of our youth from the
fold of Islam, by ensuring that they are catered for and prepared to
confront the dangers that lie ahead. 

Please do not hesitate to ask any supplementary questions through the
usual channel

With salaams and du'aas from an humble servant of Ahlul Bayt and their
followers, and with a request to be remembered by you in your prayers,

Bashir Rahim

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