Religious Terrorism: Causes and RemediesNo Comments | March 2010
Islam today is viewed by many in the West as an aggressive religion that promotes terrorism. Sadly, it is often the case that the killing of innocent people, suicide bombings, and terrorist activities are carried out by people who claim to be Muslims; however, in reality, the responsibility for such malicious acts actually rests with the so-called scholars of Islam, who are gravely mistaken in their understanding of the issue of Jihad. They consider the unjustified killing of human beings ‘by the sword’ as a religious duty. These scholars have deliberately misinterpreted some of the Mutashabihat (complex and multifaceted) verses of the Holy Qur’an and equated true Islamic Jihad to rebellion for their own benefits.
According to Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messsiah(as):
‘Islam is such a religion that does not need the support of the sword for its propagation. Rather, the inherent excellences of its teachings, its truth, enlightenment, reasoning, arguments, and the active assistance of God the Exalted, the signs, and His personal attention are such matters that always drive its progress and propagation…The message of Islam does not need any compulsion for its propagation… To consider that the Ghazis (Islamic veterans of war) of the Frontier Region cause rebellion in the name of Jihad is an absurd thought, and it is nothing but foolishness and ignorance to call these rebellious people by the name of Ghazi. If an ignorant Muslim harbors even the least amount of sympathy for these people considering them performing Jihad, I say in truth that the one who calls a rebellious person Ghazi, and praises those who bring a bad name to Islam is an enemy of Islam… In England, France and other European countries, Islam is very harshly criticised for having been spread by the use of force… The truth is that this rebellion has been spread by the Maulawis (Islamic clerics), who are the unwise friends of Islam. They did not understand the reality of Islam, and provided an opportunity to others to raise objections because of their concocted beliefs. The beliefs concocted by them greatly aided the Christians. Had they not deceived others about Jihad or misunderstood the meaning of Jihad, no one would have taken advantage of the opportunity to criticise Islam’. (Malfoozat, Vol. 3, pp.176-177)
Incorrect Interpretation of Jihad
The Promised Messiah(as) has analysed this issue in great detail and writes:
‘The philosophy and true nature of Jihad is a matter both complex and subtle. Grave errors have been made both in our age and in the middle ages [of Islam] because people failed to understand this subject. It is with great embarrassment that I am forced to admit that these dangerous mistakes have exposed the holy religion of Islam, which is a mirror of the laws of nature and a manifestation of God’s glory, to the criticism of its opponents. (The British Government and Jihad)
It has been the tradition of the orientalists to publish excerpts from commentaries of the Holy Qur’an by Muslims, and then to use those excerpts to bring Islam into disrepute and fuel opposition against it.
In recent times Maulawi Abul A’la Maudoodi, the founder of the Jama’at Islami, has been so prominent in attributing false and inappropriate interpretations to the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Prophet(saw), that their reverberation of his false comments are often echoed in the writings of Western authors. In his book, God, Muhammad and the Unbelievers – A Qur’anic Study, David Marshal has erroneously attributed incorrect meanings to various verses of the Holy Qur’an and has presented Islam as a barbaric religion. He writes that Muslims have been taught to fight against the unbelievers, until they either accept Islam, or are killed. To support his viewpoint, the author has quoted excerpts from the books of Maulawi Abul A’la Maudoodi, stating that Maulawi Maudoodi was the only such person who truly understood the message of the Qur’an. (God, Muhammad and the Unbelievers – A Qur’anic Study, pp.191-197)
The Promised Messiah(as) says:
‘The people who call themselves Muslims, but are convinced that Islam should be spread by sword, are not aware of the inherent excellences of Islam, and their actions are like the actions of beasts.’ (Tiryaq-ul-Quloob, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.15, p.167)
Similarly he writes:
‘The Promised Messiah came to the world to remove the notion of raising the sword for the sake of religion…Now God the Exalted desires to remove all the objections raised by the wicked people against the pure religion of Islam.’ (Malfoozat, Vol.3, p176, published in London)
Today, in the footsteps of the Promised Messiah(as), and in his representation, the Fifth Successor of the Promised Messiah and the current Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim community, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) has undertaken the task to explain the real meaning of Jihad: that force and violence cannot be used in the name of religion. His Holiness is consumed in the real Jihad, which is the propagation of the peaceful message of Islam throughout the entire world, with the help and support of God the Exalted. He constantly admonishes the members of the community to spread the message of the peaceful teachings of Islam in the world. Towards this end, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community has, despite its relatively small size, translated the Qur’an into more than 60 languages. It has also established its own twenty-four hour international television station that hosts programmes explaining the true nature of Islam. The community has published thousands of books and other forms of literature, and held countless interfaith events around the world in which leaders and followers of various faiths, as well the general public, are invited to come together and remove the misunderstandings between religions. All this represents the practical implementation of the Promised Messiah(as)’s mission to spread Islam through purely peaceful and intellectual means.
Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) presents the peaceful teachings of Islam and the actual meaning of Jihad in accordance with the teachings of the Qur’an, Hadith (Traditions), and the pure life of the Holy Prophet(saw). This is the true meaning of Jihad.
Rebuttal of the Concept of a Barbaric and Bloody Jihad
As mentioned, the underlying cause of religious extremism, oppression, violence, and terrorism by some Muslims, is the erroneous interpretation of Jihad preached by some of the so-called Islamic scholars (or Maulawis.)
The Promised Messiah(as) has shed light on various aspects of this issue in his writings; in particular, in his books, ‘The British Government and Jihad’ and ‘Damimah Risalah-e-Jihad’. In addition to describing the real meaning of Jihad with reference to the Qur’an, Hadith, and the practice of the Hadhrat Muhammad(saw), he also refutes the erroneous concept of Jihad practised by certain Muslims. While pointing out who the real perpetuators are of the wrongful concept of Jihad, he describes their crime, and the dangers faced by humanity from them. He also provides guidelines for the eradication of religious terrorism and the establishment of general peace, without which, religious fanaticism cannot be eradicated. The Promised Messiah(as) writes:
‘Those who possess sight, read the Hadith and ponder over the Holy Qur’an should understand well that the kind of Jihad practised by many of today’s barbaric people is not Islamic Jihad. Rather, these misguided activities that have spread amongst the Muslims are instigated by the Nafs-e-Ammarah [self that incites to evil] or by a crude desire for Paradise.’ (The British Government and Jihad)
Similarly, he says:
..‘the tradition prevalent among Muslims of attacking the people of other religions, which they call Jihad, is not the Jihad of Divine religious Law [Shariah]. Rather, it is a grievous sin and a violation of the clear instructions of God and His Prophet(saw). (The British Government and Jihad)
Furthermore, he writes:
‘They should remember that their understanding of Jihad is not at all correct, and that human sympathy is its first casualty’. (The British Government and Jihad)
‘Is it not shameful that a complete stranger should be unjustly killed while occupied in his daily affairs, thus widowing his wife, making his children orphans, and turning his house into a funeral parlour? Which Hadith or verse of the Holy Qur’an authorises such behaviour? Is there any Maulawi who can respond? Foolish people hear the word Jihad, and make it an excuse for the fulfilment of their own selfish desires. Or perhaps it is sheer madness that inclines them towards bloodshed. (The British Government and Jihad)
Today too, terrorists kill innocent people in their places of worship, on public transport and in public gatherings, in the name of Jihad.
The Mullah (Religious Scholar) is responsible for Religious Fanaticism and Terrorism.
The Promised Messiah(as) laid the responsibility for religious fanaticism, terrorism, and the unjustified carnage on the mullahs: both the Islamic mullahs and the European clergy. Mentioning the Islamic mullah, he says:
‘It should be remembered that today’s Islamic scholars (who are called maulawis) completely misunderstand Jihad and misrepresent it to the general public. The public’s violent instincts are inflamed as a result and they are stripped of all noble human virtues. This is in fact what has happened. I know for certain that maulawis who persist in propagating these blood-spattered doctrines are in fact responsible for murders committed by ignorant, egotistical people who know nothing of why Islam was forced to fight battles in its early history.’ (The British Government and Jihad)
Similarly, the Promised Messiah(as) says:
‘May God bring these ignorant maulawis back to the right path. They have misled the populace into believing that the keys to Paradise lie in beliefs that are oppressive, cruel and completely immoral.’ (The British Government and Jihad)
He further says:
‘They consider Jihad to be obligatory in their hearts, and few of them think otherwise. They adhere so strongly to their doctrine of Jihad—which is completely misguided and entirely contradicts the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and Hadith—that they label as “dajjal” [Antichrist] and advocate the murder of anyone who objects. A fatwa [edict] of this kind was pronounced against me some time ago.’ (The British Government and Jihad)
Today again we see that the statements and edicts of Muslim religious scholars receive wide publication in the press and media. The Holy Prophet(saw) declared that these unfortunate mullahs will destroy the image of Islam and become the enemies of their own people through their recklessness, ignorance and evil morals.
Source of Rebellion
Warning about the rebellious acts of these mullahs one hundred years ago, the Promised Messiah(as) said:
‘They are the source of the rebellions confronted by every government. They have power over the common people and create havoc by turning them in whatever direction they please.’ (The British Government and Jihad)
The veracity of the Promised Messiah’s(as) words are self-evident. The cause of rebellions for all governments today (Muslims and non-Muslims) are the actions and deeds of these people. Through their fiery speeches they ignite the flames of hatred in moments, thus relegating social peace to ashes.
The Global Terrorist
The Promised Messiah(as) pointed out the dangers of international terrorism when he wrote:
‘Unfortunately, the Muslims – and the maulawis in particular – ignore all these events and think of the whole world as their prey. Many maulawis are just like a hunter who moves stealthily towards a deer he is stalking in the forest, shooting his gun at precisely the right moment. They know nothing about compassion for humanity. According to them, it is an act of Islamic virtue to fire a pistol or gun at an innocent person.’ (The British Government and Jihad)
Lies, Hypocrisy and the Signs of the Duplicitous Mullah
Writing in The British Government and Jihad’, the Promised Messiah(as) has warned us to be vigilant of the duplicitous nature of these mullahs. He advised in the following words:
‘When these maulawis meet present day rulers, they bow down as if ready to prostrate; but among their own kind they insist repeatedly that this country is “dar-ul-harb” [a war zone]. They consider Jihad to be obligatory in their hearts, and few of them think otherwise.’ (The British Government and Jihad)
The characteristics noted by the Promised Messiah(as) make it very easy for us to identify such people. In the interest of personal and material benefits, or because of the fear of being caught, or because of pressure, these scholars sometimes make statements before the authorities or the international press to the effect that they are not proponents of the bloody concept of Jihad, or of religious fanaticism and extremism. However, behind the scenes they propagate these doctrines through their books, and speeches, and in their schools.
Therefore, until their doctrines change and until their books and schools start teaching the true Islamic concept of Jihad, their statements cannot be trusted. A rebellious ideology and doctrine can never produce virtuous acts. Therefore, without the reformation of ideologies, doctrines, and hearts, the peace and the reformation of the nation are nothing more than a fanciful thought.
Here, it would be appropriate to mention that we do not say that all Islamic scholars subscribe to these rebellious views. Unfortunately the majority of scholars do and their influence is such that of the ones who are not convinced of this bloody concept of Jihad, there are very few who have the courage to confront the Jihadist mullahs, and preach the true Islamic concept of Jihad.
Hidden Enemies of the Government
The Promised Messiah(as) declared that the mullahs, who are convinced of the bloody ideology of Jihad, are the hidden enemies of the government, and are criminals, as well as disobedient in the sight of God the Exalted. (The British Government and Jihad)
Unfortunately, at the time the authorities did not pay attention to his words and did not identify these hidden enemies. As a result, they still continue to gain strength. Furthermore, injustice occurs when the governments of certain countries establishes close ties with these instigators of rebellion, and use them without any restriction for their selfish gains and specific political goals. They have backed these mullahs in their instigations and rebellious schemes, and encouraged them, thus further augmenting their vicious abilities. As a result, the mullahs have played games with the blood of innocent people and have openly caused mayhem in society. It is only when these murderers turned on their own supporters that their eyes opened, and thus, declaring them to be wanton killers and a threat to the humanity, have they decided to subdue and kill them.
European Mullahs (Christian Preachers): Responsible for the Criminal Carnage
The Promised Messiah(as), in ‘The British Government and Jihad’ and ‘Damimah Risalah-e-Jihad’, has placed the blame for incidents of terrorism, on both the European mullah (Christian preachers) and the ignorant Maulawis. Now as one hundred years ago, that analysis still holds true. The Promised Messiah(as) says:
‘At this point I must with great regret say that, although ignorant maulawis have instructed the ordinary public to plunder and kill by calling these actions Jihad, Christian clerics have also done something similar. They have, in Urdu, Pashto and other languages, produced thousands of publications, journals and flyers alleging that Islam was spread by the sword. This literature, which has been distributed by them in India, Punjab and the Frontier Region, wrongly claims that Islam is synonymous with violence. The people’s penchant for violence has increased as a result of the combined testimony of the maulawis and Christian clerics’. (The British Government and Jihad)
The Promised Messiah(as), writes that the reasons for the unjustified killings are due to an incorrect concept of Jihad . He further says:
‘I believe with absolute conviction that the barbaric practices of the Frontier Afghans, which result in the almost daily killing of innocent persons, have two causes:
(1) First, those maulawis for whom it is an article of faith that killing people of other religions – especially Christians – is an act of great virtue and that such murder opens doors of heavenly reward that cannot be achieved through obligatory Salat [Prayers], Hajj [Pilgrimage], Zakat [obligatory charity] or any other good deed. I am well aware of the fact that these maulawis secretly preach this to the people. When ordinary people hear such sermons day and night, their hearts – which differ little from those of animals – become deeply affected. They become like beasts of prey, with no shred of mercy remaining within them and commit horrendous acts that make one shudder. Although Afghanistan and the Frontier Region are full of many maulawis who regularly preach in this way, it is my opinion that the Punjab and India are not entirely free of such maulawis either. Our noble government should reconsider if it has come to believe that this country’s maulawis are innocent and do not think along these lines. I am of the opinion that the majority of the ignorant and short-tempered mullahs of the mosques are not free of these evil thoughts. I would have considered them blameless were their opinions in accordance with God’s Holy Book because, in a way, one is indeed helpless in matters of faith. However, I speak nothing but the truth when I say that they ignore the benevolence of this government and are its clandestine enemies in the same way that they are culprits and offenders in front of God. I have explained in detail that the Word of God in no way commands us to spill the blood of innocent people. Those who are of this opinion have turned their backs on Islam.
(2) In my opinion, the second cause of this criminal bloodshed carried out in the hope of becoming a ghazi, is the preaching of Christian priests who have widely publicised the claim that Jihad is compulsory in Islam. They claim that killing people of other faiths is a matter of great Islamic virtue. I believe that the people of the Frontier Region were not even aware of this doctrine until the Christian priests embedded it in their minds. My view is supported by the fact that there were no incidents of this type before Christian priests began the distribution of journals, newspapers and books in the Frontier Region. In fact, ordinary Muslims and the people of the Frontier Region were very pleased when the British replaced the previous Sikh Government. In 1849, Reverend Pfander published his book, Mizan-ul-Haq, in India, the Punjab and the Frontier Region. In it, he uses offensive language to attack Islam and its Prophet(saw) and publicised the claim that killing people of other faiths is not merely permitted but is in fact considered to be worthy of great Divine reward in Islam. This drew the attention of the barbaric people of the Frontier Region (who have no knowledge of their religion) and they came to believe that Islam advocates the killing of non-Muslims. After careful consideration, I have concluded that most of the incidents in the Frontier Region, and the violent hostility that has been created among its people, are due to the priests’ books, which use excessively harsh language and repeatedly draw attention towards the subject of Jihad. …..the subsequent violent and bitter writings of Reverend ‘Imad-ud-Din of Amritsar, and some other foul-mouthed priests, greatly damaged goodwill and reconciliation within the country. The books of other ministers, which we need not mention in detail, have also sown seeds of hatred within peoples’ hearts…’
(The British Government and Jihad)
He further says:
‘We acknowledge with great regret that Islam’s maulawis have focused on an improper definition of Jihad and have taught the frontier Region’s tribes to unjustly harm this friendly government by spilling the blood of its honourable officers. Nevertheless, we are also disappointed with the ‘mullahs’ of Europe – namely the Christian priests – for they have inflamed the passions of the ignorant masses with their harsh and unjust publications. By bringing up the issue of Jihad a thousand times, they have led ignorant Muslims to believe that this is an easy path to Paradise.’ (The British Government and Jihad)
‘Even if we assume that the maulawis are largely responsible for instigating the public to Jihad, our sense of fairness compels us to point out that the literature of the priests, which offers almost daily insults to Muslims, also plays a part. It is regrettable that after carrying out a mischievous act some ignorant people sit to one side, leaving the British Government to deal with ensuing difficulties.’ (The British Government and Jihad)
In essence, the Promised Messiah(as) also attributes blame to certain Christian missionaries as he does to the Muslim Maulawis for inciting people to commit acts of carnage and terrorism and disturbing the general peace. Readers should note, however, that this accusation does not apply to all Christians and their spiritual leaders. Indeed, the Promised Messiah(as) also spoke with admiration at the British government of his time. His remarks then, as now, are directed to a small proportion of religious leaders who are actively working to distort the true message of Islam He says:
‘Woe on the Muslims of this age as well, who have lost the second part of the Shariah (Islamic Law), which consists of the sympathy of mankind, love, and service. They claim to have belief in the Unity of God, but are involved in barbaric morals, which are shameful… But regretfully they face such petitions that revive their barbaric sentiments, which are the writings of some less sensible pastors which are poisonous in nature, and are filled with extreme insult and denunciation of the Holy Prophet(saw). These books are such that if a Muslim who does not enjoy a high calibre of patience and tolerance reads them, he would be unintentionally infuriated as these books are full of harsh language as opposed to academic writings, and the common Muslims have no patience for them…
Even now, pastors often publish such writings for which the quick-tempered and the fiery natured Muslims have no patience for. This is an extremely dangerous activity, that on one side, the pastors falsely blame the Muslims that the Qur’an contains perpetual instructions to carry on Jihad all the time, as if they are reminding Muslims of the practice of Jihad, and (on the other side) they incite them by their fiery writings. I cannot understand how simple-minded these people are, they do not comprehend that the combination of these two matters could yield dangerous outcomes…In essence, at this point, how could we criticise Maulawis, when we also have complaints against the pastors, as they did not adopt the path of truthfulness either?’ (Damimah Risalah-e-Jihad, Roohani Khaza’in, pp.30-32)
The Promised Messiah(as)’s analysis applies to today’s circumstances. Those Christian missionaries and scholars who attack Islam, branding it a tyrannical religion that teaches compulsion and condones acts of terrorism (e.g. Don Richardson, 2003; Robert Spencer, 2009) must share the responsibility for the religious fanaticism, extremism and terrorism. When making such accusations, their language is, at times, deliberately indecent, extremely inflammatory and designed to hurt the feelings of the Muslims by directing false accusations at Islam, its founder and the Holy Qur’an. These preachers and their accomplices including writers, artists, and film producers, and Islamic renegades – incite the unwise and the unfortunate, by either making insulting sketches of the holy personages of Islam, or by producing inflammatory films about it. We have witnessed the furore and violent reactions generated by the publication of the Satanic Verses, the Danish cartoons, The Jewel of Medina, and the film, Fitna.
In essence, as the Promised Messiah(as) has said, today, the responsibility of the terrorism and the carnage lies on both these two groups. If the Western and the Eastern worlds are sincere in their efforts to establish true peace, then Muslims scholars and the Muslim public, and Western governments and Christian preachers and scholars and their public need to listen to the enlightened analysis of the apostle of the time, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), the Promised Messiah and Mahdi.
Role Played by Jihadi Camps in Afghanistan and Adjoining Frontier Regions in Spreading Religious Extremism and Terrorism
Today, wherever in the world so-called Muslims are involved in incidents of suicidal attacks, and terrorism, most of them also have links with Jihadi camps established in Afghanistan, or the adjoining Frontier Regions. The Pakistan Government itself admits the existence of training camps in its northern Frontier Regions, and in Afghanistan, suicide bombers are trained. These camps serve as the breeding ground for those who spread terrorism in the name of Jihad.
How ironic that over a hundred years ago, during the time of the Promised Messiah(as), it was the same area of south Asia, (Afghanistan and the North West Frontier areas) that today is also at the centre of corrupt and merciless activities. Then, as now, the blood of many innocent people has been shed as a result of religious differences.
Important Suggestions for the Ruler of Kabul
After pointing out the mistakes of the scholars and the public in relation to the issue of Jihad, the Promised Messiah(as) drew the attention of the Amir and the caretaker of Kabul to take necessary reformative steps:
‘Since the general public knows that Islam does not allow Jihad to be waged without the sovereign’s permission, it is possible that some people who are ignorant of the facts will blame the Amir for such events. The Amir must therefore do his best to prevent the issuing of these erroneous Fatwas. The Amir will exonerate himself magnificently in this way. God will also reward him well because, after the observance of duties owed to God, there is no act of goodness greater than delivering the oppressed from the swords of their oppressors. The Amir has been given an opportunity by God to make this great reform a part of his legacy because it is mostly Afghans who commit these acts and wield the sword with the intent of becoming Ghazis, and a sizable majority of them live in his country. These barbaric practices defame Islam and the Amir should do his best to cleanse the Afghan nation of them’. (The British Government and Jihad)
Note how clearly his remarks reflect the troubles of today!
The proposals that he presented then resonate today, not only for Afghanistan, but also for Muslim rulers throughout the world. The Promised Messiah(as) says:
‘As I have detailed extensively in this booklet, the tradition prevalent among Muslims of attacking the people of other religions, which they call Jihad, is not the Jihad of Divine religious Law [Shari‘ah]. Rather, it is a grievous sin and a violation of the clear instructions of God and His Prophet(saw). It may not be easy for certain Muslims to abandon this custom since it is well-established among some tribes. In fact, because they imagine themselves to be Ghazis, they may even become the mortal enemies of one who counsels them against this practice and seek to kill him. One solution that I can think of to this problem is that His Majesty, the Amir of Kabul, whose influence over Afghan tribes probably exceeds that of all previous Amirs, should gather the great scholars of religion and convene a discussion on the true nature of Jihad. These religious scholars can then educate the public about its errors. In fact, the religious scholars of this country should compile a few pamphlets in Pashto and make them available to the general public. I believe that this type of activity will have a tremendous influence on people. The passions instilled by the ignorant maulawis will gradually subside’ (The British Government and Jihad)
This suggestion – full of heavenly light and the Qur’anic guidance – carries great wisdom, and is a source for the real and everlasting reformations.
Rebellion and Dissension Resulting from the Incorrect Ideology of Jihad Cannot be Eradicated by Force
The rebellion and dissension spread by mullahs convinced of a barbaric ideology of Jihad cannot be eradicated by the use of force. It is true that many times, the punishment of tyrants, rebels and criminals for their crimes is necessary according to the verses:
And the recompense of an injury is an injury the like thereof… (Ch.42:V.41)
So whoso transgresses against you, punish him for his transgression to the extent to which he has transgressed against you… (Ch.2:V.195)
But the policy of compulsion in faith and oppression of a people does not produce real peace in the society. It is not possible to change false and bogus ideologies within a society without directly addressing the message underlying those ideologies. Force can only subdue dissension for a short time, but it can never produce long lasting peace. Short-term victories can be achieved by the use of the sword, but hearts cannot be conquered by it. It is for this reason that the Holy Qur’an has advised against the use of compulsion to propagate and reform an ideology:
There should be no compulsion in religion Surely, right has become distinct from wrong… (Ch2:V.257)
At another place, it is said:
…So that he who had already perished through a clear Sign might perish, and he who had already come to life through a clear Sign might live… (Ch.8:V.43)
So, only that person is alive for whom there is a Sign, and he who does not have a Sign for himself is destined to perish. Only when false and bogus ideologies and beliefs are uprooted though the application of logic and reason will any lasting reformation come about in a society.
The Qur’an directs us:
…And argue with them in a way that is best… (Ch.16:V.126)
Need for Discussion at an International Level
The Promised Messiah(as) thus proposed that a gathering of prominent scholars should be convened to discuss and to educate them about the true nature of Jihad. Those scholars would then inform the public about their former errors of understanding. Today, as in the times of the Promised Messiah(as), it is still vital that local influential scholars are engaged in discussions, and then encouraged to educate the public about their misunderstandings, for it is these scholars who are the ones initially responsible for spreading misinformation.
Furthermore, journals printed in local languages should be used to explain the reality and the truth about the Islamic concept of Jihad. Indeed, all forms of media, written, radio, TV, and the Internet, should be utilised to launch a continuous effort to eradicate the false interpretation of the ideology of Jihad.
Along with the scholars and people of Afghanistan and the adjoining Frontier Regions, scholars and people of other countries and places should also be included in this movement, and with the falsification of the bloody ideology of the Islamic Jihad, the reality of the true Islamic Jihad should be highlighted. When the same message is promoted from all directions, it will produce much better results. The Promised Messiah(as) has also suggested:
‘…if the maulawis of Punjab and India truly oppose this notion of Jihad, they should publish journals about it, translate them into the Pashto language, and disseminate them among the tribes of the Frontier Region, for these would certainly prove very effective. However, all this must be done with an honest heart and enthusiasm, not with hypocrisy.’ (The British Government and Jihad)
To find out the truth about the issue of Jihad and to understand it in the light of the Holy Qur’an and Hadith, it is essential to seek guidance from the writings of the Promised Messiah(as), and the sayings of his Khulafa, as these are the servants of God who have been raised by Him in this age for the revival of religion. Further, the Promised Messiah, and the Promised Mahdi(as) is the holy and the blessed person, about whom the Holy Prophet(saw) said that through him the world would be filled with justice, righteousness, and peace and honesty.
Dangers of Ignoring False Interpretations of Jihad
The Promised Messiah(as) pointed out the dangers of not paying attention towards this false interpretation of Jihad. We can see today how his words have been proved true. Addressing the Amir of Kabul he said:
‘The Amir’s citizens will surely suffer if he fails to pay heed to this essential reform. The government that ignores such Fatwas from these mullahs ultimately creates problems for itself because these days the maulawis readily label people as disbelievers over minor religious differences, applying to them all other Fatwas that they apply to disbelievers. In light of this, even the Amir himself cannot remain safe from these Fatwas. It is quite possible that the maulawis may cast the Amir out of the pale of Islam by taking offence over some trivial issue, and then subject him to the same Fatwa of Jihad that they have applied to others. A group that has the power to declare a person to be a believer or disbeliever is dangerous, and the Amir should not be complacent with respect to them. They are the source of the rebellions confronted by every government. They have power over the common people and create havoc by turning them in whatever direction they please. It is therefore no sin to free people from their influence through gentle education about the true nature of Jihad.’ (The British Government and Jihad)
What a clear demonstration of his truthfulness that his predictions then were as true as they are now today! We have witnessed in the past, as indeed now, that whoever disagreed with the bloody ideology of Jihad of Mullahs was made a target of their wrath, and that they opened declared a Jihad against him.
A Warning and a Prayer
More than one hundred years ago, the Promised Messiah(as) advised rulers to conduct educational programs about the issue of Jihad to free the Muslims from its barbaric misinterpretation. He urged them to make every possible effort for this cause, and told them that it was better for them to do so and said:
‘…the time of the Promised Messiah has arrived…now God the Exalted will produce such heavenly means, where the world which was filled with oppression, and unjustified blood-shedding, will now be filled with justice, peace, and reconciliation. Blessed are the sovereigns and kings who play a part in achieving this objective.’ (The British Government and Jihad)
The last part of this warning and prayer, “Blessed are those sovereigns and kings who play a part in it” contains a prayer. It remains to be seen as to who are those fortunate rulers who by acting upon the advice of the Promised Messiah(as) prove the falsehood of this concept of a bloody Jihad, and become the recipient of his prayers, and divine blessings.
Unfortunately, the effort required to educate the masses to reform them regarding this wrong concept of Jihad was not carried out by the Amir and the ruler of Kabul, and he did not value the advice of the Messiah. It is this land where the noble companions of the Promised Messiah(as) were brutally martyred because of their religious differences with people who believed in the concept of a barbaric Jihad of the Mullahs.
Hadhrat Maulawi Abdul Rahman was martyred when a cloth was wrapped around his neck and he was suffocated to death. Hadhrat Sahibzada Abdul Latif, the chief of Khost, was first heavily chained and handcuffed, and then tortured in a prison. His nose was pierced to pass a rope through it, and then he was dragged through the streets by the rope to great ridicule, abuse, and curse, to the place of his murder. He was buried in the ground up to the waist, and stoned to death until there was a huge pile of stones over his head. After this heinous crime, his wife and orphan children were also brutally tortured and some of them were martyred.
None of the many rulers of Afghanistan or Pakistan have availed the opportunity to denounce the ideology of a bloody Jihad. Instead, they labelled the Promised Messiah(as) a denier of Jihad, and raised such a fierce storm of hostility and dissension against his community, that Ahmadis have been subjected to persecution with the backing of the government and the constitution. Scores of Ahmadis have been brutally martyred, and many more have been imprisoned. Their assets and properties have been looted and set on fire. Mentioning the dreadful martyrdom of Hadhrat Sahibzada Abdul Latif in his book, the Promised Messiah(as) in Tadhkirat-ush-Shahadatain writes:
‘The land of Kabul will witness what types of fruits are born by this blood. This blood will not be wasted. Previously, poor Abdur Rehman of my Jama’at was persecuted and killed, and God remained quiet. But now He will not remain quiet on this blood, and it will have major consequences.’ (Tadhkirat-ush Shahadatain, Roohani Khaza’in, Vol.20, p.74)
History is a witness that God did not remain silent!
Today, the sufferings endured by the people of this land are due to their rejection of the true ideology of Jihad, as explained by the Holy Qur’an and the Messenger of Allah. They did not heed the warning of the Messiah of the time, and have been responsible for the unjust shedding of innocent blood, in the name of religion.
Unfair Behavior of certain Christian Intellectuals and Western Authors
Certain Christian preachers and like-minded western writers and scholars sometimes spread false propaganda against Islam that, God forbid, Islam is a terrorist religion that teaches Muslims in the name of Jihad for Allah to shed the blood of innocent people, and spread dissension and rebellion on mere religious differences. In order to prove their false claims, such preachers and so-called scholars and researchers ignore the context of the verses of the Holy Qur’an, and the proven historical facts, and distort the events using every kind of deception and misrepresentation. They also commit the grave offence of attributing their own choice of meanings to the Holy Qur’an. In support of these views, they present sayings and commentaries of the so-called scholars of Islam, who, overcome by the passion of their Nafs-e-Ammara (inciting-self) and hungry for power, attribute their own self-concocted commentaries to the Holy Qur’an, and spread the bloody ideology of Jihad under the pretext of the holy slogan of Jihad. This practice of the Christian preachers is definitely not aligned with righteousness and justice. It is clearly unfair to hold Islam responsible for the hypocritical acts of a few misguided people.
We are aware that, addressing his followers, Jesus(as) said:
‘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. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, 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 the 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.’ (Matthew, 5:39-45)
But today, we see that the Western nations who align themselves with the teachings of this chosen servant of God, act completely to the contrary. Instead, they make their enemies the target of persecution and ill-treatment. Using contorted rationale, they viciously destroy their homes and lands and persecute their prisoners of war in a barbaric fashion. Is it then fair to attribute the responsibility of their actions to Jesus(as), or to justify them according to his pure teachings? If not, then likewise, it is unjust and unfair to blame Islam and its founder for the terrorist activities of the few so-called Muslims.
Islam’s founder, Hadhrat Muhammad(saw), expressed complete disgust at those holding these terrorist views and the ones who carry out such acts. The Holy Qur’an states in several places that Allah the Exalted does not love rebellious people. He does not love those who are unjust and does not like dissension. As the Holy Prophet(saw) was the mercy for all the worlds, his blessed sayings, and innumerable pure examples shimmering in historical books and the books about his life, show that even the pain of his sworn enemies would make him restless. He possessed the highest calibre of human sympathy, justice, and other moral virtues.
Many fair-minded Western intellectuals and researchers have paid tribute to the excellences of the Islamic teachings and the wisdom of the sayings of the Holy Prophet(saw), and attested that Islam is a peaceful religion. Indeed, we see that in the current times, even the rulers of some Christian governments, who blindly drop bombs on Muslim countries on the pretext of the terrorism of the few so-called Muslims extremists, and also reluctantly admit that the views of the people involved in carrying out terrorist activities in the name of Jihad are based on distorted teachings of Islam. They admit that these people are defaming Islam. They also accept that the majority of the Muslims are peace loving, and friendly, and they look at the acts of these terrorists with hate, and reject them. However at other times they allow the spread of propaganda to the contrary; that Islam is actually a violent and bloodthirsty faith and against peace. Such behaviour is not based on righteousness and justice, and it does not help in the establishment of social peace.
Advice to Preachers and Christian Rulers
More than 100 years ago, the Promised Messiah(as) advised the Christian people and the Christian rulers to act with fairness, and stay away from provocations. He writes:
‘I have written repeatedly that Jihad is certainly not a Qur’anic commandment. The truth of the matter is simply that some of Islam’s early opponents wanted to forcibly restrain or rather annihilate it. Islam raised the sword against them only in self-defence. Only for such enemies was it ordered that they could be killed unless they accept Islam. This permission was for specified circumstances and not forever. Islam is not responsible for the erroneous or self-serving actions of the monarchies that came after the time of the Prophet(saw). Anyone who raises the issue of Jihad to deceive ignorant Muslims, in fact, wants to promote this poisonous habit. It would have been better if Christian clerics, having duly examining history, had emphasised that there is no doctrine of such Jihad in Islam, and that there is no injunction to convert people to Islam by force. The Holy Qur’an is the book that contains the following verse:
There is no compulsion in religion. (Ch.2:V.257)
This means that there should be no compulsion in matters of religion. Can we conclude that such a book teaches warfare? What complaint can we lodge against the maulawis when the Christian clerics have also failed to adopt the path of truth, which would have been beneficial in promoting the policies of the government?’ (The British Government and Jihad)
The Promised Messiah(as), drawing the attention of the British government in that age, said:
‘The dangerous lies of the Christian clerics create unrest and rebellion and, in my view, it is essential that our government prohibits them. Muslims will never abandon Islam due to these senseless fabrications. By repeatedly calling their attention to the doctrine of Jihad, these sermons will instead cause Muslims to rise from their slumber.’ (The British Government and Jihad)
Again and again he wrote to the ruling authorities:
‘For an experimental period of a few years, every group should be strictly forbidden from using vicious language against other religions, be it explicit or implicit, in their writings or in their sermons.’ (The British Government and Jihad)
The Promised Messiah(as) further elaborating on this advice said:
‘In my opinion, the recently adopted practice of the Ottoman government is good. So, for an experimental period of a few years, every group should be totally forbidden from directly or indirectly mentioning any other religion in its writings or speeches, but they would be allowed to describe the excellences of their own religion to their heart’s desire. In this way, the new biases would not be seeded and the old tales would be forgotten, and people would turn towards mutual love and reconciliation. And when the barbaric people of the Frontier Region would notice that much mutual love and affection has been created between other nations, they would be influenced by it and start treating Christians with sympathy just as a Muslim treats his brother.’ (The British Government and Jihad)
Similarly, he added:
‘I humbly request His Excellency to ban this practice of attacking the faiths of others for a period of at least five years. These practices are leading to chaos in the country, so much so that friendly meetings of different groups have ceased to occur. At times, one group with little real knowledge raises a baseless allegation and offends the others. Sometimes this leads to a riot. Criticism of the Islamic concept of Jihad is an example of this phenomenon. Such criticism refreshes sensitive memories and results in disorder. I believe that the poisonous growth of envy and spite, which is secretly flourishing, will quickly disappear if our wise government passes a law that: [a] prohibits all parties, including the clerics of the Church, from indulging in negative attacks on other religions for a period of five years, [b] asks all parties to live together with love and civility, and [c] encourages all groups to focus on the positive features of their own religions. Such action on the part of the government will be appreciated, will have a beneficial impact on the people of the Frontier Region and will also promote peace and friendship.’ (The British Government and Jihad)
The Promised Messiah(as) said:
‘If there is any truth in a faith, it should be displayed. One should not just continue to recite the deficiencies of other faiths. Not every ruler or administrator can implement or accept my suggestion. Only a highly astute administrator will understand its true significance.’ (The British Government and Jihad)
Unfortunately, no one acted upon these visionary guidelines for the establishment of religious tolerance, social peace and friendship. As a result, today, terrorist activities have become the norm and the entire world sinks deeper and deeper in discord and dissension.
‘The rule is that when one cannot attack another religion with truth and justice, a lot of people start attacking using unjustified accusations.’ (Chashma Masih, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 20, p.337)
It is possibly in an attempt to guide Muslims away from Islam that its enemies raise false objections on the Holy Qur’an, and try to degrade Islam and its founder, the Holy Prophet(saw).
But now this scheme will not last for long. According to the Promised Messiah(as):
‘I have been sent at this time to save Islam from the attacks of the false religions, and to present the powerful arguments for the truthfulness of Islam. I certainly say that Islam will be victorious, and its signs have already appeared. This is true that no sword or gun is required for this victory, and neither God has sent me with weapons. Anyone who thinks otherwise is an unwise friend of Islam. The purpose of religion is to conquer hearts, and it cannot be done with the sword. On many occasions, I have shown that the sword picked up by the Holy Prophet(saw) was only for the sake of self-protection and self-defence, and it was done only when the atrocities of the opponents and the deniers had exceeded all limits, and the earth had turned red with the blood of the poor Muslims. In essence, the reason for my arrival is the victory of Islam on other religions.’ (Lecture Ludhiana, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 20, p.293, 294)
So, with the coming of the Messiah of the time, people have started relinquishing false doctrines. Today, this task of presenting the truth of Islam is being carried out under the leadership of the Khilafat, established after the demise of the Promised Messiah(as).
We end with the message of the Promised Messiah(as) to the Muslims of the entire world:
‘Muslims should appreciate the enlightenments and the blessings descending from the heaven at this time, and thank Allah the Exalted. But if they do not appreciate this reward of God the Exalted, God the Exalted will not care about them at all, and will certainly complete His task. Allah the Exalted has willed to wipe out the other religions, and give victory and strength to Islam. Now, there is no hand or power that can stand in the way of the will of God the Exalted.’ (Lecture Ludhiana, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 20, p.290)