Prophets of God encounter various accusations by their opponents, but Allah the Almighty always clears His noble prophets from all charges and causes them to prevail. In the same way, the Promised Messiah, Ahmadas Nabiyullah was falsely accused of forbidding jihad [striving in the way of God], which is an important and fundamental doctrine of Islam.
Misunderstanding the true teachings and the actual spirit of jihad in Islam constitutes the basis of such objections. Explaining the true nature of the Islamic concept of jihad, the Promised Messiahas states:
“The philosophy and true nature of jihad is a matter both complex and subtle. Grave errors have been made both in our age and in the middle ages [of Islam] because people failed to understand this subject … It should be understood that the word jihad is derived from the [Arabic] root juhd, which means ‘to strive’ and is therefore used figuratively for religious wars … The commandment that in other words came to be known as jihad. The original wording, which is still preserved in the Quran, is as follows:
اُذِنَ لِلَّذِیۡنَ یُقٰتَلُوۡنَ بِاَنَّہُمۡ ظُلِمُوۡا ؕ وَ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ عَلٰی نَصۡرِہِمۡ لَقَدِیۡرُ ۣ الَّذِیۡنَ اُخۡرِجُوۡا مِنۡ دِیَارِہِمۡ بِغَیۡرِ حَقٍّ۔۔۔۔
“That is, ‘Allah has heard the cry of those oppressed people who are killed and unjustly turned out of their land and has permitted them to retaliate. Allah is All-Powerful, and able to help the oppressed.’ (Surah al-Hajj, Ch. 22: V. 40–41)
“This commandment was specific to that period and time. It applied during the time when those entering the fold of Islam were being slaughtered like sheep and lambs. After the time of the Holy Prophetsa and his successors, people unfortunately made very grave mistakes in understanding the philosophy of jihad, which is rooted in the preceding verse. The unjust slaughter of God’s creatures was deemed to be a mark of religious virtue …
“It should be remembered that today’s Islamic scholars (who are called maulvis) completely misunderstand jihad and misrepresent it to the general public … They should remember that their understanding of jihad is not at all correct and that human sympathy is its first casualty. Their belief, that jihad should be lawful today because it was permitted in early Islam is totally incorrect and we offer two rejoinders.
“The first is that their reasoning is baseless. Under no circumstance did our Holy Prophetsa raise the sword against anyone unless they had first raised the sword, mercilessly killing innocent, pious men, women and children with such brutality that reading about these events even today brings tears to our eyes.
“Second, even if we assume that jihad as conceived of by these maulvis was obligatory in early Islam, the commandment is no longer applicable because it is written that violent jihad and religious fighting will come to an end with the appearance of the Promised Messiah, who would not raise the sword or any other earthly weapon. Prayer would be his only instrument and firm determination his only weapon. He would establish peace and gather together the goat and the lion. His age would be one of peace, gentleness and human sympathy.
“Alas! Why do these people not reflect that 1,300 years have passed since the Holy Prophetsa said, ‘yada‘ul-harb’ in honour of the Promised Messiah. These words mean that the Promised Messiah would end warfare when he came.” (The British Government and Jihad, pp. 3-8)
The Promised Messiahas further states:
“I have come to you with an order: Jihad with the sword has ended from this time forward, but the jihad of purifying your souls must continue. I do not say this of my own accord. This is indeed the will of God.
“Recall the hadith from Sahih al-Bukhari which honours the Promised Messiah by saying ‘yada‘ul-harb’. That is to say, when the Messiah comes, he would put an end to religious wars.
“Accordingly, I command those who have joined my ranks to refrain from all such thoughts, to purify their hearts, to foster sympathy and to be compassionate towards the suffering. They should spread peace on earth, because that will cause their faith to spread in return. They should not entertain doubts about how this will transpire.
“Just as God Almighty has – without the usual means of intervention – used the resources of the earth to create modern inventions and satisfied our physical needs by making trains that outrun horses, He will in the same way – unaided by human hands – use His angels to fulfil spiritual needs.” (The British Government and Jihad, pp. 17-18)
Highlighting the commandment of God about jihad in the present age, the Promised Messiahas clarifies:
“I – whom Allah the Exalted has sent as the Promised Messiah – have not been commanded by God to engage in jihad and wage wars for the sake of the faith. On the contrary, I have been commanded to be kind, seek help from God for the spread of the Faith and ask for heavenly signs and heavenly assaults. And God Almighty has promised that great signs shall be manifested in my support. As opposed to my God Who helps me from on high, no nation shall have the power to demonstrate any sign from their false gods. Accordingly, my God has, in fact, already shown hundreds of signs in my support.” (The Philosophy of Divine Revelation, pp. 581-582)
The concept of jihad presented by the Promised Messiahas is not an innovation in Islam. The verses of the Holy Quran and the sayings of the Holy Prophetsa strongly support his explanations and present ample proofs in his favour. Encouraging the believers in the Holy Quran to strive in the way of God, Allah Almighty states:
وَ الَّذِیۡنَ جَاہَدُوۡا فِیۡنَا لَنَہۡدِیَنَّہُمۡ سُبُلَنَا ؕ وَ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَمَعَ الۡمُحۡسِنِیۡنَ
“And [as for] those who strive in Our path – We will surely guide them in Our ways. And verily, Allah is with those who do good” (Surah al-Ankabut, Ch.29: V.70).
This verse sheds light on the basis of jihad laid down by Islam. The root of Islamic jihad is not killing and being killed, but in fact, endeavouring to win the delight of God is the true essence of jihad. At another place in the Holy Quran, the Almighty Allah says:
وَّ جَاہِدُوۡا بِاَمۡوَالِکُمۡ وَ اَنۡفُسِکُمۡ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰہِ ؕ ذٰلِکُمۡ خَیۡرٌ لَّکُمۡ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ
“And strive with your property and your persons in the cause of Allah. That is better for you, if only you knew.” (Surah al-Taubah, Ch.9: V.41)
Muslims are advised in this verse to do jihad in the way of God by offering monetary sacrifices and devoting their lives for the cause of Islam. Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IVrh states:
“According to the Quran, the Holy War, called jihad, is in reality a holy campaign which uses the help of the Quran to bring about a spiritual revolution in the world.
وَ جَاہِدۡہُمۡ بِہٖ جِہَادًا کَبِیۡرًا
‘Strive against them with it [the Quran] a great striving.’ (Surah al-Furqan, Ch.25: V.53)
“These are the very words of the Quran which shed light on the nature of jihad. It must be fought by means of the Quran and the Quranic message alone. Again, to tame one’s rebellious nature into complete submission to God is another form of jihad which is in fact the greater jihad, according to the Holy Prophetsa of Islam.
“On returning from a battle, he is reported to have said:
رَجَعْنَا مِنَ الجِہَادِ الاَصغَرِ اِلَی الجِہَادِ الاَکبَرِ
“‘We are returning from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad.’
“Of course, defensive war is permitted only on the condition that the enemies initiate hostilities and raise the sword against a weak, defenceless people for having committed the only crime of declaring that God is their Lord. All offensive wars according to Islam are unholy.” (An Elementary Study of Islam, p. 47)
Hence, in accordance with the true teachings Islam presents in the Holy Quran and the ahadith of the Holy Prophetsa, the Promised Messiahas declared that the jihad by the sword has no place in Islam. In its place, he advised his followers to carry out peaceful and compelling jihad of the pen to defend Islam.
In order to achieve this objective, leading by example, the Promised Messiahas penned over 85 books and tens of thousands of letters, delivered hundreds of lectures, and engaged in scores of public debates.
After the demise of the Promised Messiahas, his successors continue to spread the peaceful teachings of Islam and Ahmadiyya Khilafat is the most accurate representation of jihad in present day and age.
In the face of bitter opposition from all parts of the Muslim world, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, under the guidance of Khilafat, marched forth in the way of God, offering every kind of sacrifice heedless of worldly impediments and hardships. God Almighty dispersed the situation of fear and uncertainty looming over Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya with the election of the first Khalifa, Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nuruddinra and he took resolute steps to ensure the spread of the message of Ahmadiyyat to the corners of the world.
Huzoorra laid special emphasis on the development and advancement of Madrasa Ahmadiyya and donated a large amount of his books for the library of the school. He also set up a public library in Qadian and donated several books from his personal library and also made some funds available to the library. Huzoorra set up a majlis [society] to help and provide necessities for the needy. A small dispensary was started by this society which grew into a hospital and later, it was named Maulana Hakim Nuruddin Memorial Hospital.
The newspaper Nur was launched for the purpose of preaching among the Sikh friends. Moreover, Al Haq and Al Fazl newspapers were launched as well. The process of sending missionaries in foreign countries for the promulgation of Islam was initiated. Huzoorra continued to deliver darses of the Holy Quran and hadith towards the end of his life. The works of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira signify that the Ahmadiyya Khilafat right after its establishment indulged in true jihad and has continued to strive in the way of God.
Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IIra steered Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya away from the tempest of dissensions and through his God given powers, strengthened the institution of Khilafat by bringing key reforms.
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maud’sra services in the cause of Islam Ahmadiyyat are immeasurable and vast. He made special efforts to establish Ahmadiyya missions across the globe and by God, they were successful as the message of Islam reached countless countries with in his lifetime. He organised the internal and external structure of Jamaat by forming various key departments and introducing separate auxiliary organisations for various sections of the Community to effectively carry out their tarbiyyat.
He laid the foundation of Majlis-e-Shura [advisory consultative council] and launched prolific schemes such as Tahrik-e-Jadid and Waqf-e-Jadid. The prophecy pertaining to the Musleh-e-Maud [the Promised Son] granted to the Promised Messiahas was fulfilled in his person. His vast writings and lectures full of wisdom in favour of Islam and humanity are testimony to the jihad done by the Ahmadiyya Khilafat.
Following the footsteps of earlier Khulafa, Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IIIrh, with the help of God Almighty, went to great lengths for spreading the name of Allah and Islam across the globe. Throughout his Khilafat, Huzoorrh sought to infuse the love of the Holy Quran in members of the Jamaat and encouraged parents to raise their children in such a way that they practice the Quranic teachings.
Huzoorrh launched the Nusrat Jahan Scheme for the establishment of schools and hospitals in Africa. He laid the foundation of the Basharat Mosque. He coined the great motto of “Love for all, hatred for none,” instilling in the hearts of Jamaat’s members in particular and the rest of the world in general that the Ahmadiyya Khilafat would strive for peace and harmony, which is the actual jihad in Islam.
Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh was elected as the fourth Khalifa of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya. Huzoorrh remained resolute in the face of opposition when General Zia-ul-Haq passed Ordinance XX. Huzoorrh was compelled to migrate from Rabwah to the UK.
Under his Khilafat, the steps of this divine Jamaat did not falter, but continued to move forward and the message of Islam spread at a much higher rate. Through the blessed migration of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh, the Jamaat entered into a new era of globalisation. Huzoorrh launched various schemes like Buyut-ul-Hamd, Syedna Bilal Fund and Maryam Shadi Fund etc. and established Humanity First for the purpose of serving mankind.
Huzoorrh launched the 100-mosque scheme in Germany. In order to further expand the work of tabligh, he introduced Dawat-e-Ilallah [calling people to God] scheme. Moreover, he launched MTA, through which the message of Islam has been reaching the corners of the Earth every second of the day since its inception.
In order to perform jihad-e-akbar [the greater jihad], he launched the Waqf-e-Nau scheme and thousands of parents dedicated their children to the service of the Jamaat and continue to do so to this day.
The present head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa is the leading Muslim figure promoting peace and harmony across the globe. Since his election of Khilafat, he has remained engaged in conveying the peaceful message of Islam through all forms of print and digital media platforms.
In order to promote peace, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa has delivered lectures and speeches all over the world to show the true reflection of Islam and bring about reforms in every sphere of life. Shedding light on the true concept of jihad, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said:
“The jihad accepted by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the reformation of self. This is not a recent idea. It was mentioned 1,400 years ago by the Foundersa of Islam upon his return from a battle, when he said, ‘We are moving from a minor jihad to a greater jihad’ and the greater jihad is the jihad of reforming one’s self and that is never ending and forever.
“The state of war does not last forever. True jihad is the reformation of the evils which are borne in the times of relative peace and comfort. Serving mankind is a real jihad.
“In the 120 years of our history, there is testimony to it. We are engaged in this jihad. Whereas we are trying to bring mankind nearer to his Creator, our schools and hospitals, our plans for water wells and pumps in countries of Africa, Asia and other poor countries and in far-flung areas of the world are continuing. We are also helping those affected by natural disasters.” (Khilafat Centenary Celebration Reception, USA, 23 June 2008)
Below is one testimony of a guest, who was moved with the words of Khalifatul Masih at the 39th Jalsa Salana of Germany and acknowledged the true meanings of jihad. Mr Claud Tatah from Cameroon said:
“The Khalifa’s speech was very elaborate and permeated with knowledge. Inter-religious dialogue was fabulous. I gained a lot of knowledge regarding Islam; things I didn’t know before. The true meaning of jihad is to fight for the establishment of love without any weapons. Now I have understood the true definition of jihad and that of religious tolerance and cooperation. This is the actual meaning of jihad.” (The Review of Religions, A Gathering of Peace, 11 July 2014)
Hence, God Almighty is blessing the efforts of the Ahmadiyya Khilafat to spread the true teachings of Islam about jihad. A great number of people are acknowledging this fact and many more will certainly admit by each passing day.