On October 10, 2019 I sent a media inquiry to Mustafa Farooq, the Executive Director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM). As of the publishing of this article NCCM’s Mustafa Farooq has not responded.
On Monday October 8, 2019 the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a Canadian Muslim advocacy group, issued a statement about “problematic social media posts” shared by Joe Pimlott, a candidate for the NDP in Calgary-Forest Lawn. NCCM attached to its statement a screenshot of Pimlott’s Facebook post from December 27, 2011 in which he shared a meme featuring a Christian armoured knight stating: “I’ll see your jihad and I’ll raise you one crusade.”
In December 2011 prior to Pimlott’s Facebook post several jihadist attacks in the name of Allah were carried our in the Philippines (Dec 5, kidnapping) Afghanistan (Dec 6, 74 dead), Belgium (Dec 13, 6 dead, 125 injured), Afghanistan (Dec 22, 5 dead) and Iraq (Dec 22, 63 dead, 163 injured).
We were disappointed to see that Joe Pimlott is now running for office again as a candidate for the NDP in Calgary-Forest Lawn, without fulfilling the commitments he made to learn more about the Canadian Muslim community.
In April 2019, Mr. Pimlott apologized for sharing problematic social media posts about “jihad” and the Crusades. He stated at the time that he looked forward to working with organizations like the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council – AMPAC and learning more.
That commitment was not kept. Unfortunately, Mr. Pimlott has not been in touch with Canadian Muslim communities – including AMPAC – since his apology. There is also no indication that Mr. Pimlott has taken steps to learn more about what was problematic about his posts, how they impacted the Muslim community, and how he can do better.
Mustafa Farooq, NCCM Executive Director, noted, “We have always been clear about the fact that anyone can make mistakes. But when a candidate makes a promise to learn more about a marginalized community, and then does not fulfill his promise, we have to ask about whether that promise was genuine in the first place. We are calling upon Mr. Pimlott to take action by explaining why he has not fulfilled the promise that he made”. #cdnpoli #elxn43
It appears that NCCM protests the use of the word “jihad” by Pimlott in the context of war for the sake of Allah and urged him to learn about the true meaning of jihad from Canadian authentic Muslim sources.
NCCM’s definition of jihad
In its booklet titled “United Against Terrorism” published in 2014, NCCM explained that jihad is a “form of a military action” the is being employed “in self defense only”:
IS JIHAD THE SAME AS TERRORISM? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Jihad is an Arabic term meaning striving, struggling and exertion in the path of good. Every day a Muslim struggles with his/her desires and does good and strives to be a better human being he/she is performing jihad. Prophet Muhammad told his companions as they went home after a battle: “We are returning from the lesser jihad [the battle] to the greater jihad,” the far more vital and crucial task of extinguishing transgression from one’s own society and one’s own heart. (Riyadh-us-Saliheen)
Jihad is not holy war either. Islam allows for Jihad in the form of a military action in self defense only. Even in self-defence, terrorism and violence against civilians, women, children, non combatant spiritual leaders and destruction of infrastructure, places of worship, poisoning of wells (food supplies) and burning of orchids is strictly prohibited. Generally Islamic tradition and law encourages peaceful resolution through negotiations over military combat. “But if the enemy incline towards peace, you also incline to peace, and put your trust in Allah.” (Quran 8:61)
Canada’s senior Imam says (armed) jihad will continue till the end of time
Statements by senior Canadian scholars and imams as well as Islamic literature available and promoted by leading Islamic centres in Canada appear to contradict NCCM’s definition of jihad.
In a panel discussion in Toronto on the “Finality of Prophethood”, Dr. Iqbal Al-Nadvi, the Chairman of the Canadian Council of Imams, called Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Islamic Ahmadiyya sect, a “false prophet” who abrogated the jihad in contradiction to an explicit hadith by Mohammad who said the the jihad will continue to the end of time. Al-Nadvi said:
The person who claimed to be a false prophet his name is Ghulam Ahmad… Sudqi [?] tried to kill the jihad not by political terms… but by creating another religious term to demonize jihad. This is the first and last agenda of Ghulam Ahmad to prove that I’m the messiah and the jihad is now cancelled. But what we do with the hadith [narration attributed to Mohammad]? The messenger of Allah [Mohammad] peace be upon him said: Jihad will continue till the Day of Resurrection. If it a good ruler or a bad ruler they will not cancel it.
Jihad is “offering oneself for fighting in the cause of Allah”
In summer 2018 Imam Karim AbuZaid, the Imam of the Colorado Muslims Community Center (Dar Al-Tawheed) in Aurora, Colorad taught in a five-day workshop at Salaheddin Islamic Centre in Scarborough, Ontario the book “Islamic Guidelines for Individual & Social Reform” by Sheikh Muhammad bin Jamil Zino, a Syria born Salafi Muslim scholar who lived in Jordan. This book provides an Islamic definition of the jihad:
Jihad (Fighting in the cause of Allah)
Jihad is obligatory on every Muslim in two ways: by spending one’s wealth or offering oneself for fighting in the cause of Allah. It can also be by preaching or defending Islam through tongue and pen. Reward varies for various types of Jihad.
1. Jihad as an Individual Duty: This type of Jihad becomes a must when the enemy of Muslims enters their land, like the Jews who settled in Palestine. Every Muslim will be guilty unless he expels the Jews by money or physical fighting.
2. Jihad as a Collective Duty: This type is the one if some people do it, it suffices and no need for all to perform. For example, propagation of Islam or call to Islam until all countries embrace it and make it their way of life. If someone makes any obstacle in the way of propagation, Muslims are allowed by Allah to fight them until Islam becomes the governing authority. Jihad in this sense will not stop until the Day of Judgment.
The Hadith “strongly refutes” the claim that “Islam preaches defensive war only”
ICNA (Islamic Circle of North America) Canada shares on its website the book “Riyad us Saliheen” (“The Gardens of the Righteous” رياض الصالحين) compiled by Imam Zakaruya Yahya Bin Sharaf An-Nawawi, a Sunni Shafi’ite jurist and hadith scholar who lived in 13th century.
Here are excerpts from the book:
[Hadith]: 3. A`ishah (May Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “There is no emigration after the conquest (of Makkah) but only Jihad [(striving and fighting in the cause of Allah) will continue] and good intention.* So if you are summoned to fight, go forth.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
*. Intention according to An-Nawawi: It means that goodness which ceased to continue by the cessation of emigration can still be obtained by Jihad and by intending accomplishing good deeds.
Commentary. When a country or a region is regarded as Dar-ul-Islam (land of Islam), it is not necessary to migrate from it to some other place. It is, however, obligatory to emigrate from such regions which are Dar-ul-Kufr (land of infidels) and where it is difficult to adhere to Islamic injunctions. It is also evident from this Hadith that when it is not necessary to migrate from one Islamic country to another then it is also not permitted by the Shari`ah to leave an Islamic country to settle permanently in Dar-ul-Kufr only for the reason that the latter has plenty of wealth and social welfare. Unfortunately, Muslims today are afflicted with this disease. The transfer of their capital and talent to Dar-ul-Kufr is indeed very disturbing because on one side these two factors are lending support to the economy of Bilad-ul-Kufr (countries of infidels) and on the other, obscenity and indecency that are common in such countries, are becoming increasingly common among the Muslims too.
Another highly important reason for the prohibition of migration of Muslims to Dar-ul-Kufr is that it goes against the spirit as well as their readiness for Jihad fi sabilillah (striving and fighting in the way of Allah). This spirit and readiness must be kept always alive so that the Muslims may respond at once to the call of Jihad whenever the need for it arises anywhere.
[Hadith]: 175. Sahl bin Sa`d (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said on the day of the Hhaibar Battle, “I will give this banner to a person at whose hands Allah will grant victory; a man who loves Allah and His Messenger (PBUH), and Allah and His Messenger love him also.” The people spent the night thinking as to whom it would be given. When it was morning, the people hastened to Messenger of Allah (PBUH). Every one of them was hoping that the banner would be given to him. He (the Prophet (PBUH)) asked, “Where is `Ali bin Abu Talib?” They said: “O Messenger of Allah! His eyes are sore.” He (PBUH) then sent for him and when he came, Messenger of Allah (PBUH) applied his saliva to his eyes and supplicated. `Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) recovered as if he had no ailment at all. He (PBUH) conferred upon him the banner. `Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “O Messenger of Allah, shall I fight against them until they are like us?” Thereupon he (the Prophet (PBUH)) said, “Advance cautiously until you reach their open places; thereafter, invite them to Islam and inform them what is obligatory for them from the Rights of Allah, for, by Allah, if Allah guides even one person through you that is better for you than possessing a whole lot of red camels”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: Besides mentioning the excellence of `Ali (May Allah be pleased with him) and the miracle of the Prophet (PBUH), this Hadith tells about the procedure of Jihad. According to procedure, first of all, polytheists and infidels should be invited to Islam, and if they reject the invitation, then Jihad be made against them. Jihad is such an action that if at its initial stage, that is to say at the stage of invitation, some people accept the guidance, then the people who will participate in Jihad will get the reward of good deeds done by those who would join the fold of Islam.
[Hadith]: 208. Mu`adh (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that Messenger of Allah (PBUH) sent me (as a governor of Yemen) and instructed me thus: “You will go to the people of the Book. First call them to testify that `there is no true god except Allah, that I am (Muhammad (PBUH)) the Messenger of Allah.’ If they obey you, tell them that Allah has enjoined upon them five Salat (prayers) during the day and night; and if they obey you, inform them that Allah has made Zakat obligatory upon them; that it should be collected from their rich and distributed among their poor; and if they obey you refrain from picking up (as a share of Zakat) the best of their wealth. Beware of the supplication of the oppressed, for there is no barrier between it and Allah”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
l. If it comes to Jihad against infidels, polytheists and the people of the Book (Ahl-ul-Kitab) then before waging war against them, they should be invited to Islam and told about the prescribed Salat (prayers), Zakat and other teachings of Islam.
2. The Zakat collected from the rich of a locality must be spent on the poor of that place. If some amount is left unspent only then it should be distributed among the deserving people of other areas.
3. The collectors of Zakat should refrain from aggression in its collection as in that case they will be invoking the curse of the people concerned and thereby invite the Wrath of Allah.
[Hadith]: 321. `Abdullah bin `Amr bin Al-`as (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: A man came to the Prophet (PBUH) of Allah and said, “I swear allegiance to you for emigration and Jihad, seeking reward from Allah.” He (PBUH) said, “Is any of your parents alive?” He said, “Yes, both of them are alive.” He (PBUH) then asked, “Do you want to seek reward from Allah?” He replied in the affirmative. Thereupon Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Go back to your parents and keep good company with them”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
In another narration it is reported that a person came to Messenger of Allah (PBUH) and sought his permission to participate in Jihad. The Prophet (PBUH) asked, “Are your parents alive?” He replied in the affirmative. The Prophet a(PBUH) said, “(You should) consider their service as Jihad.”
Commentary: Under normal circumstances, Jihad is Fard Kifayah (collective duty — which means that if some people observe it, the rest of the Muslims will be exempted from its obligation). In such circumstances permission of parents to participate in Jihad is necessary because their service is Fard-ul-`ain
(individual duty — an injunction or ordinance, the obligation of which extends to every Muslim in person), and the former cannot be preferred to the latter. This Hadith explains such a situation. In certain circumstances, however, Jihad becomes Fard-ul-`ain (individual duty — an injunction or ordinance, the obligation of which extends to every Muslim in person) and in that case permission of the parents to take part in Jihad is not essential because then every Muslim is duty-bound to take part in it.
[Hadith]: 390. `Abdullah bin `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “I have been commanded (by Allah) to fight people until they testify that there is no true god except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform Salat and pay Zakat. If they do so, they will have protection of their blood and property from me except when justified by Islam, and then account is left to Allah”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: This Hadith brings out the following three points:
l. The objective of Jihad. This objective warrants that one must struggle against Kufr (disbelief) and Shirk (polytheism) and the worship of falsehood in all its forms. Jihad has to continue until this objective is achieved. This contention is supported by a Hadith, to the effect that Jihad will continue till the Day of Resurrection.
In this Hadith the word (An-Nas) translated above as “people” stands for the polytheists and idolaters. The reason being that other Nasus (pl. of Nass, meaning `text’) confirm the exemption of Ahl-ul-Kitab (people of the Scriptures) from it subject to the condition that they agree to pay Jizyah (dues imposed by Islam on the people of the Book living under the protection of an Islamic state) and submit to the Muslim rule. The Arab pagans have only the choice to either embrace Islam or face war. In the latter case, it is incumbent on the Mulsims to wage Jihad against them to wipe out Kufr and Shirk and raise the banner of Tauhid everywhere.
This Hadith strongly refutes the people who distort the Islamic concept of Jihad and hold that Islam preaches defensive war only. It is an apologetic approach because defensive war has to be fought in any case by every nation and country. Thus, it is a compulsion and needs no justification.
The real distinction of Islam lies in its enjoining Muslims to wage war for upholding the truth besides fighting for their own defense.
The domination of Kufr, Shirk and falsehood is darkness, heresy and tyranny, and the objective of Islam is to purge the world of all these evils.
It aims at liberating man from the worship of man, set them on the path of worship of Allah, and to provide a just and equitable society to mankind.
Wherever in the world there is tyranny, ignorance and heresy, Muslims are bound to fight such evils and finish them by means of Jihad.
There is also a third form of Jihad which is waged against countries where Muslims are victims of aggression, suppression and cruelties of the non-Muslims. It is incumbent upon Muslims to liberate their brethren in Faith from the clutches of the non-Muslims by means of Jihad.
So long Muslims performed this obligation with a sense of duty, Islam and its followers were dominant in the world and ever since they have ignored this obligation, both are in subjugation and disgrace. In other words, the secret of power and stability of Muslims lies in Jihad. Muslims need to understand this secret like their ancestors.
2. Life and property of every person is secured after his joining the fold of Islam. He will, however, be subject to the law of Islam, one of which is payment of Zakat. If he murders any Muslim, he will also be killed in return, unless the heirs of the victim pardon the murderer or accept blood-money (Diyah) for it.
3. When a person embraces Islam, the laws of Shari`ah apply to him according to his apparent condition only. His heart will not be probed for this purpose. In case, he is not sincere or he has some design in joining the fold of Islam, no action will be taken against him until guilt is fully proved. What he has in his heart will be left to Allah Who will pass judgment on his intention on the Day of Resurrection. This Hadith is related to this chapter for its third point. In their debate on this point, some
`Ulama’ have contended that such people who believe in Tauhid and obey the injunctions of Shari`ah are not to be declared as infidels.
[Hadith]: 1209. Ibn `Umar (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “I have been commanded to fight people till they testify `La ilaha illallah’ (there is no true god except Allah) that Muhammad (PBUH) is his slave and Messenger, and they establish Salat, and pay Zakat; and if they do this, their blood (life) and property are secured except when justified by law, and it is for Allah to call them to account.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Commentary: “Except when justified by law” means that after the acceptance of Islam, if someone commits a crime which is punishable by Hadd this will be certainly imposed on him, or her, i.e., cutting of hand in case of theft, one hundred stripes or stoning to death in case of fornication, capital punishment in retaliation for murdering an innocent person. In this Hadith the words “it is for Allah to call them to account” means that if they are not sincere in the acceptance of Islam and would put up an appearance of Islam like hypocrites, or would commit a crime which is liable for Hadd but is somehow not detected by the Islamic court or authorities concerned, they will be taken to account for it by Allah, that is Allah will decide about them on the Day of Judgement.
It is evident from this Hadith that so long as Kufr [disbelief] is present in this world, it is necessary to wage Jihad against it to finish it off, and so long as all the disbelievers do not openly accept Islam and adopt the Islamic way of life, Muslims are duty- bound to make Jihad against them.
[Hadith]: 1352. Abu Hurairah and Jabir (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “War is deception.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
“Commentary: “Khad`ah” means deception, i.e., employing a strategy which causes misunderstanding to the enemy, and one’s real intent does not become evident to them. This is permissible in Islam in the state of war.
The Ahadith mentioned in this chapter make the importance of Jihad and the reason for so much stress on it abundantly clear. These also show how great a crime it is to ignore it. It is very unfortunate indeed
that present-day Muslims are guilty of renouncing Jihad in every part of the world. May Allah help us to overcome this negligence.
NCCM’s credibility on jihad is questionable
To prove the claim about the non-aggressive nature of the jihad, NCCM cited in its 2014 booklet “United Against Terrorism” the following hadith: “We are returning from the lesser jihad [the battle] to the greater jihad. According to NCCM this hadith appears in Imam Al-Nawai’s book Riyadh-us-Saliheen (the Gardens of the Righteous), a compilation of sound hadiths.
A search of this book in its English version didn’t show the hadith. Moreover, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the former chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, clarified that this hadith (“We are returning from the lesser jihad [the battle] to the greater jihad”) “isn’t true” and “is not cited in the books of Sunnah and known collections of hadiths.” Same opinion was echoed by other senior Muslim scholars.
In its booklet “United Against Terrorism” NCCM didn’t make any reference to the aforementioned hadiths on the armed and aggressive jihad that are included in the book Riyadh-us-Saliheen (the Gardens of the Righteous).
Why does NCCM claim that word “jihad” in Pimlott’s Facebook post is offensive to Muslims?
Does NCCM believe that definition of jihad by Iqbal Al-Nadvi (and other senior Canadian Imams) is wrong?
Does NCCM accept the definition of jihad as explained in detail in the book Riyadh-us-Saliheen (the Gardens of the Righteous)?
Can NCCM support its claim that the hadith “We are returning from the lesser jihad [the battle] to the greater jihad” appears in the book Riyadh-us-Saliheen (the Gardens of the Righteous)?
Why did NCCM choose not to cite in its booklet “United Against Terrorism” other hadiths from the book Riyadh-us-Saliheen (the Gardens of the Righteous) that explicitly explain the armed and aggressive nature of the jihad till the end of time?
I’ll appreciate a response to this media inquiry by 4pm October 14, 2019. If you require more time please let me know.
Eric Stanley Brazau,