The Bible teaches that the real Holy War is not against other people or faiths. Jesus said that the real war was a spiritual one, fought between the children of God and the forces of evil. St Paul wrote:
“…take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of Spirit, which is the word of God” Ephesians 5:16-17
According to the Bible, this Holy war will be concluded through a spiritual battle between the Messiah and his heavenly armies (The pre-determined victor) and the Devil.
“And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be loosed from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the 4 corners of the earth…And they marched up over the broad earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the Devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever’. Revelation 20:7-10
Differing from the previously discussed reasoning behind the Crusades as here, in the Bible, it is clearly stated that rather than a physical fight, the fight should only be spiritual, against the Devil and his forces.
For Muslims, the true Holy War is called ‘jihad’ meaning ‘striving’. Islam is similar to Christianity, in the sense that it calls for ‘inner jihad’ a spiritual and psychological battle within the individual to control himself/herself. One who practices inner jihad will enjoy the afterlife; the Qur’an says:
“Those who believe, who strive in the cause of God with their wealth and their persons, are the ones who are successful.”
The Qur’an does, however, except the use of violence in certain situations, known as outer jihad. The reasons being:
- To deter an aggressor.
- To fight oppression.
- For self defence.
- To establish justice and freedom to practice religion.