Al-Qaradawi’s Fiqh of Jihad (Book Review 4/11)
Part 4: Jihad Between Defense and Attack
This part deals with the third section of the valuable book Fiqh of Jihad, written by the erudite scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi. This is the longest section of the book, with 170 pages divided into 12 chapters.
It discusses an important substantive idea: causes of and reasons for war in Islam. Is war for attacking and invading others, with the aim of spreading Islam, and subjecting all people and compelling them to worship Allah, the Lord of the worlds? Or is it for defending Islam and Muslims, with the aim of calling others to embrace Islam and presenting it to them, giving them the freedom to choose whether to believe or disbelieve? In a word, is fighting in Islam for the purpose of defending or attacking?
In this section, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi mentions the opinions of two parties. He refers to the first party as the “defensive scholars” or the “peaceful, moderate scholars” and refers to the second party as the “preemptive scholars” or the “hard-line scholars.”
Determining the Object of Controversy
Before clarifying the evidence of each party and their point of view, it is appropriate to first determine the object of controversy or dispute between the two parties. Both parties obligate the defensive jihad (jihad ad-daf`), which means repelling any attack that occurs against the lands of Muslim countries or individuals, whether at home or abroad.
This kind of jihad is obligatory, according to the consensus of the earlier and later fuqahaa’ (jurists). Also, both parties are unanimous on the obligation of some types of defensive Jihad, including
- Securing the freedom of da`wah (inviting people to Islam), preventing any temptation that aims at turning Muslims back from Islam, and resisting those who prevent da`wah by force and, moreover, kill the da`is (people who invite others to Islam), as the princes of the Roman emperor did.
- Securing the safety of Muslim states as well as the safety of their borders against threats from enemies.
- Rescuing weak Muslims, including captives and minorities, who suffer from harassment, persecution, and torture at the hands of unjust ruling authorities that act arrogantly on the earth without right.
- Freeing the Arabian peninsula from disbelievers who fight against Muslims and act arrogantly on the earth without right, in order to keep the Arabian peninsula a free and pure land for Islam and Muslims, and maintain it as a private stronghold of Islam, which is not shared with others. (Fiqh of Jihad, vol. 1, pp. 240-241)
However, there is one object of controversy between the two parties. This is namely the pacifist non-Muslims who do not fight against Muslims on account of religion, do not drive Muslims out of their homes, do not help others to drive Muslims out of their homes, and do not say or do any abuse or evil against Muslims. Rather, they restrain their hands and tongues and offer Muslims peace. Are those people to be fought or not?
The scholars of the first party, that is, the “peaceful, moderate scholars” or the “defensive scholars,” hold the view that they should not be fought, as they do not do anything that necessitates fighting them. Moreover, many Qur’anic verses explicitly forbid fighting against them. Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He) says,
[And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits.) (Al-Baqarah 2:190)
[There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error.) (Al-Baqarah 2:256)
[Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to an agreement between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah. And if they turn away, then say: Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him).] (Aal `Imran 3:64)
( Thereforeif they withdraw from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah has not given you a way against them.] (An-Nisaa’ 4:90)
Conversely, the scholars of the second party, that is, the “hard-line scholars,” claim that all these verses are abrogated by a verse, or a part of a verse, mentioned in Surat At-Tawbah, called the “verse of the sword.” (Fiqh of Jihad, vol. 1, pp.243-245)
According to Sheikh Al-Qaradawi, there are many consequences to this hard-line ideology, including
- Rejecting the Charter of the United Nations.
- Criminalizing the act of joining the United Nations.
- Opposing the Convention on the Abolition of Slavery.
- Opposing the Geneva Convention on Prisoners of War.
He also discusses another issue, which is that their immoderate thought strengthens the error of the spread of Islam at the point of a sword, which some non-Muslims claim against Islam through injustice and aggression.
Sheikh Al-Qaradawi states, “However, the most shocking thing I saw and read was that one of my compatriots — a Muslim who has studied the religious sciences and who obtained his PhD in the ‘importance of jihad’ — adopts and defends the claim of the spread of Islam by the sword! Moreover, he accuses those who disprove or refute this claim of being the students of colonialism! He calls it the spread of Islam by jihad, and there is no difference between the word jihad and the word sword in this regard.” (Fiqh of Jihad, vol. 1, p. 252)
In addition, this man wreaked his wrath and severely attacked Thomas Arnold, the Orientalist, researcher, and historian — who is universally considered impartial — for his convincing response, which was supported by historical evidence, to the malicious missionaries and Orientalists who claimed that Islam did not spread except by the sword.
Thomas Arnold’s book, The Spread of Islam in the World, was translated into Arabic by three Muslims who wrote in the introduction, “The author of this book is the researcher and great scholar Sir Thomas Arnold, to whom we cannot give his due appreciation.” (See: The Arabic translation of Thomas Arnold’s The Preaching of Islam, translated and introduced by Ibrahim Husayn and others, p. 5.)
Al-`Alyani, author of Ahamiyyat Al-Jihad (The Importance of Jihad), states, “His due appreciation — if those people know — is to be struck by the sword many a time until it blunts, if he did not embrace Islam or pay jizyah (tribute).” (`Ali Al-`Alyani, Ahamiyyat Al-Jihad [Importance of Jihad], p. 262.)
What a shame! What stupidity! There is no greater stupidity than adopting the accusations and lies of the enemy, trying to attest and prove them, and attacking and opening fire on those who deny such claims. The peak of ignorance and impudence are revealed in his words, “His due appreciation is to be struck by the sword.”
This writer and his like cause greater harm to Islam than that the apparent enemies cause, and unwittingly serve the enemies of Islam more than the missionaries. They cause harm and destruction, where they intend to benefit and build. Hence, an old proverb reads: A wise enemy is better than a stupid friend!(Fiqh of Jihad, vol. 1, pp. 253-254)
Also, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi discusses the ruling on fighting against the pacifist non-Muslims, and tackles the ongoing fiqhi (jurisprudential) disagreement on this issue between the old and contemporary jurists. He states that there are two opinions regarding this issue:
- Some scholars are of the view that the foundation of relationships between Muslims and non-Muslims is based on war, whether they are peaceful or belligerent.
- Some others say that the foundation of relationships between Muslims and others is based on peace, and Muslims should only fight those who fight against them.
Evidence of the Advocates of War on the World
Those who advocate the legitimacy of fighting all people, both those who fight us and those who are at peace with us, quote much evidence from the Glorious Qur’an, Hadith, seerah (biography of the Prophet), history, sayings of the jurists, and ideology of Islam.
We will list their evidence on the whole, and then look at Sheikh Al-Qaradawi’s comment about it. They quote the following evidence:
1. Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He) says, [And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah] (Al-Baqarah 2:193). He also says, [And fight them until persecution is no more) (Al-Anfal 8:39). They believe that the word fitnah, which is mentioned in these two verses, means disbelief and polytheism, according to some exegetes.
2. The verse of the sword, which abrogated about 114 verses or 140 verses. This verse, according to their point of view, obligates fighting all disbelievers. The closest thing that has been said in this regard is that it is the verse that reads [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] (At-Tawbah 9:5).
3. The hadith that reads “I was sent with the sword just before the Hour.” They state that this honorable hadith indicates the permissibility of using force against all disbelievers.
4. The hadith that reads, “I have been ordered to fight people until they say: There is no god but Allah.” Its meaning is very clear. It gives no other reason for fighting, except to make others say: There is no god but Allah, that is, embrace Islam.
5. In most of the Prophet’s battles, he (peace and blessings be upon him) initiated attacks against the disbelievers, as what happened in the Conquest of Makkah, the Battle of Tabuk, and others.
6. The conquests of the rightly-guided Caliphs and the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) — whom we should follow to attain guidance — were offensive wars.
7. The consensus of the jurists that jihad is a collective duty on the Ummah. This means the obligation of fighting and invading the lands of the disbelievers at least once a year.
8. Disbelief is enough reason for fighting if there are no other reasons, such as aggression against Islam and Muslims.
9. The ideology of subjecting tyrant authorities and unjust systems to the system and rule of Islam, so that people are able to see and recognize Islam and its teachings. Hence, they will be affected by Islam, and consequently, will embrace it. (Fiqh of Jihad, vol. 1, p. 257)
Sheikh Al-Qaradawi’s Response
Sheikh Al-Qaradawi discussed the above mentioned evidence in detail, and dedicated a chapter for every piece of evidence.
Regarding the first evidence, which is the verse that reads [And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah), Sheikh Al-Qaradawi states that the exegetes are in disagreement regarding the interpretation of the word fitnah, as to whether it means disbelief and polytheism or turning Muslims back from their religion and returning them to disbelief. After mentioning the opinions of Al-Jassas, Ar-Razi, and Al-Qasimi, he chose the second opinion, that is, fighting the disbelievers to end any temptation that aims at turning Muslims, especially the weak among them, back from Islam, and returning them to disbelief after Allah has guided them to the light of faith.
Regarding the second evidence, which is the “verse of the sword” (which some scholars say abrogates more than 140 verses from the Qur’an), Sheikh Al-Qaradawi comments on this evidence, saying,
What is strange about this claim is the fact that those scholars have differed in specifying this verse, that is, the verse of the sword, which they claimed to be an abrogating verse. So, what is this verse? However, they agreed that the meant verse is stated in Surah At-Tawbah. So, is it the verse that reads [So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush] (At-Tawbah 9:5), or the one that reads [and fight the polytheists all together as they fight you all together) (At-Tawbah 9:36), or the one that reads [Go forth light and heavy, and strive hard in Allah’s way with your property and your persons; this is better for you, if you know] (At-Tawbah 9:41), or the one that reads [Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection] (At-Tawbah 9:29)? Yet, the majority of scholars support the view that it is the first verse we mentioned in this context, namely the 5th verse in Surat At-Tawbah. (Fiqh of Jihad, vol. 1, pp. 268-269)
Sheikh Al-Qaradawi tackles this issue from three main aspects:
- The issue of abrogation between the proponents and opponents.
- When do we need to say that the verse in question is abrogated?
- Can we say that the “verse of the sword” abrogated all the above mentioned verses?
After reviewing the proofs of the scholars who are of the view that the “verse of the sword” abrogated the other verses, and the refutation of the majority of scholars to this claim, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi stated,
What is important for us to decide, point out, and prove in this respect are the strong limitations of the abrogation claims in the Glorious Qur’an. Almighty Allah has revealed His Book only to be a source of guidance for all mankind where they can follow its commands, shun away from its prohibitions, and work in accordance with its rulings. Hence, all allegations mentioned about the abrogation of any verse of the Qur’an, or part of it, are in conflict with the origin and consensus of Muslim scholars.
Thus, any issue that contradicts the origin can be accepted only through strong evidence that prove the opposite and remove all doubts and suspicions. Hence, if we apply the rules, disciplines, and conditions laid down by the scholars of the principles of religion, the principles of fiqh, the principles of tafseer (exegesis of the Qur’an), and the principles of Hadith, we will barely find a single Qur’anic verse that is definitely abrogated, or find none at all. Thus, what is not definitely abrogated has to maintain its rule as constant and obligatory, as it was revealed by Almighty Allah. Therefore, we should not abrogate its rule and invalidate its judgment by means of pure conjecture, since conjecture can be of no avail against the truth. (Fiqh of Jihad, vol. 1, pp. 281-282)
Sheikh Al-Qaradawi mentioned an important condition for accepting abrogation from its supporters and claimers. He stated, “One of the main conditions for accepting abrogation is the presence of a true and real conflict between the abrogating and the abrogated texts where it is impossible to reconcile the two texts by any means. Yet, if it is possible to bring the two texts in agreement with each other, even in a single case, then abrogation will not be proven because it contradicts the origin.”
Sheikh Al-Qaradawi quoted from Imam As-Suyuti the method of recognizing abrogation. He stated,
In his book entitled Al-Itqan Fi `Ulum Al-Qur‘an, Imam As-Suyuti has quoted from the prominent scholar, Ibn Al-Hassar, the method through which one can recognize the abrogated verses. Ibn Al-Hassar said: “For abrogation to be established, references must be obtained from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) himself or from one of the Companions — references saying, ‘Verse so and so abrogated verse so and so.’ At times it is needed to reconcile a clear conflict in history, that is, to know what came first, and what later… In matters pertaining to abrogation, it is impermissible to seek recourse in the views of the common exegetes, or even in such independent judgments of the jurists, without the presence of authentic narrations or clear contradictions. This is because abrogation overturns or establishes a rule legislated during the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Hence, the authority for such action must be narration and history, and not independent reasoning and opinion … In this regard, there are two main opposing views: a party argues that even the sound singular narrations are not acceptable, and another party accepts the opinion of an exegete or a jurist. However, the correct view goes against both these views. (Fiqh of Jihad, vol. 1, p. 282-283)
Then, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi discussed the verses that are said to be the “verse of the sword.” He also discussed some of the verses that some scholars claim are abrogated by this verse. Thus, he came to the conclusion that this issue is controversial among Muslim jurists concerning designating the “verse of the sword,” as well as the other verses that it abrogated. Some of these verses deal with ethics and morals, and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was sent to complete moralities.
Sheikh Al-Qaradawi stated, “It is an obvious mistake to consider all the commands of the Qur’an, which call upon Muslims not to fight or harm the disbelievers, as being abrogated by the “verse of the sword.” This is because this is a part of the ethical guidance mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an, which forms the ethical side in the Islamic personality. Hence, such issues are not to be abrogated.” (Fiqh of Jihad, vol. 1, p. 282-283)
Regarding the third evidence, which is the hadith that reads “I was sent with the sword just before the Hour so that Allah be worshipped alone without partners. My provision was placed under the shadow of my spear, and those who defy my order were disgraced and humiliated, and he who imitates a people is one of them” and upon which the advocates of war (who claim that Muslims’ relations with non-Muslims are originally based on war) base their opinion, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi discusses its chain of narrators and its text. He comes to the conclusion that this hadith cannot be saved from criticism by one of its narrators. In this case, the hadith would be ranked among the weak hadiths, not the authentic ones. Further, Al-Qaradawi deals with the text and content of the hadith to conclude that it is in conflict with what is mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an, namely the fact that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was sent as a mercy for all mankind.
If we ignore the chain of transmission of the hadith and consider its content, we will find that it is also rejected and denounced, since it contradicts what the Qur’an has decreed regarding what Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was sent for. The Glorious Qur’an does not mention in any of its verses that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was sent with the sword. Rather, the Qur’an asserts many a time that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was sent with guidance, the religion of truth, mercy, cure, and good admonition.
Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He) says, [He it is Who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, that He might cause it to prevail over all religions, though the polytheists may be averse.](At-Tawbah 9:33 and As-Saff 61:9)
And, [He it is Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion that He may make it prevail over all the religions; and Allah is enough for a witness.] (Al-Fath 48:28)
The two abovementioned verses were revealed in Madinah. Also, the following verses were revealed in Makkah and assert the same meanings. Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He) says,
[And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.] (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:107)
[O men! there has come to you indeed an admonition from your Lord and a healing for what is in the breasts and a guidance and a mercy for the believers.] (Yunus 10:57)
[We have revealed the Book to you explaining clearly everything, and a guidance and mercy and good news for those who submit.] (An-Nahl 16:89)
[And with truth have We revealed it, and with truth did it come; and We have not sent you but as the giver of good news and as a warner.] (Al-Israa’ 17:105)
(Surely We have sent you with the truth as a bearer of good news and as a warner, and you shall not be called upon to answer for the companions of the flaming fire.] (Al-Baqarah 2:119)
Hence, all of these verses, whether revealed in Makkah or Madinah, assert that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was not sent except with guidance, the religion of truth, glad tidings, warnings, clarification, remedy, and mercy to all mankind. Also, they assert that he (peace and blessings be upon him) was not sent with the sword, as the above-mentioned hadith indicated. There is nothing more truthful or eloquent than the verses of the Glorious Qur’an, from which the real concepts and basic principles of this religion are taken. (Fiqh of Jihad, vol. 1, pp. 315-326)
Regarding the fourth evidence, which is the Prophet’s saying “I have been ordered to fight people until they say: There is no god but Allah,” Sheikh Al-Qaradawi discussed it, quoting the sayings of the jurists and the traditionalist and modern scholars of Hadith. He came to the conclusion that this hadith is categorized as one of the general hadiths, which target dealing with private issues. He then quoted the comment of Sheikh Al-Ghazali on this hadith, who said,
The main goal of fighting people, then, is not to make them testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah. If the People of the Book are excluded from the above mentioned hadith, then does the hadith deal with all polytheists and idolaters? The answer is definitely “no”! In another authentic hadith, the Magians are included with the People of the Book, as the hadith states, “Treat them as you treat the People of the Book” (reported by Malik, Al-Bayhaqi, and others. It was deemed weak by Sheikh Al-Albani). Hence, the fact is that this hadith is pertinent to the Arab polytheists who were reluctant to respect Islam and its followers, seeking to destroy them completely, and who also failed to respect any concluded treaty or given covenant. Those people were granted four months to reconsider their situation and rectify their stance. If they insisted upon obliterating Islam, then it would be necessary to fight them.
Sheikh Al-Qaradawi also quoted Imam Ibn Taymiyah’s opinion on this hadith, where he said,
Ibn Taymiyah dealt with this hadith in his thesis entitled, A Rule in Fighting Against the Disbelievers. He adopted another approach in his understanding and explanation of this hadith, which is entirely different from what is said by the majority of Muslim scholars. Hence, we have to state this view on account of its depth, clarity and significance. Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, “The meaning of the Prophet’s saying “I have been ordered to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah, and I am the Messenger of Allah. If they did so, then they would save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws, and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah” is just a mention of the objective during which fighting against them will be permissible. Hence, if those people carried out what the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked them for, then fighting against them would be prohibited … Thus, this hadith does not mean that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was commanded to fight against all people only for this objective, as this meaning contradicts the religious texts and the consensus of Muslim scholars. Yet, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) never committed such an act; rather, he (peace and blessings be upon him) used to make peace with those who wanted to make peace with him. (Fiqh of Jihad, vol. 1, pp. 327-337)
Regarding the fifth evidence, which claims that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) initiated attacks against the disbelievers, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi refuted this claim with the words of Ibn Taymiyah and his disciple, Ibn Al-Qayyim. Sheikh Al-Qaradawi stated,
The Prophet’s biography indicates that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did not fight against the disbelievers who concluded truces with him. Books of seerah, Hadith, exegesis, fiqh, and the Prophet’s battles are full of such acts, which are recurrent in the Prophet’s biography. He (peace and blessings be upon him) was never the first to start fighting against people. In addition, if Almighty Allah commanded His Prophet to kill all disbelievers, then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would have initiated fighting against them. In his book Hidayat Al-Hayara, Ibn Al-Qayyim stated, “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) never compelled anyone to convert to Islam. Rather, he used to fight against those who fought against him. In addition, he never fought against those who made peace and concluded covenants with him. This goes in line with Almighty Allah’s saying [There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error) (Al-Baqarah 2:256). The negation in this verse bears the meaning of prohibition, namely, “do not compel anyone to convert to your religion.” This verse includes every one of the disbelievers. He who ponders over the Prophet’s biography will find that he never compelled anyone to embrace Islam. Rather, he used to fight against those who fought against him. In addition, he never fought against those who made peace and concluded covenants with him. Moreover, Almighty Allah commanded him to fulfill his promise to them as long as they were true to him. Allah (Exalted be He) says in this respect, [So long as they are true to you, be true to them) (At-Tawbah 9:7). When the Prophet reached Madinah, he made peace with the Jews and left them on their creed and tenets. Yet, when they fought against him, broke their covenant, and started fighting him, he began to turn back their aggression. Hence, he bestowed favors upon some of them, evacuated some, and killed some. Likewise, when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) concluded a truce with the people of Quraish, he never fought against them till they began fighting him and violating their covenant with him. At that time, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) conquered them in their territories, while they had previously been the first to invade the Islamic territories. In addition, this had been the case with the people of Quraish during the battles of Uhud, Al-Khandaq (Trench), and Badr. Yet, if they averted from the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), he would have never fought against them at all. This means that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) never compelled anyone to embrace Islam. Rather, the people converted to Islam out of their choice and free will.”
Sheikh Al-Qaradawi then proceeded to quote the views of contemporary scholars such as Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ghazali, Sheikh `Abd Al-Latif Al Mahmud, and others. (Fiqh of Jihad, vol. 1, pp. 327-337)
Regarding the sixth evidence, which uses the conquests of the Rightly Guided Caliphs as evidence to prove that Muslims’ relations with non-Muslims is based on war, and not peace, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi stated,
It is my view, as well as the view of the verifying scholars, who are well-versed in history and can read clearly without any superficiality or abusiveness, that the conquests of the rightly-guided Caliphs were an extension of the armed conflicts, which started during the Prophet’s lifetime against the powers of tyranny and despotism. In other words, these conquests were against what we call today “universal tyrant imperialism.” In addition, such conquests were not merely for expansionism and subduing others, but were for other aims, among which are the following:
1. Removing obstacles from the way of Islam.
2. Launching preemptive wars for protecting the Islamic state.
3. Launching wars for liberating those people deemed to be oppressed and weak. (Fiqh of Jihad, vol. 1, pp. 339-364)
Regarding the seventh evidence, which claims that “disbelief” in itself is a sufficient cause for killing and fighting, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi quoted the opinion of the Hanafis that opposes the view of the Shafi`is on this issue. He then mentioned the view of Ibn Taymiyah and his evidence that the foundation of Muslims’ relations with non-Muslims is based upon peace not war. Sheikh Al-Qaradawi stated,
Sheikh Al-Islam, Ibn Taymiyah, has a thesis, entitled Fighting Against Disbelievers, in which he supports this view and discusses it in a distinguished manner, for he was known for creativity, distinction, persuasiveness, and offering abundant evidence. This view was denied by some scholars from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who refused to add it to Majmu` Fatawa Ibn Taymiyah, which reached 35 volumes. Their rejection of Ibn Taymiyah’s view was not based upon any evidence, but simply because it did not correspond with their adopted approach, which obligates fighting against the whole world, the peaceful and the belligerent alike. Yet, Ibn Taymiyah’s view was recognized by the prominent scholar Muhammad Abu Zahrah, who quoted it in his book Ibn Taymiyah. In addition, the same view was acknowledged by the prominent Hanbali jurist, Sheikh `Abdullah Ibn Zayd Ibn Al-Mahmud, the Supreme Judge of Qatar, who quoted heavily from it in his book Al-Jihad Al-Mashru` Fi Al-Islam. Furthermore, the prominent Saudi scholar and researcher, Dr `Abdullah Al-Qadiri Al-Ahdal, has acknowledged this view and quoted from it in his book Al-Jihad Fi Al-Islam.
In this thesis, Ibn Taymiyah pointed out that the disagreement of the Imams regarding this great issue is divided into two views: The first is the view of the majority of Muslim scholars, Malik, Abu Hanifah, and Ahmad, who held the view that the disbelievers should be fought for their aggression towards Muslims, and not for their disbelief. The second is the view of Imam Ash-Shafi`i,who held the view that they should be fought for their disbelief, even if they committed no harm against Muslims. Ibn Taymiyah gave preference to the view of the majority of the Muslim scholars and deemed weak the view of Imam Ash-Shafi`i. He dealt with this in detail by means of his deep knowledge, persuasiveness, and ability to establish the origins of all things.
The most important evidence of Ibn Taymiyah can be summed up as follows:
1. Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He) says, [And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits] (Al-Baqarah 2:190). Thus, this verse denotes that fighting the disbelievers is contingent on their fighting against us. Hence, their transgression, and not their disbelief, is the reason behind fighting against them.
2. It has been authentically reported from the Prophetic Sunnah that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) passed by a dead woman and said, “This woman was not supposed to be fought.” Hence, the reason of prohibiting the killing of such a woman is her not fighting against Muslims, and not her being booty for Muslims (according to Ash-Shafi`i).
3. Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He) says, [There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error) (Al-Baqarah 2:256). This is a general text that denotes that we should not compel anyone to embrace our religion. Hence, if it was permissible to fight against a disbeliever to make him embrace Islam, then that would be the greatest compulsion in religion. Also, Almighty Allah says, [So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates] (Muhammad 47:4).
4. Ibn Taymiyah took the Prophet’s biography as evidence. He stated, “The Prophet’s biography points out that he had never fought against the disbelievers who made a truce with him. Books of seerah, Hadith, tafseer, fiqh, and the Prophet’s battles are full of such acts,which are recurrent in the Prophet’s biography. He (peace and blessings be upon him) was never the first to start fighting against people. In addition, if Almighty Allah commanded His Prophet to kill all the disbelievers, then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would have initiated fighting against them.”
5. Also, Ibn Taymiyah stated, ‘If the state of disbelief was a cause for permitting fighting the disbelievers, then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would not have accepted to make Sa`d Ibn Mu`adh a judge regarding Banu Qurayzhah, for if Sa`d had judged with a ruling other than killing, then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) would have fulfilled his judgment.’
6. Moreover, if disbelief obligated the killing of disbelievers, then Muslims would not accept jizyah and subjugation (to the system of the Islamic state) from the disbelievers, since this will not change their state of disbelief, in the same way that since apostasy obligates killing, it is unlawful to accept Jizyah or subjugation from the apostate.
7. Ibn Taymiyah emphasized his view that the killing of any human being is prohibited, even if he is a non-Muslim. However, Almighty Allah has permitted killing those who seek mischief on the earth, for the well-being of mankind. For this reason, Almighty Allah has decreed that killing the disbeliever who causes no harm to Muslims without a cause for killing is considered a type of corruption, which Almighty Allah and His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) abhor, as they may be guided to Islam and to the right path, as is the case with sinful Muslims. (Fiqh of Jihad, vol. 1, pp. 373-384)
Regarding the eighth evidence, which is the claim that the scholars are unanimous in their agreement that preemptive Jihad (jihad at-talab) is a collective duty and that it is an obligation upon all Muslims to take part in it at least once a year, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi mentioned the disagreement of the jurists on this issue, and asserted that there is no consensus on it and, hence, cannot be quoted as a unanimous matter. Sheikh Al-Qaradawi stated,
There is no consensus among the jurists on this issue. Some of them are of the view that jihad is an obligation only on the Prophet’s Companions. This is related by Imam Al-Hafizh in his book entitled Fath Al-Bari. Imam Muslim narrated on the authority of Ibn Al-Mubarak that the Prophet’s hadith that reads “One who died but did not fight in the way of Allah nor did he express any desire (or determination) for Jihad died in one of the states of hypocrisy” relates to the Prophet’s Companions only. An-Nawawi said, ‘This view is probable.’ … Also, some of the Prophet’s Companions, their followers, and the great Imams stated that preemptive jihad is voluntary, and not an obligation. This view was narrated by Imam Abu Bakr Ar-Razi (Al-Jassas), Ibn Abi Shaybah, and others on the authority of Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both). It was also narrated on the authority of `Ataa’ and `Amr ibn Dinar, from among the followers of the Companions, and on the authority of Ibn Shubrumah and Sufyan Ath-Thawri, from among the great Imams of Islam. (Fiqh of Jihad, vol. 1, p. 385)
Regarding the ninth evidence, which is the ideology of subjugating tyrant authorities and unjust regimes to the rule of Islam, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi dealt with this elaborately, discussing the views of Al-Mawdudi and Sayyid Qutb. Sheikh Al-Qaradawi said,
“There is a group of our Muslim brethren from among the scholars and contemporary da`is — known for their devotion, jealousy, and sincerity — who come to enthusiastically defend the views of the earliest majority of Muslim scholars. Those da`is have given their eloquent pens much space to defend Islamic jihad and consider it as preemptive fighting that declares war against the whole world … The defect of those scholars and da`is can be represented by two main problems: The first is that they deal with such a controversial issue, as if it enjoys the consensus of Muslim scholars, or is one of the well-known and agreed-upon issues. Yet, the situation is completely the opposite.
The second point is that they accuse their opponents with naivety, negligence, and stupidity on an intellectual level. On the spiritual level, however, they accuse them with submission and defeatism.
After quoting Sheikh Sayyid Qutb’s view through his exegesis of Surat Al-Anfal, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi said,
After quoting these long paragraphs, I have nothing to say but to appreciate the martyr Sayyid Qutb for his devotion and zealousness in defending his issue. I also greet his eloquent pen for the valuable and impressive considerations he presented and which support his view and vehemently attack the views of his opponents in such a strong tone and good style. However, I would like to quietly discuss the views of our leading man of letters (may Allah have mercy upon him), pointing out the following main observations and notes.
First, Sheikh Sayyid Qutb was not accurate in his presentation of the idea of the opponents of preemptive jihad against the world. None among those scholars – starting from Muhammad `Abdu, Rashid Rida, Shaltut, Diraz, Khallaf, Abu Zahrah, Hasan Al-Banna, As-Siba`i, and Al-Ghazali, and those who followed them — stated that Islam is a local system confined to a certain home or country and, hence, has the right to thwart any aggression against its territorial borders. Rather, all of them considered Islam as a universal message that has the right to reach the whole world. Hence, this message has the full right to stand in the face of aggression, so as to guarantee freedom of religion and prevent ordeals, which avert people from the way of the true message.
Second, Sheikh Sayyid Qutb rejected one of the most obvious and clear-cut ideas. This idea revolves around the fact that owing to the positive universal message of Islam, and due to it being a call to emancipate mankind from tyranny and enslavement, it is necessary for this powerful religion to be fought by all powers of ignorance and despotism in accordance with the laws of eternal struggle between good and evil. In this way, Islam is obliged to take part in this battle to defend the message of truth, goodness, justice, and monotheism.
Third, Sheikh Sayyid Qutb declared that the call to Islam can be sufficient through jihad with eloquence and speech in the case of letting it address and have unrestricted contact with individuals, while they are entirely free from all political and materialistic effects. In this case, there will be no compulsion in religion. On the other hand, such obstacles and effects should be forcibly removed wherever they are, so that people’s hearts and minds can be addressed, while they are free from all these chains and obstacles.
Hence, I have some words to tell to Sheikh Sayyid Qutb (may Allah have mercy upon him): Our age has made it possible for us to address people’s minds and hearts all over the world, through many forms of media such as radio networks, satellite channels, Internet, and messages written in different languages. Yet, this task demands a great number of Muslim da`is, teachers, and trained individuals in the media field who have the ability to address people in their own languages.
Fourth, It seems that Sheikh Qutb forgot the Qur’anic verses and Prophetic hadiths, which imposed restrictions on the required jihad to be against those who fought against us, and forbade us from transgressing against anyone. Almighty Allah says, [And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits) (Al-Baqarah 2:190). He (Exalted and Glorified be He) also says, [Therefore, if they withdraw from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah has not given you a way against them] (An-Nisaa’ 4:90).
Fifth, Sheikh Sayyid Qutb’s ideology, and the thought he bears in mind, makes him in enmity with the whole world, the peaceful and belligerent alike. He challenges the whole world, those who have made a covenant with Muslims or not, and encourages the whole world to fight against Muslims due to a fear that they will be a source of peril on the whole world if they become powerful enough! They speculate as to the fate of the world should Muslims come to possess military, economic, scientific, and technological power and nuclear weapons, which America possesses at present. They think that Muslims will undoubtedly subjugate the whole world to their authority as it is the case right now with America, which seeks to subdue the whole world under its ideologies and will.
Sixth, Sheikh Sayyid Qutb is very intense and vehement with his opponents. He considers them to be spiritually and mentally defeated, and has marked them with naivety, stupidity, and negligence. However, Sayyid Qutb’s opponents are prominent Muslim scholars and leaders of Islamic thought, fiqh, and da`wah.
Sheikh Al-Qaradawi concluded this important chapter with the evidence of the moderate scholars who call for peace. All evidence that he mentioned at the end of the chapter was mentioned previously throughout the chapter. It can be summed up as follows:
- Islam calls for peace; as Almighty Allah says, [O ye who believe! Enter into Islam wholeheartedly] (Al-Baqarah 2:208). The Arabic word silm is explained in this verse to mean peace, reconciliation, and giving up war and fighting. However, some other scholars interpreted it as entering into Islam by obeying all the rules and regulations of the Muslim religion.
- Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He) says, [And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits] (Al-Baqarah 2:190). Hence, Almighty Allah has made it permissible to fight against those who fight against us, which also means that we should not fight against those who do not fight against us. In addition, Almighty Allah has prohibited transgression and fighting against those who have made peace with us.
- Almighty Allah has clearly forbidden fighting those who do not fight against us. Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He) says, [Therefore if they withdraw from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah has not given you a way against them) (An-Nisaa’ 4:90).
- Almighty Allah has commanded Muslims to incline to peace — even after the occurrence of fighting — if their enemy is inclined to it, even if it is meant for deception. Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He) says, (And if they incline to peace, then incline to it and trust in Allah; surely He is the Hearing, the Knowing.And if they intend to deceive you, then surely Allah is sufficient for you] (Al-Anfal 8:61–62).
- Almighty Allah has commanded His Prophet (peace be upon him) to shun away and turn his back on the polytheists if they did not answer his call to Islam. In addition, Almighty Allah did not command His Prophet to fight against them. He (Exalted and Glorified be He) says, [But if they turn back, say: Allah is sufficient for me, there is no god but He; on Him do I rely, and He is the Lord of mighty power] (At-Tawbah 9:129).
- Almighty Allah has laid down the constitution of making peace and fighting in two verses in Surat Al-Mumtahinah. He (Exalted and Glorified be He) says, (Allah does not forbid you respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly; surely Allah loves the doers of justice.Allah only forbids you respecting those who made war upon you on account of (your) religion, and drove you forth from your homes and backed up (others) in your expulsion, that you make friends with them, and whoever makes friends with them, these are the unjust] (Al-Mumtahanah60:89).
- The agreed upon Prophetic hadith, in which the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “O people! Do not wish to face the enemy [in a battle], and ask Allah to save you [from calamities]” (agreed upon).
- A correct reading of the Prophet’s biography and battles.
- A correct reading of the Islamic conquests and pointing out that they were for turning back aggression or preventing people from tempting Muslims to leave their religion.
10. Pointing out that the causes of fighting are: transgression, warring, and temptation to leave religion; hence, disbelief is not a reason for fighting. Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He) says, [Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion) (Al-Kafirun 109:6).
11. Indicating that Islam aims at inviting people to this true religion through peace, and calling them through conviction and good example.