Qur'an, Hadith and Scholars:Scholars on Jihad

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Jihad has been a perpetual subject of interest for Muslim scholars throughout the ages, and Muslim scholars have spent a great deal of time writing about how, when, where, why, and in what fashion Jihad may be undertaken.



Yaqub ibn Ibrahim al-Ansari (Abu Yusuf)

Yaqub ibn Ibrahim al-Ansari (Abu Yusuf) (d. 798) was a student of legist Abu Hanifah and helped spread the influence of the Hanafi school. He was appointed Qadi (judge) in Baghdad, Iraq, and later chief justice (qadi al-qudat) under Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid.


It seems that the most satisfactory suggestion we have heard in this connection is that there is no objection to the use of any kind of arms against the polytheists, smothering and burning their homes, cutting down their trees and date groves, and using catapults, without, however, deliberately attacking women, children, or elderly people; that one can yet pursue those that run away, finish off the wounded, kill prisoners who might prove dangerous to the Muslims, but this is only applicable to those on the chin of whom a razor has passed, for the others are children who must not be executed.

As for the prisoners who are led before the imam, the latter has the choice of executing them or making them pay a ransom, as he pleases, opting for the most advantageous choice for the Muslims and the wisest for Islam. The ransom imposed upon them is not to consist either of gold, silver, or wares, but is only an exchange for Muslim captives.


For my part I say that the decision concerning prisoners is in the hands of the imam: in accordance with whatever he feels to be more to the advantage of Islam and the Muslims, he can have them executed or he can exchange them for Muslim prisoners (pp. 302-303).

Whenever the Muslims besiege an enemy stronghold, establish a treaty with the besieged who agree to surrender on certain conditions that will be decided by a delegate, and this man decides that their soldiers are to be executed and their women and children taken prisoner, this decision is lawful. This was the decision of Sa'ad b. Mu'adh in connection with the Banu Qurayza (a Jewish tribe of Arabia) (p. 311).

The decision made by the chosen arbitrator, if it does not specify the killing of the enemy fighters and the enslavement of their women and children, but establishes a poll tax, would also be lawful; if it stipulated that the vanquished were to be invited to embrace Islam, it would also be valid and they would therefore become Muslims and freemen (p. 311).

...Is it not correct that Allah has said in His Book: "Fight those ... until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled" (Koran 9:29), and that the Prophet invited the polytheists to embrace Islam, or, if they refused, to pay the poll tax, and that Umar b. al-Khattab, after having subdued the inhabitants of Sawad, did not spill their blood but made them tributaries? (p. 312).

If they offer to surrender and accept the mediation of a Muslim of their choice together with one of their number, this is to be refused, for it is unacceptable that a Believer collaborate with an infidel to arrive at a decision on religious matter. If by error, the ruler's representative accepts and a verdict is proposed by both men, the imam is not to declare it binding unless it stipulates that the enemies will be tributaries or be converted to Islam. If this condition is adopted by them, then they are reproachless and if they acknowledge that they are tributaries, then they shall be accepted as such, without there being need of a verdict (pp. 314-15).[1]

Muhammad al-Shaybani

Muhammad al-Shaybani (749/50 – 805) was one of the most important disciples of Abu Hanifa (latter being the eponym of the Hanafi school of Islamic jurisprudence), and Abu Yusuf, as well as an eminent jurist.

Fight in the name of God and in the "path of God" [i.e. truth]. Combat [only] those who disbelieve in God. Whenever you meet you polytheist enemies, invite them [first] to adopt Islam. If they do so, accept it, and let them alone. You should then invite them to move from their territory to the territory of the emigres [Madina]. If they do so, accept it and let them alone. Otherwise, they should be informed that they would be [treated] like the Muslim nomads (Bedouins) [who take no part in the war] in that they are subjects of God's orders as [other] Muslims, but that they will receive no share in either the ghanima (spoils of war) or in the fay. If they refuse [to accept Islam], then call upon them to pay the jizya (poll tax); if they do, accept it and leave them alone. If you besiege the inhabitants of a fortress or a town and they try to get you to let them surrender on the basis of God's judgment, do not do so, since you do not know what God's judgment is, but make them surrender to your judgment and then decide their case according to your own views.

I heard the Apostle of God in the campaign against Banu Qurayza saying: "He [of the enemy] who has reached puberty should be killed, but he who has not should be spared."

If the army [of Islam] attacks the territory of war and it is a territory that has received an invitation to accept Islam, it is commendable if the army renews the invitation, but if it fails to do so it is not wrong. The army may launch the attack [on the enemy] by night or by day and it is permissible to burn fortifications with fire or to inundate them with water. If [the army] captures any spoils of war, it should not be divided up in enemy territory until [the Muslims] have brought it to a place of security and removed it to the territory of Islam.[2]

Shaikh Burhanuddin Ali

Shaikh Burhanuddin Ali of Marghinan (d. 1196), was a Hanafi jurist.

It is not lawful to make war upon any people who have never before been called to the faith, without previously requiring them to embrace it, because the Prophet so instructed his commanders, directing them to call the infidels to the faith, and also because the people will hence perceive that they are attacked for the sake of religion, and not for the sake of taking their property, or making slaves of their children, and on this consideration it is possible that they may be induced to agree to this call, in order to save themselves from the troubles of war. . . .

The sacred injunction concerning war is sufficiently observed when it is carried on by any one party or tribe of Muslims, and it is then no longer of any force with respect to the rest. It is established as a divine ordinance, by the word of God, who said in the Qur'an, "slay the infidels," and also by a saying of the Prophet, "War is permanently established until the Day of Judgment" (meaning the ordinance respecting war). The observance, however, in the degree above mentioned, suffices, because war is not a positive injunction, as it is in its nature murderous and destructive, and is enjoined only for the purpose of advancing the true faith or repelling evil from the servants of God; and when this end is answered by any single tribe or party of Muslims making war, the obligation is no longer binding upon the rest, in the same manner as in the prayers for the dead-(if, however, no one Muslim were to make war, the whole of the Muslim, would incur the criminality of neglecting it) – and also because if the injunction were positive, the whole of the Muslims must consequently engage in war, in which case the materials for war (such as horses, armour, and so forth) could not be procured. Thus it appears that the observance of war as aforesaid suffices, except where there is a general summons (that is, where the infidels invade a Muslim territory, and the Imam for the time being issues a general proclamation requiring all persons to go forth to fight), for in this case war becomes a positive injunction with respect to the whole of the inhabitants, whether men or women, and whether the Imam be a just or an unjust person; and if the people of that territory be unable to repulse the infidels, then war becomes a positive injunction with respect to all in that neighbourhood; and if these also do not suffice it, then comes a positive injunction with respect to the next neighbours; and in same manner with respect to all the Muslims from east to west.

The destruction of the sword is incurred by infidels, although they be not the first aggressors, as appears from various passages in the traditions which are generally received to this effect.

It is not incumbent upon infants to make war, as they are objects of compassion; neither is it incumbent upon slaves or women, as the rights of the master, or of the husband, have precedence; nor is it so upon the blind, the maimed, or the decrepid, as such are incapable. If, however, the infidels make an attack upon a city or territory, in this case the repulsion of them is incumbent upon all Muslims, insomuch that a wife may go forth without consent of her husband, and a slave without the leave of his master, because war then becomes a positive injunction; and possession, either by bondage or by marriage, cannot come in competition with a positive injunction, as in prayer (for instance) or fasting. This is supposing a general summons; for without that it is not lawful for a woman or slave to go forth to make war without the consent of the husband or master, as there is in this case no necessity for their assistance, since others suffice, and hence no reason exists for destroying the right of the husband or master on that account. If there be any fund in the public treasury, so long as the fund lasts any extraordinary exaction for the support of the warriors is abominable, because such exaction resembles a hire for that which is a service of God as much as prayer or fasting, and, hire being forbidden in these instances, so is it in that which resembles them. In this case, moreover, there is no occasion for any extraordinary exactions, since the funds of the public treasury are prepared to answer all emergencies of the Muslims, such as war, and so forth. If, however, there be no funds in the public treasury, in this case the Imam need not hesitate to levy contributions for the better support of the warriors, because in levying a contribution the greater evil (namely, the destruction of the person) is repelled, and the contribution is the smaller evil, and the imposition of a smaller evil to remedy a greater is of no consequence. A confirmation of this is found in what is related of the Prophet, that he took various articles of armour, and so forth, from Safwan and ‘Umar; in the same manner also he took property from married men, and bestowed it upon the unmarried, in order to encourage them and enable them to go forth to fight with cheerfulness; and he also used to take the horses from those who remained at home, and bestowed them upon those who went forth to fight on foot. When the Muslims enter the enemy's country and besiege the cities or strongholds of the infidels, it is necessary to invite them to embrace the faith, because Ibn 'Abbas relates of the Prophet that he never destroyed any without previously inviting them to embrace the faith. If, therefore, they embrace the faith, it is unnecessary to war with them, because that which was the design of the war is then obtained without war. The Prophet, moreover, has said we are directed to make war upon men only until such time as they shall confess, "There is no God but one God." But when they repeat this creed, their persons and properties are in protection (aman). If they do accept the call to the faith, they must then be called upon to pay jizyah, or capitation tax, because the Prophet directed the commanders of his armies so to do, and also because by submitting to this tax war is forbidden and terminated upon the authority of the Qur'an. (This call to pay capitation tax, however, respects only those from whom the capitation tax is acceptable, or, as to apostates and the idolaters of Arabia, to call upon them to pay the tax is useless, since nothing is accepted from them but embracing the faith, as it is thus commanded in the Qur'an). If those who are called upon to pay capitation tax consent to do so, they then become entitled to the same protection and subject to the same rules as Muslims because ‘Ali had declared infidels agree to a capitation tax only in order to render their blood the same as Muslims’ blood, and their property the same as Muslims’ property.

If a Muslim attacks infidels without previously calling them to the faith, he is an offender, because this is forbidden; but yet if he does attack them before thus inviting them and slay them and slay them, and take their property, neither fine, expiation, nor atonement are due, because that which protects (namely, Islam) does not exist in them, nor are they under protection by place (namely the Daru 'l-Islam, Muslim territory), and the mere prohibition of the act is not sufficient to sanction the exaction either of fine or of atonement for property; in the same manner as the slaying, a person were to slay such, he is not liable to a fine. It is laudable to call to the faith a people to whom a call has already come, in order that they may have the more full and ample warning; but yet this is not incumbent, as it appears in the Traditions that the Prophet plundered and despoiled the tribe of al-Mustaliq by surprise, and he also agreed with Asamah to make a predatory attack upon Qubna at an early hour, and to set it on fire, and such attacks are not preceded by a call. (Qubna is a place in Syria: some assert it is the name of a tribe.)

If the infidels, upon receiving the call, neither consent ot it nor agree to pay capitation tax, it is then incumbent on the Muslims to call upon God for assistance, and to make war upon them, because God is the assistant of those who serve Him, and the destroyer of His enemies, the infidels, and it is necessary to implore His aid upon every occasion; the Prophet, moreover, commands us so to do. And having so done, the Muslims must then with God's Assistance attack the infidels with all manner of warlike engines (as the Prophet did by the people of Ta'if), and must also set fire to their habitations (in the same manner as the Prophet fired Baweera), and must inundate them with water and tear up their plantations and tread down their grain because by these means they will become weaponed, and their resolution will fail and their force be broken; these means are, therefore, all sanctified by the law.

It is no objection to shooting arrows or other missiles against the infidels that there may chance to be among them a Muslim in the way either of bondage or of traffic, because the shooting of arrows and so forth among the infidels remedies a general evil in the repulsion thereof from the whole body of Muslims, whereas the slaying of a Muslim slave or a trader is only a particular evil, and to repel a general evil a particular evil must be adopted, and also because it seldom happens that the strongholds of the infidels are destitute of Muslims, since it is most probable that there are Muslims residing in them, either in the way of bondage or of traffic, and hence, if the use of missile weapons were prohibited on account of these Muslims, war would be obstructed. If the infidels in time of battle should make shields of Muslim children, or of Muslims, who are prisoners in their hands, yet there is no need on that account to refrain from the use of missile weapons, for the reason already mentioned. It is requisite, however, that the Muslims in using such weapons aim at the infidels, and not at the children or the Muslim captives, because, as it is impossible in shooting to distinguish precisely between them and the infidels, the person who discharges the weapon must make this distinction in his intention and design by aiming at the infidels, and not at the others, since this much is practicable, and the distinction must be made as far as is practicable.

There is also neither fine nor expiation upon the warriors on account of such of their arrows or other missiles as happen to hit the children or the Muslims, because the war is in observance of a divine ordinance, and atonement is not due for anything which may happen in the fulfillment of a divine ordinance, for otherwise men would neglect the fulfillment of the ordinance from an apprehension of becoming liable to atonement. It is otherwise in the case of a person eating the bread of another when perishing for hunger, as in that instance atonement is due; although eating the bread of other people, in such a situation, be a divine ordinance, because a person perishing for hunger will not refrain from eating the provision of another, from the apprehension of atonement, since his life depends upon it; whereas war is attended with trouble and dangerous to life, whence men would be deterred, by apprehension of atonement, from engaging in it. There is no objection to the warriors carrying their Qur’ans and their women along with them, where the Muslim force is considerable, to such a degree as to afford a protection from the enemy, and not to admit of any apprehension from them, because in that case safety is most probable, and a thing which is most probable stands and is accounted as a thing certain. If the force of the warriors be small (such as is termed a Sarriyah) so as not to afford security from the enemy, in this case their carrying their women or Qur’ans along with them is reprobated, because in such a situation taking those with them is exposing them to dishonour; and taking the Qur’an with them, in particular, is exposing it to contempt, since infidels scoff at the Qur’an, with a view of insulting the Muslims; and this is the true meaning of the saying of the Prophet, ‘Carry not the Qur’an along with you into the territory of the enemy’ (that is, of the infidels). If a Muslim go into an infidel camp under a protection, there is no objection to his taking his Qur’an along with him, provided these infidels be such as observe their engagements, because from these no violence is to be apprehended.

It is lawful for aged women to accompany an army, for the performance of such business as suits them, such as dressing victuals, administering water, and preparing medicines for the sick and wounded; but with respect to young women, it is better that they stay at home, as this may prevent perplexity or disturbance. The women, however, must not engage in fight, as this argues weakness in the Muslims. Women, therefore, must not take any personal concern in battle unless in a case of absolute necessity; and it is not laudable to carry young women along with the army, either for the purpose of carnal gratification, or for service; if, however, the necessity be very urgent, female slaves may be taken, but not wives. A wife must not engage in a fight but with the consent of her husband, nor a slave but with the consent of his owner (according to what was already stated, that the right of the husband and the master has precedence), unless from necessity where an attack is made by the enemy. It does not become Muslims to break treaties or to act unfairly with respect to plunder or to disfigure people (by cutting off their ears and noses, and so forth); for as to what is related of the Prophet, that he disfigured the Oorneans, it is abrogated by subsequent prohibitions. In the same manner it does not become Muslims to slay women or children, or men aged, bedridden, or blind, because opposition and fighting are the only occasions which make slaughter allowable (according to our doctors), and such persons are incapable of these. For the same reason also the paralytic are not to be slain, nor those who are dismembered of the right hand, or of the right hand and left foot. Ash-Shafi’I maintains that aged men, or persons bedridden or blind may be slain because, (according to him) infidelity is an occasion of slaughter being allowable, and this appears in these persons. What was before observed, however, that the paralytic or dismembered are not to be slain, is in proof against him, as infidelity appears in these also, yet still they are not slain, whence it is evident that mere infidelity is not a justifiable occasion of slaughter. The Prophet, moreover, forbade the slaying of infants or single persons, and once, when the Prophet saw a woman who was slain, he said, ‘Alas! This woman did not fight, why, therefore, was she slain?’ But yet, if any of these persons be killed in war, or if a woman be a queen or chief, in this case it is allowable to slay them, they being qualified to molest the servants of God. So, also, if such persons as the above should attempt to fight, they may be slain, for the purpose of removing evil, and because fighting renders slaying allowable.

A lunatic must not be slain unless he fight, as such a person is not responsible for his faith, but yet where he is found fighting it is necessary to slay him, for the removal of evil. It is also to be observed that infants or lunatics may be slain so long as they are actually engaged in fight, but it is not allowed to kill them after they are taken prisoners, contrary to the case of others, who may be slain even after they are taken, as they are liable to punishment because they are responsible for their faith.

A person who is insane occasionally stands, during his lucid intervals, in the same predicament as a sane person.

It is abominable in a Muslim to begin fighting with his father, who happens to be among the infidels, nor must he slay him, because God has said in the Qur’an, ‘Honour thy father and they mother,’ and also because the preservation of the father’s life is incumbent upon the son, according to all the doctors, and the permission to fight with him would be repugnant to that sentiment. If, also, the son should find the father, he must not slay him himself, but must hold him in view until some other come and slay him: for thus the end is answered without the son slaying his father, which is an offence.

If, however, the father attempt to slay the son, insomuch that the son is unable to repel him but by killing him, in this case the son need not hesitate to slay him, because the design of the son is merely to repel him, which is lawful; for if a Muslim were to draw his sword with a design of killing his son, in such a way that the son is unable to repel him but by killing him, it is then lawful for the son to slay his father, because his design is merely repulsion. In a case, therefore, where the father is an infidel, and attempts to slay his son, it is lawful for the son to slay the father in self-defence a fortiori.

If the Imam make peace with aliens, or with any particular tribe or body of them, and perceive it to be eligible for the Muslims, there need be no hesitation, because it is said in the Qur’an: ‘If the infidels be inclined to peace do ye likewise consent thereto,’ and also because the Prophet in the year of the punishment of Eubea, made a peace between the Muslims and the people of Mecca for the space of ten years; peace, moreover is war in effect where the interest of the Muslims requires it, since the design of war is the removal of evil, and this is obtained by means of peace: contrary to where peace is not to the interest of the Muslims, for it is not in that case lawful, as this would be abandoning war both apparently and in effect. It is here, however, proper to observe that it is not absolutely necessary to restrict a peace to the term above recorded (namely, ten years), because the end for which peace is made may be sometimes more effectually obtained by extending it to a longer term. If the Imam make peace with the aliens for a single term (namely, ten years), and afterwards perceive that it is most advantageous for the Muslim’s interest to break it, he may in that case lawfully renew the war after giving them due notice, because, upon a change of the circumstances which rendered peace advisable, the breach of peace is war, and the observance of it a desertion of war, both in appearance and also in effect, and war is an ordinance of God, and the forsaking of it is not becoming (to Muslims). It is to be observed that giving due notice to the enemy is in this case indispensably requisite in such a manner that treachery may not be induced, since this is forbidden. It is also requisite that such a delay be made in renewing the war with them, as may allow intelligence of the peace being broken off to be universally received among them, and for this such a time suffices as may admit of the king or chief of the enemy communicating the same to the different parts of their dominion, since by such a delay the charge of treachery is avoided.

If the infidels act with perfidy in a peace, it is in such case lawful for the Imam to attack them without any previous notice, since the breach of treaty in this instance originates with them, whence there is no occasion to commence the war on the part of the Muslims by giving them notice. It would be otherwise, however, if only a small party of them were to violate the treaty by entering the Muslim territory and there committing robberies upon the Muslims, since this does not amount to a breach of treaty. If, moreover, this party be in force so as to be capable of opposition, and openly fight with the Muslims, this is a breach of treaty with respect to that party only, but not with respect to the rest of their nation or tribe, because, as this party have violated the treaty without any permission from their prince, the rest are not answerable for their act; whereas if they made their attack by permission of their prince, the breach of treaty would be regarded as by the whole, all being virtually implicated in it.

If the Imam make peace with the aliens in return for property, there is no scruple; because since peace may be lawfully made without any such gratification it is also lawful in return for a gratification. This, however, is only where the Muslims stand in need of the property thus to be acquired; for if they be not in necessity, making peace for property is not lawful, since peace is a desertion of war both in appearance and in effect. It is to be observed that if the Imam receive this property by sending a messenger and making peace without the Muslim troops entering the enemy’s territory, the object of disbursement of it is the same as that of jizyah or capitation-tax; that is, it is to be expended upon the warriors and not upon the poor. If, however, the property be taken after the Muslims have invaded the enemy in this case it is as plunder, one-fifth going to the Imam and the remainder to be divided among the troops, as the property has in fact been taken by force in this instance. It is incumbent on the Imam to keep peace with apostates, and not to make war upon them, in order that they may have time to consider their situation, since it is to be hoped that they may again return to the faith. It is, therefore, lawful to delay fighting with them in a hope that they may again embrace Islam; but it is not lawful to take property from them. If, however, the Imam should take property from them, it is not incumbent upon him to return it, as such property is not in protection. If infidels harass the Muslims, and offer them peace in return for property, the Imam must not accede thereto as this would be a degradation of the Muslim honour, and disgrace would be attached to all the parties concerned in it; this, therefore, is not lawful except where destruction is to be apprehended, in which case the purchasing a peace with property is lawful, because it is a duty to repel destruction in every possible mode.[3]


Imam Al-Suyuti (1445-1505) was a famous Egyptian writer, religious scholar, juristic expert and teacher whose works deal with a wide variety of subjects in Islamic theology. As one of the latter-day authorities of the Shafi'i School, he is considered to be one of the Ashabun-Nazzar (Assessors) whose degree of Ijtihad is agreed upon.

Fight those who don't believe in God nor in the Last Day [Unless they believe in the Prophet God bless him and grant him peace] nor hold what is forbidden that which God and His emissary have forbidden [e.g., wine] nor embrace the true faith [which is firm, and abrogates other faiths, i.e., the Islamic religion] from among [for distinguishing] those who were given the Book [i.e., the Jews and Christians] unless they give the head-tax [i.e., the annual taxes imposed on them] (/'an yadin/) humbly submissive, and obedient to Islam's rule.[4]

Shah Wali-Allah

Shah Waliullah (1703–1762) was a Sufi Islamic scholar and reformer. He worked for the revival of Muslim rule and intellectual learning in South Asia.

It has become clear to my mind that the kngdom of heaven has predestined that kafirs should be reduced to a state of humiliation and treated with utter contempt. ... As I have learnt this unequivocally (from the divine) I spontaneously write to draw your attention to the great opportunity laid before you. You should therefore not be negligent in fighting jihad.

Oh Kings! Mala a'la urges you to draw your swords and not put them back in their sheaths again until Allah has separated the Muslims from the Polytheists and the rebellious kafirs and the sinners are made absolutely feeble and helpless.

... By taking up the sword to make Islam supreme and by subordinating your own personal needs to this cause, you will reap vast benefits.

We beseech you (Durrani) in the name of the Prophet to fight a jihad against the infidels of this region. This would entitle you to great rewards before God the Most High and your name would be included in the list of those who fought jihad for His sake. As far as worldly gains are concerned, incalculable booty would fall into the hands of the Islamic ghazis and the Muslims would be liberated from their bonds. The invasion of Nadir Shah who destroyed the Muslims left the Marathas and Jats secure and prosperous. This resulted in the infidels regaining their strength and in the reduction of the Muslim leaders of Delhi to mere puppets.

When the conquering army arrives in an area with a mixed Muslim-Hindu population, the imperial guards should transfer the Muslims from their villages to the towns and at the same time care for their property. ... Moreover, wherever there was even the slightest fear of a Muslim defeat, the Islamic army should be there to disperse infidels to all corners of the earth. Jihad should be their first priority, thereby ensuring the security of every Muslim.[5]


Ibn Qudamah

Ibn Qudamah (1147-1223) was a noted Islamic scholar of the Hanbali madhhab, author of many treatises of Hanbali jurisprudence and doctrine, including al-Mughni (the most widely known textbook of Hanbali fiqh).

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.[6]

Ibn Taymiyyah

Ibn Taymiyyah (1263-1328) was a famous Islamic scholar, theologian and logician born in Harran, located in what is now Turkey. As a member of the school founded by Ibn Hanbal, he sought the return of Islam to its sources, the Qur'an and the Sunnah.

The penalties that the Sharia has introduced for those who disobey God and his Messengers of two kinds: the punishment of those who are under the sway [of an imam], both individuals and collectivities, as has been mentioned before [in the chapter on criminal law], and, secondly, the punishment of recalcitrant groups, such as those that can only be brought under the sway of the Imam by a decisive fight. That then is the jihad against the unbelievers (kuffar), the enemies of God and His Messenger. For whoever has heard the summons of the Messenger of God, Peace be upon him, and has not responded to it must be fought, "until there is no persecution and the religion of God's entirely" [K. 2:193, 8:39].

When God sent His Prophet and ordered him to summon the people to His religion, He did not permit him to kill or fight anyone for that reason before the Prophet emigrated to Medina. Thereafter He gave him and the Muslims permission with the words:

"Leave is given to those who are fought because they were wronged - surely God is able to help them - who were expelled from their habitations without right, except that they say ‘Our Lord is God.’ Had God not driven back the people, some by the means of others, there had been destroyed cloisters and churches, oratories and mosques, wherein God’s name is much mentioned. Assuredly God will help him who helps Him - surely God is all-strong, allmighty - who, if We establish them in the land, perform the prayer, and pay the alms, and bid to honour, and forbid dishonour; and unto God belongs the issue of all affairs." [K., 22:39-41]

Then, after that, He imposed fighting to them with the following words:

"Prescribed for you is fighting, though it be hateful to you. Yet it may happen that you will hate a thing which is better for you; and it may happen that you love a thing which is worse for you. God knows and you know not." [K., 2:216]

He has emphasized this command and glorified jihad in many of the Medinese suras. He has criticized those who fail to participate in it and called them hypocrites and sick in their hearts. God has said:

"Say: ‘If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your clan, your possessions that you have gained, commerce you fear may slacken, dwellings you love - if these are dearer to you than God and His Messenger, and to struggle in His way, then wait till God brings His command; God guides not the people of the ungodly.’" [K., 9:24]


"The believers are those who believe in God and His Messenger, then have not doubted, and have struggled with their possessions and their selves in the way of God; those - they are the truthful ones." [K., 49:15]


"Then, when a clear sura is sent down, and therein fighting is mentioned, thou seest those in whose heart is sickness looking at thee as one who swoons of death; but better for them would be obedience and words honourable. Then when the matter is resolved, if they were true to God, it would be better for them." [K., 47:20-21]

There are numerous similar verses in the Koran and equally frequent is the glorification of jihad and those who participate in it, [for instance] in Surat the Ranks (al-saff):

"O believers, shall I direct you to a commerce that shall deliver you from a painful chastisement? You shall believe in God and His Messenger, and struggle in the way of God with your possessions and your selves. That is better for you, did you but know. He will forgive you your sins and admit you into gardens underneath which rivers flow, and to dwelling places goodly in Gardens of Eden; that is the mighty triumph; and other things you love, help from God an a nigh victory. Give thou good tidings to the believers." [K., 61:10-13]

And [elsewhere] He has said:

"Do you reckon the giving of water to pilgrims and the inhabiting of the Holy Mosque as the same as one who believes in God and the Last Day and struggles in the way of God? Not equal are they in God’s sight; and God guides not the people of the evildoers. Those who believe, and have emigrated, and have struggled in the way of God with their possessions and their selves are mightier in rank with God; and those - they are the triumphant; their Lord gives them good tidings of mercy from Him and good pleasure; for them await gardens wherein is lasting bliss, therein to dwell forever and ever; surely with God is a mighty wage." [K., 9:19-21]


"O believers, whosoever of you turns from his religion, God will assuredly bring a people He loves, and who love Him, humble towards the believers, disdainful towards the unbelievers, men who struggle in the path of God, not fearing the reproach of any reproacher. That is God’s bounty; He gives it unto whom He will." [K., 5:54]

And He has said:

"That is because they are smitten neither by thirst, nor fatigue, nor emptiness in the way of God, neither tread they any tread enraging the unbelievers, nor gain any gain from any enemy, but a righteous deed is thereby written to their account; God leaves not to waste the wage of the good-doers. Nor do they expend any sum, small or great, nor do they traverse any valley, but it is written to their account, that God may recompense them the best of what they were doing." [K., 9:120-121]

Thus He has mentioned [the reward] resulting from their deeds and the deeds they must practice.

The command to participate in jihad and the mention of its merits occur innumerable times in the Koran and the Sunna. Therefore it is the best voluntary [religious] act that man can perform. All scholars agree that it is better than the hajj (greater pilgrimage) and the umra (lesser pilgrimage), than voluntary salat and coluntary fasting, as the Koran and Sunna indicate. The Prophet, Peace be upon him, has said, "The head of the affair is Islam, its central pillar is the salat and its summit is the jihad." And he has said: "In Paradise there are a hundred grades with intervals as wide as the distance between the sky and the earth. All these God has prepared for those who take part in jihad." There is unanimity about the authenticity of this Tradition. Al- Bukhaari has transmitted that he has said: "Him whose feet have become dusty in the way of God [i.e. jihad] will God save from hellfire." And, as related by Muslim, he has said:

"A day and a night spent in ribaat [remaining at the frontiers of Islam with the intention of defending Islamic territory against the enemies] are better than one month spent in fasting and vigils. If he dies [in the fulfillment of this task], he will receive the recompense of his deeds and subsistence, and he will be protected from the Angel of the Grave."

It is related in the Sunan that "a day spent in ribaat in the way of God is better than thousand days spent elsewhere." He has said, "Two eyes will not be touched by the fire: the eye that has wept out of fear for God and the eye that has spent the night on the watch in the way of God." Al-Tirmidhi has said about this tradition that it is good (hasan). In the Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal we find: "A night spent on the watch in the way of God is better than a thousand nights and days spent in nightly vigils and fasting." In the Saheeh of al-Bukhaari as well as the Saheeh of Muslim we find:

"A man said: ‘O Messenger of God, tell me of an act that equals jihad in the way of God.’ He answered: ‘You will not be capable of it.’ The man said: ‘Tell me anyway.’ The Messenger of God said: ‘Can you, when a jihad warrior has gone out on expedition, fast without interruption and spend the night in continuous prayer?’ The man said: ‘No.’ Then the Messenger of God said: ‘This then is what equals jihad.

In the Sunan we find that Mohammed has said: "Every community has its devotional journeys and the devotional journey of my community is jihad in the way of God."

This is a vast subject, unequaled by other subjects as far as the reward and merit of human deeds is concerned. This is evident upon closer examination. The [first] reason is that the benefit of jihad is general, extending not only to the person who participates in it but also to others, both in a religious and a temporal sense. [Secondly,] jihad implies all kinds of worship, both in its inner and outer forms. More than any other act it implies love and devotion for God, Who is exalted, trust in Him, the surrender of one's life and property to Him, patience, asceticism, remembrance of God and all kinds of other acts. Any individual or community that participated in it, finds itself between two blissful outcomes: either victory and triumph or martyrdom and Paradise. [Thirdly,] all creatures must live and die. Now, it is in jihad that one can live and die in ultimage happiness, both in this world and in the Hereafter. ...

Since lawful warfare is essentially jihad and since its aim is that the religion is God's entirely and God's word is uppermost, therefore according to all Muslims, those who stand in the way of this aim must be faught. 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 and acts. 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 use when we want to make God's religion victorious. ...

The Sharee`a enjoins fighting the unbelievers, but not the killing of those who have been captured. If a male unbeliever is taken captive during warfare or otherwise, e.g. as a result of a shipwreck, or because he lost his way, or as a result of a ruse, then the head of state (imaam) may do whatever he deems appropriate: killing him, enslaving him, releasing him or setting him free for a ransom consisting in either property or people. This is the view of most jurists and it is supported by the Koran and the Sunna. There are, however, some jurists who hold that the options of releasing them or setting them free for a ransom have been abrogated. As for the People of the Book and the Zoroastrians (Majoos), they are to be fought until they become Muslims or pay the tribute (jizya) out of hand and have been humbled. With regard to the others, the jurists differ as to the lawfulness of taking tribute from them. Most of them regard it as unlawful of taking tribute from them. Most of them regard it as unlawful to accept it from [heathen] Arabs.

If a rebellious group, although belonging to Islam, refuses to comply with clear and universally accepted commands, all Muslims agree that jihad must be waged against them, in order that the religion will be God’s entirely. Thus Aboo Bakr al-Siddeeq and other Companions, may God be pleased with them, have fought those who refused to pay zakaat. Initially some of the Companions hesitated in fighting them, but eventually they all agreed. ` Umar ibn al-Khattaab said to Aboo Bakr, may God be pleased with them,: "How can you fight these people? Has the Messenger of God, Peace be upon him, not said: ‘I have been ordered to fight people until they profess that there is no God and that Mohammad is God’s Messenger. If they say that, their lives and properties will be inviolable for me, unless there is a rule of law that allows taking them. [For their actions] they must render account to God." Aboo Bakr then said: "The [obligation to pay] zakaat is such a rule. By God, if they refuse to give me one she-kid which they used to give to the Messenger of God, Peace be upon him, I shall fight them for this refusal." `Umar said: "Then I realized immediately that God had opened his heart for fighting and I knew that that was right."

There are various authentic Traditions according to which the Prophet, Peace be upon him, has ordered to fight the Kharijites. In the Saheeh of al-Bukhaari as well as the Saheeh of Muslim it is reported on the authority of `Alee ibn Abee Taalib, may God be pleased with him, that he said:

"I have heard the Messenger of God, Peace be upon him, saying: ‘Towards the end of time a group will emerge, young of age and simple of minds, who will speak the most beautiful words, but whose faith does not go deeper than their throats. They will abandon the religion just like an arrow pierces and then abandons a game animal. Wherever you will find them you must kill them since those who kill them will be rewarded on the Day of Resurrection.’"

Muslim has reported that `Alee, may God be pleased with him, said:

`"I have heard the Messenger of God, Peace be upon him, saying: ‘A group of people will emerge from amongst my community, who will recite the Koran [very well]. Your recitation is nothing compared to theirs. Likewise your way of performing salaat and your way of fasting are nothing compared with theirs. They will recite the Koran believing that it[s text] supports them, whereas [in reality] it condemns them. Their recitation does not go deeper than their collarbones. They will abandon the religion just like an arrow pierces and then abandons a game animal. If the army that reaches them would know how much [reward] the Prophet has promised them, they would rely on this deed [alone and not worry about other good deeds]."

In another version of this Tradition, transmitted on the authority of Abu Sa`eed from the Prophet, Peace be upon him, we find the following words: "They will fight the people of faith and leave the idolaters. If I live long enough to meet them, I shall kill them in the manner the tribe of `Aad was killed". There is unanimity about the authenticity of this tradition.

In another Tradition reported by Muslim it is said: "My community will fall apart into two parties. From amongst them there will emerge heretics (maariqa). The party that is closest to truth will be in charge of killing them." These were the people that were killed by the Commander of the Faithful `Alee, when the breach between the people of Iraq and the people of Syria took place. They were called hurooriyya. The Prophet, Peace be upon him, has made it clear that both parties into which the community had fallen apart, belonged to his community and that the partisans of `Alee were closer to the truth. He incited to fight only those heretics that had abandoned Islam and had left the community and that had permitted the taking of the lives and properties of the other Muslims. It has been established on the authority of the Koran, the Sunna, and the Consensus of the Community, that those who depart from the law of Islam must be fought, even if they pronounce the two professions of faith.

The jurists disagree about the permissibility to fight rebellious groups that abandon an established supererogatory act of worship (sunna raatiba), such as the two [extra] rak`as of dawn prayer. There is, however, unanimity that it is allowed to fight people for [not observing] unambiguous and generally recognized obligations and prohibitions, until they undertake to perform the explicitly prescribed prayers, to pay zakaat, to fast during the month of Ramadaan, to make the pilgrimage to Mecca and to avoid what is prohibited, such a marrying women in spite of legal impediments, eating impure things, acting unlawfully against the lives and properties of Muslims and the like. It is obligatory to take the initiative in fighting those people, as soon as the Prophet’s summons with the reasons for which they are fought has reached them. But if they first attack the Muslims, then fighting them is even more urgent, as we have mentioned when dealing with the fighting against rebellious and aggressive bandits.

The most serious type of obligatory jihad is the one against the unbelievers and against those who refuse to abide by certain prescriptions of the Sharia, like those who refuse to pay zakat, the Kharijites and the like. This jihad is obligatory if it is carried out on our initiative and also if it is waged as defense. If we take the initiative, it is a collective duty, [which means that] if it is fulfilled by a sufficient number [of Muslims], the obligation lapses for all others and the merit goes to those who have fulfilled it, just as God, He is exalted, has said:

"Such believers as sit at home - unless they have an injury - are not equals [of those who struggle in the path of God with their possessions and their selves. God has preferred in rank those who struggle in the path of God with their possessions and their selves over the ones who sit at home; yet to each God has promised the reward most fair; and God has preferred those who struggle over the ones who sit at home for the bounty of a mighty wage, in ranks standing before Him, forgiveness and mercy." [K.,4:95-96]

But if the enemy wants to attack the Muslims than repelling him becomes a duty for all those under attack and for the others in order to help them. God, He is exalted, has said: "Yet if they ask you for help, for religion's sake, it is your dutyto help them." (K. 8:72) In the same vien the Prophet has ordered Muslims to help fellow Muslims. The assistance, which is obligatory for the professional army and for others must be given according to everybody's possibilities, either in person, by fighting on foot or on horseback, or through financial contributions, be they small or large. When the Muslim were attacked by the enemy in the year of the Trench, God did not permit anybody to abandon jihad, although He did allow them not to take part in jihad [after the siege was lifted] in order to pursue the enemy. At that occasion He divided them into two categories, those who sat at home and those who marched out, and He criticized those who were asking the Prophet for leave [not to take part in jihad]: "[And a part of them were asking leave of the Prophet,] saying, ‘Our houses are exposed’; yet they were not exposed; they desired only to flee." [K., 33:13]

So the latter [form of jihad] consists in defense of the religion, of things that are inviolable, and of lives. Therefore it is fighting out of necessity. The former [type of jihad], however, is voluntary fighting in order to propagate the religion, to make it triumph and to intimidate the enemy, such as was the case with the expedition to Tabuk and the like. Now, this form of punishment [i.e. jihad] must be administered to rebellious [Muslims], they must be forced to carry out their obligation such as the five fundamental duties of Islam and others like the delivering of trusts to their owners and the preserving of covenants in social relations.[7]

Ibn Qayyim

Ibn al-Qayyim (1292-1350) was a famous Sunni Islamic jurist, commentator on the Qur'an, astronomer, chemist, philosopher, psychologist, scientist and theologian. Ibn al-Qaayim's scholarship focused on the sciences of Hadith and Fiqh.

…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.[8]


Ibn Rushd (Averroes)

Ibn Rushd (Averroes) (1126-1198) was an Andalusian Muslim polymath; a master of Islamic philosophy, Islamic theology, Maliki law and jurisprudence. 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 persecution 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? ...[9]

Ibn Khaldun

Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) was a renowned Maliki jurist, Islamic lawyer, Islamic scholar, Islamic theologian, and hafiz.

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.[10]

Ibn Abi Zayd

Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (922–996) was a Maliki scholar from Al-Qayrawan in Tunisia.

Jihad is a precept of Divine institution. Its performance by certain individuals may dispense others from it. We Malikis maintain that it is preferable not to begin hostilities with the enemy before having invited the latter to embrace the religion of Allah except where the enemy attacks first. They have the alternative of wither converting to Islam or paying the poll tax, short of which war will be declared against them. The jizya can only be accepted from them if they occupy a territory where our laws can be enforced. If they are out of our reach, the jizya cannot be accepted from them unless they come within our territory. Otherwise we will make war against them.[11]



Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Idrīs al-Shafi'i (767-820) is considered by Muslims to be the greatest Imam from among the Four Imams of Fiqh, in terms of his vast knowledge and authority. The Shafi'i school of fiqh is named after him, and being considered the founder of Islamic jurisprudence, he has been give the honorific title "Father of Usul Al-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.[12]

Al-Ghazali (Algazel)

Al-Ghazali (1058-1111) was an Islamic theologian and jurist who contributed significantly to the development of Sufism and remains one of the most celebrated scholars in the history of Islamic thought.

...[O]ne must go on jihad (i.e. razzias or raids) at least once a year ... one may use a catapult against them when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them. ... If a person of the ahl al-kitab [i.e. People of the Book] is enslaved, his marriage is revoked. ... One may cut down their trees. ... One must destroy their useless books. The Mujahid may take as booty whatever they decide ... they may steal as much food as they need...

... [T]he dhimmi is obliged not to mention Allah or His Apostle ... Jews, Christians, and Majins must pay the jizya ... on offering up the jizya, the dhimmi must hang his head while the official takes hold of his beard and hits [the dhimmi] on the protuberant bone beneath his ear [i.e. the mandible]. ... They are not permitted to ostentatiously display their wine or church bells ... their houses may not be higher than the Muslim's, no matter how low that is. The dhimmi may not ride an elegant horse or mule; he may ride a donkey only if the saddle is of wood. He may not walk on the good part of the road. They have to wear [an identifying] patch, even women, and even in the [public] baths ... [dhimmis] must hold their tongue...[13]


Al-Mawardi (d. 1058) was an Arab Shafi'i jurist, and his works on Islamic governance are recognized as classics in the field.

This section deals with the direction of war. The mushrikun of Dar al-Harb are of two types:

First, those whom the call of Islam has reached, but they have refused it and have taken up arms. The amir of the army has the option of fighting them in one of two ways, that is in accordance with what he judges to be in the best of interests of the Muslims and most harmful to the mushrikun: the first, to harry them from their houses and to inflict damage on them day and night, by fighting and burning, or else to declare war and combat them in ranks;

Second, those whom the invitation to Islam has not reached, although such persons are few nowadays since Allah has made manifest the call of his Messenger - unless there are people to the east and extreme east, or to the west, of whom we have no knowledge, beyond the Turks and Romans we are fighting; it is forbidden to initiate an attack on the mushrikun while they are unawares or at night, that is, it is forbidden to kill them, use fire against them or begin an attack before explaining the invitation to Islam to them, informing them of the miracles of the Prophet and making plain the proofs so as to encourage acceptance on their part; if they still refuse to accept after this, war is waged against them and they are treated as those whom the call has reached. Allah, may He be exalted, says, "Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and kindly admonition and converse with them by what better in argument" (Qur'an 16:125) - which means ...

If the amir initiates the attack against them before calling tem to Islam or warning them by means of cogent proofs, and kills them by surprise or at night, blood money must be paid; according to the most correct judgment of the Shafi'is, it is equal to the blood money paid to Muslims, although according to others it is equal to the blood money paid to the kuffar, because of the difference of their beliefs. Abu Hanifah, however, says that no blood money is liable for killing them and their blood is shed with impunity.

A Muslim may put to death any mushrik combatant he seizes, whether or not he is involved in the fighting. There is a difference of opinion regarding the killing of old persons and monks inhabiting cells and monasteries. ...

It is not permitted to kill women and children in battle, nor elsewhere, as long as they are not fighting because of the prohibition of the Messenger of ALlah, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, forbade the killing of those employed as servants and mamlouks, that is young slaves. If women and children fight, then they are fought and killed, but only face to face, not from behind while fleeing. If they use their women and children as shields in battle, then one must avoid killing them and aim only at killing the men; if, however, it is impossible to kill them except by killing the women and children, then it is permitted. ...

Moreover as continual perseverence in fighting is among the duties of jihad, it is binding until one of four things occur:

First, they (the enemy) become Muslims, in which case they receive the same rights as us, become responsible for the same obligations as us and they are allowed to retain any land and property they possess. The Messenger of Allah, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, "I have been commanded to fight the people until they say, 'No god but Allah.' If they say thing, then their blood and their property are safe from me - except when there exists another legitimate reason." Their country becomes part of the Territory of Islam when they become Muslims during the battle - be they small or great in number - any land or wealth belonging to them in the battle-zone remains theirs. If the amir conquers the battle zone he cannot take the wealth of those who have accepted Islam. ...

Their Islam also entails Islam for any minors amongst their children and any still in the womb. Abu Hanifah, however, says that if a kafir becomes a Muslim in the Territory of Islam, it does not entail Islam for his children who are still minors, whereas if he becomes a Muslim in Dar al-Harb, it entails Islam for his children who are minors, but not for the foetus, for his wife and the foetus are treated as fay.

. . .

The second thing that might occur is that Allah gives victory over them but they remain mushrikun, in which case their women and children are taken prisoner, and their wealth is taken as booty, and those who are not made captive are put to death. As for the captives, the amir has the choice of taking the most beneficial action of the four possibilities: the first, to put them to death by cutting their necks; the second, to enslave them and apply the lays of slavery regarding their sale or manumission; the third, to ransom them in exchange for goods or prisoners; and fourth, to show favour to them and pardon them. Allah, may He be exalted, says, "When you encounter those who deny [the Truth] then strike [their] necks" (Qur'an 47:7). ...

The third possibility is that the enemy make a payment in return for peace and reconciliation. It is permitted to accept this payment and reconciliation with them in two ways:

  1. Payment is made immediately and is not treated as ongoing tribute. This payment is treated as booty ... [and] it represents a guarantee that those paying it will no longer be fought during this jihad; it does, however, not prevent a jihad being carried out against them in the future;
  2. They make a payment every year in which case it constitutes an ongoing trobute by which their security is established. What is taken from them in the first year is treated as booty and is shared amongst the people entitled to the day. It is not permitted to resume the jihad against them as long as they make the payments. If one of them enters Dar al-Islam, this contract of reconciliation guarantees safety for himself and his wealth. If they refuse to make payment, however, the reconciliation ceases, their security is no longer guaranteed and war must be waged on them - like any other presons from the enemy camp. ...

As for presents which the enemy offer before before hostilities, their acceptance does not mean any arrangement has been made and it is permitted to make war on them after the offer - as an such arrangement was not the result of contract;

The fourth possibility is that the enemy requests a guarantee of safety and a truce. It is permitted to make a truce of peace for a specific period with them if victory over them and taking payment from them is too difficult to obtain ... The Messenger of Allah, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, made a ten year truce with the Quraysh in the year of Hudaybiyyah. It should be as short as possible and not exceed ten years; if a truce is made with them for more than this, the period in excess of this is invalidated. ...

This section concerning the rules of this type of amirate is about the action to be taken in assailing and fighting the enemy. The amir of the army may use ballistas and catapults when beieging the enemy, for the Messenger of Allah, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, set up a catapult against the inhabitants of Ta'if. He may also destroy their homes, make night raids against them and cause fire. If, moreover, he reckons that by cutting their date-pals and their tree down it will serve to weaken them, such that they are overcome by force and compelled to make a peace agreement, then he should do it; he should not, however, act in this way if he does not see any such benefit in it. . . .

It is also permitted to block off the supply of water to them, or to prevent them from using it, even if there are women and children amongst them


Ibn Kathir

Ismail ibn Kathir (1301-1373) was an Islamic scholar and renowned commentator on the Qur'an. Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Azim, popularly known as "Tafsir ibn Kathir", remains as one of the most respected and widely used qur'anic commentaries available.

The Order to Fight the Poeple of the Scriptures until They Give the Jizya'

Allah said, "Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth among the People of the Scripture, until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued." Therefore when the People of the Scripture disbelieved in Muhammad, they had no beneficial faith in any Messenger or what the Messengers brought. Rather they followed their religions because this conformed with their ideas, lusts, and the ways of their forefathers, not because they are Allah's laws and religion. Had they been true believers in their religions, that faith would have directed them to believe in Muhammad because all Prophets gave the good news of Muhammad's advent and commanded them to obey and follow him. Yet when he was sent, they disbelieved in him, even though he is the mightiest of all Messengers. Therefore, they do not follow the religion or earlier Prophets because these religions came from Allah, but because these suit their desires and lusts. Therefore, their claimed faith in an earlier Prophet will not benefit them because they disbelieved in the master, the mightiest, the last and most perfect of all Prophets. Hence Allah's statement, "Fight against those who believe not in Allah, nor in the Last Day, nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth among the People of the Scripture."

This honorable Ayah was revealed with the order to fight the People of the Book, after the pagans were defeated, the people entered Allah's region in large numbers, and the Arabian Peninsula was secured under the Muslims' control. Allah commanded His Messenger to fight the People of the Scriptures, Jews and Christians, on the ninth year of Hijrah, and he prepared his army to fight the Romans and called the people to Jihad announcing his intent and destination. The Messenger sent his intent to various Arab areas around Al-Madinah to gather forces, and he collected an army of thirty thousand. Some people from Al-Madinah and some hypocrites, in and around it, lagged behind, for that was a year of drought and intense hear. The Messenger of Allah marched, heading towards Ash-Sham to fight the Romans until he reached Tabuk, where he set camp for about twenty days next to its water resources. He then prayed to Allah for a decision and went back to Al-Madinah because it was a hard year and the people were weak, as we will mention, Allah willing.[15]


Al-Misri (1302–1367) was an Islamic scholar. His manual of fiqh consists of the soundest positions of the Shafi'i school, and its modern translation became the first standard Islamic legal reference in a European language to be certified by Al-Azhar university.

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).[16]


Ziauddin Barani

Ziauddin Barani (1285 - 1357) was a Muslim historian and political thinker who lived in India. He was best known for composing the Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi, and the Fatwa-i-Jahandari which details the Muslim Caste System in South Asia.

Sons of Mahmud [of Ghazni] and kings of Islam! You should with all your royal determination apply yourself to uprooting and disgracing infidels, polytheists, and men of bad dogmas and bad religions, if you wish that you may not have to be ashamed before God and his Prophets and that in your record of life - concerning what you have said and done, the clothes you have worn, and the food you have eaten - they may write good instead of evil. You should consider the enemies of God and His Faith to be your enemies and you should risk your power and authority in overthrowing them, so that you may win the approval of God and the Prophet Mohammad and all prophets and saints. You should not content yourself merely with levying the poll-tax and the tribute from the infidels and you should not allow infidelity to be preserved in spite of your royal power and authority. You should strive day and night for the degradation of infidelity so that (on the Day of Judgment) you may be raised (from your graves) among the prophets and be blessed with the sight of God for all eternity and "may find a seat among the truthful near the Powerful King of (god)."

The majority of religious scholars and wise men of early (Islamic) as well as later time have been sure that if Muslim kings strive with all their might and power and the power of all their supporters on this path, the following objects will be attained: - the true Faith will gain a proper ascendancy over the false creeds; the True Word will be honored; the traditions of infidelity and polytheism will be weakened; Musalmans will be favored and honored; infidels and men of bad faith will be faced with destitution and disgrace; the orders of the unlawful fate and the opposed creeds will be erased; the laws of the shari'at will be enforced on the seventy-two communities; and the enemies of God and the Prophet will be condemned, banished, repudiated, and terrorized.[17]

Ibn Hudayl

Ibn Hudayl was a fourteenth century Granadan who authored an important treatise on Islamic Jihad.

It is permissible to set fire to the lands of the enemy, his stores of grain, his beasts of burden - if it is not possible for the Muslims to take possession of them - as well as to cut down his trees, to raze his cities, in a word, to do everything that might ruin and discourage him, provided that the imam (i.e. the religious "guide" of the community of believers) deems these measures appropriate, suited to hastening the Islamization of that enemy or to weakening him. Indeed, all this contributes to a military triumph over him or to forcing him to capitulate.[18]

Ahmad Sirhindi

Ahmad Sirhindi (1564–1624) was an Islamic scholar and prominent Sufi. He is regarded as having rejuvenated Islam, due to which he is commonly called "Mujadid Alf Thani", meaning "reviver of the second millennium".

Shariat can be fostered through the sword.

Kufr and Islam are opposed to each other. The progress of one is possible only at the expense of the other and co-existences between these two contradictory faiths in unthinkable.

The honor of Islam lies in insulting kufr and kafirs. One who respects kafirs, dishonors the Muslims. To respect them does not merely mean honouring them and assigning them a seat of honor in any assembly, but it also implies keeping company with them or showing considerations to them. They should be kept at an arm's length like dogs. ... If some worldly business cannot be performed without them, in that case only a minimum of contact should be established with them but without taking them into confidence. The highest Islamic sentiment asserts that it is better to forego that worldly business and that no relationship should be established with the kafirs.

The real purpose in levying jizya on them is to humiliate them to such an extent that, on account of fear of jizya, they may not be able to dress well and to live in grandeur. They should constantly remain terrified and trembling. It is intended to hold them under contempt and to uphold the honor and might of Islam.

. . .

Whenever a Jew is killed, it is for the benefit of Islam.[19]

`Abd Allah ibn `Abbas

`Abd Allah ibn `Abbas was a paternal cousin of the Prophet Muhammad and a 7th-century expert on the Qur'an and Sunnah.

{ قَاتِلُواْ ٱلَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَلاَ بِٱلْيَوْمِ ٱلآخِرِ وَلاَ يُحَرِّمُونَ مَا حَرَّمَ ٱللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَلاَ يَدِينُونَ دِينَ ٱلْحَقِّ مِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ ٱلْكِتَابَ حَتَّىٰ يُعْطُواْ ٱلْجِزْيَةَ عَن يَدٍ وَهُمْ صَاغِرُونَ }

(Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture) the Jews and Christians (as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day) nor in the bliss of Paradise, (and forbid not) in the Torah (that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the religion of truth) do not submit themselves to Allah through confession of Allah's divine Oneness, (until they pay the tribute readily) standing: from hand to hand, (being brought low) abased.[20]



Al-Hilli (1250-1325) was a Shi'ite theologian and mujtahid. He is considered the greatest Muslim jurist and scholar of his time.


167. Some infidels are permitted to retain the privilege of practicing their religion, in return for a tribute; they are: the Jews, the Christians, and those whose revealed scripture is of doubtful authenticity, that is, the guebres. Any infidel other than those who profess one of the three above-mentioned religions must be compelled to embrace Islam.

168. Every infidel belonging to one of the three categories mentioned in the preceding article, whatever his nationality, Arab or foreigner is permitted to practice his religion, provided that he abides by the conditions that are prescribed.


171. The following are exempt from the tribute: infidel minors, madmen, women, and old men who have reached an advanced age. The latter point is disputed, but it is based on tradition; the same goes for infidel slaves.

172. Except for the persons mentioned in the preceding article, every infidel belonging to one of the three categories defined in article 167 is subject to the tribute, including monks and sick people.

173. The infidel who is poor is obliged to pay the tribute, too; but one should wait until he has acquired the means with which to pay.


181. An infidel minor, upon attaining maturity, must be compelled to embrace Islam or else to be subjected to the tribute; if he refuses, he is to be reckoned as an enemy and treated as such.



215. This term is understood to mean a treaty concluded with the enemy, having as its purpose a temporary suspension of hostilities during a set period of time.

216. The imam is authorized to negotiate the suspension of hostilities with a view to the general interest, for example, in the case where the number of Muslim soldiers is too weak to be able to continue the war advantageously; when it is necessary to wait for reinforcements, or when there is the hope that, thanks to a suspension of hostilities, the infidel will convert voluntarily to Islam.

217. Except for the cases mentioned in the preceding article, and whn the Muslim army is strong enough in number to pursue the war, it is not permitted to declare a truce.

218. A truce can be declared for a period of four months, but only once in any given year. Some jurists, citing the eighteenth verse of the ninth chapter of the Qur'an are of the opinion that the duration of the truce cannot exceed four months; others, inspired by the sixty0eighth verse of the eighth chapter are of the opinion that the duration of the truce can be extended beyond that term; but it is best, in this regard, to act according to the circumstances.

219. The armistice can be concluded only for a set period of time, unless the imam has reserved for himself, by the treaty, the right to revoke it whenever he wants.

220. When the treaty suspending the hostilities contains a few clauses contrary to the precepts of Islam, for instance the public performance of certain acts forbidden to Muslims, or the return of women captives or refugees, one is not obliged to observe them.

221. The infidel woman who is a captive or a refugee among the Muslims must not be returned, if she has embraced Islam, or if she professed it already; but her dowry must be refunded to her husband, if it is made of things that Muslims are allowed to use; if not, the husband loses his claim to restitution in knod or in money.

222. The infidel woman captive or refugee who has embraced Islam must not be returned, even if she apostatizes, since her conversion brought her into the bosom of Islam.[21]


Baha' ad-Din al-`Amili (1547-1621) was a Shi'ite scholar who wrote over 88 books on different topics. He is considered one of the main co-founders of Isfahan School of Islamic Philosophy.


Islamic Holy war against followers of other religions, such as Jews, is required unless they convert to Islam or pay the poll tax. There are twelve conditions required in paying the poll tax. First condition: According to some Mojtahids those possessing Holy Scriptures, such as Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians, living in Muslim territories are obliged to pay the poll tax, (in lieu of conversion to Islam). ... If a Jew or any of those possessing Holy Scriptures converted to Islam, they were not obliged to pay the poll tax.[22]


Muhammad Taqi al-Majlisi (1616–1698), not to be confused with his famous father Mohammad Baqer Majlesi, was one of the most influential Shi'ite clerics of the Persian Safavid dynasty.

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, praise be to God who strengthens Islam and the Muslims, who degrades Unbelief. [It is He who] brings to the clear religion and bestows prayer upon him whom He sent as a mercy to all created beings, Mohammad and the most pure people of his household.

Know that God, the Exalted, established the jizya upon the People of the Book, since they are closer to [true] guidance than the rest of the infidels, because they have heard about the manners and practices of the prophets, peace be upon them, and because they have seen the descriptions of His Excellency [Mohammad] in their books. Wherever they remain for some time among Muslims and hear Quranic verses and the ahadith of the Prophet and of those of his House [the Imams], peace be upon them, and witness the true laws and perfect worship of the people of Islam, if they do not act fanatically, they will quickly arrive at the knowledge of the true claims of Islam. So if they observe the conditions of the jizya and live in baseness and abjectness among Muslims, bias and obstinacy will not prevent them from accepting the true religion, and they will soon accept Quran [9:29]: "Fight against such as those who have been given the Scripture and believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His Messenger, and follow not the religion of truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low." That is, fight against those who do not believe in God and in the Day of Resurrection, who do not prohibit the things that have been prohibited by God and His Prophet, such as wine and pork, and do not believe in the religion of truth, from among those who had been given the Book, - until they pay the jizya, with their own hands, while they are in a low and abased state.[23]

Modern Day Scholars

Majid Khadduri

Majid Khadduri (1909-2007) is a late Islamic Scholar who was born in Iraq. Internationally, he was recognized as a leading authority on a wide variety of Islamic subjects, modern history and the politics of the Middle East. He was also the author of more than 35 books in English and Arabic and hundreds of articles.


Had they Lord pleased, He would have made mankind one nation; but those only to whom they Lord hath granted his mercy will cease to differ... -Qur'an 11.120

The state which is regarded as the instrument for universalizing a certain religion must perforce be an ever expanding state. The Islamic state, whose principal function was to put God's law into practice, sought to establish Islam as the dominant reigning ideology over the entire world. It refused to recognize the coexistence of non-Muslim communities, except perhaps as subordinate entities, because by its very nature a universal state tolerates the existence of no other state than itself. Althrough it was not a consciously formulated policy, Muhammad's early successors, after Islam became supreme in Arabia, were determined to embark on a ceaseless war of conquest in the name of Islam. The jihad was therefore employed as an instrument for both the universalization of religion and the establishment of an imperial world state.
. . .
The world accordingly was sharply divided in Muslim law into the dar al-Islam and the dar al-Harb. These terms may be rendered in less poetic words as the "world or Islam" and the "world of War." The first corresponded to the territory under Muslim rule. Its inhabitants were Muslims, by birth or conversion, and the communities of the tolerated religions who preferred to hold fast to their own cult, at the price of paying the jizya (poll tax). The Muslims enjoyed full rights of citizenship; the subjects of the tolerated religions enjoyed only partial rights, and submitted to Muslim rule in accordance with special charters regulating their relations with the Muslims. The dar al-harb consisted of all the states and communities outside of the world of Islam. Its inhabitants were often called infidels, or, better, unbelievers.

On the assumption that the ultimate aim of Islam was worldwide, the dar al-Islam was always, in theory, at war with the dar al-harb. The Muslims were requited to preach Islam by persuasion, and the caliph or his commanders in the field to offer Islam as an alternative to paying the poll tax or fighting; but the Islamic state was under legal obligation to enforce Islamic law and to recognize no authority other than its own, superseding other authorities even when non-Muslim communities had willingly accepted the faith of Islam without fighting. Failure by non-Muslims to accept Islam or pay the poll tax made it incumbent on the Muslim State to declare jihad upon the recalcitrant individuals and communities. Thus the jihad, reflecting the normal war relations existing between Muslims and non-Muslims, was the state's instrument for transforming the dar al-harb into the dar al-Islam. It was the product of a war-like people who had embarked on a large-scale movement of expansion. Islam could not abolish the warlike character of the Arabs who were constantly at war with each other; it indeed reaffirmed the war basis of intergroup relationship by institutionalizing war as part of the Muslim legal system and made use of it by transforming war into a holy war designed to be ceaselessly declared against those who failed to become Muslims. The short intervals which are not war-and these in theory should not exceed ten years-are periods of peace. But the jihad was not the only legal means of dealing with non-Muslims since peaceful methods (negotiations, arbitration, and treaty making) were applied in regulating the relations of the believers with unbelievers when actual fighting ceased.
. . .

"Every nation has its monasticism, and the monasticism of this [Muslim] nation is the jihad." -a hadith.

The Meaning of Jihad

The term jihad is derived from the the verb jahada which means "exerted"; its juridical-theological meaning is exertion of one's power in Allah's path, that is, the spread of belief in Allah and in making His word supreme over this world. The individual's recompense would be the achievement of salvation, since the jihad is Allah's direct way to paradise. This definition is based on a Qur'anic injunction which runs as follows:

O ye who believe! Shall I guide you to a gainful trade which will save you from painful punishment? Believe in Allah and His Apostle and carry on warfare in the path of Allah with your possessions and your persons. That is better for you. If ye have knowledge, He will forgive your sins , and will place you in the Gardens beneath which the streams flow, and in fine houses in the Gardens of Eden: that is the great gain.

The jihad, in the bread sense of exertion, does not necessarily mean war or fighting, since exertion in Allah's path may be achieved by peaceful as well as violent means. The jihad my be regarded as a form of religious propaganda that can be carried on by persuasion or by the sword. In the early Makkan revelations, the emphasis was in the main on persuasion. Muhammad, in the discharge of his prophetic functions, seemed to have been satisfied by warning his people against idolatry and inviting them to worship Allah. This is evidenced by such a verse as the following: "He who exerts himself, exerts only for his own soul," which expresses the jihad in terms of the salvation for the soul rather than a struggle for proselytization. In the Madinan revelations, the jihad is often expressed in terms of strife, and there is no doubt that in certain verses the conception of jihad is synonymous with the words war and fighting.

The jurists, however, have distinguished four different ways in which the believer may fulfill his jihad obligation: by his heart; his tongue; his hands; and by the sword. The first is concerned with combating the devil and in the attempt to escape his persuasion to evil. This type of jihad, so significant in the eyes of the Prophet Muhammad, was regarded as the greater jihad. The second and the third are mainly fulfilled in supporting the right and correcting the wrong. The fourth is precisely equivalent to the meaning of war, and is concerned with fighting the unbelievers and the enemies of the faith. The believers are under the obligation of sacrificing their "wealth and lives" (Q. 61.11) in the prosecution of war.
. . .

Thus the jihad may be regarded as Islam’s instrument for carrying out its ultimate objective by turning all people into believers, if not in the prophethood of Muhammad (as in the case of the dhimmis), at least in the belief of God. The Prophet Muhammad is reported to have declared ‘some of my people will continue to fight victoriously for the sake of the truth until the last one of them will combat the anti-Christ’. Until that moment is reached the jihad, in one form or another will remain as a permanent obligation upon the entire Muslim community. It follows that the existence of a dar al-harb is ultimately outlawed under the Islamic jural order; that the dar al-Islam permanently under jihad obligation until the dar al-harb is reduced to non-existence; and that any community accepting certain disabilities- must submit to Islamic rule and reside in the dar al-Islam or be bound as clients to the Muslim community. The universality of Islam, in its all embracing creed, is imposed on the believers as a continuous process of warfare, psychological and political if not strictly military.[24]

Sayyid Qutb

Sayyid Qutb (1906 -1996) was an Egyptian author, educator, Islamist, poet, and the leading intellectual of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (one of the world's largest Islamic organizations) in the 1950s and '60s.

A Fight until Submission

Fight against those who-despite having been given Scripture - do not truly believe in God and the Last Day, and do not treat as forbidden that which God and His Messenger have forbidden, and do not follow the religion of truth, till they pay the submission tax with a willing hand, after they have been humbled. (Verse 29)

This verse and the ones that follow were meant to prepare the Muslims for their expedition to Tabuk and the confrontation with the Byzantines and their puppet regime of Christian Arabs, known as the Ghassanld. This suggests that the descriptions we have here were true of the people on the other side of the confrontation. They simply show the reality of those people. These descriptions are not mentioned here as conditions for fighting the people of earlier revelations, but as qualities inherent in their distorted beliefs and the actual reality of those people. Hence they provide the justification for fighting them. The ruling also applies to all those who share the same beliefs and characteristics.

This verse specifies three such characteristics. (1) They do not believe in God and the Last Day; (2) they do not treat as forbidden what God has forbidden what God has forbidden and (3) they do not believe in the religion of truth.

Firstly, the Jews claim that Ezra is the son of God, and the Christians assert that Christ is His son. These claims echo similar ones made by the pagans of former times. Hence, they are to be treated on the same basis as people who do not believe in God and the Last Day. Secondly, they treat their rabbis and their monks, as well as Jesus Christ, as their Lords, in place of God. This is in total conflict with the principles of the faith of truth which is based on total submission to God alone, who has no partners. As they make such claims they demonstrate that they are idolaters who do not follow the true faith. Thirdly, they try to put out the light of God's guidance with their mouths. In other words, they are at war with the divine faith. No one is ever at war with the divine faith if he truly believes in God. Fourthly, many of their monks and rabbis devour peoples property without any justification. They do so knowing that their claims to such property are false. Hence they do not treat as forbidden what God and His Messenger have made forbidden, whether we take this statement as referring to the Messenger sent to them or to the Prophet Muhammad.

All these characteristics were true of the Christians in Syria and the Byzantines, as well as other Christians ever since Church Synods distorted the faith preached by Jesus Christ and claimed that he was the son of God and invented the concept of the Trinity, the conflict between the different sects and churches over the concept of Trinity notwithstanding. What we have here then is a general order stating a universal rule that applies to all those among the people of earlier revelations who share the same characteristics as the Christians of Syria and Byzantium. Aggression has been committed in the first place, against God's Lordship of the universe and against human beings who are forced to submit to deities other than God. As Islam tries to defend God's Lordship and human dignity, ignorance will try to stop it by aggression and war. This is the reality we have to realize. This Qur'anic verse commands the Muslims to fight against those among the people of earlier revelations who "do not believe in God and the Last Day." A person who claims that Ezra or Jesus is the son of God cannot be described as a believer in God. The same applies to a person who says that the Christ is the Lord, or that God is one of a Trinity, or that He manifested Himself in Jesus. It further applies to all concepts formulated by the Synods, diverse as these concepts are.Nor can we describe as believers in God and the Last-Day-those who say that they will suffer God's punishment only for a few days no matter what sins they may commit because God loves them as His sons and daughters, or because they are God's chosen people. The same applies to those who claim that all sins are forgiven through a holy communion with Jesus Christ, which is the only way to achieve forgiveness. Neither of these two groups can be described as believers in God or in the Last Day.

This verse also describes the people of earlier revelations as ones who do not treat as forbidden what God and His Messenger have made forbidden. Whether the term "His Messenger" refers to the Messenger whom God sent to them in particular or to the Prophet Muhammad, the import is the same. The following verses explain this by saying that they devour other people's property by false claims, an action which has been forbidden in all divine messages and by all God's messengers. Some of the clearest examples of this are usurious transactions, the sale of bonds of forgiveness by the Church, opposition to the divine faith with brutal force as well as trying to turn believers away from their faith. Another clear example is forcing people to submit to beings other than God, and forcing them to implement laws other than those revealed by God. All these examples are covered by the description: "who do not treat as forbidden what God and His Messenger have forbidden." All this applies today to the people of earlier revelations as was applicable to them when this verse was revealed.

The Qur'anic verse also describes them as not following "the religion of truth." This is clear from what we have already said. It is not part of the religion of truth to believe in the Lordship of anyone other than God, or to apply a law different from God's law, or to accept legislation enacted by any authority other than God, or to submit to anyone other than Him. All these qualities are today true of the people of earlier revelations, as it was true of them then. The condition simply that they should pay the tribute, or the submission tax, with a willing hand and that they be utterly subdued. What is the purpose of this condition, and why is it the end at which all fighting must stop? The answer is found in the fact that with such characteristics, the people of earlier revelations place themselves at war with the divine faith, both in belief and in practical terms. They are also at war with Islamic society because of the inherent conflict between the codes of living derived from the divine faith on the one hand and ignorance, or jahiliyyah, on the other. As described in these verses, the people of earlier revelations belong to jahiliyyah in both beliefs and practices. History also proves the nature of conflict, and the impossibility of co-existence between the two codes. The people of earlier revelations were determined in their opposition to the Islamic faith in the period preceding the revelation of this verse, and in the period following it, up to the present day.

As the only religion of truth that exists on earth today, Islam takes appropriate action to remove all physical and material obstacles that try to impede its efforts to liberate mankind from submission to anyone other than God. That submission is translated in following the religion of truth, provided that every human being is given free choice. There must be no pressure either from the religion itself or from those forces putting up the physical obstacles. The practical way to ensure the removal of those physical obstacles while not forcing anyone to adopt Islam is to smash the power of those authorities based on false beliefs until they declare their submission and demonstrate this by paying the submission tax. When this happens, the process of liberating mankind is completed by giving every individual the freedom of choice based on conviction. Anyone who is not convinced may continue to follow his faith. However, he has to pay the submission tax to fulfill a number of objectives...by paying this tax, known as jizyah, he declares that he will not stand in physical opposition to the efforts advocating the true Divine faith. [25]

Ruhollah Khomeini

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1900-1989) was a Shi'ite Marja and leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Islam's jihad is a struggle against idolatry, sexual deviations, plunder, repression, and cruelty. The war waged by [non-Muslim] conquerors, however, aims at promoting lust and animal pleasures. They care not if whole countries are wiped out and many families left homeless. But those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation. For they shall live under [God's law]. ....

Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against was. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until are devoured by [the unbelievers]? Islam says: Kill them [the non-Muslims], put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]. Does this mean sitting back until [non-Muslims] overcome us? Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you! Does this mean that we should surrender [to the enemy]? Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to paradise, which can be opened only for holy warriors!

There are hundreds of other [Koranic] psalms and hadiths urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.[26]
Islam grew with blood. The great religions of the preceding prophets and the momentous religion of Islam, while clutching divine books for the guidance of the people in one hand, carried arms in the other. Abraham ... in one hand carried the books of the prophets; in the other, an ax to crush the infidels. Moses, the interlocutor of God ... in one hand carried the Pentateuch and in the other a staff, which reduced the pharoahs to the dust of ignominy, a staff that was like a dragon swallowing up the traitors.

The great prophet of Islam in one hand carried the Koran and in the other a sword; the sword for crushing the traitors and the Koran for guidance. For those who could be guided, the Koran was their means of guidance, while as for those who could be guided and were plotters, the sword descended on their heads. ... Islam is a religion of blood for the infidels but a religion of guidance for other people.

We have sacrificed much blood and many martyrs. Islam has sacrificed blood and martyrs.

We do not fear giving martyrs. ... Whatever we give for Islam is not enough and is too little. Our lives are not worthy. Let those who wish us ill not imagine that our youths are afraid of death or of martyrdom. Martyrdom is a legacy which we have received from our prophets. Those should fear death who consider the aftermath of death to be obliteration. We, who consider the aftermath of death a life more sublime than this one, what fear have we? The traitors should be afraid. The servants of God have no fear. Our army, our gendarmerie, our police, our guards have no fear. Our guards who were [killed] ... have achieved eternal life. ...

These people who want freedom, who want our youths to be free, write effusively about the freedom of our youth. What freedom do they want? ... They want the gambling casinos to remain freely open, they want heroin addicts to be free, opium addicts to be free. They want the seas to be free everywhere for the youth [i.e. mixed bathing].[26]

Mehrab (niche in a mosque) means a place of war, a place of fighting. Out of the mosques, wars should proceed. Just as all the wars of Islam proceeded out of the mosques. The prophet had a sword to kill people. Our Holy Imams were quite militant. All of them were warriors. They used to wield swords. They used to kill people. We need a Caliph who would chop hands, cut throats, stone people. In the way that the messenger of Allah used to chop hands, cut throats, and stone people.
Ayatollah Khomeini. Speech delivered on the commemoration of the Birth of Muhammad, 1981.

Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali

Sadegh Khalkhali was a hardline Shia cleric of Iran and the Head of its Islamic Revolutionary Court.

Those who are against killing have no place in Islam. Our Prophet killed with his own blessed hands. Our Imam Ali killed more than seven hundred on a single day. If the survival of the faith requires the shedding of blood, we are there to perform our duty
Holy Terro, Amir Taheri, Sphere Books Limited, London 1987, p. 36; Scott, Peterson (2002), Me Against My Brother: At War in Somalia, Sudan and Rwanda, Routledge (London).

Bassam Tibi

Bassam Tibi (b. 1944) is a Muslim German political scientist of Syrian origin who has taught at Göttingen, Harvard, and Cornell University.


The Western distinction between just and unjust wars linked to specific grounds for war is unknown in Islam. Any war against unbelievers, whatever its immediate ground, is morally justified. Only in this sense can one distinguish just and unjust wars in Islamic tradition. When Muslims wage war for the dissemination of Islam, it is a just war (futuhat, literally "opening," in the sense of opening the world, through the use of force, to the call to Islam); when non-Muslims attack Muslims, it is an unjust war ('idwan).

The usual Western interpretation of jihad as a "just war" in the Western sense is, therefore, a misreading of this Islamic concept. I disagree, for example, with Khadduri's interpretation of jihad as bellum justum. As Khadduri himself observes:

The universality of Islam provided a unifying element for all believers, within the world of Islam, and its defensive-offensive character produced a state of warfare permanently declared against the outside world, the world of war. Thus jihad may be regarded as Islam's instument for carrying out its ultimate objective by turning all people into believers.

According to the Western just war concept, just wars are limited to a single issue; they are not universal and permanent wars grounded on a religious worldview.

The classical religious doctrine of Islam understands war in two ways. The first is literal war, fighting or battle (qital), which in Islam is understood to be a last resort in following the Qur'anic precept to guarantee the spread of Islam, usually when non-Muslims hinder the effort to do so. The other understanding is metaphorical: war as a permanent condition between Muslims and nonbelievers. The Qur'an makes a distinction between fighting (qital) and aggression ( 'idwan) and asks Muslims not to be aggressors: "Fight for the sake of Allah against those who fight against you but do not be violent because Allah does not love aggressors" (al-Baqara 2.190). The same Qur'anic passage continues: "Kill them wherever you find them. Drive them out of places from which they drove you. ... Fight against them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme" (al-Baqara 2.190-92). The Qur'anic term for fighting is here qital, not jihad. The Qur'an prescribes fighting for the spread of Islam: "Fighting is obligatory for you, much as you dislike it" (al-Baqara 2.216). The qital of Muslims against unbelievers is a religious obligation: "Fight for the cause of Allah ... how could you not fight for the cause of Allah? ... True believers fight for the cause of Allah,. but the infidels fight for idols" (al-'Nisa 4.74-76).

As noted above, Muslims tend to quote Qur'an selectively to support their own ethical views. This practice has caused a loss of specificity in the meaning of jihad, as Saddam Hussein's use of the term during the Gulf War illustrates. The current dissension about the concept of jihad dates from the rise of political Islam and the eruption of sectarian religious strife. Present-day Islamic fundamentalist groups - groups whose programs are based on the revival of Islamic values - often invoke the idea of jihad to legitimize their political agendas. The reason for this misuse of the concept is simple: most fundamentalists are lay people who lack intimate knowledge of Islamic sources and who politicize Islam to justify their activities. Before the Gulf War, for example, this occurred in Egypt, during the Lebanon War, and in the civil war in Sudan. Through such overuse and misuse, the concept of jihad has become confused with the related Islamic concept of "armed fighting" (qital). Therefore, there is a great need for a historical analysis of the place of scripture in Islamic tradition. Although Islamic ethics of peace and war indeed mostly scriptural, scriptural references can be adequately interpreted only in a historical context.

As we have seen, Islam understands itself as a mission of peace for all humanity, although this call (da'wa) can sometimes be pursued by war. In this sense, the da'wa is an invitation to jihad, which means fundamentally "to exert one's self" and can involve either military or nonmilitary effort. Jihad can become a war (qital) against those who oppose Islam, either by failing to submit to it peacefully or by creating obstacles to its spread. Although Islam glorifies neither war nor violence, those Muslims who fight and die for the da'wa are considered blessed by Allah.[27]

Ramadan Buti

Dr. M. Sa’id Ramadan Al-Buti (b. 1929) is the Head of the Beliefs and Religions Department in The Faculty of the Islamic Law, Damascus University, and a member of the High Council of Oxford Academy in England.

The theory that our religion is a peaceful and loving religion is a wrong theory[28][29]
The Holy war as it is known in Islam is basically an offensive war, and it is the duty of all Muslims of every age, when the needed military power is available, because our prophet Muhammad said that he is ordered by Allah to fight all people until they say ‘No God but Allah,’ and he is his messenger[30]
It is meaningless to talk about the holy war as only defensive, otherwise, what did the prophet mean when he said, "from now on even if they don’t invade you, you must invade them."[31]

Abdullah Yusuf Azzam

Abdullah Yusuf Azzam (1941 – 1989) was a highly influential Palestinian Sunni Islamic scholar and theologian.

Establishing a solid foundation as a base for Islam

Establishment of the Muslim community on an area of land is a necessity, as vital as water and air. This homeland will not come about without an organised Islamic movement which perseveres consciously and realistically upon Jihad, and which regards fighting as a decisive factor and as a protective wrapping. The Islamic movement will not be able to establish the Islamic community except through a common, people's Jihad which has the Islamic movement as its beating heart and deliberating mind.

It will be like the small spark which ignites a large keg of explosives, for the Islamic movement brings about an eruption of the hidden capabilities of the Ummah, and a gushing forth of the springs of Good stored up in its depth. The Companions of the Prophet were exceedingly few in number compared to the troops who toppled the throne of the Persian Kisra and overthrew the Caesar of Rome.

Nay, the tribes which reneged from Islam in the days of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq were dispatched by `Umar Ibn al-Khattab, after they had announced their repentance, to fight against the Persians. Talhah Ibn Khuwaylid al-Asadi, who had laid claim to prophethood before, became one of the most outstanding and revered heroes. Sa`d chose him for the important task of reconnoitring for information about the Persians, in which he showed outstanding courage.

There are the handful of officers, some of whom may think that it is possible for them to carry out a collective Muslim effort - this is a kind of fantasy or delusion reminiscent of the past. It will be no more than a repetition of the tragedy of Abdel Nasser with the Islamic Movement once again.

The popular Jihad movement with its long path of effort, great sacrifice and serious losses, purifies souls so that they tower above the lower material world. Important matters rise above petty disputes about money, short-term desires and inferior provisions. Malice disappears and souls are sharpened; and the caravan moves on up from the foot of the mountain to the lofty summit, far away from the stench of clay and the struggles of the low ground. Along the path of Jihad, the leadership is categorized. Abilities become manifest from the offerings and sacrifices, and men come forth with bravery and service.

Do not think glory to be a wine-skin and songstress,

For glory can come only through war and severe fighting.

When important matters are the only concern, souls are uplifted above minor issues, and important things occupy people's hearts and hopes.

When you embark on an honorable venture,

Be not content with aiming below the stars.

For the taste of death in a paltry matter

Is like the taste of death in a significant matter.

The cowards will see cowardice as reason,

And that is the treachery of the depraved disposition.

The nature of societies is precisely that of water. In stagnant water, water moss and decayed matter float on the surface, whereas flowing water will not carry scum on its surface. Similarly, the leadership of a stagnant society cannot fulfil its responsibility because leadership emerges only through movement, sacrifice, service and offering. Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman and `Ali emerged as outstanding individuals through great feats and excessive sacrifices.

Thus Abu Bakr was not in need of election propaganda when the Ummah reached a consensus to elect him. No sooner did the soul of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) ascend to meet his Lord than were all eyes turned to the open position; and they found none better than Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him).

The Ummah, which performs Jihad, pays a high price, and so it harvests ripe fruits. It is not easy to lose something that was won through sweat and blood. Those who sit at the helm of leadership of people by the power of the first announcement of a military revolution accomplished behind the scenes in one of the offices of mediation can easily lose everything.

Whoever seized a land without fighting,

It is easy for him to give it up.

The Ummah of Jihad, which is led by extraordinary people who emerged through the long Jihad movement, will not easily lose command, nor serve as easy prey for collapse. It is also not easy for its enemies to make it have suspicions about its heroes' excursions. The Jihad movement familiarizes the Ummah with all its individuals, informing them that they have contributed to the price paid, and have participated in the sacrifice for the establishment of the Islamic community. Thus they will be trustworthy custodians of this newborn community which has relieved the whole Ummah from the agony of its labor-pains. Without a doubt, the Islamic community will be born, but birth cannot be accomplished without labor, and with labor there must be pain.[32]

Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi

Syed Abul A'ala Maududi (1903-1979) was a Sunni Pakistani scholar, theologian, writer, and the founder of Jama'at-i Islami.

In reality Islam is a revolutionary ideology and programme which seeks to alter the social order of the whole world and rebuild it in conformity with its own tenets and ideals. 'Muslim' is the title of that International Revolutionary Party organized by Islam to carry into effect its revolutionary programme. And 'Jihad' refers to that revolutionary struggle and utmost exertion which the Islamic Party brings into play to acheive this objective.
. . .

Islam wishes to destroy all States and Governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and programme of Islam regardless of the country or the Nation which rules it. The purpose of Islam is to set up a State on the basis of its own ideology and programme, regardless of which Nation assumes the role of the standard bearer of Islam or the rule of which nation is undermined in the process of the establishment of an ideological Islamic State.
. . .
No one has the right to become a self-appointed ruler of men and issue orders and prohibitions on his own volition and authority. To acknowledge the personal authority of a human being as the source of commands and prohibitions is tantamount to admitting him as the sharer in the Powers and Autority of God. And this is the root of all evils in the universe.
. . .
Islam is not merely a religious creed or compund name for a few forms of worship, but a comprehensive system which envisages to annihilate all tyrannical and evil systems in the world and enforces its own programme of reform which it deems best for the well-being of mankind.
. . .
It must be evident to you from this discussion that the objective of Islamic 'Jihad' is to eliminate the rule of an un-Islamic system and establish in its stead an Islamic system of State rule. Islam does not intend to confine this revolution to a single State or a few countries; the aim of Islam is to bring about a universal revolution.
. . .

Islamic 'Jihad' does not seek to interfere with the faith, ideology, rituals of worship or social customs of the people. It allows them perfect freedom of religious belief and permits them to act according to their creed. However, Islamic 'Jihad' does not recognize their right to administer State affairs according to a system which, in the view of Islam, is evil. Furthermore, Islamic 'Jihad' also refuses to admit their right to continue with such practices under an Islamic government which fatally affect the publich interest from the viewpoint of Islam.[33]

Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid (b. 1962), is a well-known Saudi Islamic scholar, lecturer, and author. The following fatwa is taken from his Islam Q&A site.

Praise be to Allaah.

Allaah has enjoined jihad for His sake upon the Muslims, for the great benefits that result from that and because of the harm caused by abandoning jihad, some of which are mentioned in Question no. 34830.

Some of the reasons why jihad for the sake of Allaah is prescribed in Islam are as follows:

1 – The main goal of jihad is to make the people worship Allaah alone and to bring them forth from servitude to people to servitude to the Lord of people.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

[Quotes Quran 2:193, and Quran 8:39]

Ibn Jareer said:

So fight them until there is no more shirk, and none is worshipped except Allaah alone with no partner or associate, and trials and calamities, which are disbelief and polytheism, are lifted from the slaves of Allaah on earth, and religion is all for Allaah alone, and so that obedience and worship will be devoted to Him alone and none else.

Ibn Katheer said: Allaah commands us to fight the kuffaar so that there will be no fitnah, i.e., shirk, and the religion will all be for Allaah alone, i.e., the religion of Allaah will prevail over all other religions.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “"I have been commanded (by Allaah) to fight the people until they testify that there is no god but Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, and they establish regular prayer and pay zakaah, then if they do that, then they save their lives and property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning will be with Allaah." Narrated by al-Bukhaari (24), Muslim (33).

And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have been sent just before the Hour with the sword, so that Allaah will be worshipped alone with no partner or associate.”

Narrated by Ahmad, 4869; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2831.

This purpose of jihad was present in the minds of the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) during their battles with the enemies of Allaah. Al-Bukhaari (2925) narrated that Jubayr ibn Hayyah said: ‘Umar sent people to all the regions to fight the mushrikeen… so ‘Umar recruited us and appointed al-Nu’maan ibn Muqarrin to lead us. When we were in the land of the enemy, the representative of Chosroes came out to us with forty thousand troops. An interpreter stood up and said: “Let one of you speak to me.” Al-Mugheerah said: “Ask whatever you want.” He asked, “Who are you?” He (al-Mugheerah) said: “We are some people from among the Arabs. We used to lead a harsh and miserable life, sucking on animal skins and date stones because of hunger, wearing clothes made of camel and goat hair, worshipping trees and rocks. While we were in this state, the Lord of the heavens and the earth, exalted be His name and glorified be His greatness, sent to us a Prophet from amongst ourselves, whose father and mother we know. Our Prophet, the Messenger of our Lord, (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), commanded us to fight you until you worship Allaah alone or pay the jizyah. Our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) told us the message from our Lord, that whoever among us is killed will go to Paradise to enjoy delights such as no one has ever seen, and whoever among us is left will become your master.”

This is the truth that the Sahaabah and leaders of the Muslims proclaimed in their military campaigns.

Rab’i ibn ‘Aamir said, when Rustam the commander of the Persian armies asked him, “Why have you come?”: “Allaah has sent us to bring forth whomsoever He wills from the worship of man to the worship of Allaah.

When ‘Uqbah ibn Naafi’ reached Tangiers, he rode his horse into the water until the water was up to its chest, then he said: “O Allaah, bear witness that I have done my utmost, and were it not for this sea I would have travelled throughout the land fighting those who disbelieve in You, until none is worshipped except You.”

2 – Repelling the aggression of those who attack the Muslims.

The scholars are unanimously agreed that repelling the aggression of those who attack the Muslims is fard ‘ayn (an individual obligation) upon those who are able to do that.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

[Quotes Quran 2:190, and Quran 9:13]

3 – Removing fitnah (tribulation)

Fitnah is of different types:

(i) That which is caused by the kuffaar who persecute the Muslims or apply pressure to them to make them give up their religion. Allaah has commanded the Muslims to fight in jihad in order to save those who are weak and oppressed. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

[Quotes Quran 4:75]

(ii) The fitnah of the kuffaar themselves and their preventing others from hearing and accepting the truth. That is because the kaafir systems corrupt the innate nature and reason of people, and make them get used to worshipping and submitting to things other than Allaah, getting addicted to alcohol, wallowing in the mire of sexual licence, and losing all characteristics of virtue. Whoever is like that can rarely tell truth from falsehood, good from evil, right from wrong. So jihad is prescribed in order to remove those obstacles that prevent people from hearing and accepting the truth and getting to know it.

4 – Protecting the Islamic state from the evil of the kuffaar.

Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) ordered that the leaders of the kuffaar be killed, those who incited the enemies against the Muslims, such as the Jews Ka’b ibn al-Ashraf and Ibn Abi’l-Haqeeq.

Another aspect of jihad is to protect the borders against the kuffaar. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) encouraged that as he said: “Guarding the border for one day for the sake of Allaah is better than this world and everything in it.” Al-Bukhaari, 2678.

5 – Frightening the kuffaar, humiliating them and putting them to shame.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

[Quotes Qur'an 9:14-15, and Quran 8:60]

Hence it is prescribed to fight in a manner that will strike terror into the heart of the enemy.

Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah – may Allaah have mercy on him] was asked whether it is permissible for a soldier to wear silk or gold or silver when fighting or when the envoys of the enemy come to the Muslims.

He replied:

Praise be to Allaah. With regard to wearing silk in order to frighten the enemy, there are two scholarly views, the more correct of which is that it is allowed. The soldiers of Syria wrote to ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab saying: “When we met the enemy we saw that they had covered their weapons with silk and we found that this struck terror in our hearts.” ‘Umar wrote back to them saying: “You should cover your weapons as they do.” And wearing silk is a kind of showing off, and Allaah likes showing off at the time of fighting, as it is narrated in al-Sunan that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is a kind of showing off that Allaah likes, and a kind of showing off that Allaah hates. The showing off that Allaah likes is when a man shows off at the time of war. The kind of showing off that Allaah hates is showing off for the purpose of pride and boasting.” On the day of Uhud, Abu Dujaanah al-Ansaari showed off among the ranks, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “This is a kind of walking that Allaah hates except in this situation.” Majmoo’ al-Fataawa, 28/17

6 – Exposing the hypocrites

Allaah says (Interpretation of the meaning):

[Quotes Quran 47:20]

At times of ease and plenty, the Muslims may be joined by those who seek to make worldly gains, and they do not want to make the word of Allaah prevail over the word of kufr. These people may conceal their real nature from many of the Muslims, and the most effective means of exposing them is jihad, because jihad means sacrificing oneself but these hypocrites are only indulging in hypocrisy in order to save themselves.

Exposing the hypocrites was one of the major purposes that Allaah wanted the believers to achieve on the day of Uhud.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

[Quotes Quran 3:179]

Ibn al-Qayyim said:

This means: Allaah will not leave you in the state in which you are, where the believers are indistinguishable from the hypocrites, until the believers are made distinct from the hypocrites, as they were distinguished by the test on the day of Uhud, and Allaah will not disclose to you the unseen matters by which the one group is distinguished from the other, for they are distinguished from one another in the knowledge of the unseen that He has, but He wants to distinguish them from one another in a clear and visible manner, so that His unseen knowledge will become known and visible.

7 – Purifying the believers of their sins and ridding them thereof

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

[Quotes Qur'an 3:140-142]

8 – Acquiring booty

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have been sent ahead of the Hour with the sword so that Allaah will be worshipped alone, and my provision has been placed in the shade of my spear, and humiliation has been decreed for those who go against my command, and whoever imitates a people is one of them.” Narrated by Ahmad, 4869; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2831.

Al-Haafiz said:

This hadeeth indicates that war booty is permissible for this ummah, and that the provision of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) has been placed in war booty and not in other kinds of earnings. Hence some of the scholars said that it is the best kind of earnings.

Al-Qurtubi said:

Allaah sent provision to His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) by means of his striving and He made it by means of the best kind of striving which is earning it by means of force and strength.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went out for the battle of Badr to meet the caravan of Abu Sufyaan.

Al-Qurtubi said: The fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went out to meet the caravan indicates that it is permissible to take booty because it is a halaal source of income. This refutes Maalik’s view that this is makrooh, when he said that this was fighting for worldly gains.

Al-Shawkaani said: Ibn Abi Jamrah said: The scholars of hadeeth are of the view that if the primary motive is to make the word of Allaah supreme, it does not matter what else is also achieved.

9 – Taking martyrs.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

[Quotes Qur'an 3:140-141]

Martyrdom is one of the highest statuses before Allaah, and the martyrs are the closest of His slaves to Him. There is no status higher than that of siddeeq apart from martyrdom. Allaah loves to take martyrs from among His slaves, who shed their blood for His love and to earn His pleasure, preferring His pleasure and His love above themselves. There is no way to attain this status except by circumstances that may lead to it such as enemies coming against the Muslims.

This was said by Ibn al-Qayyim in Zaad al-Ma’aad.

This is the great wisdom and those who try to put the Muslims off jihad and make them fear it, and say that jihad is no more than death, and making women widows and children orphans, pale into insignificance.

10 – Ridding the world of corruption.

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

[Quotes Quran 22:40, and Quran 2:251]

Muqaatil said:

Were it not that Allaah checked the mushriks by means of the Muslims, the mushriks would have overrun the earth and killed the Muslims and destroyed the mosques.

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said in al-Jawaab al-Saheeh, 2/216:

So the kuffar are repelled by means of the Muslims and the worse of the two parties is repelled by the better, just as the Magians (Persians) were repelled by the Christian Byzantines, then the Christians were repelled by the believers of the ummah of Muhammad.

Al-Sa’di said: The world would be corrupted if the kuffaar and evildoers were to prevail.

These are some of the reasons why jihad is prescribed.

We ask Allaah to bring the Muslims back to their religion. May Allaah send blessings and peace upon our Prophet Muhammad.[34]

See Also

External Links


  1. Excerpted from Edmond Fagnan, trans., Kitab al-Kharaj (Le livre de l'impot foncier) (Paris, 1921). English translation in Bat Ye'or, The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam (Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1985), pp. 165-72.
  2. Excerpted from Majid Khadduri, trans., The Islamic Law of Nations: Shaybani's Siyar (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1966), pp. 76-77, 87, 95-96, 100-101.
  3. Excerpted from the Hidayah, English translation in Thomas P. Hughes,A Dictionary of Islam (London: W. H. Allen, 1895), pp. 243-248.
  4. Suyuti, Durr al-Manthur ... (Beirut, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 228, where Suyuti quotes various traditions.
  5. Excerpted from Saiyid Athar Abbas Rizvi, Shah Wali-Allah and His Times (Canberra, Australia: Ma'rifat Publishing House, 1980), pp. 294-96, 299, 201, 305.
  6. 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.
  7. Excerpted from Rudolph Peters, Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam (Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener, 1996), pp. 44-54.
  8. Zaad al-Ma’ad, referenced by Shaykh al Uyayri in his book "The Rulings of Jihad and his its Divisions"
  9. 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.
  10. Ibn Khaldun, The Muqudimmah: An Introduction to History, trans. Franz Rosenthal, vol. 1 (New York: Pantheon, 1958), pp. 60, 473, 480.
  11. Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani, La Risala (Empitre sur les elements du dogme et de al loi de l'Islam selon le rite malikite), tans. Leon Bercher, 5th ed. (Algiers, 1960), p. 165.
  12. 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.
  13. Excerpted form Kitab al-Wagiz fi fiqh madhab al-imam al-Safi'i (Beirut, 1979), pp. 186, 190-91, 199-200, 202-203. English translation by Dr. Michael Schub.
  14. Excerpted from Al-Mawardi's, The Laws of Islamic Governance [al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah], trans. Asadullah Yate (London: Ta-Ha, 1996), p.60, 77-78, 200-201.
  15. Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Riyadh, 2000), vol. 4, pp. 404-406.
  16. 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
  17. Excerpted from a translation of Ziauddin Barani's Fatawa-i Jahandari, ca. 1358-1359 CE, in Mohammad Habib, The Political Theory of the Delhi Sultanate (Allahabad: Kitab Mahal, 1961), pp. 46-47.
  18. Ibn Hudayl (French translation by Louis Mercier), L'Ornement des Ames, Paris, 1939, p. 195. English translation by Michael J. Miller.
  19. Excerpted from Saiyid Athar Abbas Rizvi, Muslim Revivalist Movements in Northern India in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Agra, Lucknow: Agra University, Balkrishna Book Co., 1965), pp.247-50; and Yohanan Friedmann, Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi: An Outline of His Thought and a Study of His Image in the Eyes of Posterity (Montreal, Quebec: McGill University, Institute of Islamic Studies, 1971), pp. 73-74.
  20. Excerpted from Mokrane Guezzou's translation of Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs attributed to `Abd Allah ibn `Abbas and compiled by Abu Tahir Muhammad ibn Yaqub al-Fayruz Aabadi (d. 817H)
  21. Excerpted from Shara'i'u 'l-Islam, in A. Querry, trans., Droit Musulman, Recued des lois concernant les Musulmans Schyites [Collection of Laws concerning the Shiite Muslims] (Paris, 1871), pp. 342-52. English translation by Michael J. Miller.
  22. Excerpted from Jami-i-Abbasi: yakdawrah-i fiqh-i, trans. Baha' al-Din Muhammad ibn Husayn al-Amili (Tehran: Muassasah-i Intisharat-i Farahani, 1980), pp. 153-154, 367, 417, 423, 428-32; English translation from the Farsi by Fatemeh Masjedi.
  23. Excerpted form "Risala-ya Sawa'iq al-Yahud [The Treatise Lightning Bolts against the Jews]." English translation by V.B. Moreen in Die Welt des Islams 32 (1992): 187-193.
  24. Khadduri, Majid, "Introduction" and "The Doctrine of Jihad," in War and Peace in the Law of Islam, Book 2:The Law of War: The Jihad (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1955), pp. 49-73.
  25. Sayyid Qutb, In the Shad of the Qur'an, vol. 4, pp. 404-405
  26. 26.0 26.1 Excerpted from "Islam Is Not a Religion of Pacifists" (1942), "Speech at Feyziyeh Theological School" (August 24, 1979). English translation in Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin, Anti-American Terrorism and the Middle East (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 29, 32-36.
  27. Bassam Tibi, "War and Peace in Islam," in the Ethics of War and Peace: Religious and Secular Perspectives, ed. Terry Nardin (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996), pp. 128-45.
  28. Dr. M. Sa’id Ramadan Al-Buti - "Jurisprudence of Muhammad’s Biography", Pg. 135, seventh Arabic edition, published by Azhar University of Egypt
  29. Dr. M. Sa’id Ramadan Al-Buti - "Jurisprudence of Muhammad’s Biography", Pg. 73, English edition, published by Azhar University of Egypt (1988)
  30. Dr. M. Sa’id Ramadan Al-Buti - "Jurisprudence of Muhammad’s Biography", Pg. 134, seventh Arabic edition, published by Azhar University of Egypt
  31. Dr. M. Sa’id Ramadan Al-Buti - "Jurisprudence of Muhammad’s Biography", Pg. 242, seventh Arabic edition, published by Azhar University of Egypt
  32. Sheikh Abdullah Yusuf Azzam - Join the Caravan - Azzam Publications, 2nd edition, 2001, ISBN 9780954084301
  33. Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Jihad in Islam - Islamic Publications (Pvt.) Ltd., pp. 8, 9, 14, 19, 24, 28
  34. The reason why jihaad is prescribed - Islam Q&A, Fatwa No. 34647