In my previous post, I talked about the true meaning of the word ‘Jihad”. This word is often misunderstood and has negative connotations that were either created or cultivated by mainstream media and Islamophobic stereotypes.
I also talked (albeit briefly) about the two forms of jihad; ‘lesser jihad’ which involves holding onto your faith when facing others, and ‘greater jihad’ which involves holding onto your faith when facing yourself (i.e. your inner demons, pride, etc).
Although it is true that combat is part of the ‘lesser’ form of jihad, the meaning of ‘lesser jihad’ is NOT limited to combat.
Combat is permissible but there are loads and loads of rules and criterias that must be fulfilled. Some of the rules/criterias that must be fulfilled in order for combat to be permissible are:
- If there is no other peaceful alternative to solve the issue.
- If it is in self defence.It shouldn’t be simply because the other person doesn’t share our beliefs. It should be because the other party is fighting us.
- If the person we’re fighting chooses peace, WE MUST stop fighting and choose the peace. Regardless of whether we think they’re sincere or not, in the event where the choice of solving things in peace is available, we must always choose peace.
It is these rules along with the other rules of combat in Islam that prove that the actions of extremists such as ISIS do not reflect Islam and Muslims.
How Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) handled conflict back then is a prime example of how combat should be handled in Islam, in particular during the conquest of Mecca.
Before Islam came about, there was a time of ignorance. Dishonesty and brutal acts were a norm, and women were mistreated to a level where baby girls were buried alive.
Islam then came and changed that.
Interest, gambling, and polytheism, and mistreatment of women is a No-No in the religion which were the things the people of Quraysh (the tribe that controlled Mecca) enjoyed. The Quraysh rejected the religion and for nearly 20 years, the Prophet and the other Muslims suffered. They had to endure the murder of loved ones, torture, and ridicule. The Prophet was even publicly mocked up to a point where he had dung thrown at him. Eventually the Muslims in Mecca were driven out of their homes and it was then did they migrate to Madinah.
After years of staying in Madinah, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH Peace Be Upon Him) received instructions to try and return to Mecca because that’s where Muslims could actually carry out their pilgrimage.
Of course things didn’t go that smoothly. They couldn’t simply return to Mecca. A treaty was formed and although most of the terms in the treaty favoured the Quraysh in Mecca, the Prophet agreed anyway.
However after 2 years, the treaty was broken by the people of Quraysh when they attacked a tribe that was in alliance with the Prophet and massacred them even in the sanctuary of Mecca. It was then did the Prophet determined to finally put a stop to the reign of injustice and oppression which had lasted for so long. He immediately gathered ten thousand men to march against the Quraysh and set out to Mecca on the 1st of January 630.
This is probably the part where you’d expect bloodshed.
Well you’re wrong.
Despite the fact that they conquered Mekkah with an army, no blood was shed.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) specifically instructed that-
- No harm is to be brought to animals, homes, and plants.
- No harm is to be brought to women, children, and those with disabilities.
- Do not attack anyone in their homes.
- If the enemy repents or would like to talk it out or to resolve matters peacefully, you MUST and ALWAYS SHOULD choose peace. Regardless of whether you think that person is sincere or would betray you or not, it is NOT up to you to decide that. Always. Choose. Peace.
And that was how the Prophet and his army managed to conquer Mecca with peace and no bloodshed.
The people of Quraysh not only drove him and the Muslims out of their homes, but also killed their loves ones, ridiculed the prophet up to a point where they threw dung at him, and tortured Muslims for almost 20 years. The prophet had the right to seek revenge but he didn’t.
Instead he forgave every one of them. He granted them general amnesty.
And that really says a lot about him and what the religion is all about. Forgiveness and peace is one of the main teachings of Islam, and Prophet Muhammad is a perfect example of what a muslim should be like.
Unfortunately, in this day and age, there are Muslims who misrepresent the religion by acting against the teachings of the Quran and the prophet. Their actions along with the negative connotations related to Islam that mainstream media cultivates has led to Islamophobic stereotypes.
I do acknowledge that the existence of Islamophobic stereotypes may not be entirely baseless due to the actions of extremists and I would like to apologise for that. However, I would like you to understand that the actions of those extremists do not reflect the religion. That their actions also damage the lives of Muslims.
There are people who attempt to be ‘pious’ (and this isn’t only restricted to Muslims, but to other religions as well) who go out of their way to maintain a good relationship with God. But they forget that one of the ways to maintain a good relationship with God is to maintain a relationship with His creations as well.
After all, isn’t it hypocritical to expect God to be kind and forgiving towards you, when you’re not willing to do so with His creations?