Forms of Jihaad

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

Once this is understood, then jihaad is of four kinds: jihaad al-nafs (jihaad against one’s self), jihaad al-Shaytaan (jihaad against the Shaytaan), jihaad against the kaafirs and jihaad against the hypocrites.

Jihaad al-nafs (jihaad against one’s self) is of four kinds:

  1. Striving to learn the teachings of Islaam without which one cannot attain success and happiness in this world or in the Hereafter; if this is missing then one is doomed to misery in this world and in the Hereafter.

  2. Striving to make oneself act in accordance with what one has learned. Simply knowing without acting, even though it may not cause any harm, is not going to bring any benefit.

  3. Striving to call others to Islaam, teaching those who do not know about it. Otherwise one will be one of those who conceal that which Allaah has revealed of guidance and teaching, and it will not benefit him or save him from the punishment of Allaah.

  4. Striving to bear patiently the difficulties involved in calling people to Allaah and the insults of people; bearing all that for the sake of Allaah.

If a person achieves all these four levels, then he will be one of the rabbaaniyyeen (learned men of religion who practise what they know and also preach to others. Cf. Aal ‘Imraan 3:79). The salaf were agreed that the scholar does not deserve to be called a rabbaanee unless he knows the truth, acts in accordance with it and teaches it to others. Whoever teaches, acts in accordance with his knowledge and has knowledge, he will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Jihaad against the Shaytaan is of two types:

  1. Warding off the doubts that he stirs up to undermine faith.

  2. Striving against him to ward off the corrupt desires that he provokes.

The first jihaad is followed by certainty of faith, and the second is followed by patience. 

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And We made from among them (Children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.)”

[al-Sajdah 32:24]

Allaah tells us that leadership in religion is attained through patience and certainty of faith. Patience wards off desires and certainty wards off doubts.

Jihaad against the kaafirs and hypocrites is of four kinds: with the heart, the tongue, one’s wealth and oneself. Jihaad against the kaafirs is more along the lines of physical fighting whereas jihaad against the hypocrites is more along the lines of using words and ideas.

Jihaad against the leaders of oppression and innovation is of three kinds:

  1. Jihaad with one’s hand(i.e., physical jihaad, fighting) if one is able.

  2. If that is not possible then it should be with one’s tongue(i.e., by speaking out).

  3. If that is not possible then it should be with one’s heart(i.e., by hating the evil and feeling that it is wrong).

These are the thirteen types of jihaad, and

“Whoever dies without having fought or having resolved to fight has died following one of the branches of hypocrisy.”

(Narrated by Muslim, 1910).

[Zaad al-Ma’aad (3/9-11)]

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

“Jihaad is of various kinds, with one’s self, one’s wealth, by making du’aa’, by teaching and guiding, by helping to do good in any way. The greatest form of jihaad is jihaad with one’s self (i.e., going oneself and fighting), followed by jihaad with one’s wealth, jihaad by speaking out and guiding others. Da’wah is also part of jihaad.  But going out oneself to fight in jihaad is the highest form.”

[Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz (7/334, 335)]


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