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  • Can Jihad Be Waged Without State Authority?

  • $ohail T@hir

    Moderator June 26, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    Some people are of the view that groups and organizations can wage Jihad and state authority is not a requirement for it.

    Consider the Quranic verse:

    أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَاتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُوا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِنْ دِيَارِهِمْ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ إِلَّا أَنْ يَقُولُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ (22 :39-40)

    Permission to take up arms is hereby granted to those who are attacked because they have been oppressed and God indeed has power to help them – those who have been unjustly driven from their homes, only because they said: “Our Lord is Allah.” (22:39-40)

    While explaining this verse, Ghāmidī writes:

    This right to use force has been given to the Muslims in their collective capacity. Every person who appreciates the linguistic style of the Quran knows that verses which authorize Muslims to use force do not address them in their individual capacity. Like the verses which mention punishments, these verses too address the Muslims as a community. Thus any step which is to be taken for use of force must originate from their collective system. No person or group has the right to take a step on its own in this regard on behalf of the Muslims. The word أُذِنَ(permission is granted) in the above quoted verse of Surah Hajj also points to the fact that the very first question in an armed offensive is that of justification and permission. The Almighty permitted the Muslims of those times to fight back the Quryash only when Muslims had political authority in spite of the tremendous oppression let loose upon them. Consequently, in these times also, this is an essential pre-requisite of war. The Prophet (sws) is reported to have said:

    إِنَّمَا الْإِمَامُ جُنَّةٌ يُقَاتَلُ مِنْ وَرَائِهِ وَيُتَّقَى بِهِ

    A Muslim ruler is the shield [of his people]. An armed struggle can only be carried out under him and people should seek his shelter [in war].[2]

    It may be noted further that the misconceived view has only arisen in recent times. There is a consensus among all authorities of Islam that only a Muslim state has the authority to wage jihad. This condition is so explicit and categorical that all the scholars of this ummah unanimously uphold it. Sayyid Sābiq, while referring to this consensus, writes:

    من الفروض الكفائية ما يشترط فيه الحاكم مثل: الجهاد وإقامة الحدود

    Among collective obligations, there is a category for which the existence of a ruler is necessary e.g., jihad and administering punishments.

    ‘Uthmānī, a Hanafite jurist, writes:

    ولا يخفى أن الأمير الذي يجب الجهاد معه كما صرح به حديث مكحول إنما هو من كان مسلما ثبتت له الإمارة بالتقليد إما باستخلاف الخليفة إياه كما نقل أبو بكر رضي الله عنه ’ وإما ببيعة من العلماء أو جماعة من أهل الرأي والتدبير …قلت: فلو بايع العلماء أو جماعة من المسلمين رجلا لا يقدر على سد الثغور وحماية البيضة وجر العساكر و تنفيذ الأحكام بشوكته و بأسه ولا على إنصاف المظلوم من الظالم بقدرته وسطوته لا يكون ذلك أميرا ولا إماما وإنما هو بمنـزلة الحكم ومبايعة الناس له منـزلة التحكيم ولا يجدي تسميته إماما أو أميرا في القراطيس وأفواه الناس فإن مدار الإمارة والإمامة على القوة والقدرة دون التسمية والشهرة فقط فلا يجب على عامة المسلمين مبايعته ولا إطاعة أحكامه ولا الجهاد معه

    It is obvious from the Hadīth narrated by Makhūl that jihad becomes obligatory only in the presence of a ruler who is a Muslim and whose political authority has been established either through nomination by the previous ruler similar to how Abū Bakr transferred the reins [of his Khilafah to ‘Umar] or through pledging of allegiance by the ulema or a group of the elite … in my opinion, if the oath of allegiance is pledged by ulema or by a group of the elite to a person who is not able to guard the frontiers or defend the honour [of the people] or organize armies or implement his directives by political force nor is he able to provide justice to the oppressed by exercising force and power, then such a person cannot be called “amir ” (leader) or “imam” (ruler). He, at best, is an arbitrator and the oath of allegiance is at best of the nature of arbitration and it is not at all proper to call him “amir” (leader) or a “imam” (ruler) in any [official] documents nor should the people address him by these designations. The reason for this is that the basis of leadership and rulership is power and authority and it does not hinge only on the fact that he gets famous by this name. It is not imperative for the citizens to pledge allegiance to him or obey his directives, and no Jihad can be waged alongside him.

    Ibn Qudāmah, a Hanbalite jurist, writes:

    وأمر الجهاد موكول إلى الإمام واجتهاده ويلزم الرعية طاعته فيما يراه من ذلك

    And the matter of jihad rests with the ruler [of a state] and his ijtihad . The opinion he forms in this regard must be obeyed by the citizens of his country.

    Al-Māwardī, a Shafi‘īte authority, while enumerating the obligations of a Muslim ruler says:

    والسادس: جهاد من عاند الإسلام

    And his sixth obligation is to conduct jihad against those who show hostility against Islam.

    In the words of Al-Farāhī:

    In one’s own country, without migrating to an independent piece of land, jihad
    is not allowed. The tale of Abraham (sws) and other verses pertaining to migration testify to this. The Prophet’s life (sws) also supports this view. The reason for this is that if jihad is not waged by a person who holds political authority, it amounts to anarchy and disorder.

    While commenting on the underlying reasons that form the basis of state authority for jihad, Amīn Ahsan Islāhī, writes:

    The first reason [for this condition] is that God Almighty does not like the dissolution and disintegration of even an evil system until a strong probability exists that those who are out to disintegrate the system will provide people with an alternative and a righteous system. Anarchy and disorder are unnatural conditions. In fact, they are so contrary to human nature that even an unjust system is preferable to them … this confidence [that a group will be able to harmonize a disintegrated system and integrate it into a united whole] can be reposed in such a group only if it has actually formed a political government and has such control and discipline within the confines of its authority that the group can be termed as al-jamaah [the state]. Until a group attains this position, it may strive [by religiously allowable means] to become al-jamaah – and that endeavour would be its jihad for that time – but it does not have the right to wage an “armed” jihad.

    The second reason is that the import of power that a group engaged in war acquires over the life and property of human beings is so great that the sanction to wield this power cannot be given to a group the control of whose leader over his followers is based merely on his spiritual and religious influence on them [rather than being based on legal authority]. When the control of a leader is based merely on his spiritual and religious influence, there is not sufficient guarantee that the leader will be able to stop his followers from fasad fil al-ard [creating disorder in the society]. Therefore, a religious leader does not have the right to allow his followers to take out their swords [that is to wage an armed struggle] merely on the basis of his spiritual influence over them, for once the sword is unsheathed there is great danger that it will not care for right and wrong and that those who drew it will end up doing all [the wrong which] they had sought to end. Such radical groups as desire revolution and whose objective is nothing more than disruption of the existing system and deposition of the ruling party to seize power for themselves play such games – and they can, for in their eyes disruption of a system is no calamity, nor is cruelty of any kind an evil. Everything is right to them [as long as it serves their purpose]. However, the leaders of a just and righteous party must see whether they are in a position to provide people with a system better than the one they seek to change and whether they will be able to stop their followers from doing such wrong as they themselves had sought to root out. If they are not in that position, they do not have the right to play games with the lives and property of people on the basis of their confidence on mere chance and to create greater disorder than the one they had sought to end.

    Here some people justify that in some cases Islam allows jihad without state authority by citing the skirmishes carried out by Abū Basīr against the Quraysh. This is a misinterpretation of facts: It is known historically[10] that after the treaty of Hudaybiyah, Abū Basīr defected to Madīnah. However, according to the terms of the treaty, he was duly returned back to the Quraysh by the Prophet (sws). He was sent back in the custody of two people of the Quraysh. On the way back, he killed one of his two custodians and again defected to Madīnah. When he arrived in Madīnah, the Prophet (sws) was angry at what he had done. Sensing that the Prophet (sws) would once again send him back to the Quraysh, he left Madīnah and settled at a place near Dhū al-Marwah, where later on other people joined him. From this place, they would attack the caravans of the Quraysh.

    If these guerrilla attacks are analyzed in the light of the Quran, the basic thing which comes to light is that whatever Abū Basīr and his companions did was not sanctioned at all by Islam. The Quran says that the actions and deeds of a person who had not migrated to Madīnah were not the responsibility of the Islamic state:

    وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَمْ يُهَاجَرُوا مَا لَكُمْ مِنْ وَلَايَتِهِمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ حَتَّى يُهَاجِرُوا(8 :72)

    And as to those who believed but did not migrate [to Madīnah], you owe no duty of protection until they migrate. (8:72)

    Not only did the Quran acquit the newly founded Islamic state of Madīnah from the actions of these people, we even find the following harsh remarks of the Prophet (sws) about Abū Basīr when he returned to Madinah after killing one of his two custodians:

    وَيْلُ أُمِّهِ مِسْعَرَ حَرْبٍ لَوْ كَانَ لَهُ أَحَدٌ

    His mother be cursed, if he is able to find some supporters he is bound to ignite the flames of war.

    So, one can safely conclude that jihad without state authority is terrorism and is totally prohibited in Islam. Moreover, clandestine attacks on a country even with state authority are not allowed. Jihad must be openly declared against the enemy country. If a peace treaty has been made with it, then it should first be openly declared null and void. Similarly, non-combatants of the enemy country should never be targeted. No one has the right to take the life of innocent civilians.

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