Questions on Jihad and Shahadah


Contemporary Fatawa, Fiqh, Jihad / Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Q. We hear a lot of talk about Jihad these days, like the Afghanistan Jihad, the Kashmir Jihad. Then, we have the proliferation of shaheeds in our society with political parties and activist groups claiming shahadah for those dead from among their ranks. All this is very confusing. We seem to have lost the yard-stick which could help us distinguish between Jihad or bilateral hostility, shahadah or natural or crime-oriented death and straight self-ruination. Please help us with your advice.

A. The first subject requires a larger frame of discussion where we have to determine what becomes Jihad, and when, and what conditions are binding therein. It is difficult to cover all these aspects within the scope of the occasion we have here. The best course is to isolate the inquiry to a particular case of Jihad and try to find out whether or not it is Jihad. As for Shahadah, the rule is that one who lays down his life fighting in the way of Allah is a Shaheed. Then, anyone killed ‘zulman’ or unjustly is a shaheed. But, here are two Muslims fighting each other for no reason whatsoever or for the wrong reason, while one of them kills the other, that is, for no reason, then, as the hadith rules, the killer deserves Hell and so does the killed. Both must go to Hell because the one killed, had he managed to lay his hands on the killer, he would have been the one to have killed his killer
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Q. Let us take the case of Jihad in Afghanistan. So many Muslims were killed there in genocide style, by the invading armies of Russia. Then, the long stiff resistance made them withdraw and in their wake came America with all sorts of game plans. They are still playing… .

A. Not playing anymore. Maybe, they are all too sick with the scare of so-called ‘fundamentalism’ of theirs and eager enough to get ride of his hugaboo. . .

Q. Please overlook the digression. I wanted to find out about the nature of Afghan resistance. Was it Jihad?

A. After the Russian armies invaded there, the resistance put up by the Muslims of Afghanistan will certainly be termed as Jihad. There is no doubt about it that those who laid down their lives in this valiant effort are shaheed.

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