Thursday, May 2, 2013

Al-Waqidi problems

Muhammad Ibn ‘Umar al-Waqidi as a Narrator

by Syed Suleman Nadvi
1. Introduction:
One of the well known early reporters of the Sirah is Muhammad bin Umar al-Waqidi widely known to the students of Islamic history as al-Waqidi. He was born in Madinah in 130 A.H./747 C.E. He settled in Baghdad where he attained the high rank of “qadha” during the caliphate of al-Mamun (198 A.H./813 C.E. – 218 A.H./833 C.E.). He died in 207 A.H./822 C.E. in Baghdad. He belongs to the early group of writers on “sirah” and his famous book on the subject is “Kitab al-Maghazi” in which he has described the campaigns of the prophet.
Since the early writers used to state every event or every part of an event with a separate “isnad” (authorities), it resulted in discontinuity and frequent interruptions in the narration. Consequently, it often resulted in the loss of interest in the following up event. al-Waqidi started with a new style, that is, before reporting any event he enumerated all the names of the reporters which included both “Ma’ruf” (known) and “Majhul” (unknown) at the beginning of that event or campaign and then narrated the whole event along with other relevant details in an uninterrupted form attracting the interest of the people. Those who were not familiar with the complicated science of “riwayah” (report) and those who did not want to involve themselves in the complications of the close investigations, did not like to deprive themselves of the enjoyment of reading a continued uninterrupted report, they liked very much his style of reports. al-Waqidi attained a highly respectable status in the eyes of the Abbasid caliphs and the Baramikah. But the strange thing is that the more he attained respect and status of honour with rulers and princes the more he earned “disrespect” and unreliability in the eyes of the “Ulama al-Rijal” (scholars of hadith reporters) and the “Muhaddithin” (scholars of Hadith).
2. His great knowledge and sharp memory
al-Waqidi’s supporters and opponents have agreed on the fact that he had a sharp memory and that he was known for his “ilm” (knowledge). His secretary, Muhammad ibn Sa’d writes;
He was a scholar of Maghazi, Sirah, conquests, differences of people in Hadith and religious injunctions and of things on which they had their consensus.[1]
Shams al-Din al-Dhahbi writes:
His memory was at its best in remembering history, biographies, battles, happenings, battles, (events) of the people, jurisprudents etc.[2]
Khatib al-Baghdadi says:
He is one of those whose fame has covered the East and the West of the Earth. Anyone who is familiar with history knows about him. Men have carried his books on various sciences of the knowledge like; Maghazi, Siyar, Tabaqat, life of the Prophets and events which took place in his (Prophet’s) lifetime and after his death.[3]
3. Question of reliability
These are some of the quotations which I have picked up at random as an evidence of al-Waqidi’s vast knowledge, especially of the Maghazi, and of his sharp memory. But the question is what position does al-Waqidi enjoy in respect to reliability, truthfulness, credibility and “istinad” (trustworthiness)?
The Orientalists accept al-Waqidi as a reliable and valuable source for the life of the Prophet and for the period immediately following the death of the Prophet, whereas Muslim scholars, by and large, are not prepared to give him a rank more than a story-teller in the court of the Baramikah.
The books of “Asma’ al-Rijal” have recorded about al-Waqidi opinions, for and against. Among his supporters we find men like al-Darawardi (d. 186 A.H.), Yazid ibn Harun (d. 206 A.H.), Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Saghani (d. 270 A.H.) and others, while those who reject him include men like al-Shafi’i (d. 204 A.H.), Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241 A.H.), Yahya ibn Ma’in (d. 233 A.H.) and others. Ibn Sayyid al-Nas, who is the staunchest and the most enthusiastic supporter of al-Waqidi, has collected all the relevant materials, for and against, concerning al-Waqidi and has tried to defend him and absolve him of all the charges.[4] Among prominent Western scholars who have defended al-Waqidi are J. Welhausen[5], Joseph Horovitz[6] and Marsden Jones.[7]
al-Waqidi could not find a more enthusiastic defender than Ibn Sayyid al-Nas (d. 734 A.H./1334 C.E.) who has rebutted the criticisms against Muhammad ibn Ishaq with much zeal and enthusiasm but replying to the “jarh” (criticism) against al-Waqidi, he could not give a powerful defense such as he did in case of Ibn Ishaq and finally admitted frankly:
But there are severe controversies against him.[8]
All the later defenders of al-Waqidi have drawn upon Ibn Sayyid al-Nas and none could add to what he has already written in al-Waqidi’s defense.
3.1. Supporters of al-Waqidi
I give below a list of al-Waqidi’s supporters as well as critics which will help us form an opinion.
First the supporters and their remarks:
1. al-Darawardi (d. 186 A.H.):
al-Waqidi is a master of traditions.
2. Yazid ibn Harun (2. 206 A.H.):
al-Waqidi is reliable.
3. Abu ‘Ubayd al-Qasim ibn Salam (d. 224 A.H.):
4. al-Musayyibi (d. 236 A.H.)
5. Ibn Numayr (d. 234 A.H.)
Here his tradition is alright but for the traditions of the Madinites, they know it better.
6. ‘Abbas al-Anbari (d. 246 A.H.)
I like him more than al-Razzaq.
7. Ya’qub ibn Shaybah (d. 264 A.H.)
Some of our people have told me that he was reliable.
8. Mus’ab al-Zubayri (d. 236 A.H.)
He is reliable and safe.
9. Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Saghani (d. 270 A.H.)
Had he not been reliable to me I would have not reported from him.
10. Ibrahim al-Harbi (d. 280 A.H.)
al-Waqidi is a trustee of the people of Islam[9]
This is a long list of al-Waqidi’s defenders and in appearance seems very impressive too but a close examination will show that this list does not contain a single name of any of the prominent expert of “Ilm al-Rijal” or any Imam of “Ilm Naqd al-Hadith” (Science of the Criticism of Hadith). Had there not been a much more impressive and weightier list of opposite testimonials, the above favourable testimonials would have been valuable and acceptable. Another strange fact which needs our attention is that the man who would have testified in favour of al-Waqidi’s credibility should have been his own disciple and secretary. Muhammad ibn Sa’d (d. 230 A.H./845 C.E.) who has written his master’s biography but has not written a single word about the reliability and credibility of al-Waqidi, whereas, writing about him he pointedly remarks. “He is reliable (thiqah) or not reliable (ghayr thiqah).”[10]
3.2. Critics of al-Waqidi
As for the critics of al-Waqidi, there are many, therefore, I would confine the list to very prominent names:
1. al-Shafi’i (d. 204 A.H.):
All the books of al-Waqidi are lies. In Madinah there were seven men who used to fabricator authorities, one of which was al-Waqidi.[11]
2. Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241 A.H.):
He is a liar, makes alternations in the traditions.[12]
3. al-Nasa’i (d. 303 A.H.):
The liars known for fabricating the Hadith of the Messenger of Allah are four. They are: Arba’ah b. Abi Yahya in Madinah, al-Waqidi in Baghdad, Muqatil b. Sulayman in Khurasan and Muhammad bin Sa’id in Syria.[13]
4. al-Bukhari (d. 256 A.H.):
al-Waqidi has been abandoned in Hadith. He fabricates Hadith.[14]
5. al-Dhahbi (d. 748 A.H.):
Consensus has taken place on the weakness of al-Waqidi.[15]
6. Yahya ibn Ma’in (d. 233 A.H.):
He is weak. He is nothing. Not reliable![16]
7. Ishaq ibn Rahwiyah (d. 238 A.H.):
According to my view, he is one of those who fabricate Hadith.[17]
8. Abu Dawud (d. 275 A.H.):
I do not write his Hadith and I do not report (Hadith) on his authority. I have no doubt that he used tomake up Hadith.[18]
9. Ibn Abi Hatim al-Razi (d. 277 A.H.):
He fabricates Hadith. We have abandoned his Hadith.[19]
10. al-Darqutni (d. 385 A.H.):
There is weakness in him (in his reporting).[20]
11. ‘Ali ibn Madyani (d. 241 A.H.):
He fabricates Hadith.[21]
12. Ibn ‘Adi (d. 365 A.H.):
His traditions are not safe and there is danger from him (in accepting his traditions).[22]
13. Ibn Hajr (d. 852 A.H.):
He has been abandoned in spite of vastness of his knowledge.[23]
14. Abu Zar’ah al-Razi (d. 264 A.H.):
Abandoned, Weak![24]
15. al-Nawawi (d. 676 A.H.):
Their (muhaddithin’) consensus is that al-Waqidi is weak.[25]
4. Reasons for criticism against al-Waqidi
After comparing the above two lists it becomes clear that al-Waqidi has been condemned and rejected by competent authorities of the Hadith criticism. Now let us examine the reasons why the Hadith authorities reject al-Waqidi.
4.1. Problem with his way of narration
The method that al-Waqidi had adopted to report events was rejected by critics on the basis that in this way it was not possible to find out the original source. In other words, it is not possible to find out which part or portion of the report is narrated by which reporter. Sometimes he does give separate “isnad” but they are “munqati” (interrupted or with a link missing); or sometimes he gives the “isnads” and says that some parts of the “report are common among them” this is one of the reasons why al-Waqidi and his reports could not receive certificate of credibility from the Traditionalists and the “Ashab al-Rijal”. al-Shafi’i and Ahmad ibn Hanbal have rejected him on the same basis.
4.2. Comparison with al-Zuhri and Ibn Ishaq
Prof. Marsden Jones and Mr. Horovitz, justifying al-Waqidi’s method of reporting by collecting all the “asanid” at one place in the beginning of the report, have counter-charged that if this kind of reporting was a defect (‘ayb) then the same defect could be found in al-Zuhri and Ibn Ishaq.[26] This counter-charge is, in reality, borrowed from Ibrahim al-Harbi who is one of the earliest defenders of al-Waqidi and is quoted by Ibn Sayyid al-Nas. The whole quotation runs as follows:
When Ibrahim al-Harbi was asked what was the reason that Ahmad (ibn Hanbal) did not approve of al-Waqidi, he replied that he (Ahmad ibn Hanbal) disapproved al-Waqidi’s (method of) collecting together all the authorities (at one place) and his coming out with one single text; then Ibriahim added that it was nothing objectionable because al-Zuhri and Ibn Ishaq had done the same thing.[27]
This counter-charge is not correct because of three reasons:-
Firstly, al-Zuhri and Ibn Ishaq both enjoy high rank and good reputation in the eyes of the critics of Hadith literature and allthe “ashab al-Rijal” have almost unanimously testified in their favour and have called him truthful (saduq), reliable (thiqah), and sound in Hadith (hassan al-hadith).[28] Therefore, anything coming from al-Zuhri and Ibn Ishaq would enjoy credibility than al-Waqidi whose credibility is disputed and injured (majruh). If a reporter is considered reliable then his report is also considered reliable, and by the same token, if a reporter’s reliability is disputed then his report too will be denounced. The same experts of “Rijal” who have denounced al-Wqidi have testified in favour of al-Zuhri and Ibn Ishaq. Although Ibn Ishaq could not escape criticism from certain authorities, the fact remains that the authorities who approve of him enjoy greater rank and authority.
Secondly, al-Zuhri and Ibn Ishaq have narrated very few reports in the way that al-Waqidi had adopted. al-Waqidi has based his whole book on such reports. In case of al-Zuhri and Ibn Ishaq, only a few reports may be affected while in the case of al-Waqidi his whole book is in question.
Lastly, the authorities would maintain that if al-Zuhri and Ibn Ishaq report any event or tradition without maintaining the standard method of “isnad” or then the critics of Hadith literature would treat such reports in the same way as they would any other report of such a quality. Nevertheless, the reports of al-Zuhri and Ibn Ishaq would enjoy credibility more than the reports of al-Waqidi because of the simple fact that the critics and compilers of hadith did not find them “liars”. The other thing that we should keep in our mind is that in the acceptability of reports from al-Zuhri, Ibn Ishaq or al-Waqidithe question is not of personality but is that of reliability. This is because in the eyes of critics of Hadith all the reporters who report anything about the Prophet are equal unless their reliability and truthfulness are contested.
This brings us to a very important question, what are criteria on the basis of which a report may be accepted or rejected?
5. Criteria to decide a report’s reliability
According to Muslim scholars a report can be considered reliable only when its isnad “forms an unbroken series of reliable authorities.” The critical investigation of isnads has caused the Muslim scholars to make thorough researches and to establish different categories and degrees of the reliability of a Hadith. They “endeavored not only to ascertain the names and personal details of the authorities in order to investigate when and where they lived, and which of them had personally acquainted with the other, but also to rest their reliability, truthfulness and accuracy in transmitting the text in order to make certain which of them are reliable.” This criticism of the authorities came to be called “al-Jarah wa al-Ta’dil” and along with it came the various allied sciences such as principles of Hadith (usul al-hadith), biographies of reporters (asma’ al-rijal), and contradiction in Hadith (ikhtilaf al-hadith). At the same time principles of “riwayah” (transmission) and “dirayah” (knowledge) were laid down on the basis of which transmissions were investigated.
5.1. Principles of Riwayah
Principles of Riwayah may be summed up as follows;
1- Transmitters must be reliable from the beginning to the end of the report.
2- The first transmitter should be an eye witness of the event.
3- If the first reporter is not an eye witness himself then he should report on the authority of someone who must have been an eye witness.
4- In the case of No. 3, experience must prove that the first transmitter has always transmitted on the authority of those who themselves were eye witnesses and were present at that particular event.
5- Each transmitter must admit his meeting with his predecessor and must state that he had heard the report from his preceding transmitter, or at least there must be sufficient evidence of the fact that the transmitter had met his processor at least once in his lifetime.
6- If the evidence does not prove the meeting then there must be evidence which could prove that the transmitter and his predecessor were at least contemporary of each other and that the transmission from his contemporary predecessor was possible.
7- The chain of transmitters must not be broken.
8- There must not be any unknown (majhul) transmitter.
5.2. Principles of Dirayah
The principles of Dirayah can be summed up as follows:-
1- The event that is being transmitted should not run counter to other reliable historical facts and evidence.
2- Is there any other transmission about the same matter on the authority of more reliable “isnad” which contradicts it?
3- The transmitter has not possibly erred in understanding the meaning of the transmission.
4- Transmission should not be incomplete.
5- Transmission must not run contrary to the accepted (musallamah), well established (mutayaqqanah), and well known (ma’ruf) basic principles of Islam.[29]
These, in short, are the principles on which the initial structure of the early history and injunctions (ahkam) of Islam was built. On the basis of above principles of “riwayah” and “dirayah” the early writers of Islam, whether they were the scholars of Hadith, scholars of Maghazi or scholars of history, were tested and their ranks of reliability and trustworthiness were determined according to the above principles and not according to the fame or status. The more these writers adhered to these principles the more their writings attained credibility. That is why books of Traditions have a higher degree of reliability than the books of al-Maghazi because in comparison to the “muhaddithin” the writers of the Maghazi did not adhere to these principles very strictly. According to the degree of credibility has been given to each collection of Traditions and, by the same token, among the books of Maghazi. What status of reliability is occupied by the books of Maghazi, of al-Zuhri and Musa ibn ‘Uqba and Ibn Ishaq among the Maghazi literature is not occupied by the Kitab al-Maghazi of al-Waqidi. The reason for difference in degree of acceptability if simple and it is that the experts of the “ ’Ilm al-Jarh wa al-Ta’dil” could not find evidence to accuse al-Zuhri and Ibn Ishaq of lying or fabricating Traditions. Ibn Ishaq, although charged for his liberal attitude (‘adam ihtiyat) in accepting Hadith from the people of the Book (Ahl al-Kitab) was not accused of lying or fabricating. On the other hand, the critics of Hadith literature have accused al-Waqidi in definite terms of lying and fabricating Hadith. That is why al-Waqidi was unanimously rejected in so far as Hadith is concerned and his transmissions found no place in the collection of Hadith. On the other hand, he found a place in the Maghazi and his reports concerning the Maghazi have been accepted even by his critics.
This brings us to another question: What place does al-Waqidi have in the Maghazi?
6. al-Waqidi’s reliability in Maghazi and Siyar
Early scholars of Islam themselves have maintained a difference between the literature of hadith and history. For instance, those who collected materials concerning the person of the Prophet (siyar) in relation to the legal obligations (al-Ahkam al-Shari’yah) were called “MUhaddithin” (Traditionalists); those who concerned themselves only with the life of the Prophet were known as “Ashab al-Sirah”; those who wrote about the character and habits of the Prophet were called “Ashab al-Shama’il”. And those who concerned themselves with the campaigns of the Prophet were known as the Ashab al-Maghazi.
On the basis of above categorization the same “Ashab al-Rijal” who, have rejected al-Waqidi in Hadith and in discussions on important religious obligations, have at the same time acknowledged his knowledge of the Maghazi and have specified his fact in their criticisms. For instance, the same al-Dhahbi who, at the end of his criticism on al-Waqidi in his Mizan has concluded: “Consensus has taken place on the weakness of al-Waqidi,”[30] has specified in his “Tadhkirat al-Huffaz” that:
He is one of the vessels of knowledge but he is not well-versed in Hadith. But he is an expert (on the top) in Maghazi and Siyar.[31]
Ahmad al-Khazarji writes:
He was a scholar of Maghazi, Siyar, conquests and of difference among the people.[32]
Ibn Hajr himself who, has severely criticized al-Waqidi in his “Tahdhib al-Tahdhib” and “Taqrib al-Tahdhib”, has quoted him extensively in explaining the various events of the battles (ghazawat) and other historical events in his Fath al-Bari, the commentary to Sahih al-Bukhari.[33]
al-Shafi’i has called al-Waqidi a “liar” (kadhab) but at the same time in his monumental work, Kitab al-‘Umm, he has based his inferences on the strength of al-Waqidi’s reports on the Ghazawat.[34]
7. Conclusion
Consequently, it becomes clear that al-Waqidi was not acceptable in Hadith and important religious injunctions such as the question concerning permissible (halal) and impermissible (haram) but was acceptable in the Maghazi and Siyar and in such events of early history which did not run against the principles of historical evidence or personal bias. Thus, one can safely say that al-Waqidi’s reports concerning Maghazi and the Siyar will be accepted after close investigations and that in the presence of stronger “isnad” his report will not be accepted. In such a case too, where he is the only transmitter of a particular event his report will not be acceptable unless other evidence supports his version.[i]
At the conclusion, I would like to end with a very interesting but revealing remark of Sulayman al-Shadikuni in which he has said about al-Waqidi that if al-Waqidi “was truthful then certainly he was the greatest of all truthful men, but if he was a liar even then he was the greatest of all liars.”[35]

* The research paper was published in the biannual “Al-Seerah International” No. 13 pp.3-16 (English section) April 2005 under the title “Muhammad Ibn Umar Al-Waqidi”. Transcription errors have been removed and headings added.
[1] Ibn Sa’d, Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, vol.7 pt.2 p.67, Leiden, 1918
[2] Sham al-Din al-Dhahbi, Mizan al-I’tidal fi Naqd al-Rijal, vol.3 p.110, Cairo, 1907
[3] Yaqut al-Rumi, Mu’jam al-Udaba’, vol.18 p.278, Cairo, 1936
[4] Ibn Sayyid al-Nas, Uyun al-Athar, vol.1 pp.17-21, Cairo, 1936
[5] J. Welhausen, Muhammad in Madina, pp.11-28, Berlin, 1882
[6] Joseph Horovitz, The Earliest Biographies of the Prophet and the Authors, ‘Islamic Culture’, vol.2 pp.495-526, Hyderabad (India), 1928
[7] al-Waqidi, KItab al-Maghazi, published by Marsden Jones, pp.29-34, Oxford University Press, 1966
Marsden Jones, Ibn Ishaq and al-Waqidi: The dream of ‘Atika and the raid to Nakhla in relation to the charge of plagiarism. BSOAS, XXII, I, 1950
[8] Ibn Sayyid al-Nas, vol.1 p.20
[9]al-Dhahbi, Mizan, vol.3 pp.110-111
Ibn Sayyid al-Nas, vol.1 pp.18-21
Ibn Abi Hatim al-Razi, Kitab al-Jarh wa al-Ta’dil, vol.4 pt.1 pp.20-21, Hyderabad (India), 1953
[10] Ibn Sa’d, vol.7 pt.2 p.67
[11] Ibn Abi Hatim, vol.4 pt.1 p.21
[12] al-Dhahbi, Mizan, vol.3 p.110
[13] Ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol.9 p.366 No.604, Hyderabad, 1326 Yusuf ‘Abbas Hashmi,Zaynab bint Jahash, ‘Islamic Culture’ vol.XLI, No.1, Hyderabad (India), 1967
[14] al-Dhahbi, Mizan, vol.3 p.110
[15] Ibid., p.111
[16] Ibid. p.110,
Ibn Abi Hatim, vol.4 pt.1. p.21
[17] Ibn Abi Hatim, p.21
[18] Ibn Hajr, Tahdhib, vol.9, p.366, No.604 cf. Hashmi
[19] Ibid., p.366
Ibn Abi Hatim, p.21
[20] al-Dhahbi, Mizan, p.110
[21] Ibid., p.110
Ibn Hajr, Tahdhib, p.366 cf. Hashmi
[22] al-Dhahbi, Mizan, vol.3, p.110
[23] Ibn Hajr, Taqrib al-Tahdhib, vol.2, p.194, Cairo, 1960
[24] Ibn Abi Hatim, vol.4, pt.1, p.21
[25] Ibn Hajr, Tahdhib, vol.9, p.366 cf. Hashmi
[26] al-Waqidi, Kitab al-Maghazi, published by Marsden Jones p.29
Horovitz, ‘Islamic Culture’, vol.2 pp.518-520
[27]Ibn Sayyid al-Nas, vol.1 p.20
[28] al-Dhahbi, Mizan, vol.3 pp.21-24
al-Dhahbi, Tadhkirah al-Huffaz, vol.1 2nd ed., pp.163-164, Hyderabad, 1911
Ibn Abi Hatim, vol.3 pt.2 pp.191-194
Ibn Hajr, Taqrib, vol.2, p.144
Ahmad bin ‘Abdullah al-Khazraji, Khulasah Tahdhib al-Kamal fi Asma’ al-Rijal, p.278, Cairo, 1940
[29] Ibn Abi Hatim, (introduction) vol.1
Ibn Hajr, Lisan al-Mizan, vol.6, Hyderabad, 1911
Khatib al-Baghdadi, Kitab al-Kifayah fi ‘Ilm al-Riwayah, Hyderabad (India), 1357 A.H.
al-Hakim Naysaburi, Kitab al-Ma’rifah ‘Ilm al-Hadith
[30] al-Dhahbi, Mizan, vol.3 p.111
[31] al-Dhahbi, Tadhkirah, vol.1 pp.317-318
[32] Ahmad al-Khazarji, Khulasah Tahdhib al-Kamal, p.291
[33] Ibn Hajr, Fath al-Bari, KItab al-Maghazi, vol.7 p.197, Cairo, 1325 A.H.
[34] al-Shafi’i, Kitab al-Umm, vol.4, p.260, Cairo, 1961
[35] al-Dhahbi, Mizan, vol.3 p.110

[i] Here it may be added that in case of the narrations on Maghazi (Battles) and Siyar (Biographies), if al-Waqidi’s report does not contradict any authentic narration and established facts, but adds a little to the details of an event otherwise independently known through authentic reports, the addition may be accepted. Hafiz Ibn Kathir (d. 774 A.H./1373 C.E.) said:
“al-Waqidi: He has reliable additions, and well documented history …”
(al-Bidayah wal Nihayah 3/288)
--Waqar Akbar Cheema

Prophet Muhammad and treating all people good

The Prophet taught Muslims to love goodness for all creation, to treat people the way they would love to be treated, and to hate sinful deeds but not the sinners who commit them.
Anas ibn Malik reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
لَا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِأَخِيهِ أَوْ قَالَ لِجَارِهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ
None of you has faith until he loves for his brother or his neighbor what he loves for himself.
Source: Sahih Bukhari 13, Grade: Sahih
An-Nawawi commented on this tradition, saying:
الأولى أن يحمل ذلك على عموم الأخوة حتى يشمل الكافر والمسلم فيحب لأخيه الكافر مايحب لنفسه … والمراد بالمحبة إرادة الخير والمنفعة ثم المراد المحبة الدينية لا المحبة البشرية
It is better to interpret this as brotherhood in general, such that it includes the disbeliever and the Muslim. So he should love for his brother, the disbeliever, what he loves for himself… The meaning of love here is an intention for good and benefit, and this meaning is religious love, not human love.
Therefore, Muslims have been commanded to love their neighbors as themselves, whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims, righteous or sinful. This involves treating people as if they were our own selves.
Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
مَنْ أَحَبَّ أَنْ يُزَحْزَحَ عَنْ النَّارِ وَيَدْخُلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَلْتُدْرِكْهُ مَنِيَّتُهُ وَهُوَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَيَأْتِي إِلَى النَّاسِ مَا يُحِبُّ أَنْ يُؤْتَى إِلَيْهِ
Whoever would love to be delivered from the Hellfire and entered into Paradise, then let him die with faith in Allah and the Last Day, and let him treat the people the way he would love to be treated.
Source: Sahih Muslim 1844 Grade: Sahih
Likewise, Muslims have been warned about hatred, which is a desire to harm others.
Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
لَا تَبَاغَضُوا وَلَا تَحَاسَدُوا وَلَا تَدَابَرُوا وَكُونُوا عِبَادَ اللَّهِ إِخْوَانًا
Do not hate each other, do not envy each other, do not turn away from each other, but rather be servants of Allah as brothers.
Source: Sahih Muslim 2559 Grade: Sahih
Az-Zubair ibn Awwam reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
دَبَّ إِلَيْكُمْ دَاءُ الْأُمَمِ قَبْلَكُمْ الْحَسَدُ وَالْبَغْضَاءُ وَالْبَغْضَاءُ هِيَ الْحَالِقَةُ حَالِقَةُ الدِّينِ لَا حَالِقَةُ الشَّعَرِ وَالَّذِي نَفْسُ مُحَمَّدٍ بِيَدِهِ لَا تُؤْمِنُوا حَتَّى تَحَابُّوا أَفَلَا أُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِشَيْءٍ إِذَا فَعَلْتُمُوهُ تَحَابَبْتُمْ أَفْشُوا السَّلَامَ بَيْنَكُمْ
There has come to you the disease of the nations before you: envy and hatred, and hatred is the razor; it shaves the religion and it does not shave hair. By the one in whose hand is my soul, you will not believe until you love one another. Shall I tell you something which, if you did, you would love each other? Spread peace between yourselves.
Source: Musnad Ahmad 1415 Grade: Sahih

Ibn Taymiyyah on the Fabricated Hadith: Were it not for you, I would not have created the world

By Abu Amina Elias for
Ibn Taymiyyah was asked about the hadith which some people quote, “Were it not for you, Allah would not have created the Throne or the Chair or the earth or the heavens or the sun or the moon or anything else.” Is it authentic or not?
He answered:
Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, is the leader of the sons of Adam and the most virtuous and most noble of creation, so some people said, “Indeed, Allah created the world for him,” or that if it were not for him, Allah would not have created the Throne or the Chair or the earth or the heavens or the sun or the moon. But this tradition that is attributed to the Prophet is neither authentic nor weak. It was not narrated by any scholar as a tradition from the Prophet, and neither was it known from the companions. Rather, it is the words of someone who is unknown.
Source: Majmu’ al-Fatawa 11/86-96
هَلْ الْحَدِيثُ الَّذِي يَذْكُرُهُ بَعْضُ النَّاسِ لَوْلَاك مَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ عَرْشًا وَلَا كُرْسِيًّا وَلَا أَرْضًا وَلَا سَمَاءً وَلَا شَمْسًا وَلَا قَمَرًا وَلَا غَيْرَ ذَلِكَ صَحِيحٌ هُوَ أَمْ لَا
وَمُحَمَّدٌ سَيِّدُ وَلَدِ آدَمَ وَأَفْضَلُ الْخَلْقِ وَأَكْرَمُهُمْ عَلَيْهِ وَمِنْ هُنَا قَالَ مَنْ قَالَ إنَّ اللَّهَ خَلَقَ مِنْ أَجْلِهِ الْعَالَمَ أَوْ إنَّهُ لَوْلَا هُوَ لَمَا خَلَقَ عَرْشًا وَلَا كُرْسِيًّا وَلَا سَمَاءً وَلَا أَرْضًا وَلَا شَمْسًا وَلَا قَمَرًا لَكِنْ لَيْسَ هَذَا حَدِيثًا عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ تَعَالَى عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَا صَحِيحًا وَلَا ضَعِيفًا وَلَمْ يَنْقُلْهُ أَحَدٌ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْعِلْمِ بِالْحَدِيثِ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ تَعَالَى عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بَلْ وَلَا يُعْرَفُ عَنْ الصَّحَابَةِ بَلْ هُوَ كَلَامٌ لَا يُدْرَى قَائِلُهُ
11/86-96 مجموع فتاوى ابن تيمية الآداب والتصوف كتاب التصوف »مسألة معنى قول من يقول حب الدنيا رأس كل خطيئة

Ibn Taymiyyah on the Protection of Civilian Non-Combatants and those who Do Not Fight Islam

By Abu Amina Elias for
Ibn Taymiyyah writes in As-Siyasah Ash-Shariyyah:
Since lawful warfare is essentially jihad and since its aim is that the religion is Allah’s entirely and Allah’s word is uppermost, therefore, according to all Muslims those who stand in the way of this aim must be fought. As for those who cannot offer resistance or cannot fight, such as women, children, monks, old people, the blind, handicapped and their likes, they shall not be killed, unless they actually fight with words (by propaganda) and acts (such as spying or otherwise assisting in the warfare).
Some jurists are of the opinion that all of them may be killed on the mere ground that they are unbelievers, but they make an exception for women and children since they constitute property for Muslims. However, the first opinion is the correct one because we may only fight those who fight us when we want to make Allah’s religion victorious. Allah the Exalted has said in this respect:
وَقَاتِلُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلاَ تَعْتَدُوۤاْ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُعْتَدِينَ
Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not love transgressors.
[Surah Al-Baqarah 2:190]
In the books of Sunan it is reported that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, saw some people gathered around something, so he sent a man to say, “Go and see for what they have gathered.” He returned and said, “It was a woman who was killed.” So he said:
مَا كَانَتْ هَذِهِ لِتُقَاتِلَ
She was not fighting.
Khalid Ibn Waleed was in the advance guard, so the Prophet sent a man saying:
قُلْ لِخَالِدٍ لاَ يَقْتُلَنَّ امْرَأَةً وَلاَ عَسِيفًا
Tell Khalid not to kill women or workers.
[Sunan Abu Dawud, Book of Jihad, Number 2669, Sahih]
It is also reported in the Sunan that he used to say:
لاَ تَقْتُلَنَّ ذُرِّيَّةً وَلاَ عَسِيفًا
Do not not kill children or laborers.
[Sunan Ibn Majah, Book of Jihad, Number 2842, Sahih]
The reason is that Allah has only permitted to shed blood if that is necessary for the welfare of the creation. He has said:
وَٱلْفِتْنَةُ أَشَدُّ مِنَ ٱلْقَتْلِ
Persecution is worse than killing.
[Surah Al-Baqarah 2:190]
This means that although there is evil and abomination in killing, there is greater evil and abomination in the persecution of the unbelievers.
Now, the unbelief of those who do not hinder the Muslims from establishing Allah’s religion, is only prejudicial to themselves. In the same vein, the jurists have said that the one who propagates innovations that are contrary to the Quran and the Sunnah must be punished much more severely than the person (who holds such beliefs but) remains silent.
[Excerpt from Al-Siyasa Al-Shar’iyya fi Islah al-Ra’I wa Al-Ra’iyya. Translated in Peters, R. (2005). Jihad in classical and modern Islam: A reader. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers. p. 49]
وإذا كان أصل القتال المشروع هو الجهاد ومقصوده هو أن يكون الدين كله لله وأن تَكون كلمة الله هي العليا فمن امتنع من هذا قوتل باتفاق المسلمين وأما من لم يكن من أهل الممانعة والمقاتلة كالنساء والصبيان والراهب والشيخ الكبير والأعمى والزمن ونحوهم فلا يقتل عند جمهور العلماء إلا أن يقاتل بقوله أو فعله وإن كان بعضهم يرى إباحة قتل الجميع لمجرد الكفر إلا النساء والصبيان لكونهم مالاً للمسلمين والأول هو الصواب لأن القتال هو لمن يقاتلنا إذا أردنا إظهار دين الله كما قال الله تعالى
وَقَاتِلُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلاَ تَعْتَدُوۤاْ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُعْتَدِينَ
وفي السنن عنه أنه مر على امرأة مقتولة في بعض مغازيه، قد وقف عليها الناس فقال ما كانت هذه لتقاتل وقال لأحدهم إلحق خالدا فقل له لا تقتلوا ذرية ولا عسيفا وفيها أيضا عنه أنه كان يقول لا تقتلوا شيخا فانيا ولاطفلا صغيرا ولا امرأة وذلك أن الله تعالى أباح من قتل النفوس ما يحتاج إليه في صلاح الخلق، كما قال تعالىوذلك أن الله تعالى أباح من قتل النفوس ما يُحتاج إليه في صلاح الخلق كما قال تعالى
وَٱلْفِتْنَةُ أَشَدُّ مِنَ ٱلْقَتْلِ
أي أن القتل وإن كان فيه شر وفساد ففي فتنة الكفار من الشر والفساد ما هو أكبر منه فمن لم يمنع المسلمين من إقامة دين الله لم تكن مضرة كفره إلا على نفسه ولهذا قال الفقهاء إن الداعية إلى البدع الخالفة للكتاب والسنة يعاقب بما لا يعاقب به الساكت
ابن تيمية السياسة الشرعية

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Why did the Prophet Muhamamd fight?

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Terrorism can be defined as:
Any act of violence or threat perpetrated to carry out a criminal plan with the aim of terrorizing people or threatening to harm them or imperiling their lives, honor, freedom, security, or rights.
Source: OIC Convention to Combat Terrorism 1999CE/1420H
This includes the unlawful killing of women, children, and non-combatants. Such acts are forbidden and condemned by Islam. Muslims are only allowed to fight hostile forces who initiate aggression against innocent people.
Allah says:
وَقَاتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ
Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Verily, Allah does not love transgressors.
Surah Al-Baqarah 2:190
“Do not transgress,” means do not kill women, children, or non-combatants.
At-Tabari reported: Ibn Abbas explained the verse saying:
لَا تَقْتُلُوا النِّسَاءَ وَلَا الصِّبْيَانَ وَلَا الشَّيْخَ الْكَبِيرَ وَلَا مَنْ أَلْقَى إِلَيْكُمُ السَّلَمَ وَكَفَ يَدَهُ فَإِنْ فَعَلْتُمْ هَذَا فَقَدَ اعْتَدَيْتُمْ
Do not kill women, or children, or old men, or whoever comes to you with peace and he restrains his hand from fighting; for if you did that, you would certainly have transgressed.
The killing of women, children, and non-combatants was explicitly prohibited by the Prophet.
Abdullah ibn Umar reported:
أَنَّ امْرَأَةً وُجِدَتْ فِي بَعْضِ مَغَازِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَقْتُولَةً فَأَنْكَرَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَتْلَ النِّسَاءِ وَالصِّبْيَانِ
A woman was found killed in one of the battles of the Messenger of Allah, so he condemned the killing of women and children.
Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 2668 Grade: Sahih
Hanzala Al-Katib reported: We went on an expedition with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and we passed by a woman who had been killed and the people were gathered around her. They dispersed and he said:
مَا كَانَتْ هَذِهِ تُقَاتِلُ فِيمَنْ يُقَاتِلُ
She was not one of those who were fighting.
Then he told a man to return to Khalid ibn Al-Waleed and say to him:
إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَأْمُرُكَ يَقُولُ لَا تَقْتُلَنَّ ذُرِّيَّةً وَلَا عَسِيفًا
Verily, the Messenger of Allah has commanded you, saying: Do not kill children or workers.
Source: Sunan ibn Majah 2842 Grade: Hasan
The Quran mentions that unlawful killing, kidnapping, terrorizing people, and evicting them from their homes are all crimes forbidden for the Israelites, and likewise for the Muslims.
Allah says:
ثُمَّ أَنتُمْ هَٰؤُلَاءِ تَقْتُلُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَتُخْرِجُونَ فَرِيقًا مِّنكُم مِّن دِيَارِهِمْ تَظَاهَرُونَ عَلَيْهِم بِالْإِثْمِ وَالْعُدْوَانِ وَإِن يَأْتُوكُمْ أُسَارَىٰ تُفَادُوهُمْ وَهُوَ مُحَرَّمٌ عَلَيْكُمْ إِخْرَاجُهُمْ أَفَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِبَعْضِ الْكِتَابِ وَتَكْفُرُونَ بِبَعْضٍ
You are those same ones who are killing one another and evicting a party of your people from their homes, cooperating against them in sin and aggression. If they come to you as captives, you sell them for ransom, although their eviction was forbidden to you. So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in the rest?
Surah Al-Baqarah 2:85
For this reason, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation at the United Nations issued the following statement:
The tenets of the tolerant Islamic Law rejects all forms of violence and terrorism, and in particular especially those based on extremism, and it calls for protection of human rights, whose provisions are paralleled by the principles and rules of international law founded on cooperation between peoples for the establishment of peace.
Source: OIC Convention to Combat Terrorism 1999CE/1420H
Even Orientalist scholars with less-than-favorable views of Muslims will admit that Islam does not allow terrorism. Professor Bernard Lewis of Princeton University cannot be described as an Islamic apologist. His writings are often critical of Muslim societies, yet this careful academic states in his book:
Muslim fighters are commanded not to kill women, children, or the aged unless they attack first; not to torture or otherwise ill-treat prisoners; to give fair warning of the opening of hostilities or their resumption after a truce; and to honor agreements… At no time did the classical jurists offer any approval or legitimacy to what we nowadays call terrorism. Nor indeed is there any evidence of the use of terrorism as it is practiced nowadays.
Source: Islam: The Religion and the People, p. 151
And he also says:
At no point do the basic texts of Islam enjoin terrorism and murder. At no point – as far as I am aware – do they even consider the random slaughter of uninvolved bystanders.
Source: The Crisis of Islam, p. 39
Professor Lewis’ writings are subject to peer-reviewed scrutiny by scholars of competing University presses, and no one has been able to challenge him on this point because it is simply the truth.
Regarding the verse you have cited, it refers to Allah and the angels casting fear into the hearts of the unbelievers, who at the time were waging a war of aggression against the Muslim community.
Allah says:
إِذْ يُوحِي رَبُّكَ إِلَى الْمَلَائِكَةِ أَنِّي مَعَكُمْ فَثَبِّتُوا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ۚ سَأُلْقِي فِي قُلُوبِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا الرُّعْبَ فَاضْرِبُوا فَوْقَ الْأَعْنَاقِ وَاضْرِبُوا مِنْهُمْ كُلَّ بَنَانٍ
Remember when your Lord inspired to the angels, saying: I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike them upon their necks and strike from them every fingertip.
Surah Al-Anfal 8:12
Ibn Kathir explains the meaning of this verse, saying:
ثَبِّتُوا أَنْتُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَقَوُّوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ عَلَى أَعْدَائِهِمْ عَنْ أَمْرِي لَكُمْ بِذَلِكَ سَأُلْقِي الرُّعْبَ وَالْمَذَلَّةَ وَالصَّغَارَ عَلَى مَنْ خَالَفَ أَمْرِي وَكَذَّبَ رَسُولِي
You – angels – support the Muslims and strengthen their resolve against their enemies, thus implementing my command. I – Allah – will cast terror, disgrace, and humiliation upon whoever defies my command and rejects my messenger.
Source: Tafseer Ibn Kathir, verse 8:12
Ar-Rabi’ ibn Anas said:
كَانَ النَّاسُ يَوْمَ بَدْرٍ يَعْرِفُونَ قَتْلَى الْمَلَائِكَةِ مِمَّنْ قَتَلُوا هُمْ بِضَرْبٍ فَوْقَ الْأَعْنَاقِ وَعَلَى الْبَنَانِ مِثْلَ سِمَةِ النَّارِ قَدِ أُحْرِقَ بِهِ
In the aftermath of the battle of Badr, the people used to recognize whomever the angels killed by the wounds over their necks, fingers and toes, because those parts had a mark as if they were branded by fire.
Therefore, the verse refers to the act of Allah sending his angels to support the Muslims who at the time were defending their city from aggression. The terror thrown into their hearts was upon their realization that Allah was supporting the Muslims with angels. It does not mean Muslims have been commanded to spread terror as a means of political change.
In conclusion, terrorism and political violence is forbidden in Islam. Killing women, children, and non-combatants is a major sin. Rather, the Prophet only fought in self-defense to repel aggression against the Muslim community.

Why does Islam allow polygamy

Why does Islam allow polygamy and plural marriages?

By Abu Amina Elias for
Why can a Muslim man marry four wives?
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
It is best for a man to have only one wife, but Islam allows polygamy (or, more accurately polygyny) when social circumstances make it necessary.  Islam placed important legal restrictions on polygyny, limiting it to one man with four wives, and also placed moral restrictions, encouraging men to take another wife only if they are capable of fulfilling their duties. A Muslim man who takes another wife should do so to fulfill his social responsibilities, such as caring for a widowed woman, and not as a means to increase his pleasure.
Allah said:
وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تُقْسِطُوا فِي الْيَتَامَىٰ فَانكِحُوا مَا طَابَ لَكُم مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ مَثْنَىٰ وَثُلَاثَ وَرُبَاعَ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا فَوَاحِدَةً أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ
If you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of other women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then marry only one or those your right hand possesses…
Surah An-Nisa 4:3
Muhammad Asad comments on this verse:
As regards the permission to marry more than one wife (up to the maximum of four), it is so restricted by the condition, “If you have reason to fear that you might not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then marry only one,” as to make such plural marriages possible only in quite exceptional cases and under exceptional circumstances.
Source: Message of the Quran, verse 4:3
Therefore, polygyny is placed under an important moral restriction that the husband must treat all his wives equally, which should discourage a man from taking another wife simply to increase his pleasure. Regarding marriage to slaves, we have answered this question in a previous article.
Allah said:
وَلَن تَسْتَطِيعُوا أَن تَعْدِلُوا بَيْنَ النِّسَاءِ وَلَوْ حَرَصْتُمْ فَلَا تَمِيلُوا كُلَّ الْمَيْلِ فَتَذَرُوهَا كَالْمُعَلَّقَةِ
You will never be able to do perfect justice between wives even if it is your ardent desire, so do not incline too much to one of them so as to leave the other hanging…
Surah An-Nisa 4:129
Muhammad Asad comments on this verse:
This refers to cases where a man has more than one wife – a permission which is conditional upon his determination and ability to “treat them with equal fairness,” as laid down in verse 3 of this surah… In view of the fact that a man’s behavior towards another person is, in the long run, almost inevitably influenced by what he feels about that person, the above passage – read in conjunction with verse 3, and especially its concluding sentence – imposes a moral restriction on plural marriages.
Source: Message of the Quran, verse 4:129
The ideal of one wife can be seen in the example of the Prophet. He was married to his wife Khadijah for twenty-five years and he only remarried after she passed away. His plural marriages later in his life were due to his unique mission to be an example for the Muslim community, by taking care of widows, reconciling families through marriage, freeing slaves, and educating his wives in the teachings of Islam.
It should be noted that the Bible allows polygyny and places no restrictions upon it. For example, one verse reads:
Solomon he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines…
Source: 1 Kings 11:3
Jews and Christians have no basis to criticize Islam for allowing polygyny, as their scriptures do not forbid it nor place any legal or moral restrictions upon it.
In fact, most human societies practice some form of polygynous marriages. According to theEthnographic Atlas Codebook, of the 1,231 societies under study, 186 were monogamous, 453 had occasional polygyny, 588 had more frequent polygyny, and 4 had polyandry. Therefore, the view that polygyny is immoral is based upon a particular cultural norm that is not a universally recognized majority.
In conclusion, Islam allows polygyny but with important legal and moral restrictions. It is best for a man to have one wife so as to avoid jealousy and unfairness between co-wives, but it is permissible for a man to have up to four wives if he is capable of treating them fairly and his marriages will serve the interests of the common good.
Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

What is the meaning of Jihad? Holy war or spiritual struggle?

By Abu Amina Elias for
What is the meaning of Jihad? Is it a holy war or spiritual struggle?
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Jihad means to struggle for the sake of Allah in a righteous cause. It takes many forms such as the inward struggle to achieve a pure heart, the struggle against sinful temptations, the struggle to help others in need, and the struggle to educate our communities. When necessary, jihad can refer to an armed struggle in defense of the community.
Muslims scholars wrote at length about the inward struggle against sinful desires. This jihad is called the Greater Jihad (jihad al-akbar), whereas armed struggle is called the Lesser Jihad (jihad al-asghar). In contrast, the term “holy war” (harb al-muqaddis) was never used by the Prophet, his companions, or the great Muslim scholars who succeeded them.
Jabir reported: Some people returned to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, from a military expedition. The Prophet said:
قَدِمْتُمْ خَيْرَ مَقْدَمٍ مِنَ الْجِهَادِ الأَصْغَرِ إِلَى الْجِهَادِ الأَكْبَرِ
You have returned with a good return, from the lesser jihad unto the greater jihad.
They said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is the greater jihad?” The Prophet said:
مُجَاهَدَةُ الْعَبْدِ هَوَاهُ
It is the servant’s struggle against his desires.
Source: Kitab Az-Zuhd Al-Bayhaqi 383, Grade: Da’eef
Although the chain of narration for this tradition is weak, the meaning has been accepted by Muslim scholars and it is also strengthened by other authentic narrations.
Fadalah ibn Ubaid reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
الْمُجَاهِدُ مَنْ جَاهَدَ نَفْسَهُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ
The one who strives in the way of Allah the Exalted is he who strives against his soul.
Source: Musnad Ahmad 23445, Grade: Sahih
Jihad can take the form of education and preaching to the community.
Allah said:
فَلَا تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِينَ وَجَاهِدْهُم بِهِ جِهَادًا كَبِيرًا
Do not obey the unbelievers, but strive against them with (the Quran) a great striving.
Surah Al-Furqan 25:52
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
مَنْ دَخَلَ مَسْجِدَنَا هَذَا لِيَتَعَلَّمَ خَيْرًا أَوْ لِيُعَلِّمَهُ كَانَ كَالْمُجَاهِدِ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ
Whoever enters our mosque in order to teach goodness or to learn it himself, then he is like one who is striving in the cause of Allah.
Source: Musnad Ahmad 8396, Grade: Hasan
Jihad can take the form of speaking out against injustice.
Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
إِنَّ مِنْ أَعْظَمِ الْجِهَادِ كَلِمَةَ عَدْلٍ عِنْدَ سُلْطَانٍ جَائِرٍ
Verily, among the greatest of struggles is a word of justice in front of a tyrant.
Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2174, Grade: Hasan
Abu Umamah reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
أَحَبُّ الْجِهَادِ إِلَى اللَّهِ كَلِمَةُ حَقٍّ تُقَالُ لإِمَامٍ جَائِرٍ
The most beloved struggle (jihadto Allah is a word of truth in front of a tyrannical leader.
Source: Mu’jam Al-Kabeer 8002, Grade: Hasan
Jihad can take the form of service to others in charity, especially parents.
Abdullah bin Amr reported: A man said to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, “I pledge allegiance to you for emigration and striving in the way of Allah, seeking reward.” The Prophet said:
فَهَلْ مِنْ وَالِدَيْكَ أَحَدٌ حَيٌّ
Are one of your parents living?
He said, “Yes, rather both of them.” The Prophet said:
فَتَبْتَغِي الْأَجْرَ مِنْ اللَّهِ
Do you seek reward from Allah?
He said, “Yes.” The Prophet said:
فَارْجِعْ إِلَى وَالِدَيْكَ فَأَحْسِنْ صُحْبَتَهُمَا
Then return to your parents and treat them with good company.
Source: Sahih Muslim 2549, Grade: Sahih
In another narration, the Prophet said:
فَفِيهِمَا فَجَاهِدْ
 Then strive in their service.
Source: Sahih Bukhari 2842, Grade: Sahih
Mu’awiyah ibn Jahima reported: Jahima came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, I intend to join the expedition and I seek your advice.” The Prophet said:
هَلْ لَكَ مِنْ أُمٍّ
Do you have a mother?
He said, “Yes.” The Prophet said:
فَالْزَمْهَا فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ تَحْتَ رِجْلَيْهَا
Stay with her, for verily, Paradise is beneath her feet.
Source: Sunan An-Nasa’i 3104, Grade: Hasan
In these traditions, we learn that a man’s struggle to care for his parents in their old age takes precedence over armed struggle. Likewise, any act of charity that requires effort can be properly referred to as jihad.
Allah said:
وَالَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَمَعَ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
Those who strive for Us, We will surely guide them to Our ways. Verily, Allah is with the doers of good.
Surah Al-Ankabut 29:69
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
السَّاعِي عَلَى الْأَرْمَلَةِ وَالْمِسْكِينِ كَالْمُجَاهِدِ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ
One who strives to help a widow or the poor is like one who strives in the cause of Allah.
Source: Sahih Muslim 2982, Grade: Sahih
Jihad can take the form of performing acts of ritual worship for the purpose of purifying the heart from sinful temptations.
Allah said:
وَجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ ۚ هُوَ اجْتَبَاكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ ۚ مِّلَّةَ أَبِيكُمْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۚ هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مِن قَبْلُ وَفِي هَٰذَا لِيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْكُمْ وَتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ ۚ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِاللَّهِ
Strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed any hardship upon you in the religion. It is the religion of your father, Abraham. Allah named you Muslims before and in this scripture that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. So establish prayer and give charity and hold fast to Allah.
Surah Al-Hajj 22:78
In this verse, the command to strive in the way of Allah is followed by the command to pray and give in charity, without any reference to fighting. The Prophet would strive to perform such acts of worship during the last ten night of Ramadan.
Aisha reported:
كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَجْتَهِدُ فِي الْعَشْرِ الْأَوَاخِرِ مَا لَا يَجْتَهِدُ فِي غَيْرِهِ

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, would exert himself (yajtahidu) in worship during the last ten nights more than at any other time.
Source: Sahih Muslim 1175, Grade: Sahih
In the same way, the Prophet referred to the Hajj pilgrimage as jihad.
Aisha reported: She said, “O Messenger of Allah, we view striving in the cause of Allah as the most virtuous deed, so shall we not strive?” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
لَا لَكِنَّ أَفْضَلَ الْجِهَادِ حَجٌّ مَبْرُورٌ
No, rather the most virtuous struggle is an accepted pilgrimage.
Source: Sahih Bukhari 1448, Grade: Sahih
The Prophet did not make it a condition of faith for Muslims to join the armed struggle of a Muslim army.
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَبِرَسُولِهِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَصَامَ رَمَضَانَ كَانَ حَقًّا عَلَى اللَّهِ أَنْ يُدْخِلَهُ الْجَنَّةَ جَاهَدَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَوْ جَلَسَ فِي أَرْضِهِ الَّتِي وُلِدَ فِيهَا
Whoever believes in Allah and His Messenger, establishes prayer, and fasts the month of Ramadan will have a right upon Allah that he will be entered into Paradise whether he strives in the cause of Allah or remains in the land in which he was born.
Source: Sahih Bukhari 2637, Grade: Sahih
This is because military service is a collective obligation (fard al-kifayyah) and not an individual obligation (fard al-ain), meaning that if the Muslim community is strong enough to defend itself from aggression, then it is not an obligation to join the armed struggle.
However, if the rights of others are being violated and a person has the ability to help them, then the morally upright deed is to defend the human rights of the oppressed.
Allah said:
وَمَا لَكُمْ لَا تُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاءِ وَالْوِلْدَانِ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَٰذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ نَصِيرًا
What is the matter with you that you do not fight in the cause of Allah and for the oppressed among men, women, and children who say: Our Lord, take us out of this city of oppressive people and appoint for us from Yourself a helper and protector?
Surah An-Nisa 4:75
Therefore, while the spiritual struggle is primary in Islam, an armed struggle in defense of the oppressed is a tremendously virtuous deed for those soldiers and officers who put themselves in harm’s way to save others.
In conclusion, jihad in Islam refers to the spiritual struggle against sin, the struggle to educate and improve our communities, and an armed struggle in defense of the oppressed. Jihad does not refer to a holy war, because war in Islam is never holy; it is only just or unjust.
Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.