It will not be a surprise to anyone to learn of the great misconceptions that are held by many regarding some key aspects of Islam. Presently due to the rise of individuals massacring innocent civilians, irrespective of their religion, in the name of Jihad, has deeply confused the image of Jihad.
Terrorists justify their actions by quoting verses of the Quran that apparently command them to carry out this ‘Jihad’. This results in many Muslims being caught up in two minds as to whether what these terrorists are doing is actually commanded by the Quran or not. Then there are elements who only give air time to the ‘Islam’ that is portrayed by the extremists resulting in many in the West being constantly told that the Quran commands ‘Muslims to kill infidels’.
Thus, Muslims who understood the true concept of Jihad were immensely depressed to see the message of the extremists being presented as Islam. Muslims and the wider community were crying out for the true Message of Islam and in particular the true concept of Jihad to be presented so that Islam can be differentiated from the acts of the terrorists.
To carry out this crucial role Minhaj-ul-Quran International has been active in the past year. The Fatwa against terrorism launched by Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri was a ground breaker and demolished the foundations of the extremist ideology. This Fatwa alone, revolutionised the image of Islam in the world and particularity in the West, over night. Months after the launch of the fatwa in London, the world media is still buzzing with references to the Fatwa.
In order to spread the message of that Fatwa, MQI has been holding events throughout the world. In line with this, a similar conference was organised in Bradford, UK.
Muslim Youth League UK (MYL UK) organised a very successful conference at the Bradford Hilton Hotel with the title of ‘JIHijackAD’. The aims of the conference were to highlight the fact that the concept of Jihad had been hijacked by extremists and terrorists; and to present the true Islamic concept of Jihad to the world.
The unique and intriguing aspect of this conference was that the audience were all youngsters. Over 700 youngsters attended the all ticketed event. The successful promotion of the event by MYL UK through TV adverts on various channels, and other promotional modes had created great interest in the event resulting in the event being sold out and being full to capacity. The key speaker on the subject at hand was Shaykh Hassan Mohiudin Qadri who delivered a two hour detailed lecture on the true Islamic concept of Jihad. Right at the outset he made it clear that Islam nor the Quran or Hadith relate Jihad to violence. He said Jihad is a multi faceted struggle for good. Those who are using Quranic verses which mention the word Jihad to derive that these verses are permitting the use of force by whatever means in order to carry out their aims are clearly and blatantly misusing Quranic verses. He said those people who were doing this were taking literal meanings of these verses ignoring their context. Interpreting verses without having sound knowledge of their context is deliberately misusing these verses.
He further explained: that 31 verses of the Quran which mention Jihad, mention it in a non-violent form. These verses mention the 4 types of Jihad:
1. Jihad of Nafs- Struggle for self purification
2. Jihad with Ilm- Struggle to spread knowledge and eradicate illiteracy
3. Jihad with Amal- Moral and ethical struggle
4. Jihad with Maal- use wealth to struggle against poverty
31 verses of the Quran which use the word Jihad, do so in the context of the these 4 categories. There is no mention of violence with regards to Jihad in these verses. He said this is the true concept of Jihad, which is ignored and the whole emphasis of Jihad is placed on the 5th category of Jihad:
When warfare is referred to, the correct term for it is not Jihad but Qital.
There are 4 verses of the Quran which use the word Jihad in the context of taking up arms in defensive warfare. These verses permit the use of force only as a means of defence.
It must be understood that the permission for Qital was not given during the pre-Hijra Makkan period when the Muslims were continually facing violence from the Makkans. 5 verses were revealed during this Makkan period with the word Jihad, but it did not mean Qital but a peaceful struggle. If these verses containing the word Jihad were actually propagating the use of violence then the Prophet SAW and the companions would have taken up arms. But when it is clear that they did not use violence, then it is also clear that the word Jihad in these verses does not refer to the use of force. So in actual fact, in this day and age those people who misrepresent the verses of the Quran to legitimise violence, claim to understand the Quran better than the Prophet SAW.
The permission for taking up arms to carry out defensive warfare was given during the Madinan period. Proof of the fact that Qital is only permitted as a defensive warfare, is that all the battles that the Prophet SAW was involved in were on or around the border of Madinah. He was forced to defend Madinah from the advancing armies of the enemy. No battle took place at the border of Makkah.
There are strict conditions attached to this defensive warfare that is permitted by Islam in the form of Qital. Qital can only be declared by an Islamic state. Individuals, organisations or groups cannot declare this form of Jihad. Even the verse permitting defensive warfare warns the Muslims not to transgress.
These were only brief points from his lecture. He explained each of the 5 types of Jihad by going through the verses which refer to that type. At the end his thesis left the audience full of joy that what they knew all along about the peaceful nature of Islam was finally put before them in a comprehensive fully referenced manner.
The nasheed artists who performed at the conference were the group Mecca2Medina and Hamza Robertson. They performed many of the nasheeds that they are renowned for. A Nasheed was also performed Kabir Hussain.
A presentation of Minhaj Welfare Foundation (MWF) was given by Adnan Sohail.
A presentation on the current projects being carried out by MYL UK was given by Tahira Akhtar.