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What Can Be Termed Jihad?

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalamu alaykum

1. Can fighting for the freedom of Syria and Palestine be termed as Jihad and is it in Allah’s cause? Or it is a fight for land and cannot be termed jihad?

2. Is Jihad the best of deeds as one of the Sahih Hadith regarding jihad says that one cannot do a better deed than it?

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

Shukran for writing to us.

1. The first part of your question is rather complex. Fighting, like jihad, holds many different meanings. Dr Buti emphasized that picking up arms is only one of its several meanings. These alternatives meanings should all be exhausted prior to any physical combat. I am not suggesting, as many apologists may have, that jihad or religious fighting should never exist again. As Muslims, similar to all religions and all nations, we acknowledge that there will be times where we may be required to pick up arms.

Due the complexity of the situation in the middle east; the amount of misrepresentation of Islam; extremism; unjust killing in the name of Islam; Muslims killing Muslims; we advise the questioner to be active in his home country by doing the following: 1. Seek to understand the situation in the middle east from reliable scholars, ideally from those afflicted countries, 2. Create awareness among the public, 3. Pray for them, for prayer is the weapon of a believer.

2. Regarding the second part of your question, RasuluLlah sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam when asked what are the best or actions, responded differently based on two things, the state of the questioner or the time of his question. By way of example, if the questioner showed signs of cowardice, the Prophet would advise him that jihad is the best of actions; if he showed signs of stinginess, the Prophet sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam would advise him that giving charity is the best of actions. Also, if there was a need for companions to leave home and partake in battle, the Prophet sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam would advise that jiahd, at this hour of need, is the best of actions; while at another time he sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam may have advised Salah to be the best of actions.

And Allah knows best

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan


Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

How Should I Understand the Concept of ‘Jihad by the Pen’?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

1. Can you tell me what is the concept of ‘Jihad by the Pen’?

2. I have a dream (in sha Allah) that- after finishing my study and getting a job, I will donate in Dawah related works. Will my current study also be considered as ‘Jihad by pen’ or sadaqah in terms of sharia’h?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

Commanding the good and forbidding evil.

The concept of ‘Jihad by pen’ can be understood in one of two ways. The first could be an extension of speaking out to encourage others to do good or to deter them from wrong actions as commanded by the Messenger of Allah in the narration of Sahih Muslim: ‘Whoever of you sees something wrong let him change it with his hand. If he is able to, then with his tongue. If he is unable to [do that too], then with his heart [though duʿaʾ]; and that is the weakest of faith.’

There are, however, conditions which relate to the application of this hadith. You can learn more about them in this answer. In general, if one needs to speak out against something it can also be done in the form of writing. Imam al-Nawawi was one of many scholars of this umma who were known for their fearless critique of the rulers of their time through letters and books (may Allah shower His mercy on them all).

The Difference in Ranks

Another way this concept can be understood is the contribution scholars make towards defending and spreading Islam. There are a number of weak narrations which state that the contribution of the scholars is greater than that of martyrs, which is an indication of the respective rewards. A martyr lives only once, whereas the works of the scholars endure for generations, benefitting millions. Take the creed of Imam Abu Jaʿfar al-Taḥawi, for example; after over a millennium people still learn and benefit from it.

Imam ʿAbd al-Raʾuf al-Munawi, when commenting on the weak narration ‘The ink of the scholars was weighed against the blood of the martyrs and the former was heavier’, said,
‘This is used as a proverb to show the superiority of the scholars over the mujahids, and the vast disparity in the ranks of the two groups.

The reason being is that if we say the ink of the scholars is superior to the blood of the martyrs – when the greatest thing a martyr can offer is his blood, and the least of what a scholar can offer is his ink [through written works] – then what do you think of the greatest of what a [true] scholar has? Such as divinely gifted knowledge, reflecting on the blessings of Allah, defending the truth, explaining the Sacred Law, and guiding creation!’ (al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir).

Your current study could come under this category if you intend to make the word of Allah paramount by it, and can use it to support and defend Islam.

May Allah grant you every success.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

On Jihad, Knighthood, and Just War Theory, by Mohammed Safi

Mohammed Safi reflects on the new attacks on activist and community organizer Linda Sarsour for her usage of the word “jihad”.

Knighthood and knights are considered positive things in American culture and western culture more broadly. Although historically many knights have done horribly evil and barbaric things, as intelligent people most of us can parse that and say what we value about knighthood are the positive manifestations and meanings while not valuing the negative ones. Even if some of us believe most of the positive things are made up, we are intelligent enough to understand that the positive images in society are praiseworthy even if they are fictional.

The terms, warfare and soldier are not very different. Both of those terms can be viewed in a very positive light even though there are horrendous expressions of each both in our past and present. Generally people (even pacifists) can understand that there is a difference between a horrendous expression of oppression and warfare and a just war and just war theory. This is why soldiers occupy an almost sacred place in our public discourse. Even when some of them might not live up to it, people understand that many of them sacrifice a lot, and it’s really the positive image that people praise more than any one given person or act.

Defining our own sacred term

Given all of that complexity there are still people who want to tell us that jihad can only mean one thing, and is only represented by the criminal, theologically heretical, morally inept groups we see on television today. To tell Muslims they can’t define their own sacred term and that instead terrorist groups are the ones who get to define it is intellectually disingenuous and frankly ignorant. Why the hypocrisy?

Jihad means many things but its linguistic definition and the core way it’s used in our tradition is to strive and struggle against evil for good. The primary way we do that is we strive against our own egos, desires, and demons and work on our hearts. But we also strive and struggle in our societies to form better societies that promote goodness as opposed to evil. This is how Muslims generally use the term and how Linda intended it.

Jihad can also be used to mean just warfare. She didn’t use it with that meaning in mind since she used it to mean what I mentioned above. But since people are up in arms yes Islam does allow for the state to engage in warfare just like almost all nation states do. But it does so with clear limitations on what can be done and when it can be done. It protects the innocents both human and animal and it even protects the environment. Muslims might not practice this but this is what is found in all of our texts and in our tradition. Even more importantly those engaging in this type of just war are supposed to be people who have been spending their lives fighting their own desires and egos, their own greed and anger and violence.

If one followed such dictates then Jihad would be in only the most just of cases by the most spiritually transformed of people. Does that mean Muslims throughout history lived up to this, no. But some did. Just like not all knights and not all soldiers live up to the positive image we have of them. No one gets to hijack our sacred terms or dictate how we speak about our religion.

Resources for seekers

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No peace, no justice – Shaykh Hamdi Ben Aissa

Muslims have sadly become a people who are focused on the idea of justice, and justice above all, writes Shaykh Hamdi Ben Aissa. Our actions and concerns are governed by the mentality: no justice, no peace. Thus, we have become known to the world as fighters for our rights, demanding justice from all those who would oppress us or challenge our way of life.

Is this how we should be known to this beleaguered and hurting world of ours? Is this the sum total of what Muslims have to offer humanity? And on top of that, not even justice for all, but only that which extends to our own kind?
We have reached this place of valuing justice above all else because we nurture this concern in ourselves and our children above the concern for moral integrity and spiritual refinement (ihsaan) and kindness, magnanimity, and empathy (rahma) in our personal behaviour and interactions with others. An international survey evaluating levels of empathy in children of various religions found Muslim children to have one of the lowest levels of empathy (which is another word for rahma) and the highest sense of justice, ie. swiftness in declaring the actions of another as “unfair” and demanding punishment of the other for perceived wrongdoing.
I visited an Islamic elementary school a short while ago, and when I asked the children what they wanted to do with their lives, those who had some sense of mission were in the minority. Amongst them, those whose mission had something to do with Islam were an even smaller minority. And amongst the latter, their sense of mission revolved around the need to defend Islam and its image.
This is what we have bequeathed to our children – this sense of concern for their rights, and a sense that the rights of all Muslims are under attack. Thus those who feel some sense of awareness among them can think only of how Islam is under constant attack and needs to be defended.

Self-fulfilling

The truly oppressed is he who allows himself to believe that he is oppressed. He believes that other human beings have the ultimate control over his circumstances, have power over him and are able to give him the justice he seeks or withhold it. Such a person will be reacting to the action of injustice like a ping pong ball thrown at the wall, not having any other option but to rebound eternally, getting weaker and weaker each time until it gets crushed.
Re-action is simply the continuation of action. Thus he who reacts is never free because his actions are in reality but a perpetuation of the original action of his oppressor.

Consumed by our victimhood

What made the Muslims of Makkah liberated, even when they were in the midst of severe oppression and persecution, was that they did not believe their human oppressors had any actual power. What made Bilal a freeman even when he was a “slave” is that he only ever acknowledged the One (Ahadun Ahad) as having any power, control or role in his life.
Our obsession with the wrongs others are committing against us as a community gets us nowhere. And takes all our energy. Just today a sister wrote to me to say that seeing all the horrible things happening in the world is disabling. This is exactly right. We allow ourselves to be disabled when we fixate on these things – they get the better of us. And then, we have no time or attention left to seek God and to make an honest evaluation of our own ihsaan (where are we in terms of moral integrity? are we more refined spiritually today than we were yesterday, or less so?). When we become fixated on what is happening in the world, we are no longer able to take on the most important battle that stands before us : that of begging our Lord to guide us toward moral integrity and spiritual refinement, living everyday in search of the opportunities He sends us for this. This is the true and inevitable battlefield – even for those who are out on a battlefield!
One who turns to face the battle for the heart, before attending to the battle for justice, will hold himself to four principles, which will produce in him four qualities.

The four principles before battling for justice:

1. cultivation of compassion and empathy (raḥma) before cultivation of anger (ghaḍab), such that the former controls the latter, establishing correct limits for it
2. cultivation of love for God’s sake (al-ḥubb fi Allah) before cultivation of aversion for God’s sake (al-bughḍ fi Allah), such that the former controls the latter, establishing correct limits for it
3. cultivation of permeability to beauty and goodness and those who uphold the like (athillatan ‘alal mu’mineen), before cultivation of impermeability towards wrongdoing and injustice (a’izzatan ‘alal kaafireen), such that the former controls the latter, establishing correct limits for it
4. cultivation of loyalty to what is pleasing to the Lord (al-walāʿ) before cultivation of the disavowal of what is displeasing to Him (al-barāʿ), such that the former controls the latter, establishing correct limits for it.

The four beneficial qualities that will arise within us

As a result of the believer holding himself to the above four principles, four qualities will arise within him, and these are the missiles of the heart, the fuel of a true Islamic Revival:
1. forgiveness for the one who wrongs him
2. generosity and a giving attitude to the one who denies him
3. a continuous reaching out and connecting to the one who disconnects from him
4. moral integrity and magnanimity towards the one who mistreats him.
With these qualities, a person treads the Earth as a shining guide (dāʿī) and not as an arrogant judge (qāḍī).
He puts aside his own expectations for people’s spiritual improvement according to what he would like for them, in order to submit to God’s Wisdom and Will with respect to the guidance of His Creation. As a result of this surrender to God’s Will, God uses this person as an instrument by which He guides whomsoever He Alone has chosen to receive His Guidance. (Thus this person is truly living and acting for God and by God.)

The four principles that reflect warped priorities

In contrast, one who chooses to face the battle for justice before the battle for the heart, operates by four principles that are the exact opposite of those mentioned above. These four principles are:
1. cultivation of anger (ghaḍab) before cultivation of compassion (raḥma), such that the former blocks and shuts out the latter
2. Cultivation of aversion for God’s sake (al-bughḍ fi Allah) before cultivation of love for God’s sake (al-ḥubb fi Allah), such that the former blocks and shuts out the latter
3. Cultivation of impermeability towards wrongdoing and injustice (a’izzatan ‘alal kaafireen) before cultivation of permeability to beauty and goodness and those who uphold the like (athillatan ‘alal mu’mineen), such that the former blocks and shuts out the latter
4. Cultivation of the disavowal of what is displeasing to the Lord (al-barāʿ) before cultivation of loyalty to what is pleasing to Him (al-walāʿ), such that the former blocks and shuts out the latter.

The four blameworthy qualities that will arise within us

As a result of a person structuring his inner being according to the above four principles, four qualities arise within him, which are the destroyers of the Islamic revival:
1. judgement of others’ faults (tafsīq)
2. pointing out of innovations in the religion (tabdīʿ)
3. excommunication of fellow Muslims (takfīr)
4. exploding with violence and destruction (tafjīr)
Thus, he walks amongst people as an arrogant judge (qādī) and not as a shining guide (dāʿī). Satan misguides through him more people than he himself – out of his apparent concern for the Ummah’s wellbeing – sets out to guide, correct, and reform. He holds fast to his own vision of how people should improve religiously, and seeks to impose this vision on them even if it destroys them.
Because he does not submit to the Will of God, he is not used by God as an instrument of good.

Last of the Tasburai: New Sci-fi Novel With A Muslim Twist

Dubbed the ‘Halal Game of Thrones’, the epic fantasy novel Last of the Tasburai is an action packed page-turner that will prove popular with Muslim readers, young and old. SeekersHub interviews the author, Rehan Khan.

 

Why did you get into fiction writing?

REHAN: Fiction, particularly fantasy and sci-fi creates a safe place to explore controversial issues the author observes in society. So in the Last of the Tasburai, there is a struggle going on between the forces of extremism and those who seek the middle way. Great works of fiction, such as George Orwell’s Animal Farm, in which the animals overthrow the farmer, are wonderful stories but also powerful metaphors – in the case of Animal Farm, Orwell was making a comment about the brutalities of Stalin’s rule in the former Soviet Union. Last of the Tasburai contains subtle references to historical events, characters, and places. For me understanding history helps make sense of where we are today and provides some idea of where we’re going – history does repeat itself, because human nature remains the same – generosity and greed, love and hate, courage and cowardice.  

What are the key themes in the book?

REHAN: The Greek Philosopher, Aristotle referred to the four virtues a person should strive four – wisdom, courage, temperance (moderation) and justice. I wanted to write a story in which courage was placed at the center. So for Aristotle when courage was in the golden mean it came across as valour, steadfastness and being able to control one’s anger. When courage was unbalanced in a person on the side of excess, it became recklessness and arrogance. When on the side of deficit, it led to cowardice and meanness. So it got me thinking what would happen if the very best people in society developed a misplaced notion of courage. Rather than being steadfast they became reckless and arrogant. What would be the implications for society? From this the idea for the Tasburai warrior emerged. In my mind the Tasburai were the best of the people – an elite selfless warrior class who held deeply mystical beliefs. I like to describe the Tasburai as a cross between Japanese Samurai, with their bushido (the way of the warrior) and Sufi mystics, with their ideas on tasawwuf (spiritual development and cleansing the heart). So the deeper meaning behind the story is the journey human beings take to return to the golden mean, because when we are in the mean, though we’re all different we can connect with other human beings. Whereas when individuals go to the extreme, it polarizes and splits society. The notion of the middle way is reflected in all great traditions. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ reminds the believers to strive for moderation in all actions. Likewise in Confucianism, we have the doctrine of the mean and in Buddhism we have the middle way.

What do your own kids think of it?

REHAN: That’s a difficult one, but I did notice that when my son was reading the novel, he was sitting on the edge of his seat, so perhaps that’s the answer to your question.

Does the book pay particular attention to male, Muslim masculinity? 

REHAN: Not directly, but in a circuitous manner there is a comment. Three of the main protagonists in the novel are women and two are men, which is unusual in the fantasy genre. I’ve always found that women tend to be better at reflecting, whereas men want to do stuff. In their haste and hubris men are often drawn to extremist ideas, which promise immediate results. In the novel there is an extremist group called the Hawarij, which I’ve loosely based on the Khawarij who in the history of the Muslim world were notorious for assuming they were holier than others and as a result everyone but themselves were apostates. Today, groups like Daesh are their inheritors, they’ve always appealed primarily to young men, looking for adventure, or wanting to do something with their life. During the time of Saladin they appear as the Assassins. Saladin was known as magnanimous and generous, even the Crusaders regarded him with reverence, a Knight no less. He negotiated with every group except for the Assassins, who attempted to kill him on at least two occasions. We shouldn’t forget they were called the Assassins or the Hashishins because everyone thought they were taking Hashish – a historical fact to reflect on.       

Who was your muse?

REHAN: I suppose it kicked off in 2009 when my daughter, who was six years old at the time, asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Clearly she didn’t appreciate that going to an office every day was work! I wrote a column in The National on 9th November 2009 entitled “What I want to be when I grow up.
It was around this time that I started planning in earnest for the Last of the Tasburai. I attended the Oxford University Summer School for Adults in 2010 and remember sitting under the shadow of Oxford’s medieval castle, scribbling notes about a story centered on courage and valour. It was the genesis of the Tasburai trilogy.

What is your advice to aspiring Muslim writers and what kind of reality check would you offer them?

REHAN: As a writer you must choose to include a selection of elements in your story to arouse a certain emotional response in the reader. These elements relate to: the setting, the characters and the plot. And each of these elements must be infused with conflict. This makes for an interesting read. In order to achieve this, for a first novel you need to spend about 50 per cent of your effort on designing the novel, so designing the setting (location, time period, world/s), the characters (what they look like, who they really are inside) and plot (what is the causation in the story). Last of the Tasburai, took me four years to design and write, end to end. The key is to persevere and keep on practicing. Often the first draft of whatever you write will be poor – I know it happens to me all the time – but keep on uplifting the language, polishing it and it will improve. The horror novelist, Stephen King says that if you want to call yourself a writer, you need to be producing 1000 words per day. That’s advice I’ve always followed.     
Last of the Tasburai is available on Amazon and iTunes.

A Victory of Mercy, by Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes

The conquest of Mecca and how the Prophet demonstrated mercy at the moment of his greatest earthly triumph, by Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes

Capturing the Spirit of Ramadan
Mercy, Forgiveness and Salvation

Every night our Ramadan scholars will explore one of the three key spiritual goals of Ramadan. Each talk will conclude with a dynamic conversation as we explore mercy, forgiveness and salvation deeply and see how we can attain these divine gifts practically. These talks will enliven and inspire us as we begin our nightly ‘isha and tarawih prayers.

Daily at 10:00 pm EST. Attend in person at SeekersHub Toronto or watch live. 

Let’s #GiveLight to Millions More

We envision a world in which no one is cut off from the beauty, mercy and light of the Prophetic ﷺ example. A world where the dark ideology of a few is dwarfed by radiant example of the many who follow the way of the Prophet ﷺ. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support. This Ramadan, we need you to help us #GiveLight to millions more. Here’s how

Photo by Andrea Kirkby.

ISIS – is it a Legitimate Expression of Islam?

Islam’s stance on ISIS

The Islamic State in Syria and Iraq ( ISIS ) constitutes the most serious threat Islam has ever faced. To justify its horrible crimes and appeal to Muslims around the world, ISIS has based its ideology on a superficial and literalist approach to the Sacred Texts of Islam – the Holy Qur’an and the Prophetic Tradition. They manipulate the religion to brainwash angry young Muslims, who have little knowledge of Islamic theology and jurisprudence. Therefore, the Muslim scholars are obliged to respond with a counter-narrative that elucidates the reality of Islam and its commitment to tolerance.isis

CNN: Syrian Scholar, Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, condemns.

Islam vs. ISIS: A Letter to Baghdadi from Leading Scholars

On War & Beheading: How ISIS Manipulates Hadiths, by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Refuting ISIS – Lecture by Syria’s Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi

Paris Attacks: Response and Responsibility

Islam’s stance on jihad

WATCH: Jihad, Revolt & Revolution In Islam (Shaykh Ahmed Saad & Shaykh Faraz Rabbani)

Jihad, Abrogation in the Quran & the “Verse of the Sword”

Understanding the Qur’anic Verse “Slay them wherever you find them”: Balance, Justice, and Mercy in Islamic Rules of Jihad

Understanding the Hadith, “I Was Ordered to Fight the People Until They Testify…”

The Menace of So-called “Jihad” – Imam Zaid Shakir

ISIS and the Apocalypse

The Crisis of ISIS: A Prophetic Prediction | Sermon by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

The root of ISIS ideology

The Root Problem Of Extremists – Shaykh Habib Ali Jifri

Who or What is a Salafi?

Who should we learn religion from?

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani answers the question: who do we take knowledge from?

Further reading

Refuting ISIS: A Rebuttal Of Its Religious And Ideological Foundations

The author, Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi, a renowned scholar and one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world today, presents in this invaluable book a thorough refutation of ISIS’ beliefs and crimes. Providing authentic quotes that destroy the allegations of ISIS, Shaykh Al-Yaqoubi reaches the conclusion that this group does not represent Islam, its declaration of a caliphate is invalid, and fighting it is an obligation upon Muslims.

War is not the Way: Peace is the Path by Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

The following is the foreword to the booklet entitled, “Pursuit of Peace: 2014 Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies.”

Click here for the original link

[Spread Peace]

The pursuit of peace is a most noble human endeavour. The Qur’an states,

Now if they incline towards peace, then incline to it, and place your trust in God, for God is the all-hearing, the all-knowing. And if they mean to deceive you, surely you can count on God” (8:61-62).

This verse indicates that one should not avoid reconciliation out of fear that it may only be an enemy’s subterfuge. That is not our teaching. We are asked to seek peace and place our trust in God. Such is the preciousness of peace that its mere possibility, however remote, demands our most sincere and faithful efforts. The New Testament also reminds us, in words attributed to Jesus, peace be upon him, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the dependents of God.”

Shaykh Abdallah bin Bayyah is a peacemaker and has placed his trust in God. He believes that peace is not simply the starting point but the only point. War, should it arise, is a disruptive suspension of peace, one that all men of intelligence should seek to end by any means necessary. Shaykh Abdallah once said that the only blessing in war is that when it befalls men, they fervently hope for peace.

[Calling to ‘Jihad’]

1505575_10154847648185038_4169699459438496389_nAs for those who claim that calling to peace is canceling out jihad, the converse is true, as Shaykh Abdallah cogently argues: Jihad is not war, and while it does have military applications, Muslims waging war on other Muslims is not one of them. That is called fitnah, something our Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him, shunned so much that he sought refuge from it.

Shaykh Abdallah, a master of usul – the tools of ijtihad – and a man who profoundly understands the time we live in, is uniquely qualified to determine when the military application of jihad is valid and when it is not. Hence, his call for peace, far from cancelling out jihad, is itself an act of jihad.

The pre-Islamic Jahili Arabs knew war all too well, as they lived in societies rife with strife: blood vengeance was their way, and the cycles of violence, like a millstone grinding its grain, constantly ground the bones of their bodies. When Islam appeared as an oasis in the desolate desert where wars were far too common, and the Prophet Muhammad, God’s peace and blessings upon him, offered another path, the path of peace through submission, the Arabs saw a way out of their wanton violence that invariably left children without fathers and women without husbands.

[End the Madness]

A new world order was born, and though not immune at times to violence, it was one in which learning, science, and commerce prevailed, not war, violence, and vengeance. These became the pursuits of men who went forth to form societies that became some of the most tolerant and peaceful in human history. But that was then: this is now a turbulent time for Muslims. Failed states, senseless violence, and teeming refugees now characterize large parts of the Muslim world. 

Despite these troubles, some Muslims are still calling, like pre-modern physicians, for a bloodletting to cure the social body. But blood leads only to more blood, and the body, far from being healed, is further sapped and drained of its strength. Much like the pre-modern patient whose bloodletting often led to his demise, today’s victims of this militant bleeding are drowned in rubble, dazed and confused, wondering when it will all end. 

Shaykh Abdallah is calling Muslims to end the madness and restore the way of the Prophet Muhammad, God’s peace and blessings upon him, the way of peace and prosperity. He is reminding us by using our own sources – the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and the prescriptions of our pious predecessors – that peace, not war, is the only way out.

For those who would believe otherwise, let them contemplate the words our Prophet, God’s peace and blessings upon him, repeated throughout his life after each daily prayer:

“O Allah, You are Peace, and from You is Peace, and to You returns Peace, so let us live, O our Lord, in Peace.” 

Shaykh Zayed Al-Nahyan, the Father of the United Arab Emirates, was committed to peace and unity, and it is no surprise that his honorable sons, following in his illustrious footsteps, would be the ones to host and support this powerful initiative from Islam’s teaching by the great Mauritanian scholar, Shaykh Abdallah b. Bayyah. With war being waged on peace all around us, Shaykh Abdallah’s message is a simple cure: Wage war on war in order to have peace upon peace. For war is not the way: peace is the path. The path is peace.

Resources for Seekers:
The Menace of So-called “Jihad” – Imam Zaid Shakir
Jihad, Abrogation in the Quran & the “Verse of the Sword”
Understanding the Qur’anic Verse “Slay them wherever you find them”: Balance, Justice, and Mercy in Islamic Rules of Jihad

VIDEO: This is not the path to paradise, advice from Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah

Abdullah-Bin-Bayyah“Young men and women, we plead with you to take time out for contemplation. The path you are taking is not correct. It will never lead to paradise. This is a path of total destruction to both this life and the next. Your Jihad should be building up your countries. Your jihad should be treating people with excellent charity. Your Jihad should be treating your parents with the most excellent of manners instead of this harsh and improper conduct. Your jihad is in your parents, as the Prophet (pbuh) said. Your Jihad is in all noble deeds as stated by Ibn Tayymiya. This is the Jihad we’re directing you towards – the indisputable Jihad.

“As for the path you’re taking, it is nothing but a dark tunnel, leading to nothingness. Islam does not allow wasteful nothingness. Islam is all about being positive, not negative. Allah said, “…and do not destroy one another for, behold, God is indeed a dispenser of grace unto you!” To the people and the scholars of Baghdad, Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said, “Do not shed your blood and cause the bloodshed of Muslims because of your choices – instead, ponder deeply and think of the consequences of your deeds. The path of mutual bloodshed is definitely incorrect. All young men and women involved in this path must return to the pinciple Truths of Islam. They must take a long and hard look at reality and sincerely revisit their own intentions. They must fear Allah and come back to the mosques for proper worship and learning. They must come back to hospitals where they can help treat their people. They must join forces in charitable acts towards the poor. This is the true path of Islam.”

Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah (biography)

 

Warning: This video contains disturbing images.

Resources for Seekers:

The Menace of So-called “Jihad” – Imam Zaid Shakir

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[Speak out]
Those of us who have been speaking out against the menace of so-called “Jihad” must redouble our efforts.
“Jihad” is far more than a threat to the lives of unsuspecting innocent people, both here in the West and in Muslim countries. It is a threat to our religion, in terms of how Islam is being represented by the advocates of “Jihad” and how it is being perceived by others.
Muslim scholars cannot remain silent and allow this misrepresentation to go unaddressed.
As for those youth who have been alienated by the systematic “othering” of Muslims in the post-9/11 anti-Muslim climate that is deepening here in the West, they would do well to consider a different set of religious teachings when studying Islam.

[True religion]
True religion is not to be found in emotional and sensational reactions to current events and mind-numbing atrocities.
True religion is not to be found in a self-glorying end brought on by a hail of bullets or a murderous act of suicide.
Rather, true religion provides the spiritual direction needed to find one’s self-worth and human value in ones relationship with God.
True religion provides the solace and succor needed to find inner peace even when outer realities are crushing.
True religion provides nobility that empowers its possessor to fearlessly challenge oppressors while mercifully protecting innocent life, regardless of the race, religion, color or creed of the blameless.
True religion provides a path to heaven that is paved with devotion, lofty morals and patient, dignified struggle against the schemes of one’s ego, the vicissitudes of the world and the vagaries of both power and powerlessness.
As for those who are deceived into believing that wanton murder, mayhem, destruction, suicide and inviting war and hatred against one’s coreligionists represent an express road to paradise, they should think deeply before embarking on that path.
Religion teaches and history demonstrates that such a path is a sinister, nefarious route that winds steadily, oftentimes irreversibly, into a deep, dark cold abyss.
“When you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you.” Friedrich Nietzsche
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Relevant Resources:
A Powerful Description of True Servants of Allah – Imam al-Sulami
Mufti Taqi Usmani Clarifies His Stance on Jihad
Islam vs. ISIS: A Letter to Baghdadi from Leading Scholars
The War Within Our Hearts – Imam Zaid Shakir
Answers:
Jihad, Abrogation in the Quran & the “Verse of the Sword”
Imam Nawawi On Fighting The Ego (Nafs)
Understanding the Hadith, “I Was Ordered to Fight the People Until They Testify…”
Understanding the Qur’anic Verse “Slay them wherever you find them”: Balance, Justice, and Mercy in Islamic Rules of Jihad