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Mauritius: Politics over 'Jihad'

'Jihad' in the times of Political Crossfire

The Vice Prime Minister (VPM) and Minister of Housing and Lands, Showkutally Soodhun caused much harm against the honour and values of Islam when he used unacceptable (wrong) words during an Eid-ul-Fitr dinner/ celebration at Flacq on Tuesday 18 July 2017. He used such words which dirtied the teachings of Islam and his behaviour was not at all like how a true Muslim should act. And he dared to say this in an assembly which was supposed to advocate the values ​​of Islam but on the contrary, what happened? With the words which he pronounced there, despite being surrounded by several Mawlanas, he committed a blunder through the bad language which he used against the Leader of the Opposition Xavier-Luc Duval. And no one at that time deemed it necessary to stop him.

This scandal was triggered first in the Parliament in the Private Notice Question (PNQ) on the subject of the Communiqué (Release) which he himself issued, taking upon himself to break all ties with Qatar (to boycott Qatar) in favour of Saudi Arabia. And the VPM Soodhun was really hurt that the Leader of the Opposition had insulted King Salman. So, during a dinner to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr in Flacq, he made the following declaration (concerning that which transpired in the Parliament): “Had my bodyguard given me a revolver (gun), I would have killed Xavier Duval in Parliament. I would have killed him… Anyway this is what is called Jihad. Because, I have good relations with Saudi Arabia.” (Inset: Mr. Soodhun with Muhammad Bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia). 

In his stupidity, VPM Soodhun gave a death threat to the Leader of the Opposition and linked the whole thing to Islam by using the word Jihad, and he thus started a scandal, a controversy for which he (VPM Soodhun) is the culprit. He was the one to issue the release against Qatar when it was verily not his role/ work to do so. If there was a need to issue a release, if any, on the subject, then it was the role of the Prime Minister or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to do so. So, VPM Soodhun acted wrongfully when he issued the Communiqué on 06 June 2017 and after committing this blunder, he used the platform of an Eid party/ celebration to issue a death threat and he used the word Jihad.

The words he used was an incitement to racial hatred. 

Mauritius is a rainbow country which shelters several cultures and religions, and all religions live in harmony, with each one respecting the religions of others. But with this skidding of Soodhun with the words he used, this caused a controversy which is being inflamed day after day. Because of a chap like Soodhun, it is Islam which is being targeted (and wounded). The Religion of Islam with its excellent teachings is a religion which preaches peace (and not the use of swords) and peaceful living so that others may acquire peace through your (i.e. the Muslims') peaceful behaviour.

The Leader of the Opposition accused VPM Showkutally Soodhun that he violated the article 288 of the penal code and he denounced the false accusations which VPM Soodhun put on him (Xavier Duval). He denounced the words which VPM Soodhun wrongly attributed to him, denying that which he never said against Saudi Arabia and the Muslim faith. So, the Leader of the Opposition filed a complaint against VPM Soodhun under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. He lodged this complaint after VPM Soodhun issued the death threat against him.

If VPM Soodhun has used the word Jihad without knowing its meaning, why use it then? Does he really know the meaning of Jihad? All this scandal came as a means to allow people in their ignorance to speak against Jihad, and thus to speak also indirectly against Islam. Some are saying that Jihad means violence, killing, blood shedding, etc. It is really sad that (regarding this case) there is no Mawlana who has been able to give the true meaning of Jihad.

 Elite Excesses in the name of Islam

So you see, when you establish innovations in Islam, where all this would lead you! Where have these people learnt to organise Eid Parties or Diners and politicising the whole event by inviting politicians? More than a month has passed since Eid-ul-Fitr; they are still organising Eid parties? 

Did Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) use to organise/ celebrate all these? What lessons have we learnt in the month of Ramadan? And I talked about this during Ramadan and even after Ramadan, that Ramadan is a blessed month wherein you take a great spiritual bath and do all the actions which Allah (swt) has told you to so, and all these are acts of worship. And after a month of Ramadan, after the end of fasting, Allah (swt) is pleased with you and gives you a day to rejoice, and this is what we call Eid.

Eid-ul-Fitr is a one day celebration and the next day (after Eid), one has the right to accomplish his/ her voluntary fasts (or for those who missed some fasts, to replace them). And this is a month of training also for it helps you to prepare yourselves in respect of the accomplishment of good deeds for the remaining eleven months to come after the Ramadan. And one of its good teachings is that you need to be a good human being, honest and not quarrelsome. Had Ramadan not taught us that whenever a person comes to seek quarrel with us, we need to tell him that we are fasting? As Muslim, it is a really deplorable thing which the VPM Soodhun had done. On top of that, just after Ramadan, during the organisation of a party on the theme of Eid-ul-Fitr, this party was politicised and thus wronging the very notion of Eid-ul-Fitr which is very sacred for us, Muslims. After a month of fasting, wherein we made all kinds of sacrifices only for the cause of Allah (swt) and indeed Eid-ul-Fitr is for those who have made such sacrifices for the cause of Allah during the blessed and sacred month of Ramadan, as a sign of obedience to Him, our Creator, and it is for such people that Allah has given such a Rejoicing Day (Eid-ul-Fitr).

So, see what the politicians along with the Mullahs are doing with our Eid-ul-Fitr celebration. Hear what kind of language Soodhun has used after the blessed month (of Ramadan). Indeed Allah has given the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr to the Muttaqeen (those who have the fear of Allah in their hearts) as a day of contentment, and it is most unfortunate that this Eid-ul-Fitr party - in name only - has become a stage for the VPM Soodhun to trampled (hurt) the teachings of Islam and the practices of our beloved Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). In this celebration made more than one month after that sacred festival, he should have given the right example for all Muslims. Not only him, but all of us, Muslims. 

Our conduct influences public perception

We should be role models for the world and continue to do the good acts we used to do during the month of Ramadan. We should not threaten or use words such as Jihad and revolver as means to threaten someone, anyone. 

Is this the lesson that you have learnt in the month of Ramadhan? Moreover, all the Mullahs and Muslims who were listening to him that night, could they not have stopped him when he used such foul words against the Leader of the Opposition? And they (i.e. these kinds of Mullahs and Muslims) shall voice out that it is them who are true Muslims despite the fact that they are supporting or lending a deaf ear and blind eye to all wrongs which are being added to Islam. Now, with this controversy on Jihad, they are not defending Islam and the true nature of Jihad like they deserve, and now the media as well as many Mauritians are causing much upheaval against the very notion of Jihad, and racial hatred has penetrated the hearts of many against the Muslims.

On the other hand, it is most unfortunate to see the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association of Mauritius holding, they also, an Eid Party on Monday 17 July 2017, inviting politicians to address the audience. Much money have been spent for this event, and what is not at all good is that this platform has been used to invite politicians and other guests and broadcasting a film on the fifth caliph. Is this the philosophy of Eid-ul-Fitr? And on top of that, with all the Ahmadis who live in Mauritius, every time it is the same faces, families who are seen and taken as important members of the Jamaat. The poor people, the common people - the other Chanda contributors - are not to be seen. Ahmadiyya of Mauritius has also lost the Nur (light) of Allah. And moreover, there is no Pardah when a woman, the Speaker of the National Assembly had been invited and placed amidst all men. I do not condemn inviting women for spiritual functions, but women should be with women. There is a Sadr (chief) for the women. So the Ahmadi women should have been there, in Pardah to receive their high profiled female guest (or any woman for that matter!). It is not in vain that Allah (swt) has raised another Jamaat and raised His chosen servant.

So, as the chosen servant of Allah of this era, it is my duty to give well detailed explanations on the word Jihad which the extremists have spoilt and dirtied.

The true conception of 'Jihad'

The term Jihad is derived from Jahada which means making intense efforts or struggle to the ultimate limit. Jihad, as it appears in the Holy Quran, and not as per what the VPM Soodhun or the terrorists or ignorant people in the world would like to make you believe, is in three (3) categories:

1) Jihad-i-Akbar (The Greatest Jihad which exists)..
2) Jihad-i-Kabir (the Great Jihad)
3) Jihad-i-Saghir or Jihad-i-Asghar (the lesser Jihad).

1) Jihad-i-Akbar, is the tireless struggle against oneself, against one’s evil tendencies and inclinations, against our nafs (ego/ passions). This is the greatest battle or Jihad which exists and which we have the duty to do every day of our lives. And in this greatest battle/ struggle, we aim to come out of our animalistic state, the savage or anti-gregarious state and we progress to the state of becoming truly humane/ human, imbibed with true moral values as well as spirituality.

2) Jihad-i-Kabir, is the battle or mostly duty which we have as a Muslim to propagate the message of Islam, the message of truth around us. We need to recall the admonition of Allah from the Holy Quran, in which Allah says: “There should be no compulsion in religion” (Al-Baqara, 2: 257).

Our duty as Muslims is to spread the message of peace with peace and tranquillity of heart. And it is forbidden for us to use coercion or armaments to force people to recognise or accept that there is only One God (Allah) and to enter the fold of Islam, despite the fact that we know that Islam is the best religion and way of life which Allah has established for us so that we may succeed in accomplishing the greatest Jihad which exists, i.e. the Jihad against our own nafs. We need to pass through the stage of Jihad-i-Akbar with success so that we may come to an honourable position/ level and with peace and help from Allah, we may call people to Allah, to Islam, i.e. calling them to submit themselves completely to Allah.

3) Jihad-i-Saghir or Jihad-i-Asghar is the minor/ lesser Jihad, , and it mainly concerns the State. And here I need to stress that this Jihad is such a Jihad, a battle or struggle which we do, even if we have to take up arms, but only, and I repeat ONLY, to defend ourselves whenever the enemy comes to attack us. It is then, and then only that we have the permission from Allah and His Messenger, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) to defend ourselves. Anyway, this type of Jihad is what the other non-Islamic governments coin as a defensive war, or self-defence. And Jihad-i-Saghir is such a Jihad which we do to protect our lives and honour as a Muslim, and as protectors of the religion of Islam, only when the enemy comes with the intention to finish Islam. This kind of Jihad is thus only a defensive battle and not an offensive one.

Jihad-i-Saghir does not mean to attack your other Muslim or even non-Muslim brothers so as to take over their mundane status/ positions in the world, their wealth and mundane powers which they have. It does not mean to kill to acquire lands and kingdoms. We establish the Jihad-i-Saghir ONLY for the cause of Allah, to preserve the identity and presence of Islam in the world. And this Jihad can be done even without arms. 

If it happens that someone comes to kill you only because you are a Muslim, then if you do not have a revolver/ gun, then with your good words and with the will of Allah and your duahs (supplications to Allah), that person can have a sudden change of heart and he stops causing you harm, and he can even become Muslim. A most appropriate example of this truth is what transpired during the times of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) at the beginning of Islam when Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, who was a fierce enemy of Islam, took his sword to come and kill the Prophet of Allah (pbuh). But along the way, he learnt that his sister and brother-in-law had accepted Islam. He thus changed his route and came to confront his sister and brother-in-law at their home. It was with great fury and armed with his sword that he went to meet his sister and brother-in-law but when he came at their place he heard the recitation of the Surah Taha (Chapter 20 of the Holy Quran).

At first, he began to fight with his sister and brother-in-law but when he hurt his sister (and saw blood on her), he regretted his action and he asked to read the divine revelations which they were reciting. But his sister asked him to go purify himself first before he touched the words of Allah. He went to purify himself and then read the verses of the Surah Taha. Afterwards he went to meet the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) but instead of killing him like he planned to, his heart which once was filled with hatred against Islam finally gave way to Islam and he became Muslim. And afterwards he learnt that Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) had prayed for either him or Abu Jahl - two great enemies of Islam - to become Muslim. With duah (prayer/ supplications to Allah), what was impossible to achieve became possible by the grace of Allah. A great enemy of Islam became after this incident one of the greatest protectors of Islam, he became the second caliph of Islam, and till today we call him (respectfully) as Hazrat Umar Al-Farooq (i.e. The Distinguisher between truth and falsehood).

Follow the example of the greatest of prophets who ever existed, our beloved prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). He did not wage any Jihad for his own cause or family feeling. He waged all wars, in all their forms which exist only for the pleasure of Allah and solely under divine instructions so as to protect the honour, identity and presence of Islam in Arabia and the world.

Even when the enemies provoked the death of his own daughter - Zaynab [and grand-child], he did not extract any personal revenge, but he showed instead worth being a perfect human being and prophet, by always making the dignity and honour of Allah as his first priority, and he thus forgave the assassin of his daughter [and grand-child]. All his actions were based on the preservation of the religion by excellence of Allah, so as to change the hearts of those people, and so that they recognize the grandeur of Allah. Of course, he did not have the power to change the hearts of people, but it is Allah Who helped him a lot. Thus, when he made the necessary efforts, Allah also put in the weight of His power (and breath) in this humble effort of his and changed those barbarous hearts and enabled them to become Muslims. Likewise, through divine help, Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) succeeded in teaching people how to make the Jihad-i-Akbar, Jihad-i-Kabir and Jihad-i-Saghir in all spheres of all lives.

This is briefly the true explanation on Jihad which lots of Muslims remain unaware about. I hope that this explanation can help our members, my dear disciples in the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, and our other Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world, as well as the non-Muslims who really want to know about the true meaning of Jihad. Jihad is not a word, which when heard, is to be feared. On the contrary, Jihad is a beautiful term which represents our legal battle (not an illegal one) to spread peace in the world (like in the times of the Promised Messiah (as) when he proclaimed that the Jihad he has come to wage is with the Pen, with his solid arguments in favour of Islam), to spread the true Islam, the Sahih al Islam. Insha-Allah, Ameen.

---Friday Sermon of 28 July 2017(04 Dhul Qaddah 1438 AH) delivered by Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius. 

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