Published in  
October 11, 2020

Akhsar al-Mukhtasarat | Book of Jihad | Key Principles

كِتَاب اَلْجِهَادُ

Book Of Jihad

This is the final chapter of the Kitab al-Ibadat. Many Hanabilah mention it immediately after the Kitab al-Hajj. This is because it has the strong element of worship and it resembled worship more than an act of the state. Other scholars like Imam al-Khiraqi put the chapter at the end when they came to discussing legal consequences, role of the judiciary etc as it is the role of the state. The main principle is that the action of Jihad goes back to the state. The books of Fiqh and the scholars use the term Ameer or Hakim at times. This is because the word “state” is something easy to comprehend today and it is the states that are carrying out the duties that an Ameer should be.

Sheikh Mansur al-Buhuti says in Sharh al-Muntaha, “It is impermissible to take part in battle or initiate a war without the permission of the Ameer (or state) for the matter of warfare goes back to the Ameer (or state).” This is for jihad that is led by the Muslims. The Fuqaha said that the obligation applies only for Jihad al-Talab and not an act of self defense.

It is very important to understand the reason for a ruling so that we can see its application in the proper context. An important principle to remember is,

الْحُكْمُ يَدُوْرُمَعَ عِلَّتِهِ وَسَبَبِهِ وُجُوْدًا وَعَدَمًا

The ruling follows or depends on its cause in its presence and its absence

If the legal reasoning is present then the ruling is present and if not, then vice versa.
Ex: A person is given Zakat because they are poor. If they are no longer poor, then they no longer qualify for Zakat.

Jihad is a topic that is ruled by that which benefits and that which harms the interests of the Muslims in the light of the Shariah. Rulings need to be looked at in the light of the current scenarios. What was mentioned in earlier books might not be applicable today. Why? Fiqh is a man-made effort to arrive at the Laws of Allah and so understanding the lens of the author is very important. The difference between simply reading a book and actually applying a book is worlds apart. One needs to understand how and when things are practically applied. Fiqh is an active science that is applied daily. This is the reason a student of knowledge needs to focus on the works of the contemporary scholars as well as they are the ones dealing with and implementing the fiqh rulings in today’s world. If the scholars of the past were alive today, then without a doubt many of their rulings would have changed because of the change in times.


هُوَ فَرْضُ كِفَايَةٍ, إِلَّا إِذَا حَضَرَهُ أَوْ حَصَرَهُ أَوْ بَلَدَهُ عَدُوٌّ, أَوْ كَانَ اَلنَّفِيرُ عَامًا فَفَرْضَ عَيْنٍ, وَلَا يَتَطَوَّعُ بِهِ مَنْ أَحْدُ أَبَوَيْهِ حُرٌّ مُسْلِمٌ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ

وَسُنَّ رِبَاط ٌ وَأَقَلُّهُ سَاعَةٌ, وَتَمَامُهُ أَرْبَعُونَ يَوْمًا

Jihad is a fardh kifayah (collective/communal obligation) upon the community. Why is Jihad so important? Narrated Aisha: I said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! We consider Jihad as the best deed.” The Prophet (ﷺ) said,

 لاَ، لَكِنَّ أَفْضَلَ الْجِهَادِ حَجٌّ مَبْرُورٌ

“The best Jihad (for women) is Hajj Mabrur. ” [Bukhari]

Allah sent Prophets and Messenger so that He is worshipped alone. He sent with them Books to teach Allah’s Message; how to live their lives, worship Him, and to establish monotheism in their lives. The truth of life is that one cannot spread a cause or a message without strength. Pacifist movements are not really realistic movements. The strive towards power, authority, control, and wealth is simply inculcated into human desire. It is a strong part of it. You’d be living in a dream land if you thought that you can spread the Message of Allah without any wealth, power, strength, or authority. We are not obligated to fight just for the sake of fighting. Jihad is not an end goal but rather a means to achieve the goal. If the aim of it could have been achieved without bloodshed, then we would have welcomed that as well.

It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

مَنْ خَرَجَ مِنَ الطَّاعَةِ وَفَارَقَ الْجَمَاعَةَ فَمَاتَ مَاتَ مِيتَةً جَاهِلِيَّةً وَمَنْ قَاتَلَ تَحْتَ رَايَةٍ عُمِّيَّةٍ يَغْضَبُ لِعَصَبَةٍ أَوْ يَدْعُو إِلَى عَصَبَةٍ أَوْ يَنْصُرُ عَصَبَةً فَقُتِلَ فَقِتْلَةٌ جَاهِلِيَّةٌ وَمَنْ خَرَجَ عَلَى أُمَّتِي يَضْرِبُ بَرَّهَا وَفَاجِرَهَا وَلاَ يَتَحَاشَ مِنْ مُؤْمِنِهَا وَلاَ يَفِي لِذِي عَهْدٍ عَهْدَهُ فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي وَلَسْتُ مِنْهُ

One who defected from obedience (to the Amir) and separated from the main body of the Muslims – if he died in that state-would die the death of one belonging to the days of Jahiliyya (i.e. would not die as a Muslim). One who fights under the banner of a people who are blind (to the cause for which they are fighting, i.e. do not know whether their cause is just or otherwise), who gets flared up with family pride, calls (people) to fight for their family honour, and supports his kith and kin (i.e. fights not for the cause of Allah but for the sake of this family or tribe) – if he is killed (in this fight), he dies as one belonging to the days of Jahiliyya. Whoso attacks my Ummah (indiscriminately) killing the righteous and the wicked of them, sparing not (even) those staunch in faith and fulfilling not his promise made with those who have been given a pledge of security – he has nothing to do with me and I have nothing to do with him. [Muslim]
Sheikh Mansur al-Buhuti states that jihad is something that the Muslims state should pursue once a year. Now, this is not something prescribed or obligated but this is something that is said to attain the purpose of Islam which is to establish justice. al-Muntaha and al-Iqna’ both state that jihad can be postponed if there is a need. Factors like inability, weakness, and a lack of numbers are a few reasons for it to be postponed. If a situation is to arise, Muslims should be prepared for it as well. Jihad needs to be applied in the most appropriate time and place.
Sheikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah advised, “It is obligatory to go back in the matter of jihad to the people of religion who put it to practice both inherently and and externally as well as having experience in the affairs of the world. As for the people of the worldly life alone, they might have knowledge about the worldly life but they understand only that which is apparent without understanding its reality; their opinion is to be rejected. Likewise, the opinions of the people of the religion who don’t have experience of the worldly matters is to be rejected.”
In today’s world this would entail having a kind of Fiqh council working in collaboration with legal scholars, political experts, economists, health officials etc to ensure that things are done in accordance of the Shariah and the reality of the action is understood. It is impermissible for a Muslim to belittle this action. We might be living in a time of weakness where this action cannot be properly implemented but that doesn’t mean that we stop teaching about it such that people don’t know about it or forget its importance in Islam.
وَأَعِدُّوا لَهُم مَّا اسْتَطَعْتُم مِّن قُوَّةٍ وَمِن رِّبَاطِ الْخَيْلِ تُرْهِبُونَ بِهِ عَدُوَّ اللَّهِ وَعَدُوَّكُمْ وَآخَرِينَ مِن دُونِهِمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَهُمُ اللَّهُ يَعْلَمُهُمْ وَمَا تُنفِقُوا مِن شَيْءٍ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ يُوَفَّ إِلَيْكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تُظْلَمُونَ
And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them whom you do not know [but] whom Allah knows. And whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged. [Surah al-Anfal, 60]

Jihad becomes a personal obligation (fardh ain) instead of a communal obligation (fardh kifayah) when a person has participated or entered into the battlefield, a person and/or his land has been encircled by the enemy, or there is a general call to jihad by the leader.

It is impermissible for a person whose parents are alive (or one of them is alive) to take part in voluntary jihad, except with their permission.

It is recommended to participate in guarding the borders (ribat). This is a communal obligation and is meant to be done based on the needs of the Muslims and the security. The minimum duration of ribat is 1 hour and its complete duration is 40 days. Imam Ahmad explicitly says that the duration can be anything, and even an hour. The hadith about the 40 days is extremely weak and cannot be used to establish a legal ruling of obligation.


Based on the Hanbali primer, Akhsar Al-Mukhtasarat authored by Ibn Balban al-Hanbali as taught by Sheikh Zahed Fettah حفظه الله

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