The Right Understanding of Jihad
All praise be to Allãh who has legislated Jihad as a means to spread the pristine creed of Islamic monotheism. I beseech His commendations and peace upon the soul of the leader of all who strive with sword and word to make the word of Allãh over every other word even if the disbelievers hate it.
Like every other act of worship, Jihad has rules and guidelines. We can sum up these rules and guidelines in the two general rules of worship that we all know:
- Sincerity (Ikhlaas): Here’s our extensive discussion on Ikhlaas (sincerity)
- Compliance: to the Quran and sunnah as understood by the sahabah.
As for the second aspect which is compliance, it has been discussed and explained by our scholars and they completely contradict the acts of terrorism which many deluded youths call Jihad today. We are not saying this because we are trying to ‘fit-in’. Rather we are saying this because it is the truth.
Unfortunately, Many Muslims (let alone non-Muslims) think terrorism is the pristine Islam.That explains why you see many Muslims striving to modernize their Islam to suit the whims and desires of the west. We seek refuge with Allãh from ignorance, delusion and misguidance.
Concept of Jihad in Islam
One of the great calamities that have afflicted many Muslims of our time is the shy and apologetic remarks they give when the issue of Jihad is mentioned. Rather, many have denied their religion because of it. This is one of the plots of the disbelievers. They wish to give Islam an ugly picture so that the believers will be shy of their religion, renounce it, or be ashamed to proclaim it.
How Muslims React to Jihad
One of the many false propaganda spread by the enemies of Islam regarding Jihad is that Islam was spread by sword and force. The implication of this is that no rational human being will accept Islam willingly. When Muslims of our time are faced with hoaxes like this, two types of reactions are usually observed:
- Shyness and denial of Islam or Jihad due to ignorance and confusion: These are the apologetic Muslims. They believe(but do not embrace) the hoax that the ideal Islam is terrorism.
- Bold but ignorant defense of Islam and Jihad born out of sheer emotions not knowledge: this group approve every movement tagged Jihad. They defend every group of fighters as long as the group ascribes itself to Jihad. They embraced the hoax that the ideal and pristine Islam is terrorism.
As you can see both reactions are born by ignorance of the Pristine Islam. There is nothing the Muslims are more ignorant of today than Islam. As a Muslim, you should be able to defend your religion with authentic proofs, eloquent words and daunting confidence based on the correct understanding which is the understanding of the sahabah not the whims, desires and concoctions of any group of people.
In shaa Allãh you will be learning the role of Jihad in the spread of Islam clearly in this article. Thus, you will be able to give a sound response to the claim that Islam was spread by sword.I pray that Allãh makes it increase the ignorant Muslims in certainty that their religion is a perfect religion. So, we say (seeking assistance from Allãh alone).
Meaning of Jihad
The word Jihad literally means striving against something. But technically, it means fighting in the cause of Allãh to ensure that Shirk is extinguished and tawheed is established.
If you are familiar with Islamic books you will have noticed that many words have more than one meaning. When Islamic scholars use the word Jihad their books without and they don’t qualify it, what is they mean is the holy war (holy and war?! Please read on, we will come back to that). But, they also use the word Jihad to refer to striving against your desires, covetousness and lust.
So, when you lower your gaze to avoid looking at that shaitanat in skimpy dress across the street you are actually doing a form of Jihad. You might think it’s easy but hey, look at the guy beside you, he’s still looking at her till she walks off his sight. Same thing goes for when you decide to abandon that champion’s league final for solah. Did I get you here? May Allãh soften our hearts.
Jihad also refers to every form of striving to spread Islam such as learning the pristine Islam, practicing it, teaching it and being patient in every hardship that one may face in the process. If you are don’t have a gathering of knowledge which you attend weekly or daily then I’m afraid you are lagging in this type of Jihad.
Types of Jihad
In the previous section you learnt that there are three forms of Jihad;
- Jihad of Piety: which every Muslim must do against his self. Allãh the exalted says:
Verily, the (human) self is inclined to evil, except when my Lord bestows His Mercy (upon whom He wills)
- Jihad of Fighting:This is a right of the Islamic government only. We should leave it to the Islamic government.
- Jihad of knowledge: This is specific to the people of knowledge. I mean the scholars of Islamic knowledge; Quran, Hadith, Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) etc. It’s not a duty of the ignoramus. We should leave this to the Islamic scholars.
If you read the biographies of these sociopaths aka Islamic terrorists, you’ll see that they are neither governments nor scholars. We ask Allãh for safety.
This article is about the Jihad of sword and weapons not word and pen.
There are two types of Jihad in Islam:
Jihad of Defense
Jihad of defense is done to protect one’s land from intruders. If intruders –Muslims or non-Muslims– attack an Islamic territory or an Islamic protectorate it is obligatory you, as a Muslim, to protect yourself, your family and everyone you are able to protect; according to your capacity. You do not to need to seek permission from your parents or await order from the Ameer before you engage in a Jihad like this. No one denies the importance and rationality of this type of Jihad not even the disbelievers.
Jihad of Seeking
As for the Jihad of seeking, it is a type of Jihad done to make areas of the world accessible for the teachers and preachers of Islam. Many Muslims and non-Muslims find it hard to understand this especially when a verse in the noble Quran has stated that there is no compulsion in the religion (of Islam). Apparently, the verse of no compulsion in Islam contradicts the commandment to spread Islam by Jihad. In shaa Allãh we will address this issue too.
Difference between Jihad and Dawah
Jihad is to conquer lands and pave way for the preachers of Islam. Jihad is not the actual preaching. The preaching is done by the scholars of Islam through words and pen. Jihad is not meant to call people to Islam rather it is only a tool to pave the way for scholars and preachers to access disbelievers. Just as a person clears trees and shrubs with a cutlass to make way. The actual preaching is done by scholars who are well grounded in the Quran and Sunnah and have been blessed with wisdom and experience in talking to people.
Now back to the verse of “no compulsion in religion”. The people must hear the word of Allãh and the teaching of tawheed. Any obstacle that will prevent them from hearing it must be removed. But, the Muslims cannot force them to accept the teachings of Islam. Religion is a thing of the heart so it can’t be forced on any person. However, everyone must hear it. Now you know the difference.
Importance of Jihad
The importance of jihad are numerous. The scholars have expalined them in their books. However, we will mention a few of them.
1. Jihad Liberates People from Shirk (idolatry)
Many people live in lands where no form of faith is practiced let alone monotheism. Have you ever imagined a place where animals such as elephants, cows etc. are worshipped. Do you even know that some people worship statues of the phallus?In Iran for example, people worship graves of saints and assumed saints. They shout ‘Ya Ali’ in times of difficulty instead of ‘Ya Allãh’.T hey are born into it, they live and die in this belief without hearing anything about the correct Islam.
Societies like these are ruled by disbelievers who will never wish that the light of Islam spread in their lands. The reasons why these rulers hate Islam may be sheer arrogance of rejecting their father’s religion for a ‘new’ religion. It may also be due to greed and covetousness;they are afraid that they will lose their power if they accept Islam. Either ways, they have absolutely no excuse to reject guidance and prevent the preachingand practice of Islam in their territory.
Subduction of Oppressors
Islam is a realistic religion. Every doctrine of Islam is perfectly in accordance with the human reasoning. The only problem is that we might not know the wisdom behind some of the Islamic legislations.
Every Islamic institution should have an arm of preaching and an arm of chastising. Preaching will benefit those who have good hearts but those who have hard hearts will never benefit from preaching. So Islam legislated Jihad to suppress their action. Rebels, armed robbers, oppressors etc. are all examples of people who Muslims should wage Jihad against.
Hence, Jihad is not only to suppress shirk but also to every form of oppression and transgression.
A Humanitarian responsibility
The message of the Quran is the last, seal and master of all messages. Preaching this creed of Islamic monotheism is a responsibility that this Ummah owes the world. Any obstacle that will prevent this message from reaching the people or prevent the people from practicing the pristine creed of Islamic monotheism must be removed. Without Jihad that is not possible.
Every Nation has her Jihad
It is surprising that the world looks at Islam as the only institution that supports waging war against oppressors or fighting against powers that try to prevent it from spreading. This thinking is a result of what the western media has inscribed the mind of youths like you and I. We ask Allãh for safety.
America, for example, believes that she owes the world the responsibility to democratize their government. America fights any government that refuses to accept democracy. Mugabe, Ghaddafi, Jameh… those names ring a bell?
Steps to Take Before Jihad
The first step in introducing Islam to a people is to preach Islam to the leaders of the land. The Ameer of the believers should send emissaries or letters to the leaders of the land. These emissaries should speak words of wisdom, patience and knowledge to the leader(s) of the land. They should call him to Islam and enlighten him on the virtues of accepting Islam. If he accepts, good for him. He will have what the Muslims have and will be punished for what the Muslim is punished for.
Anas reported that:
The messenger of Allãh (commendations and peace of Allãh be upon him) wrote to kisraa (Roman Emperor), qaysar (Persian Emperor), and Najaashee (King of Ethiopia) and every major ruler calling them to Allãh the Exalted
If he doesn’t accept, then it’s one of two ways:
Concept of Jizyah tax
He will be asked to pay the Jizyah tax and left to rule his people using the laws of Islam. If he accepts to pay the tax, good for him. If not, he should be fought till he is suppressed and pays the Jizyah. Allãh the exalted says:
Fight against those who believe not in Allãh, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allãh and His Messenger and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e. Islâm) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
The more correct scholarly opinion is that Jizyah can be taken from every kind of disbeliever whether Christian, Jew, fire worshipper, atheist etc. The evidence for this is the hadith reported by AbduRahmaanbn ‘Awf that:
The messenger of Allãhaccepted it (i.e.jizyah) from the Majoos (fire worshippers) of Hajar
There is no doubt that the shirk and disbelief of the fire worshippers is greater than the shirk and disbelief of the Arab polytheists. The only reason why the messenger (commendations and peace of Allãh be upon him) did not accept it from the Arab polytheists is that the verse of Jizyah had not been revealed at the time he was fighting the Arab polytheists.Allãh knows best.
The topic of this article has been treated. The conditions of Jihad are another topic entirely. May Allãh spare our lives to write an article on the conditions of Jihad.
Saheeh Muslim: 1774
 Surah Taubah:29
See ZaadulMa’aad by Imam IbnulQayyim: 3/139-140 (shamela)