The war of ideas is a clash of opposing ideals, ideologies, or concepts through which nations or groups use strategic influence to promote their interests abroad. The battle space of this conflict is the target population’s hearts and minds, while the weapons can include, inter alia, think tanks, TV programs, newspaper articles, the internet, blogs, official government policy papers, traditional as well as public diplomacy, or radio broadcasts.
Antulio J. Echevarria, of U.S. Army War College, defined the war of ideas as: “… a clash of visions, concepts, and images, and— especially—the interpretation of them. They are, indeed, genuine wars, even though the physical violence might be minimal, because they serve a political, socio-cultural, or economic purpose, and they involve hostile intentions or hostile acts. …” “…Wars of ideas can assume many forms, but they tend to fall into four general categories (though these are not necessarily exhaustive):
- Intellectual debates
- Ideological wars
- Wars over religious dogma
- Advertising campaigns.
All of them are essentially about power and influence, just as with wars over territory and material resources, and their stakes can run very high indeed.
Evidence of such wars against Islam & Muslims
- The story of brother Ibraheem Khaleel Phillips
He was an Egpytian Christian who accepted Islam after reading the Qu’ran. He said: “We were treated with utmost care; we were 12 students and were assigned 12 American, plus 7 Egyptian teachers. We were taught our future debates with Muslims and how to use our knowledge to fight Quran with Quran and Islam with the black spots in the history of Muslims! We were debating with Azhary sheiks and Muslims using the Quran to deviate them and plant doubt. We used to rip the ayat away from its context to serve our goal. We had books, one which was published first in Egypt in 1898 with the help of the American Missionaries and we also used the books of the so called Muslims who were agents for the Orientalist such as Taha Husain and his book الشعر الجاهلي
Based on this I wrote my thesis under the title ‘How to destroy Islam using Muslims’ and I spent 4 years writing and practicing this after my graduation.
- The story of an American lady who accepted Islam
“The story of how I reverted to al-Islam is a story of plans. I made plans; the group I was with made plans, and Allah made plans. And Allah is the best of Planners. When I was a teenager, I came to the attention of a group of people with a very sinister agenda. They were and probably still are, a loose association of individuals who work in government positions but have a special agenda — to destroy Islam. It is not a governmental group that I am aware of, they simply use their positions in the US government to advance their cause.
One member of this group approached me because he saw that I was articulate, motivated, and very much the women’s rights advocate. He told me that if I studied International Relations with an emphasis in the Middle East, he would guarantee me a job at the American Embassy in Egypt. He wanted me to eventually go there to use my position in the country to talk to Muslim women and encourage the fledgling women’s rights movement. I thought this was a great idea. I had seen the Muslim women on TV; I knew they were a poor oppressed group, and I wanted to lead them to the light of 20th century freedom. With this intention, I went to college and began my education. I studied Quran, hadith and Islamic history. I also studied the ways I could use this information. I learned how to twist the words to say what I wanted them to say. It was a valuable tool. Once I started learning, however, I began to be intrigued by this message. It made sense.”
The tricks being used in this war against the Muslims are same as the ones used by the disbelievers at the time of the Prophet ﷺ as mentioned in the Qur’an & Sunnah: “And a party of the people of the Scripture say: ‘Believe in the morning in that which is revealed to the believers (Muslims), and reject it at the end of the day, so that they may turn back.'” [Surah at-Tawbah 9:32]
Enemies of Islam will try to distort the message of Islam but in the end, Islam will always prevail. No one can change the Qur’an or the sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ because Allah guaranteed that he will protect it. Muslims may be weak but Islam is the strongest and is the fastest spreading religion in the world. Allah said, “They (the disbelievers, the Jews and the Christians) want to extinguish Allah’s Light (with which Muhammad ﷺ has been sent – Islamic Monotheism) with their mouths, but Allah will not allow except that His Light should be perfected even though the Kafirun (disbelievers) hate (it).” [Surah at-Tawbah 9:32]
“Those who oppose Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad ﷺ) they will be among the lowest (most humiliated). Allah has decreed: ‘Verily, it is I and My Messengers who shall be the victorious.’ Verily, Allah is All-Powerful, All-Mighty.” [Surah al-Mujadilah 58:20-21]
Islam will always prevail, but we must be afraid for our imaan and our own selves because Allah said, “And if you turn away (from Islam and the obedience of Allah), He will exchange you for some other people, and they will not be your likes.” [Surah Muhammad 47:38]
“O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion (Islam), Allah will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, fighting in the Way of Allah, and never fear of the blame of the blamers. That is the Grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.” [Surah al-Ma’idah 5:54]
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Be prompt in doing good deeds (before you are overtaken) by turbulence which would be like a part of the dark night. A man would be a believer in the morning and turn to disbelief in the evening, or he would be a believer in the evening and turn disbeliever in the morning and would sell his Faith for worldly goods.” [Muslim]
How to deal with this war?
- Acknowledge that we are at war:
“Many of the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) wish that if they could turn you away as disbelievers after you have believed, out of envy from their own selves, even after the truth (that Muhammad ﷺ is Allah’s Messenger) has become manifest unto them. But forgive and overlook, till Allah brings His Command. Verily, Allah is Able to do all things.”[Surah al-Baqarah 2:109]
“They wish that you reject Faith, as they have rejected (Faith), and thus that you all become equal (like one another). So, take not Auliyâ’ (protectors or friends) from them, till they emigrate in the Way of Allah (to Muhammad ﷺ).” [Surah an-Nisa 4:89]
“Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad ﷺ) till you follow their religion. Say: ‘Verily, the Guidance of Allah (i.e., Islamic Monotheism) that is the (only) Guidance. And if you (O Muhammad ﷺ ) were to follow their (Jews and Christians) desires after what you have received of Knowledge (i.e., the Qur’ân), then you would have against Allah neither any Wali (protector or guardian) nor any helper. [Surah al-Baqarah 2:120]
- Keep away from them.
- You don’t have to know the answer to every suspicion on the face of earth.
- Know that every suspicion has been refuted by experts.
- Don’t debate with them. Understand their motives and their tricks. Don’t be naïve!
- Give them the links to professional web sites that deal with misconceptions about Islam.
The important thing to understand and implement continually till our last breath is to submit to Allah. Islam means to submit to Allah and to accept everything that Allah decreed upon us universally or in the shari’ah.
- Submitting to Allah’s legislative decrees:
- To believe in what Allah ordered us to believe in.
- To do what Allah ordered us to do.
- To refrain from what Allah forbade.
- Submitting to Allah’s universal decrees is by:
- Accepting what Allah decrees.
- Being patient with calamities.
- Pushing the Qadar of Allah with the Qadar of Allah i.e., by striving and making dua.
Accept all that Allah decreed universally or legislatively. Who can be better in religion than one who submits his whole self to Allah, does good, and follows the way of Ibrahim the true in Faith? For Allah did take Ibrahim for a friend. Whoever submits his whole self to Allah, and is a doer of good, has grasped indeed the most trustworthy handhold: and with Allah rests the End and Decision of (all) affairs. “O mankind! Verily, there has come to you a convincing proof (Prophet Muhammad ﷺ) from your Lord; and We sent down to you a manifest light (this Qur’an). So, as for those who believed in Allah and held fast to Him, He will admit them to His Mercy and Grace (i.e., Paradise), and guide them to Himself by the Straight Path.” [Surah an-Nisa 4:174-175]
Imam az-Zuhry said, “From Allah the Message, upon the Messenger delivering it, upon us submitting to it.”
It was narrated from ‘Abdur-Rahman bin ‘Amr As-Sulami that he heard Al-‘Irbad bin Sariyah say: “The Messenger of Allah delivered a moving speech to us which made our eyes flow with tears and made our hearts melt. We said: ‘O Messenger of Allah. This is a speech of farewell. What did you enjoin upon us?’ He said: “I am leaving you upon a (path of) brightness whose night is like its day. No one will deviate from it after I am gone but one who is doomed. Whoever among you lives will see great conflict. I urge you to adhere to what you know of my Sunnah and the path of the rightly guided Caliphs, and cling stubbornly to it.” [Sunan ibn-Majah]
Examples from the Qur’an & the Sunnah
- Adam and the tree
Allah mentions this story in the Qur’an that shows us what happens when we fall in the trap of our enemy, the head of all enemies being the shaytaan.
“And We said: ‘O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight of things therein as wherever you will but come not near this tree or you both will be of the (wrong-doers).’ But Satan whispered evil to him: he said, ‘O Adam! Shall I lead thee to the Tree of Eternity and to a kingdom that never decays?’ In the result, they both ate of the tree, and so their nakedness appeared to them: they began to sew together, for their covering, leaves from the Garden: thus did Adam disobey his Lord, and allow himself to be seduced.” [Surah Taha 20:120-1]
Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him)
After the night of ascension, some of the newly reverted Muslims left Islam since the incident seemed impossible to them. The disbelievers became happy, went to Abu Bakr and told him about the incident. Abu Bakr who, by then, was still unaware of the happenings, said, “If he indeed said so, then he had said the truth.” From that moment he was known as Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq (the truthful).
Imam ash-Shafiee said, “What was proven to be authentically said by the Prophet ﷺ , no one should ask about it, why or how?”
Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal said, “.. (part of the correct creed) to believe in the pre destiny of Allah whether good or evil, and to believe in the hadith and trust it. No one should say: Why? or How?”
Islam is perfect!
Muslims might make mistakes because humans err, but Islam is perfect. Allah said in the Qur’an, “This day, those who disbelieved have given up all hope of your religion, so fear them not, but fear Me. This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [Surah al-Ma’idah 5:3]
And if people don’t like Islam, the perfect answer to them is in surah al-Kafirun, “Say: O that reject Faith! I worship not that which you worship, nor will you worship that which I worship, and I shall not worship that which you are worshipping, nor will you worship that which I worship. To you, be your religion and to me mine.”