Law of Retaliation 3

Initial Jihad

Question: What you stated about defensive Jihad in Islam is proper and acceptable for us. We too confess that defensive Jihad is not considered as violence. Rather, it is in agreement with Islamic benevolence and clemency. Is the initial Jihad which is performed initially and without any attack by the other party, in accordance with Islamic clemency? And not considered as a sort of violence?

Answer: It could be replied in two ways. Pay attention.

First answer: Is there any initial Jihad in Islam?

Some Islamic researchers, scholars and historians believe that there is not any initial Jihad in Islam, and all the wars that occurred at Prophet’s (S) time at the beginning of Islam have been defensive, that is, first the enemy has attacked, then Prophet (S) and Muslims defended themselves.

For instance, in the “Confederates Battle”, which was one of the most extensive battles by Islam enemies against Prophet (S) and Muslims, the idolaters started the war. They departed towards Medina from different parts of Hejaz headed by Mecca idolaters, and surrounded the city. Muslims had to defend their soul, wealth, honor and beliefs. Does any sane agree to keep silent before the armed enemies (intending to kill Islam Prophet (S) and Muslims, and capture their women and children and destroy Medina)? Is confronting with them considered as violence?

In the Battle of Hunain, Prophet (S) was informed that “Havazan tribe” and some other idolaters are going to assault Medina, the main base of Muslims. Prophet (S) prepared Muslims for defending themselves and their religion, and thereby the battle of Hunain occurred.

Among the wars at the beginning of Islam, it may seem that “The Battle of Khaybar” has been an initial Jihad, but while studying history it is clarified that it has been a defensive one. Prophet (S) was going to give a telling response to the plots, sabotages and mischief of those who were implicated directly or indirectly in most events. Moreover, Khaybar was the center of corruption and sedition, and Muslims aimed to destroy this center. Therefore, the Battle of Khaybar too was not an initial Jihad.

The same applies to the Badr battle. In the second year of Hjirah, two events took place in the Battle of Badr, one of which was known as minor Badr and the other as major Badr, both initiated by Islam’s enemies.

The Prophet (S) was informed that a group Heads of Meccan idolaters have come around Medina, and have plundered Muslims’ camels, sheep and other properties, and are escaping to Mecca. Prophet (S) ordered the Muslim soldiers to chase them. The soldiers chased them to Badr, but despaired of finding the enemy.

The event finished without any conflict and it was known as minor Badr. The major Badr battle which occurred later in the same year, was a response to the sharp aggression by the Mecca heads, and was a defensive war.

“Conquest of Mecca” was one of the important campaigns by the Prophet (S). However, first, it aimed at destruction of center of Islam enemies and idolaters, because all Muslim problems, adversities and wars were planned there. Secondly, no war happened during “Conquest of Mecca”. When the idolaters observed the Muslims' mighty and crowded army, they surrendered themselves without any war and blood-shed.

In brief, according to this group of Islamic researchers, scholars and historians, all wars that occurred at the beginning of Islam were defensive, and none was considered as an initial Jihad. Qur’anic verses too confirm this:

أَلَا تُقَاتِلُونَ قَوْمًا نَكَثُوا أَيْمَانَهُمْ وَهَمُّوا بِإِخْرَاجِ الرَّسُولِ وَهُمْ بَدَءُوكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ

"Will you not fight a people who broke their oaths and purposed to expel the Messenger, beginning the first time against you?"(1)

The phrase “beginning the first time against you” indicates that the wars at the beginning of Islam were defensive, and not initial.

In another verse God excludes a group of idolaters after declaring war with them and says:

إِلَّا الَّذِينَ عَاهَدْتُمْ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَنْقُصُوكُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَمْ يُظَاهِرُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَحَدًا فَأَتِمُّوا إِلَيْهِمْ عَهْدَهُمْ إِلَىٰ مُدَّتِهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَّقِينَ

"Excepting those of the idolaters with whom you made covenant, then they failed you ought not lent support to any man against you. With them fulfill your covenant till their term; surely God loves the god-fearing."(2)

The words applied in this verse indicate that Muslims will not involve in war with idolaters as far as Islam enemies do not break their promises, and are not supporting those who are directly fighting with Muslims, and no danger is felt from their side. In one word, Muslims will not initiate war.

In addition to the above two verses, verse 61, of ‘The Spoils’ surah proves the same. The verse recommends Muslims that if they are called for peace; they shall receive their call and reply positively. The verse implies that Islam does not attack and assault the tribes, nations and countries not initiating war against it.

In brief, as per some Islamic researchers, scholars and historians, wars by Islam Prophet (S) at the beginning of Islam have been all defensive, and none has been on its initiative. Some Qur’anic verses too approve of the same.

Second answer: In some special cases, initial Jihad is in concordance with logic and intellect

Three types of initial Jihad are induced from the Holy Qur’an which are in concordance with intellect and practice of all sane in the world, and are not in contradiction with Islamic benevolence and clemency:

1) Jihad for extinguishing sedition

Qur’an refers to this type of Jihad:

وَقَاتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّىٰ لَا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الدِّينُ لِلَّهِ

"Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is God’s."(3)

According to the verse, wherever there is mischief, and there is no other way except war for its elimination, we are authorized to initiate Jihad for elimination of mischief and sedition. As it was stated, such initial Jihad is acceptable by all the sane and other religions and doctrines in the world. Practice of the sane confirms it too, two samples of which are referred to hereunder:

a) Several years ago, when the Muslim countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina were assaulted wildly by the oppressor Serbs, they destroyed the houses, mosques, farms, hospitals and other institutes of this Islamic country, and even worse, they initiated a widespread genocide. A union was formed by the European countries to find a solution for this sedition. Finally, they concluded that there remains no way save military aggression and fighting with Serbs. Thus, they attacked them and extinguished the sedition.

Here, we do not care the motives of the said union (if they aimed at spiritual affairs and supporting Muslims or prevention from the problems which will involve them in the future.). However, they authorized and accomplished the initial Jihad and military attack for extinguishing the sedition by Serbs, and the sane in world approved them.

b) Another live example is the war which occurred recently in Afghanistan. We saw that after ruling this country, Taliban started widespread cultivation of poppy to taint the neighboring countries, Middle east and rather, all the world. Moreover, they committed unprecedented crimes in Afghanistan, and changed into a dangerous cause of disturbance for people in Afghanistan and other countries.

For termination of this tumult and elimination of disturbance, UN formed a force to attack to Afghanistan and save the oppressed people of this country and the entire world from Taliban. Undoubtedly, this was approved and accepted by all the sane in the world. Afghan people objected the U.S. in this event because they knew that U.S. did not enter Afghanistan for elimination of disturbance, and rather, it was seeking for its own interests.

So, Jihad and war for extinguishing disturbance which is induced from Holy Qur’an is accepted by all the sane in world, and is not to be considered as violence.

Continue in the next article: ( Law of Retaliation 4 )



1. The Quran 9:13

2. The Quran 9:4

3. The Quran 2:193

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