We keep hearing from muslims that Mohammad, Prophet of Islam, never fought any war let alone an offensive war or that he fought only in self defense. This is pure deceit from muslims, of course, in conformity with Mohammad’s teaching that war is deceit. Veil is being removed on this concealment, about Prophet Mohammad being intolerant and instigator of armed strife, albeit slowly. There are some Muslims who perceived this and started out giving, occasionally, their own reasons like there were no treaties in those days or so that muslims can preach their religion in conquered places or it was pretty common practice to plunder caravans in those days which hardly amounts to defense.
Courtesy: http://translating-jihad.blogspot.com (source is here.)
A Muslim scholar from Saudi Arabia, Dr. Salman al-'Awda (he was supporter of Osama Bin Laden in early nineties.), made some comments on the subject of jihad on Al-Jazeera TV. He observed that jihad in the present day world can only be accepted as defensive warfare[does this mean that offensive warfare was allowed in the past?]; to be more accurate only defensive jihad is valid in present day world. He explained that Prophet fought offensive wars because there were no international agreements in those days; and because of present day international treaties, offensive jihad is invalid and unnecessary.
First thing that should be noted is his observance that Prophet fought offensive wars. But he got flak from other Saudi scholars for saying such un-Islamic things like 'Jihad is only defensive war in present day world'.
A certain Saudi Shaykh Abd-al-Rahman bin Nasir al-Barrak, in his fatwa, blasted Dr. Salman al-A'wda for his recent comments on al-Jazeera and cited a couple of verses from the Qur'an, notably the 'verse of the sword', and a saying of the Prophet to attack al-'Awda's statements, and asked: "How can Dr. [al-‘Awda] claim that these texts are about defensive jihad?!" He also criticized Dr. al-'Awda for essentially subjugating the Islamic law of jihad under international agreements.
Some translated excerpts from his fatwa, issued in Arabic (one can access to Arabic version from here):
I was made aware of the false comments of Dr. Salman bin Fahd al-‘Awda, may God guide him, which he spoke on a satellite television station regarding jihad in Islam:
1. (He spoke of) what he termed “defensive jihad” and “offensive jihad.” He accepts defensive jihad but not offensive, which is the initial jihad (against) the infidels. His contradiction of the sayings of the Almighty, such as the following, is not a secret:
“But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the polytheists wherever ye find them. And seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)” (Koran 9:5).
He also contradicts the saying of the Prophet (PBUH): “I have been commanded to fight against the people until they testify that there is no god but God.” Also the saying of the Almighty: “Fight against those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by God and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued” (Koran 9:29). How can Dr. (al-‘Awda) claim that these texts are about defensive jihad?! It is known that this type of jihad is the one that the orientalist and other enemies of Islam have taken away from Islam in order to destroy it. This has caused some of the ignorant or apologists of Islam to restrict the aim of jihad in Islam to being purely defensive, for defense against the enemy does not offend anyone.
2. He alleged that the combat and wars during the life of the Prophet (PBUH) happened at a time when there were no international treaties, as he said: [quotes Dr. al-‘Awda]. The meaning of this is that there is no place for war in this age of international treaties and agreements, which he expressed by saying: [quotes Dr. al-‘Awda]. The true meaning of these words is that international treaties, which have been put into place by the infidels, including international law, which forbids aggression--or so they claim, and under their criteria jihad is considered aggression. This claim that Islam accepts what is decreed by these treaties and pacts is slander against Islam. This claim disables jihad in the path of God to establish the word of God, subjugating it under international law—or is this not their meaning? For Islam makes jihad a requirement, and international agreements prohibit jihad for Muslims!But how could he possibly say that many Muslims in present day world see jihad as defensive? I strongly feel that many muslims understand Jihad as offensive warfare and many Muslims also understand that Jihad need not be violence all the time. If many of them are not opting for violence then it is for other reasons like lack of ability or unwillingness to risk their lives. And many more contribute to Jihad by making donations to Islamic organizations and, of course, donating money itself is Jihad.
Another important point that should be noted is sheikh’s observation that ‘offensive jihad’ is initial jihad against infidels; it is obvious [except for secular and blind non-Muslims] that verses 9:005 ans 9:029 are about offensive jihad i.e open commands for aggressive warfare against Non Muslims.
I am not sure if Sheikh by mentioning 'initial jihad' was referring to Prophet starting hostilities against idolaters of Mecca (as Prophet did) or some Islamic stratagem.
Well, once Muslims start offensive Jihad and if non-Muslims resist this with their own efforts then Jihad is no longer offensive but defensive. Those who have read Prophet’s biography will realize this and also this strategy appears in Koran it self. Prophet either participated in or planned and sent 84 military expeditions in just 9 years; one expedition per every 5 and 1/2 weeks.
One last question is, whether both the Saudi scholars are Islamophobes for saying Jihad means offensive war?