Ibn Warraq cites the definition of Jihad, as given by T.Hughes in his Dictionary of Islam, and goes on to say:
The world is divided into two spheres, Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb. The latter, the Land of Warfare, is a country belonging to infidels which has not been subdued by Islam. The Dar al-Harb becomes the Dar-al Islam, the Land of Islam, upon the promulgation of the edicts of Islam. Thus the totalitarian nature of Islam is nowhere more apparent than in the concept of Jihad, the Holy War, whose ultimate aim is to conquer the entire world and submit it to the one true faith, to the law of Allah. To Islam alone has been granted the truth: there is no possibility of salvation outside it. Muslims must fight and kill in the name of Allah.
He cites the following verses in support of his claim:
Kill those who join other gods with God wherever you may find them; Al-Taubah 9: 5-6
Those who believe fight in the cause of God; Al-Nisaa 4: 76
Say to the Infidels: if they desist from their unbelief, what is now past shall be forgiven; but if they return to it, they have already before them the doom of the ancients! Fight then against them till strife be at an end, and the religion be all of it God’s. Al-Anfaal 8: 39-42
Ibn Warraq states that: “Those who die fighting for the only true religion, Islam, will be amply rewarded in the life to come”, as shown by this verse:
Let those who fight in the cause of God who barter the life of this world for that which is to come; for whoever fights on God’s path, whether he is killed or triumphs, We will give him a handsome reward. Al-Nisaa 4: 76
Ibn Warraq does also state that “These God-intoxicated fanatics blindly throw away their lives in return for the Paradise of Seventy Two Virgins offered Muslim martyrs killed in the Holy War against all infidels.” What would be the basis of such a statement?
He cites further verses that he feels comply with his understanding of Jihad:
* To cast terror in the hearts, smite the neck and cut fingertips of unbelievers, in Al-Anfaal 8: 12;
* To smite the neck of unbelievers, in Muhammad 47: 4.
Please explain the meaning of the referred verses.
None of the verses cited by the author substantiate his referred point of view. This point of view may be ascribed to by some Muslims but can obviously not be considered as one representing Islam, unless the Qur’an expressly promotes this point of view.
As for the verses cited by the author, each of these verses relate to the Divine law relating to the punishment of the rejecters, even after the Truth has been manifested upon them to the ultimate level. I have already given my explanation the verses of Surah Al-Taubah and Surah Al-Nisaa in my previous responses and have shown that these verses relate to the referred Divine law, rather than being a part of the Shari`ah (Islamic Law). As far as the referred verse of Al-Anfaal is concerned, it also relates to the same Divine law. In fact, this verse also entails an internal indication to effect that it relates to the referred Divine law, relating to the punishment of rejecters, who persist in rejection even after the Truth has become absolutely distinct from falsehood. The words “they have already before them the doom of the ancients” within Al-Anfaal 8: 38 is actually a reference to the destruction of the addressees of the previous messengers of God (Noah, Lot, Shu`aib, Moses (pbut) etc.), on the basis of which the Qur’an informs the addressees of Muhammad (pbuh) that if they do not submit to and accept the call of the Messenger (pbuh), their fate shall be no different from that of the rejecters of the previous messengers of God.
The war against these rejecters was, according to the Qur’an, the implementation of the promised punishment of God on the rejecters of His Messenger.
Each of the remaining verses of the Qur’an promotes the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) to fight against the rejecters, as it is through their hands that the rejecters shall be punished by the Almighty (Al-Taubah 9: 14). Each of these verses relates to the aggression against the rejecters, when the Believers come face to face with them in the battlefields. It is obvious that when faced with their enemies in the battlefields, the Believers should smite their necks and do all that they can to kill them. It would only be reasonable to keep in mind that these verses relate to the desired behavior in battlefields not in social gatherings.
As for the rewards in the hereafter, though the details and the real nature of these rewards is not known with any degree of certainty, yet they are indeed promised to those, who fight in God’s way. However, it should be remembered that these rewards are promised only to those who lay down their lives for the cause specified by the Qur’an. They do not guarantee any rewards for those, who fight for their own causes and then proclaim them to be ‘the cause of God’.
I hope this helps.
October 11, 2001