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March 2006
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Facts On Faith

Terrorism and Jihad: An Islamic Perspective - Part - 3
By Dr. Zakir Naik

The best form of Jihad in today’s times is Da’wah and removing the misconceptions about Islam.

Follow not the footsteps of the Devil Allah (swt) says in the Glorious Qur’an in Surah Al-Baqarah Ch. 2, V. no. 208. ”O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely (and perfectly) and do not follow the footsteps of Satan.

Indeed he is to you a clear enemy.” [Surah Al-Baqarah 2:208]

What does Allah mean when he says that do not follow the footsteps of the devil? In the Qur’an, there is a different meaning of the words “do not follow the Satan” and there is a different meaning of the words “do not follow the footsteps of the Satan”. Let me give you an example: suppose there is an average ‘Muslim’ – i.e. an average believer – if the Satan comes directly to him, he will abstain from him and the temptation offered by him. For example if a young lady comes to a young Muslim, with average IMAN (faith) and tells him, “let’s spend the night together”, he will say “No, its Haraam” because he realizes that it is Satan who is tempting him; hence he will not agree.

However, the same Muslim person if he receives a phone call from a young lady, he will say that there is no problem in speaking to a young lady on the phone. Later on when the lady says, let’s go out to tea or let’s have some burgers may be in McDonalds or in Kentucky Fried Chicken, he will say that there is no problem in going out with a lady just to have a burger. Then she suggests that let’s go and have dinner, so they go to a restaurant to have dinner. He will say that there is no problem in having dinner with a young lady in a restaurant. Then she says, “Let’s spend the night together”, and he succumbs to the temptation and he says “no problem”.

So this is “khutuwatish-shaitan” – the footsteps of the devil. When the Satan comes in front of you directly and if you have little faith, you will immediately object. But if the devil approaches you in a subtle manner by a step-by-step approach i.e. the footsteps of the devil beckon you, you will not realise that how you sway towards the devil.

The person thinks that there is no issue or no problem in speaking to a ‘Na Maharam’ lady on the phone. ‘Na-Maharam’ means a person (in this case this lady) who is an absolute stranger to you or a person with whom marriage is permissible. There are some limits of Hijab in Islam. So the person starts speaking, then goes out with her to have a burger or for dinner at a restaurant, then eventually sleeps with her. So beware of the footsteps of the devil. In several places in the Qur’an, Allah (swt) cautions us about the “khutuwatish-shaitan”, or the footsteps of the devil. Anyway this is just an example to make us understand what Allah means when He says “Khutuwatish-Shaitan”. The same applies to a girl when a boy comes and calls her, the same example can be used. We Muslims have to obey Allah (swt) in all spheres of our lives. All our words, acts and deeds have to be in accordance with His Commands. This requires one to strive to constantly prevent oneself from succumbing to various temptations that surround us and to strive to make one’s baser self, one’s basic instincts to submit to the Will of Allah. This striving too is Jihad.

“He who amongst you sees something abominable should modify it with the help of his hands; and if he has not strength enough to do it, then he should do it with his tongue; and if he has not the strength to do it (even) then he should abhor it with his heart and that is the least of faith”.

(Sahih Al-Muslim Vol. 1 The Book of Faith Chapter 21 Hadith No. 79)That means a Muslim, whenever he sees any evil, if he can, he should strive to stop it with his hand. If he cannot stop it with his hand, he should at least open his mouth to strive to prevent that act or to warn or dissuade. If he is even afraid to open his mouth, the least he can do is to curse that evil deed in his heart, and if he does that, he is on the lowest level of a believer.

The Best Jihad in Today’s Times Seeing the scenario that we have today throughout the world, the best form of Jihad today according to me is Da’wah i.e. conveying the message of Islam to non-Muslims and removing the misconceptions about Islam from their minds. Allah Knows Best.

Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an: Say, (O Muhammad):
“If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allah and His Messenger and Jihad (i.e. striving) in His cause, then wait until Allah executes His command.

And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.”

[Surah At-Tawbah 9:24]Allah asks - what is your consideration? Is it your father, your sons, your brothers, your spouses, husbands or wives, your relatives, the wealth you have accumulated, the business in which you deal, the house in which you live – Allah asks “what is your consideration?” and Allah continues, “… if you love all these things more than Allah, His Messenger and doing Jihad in the Way of Allah, striving and struggling in the Way of Allah (swt), then Allah says you wait until He brings His decision upon you, until Allah brings His destruction on you and Allah guides not the Faasiq people, the perverted transgressors”.

Allah says in Surah Muhammad Ch. No. 47 V. No. 38

“And if you turn away (i.e. refuse),

He will replace you with another people; then they will not be the likes of you.” [Surah Muhammad 47:38]

If you turn away from The Path, if you do not do your duties, which Allah has assigned you, Allah will substitute in your place another people and they will not be niggardly, disobedient, lazy and negligent (of duties to Allah) like you. Allah says in Surah Al—Imran Ch. No. 3 V. No. 110

“You are the best nation produced (as an example) for mankind.

You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah.”
[Surah Al—Imran 3:110]

Allah (swt) is giving us an honour by calling us Muslims the best of people. Whenever there is honour, it is always followed up with a responsibility. There is no honour without responsibility. When Allah calls us the “Khairah Ummah”, he is giving one of the highest honours to us, and don’t you think we have a responsibility? The responsibility is mentioned in the same verse. Allah continues and says because we should enjoin what is good, we should forbid what is wrong and we should trust and believe in Allah.

It is a fardh, an obligatory duty, on every Muslim to convey the message of Islam, to remove the misconception from the minds of non-Muslims so that they understand Islam. According to me the best form of Jihad in today’s times is Da’wah; it is conveying the message of Islam and removing the misconceptions about Islam.

Attack by the Media

Today we find virulent propaganda about Islam in the international media, whether it is in the international newspapers or magazines, on satellite channels, on radio stations, on the internet – the enemies of Islam are attacking Islam. According to an article published in the TIME magazine issue of 16th of April 1979, there were 150,000 books written against Islam in a span of only 150 years, between 1800 and1950. Imagine – 150,000 books have been written only against Islam. That means more than one book is written against Islam everyday. Moreover, we find in the media today, the Muslims are being attacked.

You cannot blame a common non-Muslim if he is against Islam unless we Muslims clarify their doubts and remove the misconceptions. It is the job of the Muslims to know how to reply and remove the misconceptions.

(To be continued)

The English translation of verses of the Glorious Qur’an are taken from the translation published by Saheeh International.

(Dr Zakir Naik is the President of the Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation and can be reached at