Notes and Comments: Jihad not Confined to Battlefield
The Light (Pakistan), 8th/16th March 1976 Issue (Vol. 56, Nos. 10–11, pp. 27–28)
Recently, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Saleh, Imam of Masjid-i-Nabawi, paid a visit to Pakistan. His addresses at various public receptions have come as a refreshing treat to Muslims in general and the student community in particular. Speaking at a reception at Jamia Ashrafia, Lahore, he is reported to have said,
“Jihad was not confined only to the battlefield. There were various forms of Jihad. One of them was Jihad through knowledge, which students could launch on completion of their education, to defend Islam against all sorts of attacks by anti-Islamic forces. It was their duty to defend Islam and uproot all doubts which had been created by such forces.”
In view of the economic-ridden philosophies and fast-changing pattern of life and its requirements, the greatest need of the time is that an implacable faith in the veracity of the teachings of Islam based on rational and scientific reasoning be inculcated in the Muslim mind.
After the unfortunate Crusades, the missionary propaganda machinery has long been depicting Islam and its Holy Prophet in the most detestable colours. The person who upheld the righteousness of all the prophets and testified their being truthful was himself made target of slanderous attacks. The religion that remarkably established freedom of religion and inter-faith tolerance and allowed intermarriages and other social relations was portrayed as the most intolerant religion. Massive Christian literature was produced, and is still being produced, insinuating the Holy person of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and the most rational teachings of Islam. It was directed mainly towards creating doubts and suspicions by twisting historical facts and by misrepresentation and misinterpretation of principles of the Islamic Shariah. It is also intended to create dissension among Muslims by raising tribal and regional prejudices
During the close of the 19th century the domination of the British Empire reached its height and Indian sub-continent was the centre of intensive Christian missionary activities. Orthodox Ulama [Muslim cerlics] entertaining peculiar beliefs about Jesus Christ and without having knowledge of the Bible, were unable to face the Christian onslaught. The wrong concept of Jihad and irrational interpretation and presentation of the teachings of Islam made the young and educated Muslims indifferent. At that critical stage rose the solitary voice of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, who waged a relentless war against the opponents of Islam by producing literature carrying cogent arguments and conclusive evidence from the Quran and other Islamic sources establishing superiority of Islamic teachings over other religions. Besides other things, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad vehemently opposed the wrong orthodox concept of ‘Jihad with sword’ for making Islam a triumphant religion. He emphasised that Islam was never spread at the point of sword, rather it carried its appeal in its intrinsic beauties. Thus denoting Jihad mainly as a religious war against non-Muslims does not fit in with the basic concepts of Islam — a religion of peace. The Quran exhorts its followers to agree to peace with the enemy even when apprehending deception.
“And if they incline to peace, do thou incline to it and trust in Allah; He is the Hearing, the Knowing. And if they intend to deceive thee — then surely Allah is sufficient for thee.” (The Holy Quran, 8:61, 62).
Thus Islam is not only against aggression, but even exhorts peace in the middle of war. Prime Minister Bhutto has rightly pointed out in his speech at the inaugural session of the Seerat Congress in Rawalpindi that,
“Truth does not stand in need of sword for its vindication and so Islam was never spread at the point of sword.”
The future historian would certainly testify to the fact that it was the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement who gave a clarion call to the Muslims to marshal the conquering forces of the faith of Islam through rational and scientific method. This, he emphasised, was the only effective way of countering the massive European literature creating doubts and misgivings about Islam and its Holy Prophet. In this manner, the Founder of Ahmadiyya Movement routed the anti-Islamic forces effectively. He considered such a war with knowledge as the True crusade in favour of Faith and his achievements in this field forced others to give him the title of “an invincible general of Islam.” The Imam of Masjid-i-Nabawi, while addressing a meeting at the Ulama Academy, Lahore, has rightly stressed the need,
“to acquaint themselves fully with old as well as the modern knowledge in the light of Islamic principles and to display a sincerity of purpose in their daily life, so that no power on earth could defeat them. It was the firm faith in the Islamic principles which was the great asset of Muslims.”
Indeed, the primary objectives of infusing Muslim hearts with invincible faith as well as crusading the battles of Islam through knowledge have been achieved by the Ahmadiyya Movement working along the ideological guidelines propounded by its Founder, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Impartial Muslim scholars in general and Western scholars in particular have acknowledged the impact of the Ahmadiyya doctrinal exposition in defending attacks on Islam by other faiths and also presenting it as a superior human code of life. For instance, Dr. Freeland Abbott of Massachusetts University, USA, writes in his well-known book, Islam and Pakistan,
“All the arguments advanced by the Ahmadiyya Movement against other faiths have in course of time been accepted in their entirety by its vociferous opponents. Due to its enthusiasm and its continued attacks on Christianity, this Movement has instilled in the hearts of majority of Muslims a conviction about the truth of the teachings of Islam. Though it is true that the personal claims of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad have not gained acceptance and his writings are still looked upon with contempt among Muslims, yet their hearts have become convinced that the success of Christianity is not the cause of the advancement of the West and that the true faith in the world is Islam. This is the basic characteristic of the Ahmadiyya Movement. However, it is ironical that the Muslims of the Indo-Pakistan are ranged against a Movement whose both branches have done more work with regard to defence and extension of Islam than any other Movement.”