Jihad, Violence & Qur’an

After 9/11, it has become fashion, especially among western writers to quote the Quranic verses related with the conduct of warfare out of their context, there by misleading the reader to misperceive Islam as religion of violence and militancy, which is far from reality.
Jihad is a very important doctrine of Islam, which lays down guidelines and principles, to be adhered by a Muslim while striving against various forms of resistance; i.e. internal (against selfish desires and evil temptations) or external for the cause of God. Muslims are required to make persistent effort to serve the cause of Islam. That effort, falls within the meaning of the term “Jihad for the cause of God”. Jihad is derived from the Arabic word ‘Juhd’, which means “effort”, verb Jahada, means “he struggled” or “strove hard” or “exerted himself”, namely, in a good cause and against evil. Consequently, jihad denotes “striving in the cause of God” in the widest sense of this expression: that is to say, it applies not merely to physical warfare (qital) but to any righteous struggle in the moral sense as well; thus, for instance, the Prophet described man’s struggle against his own passions and weaknesses (Jihad An-Nafs) as the “Greatest Jihad” (Bayhaqi, on the authority of Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah).
Muhammad Asad, in his commentary “The Message of Qur’an”, while explaining verse 2:190, in note:167 & 168 writes: ‘This  [2:190] and the following verses lay down unequivocally that only self-defence (in the widest sense of the word) makes war permissible for Muslims. Most of the commentators agree in that  the expression la ta’tadu signifies, in this context, “do not commit aggression”; while by  al-mu’tadin “those who commit aggression” are meant. The defensive character of a fight “in God’s cause” – that is, in the cause of the ethical principles ordained by God – is, moreover, self-evident in the reference to “those who wage war against you”, and has been still further clarified in 22:39 – “permission [to fight] is given to those against whom war is being wrongfully waged” – which, according to all available Traditions, constitutes the earliest (and therefore fundamental) Qur’anic reference to the question of Jihad, or holy war (see Tabari and Ibn Kathir in their commentaries on 22:39). That this early, fundamental principle of self-defence as the only possible justification of war has been maintained throughout the Qur’an is evident from 60:8, as well as from the concluding sentence of 4:91, both of which belong to a later period than the above verse. In view of the preceding ordinance, the injunction “slay them wherever you may come upon  them” is valid only within the context of hostilities already in progress (Razi), on the understanding that “those who wage war against you” are the aggressors or oppressors (a war of liberation being a war “in God’s cause”). The translation, in this context, of fitnah as “oppression” is justified by the application of this term to any affliction which may cause man to go astray and to lose his faith in spiritual values (cf. Lisan al-‘Arab). Consequently, the concept of a defensive war in God’s cause (Jihad) plays a very prominent role in the socio-political scheme of Islam and is frequently alluded to throughout the Qur’an.
After 9/11, it has become fashion, especially among western writers to quote the Quranic verses related with the conduct of warfare out of their context, there by misleading the reader to misperceive Islam as religion of violence and militancy, which is far from reality.
“Then, for having broken their solemn pledge, We rejected them and caused their hearts to harden – [so that now] they distort the meaning of the [revealed] words, taking them out of their context; and they have forgotten much of what they had been told to bear in mind; and from all but a few of them thou wilt always experience treachery. But pardon them, and forbear: verily, God loves the doers of good.” [Qur’an; 5:13]
The general circumstances in which war is permitted are mentioned at verses 2:190-194, 22:39, 60:8-9. Guidelines for the conduct of warfare are mentioned at 47:4, 9:14, 48:16 and other verses.
Some references from Qur’an are given below:-
o Obligatory; 2:216
o To rescue the helpless oppressed old men, women, and children; 4:75
o Bigger Jihad (Jihad Kabira), through Qur’an (preaching) ;25:52.
o In Allah’s cause, 4:74, 4:77, 4:84, 9:38-39, 9:41
o Not for material gain, not to kill those seeking peace 4:94
o Deliberate killing of believer, punishment is hell  forever;4:93
o Part of faith; 49:15
o Warfare [Qatelu, wa-Qatalu]; 2:216-217; 4 89-91.
o In self defense; 2:190; 22:39; 60:8; 4:91
o Killing only during hostilities in progress, 2:191, 4:89, 4:91, 5:33, 8:39, 8:57, 9:5, 9:12 ; 9:1-6
o Don’t fight nonbelievers who neither fought against your faith nor driven you out of your homes,  treat them justly; 60:8
o Aggression- Forbidden, 2:190, 4:90, 60:8,  Sin of, 5:2
o Be brave, 4:104
o Fighting between two groups of believers, 49:9
o Do not acquire slaves except through war, 8:67
o Do not be fainthearted crying for peace; 47:35
o Exemptions, 9:122, 48:17
o Asking for it for wrong reasons, 9:43, 9:45, 9:49, 9:86, 9:93
o For helpless, 4:98, 9:91
o For ill, 4:102, 9:91
o If foes cease, then you must cease, 2:193, 4:90, 8:37, 8:61
o Warfare forbidden during the four sacred months, 9:36; Unless attacked, 2:194, 2:217
o Free slaves after fighting ends, 47:4
o Go forth humbly, 8:47
o Prepare well, 8:60
o Repentance of recent belligerents, 5:34, 9:5, 9:11
o When ordained, 2:190-193, 2:216-217, 4:91, 22:39, 60:8
o Striving hard against disbelievers, 9:73, 25:52, 66:9
o Striving hard in Allah’s cause, 2:218, 3:142, 4:95, 5:35, 5:54, 8:72, 8:74-75, 9:16, 9:19-20, 9:24, 9:44, 9:86, 9:88, 22:78, 29:6, 29:69, 49:15, 60:1, 61:11
o Non-believing parents trying to persuade a believer to polytheism, 29:8, 31:15
o Don’t create mischief [fasaad] in land; 28:77; 2:11-12;  2:60, 206, 3:63, 7:56
o Wards off evil from those who are true believers:22:38-40
o Suicide not Permissible; 2:195 ; 4:29
o Sins forgiven, those participate in  the cause of Allah; 61:12-13; 4:95 3:157

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The Message of The Quran by M Asad: