First Legislation of Combative Jihad
Even then the legislation to fight was not made until the Makkans set out to eliminate the newly established Islamic nation, by building an army and setting forth with the intention of assaulting and destroying the community in Madīnah.
Sayyid Sābiq continues:
The first verse revealed regarding fighting was:
أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَاتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُوا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ الَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُوا مِن دِيَارِهِمْ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ إِلَّا أَن يَقُولُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ اللَّهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُم بِبَعْضٍ لَّهُدِّمَتْ صَوَامِعُ وَبِيَعٌ وَصَلَوَاتٌ وَمَسَاجِدُ يُذْكَرُ فِيهَا اسْمُ اللَّهِ كَثِيراً وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ الَّذِينَ إِن مَّكَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَلِلَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ الْأُمُورِ
Sanction is given unto those who fight because they have been wronged; and Allah is indeed Able to give them victory; Those who have been driven from their homes unjustly only because they said: Our Lord is Allah. For had it not been for Allah's repelling some men by means of others, cloisters and churches and oratories and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft mentioned, would assuredly have been pulled down. Verily Allah helpeth one who helpeth Him. Lo! Allah is Strong, Almighty. Those who, if We give them power in the land, establish worship and pay the poor due and enjoin kindness and forbid iniquity. And Allah's is the sequel of events.
This verse shows that permission for fighting is granted for three reasons:
1) They were oppressed by their enemies and expelled by them from their homes unjustly for no reason except that they practice the religion of Allah and say, “Our Lord is Allah.” They then came under the obligation to take back the country from which they had been expelled.
2) Where not for Allah’s permission for this type of defense, all places of worship, [including churches, synagogues and mosques] would have been destroyed in which the name of Allah is remembered [see page 418] for a more detailed explanation of this aspect] because of the oppression of those who aggressively oppose belief.
3) The goal of victory is to establish the freedom of religion, establish the prayer, to give charity and to command the good and forbid what is disliked.
This last justification also means that as long as preaching and practice are not circumscribed, the Muslims cannot fight a Jihād against a country in which Muslims freely practice their religion and teach Islam.
In the second year after the Migration, Allah ordered the Muslims to fight by saying:
كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَى أَن تَكْرَهُواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ وَعَسَى أَن تُحِبُّواْ شَيْئًا وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَّكُمْ وَاللّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ
Warfare is ordained for you, though it is hateful unto you; but it may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you, and it may happen that ye love a thing which is bad for you. Allah knoweth, ye know not.
This verse shows that in general warfare was disliked, not something sought after, but despite this, it was called for at times when the security of the nation was threatened by external belligerency.
Thus, with a simple studious examination of the relevant verses, we discover then that there were two different kinds of Jihād: that of Makkah and that of Madīnah. The one in Makkah was primarily by education. In Madīnah Jihād was by two methods:
1) education and
2) fighting after the enemies attacked the Prophet within his own city-state. Additionally, the Muslims who had been expelled invoked the right to return to their homeland, and if opposed to use force.
As we explained earlier there are fourteen different categories of Jihād, only one of which entails fighting. Since it is this, the combative Jihād, which is now so much the focus of this paper we will now speak on the principles of such combat, who can declare combative Jihād and the reasons Muslims fight.
Combative Jihād was authorized only after the Prophet migrated along with his followers from Makkah to Madīnah, having been persecuted and finally expelled from their country running from persecution and torture. This is not unlike what we see today: people running from persecution in their home countries, becoming refugees in foreign nations. And the supporters, al-Anšār, of Madīnah, welcomed the refugees al-Muhājirūn, and shared with them all they possessed of their wealth and their homes.
The struggle in the way of Allah, Jihādun fī sabīlillāh, when the Prophet began by teaching the Qur’ān in his country, Makkah, was primarily one of enlightenment and education while in Madīnah his message became the basis for a model constitution for civic society and social life. This is borne out by the emphasis the Prophet made on caring for the poor, the emancipation of slaves, giving rights to women and building a civic society by levying taxes on the rich to benefit the poor, establishing community centers and community homes in which people could meet. These teachings were brought to a society in Makkah in which anarchy ruled and for this reason the Prophet was persecuted and fled to Madīnah. There he was able to establish a nation-state based on freedom of speech, and freedom of religion where all religions flourished together without conflict.
In establishing this society in Madīnah, the Prophet sought to keep his new nation safe, just as today every country has security as a dominant concern. Therefore he built up an army of his followers to keep his borders safe from any enemy attack. In particular they were under great threat due to the Prophet’s teaching opposing the hegemony of tyrants.
Thus Madīnah became the first city for the believers in which the new message, Islam, was established and they sought to keep it safe. Just as all nations do today, they built up an army and weaponry. And, just as done in the modern world, if anyone attacks a nation, they are obliged to respond and repel those who attacked them.
So the majority of Muslims scholars including Imām Abū Ħanifa, Imām Mālik and Imām Aħmad ibn Ħanbal say that combative Jihād is to defend oneself and to attack the aggressors.