Al-Qaradawi’s Fiqh of Jihad (Book Review 6/11)
Part 6: The Status of Jihad, the Danger of Its Negligence, and Preparing the Ummah for Jihad
In this section of the valuable book Fiqh of Jihad, the erudite scholar Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi discusses three main issues: (1) The status of jihad (fighting in Allah’s cause), ribat (garrison at a frontier outlet), and the danger of neglecting them; (2) A refutation of the arguments of the Qadianiyyah sect that jihad is no longer an obligation; and (3) Preparing the Ummah (Muslim nation) for jihad.
Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi stated, “There is no doubt that the status of jihad in Islam is unmatched. Jihad protects the Ummah: its religion, life, land, sanctity, independence, and sovereignty. Jihad protects the Ummah against its enemies and acts as its strong fort. Jihad makes heroes and prepares true men who sacrifice everything for the cause of Allah. Therefore, it is not surprising that jihad is the highest peak of Islam. Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘Jihad is the highest peak of work‘ (At-Tirmidhi). Also, Mu`adh (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, ‘The head of the matter [religion] is Islam, its pillar is Salah [Prayer], and its highest peak is jihad in the cause of Allah’ ” (At-Tirmidhi).
There are many verses and hadiths of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that urge Muslims to adhere to jihad in the cause of Allah and indicate its virtue and the status of the mujahid (one striving or fighting in the cause of Allah). The mujahid is like the one who observes fasting continuously and standing for optional prayer at night diligently.
Sheikh Al-Qaradawi then reports on what Al-Kharqi said and on which Ibn Qudamah commented. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, “The best Islamic obligation after the obligatory act is jihad.” In his precious book Al-Mughni, Ibn Qudamah explained this sentence as follows, “A group of scholars narrated that from Ahmad. Al-Athram narrated that Ahmad said, ‘I do not know anything that is considered more righteous than Jihad.’ Al-Fadl ibn Ziyad narrated that when jihad was mentioned; Imam Ahmad cried and said, ‘It is the most righteous thing I know.’ He also once said, ‘fighting enemies in jihad is the best deed a Muslim can perform.’ Those who fight the enemies are the ones who defend Islam and their honor. What could be better? They face fear while others are safe, and sacrifice their pleasures while others enjoy them.'” (Fiqh of Jihad)
Sheikh Al-Qaradawi then mentioned the words of Ibn Taymiyah on the virtue of jihad, “This is a broad area, and no other area regarding rewards for actions has received more attention than jihad and its virtue.”
This is obvious; as the benefit of jihad embraces the mujahid and others regarding both religion and worldly life. Jihad includes all types of worship, both explicit and implicit. It embraces the Love of Allah, sincerity, putting one’s trust in Allah, sacrifice of soul and wealth, patience and renunciation of worldly pleasures, remembrance of Allah, and other actions. The mujahid has two options: either to attain victory, or to achieve martyrdom and then enter Paradise. (Fiqh of Jihad)
Sheikh Al-Qaradawi then discusses the virtue of jihad at sea. He mentions the hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), narrated by Umm Haram (may Allah be pleased with her), in which he says, (The seasick who vomits at sea [while in jihad] shall receive the reward of one martyr, and the one who drowns shall receive the reward of two martyrs ) (Abu Dawud). Jihad at sea is harder and more difficult because it combines the danger of the enemy with that of drowning. Escape is not feasible, and therefore it is better than other types of jihad.
In this regard, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi says that the best type of jihad at the present time is the jihad performed by fighter pilots as it is the most dangerous, and the most likely type of jihad that leads to death, and because it is the most effective type of fighting. The loss of one trained fighter pilot is equivalent to the loss of a large number of other fighters.
At the end of this section, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi gives preference to the various actions of jihad over the supererogatory Hajj. He mentions the words of Ibn An-Nahhas regarding the superiority of jihad, if it is an individual obligation, to the obligatory Hajj. Sheikh Al-Qaradawi agrees with Ibn An-Nahhas and commends that for being an immediate obligation and that jihad is related to defending the Ummah, its entity, and message. If the Ummah is destroyed, individuals would perish and Hajj and other types of worship, rituals, and pillars would be lost as they cannot be observed without the Ummah. Jihad is what protects, defends, and preserves the Ummah. (Fiqh of Jihad)
In Chapter 2, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi discusses the status of ribat, which is a consequence of jihad. It means being on guard on a frontier inlet for the glory of the religion and for defending Muslims against their enemies. The “frontier inlet” here means the location beyond which Islam does not prevail.
The frontier inlet guards are the watchers of the borders of Muslim countries against the attack of disbelievers and aggressive enemies. The more dangerous the frontier inlet, the more rewarding is the garrison in that location.
Imam Malik mentions a condition for that: The frontier inlet should be outside the home country or town because guarding one’s own country or town is mandatory, and there is no additional virtue in it. However, some scholars are of the opinion that one may be guarding one’s country or town with the intention of defending it against the enemies and still receive the reward of those guarding frontier inlets. For this reason, many of the righteous predecessors chose to be stationed at frontier inlets.
Ibn Taymiyah said, “The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his Companions resided in Madinah and not in Makkah for many reasons; including that by doing so they were considered frontier guards. Ribat means residing at a place that is threatened by, and threatens, the enemy. The one who resides there with the intention of defending against the enemy becomes a frontier inlet guard, and deeds are but by intentions.” (Ibn Taymiyah, Majmu` Al-Fatawa)
Sheikh Al-Qaradawi adds, “Being stationed at the frontier inlets of Muslims — such as the frontier inlet in the Levant (the region covering Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine) and Egypt — is better than dwelling at the three main mosques in Islam. I do not know of any disagreement between the scholars in regard to this. More than one Imam indicated that this is because ribat is a type of jihad, while the utmost objective of dwelling at these mosques is to have the reward of Hajj. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says,
(Do you make [one who undertakes] the giving of drink to the pilgrims and the guarding of the Sacred Mosque like him who believes in Allah and the latter day and strives hard in Allah’s way? They are not equal with Allah, and Allah does not guide the unjust people.) (At-Tawbah 9:19)
Sheikh Al-Qaradawi then comments, “I believe that the Levant includes Al-Quds (Jerusalem), the land of Israa’ (Night Journey) and Mi`raj (Ascension to Heaven), and the entire land of Palestine. Dwelling there with the intention of ribat, especially nowadays, is one of the best actions that bring a Muslim nearer to Allah because these dwellers would be living in a high danger zone: they may be killed, detained, or imprisoned and their homes may be destroyed, their farms may be burnt, their trees may be plucked; sacred locations may be profaned, their properties may be expropriated, and their sanctities may be violated. The building of the Apartheid Wall is just one example of injustice. Therefore, no wonder that the frontier inlet guard there is much better than at other locations. Abu Umamah Al-Bahili (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“A group of people from my Ummah shall remain steadfast to the truth, they will continue to fight in obedience to the command of Allah and remain dominant over their enemies. Those who will oppose them shall not do them any harm — except for hardship and hunger. They will remain in this condition until victory (or that the Hour overtakes them).’ He was asked, ‘O Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), where are they?’ He replied, ‘In Al-Quds and its precincts.” (Ahmad)
There is no doubt that all of Palestine is among the precincts of Al-Quds; this also applies to the entire Levant — Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. I believe that Egypt is also included in this area.” (Fiqh of Jihad )
In Chapter 3, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi discusses the danger of neglecting jihad in the cause of Allah. He says, “We should alert Muslims and direct their attention to the danger of neglecting obligatory jihad and warn against the spread of such attitude among those able to perform it. It is dangerous if people become cowardly and lose the spirit and intention of jihad. Moreover, the absence of masculinity among young men, the spread of selfishness, individualism, love of worldly pleasures, and interest in one’s own affairs, and the negligence of the overall interest of the Ummah is another danger in this regard. All this endangers the Ummah, whether on the individual or the public level, as the Ummah would then cling heavily to the earth, suffer from cowardice, and depend excessively on worldly interests, and would hate death, care only about life, and be content with the life of lowness and disgrace. These are the bad deeds for which Allah dispraises the Children of Israel. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says,
(And you will most certainly find them the greediest of men for life.) (Al-Baqarah 2:96)
(They will not fight against you in a body save in fortified towns or from behind walls.) (Al-Hashr 59:14)
(They will not harm you save a trifling hurt, and if they fight against you they will turn and flee. And afterward they will not be helped. Ignominy shall be their portion wheresoever they are found.) (Aal `Imran 3:111-112)
In the Sunnah, there are many hadiths that blame the Ummah, as individuals and groups, if they neglect jihad and preparation for it on all levels: material, moral, military, economic, social, and cultural.
The first important issue that should be considered is the intention of jihad while calling for it or once its conditions are met. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, (Whoever dies without having gone on a military expedition or having exhorted himself to do so shall die in a state of hypocrisy ) (Muslim). In his book Az-Zawajir `An Iqtiraf Al-Kaba’ir, Ibn Hajar Al-Haytami, the prominent Shafi`i scholar, says that giving up jihad when it is mandatory and while having the ability to perform jihad is among the major sins.
Some people, especially those wayward Sufis, believe that jihad is not that important, based on a hadith they spread among their followers that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), after returning from one of the battles, said to his Companions, “We have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad: the jihad of the self.”
However, we can refute this argument on four levels:
First, this hadith is not sahih (authentic) according to the specialized scholars in this field. It is not mentioned in any of the authentic books of Sunnah or literature.
Second, jihad, meaning fighting in the cause of Allah, is not devoid of the jihad of the self. The self always prefers safety, loves life, and hates death. Therefore, the Muslim who chooses the path of jihad has to resist the urges of his or her self, the discouragements of those surrounding him or her, and the spread of wahan (love of life and hatred of death) in the Ummah as predicted by the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
Third, even if the previous hadith is sahih, we should start, according to the logic of the hadith itself, with the lesser jihad, and then gradually progress to the greater one as is the norm of Allah in all aspects: to start with the lesser and then go to the greater.
Fourth, the sahih hadiths of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) indicate that fighting in the cause of Allah is the highest degree of jihad. (Fiqh of Jihad )
In Chapter 4, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi discusses the continuity of jihad and refutes the arguments of the Qadianiyyah sect that abrogates the ruling on jihad and limits it to the era of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his Companions. He says, “We should pay attention to the attempts of the enemies of our Ummah to divert it from the right path, discourage it away from jihad, and spread the spirit of defeat and surrender in different ways and methods that all aim to eradicate the spirit of jihad so that the Ummah surrenders to them and stops resisting them, stops defending its lands and freeing its destiny from their yoke. Worse still is that these calls come from within the Ummah from some who claim they are Muslims and sincere, whether they do this consciously or unconsciously.
Among the most important methods they follow is the policy of “Drying up the Sources.” This means the sources of direction, culture, and education of the Ummah through educational establishments, media, and cultural entities. They try to empty all these of all meanings of jihad and whatever relates to, leads to, or connects to it by way of beliefs, morals, ethics, rulings, and even historical events.
During the nineteenth century, the colonial Crusader powers, which were greatly opposed to Islam, started to create false sects among Muslims. They supported and backed these sects in order to divide Muslim unity, create discord among Muslims, and spread fake beliefs, especially those that rejected the obligatory act of jihad. The malicious attempts tried to force jihad under the cloak of religion itself. The claim was that jihad was legitimate in the past, but it was later abrogated with the advent of the “new sect” and its new fake prophet. The most prominent sect in this regard is Qadianiyyah and its fake prophet Ghulam Ahmad, who proposed two main issues: That people should obey the government, even if it is foreign and disbelieving, and that jihad has been abrogated and it is no longer an obligation.” (Fiqh of Jihad)
Sheikh Al-Qaradawi refutes these claims and allegations and shows that jihad is a continuous obligatory act and Sunnah until the Day of Judgment.
In Chapter 5, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi discusses the preparation of the Ummah for jihad in the cause of Allah in all fields of life: military, economic, cultural, moral, etc.
He says, “For all that, it is obligatory on the Ummah to prepare itself properly to attain power in all its aspects: military, economic, material, cultural, ethical, and religious power. The Ummah should be prepared to be ready when the caller calls for obligatory jihad.
First: Military Preparation
It requires two things:
A. Preparation of weapons and equipment
The Noble Qur’an orders the Ummah explicitly to do that. Allah (Exalted and Glorified be He) says, (And prepare against them what force you can and horses tied at the frontier, to frighten thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy) (Al-Anfal 8:60). This includes the preparation of all means for military power to achieve victory over the enemy. This covers the steeds of war, that is, the garrisoned horses of mujahids at the frontier inlets from where enemies could infiltrate Muslim lands. There are many sahih hadiths that indicate the importance of preparing horses for jihad and the high reward for that from Allah.
It is noteworthy that such importance of horses as a means of power in the age of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) is not obligatory in the present age, which has its own type of steeds: tanks, armored vehicles, and other land fighting vehicles. Moreover, this also includes naval equipment, such as warships, battleships, submarines, and the like and air force equipment, such as airplanes, satellites, missiles, etc. There are also the nuclear weapons used for the first time at the end of WWII by the United States of America against Japan (in Hiroshima and Nagasaki).
My initial opinion is that it is not acceptable to use such weapons of mass destruction that kill millions of people at once and cause damage and havoc to millions others over the following decades.
However, the Muslim Ummah should own these illegal weapons to serve as a deterrent to the enemies. There is a difference between owning such weapons and using them. Its ownership is a must for the Ummah, which is subject to aggression from the enemy powers of Islam. Moreover, reality has proved that owning such weapons is a guarantee for peace.
Owning the weapons is not enough if they are not properly maintained and used when required. Negligence may lead to storing the weapons under the pretext of safety and security. Then the enemy may exploit the chance and attack Muslims in a single rush that may lead to the defeat of Muslims.
B. Preparation of fighters
If the first element in the military preparation of the Ummah is the preparation of equipment and devices of all types, the second element is the preparation of trained human resources. It is well-known that weapons, however developed they may be, cannot fight by themselves, and they only function properly in the hands of trained and qualified soldiers.
Second: Economic Preparation
• Economic preparation for jihad is a must, and includes a set of essential issues: the Ummah should not focus only on agriculture and neglect the other aspects required for building a strong nation, such as various industries, especially iron, referred to in the Noble Qur’an as being one of the mainstays in the military and civil fields. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says, (and We sent down Iron, in which is [material for] mighty war, as well as many benefits for mankind) (Al-Hadid 57:25). The expression “mighty war” refers to military industries, and the expression “many benefits for mankind” refers to civil industries. For any nation to be strong, it needs both.
• The Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) hadith warns us against being satisfied with agriculture alone. Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“If you indulge in `Iyna (a form of trade; selling by borrowing), and follow the tails of cows, and are content with being farmers, and ignore jihad, Allah will impose on you a humiliation that would not be taken away until you go back to your religion.”
• Provision of the required money for the expenses of jihad and its requirements, as jihad by spending one’s wealth is an Islamic obligation that precedes even the obligation of physical jihad.
• Fair distribution of wealth so that each Muslim receives his or her due right. Hired labor should receive their wages before their sweat dries up. Each needy individual should be given according to his or her need of food, drink, accommodation, clothing, and any other requirements for him or her and his or her family, without excess or parsimony.
All this would make all members of society sacrifice their souls in jihad in the cause of Allah. In the opposite case, if people suffer from social injustice, feel they are neglected by welfare, and struck by adversity; and if they do not receive their due share of their country’s wealth and feel downtrodden, they would not feel enthusiastic about participating in jihad.
Third: Cultural and Intellectual Preparation
Cultural and intellectual preparation for jihad is an important element in this regard. The idea of jihad should always be present and alive in the minds and consciousness of the leaders of the Ummah and its public in all regions – urban and rural.
The best way to achieve this is to invoke the verses of the Noble Qur’an and the sahih hadiths of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that urge Muslims to adhere to jihad in the cause of Allah, highlight its virtue, and warn against giving it up or neglecting its importance.
In other words, jihad and its related subjects should be taught as essential topics in the books of Islamic culture and Shari`ah (Islamic law). The verses of jihad should be taught when interpreting the Qur’an, and the related texts of hadiths while explaining the Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) hadiths. It is worth mentioning that there is a dedicated section on jihad in all books of Sunnah.
Fourth: Psychological and Ethical Preparation
This is the fruit of cultural and intellectual preparation:
• Inculcation of the belief in the tradition of checking one set of people by means of another so that the Ummah does not inactively depend on others based on good relations in times of peace and neglects to prepare itself for the possibilities of others attacking it. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says:
(And did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, the earth would indeed be full of mischief: But Allah is full of bounty to all the worlds. ) (Al-Baqarah 2:251)
• Inculcation of the love of jihad inside the soul of every Muslim so that each Muslim longs to have a share in jihad. The one who does not actually fight should live by jihad in his or her intention and soul. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
• “Whoever dies without having gone on a military expedition or having exhorted himself to do so shall die in a state of hypocrisy.” (Muslim)
• Inculcation of the belief that jihad leads to goodness and well-being. Its outcome is either victory and defeat of the attacking disbelievers, or meeting martyrdom in the cause of Allah. Allah (Exalted and Glorified), says:
(Say: Do you await for us but one of two most excellent things? And we await for you that Allah will afflict you with punishment from Himself or by our hands. So wait; we too will wait with you.) (At-Tawbah 9:52)
• Inculcation of the belief of predestination and the certainty that what happens to a person could not have missed him and vice versa. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says, (And Allah does not respite a soul when its appointed term has come, and Allah is Aware of what you do) (Al-Munafiqun 63:11).
• Inculcation of certainty that victory comes from Allah and that the believers shall surely prevail. If they help in the cause of Allah, He will help them and make their foothold firm. Those supported by Allah shall not be defeated, and those let down by Allah shall never attain victory. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says, (and victory is only from Allah; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise) (Al-Anfal 8:10)
• Inculcation of the dignity of belief inside the soul of every Muslim because such dignity is among the morals of the believers. Allah (Exalted and Glorified) says:
(But honor belongs to Allah and His Messenger, and to the Believers; but the Hypocrites know not) (Al-Munafiqun 63:8) And, (Whoever desires honor, then to Allah belongs the honor wholly) (Fatir 35:10)
• Inculcation of the meanings of strength within the soul of every Muslim. Strength here means first that of the soul. However, the strength of the body is also required, as mentioned in the hadith:
“The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, while there is good in both. Guard over that which benefits you, seek Allah’s Assistance, and don’t lend yourself to things devoid of benefit, and if something befalls you, then don’t say ‘If I only would have done such and such,’ rather say, ‘Allah ordained [this], and He does what He wills’, for verily the phrase ‘If I would have’ makes way for the work of Satan. ” (Muslim)
Such strength expels weakness and wahan as mentioned in the above hadith.
• Making Muslims long for martyrdom in the cause of Allah. Martyrdom should be the utmost desire of the Muslim, who should supplicate to Allah (Exalted and Glorified) to make him achieve it. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, I wish I could fight in Allah’s Cause and be martyred, then come back to life again then be martyred, then come back to life again then be martyred.” (Al-Bukhari)
Fifth: Warning Against Psychological Wahan
Among the things we should be aware of is the wahan (weakness and debility) that may overwhelm the soul and make it cling to this worldly life and its pleasures, and make it fear or hate death. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) warned us against this in one of his hadiths. Thawban (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said,
“Soon all nations will join forces and attack you similar to when hungry people attack their dishes.” One asked, ‘O, Prophet of Allah, at that time, will we be small in number?’ The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, (No, you will be huge in number, but you will be scum like foam that comes with a water stream, and Allah will withdraw fear from your enemy and will fill your hearts with wahan.) Then all asked ‘O, Prophet of Allah, what is Wahan?’ The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said (The love of life and the hatred of death.)” (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)
Sixth: Warning Against Cowardice and Stinginess
Among the morals which Islam warns against for being opposed to the spirit of jihad and the life of the struggling Ummah and the individual mujahid are cowardice and stinginess. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The worst thing in a person is to be either extremely stingy or extremely cowardly ” (Ahmad).
The worst type of stinginess is the stinginess that is accompanied by fear. Such a person is described in the Noble Qur’an as (Irritable [discontented] when evil touches him; and niggardly when good touches him) (Al-Ma`arij 70:20-21) Niggardliness combines stinginess and not spending. If impatience and fear are added, it renders it among the most obnoxious types of stinginess.
Seventh: Warning Against Effeminacy
Among the vices Islam warns Muslims against is the lack of masculinity among men and the spread of effeminacy, because if these vices prevail, they spread quickly as fire spreads through dry stalks.
Islam is concerned that young men remain masculine and firm. Therefore, it forbids them from wearing gold and pure silk. It also orders men not to wear women’s clothes and vice versa. Islam curses those men who resemble women and vice versa and heavily criticizes the effeminate who are neither men nor women in their behavior.” (Fiqh of Jihad)
In the last chapter of this section, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi discusses the necessity of the provision of required financial resources for jihad in the cause of Allah: The preparation of the Ummah for jihad shall be completed by the preparation of financial resources required for the expenses of jihad and mujahids. There is no doubt that jihad—that is, fighting—requires huge expenses. It is more demanding in our age because it requires the purchase of different types of expensive weapons.
In light of Islamic fiqh, we find several financial resources for funding the jihad army and the armed forces. The following are among these resources:
1. State resources and Bayt-ul-Mal (Muslim treasury).
2. Zakah for the cause of Allah. Muslim jurists say that this means jihad.
3. Charity waqf (endowments).
4. Contributions made by charitable people.
5. Jihad tax taken from the rich.
6. Vicious or suspicious gains. (Fiqh of Jihad)