Peace is not Submission
In such an event, we cannot say that because we are the advocates of peace, we are opposed to war. Such a thing would mean that we are advocates of misery; advocates of surrender. Make no mistake, peace and surrender are as different from each other as chalk and cheese. The meaning of peace is honorable coexistence with others, but surrender is not honorable coexistence; it is coexistence that on one side is absolutely dishonorable. In fact, it is a coexistence that is absolutely dishonorable on both sides. On one side, the dishonor is aggression, and on the other side, it is the dishonor of surrender in the face of zulm, in the face of injustice and oppression.
So this fallacy must be eradicated, and a person who declares himself opposed to war, saying that war is totally bad - be it injustice or be it defense and resistance in the face of injustice - has made a great mistake. War that means aggression must be fully condemned while war that means standing up (qiyam) in the face of transgression is to be commended and necessary for human existence.
The Quran also indicates this matter, in fact it illuminates it. It says:
"And if God did not prevent mankind, some with others, the earth would be full of corruption." (2:251)
and elsewhere it tells us:
"If God did not prevent people, some with some (others) then truly the cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques - in which is oft brought to mind the Name of God - would have been destroyed" (22 :40)
So, if God did not prevent some people by means of other people, ruin and corruption would become the rule everywhere. Furthermore, it is for this very reason that all the countries of the world deem it necessary, essential for themselves to maintain armed forces for their defense. The existence of armed forces, the duty of which is to prevent aggression, is an absolute necessity. Now, if there are two countries that both have armed forces - one for aggression and the other for defense - do not say that the one which has an army without the intention of aggression is weaker than the other and if it were stronger it would also intend to aggress. We are not concerned with this matter. The fact is that the existence of an army for defense is essential for every nation in order for that nation to be strong enough to check any aggression against itself.
Thus, the Quran tells us:
"Prepare against them armies, of readied steeds: you frighten thereby God's enemies and your enemies." (8:60)
The statement means, "prepare forces as much as you can and centralize your forces in your frontiers." Rebat comes from the word Rabt. Rabt means to tie. Rebat-ol-Kheyl means tied horses (horses tethered). The statement about horses in readiness is made because in the past, the strength of armies consisted mostly in horses, but naturally each age has its own characteristics.
What the Quran is saying here is that for the fear of our strength to enter the hearts of our enemies and so as not to lay the idea of aggression in their mind, we are to build ourselves an army and make ourselves strong.
Adapted from the book: "Jihad; The Holy War of Islam and Its Legitimacy in the Quran" by: "Ayatullah Morteza Mutahhari"
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