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Dynamics of Islamic Jihad

By Dr. Muhammad Sharif Chaudhry

CHAPTER 13

QUESTION OF HELP TO OPPRESSED MUSLIMS

  1. Plight of Oppressed Muslim Minorities

  2. Demands of Islamic Fraternity

  3. Should Such Muslims be Helped?

  4. Migration

Today there are more than 120 crore Muslims in the world out of which more than 40 crore are living in non-Muslim countries. Some of these non-Muslim countries are oppressing their Muslim subjects so severely and are persecuting them so cruelly that these Muslims have been forced to resort to Jihad. They have started their freedom struggles and are crying for help from the independent Muslim countries. Should the Muslim countries help them is the question which we intend to address in this chapter. We shall first examine in a little detail the plight of the oppressed Muslims in some non-Muslim countries of the world and then we shall discuss Islam’s concept of universal brotherhood before proceeding to answer the above question.

[Back to the start of this chapter]

I- Plight of Oppressed Muslim Minorities

The plight of the Muslims in some of the non-Muslim countries such as Israel, India, Russia, China, Yugoslavia, Ethiopia, Burma, Philippines, is simply miserable. The Muslims are being subjected to the worst type of persecution and oppression in these lands. They are denied all the basic human rights such as right to protection of life, property and honour, freedom of religion and worship, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, political rights, etc. They are arrested by the agencies without warrant. They are tortured, injured and physically incapacitated. Thousands are massacred and buried in mass-graves. Their women are raped. Attempts are being made to finish the race of Muslims in those countries. They are expelled from their homes and are forced to seek asylum in neighbouring countries. Their houses, shops, places of worship are put to torch. Their orphans and widows are put to sword. Their struggle for rights and freedom is mercilessly and ruthlessly crushed. The Muslims have only recently been subjected to unparalleled tyranny by the Serbs in Bosnia and Kossovo, by the Russians in Afghanistan and by the Greeks in Cyprus. They are being persecuted in Eritrea by the Ethiopians, in Israeli occupied areas by the Jews, in Kashmir by the Indians, in Chechnya by the Russians, in Sinkiang by the Chinese, in Arakan by the Burmese, in Philippines by the Christians and so on. Tales of sorrow, blood, holocaust, arson, atrocities, brutalities, horror, terror, torture, rape, massacre, looting and plunder received from these lands are living testimony of modern barbarism. Such tales also tell us how much the men can go low to satisfy their brutish instincts.

Although the plight of the Muslims in all the above mentioned Non-Muslim lands is almost the same, yet the case of Kashmir and Chechniya specially needs discussion in detail as representative example of persecution of Muslims at Non-Muslim hands.

Kashmir: The state of Jammu and Kashmir comprises an area of 1,84,000 square miles and has population of over 12 million people of whom a preponderant majority are Muslims. In 1947, British India was granted independence and was divided into two independent countries : India or Bharat being Hindu majority country and Pakistan being a Muslim country. By the Act of Independence, the Indian states were given option to join India or Pakistan keeping into consideration the geographical location of the state and the wishes of the people. State of Jammu and Kashmir, in accordance with these principles, should have joined with Pakistan, as it was contiguous to Pakistan and more than 80% of its population was Muslim. But despite wishes of its population, it could not join Pakistan because its Hindu ruler Maharaja Hari Singh Dogra decided to join India. The population, therefore, revolted against the Maharaja who invited India for help to suppress the rebellion.

Thus India exploited the opportunity and dispatched its troops to the valley. In the meantime tribesmen from the North-Western Frontier Province of Pakistan had joined the conflict to help their Kashmiri brothers. Indian intervention resulted in reign of terror let loose on the Kashmiri Muslims. Thousands were massacred, hundreds of women were raped, hundreds of thousands were expelled from their homes. Innumerable Kashmiris sought shelter in Pakistan and brought with them tales of murder, torture, looting, burning and brutality. Pakistan could not keep quiet at this state of affairs. Moved by the horrible plight of the Kashmiri Muslims, Pakistan entered to free the people and thus started war between India and Pakistan. The war lasted until January 1949 when a ceasefire was arranged, leaving one third area of the state in the hands of Pakistan and two-thirds of the area in Indian occupation. Pakistan made its part independent and that is called Azad Kashmir; whereas India made its grip over Kashmir very firm and started calling it an integral part of India.

At the time of conclusion of the ceasefire agreement under the aegis of the United Nations, it was also agreed by all the concerned parties that the future of Kashmir would be decided by the people in a plebiscite held under the supervision of the UN. Although it was India who had taken the dispute of Kashmir to UN, but it has defied the world community since then and refused to hold referendum to determine the will of the people. The UN has passed dozens of resolutions urging India to honour its commitment, but they have proved of no avail and the illegal occupation of Kashmir by India still continues. The two subsequent wars between India and Pakistan in the years 1965 and 1971 have failed to resolve the dispute. Simla Agreement concluded between India and Pakistan in 1972 changed the ceasefire line into the line of control while both India and Pakistan agreed to settle their mutual disputes including the dispute of Kashmir through bilateral negotiations. But India never agrees to hold any meaningful dialogue with Pakistan.

So the problem of Kashmir still remains unsolved much to the danger of peace and security in this region of the world which has lately become international flash-point due to the achievement of nuclear capability by India as well as by Pakistan.

The success of Afghan Jihad against the Russian invaders has recently triggered war of independence in Kashmir. Jihad launched by the Kashmiris from the year 1989 has only increased Indian oppression. India has not only beefed up its security forces but has also stationed more than seven hundred thousands of its troops in Kashmir. The ferocious Indian army, well-equipped with latest weapons of modern warfare is engaged in crushing the freedom struggle of the innocent Kashmiri people. The following facts and figures speak of the state terror, violation of human rights, torture and brutalities to which the Kashmiris have been subjected by the occupation forces of  India : In the decade of 1989 to 1999, 67717 persons have been killed besides 7334 persons who have been tortured to death in the custody of security agencies. In these years 92248 Kashmiris were arrested, 99424 have been wounded and 6569 are missing while 17000 have been rendered physically incapacitated due to torture. Children who have lost their parents are over 42000; more than 10,000 women have become widows and husbands of more than 3000 women are missing; whereas women subjected to rape or gangrape are more than 17000. Number of Mujahideen (freedom fighters) killed is 11829, number of wounded is 9678 and number of arrested is 11593. Number of houses and shops put to torch is more than 67900 and 31500 respectively.[1] These figures of Indian atrocities represent rather conservative estimates given by the International agencies.

Chechnya : Chechens are living in the area of Qafqaz since thousands of years. They are descendents of Prophet Noah through one of his son who had settled there. Because of this relationship they call themselves ‘Noahchi’. They are Muslims, believe in One God and do not associate anyone else with God. They voluntarily and enmasse accepted Islam without fighting the Muslim forces during the reign of caliph Umar. They were living as an independent people till 1859 A.D. when the Russian czar occupied their land after subduing and capturing Imam Shamail. Despite that the Chechens never submitted to the sovereignty of czars and kept their struggle for independence going on. After communist Revolution of 1917, their struggle started against the communists. In 1944 Stalin drived the Chechens out of their homeland. In thirteen years of forced exile, about 60% people of Chechen-Inqush nation lost their lives. In 1957, the people again returned to Chechnya to start their life afresh with no means.

After dismemberment of Soviet Union in 1991, the Chechens declared their Independence. With this declaration hostilities broke out between Russia and Chechnya. During the war of 1994-96, more than 2000 Mujahideen were killed and more than 1 lac people lost their lives. On April 21, 1996 President Jauhar Daudouve was killed (Martyred). Ceasefire was made in May 1996 while peace treaty was concluded on August 22, 1996 with agreement that Russian Federation and Republic of Chechnya would decide about future status before Dec. 31, 2001.

In September 1999, in flagrant violation of peace treaty of 1996, Russia launched an attack on Chechnya with latest weapons. The latest M-16 planes, M gunship helicopters, long-range artillery, cluster bombs, napalm bombs, chemical bombs and even toy bombs were used against the Chechens. All big cities, including capital Grozny, Godasmir and Shali, were completely destroyed. Thus a country of 1.2 million population and 13000 Sq. Km of area has been turned into a ruin. Presently more than 3 lac Russian troops are stationed in Chechnya against a population of almost the same number who have only 4 or 5 thousand Mujahideen to protect it against the oppressors.

Reports of foreign correspondents and observers of the US Human Rights Group and Amnesty International prove that Russians are guilty of committing dreadful crimes of torture, rape, genocide, mass killings of innocent men, women and children. The UN Human Rights Commission has passed a resolution only recently (April 2000) showing its grave concern over the human rights violations by Russian military force in Chechnya and calling on the Russian government to set up an independent inquiry to look into the matter.

However, Russian crimes in Chechnya were possible only with the silent and all-out support of America and the Western nations. During this whole period, America, Germany and IMF continued extending full financial assistance to Russia. Rather America and European community countries hold that Chechnya is Russia’s internal affair and that Russia is fighting terrorism.

[Back to the start of this chapter]

II- Demands of Islamic Fraternity

Islam has established brotherhood and fraternity among the Muslims on the basis of common religion and has abolished all distinctions between one Muslim and the other on the basis of race, colour, language or nationality. In the Muslim brotherhood all men and women, to whatever nation, race, colour, rank or station in society they may belong, have equal rights and duties. Al-Qur’an, the revealed book of Islam, says :

1.   And hold fast, all of you together, to the cable of Allah, and do not separate. And remember Allah’s favour unto you ….

–—(3 : 103)

2.       Lo! those who believed and left their homes and strove with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah and those who took them in and helped them: these are protecting friends one of another. And those who believed but did not leave their homes, ye have no duty to protect them till they leave their homes; but if they seek help from you in the matter of religion then it is your duty to help (them) except against a folk between whom and you there is a treaty. Allah is Seer of what ye do. And those who disbelieve are protectors one of another – If ye do not so, there will be confusion in the land, and great corruption.

–—(8 : 72-73)

Note:    Figures regarding losses in Chechnya have been taken from Monthly Badidar Digest

3.   And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends one of another ………

–—(9:71)

4.   The believers are naught else than brothers. Therefore, make peace between your brethren and observe your duty to Allah that haply ye may obtain mercy.

–—(49:10)

Following Ahadith of the Prophet of Islam further emphasise the bond of fraternity among the Muslims :

1.   Nu’man-b-Bashir reported that the Messenger of Allah said : You will see the believers in their mutual kindness, love and sympathy just like one body. When a limb complains, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever.

–—(Bukhari and Muslim)

2.   Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: You shall not enter Paradise till you believe; and you will not believe till you love-one another. Shall I not guide you to a thing? When you will do it, you will love one another. Spread peace among you.

–—(Muslim)

3.   Ibn Umar reported that the Messenger of Allah said: A Muslim is brother to a Muslim. Neither he wrongs him, nor hands him over (to another). And whoso comes in need of his brother, Allah comes in his need; and whoso removes a calamity of a Muslim, Allah will remove a calamity from the calamities of the Resurrection Day, and whoso conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his sins on the Resurrection Day.

–—(Bukhari, Muslim)

4.   Abu Hurairah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: A Muslim is brother to a Muslim. He does neither wrong to him, nor puts him to disgrace, nor he hates him. Piety is here (and he was pointing out to his breast three times). Despising his brother Muslim is enough evil for a man. Every Muslim’s blood, property and honour are sacred to a Muslim.

––(Muslim)

5.   Osamah-b-Sharik reported that Messenger of Allah said: whoso comes out to make division among my followers, smite his neck.

––(Nisai)

6.   Abu Zarr reported that the Messenger of Allah said: whoso departs from the united body even a hand’s breadth has indeed shaken off the rope of Islam from his neck.

––(Ahmad, Abu Daud)

III-  Should Such Muslims be Helped?

We have already studied the aims and objectives of Jihad and have also analysed the reasons for which the Muslims are permitted to wage Jihad. Thus we know that one of the noble causes for which Jihad is waged is the help to oppressed and persecuted Muslims living in non-Muslim lands. Similarly one of the aims of Jihad is that the persecuted Muslims living in Darul Harb be helped and be liberated from the oppression of the non-Muslims. The Qur’an inspires its followers to help such Muslims when it enjoins: How should ye not fight for the cause of Allah and of the feeble among men and of the women and the children who are crying: our Lord! Bring us forth from out this town of which the people are oppressors! Oh, give us from Thy Presence some protecting friend! Oh, give us from Thy Presence some defender!

––(4 : 75)

However, help can be given only to those persecuted Muslims who are living in such countries with whom the Islamic state has no alliance or treaty of peace and friendship. But if a treaty exits between the Islamic state and a non-Muslim country which is oppressing its Muslim minority, then the Islamic state is not permitted to help the oppressed Muslims. The Qur’an has issued very clear directions on this point in its following verses:

Lo! those who believed and left their homes and strove with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah, and those who took them in and helped them; these are protecting friends one of another. And those who believed but did not leave their homes, ye have no duty to protect them till they leave their homes; but if they seek help from you in the matter of religion then it is your duty to help (them) except against a fold between whom and you there is a treaty. Allah is seer of what ye do. And those who disbelieve are protectors one of another- If ye do not so, there will be confusion in the land, and great corruption.

––(8 : 72 – 73)

The commandment regarding the concept of villayat (protection or guardianship) and the rule regarding help to oppressed Muslims living in non-Muslim countries as contained in the above mentioned verses of the Qur’an has been beautifully explained by Syed Abul Ala Maududi He writes:

“The Arabic word (vilay’at) is very comprehensive in meaning and ‘guardianship’ does not convey its full significance. It denotes the relationship of help, succour, protection, support, friendship, guardianship and the like between the citizens and the state and vice versa, and between the citizens themselves. Thus it is clear that this verse confines the limits of the Islamic political and constitutional citizenship to its territorial boundaries only and excludes from this particular relationship the other Muslims who live beyond its territorial boundaries.

“The Holy Prophet also declared the same thing, saying, “I owe no responsibility for the protection of any Muslim who resides among the mushriks.

“Though the Muslims living outside the territorial borders of the Islamic State have been excluded from political protection in the preceding verse, this fact does not deprive them of the brotherly relationship of Faith. Therefore it is obligatory on the Islamic State and its inhabitants to help their wronged and oppressed brethren if they ask for help. But even in this case, they should observe the International Law and the universally accepted moral code. If Dar-ul-Islam has made a treaty with the persecuting people of Dar-ul-Kufr, the Muslims of Dar-ul-Islam are forbidden to give any help to the oppressed Muslims in Dar-ul-Kufr if that is against the moral obligations of the treaty.

“In this verse, the word (mithaq) has been used for treaty. It implies everything that gives the guarantee of peace in the known sense to the parties concerned even though there might not be any explicit mention of a no-war agreement.

“Moreover, the original words of the Arabic Text––“…..between you and them there is a treaty”––clearly show that a treaty of the Islamic State with a non-Islamic State is not merely a treaty between the two States but between the two nations. Therefore it is morally binding on both the Islamic State and the Muslims living in the Islamic State. The Islamic code does not tolerate that the Muslim subjects should be left free from the obligations of the treaty which a Muslim government makes with other countries or nations. Of course, those Muslims who reside outside the territorial borders of the State that makes a treaty are free from this obligation. That is why Abu Busair, Abu Jandal and other Muslims who were not the subjects of Dar-ul-Islam were not bound by the terms of the Treaty of Hudaibiyah, which the Holy Prophet had made with the disbelievers of Makkah.”

The gist of the foregoing discussion is that it is obligatory upon the Muslims living in Islamic countries and the governments of such countries to help those Muslims who are being oppressed in Non-Muslim countries. However, help cannot be extended against a non-Muslim country with which the Islamic countries have a treaty relationship although that country is oppressing its Muslim minority. The question arises that in such case what should be done? The answer is that the Islamic countries should use their good offices because of their treaty relations in persuading the concerned non-Muslim country not to persecute its Muslim minority. The non-Muslim country should be pressurised to treat its Muslim citizens kindly, grant them fundamental human rights and civil liberties, and accept their genuine demands. But if the non-Muslim country does not give up its oppression, the Islamic countries can break their treaties after a due ultimatum and can directly intervene in favour of their oppressed brothers to help them out of the miserable plight.

In the present world many Muslim communities living in non-Muslim countries are being persecuted. As we have discussed earlier Muslims are being oppressed in Palestine. Kashmir, Chechnya, Sinkiang, Bosnia, Kossovo, Arakan, Eriteria. But the Islamic countries cannot intervene directly in their favour and wage Jihad against their persecutors because the Islamic countries have diplomatic relations with the oppressor non-Muslim countries. In many cases they have also direct or indirect treaty relations with such countries. Thus they are not in a position to help the oppressed Muslims by physical force until and unless they break their treaties and severe their ties with the concerned non-Muslim states which is not desirable in the present situation of the world. So what they should do is that they should unitedly exercise their pressure in persuading countries like Israel, India, Russia, Serbia, Burma and Ethiopia to cease their oppressive policies and grant their Muslim citizens fundamental rights and accept their genuine demands. Good offices of the leading states of the world, United Nations and international forums can be utilized to help the persecuted Muslims. Direct moral and political support and economic assistance can be extended to the oppressed Muslim communities. Hospitality should be shown to the Muslim immigrants from such places.

[Back to the start of this chapter]

 IV- Migration

One way of helping the oppressed Muslims is, as we have seen, to wage Jihad for liberating them from the yoke of their oppressors, while the other way is to welcome them in one’s land if they are expelled or if they opt themselves to migrate. Islam teaches those Muslims who are being persecuted in non-Muslim lands to migrate in the path of Allah and seek asylum in safer places where they could live in peace and practice their faith freely. There are many rewards from Allah the Almighty for those who migrate in His way and for those who offer hospitality to the immigrants. Before discussing the subject of migration further, let us first go through the relevant verses of the Holy Qur’an and traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Verses of the Qur’an:

1.   Lo! those who believe, and those who emigrate (to escape the persecution) and strive in the way of Allah, these have hope of Allah’s mercy. Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

–—(2:218)

2.   Lo! as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they wrong themselves, (the angels) will ask: In what were ye engaged? They will say: We were oppressed in the land. (The angels) will say: Was not Allah’s earth spacious that ye could have migrated therein? As for such, their habitation will be hell, an evil journey’s end; Except the feeble among men, and the women, and the children, who are unable to devise a plan and are not shown a way. As for such it may be that Allah will pardon them. Allah is ever Clement, Forgiving. Whoso migrateth for the cause of Allah will find much refuge and abundance in the earth, and whoso forsaketh his home, a fugitive unto Allah and His messenger and death overtaketh him, his reward is then incumbent on Allah, Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.

–—(4 : 97-100)

3.   Lo! those who believed and left their homes and strove with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah, and those who took them in and helped them: these are protecting friends one of another. And those who believed but did not leave their homes, ye have no duty to protect them till they leave their homes; but if they seek help from you in the matter of religion then it is your duty to help (them) except against a folk between whom and you there is a treaty. Allah is Seer of what ye do. And those who disbelieve are protectors one of another-If ye do not so, there will be confusion in the land, and great corruption. Those who believed and left their homes and strove for the cause of Allah, and those who took them in and helped them-these are the believers in truth. For them is pardon and a bountiful provision. And those who afterwards believed and left their homes and strove along with you, they are of you; and those who are akin are nearer one to another in the ordinance of Allah. Lo! Allah is Knower of all things.

–—(9 : Al-Anfal : 72-75)

4.   Those who believe and have left their homes and strive with their wealth and their lives in Allah’s way are of much greater worth in Allah’s sight. These are they who are triumphant.

–—(9 : 20)

5.   And those who became fugitives for the cause of Allah after they had been oppressed, We verily shall give them goodly lodging in the world, and surely the reward of the Hereafter is greater, if they but knew;

–—(16:41)

6.   Then lo! thy Lord-for those who became fugitives after they had been persecuted, and then fought and were steadfast-lo! thy Lord afterward is (for them) indeed Forgiving, Merciful,

–—(16:110)

7.   Those who fled their homes for the cause of Allah and then were slain or died, Allah verily will provide for them a good provision. Lo! Allah, He verily is Best of all who make provision. Assuredly He will cause them to enter by an entry that they will love. Lo! Allah verily is Knower, Indulgent.

–—(22:58-59)

8.   And (it is) for the poor fugitives who have been driven out from their homes and their belongings, who seek bounty from Allah and help Allah and His messenger. They are the loyal.

–—(59:8)

9.   O ye who believe! When believing women come unto you as fugitives, examine them. Allah is best aware of their faith, Then, if ye know them for true believers, send them not back unto the disbelievers. They are not lawful for the disbelievers, nor are the disbelievers lawful for them. And give the disbelievers that which they have spent (upon them). And it is no sin for you to marry such women when ye have given them their dues. And hold not to the ties of disbelieving women; and ask for (the return of) that which ye have spent; and let the disbelievers ask for that which they have spent. That is the judgement of Allah. He judgeth between you. Allah is Knower, Wise.

–—(60:10)

Traditions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) :

1. Amr-b-Abasah reported: I came to the Apostle of Allah and enquired: O Prophet of Allah! Who is with you in this affair? “Both free man replied he “and slave”. I enquired: What is Islam? He replied: Sweet talk and giving food. I asked: What is faith? He replied: Patience and generosity. I enquired: Which Islam is best? He replied: That one’s from whose tongue and hand Muslims are safe. I asked: Which faith is best? He said: Good conduct. I asked: Which prayer is best! He said: Standing long in humility. I asked: Which emigration is best? He replied: Abandoning what your Lord dislikes. I asked: Which Jihad is best? He replied: That in which his best horse is killed and his blood is shed. I enquired : Which hour is best? He said : The middle of the later half of the night.

–—(Ahmad)

2.   Abdullah-b-Hubshi reported that the Prophet was asked : Which of the actions is best? He said : prolonged standing (in prayer). He was questioned: Which charity is best? He said: Strivings of a man of small means. He was questioned: Which migration is best? He said: He who flees away from what Allah has prohibited him. He was questioned which Jihad is best? He said: He who fights with the polytheists with his property and his life.

–—(Ibn Majah)

The first ever migration of the oppressed Muslims that took place was that of the Makkan Muslims who migrated to Abyssinia, a Christian country around the year 616 or 617 A.D. To escape from the persecution by the pagan Quraish, the Muslims migrated to the said country, with the permission of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The ruler of Abyssinia not only accorded them a kind treatment but also refused the request made by a high-powered delegation of the Quraish to extradite the Muslim refugees. The Prophet was so much pleased by the hospitality shown by the Abyssinian ruler (Negus) to his followers that he offered funeral prayer of the Negus in absentia when the latter died.

Second migration of the oppressed followers of Islam and this time in the company of the Prophet himself was from Makkah to Madina in the year 622 A.D. This is very important event in the history of Islam as well as of the world because Muslim Calendar of Higerah dates back from this event. The Muslims of Madinah welcomed their brothers from Makkah and showed them the hospitality which has become a model to emulate for the later generations. The Qur’an praises their hospitality and Allah showered His blessings upon the Helpers (Ansar) of Madinah and the immigrants (Muhajirin) of Makkah.

The later Muslims have never lagged behind in following the golden traditions of their predecessors in offering hospitality to the persecuted refugees. Only recently Pakistan offered its hospitality to more than three million Muslim refugees from Afghanistan when that country was invaded by the Russian communists. Pakistan has also been a long time host of the Kashmiris who migrate to this country in the event of Indian oppression.


 


[1]       These figures have been taken from Monthly Baidar Digest Lahore.

 
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