86. Jesus taught radical ideas; Muhammad taught Jihad. Should we be rebels?

Some of Jesus’ radical ideas and actions were: love your neighbour as yourself, when someone hits you turn the other cheek, care for the Samaritans, (despised and marginalised people), heal the lepers (outcasts), show hospitality and pay the cost of care for total strangers, heal the invading army captain’s servant, go the second mile, lend money for no return, don’t judge others, and the kingdom of God gives honour to those who are the least on earth. Jesus turned water into wine, He inspected fig trees for fruit and cursed the unfruitful tree, He stilled a storm, He encouraged Peter to walk on water, and railed against religious leaders whose hearts were hard and cold. He also fed five thousand men with one boy’s lunch box.

Most of the kingdoms of this earth are ruled by dominating evil influences and people motivated by self-interest. Jesus taught that His Kingdom had the opposite values of these dominating, controlling earthly kingdoms. His Kingdom seeks freedom and liberty and it is counterrevolutionary to earthly kingdoms. They operate through domination, the abuse of power, and seeking control. In that sense we could say that Christians, as disciples of Jesus Christ, are called to dethrone the powers of evil kingdoms of domination, through discernment, spiritual (not military) power, resistance, and advocacy, to set the captives free, and pray that His kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven.

Rebellion is the fruit of Satan’s kingdom and Christians are not to participate in anarchy or rebellion motivated by evil powers. Protesting for righteousness and justice is permitted and it is seen as an expression of the prophetic call of God to dethrone evil systems that captivate the minds and hearts of men and women who do not know God. The Apostle Paul detailed the fruit of Satan’s rebellious nature in Galatians chapter 5 verses 19-21: ‘The acts of the flesh (sinful nature in rebellion to God’s ways) are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.’

In Surah 8 ayat 32-35 the narrative explains that there were those who rebelled against Allâh and His Signs and even invited Allâh ‘to rain down a shower of stones from the sky or send them a grievous penalty. But Allâh was not going to send them a Penalty whilst Muhammad was amongst them; Nor was he going to send it whilst they could ask for a pardon. But what please have they that Allâh should not punish them, when they keep out Men from the sacred Mosque, and they are not its Guardians? No men can be its Guardians except the righteous; but most of them do not understand. Their prayer at the House of Allâh is nothing but whistling and clapping of hands (Its only answer can be), ‘Taste ye the penalty because ye blasphemed.’’

This Surah teaches that those who rebel against Allâh and Islâmic authority will have rebellious hearts, their prayers will not be heard, and they will not be allowed in the Grand Mosque. Allâh will be patient with them and give them time to repent, but eventually if they do not repent they will suffer punishment. In Surah 8 ayah 36 it describes these people as ‘unbelievers who spend their wealth to hinder men from the path of Allâh, (causing men to rebel against Allâh), and so they will continue to spend, but in the end they will have only regrets and sighs; At length they will be overcome and the unbelievers will be gathered together in Hell’ – (then in ayah 36) ‘in order that Allâh may separate the pure from the impure. Put the impure, one on another, heap them together, and cast them into Hell. They will be the ones to have lost.’

The story of what happened to Ali when he was assassinated is an example of rebellion in early Islâmic history. The assassins conspired to kill three Islâmic leaders because they were planning to go to war. The assassins claimed to be peacemakers who wanted to end the tribal wars. Two of the assassins were never caught or punished for their treachery. Many times in the history of Islâm, followers of the Prophet of Islâm have deemed it permissible to go to war or murder, assassinate or carry out jihad obeying a perceived command of Allâh. There are many branches of Islâm and this gives rise to many factions all claiming authority from the Prophet of Islâm to go to war with each other. Although Islâm teaches that there is only One God, the followers for the branches and sects of Islâm have perceived that they have a mandate to kill the members of the other sects of Islâm.