Taliban and Jihad – what’s the thought?
What if we read Holy Quran and Hadiths of Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) without the context of Jihad, there could be number of people, both in West & East, who would feel happier than before? Because they feel that the root cause of today’s crisis is Jihadi approach of radical Muslims. If radicals could give it up then the world would be much safer!
This argument for world’s peace looks quite appealing however we need to review as why Islam and Muslims present Jihad and in what perspective!
Non-radical Muslims are mostly inclined towards the glittering of Western or materialistic society and they are working towards achieving such goals! Hence the real fight is between radical Muslims versus non-practicing Muslims! There’s only one exception to this formula. Radical Muslims are not violent against those non-Muslims who are not violent against them too!
Once we understand this ground formula we would be able to understand the Jihadi approach of radical Muslims.
Islam feels that the system of governance, it is putting forward to humanity, is a sort of divine revelation and based on that world’s peace could be achieved. In a way, Islam sets up a direct link between peace & Jihad. It says, “Jihad is mandatory against all the oppressors, as and when needed, where ever it exists.”
Looking back at the history, Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) once strengthen the system of governance in the city of Madinah, had started sending letters to rulers of his time, inviting them towards the true path of Islam. And for those who had rejected his preaching (Dawat), he had sent soldiers to fight with them and install new rulers who were likely to embrace Islam.
By looking at the Islamic history, we could formulate few rules easily:
1. Islam, in its approach, is the only right divine revelation, came to correct the past revelations (brought by Jesus or Moses) those became distorted in 7th century AD
2. Hence, the system of society which Islam has formulated, is the one & only system, that could lead the humanity towards the path of survival and peace
3. Basis on that, Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) had penned down many letters to various heads of states, during his time, to embrace Islam and adopt its system and approach. If you are denying to do so then be ready until it would be decided in the battle field and if we would be successful we would install the system of society, which is Islam
4. After Holy Prophet, all four Muslim rulers (Khulfa e Rashideen) had continued this Jihad philosophy and conducted it with full religious zeal
5. Even after that, Muslims rulers, who were not termed as Khalifas, continued to conduct Jihad and to spread Islam far & wide
6. To eradicate the evils and wrongs, now rooted in society, Jihad is the way. But any practising individual has not been given any right to combat against any non-practising Muslim or non-Muslim, violently or taking his or her live
7. To align with true spirit of Jihad, a system of Islamic governance is mandatory that could perform dual check over the fighting armies as they should be align per the war guidelines chalked out by Islam. Geneva Convention for POW has borrowed number of items from the same charter documented by Holy prophet centuries ago.
8. Private armies couldn’t fight against each other or in the name of Allah against non Muslims. Like in Pakistan bordering areas, each Islamic seminary, initially inspired by their Afghan counterparts, has become the source of such struggle
9. Islam didn’t consider the fight among the private Muslims armies as Jihad
10. An agreed sincere ruler is mandatory, such as Khalifa, not necessarily he would be termed as Khalifa
11. The essence of Jihad is to install the Islamic system of governance in that area, rather than expansion of Islamic government or setting up individual’s authority
By knowing these simple facts about Jihad and its operation, we need to look at the thoughts of radical Muslims, as how they feel about their US-inclined fellows. They term in today’s world – main issues are as under:
1. Generally, Muslims all over the world, are divided into two categories – practising and non-practising, those who are inclined towards the materialistic civilization.
2. In sub continent this inclination credit goes to late Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, who had advised Muslims of his time to accept British language, scientific knowledge (all were in English language), and inter-mixing with English society to defeat the rising Hindus, who were populous. In an environment of defeat, unfortunately British culture came along with the lines of education and hence traditional Eastern culture had lost its ground. How much Sir Syed was successful, we could see that the division between Madrsahs & Universities are far & wide and couldn’t be bridged! The height of this gap comes to a level that religious seminaries students, now termed as Taliban collectively, may conclude that the time is not far away when so-called Pakistani writers or intellects could term the battle of Badr as ‘Violence against Abu Jehal.’
3. This division is resulting fights among Muslims only. If you look at Pakistan , Swat Army Operation against Taliban, both sides are raising Allah o Akbar slogans against each other in the battle field. Government of Pakistan and its army feels that they are the one who is on the right path. That’s how they termed their operation as Operation Rahe e Rast where as Taliban feel that they are fighting against those Muslims who are partnering with US and Allied forces. And US forces are being conducting atrocities in neighbouring Afghanistan , hence fight against Pakistan or its Army is the true path of today’s Islamic need
4. Beside ethnic warfare in southern Punjab of Pakistan, students of religious seminaries feel that their non practising brothers & sisters are getting out of Islamic circle and hence few, became quite violent in their approach, have started killing each other through various means. Suicide attacks are one of the examples of some religious fanatic against his own brothers.
5. With this internal division, and surrounded by number of enemies (For example Pakistan, where India in East and Indian aligned Afghanistan in West harbouring number of conspiracies against it), in Muslims states democracy could bring real fruits, up to a level where a society could be formed within the guidelines of Islam and social justice
6. The failure of democracy, especially in illiterate Muslim world, is quite evident. In a country like Pakistan , where democracy is hijacked by feudal lords since last 60 years, has paved the way towards internal division of religious forces, due to their thoughts too, and hence internal frustration is paving the way towards violent activities those are taking ground swiftly. Ethnic fights are one of the main out come of internal divisions
7. Ultimately, the concept of nation state had developed a society, system, force, army but all without the governance guidelines of Islam. Any one who is part of that system or society, if practices Islam, does it personally. So you may find a soldier, who has grown beard or prays five times day, but all based on his personal intuition
8. Hence, with this half-baked democracy, there’s no Islamic system of government exist in any of the Muslim countries with the exception of Iran . Probably, the root cause is the concept of Nation State, which has evolved in last century. Ultimately the concept of Ummah has also gone to background.
Within this context when a religious student looks at the state of affairs surrounding him, he feels threatened by his own weakness and finds no way to change the society. If you look at Sufi Muhammad, or Fazlullah or Muslim or Izzat Khan or any religious activist in Northern areas of Pakistan, you could find that they are much inspired by the success of Taliban in Afghanistan, now willing to implement the Shariah, of their own faction, by force.
Beside them, number of infiltrators within Taliban forces, either by India or Karzai govt for their own vested motives, is serving two purposes: defamation against Islamic system of governance or punishments and building pressure upon present Pakistani weak govt to get extra leverage in terms of US logistic support.
Last, the presence of US forces in Afghanistan or Pakistani border areas, where weekly drone attacks are killing number of innocents, is provoking the emotions of revenge, which is quite obvious in any tribal society.
This is eleventh hour for Pakistan – not govt only but common men too, to re think about the choices for which this country came into existence. In last 60 years social injustices have torn apart the entire nation. A silent revolution, a sense of hatred against elites is being developed among poors. Probably, the recent army operation or Govt supported US-controlled Drone attacks may gain some success over Taliban and they might get crushed as of now. But in long run, Taliban or radical forces have laid the foundations to defeat super powers. The painful history from 2001 till 2009 has taught that religious forces, even if they are partially astray, couldn’t be curbed by drones or missiles or bullets.
There’s a need to analyse the concept of Taliban Shariah and after cleansing Taliban approach from Afghan or tribal culture or traditions, there would be no choice for people of Pakistan to decide – the way or to wait for Allah!