There is no case for Jihad in Kashmir

Haider Farooq Mawdudi

Also read interview of Haider Farooq Mawdudi, noted Pakistani Islamic scholar and son of the Late Maulana Sayed-ul-Ala Mawdudi, founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami(JEI) He has refuted 'Jihad' in Kashmir on the grounds that it is against the tenents of the Quran as Islam does not permit a covert war.

In Islam there exists only two permanent sources for distinguishing between the 'sacred' and the 'profane, 'religious' and 'temporal' and between 'Islamic' and 'unIslamic'. Though, with the growth and development of Islamic societies, various schools of Islamic jurisprudence emerged, only the Quran and the Hadees (traditions of the Prophet) provide fundamental sources from which solutions for pressing contemporary socio-political and economic problems could be deduced. Amongst the believers, from times immemorial, the fundamental questions like 'what is Islam?' and 'who is the true Muslim?' have remained difficult questions to be resolved. Since the Ulemas interpretation varied depending upon the emergence of Islam in a particular society, Prophet Mohammad's (SAW) life was accepted to be the guiding spirit of Islam and he himself was accepted as the first true Muslim. It was natural, therefore, to accept the Hadees as the reference point or the correct praxis of a true Muslim. Therefore, a true Muslim was considered to be one who was committed to the teachings of the Quran and the praxis of Prophet Mohammad (SAW).

The declaration of jihad in the Islamic tradition is viewed as a serious deliberation on the Islamic interpretation of 'religious war', which has to be waged to protect the right to faith of the 'Ummah'. During medieval times since the caliph was accepted by the 'Ummah' as the religious and the temporal head of the faith, he had the power to declare jihad in order to save the faith from infidels opposed to the preservation and sustenance of the Islamic order. Therefore, the declaration of jihad was only sanctioned in an extreme situation and was an open act of taking recourse to force in defence of the faith and was waged only against the kafirs, jahils,  and societies and orders restricting the growth of the 'Ummah.'  In Hadees, this has been considered as an extreme step and can be sanctioned and executed by the Muslims only in defence of the faith and not in mere matters of political expediency. Prophet Mohammad (SAW) has clarified this issue in the Battle of Badar where the defence of Islam was primarily against the non-believers, a majority of whom were the Prophet's own relatives like Abbas, Aqil and Abul-Aas. The bonds of kinship and nationality were broken in defence of the belief. Similarly, in the capture of Mecca, Prophet led the Army of the Ansars of Madina to attack his hometown, for the sake of faith only and not for the sake of occupying the land or for taking revenge against some people. Further, any deviation of interpretation of the jihad thus was construed as an act of hypocrisy or Munafiq, punishment for which was much more severe than against the kafirs.

In recent times, the concept of jihad has been subjected to various interpretations essentially on account of the secondary sources of consensus (ijma), analogy (qiyas), reason (aql) and finally ijtihad or the legal practice whereby a jurist applies his independent effort to deduce unavailable laws from the sources. Ijtihad implies the application of human reason and rationality. It constitutes a bridge between eternally valid divine injunctions and time specific requirements of every age. It is the key to providing an Islamic interpretation of modern developments and circumstances. While, since the 10th Century AD, the traditional Sunni Ulema have prohibited the application of ijtihad, the Sunni revivalists continued its usage. Allama Iqbal even went to the extent of stating that "modern Islam was not bound by this voluntary surrender of intellectual independence". (The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam). Therefore, Islamic revivalists and scholars have differed in the Islamic interpretations of social, political and economic issues and concerns. The concept of right to ikhtilaf, to differ in opinion on legal issues pertaining to non-primary sources, legitimises such diversity of opinion.

Friend, your acceptance of Kashmir as a Dar-ul-Harb is not in consonance with the spirit of the Quran and the Hadees and is probably based upon the ijtihad of few contemporary Islamic revivalists. While, your unflinching support to your belief is understandable, you may appreciate that there is a larger community of Islamic thinkers and scholars who think otherwise and have the right to ikhtilaf. Therefore, I reiterate my contention that there is no case for jihad in Kashmir and I would like to embellish my arguments delving deep into contemporary Islamic history and the socio-economic changes which have contributed substantially to the emergence of radical Islam. The ikhtilaf of many contemporary Islamic scholars is also detailed for your benefit.

Islamic societies, especially in the 19th and 20th centuries, whenever it came in touch with colonial powers, the threat to the religion was felt maximum by Islamic scholars and leaders, who in turn lent their support to the radicalization of Islam. It was a natural reaction as it involved the preservation of one's identity. Many of the 20th century Islamic revivalists readers like Sayyid Jamal al-Din 'al-Afghani', Sayyid Qutb, Maulana Mawdudi and Ayatollah Khomeini, when confronted with the onslaught of the western civilisation have appealed to the socially, economically and politically disinherited Muslim populace to rise and accept revolutionary Islam as a potent ideology for the emancipation of the 'Ummah'. The socio-economic and political backwardness of the respective societies provided an ideal breeding ground for its rapid spread. Much of their efforts at homogenising and syndicating a formal version of Islam was a natural reaction to the existing socio-political  conditions. However, this phase was also marked by nationalist movements all over the world in the wake of crumbling of the world imperialist edifice.

In the Islamic nations also this phenomenon struck deep roots, and saw the emergence of the Turkish, Arab (Bath movement), Palestinian, Indonesian and the Iranian freedom struggles. However, with the discovery of oil and the emergence of Middle East as an important financial centre during the middle of the century, neo-imperialist forces entered that arena with a highly discriminatory agenda of economic exploitation of these Islamic societies, whereby maximum benefits of growth was cornered by a minuscule of the elite. Once again to tide over the emerging crisis revivalist thinkers looked towards revolutionary Islam as the panacea for the liberation of vast, deprived sections of society. The superpower rivalry also witnessed the emergence of various theatres of conflict in the international arena, like Afghanistan, Middle East, Iraq and Iran, etc. which also contributed to the growth of pan Islamic movements of the region. The Pakistani role in Kashmir and the international Islamic response to the Kashmir issue has to be understood in this context.

Kashmir is a Muslim majority state with a sprinkling of Hindus and Buddhists. Since 1989, the region has witnessed turmoil and militancy partly due to certain genuine political demands of the Kashmiri Muslims and partly due to the role of Pakistan in propping up a covert proxy war against India. Even during the height of the 'movement', in the early 1990s, the leaders of the 'movement' never subscribed to the view that it was a jihad against an oppressive Hindu Indian government. The indigenous Kashmiri Muslim leadership has always voiced the quintessence of the Kashmiri people's aspirations as their right to self-determination and never as jihad. Therefore, does it follow that Shabbier Shah, Yasin Malik and Umar Farooq are in any way not true Muslims as the don't believe it to be a jihad? Moreover, their open pronouncements of Hindu-Muslim unity should therefore be interpreted as defiance against their faith.

        20. Those who believe, and emigrate
        And strive with might
        And main, in Allah's cause,
        With their goods and their persons,
        Have the highest rank
        In the sight of Allah:
        They are the people
        Who will achieve (salvation)
Here is a good description of Jihad. It may require fighting in Allah's cause, as a form of self-sacrifice. But its essence consists in (1) a true and sincere Faith, which so fixes its gaze on Allah, that all selfish or wordly motives seem paltry and fade away, and (2) an earnest and ceaseless activity, involving the sacrifice (if need be) of life, person or property, in the service of Allah. Mere brutal fighting is opposed to the whole spirit of Jihad, while the sincere scholar's pen pr preacher's voice or wealthy man's contributions may the most valuable forms of Jihad.
Taken from "The Holy Quran" - English translation of the meanings and commentary, revised and edited by The Presidency of Islamic Researchers, IFTA, call and guidance. The custodian of the two holy mosques King Fahd complex.

While militant organisations like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Harkat-ul-Ansar continue to advocate and justify a strong case for jihad in Kashmir, a greater number of Muslims including very respected Islamic scholars reject the idea. Both the protagonists in favour of the jihad in Kashmir and their opponents strongly base their convictions and draw inspiration from the Quran and Hadees. Therefore, it is quite clear that their respective understanding is based upon ijtihad. Further, the protagonists form only a minuscule of the Muslim population of the Indian subcontinent (approximately 15 million) while the majority of opinion amongst the Muslims is one for peaceful coexistence with other communities. Amongst the 57 Muslim countries in the world, it is only India which has around 350,000 functioning mosques for the believers, probably the highest in any part of the world. It is this state of affairs which prompts renowned Islamic scholars like Maulana Wahid-ud-din Khan to reject the concept of jihad on the grounds that the Muslims have both peace and freedom vis-a-vis their faith in India.

To delve further into history, one of the most important Islamic revivalist and thinkers Maulana Sayyid Abu'l-A'la Mawdudi (founder, Jamaat-e-Islami) during his life time had rejected the case of jihad in Kashmir and underwent imprisonment on charges of sedition in Pakistan. In 1947, while observing standstill agreement with the J&K government, Pakistan had covertly supported insurgency in the Valley by despatching a large number of tribals spearheaded by armed paramilitary units characterising their struggle as jihad. Mawdudi rejected the government efforts by arguing that the vigilante groups could not be fighting a jihad nor could the Pakistani government surreptitiously support a jihad when observing a standstill agreement. According to him, jihad had to be properly declared by the central government in justifying a legitimate and ongoing war. Jihad declared, failing this criteria could be construed as declared in circumstances of hypocrisy (Munafiq). Covert war was not acceptable in Islam, he argued. In 1965, also notwithstanding Ayub Khan's open appeal to Maulana Mawdudi to support his war efforts against India by declaring a jihad, Mawdudi refused to comply.

It was later during the tenure (early 90s) of Qazi Hussain Ahmed that the Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan for the first time accepted the case for jihad in J&K to thwart the 'azaadi' groups from dominating the political struggle. More recently, Maulana Haider Farooq Mawdudi (son of Maulana Mawdudi) reiterated his father's rejection of jihad in Kashmir in an interview to the Urdu magazine Diwar-e-Shahar (Lahore based) and clarified that accepting the Jamaat-e-Islami's advocacy of jihad in J&K was totally in disagreement with the spirit of the Quran as Islam did not recognise covert war. The Pakistan government's support to the insurgency and at the same time maintaining diplomatic relations with India was tantamount to acts of 'hypocrisy' and were 'unIslamic'. Significantly, the Jamaat-e-Islami (J&K) has also changed tack on this issue and the present Aamir-e-Jamaat, G.M. Bhutt has openly condemned violence being perpetrated by militant groups in the Valley and has clarified that the future role of the Jamaat would be focused only on imparting the Dini-Talim. Further, the Kashmiri people's large scale participation in the recent elections only re-established their rejection of the gun culture and signifies faith in the democratic traditions of the country.

Brothers, therefore, your understanding of Dar-ul-Harb can only be justified on the grounds of a jihad against the kafirs based upon the concept of Taqfir or apostasy, which the Quran and Hadees only permit in a situation where the faith is in danger from infidels. Are the mosques, khanqas, and ziarats in Kashmir under the siege of security forces who are  restricting the 'ummah' from offering prayers? Kashmir, according to me, and millions of Muslims of the subcontinent is a part of the Dar-ul-Sullah, a land of peaceful co-existence which incidentally accounts for over 150 million Muslims of the world. Your interpretation is, therefore, utterly baseless and deviant from the spirit of the holy Quran and the Hadees; perhaps a position of a Munafiq.

Written by Md. Sadiq with the help of Ulemas
November 1998