Islamic spokesmen in the West constantly tell us that jihad is spiritual, or if it is military at all, it is purely defensive. They do not explain how people like Sheikh ‘Abd-al-Rahman bin Nasir al-Barrak misunderstand the doctrine of jihad so spectacularly. If they acknowledged that Islam has historically taught the doctrine of offensive jihad, that that doctrine is rooted in the Qur’an and Sunnah, and that many Islamic authorities still teach it openly today, it would be a lot easier to trust what they say. For the explanation of offensive jihad that Sheikh ‘Abd-al-Rahman bin Nasir al-Barrak offers here would get him charges of “Islamophobia” and “ignorance of Islam” if he were stating it as a non-Muslim in the U.S.
“Saudi Shaykh Issues Fatwa Supporting the Doctrine of “Offensive Jihad” Against the Infidels,” from Translating Jihad, December 8:
Saudi Shaykh ‘Abd-al-Rahman bin Nasir al-Barrak blasted Dr. Salman al-‘Awda for his recent comments on al-Jazeera, in which the latter only accepted defensive jihad in our day, and claimed that Muhammad’s offensive battles were permitted because they were done at a time when there were no international agreements. […] See the original Arabic here. The excerpted English transcript follows:
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)” [Qur’an 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” [Qur’an 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!