War: A State Action

In Islam, war is not the prerogative of the individual but of an established government. Only an established government can declare war. In other words, individuals can pray on their own, but they cannot wage wars of their own accord. Only when a war is declared by the ruling government, can the public join in and support it, and not before that. Islam does not sanction individual actions on this issue. Therefore no Non Governmental Organization or NGO can declare a war.

As a general principle, the Quran tells us that, even where an external attack is feared, the common man should not act independently, but should take the matter to the ruler, and then under his guidance take proper counter measures. (4:83).

The Hadith also states that ‘the ruler is a shield, fighting is done under him, and security is attained through him.’

This clearly shows that the decision to do battle and its planning are the tasks of an established government. The common man can play his role as need be under government orders, and not independently.

This Islamic principle shows that there is no room for non-state warfare, which is what we generally call guerilla war. A guerilla war is fought by individual organizations, not by the State. As far as the state is concerned, if it wants to wage a defensive war against any country it has first—in obedience to the Quran—to issue a proper declaration. Only then can it wage a lawful war (8:58). In Islam, there is only ‘declared’ war. Therefore, in accordance with this principle, no proxy war in Islam can be lawful.

Most Islamic actions are governed by certain conditions. The waging of war is also thus subject to certain principles, one being that, even when a defensive war has been declared by the State, it will be aimed only at the combatants. Targeting non-combatants will be unlawful. The Quran enjoins us not to do battle with those who are not at war. Such people have to be dealt with kindly and equitably. But you are free to do battle with those who are fighting against you. (60:8-9)

If, for instance, a Muslim state is at war with a particular nation, and this war is in conformance with Islamic principles, it should still not permit any destructive activities against non-combatants (civilians), as was done on September 11, 2001, in New York and Washington. Similarly in Islamic war, Muslims are not permitted to commit suicidal bombings in order to destroy the enemy. Strapping explosives on to oneself and hurling oneself upon the civilian settlements of even those with whom one is at war, for the purpose of destroying the enemy, and in the process killing oneself deliberately, is totally un-Islamic. This can in no way be termed ‘Shahadah’ (martyrdom). According to Islam we can become martyrs, but we cannot court a martyr’s death deliberately.

taken from: http://www.cpsglobal.org/content/war-state-action

Peace in Quran

“It is no exaggeration to say that Islam and violence are contradictory to each other. The concept of Islamic violence is so obviously unfounded that prima facie it stands rejected. The fact that violence is not sustainable in the present world is sufficient indication that violence as a principle is quite alien to the scheme of things in Islam. Islam claims to be an eternal religion and, as such, could never afford to uphold any principle, which could not stand up to the test of time. Any attempt to bracket violence with Islam amounts, therefore, to casting doubt upon the very eternity of the Islamic religion. Islamic terrorism is a contradiction in terms, much like ‘pacifist’ terrorism. And the truth of the matter is that, all the teachings of Islam are based directly or indirectly on the principle of peace.”

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Jihad is a Peaceful Struggle

It is true that jihad is one of the most important teachings of Islam. But jihad is not synonymous with war. In Islam another word is used for war and fighting. This word is ‘qital.’ When the Qur’an refers to war or fighting, it uses the word qital and not jihad.

Jihad literally means to strive or to struggle. So jihad actually means peaceful struggle, especially for da‘wah work. The Qur’an says:

Do great jihad with the help of the Qur’an. (25:52)

The Qur’an is simply a book, and not a sword, so “do great jihad with the Qur’an” means do great jihad with the ideological power of the Qur’an. In fact, jihad is only another name for peaceful activism. And peaceful activism is the only weapon by which Islam wants to achieve all its aims and objectives.

The Qur’an has this to say of the mission of the Prophet Muhammad:

We have not sent you forth but as a mercy to mankind. (21:107)

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The Sign of the Throne

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Allah T'ala says in the Holy Quran:

اللَّهُ لا إِلَهَ إِلا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ لا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلا نَوْمٌ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الأرْضِ مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِنْدَهُ إِلا بِإِذْنِهِ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلا بِمَا شَاءَ وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأرْضَ وَلا يَئُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ

(2:255) Allah: the Everlasting, the Sustainer of the whole Universe; there is no god but He. He does neither slumber nor sleep. Whatsoever is in the heavens and in the earth is His. Who is there to intercede with Him except by His own permission? He knows what is before the people and also what is hidden from them. And they cannot comprehend anything of His knowledge save whatever He Himself pleases to reveal. His Kingdom spreads over the heavens and the earth and the guarding of these does not weary Him. He alone is the Supreme and the Exalted.

This verse is generally known as the 'Verse of the Throne' and it provides in one piece knowledge of God with no parallel.

There is no god but Allah, the Everlasting, the Sustainer of everything.
Regardless of ignorant people's worship of false gods, the truth is that godhead in its entirety, belongs exclusively to the Eternal Being, Who is indebted to no one for His existence. In fact, He is not only self-existent, but upon Him rests the entire order of the universe. He alone wields all sovereign authority over His dominion. None shares His attributes or His power and might, and no one has the same claims against the creatures as He does. Hence, if anywhere in the heavens or earth someone sets up anything or anybody as an object of worship and service (ilah), either instead of or in addition to the One True God, it amounts to declaring war on reality.

He does neither slumber nor sleep.
This is a refutation of the ideas of those people who, in formulating their concepts of God, are inclined to consider God analogous to their own imperfect selves and hence ascribe to God the weaknesses characteristic of human beings. An instance at hand is the famous Biblical statement that God created the heavens and the earth in six days and on the seventh day He rested (see Genesis, chapters 1 and 2).

Whatsoever is in the heavens and in the earth is His.
To God belongs the heavens and the earth and everything therein. There is no one who shares anything with God in governance of the heavens or the earth. Any conceivable being other than God would necessarily be a part of the universe and thus belong to, and be a subject of, God rather than His partner and equal.

Who is there to intercede with Him except by His own permission?
This is a refutation of the ideas of those polytheists who consider their saints, angels or other beings to be so influential with God that if they were adamant in demanding something of Him, their demand would prevail. They are being told that, far from anyone having the power to impose his will on God, none - not even the greatest Prophets and the most highly esteemed angels - will dare utter one word in the majestic court of the Lord unless they are expressly permitted to do so.

He knows what is before the people and what is hidden from them. And they cannot comprehend anything of His knowledge save what He Himself pleases to reveal.
Here another blow is struck against polytheism. On the basis of the concept of God's unlimited sovereignty and omnipotence, it was stressed in the foregoing verses that no one shares independently in God's governance of the universe, and no one is so powerful with God that his intercession would decisively influence His judgement. The same point is stressed here but in a different manner. It is pointed out that no one possesses the knowledge that would enable him to comprehend the order of the universe and the considerations underlying it, so no one can legitimately interfere in its governance. The knowledge of human beings, of jinn, of angels and of all other creatures is limited and imperfect. No one's knowledge embraces all the facts of the universe. If someone did have the right to interfere even in only a part of the universe, and if his suggestions were of necessity to be put into eflect, the entire order of the universe would be disrupted. Creatures are incapable of understanding what is best for them, and do not have the capacity to know how best the universe should be governed. It is God alone Who knows everything.

His Kingdom spreads over the heavens and the earth and the guarding of these does not weary Him. He alone is the Supreme and the Exalted.

(Tafheemul Quran)

 

compiled by Dr. Ishaq Zahid
July 20, 2007

 

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