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Hartals and Jamaat Part 2: Similarities between Mohammad’s (pbuh) raids and BJI’s hartal

Written By: OooKhalid
15/08/2013 18:44 05/08/2013 2:31
Burning Issue

The struggle between good and evil, god consciousnesses and satanic worshipping is a struggle for all times since the creation of Adam. It is a struggle where the outcome has been declared victorious for the Muslims, for true believers will either taste success or martyrdom. As Allah says,

"And We shall try you until We test those among you who strive their utmost and persevere in patience" – [Qur'an, 47:31]

However, patience does not mean 'to surrender (bow)' rather patience means 'to struggle (persevere)’.

The similarities between caravan raids and present-day hartals are many but they also not exactly the same. One must be careful to note the general patterns rather than hair-splitting over details. The similarities are given below.

Neither party proclaimed a formal declaration of war

It must be noted that, neither the Muslims nor the Meccan polytheist formally declared war on each other. However both parties were understood, by all of Arabia, to be at odds and belligerents in a greater conflict unfolding between the old guard and the new. Even though no formal declaration was made, the state of war was implicitly declared by the Meccans on their own brethrens when the polytheist oppressed the Muslims above and beyond any norm of acceptable behavior in the contemporary Arabian society, for example by refusing permission for the Muslims to visit the Ka’bah when enemies and allies alike have full rights to visit Mecca during the Hajj season. This act of preventing access to Haram-e-Sharif was considered to be a heinous act in the contemporary 7th century Arabian culture.

Similarly, no formal declaration of war been announced by BAL or BJI, however war  has been implicitly declared by BAL when they crossed the lines of acceptable political behavior by arresting and attempting the judicially murder of the front line leaders of the Islamic movement, while simultaneously character assassinating them in special a ’ kangaroo court’.

One must remember that the simple incarceration of Sheikh Mujib by the government of Pakistan was the catalyst for a full blown war which led to many deaths, untold suffering and the break-up of a regional superpower. Even the recent 2006 caretaker government’s bold attempt to imprison the top leaders of the two major parties in Bangladesh was enough a reason for anarchy to reign loose on state campuses, which eventually led to the downfall of the caretaker government. The incarceration of top leaders of a popular party is a radical departure from acceptable conventions within the social context of Bangladesh.

Raids and Hartals are legally different to ‘stealing’ and ‘destruction of property’ respectively

Raids are basically what we would call piracy and stealing. Islam does not advocate such behavior under normal circumstances especially on non-combatants busy in trade, be they Muslim or non-Muslim. Murder of non-combatants, Muslim or non-Muslim, is an even more heinous act under normal circumstances according to the Quran:

“If anyone slew a person –unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved all of mankind. [Quran 5:32]

Yet, there were collateral deaths during these raids, which included Muslims (11th Raid), however these were not considered as murder, and the fighters weren’t punished for these accidental deaths. Even so, Allah sent a revelation enjoining Muslim fighters to be more careful to avoid any unnecessary deaths.[i]

Unconventional tactics: Permissibility in light of the culture-of-conflict

It would be a folly today for any Muslim belligerent party to commandeer enemy civilian property indiscriminately, by citing this precedence of the Prophet. For, in today’s contemporary domestic and international culture-of-conflict this would amount to a flagrant disregard to the rules of warfare worthy of severe propaganda censure. It would be considered nothing less than piracy. The moral of the Sunnah of caravan raids is, that Muslims are allowed to undertake war tactics which the enemy would have perpetrated on the Muslims if the enemy so had a chance. This would amount to trade embargos and no-fly-zones amongst other unconventional tactics in the international arena, in today’s perspective.

Within the domestic culture-of-conflict paradigm in Bangladesh as well as within the legal context, hartals is seen as a legitimate means of attrition with the purpose of gaining certain objectives. Even though damaging private property may seem legally at odds with Islamic tenants, war has been declared by BAL and BJI has responded in a manner not seen as unnatural to the enemy.

In the battle between Islam and Taghut there will unfortunately always be those who are caught in the middle, with private properties and lives destroyed just like the 7th century victims of caravan raids, however these are the realities of unconventional warfare. If anyone should shoulder responsibility, it is the BAL for waging an unethical war against its own brethren for the offence that the BJI intend to dedicate their time, money, energy for the establishment of Islam as state law by peaceful means.


In the absence of our scholars who are languishing on death row only because they dared to declare, “There is none worthy of worship and obedience other than Allah”, I have with my meager knowledge on Islam and understanding of logic, attempted to ratiocinate the actions of our present crop of leaders. I am sure that the present Islamic movement leaders and scholars would have exhibited a much better argument in favor of BJI’s actions when compared to my feeble attempt.

I hope this thesis has made a valid case in favor of BJI’s action according to the Quran and Sunnah. However at the same time, I also acknowledge that there are also strong arguments against BJI’s use of hartals. As this is a grey legal area, the preferable directive according to the Quran and Sunnah would be:

“Establish this deen and be not divided in it” [Quran 42:13]

Hazrat Ibn Abbas (R.A.) narrated from the Prophet (pbuh) that if anyone notices something he doesn’t like of the amir he should have patience. As anyone who distances himself one span from the organization (jamaat), he dies like the people of the Age of Ignorance. (Sahih Bukhari)

Islamic precedence when the Islamic Movement’s leadership is under mortal threat

In addition to the heinousness of imprisoning leaders of political parties within the context of Bangladeshi culture, there is also an Islamic precedence to the line of action Muslims must undertake when the Islamic Movement’s leaders are under mortal threat. There were a few spontaneous individual attempts on the life of the Prophet(pbuh), leader of the germinal Islamic Movement in Mecca, however either those who came to assassinate the Prophet ended up converting to Islam or Allah saved his Prophet(pbuh) by some miracle. However on 622 C.E. the leaders of the Quraish planned to assassinate the Prophet(pbuh) professionally and meticulously using 20 swordsmen from different clans. The Prophet(pbuh) sensing this, finally made the Hijrah.

It would seem that according to the Sunnah, if the leadership of the Islamic Movement is under serious mortal threat by the enemies, the directive would be to undertake Hijrah, however:

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: Allah's Apostle said, "There is no Hijrah (i.e. migration) after the Conquest (of Mecca), but Jihad and good intention remain; and if you are called (by the Muslim amir) for fighting, go forth immediately. (Sahih Bukhari, 4:52:42)

Because Hijrah has been abrogated by this hadith, the only other option is good intentions and warfare, if the amir so directs.

Part 1 Hartals and Jamaat: Caravan Raids

[i]  Quran 4:94


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