Ibn Qayyim’s Fourteen Categories of Jihad
Islamic scholars, from the time of the Prophet until today, have categorized Jihād into more than fourteen distinct categories. Jihād is not simply the waging of war, as most people today understand. War in fact, or combative Jihād, according to many scholars, is only one of fourteen different categories of Jihād.
In his book Zād al-Ma'ad, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzīyyah divided Jihād into fourteen distinct categories:
Jihad Against the Hypocrites
1.15. By heart
1.16. By tongue
1.17. By wealth
1.18. By person.
Jihad Against the Unbelievers
1.19. By heart,
1.20. By tongue
1.21. By wealth
1.22. By person.
Jihad Against the Devil
1.23. Fighting him defensively against everything of false desires and slanderous doubts in faith that he throws towards the servant.
1.24. Fighting him defensively from everything he throws towards the servant of corrupt passion and desire.
Jihad of the Self
1.25. That he strives to learn guidance and the religion of truth which is there is no felicity or happiness in life or in the hereafter except by it. And when he neglects it, his knowledge is wretched in both words.
1.26. That he strives to act upon it after he has learned it. For the abstract quality of knowledge without action, even if he commits no wrong, is without benefit.
1.27. That he strives to call to Allah and to teach it to someone who does not know it. Otherwise he will be among those who conceal what Allah had revealed of guidance and clarity. His knowledge doesn’t benefit him or saves him from Allah’s penalty.
1.28. That he strives with patience in seeking to call to Allah. When the creation harms him he bears it all for the sake of Allah.
Ibn Rushd’s Categorization of Jihad
Ibn Rushd, in his Muqaddimah, divides Jihād into four kinds:
1. Jihād of the heart
2. Jihād of the tongue
3. Jihād of the hand
4. Jihād of the sword.
Jihad of the Heart – the Struggle against the Self
The Jihād of the heart is the struggle of the individual with his or her own desires, whims, erroneous ideas and false understandings. This includes the struggle to purify the heart, to rectify one’s actions and to observe the rights and responsibilities of all other human beings.
Jihad of the Tongue – Education and Counsel
He defines Jihād of the tongue as:
To commend good conduct and forbid the wrong, like the type of Jihād Allah ordered us to fulfill against the hypocrites in His Words, “O Prophet! Strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites” .
This is the Jihād the Prophet waged in struggling to teach his people. It means to speak about one’s cause and one’s religion. This is known as the Jihād of Education and Counsel.
Allah first revealed:
اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ
Read in the name of Thy Lord!
The first aspect of Jihād of Education is through reading. Reading originates with the tongue.
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ جَاهِدِ الْكُفَّارَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَاغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْ
O Prophet! strive hard [jāhid] against the unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be firm against them.
Jihad of the Hand – Development of Civil Society and Material Progress
Jihād of the hand includes the struggle to build the nation through material development and progress, including building up civil society, acquiring and improving every aspect of technology and societal progress in general. This form of Jihād includes scientific discovery, development of medicine, clinics and hospitals, communication, transportation, and all necessary underlying infrastructure for societal progress and advancement, including educational institutions. Building also means to open opportunities to the poor through economic programs and self empowerment.
Another aspect of Jihād by Hand is through writing, for Allah said:
الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ عَلَّمَ الْإِنسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ
He taught by means of the pen, taught mankind what he did not know
The meaning writing includes the use of computers and all other forms of publication.
Jihad of the Sword – Combative War
Finally Jihād of the hand includes struggle by the sword (Jihādun bis-sayf), as when one fights the aggressor who attack you in combative war.