Islam – “The Meaning of Holy War”

By: Bawa Muhaiyaddeen

My brothers and sisters in Iman-Islam, let us speak further on the meaning of holy war, or Jihad. If we understand the Qur’an properly, and if we understand the traditions of the Prophet (Sal.), then Islam will be the water of grace for the entire world. It will cleanse everyone of their dirt and quench their thirst. It will make all hearts peaceful and be the very pulse of life the heartbeat for all the children of Adam (A.S.) for all of creation.

A direct revelation to Muhammad, the Messenger of God

The exalted Prophet (Sal.), his companions, and his followers were constantly being attacked by those who did not accept Allah or His Messenger (Sal.). With forbearance and contentment, Muhammad (Sal.) tolerated all the suffering that came to him, and he conveyed to his followers the patience and the trust in Allah that was given to him. However, eventually it became necessary to escape from this persecution, so he and his followers fled to Medina. Many of the people of Medina immediately accepted the Prophet (Sal.), and he and his followers found some peace. But a few hypocrites and troublemakers traveled between the two cities spreading rumors, backbiting, and creating enmity. “The people of Mecca want to fight you,” they told the Prophet (Sal.) and his followers. “They are destroying your homes and all the property that you left behind. They are killing your wives and children and injuring your brothers.”

Upon hearing these stories, some of the companions complained to the Prophet (Sal.), pleading, “O Rasul, they are causing us so much suffering! They have harmed our families, taken our possessions, destroyed our homes, and chased us from place to place. And now they are calling us cowards for running away. But we are courageous warriors and must live with honor and dignity. We have accepted this disgrace long enough. Now we must fight!

“You are the Messenger of Allah (Sal.). This world and the hereafter are one to you, and Allah is sufficient for you as your only wealth. So you are not concerned if people try to disgrace you, but in our state we cannot bear this. We need the means to live in this world as well as in the hereafter. The Meccans have destroyed our houses, our property, and our relations. We must fight to regain our possessions, for our hearts are hurt and we are suffering.”

The companions of the Prophet (Sal.) pleaded like this time after time. But Muhammad (Sal.) did not grant them permission to fight. His heart was crying. The light in his eyes looked toward Allah, and his hands were outstretched asking for perfect faith and the wealth of Allah’s divine knowledge. He spent every moment in this state, asking Allah to change the hearts of the people. The only sword in his hand was the sword of love and unity, the sword of faith, certitude, and determination, the sword of patience, contentment, trusting God and praise of God.

After a while, Hamzah came with the same request, but the Prophet (Sal.) would not yield to him either. He would not tell his followers to begin a holy war. Instead he always answered, “You cannot do this without Allah’s permission, and Allah has not granted it. Therefore, I cannot give you my permission either. The true holy war of Islam is a war against our base desires, and against all those aspects within ourselves which are the real enemies to our life in the hereafter. But still his companions pleaded, “We are warriors and we have been disgraced. How can we live in this world with such dishonor?”

Then, while the Prophet (Sal.) waited silently, Allah’s answer came. “O Muhammad, tell your companions to begin the holy war in their hearts, to sacrifice the evils in their own hearts. Your companions need to understand this.”

The Prophet conveyed this to his companions. “My, brothers, Allah has said that if you want to begin a holy war, your first duty is to wage that war against the army of enemies that harm you from within. Each one of you must make your heart acceptable to Him. You must make your heart pure according to God’s law by performing the ritual sacrifice needed to destroy the evils which come to destroy you. You must cut away all the things that occlude your heart. Make your heart light. Nourish it with the food of light which is the treasure of Allah, and avoid all that is forbidden.”

Allah told His Messenger (Sal.), “Only one who partakes of My food will have his hunger and his desires appeased. The permissible food, for the heart consists of My divine knowledge, My ninety-nine attributes, My qualities and actions. My patience and contentment surrender to Me, trusting Me, and praising Me alone. Only such praise will end his hunger. With My angels I will protect anyone who makes this intention the light within his heart, anyone who understands each of these three thousand gracious qualities, anyone in whom these qualities emerge.

“O Muhammad, I will reveal to you the angels that will come to protect you from the armies of Habib Ibn Malik, sent by Abu Jahl. Each angel will have three thousand heads and six thousand hands, and will ‘Wield the weapons appropriate to them. You will be able to see them all. So even if you are afraid, O Muhammad, go forward! You need not fear when you are in a state of Iman-Islam. You have the grace of My protection, the only true protection. I am the only One who can protect you in this way. Those who keep Me as their Protector will never be destroyed by anything in the world, but those who do not seek My help will be destroyed. As long as they have the world within them, they will be destroyed by that world. It is the world which kills the world. That is certain. Tell this to your followers.

“The world does not belong to you, O Muhammad. You are here to realize Me. That is why I showed you My actions, and that is why I created all My creations and their secrets. They are all examples I gave you so that you could understand Me. I am the only One who can perform these duties of creating, protecting, nourishing, giving food, and dispensing judgment. No one else can perform these actions.

“O Muhammad, through Adam, through My creations, through the earth, the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars, fire, water, air and the clouds, I have revealed My secrets. Then I sent you to teach your followers. Through you, I sent them so many words and holy verses, so many actions, and so much wisdom. I gave the verses of the Holy Qur’an into your hands so that you could understand the connection between Myself and true man and through this connection understand your earnings in this world and the hereafter. The nature of your true wealth is explained in the Holy Qur’an.

“Muhammad, you have revealed My word. If your followers want to learn the glory of the Qur’an, if they want to understand its wealth, they must have the wisdom of divine knowledge. The Qur’an is the secret within the secret, the essence within the essence, wisdom within wisdom, grace within grace, the soul within the soul, the heart within the innermost heart, the light within the light of the eye, the ear within the ear, the nose within the nose, the tongue within the tongue, and knowledge within divine knowledge. The Qur’an is the form that exists within in the form. They must go within to know its real meaning.

Copyright: Islam and World Peace Pg. 75-79
Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship Family Newsletter Oct – Nov 2001

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