Thursday, April 15, 2021

What Is Jihad? The Most Authoritative Answer From The Islamic Theology Of Consensus Of All Four Sunni Schools Of Islamic Jurisprudence Or Fiqh – Part 1

 Translated by New Age Islam Edit Desk

15 April 2021

Translated by New Age Islam group of scholars from the original Arabic Chapter on Jihad in "Al-Mausu'ah Al-Fiqhiyah" i.e., Encyclopaedia of Islamic Jurisprudence (45 volumes). This is also known as "Kuwaiti Encyclopaedia for Islamic jurisprudence," as it is the fruit of a 50-year effort of the Ministry of Awqaf (religious matters) of Kuwait to build up an encyclopaedia of jurisprudence reconciling all four Sunni madhabs (schools of thought).

Main aspects covered in Part 1:

1.    A comprehensive introduction

2.    Definition of Jihad related words; Siyar, Ghazawa and Ribat

3.    How Did Jihad become Permissible?

4.    Virtues of Jihad In the Quran and Ahadith

5.    Obligatory Nature of Jihad with Differences Among Scholars

6.    When Does Jihad become Farz-e-‘Ayn

7.    Wisdom of Legislating Jihad


1.   The word Jihad is a verbal noun (Masdar) of the verb ‘Jahada’. It derives from Jahd or Juhd which means power, and exerting maximum effort or striving. It is reported that jahd means great striving and Juhd means power. (jahd and juhd in the book “Lisanul Arab” and Jahd in “Al-Qaamus ul Muheet” and “Taaj ul Urus”).

Jihad means to fight against the enemy. Allah Almighty says, “And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive (with sincerity and utter discipline)” (22:78). It is mentioned in a hadith “There is no emigration after the conquest [of Makkah] but only Jihad and good intention” (Bukhari and Muslim from the hadith of Abdullah bin Abbas). It is reported that when Jihad or Mujahda is used for an enemy, it means to fight him.

The reality of Jihad is what Al-Raghib al-Isfahani said, “striving hard with one's utmost capacity in defending oneself in the face of an enemy by hand or tongue or any available capability. Jihad has three types: 1) striving hard against the outward enemy, 2) striving hard against Satan, and 3) striving against the negative ego. All three of these are included in the words of Allah Almighty: {And strive in His cause as ye ought to strive (with sincerity and utter discipline)} (22:78).

Ibn Taymiyyah said, “Jihad is either done by the heart, or by calling towards Islam and its rulings, or by establishing arguments against falsehood, or stating the truth and removing suspicion, or by providing such opinions which can benefit Muslims, or by fighting for the benefit of Muslims. So Jihad is incumbent (Wajib) as much as one’s capacity”.

Al-Buhuti said, “One of the forms of Jihad is to censure or ridicule the Kuffar, as Hassan bin Thabit (May Allah be pleased with him) used to satirise the enemies of the prophet (Peace be upon him).

Terminologically, Jihad means to fight against a non-zimmi unbeliever (Kaafir) after he rejects the call towards Islam, to establish or raise high the words of Allah.

The Jihad Related Words:

(a)        Siyar:

2.   Literally, Siyar is the plural of Sirah which means conduct, behaviour, and way of life or attitude. Among the Muslim jurists, this term is exclusively used to denote the laws of war against Kuffar and rebels etc., as the term ‘manasik’ is specially fixed for the pilgrimage.

Siyar is also used as a synonym for the term Maghazi (battles) because the first thing in this matter is to move towards the enemy. It then means marching of Imam onwards and his rules related to the conduct of wars, the protection of civilians, cessation of hostility and debarring the Kuffar.

(b)        Ghazwa

3.   Ghazw or Ghazwa means to demand, raid, or attack. Ghazi means one who carries out a military expedition or raid.

In other than the books of Jurisprudence (Fiqh), the book of Jihad is also known as the book of maghazi. The word Ghazwa in sharia term is used to denote the war against Kuffar.

(c)         Ribat

4.   Ribat is an Arabic term that refers to the guard duty at a frontier outpost for defending Islam from the attack of the enemy, in the way of Allah Almighty.

Ribat also means to prepare for Jihad. Various Ahadith talk about the merit of Ribat, as one of them is mentioned in Sahih Muslim from the authority of Salman (May Allah be pleased with him) who said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: Ribat (keeping watch) for a day and a night is better (in point of reward) than fasting for a whole month and standing in prayer every night. If a person dies (while performing this duty), his (meritorious) activity will continue and he will go on receiving his reward for it perpetually and will be saved from the torture of the grave”. (Fath ul Qadeer 5/188, Ibn Aabedin 3/217,218 and hadith is related by Sahih Muslim)

Gradual Advancement of Permissibility of Jihad

5.   There is Ijma (consensus) on the permissibility of Jihad, because Allah Almighty says, “Fighting is prescribed for you” (2:216). There are other verses of the Quran which make Jihad obligatory. Also because the prophet (peace be upon him) did it and commanded to do it. It was related by Imam Muslim, “One who died but did not fight in the way of Allah nor did he express any desire (or determination) for Jihad died the death of a hypocrite” (Related by Muslim).

Jihad in the era of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was not allowed before the immigration (towards Madina). The first thing the prophet (peace be upon him) was commanded was to preach, warn and have patience on the evil and destructive attitude of Kuffar and turn away from the polytheists (Mushrikin). In the beginning, the prophet (peace be upon him) started his da'wah (invitation to Islam) work secretly and later openly. (Al-Qurtabi 1/722, Umdatut Tafsir Anil Hafiz ibn Kathir 2/42, and Imta ul Asma’ by Maqrezi 1/51).

Allah Almighty says,

“So overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (15:86). He almighty says, “Invite (all) to the way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious:” (16:125).

 He also says,

 “Therefore expound openly what thou art commanded and turn away from those who join false gods with Allah.” (15:94).

After that Allah Almighty allowed Muslims to fight if the Kuffar start fighting them. This permission was given to them in the second year of the hijrah, as Allah Almighty says,

“To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight) because they are wronged and verily Allah is Most powerful for their aid.” (22:39)

After that Allah Almighty fully permitted to take initiative in fighting, as He says, “Go ye forth (whether equipped) lightly or heavily and strive and struggle with your goods and your persons in the cause of Allah. That is best for you if ye (but) knew.” (9:41). He Almighty says, “So wrong not yourselves therein and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together.” (9:36). This is called the sword verse. Allah Almighty also says, “fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them” (9:5).

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,' and whoever says, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,' his life and property will be saved by me except for Islamic law, and his accounts will be with Allah, (either to punish him or to forgive him.)” (Related by Bukhari)

The Islamic Jurists (Fuqaha) hold the view that Jihad should be waged at least once a year. (Ibn Aabedin 3/218, Al-dusuqi 2/173, JawaharulIklil 1/251, Al-Muhazzab, 2/226, RauzatutTaalibin 10/208, Al-mughni 8/348, KashshafulQina 3/36, and Al-Insaaf 4/116).

It means that every year Imam (leaders of Muslims) needs to dispatch a troop [to the land of Kuffar], under his leadership or his trustworthy assistant, to call and attract kuffar (non-believers) towards Islam and then fight them if they reject it, because the delaying Jihad for more than one year provokes the enemy towards Muslims. If needed, Jihad becomes incumbent more than once a year, as it is farz e kifaya. So, this is incumbent as long as it is needed.

Holding Jihad in abeyance is allowed only when Muslims are weak, or lack the means of fighting or any required aids.

Similarly, when facing any obstacle in their way or any other legal excuses, Muslims are permitted to delay Jihad, because the holy prophet (peace be upon him) “reconciled with the tribe of Quraish to stop fighting for ten years” (Related by Ibn Ishaq from Zuhri as Mursal, as it is mentioned in Seerat-e Ibn Hisham 2/317), and delayed in fighting them until they broke the truce. The prophet (peace be upon him) also delayed in fighting against other tribes without any truce. So, it is better to delay than hurry up in going on Jihad, if there is any hope of more benefit. (Al-Muhazzab 2/226, Al-mughni 8/348, KashshafulQina 3/36 and Al-Insaaf 4/116)

If there is nothing to delay Jihad, it is commendable (mustahabb) to maximize Jihad, because the holy prophet (peace be upon him) said, “By Him in Whose Hands my life is! I would love to be martyred in Allah's Cause and then get resurrected and then get martyred, and then get resurrected again and then get martyred and then get resurrected again and then get martyred”. (Related by Bukhari)

It is reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) participated in 27 Ghazwat and 35 Saraya. (Al-Mabsut 10/3, Al-Muhazzab 2/277)

Virtues of Jihad

6.   Jihad has many virtues if it is done with the objectives of seeking the pleasure of and nearness to Allah Almighty.

Allah Almighty has preferred Mujahedin over those who stay back from Jihad.

“Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons.    Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home): unto all (in faith) hath Allah promised good: but those who strive and fight hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward.” (4:95)

Allah Almighty says,

“And those who strive in Our (Cause) We will certainly guide them to Our Paths: for verily Allah is with those who do right.” (29:69)

Allah Almighty says,

“Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth through the Law the Gospel and the Qur'an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.” (9:111)

Allah Almighty says,

“Think not of those who are slain in Allah's way as dead. Nay they live finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord.” (3:169)

It is reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) made Jihad the best deed after the faith, as Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated, “Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) was asked, "What is the best deed?" He replied, "To believe in Allah and His Apostle (Muhammad peace be upon him). The questioner then asked, "What is the next (in goodness)? He replied, "To participate in Jihad in Allah's Cause." (Sahih Bukhari (Alfath 1/77- Assalafiyah), Sahih Muslim, (1/88 Al-Halabi)

The best thing that one can volunteer to do is Jihad. Ahmad bin Hanbal said, “I do not know anything after the divine commandments more excellent than Jihad”. This point that Ahmed makes has also -been narrated by a group of his companions. Ahmad said, “Those who fight the enemies are the ones who are defending Islam and its women. So, which deed can be better than Jihad? The people are safe and they are scared. They have put forth their souls”.

Various Ahadith Speak Of Virtues Of Jihad:

Narrated Abu Huraira: “A man came to Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) and said, "Instruct me as to such a deed as equals Jihad (in reward)." He replied, "I do not find such a deed." Then he added, "Can you, while the Muslim fighter is on the battlefield, enter your mosque to perform prayers without ceasing and fast and never break your fast?" The man said, "But who can do that?" Abu- Huraira added, “The Mujahid (i.e. Muslim fighter) is rewarded even for the footsteps of his horse while it wanders about (for grazing) tied in a long rope." (Related by Bukhari, (Al-fatah 6/4 Assalafaiyya)

Narrated Abu Huraira: “I heard Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) saying, "The example of a mujahid in Allah's Cause-- and Allah knows better who strives in His Cause---- is like a person who fasts and prays continuously. Allah guarantees that He will admit the mujahid in His Cause into Paradise if he is killed, otherwise He will return him to his home safely with rewards and war booty." (Related by Bukhari, (Al-fatah 6/6 Assalafaiyya)

Narrated Anas bin Malik: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Nobody who dies and finds good from Allah (in the Hereafter) would wish to come back to this world even if he were given the whole world and whatever is in it, except the martyr who, on seeing the superiority of martyrdom would like to come back to the world and get killed again (in Allah's Cause)." (Related by Bukhari, (Al-fatah 6/15 Assalafaiyya)

Narrated Zaid bin Khalid: “Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said, " He who prepares a Ghazi going in Allah's Cause is given a reward equal to that of) a Ghazi; and he who looks after properly the dependents of a Ghazi going in Allah's Cause is (given a reward equal to that of) Ghazi." (Related by Bukhari, (Al-Fatah 6/49Assalafaiyya), Muslim (3/1507 Al-Halabi)

The afore-mentioned hadith and others refer to the virtues of Jihad.

The jurists of the Hanbali school of Jurisprudence have stated that Jihad at the sea is better than Jihad on the dry land, as it is mentioned in a hadith that Um Haram said, ['O Allah's Apostle! Invoke Allah that He may make me one of them.' He invoked (Allah) for her and then lay his head and slept again and then woke up smiling. I asked, 'What makes you laugh, O Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him)?’ He said, 'Some people of my followers were displayed before me as warriors fighting for Allah's Cause and sailing over this sea, kings on the thrones,' or said, 'like kings on the thrones’.] (Related by Bukhari, (Al-fatah 6/10 Assalafaiyya), Muslim (3/1518 Al-Halabi)

The sea is a more difficult and harder place because it involves a danger of the enemy, with that of drowning. Escape is not feasible and therefore Jihad at sea is better than other kinds of Jihad.

Similarly, Jihad with the people of the book (Ahl e Kitab) is better than that with others. This is because they fight for the cause of the religion, as it is mentioned in the hadith that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said to Umme Khallad, “You will get the reward of two martyrs for your son. She asked: Why is that so, Messenger of Allah? He replied: Because the people of the Book have killed him”. (Related by Sunan Abi Dawud)

Defining Law (Al-Hukm Al-Taklifi) of Jihad

7.   Jihad is an obligatory duty in a sentence. The evidence of its being obligatory is that Allah Almighty says, “Fighting is prescribed for you and ye dislike it.” (2:216). Allah Almighty says, “Go ye forth (whether equipped) lightly or heavily and strive and struggle with your goods and your persons in the cause of Allah. That is best for you if ye (but) knew.” (9:41). The prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Jihad will be performed continuously since the day Allah sent me as a prophet until the day the last member of my community will fight with the Dajjal (Antichrist)” (Related by Abu Dawud: It has jihala (unknown narrator, discontinuity) in its chain as it is mentioned in Faidhul Qadeer by Al-Manavi 3/293). The meaning of this – Allah knows best- is that Jihad is enduring obligation, because the word ‘Almadyu’ means ‘Nafaaz’ i.e. to perform or to practice. Nafaaz in obligation is a part of the rulings (Ahkaam), because Nudba and Ibaha (two Jurisprudential terms that refer to commendable (mustahab) and permissible (ibaha/mubah) do not have (the rank) of Imtithal (obedience) and Nafaaz (to perform). (Fathul Qadeer 5/189, Jawahar ul Iklil 1/251, Rauda tut Talibin, 10/208, Al-Insaf 4/116 and Al-Mughni 8/345).

It is reported from Ibn Abdul Bar that Jihad is Farz e kifaya in the state of fear and nafl in the state of security. (Al- Dusuqi 2/173, Jawar ul Iklil 1/251)

Differences Among The Scholars Regarding The Obligatory Nature Of Jihad

8.   The majority of scholars have held the view that Jihad is Farzkifayah (the obligation the fulfilment of which is not mandatory on every individual Muslim). If some perform it for achieving the purpose i.e. to break the thorn of the polytheists (mushrikin) and to glorify the Deen, then the rest of the Muslims are absolved of this duty. Kifayah in Jihad means that a sufficient number of people ought to undertake the duty of Jihad. Either they should form the collective forces or voluntarily prepare themselves for Jihad, so that they if the enemies attack them, can gain power and keep them away from the frontlines. Meanwhile, they should send an army to raid the enemies in their own country.

Farz Kifayah (Sufficiency Duty):

It refers to the obligatory duty which can be performed by any number of Muslim individuals without any specification. If some perform it, the obligation falls from the rest. If there is only one Muslim, he must do this duty, such as replying to Salam and offering funeral prayer. (Ibn Aabedin 3/219, Kashshaf ul Qina 3/36, 33, Al-Mughni 8/346)

But, should it be that just about no Muslim is discharging this obligatory duty wherever there be the need to do so, then, every Muslim becomes a sinner. The scholars infer it from the words of Allah Almighty, “Nor should the believers all go forth together: if a contingent from every expedition remained behind they could devote themselves to studies in religion and admonish the people when they return to them that thus they (may learn) to guard themselves (against evil).”  (9:122). The scholars also infer it from another verse of the Quran, “Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home): unto all (in faith) hath Allah promised good: but those who strive and fight hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward.” (4:95).

The jurists infer that Jihad has been made obligatory only for the glorification of the Deen of Allah Almighty and repelling the evil from the slaves of Allah Almighty.

The purpose of Jihad is to secure the Muslims and enable them to gain the benefits of their Deen and worldly needs. So if all Muslims perform Jihad, they will not be free to gain the benefit of their worldly needs.

Sometimes the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to set out himself and sometimes would send others, as he (peace be upon him) said, “By Him in Whose Hands my life is! Were it not for some men amongst the believers who dislike being left behind me and whom I cannot provide with means of conveyance, I would certainly never remain behind any Sariyyah (army-unit) setting out in Allah's Cause” (Related by Bukhari (Al-Fatah 6/16 Assalafiyyah).

This indicates that those who stay behind are not sinners because of Jihad being done by others. Allah Almighty has promised a good reward to all the believers. As for the disobedient, no such good has been promised to them.

It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Sa'id Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) dispatched (a force) to Banu Lihyan, and said: “One man from every two should join the force. Then he said to those who stayed behind: Those of you who will look well after the family and wealth of those who are going on the expedition will be getting half the reward of the warriors” (Sahih Muslim 2/100).

Said bin Al-Musayyib said, “Jihad is Farz Ayn, because Allah Almighty says, “Go ye forth (whether equipped) lightly or heavily and strive and struggle with your goods and your persons in the cause of Allah. That is best for you if ye (but) knew.” (9:41). The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “One who died but did not fight in the way of Allah nor did he express any desire (or determination) for Jihad died the death of a hypocrite” (Related by Muslim 3/1517, Al-Halabi). Those who had been promised good reward despite having stayed back from Jihad were on guard. (Nihayat ul Muhtaaj 8/45).

When does Jihad become Farz Ayn (compulsory duty of every individual Muslim)?

9.   The majority of jurists have stated that Jihad becomes Farz Ayn in the following situations:

(a)   If the two sides meet (in battle) and begin to approach each other in two rows, Jihad becomes Farz Ayn for those (Muslims) who are present there and it is prohibited for them to turn away from (this kind of jihad). Allah Almighty says, “O ye who believe! when ye meet a force be firm and call Allah in remembrance much (and often); that ye may prosper. And obey Allah and His apostle, and fall into no disputes lest ye lose heart and your power depart; and be patient and persevering: for Allah is with those who patiently persevere.” (8:45-46).

(b) If the enemy suddenly attacks a land of Muslims, it becomes Farz Ayn upon the Muslims of that land though including even women and children to defend the land which the kuffar have attacked. While being attacked by the Kuffar, If the Muslims are unable to defend their land, it becomes Farz Ayn upon the Muslims close by to defend the Muslim land against the enemy, and if they too are unable to defend, then this Farz Ayn obligation goes from the nearest to the next nearest. If the Muslims fear that while supporting their Muslim neighbouring land, their own homes and women may face danger, then they can give up their support.       

According to Shafi’i Fiqh, those (Muslims) who live at land the distance of which is less than the distance of Qasr permitting the shortening of prayers (48 miles or approximately 77 kilometres) are all considered the people of that land, and hence if the enemies attack this land, it becomes Farz Ayn upon all its people to defend their land. It is mandatory upon the sufficient number of the Muslims close by who live at the distance of Qasr to participate in such Jihad as per their ability.

Al-Nafeer (mobilization to join Jihad) includes all the people of war when the enemies come to attack them. At this time, nobody is allowed to stay back from Jihad, except those who need to stay back to secure their houses, families and money and those whom the Amir (leader of the Muslims) prevents from joining the battle or those who are incapable of fighting. (Ibn Abidin 3/221, Fath ul Qadeer 5/190, Al-dusuqi 2/174, Jawahar ul Iklil 1/253, RaudatutTalibin 1/215, Mughni ul Muhtaj 4/219, Al-Mughni 8/346, and Kashshaf ul Qina 3/37)

Allah Almighty dispraised those people who intended to go back to their houses on the day of the Battle of the Confederates (al-Ahzab). He almighty says, “Behold! a party among them said: “Ye men of Yathrib! Ye cannot stand (the attack)! Therefore go back!" and a band of them ask for leave of the Prophet saying “Truly our houses are bare and exposed” though they were not exposed: they intended nothing but to run away.” (33:13).

(c)   If the Imam (leader of the Muslims) calls upon Muslims to fight, it becomes Farz Ayn upon them to join the battle. However, it is not Farz Ayn upon those who have any definitive excuse (Qatii’ uzr). Allah Almighty says, “O ye who believe! What is the matter with you then when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of Allah ye cling heavily to the earth? Do ye prefer the life of this world to the hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life as compared with the hereafter.” (9:38).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “There is no emigration after the conquest (of Makkah) but only Jihad [(striving and fighting in the cause of Allah) will continue] and good intention. So, if you are summoned to fight, go forth” (Related by Bukhari). As for the order of Jihad, it comes from the Imam and his Ijtihad, so the citizens must obey the Imam. (Hashiyatud Dusuqi 2/175, Jawahar ul Iklil 1/252, Al-Mughni 8/352, Al-Mahalli 7/291)

The Maliki jurists infer that Jihad becomes Farz Ayn when the Imam calls a people though they include the children and women capable of fighting. This call of Imam does not mean that they will be punished upon leaving this duty, so it will not be said that directing this obligatory duty towards these children would breach the consensus (ijma). (Hashaiyatud Dusuqi 2/175, Jawahar ul Iklil 1/252)

Wisdom of Legislating Jihad

10. One of the purposes of Jihad is to call non-Muslims towards Islam or to enter in the protection (dhimma) of Muslims, pay Jizya and implement the Islamic rulings related to them. By doing that Muslims are relieved of their sufferings and their country of the attacks by the non-Muslims. The objective of Jihad is also to stop those non-Muslims who are obstacles in the propagation of Islamic da'wah and root out corruption and disorder in the land. Allah Almighty says,

 “And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression and there prevail justice and faith in Allah; but if they cease let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression.” (2:193).

Allah Almighty says,

“It is He who hath sent His apostle with guidance and religion of truth to proclaim it over all religions even though the pagans may detest (it).” (9:33).

From the Sunnah of the prophet (peace be upon him) and the Sirah (biography) of the rightly guided caliphs, three things are inferred to be given as choices while Jihad being done against the infidels (Kuffar). The infidels are called to:

1) Accept Islam or

2) Remain on their religion by paying Jizyah and enter the contract of protection under the Muslim state, or

3) If the non-Muslims do not accept either of them, then the fighting will continue.

This does not apply to the Arab polytheists (Mushrikin) due to some disagreement in details of the terms of Jizyah and Ahludh dhimma.


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