If jihad in the cause of God is holding high the banner of unification, applying Shariaa law, siding with what is right, defending the homeland, protecting values and developing the land, then we are mujahidin in the cause of God. If jihad in the cause of God means defending one’s creed, struggling for a decent life, and striving to lay down the foundations of justice, peace, security and faith, then we are mujahidin in the cause of God. If jihad in the cause of God is spreading useful knowledge, propagating education, building universities, maintaining the two holy mosques, showing respect for the holy book, printing and distributing it and holding it as sacrosanct, teaching the Sunna (traditions) of the messenger, prayers and peace of God be upon him, helping the wronged, rescuing the weak, showing mercy to the helpless poor and teaching the ignorant, then we are mujahidin in the cause of God. If jihad in the cause of God means maintaining religion and the homeland, bringing people together, unifying discourse, shunning division, fighting pre-Islamic-type fanaticism and racist calls and combating idolatry, controversial innovations in religion (bid’ah), myths, witchcraft and charlatanism, then we are mujahidin in the cause of God.
But, if jihad means harming the homeland, destroying development, undermining property, blowing up buildings, impeding growth, terrorizing people living in safety, killing people with whom we have a pact, betraying those who trust us, taking people’s inviolable lives, plundering legitimately gained money, making people’s lives a misery and perturbing the living atmosphere of the nation, then we declare to God that we are innocent of such jihad. If jihad means taking up arms against society, dissenting from unanimity, endangering the lives of innocent, unarmed people and children, propagating chaos, spreading hatred, rebelling, disobeying one’s parents, cutting ties with relatives, harming Muslims and people with whom we have a pact, then we declare to God that we are innocent of such jihad. If jihad is tarnishing the image of Islam, preventing people from joining Islam, distorting the attractive aspects of Islam and making them appear repulsive in the eyes of its enemies, giving Islam’s adversaries an excuse to harm it, and engaging in these childish, reckless, and futile acts thereby giving a chance for the invasion of the land of Islam, the occupation of its holy places, tampering with its sanctities, and humiliating the sons of Islam, then we declare to God that we are innocent of such jihad.
Jihad in the cause of God is a sacred worship; it is the best act of devotion that brings man closer to God because it means defending the creed and homeland, protecting the message (of God), maintaining virtue and preserving property. All nations on earth have engaged in jihad and struggled, whether in the way of God or in an earthly manner. And all the states of the world are struggling to protect themselves and preserve their assets. All peoples resist to the death when their principles or homelands are targeted. But the most honorable and lofty of these forms of jihad is jihad in the cause of God.
Jihad in the cause of God is not asking for death. Rather, it is asking for a decent life because life in the cause of God is sweeter than death in the cause of God. Life in the cause of God is faith and knowledge, work and gain, education and usefulness, innovation and production. In a life in the cause of God there is submission to the God of heaven and earth, learning from scholars, providing food and medicine, a quest to prevent harm, removing predicament and being useful to the needy. Scholars, emirs, ministers, doctors, engineers, teachers, soldiers and farmers are all mujahidin in the cause of God, if they are sincere.
Striving to make an honorable gain, providing food for one’s family, taking care of widows, the needy, and the orphans, building mosques, digging wells, feeding the hungry and treating the sick is jihad in the cause of God. We have come as the best nation among nations in order make mankind happy not to cause misery to people. We have come to be part of their lives not their deaths, to ensure their peace not cause hardship to them, to secure them not to intimidate them, to guide them not to make them dislike religion. The Prophet, prayers and peace of God be upon him, said: “Preach but do not make people dislike preaching; make things easy for people, not difficult.”
O Muslims, be careful not to understand jihad as aggression against other people, eagerness to kill people and taking up arms without knowledge, understanding, farsightedness, and wisdom. Jihad in the cause of God is decided by experienced scholars and men of jurisprudence who are close to God. Jihad must not be left as a free-for-all deregulated choice for any small-time student, the inexperienced young and crisis-stricken youth. It would be better for these youths to devote themselves to learning and making honorable gains even by selling wood and charcoal or working as shepherds, lorry drivers, tailors or carpenters. By God, these jobs are one thousand times more honorable than shedding sacred blood, taking inviolable lives, terrorizing a person living in safety, and threatening somebody with whom we have a pact.