Khalid Zaheer
“I am convinced about the veracity of my opinions, but I do consider it likely that they may turn out to be incorrect. Likewise, I am convinced about the incorrectness of the views different from mine, but I do concede the possibility that they may turn out to be correct.” — Imam Shafa’i
MORE Q/A

Can Pakistani Muslims Fight Against Indian Muslims ?

Question:
Indian Muslims are more in number than Pakistani Muslims; and they are both, by and large, practicing Muslims. What will happen in case of a war? Our Muslim soldiers will kill their Muslim soldiers and vice versa. How can we call a war involving Muslims on both sides an Islamic Jihad?

Response:
Your question reflects a popular false impression: Muslims cannot legitimately fight against fellow Muslims but they can fight against non-Muslims in a war. The fact of the matter is that Muslims are allowed to fight neither against fellow Muslims nor non-Muslims. A war is a game of killing people. The Qur’an tells us that “Whoever killed a soul except in retribution for a murder or for creating mischief on earth it is as if he killed the entire mankind.” (5:32) It also says “The one who killed a believer deliberately, his punishment is hell wherein he shall live forever.” (4:93)

While the first verse is stating a general principle (you cannot kill anyone), the second one is talking about the same principle’s application in a situation where Muslims were fighting against non-Muslims. It therefore says that no Muslim can kill a fellow Muslim.

Why were Muslims fighting against non-Muslims when, as I have claimed, war is a game of killing people and killing is not allowed? The answer is that Muslims during that time were implementing God’s will of punishing the nation that had rejected the messenger (Rasul) of God. The Qur’an tells us that the people who reject God’s messengers knowingly are to be punished in this very world too. The companions of the messenger were therefore doing nothing but implementing God’s plan which instead of employing natural calamities, as was done in the case of earlier messengers, used the swords of the believing companions of the last messenger to annihilate the rejecters of God’s message. That war was therefore, not a part of the Shari‘ah that was to be followed by Muslims for all times to come. It was only God punishing people through men, as He clarifies about this war thus: “Allah will punish them through your hands.”(9:14)”And you did not kill them; instead it was Allah who killed them. And you did not throw pebbles at them when you threw them; it was Allah who threw them.”(8:17)

The only possibility of engaging in a war for Muslims, apart from self-defense, is when they fight against a group of people who are guilty of persecuting humans, which amounts to creating mischief on earth. (Qur’an; 4:75)

In conclusion, I would say that if Pakistan fights a war against India and the reason of engaging in it is not to curb persecution and mischief on earth, then no good Muslim should fight it, whether it involves killing of Muslims or non-Muslims. And if the purpose to fight is to curb persecution, then it does not matter whether Hindus are fighting on the other side or Muslims. Pakistani Muslim soldiers have a legitimate right to participate in such a war.

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