Seems like there is much opportunity for a wide variety of opinions and decisions regarding jihad ...This is from a training package I have developed on Islam.
The concept of Jihad is controversial and much mis- and dis- information exists. The following information is taken from the “Reliance of the Traveler”, a 1991 book of Islamic Law, approved by the Al-Azhar University. This is a classic mainstream manual of fiqh. It represents the fiqh rulings according to the Shafi'i school of jurisprudence (Sunni).
All text below, except that in italics, are quotes from this document.
“Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada signifying warfare to establish the religion.” (9.0)
Scriptual Basis – Koran
- Fighting is prescribed for you' (Koran 2:216);
- Slay them wherever you find them' (Koran 4:89)
- Fight the idolaters utterly (Koran 9:36)
- And others.
Scriptural Basis – Hadith
The entire Bukhari Hadith collection, volume 4 book 52, is devoted to Jihad.
According to the manual:
The prophet said : I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform the prayer, and pay zakat. If they say it, they have saved their blood and possessions from me, except for the rights of Islam over them. And their final reckoning is with Allah
To go forth in the morning or evening to fight in the path of Allah is better than the whole world and everything in it. Details concerning jihad are found in the accounts of the military expeditions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), including his own martial forays and those on which he dispatched others.
Obligatory Character of Jihad
Jihad is a communal obligation. When enough people perform it to successfully accomplish it, it is no longer obligatory upon others. If none of those concerned perform jihad, and it does not happen at all, then everyone who is aware that it is obligatory is guilty of sin, if there was a possibility of having performed it. Jihad is an obligation on every able bodied man who has reached puberty and is sane.
There are two possible states in respect to non-Muslims
- The first is when they are in their own countries, in which case jihad (def: o9.8) is a communal obligation.
- The second state is when non-Muslims invade a Muslim country or near to one, in which case jihad is personally obligatory.
It is offensive to conduct a military expedition against hostile non-Muslims without the caliph's permission
But there’s no Caliph! Not a problem.
- It is offensive to conduct a military expedition against hostile non-Muslims without the caliph's permission (A: though if there is no caliph (def: o25), no permission is required). (9:6)
- In practice then, Jihad, without a Caliph, is up to local and national groups. Who can formally declare Jihad is debated.
Objectives of Jihad
The caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians (N: provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya, def: o11.4) -which is the significance of their paying it, not the money itself-while remaining in their ancestral religions) (O: and the war continues) until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax (O: in accordance with the word of Allah Most High
Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and who forbid not what Allah and His messenger have forbidden-who do not practice the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book-until they pay the poll tax out of hand and are humbled" (Koran 9.29)
The Rules of Warfare
- It is not permissible (A: in jihad) to kill women or children unless they are fighting against the Muslims. (Note: This has been rather broadly interpreted. Who is innocent?) Nor is it permissible to kill animals, unless they are being ridden into battle against the Muslims, or if killing them will help defeat the enemy. It is permissible to kill old men (O: old man (shaykh meaning someone more than forty years of age) and monks.
- It is unlawful to kill a non-Muslim to whom a Muslim has given his guarantee of protection (dhimmis).
- When a child or a woman is taken captive, they become slaves by the fact of capture, and the woman's previous marriage is immediately annulled. This last part is so that women captives can be used as sex slaves, permissible provided they aren’t married.
- When an adult male is taken captive, the caliph (def: o25) considers the interests (O: of Islam and the Muslims) and decides between the prisoner's death, slavery, release without paying anything, or ransoming himself in exchange for money or for a Muslim captive held by the enemy.
- It is permissible in jihad to cut down the enemy's trees and destroy their dwellings.
- As for truces, the author does not mention them. In Sacred Law truce means a peace treaty with those hostile to Islam, involving a cessation of fighting for a specified period (no more than 10 years).
- “If they incline towards peace, then incline towards it also” (Koran 8.61) Note: This verse is often used by apologists to claim Muslim tolerance. Within Islamic jurisprudence, it only refers to a temporary truce.
- “There must be some interest served in making a truce other than mere preservation of the status quo.”
- “So do not be faint-hearted and call for peace, when it is you who are the uppermost” (Koran 47:35)
- Interests that justify making a truce are such things as Muslim weakness because of lack of members or materiel, or the hope of an enemy becoming Muslim.
- If the Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made a truce with Quraysh for that long, as is related by Abu Dawud. It is not permissible to stipulate longer than that, save by means of new truces, each of which does not exceed ten years.
NOTE: There is no concept of a "peace treaty" in Islam with the infidels. There is only a "truce" and it is only temporary.
The Spoils of Battle
- A free male Muslim who has reached puberty and is sane is entitled to the spoils of battle when he has participated in a battle to the end of it.
- As for personal booty, anyone who, despite resistance, kills one of the enemy or effectively incapacitates him, risking his own life thereby, is entitled to whatever he can take from the enemy, meaning as much as he can take away with him in the battle, such as a mount, clothes, weaponry, money, or other.
The Debate on Al-Qaeda and Terrorism
Muslim jurists debate whether or not Al-Qaeda was justified in carrying out the 9/11 acts of terrorism. Some support Al-Qaeda, others do not. The legal arguments are:
- Does Al- Qaeda have the legal right to declare Jihad on another country. Al-Qaeda is not a Caliph, and not a Muslim state. Some Muslim authority must declare war, but without a Caliph, who has this authority? What if there are other ways to achieve the same objective (which is not disputed)?
- It is agreed that targeting innocents is prohibited. But how does one define innocent? Must one be in direct combat or a supporting role of the enemy?
- It is agreed that suicide is prohibited, but death in battle against the kufr is glorified. When does fighting in battle become suicide? Compare with the “lone charge” scenario.
The answer is not simple in Islam. There is a 24 page ruling by one prominent scholar (Shaykh Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti ) concluding what Al-Qaeda did was illegal.
Does it really take 24 pages?