The word ‘Jihad’ in Islam has taken an important role in our present life. There have been many publications written on this subject every year. Perhaps this is due to humiliation and belittlement that surrounds our public life, which every Muslim feels every day and night as long as Israelites crouch over our lands, occupying the most precious sanctities of Muslims. Jihad is one of the very dangerous concepts, and it is one of the concepts with which the Muslims advance and shake disbelief, its pillars, colonialism and its minions. Thus the disbelieving colonials were eager to distort this concept in the minds of Muslims, and they even formed structures claiming Islam, in order to abolish Jihad in the Path of Allah.
The colonialist disbelievers were not satisfied with this campaign alone. Instead they sprayed their poison at the hands of the orientalists in order to pollute and distort the pure concepts of Islam. First amongst these pure concepts was the concept of Jihad. I do not doubt at any moment that Muslims have dangerously palpable confusion over this concept in their actions at times and in their words at other times. Thus Muslims in their wars today are not same as they were before, and even some of their ‘Ulema have plunged into a deep abyss, becoming satisfied with Islam being submissive, languishing within limitations and being silent over the spread of the banners of Islam.
Indeed, the statements are disordered. Moreover, they converged and became as close to illusion and imagination as possible. Amongst their statements, which are the most dangerous, is that Jihad is a defensive war only. The following is the response to those who say that it is a defensive war:
Firstly: The evidence for Jihad is general (Aam) and absolute (Mutalq) evidence that include defensive war, limited war and unlimited war and all the types of fighting the enemy, in its generality and absoluteness. It requires a Shariah text to specify the general or restrict the absolute and assert that Jihad is only a defensive war and not an offensive war. However, there are no Shariah text to specify or restrict Jihad. Let us take the verses of Jihad within Surah At-Tawbah as Surah At-Tawbah is of the last revealed Surah, such that there will be no room for such claims of specifying, restriction or abrogation. Allah (swt) said,
(وَقَاتِلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ كَافَّةً كَمَا يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ كَافَّةً وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الْمُتَّقِينَ)
“And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous [who fear Him].” [TMQ Surah At-Tawbah 9:36]. Allah (swt) says,
(يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ جَاهِدْ الْكُفَّارَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَاغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْ)
“O Prophet, fight against the disbelievers and the hypocrites and be harsh upon them.” [Surah At-Tawbah TMQ 9:73]. Allah (swt) says,
(إِنَّ اللَّهَ اشْتَرَى مِنْ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ بِأَنَّ لَهُمْ الْجَنَّةَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ)
“Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise. They fight in the cause of Allah.” [TMQ Surah At-Tawbah 9:111]. Allah (swt) says,
(يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قَاتِلُوا الَّذِينَ يَلُونَكُمْ مِنْ الْكُفَّارِ وَلْيَجِدُوا فِيكُمْ غِلْظَةً وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الْمُتَّقِينَ)
“O you who have believed, fight those adjacent to you of the disbelievers and let them find in you harshness. And know that Allah is with the righteous.” [TMQ Surah At-Tawbah 9:123].
These verses come with regards to fighting in a general and absolute sense. All these verses are apparent in their generality and absoluteness. Thus they are an evidence for Jihad, which is fighting the disbelievers, regardless of whether it is initiated by the enemy or it is to defend Muslims.
As for the saying of Allah (swt),
(وَإِنْ جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا)“And if they incline to peace, then incline to it.” [TMQ Surah Al-Anfal 8:61] and the saying of Allah (swt),
(وَقَاتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلاَ تَعْتَدُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ)
“Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors.” [TMQ Surah Al-Baqarah 2:190], and the saying of Allah (swt),
(أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَاتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُوا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ)
“Permission [to fight] has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory.” [TMQ Surah Al-Hajj 22:39] and others, all these verses are not suitable to specify the generality of the verses in Surah At-Tawbah. They are also not suitable to restrict the absoluteness of those verses. This is because all of these verses were revealed before Surah At-Tawbah. What precedes cannot specify or restrict the belated. This is because specification is by abrogating the part of generality. It changes the ruling on its generality by invalidating it for something and replacing it with another ruling. Since specification is through abrogation, abrogation has a condition that the one which abrogates (nasikh) must be later than the one which is abrogated (mansukh). Accordingly, these verses are not suitable for the specification of the verses of Surah At-Tawbah as they precede them in terms of revelation and the verses of Jihad in Surah At-Tawbah are the later revealed verses. Thus, specification does not occur and what is said about specification also applies to restriction also. The Shariah text that restricts must be later in Revelation than the Shariah text that is absolute, or both the texts must be revealed at the same time in order to have restriction. Since the verse, (وَإِنْ جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا…) “And if they incline to peace, then incline to it.” [TMQ Surah Al-Anfal 8:61] and the like of it were revealed before the verses of Surah At-Tawbah, they are not suitable for either specifying the general or restricting the absolute. Thus, the inference that Jihad is a defensive war is invalid due to the generality of the verses that were revealed after these verses. The generality and absoluteness of the verses remain as they are. Accordingly, Jihad is fighting the enemy absolutely and generally, which includes offensive, defensive, preventive, limited and unlimited war and all kinds of wars. Accordingly, statements and fabrication of those who only want humiliation and belittling of Islam are invalid.
Secondly: The Islamic Jihad is not a Jihad without objective. It is only a Jihad in the Path of Allah (swt), which is an obligatory condition upon it, that can never be separated from it. Moreover, Jihad is one amongst other words which Islam used to adopt its idea, clarifying its concepts and rulings. Many people were deceived by its apparent linguistic meaning and they thought that subjecting people to the creed of Islam and forcing them to accept it is a Jihad in the path of Allah (swt). As for the saying of the Messenger of Allah (saw) as reported by two Sheikhs, Imam Bukhari and Muslim, from ‘Abdullah ibn Umar (ra) who said, the Messenger of Allah (saw) said,
«أُمِرْتُ أَنْ أُقَاتِلَ النَّاسَ حَتَّى يَشْهَدُوا أَنْ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ فَإِذَا فَعَلُوا ذَلِكَ عَصَمُوا مِنِّي دِمَاءَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُمْ إِلَّا بِحَقِّ الْإِسْلَامِ وَحِسَابُهُمْ عَلَى اللَّهِ»
“I have been ordered to fight against the people until they testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and until they establish the salah and pay the zakat. And if they do that then they will have gained protection from me for their lives and property, unless [they commit acts that are punishable] in Islam, and their reckoning will be with Allah” and the narration of Sulaiman Bin Baridha from his father who said: When Allah’s Messenger appointed a commander over an army or a detachment, he (saw) instructed him to fear Allah himself and consider the welfare of the Muslims who were with him. He then said,
«اغْزُوَا بسمِ اللَّهِ قَاتَلُوا مَنْ كَفَرَ بِاللَّهِ اغْزُوَا فَلَا تَغُلُّوا وَلَا تَغْدِرُوا وَلَا تَمْثُلُوا وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا وَلِيدًا وَإِذَا لَقِيتَ عَدُوَّكَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ فَادْعُهُمْ إِلَى ثَلَاثِ خِصَالٍ أَوْ خِلَالٍ فَأَيَّتَهُنَّ مَا أَجَابُوكَ فَاقْبَلْ مِنْهُمْ وَكُفَّ عَنْهُمْ ثُمَّ ادْعُهُمْ إِلَى الْإِسْلَامِ»
“Go forth in the name of Allah in the path of Allah and fight with those who disbelieve in Allah. Go forth and do not be unfaithful regarding booty, or treacherous, or mutilate anyone, or kill a child. When you meet your enemy from amongst the polytheists, summon them to three things, and accept whichever amongst the three things they are willing to agree to, and refrain from them. (first is) summon them to Islam.”
These are the two hadiths which clarify that Jihad is the initiation of fighting against the enemy as the Messenger of Allah (sal) have also clarified that Jihad is continuous until the Day of Judgment. Anas (ral) narrated: the Messenger of Allah (saw) said,
«ثَلاَثَةٌ مِنْ أَصْلِ الإِيمَانِ : الْكَفُّ عَمَّنْ قَالَ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللَّهُ وَلاَ تُكَفِّرْهُ بِذَنْبٍ وَلاَ تُخْرِجْهُ مِنَ الإِسْلاَمِ بِعَمَلٍ، وَالْجِهَادُ مَاضٍ مُنْذُ بَعَثَنِيَ اللَّهُ إِلَى أَنْ يُقَاتِلَ آخِرُ أُمَّتِي الدَّجَّالَ لاَ يُبْطِلُهُ جَوْرُ جَائِرٍ وَلاَ عَدْلُ عَادِلٍ، وَالإِيمَانُ بِالأَقْدَارِ»
“Three things are the roots of faith: to refrain from (killing) a person who utters, ‘There is no god but Allah’ and not to declare him unbeliever whatever sin he commits, and not to excommunicate him from Islam for his any action; and 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. The tyranny of any tyrant and the justice of any just (ruler) will not invalidate it. One must have faith in Divine decree.” [Abu Daud] i.e. Jihad is continuous until the Day of Judgment. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, «بُعِثْتُ بالسيفِ بينَ يَدَيِ الساعةِ» “I was sent with the sword until the Day of Judgment.” Jihad would not be continuous until the Day of Judgment if war were defensive alone.
Thus the statements of the Messenger of Allah (saw) are clear that Jihad is a fighting to spread Islam. Thus, the expedition of the Prophet (saw) to Sham (Tabuk) is an expedition to fight Romans. He (saw) has initiated the fighting against the enemies to spread the banner of Islam. Instead, he (saw) sent various expeditions like the expedition of Abdullah bin Jahsh (ra) to fight its enemies. Although battles of the Prophet (saw) include defensive wars such as the Battle of Uhud and the Battle of Trench, most of the battles were through the initiation of fighting to spread Islam.
As for the Consensus of the Companions (ra) of the Prophet about Jihad being fighting in the Path of Allah to spread Islam and being an initiation of fighting, the conquests of Iraq, Persia, Sham, Egypt and North Africa are sufficient, as those were the openings during the period of the Companions with the Consensus of the Companions (ra).
All these are self-evident that Jihad is not a defensive war alone. Instead, Jihad is fighting against the disbelievers to raise the word of Allah (swt) as the highest. Any Ummah who carries the comprehensive thought about man, life and universe, possessing the specific methodology in life can only be a warring Ummah i.e. the Ummah which initiates amongst people the carrying of the Dawah and the fighting in its Path. This is because calling to the comprehensive thought, Islam, couples with a specific way of life, of its nature, necessitating initiation of fighting the people in its path. Islam is an intellectual leadership that leads the one who adopts it to carry it to others. It leads the one who carries and the one upon whom it is carried to, into thinking, which inevitably results in an intellectual struggle with kufr. It is associated with a specific way in the system of life that necessitates its vision to be brought to life, in organizing the relationships between the individuals and the communities. It is imperative to implement this either by choice or by compulsion. The latter requires fighting, if the implementation does not happen by choice.
Thus the Islamic Ummah was the Ummah of Jihad who initiated amongst people the carrying of the Dawah and he fighting in its path. Thereby Jihad is defined as “carrying the Dawah of Islam and fighting in the path of Allah.” It is obvious that defending the Muslims and Islamic lands comes under this, with a consideration that it is a defense of the Dawah. Accordingly, it is strange to Islam and contradictory to the nature of the Islamic Ummah by the virtue of it being a bearer of the Dawah to say that, Jihad is a defensive war and not the initiation of fighting the people, because if it were only defensive war that does not exceed defense, then it is not a Jihad.
Al-Waie Magazine Issue 21
Jumadul Ukhra 1409 AH – January 1989 CE
Muhammad Al-Ansaari, Tunisia