“Every Month is Jihad!”
* Yeah. And our Western leaders are falling over themselves to assure these Koranimals that we ‘respectÂ their religion,Â their ‘holy month of Ramadan’ and remain stuck on a learning disability that has already become comical:
MANILA, GMA News TV--Philippines â€”Â Religious leaders in Lanao are calling for a jihad (holy war) in fighting “oppressors” against Islam, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) claimed Saturday.
*Â Muslims hit government for ‘unprincipled attacks’
In a statement on its website (www.luwaran.com), the MILF said the calls were made in sermons of religious leaders during Friday congregational prayers.
“Sermons of the religious leaders of Lanao provinces in Friday’s congregational prayers called on the Bangsamoro to unite and wageÂ jihad fi sabilillahÂ in fighting the oppressors, religious persecutors and enemies of Islam,” it said.
The government has not immediately responded to the alleged jihad calls.
It added that after the prayers, religious folks voiced concerns that the government might again launch massive military offensives during the Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan.
The MILF recalled that the government started its all-out war campaign in 2003 against the MILF and the Bangsamoro people on Feb. 11 at Buliok Islamic Center.
Buliok was where the late MILF Chairman Salamat Hashim was delivering aÂ khutbahÂ (sermon) for the Eid Al-Adha (the feast of pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia).
On the other hand, the MILF noted that while President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo joins some Muslim groups in theirÂ iftarÂ (meal to break the fast at sundown), other Muslim communities in Mindanao are sore at her for government’s “unprincipled attacks” on their homes.
The MILF said the Muslim populace of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte assailed the attacks launched Friday by the military as “totally insensitive and unprincipled.”
“Heavy bombardments were unleashed by the AFP when we Muslims were partakingÂ suhur(allowable early morning meals before fasting starts) and theÂ iftar,” the MILF quoted text messages from the Muslims in Lanao.
It said civilians in Lanao rebuked the “relentless and indiscriminate” firing of 105mm and 155mm howitzers from 3 a.m. until sunset.
Such attacks took place in Piagapo town in Lanao del Sur and in Poonapiagapo, Pantao Ragat and Munai towns in Lanao del Norte, the MILF said.
Government troops also attacked Friday the MILF freedom fighters in Panggawa and Tagoranao, Calanogas, Lanao del Sur during Iftar.
“Fierce gun battle ensued for hours but no report on casualty yet,” the MILF said.
On the other hand, the MILF said some 21 soldiers were killed and several others wounded in an ambush staged by the MILF at Bubongaranao, Calanogas last Sept. 17.
The MILF said its freedom fighters have orders to defend themselves and the Bangsamoro people from the indiscriminate campaigns of the AFP.
MILF claimed casualties on the government forces in Lanao provinces alone were estimated to around 250 soldiers since the start of police-military operations against the MILF last month.Â – GMANews.TV
Ramadhan and Its Relevance to Jihaad
Sawm or fasting in the sacred month of Ramadhan is one of the pillars of Islam. Except for the very young, extremely old, and physically and mentally incapacitated and those who have to travel great distances or are engaged in actual warfare for the defense of faith and homeland, Muslims are not exempt from sawm.
In the modern world, what has become the conventional belief is that during Ramadhan all activities are in a state of suspended animation because of the observance of sawm. Accordingly, one has to exclusively devote one’s self to the spiritual regimen prescribed or recommended for this special month. This passion for personal piety and retreat into passivity, however, are an incorrect way of looking at Ramadhan.
Indeed, the sacred month of Ramadhan is a time for spiritual renewal and devotion, for recharging one’s faith, for instilling patience and sacrifice, for giving sadaqah (charity), and for communion with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. That the Qur’an al Kareem was revealed on the month of Ramadhan, specifically on the Night of Power (Lailatul Qadr), which is believed to fall on one of the nights of the last ten days of Ramadhan, makes the performance of ibadah (worship=service) to Allah more significant than in any other ordinary day or month of the year.
Islam, however, is not only concerned exclusively with matters spiritual. It is a balanced faith – in fact the only balanced deen or system of life founded on tawhid (Islamic monotheism)â€“ in which the spiritual and physical, the transcendent and mundane constitute, in a manner of speaking, two sides of the same coin.
The purpose of sawm is to develop individual and collective taqwa (roughly it is translated as piety) among the believers. If taqwa were to develop in more individuals, the emergence of a muttaqi society among the Muslims is more likely. A muttaqi society, however, cannot simply arise by isolating one’s self in the mosque alone; nor can it be established by the kind of ibadah that is solely confined to private salaat and devotions. This is not to say that salaat and devotions are not important. On the contrary, they are fundamental to the development of imaan (faith), birr (righteousness) and taqwa. But what is meant here is that one has to match spiritual development with physical action in order to instill genuine imaan and birr that lead to taqwa which is the cornerstone of ibadah to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
Hazrat Ali (ra), the Fourth Caliph of Islam and one of the closest Companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) enunciated this basic philosophy of Islamic belief when he said: “Islam is obedience to Allah. Obedience to Allah means having sincere faith in Him. Such a faith means to believe in His Power; belief in His Power means recognizing His Majesty; acceptance of His majesty means fulfilling the obligations laid down by Him. And fulfillment of obligation means action. Therefore, Islam does not mean mere faith but faith plus action.”Â Â Â
The essence of ibadah is, thus, service to Allah for this is the purpose of man’s creation as khalifah or vicegerent of Allah on earth. This is why man is called the servant (abd) of Allah. The spiritual regimen that Ramadhan prescribes for Muslims is for the purpose of perfecting our service or ibadah to Him, and that entails action or implementing His Commands. Thus, according to a modern Islamic scholar, writer and activist, Fahad Ansari, Ramadhan is a month for salaat, dhikr (remembrance) and contemplation, for reading (read learning) and understanding the message of the Qur’an, for spiritual and physical training, as well as for commanding what is right and forbidding what is wrong (al am’r bi’l ma’aroof wa an-nahi anil munkar) as required of us by Allah and His Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (saw).
In other words, Ramadhan is a month for both spiritual and physical jihaad.
One has to review the history of Islam in general and the Seerah of the Holy Prophet (saw) in particular to comprehend better the point being made here.
It was during the month of Ramadhan that the Holy Prophet (saw) and his Companions took to the fields of Badr to fight the most important battle of Islam. It was on the night of the 17th of Ramadhan in the valley of Badr that the Prophet (saw) made his supplications to Allah, with tears in his eyes, to grant victory to the outnumbered Muslims who, the following morning, would be facing the much superior pagan army of Makkah seeking to defeat and once and for all destroy the Muslims and the fledgling and puny Islamic state in Madina.
Allah granted the Prophet (saw) the victory that he asked for. The spectacular and miraculous Muslim victory in the Battle of Badr on the month of Ramadhan on the First Year of the Hijrah was a turning point. Its impact on the Arabs of the jahiliyyah (period of ignorance), especially on those in Makkah, was such that they had to seriously acknowledge, albeit grudgingly, the existence of the Islamic state in Madinah. Badr was also the first important victory for the jihaad of the Muslims that was to inspire subsequent jihaad and victories against the kafir enemies of Islam until the latter became triumphant in the whole of the Jaziratul Arab (Arabian Peninsula) ten years after the Holy Prophet (saw) and his muhajireen Companions made their historic hijrah (emigration) to Madinah.
Had the Muslims at that time hesitated, as some of the munafiqeen (hypocrites) in Madinah did, to go out on jihaad and confront the kafir enemies of Islam in the valley of Badr because it was Ramadhan, perhaps the outcome would have been different. Only Allah knows.
Fahad Ansari (“Ramadhanâ€“the Month of Socio-Political Activism and Jihaad”, Crescent International, September 2008) further tells us that many of the most significant victories of the Muslim armies took place in the month of Ramadhan.
After the Muslims were temporarily defeated in the Battle of Uhud a year after Badr, they trained hard and made preparations for the Battle of Khandaq (Trench) in the month of Ramadhan in the 5th year of the Hijrah although the actual battle took place in the month of Shawwal. The Battle of Khandaq was another victory for the Muslims against the pagan army of Makkah and the last attempt by the Quraish and their Arab confederates to lay siege on Madinah. Thenceforth, the Muslims were to take the initiative of bringing the war to the very territories of the Arabs of the jahiliyyah who were fanatical in their determination to extirpate Islam and the Islamic state in Madinah.
In the 6th Year of the Hijrah, the Prophet (saw) dispatched Zaid bin Haritha (ra) to Wadi Al-Qurra at the head of a Muslim expeditionary force to face the army of Fatimah bint Rabi’ah, the pagan queen of that area. Fatimah bin Rabi’ah had earlier attacked a Muslim caravan headed by Zaid and plundered the goods carried by said caravan. She was known at that time to be the best-protected woman in the whole of Arabia for having at her command a sizable tribal army that was fiercely loyal to her. She was also notorious for her open hostility to Islam. In the decisive battle against the Muslim expeditionary force in the month of Ramadhan, Fatimah bin Rabi’ah was defeated and killed, thus ending the reign of one of the most infamous pagan leaders of the Arab jahiliyyah at that time.
The most famous episode in the early history of Islam, apart from the first victory of the Muslims at Badr, was the liberation of Makkah by the Muslim army in the month of Ramadhan in the 8th year of the Hijrah. At the head of an army of ten thousand Muslims, the biggest ever fighting force seen at that time, the Prophet (saw) triumphantly marched to Makkah without resistance from the pagans of Arab jahiliyyah, liberated it from the idolaters of Quraish, cleansed the Ka’aba of all its idols and restored to the haj (pilgrimage) instituted generations earlier by Prophet Abraham and Prophet Ishmael, peace be upon them, the worship of one God. But even after the Prophet (saw) liberated Makkah and even before Ramadhan could end, he dispatched units of the Muslim army to eliminate the remaining symbols and idols of shirk (polytheism) and kufr (unbelief) in the Hijaz. Khalid ibn Walid was dispatched with a 30-man Muslim cavalry to destroy the idol al-Uzza,Â Amr ibn al-‘As to demolish Suwa and Sa’d ibn Zaid al-Ashali to tear down the worshipped statue of the false god Al-Manat.
These post-Makkan liberation actions of the Prophet (saw) which took place well within the month of Ramadhan cleansed the Hijaz of all traces of idol worship and the oppressive and decadent jahiliyyah socio-political system that it bred and perpetuated. What the Prophet (saw) put into effect was the order of Allah to all Believers to command what is right and prohibit what is wrong, which is the principle that underpins the concept of jihaad in Islam and which, in addition to belief in Allah, is what distinguishes the Muslim Ummah from all other human societies and civilizations.
Even after the demise of the Prophet (saw), the generations of Muslims that followed continued to see Ramadhan in this context: a period for purifying the soul, communing with Allah, rehearsing and internalizing the Message of the Qur’an, commanding what is right and prohibiting what is wrong, and striving in the cause of Allah (jihaad). It was this established practice which defined the character of the early Muslims that a Christian observer reported to Heraclius, the Roman Emperor, that they (Muslims) were “monks by night and warriors by day”.
Leafing through the pages of Islamic history further, it was in Ramadhan in the 88th year of the Hijrah that Musa ibn Husair, the Ummayad viceroy of North Africa, dispatched a Muslim army of 12,000 to Spain composed of Berbers, Tuaregs and Arabs under Tariq ibn Ziyad to liberate it from a tyrannical Christian Visigoth king, Rhoderic or Rodrigo, who had a an army of 90,000 men. After Tariq landed in a rocky island now named after him, Jabal at-Tariq (Mountain of Tariq) or Gibraltar as it is now called, he had his ships burned so that none among his warriors can retreat and return home without accomplishing the mission entrusted to them. Tariq told his men that ahead of them lay victory or paradise while behind them lay defeat and the sea. Eventually when the Muslim army decisively defeated the Spanish forces in the Battle of Rio Barbate on July 9, 711 and succeeded in liberating the Iberian Peninsula, this was the beginning of what in history is known as the Golden Age of Andalus. For it was the Islamic civilization established by the Muslims in Spain for 700 hundred years that brought intellectual and cultural enlightenment, freedom and peace to that part of Europe then steeped in the Dark Ages of barbarism. It was this progressive civilization with its repositories of invaluable scientific knowledge under the Muslim Moros or Moors, as the Muslims in Spain were known, that consequently brought about the Renaissance and thereafter the Industrial Revolution that extricated Europe from the quagmire of ignorance and backwardness.
Parenthetically, the significance of this should not be lost on the Malay Muslims of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan – the Bangsamoro people – because it is with the Muslim Moros of Spain as well as with Muslim Moors of the modern states of Morocco and the Islamic Republic of Mauritania that they share the same nomenclatural identity as a nation, ideology and religion as well as common historical experiences vis-a-vis Spanish Christianity and European colonialism.
In another glowing page of Islamic history, it was in Ramadhan, too, in 1187 CE that Salahudin al-Ayoubi, one for the greatest Muslim generals that ever lived, defeated the Frankish Crusaders in the famous Battle of Hittin. Salahudin ignored the counsel of his advisers to withdraw from armed engagements with the Crusaders during the month of Ramadhan because he knew from past Islamic history that the month of Ramadhan is the month of victory for Muslims. He was proven right when he won against the Crusaders at Hittin. This was the first major victory by the Muslim armies who eventually drove out the occupying forces of the European Crusaders from Syria and Palestine.
A century later, we see a repetition of the same glorious victory that the Muslims had achieved against the enemies of Islam in previous wars. It was in the 25th of Ramadhan 1260 years after the Hijrah that the Muslims confronted in battle and were victorious against one of the most dreaded enemies they had encountered so far: the Mongols. For about 150 years the Mongols had been the scourge of the Muslim World. From the desert and steppes of Mongolia, Gengis Khan, and later his grandson Hulago, led the formidable armies of the Mongols, conquering and laying waste to Samarkand, Ray and Hamdan before they finally sacked Baghdad and slaughtered about 2 million Muslims. So terrified and petrified were the Muslims of the Mongol hordes that they lay helpless and were in total disarray until Allah raised from among the them a superb military leader, Muzzafar Qutz of the Mamlukes, who united the Muslim armies and went to battle against the Mongols and defeated them at Ayn Jalut in Palestine in the month of Ramadhan.
It is worthy to mention, though, that the Mongols who came into contact with Islam ultimately became Muslims and founded the Mogul dynasty in India in the 16th century. They ruled the Indian sub-continent for three hundred years.
This historical narrative shows that nowhere during the time of the Holy Prophet (saw) and the generations of Muslims who came after him was Ramadhan, the most sacred month in the Islamic calendar, ever treated as a month for inaction and total withdrawal from the affairs of this world. Muslims must note with due diligence that the victories of the Muslims against the Crusaders at Hittin and the Mongols at Ayn Jalut, all of which are located in Palestine, had occurred during the last ten days of Ramadhan when Laylatul Qadr, the Night of Power, the Night that is “better than a thousand nights”, the sacred Night when the Qur’an al-Kareem was revealed to the Beloved Messenger of Allah, Muhammad bin Abdullah (saw), is said by the Qur’an to have taken place.
In our time, an attempt to restore the true Islamic spirit in the observance of Ramadhan can be discerned from the early fatwa that the late Imam Khomeini promulgated after the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 when he ordained that all Muslims throughout the world should observe the last Friday of Ramadhan as Quds Day or Yaum al Quds. On this designated day in the month of Ramadhan,Â Imam Khomeini urged all Muslims, regardless of madhab (school of thought), to rise, unite and show their solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people and express their Islamic revolutionary opposition to the occupation of Al Quds (Jerusalem) by the Zionists who are backed by global imperialism (istikhbar). The occupation of Quds, he further said, reflected the true state of the Islamic Ummah wherein Muslim nations and peoples, together with the mustazzafin (oppressed) of the world, no longer control their own destinies and homelands because of global imperialism and neo-colonialism. Thus, Quds Day is also dubbed the ‘Day of the Oppressed’. Quds Day inspired the Intifadah or the uprising of the Palestinian masses against the illegitimate Zionist occupiers of Palestine. It is sad that the Muslims failed to grasp the significance of what Imam Khomeini was trying to institutionalize. They allowed themselves to be caught, wittingly or unwittingly, in the web of sinister conspiracy that the arrogant Western powers and their client-states have set up to divide the Islamic Ummah not only along narrow nationalist but sectarian lines.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Â Â Â
Today, as we Bangsamoro Muslims are observing sawm in Ramadhan, the enemies of Islam are wreaking havoc on our homeland. They believe, as unfortunately some Muslims do, that we are weakest during this sacred month because we are in spiritual retreat and are preoccupied with matters of personal piety and private devotions inside the comfort of our homes and the sanctity of our masajid. This is the reason why these enemies of Islam, other than their utter disrespect for our faith, have continued their relentless military aggression against our mujahideen brothers.
Little do they know, however, that in the sacred month of Ramadhan all Muslims, young and old, male and female, are obliged by Allah to prove their allegiance and put into action their ibadah to Him by engaging in jihaad in all its forms as with those who “take up the sword” for the Cause of Allah and for the liberation of our oppressed Moro nation.
In the final analysis, it is Allah who will grant victory to those whom He wishes. And this is reserved for the Believers whose ibadah Allah has mercifully accepted. It is indeed our prayer and du’a that Allah accepts our ibadah as well as those who have trodden the path of sacrifice and shahada (martyrdom).
Finally, as we all observe sawm and perform the obligatory and supererogatory nocturnal prayers and devotions, our Muslim brothers and sisters are reminded, too, to ponder over the meaning of this slogan that has always been a battle cry of the global Islamic Movement: “Every month is Ramadhan, every nation is Palestine.”
Sahro Ramadhan al Kareem.