Islamic Perspectives

Concept of Jihad and Love

According to Al-Bukhari and Muslim, the two most important collections of the sayings and deeds of the Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have told a young man, who came to him for the cause of Jihad, “Go back to your parents and serve them and consider their service as your Jihad.” This is in conformity with the Qur'anic injunction: “And We have enjoined on man (to be dutiful and good) to his parents. His mother bore him in weakness and hardship upon weakness and hardship, and his weaning is in two years - give thanks to Me and to your parents”. (The Qur’an, 31:14). It appears that among human deeds, treating parents with respect and kindness is next only to Divine worship as the Holy Qur’an says: “And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be dutiful to both your parents” (17:23).  

     Another example of true Jihad in Islam is the sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Husain, grandson of the Prophet, who, alongwith his followers, gave his life fighting against oppression by a tyrant ruler. These two forms of activities represent true Jihad which is an Arabic word meaning “struggle” or “striving” for a just cause. Violent action in the name of Jihad against a person or a group has no sanction in Islam. Even killing  one innocent person is regarded as equivalent to killing all of Mankind. (5:32) because “there be no compulsion (coercion) in religion” (2:256). As a matter of fact, providing justice to a victim of coercion or compulsion (in the name of religion) is also a Jihad.

    The word “Love” has great significance in Islam but it has nothing to do with lust, fun or other worldly unethical practices or gains. The real love in Islam is Love for Allah and his creations. Allah says: “Worship Allah and join none with Him (in worship); and do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, the poor, the neighbour who is near of kin, the neighbour who is a stranger, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (you meet), and those whom your right hands possess”. (4:36). Can there be a better meaning (definition) of Love than this Qur’anic verse.?

    In view of the above observations, all forms of true love are Jihad and all true Jihads are love for human beings. Lives of great Sufis in Islamic history, in India and elsewhere, are testimony to this jihadi love towards all in general and the downtrodden and oppressed in particular.

Unfortunately, the concept of jihad has been hijacked by bigots over the ages in a bid to justify various forms of violence. Similarly, the concept of love has been hijacked by self-seekers for unethical motives.

   In the present scenario of hatred, conflicts, ignorance, poverty and disease, only Jihad against these evils is the best struggle. Therefore, people should love Jihad for the cause of humanity and human development.

Poet Iqbal has rightly stated:
Darde dil ke waaste paida kiya insaan ko
Warna ta’at ke liye kam na the kar o bayaan
(God) has created human beings to feel the pain of others (serve humanity)
Otherwise, angels were aplenty for God’s worship).    

Dr. Iqtedar Farooqi, Lucknow