“And what is [the matter] with you that you fight not in the cause of Allah and [for] the oppressed among men, women, and children who say, "Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a protector and appoint for us from Yourself a helper?" Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight in the cause of Taghut. So fight against the allies of Satan. Indeed, the plot of Satan has ever been weak.”(Surat al-Nisa, 4/75-76)
While listening to a young Uyghur businessman named Kuzzat Altay who was weeping, I couldn’t keep back the tears either.
Shame on us and our claim of being Muslims; when we should have been strong materially as well as spiritually to deter the enemy, we were dispersed, divided, we forgot the enemy and fought each other; when we should have been the enemy of the oppressor, the friend of the oppressed and the guardian of justice, we become so helpless that we had to hope for help from the oppressors. It breaks my heart when I hear reports and information regarding what the oppressor China is doing to Uyghur Muslims. Finally, I listened to Kuzzat and now I’m writing this column. Of course, I realize that what is done is done, but there still should be something we can do. There still should be something the state, the people can do. I hereby share with you the interpretation of these two verses so that it may warm up the hardened hearts of some:
After Muslims migrated to Medina, the Meccan polytheists went after them, and launched the battles of Badr, Uhud and Trench against the Muslims, sometimes cooperating with other tribes and sometimes the Jews of Medina, and wanted to destroy the followers of the new religion in Medina. However, they couldn’t realize their aims and had to agree to sign the Treaty of Hudaybiyah.
According to an article of this treaty, anybody who converted to Islam and fled Mecca had to be returned to the Meccans. Thus, the Muslims who couldn’t find the opportunity to migrate and the other Muslims who were returned as a result of this article of the treaty, and their wives and children stayed in Mecca and continued to live under the oppression and pressure of the polytheists.
These believers were begging God to send them a savior as the torture and pressure became unbearable. While these verses are an answer to the prayers and wishes of these people they also have dimensions which go beyond the historical relation we mentioned; because war is almost as old as humanity. While it is not possible to protect the lives of innocent people by abolishing capital punishment, it is also not possible to secure peace and justice in international relations by abolishing war. What needs to be done is to determine the legal and moral aims of the war and to remain loyal to those aims. When we look at Quranic verses about war we understand that Islam only allows war if it is to put an end to oppression, religious pressure, and unfair attacks. Two of these verses we quoted above points out two important aims of war: a) to seek God’s grace, b) prevent oppression and restore justice. From a practical point of view, God’s grace also reflects upon the people. Since God doesn’t need anything, fighting for “God’s Grace” means fighting for justice, law, and fairness. Those who don’t believe in God and the true religion will also have their god(s) or a leader whom they obey and remain loyal to. These leaders are mentioned in Qur’an as Taghut and Satan. Those who are depend on these aim for the satisfaction of egoism; their goal is oppression, pressure, and exploitation, not justice.
War isn’t only fought with armed forces. We are responsible and obliged to do what unarmed forces should do.