Fiqh of Jihad (Book Review) VIII

Al-Qaradawi’s Fiqh of Jihad (Book Review 5/11)

Part 5: Objectives of Jihad in Islam

In the fourth section of the valuable book Fiqh of Jihad, the erudite scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi tackles the objectives of jihad in Islam. This section includes five chapters which deal with the following topics:

Inclination of Islam Toward Peace, and Hatred of Warfare

Objectives of Jihad in Islam

Inadmissible Objectives of Jihad

Jihad Between Islam and the Torah

The Myth of the Spread of Islam by the Sword

In the beginning, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi differentiates between the objectives of defensive jihad (Jihad Ad-Daf`) and preemptive jihad (Jihad At-Talab ). The former aims at confronting and resisting a belligerent enemy by all possible means until its forces have been evacuated and repelled, and the land of Islam has been liberated from the invaders. This kind of jihad is indisputable, and there is no disagreement regarding its permissibility. All religions and laws are unanimous on its permissibility, and there should be no doubt about its legality.

However, the kind of jihad that should be discussed extensively, and whose objectives should be defined clearly, is preemptive jihad, in which Muslims invade an enemy in its own land.

Inclination of Islam Toward Peace, and Hatred of Warfare

Before dealing with the objectives of jihad, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi wrote a preliminary chapter on the inclination of Islam toward peace and hatred of warfare. He quoted the following evidence:
1. Islam and peace belong linguistically to the same root. Islam and salam or silm (peace) belong linguistically to the same root, i.e., “Sa la ma “. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says, (O you who believe! Enter into submission one and all and do not follow the footsteps of Shaitan; surely he is your open enemy) (Al-Baqarah 2:208). In this verse, the word silm (Arabic for submission) is interpreted as peace, which is opposite to war, as the outward meaning of the verse reveals.

2. Islam promotes spreading the word peace among the community and making it the salutation of Muslims. The amazing thing here regarding guidance and education is that Islam has endeared the word peace and its concept to Muslims in many ways that cannot be found in any other religion or ideology. Peace is one of the Most Beautiful Names of Allah. Muslims always recite the verse that reads, (He is Allah, besides Whom there is no god; the King, the Holy, the Giver of peace) (Al-Hashr 59:23). Also, Paradise, which every believer aspires to enter and works earnestly to be among its dwellers, is called “the abode of peace.” Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says, (They shall have the abode of peace with their Lord, and He is their guardian because of what they did) (Al-An`am 6:127). Furthermore, “peace” is the most repeated word in Paradise, and the salutation of the believers in the Hereafter. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says, (Their salutation on the Day they meet Him will be “Peace!”) (Al-Ahzab 33:44)

(Their prayer therein will be, “Glory be to You, O Allah!” And their greeting therein will be, “Peace.” And the conclusion of their prayer will be, “Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds!”) (Yunus 10:10)

(They shall not hear therein vain or sinful discourse. Except the word peace, peace. ) (Al-Waqi`ah 56:25–26)

Moreover, just as peace is the salutation of believers in the Hereafter, it is their salutation in the worldly life, i.e., as-salamu `alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh [Peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you]. Spreading the greeting of peace is one of the characteristics of Islam — as Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Spread the greeting of peace.

3. Muslims do not wish for wars and ask Allah for safety. Muslims do not wish for war to break out and do not like to indulge in warfare for its own sake. Rather, they long for peace and safety from fighting. Yet, if they are compelled to fight in the Cause of Allah, they fight with strength, courage, and patience, being certain that they will surely receive one of the two greatest blessings: either victory or martyrdom.

4. Allah sufficed for the believers in the fighting. Commenting on the Battle of Al-Ahzab (the Confederates), the Ever-Glorious Qur’an says, (And Allah turned back the unbelievers in their rage; they did not obtain any advantage, and Allah sufficed the believers in fighting; and Allah is Strong, Mighty) (Al-Ahzab 33:25). Look and consider this expressive phrase, (Allah sufficed for the believers in fighting), which Almighty Allah mentioned in the course of bestowing favors and blessings on the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the believers.

5. The Qur’an refers to the Peace Treaty of Al-Hudaybiyah as “a manifest victory.” On the Day of Al-Hudaybiyah, the Companions pledged allegiance to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and vowed to fight with him to the last gasp. However, Almighty Allah willed that Muslims and polytheists reach an agreement, called the Treaty of Al-Hudaybiyah, in which a 10-year truce was established. In this situation, some verses were revealed that called this truce or reconciliation “a manifest victory.”

6. There is inclination to peace when the enemy inclines toward it. In addition to all that, the Glorious Qur’an commands Muslims to respond to calls of peace, even after the breaking out of war. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) 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; He it is Who strengthened you with His help and with the believers) (Al-Anfal 8:61-62).

7. It is undesirable to name children Harb (war). Islam seeks peace and abhors war. This is quite clear in the hadith that prevents naming children Harb, as it is one of the most disliked names in Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The most beloved names to Allah are: `Abdullah and `Abdur-Rahman. The most truthful names are Harith and Hammam, while the most disliked are Harb and Murrah (War and Bitter).

8. One-third of the year is a compulsory truce. Among the evidence that denotes Islam’s keenness for peace is that it has obliged Muslims to abide by a compulsory truce. Muslims should avoid fighting for four months, i.e., one-third of the year. These four months are known as “the Sacred Months”, including three consecutive months Dhul-Qi`dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram, and then Rajab. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says, (O you who believe! do not violate the signs appointed by Allah nor the sacred month) (Al-Ma’idah 5:2).

9. Hajj is training for peace. Islam, due to its interest in peace, commands Muslims to perform Hajj once in their lifetime. When performing this special act of worship, Muslims are invited to practice and train for peace, as Hajj should be performed during Dhul-Hijjah, which is one of the Sacred Months, in the sacred land Makkah, and in a state of ihram (ritual consecration). Hence, Muslims are encircled with the sacredness of the time, place, and ihram, in which they are forbidden to kill anything, even game. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says, (O you who believe! do not kill game while you are on pilgrimage, and whoever among you shall kill it intentionally, the compensation (of it) is the like of what he killed) (Al-Ma’idah 5:95).

Objectives of Jihad in Islam

In the second chapter, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi deals with the objectives of military jihad, which are as follows.

Repelling Aggression

The first objective of military jihad in Islam is to repel any attack by force, whether this attack or aggression is against the religion, or the country and lands.

Attack against religion includes any temptation that aims to turn Muslims back from Islam, any persecution against Muslims due to their beliefs, any hindrance or prevention of da`wah (inviting people to Islam), and any act of aggression or harm against du`ah (Islamic preachers). In addition, it includes any attack against the lands of Islam or the countries of Muslims, and any violation of the people’s blood, property, sanctified rights, and sacred places. Similarly, any aggression against an individual’s life, wealth, property, family, and progeny should be resisted. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) 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. And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers. But if they desist, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.) (Al-Baqarah 2:190–192)

Preventing Persecution Against Muslims

In two honorable verses, the Glorious Qur’an asserts the necessity of jihad with the aim of preventing persecution that aims at turning Muslims back from Islam and at securing the freedom of da`wah. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says,

(And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah.) (Al-Baqarah 2:193)

(And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah; but if they desist, then surely Allah sees what they do.) (Al-Anfal 8:39)

Saving Weak People

Among the other objectives of jihad in Islam is saving weak people from the injustice of tyrants and the domination of those who act arrogantly on earth without any entitlement, violate the sanctified rights of weak people, afflict them with horrible torment, and ignore their humanity. They use their material power to prevent hands from defending and tongues from talking, and to compel people to remain silent about the truth or to utter falsehoods. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says, (Therefore let those fight in the way of Allah, who sell this world’s life for the hereafter; and whoever fights in the way of Allah, then be he slain or be he victorious, We shall grant him a mighty reward. And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from You a guardian and give us from You a helper) (An-Nisaa’ 4:74-75).

Disciplining the Covenant-Breakers

In addition, disciplining those who do not respect treaties and do not keep covenants is one of the objectives of jihad in Islam. Such people keep covenants as long as they serve their own interests. However, if they become powerful and believe that such covenants and treaties are no longer useful to them and go against their own interests and goals, they throw them aside with no regard to ties of kinship or covenants made with others.

The Glorious Qur’an refers to the attitude of such people, and their continuous breaking of concluded covenants and treaties with Muslims. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says, (Surely the vilest of animals in Allah’s sight are those who disbelieve, then they would not believe. Those with whom you make an agreement, then they break their agreement every time and they do not guard (against punishment). Therefore if you overtake them in fighting, then scatter by (making an example of) them those who are in their rear, that they may be mindful) (Al-Anfal 8:55-57).

Imposing Internal Peace by Force

This kind of fighting differs from that mentioned previously, as it is not directed to non-Muslims. It is directed to Muslims to cease armed conflict between Muslim parties. This kind of jihad has a specific and definite aim: Imposing internal peace by force between the conflicting parties. It is a collective duty of the Muslim nation, according to the teachings of Almighty Allah. The first individuals who should fulfill this duty are the caliphs or the rulers, and the people of opinion and consultation among Muslims. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says, (And if two parties of the believers quarrel, make peace between them; but if one of them acts wrongfully towards the other, fight that which acts wrongfully until it returns to Allah’s command; then if it returns, make peace between them with justice and act equitably; surely Allah loves those who act equitably. The believers are but brethren, therefore make peace between your brethren and be careful of (your duty to) Allah that mercy may be had on you) (Al-Hujurat 49:9-10). 

Inadmissible Objectives of Jihad

In the third chapter, His Eminence Sheikh Al-Qaradawi deals with the rejected objectives of jihad in Islam as follows:

Uprooting Disbelief From the Earth

In my opinion, this objective is not acceptable at all, as it clearly contradicts the Glorious Qur’an, which asserts that the differences between people regarding religions and creeds, and their division into believers and disbelievers or into monotheists and atheists, are according to Allah’s Will and Wisdom. Almighty Allah has created people and willed that they be of different creeds, as He (Exalted and Glorified) says, (And if your Lord had pleased, surely all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them; will you then force men till they become believers?) (Yunus 10:99). And, (If We had so willed, We could certainly have brought every soul its true guidance) (As-Sajdah 32:13). And, (If your Lord had so willed, He could have made mankind one people: but they will not cease to dispute) (Hud 11:118). And, (It is He Who has created you; and of you are some that are unbelievers, and some that are believers: and Allah sees well all that you do) (At-Taghabun 64:2).

Compelling People to Embrace Islam

The Glorious Qur’an rejects the principle of compulsion in religion. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) asked Prophet Muhammad in the form of a negative question (a figure of speech), (Will you (O Muhammad) then force men till they become believers?) (Yunus 10:99). This honorable verse, which was revealed in Makkah, indicates the absolute rejection of the concept of compulsion in religion and shows that it is beyond the ability of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), as it is against the Divine Will.

In another verse revealed in Makkah, Almighty Allah states what Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) said to his people, (He said: O my people! tell me if I have with me clear proof from my Lord, and He has granted me mercy from Himself and it has been made obscure to you; shall we constrain you to (accept) it while you are averse from it?) (Hud 11:28). This honorable verse indicates that all Divine Messages and Allah’s Messengers accept no compulsion in religion.

In addition, Almighty Allah says in a verse revealed in Madinah, (Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error) (Al-Baqarah 2:256).

Then, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi asks and answers an important question, quoting some Qur’anic verses: What should be done if people have turned away from da`wah? What would be the stance of Islam if people did not respond to its call and turned away from its invitation? Should Muslims be satisfied with calling them to Islam and establishing the argument against them only, or should they fight against them until they embrace Islam or pay jizyah (tribute)?

The Islamic stance regarding this issue is not identified according to our whims and emotions, our opinions and thoughts, or by transmission through specific scholars. Rather, the stance of Islam, especially regarding such serious issues, is identified through the Glorious Qur’an and the Purified Sunnah.

This matter is specifically dealt with in the Glorious Qur’an, in the surahs that were revealed in Makkah or Madinah. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says in Surat Al-Anbiyaa’, which was revealed in Makkah, (Verily in this (Qur’an) is a Message for people who would (truly) worship Allah. And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds. Say: It is only revealed to me that your Allah is one Allah; will you then submit? But if they turn back, say: I have given you warning in fairness and I do not know whether what you are threatened with is near or far) (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:106-109).

Also, He (Exalted and Glorified) says in Surat Ash-Shura, which was revealed in Makkah, (Answer the call of your Lord before there comes the day from Allah for which there shall be no averting; you shall have no refuge on that day, nor shall it be yours to make a denial. But if they turn aside, We have not sent you as a watcher over them; on you is only to deliver (the message); and surely when We make man taste mercy from Us, he rejoices thereat; and if an evil afflicts them on account of what their hands have already done, then-surely man is ungrateful) (Ash-Shura 42:47-48).

Also, He (Exalted and Glorified) says in Surat An-Nahl, which was revealed in Makkah, (And Allah has made for you of what He has created shelters, and He has given you in the mountains places of retreat, and He has given you garments to preserve you from the heat and coats of mail to preserve you in your fighting; even thus does He complete His favor upon you, that haply you may submit. But if they turn back, then on you devolves only the clear deliverance (of the message)) (An-Nahl 16:81-82).

It is repeated many times in the Glorious Qur’an Qur’an that when people refuse to accept the call and turn away, the Messenger is not required to compel them to believe. It is not the Messenger who guides the person, but Allah who guides whom He wills; the mission of the Messenger is only to convey the message.

Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says in Surat Al-Baqarah, which was revealed in Madinah, (Say: We believe in Allah and (in) that which had been revealed to us, and (in) that which was revealed to Ibrahim and Ismail and Ishaq and Yaqoub and the tribes, and (in) that which was given to Musa and Isa, and (in) that which was given to the prophets from their Lord, we do not make any distinction between any of them, and to Him do we submit. If then they believe as you believe in Him, they are indeed on the right course, and if they turn back, then they are only in great opposition, so Allah will suffice you against them, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing) (Al-Baqarah 2:136-137).

Also, He (Exalted and Glorified) says in Surat Aal `Imran, which was revealed in Madinah, (But if they dispute with you, say: I have submitted myself entirely to Allah and (so) everyone who follows me; and say to those who have been given the Book and the unlearned people: Do you submit yourselves? So if they submit then indeed they follow the right way; and if they turn back, then upon you is only the delivery of the message and Allah sees the servants) (Aal `Imran 3:20).

And, (Say: Obey Allah and the Messenger; but if they turn back, then surely Allah does not love the unbelievers ) (Aal `Imran 3:32).

Achieving Economic goals (1)

Islam forbids any person or group that fights in Allah’s Cause from aiming to win worldly gains from jihad, whether these gains are material, such as money and booties, or immaterial, such as getting a higher rank, fame, or praise.

If worldly gains are intended or aimed for, jihad will be spoilt and rewards will be lost. Moreover, such intentions invalidate jihad and turn it from fighting in the Cause of Allah, which is the fighting of the believers, into fighting in the cause of Satan, which is the fighting of the disbelievers. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says, (Those who believe fight in the way of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight in the way of Satan) (An-Nisaa’ 4:76). What a big difference between the two goals and the two ways!

Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated, “A Bedouin came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! One man fights for booty, another fights to win fame, and the third fights to show off. Which of them is fighting in the Cause of Allah?’ The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘The one who fights so that the Word of Allah (Islam) be exalted, is the one who fights in the Cause of Allah ‘” (Bukhari and Muslim).

Jihad Between Islam and the Torah

In the fourth chapter, His Eminence Sheikh Al-Qaradawi speaks about jihad between the Torah and the Qur’an. He quotes some texts from the Torah, which is the holy scripture of the Jews and also the Christians.

The Torah states the following under the title “Conquering cities outside of Israel”:(2)
“When you march up to attack a city, make its people an offer of peace. If they accept and open their gates, all the people in it shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for you. If they refuse to make peace and they engage you in battle, lay siege to that city. When the Lord your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it. As for the women, and children, the livestock and everything else in the city you may take these as plunder for yourselves. And you may use the plunder the Lord your God gives you from your enemies. This is how you are to treat all the cities that are at a distance from you and do not belong to the nations nearby.” (Deuteronomy 20:10-15)

This is the strict command of the Torah to the Children of Israel, especially the Jews who believe in the legislation of Moses, regarding conquering the distant cities outside Israel. The Torah asserts: if the people of these cities accept and open their gates for peace, all the people, without exception, shall be subject to forced labor and shall work for the Jews! If they refuse to make peace, they should be fought. When these cities come to their hands, they should put to the sword to all the males in it. This is the command of the Lord. In addition, their Torah does not offer any alternatives to death, such as embracing Judaism or paying tribute. Moreover, the Lord God does not exclude any male, whether old man or young child!

As for the peoples of what is called the Promised Land (the Land of Palestine), the Torah says,
“However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them — the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites — as the Lord your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God.” (Deuteronomy 20:16-18)

The interpreters of the Torah comment on this paragraph saying, “How can a compassionate God order the annihilation of all peopled cities? He did it to protect the Children of Israel from paganism, which would undoubtedly have caused their destruction (20:18). In fact, if the Children of Israel had not totally annihilated these evil peoples as they were instructed to do, they would have been more at risk of persecution, bloodshed, and destruction than if they had heeded the instructions of God!”

How can these instructions in the Torah be compared with the rules revealed in the Qur’an?! The following Qur’anic verses highlight the difference:

Allah (Exalted and Glorified) 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. And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers. But if they desist, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful) (Al-Baqarah 2:190-192). 

Also, Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says after the verse that some scholars call “the verse of the sword,” (And if one of the idolaters seek protection from you, grant him protection till he hears the word of Allah, then make him attain his place of safety; this is because they are a people who do not know) (At-Tawbah 9:6).

In addition, He (Exalted and Glorified) 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; He it is Who strengthened you with His help and with the believers) (Al-Anfal 8:61-62).

The Myth of the Spread of Islam by the Sword

Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradwi concludes this section by dealing with the myth of the spread of Islam by the sword. His Eminence says, “Many missionaries and fanatic Orientalists claimed that Islam was spread only by the sword, and by subjugating people to its creed through military force. Had it not been for this, hearts would not have been opened to it, and minds would not have been convinced by it. People were compelled to embrace Islam under the threat of the sword, as they were asked to choose between embracing Islam and being put to the sword.”

This is a myth refuted by the decisive and clear teachings of Islam, historical events, and impartial Orientalists and historians.

A Myth Refuted by the Teachings of Islam

Islamic teachings clearly negate any compulsion in religion, as Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says, (There is no compulsion in religion) (Al-Baqarah 2:256). This verse clarifies and asserts the meaning of the following two verses, which were revealed in Makkah. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says in the form of a negative question, (Will you then force men till they become believers?) (Yunus 10:99). Also, Almighty Allah states what Prophet Noah (peace be upon him) said to his people in the form of a negative question, (shall we constrain you to accept it [Islamic monotheism] while you are averse from it?) (Hud 11:28).

A Myth Refuted by History

History relates that when Muslims conquered a country, they did not interfere in the affairs of its religion and did not compel anyone to change his or her creed. No case of compulsion is mentioned in Islamic history to prove that a non-Muslim individual, family, town, or nation was compelled to embrace Islam.

The Sword Cannot Open a Heart

Some missionaries and Orientalists see that Islam spread widely and swiftly due to the Islamic conquests that compelled people to embrace Islam under threat of war and by the force of the sword. We say to those people who believe that Islam spread at the point of sword: the sword may conquer a land or occupy a country, but it can in no way open a heart [to Islam]. Opening hearts and breaking its locks need another action, i.e., convincing minds, stirring emotions, and dealing with the person psychologically. Moreover, I believe that the sword, which is put on the neck of a man, is a big obstacle that prevents him from accepting the call of the holder of the sword, as man is naturally disposed to turn away from the one who oppresses and humiliates him.

A Myth Refuted by Impartial Orientalists

There are many fair Western Orientalists and historians who have refuted such a myth; however, we will choose only one known for the originality of his works, and his vast knowledge and documented research, the researcher and great scholar Sir Thomas Arnold. In his valuable book ‘The Preaching of Islam’, Thomas Arnold proved, leaving no room for doubt, that Islam did not spread by the sword; rather, it spread through da`wah, evidence, argument, conviction, and the good behavior of Muslims. History does not mention any single case where Islam compelled any people, tribe, family, or individual to embrace Islam.
This incontestable fact was also acknowledged by Gustave Le Bon, the French social psychologist and sociologist, in his valuable book ‘Civilization of Arabs’, and by Montgomery Watt, the famous British Orientalist, in his book ‘Islam and Christianity Today: A Contribution to Dialogue’.  


1. This does not contradict the fact that Muslims gained economic profits from the wars they waged against the disbelievers for spreading Islam and conveying the message to the whole world. But, the main goal was conveying the message and calling people to Allah, and not violating the property of people without right.

2. I think that this title is suggested by the publishers of the Torah.


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One comment on “Fiqh of Jihad (Book Review) VIII

  1. […] : The Quran Blog – Enlighten Yourself Etiketler: Book, Fiqh, Jihad, Review, VIII Bu yazı Perşembe, 03 Haziran 2010, 09:09 […]

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