Why did Amira Elghawaby ignore the role of jihad during Ramadan?

In an article in the Toronto Star “Broadcast of Muslim call to prayer offers lesson on gratitude”, Amira Elghawaby, a board member of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network and the former spokesperson for the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), described the Islamic month of Ramadan as time of fasting, compassion, forgiveness and gratitude.

Amira Elghawaby wrote:

“Ramadan is primarily thought of as a time when Muslims simply refrain from food and drink during daylight hours. But those who are observing are also encouraged to amp up their compassion, forgiveness and gratitude.”

Muslim scholars in Canada and around the world highlight other aspects of Ramadan.

Zafar Bangash, the Director of the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) in Ontario, Canada wrote:

“Ramadan is the month of jihad in all its manifestations. While the crusading West has made jihad (like many other Islamic terms) a dirty word, it was the spirit of sacrifice shared by the early Muslims that helped them overcome enormous difficulties… Ramadan, however, must be seen primarily as the month of struggle and jihad, both internally as well as externally.”

Dr. Iqbal Al-Nadvim the Chairman & President of the Canadian Council of Imams, said that the “Jihad will continue till the Day of Resurrection.”

A book shared by Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA Canada) reads:

“This Hadith [from Al-Bukhari and Muslim] 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.

Excerpts from a research paper by Memri “Ramadan – The Month Of Spirituality, Devotion, Jihad And Martyrdom” published on June 29, 2015:

In an article published in the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram in July 2012, then-mufti of Egypt ‘Ali Gum’a wrote:

“[Throughout the history of] Islamic civilization, Ramadan has been not only a month of worship and of growing close to Allah the Almighty, but also a month of action and jihad aimed at spreading this great religion.”

Egyptian cleric and Al-Azhar lecturer Dr. Fuad Mukheimar wrote:

“Fasting is closely connected to jihad in two aspects: First, determination and steadfastness until The Hour [Judgment Day]. Fasting is a continuous commandment, until Judgment Day and the same is true for jihad, because Muslim society needs it to defend [its] faith, honor, and homeland. The nation’s fasting is [itself] education for jihad, and as long as the nation fasts it will continue to be a jihad fighter.”

In a September 2012 article published on the occasion of Ramadan on the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) website, MB member Hussein Shehata, a lecturer at Al-Azhar University, wrote:

“Fasting [during Ramadan] is one of the most powerful means to educate the human spirit for jihad. Fasting involves a spiritual effort to act in a way contrary to what is accepted, and to completely abandon desires… It also schools the Muslim in patience, resilience, endurance, and sacrifice, which are all traits of the jihad fighter… Ramadan is the month of victory for those who wage jihad for Allah… jihad continues until the Day of Judgment.”

Muslim Brotherhood’s General Guide Muhammad Badi’ wrote on the movement’s website in August 2012:

“Allah the Almighty wanted the [Ramadan] fast to coincide with fighting, so that the Muslims would win and deal their enemies a crushing blow that the world would speak of… Allah did not mandate [the fast] of Ramadan so that [we] sit idly and avoid jihad, action, and da’wa for the sake of Allah.”

In an article he published on July 23, 2014 in the independent Palestinian news website Maan, Hamas official in the West Bank Ahmad Yousuf wrote:

“Throughout Muslim history, Ramadan has been the month of conquest and clear victory.”

Hamas Leader Ismail Haniya said:

: West Bank Shootings Were Heroic Ramadan Victories

“Anyone who studies the history of Islam discovers that most of the great victories and decisive battles took place in the blessed month of Ramadan… Even the mujahideen in Palestine – Allah has granted them success in the holy month of Ramadan, crushing their enemy, thus pleasing the hearts of the believers. This happened in the heroic Jihadi operations which took place in the West Bank yesterday and the day before yesterday. These are some of the victories of Ramadan.”

On August 11, 2010, Hamas’ armed wing, the ‘IzzAl-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, released a Ramadan statement titled “In the Month of jihad and Victories, We Continue With Our Resistance – and Our Eyes Are Lifted Towards The Longed-For Victory.” In it, they said that the month of Ramadan is meant to remind the Muslim ummah [nation] of the glorious battles of the early Muslims against the infidels, waged during Ramadan, including the Battles of Badr, Hattin, and ‘Ain Jalut.

The 16th issue of Al-Fateh, an online children’s magazine published by Hamas, featured a Ramadan story titled “The jihad-Fighting Group,” which says: “Sheikh ‘Abd Al-Rahman loves jihad and the jihad fighters. He speaks of them with wonder and says that if he were a youth he would take up arms, fight the war of jihad for the sake of Allah, and liberate the Muslim lands, and the land of Palestine in particular, from the hands of the pillagers. In the lesson of the day, the Sheikh sat smiling and said: ‘Oh children, write the Hadith [you learned] today. It is the message to continue the jihad until the day the dead are resurrected and the Muslims, the jihad fighters, are victorious against the Jews and their followers, the enemies of Allah. We are [in the month] Ramadan, which is the month of jihad.”

The Islamic State (ISIS) chose to declare its caliphate in June 2014, during the month of Ramadan. In the June 29, 2014 audio message in which ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad Al-‘Adnani announced the establishment of the caliphate, he indeed emphasized the special significance of this month:

“…We congratulate the Muslims on the advent of the blessed month of Ramadan. We ask Allah… to make it a month of victory, honor, and consolidation for the Muslims, and make its days and its nights a curse for the Rafidites, Sahawat, and the apostates…”

In a Ramadan message released two days later, on July 1, 2014, the group’s leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi also emphasized the issue of Ramadan:

“We congratulate the ummah [nation] of Islam, in the East and in the West, on the advent of the blessed month of Ramadan, and we praise Allah for allowing us to reach this virtuous month. And there is no deed in this virtuous month or in any other month better than jihad in the path of Allah, so take advantage of this opportunity and walk the path of your righteous predecessors.”

And several days later, in a July 4 sermon, Al-Baghdadi said:

“Oh Muslims, the arrival of the month of Ramadan is a great blessing and grace granted by Allah. It is a month that begins with mercy, continues with atonement, and concludes with salvation from the Hellfire… It is a month in which the marketplace of Jihad opens. In this month, the Prophet Muhammad would prepare the brigades, and would mobilize the armies, in order to fight the enemies of Allah and to wage Jihad against the polytheists. So seize this blessed month, oh servants of Allah, to perform acts of obedience to Allah, for your reward is doubled in this month…”

In October 2004, Al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia devoted some of the articles in the 27th issue of online magazine, Sawt Al-jihad, to the topic of Ramadan. The articles discussed the importance of jihad during this month and called for jihad fighters to intensify their efforts during it.

Also on August 11, the forum posted a document titled “Ramadan – The Month of Preparation, of jihad, and of Martyrdom,” by pro-Al-Qaeda sheikh Abu Sa’d Al-‘Amili, a prominent writer on jihadi websites. He wrote that Ramadan is a station “for preparing the soul to enter the fever of jihad,” and Muslims must now, more than ever, take advantage of this month, making it a means for emotional preparation that will enable them to respond to the call for jihad whenever it comes.

A statement issued in June 2015 by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the shadow government of the Afghan Taliban) emphasized the importance of the month of Ramadan: “…Ramadan is a month of success and victories on behalf of Allah the Almighty for the mujahideen. Islamic history shows that major [military] victories have been achieved in the month of Ramadan… Ramadan is a month of glories and victories for the Muslim Ummah.”

Media Inquiry

On May 7, 2020 I sent a media inquiry to Amira Elghawaby.

Questions:

Senior Muslim scholars in Canada and around the world highlight the importance of jihad during the holy month of Ramadan. Why did you ignore in your article in the Toronto Star the role of jihad as a means to spread Islam during Ramadan?

On January 3, 2019 you stated: “The Islamic Party of Ontario is already causing a lot of unnecessary grief. One guy’s stupid idea gives haters more excuses to rally people against us – nobody needs this nonsense.” Do you apply the same principle also in the case of jihad? Is jihad relevant to spread Islam till the Day of Resurrection in order to bring about the betterment of society?

The article will be published tomorrow, so it would be great if you could respond by 2pm May 8, 2020. Thanks!

Sincerely,

Eric Stanley Brazau

Investigative Journalist

EricBrazau.com

As of May 9, 2020 Amira Elghawaby has not responded to the media inquiry.

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