Qur'an, Hadith and Scholars:Jihad
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Jihad جهاد in Arabic is the masdar or verbal noun of the verb 'jaahada" جاهد. This verb means to "struggle" or to "strive" in Arabic. As such, the word jihad means literally "struggle" or "striving." Within Islamic religious discourse though, the word has a special meaning. جهاد في سبيل الله "jihaad fi sabil Allah" or "jihad on the path of Allah" most usually refers to armed, religious struggle by the Muslim, believing inhabitants of Dar Al-Islam (the house or abode of Islam or the house of submission) against the unbelieving, infidel people of Dar Al-Harb (The house or abode of war). The word can also be used to refer to the inner struggle of the Muslim believe to follow the laws of Allah, but this is the less common meaning. By far the most common meaning is armed warfare in the name of spreading and/or defending Islam. This understanding of jihad continues to be taught in Islamic religious schools, even mainstream ones, to the present day. According to Islamic modernists and some modern academic scholars, the interpretation of the Quranic concepts of fighting and Jihad underwent significant evolution during the early part of the Islamic era, reflecting the emerging imperial environment.
Jihad in the Qur'an
Known by some scholars as the "sword verse" of the 9th surah of the Qur'an, verse 9:29 has been interpreted by many Islamic scholars throughout history as a never-ending call for jihad against the Dar-al-Harb, abrogating a large number of earlier verses. This was not a universal view, however, and is contested by Islamic modernist scholars today, who argue that the Quran does not sanction expansionist warfare but rather emphasises defensive fighting against aggression and religious persecution, with the expansionist-abrogationist view being linked to the early imperial-political situation (see discussion in the main article).
Explanation of verse 9:29
(...until there is no more Fitnah) meaning, Shirk. This is the opinion of Ibn `Abbas, Abu Al-`Aliyah, Mujahid, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ar-Rabi`, Muqatil bin Hayyan, As-Suddi and Zayd bin Aslam.
(...and the religion (all and every kind of worship) is for Allah (Alone).) means, `So that the religion of Allah becomes dominant above all other religions.' It is reported in the Two Sahihs that Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari said: "The Prophet was asked, `O Allah's Messenger! A man fights out of bravery, and another fights to show off, which of them fights in the cause of Allah' The Prophet said:
(I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight the people until they proclaim, `None has the right to be worshipped but Allah'. Whoever said it, then he will save his life and property from me, except for cases of the law, and their account will be with Allah.)
(He who fights so that Allah's Word is superior, then he fights in Allah's cause.) In addition, it is reported in the Two Sahihs:
Tafsir Ibn Kathir
[They are] those who have been evicted from their homes without right - only because they say, "Our Lord is Allah." And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.
The Example of the Rightly Guided Caliphs
Khalid ibn al Walid
The following letter was written by Khalid, from his head-quarters in Babylonia, to the Persian monarch before invading it.
Umar ibn Al Khattab
Abu Bakr as Siddiqi
The Role of the Caliph
o9.1 Jihad is a communal obligation (def: c3.2). When enough people perform it to successfully accomplish it, it is no longer obligatory upon others.
o9.8 The caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians [kafirs] (N: provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya, def: o11.4) - which is the significance of their paying it, not the money itself-while remaining in their ancestral regions) (O: and the war continues) until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax (O: in accordance with the word of Allah Most High.
(A: though if there is no caliph (def: o25), no permission is required).
1) If the two sides meet in battle and they approach each other.
2) If the Kuffar enter a land, jihad becomes Fard Ayn upon its people.
3) If the Imam calls a people to march forward it is obligatory upon them to
The first two points do not mention anything about an Imam or caliphate.
For further information, see: Jihad as Obligation (Fard)
The Greater and the Lesser Jihad
The idea that their is a greater and lesser jihad originated from the 11th century book, The History of Baghdad, by the Islamic scholar al-Khatib al-Baghdadiis, by way of Yahya ibn al 'Ala', who said,
This hadith does not appear in any of the six canonical Sunni hadith books (Sahih Bukhari, Muslim, Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nisa'i, ibn Majah), and is generally not accepted by Islamic scholars as far as Islamic Law or belief is concerned (even though the use of weak and even fabricated hadiths is often allowed for the purposes of sermonizing and moral exhortation - a manner by which very many known fabrications are popularly thought to have scriptural basis).
Dr. Abdullah Yusuf Azzam
Imam Abdullah Azzam, Join the Caravan
Ibn Taymiyahh (also known as Shaykh ul-Islam to Muslim clerics)
Answer:There are different kinds of jihad - with one's self, wealth, supplication, teaching, giving guidance, or helping others in good in any form.The highest form of jihad, however, is with one's life (the intent here is not suicide, for that is forbidden in Islam), then comes Jihad with one's wealth and jihad with teaching and guidance, and in this way Da'wah is a form of jihad, but jihad with one's life is the highest form.
The Egyptian, Dr. Muhammad Amin says about those who believe this hadith:
Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani
This fabricated hadith, goes against the Qur'an.
Peace vs War
As mentioned above, some scholars of the abrogationist mindset considered defensive verses to have been abrogated, though others did not. Tafsir al-Jalalayn states that according to Ibn ‘Abbās (Muhammad's Cousin and a specialist of Quranic interpretation, as appointed by Muhammad) verse 8:61 has been replaced (abrogated) by another well known verse.
And here is that verse in full, which in context refers to treaty-breakers among the mushrikeen.
Notice that it says "if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them". The way in which they can repent and establish regular prayers, is by converting to Islam. The commentator Ibn Kathir, who was of the aggressive abrogationist view, cites a hadith in which Muhammad is supposed to have said that fighting must go on until Jesus returns.
Tafsir Ibn Kathir
As an ideological leader of the Afghan Jihad against the Soviets, Abdullah Yusuf Azzam wrote the following:
Imam Abdullah Azzam
Imam Abdullah Azzam
Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 1328 CE) was a scholar who inspired the modern Salafi movement.
As an ideological leader of the Afghan Jihad against the Soviets, 'Abdallah Yusuf 'Azzam (d. 1989) argued the importance of not relinquishing the right to Muslim lands as part of a peace treaty:
Such as:1) It is not permitted to include a condition in the treaty that relinquishes even a hand span of Muslim land to the Kuffar. Because, the land of Islam belongs to no one, therefore none can make negotiations over it. Such a condition nullifies the treaty because the land belongs to Allah and to Islam. It is not permitted for anyone to misuse anything in a domain not his own. Or to barter the Son of Adam that does not belong to him. With reference to the Russians, it is not permitted to negotiate with them until they retreat from every hand span of Afghani territory .With the Jews in Palestine, likewise.
In contrast, the 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty represented official Egyptian recognition of Israel and was endorsed by al-Azhar. Precedent for treaties in which Muslims accept unfavourable terms for the sake of a longer term benefit is often cited in the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah between Muhammad's Medinan state and the Quraysh in 628 CE, which affirmed a ten-year peace and granted Muhammad and the believers a pilgrimage to Mecca the following year, in 629 CE.
The Shafi'i jurist al-Nawawi stated in his commentary on Sahih Muslim:
One of the most influential modern jurists, Yusuf al-Qaradawi (d. 2022) stated in his book, fiqh al-Jihad, that the United Nations is a treaty that renders the world an abode of peace, and peace as the basic norm is established. The exception was Israel, which he argued is still part of Dar al-Harb (the abode of war), disagreeing with leading al-Azhar scholars Muhammad Abu Zahrah (d. 1979) and Jad al-Haqq ‘Ali Jad al-Haqq (d. 1996) who justified the 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty. Similarly, the Saudi Salafist Sheikh ‘Abd al- ‘Aziz bin Baz (d. 1999) disagreed to some extent with al-Qaradawi regarding Israel, citing Quran 8:61 and Quran 8:72 quoted above to argue that the Quran approves of treaties when faced with oppression.
Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 1328) said regarding peace with disbelievers:
Jihad As Obligation
1) If the two sides meet in battle and they approach each other.
2) If the Kuffar enter a land, jihad becomes Fard Ayn upon its people.3) If the Imam calls a people to march forward it is obligatory upon them to march forward.
(c. 1445-1505 AD) was a famous Egyptian writer, religious scholar, juristic expert and teacher.
Al Azhar University Scholar, Dr. M. Sa’id Ramadan Al-Buti:
Leader of the Afghan Jihad,
Sheikh Abdullah Azzam
(1263 - 1328) was one of the most famous Islamic scholars and theologians to ever live. As a member of the school founded by Ibn Hanbal, he sought the return of Islam to its sources, the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
Ahmad Sirhindi (d. 1624) was an Islamic scholar and a prominent Sufi. He is regarded as having rejuvenated Islam, due to which he is commonly called "Mujadid Alf Thani", meaning "reviver of the second millennium".
Kufr and Islam are opposed to each other. The progress of one is possible only at the expense of the other and co-existences between these two contradictory faiths in unthinkable.
The honor of Islam lies in insulting kufr and kafirs. One who respects kafirs, dishonors the Muslims. To respect them does not merely mean honouring them and assigning them a seat of honor in any assembly, but it also implies keeping company with them or showing considerations to them. They should be kept at an arm's length like dogs. ... If some worldly business cannot be performed without them, in that case only a minimum of contact should be established with them but without taking them into confidence. The highest Islamic sentiment asserts that it is better to forego that worldly business and that no relationship should be established with the kafirs.
The real purpose in levying jizya on them is to humiliate them to such an extent that, on account of fear of jizya, they may not be able to dress well and to live in grandeur. They should constantly remain terrified and trembling. It is intended to hold them under contempt and to uphold the honor and might of Islam.
. . .
For further information, see: Scholars on Jihad
Cutting Down Trees During Jihad
Muhammad once forbade his followers from cutting trees but later abrogated, or overruled that commandment
Prisoners of War
- Main Article: Slavery in Islamic Law
Narrated Al-Hasan: 'Amr bin Taghlib told us that Allah's Apostle got some property or some war prisoners and he distributed them in the above way (i.e. giving to some people to the exclusion of others) .
The killing of all males who've reached puberty
For further information, see: The Genocide of Banu Qurayza
The killing of a woman
(1147-1223) was a noted Islamic scholar who was born in Jerusalem and died in Damascus.
Raping Female Prisoners of War
Tafsir Ibn Kathir
Parental Permission and Jihad
The Jihad which needs permission of parents is the offensive one where you invade non-Muslim land.
Fatwa, Islam Online, April 8, 2003
Female Participation in Jihad
First, if the enemies invade Muslims in their homes, all Muslims who could carry weapons (women, men, and children) must participate in fighting to chase away the enemies and protect Muslim territorial integrity. In this situation, they should participate in any way they can. Second, if the Muslims invade their enemies, in this case, the Muslim women can participate and go with the Muslim army if the latter is a strong and powerful army and if there is no fear that Muslim women would be taken prisoners. Ibn Abdel Bar [who was a famous Maliki Islamic Scholar] said: 'They (the women) can go with the army if the army is strong enough to take hold of the enemy's army'. This is the opinion of all scholars and it is an imitation of a Sunnah that the Prophet did and his companions followed. In fact the Prophet took his wives and some of the wives of the Muslims in several Ghazawa (holy battles in the company of the Prophet) as narrated in a sound Hadith. But the role of women was limited mostly in looking after the wounded and providing food and drink to the men. However, whenever they are requested to carry weapons or fight they should do so, especially now when women can participate in war without having to travel. If she has to travel it should be within the limits of her nature. Um Umara Nasiba Bint Kaab Al Ansaria fought in Uhud and also fought with the army that killed Musailimah, the liar. She was wounded in thirteen places that day and her hand was cut off.Originally war was a male affair. But women can participate in it if there is dire need for it and provided that they would not be made prisoners.
Islam Web, Fatwa No. 82641, February 27, 2001
. . .
When Jihad becomes an Individual Duty, as when the enemy seizes the Muslim territory, a woman becomes entitled to take part in it alongside men. Jurists maintained that: When the enemy assaults a given Muslim territory, it becomes incumbent upon all its residents to fight against them to the extent that a woman should go out even without the consent of her husband, a son can go too without the permission of his parent, a slave without the approval of his master, and the employee without the leave of his employer. This is a case where obedience should not be given to anyone in something that involves disobedience to Allah, according to a famous juristic rule.
. . .
As for the point that carrying out this operation may involve woman’s travel from place to another without a Mahram, we say that a woman can travel to perform Hajj in the company of other trustworthy women and without the presence of any Mahram as long as the road is safe and secured. Travel, nowadays, is no longer done through deserts or wilderness, instead, women can travel safely in trains or by air.
Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, Islam Online, November 6, 2006
Some modern scholars of the Salafi-Jihadist mindset apply the word for what they call "Martyrdom Operations" i.e. suicide bombings. This is highly controversial since suicide is forbidden in Islam. Many other Islamic scholars have condemned such activites, even more so when women and children are targeted. Large surveys in the second decade of the 21st century have found a trend of increasing majorities who disapprove of al Qaeda and suicide attacks against civilians in most Muslim countries.
Some scholars such as Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Zakir Naik claim suicide bombing is permitted in Islam. Click here to watch an explanation by Zakir Naik in one of his lectures.
Below is a fatwa issued by Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, discussing the reasons why it is permissible for women to participate in "Martyr Operations" (e.g. suicide bombings).
. . .
The martyr operations is the greatest of all sorts of Jihad in the Cause of Allah. A martyr operation is carried out by a person who sacrifices himself, deeming his life less value than striving in the Cause of Allah, in the cause of restoring the land and preserving the dignity. To such a valorous attitude applies the following Qur’anic verse: “And of mankind is he who would sell himself, seeking the pleasure of Allah; and Allah hath compassion on (His) bondmen.” (Al-Baqarah: 207)
But a clear distinction has to be made here between martyrdom and suicide. Suicide is an act or instance of killing oneself intentionally out of despair, and finding no outlet except putting an end to one’s life. On the other hand, martyrdom is a heroic act of choosing to suffer death in the Cause of Allah, and that’s why it’s considered by most Muslim scholars as one of the greatest forms of Jihad.
. . .
Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, IslamOnline, November 6, 2006
Below is an excerpt taken from a fatwa by Muslim scholar Sheikh al-Uyayri, explaining in depth why suicide bombings and killing of civilians (including Muslims) via the use of them as "human shields" is permissible in Islam. Due to space (the fatwa is fifteen pages in length) we cannot quote it here in its entirety, though the entire piece in its in-depth referencing of the Qur'an and Hadith is illuminating.
1. One's intention is sincere and pure - to raise the Word of Allah.
2. One is reasonably sure that the desired effect cannot be achieved by any other means which would guarantee preservation of his life.
3. One is reasonably sure that loss will be inflicted on the enemy, or they will be frightened, or the Muslims will be emboldened.
4. One should consult with war strategy experts, and especially with the amber of war, for otherwise he may upset plan and alert the enemy to their presence.
If the first condition is absent, the deed is worthless, but if it is satisfied while some others are lacking, then it is not the best thing, but this does not necessarily mean the Mujahid is not shaheed.We also explained how causing a death carries the same verdict as actual killing. Hence one who plunges without armour into the enemy ranks, being certain of death, just like one who engages in a martyrdom operation, is effectively causing his own death, but they are praiseworthy because of the circumstances and intention, and hence are not considered to have committed suicide. We also clarified that [according to the majority] the identity of the killer does not have an effect on whether the Mujahid will be considered shaheed. This dispels the wavering arising from the fact that the Mujahid is taking his own life. Thus, such operations could take on any of the five Shar`i verdicts depending on intention and circumstances. Finally, we clarified that taking one's own life is not always blameworthy; rather it is contingent on the motives behind it. So, we conclude that one who kills himself because of his strong faith and out of love for Allah and the Prophet, and in the interests of the religion, is praiseworthy.
Fear and Terror
Explanation of verse 8:12
Explanation of verse 8:60
(the enemy of Allah and your enemy), the disbelievers,(and others besides them), such as Bani Qurayzah, according to Mujahid, or persians, according to As-Suddi.
Hadith and Islamic Sources
Scholars on Aggressive warfare
Ziauddin Barani (1285 - 1357 AD)
Dr. Yusuf Azzam
Sheikh Abdullah Azzam
For further information, see: Jihad in Islamic Law, Qur'an, Hadith and Scholars:Fear and Terror in War and If Anyone Slew a Person (Qur'an 5:32)
- Tabari and History of the World, Volume IV Book XII. The Mohammedan Ascendency, page 463, by John Clark Ridpath, LL.D. 1910.
- Al-Tabari, The History of al-Tabari (Ta'rikh al rusul wa'l-muluk), vol. 12: The Battle of Qadissiyah and the Conquest of Syria and Palestine, trans. Yohanan Friedman (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992), p. 167.
- Dealing in Death - Steven Stalinsky - National Review, May 24, 2004
- Ahmad Ibn Lulu Ibn Al-Naqib, translated by Noah Ha Mim Keller - Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law Umdat Al-Salik - Published by Amana Corporation; Revised edition (July 1, 1997), ISBN-13: 978-0915957729
- Offensive Jihad Vs. Defensive Jihad - Islamic Emirate Online, The Fiqh Department
- Fayd al-Qadir vol.4 pg. 511
- Ibn Taymiyahh, Al Furqan, Pg 44-45
- Jihad Al Akbar - As-Sunnah Foundation of America, from Shaykh Hisham Kabbani's "Islamic Beliefs and Doctrine According to Ahl al-Sunna: A Repudiation of "Salafi" Innovations"
- Dr. Suhaib Hassan - The Science of Hadith - TheReligionIslam
- Be Aware - Da'eef (weak), mawdoo’ (fabricated) hadeeth - World of Islam Portal, May 10, 2008
- Wazir Allah Khan - Hadith authenticity - lesser jihad to greater jihad - SunniForums
- Referenced by Abdullah Yusuf Azzam in "Join the caravan" pg 4
- Shaykh ul-Islaam Taqi ud-Deen Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah - 'The Religious and Moral Doctrine of Jihaad' - p.28, © Copyright 2001 Maktabah Al Ansaar Publications, ISBN: 0-9539847-5-3
- Rashad Ali and Hannah Stuart, A Guide to Refuting Jihadism: Critiquing radical Islamist claims to theological authenticity p. 36-37
- Suyuti, Durr al-Manthur ... (Beirut, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 228, where Suyuti quotes various traditions.
- Defence of the Muslim Lands: The First Obligation After Iman - Abdullah Azzam
- Excerpted from Rudolph Peters, Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam (Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener, 1996), pp. 44-54.
- Excerpted from Saiyid Athar Abbas Rizvi, Muslim Revivalist Movements in Northern India in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Agra, Lucknow: Agra University, Balkrishna Book Co., 1965), pp.247-50; and Yohanan Friedmann, Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi: An Outline of His Thought and a Study of His Image in the Eyes of Posterity (Montreal, Quebec: McGill University, Institute of Islamic Studies, 1971), pp. 73-74.
- Excerpted from Henri Laoust, trans., Le precis de droit d'Ibn Qudama, jurisconsulte musulman d'ecole hanbalite ne a Jerusalem en 541/1146, mort a Damas en 620/1123, Livre 20, "La Guerre Legale" (Beirut, 1950), pp. 273-76, 281. English translation by Michael J. Miller.
- Widespread concerns about extremism in Muslim nations, and little support for it Pew Research Centrue, 2015
- Concerns about Islamic Extremism on the Rise in Middle East Pew Research Centrue, 2014
- Sheikh Abdullah Azzam (Shaheed) - Defence of the Muslim Lands: The First Obligation After Iman - Chapter 1