Is the Qur’ān a Manual of Jihād?
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Saleem

As a non-Muslim who is very interested in studying Islam, I have gone through the Qur’ān many times. During these readings, I have developed a particular notion about it and every time I finish it, this notion gets stronger and stronger. I find that it is a book which primarily motivates a believer to fight for Islam and kill and humiliate those who do not accept it. Seldom do I find a section of the Qur’ān devoid of war. Those which are seem to threaten the non-believers of a dire doom if they do not give up their religion and embrace Islam. So my question is: Is the Qur’ān a manual of Jihād for the believers?


Answer: You have made an interesting observation and I think that the answer to your question lies in having an awareness of the whole theme of the Qur’ān.

Before a reference is made to this theme, some other things need to be appreciated:

In my humble opinion. the religious history of mankind can be divided in two distinct periods. In the first period, which occupies the major portion of this history, the Almighty directly interacted with the inhabitants of this earth by selecting certain personalities as His representatives. To them, He revealed His guidance for the benefit of mankind. They were deputed by Him to fully explain and elucidate the basic truths1. Although these truths are inherently known by a heedful person through the testimony of his conscience and intuition, the Merciful Allah supplemented this arrangement by appointing His representatives from among mankind to remind them of these truths. Over a period, which extends to several thousand years, numerous personalities were chosen for this purpose. In religious parlance, they are called Anbiyā (Prophets). The last of these personalities was Muhammad (sws). With his demise in 632 AD, the institution of Nabuwwat (Prophethood) was terminated and this first period of history was brought to an end.

Today we are living in the second period of history, which is to extend until the end of this world. In this period, divine interaction through appointed representatives no longer takes place.

The first period of history has a certain feature which is wholly and solely specific to it. The Qur’ān, a Book which belongs to this first period, mentions this feature. As per this feature, the judgement which is going to take place in the Hereafter is visually substantiated in this period during the lifetime of certain Anbiyā (Prophets) who are designated as Rusul (Messengers) of Allah.. Those who deliberately deny the basic truths are punished in this world and promised a severer torment in the Hereafter and those who accept and profess faith are rewarded in this world and promised even greater reward in the Hereafter.

It was through Muhammad (sws) and his Companions (rta) that the last time that this worldly judgement took place. The Qur’ān is nothing but a record of this last judgement. The various phases of Muhammad’s preaching mission are discussed in detail in this book – which in fact is the real theme of the Qur’ān. These phases culminate in the worldly retribution of Muhammad’s addressees.

If this background is kept in mind, the conclusion one may reach is that the Qur’ān is not a manual of Jihād; rather it is a manual of Muhammad’s preaching mission which culminates in divine retribution of his addressees in this world.


1. 18. 2:62 spells out these basic truths.

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