Islam, the fiqh of Jihad and the war in Gaza

Eight months have passed since the brutal invasion of Gaza commenced. The death toll has surpassed 36,000 innocent people according to one source and greater numbers according to other sources, the majority of whom were women and children. Israel claims that 14,000 of them were terrorists. Even if it were true, no authority can bring it to account for the other 22,000 deaths. Even if they were brought to account for it, the families of these innocent people can never hope to receive blood money for the loss of their family members. 

No power in the world has yet been able to put an end to this madness. If Muslims around the world accept the language that this is a genocide, then they would inadvertently be supporting a secular ethnic cause for the Palestinians. The land does not belong to Palestinians even though they are its indigenous people; it belongs to the world Muslim community. This is not an Arab problem, let alone the problem of students at American universities; this is the problem of the world Muslim community. Call it holocaust, call it massacre, call it mass slaughter, call it carnage, but not genocide. The western media does not have the right to decide the solution to the world Muslim problem or dictate to the world, in particular to the Muslims how they should call it. Neither can South Africa claim to champion the defence of the Palestinian people with a court case at the ICJ that ended up lacking the drama it was supposed to create. 

In that same vein Mr. Karim Khan too has no right to champion the defence of the Palestinian cause. Requesting the ICC to issue an arrest warrant for Netanyahu and his ilk would grant him no room in the leadership of the Palestinian cause or grant him no acknowledgment in the Muslim world that he has fulfilled his role as prosecutor of the ICC. While the ICC is a kangaroo court, or International Caucasian Court, as Prof. Norman Finkelstein called it, the ICJ should be correctly identified as one of the culprits to the political problems of the Palestinian people in the holy land today. It is now that the Muslim world should call a spade a spade. Neither the ICC nor the ICJ can deliver justice to the Palestinians or should be expected to do so. Palestine is not their responsibility, it is the responsibility of the Muslim ummah. Even if they had ruled by popular demand that this is indeed a genocide that the Israelis are guilty of, and that there should be an immediate ceasefire, the fact that there is no way of enforcing that ruling, should erase such institutions from Muslim legal vocabulary. 

Recourse to international law has failed to address the problem with the urgency it requires. While the case was first heard in court, hundreds were dying, and before the first ruling came out, the death toll had risen by the thousands. By the time the second ruling was read, thousands more had died, and the judges made no mention of the death toll. In the second ruling, they were more concerned about the invasion of Rafah and international aid reaching the civilian population than to charge Israel for the crime of genocide, since genocide was South Africa’s foolish case against Israel, the very word manufactured by western political vocabulary. The ICC’s request for arrest warrants also backfired since the warrants included the names of Hamas leaders as well. Regardless, Israel has taken control over the Philadelphi Corridor, which marks the end of Hamas’ strategic tunnels. Overall, despite international outrage, Israel is steadily achieving its political objectives. In short, South Africa’s foolish decision to take Israel to court and now Turkey’s, Algeria’s and Brazil’s foolish decision to join that case, only shows what urgency these countries have given to the situation the Palestinians are facing. The urgency for forceful intervention against Israel does not allow the time that legal proceedings take. Whatever tears Ms. Adila Hassim shed in court for the Palestinians did not bring them justice. Her efforts would have borne fruits if only she had turned to Islam and Islamic Eschatology for a solution to present the legal grounds as a compelling case to Muslim leaders around the world, especially Israel’s neighbours, for boycott and military intervention. Alas, she turned with tears to the wolf, and by that, turned the Palestinians into sheep exposing herself, her team of lawyers and her nation for their weakness. They have no courage, let alone the capability to face Israel. One does not take to court a lunatic given to violence; one has to employ force to subjugate him. Worse, they are not political actors, but simply lawyers. 

Let us return to the word ‘genocide’. Those who started calling this a genocide and those who accepted it have quite dexterously hidden beneath the word a calculated emotion that was engineered to evoke a precise response. They want those who would sympathise or even empathise with the Palestinian cause to think only in the direction that this is an ethnic problem that concerns Palestinian Arabs, both Muslim and Christian; they want them to look towards the solution to that ethnic problem to be a ceasefire followed by negotiations to allow the Palestinian Arabs to live side-by-side the Israelis (the term Israeli today is not as simple as the term ‘Palestinian Arab’: it can be Semite, it can be European, it can be a nation, it can be a religious people). They wanted to be sure that if legitimacy were to be granted to the Palestinian cause, it should only be done with the recognition of Israel’s legitimacy. They also want the land for such a Palestinian Arab state to be restricted to the Gaza strip and the West Bank no matter how much the two territories are divided between any number of factions within the Palestinian political leadership.  

They want the world to continue to reject religion, while Israel pursues its political objectives fuelled by their own religious beliefs. However, no one can reject the fact that religion is at the heart of the events unfolding in the holy land today. Defining this war as a genocide appears to be an attempt to secularise the cause of the Palestinians, that is, to cover the religious and eschatological significance of this event, retain the ethnic discourse, and by that, perpetuate the Palestinian right to self-determination and statehood as an ethnic group. The Americans do not like that this should turn into a Muslim outrage. They can tolerate a humanitarian outrage, but never will they tolerate an Islamic outrage. They use the ink of genocide to write the account of this war with a full dose of American Palestinianism.  

There may exist a racist element in the way Israel has dealt with the Palestinian population thus far, but that does not prove distinct enough for genocide to take the headlines of those who oppose Israel. The language of genocide may be good for the media and the screen as breaking news but does not explain much in politics. Israel does not consider the Jewish race superior to the Palestinian Arabs alone, their superiority is to the exclusion of all of mankind they call gentiles. If the Indian, the African, the Central Asian, the Russian, the Indonesian, and all ethnic groups that have embraced the Abrahamic faith were living in Palestine today as they used to for 1400 years, Israel would still have committed this mass slaughter without any exception. If that was the case, would it then be called a genocide? 

Those who are trained in Islamic scholarship not without an understanding of Islamic Eschatology, modern history and international politics are better suited to read the intention behind the deliberate use of the word genocide. The natural outrage and responsive action against the annexation of land and carnage in Gaza was correctly predicted and therefore carefully channelled in one direction to mitigate the consequences; the direction in which Arafat shook hands with Rabin, the direction in which the Oslo Accords was held, the direction in which Hamas won the elections in 2006. That same direction is what the word genocide hides. This is Dajjal’s power of deception. Even though the word has successfully hidden the designed solution, its effect has been marvellous. Every political leader in the world, including Russia, if on the other side of the camp, that is against Israel, has only been able to utter that same old solution. But the poor students in the West, the working populations who demonstrate in the weekends, and those who live to make podcasts on the Internet seem to be a people who have no eyes to see and no ears to hear. 

Our response to that is to warn Muslims who oppose Israel today: Do not reduce the war in Gaza today to an ethnic and territorial cause that belongs to the Palestinian Arabs; this is a war against Islam and the Muslim world, religion is at the heart of this war, eschatology is at the heart of this rapidly unfolding series of events.   

After eight months, it has now become clear that Hamas had miscalculated Israel’s response and the consequences of the event on the 7th of October. It was clear from the very beginning that they had unwittingly given Israel the long-awaited casus bellum and dug their own grave. Perhaps they had calculated to step into what had become a vacuum in the political leadership of the Palestinian people since all other factions had sunk into inaction for the cause, and second, to use it as a negotiating tool for their temporary and short-sighted demands. Political commentators, in the early weeks after the Hamas attack against Israel thought, that Hamas had prepared for a long war that was planned to drag on for months and that Israel will not be able to survive such a long war. After six months, it became clearer that it was Hamas that would not survive, and Israel was not only progressively achieving their political objectives of annexing more territory, but they were also delivering an unforgettable collective punishment on the Palestinians with a vengeance. Now Hamas is punctured, and their tunnels have been rendered obsolete, and they have lost their leadership over the Palestinian cause. Both their strategy and tactics have failed due to their own miscalculation. The cost of such a strategy as of now, has reached more than 36,000 innocent lives and the complete destruction of their infrastructure and cities for the release of 5000 prisoners. By the second week, Israel had already stormed both Gaza and the West Bank and had arrested, detained and imprisoned another 5000 innocent people. If Hamas had been so blind as to seek leadership over the Palestinian cause and world public opinion to support their ethnic cause by taking a direction towards another Arafat-Rabin handshake, then they have lost that leadership and achieved global support with the price of their now uninhabitable Gaza Strip and 36,000 lives. In the eyes of the world Muslim community, that can never be justified. All they had was Gaza and now that too is gone. In Islam, the sanctity of one human life is incomparably superior to territory. Not at all a pyrrhic victory as they want us to believe, this is Hamas’ unjustifiable claim to legitimacy.  

Israel has vowed that it will not stop until the partisans are eradicated, the hostages released and Gaza fully taken under their own control. In other words, Israel has audaciously vowed in public that it will not stop until Gaza is annexed, with or without its people, as new Israeli territory. In even simpler words, this war of Israel’s aggressive expansion is progressing. 

As far as the failing armed resistance towards such raging hostility is concerned, it is essential and gravely important to first ask such questions as: Is this justified in Islam? Was it on the basis of Islamic law that such a guerilla warfare was justified and started? Who legitimised and encouraged the armed struggle of the Palestinians? Who aided the armed struggle? Who recognised it and who were party to it? Was it born out of guidance from Islam? Before we attempt to answer these questions, let us now turn briefly to the fiqh of Jihad in Islam.

In Makkah, the Quraysh were brutally persecuting the Muslims. When the Companions of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam approached him asking his permission to take up arms to defend themselves against the oppressors, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam replied:

اصبروا فإني لم أومر بالقتال 

Be patient, I have not been commanded to fight. (i.e., the revelation granting permission to fight has not yet come from Allah.)    

Several verses of the Quran were revealed guiding the Muslim community to respond in ways other than fighting. No revelation descended in Makkah granting permission to fight even while the Muslims were poor, weak, and persecuted. Instead of fighting, what the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam did was to ally with the tribes of nearby Yathrib and with the kingdom of Abyssinia. He instructed the weak and the oppressed who could not bear the suffering and who had no tribal protection in Makkah to migrate to Abyssinia across the Red Sea. He organised for them the necessary resources to migrate and facilitated the migration for them. He facilitated alliances with tribes that were not hostile to him so that those Muslims who were granted protection by these tribes cannot be touched by those who were hostile towards them. In short, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam did everything at his disposal to defend the oppressed without taking arms. While engaged in this, in parallel, he was preparing to migrate together with the whole Muslim population to Yathrib. He facilitated everyone else’s migration to Yathrib before migrating himself. He was the last to migrate, with the exception of Ali (r.a.) who was left behind to execute certain tasks. When he reached Yathrib, the new community and the city was politically organised and migration to that new city now became obligatory. 

It was only eighteen months after the migration to Yathrib, after a state was established, and when it became clear that the Quraysh had united as a force and were preparing for war to destroy the Muslims once and for all, was the first verse granting permission to fight revealed. Only after that did the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam prepare for war and march with an organised army to defend the people and territory of Madinah.  

Finally, when he was ready to leave this world, on his death bed, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam was reported to have said: 

أَخْرِجُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ مِنْ جَزِيرَةِ الْعَرَبِ، وَأَجِيزُوا الْوَفْدَ بِنَحْوِ مَا كُنْتُ أُجِيزُهُمْ

“Remove the mushrikeen from the Jazīrat al-Arab (the Arabian Peninsula) and receive and reward the delegations that come to you as I have received and rewarded them…” [Bukhari recorded it as narrated by ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Abbās radiyallāhu ‘anhu]

Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani mentioned in his Fath-al-Bārī that ‘Umar radiyallahu anhu, in his time,  established that rule over the Arabian peninsula extends to ash-Shām. That includes Syria and the Palestinian territory including modern day Israel. There is no dispute on Yemen being part of the Hijaz. It is based on this instruction of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam that Syria and the Palestinian territory was always under the rule of the Caliph of the Muslim world. If that was challenged, the Amīr al-Mu’mineen always went to jihad to protect these lands. 1099 saw the Crusader armies conquer the holy land and a century later Salahuddin Ayyubi recaptured the lands and allowed the Jews to come and resettle therein. By the end of World War 1, Britain captured the holy land again and cut it off from Ottoman jurisdiction, that is, from Muslim khilafah rule. Until today, the Muslim world is unable to wage jihad against those who control the holy land. 

Is it not valid therefore to ask, “Is the example of being patient and refraining from taking up arms from the life of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam not applicable anymore in the modern world? Should every oppressed people take up arms? Are there no pre-requisites to taking up the response of jihad when faced with persecution? Is Palestine holier to the Palestinians than Makkah was to the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam and his companions? Does the sunnah of emigration from hostile territory not apply in the case of Palestine when no established sovereign state is prepared to wage war in their defence? Has Israel not had the consistent policy of encouraging the Palestinians to emigrate from the lands it lays claim to? What is so special in the case of Palestine that they have the right to fight without emigration and without fulfilling the pre-requisites of jihad?” 

Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar, leader of the Khilafat Movement, opposing the Balfour Declaration said that Palestine is not Balfour’s nation, it is the land of the Muslims. When he realised that the Ottomans could not prevent the loss of Mesopotamia and Palestine, he proposed to the Muslims of India an action plan to force the British to give up both territories. That action plan was as follows:

1.     First, the Indians would return all decorations conferred on them, and would renounce all British honours.

2.     If that had no effect, those who occupied Government posts would hand in their resignations.

3.     The third step would be for all troops and police to resign and leave the army and police force en masse. Then it would be seen whether Great Britain still found it possible to occupy Mesopotamia and Palestine, to support the Greeks in Thrace and Asia Minor, and to continue to dominate India itself.  

4.     The fourth step would be the refusal to pay taxes.

5.     If none of these things succeeded, the Mohammedans, or rather the Indians, reserved to themselves the right to declare a Holy War. 

By “the right to declare a Holy War” he meant that the Muslims under the authority of the  Caliph have the permission granted by Allah to fight and defend the lands of Islam from being annexed by non-Muslims and at such a declaration from the Caliph, his warning to Britain was that the Indian Muslims would join the Ottoman army to fight against the British imperial army to force them to give up Palestine and Mesopotamia.  

Herein is a historical precedent and guidance to the Muslim leaders of the world today how they can become effective political actors and execute a powerful boycott strategy. 

Later on, during Mohamed Ali’s second imprisonment in isolation for two years, unaware of developments in the Muslim world and of the Turkish National Assembly’s closed session proceedings on electing a new Caliph in the attempt to transform the Caliphate into a degraded symbol of Ottoman history devoid of any authority or political power, he continued to write in gaol as the leader of the Indian Khilafat Movement:

“As we had more than once made it clear, our sympathy with Turkey was not political or territorial but religious, for the Sovereign of Turkey was the successor of the Prophet and the Commander of the Faithful. It was our religious duty to prevent the further disintegration of the temporal power of the Khilafat which was indispensable for the defence of our faith, to maintain the inviolability of the sacred regions of Islam and to see that the dying injunction of the Prophet with regard to exclusive Muslim sovereignty over Jazirat-ul-Arab (or the island of Arabia including Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia) was not disregarded.”  

Such is also the Muslim’s sympathy with Palestine. It is not political or territorial, it is religious. 

Throughout his political life, ever since he and his brother entered the fray to defend Islam, the Khilafah, and India from British colonial machinations to divide the Muslim world, the eminent Maulana had repeated this vitally important “dying injunction of the Prophet” on many an occasion. Never for a moment did he accept that Palestine could be separated from Muslim rule against the Prophet’s dying injunction. When he spoke at the Fourth Plenary Session at the Round Table Conference in London (1930), he said, “I do not claim to have in me Aryan blood like all the white people here and Dr. Moonje. I have the blood in me which my Lord Reading–who sent me to prison–has perhaps running in his veins. I am a Semite, and if he has not been converted from Zionism, I too am not converted from Islam, and my anchor holds.” He summarised the one purpose for which he came in the following words, “…if you do not give us freedom in India, you will have to give me a grave here.” 

In Allah’s Divine record there was another plan. India was not granted freedom over the Round Table Sessions, and the Maulana died two months later in London just as he said he would not return to India without freedom. But Allah, Most High, did not will him to be buried anywhere in Britain; a grave had already been written for him in the Divine record in the Khatūniyyah Madrasah facing the al-Aqsa Mosque, in the compound reserved for special, world-renowned scholars of Islam.  

Masjid al-Aqsa, Jerusalem and all of Shām are part of Jazīrat al-Arab and belong to the Muslim world; it is not the right of the ethnic Palestinian Arabs and their American instructed right to self-determination. This must become the united and resounding voice of the world Muslim community to make it clear to those who continue to beg for a ceasefire and negotiations for the two states of Israel and Palestine to exist side-by-side.  

Our intention in presenting the above quotations from the hadith and from Maulana Jauhar’s speeches and writings is to demonstrate that there was consistency in the politics of Muslim history. For 1300 years, from the Prophet’s dying injunction until Maulana Jauhar’s outrage against British machinations to divide the Muslim world, at times as ludicrous as what is now known as Churchill’s Hiccup separating Jordan and Saudi Arabia, Palestine was part of Shām and Shām was part of Jazīrat al-Arab. Separating the Palestinian population into an ethnic group and granting them the right to fight and demand self-determination did not come from Islam, it was a bid’ah – innovation into the religion of Islam – that came from the West.   

Since there is today no khilafah–one political authority over the entire Muslim world–jihad therefore can only be reduced to the political authority of individual Muslim states. We have no other choice but to reserve the political right to declare jihad for the sovereign leadership of a Muslim country. This could be called a lesser form of jihad in the absence of the khilafah. Abolishing jihad altogether while every Muslim state possesses an organised standing army, would be a bid’ah and would be equivalent to disregarding what Allah has sent down concerning jihad. 

While jihad has inevitably been reduced to the decision of the sovereign Muslim state, there is no legal permission or guidance in Islam for armed rebellion and insurrection against a tyrant ruler, in the words of the Prophet, even if he lashes you on your back and expropriates your wealth, let alone against a hostile state. There is similarly no permission for coup d’etat, guerilla warfare or partisanship, telluric or otherwise. These are modern, post-caliphate, political, and militant expressions of what the West calls the collective will of a people. In short, these too must be rightfully called bid’ah – innovations that emerged from modern western civilisation. Islamic law has no room for such forms of fighting. 

The Palestinians are an oppressed people. While they cannot fight and should not fight, since they do not even have the Islamic legal justification to fight, Muslim states do possess the right and the obligation to declare jihad to defend an oppressed people or rescue them to safety. But which Muslim power cares for the guidance of Islam in the modern world?

Muslim states with leaders who seem to care not for Islam would be surprised to find that the Quran and the sunnah does contain both doctrines of jus ad bellum and jus in bello, just that in Islamic law, we do not call it just war theory, we call it the fiqh – of jihad, sariyyah, qital, harb, siyaal and so on. It is based on the guidance that came down from Allah, Most High, and the practice of the Messenger of Allah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam and his companions. It is not based on the UN charter, any genocide convention, constitution, or policies decided in Parliament. The fiqh is derived from the Quran and the Sunnah.  

Al-Bazzār recorded that Hudhayfah, Allah is pleased with him, is reported to have said: “Islam is of eight parts: Islam is a part, salāh is a part, zakāh is a part, saum is a part, Hajj to the house is a part, enjoining the good is a part, and forbidding the vice is a part, and jihad in the path of Allah is a part. He who has no portion has failed.” 

The narrations about the virtues of jihad are numerous and are well known, and of course these do not refer to political wars based on the self-interest of sovereign states or on the self-determination of groups of people, but they refer to war that is for a just cause according to the moral standards and conditions determined by the Quran and the sunnah. The virtues of jihad are so many that some of the scholars considered it the most important after the five pillars of Islam. 

Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal is reported to have said, “I do not know of anything after the obligations, that is better than jihad.” [al-Mughni]

War therefore can never be separated from the Deen of Islam. Since war causes destruction and death, it must be guided by some standard, and our standard must be Islam. As much as war cannot be separated from Islam, Islam too cannot be separated from war. There must be the strongest possible reason to fight and kill, and there is no reason stronger to do so other than rigorously arriving at such a decision from the Quran and Sunnah. In the same way conduct in warfare must also be based on the moral standard in Islam.   

The Realist school in International Relations have an affinity with Islam when it concerns war because they too consider the right to war as an indispensable element in international relations. It is the liberal school, which designed the architecture of the international system, that gave the democratic Kantian illusion of the ideal to eradicate war and that this could be achieved with the spread of democracy. The irony is that the liberals have fought more wars, sometimes even against other democracies, than any other people in the world. Under Pax Americana’s liberal century the world saw more destruction and wars than when it was under any other system before. War therefore has never been dispensed with even by liberal democracies. But Muslim countries seem to be reluctant to go to war except when NATO supports them, or when they have a military pact with the West.  

The contradictory attempt to abolish the Islamic right of the sovereign state to declare jihad and yet grant permission to partisans and justify their armed struggle as jihad must also be called bid’ah. There is no basis in the law of Islam for such a complete change in the meaning of legal terms. 

There is today amongst Muslims the argument that the Palestinians have at least the right to siyaal, if not jihad. Siyaal may be applied to individuals as in a duel, but it is too far from the mark to justify an armed struggle of a few militant factions within a large population using the fiqh of siyaal. Those who interpret siyaal as armed struggle are only Islamising that very modern, post-caliphate, political, and militant expressions of what the West calls the collective will of a people. Perhaps they do not know it or do not realise it, but because of the historical origins of such methods of insurrection prove that they did not come from Islam but from modern western civilisation. 

Just as war is inseparable from Islam, so too politics cannot be separated from Islam, or Islam from politics. Muhammad Ali Jauhar, commenting on the British demand to separate politics and Islam at the Fourth Plenary Session of the Round Table Conference, spoke: 

Many people in England ask as why this question of Hindu and Muslim comes into politics, and what it has to do with these things. I reply, “It is a wrong conception of religion that you have, if you exclude politics from it. It is not dogma; it is not ritual! Religion to my mind, means the interpretation of life.” I have a culture, a polity, an outlook on life–a complete synthesis which is Islam. Where God commands I am a Muslim first, a Muslim second and a Muslim last, and nothing but a Muslim. If you ask me to enter into your Empire or into your Nation by leaving that synthesis, that polity, that culture, that ethics, I will not do it. My first duty is to my Maker, not to H.M. the King, nor to my companion Dr. Moonje; my first duty is to my Maker, and that is the case with Dr. Moonje also. He must be a Hindu first and I must be a Muslim first, so far as that duty is concerned…”  

Since Palestine is part of the holy land, sanctified by the Quran and the words and actions of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, and all the Prophets who came there to deliver Allah’s message, we too cannot separate religion from politics and war. 

According to the fiqh of jihad in Islamic law, Palestinians must seek to surrender their armed struggle since they have no Islamic right to do so. Either they must patiently live under Israeli rule or migrate from Gaza and the West Bank. Muslim sovereign states must facilitate such migration and build homes for the oppressed people of Gaza and the West Bank. If they are blocked from helping the Palestinians to emigrate, then they must use their God-given prerogative to declare jihad against Israel and fight until the people’s lives are saved and they are allowed to leave that hostile environment to a place of safety and security.  

What should be the way forward in repossessing the holy lands of Islam–Jazīrat al-Arab–and bringing them under Islamic rule is the subject of Islamic Eschatology. That response is the way forward preparing for Imam Mahdi and the return of Nabi Isa alayhissalam. It is because it involves the destiny of Jerusalem, the re-establishment of the khilafah, the appearance of Dajjal in person, the event of the Malhamah, etc. However, addressing the problem of establishing macro-Islam in the context of the events of akhir az-zaman should not hinder Muslim sovereign powers from rescuing the Palestinian people from their dire state today. It is urgent and only a sovereign power with an army can be the appropriate political actor to intervene against Israel, America and the West, or the collective army of Gog and Magog. 

It is Gog and Magog who created a national home for the Jews in the holy land today. It is Gog and Magog who are in control of the holy land today. Israel’s expansionist war today is directed to acquire the surrounding Muslim lands. In order to achieve that, Israel will have to establish as a first step a Greater Israel that would annex the territories of Gaza and the West Bank. However, let it not be forgotten that Israel has its Zionist eyes fixed on achieving biblical Greater Israel too that extends from the river Nile to the river Euphrates. That would be the second step, and this is no conspiracy theory. It was already demonstrated as early as in the six-day war in 1967. The surrounding Arab states and Muslim sovereign states of the world must now be prepared for war given Israel’s looming ambitions on the horizon. Remember, we cannot reduce this war to a genocide and allow the Anglo-American-Israeli alliance to hide their political objectives. This is in preparation for a Pax Judaica to replace a declining Pax Americana.  

While history is reaching the conclusion of Pax Americana today, and entering the final stage of Pax Judaica before Dajjal appears in person, Muslim sovereign states must understand that it is now more imperative than ever before to be always prepared for war. For the Muslim peoples of the world and their leaders in authority, jus ad bellum and jus in bello must both be firmly established in the Qur’ān, sunnah and under the guidance of men learned in Islam, possessing knowledge of akhir az-zaman and international relations, which is more well known amongst Muslims as the fiqh of Siyar. It is such men to whom political leaders of the Muslim world should reach out and take guidance from. The UN and International law are crumbling. Before it is too late, Muslim leaders should now turn to such guidance. If the US, Britain, Israel and France are nuclear powers that Muslim states fear to confront in battle, then they should know that Russia, China, and Pakistan are also states that are equally armed with nuclear weapons possessing the capacity to deter the other side from using such weapons in warfare. If Pakistan is adamant in keeping their alliance with the West, developments in political history over the last two decades have proven that Russia and China are friends of Islam and will never bend their knees to the demands of the West, and that they are powerful enough as friends to deter the West. In fact, it is not a secret that the West fears the Sino-Russian alliance. 

As soon as Palestine was cut off from the Ottoman caliphate, and converted into a British mandate, it became conquered territory, that is, Dar al-Harb. In the first stage, it was under Britain, then transferred to the US in the second stage, and finally in its third stage, granted to a Euro-Jewish migrant population that had been incrementally grabbing the land since the very beginning through an aggressive settlement policy initiated by the Zionist movement and then advanced and legitimised by Britain and the US. Thence it became a brutal occupation defined by the international community as a conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people. The very fact that the holy land was separated from the caliphate and aggressive settlement policies were implemented against a helpless people, makes it a legitimate target for war in the fiqh of jihad. If war cannot be declared and fought against such a power that is oppressing a helpless people, the immediate solution that Islam has always provided was emigration. From the guidance of the seerah, emigration from Dar al-Harb is obligatory. 

The Hijaz, with Makkah and Madinah at its heart, was similarly cut off from the Caliphate. Since it was the heartland of the Muslim world, the British could not take direct control over it. In fact, the British and the West were not powerful enough to take direct control over the Hijaz. All they could do was support Sharif Hussein first and in parallel instigate and support the rebellion of the Saudi tribe against both the Ottoman Caliphate and Sharif Hussein’s kingdom. When that succeeded, they acknowledged Saudi rule over the Hijaz. If Palestinians had the right to armed struggle, the people of Hijaz should also have had the same right to armed struggle. But we have already established that armed struggle is no form of jihad in Islam. Emigration does not apply in the Hijaz because of the deception that was employed by Britain to use the Muslims against the Muslims. The Hijaz was another case, as it was in India, of divide and rule. In the words of Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar, there was a division of labour, we divided and they ruled. However, it was they who planted in us the seeds of division that grew into evil trees. 

If according to guidance from Islam, surrender to such foreign rule to mitigate the consequences or emigration were the correct actions on the part of the Palestinians, we may ask, who then prevented them from that and instead granted them the right to armed struggle and further instigated them towards it? It is telling that when we ask this question every name appears except Islam. 

1.     The ICJ: for being amongst the first multilateral liberal institutions to refer to the Palestinian territory as occupied land and Israel as the occupying force. 

2.     By the 1960’s, there was no Islam in the discourse of the Palestinian liberation movements. Pan-Arabism and socialism were its guiding lights. 

3.     Gamal Abdel Nasser: for supporting the armed struggle in Palestine. If there was no support from Egypt, the armed struggle could not have started, and could not have survived, finally leading until the Oslo Accords.  

4.     The UN Security Council: for adopting resolution 242 after the war in 1967, drafted by the British and the US. This was not accepted by the Palestinian people. 

5.     The secular PLO: for initiating the armed struggle. They finally accepted the UNSC Resolution 242 in 1993, which they had earlier rejected. Following their acceptance, others who did not agree, rose up against the PLO. 

6.     The US: for influencing and encouraging the Palestinians to struggle to achieve their political right to self-determination, even with arms. 

7.     The UN: for granting Palestine a non-member observer status at the general assembly. This further acknowledged their right to fight the Israeli occupying force for the liberation of their territory. It is the UN that helped to define the territory that should belong to the Palestinians. 

8.     International law: on the basis that an occupied people have the right to take up arms against the occupying force. That was confounded later when both the US and Israel allowed support to reach Hamas from various directions against the PLO. International law not only legitimised the armed struggle against Israel, but also laid the seeds for internecine warfare inside the Palestinian Occupied Territories. 

9.     Hamas and its allies: for transforming into a militant group with political objectives and then converting into a political party and then reverting to a militant group.  

10.  Various interest groups and social movements: for supporting the Palestinian ethnic cause and their right to self-determination. 

From the very beginning therefore, at least since 1948, the armed struggle in Palestine has been guided and encouraged by the international community led by both the US and Israel, the former on stage and the latter behind the curtain, at times instigating one group against the other resulting in civil war and at other times instigating the collective resistance against Israel. This two-pronged strategy legitimised the armed struggle of the Palestinians, and legitimised Israel’s brutal retaliations against a civilian population they despised as cockroaches and grasshoppers, with a casus bellum, in the name of self-defence. The results have only been: the brutal crushing of the armed struggle, carnage of an innocent population tricked into the false hope for statehood, incremental expansion of Israeli territory, furthering the distance between Islam and politics, keeping the world Muslim community divided, pacifying the world Muslim community by giving them the right to demonstrate for a ceasefire and for aid to reach the Palestinians but nothing more, and last but worst of all, legitimising Israel’s right to exist as a state against Allah’s conditional grant of the holy land on faith in Allah and righteous conduct according to the religion of Abraham alayhissalam. All of this has only strengthened the impostor state of Israel that looms on the horizon as a political power preparing the ground for the coming of their Promised Messiah. Nobody can deny that Israel does have such a religious ambition to prepare for the coming of the Promised Messiah. That is the double standards established by the liberal world order. Israel has the right to defy the separation of religion and politics but it should be the moral obligation of Muslim countries around the world to be democratic and separate religion and politics, otherwise they should be defined rogue states.  

This brings us to the heart of the whole matter: religion and eschatology. If the Muslim world is to respond appropriately to the oppression in the holy land, guidance must come from Islam and from the answer to the question: where is this leading to and how will it all end? This is a valid question and only Islamic Eschatology can answer this question. Before we attempt to answer the question, let us summarise this essay:

1.     Israel’s war in Gaza today should not be called a genocide and reduced to an ethnic Palestinian problem.

2.     By extension, this is not an Arab problem. 

3.     Hamas miscalculated how the war would turn out and have suffered both defeat and failure in their attempt to take over the leadership of the Palestinian cause. 

4.     Palestinians do not have the religious right to jihad. That right must come from Islamic law. Partisanship, telluric or otherwise does not exist in the law of Islam. Islam certainly did not legitimise the armed struggle in the holy land. 

5.     Historical evidence post-1948 is clear that it was the international community that legitimised the armed struggle of the Palestinian people. 

6.     This is a problem that concerns the entire Muslim ummah because of the Prophet’s dying injunction. This is a religious problem that concerns all Muslims in the world. Islam and politics cannot be separated on this matter, neither can the decision to go to war be separated from the cause of the holy land. 

7.     There is no khilafah today and therefore all individual Muslim states must unite to take a collective and decisive action to respond to Israel’s brutal aggression and territorial expansion. That must be guided by Islam, the fiqh of jihad and siyar, and knowledge of akhir az-zaman. 

8.     Recourse to International law has failed to address the problem with the urgency that is required, and has become evident that it will continue to fail. 

9.     The fiqh of Jihad is an important element in the actions of the state; it is the prerogative of the state to declare jihad. This is the lesser form of jihad in the absence of the khilafah. The Muslim world is forced to take a lesser form because jihad cannot be abolished from the religion of Islam. Muslim states must now be prepared for war, more than ever before, and they must ally with nuclear powers to deter the US, Israel from threatening to use nuclear weapons. 

10.  It follows that Muslim countries must first refuse to recognise Israel's political right to exist as a sovereign power over the holy land of the religion of Abraham. The God of Abraham did not grant the Israelites the unconditional and exclusive right to the holy land. That right is conditional upon righteous conduct. The disproportionate mass slaughter of a civilian population in retaliation to a hostage act of guerilla warfare is proof enough that Israel is continuing to violate the condition of righteous conduct in the holy land. 

11.  Only knowledge of Islamic Eschatology can guide where this is all leading to and how it will all end. Without knowledge of Islamic Eschatology, the response from sovereign Muslim states as political actors will be inadequate.