NEW DELHI—Trying to remove various misgivings about Jihad, noted Islamic scholar Dr. Muhammad Raziul Islam Nadwi said that Islam did not come to forcibly eradicate other beliefs or creeds through the use of violence. This is a misconception that is being propagated by some scholars who have a vested interest.
Dr. Nadwi, who is also the National Secretary of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind(JIH), pointed out that when Islam upholds freedom of expression and that extends to freedom of practicing one’s religion as well, how could such a religion advocate forced eradication of other faiths.
Making these observations at a lecture at the JIH headquarters here recently, he said that centuries of Islamic and Muslim rule in different parts of the world did not lead to the elimination of non-Muslims in the respective countries. History is a witness that followers of other religions continued to co-exist under Muslim rule, including India. He said that it was false propaganda that Jihad in Islam was used to eliminate non-Muslim societies.
Explaining that one of the various purposes of Jihad (literally means effort or striving against evil in oneself or society) is to protect the weak, and oppressed and above all to establish justice.
He said that Allah in the Quran asks Muslims to defend the weak, ill-treated, and oppressed among men, women, and children who cry out for protection. And this is Jihad in physical terms and such action under no circumstances can be termed terrorism. Defending and protecting the life and property of the weak and oppressed is one of the basic human rights.
He pointed out that the aim of Jihad is not the acquisition of wealth but to establish justice and resist oppression and aggression.
Expressing serious concern over the vilification of the term “Jihad”, Dr. Nadwi said that the term had wrongly been associated with terrorism, unjust killing, looting, and attacks on innocent lives.
He said that anti-Islamic forces have propagated a negative narrative about Jihad that influenced people’s perceptions not only in India but all over the world. This negative propaganda has resulted in a kind of aversion against Islam among people not familiar with the true teachings of Islam.
He noted that negative propaganda about Jihad has also led to a type of apologetic attitude among Muslims who shy away from using the term Jihad as a type of struggle against evil in society. The term has so much been associated with violence in the writings of Western Islamophobic writers that mere mention of the term Jihad evokes imagery of violence, killing, and mayhem in the minds of commoners.
He advocated the publication and distribution of literature about the true concept of Jihad and posting them online for the benefit of youth who generally acquire information through the internet.