Qur'an, Hadith and Scholars:Offensive Jihad
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Offensive jihad, known in Arabic as جهاد الطلب "jihad at-talab" ("the jihad of request", referring to the invitation to Islam which must be sent to the opposing infidels before hostilities may commence), is understood in the classical sources as an offensive struggle against Dar Al-Harb (the House of War or the realm of the infidels), is a duty incumbent upon Muslims and the Ummah, and as such is to be carried out in a variety of ways. Outright war and fighting is permitted, and as the prophet himself said (in agreement with many great generals and military leaders throughout history such as Sun Tzu and von Clausewitz) "war is deceit" and as such breaking treaties, oaths, and promises is permittable as a part of Jihad on the path of Allah, and likewise all other forms of misdirection as a part of jihad. Muslim scholars generally agree that the the duty of Jihad is eternal until "the religion is to Allah" yet significant differences exist between scholars about whether Jihad may be validly conducted when the presence of a caliph and commander of the faithful is lacking. This difference constitutes a major point of contention between salafi-jihadis and conservative but quietist salafi factions, with the jihadis believing that a caliph is not a necessary pre-requisite for jihad. Modernist Islamic scholars argue that the traditional interpretations are mistaken, overextend the doctrine of abrogation and were a result of the need to legitimise the emerging empire and Caliphates. They argue that the Quran does not itself sanction expansionist warfare nor reveals an evolution in the extent of its permission to fight, contrary to traditional interpretation. Although differences exist in the modern understanding of when and where jihad may be conducted, the classical sources are generally in agreement that "jihad fi sabil allah" "Jihad-warfare on the path of god" against the unbelievers is a duty incumbent upon all able-bodied Muslim men when Muslim lands are threatened, or a duty that must be fulfilled by a group from among them for expansionary purposes.
Jihad in the Qur'an and Sunnah
Known by some scholars as the "sword verse" in Surah at-Tawbah 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 also 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).
The classical commentator Ibn Kathir, who was of the aggressive abrogationist view, gave the following 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
Ibn Kathir explains verse 2:193 as follows.
Another prominent classical commentary, tafsir al-Jalalayn, states the following regarding the same verse:
Quran 9:5 was another verse known as the verse of the sword (like 9:29 discussed above) and considered by many classical scholars to abrogate earlier defensive verses. In context, the passage relates to treaty breakers among the mushrikeen.
Travel freely in the land four months, and know that ye cannot escape Allah and that Allah will confound the disbelievers (in His Guidance).
And an announcement from Allah and His Messenger, to the people (assembled) on the day of the Great Pilgrimage,- that Allah and His Messenger dissolve (treaty) obligations with the Pagans. If then, ye repent, it were best for you; but if ye turn away, know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allah. And proclaim a grievous penalty to those who reject Faith.
Excepting those of the idolaters with whom ye (Muslims) have a treaty, and who have since abated nothing of your right nor have supported anyone against you. (As for these), fulfil their treaty to them till their term. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty (unto Him).
Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.
And if anyone of the idolaters seeketh thy protection (O Muhammad), then protect him so that he may hear the Word of Allah, and afterward convey him to his place of safety. That is because they are a folk who know not.
How can there be a treaty with Allah and with His messenger for the idolaters save those with whom ye made a treaty at the Inviolable Place of Worship? So long as they are true to you, be true to them. Lo! Allah loveth those who keep their duty.How (can there be any treaty for the others) when, if they have the upper hand of you, they regard not pact nor honour in respect of you? They satisfy you with their mouths the while their hearts refuse. And most of them are wrongdoers.
Here is Quran 9:29 in context, the other verse commonly known as the verse of the sword and which this time relates to Jews and Christians.
And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah, and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah. That is their saying with their mouths. They imitate the saying of those who disbelieved of old. Allah (Himself) fighteth against them. How perverse are they!
They have taken as lords beside Allah their rabbis and their monks and the Messiah son of Mary, when they were bidden to worship only One Allah. There is no Allah save Him. Be He Glorified from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him)!
Fain would they put out the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah disdaineth (aught) save that He shall perfect His light, however much the disbelievers are averse.
He it is Who hath sent His messenger with the guidance and the Religion of Truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religion, however much the idolaters may be averse.
O ye who believe! Lo! many of the (Jewish) rabbis and the (Christian) monks devour the wealth of mankind wantonly and debar (men) from the way of Allah. They who hoard up gold and silver and spend it not in the way of Allah, unto them give tidings (O Muhammad) of a painful doom,On the day when it will (all) be heated in the fire of hell, and their foreheads and their flanks and their backs will be branded therewith (and it will be said unto them): Here is that which ye hoarded for yourselves. Now taste of what ye used to hoard.
Another verse in the same surah is the following:
Not Aggressing in Jihad
This is among the peaceful/defensive verses that have been abrogated by verses from chapter nine according to classical scholars of the abrogationist view such as the commentators of Tafsir al-Jalalayn, as discussed above.
Allah's Apostle said, "I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.' And if they say so, pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us and we will not interfere with them except legally and their reckoning will be with Allah." Narrated Maimun ibn Siyah that he asked Anas bin Malik,"O Abu Hamza! What makes the life and property of a person sacred?" He replied, "Whoever says, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah', faces our Qibla during the prayers, prays like us and eats our slaughtered animal, then he is a Muslim, and has got the same rights and obligations as other Muslims have."
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:
Live in Peace with the Disbelievers for a Time
It is no pleasantry.
Lo! they plot a plot (against thee, O Muhammad)
And I plot a plot (against them).
So give a respite to the disbelievers. Deal thou gently with them for a while.
Fighting When Outnumbered
Now hath Allah lightened your burden, for He knoweth that there is weakness in you. So if there be of you a steadfast hundred they shall overcome two hundred, and if there be of you a thousand (steadfast) they shall overcome two thousand by permission of Allah. Allah is with the steadfast.It is not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land. Ye desire the lure of this world and Allah desireth (for you) the Hereafter, and Allah is Mighty, Wise.
Deceit in War from the Life of Muhammad
ابن إسحاق; ابن هشام, سيرة ابن هشام ت السقا, vol. 2, al-Maktabah al-Shamilah, pp. 54-55, https://app.turath.io/book/23833
See Also Al-Tabari, Vol. 7, p. 94
When Khaybar had been conquered al-Hajjaj b. 'Ilat al-Sulami of the clan al-Bahz said to the apostle, 'I have money with my wife Umm Shayba d. Abu Talha--when they had lived together he had a son called Mu'rid by her--and money scattered among the Meccan merchants, so give me permission to go and get it.' Having got his permission he said, 'I must tell lies, O apostle.' He said, 'Tell them.'
ابن إسحاق; ابن هشام, سيرة ابن هشام ت السقا, vol. 2, al-Maktabah al-Shamilah, p. 345, https://app.turath.io/book/23833
Women and Children
Muhammad disapproved of the killing of women and children during expeditions (also Sahih Muslim 19:4319).
Although when asked, he excused the probable exposure of women and children to danger during an attack.
A more specific hadith quotes the same narrator stating that this involved women and children who were trampled over with horses during the attack:
"I was informed by As-Sa'b bin Jaththamah who said: " I said: "O Messenger of Allah our horses trampled over women and children of the idolaters." He said: "They are from their fathers.'"[Abu 'Eisa said:] This Hadith is Hasan Sahih.
(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
Some of the expeditions which Muhammad and his men reportedly undertook involved sieges against enemy strongholds (such as the siege of Taif, in which catapults were reportedly used), or night raids, either of which put at risk the lives of women and children and not just male combatants as in a pitched battle. According to the hadith, Muhammad allowed the unintentional killing of women and children during nocturnal attacks (night raids) after some were trampled by horses.
The Saudi scholar, Sheikh Al Shuaybi (d. 2001) said that Muhammad therefore (as is evident) acknowledged that non-combatants could be killed and allowed at least semi-indiscriminate killings. Another notorious cleric with similar views, Omar Bakri Mohammed also referred to this hadith to justify why killing women and children is Islamic.
On the other hand, in another hadith (see the section above on women and children), Muhammad disapproved of deliberately targeting women and children (Sahih Bukhari 4:52:257), and by consensus in Islamic law this is forbidden. Nevertheless, some scholars have come to the conclusion that this was not because they were non-combatants, but because it is better to take them for slavery or exchange them for Muslim prisoners. Muhammad took the Jewish woman and children of Banu Qurayza for slavery according to tradition.
In some modern contexts even more exteme views can be found among Salafi-Jihadists (though criticised by many other Muslim scholars). The following Q&A with a Lebanese Islamic scholar and Muslim Brotherhood associate is taken from the Arabic section of Islam Online.
"Is it permissible to kill civilians in Israel through martyrdom operations which are carried out by Palestinians in defense of their land?"
Sheikh Faisal Mawlawi, Islam Online, January 23, 2002
Islamic law regarding non-combatants
The different schools of jurisprudence agreed that it was forbidden to kill various classes of non-combatants such as women and children, though Shafi'i alone among the major legal school founders was of the opinion that certain other categories of persons could be killed.
The state of agreement and disagreement was summarised in Bidayat al-Mujtahid (which has been translated under the English title The Distinguished Jurist's Primer) by Ibn Rushd (d. 1198 CE; known in Europe as Averroes):
They disagreed about the case of hermits cut off from the world, the blind, the chronically ill, the old who cannot fight, the idiot, and the peasants and serfs. Malik said neither the blind nor idiots nor hermits are to be slain, and enough of their wealth is to be left to them by which they may suvive. Similarly, the old and decrepit are not to be slain, in his view, and this was also the view of Abu Hanifa and his disciples. Al-Thawri and al-Awza'i said that only the old are to be spared. Al-Awza'i added that the peasants are not to be slain either. According to al-Shafi'i's most authentic opinion, all of these categories (of people) are to be put to death. The basis for their disagreement stems from the conflict of the specificity in some traditons with general implication of (some verses of) the Qur'an, and also the generality of the authentic saying of the Prophet (God's peace and blessings be upon him), "I have been commanded to fight mankind until they say, 'There is no God but Allah.'" The words of the Exalted, "Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them", imply the slaynig of every nonbeliever whether or not he is a monk, and so does the saying of the Prophet (God's peace and blessings be upon him), "I have been commanded to fight mankind until they say, 'There is no God but Allah'".
The traditions laid down about the sparing of all these categories include the traditions related by Dawud Ibn al-Husayn from 'Ikrimah from Ibn 'Abbas "that the Prophet (God's peace and blessings be upon him) used to say while sending out his armies, 'Do not kill hermits'". There is also athe tradition related from Anas Ibn Malik from the Prophet (God's peace and blessings be upon him), "Do not slay the old and decrepit nor young children no women, and do not purloin [the booty]". It is recorded by Abu Dawud. There is also among these the traditon related by Malik from Abu Bakr that he said, "You will come acrosss a people who will claim that they have devoted themselves to Allah, so leave them and that to which they have devoted themselves", and it includes the words, "Never kill women, children, and the old weakened with age".
It appears that the chief source of disagreement in this issue springs from the apparent conflict between the words of the Exalted, "Fight in the way of Allah aginst those who fight you, but begin not hostilities. Lo, Allah loveth not aggressors", and His words, "Then when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them". Those who held that the latter verse was abrogated the (meaning of the) words "Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you", as fighting is prescribed primarily against those who fight, said that the latter verse stands unrestricted upon its generality. On the other hand, those who maintained that the former verse is the governing verse, and that it includes all categories not involved in fighting, exempted if from the generality of the latter (in other words restricted the latter to those who do or can provide hostility, thus excluding children, old and decrepit etc).
Al-Hidayah, a famous manual of Hanfafi fiqh (jurisprudence) states the following:
The views of the Shafi'i school were detailed in the famous compendium of Shafi'i fiqh (jurisprudence), The Reliance of the Traveller:
(1058-1111) was a Persian jurist who contributed significantly to the development of Sufism and is one of the most celebrated scholars in the history of Islamic thought. He followed the Shafi'i madhab (legal school) for most of his life.
Qur'an - Fitnah is Worse Than Killing
Explanation of verse 2:217
The meaning of fitnah in the Quran is not always clear, though usually indicates a trial, tumult or oppression. In the case of this verse Ibn Kathir indicates that it was sent down to excuse the Muslims for killing a non-combatant one day before the end of the sacred month, and that fitnah here involves an element of oppression.
Tafsir of Ibn Kathir for Quran 2:217
Verse 2:191 has the same phrase "fitnah is worse than killing" as a response to oppression.
Ibn Kathir presents a more aggressive view that fitnah here simply meant shirk.
(And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing.) Meaning what you (disbelievers) are committing is much worse than killing. Abu Al-`Aliyah, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that what Allah said:(And Al-Fitnah is worse than killing.) "Shirk (polytheism) is worse than killing.
Tafsir Ibn Kathir for Verse 2:191
This verse was revealed when a non-Muslim non-combatant was killed in the events of the Nakhla Raid. It was revealed to justify the killing of the non combatant, because non-Muslims do Fitnah... this is a graver crime in the eyes of Allah...than killing the non-combatant disbelievers  Osama bin Laden also used this in his interviews to justify killing non-combatants.
Jihad is Perpetual
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Jihad in classical and Modern Islam, Rudolph Peters, Pg.179
- Islam - A mufti explains, why Muhammad killed Women and Children
- Excerpted form Kitab al-Wagiz fi fiqh madhab al-imam al-Safi'i (Beirut, 1979), pp. 186, 190-91, 199-200, 202-203. English translation by Dr. Michael Schub.
- Abdullah ibn Jaish - Life of Mohamed (Sirah), Non combatants
- Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s speech to the people of Pakistan - Translated From Urdu By Ahmed Al-Marid, September 26, 2007