Jihad och medelvägen
As-Saiyyid al-Habib ’Ali al-Jifri:
utdrag ur ett tal hållet Ramadan 1422/2001 i Tarim, Jemen
Meningen med jihad är att göra det möjligt att vägleda och frälsa dem som inte tror – inte att bara bekämpa dem. Det kan uppstå strid i några få fall, men målet för det hela är att befria människor från det förtryck som hindrar att det vägledande budskapet sprids. Vi strider inte av hämndlystnad eller upproriskhet. En muslim strider inte därför att de som inte tror är hans fiender, som har sammansvurit sig mot honom, eller för att de har dödat andra muslimer. En muslim strider mot dem som inte tror därför att de utgör ett hinder för det vägledande budskapet ska nå andra människor.
Nedan följer hela talet på engelska:
Jihad and the Middle Way
Anyone who claims that they want to serve the Deen yet is not conscious of the concept of ‘jihad in the way of God’, either has no understanding, or they are not a truthful and sincere person. As for the issue of jihad itself, you should be aware that people have gone to two extremes, both of which are mistaken. One group thinks that jihad means it is necessary to view all non-Muslims as those against whom we must raise the sword or the rifle to kill. The other group thinks that the concept of jihad entails being gentle and affectionate to all (regardless of circumstances and context), and by doing so we would be “struggling” (i.e. making “jihad”) with them to bring them back to God and this way of life (Deen). Obviously, both groups have fallen into error. Most assuredly, we are not a people whose mission it is to eliminate the non-Muslims, but at the same time we are also not a people who love the non-Muslims unrestrictedly. When it is time for fighting (just as any nation must do so), we only fight those whom, by doing so, we would be serving God alone (and not our passions or personal agendas).
One day, Sayyiduna Ali (may God honor his face) was fighting an opponent in a fierce battle. During the battle Sayyiduna Ali overcame him and raised his sword to kill him. As soon as his enemy knew that he was going to be killed he spat in Sayyiduna Ali’s face. At that instance, Sayyiduna Ali immediately left him and went on his way. He was later asked, “Why did you leave him when God clearly gave you power over him?!” Sayyiduna Ali replied, “I was fighting him for the sake of God, but when he spat in my face I feared that if I killed him it would have been out of spite and revenge.”
From this we understand that it is obligatory that we differentiate between fighting people who are our own personal enemies and others whom we fight because they are the enemies of God. If a believer is forced to fight someone, he fights him not because this person hates him, because this person is conspiring against him, because this person wants to overcome him, rather, he fights him only because:
1.) he is an enemy to God,
2.) it is a sanctioned time for fighting, and
3.) the permission from God has been given (in the sacred law).
On the other hand, we have those who say, “We must love the non-Muslims, be kind to them, and have esteem for them. They are nice people and they have a lot of good qualities.” People who say this have mixed truth with falsehood and gone astray, just as those who say they want to kill all non-Muslims, without distinction and proper understanding.
It is impossible for a true believer to unrestrictedly love a disbeliever: “You will not find people who believe in God and the Last Day having love for anyone who opposes God and His Messenger” (Qur’an 58-21). You must realize though that we do love goodness for them. There is a clear difference between loving them and loving goodness for them. If you say you love them then you are claiming that you love their actual essence (thaat), that entity which you interact with, yet, the true believer doesn’t truly love any essence except the essence of God (Thaatulllah), the Mighty and Majestic. If you love the good qualities that they posses, desire that they are saved from the fire, wish that they use these qualities in the service of God—all the while looking at them with the eye of mercy—then in this case you have understood how to properly interact with them. You do this because you know that this is what pleases God.
So we view all the disbelievers as being, firstly, the creation of God. And as Muslims, we love God’s creation. Therefore, we do not love the actual disbeliever; rather, we love God’s creation, which he/she is. We view them as being a means for our spiritual transaction with God, a means for our drawing nearer to the Divine. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “For God to guide one person through you is greater than the whole world and all that is in it.”
We interact with them according to this balanced perspective, upon the foundation of having mercy for them, compassion for them, and a desire to try to save them from the fire. This is the only way we should view our interaction with them. We do not esteem the influential one amongst them because he can benefit us in our da’wah (while remaining a disbeliever), nor are we generous with the needy amongst them because we love them in themselves, rather, we deal with the influential, the poor, the sick, and the young amongst them with mercy, and through mercy, because that is the way that God loves.
We should talk with them in ways that they can understand, using means that they are familiar with (as long as it is not prohibited in the sacred law). This is not because those means are the only means, but rather, because they are the means that God loves. Furthermore, if there comes a time in which it is more pleasing to God for us to use another type of means, then we will not hesitate for even a second to abandon the old methods and to use new ones. The principle here is that we are open and inclusive to everyone, merciful with everyone, loving and wanting goodness for everyone, from societies to leaders, from Muslims to non-Muslims. And if a situation arises that calls upon us to deal with firmness, even if it reached the level of physical confrontation, then we will not allow our previous ways of mercy and gentleness to delay that which God has commanded.
One of the sons of Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, may God be pleased with him, did not become a Muslim during the Meccan period, and, as you know, the affection of a father for his son is much greater then the affection of a son for his father. In Mecca, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr tried to convince his son as to the veracity of Islam with love and gentleness. He used the best and loftiest means to try to bring him into the faith, yet God had not decreed for him to become a Muslim just yet. Sayyiduna Abu Bakr made Hijrah and later went to fight in the battle of Badr. This son of his also went out on the day of Badr, yet he was with the army of the enemies. This son was trying his best to avoid his father during the battle. Later, when his son accepted Islam, he said to his father, “Oh my father, on the day of Badr I was avoiding you so we wouldn’t have to fight.” Sayyidina Abu Bakr replied to him, “As for me, if I met you on that day I would have fought you till the end.”
What is the reason behind this? This delicate point is necessary for us to understand. The action of the son wasn’t based on servitude to God, but rather, was based on compassion (for his father) and his participation in the battle was only for glory, honor, and tribal goals, thus, this was how he acted. His actions were enslaved to his emotions. On the other hand, the actions of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (in Mecca) and his love and compassion were not for himself, but for the sake of his Lord. So when the time came that he had to serve God by fighting against his son, he didn’t waiver, even if it meant his own son’s death. We are in need of this criterion in establishing the correct concept of jihad.
Therefore, jihad is to establish the means of guidance and salvation, not just physical confrontation. While physical confrontation does occur in a few cases, the goal behind it is to save others from the oppression of those who are preventing the light of guidance from spreading. We do not fight out of revenge and spite. The Muslim does not fight because someone is his or her personal enemy, because they are conspiring against one, or because they have slaughtered one’s fellow Muslims. The Muslim only fights because a barrier has been erected between guidance and those whom it should reach. Again, the Muslim does not fight out of revenge and only because the enemy has killed other Muslims. Carefully consider what is being said here!
The Prophet, may the peace and blessings of God be upon him—when he entered Mecca on the great day of conquest—didn’t avenge for the killings of the Muslims on the day of Uhud, even though God had clearly given him power over them on that day. These disbelievers in Mecca were the very ones who killed his dearest companions, even members of his own family! These were the same people who barred the guidance from reaching others. These were the same people who ripped open the chest and stomach of Sayyiduna Hamza (who was the uncle of the Blessed Prophet, peace be upon him). These were the same people who ate from the liver of Sayyiduna Hamza, may God be blessed with him. Even more amazing than that is the fact that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, welcomed those who actually conspired to kill Hamza (Hind and Wahshi) into the faith when they declared their acceptance of it.
If the purpose of fighting against the disbelievers was merely to avenge for spilt blood then it would have been befitting for the Prophet, peace be upon him, to command the killing of Wahshi and Hind right when he entered Mecca. But the issue with the Muslims is not one of revenge; it is the issue of guidance and the spreading of its light. The true Muslim is the “letter of divine guidance” sent to humanity (al-Muslim bareed hidayat-illah ila al-khalq). When the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, saw that there was hope in them being guided he said, “Go, for verily you are free.” And this is how our interaction must be. The day I meet with an enemy soldier who actually killed Muslims—and I sense that he may want guidance—I will treat him with great mercy. We must understand things in this way. Our ultimate and primary mission in jihad is guidance, even though we might be physically fighting!
All this is clearly understood in the beautiful story where our Blessed Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, got upset with our master Usamah ibn Zaid—the beloved, and the son of the beloved (he was named this because the Prophet, peace be upon him, loved him greatly). One day, Usamah was out on the battlefield engaged with the enemy. During the heat of the battle one of the enemies slipped and fell, so Usamah lifted his sword to strike him. At that moment, the enemy shouted out “La ilaha illa God, Muhammad Rasul-lullah,” [There is no deity but God, Muhammad is the Messenger of God] yet, Usamah struck and killed the man anyways. When the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, got word of this he censured Usamah, with anger visible on his face, saying, “Did you kill him after he said that!?” Usamah replied, “Oh Messenger of God, he only said it our of fear of the sword.” But the Prophet quickly replied, “Did you look into his heart, oh Usamah!?”
This very man that Usamah killed may have killed many Muslims on that day, and this incident even occurred in the midst of a battle in which this man was still actively fighting. Yet, when he said the testimony of faith, even if it was in hypocrisy, Usamah didn’t refrain himself and he killed him. This is why the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, became very upset. The Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, continued to blame Usamah about what he did for the rest of the day, so much so Usamah said, “I wish that I became a Muslim after this day” (meaning that he wished that the event never even happened and that he could have a fresh start in Islam).
This incident is not mentioned to put blame on Sayyiduna Usamah, may God be pleased with him; rather, there is an important principle that we must understand here. The mishaps of the individual companion of the Prophet, peace be upon him, are looked at as a further perfection in the society of the companions. This is so because the goal behind the community of the companions is that we may emulate them, so if no mishaps occurred by individual companions, then we would not know how to deal with a person who falls into error in our time and the times to come. Therefore, the mishap of one of the companions is, in reality, perfection on the societal level. This shows us the realities of what it truly means to learn.
In the aforementioned incident, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, made firm in our hearts the understanding that even while fighting, our goal is their guidance. So if the enemy shows the signs of being guided, then the fighting between them and us ceases, even if it was an outward form without any true reality. That is why the meaning of the statement, “Did you kill him after he said it, oh Usamah?!” is that we should not let our drive to fight blind us from the real cause of fighting: their guidance.
This is why they mention about our master Al-Hussein, the son of Ali (may God be pleased with them both), when his army met the army of the mistaken and fugitive Muslims who wanted to kill him, he looked at them and began to weep. The number of Al-Hussein’s men, including the women (non-combatants), did not exceed 80, while the number of the opposition was greater then 3,000. Remember, Al-Hussein is the son of the daughter of the Messenger of God, peace and blessing be upon him, the beautiful scent of the Messenger (rayhanat Rasulillah, a title given to him by the Messenger himself, peace be upon him), the master of the youth of paradise, the one for whom the Messenger made supplication, saying, “Oh God, love the one who loves him (Al- Hussein).”
The army had risen against Al-Hussein after pledging allegiance to him. They gathered 17,000 signatures from the people of their land and called Al-Hussein out to them saying “come and lead us to goodness.” When he went to them they met him with an army of 3,000 men ready to kill him, most of them being from amongst those who actually signed the allegiance. These were people who wanted to commit one of the greatest crimes on the face of the earth: killing a member of the family of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him!
As Al-Hussein stood looking at his deceptive opponents he began to weep. His sister, Zaiynab, saw him weeping, and she asked, “What makes you weep, Oh Hussein? Are you afraid of death? Indeed, you will join your martyred brother Al-Hasan, your martyred father Ali, your mother Fatima, and your grandfather the Messenger of God!” Al-Hussein turned to her and said “Woe to you, Oh Zaynab! Al-Hussein is not one to be afraid of death!” “Then what is this that I see upon your face?” she asked. He replied, “Oh Zaynab, I looked at these men who were treacherous to the covenant that we made with God, and I see that they will kill me and enter the fire, as they have no right to do so, and I wish that they will go to paradise instead.”
This is the meaning that is incumbent upon you to understand concerning jihad. If you understand this while removing from your hearts the delusional power of “physical means,” and “people of means” (ahlul-asbab), while adding to this the realities of da’wah and seeking sacred knowledge, and you take these as means to bring to reality the foundational purpose of your creation—your worship of God—you will be from amongst those chosen and elevated by God in this age that we live in.