August 6, 2010 Special Dispatch No. 3147

Saudi Columnist: 'There Is No Islam without Jihad'

August 6, 2010
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 3147

Anas Zahed, a columnist for the Saudi government daily Al-Madina, criticized Arab and Muslim intellectuals who limit the term jihad to a personal, spiritual struggle and reject its interpretation as waging war against occupation, which he said is its principle meaning.

Following are excerpts:

"Islam without jihad is the product of colonialism and is in no way connected to the Islam of Muhammad. Without question, the greatest jihad is personal jihad, and therein lies the proof that the term jihad in Islam is not limited [solely] to waging war... [But] this does not mean that the term jihad does not include many other aspects, among them those which relate to the individual's responsibilities to society, and the relations of the [Muslim] society and ummah with societies and countries that declare war on a Muslim state.

"[However,] ever since the American [declaration of] war against what is called terrorism, there has emerged a group of Arab and Muslim authors and academics who try to limit jihad to one dimension, namely to personal jihad. This is exactly what happened in India during the period of British colonialism, when the Qadian sect, also known as Ahmadiyya, emerged and rejected the principle of fighting the colonialists. [They] abolished the duty of jihad in the sense of waging war, and were content with preaching merely personal jihad.

"What is striking is that these preachings, which were intended to rescind the duty of jihad from Islam, existed then, and still exist now, alongside the most brutal type of imperialism and occupation ever known to the Islamic world, and specifically to the Arab world. This fact sheds doubt on the intent of the philosophers, authors, and members of the media who took it upon themselves to disseminate a 'friendly' Islam that obligates its followers to live with occupation, [population] transfer, the resettlement of land, and the expulsion of its inhabitants by force of arms.

"I completely understand that we Muslims must reexamine the term jihad, after the extremist terrorist gangs have attempted to appropriate this noble term. Likewise, I completely understand that we are bound by the conditions and limitations of [declaring] jihad, namely [that jihad can only be declared when] Muslims are being expelled from their land and [are subjected] to religious coercion.

"But I do not at all understand Muslims' calls for the reexamination of the term jihad from a viewpoint that rejects declaring war on those who occupy their land, kill the innocent, destroy homes, and expel millions. Islam is a religion of justice, and the most basic principle of justice demands that evil be opposed and not surrendered to. It goes without saying that occupation is the severest form of evil. If we add to occupation the resettlement of land and expulsion [of population], we arrive at the greatest degree of evil that can befall man. There is no Islam without jihad."[1]


[1] Al-Madina (Saudi Arabia), July 24, 2010.

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