Understanding Islam – Abul Al\’a Maududi
Though the defense of Islam is not a fundamental tenet, but its need and importance have been repeatedly emphasized in the Qur\’an and the Hadith. It is in essence a test of our sincerity and truthfulness as believers in Islam. If we do not defend one whom we call our friend against intrigues or assaults from his foes, nor care for his interest and are guided solely by selfishness we are indeed false pretenders of friendship. Similarly, if we profess belief in Islam, we must jealously guard and uphold the prestige of Islam. Our sole guide in our conduct must be the interest of Muslim at large and the service of Islam in the face of which all our personal considerations must sink low.
Jihad is a part of this overall defense of Islam. Jihad means struggle to the utmost of one\’s capacity. A man who exerts himself physically or mentally or spends his wealth in the way of Allah is indeed engaged in Jihad. But in the language of the Shari\’ah this word is used particularly for the war that is waged solely in the name of Allah and against those who perpetrate oppression as enemies of Islam. This supreme sacrifice of lives devolves an all Muslims. If, however a section of the Muslims offers themselves for participating in the Jihad the whole community is absolved of its responsibility. But if none comes forward everybody is guilty. This concession vanishes for the citizens of an Islamic State when it is attacked by a non-Muslim power. In that case everybody must come forward for the Jihad. If the country attacked has not strength enough to fight back, then it is the religious duty of the neighboring Muslim countries to help her if even they fail then the Muslims of the whole world must fight the common enemy. In all these cases Jihad is as much a primary duty of the Muslims concerned as are the daily prayers or fasting. One who shirks it is a sinner. He is plainly a hypocrite who fails in the test of sincerity and all his \’Ibadat and prayers are a sham a worthless hollow show of devotion.