From the aforementioned article:
Jihad has been interpreted by Muslims in different ways. The Muslim sect of the Kharijites has elevated Jihad to one of the Five Pillars of Islam Â— making it Six Pillars. This kind of belief is seen in the extremist Muslim groups we call terrorists. They use the concept of Jihad as a justification for killing anyone who isn't a Muslim. However, most Muslims disagree with this extremist position of some Muslims and advocate peace. These Muslims view Jihad as a spiritual struggle against evil in a metaphorical sense.1
Islamic scholar Jamal Badawi, chairman of the Islamic Information Foundation in Halifax, insists that a jihad is `permitted only in self-defense or against tyranny and oppression -- not as a tool to promote Islam.'' But, experts added, the ancient Islamic empires were built as much by force as by persuasion. Islam's founder, Mohammed, frequently used force, or the threat of it, to unify the nomadic tribes of the Arabian peninsula. The caliphs, who succeeded Mohammed as leaders of the Arab world, successfully took up arms against the Christian Byzantine Empire in Egypt and the Holy Land. By the end of the ninth century, Arabian armies had extended Islamic power from Spain to the borders of India.2
Anyone who has studied Islamic history must surely notice how frequently the Muslims were involved in battle after battle. Within 200 years after its inception, Islam had spread through a huge geographical area and many converts were made by the sword.
What does the Qur'an say about Jihad?
The Qur'an is the single most important authority in all of Islam. It is the scripture given from Allah through the angel Gabriel. Does the Qur'an teach Jihad? Absolutely yes. As you will see in the following quotes from the Qur'an, Holy War is definitely taught and encouraged.
"Truly Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in battle array, as if they were a solid cemented structure" (Surah 61:4).
"Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress limits... 191And slay them wherever ye catch them. and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for persecution is worse than slaughter; But fight them not at the sacred Mosque unless they (first) fight you there; But if they fight you, slay them. Such is the reward of those who reject faith. 192 But if they cease, Allah is oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. 193And fight them on until there is no more persecution. And the religion becomes Allah's. But if they cease, Let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression" (The Qur'an, Surah 2:190-193).
"O ye who believe! what is the matter with you, that, when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah, ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place; but Him ye would not harm in the least. For Allah hath power over all things. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place; but Him ye would not harm in the least. For Allah hath power over all things," (Surah 9:38-39).
See also Surah 4:74-76; 61:10-12.
What does the Hadith say about Jihad?
The Hadith are the recorded sayings and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad. It is second in authority only to the Qur'an and is often used to clarify things not specified in the Qur'an. What did Muhammad say about Jihad as recorded in the Hadith?
"The Prophet said, "The person who participates in (Holy battles) in Allah's cause and nothing compels him to do so except belief in Allah and His Apostles, will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward, or booty (if he survives) or will be admitted to Paradise (if he is killed in the battle as a martyr). Had I not found it difficult for my followers, then I would not remain behind any sariya going for Jihad and I would have loved to be martyred in Allah's cause and then made alive, and then martyred and then made alive, and then again martyred in His cause."Volume 1, Book 2, Number 35, Narrated Abu Huraira
"Allah's Apostle said, "A pious slave gets a double reward." Abu Huraira added: By Him in Whose Hands my soul is but for Jihad (i.e. holy battles), Hajj, and my duty to serve my mother, I would have loved to die as a slave. Volume 3, Book 46, Number 724: Narrated Abu Huraira
"Allah's Apostle said, "Allah guarantees (the person who carries out Jihad in His Cause and nothing compelled him to go out but Jihad in His Cause and the belief in His Word) that He will either admit him into Paradise (Martyrdom) or return him with reward or booty he has earned to his residence from where he went out." Volume 9, Book 93, Number 555: Narrated Abu Huraira.
Obviously Muhammad taught that Holy War was an acceptable and good thing to do. To clarify, he even stated that if a Muslim were to die in battle, fighting for the cause of Allah, that he would be guaranteed to go to Paradise.
Why is this important?
Why is understanding the Islamic position of Jihad important? Simple. People act according to their beliefs. If a large group of people believes that war against "unbelievers" is a holy thing, that it is a thing sanctioned from God, then those who are not Muslims should be concerned. Of course, at this point, most Muslims might accuse me of being sensationalistic and pointing to only a few extremists and out-of-context verses to make Islam look bad. First, let me say that by far the majority of Muslims I have encountered here in the United States have been polite and peace loving. Second, in other parts of the world, Jihad is taken to extremes not simply by terrorists, but by Islamic led governments.
In Egypt, a Muslim country, Christians have been persecuted heavily for their faith and only recently are things beginning to change.3
"Roman Catholic Bishop John Joseph of Pakistan shot himself to death on May 6 to highlight the case of Ayub Massih, a Christian sentenced to death for supposedly making blasphemous remarks against the Prophet Muhammad and thus against Islam. In a letter sent to a local newspaper just before his death, the bishop stated that he hoped his suicide would galvanize his fellow bishops and others to work for the repeal of sections 295 B and Cot the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), which make any blasphemy against Islam a serious crime and blasphemy against Muhammad punishable by death."4
"Farag Foda, an Egyptian intellectual who expressed scorn for the Islamist program, was shot and murdered. And Naguib Mahfouz, the elderly and much-celebrated Nobel Prize laureate for literature, was seriously injured in Cairo when an assailant knifed him in the neck, presumably in revenge for an allegorical novel written decades earlier."5
"Hundreds of thousands of Muslims assembled in Jakarta and declared a holy war against Indonesian Christians shortly after dawn Friday to avenge the deaths of Muslims in religious clashes in the Maluku Islands (the Spice Islands). Assembled in central Jakarta, the Muslims shouted "Jihad (Holy War)! Jihad!" Most of those gathered wore white robes and white bandannas marked with quotes from the Koran about the "Holy War." It is time for us to do a jihad against Christians," said Husen al-Habsyi, a former political prisoner, who was jailed for masterminding an explosion in the Borobudur Buddhist Temple in the early 1980s.6
This Christmas season, Pastor Rod Parsley is taking a lead in an effort to help free the tens of thousands of Sudanese women and children held in captivity in the Sudan, many of which are Christians. This great effort will help stem the horrific tide of genocide and enslavement of Christians in the African nation. Bridge of Hope, the missions outreach of Breakthrough is located in Columbus, Ohio...The Government of Sudan, a fundamentalist regime that represents only 10% of the population in Sudan, has declared a holy war (jihad) against Christians and animists in their own country. Since 1985, this reign of terror is responsible for the murder of over 2 million Sudanese ... and over 4 million have been displaced. The Government of Sudan will not stop short of total annihilation of all Christians and all others that do not believe in this totalitarian regime...During Government sponsored raids in peaceful villages, men are killed; village elders are hacked with machetes and left for dead; the village is burned and devastated; and women and children are captured as slaves. Slaves are subjected by their masters to systematic physical and psychological torture, including gang rape, beatings, death threats, genital mutilation and forcible conversion to Islam.7
Anyone can make any group look bad through selective quotes. Each religious group has elements of its history it wish it could ignore. The Muslims could cite the Crusades or the Inquisition as examples of "Christian behavior." In response, the Crusades, right or wrong, were a retaliation against the Islamic Jihad that was sweeping through Europe. The Inquisition, on the other hand, is a perfect example of what happens when a religious group (the Roman Catholic Church) gets in power and tries to root out heretics and blasphemers. Islam is no different.
The Islamic run country of Pakistan (No. 9 above) has anti blasphemy laws where the punishment for speaking blasphemy against Muhammad and the Qur'an is death. Islamic run Sudan has already killed, and still is killing, millions of people, mainly Christians, in its own country in addition to making many of them slaves. (No. 12 above). It is these kinds of facts that cannot be ignored and should not be ignored. Muslim and Christian alike should be very concerned.
I do not know if other Muslim countries are condemning the actions of these Islamic nations that so easily violate human rights. I do not know if Muslims outside of those countries are even aware of the problems going on within their theologically diverse ranks of other nations. But, when a Holy Book like the Qur'an advocates Holy War, when the very sayings and deeds of their beloved Prophet Muhammad advocate Jihad, and when we see some Islamic nations killing non Muslims Â— because they are not Muslims, how can we not be worried about what they would do if they had control of the world....as is their goal.
Here in the States, Muslims enjoy freedom of religion and expression. Such freedoms for Christians are basically non existent in many Islamic nations. Is that right?
Sukhvinder Stubbs, The New Stateman, LTD, "The hooded hordes of prejudice: to typecast all Muslims as fanatical militants is unfair and offensive," Feb 28, 1997.
James Deacon and Diane Brady, "The will to fight--and die," Maclean's, 2/11/91, Vol. 104 Issue 6, p 39.
Saad Michael Saad, The Christian Century, "A Christian appeal to Islam. Treatment of Copts in Egypt," by Feb 23, 2000.
Cris E. Toffolo, The Christian Century, "Christians in Pakistan confront charges of blasphemy," July 29, 1998.
Daniel Pipes, The American Jewish Community, "How Dare You Defame Islam,." Nov, 1999.
Asian Political News, Jan 10, 2000
(PR Newswire, "Breakthrough Bridge of Hope Missions to Partner With Christian Solidarity International to Free Slaves in Sudan." Issue: Nov 30, 2000.
Quotes from the Hadith on Jihad
Jihad means striving. It is used to describe the inner struggle against sin as well as the outer struggle against those who would oppose Islam. Did Muhammad teach Holy War upon those who reject Islam? Yes he did.
Following are various quotes from the Hadith dealing with killing people.
The second best deed is to participate in Jihad
Allah's Apostle was asked, "What is the best deed?" He replied, "To believe in Allah and His Apostle (Muhammad). The questioner then asked, "What is the next (in goodness)? He replied, "To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah's Cause." The questioner again asked, "What is the next (in goodness)?" He replied, "To perform Hajj (Pilgrim age to Mecca) 'Mubrur, (which is accepted by Allah and is performed with the intention of seeking Allah's pleasure only and not to show off and without committing a sin and in accordance with the traditions of the Prophet)." Volume 1, Book 2, Number 25, Narrated Abu Huraira:
Muhammad said if someone leaves Islam, to kill him
Ali burnt some people and this news reached Ibn 'Abbas, who said, "Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, 'Don't punish (anybody) with Allah's Punishment.' No doubt, I would have killed them, for the Prophet said, 'If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him.'" Volume 4, Book 52, Number 260, Narrated Ikrima. Also, see Volume 9, Book 84, Number 64, Narrated 'Ali.
Muhammad approves of killing someone who hurt him and having the killer lie
"Allah's Apostle said, "Who is willing to kill Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?" Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslama got up saying, "O Allah's Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?" The Prophet said, "Yes," Muhammad bin Maslama said, "Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab). "The Prophet said, "You may say it." Then Muhammad bin Maslama went to Kab and said, "That man (i.e. Muhammad demands Sadaqa (i.e. Zakat) from us, and he has troubled us, and I have come to borrow something from you." On that, Kab said, "By Allah, you will get tired of him!" Muhammad bin Maslama said, "Now as we have followed him, we do not want to leave him unless and until we see how his end is going to be. .." Volume 5, Book 59, Number 369, Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah.
Paradise was guaranteed to the first to take part in a naval battle
That 'Umair bin Al-Aswad Al-Anasi told him that he went to 'Ubada bin As-Samit while he was staying in his house at the sea-shore of Him with (his wife) Um Haram. 'Umair said. Um Haram informed us that she heard the Prophet saying, "Paradise is granted to the first batch of my followers who will undertake a naval expedition." Um Haram added, I said, 'O Allah's Apostle! Will I be amongst them?' He replied, 'You are amongst them.' The Prophet then said, 'The first army amongst' my followers who will invade Caesar's City will be forgiven their sins.' I asked, 'Will I be one of them, O Allah's Apostle?' He replied in the negative." Volume 4, Book 52, Number 175 Narrated Khalid bin Madan:
Those who fight in Jihad have the right to the spoils of the conquered or Paradise if he dies
The Prophet said, "The person who participates in (Holy battles) in Allah's cause and nothing compels him to do so except belief in Allah and His Apostles, will be recompensed by Allah either with a reward, or booty (if he survives) or will be admitted to Paradise (if he is killed in the battle as a martyr). Had I not found it difficult for my followers, then I would not remain behind any sariya going for Jihad and I would have loved to be martyred in Allah's cause and then made alive, and then martyred and then made alive, and then again martyred in His cause." Volume 1, Book 2, Number 35, Narrated Abu Huraira.
." . . "This is the Will of Allah, "After the people returned, the Prophet sat and said, "Anyone who has killed an enemy and has a proof of that, will posses his spoils." I got up and said, "Who will be a witness for me?" and then sat down. The Prophet again said, "Anyone who has killed an enemy and has proof of that, will possess his spoils." I (again) got up and said, "Who will be a witness for me?" and sat down. Then the Prophet said the same for the third time. I again got up, and Allah's Apostle said, "O Abu Qatada! What is your story?" Then I narrated the whole story to him. A man (got up and) said, "O Allah's Apostle! He is speaking the truth, and the spoils of the killed man are with me. So please compensate him on my behalf." On that Abu Bakr As-Siddiq said, "No, by Allah, he (i.e. Allah's Apostle ) will not agree to give you the spoils gained by one of Allah's Lions who fights on the behalf of Allah and His Apostle." The Prophet said, "Abu Bakr has spoken the truth." So, Allah's Apostle gave the spoils to me. I sold that armor (i.e. the spoils) and with its price I bought a garden at Bani Salima, and this was my first property which I gained after my conversion to Islam." Volume 4, Book 53, Number 370, Narrated Abu Qatada.
." . . . While we were in this state, the Lord of the Heavens and the Earths, Elevated is His Remembrance and Majestic is His Highness, sent to us from among ourselves a Prophet whose father and mother are known to us. Our Prophet, the Messenger of our Lord, has ordered us to fight you till you worship Allah Alone or give Jizya (i.e. tribute); and our Prophet has informed us that our Lord says:-- Whoever amongst us is killed (i.e. martyred), shall go to Paradise to lead such a luxurious life as he has never seen, and whoever amongst us remain alive, shall become your master." (Al-Mughira, then blamed An-Numan for delaying the attack and) An-Nu' man said to Al-Mughira, "If you had participated in a similar battle, in the company of Allah's Apostle he would not have blamed you for waiting, nor would he have disgraced you. But I accompanied Allah's Apostle in many battles and it was his custom that if he did not fight early by daytime, he would wait till the wind had started blowing and the time for the prayer was due (i.e. after midday)." Volume 4, Book 53, Number 386, Narrated Jubair bin Haiya.
Allah's Apostle said, "Allah guarantees (the person who carries out Jihad in His Cause and nothing compelled him to go out but Jihad in His Cause and the belief in His Word) that He will either admit him into Paradise (Martyrdom) or return him with reward or booty he has earned to his residence from where he went out." Volume 9, Book 93, Number 555, Narrated Abu Huraira:
The preceding Hadith are translated by Sahih Bukhari and are quoted from and online source found at http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/fundamentals/hadithsunnah/bukhari/