connotes a wide range of meanings: anything from an inward spiritual struggle to attain perfect faith to a political or military struggle. This article presents opinions of different scholars on Jihad.
Classification by Islamic scholars
Ibn Rushd, in his Muqaddimāt, divides Jihad into four kinds:
- "Jihad by the heart; Jihad by the tongue; Jihad by the hand and Jihad by the sword." He defines "Jihad by the tongue" as "to commend good conduct and forbid the wrong, like the type of Jihad Allah (swt) ordered us to fulfill against the hypocrites in His Words, “O Prophet! Strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites” (Qur'an ). Thus, Seraj and Ahmad Hendricks have expressed a view that Muhammad strove against the unbelievers by sword and against the hypocrites by tongue
Ibn al-Qayyim says:
- Jihad is of four kinds: jihad an-nafs (jihad against one’s self), jihad ash-Shaytan (jihad against Satan), jihad against the kuffar and jihad against the hypocrites.
- 1. Jihad an-nafs (jihad against one’s self) is of four kinds:
- a. Striving to learn the teachings of Islam b. Striving to make oneself act in accordance with what one has learned.c. Striving to call others to Islam, teaching those who do not know about it. d. Striving to bear patiently the difficulties involved in calling people to Allah and the insults of people, bearing all that for the sake of Allah. If a person achieves all four of these levels, then he will be one of the rabbaniyyin -- learned men of religion who practice what they know and also preach to others. (see ). The salaf (righteous predecessors) were agreed that the scholar does not deserve to be called a rabbani unless he knows the truth, acts in accordance with it, and teaches it to others. Whoever teaches, acts in accordance with his knowledge, and has knowledge will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
- 2.Jihad ash-Shaytan (jihad against Satan) is of two types:a. Warding off the doubts that Satan stirs up to undermine faith. b. Striving against Satan to ward off the corrupt desires that he provokes. The first jihad is followed by certainty of faith, and the second is followed by patience. Allah says: “And We made from among them [Children of Israel], leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) ” (). Allah tells us that leadership in religion is attained through patience and certainty of faith. Patience wards off desires and certainty wards off doubts.
- 3. Jihad against the munafiqin (hypocrites) and kuffar (disbelievers) is of four kinds: with the heart, the tongue, one’s wealth and oneself. Jihad against the disbelievers is more along the lines of physical fighting, whereas jihad against the hypocrites is more along the lines of using words and ideas.
Ibn Baz says:
- Jihad is of various kinds, with one’s self, one's wealth, by making dua, by teaching and guiding, by helping to do good in any way. The greatest form of jihad is jihad with one’s self (i.e., going oneself and fighting), followed by jihad with one's wealth, jihad by speaking out and guiding others. Dawah is also part of jihad. But going out oneself to fight in jihad is the highest form. (Fatawa ash-Sheikh Ibn Baz, 7/334, 335)
Nawawi in his book al-Minhaj, when defining Jihad and its different categories, said,
- "one of the collective duties of the community as a whole (fard kifaya) is to lodge a valid protest, to solve problems of religion, to have knowledge of Divine Law, to command what is right and forbid wrong conduct".
Ramadan Buti, a contemporary Orthodox scholar from Syria, in his work on the subject Jihad in Islam says
- Even before Muhammad conducted Jihad by sword against the unbelievers, there is no doubt the Prophet (s) invited these unbelievers peacefully, lodged protests against their beliefs and strove to remove their misgivings about Islam. When they refused any other solution, but rather declared a war against him and his message and initiated the fight, there was no alternative except to fight back"
Imam al-Dardir in his book Aqarab al-Masalik says
- Jihad is propagating the knowledge of the Divine Law commending right and forbidding wrong. He emphasized that it is not permitted to skip this category of Jihad and implement the combative form, saying, "the first [Islamic] duty is to call people to enter the fold of Islam, even if they had been preached to by the Prophet (s) beforehand."
Al-Hajj Talib 'Abdur-Rashid, imam of the Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood in Harlem, NY, defines three levels of jihad -- personal, verbal and physical. Considering each in turn:
- Personal Jihad: This is the most important form. This type of jihad, called the Jihadun-Nafs, is the intimate struggle to purify one's soul of evil influences -- both subtle and overt. It is the struggle to cleanse one's spirit of sin. Putting "Allah ahead of our loved ones, our wealth, our worldly ambitions and our own lives." Resisting pressure of parents, peers and society; strive against "the rejecters of faith..." (Qur'an ) "...strive and struggle to live as true Muslims..." "Striving for righteous deeds."Spreading the message of Islam. "The (true) believers are only those who believe in Allah and his messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their selves for the cause of Allah. Such are the truthful." ()
- Verbal Jihad: To strive for justice through words and non-violent actions. Muhammad encouraged Muslims to demand justice in the name of Allah. When asked: "'What kind of jihad is better?' Muhammad replied, 'A word of truth in front of an oppressive ruler(Nisai). According to M. Amir Ali, Jihad explained''
- The life of the Prophet Muhammad was full of striving to gain the freedom to inform and convey the message of Islam. During his stay in Makkah [Mecca] he used non-violent methods and after the establishment of his government in Madinah [Medina], by the permission of Allah, he used armed struggle against his enemies whenever he found it inevitable.
- Physical Jihad: This relates to the use of physical force in defense of Muslims against oppression and transgression by the enemies of Allah, Islam and Muslims. Allah commands that Muslims lead peaceful lives and not transgress against anyone. If they are persecuted and oppressed, the Qur'an recommends that they migrate to a more peaceful and tolerant land: "Lo! Those who believe, and those who emigrate (to escape persecution) and strive (Jahadu) in the way of Allah, these have hope of Allah's mercy..." (). If relocation is not possible, then Allah also requires Muslims to defend themselves against oppression by "fighting against those who fight against us." 2 The Qur'an states: "To those against whom war is made, permission is given [to defend themselves], because they are wronged - and verily, Allah is Most Powerful to give them victory." ()
Imam Bahouti commences the chapter on Jihad in his book Kashf al-Kinaa by showing the injunctions of collective religious duties (kifaya) that the Muslim Nation must achieve before embarking on combative Jihad, including preaching and education about the religion of Islam, dismissing all the uncertainties about this religion and making available all the skills and qualifications which people might need in their religious, secular, physical and financial interests because these constitute the regulations of both this life and the life to come.
Permission for warfare according to Islamic jurists
It is important to note that there are several sects within Islam
and four differing schools of thought (see Madhhabs
). These sects may differ in their interpretations of basic Islamic precepts, Jihad being one of them. Madhhabs generally agree on the main issues of Islam. The opinions of scholars such as Ibn Taymiya
are not followed or even recognized by most Muslims, though his opinions are held in high esteem amongst many who consider themselves followers of the Salafi
According to Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani a 10th century Maliki jurist:
- Jihad is a precept of Divine institution. Its performance by certain individuals may dispense others from it. We Malikis maintain that it is preferable not to begin hostilities with the enemy before having invited the latter to embrace the religion of Allah except where the enemy attacks first. They have the alternative of either converting to Islam or paying the poll tax (jizya), short of which war will be declared against them.
According to Al-Mawardi an 11th Century Shafi`i jurist:
- The mushrikun [infidels] of Dar al-Harb (the arena of battle) are of two types: First, those whom the call of Islam has reached, but they have refused it and have taken up arms. The amir of the army has the option of fighting them…in accordance with what he judges to be in the best interest of the Muslims and most harmful to the mushrikun… Second, those whom the invitation to Islam has not reached, although such persons are few nowadays since Allah has made manifest the call of his Messenger…it is forbidden to…begin an attack before explaining the invitation to Islam to them, informing them of the miracles of the Prophet and making plain the proofs so as to encourage acceptance on their part; if they still refuse to accept after this, war is waged against them and they are treated as those whom the call has reached…
According to Ibn Taymiya, a 14th Century Hanbali jurist:
- Since lawful warfare is essentially jihad and since its aim is that the religion is God's entirely and God's word is uppermost, therefore according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought. As for those who cannot offer resistance or cannot fight, such as women, children, monks, old people, the blind, handicapped and their likes, they shall not be killed unless they actually fight with words (e.g. by propaganda) and acts (e.g. by spying or otherwise assisting in the warfare).
In the Hidayah, vol. II. p. 140 (Hanafi school):
- It is not lawful to make war upon any people who have never before been called to the faith, without previously requiring them to embrace it, because the Prophet so instructed his commanders, directing them to call the infidels to the faith, and also because the people will hence perceive that they are attacked for the sake of religion, and not for the sake of taking their property, or making slaves of their children, and on this consideration it is possible that they may be induced to agree to the call, in order to save themselves from the troubles of war… If the infidels, upon receiving the call, neither consent to it nor agree to pay capitation tax, it is then incumbent on the Muslims to call upon God for assistance, and to make war upon them, because God is the assistant of those who serve Him, and the destroyer of His enemies, the infidels, and it is necessary to implore His aid upon every occasion; the Prophet, moreover, commands us so to do."
According to Ibn Khaldun, the 15th century Tunisian historian:
- In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force... The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense... Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations.
Javed Ahmed Ghamidi writes in Mizan:
- There are certain directives of the Qur’an pertaining to war which were specific only to the Prophet Muhammad against Divinely specified peoples of his times (the polytheists and the Israelites and Nazarites of Arabia and some other Jews, Christians, et al) as a form of Divine punishment -- for they had persistently denied the truth of the Prophet's mission even after it had been made conclusively evident to them by God through the Prophet, and asked the polytheists of Arabia for submission to Islam as a condition for exoneration and the others for jizya and submission to the political authority of the Muslims for exemption from death punishment and for military protection as the dhimmis of the Muslims. Therefore, after the Prophet and his Companions, there is no concept in Islam obliging Muslims to wage war for propagation or implementation of Islam. The only valid basis for jihad through arms is to end oppression when all other measures have failed. Islam only allows Jihad to be conducted by a Government with at least half the power of the enemy.