by Anwar Shaikh
Jihad, literally means "effort". Though the Muslim apologists will have us believe that this is what the term Islamic Jihad implies, this is a gross understatement because of the barbarity, brutality and bloody mindedness that the Islamic Jihad has come to represent in action. Just consult the pages of history to find out how the Muslim warriors waged a Holy War against Europe for no fewer than four hundred years to cut down half of its population. Chose Mujahedeen (the Muslim warriors) destroyed the Egyptian and Iranian cultures without the slightest provocation from these lands. India suffered terrible distortion, disgrace and devastation from these booty-hunters whose followers, even today, treat Bharat as Dar-ul-Harb (the battlefield), and are determined to Convert it into an Islamic state through malice, mischief and molestation.
So complex is the doctrine of Islamic Jihad that its annotation is not possible without d referent e to What the Prophet Muhammad stood for, and the means he employed to achieve his purpose:
The Arabs were pagans who indulged in idol-worship, which exhibits man's innate fear of the Unknown and he bows before the Supernatural to please I rim with a view to escaping his impending wrath. however, the Hindus do not adore the statues as such; they are power-worshippers: they revere Shakti (the Power) behind every natural phenomenon, called a god or goddess.
The Arabian temples were deeply influenced by the Indian principle of triad (Trimurti), Which represents plurality of gods but Muhammad vehemently opposed it fiend instead, preached monotheism, that is, there is no God but Allah, meaning that all other gods are false except the one whose cause he advocated. He emphasized that Allah has created man as His slave whose only purpose of life is to bow, bend and beseech Him.
To convey his purpose with greater clarity, he claimed that he was the Messenger of Allah and had been sent by Him to preach His name so that people should believe in Him and worship Him exclusively. Allah, he held, like Yahwe, the Jewish God, is a jealous Deity, who may forgive all sins except treating anyone as His equal and lauding Him. Thus, he laid a curse on all other gods and demanded their total destruction.
Allah, he stressed, is Almighty, the Creator and Absolute, that is, independent of everything and desire. This definition of Allah does not stand up to a rational scrutiny. How can Allah be Almighty if He depends upon a man i.e. the prophet, to convince people of His existence and greatness? Again, if He is the Creator, He would have created man to believe in Him automatically. Finally, the God who ardently desires to be deified cannot be Independent or Absolute.
From the above, it follows that the true God neither needs a Prophet, nor prophethood is capable of serving His object. Therefore, the Prophet Muhammad had an aim over and above his stated purpose. This is not a far-fetched statement look at the following verse:
Since the Prophet Muhammad was the founder of the Arab Empire, he could not have done so without a burning Political ambition. It is an historical truth that some people acquire temporal power as politicians but others realize their political dreams through the garb of spiritual leadership. This is especially applicable to the Middle Eastern countries where prophethood has been a cultural tradition since time immemorial. This is the reason that ruler of every locality ruled as the Vicar of God, that is, he asserted that God was in direct communication with him, and he acted according to His commands. What is called Vicar is another name for the Messenger (i.e. Prophet). And this is what Muhammad claimed to be. Obviously, like these Vicars of the Middle eastern countries, Muhammad had a political ambition, and this fact is amply proven by his immense success as the Builder of the Arab Empire.
His yearning however, was greater than that of a mundane ruler, an ordinary Prophet and even God. When he was weak, he declared:
The Muslims interpret these verses to mean that on the day of Judgment the Prophet Muhammad will sit on the right hand side of Allah to share the Divine throne of justice, and it is his intercession which will decide who goes to heaven or hell. Here, Muhammad excels Allah by taking over his authority.
Now, One can see Muhammad's plan of elevation clearly. First, he advocates destruction of idols so that they should not rival Allah, and then in the cloak of prophethood, he becomes the object of praise of Allah and his angels and also makes it obligatory on all believers to follow this pattern!
Jihad is the means to raise Muhammad above the mark of Divinity. Having preached in Mecca for thirteen years, he could secure just about seventy followers. This number was too small to act as God's army. In fact, most of the believers suffered terrible persecution for denying and insulting pagan gods. Eventually, Muhammad, along with his followers fled to Medina to escape the anguish. Even there, he desperately wanted to accelerate it because the wheel of his life was rolling on fast, indeed.
Crowning one's greatest desire is usually a difficult task. Since founders of the ruling dynasties had to use stratagems, practice convenient morality and wage dreadful wars to achieve their purpose, why should not the Prophet of Allah raise an army of holy warriors to execute his ambition? Besides, he also had to settle old scores with the Koresh, people of his own tribe, who had done everything possible to destroy him and his mission.
Man is fearful and dreads the consequences of war, but at the same time, greed is a part of his nature, and when his lower instincts are instigated with the promise of fulfillment, he forgets the difference between right and wrong to secure his end, which assumes sacred proportions to justify the means. Muhammad needed an army for the realization of his aim but people would not imperil their lives Without a suitable inducement. So, the Prophet conceived the Doctrine of Jihad; it apparently, means fighting in the way of Allah irrespective of whether the people to be fought against have done anything wrong or not. The Allah, who claims to be the Creator of all beings, the Most Merciful, and the Best Judge, has divided mankind into two sections. The Koran in The Disputer, LVIII: 20, clearly lays down that those who believe in Allah and Muhammad are God's Party and those who disbelieve are Satan's Party; the former are destined to be prosperous but the latter are bound to be the losers. This is because;
"It is He (Allah) who has sent his Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may uplift it above every religion." (Victory, XLVIII: 25)
In fact, a powerful army cannot be raised if its members are conscious of the demarcation between vice and virtue. Once, they are convinced even wrongly that only their god is pure, pious and perfect, and everything else is profane, putrid and perfidious, they become an invincible force. Realizing this fact, Muhammad devised the Plan of Jihad, based on Sex and Plunder:
Carnal gratification, man's greatest desire, is the first temptation that the concept of Jihad carries. A Mujahid i.e. the Islamic warrior, who at that time suffered pangs of sexual starvation in the torrid land of Arabia, was promised plenty of sensual enjoyment as a reward for participating in the carnage whether or not he survived the rigors of the battlefield. If he got killed, he was assured that the houris waited for his glorious company in Jannnat i.e. paradise, and if he survived, he had a share in the plunder, which included women of the infidels. Islam has prescribed flogging, and death-by-stoning for sexual offenses such as fornication and adultery because it holds such acts as unlawful when committed out of wedlock but when a Muslim "fights in the way of Allah" to murder the infidels and plunder their property, then the Koran relaxes this rule:
During the battle of Autas, the Muslims captured some women along with their husbands. Though earlier, a Muslim had been forbidden sexual intercourse with an unbelieving married woman, at this occasion, it was revealed to the Prophet that Allah had relaxed this restriction and permitted copulation to the warrior if she had fallen to his lot in the battle and thus became his property. ( TIRMZI, vol. one, P 417 )
What a lure for becoming a fighter! Even the institution of marriage loses its varnish, value and validity. It must be remembered that having carnal relationship with one's concubine in the Byzantine Empire, was considered an offense punishable by death, but Islam, the true religion of God, permitted it at will!
Even the Prophet Muhammad himself indulged in this Divine Concession. Having forced the Jewish tribe of Banu Qureza to surrender as an exercise of Jihad, he put 800 men to death. Among the victims were the husband, father and brothers of Rehana, a twenty-year-old Jewish beauty, who fell into Muhammad's lot as his share of the plunder. Having presided over the massacre of the Jews, he returned to his tent where mournful Rehana awaited her fate. Charmed by her radiant figure, the Prophet proposed marriage to Rehana, sobbing with grief and utter frustration. Realizing that he was so impervious to other peoples' bereavement and sorrow, she refused to acknowledge him as the Prophet of God and preferred to end up as his concubine instead of wife.
Sex was a big bait to attract followers, and eventually, make them sincere devotees. After the people of Taif surrendered in February, 1639 AD to escape horrors of the siege, Muhammad was presented with three beautiful women; he gave one of them "to Ali, another to Usman and the third to Omar." To realize the significance of this episode, one ought to remember that both Ali and Usman were his sons-in-law and Omar was his father-in-law.
The holy warriors of Islam have been given an unusual privilege of sexual merriment. If they survive the battle, they secure concubines but if they fall, they are sure to enter paradise full of houris, living in the most luxurious environment. See for yourself:
" For them (the Muslims) is reserved a definite provision, fruit and a great honor in the Gardens of bliss reclining upon couches arranged face to face, a cup from a fountain being passed round to them, while, a pleasure to the drinkers ..... and with them wide eyed maidens flexing their glances as if they were slightly concealed pearls. (The Rangers, 40-45)
To bring out the veracity of this point, I may refer to HADITH TIRMZI, volume two (p 35-40) which gives details of the houris:
1. A houri is a most beautiful young woman with a transparent body. The marrow of her bones is visible like the interior lines of pearls and rubies. She looks like red wine in a white glass.
2 She is of white color, and free from the routine physical disabilities of an ordinary woman such as menstruation, menopause, urinal and offal discharge, child bearing and the related pollution .
3. A houri is a girl of tender age, having large breasts which are round, and not inclined to dangle. Houris dwell in palaces of splendid surroundings.
Now add to this description of houris what MISHKAT, volume three Says on pages 83-97:
4. If a houri looks down from her abode in heaven onto the earth, the whole distance shall be filled with light and fragrance .....
5. A houri's face is more radiant than a mirror, and one can see one's image in her cheek. The marrow of her shins is visible tothe eyes.
6. Every man who enters paradise shall be given seventy-two houris; no matter at what age he had died, when he is admitted into paradise, he will become a thirty-year-old, and shall not age any further.
7. TIRMZI, vol. 2 states on page 138:
A man in paradise shall be given virility equal to that of one hundred men.
Need I add more to the sexual temptation that Islam offers to turn its followers into warriors?
In fact, the word: "plunder" refers to sex as well, because amongst other things it also includes women. I have divided it into sex and booty to facilitate a better understanding of Jihad.
A plunderer has got to be ruthless, and must have no sympathy for the victim. Nor must the rebuke of conscience mean anything to him. In fact, the more evil the cause the more righteous he must think of it. This is the reason that the Koran legitimizes booty:
2. " Certainly, God is an enemy to the unbelievers . " (The Cow: II: 90)
3. "Oh ye who believe! fight those of the unbelievers and let them find in you harshness." (Repentance: IX: 123)
4. "Humiliate the non-Muslims to such an extent that they surrender and pay tribute." ( Repentance IX: 29)
"They (people) will ask thee (Muhammad) concerning the Sacred months, if they may fight therein. Say: fighting therein is a heinous thing but to bar from the way of God and to deny Him, to hinder men from the Holy Mosque, and to expel His people therefrom, is more grievous to God. Tempting (idolatry is more hurtful than slaughter." (The Cow, ii: 214)
The concepts of sanctity and profanity mean nothing in themselves: what suits the purpose of Islam is a blessing but the opposite is a blight. Booty was undoubtedly the greatest attraction to the converts, though one must exclude the seventy odd refugees who accompanied Muhammad and the one hundred or so locals (ansaars), who had embraced Islam before his arrival in Medina.
It was the Muslim love of booty that precipitated the first armed calamity in January, 624 AD known as the Battle of Badr. Not to speak of the believers, even the heathens of Medina, envied their converted fellow-citizens and wanted to take part in the battle. As the Prophet noticed them among his troops, he summoned them to his camel, and asked them what they were doing there: "Thou art our kinsman, " they replied, "to whom our city hath given protection; and we go forth with our people in the hope of plunder."
"None shall go forth with me," said the Prophet, "but he who is of our Faith."
Saying that they were great warriors, and would fight bravely on his side, and wanted nothing but plunder, they tried to proceed further but were stopped by the Prophet, who said, "ye shall not go thus. Believe and fight."
Seeing no way out of the dilemma, "they believed and confessed that Muhammad was the Prophet of God." "Now," said Muhammad, "go forth and fight."
"As they returned with booty, one of the Citizens (ansaar) exclaimed, "would that I had gone forth with the Prophet! Then I would have surely secured the large booty.
This episode narrated by Sir William Muir on page 215 of The Life of Mahomet, explains the significance of plunder in the Islamic doctrine and hardly needs any comments from me. It is Muhammad's victory in this battle, facilitated by the lust of loot, which made him what he became thereafter. One should also remember that the greed for booty kindled their hatred of non-Muslims, who happened to be their own kith and kin. The Koresh, who were the victims, held a meeting before the battle, where it was openly asserted: "When we have fought, and spilled the blood of our brethren and kinsmen, what use will life be to us any longer? Let us now go back " Eventually, it was the eloquence of Abu Jahl and his companions, which turned the tables .
On the contrary, the Muslims who wanted to act as the warriors of Allah to secure booty, no longer I acknowledged their blood ties with their kinsmen, find craved for fighting The Prophet said, "0 Lord! let not Abu Jahl, the Pharaoh of his people, escape."
As the Battle was about to commence, the Prophet raised his hands and prayed: "0 Lord! I beseech thee, forget not Thy promise of. assistance and victory. O Lord, if this little band be vanquished, idolatry will prevail, and the pure worship of Thee shall cease from the earth.
Allah, who is, obviously, liable to forgetfulness, and did not know what would happen if Muhammad was defeated, remembered his promise just in time and sent an army of angels to thrash the infidels so that the believers could reap the reward of booty.
The Prophet Muhammad knew the significance of booty in relation to his followers. At the battle of Ohad, as a part of his strategy, which was, indeed, wise, he posted archers to guard the opening caused by the receding hills so that the enemy could not attack his army from behind. He emphatically told his men, "Guard our rear and budge not from this spot; if ye see us pursuing and plundering the enemy, join not with us; if we be pursued and even worsted, do not venture to our aid."
No command has ever been given more clearly and intelligently. It shows the military wisdom of the Prophet, which required total compliance but was flouted by the archers, who deserted their position to chase booty when they saw the infidels routed. Khalid, as he noticed the rear unguarded, swooped down on the army of Allah, and dispersed it with the might of his sword. Thinking that the Prophet himself lay dead, the Koresh did not pursue the matter further and returned to Mecca victoriously.
This episode clearly elucidates the significance of booty to these warriors of Allah: they fought for booty and lost for booty.
What happened at the surrender of At- Taif in February, 630 AD clearly demonstrates that most of his followers revered him for his martial skill, which secured them booty. At this occasion, the Prophet took no prisoners for personal reasons. Of course, his followers from Medina and Mecca adopted the same attitude towards their captives but people of the Fezara tribe refused to accept the lead and had to be persuaded to act likewise.
Having arranged restoration of the prisoners, as Muhammad mounted his camel to leave, he was mobbed by his own followers for not distributing the booty amongst them. They were afraid of forfeiting their share of the loot as they had been deprived of their prisoners. They crowded around him, and shouted: Distribute to us the spoil - the camels and the flocks." Rudely, they jostled him, and he was obliged to "seek refuge under a tree with his mantle torn from his shoulders . "
"Return to me my mantle, O man- for I swear by the Lord that if the sheep and camels were as many as the trees of the forest in number, I would divide them all amongst you. Ye have not heretofore found me niggardly or false."
The size of the booty was really large and The Prophet lived up to his promise. To powerful men like Abu Sufyan, his sons, and many others, he gave one hundred camels each; the lesser chiefs got fifty camels each, and even the share of those who had expressed discontent, was doubled.
When a Bedouin complained that the true faithful like Joeil got nothing at all while the new converts had the most, the Prophet said: " .....I wanted to win over the hearts of these men to Islam, while Joeil has no need of any such inducement. "
It certainly shows the purpose of the Islamic Jihad, that is, plundering the non Muslims with a view to gaining converts and gratifying them.
One must also note that, as fame of the Prophet's arms rang throughout Arabia, the Arab pagan tribes turned to him in hordes. All this happened to secure protection against any surprise Islamic raid, which had become the destiny of the infidels for not accepting Islam. An element of surprise, marvel and curiosity also formed a part of this submission. Arabia had not seen a man of Muhammad's stature before. However, this all took place during the last few years of the Prophet's life. Thus, the new converts had no experiential loyalty for the new religion. Possibly, the greater factor of their disappointment was the fact that the chances of further booty were practically nil because almost entire Arabia had come under the grip of Islam. What proved even more devastating was the fact that now the Muslims had to pay religious taxes such as Zukaat (the tithe). Thus, it is not surprising that, at the death of the Prophet, there was a terrible explosion against Islam, which curbed human freedom through restraints of faith and rituals. Most tribes of the Arabian desert rebelled against Islam to display their apostasy .
Abu Bakr, The First Caliph of Islam, following example of the Prophet, made plunder the pillar of his foreign policy and unleashed the Arabian booty-hunters on Egypt and Iran. This is how the Arab Empire was founded, leading to the spread of Islam.
During the 20th century, Islam has lost its luster as the projected ambassador of peace, compassion and humanity in the face of the rising tide of human rights and the instinctive demand of justice for all. It has caused a lot of embarrassment to the Muslim propagandists. Therefore, to pull wool over the eyes of the non-Muslims, some Muslim scholars say that the Islamic Jihad is a defensive war against the aggressors:
Will you not fight a people who broke their oaths and purposed to expel the Messenger, beginning the first time against you. Are you afraid of them? You would do better to be afraid of God, if you are believers. Fight them and God will chastise them at your hands and degrade them, and He will help you against them, and bring healing to the breasts of a people who believe " (Repentance IX: 10)
Look at the following to realize the revengeful nature of Jihad:
This truth is fully borne out by the following hadith:
The Prophet also said: