Difference Between Jihad And Muharabah

Question

May I ask what the crucial differences are between the Arabic words Jihad and Muharabah?


Answer

A Muslim scholar, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, has defined Muharabah in his work 'Penal Law of Islam' in the September 1999 issue of the journal in the following words:

Muharabah means that an individual or a group of individuals take the law into their own hands and openly challenge the system of justice which in accordance with the Shari'ah is established in a piece of land. Consequently, under an Islamic government, all those criminals who commit rape, take to prostitution, become notorious for their ill-ways and vulgarity, become a threat to honorable people because of their immoral and dissolute practices, sexually disgrace women because of their wealth and social status, or rise against the government in rebellion, or create a law and order situation for the government by causing destruction, by becoming a source of terror and intimidation for people, by committing mass murder, plunder, dacoity or robbery, by indulging in hijacking and terrorism and by committing other similar crimes are criminals of Muharabah, and spreading such disorder in society.

Jihad, on the contrary, in Islamic religious literature stands for striving and struggling for uplifting the word of God. It can be applied to every level of the struggle in the way of Allah. Participation in the armed conflict with the enemies (usually termed as Qital in the Holy Qur'an) is the consummation of the act where one sacrifices his life to please his Lord.

While Muharabah is the gravest of the crimes in an Islamic society, Jihad is the most cherished act among the believers.

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