Are all of the wars mentioned in the Quran defense wars? Is it fard to fight those who do not accept to pay jizyah?

Details of the Question

Are all of the wars mentioned in the Quran defense wars? Is it fard to fight those who do not accept to pay jizyah?

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(editor) on Tue, 13/02/2018 - 15:19

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- In Islam / the Quran, the concept “jihad” essentially means to try to convey the truths of the religion to people, to make efforts. War is generally expressed with the concept “qital”. However, since efforts are made in qital/war too, the concept jihad is also used along with the word qital to mean war. As a matter of fact, the concept “jihad” is used in the chapter of al-Furqan sent down in Makkah and the order of jihad is given with it but it is definite that it does not mean war. The translation of the verse in question is as follows: 

“Therefore listen not to the Unbelievers, but strive against them with the utmost strenuousness, with the (Qur´an).” (al-Furqan, 25/52).

- It is known that all of the wars/battles that took place in the Era of Bliss were defense wars.

- There is no duty of fighting absolutely those who do not pay jizyah. The Islamic state can sign a treaty - that is not contrary to Islam - with the enemy without receiving any jizyah if it regards it appropriate. The Treaty of Hudaybiyya is an example of it.

- There is no disagreement among Islamic scholars regarding the issue. (see al-Buti, Said Ramadan, Fiqhus-Sirah, p. 219)

- In Islam, material jihad is not essential but incidental; it is a kind of defense that takes place based on the force of the conditions. The real jihad is spiritual. As it is mentioned in the chapter of al-Furqan above, the first order of jihad given in Makkah is not material jihad but spiritual jihad made through mind, thoughts and knowledge in order to convey the message of Islam to people. Therefore, all kinds of peace treaties that are in favor of Islamic countries can be made today. For, the following rule exists in the books related to Islamic Law as a general rule: "Muslims have to act in accordance with the treaties they sign." The following is stated in the Quran:

"…And fulfil (every) engagement, for (every) engagement will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning)." (al-Isra, 17/34)

Acting upon the divine instruction above and similar ones, Muslims were always loyal to their promises and they never violated treaties.

- It has been seen that wars have brought nothing but destruction for humanity in this age and that it has not served the aims of Muslims to convey the religious truths to humanity. Therefore, Muslims, who have to base their deeds on serving humanity, need peace more than anybody else does. Acting upon the fact that people entered Islam in groups after the peace treaty of Hudaybiyya, it is natural for Muslims and it is appropriate for the spirit of Islam to proceed in the way of peace by saying, “no to material war!” and “continue spiritual war / jihad!” - unless they are forced to defend themselves materially.

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