Jihad: Its types and conditions
Jihad continues until the end of human life and remains in force all of the time, as long as the Qur’an remains. In an authentic hadith, Jabir reports that the Prophet said: ‘A group of my community will continue to fight for the truth, prevailing until the Day of Judgement’.
Jihad: Its types and conditions
Jihad continues until the end of human life and remains in force all of the time, as long as the Qur’an remains. In an authentic hadith, Jabir reports that the Prophet said: ‘A group of my community will continue to fight for the truth, prevailing until the Day of Judgement’.1
When jihad is to repel an attacking enemy it does not require permission by the leader or the formulation of the right intention. It is sufficient that it is undertaken to remove and repel harm and aggression. It is obligatory, even if it is to defend one’s honour, life or property. According to the hadith: ‘Whoever is killed defending his property is a martyr, and whoever is killed defending his family, himself or his faith is a martyr’.2 The hadith is given in a shorter form in the two Sahih anthologies.3
It is a duty to repel an aggressor in defence of one’s honour, self or property, whether the aggressor is a Muslim or an unbeliever. ‘A man came to the Prophet and said: “What should I do if a man comes aiming to take my property?” The Prophet said:
“Remind him of God”. The man said: “Suppose he turns a deaf ear?” The Prophet said: “Then seek the help of those Muslims who are close to you?” The man said: “What if there is no Muslim close by?” The Prophet said: “Then seek the help of government authority?” The man said: “And if the authority takes no action to help me?” The Prophet said: “Then fight to protect your property until you are either killed and be a martyr or you keep your property safe”’.4
When the Muslim community is on the offensive the intention must be to make God’s word supreme. An authentic hadith, reported by Abu Musa al-Ash[ari, states: ‘
A Bedouin came to the Prophet and asked: “Messenger of God: a man fights for a share of war gains, and one fights so as to gain a reputation, and one fights so that he is seen. Which of these is considered for God’s cause?” The Prophet said: “He who fights so that God’s word is supreme is fighting for God’s cause”’.5
In jihad, it is obligatory to obey the leader of the Muslim community provided that he does not order anything that is forbidden in Islam. The Prophet said: ‘Whoever obeys me obeys God, and whoever disobeys me disobeys God.
Whoever obeys the commander I appoint obeys me, and whoever disobeys the commander I appoint disobeys me’.6
- Related by Muslim, 156.
- Related by Abu Dawud, 4772; al-Tirmidhi, 1421; al-Nasa’i, 4095 and Ibn Majah, 2580 on the authority of Sa[id ibn Zayd.
- Related by al-Bukhari, 2348; Muslim, 141 on the authority of Abdullah ibn Amr.
- Related by al-Nasa’i, 4081; Ibn Abi Shaybah, 28043; Ahmad, 22514; al-Tabarani in Al-Mu[jam al-Kabir, vol. 20, p. 313.
- Related by al-Bukhari, 123 and 2655; Muslim, 1904.
- Related by al-Bukhari, 6718; Muslim, 1835 on Abu Hurayrah’s authority.