Al-Qaradawi’s Fiqh of Jihad (Book Review 3/11)
Part 3: Jihad Against Local Injustice and Corruption
In the first two parts of this series, we talked about this important book (Fiqh of Jihad) authored by the leading scholar Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. In Part 1, we drew attention to the great importance of the book and its author, along with his approach to the topic of jihad. We also explained who would benefit from the book.
In Part 2, we reviewed the two types of rulings pertaining to jihad; namely, defensive jihad and preemptive jihad, in addition to the role of women in jihad. In this third part, we address the crucial issue of jihad against local injustice and corruption to see whether this type of jihad has priority over jihad against apostasy and aggression abroad or not.
Dr. Al-Qaradawi dedicated Chapter 2 to investigating the various types and levels of jihad. He divided the chapter into seven sections, namely, “Jihad vs. Fighting,” “Status of Self-Jihad,” “Status of Jihad Against Satan,” “Jihad Against Local Injustice and Corruption,” “People’s Attitudes Toward Local Jihad,” “Status of Jihad by Speech (Jihad by Calling to Islam and Media Jihad),” “Status of Civil Jihad,” and “Status of Military Jihad (Development of Jihad by Speech into Military Jihad).”
In this brief introduction, we will only skim through the statuses of jihad as suggested by Dr. Al-Qaradawi, and the main focus will be on the topic mentioned in the title.
In the first section, Dr. Al-Qaradawi emphasizes the fact he has already mentioned: that Jihad is more general and more comprehensive than fighting or war. He verifies this exposition by citations from Qur’anic Makkan verses revealed at a time when there was no military jihad. Dr. Al-Qaradawi says, “A proof that jihad is different from fighting is that jihad had been mentioned in the Makkan Qur’an before the breakout of fighting, which took place in Madinah. One of the verses that include reference to jihad in the Makkan Qur’an is the following verse from Surat An-Nahl:
(Then lo! Your Lord — for those who became fugitives after they had been persecuted and then fought and were steadfast — lo! Your Lord afterward is (for them) indeed Forgiving, Merciful.) (An-Nahl 16:110)
This is not the only verse in Surat An-Nahl that refers to Hijrah (migration) and Muhajireen (migrants or fugitives), as these are referred to in two previous verses:
(And [as for] those who became fugitives for the cause of Allah after they had been oppressed, We shall verily give them goodly lodging in the world, and surely the reward of the hereafter is greater, if they but knew — such as are steadfast and put their trust in Allah.) (An-Nahl 16:41–42)
A proof that jihad does not always mean fighting is Allah’s words addressed to His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him):
(O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites! Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is Hell, a hapless journey’s end.) (At-Tawbah 9:73)
(O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern with them. Hell will be their home, a hapless journey’s end.) (At-Tahrim 66:9)
Levels and Types of Jihad
Dr. Al-Qaradawi then refers to Ibn Al-Qayyim’s elaboration on the levels of jihad, in which the meaning of jihad is not confined to the meaning of fighting, saying that:
As Jihad is the topmost tenet of Islam and its affiliates have the sublimest of all abodes in Paradise as well as the most dignified status in the world, they are the most exalted in life and in the hereafter. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) ranked top in the realm of jihad, as he mastered all types of jihad and he ideally struggled for the cause of Allah. He struggled by heart and mind, by call and expression, and by sword and spear. All his life, he was involved in jihad by heart, by tongue, and by hand, and therefore he was the greatest of all humans and Allah’s most praised one.
Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim then mentions in his clear statement, which is documented with evidence, a list of 13 ranks of jihad, saying, “If jihad is defined, it is of four types: jihad against the self, jihad against Satan, jihad against the disbelievers, and jihad against the hypocrites.”
Ranks of Jihad Against the Self
1. Struggling against the self to learn the path of guidance and the religion of truth, without which the self would never be successful or happy in this life or in the hereafter. If the self fails to learn, it will suffer in both worlds.
2. Struggling against the self in order to act upon what is learned, as mere knowledge with no ensuing action yields no benefit, even if it does not cause any harm.
3. Struggling against the self to call others to Allah’s guidance (right path) and to teach those who do not know it; otherwise such a person would be one of those who hold back Allah’s guidance and revelations. Such people’s knowledge would not benefit them or save them from Allah’s torment.
4. Struggling to be patient, to endure the hardships faced during one’s call for Allah’s path, and to stand the harm inflicted by others. One should bear all that for the sake of Allah.
Once one achieves these four levels, one becomes of Allah’s close servants. The Salaf (righteous predecessors) unanimously agree that a scholar does not deserve to be called of Allah’s close servants until he or she knows the right path, acts upon this knowledge, and teaches it. Those who gain knowledge, act upon it, and teach it are called great within the realm of heavens.
Ranks of Jihad Against Satan
1. One’s jihad to ward off all the suspicions and uncertainties Satan casts upon Allah’s servants to impinge on their faith.
2. One’s jihad to ward off all that is cast upon oneself of corrupt whims and lusts.
Ranks of Jihad Against Disbelievers and Hypocrites
1. Jihad by heart
2. Jihad by speech
3. Jihad by spending one’s wealth
4. Physical jihad
Physical jihad is mainly performed against the disbelievers, and jihad by speech is mainly performed against the hypocrites.
Ranks of Jihad Against the Unjust and the Corrupt
As regards jihad against the unjust, the corrupt, and the proponents of heterodoxy and evils, there are three ranks:
1. Jihad by hand if possible
2. Jihad by speech if the first rank is not possible
3. Jihad by heart if the second rank is not possible
This completes the 13 ranks of jihad. Those who die without conquering or talking to themselves of conquering meet their end within one of the dimensions of hypocrisy.
Following his speech about the ranks of jihad against the self and against Satan, Dr. Al-Qaradawi talks about the rank of jihad against local injustice and corruption. He says,
One of the ranks of jihad, as specified by Islam, is the rank of jihad against injustice and corruption inside one’s own country. This type of jihad is of paramount importance for the protection of society against collapse or fragmentation. A Muslim society has its own bases and characteristics that constitute its identity. If such bases are dissipated or forgotten or fought, no Muslim society would ever survive.
Fields of Jihad in Society
There is a mandatory type of jihad within society. It includes a host of fields.
Jihad Against Injustice and the Unjust
It is the field of resisting injustice and the unjust, penalizing them, and never trusting them, as Allah Almighty says,
(And incline not toward those who do wrong lest the Fire touch you, and you have no protecting friends against Allah, and afterward you would not be helped.) (Hud 11:113)
Here, Islam demands that the Muslim should do two essential things: first, not to be unjust; second, not to support an unjust person. The unjust and their followers will be thrust into Hellfire together. That is why the Qur’an condemns the tyrants’ retinue as it condemns the tyrants themselves. This is evident in Almighty Allah’s words:
(And the family of Pharaoh took him up [i.e., Moses] that he might become for them an enemy and a sorrow. Lo! Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts were ever sinning.) (Al-Qasas 28:8)
Allah says about Pharaoh,
(Therefore We seized him and his hosts and abandoned them unto the sea. Behold the nature of the consequence for evildoers!) (Al-Qasas 28:40)
Thus, Allah regards both the tyrants and their retinues as unjust. Allah’s torture was inflicted upon them all, and He penalized them all for what they had committed.
The earth’s tyrants and supercilious do not implement their oppression themselves but through those human machines they employ to overpower people and spread corruption in earth. These tyrants’ controlling of such machines is usually easier than their controlling of the rings they wear!
Whether injustice is committed by the rich against the poor, by landlords against tenants, by employers against employees, by army leaders against soldiers, by superintendents against their subordinates, by men against women, by grownups against the young, or by rulers or custodians against their subjects or peoples, it is haram (prohibited by Allah). It must be resisted and combated by all means man has got: by hand, by tongue, or by heart. This is stated in Sahih Muslim (authentic book of Muslim), which cites the following hadith of the Prophet, narrated by Ibn Mas`ud:
“There was no prophet sent by Allah in an Ummah before me without him having in his Ummah disciples and friends who adopted his Sunnah and followed him. Then, they were succeeded by other people who did not do what they preached, and who did what they had not been commanded to do. Therefore, he who resists them by hand is a true believer, and he who resists them by tongue is a true believer, and he who resists them by heart is a true believer. Nothing else would add to true faith — not even a grain of mustard.”
The Prophet imposed on each and every Muslim the jihad against the unjust and the tyrants using all possible means: by hand, by tongue, or by heart, and this latter is the lowest rank of jihad. Those who fail to perform this last type of jihad lose all aspects of faith, even the least level of faith. The Prophet’s words grain of mustard illustrate the minute size of the lost aspect of faith. At this level, a Muslim is required to heartily hate injustice and to hate the perpetrators of injustice and vice. Such hatred cannot be stopped, as nobody can control a believer’s heart but Allah, Who is the Creator of this heart.
Islam encourages and pays close attention to this type of jihad. In some hadiths, it is referred to as the best type of jihad. Tariq ibn Shihab Al-Bajali narrated that a man asked the Prophet while they were about to go into the battlefield, “Which is the best jihad?” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Telling the truth to a despotic ruler” (Fiqh Al-Jihad and references, p. 173).
Point of Meditation
Under this subtitle, Dr. Al-Qaradawi said,
We had better stop here to meditate and compare. Why did the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) highly evaluate this type of jihad and judge it as the best, meaning that whoever is killed in it would join the master of all martyrs?
Here is the answer: If the danger of local corruption proliferates, it becomes a severe danger and a great evil for the entire Ummah. That is why Islam looks upon jihad against local injustice and corruption as having priority over external jihad against atheism and aggression. In most cases, local corruption is a prelude to external aggression.
This is explained at the beginning of Surat Al-Israa’, which tells us about what befell the Children of Israel when they committed vice twice on earth and despotically soared truly high. Nobody tried to stop their corruption or resist it. Therefore, Almighty Allah made external enemies attack them, ravage their homes, destroy their temples over their heads, burn their Torah, inflict severe torment on them, and utterly annihilate what they exalted over. Truly Allah’s promise must be fulfilled. Consequently, we see that internal corruption and decadence pave the way for invasion and foreign occupation. Almighty Allah warned the Children of Israel against future corruption and said,
(It may be that your Lord will have mercy on you, but if you repeat (the crime), We shall repeat (the punishment), and We have appointed Hell a dungeon for the disbelievers.) (Al-Israa’ 17:8)
This is a deep level of fiqh (jurisprudence) and an accurate understanding on Dr. Al-Qaradawi’s part. He sees jihad against injustice and the unjust as a jihad in the cause of Almighty Allah and that it has priority over jihad against the atheists and polytheists because injustice is more dangerous and has a deeper impact on the Ummah’s progress when compared with atheism or polytheism of others. If injustice comes from abroad, it implants in the Ummah’s body the spirit of resistance and bravery, along with resistance to atheism. The Ummah then quickly regains its power, recuperates, and achieves unity of thought and heart.
On the other hand, internal injustice and corruption are very much like mites; they can decay the Ummah’s body and ruin it. These vices are like cancer, which the body detects when it is too late.
Concept of Change by Heart
Some people misinterpret “change by heart” and call it negative change that changes nothing and that is no more than some words the Muslims repeat in their hearts without moving their tongues. In fact, change by heart is one of the ranks of faith, and nothing negative could have this status.
Dr. Al-Qaradawi says,
Change by heart or, in other words, jihad by heart means that the heart grows wild with anger against evil, with antipathy toward injustice, and with rejection of corruption. When the heart is fully charged with such anger, antipathy, rejection, and inner revolt, this is a moral preparation for a vigorous revolution. This revolution is liable to uproot injustice and corruption when the believers witness the dominance of injustice, the prevalence of corruption, and the supremacy of evil but they cannot change any of them by hand or by tongue.
Only then, the believers’ hearts melt like salt in water and fret boils inside them very much as the water boils over fire. The pot of boiling water must have a vent; otherwise it will break or explode. This emotional charge in the hearts is an important benchmark for any expected change. Change does not normally happen on its own. It must have preludes and psychological motives that give temptation and momentum to it.
Change or jihad by heart is not a negative stand as some people may opine; if it were, the Prophet would not have called it change or jihad or assign it as one of the ranks of faith, regardless of the fact that it is the lowest rank of jihad beyond which not a grain of mustard could be added.
Consequently, jihad against corruption is mandatory and preferable to other types of jihad for the purpose of protecting the Ummah against the evils and consequences of corruption. It extinguishes the fire before the proliferation of its blazes, which can lead to more drastic dangers and common harms.
Resisting Corruption and Decadence
There is another field of internal jihad; namely, resisting decadence, corruption, sinning, and obsession with lusts. These are serious aberrations that can thrust the Ummah into the abyss of dissolution. If the Ummah surrendered to them, then all its affairs would be chaotic, and corruption and imbalance would preponderate in its lands and seas because of the evil deeds and stray behavior. Almighty Allah says,
(Corruption does appear on land and sea because of (the evil) that men’s hands have done, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return.) (Ar-Rum 30:41)
Resisting Heterodoxy and Intellectual Aberration
This is a third important type of local jihad; namely, jihad against religious heterodoxy, which is telling people what is not in their religion; adding to their religion what human nature does not accept as a creed, doctrine, ethical principle, or tradition; or propagating concepts that contradict the religion’s doctrines, beliefs, and values.
Islam, in particular, is oversensitive to heterodoxy and innovation in religion, as well as intellectual paradoxes. That is why our noble Prophet said, “Whoever innovates something in this matter of ours that is not of it will have it rejected” (unanimously agreed upon).
The phrase this matter of ours means the religion of Islam, and have it rejected means that act of innovation is refuted. The Prophet also said, “Every invented matter is an innovation, and every innovation is an act of going astray, and every act of going astray will be in Hellfire” (Muslim).
Well-versed scholars see that innovations are more dangerous than sins because the latter are overt and exposed to people, whereas innovations use religion as a disguise and promote their commodities among many people who do not know the real intentions behind these innovations.
Meanwhile, the innovators think that their innovating in religion is a means of getting closer to Almighty Allah. Therefore, some scholars say, “We often see people who regret their sins, repent them, and pray for Allah’s forgiveness. On the other hand, innovators never repent their innovations or pray for Allah’s forgiveness, because they use them to get closer to Allah, so how come they repent or ask for forgiveness?” Consequently, some scholars say, “Satan prefers an innovation to a sin. A sin corrupts man, but an innovation corrupts religion.”
Resisting Apostasy and the Apostates
In Islam, jihad against corruption and evil within the Muslim society includes jihad against apostasy, which means relapsing into atheism after embracing Islam.
As stated earlier, Islam enjoins combating evil and resisting injustice and sins by hand, tongue, or heart. For the Muslim society, apostasy constitutes a danger that is more profound than all sins, even the major ones. Atheism is the greatest sin and the most grievous of all evils, yet apostasy, in particular, is the worst of all kinds of atheism.
Whosoever embraces Islam through conviction and insight must consult a trustworthy religious Muslim scholar when he or she has any doubts. This scholar would then discuss these doubts with this person and remove all reasons of doubt. Such doubts are temporary, Allah willing. Whoever wishes to attain the enlightenment of the truth should know that Islam provides beliefs that are adequate to the human instinct, concepts that appeal to the mind, doctrines that achieve justice, and values and ethics that refine the soul and ameliorate life.
If such a person is still not convinced or says that he or she has lost his or her conviction about the validity of Islam or the truthfulness of its Prophet — yet he or she keeps all that hushed and asks none to follow in his or her footsteps — then this case should be left to Allah, and this person will get his or her requital in the hereafter.
The real danger of such a person lies in his or her preaching atheism or apostasy within a Muslim society, as this constitutes a coup against the society and a breach of allegiance and affiliation to the Ummah, which amounts to high treason by any patriotic criterion. Just as the citizens are not allowed to shift their allegiance to another country or nation (especially if this other country occupies their own and reigns it), by the criterion of religion, Muslims should never shift their allegiance to any other nation or place. This is the case of the apostate. Apostasy is not a mere change of a mental stand; it is a change of identity and allegiance. It is an act of dissociation from the Muslim Ummah and association with another disparate and antagonistic one.
The Ruler’s Apostasy
The ruler’s apostasy is the most serious type of all apostasies. The ruler is supposed to safeguard the Ummah’s creed, resist apostasy, chase the apostates, and eliminate them from the Muslim community, so what if that ruler secretly or openly apostatizes? This ruler would then secretly or openly spread corruption and protect the apostates. He or she would open the doors and windows for them and would award them decorations and titles.
People’s Attitudes Toward Local Jihad
Dr. Al-Qaradawi then talks about people’s attitudes toward local jihad: “There are three categories of people with regard to [the attitudes toward] local jihad: two extreme categories and a middle category.”
The first party is the passive people. They tend to flee from the battlefield or never step into it in the first place. They allow the tyrants to practice what leads to the deterioration of a country and to the humiliation of its people. They also allow corruption to destroy people’s manners and consciences, in the same way fire does to firewood. Mental invasion plays havoc with people’s minds, deforms their vision, corrupts their culture, misrepresents their religion, and leads them off the path to their identity.
The passive are onlookers who neither take action nor help others to act. On the contrary, they impede people’s actions under various pretexts that Allah has never ordained and the human mind has never accepted or proved to be valid.
The Assailants (Advocates of Armed Violence)
This is a counterparty that represents the opposite extreme. These people use violence and unwisely call for taking up arms, without preparing people for the consequences and without studying the effects: Would it work or not? Would it be useful or harmful?
This is what has been adopted in today’s world by some groups of Jihadists that emerged in many Muslim countries. They started in Egypt; then they moved to Algeria and to other Arab and Muslim countries.
The Moderate Category Between the Two Extremes
There is a moderate category between those who go to the extreme of succumbing to the injustices of the rulers and those who go to the extreme of taking up arms against the unjust without taking the consequences of such confrontation into account, which might lead to tragedies. These moderate people neither condone the evil that is pervading nor turn a blind eye to the corruption that is spreading or to the injustice that is aggravating. These latter are the reasons behind the devastation of a state and the annihilation of an entire nation, be it good or bad, unless the Muslims rise against the unjust as Allah Almighty commands:
(And fear an affliction that smites not in particular (only) those of you who are unjust, and know that Allah is severe in requiting (evil).) (Al-Anfal 8:25)
Dr. Al-Qaradawi then speaks about jihad of the tongue or jihad by speech (or, in other words, jihad by calling to the way of Allah or media jihad). He proceeds to explain the types of this rank of jihad, which is imposed on Muslims. Jihad of the tongue can be performed by
– Calling others to Islam
– Highlighting the merits of Islam
– Preaching in the language spoken by the target audience
– Using proper scientific logic to refute the rejecters’ arguments, rebut the fallacies of the antagonists of Islam, and remove all suspicions others weave about Islam
Dr. Al-Qaradawi then talks about “civil Jihad” and its nature. He says, “There is the civil jihad, which is the crux of this talk. It means the jihad that satisfies the different needs of society; solves its various problems; responds to its material and spiritual demands; and leads it forward in all walks of life, so that the society would assume its appropriate place. This includes various areas, such as science, culture, social activities, economy, education, health care, environmental issues, and all fields of civilization in general.”
This rank of jihad is not included in Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim’s 13 ranks of jihad, but it is a rank of jihad that is based on evidence derived from the Qur’an and the Sunnah. It is also based on the objectives of Shari`ah.
Dr. Al-Qaradawi then concludes this chapter with the topic of military jihad, which is the main topic of the book. He explains that military jihad went through several stages:
1. The phase of individual da`wah and warning
2. The phase of collective jihad of da`wah in the Makkan era
3. The phase of jihad of bearing harm with patience and not fighting back
4. The phase of Allah’s permission for Muslims to go to war
5. The phase of enjoining military jihad
6. The phase of disagreement over preemptive military jihad