Friday, 1 November 2019

Terrorism: Between Jihad And Political Violence

The act of terror or terrorism has its history evident as far back as the early days of man on earth. This was argued by so many scholars of social science especially the social contract theorist ‘Thomas Hobbes’ (1588-1679AD). This was captured in his argument about “the state of Nature” while presenting his social contract theory of the origin of the state.

“Man is the state of nature was in perpetual fear, every man was enemy to every man in a war dominated society and men were lawless and anarchical. Life was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and smart.” (Hobbes 1651)

This argument of terror in the early days of man were better revealed to mankind some fourteen hundred years ago in the Qur’an.

Allah says:

“So the Nafs (soul) of the other encourage him and made fear seeming to him the murder of his brother, he murdered him and became of the losers” Q(5:30)

Abdullahi narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “None (no human) is killed or murdered, but a part of the responsibility for the crime is led on the first son of Adam who invented the tradition of killing (unjustly) on the earth. (Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol 9; no 6).

Sanctity of Human Life in Islam

In condemning the action of the son of Prophet Adam (A.S) (which is murder), Allah says:

“Because of that, we ordained for the children of Israel that if anyone kills a person not in retaliation of murder, or to spread mischief in the land – it will be as if he kills all mankind, and if anyone save a life, it will be as if he saved the life of all mankind…” Q(5:22)

Anas bin Malik narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The biggest of Al Kabaa’ir (grievous sin) is Shirk, murder, to be undutiful to ones parent and to make a false statement and to give a false witness” (Bukhari Vol 9, no 10)

Empirically, the Islamic religion happens to be the only religion out of the world religions that hold with esteem, the life of a human. A soul in the Islamic creed equivalent to the whole of humanity as revealed by Allah (swt) in the above verse indicating that Islam does not accommodate the killing of a soul exce[t for Shari established reasons.

Anas bin Malik educates us further on the magnitude of murder where many scholars of Tafsir ranked in the second highest crime in the sight of Allah after “Shirk” as sighted above.

So, How is Terrorism-Related to Islam?

Jihad in Islam

The word or concept of Jihad was been made popular by the West especially Orientalists and mostly misunderstood by the rest of the world as Muslims’ declaration of war against non-Muslims, especially Christians.

“Holy War”, a phrase that is strange to Islam, coined and presented by the West to mean Jihad.

The Arabic word ‘Jihad’ literally means ‘struggling’ or ‘striving’. It is applicable to any effort put in place by anyone. A student in University engages in Jihad as he struggles to pass his examinations, the lecturers also strive (jihad) to meet up with their responsibilities as lecturers and the farmer also does jihad on his farm so as to get a good harvest and so on.

Allah (swt) says:

As for those who strive hard (do jihad) in our cause, we will surely guide them to our paths and verily, Allah is with the Muhsinuun (good doers)” Q(29:69)

It was reported that one of the companions of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) told his army when they returned from military camping that:

“We have returned from a minor jihad (war) to the major jihad (self-control and betterment)”.

The above verses and many of the likes have shown that jihad is not interpreted as war only, even though it could mean it since it is a form of struggle.

Terrorism: Jihad or Political Violence

Even though terrorism is an age-old phenomenon or act as argued earlier, it was only made popular when the West held onto it as an instrument of “Islamophobia”. 

The West through America and their well-oiled media instrument have subliminally conditioned the mind of the World (Muslims and non-Muslims alike) to believe that terrorism is jihad by creating, sponsoring and promoting terrorist groups in Islamic states like al-Qaeda, al-Shabab, Taliban, ISIS, etc.

Literally, terrorism is any form of politically motivated violence directed again non-combatant public and designed to instill fear in a target audience (Viotti and Kauppi).

Terrorism just like many other concepts has no internationally accepted definition. 

However in spite of this disparity in opinions, there exist some common elements such as political orientation, attack on civilian population and infrastructure, etc.

Who is a Jihadist?

The jihad is outrightly struggle for the sake of Allah (swt).

A ‘Jihadist’ is that person that strives with the hope of getting a reward from Allah
(swt). Allah says:

“(Verily the number of months with Allah is twelve (12) months, so was it ordained by Allah on the day when He created the Heaven and the earth. Of them four (4) are sacre. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein and strive against the Mushrikuun collectively as the strive against you collectively. But know that Allah is with those who are Al-Muttaquun” Q(9:36)

Jihad Is The Last Resort

The essence of Jihad is never to kill or eliminate the non-Muslims neither is it aimed at intimidating anybody; unlike the terrorist. This is why the Islamic creed has provided guidelines on the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, indicating that a Muslim and non-Muslim can live under the same roof or shade.

Hence, Jihad is the last resort and the Muslim must not start a war but have the obligation of defending themselves and Islam.

Abu Al-Bakhari narrated that an army of the Muslim, whose commander was Salman Al-farisi besieged one of the castles of Persia. They said ‘O Abdullah! Should we charge them? He said: Leave me to call them (to Islam) as I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) called them, so Salman went to call them to Islam or they should keep their religion and pay Jizyah, and that if they resist, we are equally going to resist you. They said: We will not pay but will fight you instead. (Tirmidhi 1548).

Lastly, while terrorism is carried out by a mostly small group of people or government, Jihad on the other hand is only called on or declared by the leader of Islamic caliphate (Khilaafah).

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