Conditions for Combative Jihad
The ruler, the Imām, is completely answerable to the people and their legal apparatus, the most important representatives of whom are the scholars. The position of the law is that only at such a time when it can be reasonably proven that;
• there are aggressive designs against Islam; and,
• there are concerted efforts to eject Muslims from their legally acquired property; and,
• that military campaigns are being launched to eradicate them.
At such a time the ruler can declare and execute the provisions of combative Jihād.
Sa'īd Ramāļān al-Būţī Jihād in Islam in says:
It is known that Islamic Shari‘ah rules can be divided into two groups: first the Communicative Rules (Aħkām at-Tablīgh) – that inform you of how to behave in your life, including all matters of worship and daily life and second the Rules of Leadership (Aħkām al-Imāmah) which are related to the judicial system, the Imām or leader.
The Rules of Leadership are those rules that have been directed from the leader to the citizens. In the time of the Prophet he was leader, so this applied to anything directed from himself to the Muslims. After the Prophet , such directives became the responsibility of the caliph, his successor. This means the Imām of the Muslims is the leader of every Muslim nation. He is the person responsible for the application of the rules as he sees fit. These rules are flexible within the geographical, societal and cultural norms of the nation, which the leader can exercise by Allah’s grace, to apply them for the benefit of all the people.
Declaring combative Jihād is the topmost responsibility of the Imām (leader, president or king of a nation). He is the only responsible body that can declare the time and place of Jihād, lead it or terminate its mission. It is in no way the responsibility of individual Muslims to declare Jihād without the order of the leader.
Note in this regard the 'ulama are not in the position to issue a call for combative Jihād.
There are two kinds of combative Jihād. One is the combative Jihād to fight a nation which aggresses against a Muslim nation, under the orders of the Imām, or leader. The second category of combative Jihād, which is called aš-ša’il, means the fight against an assailant, attacker or violater. We will not go into this aspect as it falls under the Communicative Rules, not the Rules of Imāmate. This is based on the hadith related by 'Abd Allāh ibn 'Umar, in which the Prophet said, “He who is killed in defense of his belongings or in self-defense or in defense of his religion is a martyr.”
The category aš-ša’il refers to someone defending his private possessions as when someone attacks him at home or his business in order to steal, to harm, or out of hatred due to differences of religion. This does not come under the aspect of Imāmah, where nations are involved.
It is an essential pre-condition that there be a leader of the Muslims, an Imām, to declare combative Jihād. In al-Mughni, Ibn Qudāma, a respected scholar of the Ħanbalī school, states:
Declaring Jihād is the responsibility of the Ruler and is his independent legal judgment. And it is the duty of the citizens to obey whatever he regards appropriate.
Al-Dardīr says: “proclaiming Jihād comes through the Ruler’s assignment of a commander.”
Abū Bakr Al-Jazā’irī states that the pillars of combative Jihād are:
A pure intention and that it is performed behind a Muslim Ruler and beneath his flag and with his permission.... And it is not allowed for them to fight without a Ruler because Allāħ says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ
O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you.
According to Kashf al-qinā’a by al-Tahanūī:
Ordering combative Jihād is the responsibility of the Imām and his legal judgment (ijtihād) because he is the most knowledgeable about the enemy’s status and their nearness or farness, their intention and conspiracy.
The leader [president or king] is the one who has been elected for the foreign policy of his county, and he has entrusted by the propel to conduct the common affairs of the state, sign treaties, forbid wrong deeds, suppress criminals, fight aggressors, and settle people down in their homes and the like.
Mawardī, a Shafi'ite authority, while enumerating the obligations of a Muslim ruler says:
His sixth obligation is to conduct [combative] Jihād against those who show hostility against Islam…
Al-Sarkhasī in al-Mabsūţ said:
The Ruler of the Muslims must almost always exert all efforts to lead an army himself or dispatch a military detachment of Muslims; and trust in Allah to aid him in achieving victory.
Collective-duty Jihād becomes applicable when the Imām fortifies the frontiers (to gain equal military parity with the enemy), reinforces the fortresses and ditches, and arms his military leaders. It also becomes relevant by the Imām or his deputy’s leading the army...
The Pakistani monthly Renaissance, in discussing the authorization for declaring combative Jihād says:
Both the Qur’ān and the established practice of the prophets of Allah explicitly say that Jihād can only be waged by a state. No group of people have been given the authority to take up arms, because individual groups if given this license will create great disorder and destruction by fighting among themselves once they overcome the enemy. A study of the Qur’ān reveals that the Makkan Surahs do not contain any directive of combative Jihād for the fundamental reason that in Makkah the Muslims did not have their own state.
Islam does not advocate “the law of the jungle.” It is a religion in which both human life and the way it is taken hold utter sanctity. Thus Islam does not give Muslims any right to take life unless certain conditions are fulfilled. So, it was not until an Islamic state was established in Madīnah that the Qur’ān gave the Muslims permission to take up arms against the onslaught mounted by the Quraysh:
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 كَثِيرًا وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ
To those against whom war is made, permission is given [to fight] because they have been oppressed and verily Allah is Most Powerful to help them. [They] are those who have been expelled from their homes without any basis, only because they said: ‘Our Lord is Allah.’
Consequently, the Prophet never retaliated in Makkah to the inhuman treatment which was given to him as well as to some of his Companions. He preferred to suffer and be persecuted than to counter attack his enemies, since Muslims at that stage had not fulfilled this all important pre-requisite of combative Jihād: establishment of a state.
Similarly, the earlier prophets were not allowed by the Almighty to wage war unless they had established their political authority in an independent piece of land. For instance, the Prophet Moses, as is evident from the Qur’ān, was directed to wage war only after he had fulfilled this condition. Since the Prophet Jesus and his Companions were not able to gain political authority in a piece of land, they never launched an armed struggle to defend themselves, despite intense persecution.
Consequently, there is a consensus among all authorities of Islam that only an Islamic State has the authority to wage Jihād. [And where is the Islamic state today, with its fundamental principles? Therefore one easily concludes that today there is no valid state under which to wage combative Jihād.] Groups parties and organization have no authority to raise the call to arms. Whoever undertakes war without the authorization of the ruler in fact disobey the religion.
Referring to the pre-requisite of state authority, the Prophet said:
A Muslim ruler is the shield (of his people). A war can only be waged under him and people should seek his shelter (in war).
This condition is so explicit and categorical that all the scholars of this Ummah unanimously uphold it. Sayyid Sābiq, while referring to this consensus, writes:
Among kifāyah obligations, there is a category for which the existence of a ruler is necessary e.g., [combative] Jihād and administration of punishments.
Zafar Aħmad 'Uthmānī
Zafar Aħmad 'Uthmānī, a Ħanafīte jurist writes:
It is obvious from the Hadith narrated by Makħūl that Jihād becomes obligatory with the ruler who is a Muslim and whose political authority has been established either through nomination by the previous ruler similar to how Abū Bakr transferred the reins [of his Khilāfah to ‘Umar] or through pledging of allegiance by the 'ulama or a group of the elite …in my opinion, if the oath of allegiance is pledged by 'ulama or by a group of the elite to a person who is not able to guard the frontiers and defend honour [of the people] organize armies or implement his directives by political force neither is he able to provide justice to the oppressed by exercising force and power, then such a person cannot be called ‘Amir’ (leader) or ‘Imām’ (ruler). He, at best, is an arbitrator and the oath of allegiance is at best of the nature of arbitration and it is not at all proper to call him ‘Amir’ (leader) or an ‘Imām’ (ruler) in any [official] documents nor should the people address him by these designations. ...It is not imperative for the citizens to pledge allegiance to him or obey his directives and no [combative] Jihād can be waged alongside him.
In the words of Imām Farāhī:
In one’s own country, without migrating to an independent piece of land, [combative] Jihād is not allowed. The tale of Abraham and other verses pertaining to migration testify to this. The Prophet’s life also supports this view. The reason for this is that if [combative] Jihād is not waged by a person who holds political authority, it amounts to anarchy and disorder.
The Salafi scholar Al-Albānī, stressing the necessity of Jihād being established by the ruler of the Muslims said:
In the present time there is no Jihād in the Islamic land, while undoubtedly there is combat taking place in numerous places but there is no Jihād, established under a solely Islamic banner that abides by Islamic legislation.
From this we can understand that it is not permitted for a soldier to act according to his own wishes, but he is obliged to follow the rules of the commander and his commands and that commander who was delegated with proper authority by the Caliphate of Muslims. So we can ask ourselves today, “Where is the Caliphate of Muslims in the present time?” Since there is no caliphate the fundamental principle of leadership is no longer present. So while there still remains combat between one nation and another it is no longer considered as fulfilling the religious obligation that Jihād entails.
These represent only a sampling of many quotes from scholars regarding the combative Jihād demonstrate the responsibility of the Imāmate in ordering it. The Imām [Ruler] in fact, is the only one responsible in repelling aggressors and to see what actions are fitting for the country. The actual title whether he be called Imām, caliph, king or president, is not important – his position as ruler is what counts. The leader is the one who has been elected to administer the foreign policy of his nation, and he has been entrusted by the people to conduct the common affairs of the state, sign treaties, forbid wrong deeds, suppress criminals, fight aggressors, and settle people down in their homes and the like.
This specific duty can never devolve to a group of people living in a country who come against a government by terrifying innocent citizens. It is not acceptable in Islam by any means for someone to declare combative war if he is not in the position of leadership.
The many aforementioned rulings of scholars and the many verses of Qur’ān and hadith citation expose the methods of the so-called “Islamic parties”' who establish states within the state and act as if they are the rightful rulers of Muslims.
Their methodology is to initiate war by attacking non-Muslims in their country or other countries, and they do this without the permission of the Muslim rulers or the Muslim nation and without the consensus of its scholars. What happens then? The result is that everyone suffers from the disastrous consequences of their actions. This subject is discussed in detail on page 460.
Naturally every community has the right to self-defense and in the case of Islam, where religion is the primary dimension of human existence, war in defense of the nation becomes a religious act. A lack of understanding of this quality of Islam, its non-secularism; has also contributed considerably to the fear that when Islam talks about war it means going to war to convert. This might be true in other cultures, but Islam must be allowed to speak for itself.
Al-Dardīr says of this:
Jihād becomes a duty when the enemy takes [Muslims] by surprise.
Sa'īd Ramaļān al-Būţī shows that fighting in this case is an obligation of the community as a whole.
عن سعيدِ بنِ زيدٍ قال: سمعتُ رسُولَ اللَّهِ صلَّى اللَّهُ عليهِ وسَلَّم يقول: “من قُتلَ دونَ مالهِ فهو شهيدٌ. ومن قُتلَ دونَ دمهِ فهو شهيدٌ. ومن قُتلَ دونَ دينهِ فهو شهيدٌ".
This is based on the Prophet’s saying, “He who is killed in defense of his belongings, or in self-defense, or for his religion, is a martyr.”
لَا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ
Allah does not forbid you from those who do not remove you from your homes (by force) and who do not fight you because of your religion, that you act kindly and justly towards them...
This verse mentions a fundamental principle of Islam regarding Muslim/Non-Muslim relationships. Muslims are enjoined to act kindly and justly towards members of other faiths except in two circumstances; firstly, if they dispossess Muslims of their legitimate land-rights, and; secondly, if they engage in hostilities towards Muslims by killing or attacking them, or show clear intent to do so (al-ħirābah) because of their religion. In the second eventuality, it is the duty of the Muslim ruler to declare combative Jihād as a defensive action to repel such attacks.
It is evident from the Qur’ān and other sources that the armed struggle against the polytheists was legislated in the context of specific circumstances after the Prophet had migrated from Makkah to Madīnah. There he secured a pact with the Jewish and Arab tribes of the city, who accepted him as the leader of their community. In the milieu of this newly-founded base of operations, under the governance of Divine legislation and the leadership of the Prophet , Islam attained the status of a nation with its corequisite territory and the accompanying need to protect its self-interests. At that time the divine command was revealed permitting Jihād, but this occurred only after:
• Persistent refusal of the Makkan leadership (the Prophet being in Madīnah at the time) to allow the practice of Islam’s religious obligations, specifically to perform the Ħajj at Makkah. Note that despite this belligerency, the Prophet agreed to a truce.
• Continuous unabated persecution of Muslims remaining at Makkah after the Prophet’s emigration to Madīnah triggered an armed insurrection against Qurayshite interests in the Hijāz.
• Makkans themselves starting off military campaigns against the Muslims at Madīnah with the sole objective of eradicating Islam.
• Key security pledges being abrogated unilaterally by a number of tribes allied to the Prophet , forcing him into a dangerously vulnerable position.
These conditions for defensive Jihād involving armed struggle were then clearly specified in the Qur’ān:
وَقَاتِلُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلاَ تَعْتَدُواْ
And fight in the way of Allah those who fight against you, and do not transgress [limits] for Allah likes not the transgressors.
Explaining this verse, Sayyid Sābiq states:
This verse also consists of prohibiting aggression due the fact that Allah does not love aggression. This prohibition is not abrogated by any verse and is a warning that aggression is devoid of Allah’s love. Verses that consist of such warnings are not abrogated because aggression is tyranny and Allah never loves tyranny. Therefore a legal war is justified only when it is to prevent discord and harm to the Muslims and for them to have the freedom to practice and live according to their religion.
أَلاَ تُقَاتِلُونَ قَوْمًا نَّكَثُواْ أَيْمَانَهُمْ وَهَمُّواْ بِإِخْرَاجِ الرَّسُولِ وَهُم بَدَؤُوكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ
Will you not fight a people who have violated their oaths and intended to expel the Messenger while they did attack you first?
The clear picture that emerges here is that the command to fight was given in relation to specific conditions. Thus the declaration of war is not an arbitrary act at all.
أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَاتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُوا وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ
To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid;
The Qur’ān then goes on to describe the conditions of those who are permitted to fight:
وَمَا لَنَا أَلاَّ نُقَاتِلَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَقَدْ أُخْرِجْنَا مِن دِيَارِنَا وَأَبْنَآئِنَا
They said: “How could we refuse to fight in the cause of Allah, seeing that we were turned out of our homes and our families?”
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
(They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, “our Lord is Allah". Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);- for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will).
Explaining this verse, Imām Abū Ja‘far ibn Jarīr aţ-Ţabarī explained that were Allah not to check one set of people by means of another then “monasteries belonging to Christians, synagogues belonging to Jews and mosques belonging to Muslims, where Allah's Name is often mentioned, will all be destroyed.” Thus Islam here makes the upholding of religious freedom, not for Muslims alone, but as is stressed by the order of the religions mentioned in the verse in which the rights of non-Muslims are upheld first, and lastly those of Muslims.
The Qur’ān then goes on to describe the attributes those whom He ordains for defense of the faith, and protecting the right of religious freedom, saying:
الَّذِينَ إِن مَّكَّنَّاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَمَرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهَوْا عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَلِلَّهِ عَاقِبَةُ الْأُمُورِ
(They are) those who, if We establish them in the land, establish regular prayer and give regular charity, enjoin the right and forbid wrong: with Allah rests the end (and decision) of (all) affairs.
Here Allah describes them as those who are sincere and pious, for they establish prayer and give charity, prevent wrongdoing and enjoin good conduct.
Denial of Religious Freedom
In later times, the Muslims engaged in warfare to establish the “Pax Islamica" or Islamic Order. The legal and political order must flow from the divine imperative (Qur’ān, Sunnah, etc.). It alone guarantees the rights of every individual by keeping in check all the dark psychic tendencies of man and so preventing him from indulging in anti-social behaviors, from political aggression, right down to the commonest criminal act. It is for this that the Qur’ān calls on the believers to go forth in defense of those whose rights and liberty have been trampled by the unbridled tyranny of oppressors and conquering armies, or who are prevented from freely hearing the word of Allah espoused to them by preachers and educators. Allah says:
وَمَا لَكُمْ لاَ تُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَالنِّسَاء وَالْوِلْدَانِ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَـذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ نَصِيرًا
How should ye not fight for the cause of Allah and of the feeble among men and of the women and the children who are crying: “Our Lord! Bring us forth from out this town of which the people are oppressors! Oh, give us from Thy presence some protecting friend! Oh, give us from Thy presence some defender!”
This verse gives two explanations, among other reasons for fighting:
1. Fighting in the cause of Allah, which is the intent the religion calls for until discord has vanished and the religion is practiced freely for Allah alone. This means one cannot fight a Jihād against a country in which Muslims can freely practice their religion and teach Islam to others.
2. The second one is fighting for the sake of the weak, such as those who converted to Islām in Makkah, but were unable to undertake the migration to Madīnah. The Quraysh tortured them until they prayed to Allah for liberation. They had no means of protection from the persecution of the oppressors.
Allah permitted armed Jihād against an aggressor, where He said:
إِنَّ اللّهَ اشْتَرَى مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنفُسَهُمْ وَأَمْوَالَهُم بِأَنَّ لَهُمُ الجَنَّةَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ فَيَقْتُلُونَ وَيُقْتَلُونَ وَعْدًا عَلَيْهِ حَقًّا فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالإِنجِيلِ وَالْقُرْآنِ وَمَنْ أَوْفَى بِعَهْدِهِ مِنَ اللّهِ فَاسْتَبْشِرُواْ بِبَيْعِكُمُ الَّذِي بَايَعْتُم بِهِ وَذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain. It is a promise which is binding on Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’ān.
So the rule of repelling aggression is not specifically for Muslims, but is the role of anyone following the Torah and the Gospel—the right to fight those who attack them. Giving one’s self in Allah’s Way, means repelling the aggressor. “A promise binding on Him in truth” means Allah took it on Himself as a right, not only in the Qur’ān but in the Torah and the Gospel, giving the believers the Garden of Paradise in exchange for their selves and their lives.
He said, “Allah bought from the believers their lives and their wealth.” This also means to give one’s wealth for building up society, for the welfare of others, for establishing hospitals, school and civic society.
Can Muslims Fight if Religious Practice is not Proscribed?
لَا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ إِنَّمَا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ قَاتَلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَأَخْرَجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ وَظَاهَرُوا عَلَى إِخْرَاجِكُمْ أَن تَوَلَّوْهُمْ وَمَن يَتَوَلَّهُمْ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ
Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just.
Allah only forbids you, with regard to those who fight you for (your) Faith, and drive you out of your homes, and support (others) in driving you out, from turning to them (for friendship and protection). It is such as turn to them (in these circumstances), that do wrong.
One sees here that Allah does not hinder the Muslims from dealing justly and kindly with those who do not fight them for their religion. Thus we see that Muslims today live in many non-Muslim nations, and they are living in peace, observing all their religious obligations and are free to practice their faith.
Today one cannot find any nation in which mosques are forced to close, or the authorities are removing the Qur’ān or other religious books, or Muslims are prevented from praying, paying their poor-due, fasting or attending the pilgrimage. Instead we find that all Muslims today are free to practice their faith in every nation, around the globe.
On the contrary, we find that in non-Muslim universities Islamic texts are kept and preserved, including large troves of ancient manuscripts.
فَاحْكُم بَيْنَهُمْ بِالْقِسْطِ إِنَّ اللّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ
Judge between them with justice. Surely Allah loves those who are just.
This shows that Islam urges the believers to practice goodness with those who are doing good to them, and thus they are not permitted to attack them.
وَإِنْ أَحَدٌ مِّنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ اسْتَجَارَكَ فَأَجِرْهُ حَتَّى يَسْمَعَ كَلاَمَ اللّهِ ثُمَّ أَبْلِغْهُ مَأْمَنَهُ ذَلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ لاَّ يَعْلَمُونَ
If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.
This also shows that even if unbelievers come to the Muslims, seeking to live and work in their nation for any reason, it is ordered to grant them safety and security to demonstrate the great care and compassion Islam takes in the care of others. Then such are free to move where they like. This clarifies the understanding that combative Jihād is only against transgressors.
Possibility of Success
Jihād against countries who are guilty of oppression and persecution only becomes compulsory after all political negotiations have failed, if the enemy is set on aggression. Additionally, the Muslims may fight when there is a likelihood of success. The state must make preparation of whatever is necessary from weapons, materials and men with the utmost possible scope as Allah says:
وَأَعِدُّواْ لَهُم مَّا اسْتَطَعْتُم مِّن قُوَّةٍ
Make ready for them all thou canst of (armed) force
This means the leader must prepare and establish what is necessary of weapons, material and men with the utmost possible scope, as well as spending to the utmost from the nation’s capability and expending every effort, for it is Allah’s rule that without strength you cannot fight, or to do so would result in killing one’s self and killing one’s people and the creation of mayhem (fitnah), which in fact is worse than killing, where Allah says:
وَالْفِتْنَةُ أَشَدُّ مِنَ الْقَتْلِ
for tumult and oppression (fitnah) are worse than slaughter;
Creating mayhem (fitnah) might grow to become a war or become a hate crime against innocent people. That is why Allah said it is worse than killing. Fitnah is the work of munāfiqīn, hypocrites. This is in fact conspiracy, the result of which may be a great war instigated between one or more nations, which may end up in the death of thousand or millions of innocents.
الآنَ خَفَّفَ اللّهُ عَنكُمْ وَعَلِمَ أَنَّ فِيكُمْ ضَعْفًا فَإِن يَكُن مِّنكُم مِّئَةٌ صَابِرَةٌ يَغْلِبُواْ مِئَتَيْنِ وَإِن يَكُن مِّنكُمْ أَلْفٌ يَغْلِبُواْ أَلْفَيْنِ بِإِذْنِ اللّهِ وَاللّهُ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ
Now Allah has lightened your [task] for He knows that there is weakness among you. So if there are of you a hundred steadfast person, they shall overcome two hundred, if there are a thousand of you, they shall overcome two thousand with the leave of Allah and Allah is with the patient.
Thus Allah declared that if the ratio of Muslim warrior to their opponents is half (1:2) they may fight and they will be given Divine Support in an open fight facing the enemy directly, warrior-to- warrior. This was a reduction from the original ratio, in which the believers were obligated to fight even if the ratio of Muslims to their opponents was one to ten.
Without Adequate Fighting Capacity Should War be Instigated?
The above verse also means if there the enemy is twice the Muslim force, then there is no possibility of success and therefore at that time you must not set forth. To do so will create nothing but fitnah—a state of hostility and confusion.
Here the question arises: how can a group declare combative Jihād against an entire nation, when the group possesses no more than a few dozen or a few hundred dedicated warriors? If it is not permitted for 19 people to fight a group in excess of 38, what then about instigating war against a massively fortified and armed nation of over 250 million? This is in reality nothing more than mayhem, and the result is endangerment of the entire Muslim Ummah. This is nothing but fitnah: confusion, sedition, disorder and mayhem, and the Prophet declared those who create turmoil to be under Allah’s curse:
The Prophet said:
Confusion/sedition/mayhem (fitnah) is dormant. Allah curses the one who rouses it.
Today’s radicals justify combative Jihād without state authority by citing the skirmishes carried out by one of the Muslim converts against the Makkans. Renaissance’s Shehzad Saleem explains:
We know from history that after the treaty of Hudaybiyyah, Abū Basīr defected to Madīnah. According to the terms of the treaty he was duly returned back to the Quraysh by the Prophet . He was sent back in the custody of two people of the Quraysh. He killed one of his two custodians and again defected to Madīnah. When he arrived in Madīnah, the Prophet was angry with what he had done. Sensing that the Prophet would once again return him to the Quraysh, he left Madīnah and settled at a place near Dhu’l-Marwah, where later on other people joined home. From this place, they would attack the caravans of the Quraysh.
If these guerrilla attacks are analyzed in the light of the Qur’ān, the basic thing which comes to light is that whatever Abū Basīr and his companions were doing was not sanctioned at all by Islam. The Qur’ān says that the actions and deeds of a person who has not migrated to Madīnah are not the responsibility of an Islamic state:
وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَمْ يُهَاجَرُوا مَا لَكُمْ مِنْ وَلَايَتِهِمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ حَتَّى يُهَاجِرُوا
And as to those who believed but did not migrate [to Madīnah], you owe no duty of protection until they migrate.
Not only did the Qur’ān acquit the newly founded Islamic state of Madīnah from the actions of these people, we even find the following harsh remarks of the Prophet about Abū Basīr when he returned to Madīnah after killing one of his two custodians:
وَيْلُ أُمِّهِ مِسْعَرَ حَرْبٍ لَوْ كَانَ لَهُ
His mother is unfortunate! Though he has the right, he is going to ignite the flames of war.