In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate
All praise is for Allah, the Lord of the Universe. May Allah bestow peace and blessings upon our Leader Muhammad, Leader of those who strive in Allah's way and Imam of the pious. May He also bestow peace and blessings upon his family and his companions, and all those who strive for the Sharee’ah until the Day of Judgement.
All Muslims Must Make Jihad
Jihad is an obligation from Allah on every Muslim and cannot be ignored nor evaded. Allah has ascribed great importance to jihad and has made the reward of the martyrs and the fighters in His way a splendid one. Only those who have acted similarly and who have modelled themselves upon the martyrs in their performance of jihad can join them in this reward. Furthermore, Allah has specifically honoured the Mujahideen with certain exceptional qualities, both spiritual and practical, to benefit them in this world and the next. Their pure blood is a symbol of victory in this world and the mark of success and felicity in the world to come.
Those who can only find excuses, however, have been warned of extremely dreadful punishments and Allah has described them with the most unfortunate of names. He has reprimanded them for their cowardice and lack of spirit, and castigated them for their weakness and truancy. In this world, they will be surrounded by dishonour and in the next they will be surrounded by the fire from which they shall not escape though they may possess much wealth. The weaknesses of abstention and evasion of jihad are regarded by Allah as one of the major sins, and one of the seven sins that guarantee failure.
Islam is concerned with the question of jihad and the drafting and the mobilisation of the entire Umma into one body to defend the right cause with all its strength than any other ancient or modern system of living, whether religious or civil. The verses of the Qur'an and the Sunnah of Muhammad (PBUH) are overflowing with all these noble ideals and they summon people in general (with the most eloquent expression and the clearest exposition) to jihad, to warfare, to the armed forces, and all means of land and sea fighting.
We shall not go into exhaustive detail but rather will offer you some Qur'anic verses and Ahaadeeth below as examples since we only wish to show a glimpse of the Islamic message on jihad. Furthermore, we will not delve into the explanation of the Qur'anic verses or Ahaadeeth. You will recognise by the purity of language, the clarity of exposition, the lucidity of ideas and the force of spirituality that explanations and clarifications are not required.
The Qur’an on Jihad
‘Jihad is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike something which is good for you and that you like something which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.’
(Surat-al-Baqarah (2), ayah 216)
‘O you who believe! Be not like those who disbelieve (hypocrites) and who say to their brethren when they travel through the earth or go out to fight: 'If they had stayed with us, they would not have died or been killed,' so that Allah may make it a cause of regret in their hearts. It is Allah that gives life and causes death. And Allah is All-Seer of what you do. And if you are killed or die in the Way of Allah, forgiveness and mercy from Allah are far better than all that they amass (of worldly wealth etc.). And whether you die, or are killed, verily, unto Allah you shall be gathered.’
(Surat-aal-Imran (3), ayah 156-158)
Notice how "forgiveness" and "mercy" are associated with slaying and death in Allah's way in the first verse, and how the second verse is does not refer to this because it is devoid of the idea of jihad. In this verse, there is an indication of the fact that cowardice is one of the characteristics of unbelievers, but not of believers. And notice how today the unbelievers seem to be brave and the believers seem to be the cowards.
‘Think not of those who are killed in the Way of Allah as dead. Nay, they are alive, with their Lord, and they have provision. They rejoice in what Allah has bestowed upon them of His Bounty, rejoicing for the sake of those who have not yet joined them, but are left behind (not yet martyred) that on them no fear shall come, nor shall they grieve.’
(Surat-aal-Imran (3), ayah 169-170). Refer up to verse 175 for further information.
‘Let those (believers) who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter fight in the cause of Allah., and whosoever fights in the Cause of Allah, and is killed or is victorious, We shall bestow on him a great reward.’
(Surat-an-Nisaa’ (4), ayah 74)
Refer to the verses (4: 71-78) in the Noble Book to understand how Allah urges the Muslims to remain alert and to acquire experience in warfare, in armies and troops, or as individuals, as circumstances may dictate. Allah also reprimands those who are slack, cowards or opportunists, and He arouses our zeal to protect the weak and prevent oppression. Notice how Allah associates warfare with prayer and fasting, establishing it as one of the pillars of Islam. And how He refutes the false arguments of the waverers, and encourages those who are scared to the utmost degree to plunge into battle and to face death unflinchingly and bravely, showing them that they will welcome death, and that if they die in jihad, they will receive the most magnificent recompense for their lives, and that they will not lose any of their contribution or sacrifice however small.
Surat-al-Anfaal is in its entirety an exhortation to jihad and a command to remain steadfast [while engaged] in it, as well as a clear presentation of many of its rules. It is for this reason that the first Muslims (may Allah's grace be upon them) adopted it as a war chant which they would chant whenever their apprehensions mounted and the battle grew grim. Suffice it to quote what Allah (SWT) says:
‘Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies of Allah and your enemies.’
(Surat-al-Anfaal (8), ayah 60)
up to His words (SWT):
‘O Prophet! Urge the believers to fight. If there are twenty steadfast amongst you, they will overcome two hundred, and if there are be a hundred steadfast they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (they disbelievers) are people who do not understand’
(Surat-al-Anfaal (8), ayah 65)
Surat-at-Tawbah too is in its entirety an exhortation to combat and a clear presentation of its rules. It is sufficient to quote what Allah (SWT) says concerning warfare against the treacherous polytheists:
‘Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and return calmness in the hearts of the believing people thus relieving their anxiety. Allah accepts the repentance of whom He wills. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.’
(Surat-at-Tawbah (9), ayah 14-15)
And His words (SWT) concerning fighting with People of the Book:
‘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 (i.e. Islam), from among the People of the Book, until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.’
(Surat-at-Tawbah (9), ayah 29)
The proclamations of the general call in the following verses, end with His words (SWT):
‘March forth, (whether equipped) lightly or heavily, and strive hard with your wealth and your lives in the Cause of Allah! This is better for you, if you but knew.’
(Surat-at-Tawbah (9), ayah 41)
Allah then rebukes those who are cowardly for their attitude and their continuous attempts to escape from jihad, in His words (SWT):
‘Those who stayed away (from Tabuk expedition) rejoiced in their staying behind the Messenger of Allah; they hated to strive and fight with their wealth and their lives in the Cause of Allah, and they said, 'March not forth in the heat.' Say: 'The fire of Hell is more intense in heat,' if only they could understand!' So let them laugh a little (and they will) cry much as a recompense of what they used to earn (by committing sins). If Allah brings you back to a party of them, and they ask your permission to go out (to fight), say: 'Never shall you go out with me, nor fight an enemy with me: you agreed to sit inactive on the first occasion: then you sit (now) with those who lag behind.’
(Surat-at-Tawbah (9), ayah 81-83)
Then Allah praises those who engage in jihad by declaring jihad as Prophet Muhammad's mission and the way of his Companions, as He, the Almighty, says:
‘But the Messenger, and those who believed with him, strove hard and fought with their wealth and their lives (in Allah's cause). The good things are for these people, and it is they who will be successful. For them Allah has got ready the Gardens (Paradise) under which rivers flow, to dwell therein forever. That is the supreme success.’
(Surat-at-Tawbah (9), ayah 88-89)
Then follows an oath of allegiance, comprehensive and protective leaving no excuses, in His words (SWT):
‘Verily, Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their wealth; for the price that theirs shall be the Paradise. They fight in Allah's Cause, so they kill (others) and are killed. It is a promise in truth which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur'an. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded. That is the supreme success.’
(Surat-at-Tawbah (9), ayah 111)
Surat-al-Qital (commonly known as Surat Muhammad) mentions two key factors that form the foundation of the military spirit: obedience and discipline. Allah has summarised these two factors in the following two verses in His Book. Obedience appears in this Surah where He, the Almighty, says:
‘Those who believe say: "Why is a Surah not sent down (for us)?" But when a decisive Surah (explaining and ordering things) is sent down, and fighting is mentioned (i.e. ordained) therein, you will see those in whose hearts is a disease (of hypocrisy) looking at you with a look of one fainting to death. But it was better for them (hypocrites, to listen to Allah and obey Him). Obedience (to Allah) and good words (were better for them). And when the matter (preparation for Jihad) is resolved on, then if they had been true to Allah, it would have been better for them.’
(Surat-Muhammad (47), ayah 20-21)
As for discipline, it appears in Surat-as-Saff, where He, the Almighty, says:
‘Verily, Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in rows (ranks), as if they were a solid structure.’
(Surat-as-Saff (61), ayah 4)
Surat-al-Fath is also dedicated in its entirety to one of the military campaigns of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), and was a special occasion of jihad, which took place under the shadow of a tree where an oath of allegiance unto steadfastness and death was taken, and this bore the fruit of tranquillity and victory. This is what He (SWT), says:
‘Indeed, Allah was pleased with the believers when they gave their bay’ah (pledge) to you (O Muhammad) under the Tree, He knew what was in their hearts, and He sent down As-Sakeenah (calmness and tranquillity) upon them; and He rewarded them with a close Victory; And abundant spoils that they will capture. And Allah is Ever All-Mighty, All-Wise.’
(Surat-al-Fath (48), ayah 18-19)
These, brother, are some examples of the Qur’anic references on jihad. Its virtues are made clear, and those who do jihad are given the good news of the magnificent reward that will be waiting for them. The Book of Allah is filled with examples like these, and anyone who reads the Qur’an and pays attention to its meaning will be astounded at the negligence of the Muslims who have failed to take advantage of this reward.