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Conditional Verses about Jihad

In Suratul-Baqarah, the Quran tells us:

"And fight in the path of God with those who are fighting with you and do not transgress, God loves not those who transgress." (2:190)

O You of Faith. Fight those who are fighting you - i.e. fight them because they are fighting you - but donot violate the limit. What does this mean, not to violate the limit? Not to be the transgressor? Naturallyits obvious meaning is that it is those who are fighting us that we are to fight and not anyone else, and thatit is on the battleground that we are to fight, meaning that we are to fight with a certain group of peopleand that group is the soldiers that the other side has sent, the men of war whom they prepared for warwith us and who are fighting us. These it is we are to fight, and, in everyday language, we are not to turnchicken on the battlefield: we are not to run away. We must cross swords, exchange bullets, and fight. But with people who are not men of war, who are not soldiers, who are not in a state of combat, such as old men, old women - in fact all women, whether they are old or not - and children, we must not interfere and we must not do any of the other things that are counted as transgression. We must not do these things. We must not cut down their trees (i.e. ruin their economic resources.) We must not fill their canals. Such things we must not do. These are all transgressions.

Do not be misled into thinking that if we have to fight with the soldiers of the other side, there is no option but to damage houses, etc. The fact that on such occasions, if such things cannot be avoided, is a separate issue. In Islam, such military operations directed at damaging houses, etc. are forbidden, unless we have no other choice.

Another conditional verse is the one which we talked about from Suratul-Hajj, which in fact consists of five or six consecutive verses and is the first revealed verse on jihad. It says that because the other side has lifted its sword against us, we can do the same.

In another verse of Surah at-Tawba, we are told:

"Fight with all the polytheists just as they fight with all of you." (9:36)

Adapted from the book: "Jihad; The Holy War of Islam and Its Legitimacy in the Quran" by: "Ayatullah Morteza Mutahhari"

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