War and Jihad
Islam replaced the concept of war with Jihad, which is a unique philosophy. War was a phenomenon commonly known to the world before Islam. It involved efforts to destroy the rival, crippling and humiliating him.
Plundering, abasing and setting the enemy settlements ablaze were common features of wars. Islam replaced the term war with Jihad, which is derived from the word ‘Juhd' meaning struggle and hard work. Jihad also means an effort to reform the opponent for the sake of his own welfare. The armies of Islam always carried the instructions: (1) No unarmed person would be harmed (2) No crops would be destroyed (3) No trees would be cut down and (4) Neither the places of worship nor the worshippers would be disturbed. If an adversary embraces Islam his rights as a Muslim will be granted. If he chooses to retain his religion peacefully he must pay Jizyah. In other words, wars were waged merely to disgrace individuals or nations whereby their honour was trampled over and their lands were seized. Whereas Jihad is an armed endeavour, explicitly bounded by limits undertaken to save the wrongdoer from Divine Punishment or to protect Allah-SWT's servants and His-SWT Din from the mischief. This endeavour has been referred to as a great act of worship. Those who argue that it is no longer valid are ignorant of its reality.
The rules and regulations of Jihad dictate that should the circumstances make an encounter with the enemy inevitable, the believers must stand fast in the battlefield. This is what every nation expects from its armed forces, which indeed is the main strength while the weaponry is only of secondary importance.
The Sources of Steadfastness
Whereas the infidel nations boost the morale of their troops through emotional speeches, armaments, national honour and manpower, the Quran ordains constant Zikr as the source of steadfastness in the battlefield. It must be understood that Zikr refers to all those actions performed in compliance with the tenets of Islam, which may also be termed as practical Zikr. Inviting to the truth by word of mouth, persuading others to remain steadfast and raising slogans of Allah-SWT's Glory are all facets of oral Zikr, which is a common practice of Muslim forces in combat anyway. The best and the most meritorious deed is to present one's life in the battlefield, and the best form of oral Zikr is to inculcate vigour, spirit and discipline amongst the ranks. Over and above, constant Zikr is achieved through Zikr-e-Qalbi, which continues even amidst the blazing gunfire. It is indeed the best source of steadfastness because when the hearts gain strength, feet stand fast automatically. And on the other hand it is also the stepping stone to eternal salvation, hence a constant Zikr has been enjoined.
Zikr-e-Qalbi Provides the Basic Motivation
In fact it is Zikr-e-Qalbi that provides the basis for sincere actions and enhances the capacity to work in those who practise it. Sadly enough, the Muslims have either given up Zikr Qalbi altogether or have fallen prey to impostors and fake Sufis, wasting their time and energy. Very few fortunate ones may have been blessed with this invaluable gift in its pristine form. May Allah-SW confer it upon the entire Muslim world once again! The believers must obey Allah-SWand the Holy Prophet-SW under all circumstances, be it Jihad, zikr or any other form of worship. Any effort whether Jihad or Zikr which takes a person away from Allah-SWT's obedience, will be futile. Because the sole aim of all actions is to attain excellence in submission to the Will and Purpose of Allah-SWT . This, in turn, is based on obedience to His-SWT Prophet-SW. Hence the basic difference between Jihad and war is that of motive. Jihad and war are poles apart because the former is motivated by a fervent desire to please and obey Allaah-SWT .
Difference of Opinion
The believers must not get into mutual disputes. Whenever different people get together they are bound to have diverse opinions. But if they try to impose their opinions on one another, it becomes a dispute. In other words, a difference in opinion is natural; whereas every one gives his opinion the leader decides the matter, after which his orders must be followed. No one should then feel offended or create a rift that his opinion was rejected. This is important because such disputes will undermine mutual confidence amongst the believers, reducing their power and impact upon the infidels. Therefore, the believers are being instructed to remain calm and patient even if a decision or action is taken against their personal preference. It indeed demands extraordinary patience to be tolerant and stick to the obedience of Allaah-SWT under such circumstances. This is the virtue of the highest order, worthy of Divine Friendship. Obviously, anyone having Allaah-SWT on his side will always be successful.
The believers must keep their intentions clean and pure for Allah-SWT, and must not imitate the Quraish of Makkah, who mindlessly plunged into misguidance. They had always been actively involved in creating hurdles for Islam. When they heard of the caravan's safety being threatened, they rushed to its rescue. But once it had safely escaped, there was no point in fighting. In fact some of the chieftains of Quraish pointed out that an engagement was no longer necessary. But Abu Jahl insisted on fighting. He had the false notion that they could wipe out the believers once and for all. The Day of Badr saw that whatever they had planned was overshadowed by the Omnipotence of Allah-SWT, which prevails over every matter.
Speaking of the Satan's tactics Allaah-SWT apprises that when arrogance and false pretence develop in a person he diverts his efforts to the opposition of truth. Such a person falls prey to Satanic whispers, who makes his evil deeds appear noble to him. Like the Makkans, who were convinced that the opposition of the Holy Prophet-SW and Islam were acts of great piety. So much so that before leaving for Badr they prayed inside K'abah for the one on the right path to be victorious.
Secondly, Satan not only misguides and deceives in Kashf but also disguises as a human being to fulfil his evil designs. For instance, when contingent of the Quraish coming to the rescue of the caravan came to know of its safe escape, their prime concern was to return to Makkah. This was because they feared an attack on Makkah by their rival tribe Banu Bakr. Strangely enough, they saw Saraqah bin Malik, the leader of Banu Bakr joining them at Badr with a party of his men, declaring that he had put aside all personal vendetta and had come to help them as a neighbour in this crusade. He also assured them that the Muslims Army, in his view, was incapable of resisting their might. Thus he practically motivated them into fighting. But when the battle broke out and Satan, disguised as Saraqah, saw the Divine Lights and the angels descending in ranks, he began to retreat. The Quraish reminded him of his promise to fight by their side, but he regretted that he could no longer keep it. It was simply because what he had seen was not visible to them and he was fully aware of the severity of Allah-SWT's Punishments. Thus he ran away and the Quraish always believed that he was real Saraqah. Much later when the Quraish met him at an occasion and formally complained of his desertion which had led to their defeat, he clarified that he had never come to the Battle of Badr. He had indeed learnt about the battle and their defeat only after their return to Makkah.