Imam Abu Hanifa, the eighth-century systematizer of Muslim law, is held in the highest regard by Muslims all over the world.  He is also the most important authority for Muslims in India, a majority of whom subscribe to his school (mazhab).  And the most outstanding treatise of his school is the HidAyah compiled by Shaykh Burhan-ud-din Ali who flourished in the 12th century (CE).  The Shaykh claims to have studied all earlier commentaries on the Quran and the Hadis belonging to the schools of MAlik, ShAfii and Hanbal, besides that of Hanifa.

The HidAyah in its original Arabic is still the standard textbook for students of fiqh (jurisprudence) in famous Muslim seminaries such as the Dar-ul-Ulum at Deoband.  It was translated into English for the first time by Charles Hamilton of the East India Company and published from London in 1791.  A reprint has been brought out recently by a Muslim publishing house in New Delhi.

This voluminous work deals with all the traditional subjects that are common to this class of commentaries.  What interests us in the present context, however, is its Book IX: The Institutes.  The translator observers: “This book contains a chief part of what may be properly termed the political ordinances of Muhammad and is useful both in a historical and a legal view - in the former, as it serves to explain the principles upon which the Arabians proceeded in their first conquests, (and in which they have been imitated by all successive generations of Mussulmans), and in the latter, as many of the rules here laid down, with respect to subjugated countries, continue to prevail, in all of that description at the present day.”

We shall summarise below some of the chapters from Book IX to show the character of jihAd.  It will be noticed that the learned Shaykh quotes the Quran and the precedents set by the Prophet, in order to clinch every point.

Doctrine of Permanent War

Chapter I introduces jihAd by stating that it “is established as a divine ordinance, by the word of Allah, who has said, in the Koran, ‘Slay the infidels,’ and also by a saying of the Prophet, ‘War is permanently established until the day of judgment’.” But it is not “a positive injunction (farz-ayn)” for the individual Muslim and is “enjoined only for the purpose of advancing the true faith.” If it is made a “positive injunction,” every Muslim everywhere will have to engage in war, “in which case the materials for war (such as horses, armour and so forth) could not be procured.” Therefore, “the sacred injunction concerning war is sufficiently served when it is carried on by any one party or tribe of Mussalmans.” On the other hand, if “no one Mussalman were to make war, the whole of the Mussalmans would incur the criminality of neglecting it.”

War becomes a “positive injunction” when “infidels invade a Mussalman territory” and the Imam (leader) of the time “issues a general proclamation requiring all persons to stand forth and fight.” All.  Muslims “whether men or women” have to obey the Imam whether he be “a just or unjust person.” In case the Muslims of the territory invaded fail to “repulse the infidels,” war becomes a “positive injunction” for Muslims in the neighbouring lands.  “All the Mussalmans from east to west” must move into the war by stages, till the “infidels are repulsed.”

In conclusion, it is stated that “the destruction of the sword (qatl) is incurred by infidels, although they be not the first aggressors, as appears from various passages in the sacred writings, which are generally received to this effect.”

Manner of Waging War

Chapter II discusses the “manner of waging war.” In principle, Muslims should not invade an “infidel” territory without first inviting the “infidels” to embrace Islam or pay jizyah (capitation-tax).  The “infidels” must be made to know that they are being “attacked for the sake of religion and not for the sake of taking their property, or making slaves of their children.” War is automatically terminated if the “infidels” embrace Islam or agree to pay capitation-tax.

In practice, however, the Muslims can mount surprise attacks “on the infidels, slay them, and take their property.” This breach of principle invites no censure because “that which protects (namely, Islam) does not exist in them, nor are they under protection by place,” that is, they are not citizens of an Islamic state.  It is “laudable” to warn the “infidels” in advance.  But it is “not incumbent as it appears in the Naki Saheeh that the Prophet plundered and despoiled the tribe of Mooslick by surprise; and he also agreed with AsAma, to make a predatory attack upon Cobna at an early hour, and then set it on fire.”

Slaughter of Women and Children

Similarly, “slaying of the women or infant children of infidels” is also prohibited in principle.  But if a Muslim slays them, he invites no censure.  It may also be noted that slaying of women and children is not prohibited on grounds of mercy but because they constitute a part of the plunder of which Muslim conquerors should not be deprived.

Total War

If the “infidels” refuse to embrace Islam or pay capitation-tax, Muslims should attack them “with all manner of warlike engines (as the Prophet did by the people of Tayeef), and also set fire to their habitations (in the same manner as the Prophet fired Baweera), and must inundate them with water, and tear up their plantations, and tread down their grains.” All these methods are ,4 sanctified by the law” because they weaken the “infidels”, break their will to resistance and reduce their resources.

Treatment of the Handicapped

Disfiguring of people is also prohibited.  Although the Prophet had “disfigured the Oorneans,” a subsequent “revelation” abrogated the practice.  Muslims should not slay women or children or men who are aged or blind or bed-ridden or paralytic or dismembered of the right hand.  Imam ShAfii disagrees.  He sanctions slaying of all these categories of “infidels” because, according to him, “infidelity is an occasion of slaughter being allowable.” In any case, if “infidels” of these categories get killed in the course of war, it is of no consequence.  They can also be slain if they “attempt to fight.” A woman who is “a queen or chief” should be slain for sure because she may cause trouble if she remains alive.

A Son can Slay his Father

It is forbidden to a Muslim to slay his father.  But if the father happens to be an “infidel” and comes out to fight, the son “should hold him in view” till someone else comes and kills him.  In case the father attacks the son, the father can be slain by the son without any hesitation.

Strategies of Peace

Chapter III is on “making peace.” If the Imam [leader of the jihAd] finds that peace with the “infidels” is in the interest of Muslims, he should agree to it, as the Prophet had done with the “infidels” of Mecca.  Peace “is war in effect, where the interest of the Mussalmans requires it.” But when peace is not in the interest of Muslims, it is not lawful, “as this would be abandoning war, both apparently and in effect.”

The Imam can also violate a time-bound truce with the “infidels” and go to war if “it is most advantageous for the Mussalman interest to break it [the truce].” When the circumstances change in favour of the Muslims, observation of an agreed truce is tantamount to “a desertion of war, both in appearance and also in effect, and war is an ordinance of Allah and the forsaking of it is not becoming.”

Making peace with the “infidels” in exchange for property is lawful if “the Mussalmans stand in need of the property.” But if the property is not needed by the Muslims, it is not lawful to make peace in exchange for it, “since peace is a desertion of war, both in appearance and in effect.” Similarly, if the Muslims are harassed by the “infidels” and offered peace in exchange for property, the Imam should not make peace “as this would be a degradation of Mussalman honour.” But if the Muslims face extermination, it is lawful to purchase peace with property.

Division of Plunder

Chapter IV deals with “plunder and the division thereof.” If an “infidel” country is conquered by force of arms, the Imam can divide it among the Muslims “in the same manner as the Prophet had divided Kheebir among his followers.” He can also leave it in the hands of the original inhabitants, “exacting from them a capitation-tax, and imposing a tribute on their lands.” He should decide what is best in the circumstances.  His decision regarding land should also dictate his disposal of the moveable property of the “infidels”.  If the “infidels” are to lose their lands, their entire moveable property should also be taken away from them.  In case they are to continue with the cultivation of lands, they should be allowed to retain “such a portion of their moveable property as may enable them to perform their business.”

War-Prisoners are Part of Plunder 

The Imam has three courses open to him regarding “infidels” captured in war.  He can put them to death “because the Prophet put captives to death, and also because slaying them terminates wickedness.” Or, he can sell them into slavery so that “the evil of them is remedied, at the same time as the Mussalmans reap an advantage.” Or, he can make them zimmis “according to what is recorded of Omar.” But it is not lawful “to release the idolaters of Arabia or apostates.” They are to be slaughtered straight-away.

If the prisoners of war embrace Islam, they should not be put to death.  But it is lawful to sell them into slavery even after their conversion “because the reason for making them slaves had existence previous to their embracing the faith.”

It is not lawful to exchange “infidel” prisoners in Muslim hands with Muslim prisoners in “infidel” hands.  Such an exchange helps the “infidels” because the “infidel” prisoners who are released “will again return to fight the Mussalmans.” On the other hand, if Muslim prisoners are left in “infidel” hands, the “injury” is confined only to those Muslims and “does not extend to the other Mussalmans.” Release of “infidel” prisoners in exchange for property is also unlawful.  But it can also be considered if the Mussalmans need the property “because the Prophet released the captives taken at Biddir for a ransom.” An “infidel” prisoner who embraces Islam can also be exchanged for a Muslim prisoner in “infidel” hands, provided “there be no apprehension of his apostatizing.”

Imam ShAfii says that “infidel” prisoners can be released gratuitously also in order to confer favour upon them.  He cites the example of the Prophet who had released some captives as a matter of favour after the Battle of Badr.  But this course of action has been abrogated by “the text of the Quran” which says, “Slay the idolaters, wherever ye find them.”

Muslims are free “to feed their cattle with plunder whilst in the enemy’s country.” They can themselves eat such “plunder as fit food.” This is in keeping with what the Prophet had said at Khybar, “Eat the food found in plunder, and feed your cattle with the forage.”

Sharing the Property of the Converts and the Killed

If an “infidel” in a hostile land embraces Islam, “his person is his own... because a Mussalman cannot be subjected to bondage.” His infant children should also be left with him together with whatever moveable property he may possess.  The Prophet had said, “whoever becomes a Mussalman, and is possessed of property in his own hands, such property belongs to him.” But his immoveable properties “become the property of the public treasury”, that is, should be treated as plunder.  So also his wife and “her foetus”, if she happens to be pregnant.

The Imam should keep one-fifth of the plunder for himself and divide the rest among the soldiers, “as it was thus the Prophet divided it.” There are many minor details regarding the share of a horseman as compared to that of a foot-soldier, rewards to be given to women, children and slaves who helped the army, and “an extraordinary gratuity” to be paid to zimmis who worked as guides.

Gratuity should also be paid to particular persons over and above their share of plunder, in case they showed special zeal in killing the “infidels”.  The Imam can make them zealous in fighting by declaring, “whoever kills an infidel will have his garments.” Allah had commanded that course to the Prophet in the Quran by saying, “Excite the believers.”

Imam ShAfii maintains that “the personal effects of the person slain belong to the slayer.” He quotes the Prophet who had said, “whoever slays an infidel is entitled to his personal property.” But the Prophet had also said that “No more appertains to you of the property of the person you have slain, than your Imam may think proper to allow.” In any case, it should be remembered that personal property means “whatever may be found upon the person of the slain, such as clothes, weapons, and armour, and also the animal upon which he rode, together with the equipage such as the saddle and so forth, or whatever may be found upon him in his girdle or pocket, such as purse or gold and so forth.” Anything carried for him “on another animal by his servant”, is not to be treated as his personal property.

The Status of Zimmis

Chapter VIII concerns jizyah or capitation-tax.  When Muslims conquer an “infidel” country by force of arms, “the inhabitants, together with their wives and children are all plunder and property of the state, as it is lawful to reduce to slavery all infidels.” Imam ShAfii says that “destruction is incurred by all infidels”, that is, they should be put to death immediately after they surrender.  But the Quran provides for capitation-tax by paying which the kitAbis (People of the Book) can buy their lives.  The Prophet had also said, “Take from every male and female and adult one Deenar or cloth to that value.” All others, particularly the idolaters (mushriks), are “subject to the original penalty, which is destruction.”

KitAbis can become zimmis on agreeing to pay capitation-tax.  They have to live under certain disabilities.  They cannot build new churches or synagogues.  The rule, however, applies only to cities because “the tokens of Islam (such as public prayer, festivals, and so forth) appear in cities.” New places of worship can be built by the zimmis in the villages.  They can also repair old places of worship which fall into decay.

The zimmis should also look distinct from Muslims “in point both of garments and equipage.” They should not be “allowed to ride upon horses, or to use armour, or to use the same saddles and wear the same garments or headgear as the Mussalmans.” The reason for this distinction in dress and equipage is that “Mussalmans may be held in honour.” If the zimmis look no different, Mussalmans may salute them first, which is dishonourable.  The zimmis should, therefore, be made to wear “a woollen cord or belt round their waists or outside of their garments.” In no case should this cord or belt be made of silk.

The wives of zimmis should be “kept separate from the wives of Muslims, both in public roads, and also in the baths.” The zimmis should put some distinctive sign on their houses so that “beggars who come to their door may not pray for them.” Some theologians recommend that zimmis should not be “permitted to ride at all, except in cases of absolute necessity.” In any case, a zimmi should alight “wherever he sees any Mussalmans assembled.” Rich zimmis should be “Prohibited from wearing rich garments.”

The Hadis on JihAd

The doctrine of jihAd is expounded in numerous books on the Shariat, as also in collections of fatwas such as FatAwa-I-‘AlamgIri compiled in the reign of Aurangzeb.  In India, the “infidels” referred to were always Hindus.  The only exception was a call for jihAd against the Christian invaders of an Islamic kingdom in India.  The book was written by Shykh Zeenu’d-Din, a Muslim theologian who lived in the reign of Ali I Adil Shah (1557-1580 CE) of Bijapur.  His aim was “the arousing of the faithful to engage in holy warfare against the worshippers of crucifixes [Portuguese Christians]” who were engaged in “infamous machinations against the religion of Islamism” in Malabar.  We have chosen him also because he cites in full many sayings of the Prophet recorded in various collections of Hadis.  We quote him verbatim.

He introduces the doctrine in the following words written in his preface to the book:

‘Further, the Imam-Ahmud (on whom be peace!) has related on the authority of Al-Mikdad that he heard the Prophet (for ever blessed) to exclaim: “There shall not remain a dwelling in the city, or on the plain, on which Allah shall not cause to descend the word of Islamism, which shall dignify him [who is] already righteous, and condemn him who lives in sin, to the salvation of the one, and the everlasting ruin of the other.” For those whom “Allah would exalt, will he make of the number of true believers, whilst, those whose destruction has been predetermined, shall seal it by rejecting this holy faith, which indeed,” said I, “has Allah for its author and its end.” Now be it known, that Allah most high bath willed, that the faith of Islamism should flourish throughout the chief of the inhabited regions of the earth; in some countries making the sword and compulsion the means of its dissemination, in others preaching and exhortation…’1

Coming to the doctrine itself, he continues in the main text:

‘Know then, that infidels shall be regarded in two distinct points of view.  And first: those who are dwelling peaceably in their own countries, and against whom if one person only from any party of Moslems shall go forth to war, the divine co d on this subject will have been sufficiently observed, and the remainder of his brethren are not called upon to proceed against them.  But should no one be found thus to offer himself as the holy champion of his party, then it becomes the duty of all to arm.  Secondly: The case of infidels who shall invade the territories of the Moslems, as is now the case in the contest in which we are engaged.  Now to attack these, becomes an act of paramount duty for every pious Mahomedan, and for all who would support their religion, whether bond or free, male for female, of the city or of the plain, without being dependent on or guided by the consent or refusal of master, husband, father or creditor, or of any other person to whom he or she might in other matters owe obedience; since to engage in this warfare is imperative on every person whether within three days’ journey of the position of the infidels or beyond that distance; should the forces of the faithful not be sufficiently strong to admit of their services being dispensed with.  It is the duty of him who is the leader in this holy war to take counsel, and concert measures with his companions, regarding the manner in which hostilities should be carried on, setting in order their ranks: and, should any plunder fall into their hands, first causing it to be collected into one place, and afterwards distributing it, giving the effects of the slain to those by whose swords they fell.  And regarding this subject of the division of booty, whatever shall have been the personal property of the infidel (for instance, his clothes, boots, waistbelt, purse of money, or any cash or portion of his pay, or rings of silver or gold that shall be found on his person, with his weapons and horse, and saddle and bridle), of all these the chief shall make an equal division into five shares.  Of these shares, one being again divided by him into five portions.  And of these portions, one shall be set aside for the general good of the Moslems, to be appropriated in the repairing of breaches, the building of fortifications and bridges, the raising of mosques, and for defraying the salaries of Cazees and Imams.  Another shall be given to the descendants of the Prophet (upon whom be the blessing and peace of Allah!), to the descendants of Hashum and the descendants of Motalleb.  One portion shall be distributed amongst those who are orphans, and one amongst the poor and destitute, in whose number the fakeers shall be included.  The fifth portion shall go to travellers.  And the four shares out of five that remain shall be the property of the captors and those who were present at the time of the battle, and who actually were engaged in it. Further, he who combats against infidels, should offer up prayers and supplication to Allah for victory; occupying himself in the performance of acts of piety, reposing especially his whole trust in Allah (most high), before engaging in this holy warfare: for Allah it is who makes to prosper …2

‘Verily, Almighty and all Hallowed, bath said, “It has been written; that war against infidels is incumbent on you; nevertheless ye are averse to engage in it. Take care, however, that herein ye do not refuse that which is profitable for you, and perchance desire that which shall injure you, for the Lord is omniscient, whilst your understandings are blinded.”3 Further he said, “Surely Allah has purchased of the faithful their lives and possessions, in that he has vouchsafed unto them the blessings of paradise if they will fight for the cause of Allah; and whether they kill others or be themselves slain, of this the promises are made sure to them, both by the Tourat, the Injeel, and the Koran. And who shall be more faithful to his covenant than Allah!  Rejoice ye, then, in the covenant which ye have made, for by it shall ye obtain great happiness.”4 And he said, “nose who expend their wealth in the cause of Allah and to advance his religion, may be compared to a grain of corn, which produces seven ears, and in each of which are a hundred grains; for Allah giveth increase where he will, and is all-bounteous and all-wise.”5 And he said, “Consider not those who have been slain in the cause of Allah as dead, but rather as yet alive in the presence of their Allah, being filled with joy for that of which, by the grace of Allah, they have been thought worthy, rejoicing for the sake of those who following, have not hitherto arrived where they themselves are, seeing that both fear and grief are far from them.”6 And it is related in the Soheih of Bookharee and Moossellim, upon the authority of Abu-Horeirah (of whom may Allah approve!), that it was once asked of the Prophet (upon whom may the blessing and peace of Allah for ever rest!) what act was of all the most meritorious: he answered, “faith in Allah, and in his prophet; after this,” added he, “fighting in the cause of religion;” and then, “pilgrimage to Mecca.” Moreover the same authors, upon the same authority, have written, that the Prophet (upon whom be the blessing and peace of Allah!) declared, “Allah has made it incumbent upon him who goes forth in his cause, that he should do so with firm trust in him, and with faith in his prophet.  If he shall return in safety he shall be rewarded by the plunder which he shall have acquired; but if he shall be slain, then paradise awaits him.” Abu-Horeirah also has said, the Prophet declared (on him be peace!), “I swear by him from whom I have derived my being, that there exists not amongst the faithful one who can reject me, and who shall be found to deny that merit which I have ascribed to fighting for the sake of Allah; and I swear by him in whose hands is my life, that I not only desire to die in so holy a cause, but that if I possessed three lives, I would cheerfully resign them all in the same manner!” Abu Horeirah further says, the Prophet (on whom be peace!) declared, “He who goes forth to contend for Allah, shall be considered equal in merit to those who practise upon themselves all the austerities and bodily mortifications which have been commanded by Allah; nor shall the holy warrior be considered to have omitted either prayer or self-discipline whilst he shall be absent in this warfare.” Further, on the authority of the same associate, the Prophet (on him be peace!) is declared to have said, “There has no one been wounded in fighting for Allah but that it is known to Allah, and who shall not appear on the last day; from whose wound also the blood that flows shall be of a golden hue, and its odour that of musk.” Anas moreover has related that the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared, “Although to fight in the cause of Allah is a service of mortal danger, yet of all things in the world it is the best which a man can perform, and shall afford the most satisfaction.” Further, said he, the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared, “There is no one who has found admission into paradise, who would desire to return again into the world, except it were that he might find the glorious death of a martyr; for nothing could be an inducement to him to leave the happiness of paradise for this world, unless he could for ten times make surrender of his life for Allah.” Also Jaber (Allah rest satisfied with him!), relates, that a man said to the Prophet (on him he peace!) on the fatal day of Ohod, “O thou Prophet! I discern that my death draws nigh, where shall my spirit be?” He answered, “in paradise.” On hearing this, the warrior cast from him the dates that were in his hands, and rushing into the conflict, fought desperately until he was slain.  And Sahal Ben-Saad relates, that the Prophet (on him be peace and blessing!) declared, “To sit astride your horse, for one day in contending for Allah, is a higher satisfaction than all else that the world can afford.” Abu Moosa also relates, that one came to the Prophet (on whom be the blessing and peace of Allah!) and asked, “the man who slays to obtain plunder, or he who fights to perpetuate his fame, or he who enters the combat in order that he may obtain martyrdom and behold the place prepared for him, which of these three fights most for Allah, and serves him in the truest way?” He answered, “He who fights in observance of the word of Allah, he it is who is before all, and he who renders to Allah the most faithful service.” And Abu Saud-ul-Hazree relates, that the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared, “He of all mankind is the most righteous whose faith is sincere, and who freely expends his life and substance in fighting for Allah.” Bookharee also, upon the authority of Abu Horeirah, that the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared, “Verily, in paradise there are a hundred degrees of elevation, and each distinct; and Allah has promised to those who fight for his sake, the intermediate space between one degree and the other, as the space which exists between the heavens and the earth.  When Allah shall enquire of you, which degree ye desire, then answer ye, ‘Firdoos, since it is in the centre of paradise, and situated in the most delightful and exalted part of it; above being the throne of the All-merciful, and out of it the rivers of paradise flowing.” Further, Abu-Abas has related, that the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared, “He who shall not arouse himself from slumber, and exert himself in the service of Allah, him shall the fire of hell receive.” And Abu-Kais also says, “I heard Saad relate, that he, with certain Arabs (of whom he was chief) had gone out to fight for Allah against unbelievers, the Prophet (on whom be peace!) being also of their company; and no food being procurable, except the leaves of trees, one of their party devoured a quantity of these, equal to what a camel or sheep would eat, nevertheless he suffered no harm!” Moreover Abu Horeirah (Allah rest satisfied with him!) related, that the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared, “He who shall bestow a horse upon one who would enlist himself under the banner of the Most High, and be one who has faith in Allah and in his promises, surely both the food of that horse and the sustenance of his rider, with the ordure of the former, shall be placed in the scales for his advantage on the day of judgment.” Moossellim further relates from that commentator (Abu Horeirah), that the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared, “He who shall die without having fought for Allah, or who never proposed that duty to himself, verily consigns himself to destruction by his hypocrisy.” Again, “The infidel, and he who slays him, shall not be gathered in the fire together!” Again, “Of mankind he is the most meritorious, who shall urge on his horse when fighting for Allah; flying forward, as it were, upon his back; disregardless of whatever shall reach his hearing, although horrible; neither being averted by any sounds of lamentation that shall assault him, although so terrible, indeed, as to frighten away from him all sense of death and destruction: for neither the man who shall seize upon the plunder of infidels (and whose head shall be almost turned with his good fortune), or he who in the solitude of the desert shall mortify his body by rigid privations and prayer, and so shall have obtained full knowledge of Allah, shall be compared with him first spoken of, although they shall not be without their reward.” And Jabir Ben Surmah relates, that the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared, “Verily the true faith shall stand first, and the wearers of the turbans shall fight in defence of it until the last day.” Soliman the Persian also relates, that he heard the Prophet (on him be peace!) declare, “To urge forward a horse in this holy warfare for one night and one day, is better than fasting for a whole month, or than the practice of rigid watchfulness during all that time.  Now if when so engaged he shall be slain, he has accomplished that for which he lived, and has obtained a provision for himself, being placed beyond the reach of all further perfidy and trouble.” And Akbat Ben Aamir relates: “I heard the Prophet (on him be peace!) when mounted in the pulpit, exclaim, O Moslems, promise that only which ye are able to perform, for instance, the exertion of your strength and skill in shooting arrows.  Your archery it is that I require; your archery only will serve me.” Further he said: “I heard the Prophet (on him be peace!) declare, He who learnt the art of archery and afterwards neglected it, is not of our number.” Again Abu Masood-ul Ansaree relates, that a man approaching the Prophet with a bridled camel in his hand said to him, “This I devote to the service of Allah;” whereupon the Prophet exclaimed (on him be peace!), “Unto thee on the day of the resurrection shall seven hundred camels be given, all of them bridled.” Musrooh relates, also: “We asked of Abdullah Ben Masood regarding the following saying: ‘Ye shall not consider those who have been slain in the cause of Allah as dead, but rather as yet alive in the presence of their Allah, enjoying that which has been provided for them.”7  He answered, ‘We indeed inquired of the Prophet regarding this saying, when he declared to us, - Their, spirits are in the belly of the green bird, to enlighten which candles are suspended from the throne of Allah (by which is implied paradise), where all desires are fulfilled.  Then they (these spirits) shall desire the sights of these candles, when Allah shall make visible to them his etherical presence, to the extent of their capability of discernment.  For when Allah said, ‘what desire ye?’ they answered, ‘what can we desire, we who are placed in paradise, where all our wishes are anticipated.’ Then Allah spoke to them after the same manner three times; and when they perceived that he had ceased to address them, they prayed to him, saying: ‘O Lord, we desire that our souls may return again to their bodies, in order that we may again surrender up our lives for thy sake.’ But He, the Almighty, knowing that this was not necessary for them, ceased to converse with them.” And upon the authority of Abdullah Ben Omar Ben Aas, it is related, that the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared, “In the conflict for the cause of Allah all earthly things shall perish, save only the true faith.” Anas also relates.  “I had gone forth with the Prophet and with his companions, when he was attacked by the infidels, who furiously assaulted him.  Then the Prophet (blessing and peace be upon him!) exclaimed: ‘Prepare ye to enter paradise, which exceeds in expanse both heaven and earth.’ The Amir Ben-al-Himam upon this cried out, ‘Huzzah, Huzzah!’ The Prophet demanded (on him be peace!) ‘What meanest thou in thus shouting, Huzzah!  Huzzah?’ He answered: ‘O Prophet, I take Allah to witness that I so exclaimed, only from the hope that is before me of becoming one of the inhabitants of paradise.’ The Prophet replied, ‘Behold! thou art already one.’ He added, ‘Cast from thee the dates that thou holdest in thy hand, in order that thou mayest partake of those that thou shalt find in paradise.’ Further, the Prophet said, ‘I also would desire of those dates prepared for me, and which shall give life without end.’ Al-Himam exclaimed, ‘Thou hast said truly:’ and thereupon throwing from him the dates that he had in his hand, he rushed forward to the combat, slaying all around him, till he himself fell.” Further Tirmuzee and Abu Daood have related, upon the authority of Fuzalut-Ben-Abeed, that the Prophet (on him be peace!) exclaimed, “Whenever one shall resign his breath, at that hour his work is finished; except him only who dies when charging the enemies of Allah, and whose account shall not be closed until the last day, who shall be delivered also from the purgatory of the grave.” Again Abu Daood, from Abu-Humamah, relates that the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared, “He who has not fought for Allah, and has not given of his substance to those who have, or who has dissuaded any one of his people from that meritorious work, Allah verily has cast that person into hell-fire already, not reserving him for the last day.” Imam-Ben-Hussain has related also, that the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared, “There shall always remain for me a tribe of my people, who shall fight and slay in the cause of truth, and whose exterior shall give evidence of their inward feelings, until that time when they shall last of all destroy the Antichrist.” And Tirmuzee relates, upon the authority of Ibn-Abbas, that the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared, “There are two descriptions of eyes, which the fire of hell shall not destroy; the eyes that weep in contemplating the indignation of Allah, and the eyes which are closed when in the act of combat for the cause of Allah.” Again Abu-Horeirah; that one of the associates of the Prophet (on him be peace!) when proceeding to battle, having turned aside into a cave in which were grapes and a limpid stream, exclaimed, “If those who are my companions will excuse me from proceeding with them further, I will take up my dwelling in this cave.” On his saying this before the Prophet (on him be peace!), he answered, “Thou shalt not do this, for the merit of all of you who go out to fight for Allah, is greater than what ye could acquire, if ye were to spend seventy years in offering up prayers in the house of Allah:8 for if, indeed, ye desire to be forgiven of Allah, and to be hereafter admitted into paradise, then must ye go forth to fight for Allah, since he who in this holy warfare shall wound but a she-camel, he is truly deserving of paradise.” Further, Abu-Tirmuzee and Al-Nusaeee, upon the authority of Abu-Horeirah, relate that the Prophet (on whom be peace!) declared, “He who falls a martyr experiences none of the pangs of death; except, indeed, it be such sensations as men experience when surprised by joy.” And Haram-Ben-Ateek relates, that the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared, “He who shall bestow any of his substance in the cause of Allah, or for the support of his religion, there shall be written down for him seven hundred-fold.” And Ibn-Inajih has related it upon the authority of Alee, and Abu Adruda, and Abu Horeirah, and Abu-Amamah, and Abdullah-Ben-Omar, and Ben-Abdullah, and Imran Ben-Hoossain (with all of whom may Allah rest satisfied! and who all agree in this account), that the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared, “He who has contributed of his wealth to those who fight for Allah, and remained at home, for every dirhem that he has so expended, he shall receive seven hundred-fold.” And after declaring this, he recited the following saying: “For Allah shall give increase where he will, He who is all beneficent and all wise.” And Abu-Daood has related upon the authority of Ibn-Abbas (Allah rest satisfied with him!) that the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared to his associates, “When your brethren were slain on the day of Ohod, Allah transported their souls into the belly of the green bird, from whence the rivers of paradise flow forth, and where they partake of its fruits, and behold the candles of Allah suspended in the shadow of his throne.  Now when they perceived the purity and sweetness of their food and drink, and the pleasantness of their places of rest, they exclaimed, ‘Oh! where shall we find one who shall carry intelligence to our brethren on earth that we are in paradise, where the practice of mortifications is not required, or the seventies of war experienced.’ And Allah, most High, whose name be praised, made answer, ‘I will disclose this for your sakes.’ Therefore, Allah most High revealed that, saying, ‘Consider not those as dead who have fallen in the cause of Allah, but as yet living:’” - besides many other passages of the same import.  Further, Hakim relates, from Abu-Moosa Al-Asharee, that the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared - “in the shades of the scimitars is paradise prefigured.” And Ibn-Majah has narrated it from Anas, that the Prophet (on him be the blessing and the peace of Allah!) declared, “He who shall resign his life in the cause of Allah, whatever pollutions he shall have collected about him shall be changed into musk on the last day.” Al-Tibranee also has related it, (in the Kubeer), on the authority of Ibn-Omar, that the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared, “He who shall a afflict his head with pain in the cause of Allah, whatever crime was before this lying at his charge, shall now be pardoned.” And Waellah relates, that the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared, “Whoever has lost his life in my cause may hereafter contend in the deep.”9 Ad-Dillumee also, in his work called the Musnud-al-Firdous, relates, that Abu-Horeirah said, that the Prophet (on him be peace!) declared, “that to fight for one hour in supporting the religion of Allah, was better than to make fifty pilgrimages to Mecca.” By which he meant to say, that the future reward that shall await the first act shall exceed that awarded to pilgrimages, however many in number.  And the cause of this pre-eminence being given to the holy warrior is this, that he truly risks his life and all that he possesses for the sake of Allah, whilst others also reap the advantage of this self-devotion, which cannot be said of pilgrimages to Mecca, where the benefit extends no further than to the pilgrim himself.’10


This is the authentic exposition of jihAd to which many passages of the Writ Petition refer.  It is a far cry from the “defensive war” it has been made into by S.D. Collet in her Life and Letters of Raja Rammohan Roy, quoted by the Attorney-General of India in his submissions and commanded by Justice Basak in his judgment.  There should be no doubt that jihAd is an out and out aggressive war to be waged by Muslims, ceaselessly and in an uncompromising manner, for the total destruction of non-Muslims.  Of course, there is provision in it for change of strategy and tactics to suit the size of Muslim strength in a given situation.  But that does not affect its essential character.

True Character of the Quran

The fact is that the Quran can pass as a religious scripture only so long as its verses are not related to their concrete context in the life of the Prophet.  Once we learn to do that from the theologians of Islam, the Quran comes out in its true colour as a comprehensive compendium on continued and total war against the “infidels”.  Allah also drops his mask and shows up in his real role as a deux ex machina prompted to pronounce pieces which suit the stage-manager’s convenience.  Swami Dayananda saw through the whole game when he nailed down Allah as “Muhammad’s domestic servant”.

The swordsmen of Islam have always felt self-righteous and believed fervently that they are carrying out the commandments of Allah when they practise jihAd as per prescriptions of the Prophet.  The Quran gives them a clean conscience for committing the most heinous crimes and heaping unbelievable cruelties on helpless human beings.


1Tuhfat-ul-Mujahideen translated from Arabic by M.J. Rowlandson, London, 1933, pp. 3-5.  Emphasis added. 

2Ibid., pp. 15-21. 

3Quran, 2.216. 

4Quran, 9.111. 

5Quran, 2.261. 

6Quran, 3.169-70. 

7Quran, 3.169. 

8The temple or sacred mosque of Mecca is probably here meant. 

9The allusion in this passage is obscure.  The Prophet’s meaning probably is, that having thus established his devotion and courage, he is prepared to meet any danger.  The sea, from the monsters that inhabit it, is generally quoted by eastern writers as the climax of all that is horrible.

10Tuhfat-ul-Mujahideen, pp. 25-46.  Emphases added.

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