OceanSide church of Christ

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Lesson Eight


Victor M. Eskew




A.   Two polarized positions:

1.     When westerners hear the word, “jihad,” they think of fanaticism and war.  One has said, “It appears to be irrational and unstoppable save by any means but total military defeat” (www.bible.ca, “The Truth about Jihad”).

2.     Muslims, on the other hand, say that jihad is really the personal and individual struggle for the Muslim to overcome those things in one’s life that Allah would have eliminated from their life.


B.    In our study of Jihad, we want to find out what the true meaning is.




A.   Literally means “to strive” or “to exert to the utmost,” it signifies all forms of striving including armed struggle, aimed at making the Word of God prevail.


B.    There could be up to four different meanings placed upon the word jihad.

1.     Personal struggle:  The struggle here might be compared to the struggle that the Christian has (I Cor. 9:27; Gal. 5:17).


But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection:  lest that by an means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway….For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit lusteth against the flesh:  and these are contrary the one to the other:  so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.


2.     Intellectual struggle:  “Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive (Jihad, NR) against them with the utmost strenuousness, with the (Qur'an) (Surah 25:52).  This, too, is similar to the war the Christian wages against the world with the Word of God (II Cor. 10:3-5).


For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:  (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.


3.     A struggle in self-defense against the enemy. 

a.     NOTE:  Evangelical activity by Christians is considered aggression against Muslims and Islam.



b.    Quote:


“Some Muslims are fond of saying that the jihad, or holy war, in Islam is only a defen-

sive action.  Only in cases of self-defense are Muslims allowed to fight; Muslims are never allowed to initiate a war.  Diana Eck recently wrote a book entitled A New Religious America, which is about the growth of religions in America.  In the chapter on Islam, she quotes Jamal Badawi, a famous Muslim professor and apologist.  He claims that from a Muslim perspective, actual armed jihad is permissible under two conditions along:  for self-defense, or for fighting against oppression.  I agree.

          “However, he fails to point out that for many Muslims, ‘self-defense’ and ‘fighting against oppression’ have much broader meanings that you or I would associate with those terms.  Muslims today have said that America is attacking them by exporting its secular cultural values, by exporting Hollywood movies and destroying the cultural norms of their countries.  Thus they claim to be engaged in self-defense when they attack America” (The Dark Side of Islam, Sproul and Saleeb, pp. 89-90).


c.    This type of action runs contrary to the practice of Christianity (Matt. 5:39, 43-45).


But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil:  but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also….Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be children of your Father which is in heaven:  for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.


4.     The struggle of offensive warfare, especially against the unbelievers (kafir)

a.     “Then take them and kill them wherever ye find them.  Against such We have given you clear warrant” (Qur’an 4:91)

b.    “Lo!  Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire.  As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment.  Lo!  Allah is ever Mighty, Wise” (Qur’an 4:56).

c.    “Those who believe do battle for the cause of Allah; and those who disbelieve do battle for cause of idols.  So fight the minions of the devil.  Lo!  The devil’s strategy is ever weak” (Qur’an 4:76)

d.    “I will instill terror into the hearts of unbelievers (non-Muslims), smite ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them.  It is not ye who slew them, it was Allah” (Qur’an 8:12, 17).

e.     “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies, of Allah and your enemies, and others besides, who ye may not know, but whom Allah doth know” (Qur’an 8:60).

f.     “Therefore, when ye meet the Unbeleivers (in fight), smite at their necks; at length, when ye have thoroughly subdued them, bind a bond firmly (on them:  therefore (is the time for) either generosity or ransom:  Until the war lays down its burdens” (Qur’an 47:4).


C.   In her book, Because They Hate, Brigitte Gabriel writes:  “People who tell you that Islam is a religion of peace are only announcing their ignorance and lack of understanding of a poisonous formula that has been developed for mass use on the whole world.  This ignorance endangers the lives of millions who live in the West and enjoy a Western lifestyle” (p. 149).




A.   The Qur’an

1.     Fight: 

a.     Fight in the cause of God, those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loveth not transgressors.  And slay them wherever you catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out:  for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter; but fight them not at the sacred Mosque unless they first fight you there; but if they fight you, slay them.  Such is the reward of those who suppress faith (Sura 2:190-191).

b.    Fighting is prescribed upon you, and you dislike it.  But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you.  But Allah knoweth and ye know not” (Sura 2:216).

2.     Gruesome violence:  The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is:  execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite side, or exile from the land:  that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the hereafter (Sura 5:33).

3.     Allah is on the side of Muslims:  Verily God will defend (from ill) them who believe:  verily God loveth not any that is a traitor to faith, or shows ingratitude…God will certainly aid those who aid His (cause) for verily God is Full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (Able to enforce His Will) (Sura 22:38, 40).

4.     Salvation:  Those who believe, and suffer exile and strive with might and main, in God’s cause, with their goods and their persons, have the highest rank in the sight of God:  they are the people who will achieve (salvation) (Sura 9:20).


B.    The Hadith: 

1.     “The most respected collection of Hadith, that of Muhammad bin Ismail ben al-Mughirah al-Bukhari (died A.D. 870) contains 199 references to jihad, and every one of them use the term to mean warfare against infidels” (Gabriel, 149).

2.     Bernard Lewis, Cleveland E. Dodge Professor Emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University writes:


[I]n the Qur’an and still more in the Traditions, [the term jihad]…has usually been under-stood as meaning “to wage war.”  The great collections of hadith all contain a section devoted to jihad, in which the military meaning predominates.  [Footnote omitted].  The same is true of the classical manuals of shari’a law…The overwhelming majority of classical theologians, jurists, and traditionalists…understood the obligation of jihad in a military sense….According to Muslim teaching, jihad is one of the basic commandments of the faith, an obligation imposed upon all Muslims by God, through revelation….It must continue unto the whole world has either accepted the Islamic faith or submitted to the power of the Islamic state (as quoted by Gabriel on page 148).


3.     “Bin Laden can quote Qur’anic verses and traditions from Muhammad that justify his actions” (The Dark Side of Islam, Sproul and Saleeb, p. 86).


C.   The actions of Muhammad

1.     In next week’s lesson, we will see that Muhammad was a military leader.  He often engaged in battles with his enemies.

2.     Mukhlas, a perpetrator of the 2002 Bali jihadist bombings, stated:


“You who still have a shred of faith in your hearts, have you forgotten that to kill infidels and the enemies of Islam is a deed that has a reward above no other....Aren’t you aware that the model for us all, the Prophet Muhammad and the four rightful caliphs, undertook to murder infidels as one of their primary activities, and that the Prophet waged jihad operations 77 times in the first 10 years as head of the Muslim community in Medina?” (The Austrailian as quoted by Robert Spencer in The Truth about Muhammad, p. 50).





A.   THE HIJRA:  The migration of Muhammad to Medina

1.     Background:

a.     The year:  622 A.D.

b.    The reason for the flight:  Assassination plot against Muhammad

c.    Importance:  this year marks the beginning of the Muslim calendar

2.     When Muhammad came to Medina, there were three groups of Jews there.  He made a “constitution” with them.

a.     The first element of the constitution noted that the Muslims are a single, united community (umma).

b.    There was a sharp distinction made between believers (Muslims) and unbelievers.

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 one of another to the exclusion of outsiders.

5)     The peace of believers is indivisible.

6)     Believers must avenge the blood of one another shed in the way of God.

7)     Whosoever is convicted of killing a believer without good reason shall be subject to retaliation.

3.     While in Medina, both Jews and Christians rejected Muhammad as a prophet of God.

a.     Muhammad claimed that they had changed their Scriptures to remove all references to Muhammad.

b.    “The idea of Jews and Christians as sinful renegades from the truth of Islam would become a cornerstone of Islamic thought regarding non-Muslims” (Spencer, 95).


B.    Al-Abwa or Waddan (skirmishes that took place upon Quraysh caravans)

1.     When the Muslims arrived, the Quraysh males were not there.

2.     Muhammad was asked it if were permissible to attack unbelieving warriors at night with the possibility of exposing their women and children to danger.  The Prophet replied:  “They (i.e., women and children) are from them…”

3.     “From then on, the innocent non-Muslim women and children could legitimately suffer the fate of male unbelievers” (The Truth about Muhammad, Robert Spencer, 98).


C.   Nakhla

1.     Martyrdom became an element of Jihad.

a.     The leader of this battle told his troops:  “He (Muhammad) has forbidden to put pressure on any of you, so if anyone wishes for martyrdom let him go forward, and he who does not, let him go back; as for me I am going forward as the Prophet has ordered” (Spencer, 98).

b.    Martyrdom eventually came to refer to one who “slays and is slain” for Allah (Qur’an 9:111).

2.     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.

a.     The Muslims attacked the Quraysh on the last day of a sacred month when fighting was forbidden.

b.    At first, Muhammad refused to share in the loot.

c.    A revelation from Muhammad changed his mind.  Allah stated that the greater transgression was turning men from the way of Allah.


D.   Bakr:  300 Muslims versus 1000 Quraysh

1.     If you fight and do not retreat, Paradise is guaranteed.  Muhammad:  “By God in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, not man will be slain this day fighting against them with steadfast courage advancing not retreating but God will cause him to enter Paradise.”

2.     Allah fights for the faithful.  “Allah had helped you at Badr, when ye were a contemptible little force; then fear Allah; thus may ye show your gratitude.  Remember thou saidst to the Faithful:  “it is not enough for you that Allah should help you with three thousand angels specifically sent down?  Yea, if ye remain firm, and act right, even if the enemy should rush here on you in hot haste, your Lord would help you with five thousand angels making a terrific onslaught” (Qur’an 3:123-125).

3.     Beheading of captives.  “Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): ‘I am with you:  give firmness to Believers:  I will instill terror into the hearts of Unbelievers:  smite ye above their necks and smite all their fingertips off them.”  This because they contended against Allah and His Messenger:  If any contend against Allah and His Messenger, Allah is strict in punishment” (Qur’an 8:12-13).



A.   “Muslims are encouraged to lie if, in the opinion of the liar, telling the truth will be ‘good’ for Islam” (Gabriel, 149).


B.    The tactic is called taqiyya or kithman:  lying, deception, or deceit.


C.   “Lying is not always bad, to be sure; there are times when telling a lie is more profitable and better for the general welfare, and for the settlement of conciliation among people, than telling the truth.  To this effect, the Prophet says:  ‘He is not a false person who [though lies] settles conciliation among people, supports good or says what is good’” (Affif A. Tabbarah as quoted by Spencer, 150).


D.   Example:  Muhammad desired for the poet Ka’b bin Al-Ashraf to be assassinated for composing verses that were insulting to Muslim women.  A young Muslim named Muhammad bin Maslama agreed to kill the poet.  However, it was conditioned upon his being able to tell a falsehood to Ka’b.  “The Prophet of Islam again took the path of expediency over moral absolutes:  ‘You may say it’” (Spencer, 115).




A.   “…the history of the expansion of Islam clearly reveals its aggressive, offensive nature” (Gabriel, 151).


B.    We are often told that jihad does not include violence, or, that it permits war only for defensive purposes.

1.     Jihad has several definitions.  One of them is definitely warfare against the unbelievers.

2.     Jihad is authorized in three ways:

a.     The Qur’an

b.    The Hadith  “…according to the Koran and the Hadith, aggressive warfare for the purpose of imposing Islam on the world is the ultimate religious obligation of jihad” (Gabriel, 151).

c.    The actions of Muhammad  (Remember, Muhammad is considered to be perfect.  Therefore, Muslims can follow him and be perfectly safe in doing so.)


C.   When one goes back into the history of Islam, he finds many principles of Jihad that came about during the wars fought against the Jews.  Terrorists are often heard referring to the historical events of the past.  The principles established in the past are still valid as far as they are concerned.


D.   If it is possible to lie and to violate a higher moral standard for the good of the Muslim religion, this religion can never be trusted to do what is right.