Ramadan Jihad and Scholars' Ignorance
30 Sep, 2008
As violent Jihad against the coalition forces heated up following the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. and Iraqi officials had hoped there would be a respite as the holy month of Ramadan approached. The reality was quite the opposite; violence spiked. A similar expectation amongst officials in Iraq during the next Ramadan was despoiled in like manners by a spike in violence. Thereafter, we did not hear similar anticipation amongst U.S. officials in Iraq. They seem to have gone to school to find out what this Ramadan is all about.
Now we continue to hear of similar expectations from Muslim leaders and scholars. Rightly so, given that the rather subdued success of Jihadis this Ramadan claimed 903 lives with 1638 people maimed or injured across 16 countries, according to a tracking by Religion of Peace website.
Mr Yusuf Irfan, an acclaimed Sydney-based lawyer and Islamist columnist, in an article entitled Another attack - in the name of whose Islam, slammed the latest suicide attack at Islamabad's Marriott Hotel that killed at least 60 and injured hundreds, saying:
"The timing of the attack - during the last 10 nights of Ramadan - could not have been more sacrilegious. Even pre-Islamic Arabs regarded the month of Ramadan as sacred, a time when tribal wars would cease. Yet for Islamist terrorists, no time is too sacred to pursue their ends through bloodshed."
Mr Yusuf also slammed the poor understanding of Islam amongst modern Muslim theologians and al-Qaeda ideologues (bin Laden and al-Jawahiri). He wrapped terror expert Dr Merv Bendle of the James Cook University for his ignorance of Islam and The Australian newspaper for publishing an allegedly baseless report on the latest Islamabad hotel bombing.
Likewise, Professor Muqtedar Khan of University of Delaware (New Jersey), in condemning the violence by radical Islamists during the ongoing month of Ramadan, said: "Ramadan is about returning to the fountain of truth and drinking from it as deeply as possible." He added:
"All of these attacks have been conducted by people who call themselves "Jihadis." This they claim is their struggle in the path of God. One cannot imagine to what extent the minds and the hearts of these people have become poisoned, that in the month of Ramadan when even frowning is undesirable, they chose to murder and maim indiscriminately."
A historical and theological investigation, however, proves that it is self-proclaimed scholars like Prof Khan and Mr Yusuf, who are ignorant; not those whom they accuse of the same.
Yes Mr Yusuf, you are correct. The pre-Islamic Arabs, whom Islam has relegated to the barbarian age of Jahiliyah [ignorance], deemed certain months of the year sacred and they scrupulously abstained from violence during those months. It is Muhammad, with sanctions from Allah, repudiated this well-evolved civilized Arab tradition of nonviolence. Not only that, Prophet Muhammad chose the sacred months for waging his violent holy wars against the infidels of Arabia—a tradition perpetuated by Muslims to the present day. And rightly so! The Prophet's actions, Muslims believe, constitute the standard for all times.
As Jihad or holy war was sanctioned by Allah [Quran 2:190-194,216] after Prophet Muhammad's emigration to Medina, the Prophet directed the first successful Jihad at Nakhla plundering a caravan of his Meccan opponents, killing an attendant and taking two captives. It was the sacred month of Rajab, when Muslims observe the lesser pilgrimage, Omra to the Ka'ba--a pre-Islamic Pagan ritual. This violation of the sacred tradition was condemned by the horrified Arabs, including many of Muhammad's followers. The Islamic deity came down with a revelation [Quran 2:217], giving this horrifying sacred month violence a divine blessing.
Next, a couple of months later came the month of Ramadan, the first to be celebrated as the Muslim holy month of fasting. Prophet Muhammad, hearing the news of a rich Meccan caravan returning from Syria, launched Islam's most significant Jihad expedition to plunder it. This led to the famous Battle of Badr with a Meccan rescue army, three times stronger, in which, the Muslim army became victorious.
Battle of Tours in France on first day of Ramadan (732)
This Ramadan victory at Badr, as every Muslim knows, was the most significant in the history of Islam. Muslim confidence was boosted as they assumed that God was helping them winning the impossible battles, to which, Allah revealed that He was indeed helping each Muslim fighter with 20 angels in the battle. This not only marked the unbridled march of Jihad over the centuries since, but the month of Ramadan also became the auspicious time for waging the most significant Jihad expeditions. The Prophet's greatest victory, the conquest of Mecca and capture of the Ka'ba (then a Pagan temple), came in Ramadan (630 CE).
The most important later battle in Islam, albeit a failed one, was the Battle of Tours in France in 732 CE. This battle, if won, think many scholars, it would have signaled the conquest of the whole world by Islam. It was also fought in Ramadan. The Muslim General Abd al-Rahman, the governor of Al-Andalus [Iberia], kept a siege on Charles Martel's immobile Frankish line—a wall of ice—for one whole autumn, making small charges only to be beaten back. For launching the final battle, they waited for the arrival of Ramadan, the blessed month for decisive Jihads. After a long wait, on the very first day of Ramadan (732 CE), Abd al-Rahman led the decisive ferocious charge himself, only to be slain in the Frankish counterattack.
It was in Ramadan that the Muslims of the subcontinent inaugurated the violent Jihadi quest for dividing India to create Pakistan. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the leader of the Muslim League Party, washing his hands off any negotiation for keeping India united, reached a resolution in the Muslim League meeting in Bombay on 29 July 1946 that,
"It has become abundantly clear that the Muslims of India would not rest with anything less than the immediate establishment of an independent and full sovereign State of Pakistan… the Council of the All-India Muslim League is convinced that now the time has come for Muslim nation to resort to Direct Action to achieve Pakistan and get rid of the present slavery under the British and contemplated future caste Hindu domination." [Khosla, Stern Reckoning, p38]
Calcutta, where Muslims constituted one-third of the population (similar proportion at Badr), was chosen as the venue for unleashing the Direct Action. The date chosen was the 18th day of Ramadan (16 August 1946), coinciding with the day of Badr. Secret pamphlets, circulated amongst Muslims by the Muslim League (also read out in mosque sermons), read:
"Muslims must remember that it was in Ramzam that the Quran was revealed. It was in Ramzan that the permission for Jehad was granted. It was in Ramzam that the battle of Badr, the first open conflict between Islam and Heathenism [i.e., idolatry, which equates Hinduism] was fought and won by 313 Muslims; and again it was in Ramzan that 10,000 under the Holy Prophet conquered Mecca and established the kingdom of Heaven and the commonwealth of Islam in Arabia. Muslim League is fortunate that it is starting its action in this holy month.
By the grace of God, we are ten cores [100 millions] in India but through our bad luck we have become slaves of the Hindus and the British. We are starting a Jehad in Your Name in this very month of Ramzan. Pray make us strong in body and mind—give Your helping hand in all out actions—make us victorious over the Kafers [enemy of Allah aka Hindus]—enable us to establish the Kingdom of Islam in India and make proper sacrifices for this Jehad—by the grace of God may we build up in India the greatest Islamic kingdom in the world." [Khosla, p51-52; Khan, The Great Partition, p63-64]
In the Direct Action Jihad at Calcutta, Muslim unleashed—with the connivance of the police under the direction of the Muslim League government in power—brutal massacre, pillage, plunder, rape and arson of the Hindus and Sikhs. After suffering one-and-a-half days of brutal savagery, the Hindus and Sikhs recovered from the shock and plucking courage, hit back, outnumbering the Muslims and paying back in like manners. Five days of continued violence racked up some 5,000 dead-bodies with 43% Muslim casualties. The whole outcome of this Jihad for creating Pakistan, inaugurated in the holy month of Ramadan, was up to two million deaths (roughly equal on both sides), a few million Hindus and Sikhs converted to Islam at the pain of death, and tens of thousand of predominantly Hindu and Sikh women were raped or abducted and married off to Muslims. Some twenty million people were to cross borders leaving every thing behind.
Creation of Pakistan, a pure land for the Muslims, was probably the greatest 20th-century achievement for the Muslim ummah. Jihad did not go in vein.
These were but a few examples of famous Jihads waged in the holy month of Ramadan. I wonder who need to go to school to consolidate their knowledge of the resplendent Islam, of Jihad in the holy month of Ramadan in particular. Should it be Irfan Yusuf and Prof. Muqtedar Khan, the self-proclaimed scholar of Islam, or those whom they criticize?
And Mr Yusuf, Another attack - in the name of whose Islam? Undoubtedly, it is in the name of Allah's Islam; Quran's Islam; Prophet's Islam.