This is a continuation of a multi-post article. You can read the first post here and the previous post here. This is also part of a larger series called "The Koran from a Christian perspective." You can find other posts in this series here.One of the great religious obligations of all Muslims is to fight; fight in the way of God, fight the enemies of God, and fight the infidels because of their faithlessness towards God. Over and over the Koran reminds us,
"The believers fight in the way [path] of God, and the unbelievers fight in the idols' way. Fight you therefore against the friends of Satan; surely the guile of Satan is ever feeble." (Koran 4:78)There was a time when the followers of Muhammad had gone into battle and a great earthquake struck and many were scared. They asked leave to return to their homes to see to them and protect them, yet Muhammad, by divine revelation from Allah, reminded them,
"Yet they had made covenant with [pledged themselves to] God before that, that they would not turn their backs," (Koran 33:15)To be a Muslim is to accept a covenant to fight when the prophet says to fight. All Muslims have made a covenant, by accepting their religion, to fight in the way of God whenever necessary and whenever called.
This battle that Muslims are committed to is not simply a battle against evil, nor is it a simple battle for lands and nations, but it is a battle to bring the entire world under the control and rule of Islam. Muslims are commanded to fight and wage war until all dissension of religion has been extinguished and the only religion left is Islam.
"Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is God's; then if they give over, there shall be no enmity save for evildoers." (Koran 2:189)
"Fight them, till there is no persecution [strife] and the religion is God's entirely; then if they give over, surely God sees the things they do; but if they turn away, know that God is your Protector -- an excellent Protector, an excellent Helper!" (Koran 8:40-41)Fighting is at the heart of the religious life of Islam.
"Prescribed for you is fighting, though it be hateful to you. Yet it may happen that you will hate a thing which is better for you; and it may happen that you will love a thing which is worse for you; God knows, and you know not." (Koran 2:212)The Koran teaches us that fighting is a good thing, that it is good for us. It is better to love fighting and hate pleasurable things than to hate fighting and desire what is pleasurable. Muhammad seems to believe that we hate fighting, not because we instinctively see its evils, but because we love the good, pleasurable, and simple life of ease. Far better to fight and struggle in the way of God than to sink into sin due to a love of the easy life. So important is fighting to the Islam faith that even during the sacred month of Ramadan, fighting is permitted.
"They will question thee concerning the holy month, and fighting in it. Say: 'Fighting in it is a heinous [bad] thing, but to bar [turn aside] from God's way, and disbelief in Him, and the Holy Mosque [Temple], and to expel [drive out] its people from it -- that is more heinous [worse] in God's sight; and persecution [civil strife] is more heinous [worse] than slaying [bloodshed].' They will not cease to fight with [war against] you, till they turn you from your religion, if they are able" (Koran 2:214)This love of war contradicts everything Jesus came to teach us. When Jesus was about to be arrested in the garden, some sought to save him through violence by taking up the sword and fighting the soldiers. Jesus responded by saying, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword." (Matthew 26:52) And when asked by King Herod if He was a King He said,
"My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm." (John 18:36)As believers, we are caught in a fight and a struggle against evil, both in this world and that evil which wages war within our flesh, but our struggle and our fight is not against people, nations, or other religions, rather it is against spiritual forces at work though they be invisible to our eyes.
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)We are called to a battle, but not an earthly battle. Unlike Muhammad, Jesus never taught us to fight and make war against nations and peoples until all are Christians, rather to fight against the spiritual forces that hold people in bondage to their blindness and sin. We fight for people, not against them. We fight to free them not to conform them. We fight for their blessing and not for their chastisement. We fight the good fight of faith not the carnal fight of war.
More to come...