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Chidambaram, Jihad and Congress politics


Monday, December 28, 2009 09:31:02 PM, Paluvakka Mohamed Ameen

US Muslim council calls on Chidambaram to clarify his remarks on Jihad: Indian Muslim Council-USA an advocacy group dedicated towards safeguarding India's pluralist and tolerant ethos, calls on Indian Home Minister Chidambaram to clarify his remarks on Jihad in his address to Intelligence Bureau on Wednesday..... Read Full

By expressing his biased or uninformed views on Jihad, India’s Home Minister P Chidambaram seems to be deliberately playing a political game in order not to lose the votes of the mainstream Hindu masses. A few weeks ago, he had described the demolition of Babri Masjid as a terrorist act by the RSS-backed groups. He might have thought that this has humiliated the Hindu voters and hence he has to attack Islam in order to equalise his party’s pretentious neutral stand.


He knows pretty well that the Muslim voters will have their allegiance towards the soft Hindutva of the Congress party at the national level come what may, rather than supporting hard Hindutva of BJP. So he can voice any opinion without permanently antagonising the Muslims.

His party will make it up before the next election. His views are the usual vote bank tactics.


Jihad is grossly misunderstood by many non-Muslims including our Hindu brothers. The great Hindu religion based epics such as Bhagwat Gita and Ramayana are stories of holy wars too. A great God based and morality based religion is not worth the name religion at all if it does not support Jihad, that is: making efforts, struggling hard and if necessary taking arms by the good against the evil.


In Islam Jihad signifies a physical, moral, spiritual and intellectual effort. There are plenty of Arabic words denoting armed combat, such as Harb (War), Sira’a (Combat), Ma’arakah (Battle) Qita (Killing). The Quran could have used these words if war had been the Muslims’ principal way of engaging in this effort.


Instead the Quran choses a richer word with a wide range of connotations. Jihad is not among the five pillars of Islam. It is not the central prop of the religion despite the common view of non-Muslims.


But it was and remains a duty for Muslims to commit themselves to a struggle on all fronts – moral, spiritual and political – to create a just and decent society, where the poor and the vulnerable are not exploited and all could live the way that God had intended man to live.


Fighting and warfare might be necessary, but it was only a minor part of the whole Jihad or struggle. There is a well known saying of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Once he was returning from a battle. He said: “We return from the little Jihad to the greater Jihad.” The little Jihad he mentioned was the battle and the greater Jihad he mentioned was conquering the forces of evil in oneself and in one’s own society in all the details of daily life.


The Quran amplifies this forcefully: “ Had God not driven back the people, some by the means of others, the earth had surely been corrupted; but God is merciful unto all beings.”


When the people of a territory have been chased out of their land like morbid dogs by the merciless hordes and aggressors (as it happened in Palestine), the Palestinian victims can engage in Jihad but strictly under the laws of Islam following their spiritual leader. This is a present day example for those who ask for one.


The Quran says: “Fighting is an evil thing, but to bar people from God’s way, disbelief in Him and the Holy Mosque, and to expel its people from it – that is more evil in God’s sight. And persecution is worse than killing.” (Holy Quran 2: 213)


(The writer can be contacted at








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