OceanSide church of Christ
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Victor M. Eskew
Jihad in the minds of many individuals involves acts of aggression on the part of Muslims toward those who do not believe in Allah and the prophet Muhammad. Islam has tried to counter this belief by arguing that jihad involves only the internal struggle of the Muslim and the Muslim’s obligation to fight if they are attacked by others. In our previous article, we showed that the Koran and the Hadith both authorize aggressive action on the part of Muslims toward unbelievers in order to further the cause of Allah.
In this article, we want to show that the history of Islam proves that warfare is definitely involved in the concept of jihad. The history dates back to 622 A.D. This is the year of Muhammad’s flight to Medina, an event that is referred to as hijra and an event that marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar. Muhammad was living in Mecca. As Muhammad began to push his ideology in that city, the people grew bolder and bolder in their opposition to him. When it was known that an assassination attempt was being planned, Muhammad fled from the Mecca to Medina.
When Muhammad arrived in Medina, there were three groups of Jews and some Christians there. He made a constitution with them. This constitution made a sharp distinction between believers (Muslims) and unbelievers (non-Muslims). The first element of the constitution noted that Muslims are a single, united community (umma). Some of the other elements of the constitution are as follows:
1. The God-fearing believers shall be against the rebellious.
2. A believer shall not fight for an unbeliever against a believer.
3. A believer shall not aid an unbeliever against a believer.
4. Believers are friends of one another to the exclusion of outsiders.
5. The peace of believers is indivisible.
6. Believers must avenge the blood one another shed in the way of God.
7. Whosoever is convicted of killing a believer without good reason shall be subject to retaliation.
We see that this constitution drew clear lines between Muslims and others. It made a distinction in “sides.” It was made clear that any violent action against a Muslim would be met with retaliation. The mindset of aggression was being implanted into the Muslim community.
In time, the Jews and Christians who resided in Medina rejected Muhammad as a prophet of God. Muhammad claimed that these two groups had changed their Scriptures to remove any references to him as a prophet of God. It was at this point that “the idea of Jews and Christians as sinful renegades from the truth of Islam would become a cornerstone of Islamic thought regarding non-Muslims” (The Truth about the Prophet Muhammad, Robert Spencer, 95).
The division, the bad-blood, the hostility, the sharp contrasts in doctrine, and a world wherein “might makes right” all gave way to conflict between Muslims and non-believers. These early battles are referred to as the “ghezwat,” that is, battles in which Muhammad was present. There is discrepancy as to whether there were 26 or 27 of these battles. Each battle brought more revelation from Allah according to Muhammad in regard to fighting. These revelations from Allah taught the Muslims what was acceptable to their “deity” when opposing their enemies.
Place Concepts Learned
Al-Abwa (Waddan) Women and children of the enemy can suffer in battle. Muhammad told his followers: “They (women and children) are from them (the enemy).
Nakhla Martyrdom became an element of jihad.
Good became identified with anything that redounded to the benefit of Muslims, and evil with anything that harmed them without reference to any larger moral standard. Some refer to this as the principle of “the highest good.”
Badr Allah will grant victory to his people against foes that are superior in numbers or firepower, so long as they remain faithful to his commands.
Victories entitle the Muslims to the booty of their victories.
Prisoners taken in battle may be put to death at the discretion of the Muslim leaders.
Anyone who insults or even opposes Muhammad or his people deserves a humiliating death – by beheading if possible.
These are just three battles that were fought by Muhammad and some of the principles of jihad that
were the outcome.
Islam definitely believes in jihad. It is taught in their holy book, The Qur’an. It is taught in the Haddith, the writings about the life of the prophet Muhammad. It is also exemplified and codified in the battles fought by Muhammad. Individuals are naïve to think that Islam is just a peaceful religion. It may involve peace with Allah and other Muslims, but Islam is at war with unbelievers and can wage war on them if they must to advance the cause of Allah.