I read many articles in your site which argues that Jihad is not possible without a politically recognized state. I encountered many objections in a discussion on this topic. Some of the objections are listed below.
How do you define a politically recognized state? Is it a state politically recognized by UN, US or by ourselves? Take the case of Afghanistan when it was under Taliban. It was never politically recognized by UN, US but Taliban recognized itself as a state. Similarly an Islamic state formed with much hard work will (possibly) never be recognized as a state. So Jihad even for a genuine purpose will never be possible if only politically recognized state should launch it.
Explaining the reason for an existence of the state to launch Jihad, your articles cited that Prophet (pbuh) never tried to form a group while he and his companions were under severe persecution in Mecca due to the absence of state. The directives of Qur’an whether it was revealed in Mecca or Medina are not important to us. If that is the case, then many directives of Islam namely Hijab, Jummah, Eid etc. will not be applicable to a Muslim in the absence of state. Moreover God made Islam complete, therefore all directives of Qur’an are applicable inclusive of places where Islamic state is absent. If the directives of the Qur’an (e.g. punishments) cannot be applied due to the restrictions imposed by rulers, then Muslims should strive hard so that the Qur’an rules them and God’s word is above all other words.
If a manical mob comes and attacks a Muslim population in a country hostile to Muslims, should we just sit at home and say that Jihad is not possible without a state. Will we not fight them to save our family, our neighbors? To at least save us, should we not train ourselves at least for defense? This precisely leads to a situation that Jihad (or preparing for Jihad) is in fact possible without a state. Also note that for such a large Muslim population, Hijrah is also not possible and the attacks on them cannot be known in advance.
Kindly offer your thoughts on the above.
In my referred responses I have used the phrase ‘political state’ to imply a set of people living in a piece of land under one rule. The recognition of the United Nations or that of the United States is not a condition in our definition of ‘political state’. The necessary conditions for a collectivity to be considered as ‘political state’, on the contrary, are: a) set of people (i.e., the ruled) living in b) a piece of land, under c) one rule. It should be remembered that to be considered a ‘political state’ the person or group ruling the land has legal authority over the subjects.
The directives of Qur’an whether it was revealed in Mecca or Medina are not important to us. If that is the case, then many directives of Islam namely Hijab, Jummah, Eid etc.
I do not agree with the stated contention. In my opinion, contrary to the stated contention, the timing of the revelation of directives is extremely important from understanding the placement and, sometimes, even the importance of these directives.
If you take a close look at the directives revealed after the establishment of the Muslim state in Medinah, you will see that there are primarily three kinds of directives that were revealed after the Hijrah:
Those directives, which related to the duties and responsibilities of an organized state;
Those directive, which related to the organization of matters related to individuals at an organized level; and
Those directives, which, even though they related specifically to individuals yet according to the divine knowledge and wisdom were to be preceded by the general spiritual and moral enhancement of the individuals.
The first two categories of Islamic directives are dependent – to various degrees – upon the existence of an organized Muslim state. This, in other words, implies that one of the necessary conditions for these directives to become obligatory and, sometimes, even applicable, is the existence of a Muslim political state. Thus, for instance, the organization of Jum`ah is obligatory for a Muslim state, while in the absence of a Muslim state, it is not obligatory. On the other hand, the directives relating to the penal law or Jihad, become applicable when a Muslim state exists, while in the absence of a Muslim state, these directives are not even applicable.
As for the third category of directives – an example of which, may be the directives relating to Hijaab – they would remain applicable to individual Muslims irrespective of the political circumstances they live in.
Furthermore, it should also remain clear that the case, for instance, of fasting, Hijaab, organization of Sala’h at a collective level etc1. is not exactly similar to that of Jihad. In contrast to Jihad, none of the other mentioned practices – Hijaab, fasting or organization of Sala’h at a collective level etc. – were prohibited. Contrary to these (and many other) practices, Jihad was ‘not allowed’ for Muslims. Thus, after the establishment of the Muslim state in Medinah, the first verse relating to Jihad was not one which directed the Muslims to undertake Jihad, but, on the contrary, was one which ‘permitted’ them to undertake Jihad. Thus, the Qur’an said:
أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَاتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُوا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ (الحج 22: 39)
Those, who are fought against are [now] permitted to fight back, for they have been wronged. Indeed God has the power to help them.
None of the other mentioned practices of Islam required any such ‘permission’. Thus, it can safely be said, in the light of the foregoing explanation, that before the establishment of the Muslim state in Medinah, Jihad was ‘not allowed’, while in the case of the other mentioned practices of Islam, even though their directives were deferred till after the establishment of the Muslim state in Medinah, yet most of them did not fall in the category of ‘prohibited’ or ‘not allowed’.
Moreover God made Islam complete, therefore all directives of Qur’an are applicable inclusive of places where Islamic state is absent.
The premise that ‘Islam is complete’ does not, by itself, necessitate that all the directives of the Qur’an are applicable to all circumstances. Just as the directive of Zaka’h does not apply to a poor person, in the same manner, all those directives of Islam, which are addressed to a Muslim in the capacity of a ruler, do not apply to the common Muslims.
If the directives of the Qur’an (e.g. punishments) cannot be applied due to the restrictions imposed by rulers, then Muslims should strive hard so that the Qur’an rules them and God’s word is above all other words.
I do not consider this opinion to be correct and have already explained my point of view regarding the stated issue in detail. For details, please refer to my responses to questions posted on this site.
If a manical mob comes and attacks a Muslim population in a country hostile to Muslims, should we just sit at home and say that Jihad is not possible without a state. Will we not fight them to save our family, our neighbors? To at least save us, should we not train ourselves at least for defense?
Protecting oneself, one’s loved ones and one’s belongings from a group of criminals and hooligans is not Jihad. A person has all the right to defend himself from such atrocious acts. Preparing and training oneself for such protection cannot and should not be considered as training for Jihad.
This precisely leads to a situation that Jihad (or preparing for Jihad) is in fact possible without a state.
When the foregoing acts of defense and self-protection are not Jihad, then obviously preparing for such defensive tactics cannot be considered as preparation for Jihad.
Also note that for such a large Muslim population, Hijrah is also not possible…
My dear brother, Jihad is a religious directive. We must realize that the source of rules regarding a religious directive is the Prophet of God. These rules are not left to the hunches of individuals. Jihad is a directive of the Shari`ah given to an organized collectivity and is to be undertaken by an organized Muslim collectivity under specific circumstances and for purposes specified by the Shari`ah. No Muslim individual or group has the authority to alter any of these aspects relating to the directives of Jihad.
For my opinion relating to the situation where a Muslim collectivity is being persecuted by a non-Muslim state, please refer to one of my earlier responses to a related question titled: “Sometimes Jihad can be Required in the Absence of an Organized Political State“.
I hope this helps.
May 30, 2002
- All of these directives were given after Hijrah. [↩]