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Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement; the Mujaddid (Reformer) of the 14th Century Hijrah; and, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi) <Please read his biography in the 'Biography' section>

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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 19: Jihad (Summary of the Chapter)


Chapter 19:
Jihad (Summary of the Chapter):


Jihad means the exerting of one's power in repelling the enemy or in contending with an object of disapprobation. It carries a twofold significance in Islam, being applied to both, the purely missionary activities of a Muslim and his defence of the Faith, when necessary, in a physical sense. The first duty -- the duty to invite people to Islam -- is a permanent duty laid upon all Muslims of all ages; while the second is a duty which arises upon certain contingencies. The Holy Qur'an calls attention to both these duties in the clearest and most forceful words. In the first place, it speaks of a jihad to attain to Allah (v. 1). Then it speaks of carrying on a jihad against unbelievers by means of the Holy Qur'an, and this it calls jihad-an kabir-an, a very great jihad (v. 2). Islam's greatest jihad is, therefore, not by means of the sword, but by means of the Holy Qur'an. i.e., a missionary effort to establish Islam. We are further told that there should always be among Muslims a party who invite people to Islam (v. 3). Thus the missionary jihad of Islam is to be carried on in all circumstances.

The sword could never be used to force Islam on others, compulsion in religion being forbidden in clear words (v. 4). Fighting was undoubtedly allowed but it was expressly allowed only as a defensive measure against those who were bent upon annihilating Islam by the sword, not to compel people to accept Islam (vv. 5, 6). When persecution ceased and every one was at liberty to profess whatever religion he liked, the sword had to be sheathed (v. 7). Even in the midst of the war, if the enemy wanted peace, war was to be discontinued (v. 8). The good news is finally given that not only will Islam not be annihilated but it would ultimately be ascendant over all other religions (v. 9).

Hadith also speaks of both kinds of jihad. It is a Muslim's foremost duty, and the most excellent deed a Muslim can do (hh. 1, 2). A promise is given that if Muslims exerted themselves to their utmost to uphold the cause of Islam, they would be in the ascendant (hh. 3, 4). There is a further promise that divinely inspired persons, called mujaddids, shall appear among Muslims to revive the faith (h. 5), and that a Messiah shall appear among them to carry the message of Islam to the Christian nations of the world in particular (h. 6).

Guiding a man to truth is spoken of as a Muslim's greatest treasure (h. 7), and the Holy Prophet himself wrote letters to kings in the 6th year of Hijrah, inviting them to accept Islam (h. 8). He never threatened any of them with invasion if his message was not accepted (h. 9). Muslims had to fight their battles, but this they had to do simply to defend Islam which unbelievers wanted to annihilate (vv. 5, 6). The cause of Truth was, however, to be defended unto death (h. 10), and Muslims were told to be a always ready, if the need arose, to defend the Faith with the sword, that being the way to Paradise (h. 11). The Holy Prophet's own soul yearned after martyrdom in defence of the Truth and if possible, to come back to life and die again defending the Truth (h. 12), and such should, therefore, be the desire of every Muslim. Martyrdom could, however, be attained in other ways too (h. 13). Even women took part in the battles which were being fought in defence of Islam (hh. 14, 15). Non-combatants were not to be killed in battle, there being a prohibition against the killing of women and children (h. 16). Fighting was to cease if the enemy offered peace, even though his intention might be to deceive (v. 8). or if the enemy entered the brotherhood of Islam (h. 17).

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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 19: Jihad (Summary of the Chapter)

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