Friday, 21 October 2016

Ninjutsu and Islam

Dervish Warrior
   Ninjutsu made its origin earlier than Islam and is heavily influenced by the teachings from Bhuddism, Taoism and Confucianism. Islam is a Way of Virtue (and not only a religion) just like Bushido and it contains rulings on the proper behavior of the people who follow this way while ninjutsu is a set of deceptive techniques, from a general look. Thus it seems natural for analysts to assume that it (ninpō) may contain such teachings which are against the Shari'ah of Islam and thus practicing or performing ninjutsu may be Haraam (Unlawful) in Islam, especially when it contains such elements as Spying, Deception, Assassinations, Fighting, Spirituality aimed at gaining supernatural powers, Magic, Divination, Astronomy and Astrology. On the other hand, some ignorant will say that Islam allows everything in war. Both Islam and ninjutsu are heavily misunderstood not only by the 'outsiders' but also by the 'insiders' of them. Some of the misconceptions commonly found about ninjutsu have been already discussed in the post The 12 Misconceptions About Ninja & Ninjutsu. Clearing misconceptions about Islam and Jihad are out of the scope of this site.

Flexibility: This is the most important and that's why I have stated it first. Unlike the most misconceptions, the system of both is very flexible. If you can understand this only, perhaps you don't need to read all that I have written below. To understand this all, you have to become knowledgeable and be wise in your approach; don't be an ignorant and don't be too stiff. If you want to stick to the two paths together, let's give you an example on how to do this: Think of these two ways as two bamboo trees at some distance; you want to join these two together for some reason. What you will do? You will bend them towards each other and they are flexible enough to be bent easily to an extent; next you will tie them together up to their tops while they remain intact in their position but you can not tie them upto their roots. Thus you leave where the two can not be joined together. Let's take that you are a drop of water sliding down over the joining line of the two; when you reach the separation point, you either have to go right or left or fall straight to the ground.

Use of Stratagem: Warfare is all about the use of stratagem and shinobi-no-jutsu is one form of it; whoever presents the best of strategy and timely acts on it wins the battle. Islam prohibits the use of delusional tactics for selfish gains but it does allow it in case of warfare done for a just cause. In the support of this, I present the following reference(s) from AlQur'an:
 And whoever turns his back to them on such a day, unless swerving [as a strategy] for war or joining [another] company, has certainly returned with anger [upon him] from Allah , and his refuge is Hell - and wretched is the destination. [AlQur'an:Al-Anfal 8:16]
The above verse clearly prohibits a Muslim warrior to escape the battlefield but allows it only if it's a part of strategy. Thus such shinobi tactics where you escape the battlefield to lure the enemy into something -a trap, a terrain where you have the advantage, or to surround them- then it is allowed in the light of this verse.
And from Ahadith',
 It is narrated on the authority of Jabir that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
War is a stratagem/deception. This hadith has also been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira.
[Sahih Muslim-Book 32, Hadith 20,21]

 Narrated Abu Huraira:
 Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) called,: "War is deceit". [Sahih AlBukhari-Book 56, Hadith 236]

In the Preparations of Forces:
 And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged. [Al-Anfal 8:60]

 Narrated Salama bin Al-Akwa`:
The Prophet (ﷺ) passed by some people of the tribe of Bani Aslam who were practicing archery. The Prophet said, "O Bani Isma`il ! Practice archery as your father Isma`il was a great archer. Keep on throwing arrows and I am with Bani so-and-so." So one of the parties ceased throwing. Allah's Apostle said, "Why do you not throw?" They replied, "How should we throw while you are with them (i.e. on their side)?" On that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Throw, and I am with all of you."
 [Sahih AlBukhari- Book 56, Hadith 113]
   I have presented this in the support of the practice of budō and ninpō while it's a time of peace. Most of the shinobi matters are related to the situation before the war and for which the preparation takes place in the times of peace, generally. It is allowable to carry out shinobi activities to demoralize the enemy while you are not in active conflict with them unless you have a pact/truce with them against it.

The use of Spies in War:
 Narrated Jabir:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Who will bring me the information about the enemy on the day (of the battle) of Al-Ahzab (i.e. Clans)?" Az-Zubair said, "I will." The Prophet (ﷺ) said again, "Who will bring me the information about the enemy?" Az-Zubair said again, "I will." The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Every prophet had a disciple and my disciple is Az-Zubair".
[Sahih Bukhari-Book 56, Hadith 62]

Use of Deception and Assassination:
 It has been narrated on the authority of Jabir that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
Who will kill Ka'b b. Ashraf? He has maligned Allah, the Exalted, and His Messenger. Muhammad b. Maslama said: Messenger of Allah, do you wish that I should kill him? He said: Yes. He said: Permit me to talk (to him in the way I deem fit). He said: Talk (as you like). So, Muhammad b. Maslama came to Ka'b and talked to him, referred to the old friendship between them and said: This man (i. e. the Holy Prophet) has made up his mind to collect charity (from us) and this has put us to a great hardship. When he heard this, Ka'b said: By God, you will be put to more trouble by him. Muhammad b. Maslama said: No doubt, now we have become his followers and we do not like to forsake him until we see what turn his affairs will take. I want that you should give me a loan. He said: What will you mortgage? He said: What do you want? He said: Pledge me your women. He said: You are the most handsome of the Arabs; should we pledge our women to you? He said: Pledge me your children. He said: The son of one of us may abuse us saying that he was pledged for two wasqs of dates, but we can pledge you (cur) weapons. He said: All right. Then Muhammad b. Maslama promised that he would come to him with Harith, Abu 'Abs b. Jabr and Abbad b. Bishr. So they came and called upon him at night. He came down to them. Sufyan says that all the narrators except 'Amr have stated that his wife said: I hear a voice which sounds like the voice of murder. He said: It is only Muhammad b. Maslama and his foster-brother, Abu Na'ila. When a gentleman is called at night even it to be pierced with a spear, he should respond to the call. Muhammad said to his companions: As he comes down, I will extend my hands towards his head and when I hold him fast, you should do your job. So when he came down and he was holding his cloak under his arm, they said to him: We sense from you a very fine smell. He said: Yes, I have with me a mistress who is the most scented of the women of Arabia. He said: Allow me to smell (the scent on your head). He said: Yes, you may smell. So he caught it and smelt. Then he said: Allow me to do so (once again). He then held his head fast and said to his companions: Do your job. And they killed him. [Sahih Muslim- Book 32, Hadith 146]
   The above account not only serves as evidence that not only the use of deception even to the point of lying (in special cases like this and should be first allowed by the pious leader of the state or forces) is allowed but also assassinating some one malicious (by the order of leader of the state or forces during war or if permitted by law against a criminal) but also serves as an example of how to carry out such activities.

  Narrated Al-Bara bin Azib:
Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) sent some men from the Ansar to (kill) Abu Rafi`, the Jew, and appointed `Abdullah bin Atik as their leader. Abu Rafi` used to hurt Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) and help his enemies against him. He lived in his castle in the land of Hijaz. When those men approached (the castle) after the sun had set and the people had brought back their livestock to their homes. `Abdullah (bin Atik) said to his companions, "Sit down at your places. I am going, and I will try to play a trick on the gate-keeper so that I may enter (the castle)." So `Abdullah proceeded towards the castle, and when he approached the gate, he covered himself with his clothes, pretending to answer the call of nature. The people had gone in, and the gate-keeper (considered `Abdullah as one of the castle's servants) addressing him saying, "O Allah's Servant! Enter if you wish, for I want to close the gate." `Abdullah added in his story, "So I went in (the castle) and hid myself. When the people got inside, the gate-keeper closed the gate and hung the keys on a fixed wooden peg. I got up and took the keys and opened the gate. Some people were staying late at night with Abu Rafi` for a pleasant night chat in a room of his. When his companions of nightly entertainment went away, I ascended to him, and whenever I opened a door, I closed it from inside. I said to myself, 'Should these people discover my presence, they will not be able to catch me till I have killed him.' So I reached him and found him sleeping in a dark house amidst his family, I could not recognize his location in the house. So I shouted, 'O Abu Rafi`!' Abu Rafi` said, 'Who is it?' I proceeded towards the source of the voice and hit him with the sword, and because of my perplexity, I could not kill him. He cried loudly, and I came out of the house and waited for a while, and then went to him again and said, 'What is this voice, O Abu Rafi`?' He said, 'Woe to your mother! A man in my house has hit me with a sword! I again hit him severely but I did not kill him. Then I drove the point of the sword into his belly (and pressed it through) till it touched his back, and I realized that I have killed him. I then opened the doors one by one till I reached the staircase, and thinking that I had reached the ground, I stepped out and fell down and got my leg broken in a moonlit night. I tied my leg with a turban and proceeded on till I sat at the gate, and said, 'I will not go out tonight till I know that I have killed him.' So, when (early in the morning) the cock crowed, the announcer of the casualty stood on the wall saying, 'I announce the death of Abu Rafi`, the merchant of Hijaz. Thereupon I went to my companions and said, 'Let us save ourselves, for Allah has killed Abu Rafi`,' So I (along with my companions proceeded and) went to the Prophet (ﷺ) and described the whole story to him. "He said, 'Stretch out your (broken) leg. I stretched it out and he rubbed it and it became All right as if I had never had any ailment whatsoever."
This is another interesting account of how a Companion used stealth and deception to assassinate the target. This was very clever of 'Abdullah bin 'Atik. In it lies a good lesson for those who carry out espionage and assassination(s).

Healing Methods:

 Narrated Sahl:
   When the helmet of the Prophet (ﷺ) was smashed on his head and blood covered his face and one of his front teeth got broken, `Ali brought the water in his shield and Fatima the Prophet's daughter) washed him. But when she saw that the bleeding increased more by the water, she took a mat, burnt it, and placed the ashes on the wound of the Prophet (ﷺ) and so the blood stopped oozing out.
 [Sahih AlBukhari- Book 56, Hadith 117]
 This can certainly be used as one method to cover wounds and thus reduce blood loss. Other than this, people have used marijuana leaves (dried) and tobacco that not only relieves pain but also clots blood. Similarly, other methods can be derived inspired from this.
 Many spiritual ways of healing are also found in the Sunnah and Sufism. The Hadith' narrated by AlBaraa bin Azib above also gives reference to one of these at the end.

Avoiding Direct Conflict and Use of Prayers or Blessings for Success: Avoiding direct encounter with the enemy is an essential thing for shinobi activities (which is unlike the popular image of ninja presented today) which may be counted for cowardice but it's a matter of strategy the stiff minds are not going to understand. In such cases of strategy, Islam too advise to avoid a direct encounter with the enemy but if you have to face it, do not escape, rather fight till either victory or martyrdom. These values were also found in most shinobi, who were samurai too.
 It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:
Do not desire an encounter with the enemy; but when you encounter them, be firm. 
[Sahih Muslim- Book 32, Hadith 22]

Let's present you something even more interesting things which are stated in the following Hadith':
It is narrated by Abu Nadr that he learnt from a letter sent by a man from the Aslam tribe, who was a Companion of the Prophet (ﷺ) and whose name was 'Abdullah b. Abu Aufa, to 'Umar b. 'Ubaidullah when the latter marched upon Haruriyya (Khawarij) informing him that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) in one of those days when he was confronting the enemy waited until the sun had declined. Then he stood up (to address the people) and said:
  O ye men, do not wish for an encounter with the enemy. Pray to Allah to grant you security; (but) when you (have to) encounter them exercise patience, and you should know that Paradise is under the shadows of the swords. Then the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) stood up (again) and said: O Allah. Revealer of the Book, Disperser of the clouds, Defeater of the hordes, put our enemy to rout and help us against them. [Sahih Muslim- Book 32, Hadith 23]
   "Paradise is under the shadows of the sword" almost has the same meaning as 'Heart Under the Blade', both of which points to 'Endurance' and you must know that the highest level of paradise will be for those who endure great difficulties in their life without uttering a word of grief; Islam places the greatest importance in the virtues on 'Endurance' whether it be in general life or in the battlefield; such is the way of shinobi too. Next we see what has already been discussed above. Then we see that He prayed to Lord before going on the expedition; similarly ninja offered prayers and offerings to the deities and would go to a monk to pray for their success, offering him something in return (such was also used by the Muslim warriors to go a masjid to pray and/or go to a sufi to pray for their success, however, since the traditional ninja methods for this are based on Shinto Buddhism (containing elements of polytheism), they can not be used by a ninja who follows the way of Islam.

Carrying Out Night Strikes: In the above Hadith', we also see that He stood up at night and in the context of this Hadith', it's evident that He was sending the Companions for a night strike. We see several other Ahadith' like this which proves that He gave much importance to night strikes. Night strikes were frequently used by the greatest Muslim warrior strategists such as Khalid bin Al-Waleed and Salahu-adDeen Ayyubi.
 You are not to be blamed or held responsible for women and children that get caught accidentally in a night strike, while you haven't expected it but killing of women and children while you confront them is not allowed.
 It is reported on the authority of Sa'b b. Jaththama that the Prophet of Allah (ﷺ), when asked about the women and children of the polytheists being killed during the night raid, said:
They are from them. [Sahih Muslim- Book 32, Hadith 30]

   Also, in the night strikes shinobi would burn the camp(s) or castle(s) but this is prohibited in Islam, however, burning resources or properties as a strategic measure is allowed.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) sent us in a mission (i.e., an army-unit) and said, "If you find so-and-so and so-and-so, burn both of them with fire." When we intended to depart, Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "I have ordered you to burn so-and-so and so-and-so, and it is none but Allah Who punishes with fire, so, if you find them, kill them (i.e., don't burn them)."
[Sahih Muslim- Book 56, Hadith 225]

Use of Psychological Methods of Warfare:
Narrated Ka'b ibn Malik:
When the Prophet (ﷺ) intended to go on an expedition, he always pretended to be going somewhere else [i.e he would take a direction different from His actual route], and he would say: War is deception. [Sunan Abi Dawud-2637]

Battle Tactics: In the battle of Mu'tah, Muslim forces were heavily outnumbered by the Byzantine forces. Khalid bin Waleed, the commander of the Muslim forces and the greatest ever strategist in the Muslim histroy, sent a few Muslims to the side of Byzantine Empire at night and guided them to come back to the Muslim side during encounter, so as to demoralize the Byzantine forces, as the Byzantines will think these have defected to the other side. Furthermore, he encountered them in a small passage between two mountains so only a limited number of Byzantines could directly encounter the Muslim forces. He also fought in such a manner that only 600 men were fighting at once with the Byzantines while keeping the rest on reserve behind the mountain and these would exchange their positions time to time, so if some one gets tired or a little injured in the forward, he would be quickly pulled back and renewed from those on the back and those from the reserves. Those that would get tired or injured would quickly get the treatment behind the mountain and join the ranks again when needed. That way he defeated a Byzantine force of almost ten thousand (this was the number in that one encounter; the total Byzantine army consisted of more than a hundred thousand) with less than three thousand (this was the strength of the Muslims in all those encounters with Byzantines; the actual number that remained at time of battle of Mu'tah is unknown) of the total Muslim forces, in that battle while restraining the number of casualties. This was such an intense battle that Khalid bin Waleed had to change upto nine swords.
   Like this, we find several other examples of the Muslim warriors that are good for ideas and inspiration. Certainly, me must take whatever is useful from whichever source..

The Prohibited Aspects of Ninjutsu:
Polytheistic Practices- Ninjutsu has been brought up in a society heavily influenced by teachings of Bhuddism. Such practices which contain elements of polytheism such as praying to multiple gods, bowing (below the chest level) and/or prostrating to idols, to the sensei or the masters or the kamidana (lit. god shelf, as is done in the Bujinkan schools) and offering food and flowers to the deceased e.t.c are out of the circle of Islam and thus prohibited. Other than this, my own belief is that those teachings of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism which do not contain polytheistic practices or other immoral acts, according to the principles of Islam, can be allowed if you have a right intention. Taoism and Confucianism, you must know, are more the Ways of Virtue than being a religion and you must know that it was also because of the similarity of the teachings of Confucius to Islam that a good number of Chinese accepted Islam.
Astrology- The study and use of astrology and other methods of divination used by shinobi are strictly prohibited by Islam.
Magic- The use of supernatural abilities isn't totally prohibited but the use of magical techniques are strictly prohibited by Islam and its study is only allowed for the case that you intend to fight against it. This also includes forming strong forms of illusion which suppress the free will of a person, even they be totally physical.
Deception for personal purposes- The use of deception for personal purposes is strongly prohibited. A person who does so is a highly cursed one. Furthermore, it is prohibited on some one while you have a promise, pact or truce with them that contains such terms that you won't use unconventional methods of warfare, such as spying, against them.

*Note on the image: Dervish warriors like these existed in the past and so may even now. They were like yamabushi but they didn't actively practice martial arts, however, they did have those fighting skills which were considered necessary for defense. These dervish warriors would be sought for in the time of conflicts by the leaders of the Muslim armies because they were considered to be a source of blessing and their consent (and prayers) was taken on the decisions of the battle even if they had not prior experience of a battle. The success and fall of Mughal emperors are attributed to them.
*Note on the articles: I have not intended to link Islam to the origin of ninjutsu and whatever there is that matches between the two is because of the universal wisdom of war strategy. I may have left many things but I may them later.

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