"Concept of Jihad in Islam (1) "Concept of Jihad in Islam (1)
Prof. Ahmad Muhammad at-Tayyeb
Grand Imam of al-Azhar and WAAG Chairman
 
   
     
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No one could argue about the exalted mission of al-Azhar since its inception over a millennium ago. In fact, propagating true Islam, strengthening moderation of Islam and preserving belief and identity of the Ummah are the fundamentals of this mission. Therefore, it deserves worthily to be the beacon of knowledge and the beacon of Islam. 

In the light of the consecutive events we witness nowadays, the World Association for al-Azhar Graduates prepared videos for our scholars, in which WAAG addresses features of the moderate Azhari approach. Today, we begin with an article of Prof. Ahmad at-Tayyeb, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar on the "Concept of Jihad in Islam".

Jihad has a great merit in Islam; it comprises all aspects of life. Opinions about Jihad in Islam differed and rumors increased.

This paper answers the questions about jihad; it differentiates between killing and fighting, and explains the rule for both of them. It clarifies also if Jihad is an individual duty or collective duty and when jihad is imposed on Muslims. What is the reason which makes fighting non-Muslims permissible, enmity or infidelity? Furthermore, the paper differentiates between Jihad and war and clears up some facts about Jihad.

Definition of Jihad
In terms of language:
Jihad is trying in earnest to devote strength and ability of either word or deed.

In terms of Shariah:
The comprehensive definition of Jihad is mentioned by Ibn Taymiyyah; he said that Jihad is devoting all abilities to achieve what is loved by Allah Almighty. He said also that Jihad is essentially reaching what is loved by Allah of faith and good deeds, and reject what is detested by Allah in the term of disbelief, depravity and disobedience.

The above mentioned definition includes all kinds of Jihad carried out by a Muslim. It includes perseverance in obedience to Allah by obeying His commandments and avoiding His prohibitions, in addition to diligence in calling others, Muslims or disbelievers, to obedience to Allah as well as diligence in fighting disbelievers so that the word of Allah be exalted. This definition includes other types of Jihad.

It is worth noting that Jihad is legitimate only when it is devoted "in the way of Allah" (al-jihad fi sabil Allah). Any Jihad will be denied if it is not devoted to Allah.

Merits of Jihad in the way of Allah
There are many texts on merits of Jihad and its considerable reward, including, but not limited to:
1.Jihad in the way of Allah is a good bargain:
Allah said: "God has bought from the believers their selves and their possessions against the gift of Paradise; they fight in the way of God; they kill, and are killed; that is a promise binding upon God in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Koran; and who fulfills his covenant truer than God? So rejoice in the bargain you have made with Him; that is the mighty triumph." [Q. 9:111]
2.The considerable reward of mujahid" struggler" on the frontier in the way of Allah:
It has been narrated on the authority of Salman (May Allah be pleased with him) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (bpuh) saying: Keeping watch for a day and a night is better (in terms of reward) than fasting for a whole month and standing in prayer every night. If a person dies while performing this duty, he will go on receiving his reward for his meritorious deeds perpetually and will be saved from the torture of the grave.
3.Merit of guarding in the way of Allah:
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Raihanah (May Allah be pleased with him) who said: "I heard the Messenger of Allah (bpuh) saying: "Two eyes will never be touched by the fire of Hell, an eye which weeps out of fear of Allah and an eye which stays awake in the way of Allah."

Ibn 'Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: "I heard the Messenger of Allah (bpuh) saying, "Two eyes will never be touched by the fire of Hell; an eye which weeps out of Fear of Allah and an eye which spends the night in guarding in the way of Allah ."
4.Nothing is equal to Jihad:
Abu Hurairah said: "A man came to the Messenger of Allah (bpuh) and said: 'Tell me of an action that is equal to Jihad.' He said: 'I cannot. When the mujahid goes out, can you enter the Masjid and stand in prayer and never rest, and fast and never break your fast?' He said: 'Who can do that?"

Classes of Jihad in the way of Allah
Jihad has four classes: Jihad against one’s self, Jihad against Satan, Jihad against disbelievers and hypocrites, Jihad against heresiarchs.

First class: Jihad against one's self
It has four categories:
1.Jihad against one’s self to learn teachings of Islam. 
2.Jihad against one’s self to act in accordance with what one has learned.
3.Jihad against one’s self to call to Islam intentionally and to teach whoever does not know about it.
4.Jihad against one’s self to bear patiently the difficulties involved in calling people to Allah and their insults for the sake of Allah.

Second class: Jihad against Satan
It has two categories:
1.Jihad against Satan to ward off the doubts and suspicions that Satan stirs up to undermine faith.
2.Jihad against Satan to defend from what is thrown into the heart of lusts and corrupt intentions.
The first category is followed by certainty in faith, and the second is followed by patience. Allah said: "And We appointed from among them leaders guiding by Our command, when they endured patiently, and had sure faith in Our signs." [Q. 32:24] Satan is the most pernicious enemy, Allah said: "Surely Satan is an enemy to you; so take him for an enemy. He calls his party only that they may be among the inhabitants of the Blaze." [Q. 35:6]

Third class: Jihad against disbelievers and hypocrites
It has four categories: Jihad of heart, Jihad by tongue, Jihad by wealth and Jihad by hand.
Jihad against disbelievers should be by the hand; Jihad against hypocrites should be by tongue. 

Fourth class: Jihad against aggressors and heresiarchs
It has three categories:
1.Jihad by hand if one could do that.
2.If he is unable to do so, then by tongue.
3.If he is unable to do so, then with heart. On the authority of Abu Said (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: "Messenger of Allah (bpuh) said: "Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hand; if he is unable to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is unable to do so, then with his heart; and that is the least of faith."

These are the thirteen categories of Jihad, and whoever performs all these categories, is the best worshipper. Ranks of people vary according to variation in performing these categories of Jihad.
Jihad in Quran and Sunnah

The word "Jihad", along with its derivatives, has been mentioned in the Holy Quran thirty two times, whereas the word "War" has been mentioned four times only. It is noted that the meaning of Jihad in Quran and the texts of Sunnah has a broader and much more general meaning and definition than that of fighting; indeed, the particular meaning of the word "Fight" is the armed confrontation in wars, which indicates that Jihad means exerting every possible effort in resisting the enemy, whether this enemy is an offensive person, or a devil whom a believer should struggle and resist, or even resisting the evil of One's self.

Jihad has several meanings as well as several methods; there is a Jihad by the soul, by money, and by arguing and supporting a point of view with proof and evidence from Quran, and this particular kind of Jihad is applied in the field of interpreting Islam and calling for it. All these kinds, methods and meanings of Jihad have been mentioned in Quran and Sunnah, as Allah tells Prophet Muhammad (bpuh): 
"So obey not the disbelievers, but strive against them (by preaching) with the utmost endeavor with it (the Quran)". {Q. 25:52}

In fact, Prophet Muhammad (bpuh) had called the Jihad against one's self, Satan and earthly desires, as the greater Jihad, while the lesser Jihad is fighting in the battlefield; many Hadiths mentioned the distinction between the two kinds of Jihad:
"The best Jihad for a person is to struggle against himself and his desires".
"The mujahid is one who strives against his own self".
"Struggle your desires the same way you struggle your enemies".

We should know that Jihad with soul and money (such as fighting against the enemy or funding the army) is conditioned in Quran with being in the way of Allah, so that the word of Allah would have the upper hand.

This makes us notice an original fundament in Islam, which is linking the legitimacy of Jihad with noble humanitarian purposes, which indicates that Jihad in the philosophy of Islam does not mean land occupation or expansion or dominating the resources of the others or subjugating other people and nations. In fact, Jihad in the philosophy of Islam does not promote the materialistic purposes which usually motivate wars in the greatest civilizations, either in the ancient or the modern times.

Despite the several meanings of Jihad, however, as we mentioned, the most common and famous meaning of it used in the Islamic literature and writings is fighting the enemy in the way of Allah. 

Jihad and War


Jihad, definitely, does not mean war, whatever its motivations, reasons and purposes; yet, Jihad means to approach war, only, in the way of Allah. If war abandons this framework, this cannot be deemed as Jihad; however, it becomes a dreadful action, rejected by Islam, its values and Shariah.

Thus, we shall define Jihad as:  fighting in the way of Allah, either engaging directly in a military action (war) or donating money or giving an opinion, or providing medical services, or exerting any possible effort in order to defend faith and homeland.

However, while defining the meaning of Jihad or fighting in the way of Allah, we should be aware of the broad difference between the meaning of "Fight" and "Kill". The word "killing" means that one person takes a weapon and kills another person, thus we have in this action a killer and a killed person. While the word "fighting" indicates that there should be two equal counterparts, whereas each of them is practicing the action of killing against each other. Thus, the word "Jihad" refers to the second meaning which is "fighting" one another, not someone "killing" another person.

The conclusion of this analysis is that: the order of Jihad in Islam is not an order of killing someone; however, it is an order to fight, to confront and to repel the attack of the enemy in the battlefield. Hence, Jihad, in this context, is an ancient Islamic designation to what is known now as "Ministry of Defense", or the "Supreme Councils of War" and the "Ministries of Colonization" in the West. Despite the fact that these designations imply terror, fear and aggression, however, no one deprived the political systems and countries of the right of having a ministry of war or defense, whereas the Anglo-American media condemns the right of Jihad in Islam.

Consequently, the word "Jihad" carries more and broader humanitarian meanings than that of the ministry of defense, since the word "War" in the Islamic Shariah includes both the offensive and defensive war, while the meaning of Jihad in the Arabic language, implies only the defensive war.

Thus, the duty of Jihad, which the West tries to deform its meanings and objectives, indicates defending oneself, faith, and homeland. No sane person can bring evidence and proof that falsify and deny this natural right, unless he/she is one of the new Sophists who abuse and play with the obviously logical facts and axioms.