Jihaad or Sabr – Nothing in Between

←Back to Contents of Jihad and Hijrah Section

Shaykh Ashraf Ali Thanwi (rahmatullahi alayhi) on Jihaad

An Aalim asked Mawlana Thanwi (rahmatullahi alayhi) some questions on the issue of Kashmir.

These are penned below in a Q&A format.

Question

I wish to ask you some questions about a certain matter to remove my doubts, if Hazrat Wala permits me to do so.

Answer

I permit you with great pleasure. Many other ulema are also present in this gathering, so please fire away.

Question

Huge numbers of muslims are travelling to Kashmir, not with the intention of fighting, but merely to put pressure on the Indian government. What is the Shari’ ruling concerning this matter?

Answer

This is not considered to be a military struggle in shari’ terms. There are only 2 viable circumstances. Either the power and force to launch Qital (Military struggle ) is present or not. I do not understand this “3rd option”. This way “in-between “ seems to have been borrowed from the other nations of the planet.

Question

Considering our time, it seems to us that this is a possible way of obtaining victory, in the struggle of the weak facing more powerful forces. In other words, the masses can only face the government through this strategy.

Answer

This ijtihaad is contrary to the nusoos (The sacred texts), and we have no right to ijtihaad. The two circumstances I elucidated are transmitted in the texts. And the tactics and stratagems that you are suggesting are contrary to these texts. The approach you suggest is not found in the way of the Salaf.

Question

Hazrat Salman Farsi (radhiyallahu anhu) suggested the building of the trench to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam). This was a strategy from the ways of the non-arabs and foreign nations.

Answer

In this position there was no nass (Sacred text), so the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) acted in that manner. But we possess nusoos (Sacred texts) in our condition, so we cannot use that example.

Question

We have seen success result from such strategies, and the Sikhs have triumphed using this.

Answer

I am not talking of success and failure. I am talking about the shari’ ruling behind these actions.

Question

If we can succeed without having to fight, what is the harm in this approach?

Answer

Is this not harm enough that we are violating the texts?

Question

So should we do nothing and allow them to slaughter us and be annihilated in silence?

Answer

Did i say this? This seems to be your ijtihaad on my words. … I was merely saying that the strategy you have adopted is against the texts, and it is your responsibility to demonstrate it from those rulings. If you can do this then show me so that I can submit to it. God forbid that I say what I say because of some stubbornness. In opposition to clear texts there is no room for Ijtihaad or Qiyaas. We have no right to meddle in such a way. If you can convince me I will surely Insha’Allah accept.

Question

This is not contained in the texts. But we can make Qiyaas.

Answer

You are free to do so if you wish. But in the presence of established texts, Alhamdulillah I can clearly see Haqq from Baatil.

Question

That’s why we are asking you.

Answer

If you have complete conviction from the heart then you’re free to act in that way. I do not. Don’t bring me into your Fatwa. Neither expect from me that I should behave contrary to established texts. I am an absolute muqallid. Sometimes I am forced to take the Qawl of the saahibayn (Abu Yusuf And Imam Muhammad (rahmatullahi alayhima)), otherwise I am a follower of Imam Abu Haneefah (alayhi rahmah). How then do you expect me to make taqleed of you? You’re just children, and I make taqleed of “veterans”. Then jokingly he said, “Nay not of veterans….of “A veteran”.

Question

Well, we can’t fight. So then what do we do?

Answer

What I am saying is prescribed, so follow that. Look at your prowess. If you have the power, then instead of just sending multitudes to settle there, then Fight. Wage Jihaad. Take the sword in your hands. But if you do not have this power, and it is evident that you do not, then have Sabr (patience and abiding by the limits). In the position of weakness, if you do what you are doing, and undergo harm, you will not be able to withstand it. And one should not launch oneself into harm that you are unable to withstand, or that causes you great affliction.

Question

In the ayah of Jihad it says “Min Quwwatin”, and it is nakirah (indefinite). And we do have the power to go to jail etc.

Answer

This is not the intended meaning of power. What is meant is that where there is harm to your enemy and no *certain* harm to yourself.

Question

There is no harm in going to jail. And it causes agitation to the enemy, so what’s the harm?

Answer

If Qudrah (Power) was this then we have the power today to spit upon the enemy, and this causes them discomfort, but because we understand that in fact this causes us harm, we do not do so. …. What is meant by Qudrah is causing the enemy certain harm and not causing oneself certain harm, and it is obvious that going to jail is harm to yourself and of no real harm to the enemy. Listen well. There are two types of Qudrah:

1) We have the power to do a certain task but after doing it we do not have the power to withstand the negative consequences that result.

2) We have the power to do the task and we have the power to successfully ward off the harms that will result when we undertake it.

The first condition is called Isti’taat Laghwiya and the second is isti’taat Sharriya’. And for self-defence to be Waajib, the first type of isti’taah is not enough, the second type of isti’taah is the condition. The following hadeeth clarifies this:

Man ra’a mikum munkaran fal yu ghayyirhu be yadi’ fa illam yasta’ti fa bi lisaani fa illam yasta’ti fa bi qalbi

[Whosoever sees an evil, let him change it with his hands. If he is incapable (of doing so with the hands), then with the tongue. And if he is incapable (of doing so with the tongue), then with the heart…]

Well, it is evident that everybody has the power to address munkar with the tongue at all times. So when will the situation come when we are unable to do so? If it was enough to have the physical ability to do it for it to be fardh, and the ability to defend oneself from the negative consequences that would result is not a condition, then to address munkar with the tongue would be Fardh in all times and places (because we all have the physical power to waggle our tongues). Then what would it mean for the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to say that if you do not have the power to change it with your tongue, then hate it with your heart? This proves isti’taah means that as well as having the physical power to do it, there is no danger that one faces harms that one would be unable to repel (as far as normal cause and effect expectation and prediction goes). Another condition is that after this defence a greater evil does not result.

Question

Then what options remain to help the muslims of Kashmir.

Answer

Go there. Make Tableegh, and call them to unite amongst themselves. And when you have the power (as detailed above) then Qitaal is permissible.

Question

But they stop us at the gates, and arrest us. They don’t even let us in.

Answer

So you tell me if this is the condition then how do you expect to help them? You don’t even have the Qudrah to reach there. The multitudes end up being caned, end up in jails and on hunger strikes. Hunger strikes are akin to suicide. Even if a benefit results from suicide it is still not a permissible course of action. What then of suicide where there is no benefit for anyone?

If it becomes known that committing suicide will affect and harm the kuffar, will suicide become permissible? Is going to jail and having hunger strikes not on a par with suicide? If a benefit becomes apparent from suicide, the act of suicide in itself is such a tremendous harm that has no recompense. Not every supposed benefit is to be relied upon. It’s like someone saying, so-and-so’s life will be spared if you jump into a well and drown. So is it permissible for me to jump into the well? (NO)

Question

So should we fight?

Answer

By all means. But the condition for this is that you have sufficient power and resources that would be expected to conventionally overcome their forces. Mere wishful thinking that we will win, so let’s fight – this is not enough.

Question

But fighting entails harm. Is it not greater harm that lives are lost?

Answer

But fighting is an objective and is in our texts so this is not considered a “harm”, but these methods and stratagems that you have invented are not from the texts, so they will be closely inspected. The reason for the difference is that the ultimate objective is the removal of fitnah. Qitaal is not a fitna, because the heart is not perturbed in war, and there is an inner tranquillity. But these matters involve tumult and the wastage of great time. When formulating their schemes, people rarely consult Fiqh. It’s not enough to just look at fiqh with your own opinions. But you have to look at it with the true taste of a seasoned faqeeh, and in doing this everything becomes crystal clear. The art of Fiqh is very very subtle, which is why I always emphasise erring on the side of caution.

Question

Man Qatala doona Idhahu ma maalahu Fa huwa Shaheed. This establishes the permissibility of forgoing one’s life. Strikes and such like seem to be plausible within in this rubric.

Answer

Qatl does not mean suicide. But it means fighting. In other words Fight. Wage war.The intention is that you save your possessions and your life. Then if by chance you happen to die, then it is shahadat. Qatl Itself is not maqsood (the end in itself). But if it happens in the course of qitaal, then it is permissible. So Qitaal, not Qatl, is permitted and then only if all the conditions for it being allowed are found and none of the conditions to make it impermissible are present (and these are delineated in great depth in the works of Fiqh). And Qatl not being maqsood is established in the Quran because everywhere we see Yaqtuluna (kill – with the active form of the verb), after this we see Yuqtaloona (be killed – with the passive form of the verb). So we see yuqtaloona (being killed) is not the maqsood (aim) but sometimes results as a side effect of yaqtuloona (killing).

Question

We don’t have the full power (qudrah). But the little that we do possess, how should we utilise it. After all we ought to do something?

Answer

You can tell me what should be done. I don’t know any better than saying that you should do Tableegh and teach them the deen, and after that fight. I ask you, after the Hijrah, there was great peril for the lives of some of the muslims who were left in Makkah. The people of Madina did not send any delegations there. Until the ayahs of Qitaal were not revealed, there was no course of action adopted other than Sabr. This is the only form of Islamic struggle we know, all these other innovations are rejected.

Question

Perhaps these matters were not known then. Had it been so, wars would have been like this.

Answer

It becomes evident these are intellectual constructions rather than revealed things. The sahabah (radhiyallahu anhum) too were men of intelligence. Great matters entered their minds, so why did these things not? Did not one of these stratagems occur to them? The only thing that did was Qitaal and that too only when the verses of Qitaal came. The questions come that in the course of Islamic history why did no-one come up with these ideas. In 1300 years did not such conditions of oppression manifest, then why did no one suggest these things.

The other thing I would mention is that was there not power in the muslims who were left in Makkah post-hijrah. If you say they didn’t have the power to mount an offensive I say you are absolutely mistaken. They had such power that before it, the power of the entire Indian Government is completely overshadowed.

Question

But the opposing kuffar too were of similar prowess.

Answer

If we accept this then there is still no ikhtilaaf (difference). It comes back to what I was saying that Sabr will have to be adopted. If there is no power then like in Makkah we have to have Sabr. And when like in Madina power was firmly established, they took swords in their hands and faced Makkah.

Question

Before though wars were not like they are now.

Answer

I am asking you to present texts and you are not…..I will never submit until you present Manqoolaat, in the manner that our elders established to guard the entire system of our deen. In other words we cannot leave taqleed with such facility. The real problem today is that everyone considers himself to be a Mujtahid (one who is able to derive rulings from “Qur’an and Sunnah”). Truly the salaf, those who preceded us were very sagacious. They understood the deen more than us. That’s why they closed the gates of ijtihaad. On a light hearted note he said: Actually us folks (referring to himself) are blameless in the sight of Allah (azza wa jal). If we are asked we’ll say: Oh Allah (azza wa jal) we couldn’t fathom any of the daleels. But you will be asked that whilst understanding all the dalail why didn’t you go to help the muslims of Kashmir – we are let off the hook, and you present your arguments. I’ll tell you something of great importance. In these issues, it’s not just about daleels, you have to have juristic experience and taste. These new techniques not only are they ghairi-mansoos (not from the texts) but it’s also against my taste.

Question

We are weak on all fronts and unable to do anything then?

Answer

Before you had such vigour that you considered yourself capable of implementing the ghairi mansoos over the mansoos, and now you have convinced yourself that you are completely incapable? I say work, but stay within the hudood (limits) of the Shariah. How amazing that people think the ways of the Prophets will be devoid of effect and the constructions of their minds will be the cause of salvation. I ask you: Will success come from pleasing God or displeasing him? So there is only one path – following the mansoos Methods.
……
Aside from all these matters there is another issue. Every field of action needs limits. These modern movements are in need of this, so who is going to enforce this? In the time of Khilaafah, one young man made hijrah and his mother was besides herself in tears and lost her sight. So now who is going to decide who should have gone and who should have remained? Even if for the sake of argument we accept that these modern techniques might be allowed, who is going to be the Ameer to guard those limits both for himself and make sure others do too. Without an Ameer nothing can be accomplished.

(Al-Ifaadat Ul-Yawmiyyah, Volume 1 Page 96)

 

“Out-dated”, “Back-dated”

The Akabir Ulama of Deoband around the world today, including those in Pakistan, regard this ta’leem of Maulana Thanwi (rahmatullahi alayhi) just as relevant today. Unfortunately, the day is fast arriving when there will not be single teaching of the Akaabir Deoband remaining which will not be branded as “out-dated” or “back-dated”, even by those who claim to recognise them as a Jama’ah of Mujaddids sent by Allah (azza wa jal) to revive the Deen.

Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi demonstrates that there are ONLY two modes prescribed in the Sunnah. If you have power and strength it is obligatory to perform Jihaad. If you do not, you are to adopt Sabr and engage yourself in Dawa’, Tableegh, Moral and Spiritual reformation. Any mode of action that differs from the two modes transmitted in the Sunnah, is an adoption of the ways of other nations, and will only serve to increase Allah’s (azza wa jal) Wrath upon this Ummah:

“There are only 2 viable circumstances. Either the power and force to launch Qital (Military struggle ) is present or not. I do not understand this “3rd option”. This way “in-between “ seems to have been borrowed from the other nations of the planet….The two circumstances I elucidated are transmitted in the texts. And the tactics and stratagems that you are suggesting are contrary to these texts. The approach you suggest is not found in the way of the Salaf….What I am saying is prescribed, so follow that. Look at your prowess. If you have the power, then instead of just sending multitudes to settle there, then Fight. Wage Jihaad. Take the sword in your hands. But if you do not have this power, and it is evident that you do not, then have Sabr (patience and keeping oneself under control within the limits).

In the position of weakness, if you do what you are doing, and undergo harm, you will not be able to withstand it. And one should not launch oneself into harm that you are unable to withstand, or that causes you great affliction….The real problem today is that everyone considers himself to be a Mujtahid (one who is able to derive rulings from “Qur’an and Sunnah”). Truly the salaf, those who preceded us were very sagacious. They understood the deen more than us. That is why they closed the gates of ijtihaad…I say work, but stay within the hudood (limits) of the Shariah. How amazing that people think the ways of the Prophets will be devoid of effect and the constructions of their minds will be the cause of salvation. I ask you: Will success come from pleasing God or displeasing him? So there is only one path – following the mansoos Methods.”

(Al-Ifaadat Ul-Yawmiyyah, Volume 1 Page 96)

Mawlana Thanwi (rahmatullahi alayhi) on the Makki/Madani periods

During one discourse Mawlana Thanwi (rahmatullahi alayhi) said that:

“…there is turmoil in the current Islamic political movements. The book of Fitan is present in the books of hadeeth and all the Islamic laws are clearly elaborated in our texts. Both states of affairs (power and weakness) happened in the Prophetic period – then there is not much room for great debate. It is enough to look at this. If we don’t have power to save ourselves from the harms of the Oppressor then consider yourself to be Makki, and have Sabr.

If you do have power, then consider yourself Madani and conduct yourself with the requisite force. Now what’s happening is that instead of being Makki, believers behave like a Makhi (fly) and are abominable and humiliated; and instead of being Madani they behave like they are Badani and behave like some sort of wrestler and enmesh themselves into all sorts of unnecessary dangers. And yet the lawgiver taught us everything in detail…

[Al Ifadat Ul-Yawmiyya Volume 2 page 46]

 

The verses exhorting patience and forgiveness during the Makkan phase have not been abrogated

The verses exhorting patience and forgiveness during the Makkan phase have not been abrogated. As Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah summarises, in line with the classica fuqaha:

“So whoever from the believers is weak in the earth or is weak in the time in which he is living in, must apply those verses of the Qur’an which mention patience and forgiveness against those who are seeking to harm Allah and His Messenger from those who were given the scriptures prior and also from the polytheists. As for those people who are in a state of strength then they are to apply the verses regarding fighting kufr who slander the Deen. They are also to apply the Qur’anic verses regarding fighting those who were given the scriptures prior until they pay the jizya and are subjugated.” [As-Sarim al-Maslul, vol. 2, p413]

Likewise, Shaykh Zafar Ahmad Uthmani explained in I’la as-sunan that the attitude of the Muslims towards the authorities during the Makkan phase was only because Islam is a pragmatic religion, NOT a pacifist one. Regardless of the horrendous torture and oppression the believers had to undergo during that phase, any insubordination or attempt to fight back en masse would have exacerbated their predicament no end, and would have been likely to trigger a complete massacre and obliteration.

Failure to understand this simple concept has resulted in numerous unnecessary catastrophes for the believers.

 

Why Have All Jihaad Efforts In The Past Century Failed So Miserably, Or The Victories Been Extremely Short-lived?

Mufti Ahmad Sadeq Desai, who is a reliable representative of Maulana Thanwi’s teachings, and an avid commentator of efforts of Jihaad around the world, states regarding the continuous failures, tempered by the rare and extremely short-lived victories:

“THE CONCLUSION
From the failure and defeat of the various Jihad movements of this century we are forced to conclude that Allah Ta’ala is withholding His aid. He is displeased with the Ummah, hence He allows the enemies of Islam to trample on Muslims, to pillage and plunder their lands and to humiliate them. Hakimul Ummat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (rahmatullah alayh) said: 

“There are only two options for Muslims—Jihad or Sabr, I don’t understand the inbetween options.” 

If we lack the ability and power to wage proper Jihad, the only other course to adopt is Sabr (patience). The concept of Sabr envisages total engagement in moral reformation and spiritual elevation. When Muslims have achieved the desired degree of moral and spiritual perfection, Allah Ta’ala will create the circumstances to usher them into the field to conquer the lands of the enemies in exactly the same way as He had pitted the small band of Sahaabah against the army of the Quraish without any planning by the Muslims. 

The sophisticated airforces and the nucleur arsenals of the superpowers cannot block the decree of Allah Ta’ala. When Allah Ta’ala issues His command, the military and nucleur might of the superpowers will be reduced to dust. The Qur’aan states: 

“When the Decree of My Rabb arrives, He shall render it into dust. And, the Decree of my Rabb is the truth.” It is not the military might of the superpowers which prevents Muslims from victory. We are witnessing the humiliation of the American paper superpower in Iraq at the hands of a band which America describes as a ‘group of bandits’. Rather, it is the moral corruption and the abandonment of the Sunnah which is the cause of our defeat and humiliation.

ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT 
The imperative need for the success of the people of Islam is a high standard of moral and spiritual perfection. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) laboured for 13 years in the Jihad against the nafs, to first prepare the Sahaabah morally and spiritually. Only after they had achieved a very high standard of moral and spiritual perfection, did the Divine Command come for Jihad. But, the Ummah today grovels in vice and immorality. Muslims have appointed America and Britain as our leaders, hence Allah Ta’ala has imposed them on us as our rulers. 

SALAAT
The Ummah has demolished the very first fundamental Pillar of Islam, viz. Salaat, which holds up the structure of Imaan. More than 90% of the Ummah do not perform regular Salaat. When this vital institution of Islam on which depends our success, has been demolished by Muslims themselves, how can victory ever be in sight? The very first obligation of the Islamic state is to enforce regular Salaat. Thus, the Qur’aan says: 

“…If We install them with power (sovereignty) on earth, they establish Salaat, give Zakaat and command righteousness and forbid evil. And, the ultimate decree of things is for Allah.” 

Never can this Ummah ever advance and prosper as long as the fundamental Pillar of Salaat is left in its crumbled state.

In the light of the decadent state of the Ummah world-wide, we are assured of only defeat and humiliation. The Qur’aan Majeed states with great clarity that the honourable and prosperous state which the Ummah had enjoyed was snatched away as a consequence of Muslims themselves changing their lofty condition and substituting it with degeneration and corruption. The Qur’aan says in this regard:

“Verily, Allah does not change the (prosperous) condition of a nation until they (themselves) change what is within them.” 

When the Mu’mineen corrupt their hearts and ruin their moral and spiritual condition, then Allah Ta’ala snatches away the bounties of prosperity, honour and sovereignty which He had bestowed to them.” [The Majlis]

and:

THE SOLUTION
The solution for the mess and misery in which the Ummah is floundering in humiliation is therefore, concentration on morality and the development of spiritual fibre by means of Islaah of the Nafs, Ibaadat (worship) and Taa-at (obedience). Allah Ta’ala will then cre- ate the circumstances for driving out the savage enemies from the Lands of Islam in the same way as He had cre- ated the circumstances which propelled the Sahaabah into the Battle of Badr – a Battle which they neither planned nor desired. The slogans of ‘Allahu Akbar’ and the cries of ‘Jihad’ raised by igno- ramuses bereft of Islamic morality and understanding only serve theinterests of the enemies and entangle Muslims in the cruel web of self-immolation.

The Ummah in this era is just not the candidate for Jihad. It is lacking in every requisite for waging a valid Jihad in accordance with the Shariah. The prevalent anarchy in Muslim lands, engineered by the enemy conspirators is not Jihad.” [The Majlis]

←Back to Contents of Jihad and Hijrah Section

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *