Jihad as Obligation (Fard)

From WikiIslam, the online resource on Islam
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Under construction icon-yellow.svg

This article or section is being renovated.

Lead = 1 / 4
Structure = 3 / 4
Content = 3 / 4
Language = 1 / 4
References = 3 / 4
1 / 4
3 / 4
3 / 4
1 / 4
3 / 4

"Fard" means Compulsory. Jihad is an Individual duty (فرض العين fard al-'ayn) for each and every Muslim or a community responsibility, or sufficiency duty (فرض الكفائي‎ fard al-kifaya) that could be fulfilled by a group within the community without involving everyone. Scholarly discussions regarding the two views involved in particular the verses Quran 2:216 and Quran 9:122.[1] While modern voices differentiate between a personal or greater Jihad and a military or lesser Jihad, such a dichotomy is not found in classical and especially early Islamic literature, and finds no endorsement in Islamic scripture, which refers to Jihad overwhelmingly, and some argue exclusively, as a doctrine of military conquest, with the reference to internal struggle being a metaphorical usage.


Hanafi Fiqh

Ibn Aabidin said: "Jihad becomes Fard Ayn if the enemy attacks one of the borders of the Muslims, and it becomes Fard Ayn upon those close by. For those who are far away, it is Fard Kifaya, if their assistance is not required. If they are needed, perhaps because those nearby the attack cannot resist the enemy, or are indolent and do not fight Jihad, then it becomes Fard Ayn upon those behind them, like the obligation to pray and fast. There is no room for them to leave it. If they too are unable, then it becomes Fard Ayn upon those behind them, and so on in the same manner until the jihad becomes Fard Ayn upon the whole Ummah of Islam from the East to the West". And the following have like Fatawa: Al Kassani, Ibn Najim and Ibn Hammam.[2]
Hanafi Madhhab

Maliki Fiqh

In Hashiyat ad Dussuqi it is stated: Jihad becomes Fard Ayn upon a surprise attack by the enemy. Dussuqi said: "Wherever this happens, jihad immediately becomes Fard Ayn upon everybody, even women, slaves and children, and they march out even if their guardians, husbands and creditors forbid them to.[2]
Maliki Madhhab

Ibn Khaldun (1332 - 1406) was a renowned Maliki jurist, philosopher, historian, and sociologist.

In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the [Muslim] mission and [the obligation to] convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. Therefore, caliphate and royal authority are united [in Islam], so that the person in charge can devote the available strength to both of them [i.e. religion and politics] at the same time. The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty for them, save only for purposes of defense. ... Islam is under obligation to gain power over other nations. ...

Thereafter, there were dissensions among the Christians with regard to their religion and to Christology. ... We do not think that we should blacken the pages of this book with discussion of their dogmas of unbelief. In general, they are well known. All of them are unbelief. This is clearly stated in the noble Qur'an. [To] discuss or argue those things with them is not up to us. It is [for them to choose between] conversion to Islam, payment of the poll tax, or death.[3]

Ibn Rushd (Averroes) (1126 - 1198) was a famous Andalusian-Arab master of Islamic law, philosopher, physician and mathematician. He was born in Cordoba, Spain, and he died in Marrakech, Morocco.

The legal qualification (hukm) of this activity and the persons obliged to take part in it

Scholars agree that the jihad is a collective not a personal obligation. Only 'Abd Allah Ibn al-Hasan professed it to be a recommendable act. According to the majority of scholars, the compulsory nature of the jihad is founded on [K 2:216] "Fighting is prescribed for you, though it is distasteful to you."That this obligation is a collective and not a personal one, i.e., that the obligation, when it can be properly carried out by a limited number of individuals, is canceled for the remaining Moslems, is founded on [K 9:112]: "It is not for the believers to march out all together, and, lastly, on the fact that the Prophet never went to battle without leaving some people behind. All this together implies that this activity is a collective obligation. The obligation to participate in the jihad applies to adult free men who have the means at their disposal to go to war and who are healthy, that is, not ill or suffering from chronic diseases. ...

The enemy

Scholars agree that all polytheists should be fought. This is founded on [K 8:39]: "Fight them until there is no Fitnah and the religion is entirely Allah's." ...

The damage allowed to be inflicted upon the different categories of enemies

Damage inflicted upon the enemy may consist in damage to his property, injury to his person or violation of his personal liberty, i.e., that he is made a slave and is appropriated. This may be done, according to the Consensus (idjma) to all polytheists: men, women, young and old, important and unimportant. Only with regard to monks do opinions vary; for some take it that they must be left in peace and that they must not be captured ...
Most scholars are agreed that, in his dealings with captives, carious policies are open to the Imam. He may pardon them, kill them, or release them either on ransom or as dhimmi, in which latter case the released captive is obliged to pay poll-tax." ...
It is only allowed to slay the enemy on the condition that aman [safe conduct] has not been granted. There is no dissension about this among the Moslems. There is controversy, however, concerning who is entitled to grant aman. Everyone is agreed that the Imam is entitled to this. ...
As regards injury to the person, that is, the slaying of the enemy, the Moslems agree that in times of war, all adult, able bodied, unbelieving males may be slain. ...
There is controversy about the question whether it is allowed to slay hermits who have retired from the world, the blind, the chronically ill and the insane, those who are old and unable to fight any longer, peasants, and serfs. ...

The prerequisites for warfare

According to all scholars, the prerequisite for warfare is that the enemy must have heard the summons to Islam. This implies that it is not allowed to attack them before the summons has reached them. All Moslems are agreed about this because of [K 17:15]: "We have not be accustomed to punish until We have sent a messenger." However, there is controversy about the question whether the summons should be repeated when the war is resumed. ...

The maximum number of enemies against which one is obliged to stand one's ground

The maximum number of enemies against which one is obliged to stand one's group is twice the number [of one's won troops]. About this, everybody agrees on account of [K 8:66]: "Now Allah hath made it lighter for you and knoweth that there is weakness among you." ...

The aims of warfare

The Moslems are agreed that the aim of warfare against the People of the Book, with the exception of those belonging to the Quraysh-tribe and Arab Christians, is twofold: either conversion to Islam, or payment of poll-tax (
djizyah). This is based on [K 9:29]: "Fight against those who do not believe in Allah nor in the last Day, and do not make forbidden what Allah and His messenger have made forbidden, and do not practice the religion of truth, of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the jizya off-hand, being subdued." Most lawyers likewise agree that poll-tax may also be collected from Zoroastrians on the strength of the words of the Prophet: "Treat them like the People of the Book." There is, however, controversy with regard to polytheists who are not People of the Book: is it allowed to accept poll-tax from them or not? ...[4]

Shafi'i Fiqh

In the Nihayat al Mahtaj by Ramli: "If they approach one of our lands and the distance between them and us becomes less than the distance permitting the shortening of prayers, then the people of that territory must defend it and it becomes Fard Ayn even upon the people for whom there is usually no jihad; the poor, the children, the slaves, the debtor and the women.[2]
Shaffi Madhhab

Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Idrīs al-Shafi'i (767 - 820) is considered by Muslims to be greatest Imam from among the Four Imams of Fiqh.

40. Shafi'i replied: God has imposed the [duty of] jihad as laid down in His Book and uttered by His Prophet's tongue. He stressed the calling [of men to fulfill] the jihad [duty] as follows:

God has brought 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 Gospel and the Qur'an; and who fulfills his covenant better than God? So rejoice in the bargain you have made with Him. That is the mightly triumph. [Q. 9:112]

And He said:

Fight the polytheists totally as they fight you totally; and know that God is with the godfearing. [Q. 9:36]

And He said:

Slay the polytheists wherever you find them, and take them, and confine them, and lie in ambush for them everywhere. But if they repent and perform the prayer and pay the zakat, then set them free. God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate. [Q. 9:5]

And He said:

Fight those who do not believe in God nor in the Last Day, who do not forbid what God and His Apostle have made forbidden, and who do not practice the religion of truth, of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the jizya out of hand and have been humbled. [Q. 9:29]

41. Abd al-Aziz b. Muhammad as-Darawardi told us from Muhammed b. Amr b. Alqama from Abu Salama [b. Abd al-Rahman] from Abu Hurayra, who said that the Apostle of God said:

I shall continue to fight the unbelievers until they say: "There is no god but God," if they make this pronouncement they shall be secured in their blood and property, unless taken for its price, and their reward shall be given by God.

And God, gloried by His praise, said:

O believers, what is the matter with you, that when it is said to you: "Go forth in the way of God," you sink down to the ground? Are you so content with this present life as to neglect the Here-after? The enjoyment of this life is little in comparison with the Hereafter. If you do not go forth, He will inflict upon you a painful punishment, and instead of you He will substitute another people; and you will not hurt Him at all, for God is powerful over everything. [Q. 9:38-39]

And he said:

Go forth, light and heavy! Struggle in God's way with your possessions and yourselves! That is better for you, did you but know. [Q. 9:41]

42. Shafi'i said: These communications mean that the jihad, and rising up in arms in particular, is obligatory for all able-bodied [believers], exempting no one, just as prayer, pilgrimage and [payment of] alms are performed, and no person is permitted to perform the duty for another, since performance by one will not fulfil the duty for another. They may also mean that the duty of [jihad] is a collective (kifaya) duty different from that of prayer: Those who perform it in the war against the polytheists will fulfill their duty and reciever the supererogatory merit, thereby preventing those who stayed behind from falling into error. But God has not put the two [categories of men] on equal footing, for He said:

Such believers who sit at home - unless they have an injury - are not the equals of those who fight in the path of God with their possessions and their selves. God has given precedence to those who fight with their possessions and their selves over those who sit at home. Hod has promised the best of things to both, and He has preferred those who fight over those who fit at home by [granting them] a might reward. [Q. 4:97]

. . .

So far as I have been informed, the Muslims have continued to act as I have stated, from the time of the Prophet to the present. Only a few men must know the law, attend the funeral service, perform the jihad and respond to greeting, while others are exempt. So those who know the law, perform the jihad, attend the funeral service, and respond to a greeting will be rewarded, while others do not fall into error since a sufficient number fulfill the [collective] duty.[5]
o9.0 (O: Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion.
o9.1 Jihad is a communal obligation (def: c3.2). When enough people perform it to successfully accomplish it, it is no longer obligatory upon others.
o9.8 The caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians [kafirs] (N: provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax (jizya, def: o11.4) - which is the significance of their paying it, not the money itself-while remaining in their ancestral regions) (O: and the war continues) until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax (O: in accordance with the word of Allah Most High.
(A: though if there is no caliph (def: o25), no permission is required).[6]
Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law Umdat Al-Salik

Hanbali Fiqh

In Al Mughni by Ibn al Qadamah: "Jihad becomes Fard Ayn in three situations:

1) If the two sides meet in battle and they approach each other.

2) If the Kuffar enter a land, jihad becomes Fard Ayn upon its people.
3) If the Imam calls a people to march forward it is obligatory upon them to march forward.[2]
Hanafi Madhhab

Ibn Qayyim (1292-1350) was a famous Islamic jurist, commentator on the Qur'an, astronomer, chemist, philosopher, psychologist, scientist and theologian.

…thereafter it became an obligation upon them to fight the Mushrikeen (idolaters, disbelievers) completely. When such an action was initially haram (prohibited), then made permissible (by Allah (swt)); then made an obligation against those who began the aggression and finally (they were) ordered to fight the Kuffar entirely. Such a duty is either Fard ‘Ayn (an individual obligation) or Fard Kifayah according to the more famous opinion of the scholars.[7]

Ibn Qudamah (1147-1223) was a noted Islamic scholar who was born in Jerusalem and died in Damascus.

Legal war (jihad) is an obligatory social duty (fard-kifaya); when one group of Muslims guarantees that it is being carried out in a satisfactory manner, the others are exempted.

The jihad becomes a strictly binding personal duty (fard-'ain) for all Muslims who are enlisted or whose country has been [invaded] by the enemy. It is obligatory only for free men who have reached puberty, are endowed with reason and capable of fighting. Jihad is the best of the works of supererogation. ...

Naval expeditions are more meritorious than campaigns on land. One must fight under every leader, whether it be a respectable man or a corrupt man. Every nation must fight the enemies that are its immediate neighbors. A full stint of service in a frontier post (ribat) is of forty days' duration. ...

No one can engage in jihad without the permission of his father and mother, if they are alive and Muslims, unless the jihad is an individual duty that strictly obliges. Only elderly women are permitted to venture into the war zone in order to replenish the water supply and to care for the wounded. No one should enlist the services of an infidel except in case of need. ...

It is permitted to surprise the infidels under cover of night, to bombard them with mangonels and to attack them without declaring battle (du'a). ...

The chief of state decides on the fate of the men who are taken prisoners; he can have them put to death, reduce them to slavery, free them in return for a ransom or grant them their freedom as a gift. ...

The head tax can be demanded only from the People of the Book (ahl-al-kitab) and from Zoroastrians (Magus), who pledge to pay it and submit to the laws of the community. ... It cannot be demanded from children who have not reached the age of puberty, from women, helpless old men, the sick, the blind, or slaves, nor from poor people who are unable to pay it. An infidel subject to the head tax who converts to Islam is free of this obligation. When an infidel dies, his heirs are responsible for the head tax.[8]

Other / Unknown

For further information, click on the source.

This is the request and call, from the Muslims to the Kuffar (disbelievers) in their lands and dwelling places to enter Islam and to fight them if they do not accept the rule of the Islamic authority over them. This type of Jihad [offensive] is a collective obligation (Fard ul-Kifaya) upon the Muslims. There are numerous evidences detailing this type of Jihad in both the Qur’an and the Sunnah.


It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: One who died but did not fight in the way of Allah nor did he express any desire (or determination) for Jihad died the death of a hypocrite.
Whoever dies but neither fought (i.e., in Allah's cause), nor sincerely considered fighting, will die a death of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic era of ignorance.
Jihad is made Obligatory
Sahih hadith, Tafsir Ibn Kathir


Fighting is good for you (2:216)


Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not


Jihad is made Obligatory

In this Ayah, Allah made it obligatory for the Muslims to fight in Jihad against the evil of the enemy who transgress against Islam. Az-Zuhri said, "Jihad is required from every person, whether he actually joins the fighting or remains behind. Whoever remains behind is required to give support, if support is warranted; to provide aid, if aid is needed; and to march forth, if he is commanded to do so. If he is not needed, then he remains behind. It is reported in the Sahih:

(Whoever dies but neither fought (i.e., in Allah's cause), nor sincerely considered fighting, will die a death of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic era of ignorance).)

On the day of Al-Fath (when he conquered Makkah), the Prophet said:

(There is no Hijrah (migration from Makkah to Al-Madinah) after the victory, but only Jihad and good intention. If you were required to march forth, then march forth.)

Allah's statement:

(...though you dislike it) means, `Fighting is difficult and heavy on your hearts.' Indeed, fighting is as the Ayah describes it, as it includes being killed, wounded, striving against the enemies and enduring the hardship of travel. Allah then said:

(. ..and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you) meaning, fighting is followed by victory, dominance over the enemy, taking over their lands, money and offspring. Allah continues:

(...and that you like a thing which is bad for you.)

This Ayah is general in meaning. Hence, one might covet something, yet in reality it is not good or beneficial for him, such as refraining from joining the Jihad, for it might lead to the enemy taking over the land and the government. Then, Allah said:

(Allah knows, but you do not know.) meaning, He has better knowledge than you of how things will turn out to be in the end, and of what benefits you in this earthly life and the Hereafter. Hence, obey Him and adhere to His commands, so that you may acquire the true guidance.
Jihad is made Obligatory
Tafsir Ibn Kathir
Prescribed for you, obligatory [for you], is fighting, disbelievers, though it be hateful to you, by nature, because of the hardship involved. Yet it may happen that you hate a thing which is good for you; and it may happen that you love a thing which is bad for you: because the soul inclines towards those desires which result in its destruction and its rejection of the religious obligations that would bring about its happiness.

Go forth light and heavy (9:41)


Go forth light and heavy, and strive hard in Allah's way with your property and your persons; this is better for you, if you know.


Jihad is required in all Conditions

Sufyan Ath-Thawri narrated from his father from Abu Ad-Duha, Muslim bin Subayh, who said, "This Ayah,

(March forth, whether you are light or heavy) `Ali bin Zayd narrated that Anas said that Abu Talhah commented (on this Ayah), "Whether you are old or young, Allah did not leave an excuse for anyone. Abu Talhah marched to Ash-Sham and fought until he was killed. In another narration, Abu Talhah recited Surah Bara'ah until he reached this Ayah,

(March forth, whether you are light or heavy, and strive hard with your wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah.) He then said, "I see that Allah had called us to mobilize whether we are old or young. O my children! Prepare my supplies. His children said, `May Allah grant you His mercy! You conducted Jihad along with the Messenger of Allah until he died, then with Abu Bakr until he died, then with `Umar until he died. Let us perform Jihad in your place. Abu Talhah refused and he went to the sea [under the command of Mu`awiyah] where he died. They could not find an island to bury him on until nine days later, during which his body did not deteriorate or change and they buried him on the island. As-Suddi said,

(March forth, whether you are light or heavy), whether you are rich, poor, strong, or weak. A man came forward, and he was fat, complained, and asked for permission to stay behind [from Jihad], but the Prophet refused. Then this Ayah,

Encyclopaedia of Islam Online

The duty of the jihad exists as long as the universal domination of Islam has not been attained. Peace with non-Muslim nations is, therefore, a provisional state of affairs only; the chance of circumstances alone can justify it temporarily. Furthermore there can be no question of genuine peace treaties with these nations; only truces, whose duration ought not, in principle, to exceed ten years, are authorized. But even such truces are precarious, inasmuch as they can, before they expire, be repudiated unilaterally should it appear more profitable for Islam to resume the conflict.[9]
Encyclopaedia of Islam Online


  1. Reuven Firestone, Jihad: The Origin of Holy War in Islam, New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, pp. 60-61
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Offensive Jihad Vs. Defensive Jihad - Islamic Emirate Online, The Fiqh Department
  3. Ibn Khaldun, The Muqudimmah: An Introduction to History, trans. Franz Rosenthal, vol. 1 (New York: Pantheon, 1958), pp. 60, 473, 480.
  4. Excerpted from Bidayat al-Mudjtahid, in Rudolph Peters, Jihad in Medieval and Modern Islam: The Chapters on Jihad from Averroes' Legal Handbook "Bidayat al-mudjtahid," trans. and annotated by Rudolph Peters (Leiden: Brill, 1977), pp. 9-25.
  5. Excerpted from Majid Khadduri, trans., al-Imam Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shaf'i's al-Risala fi us ul al-fiqh: Treatise on the Foundations of Islamic Jurisprudence (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1997), pp. 82-87.
  6. Ahmad Ibn Lulu Ibn Al-Naqib, translated by Noah Ha Mim Keller - Reliance of the Traveller: The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law Umdat Al-Salik - Published by Amana Corporation; Revised edition (July 1, 1997), ISBN-13: 978-0915957729
  7. Referenced in 'The Rulings on Jihad and its Divisions', by Shaykh Yusuf al Uyayree, translated by Abu Osama
  8. Excerpted from Henri Laoust, trans., Le precis de droit d'Ibn Qudama, jurisconsulte musulman d'ecole hanbalite ne a Jerusalem en 541/1146, mort a Damas en 620/1123, Livre 20, "La Guerre Legale" (Beirut, 1950), pp. 273-76, 281. English translation by Michael J. Miller.
  9. "Encyclopaedia of Islam Online". BRILL. 2007. Retrieved October 2008.