The concept of jihad has, since the beginning, been an integral part of the faith. Personal or communal jihad has long been a large part of our faith. Many people, if not all spend years if not their whole lives fighting a personal and spiritual jihad. Why then do they shy away from and denounce a violent communal one? Eastern Muslims, whether they take part or not understand and appreciate the need for jihad, whereas the ones living in the West shy away from the notion, distance themselves and are ashamed. Why? It is perhaps the most perplexing thing about Muslims practising the faith abroad.
A few Muslims go abroad to take up a cause under the banner of Jihad, an even smaller amount take the cause to the land of non-Muslims, however most just edit it out of their faith. Most of us look at 7/7 and 9/11 with shame, as we should, but then we denounce all jihad. When we look at Palestine we all support the Palestinians, but not the violence. We make excuses but you rarely hear a Muslim saying “yes I’m in favour of suicide bombings”. In Iraq we deplore the war but we denounce those who are fighting. Is it the method, the affect or the fighting we denounce? Do we have to support everything for us to support the jihad? What makes it a jihad?
Jihad in Arabic means struggle. In terms of the violent struggle we have many examples in the Quran where it is mentioned and therefore where it is justified. It must only be to the extent that they use violence against us, and we must strive and kill wherever we find an invader in our land. Fair enough considering if France invaded England tomorrow England would do the same, yet when there is a religious overtone we think ‘extremist’. So why then when you have America and Israel and the UK invading Muslim lands are we not allowed to fight back? Who chooses who is allowed to defend themselves, I understand international laws to prevent invasion but to stop someone defending themselves is ridiculous.
I guess with the advent of nation states things did change. You were defined by your borders. Right? I mean we are told it is right so it must be. So what was the Falklands war? Argentina wanted its own land back and invaded Malvinas to get it. Great Britain, an island, then went to war to protect its ‘borders’, another island on the other side of the world. Yes it makes perfect sense. So who defines borders? So despite being half way around the world and an ex-colonial territory Britain was allowed to invade because it flew a British flag, so a national identity defines borders it seems. So why not religious ones? Why if a Muslims from Britain goes to Palestine or Iraq or Afghanistan is it deemed insurgency or terrorism?
Why do we accept non-Islamic notions of nationalism to rule our lives? If an American Jew goes to Israel to do national service, or a British Turk goes to Turkey for national service it is fine. Even if they happen to be drafted to war and kill people it is ok. If a Muslim goes to Palestine to fight to free people from oppression it is terrorism, a crime. Why do we accept this?
If we hear that a Muslim from Bradford blew himself up in Tel Aviv we feel ashamed, and when a non-Muslim asks for your ‘expert’ opinion as a Muslims as to ‘why these things happen?’ or ‘why does Islam justify the killing of innocents?’ we get ashamed, make excuses and put distance between ‘Our Islam’ and ‘their distorted Islam’. I can understand differing when a Muslim gets on a tube and detonates himself because even under Islamic jurisprudence it is haraam, at no point was the land ever Islamic land. ***However Palestine was under Muslim rule for over a thousand years, we accept Israel was created deceptively and illegally, we accept that even under ‘International Law’ it exists today far beyond its legal boundaries and we accept that its numerous embargos, raids, settlements and killings are atrocities that are right to be fought. Just not by Western Muslims right?

I am of course well aware that when someone says jihad you think al-Qaida, or Jamaah-e-Islamiyeh or Islamic Jihad or Hamas or Hezbollah. They are not all the same. And whilst the average non-Muslim may not know the differences, care or even have to know the differences, as Muslims we should. Western or otherwise. Most Muslims do not even know what Osama bin Laden says in his speeches. Now I must add here that I am not a fan nor do I agree with everything he says nor support everything he does, neither do I appreciate how he tries to link all Islamic causes and actions together under the banner of the Jihad. Having said that, he doesn’t make stuff up, he calls the West on the hypocrisy it enacts throughout the world, on the injustices done in the name of freedom and democracy and the terror it carries out and supports. You don’t have to fly a plane into the World Trade Centre to agree with this man on a few things. Take Iraq as a prime example. After the fall of Islam the Allied forces carried out atrocities, murder, rape, destruction and the country was in chaos. When al-Qaida took it’s first steps into Iraq it was welcomed by most tribesmen, Sunni of course, as it offered food and arms and justice. For years the Allies tried to break this alliance and failed. It broke because the Iraqis who supported the Jihad did not support the developments of al-Qaida, such as car bombing civilians, executions of civilians who disagreed, manipulation of the violence. In the end al-Qaida lost it’s domestic support because they betrayed the Jihad, and to this day those tribesmen are fighting al-Qaida in Iraq even as the West withdraws from the chaos it has created. I use them as an example because it shows how if you forget the media driven name, and just look at the actions, some are indeed supportable. We need to stop being ignorant and ashamed of Jihad, and only be ashamed when people betray the Jihad or commit sins in it’s name, such as attacks on non-Muslims in non-Muslim lands.
I would like to take the opportunity to note that Jihad is more honourable and noble than most Western conflicts. Jihad is only undertaken when Muslims are oppressed, invaded, or killed. It is to reinitialise justice and fairness. If we look at the past century alone we cannot say the same of most Western Wars; Panama, Falklands, Korea, Vietnam, the second Gulf War. None of these were just. They were all to protect ideals of money, obedience and power. All the native people of those lands suffered, not just physically by economically for years afterwards. I would like to add that they didn’t change anything either. Apart from the second Gulf War which did remove Saddam from Kuwait, a previously Iraqi land, which was done for money and oil. I would like to add that as a result of that war thousands of Iraqis died as America promised to support an uprising and then decided that pressing on to Baghdad and removing Saddam Hussein wasn’t necessary and would be too costly and so all the Iraqis that did speak up and desert the army or fight were subsequently arrested or killed, including many of their family members.
I would take this time to also point out further hypocrisy of the West. In the Serbian conflict when Muslim Bosnians were being massacred and the West went in, one of the few times they did the right thing, they were supported by hundreds of Mujahideen from around the world, including America and Britain. They were offered supplies and transport and often complimented for their actions. In Afghanistan when the Soviets invaded and Afghanis were being slaughtered America supported the Mujahideen, including those like Bin Laden and Zawahiri who fought in the conflict, in training and military equipment and money. Again the Mujahideen were praised and exalted as heroes. After the conflict the simple people were left in the hands of the oppressive militants who eventually took power due to the training and equipment given to them by America. Nothing was seen again until 2001.
Mujahideen for anyway who doesn’t know means simply someone who fights in a Jihad, someone who struggles for a just cause. Both examples given were Jihads and had fatwas of support issued. In today’s world the same people fight for the same causes and are called terrorists, Jihad is seen as archaic and the world condemns them all. Nothing has changed but the enemy. So how can the description change so radically? Western Muslims know it is wrong and yet they do nothing. Again I would like to say I do not support the actions of the Taliban or any group that takes the lives of Muslims.
Western media groups all fighting Muslims together and ignore the complexities of their birth. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbollah, Al-Aqsa Brigade, Al-Qaida, the Taliban, Jamaat-e-Islamiya are all different, arose due to different circumstances and have different agendas. Whilst we don’t have the time to look too deeply at each one I wonder if Muslims could tell me how any arose? Let alone non-Muslims? If you can’t then how can you tell me their jihad isn’t just. Perhaps it isn’t but you cannot say, and if you cannot say how can you be ashamed?
Why do Western Muslims who go to the mosque and follow the sunnah and quote hadith not take the time to study these things. Read books, articles, watch youtube videos, it doesn’t take alot of time but learn about the various Jihadist causes you denounce and cower from. Learn whether they are just Quranically or not.
Hizbollah for example arose in Southern Lebanon as a result of Israeli occupation of their lands for over ten years. Hamas arose as a result of the failure of Arab nationalism and the constant expansion, occupation and murder by the Israelis. Both have militant and political wings. Al-Aqsa arose as a militant offshoot to political Fatah. What Muslim can say that Jihad against Israel is wrong? As for suicide bombs, they are one small part of the fighting method and a new one. What difference does it make if your body leaves this world by explosive or bullet? You may not agree, but can you doubt the cause? The West denounces them all as terrorists. They denounce suicide bombs but what of Cluster Bombs, Napalm and Atomic Warheads or Nuclear Weapons, should they not denounce those or at least admit they are hypocrites.
All 3 groups have publicly denounced Al-Qaida and refused assistance in their Jihad as they have their own. So what as Muslims do we have to feel ashamed of? I am shamed by Western Muslims who deny Jihad or pretend it is not necessary or a part of their religion, you deny the Quran and you leave Muslims to die. I am as ashamed of them as I am of the Muslims who take the lives of Iraqi civilians or fly planes into towers. By denying your support of Jihad you allow Western governments to claim legitimate mujahideen are extremists, that mujahideen are terrorists, and that their causes are invalid or their methods wrong. I do not ask that you leave your families and countries to fight, only that you limit your shame to those who deserve it and not deny the worthiness of some Jihadist causes. Don’t hide behind your passports and use them to deny your religion.
Western Muslims agree with democracy, and ideal which is used as a tool to validate war and invasions. Was not Hamas elected fairly and democratically? And yet within a week America denounced the government as terrorist and implored the rest of the Western world to do so? Western Muslims support democracy, what of the Islamic ideals of fairness and equality and justice, do they not deserve your support, and those who fight for them, do they deserve your shame for doing so?
Western Muslims say they support the ‘Ummah’ by protests and speaking out. You speak to ears who can’t hear you! As for protests, if Salah ed-Din had merely protested Jerusalem would never have been freed. The West ignores the crusades in history lessons as they are unjustifiable, and barbaric. Yet they are invading the same lands 900 years later. When Muslims fought then they won, and we honour them, when they fight now they are ignored or criticised. I concede things are far more complicated and some groups fighting now are doing so in an un-Islamic way, but why not support those fighting today who are adhering to the 1400 year old Quranic principles of Jihad. If you don’t wish to leave all you know to fight then support it but speaking out in support not in criticism, when someone asks you about it do not change the subject or say jihad is a spiritual thing. God has decreed the duty of Muslims is to fight for the oppressed Muslim, the least Western Muslims can do is acknowledge that and those doing that today. Western Muslims are so fond of talking of the global Ummah and being a part of Islam, whether you are from Africa of China, and yet if you have to leave your comfortable Western homes and lives the Ummah becomes a hypothetical thing. Again, if you don’t want to go and fight at least stop ignoring the Jihad and Jihad’s place within Islam. All societies are proud of those who fight injustice and oppression, ours has it built into the religion as a core part and yet Western Muslims are shamed by it. If the prophet Muhammad was alive today do you believe he would be marching through the streets of London with a banner or fighting invasion forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine? I do not ask you to fight people in the streets of your host countries, you cannot, but the citizens of your host countries have no problem fighting you in your streets.
I do not ask that everyone reads this and buys a plane ticket to the Middle East, only that you honour Jihad’s place in Islam, that you distinguish between a criminal and a Mujahid, between murder and honourable Jihad, as both are happening as you read this.
If you wish to question my thoughts feel free.
Examples of Jihad being mentioned and providing Quranic support for this article as well as evidence so Muslims cannot deny the call are clear, view the examples for yourselves by looking in the Quran, if you would like some examples look to : Al-Baqara (190-193, 217-218), al-Imran 142, al-Nisaa (74-77,95), al-Tawbah (19-20, 38-39, 86-88, 111), al-Nahl 110, al-Hajj 39-40. There are several other examples of fighting in the cause of God, rules on Warfare, self-defence, spiritual Jihad however the examples I have provided are the ones most relevant to physical resistance and examples of things I have said regarding our duty of resistance.

I thank you for reading and I would like to say finally that do not fool yourselves into believing a protest changes anything, we have seen the past few years it doesn’t, what changes things for Muslims in those conflicts are the brave Muslims who take up true Jihad, and fight for justice and liberation and who do not kill their own.