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Jihad The Middle Way

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*I know its a bit long, but trust me its worth the read*




al-Habib as-Sayyid Ali al-Jifri


Anyone who makes the claim that he wants to serve the Deen yet is not

thinking about jihad in the way of Allah, either has no understanding or he

is not a truthful and sincere person. However, concerning the issue of

jihad, people have gone to two extremes, both of which are mistaken. One

group understood from the concept of jihad that it is necessary to view all

the kuffar as those whom we must raise the sword or rifle to kill. The other

group understands from the concept of jihad that we must be gentle,

affectionate, and love all of them, and by doing such we would be

“struggling” (i.e. making “jihad”) with them to bring them back to Allah and

His Deen. Obviously, both groups have fallen into error. In reality, we are

not a people whose mission is to kill the kuffar, nor are we a people who

love the kuffar unrestrictedly. When it is time for fighting, we do not

fight except those who, by doing so, we would be serving Allah alone (not

our passions or personal agendas).


Sayyidina Ali (may Allah honor his face) was fighting a kafir in one of the

battles. During the battle Sayyidna Ali knocked him down and raised his

sword to kill him. As soon as the kafir knew that he was going to be killed

he spat in Sayyidna Ali’s face, so immediately Sayyidna Ali left him and

went on his way. He was later asked, “Why did you leave him when Allah

clearly gave you power over him?!” Sayyidna Ali replied, “I was fighting

him for the sake of Allah, and when he spat in my face I feared that if I

killed him it would have been out of personal revenge and spite.”

From this we understand that it is obligatory that we differentiate between

fighting people who are our own personal enemies and others whom we fight

because they are the enemies of Allah. If a believer is forced to fight a

kafir, he fights him not because the kafir hates him, because the kafir is

conspiring against him, because the kafir wants to overcome him, rather, he

fights him only because he is an enemy to Allah, the time to fight has come,

and the command from Allah has been given.


On the other hand, we have those who say, “We must love the kuffar, be kind

with them, and esteem them. They are nice people and they have a lot of good

in them.” People who say this have mixed truth with falsehood, just as those

who say they want to kill all the kuffar, without understanding or

differentiation, have also mixed truth with falsehood.


It is impossible for a true believer to love a kafir: “You will not find

people who believe in Allah and the Last Day having love for anyone who

opposes Allah and His Messenger” (Qur’an 58-21). With this said, we do love

goodness for them. There is a clear difference between loving them and

loving goodness for them. If you say you love them then you are claiming

that you love their essence (thaat) that you interact with in front of you,

yet the believer doesn’t love any essence except the essence of Allah

(Thaatul-llah), the Mighty and Majestic. If you love the good qualities in

them while desiring that the possessor of these qualities is saved from the

fire, and uses them in the service of Allah, while looking at them with the

eye of mercy and the eye of desiring salvation for them, because you know

that this pleases Allah, then in this case you have understood how to

interact with them.


So we view all the kuffar as being, firstly, the creation of Allah. And as

Muslims, we love Allah’s creation. Therefore, we do not love the kafir,

rather, we love Allah’s creation (suna’ Allah). We view them as being a

means for our spiritual transaction with Allah; a means for our drawing

nearer to Allah. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “For

Allah to guide one person (to Islam) through you is greater than the whole

world and all that is in it.”


Hence, through this balance do we interact with them upon the foundation of

having mercy for them, compassion for them, and a desire to try to save them

from the fire. This is the only way we should view our interaction with

them. We do not esteem the influential one amongst them because he can

benefit us in our da’wah (as a kafir), nor are we generous with the needy

amongst them because we love them in themselves, rather, we deal with the

influential, the poor, the sick, and the young amongst them with mercy, and

through mercy, because this is the way that Allah loves.


The way we enter discourse with them should be in ways that their intellects

can understand, using means that they like and are familiar with, as long as

it is not prohibited in the Sacred Law. This is not because those means are

the only means, but rather, because they are means that Allah loves. So if

the time comes that it is more pleasing to Allah that we use another type of

means, with some of them, then we do not hesitate for even one second to

abandon the old method and to use the new method. The principle is that we

are expansive and inclusive of everyone, merciful with everyone, loving and

wanting goodness for everyone, from societies to leaders, from Muslims to

kafirs. Then if a situation arose that calls us to deal with sternness, even

if it reached the level of fighting, then we do not allow our previous ways

of mercy and gentleness to delay that which Allah has commanded.


One of the sons of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, did

not become a Muslim while they were in Mecca, and as you know, the affection

of a father to his son is much greater then the affection of a son to his

father. In Mecca, Sayyidina Abu Bakr tried with love and gentleness to

convince his son as to the veracity of Islam. He used the best and loftiest

means to try to bring him over to Islam, yet Allah had not decreed for him

to become a Muslim just yet. Sayyidina Abu Bakr made Hijrah and later went

to fight in the battle of Badr. This son of his also went out on the day of

Badr, yet he was with the kuffar. The son was trying his best to avoid his

father so they would not have to fight each other. Later, when his son

accepted Islam, he said to his father, “Oh my father, on the day of Badr

(when I was a kafir) I was avoiding you so we wouldn’t have to fight.”

Sayyidina Abu Bakr replied to him, “As for me, if I met you on that day I

would have killed you.”


What is the reason behind this? This intricate point is necessary for us to

understand. When the action of the son wasn’t based on servitude to Allah,

but rather, was based on compassion (for his father), and his going out to

battle was only for glory, honor, and nationalistic goals, this was how he

acted. His actions were a slave to his emotions. On the other hand, the

actions of Sayyidina Abu Bakr (in Mecca) and his love and compassion were

not for himself, but for the sake of his Lord. So when the time came that he

had to serve Allah by fighting against his son, he didn’t waiver, even if it

meant his own son’s death. We are in need of this criterion in establishing

the correct concept of jihad with the kuffar.


Therefore, the understanding of jihad is to establish the means for the

guidance and salvation of the kuffar, not merely to just fight them.

Fighting them happens in a few cases, and the goal behind it is to save

others from the oppression of the ones who are preventing the guidance from

spreading. We do not fight out of revenge and spite. The Muslim doesn’t

fight because the kafir is my (personal) enemy, because the kafir is

conspiring against me, because the kafir has killed and slaughtered other

Muslims. The Muslim fights the kafir because he has prevented and has become

a barrier for the guidance to reach others. Again, the Muslim doesn’t fight

out of revenge and only because the enemy has killed other Muslims. Think

about what is being said deeply!


The Prophet, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, when he

entered Mecca, didn’t avenge for the killings of the Muslims on the day of

Uhud., even though Allah established him over the kuffar on that day of the

great Conquest (the Fath). These disbelievers in Mecca were the same ones

who killed his companions and members of his own family! These were the same

people who barred the guidance from reaching others. These were the same

people who ripped open the chest and stomach of Sayyidina Hamza (the uncle

and companion of the Blessed Prophet, peace be upon him). These were the

same people who ate from the liver of Sayyidina Hamza, may Allah be blessed

with him. And what is more amazing is that those who actually conspired to

kill Hamza (Hind and Wahshi), their Islam was accepted by the Prophet, peace

and blessing be upon him, and he didn’t kill either of them even after their

accepting of the faith.


If we were to understand that the purpose of fighting against the kuffar is

to avenge for spilt Muslim blood then it would have been befitting for the

Prophet, peace be upon him, to command the killing of Wahshi and Hind right

when he entered Mecca. But the issue with the Muslims is not one of revenge,

it is an issue of guidance and the spreading of its light. The Muslim is the

“letter of guidance” sent to humanity from Allah (al-Muslim bareed

hidayat-illah ila al-khalq). So when the Prophet, peace and blessings be

upon him, saw that there was hope in them being guided he said, “Go, for

verily you are free.” And this is how our interaction must be. The day I

meet with an enemy soldier off the battle field, who killed Muslims in

Afghanistan, and I sense that he may want guidance, then I will treat him

with the utmost of mercy. This is what we MUST understand. So our ultimate

and primary mission in jihad is their guidance, even while we might be

(physically) fighting them!


All this is clearly understood in the beautiful story where our Blessed

Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, got upset with Usamah ibn Zaid,

the beloved, the son of the beloved (he was named this because the Prophet,

peace be upon him, loved him greatly). Usamah was out on the battle field

fighting the enemy. During the heat of the battle one of the enemies slipped

and fell, so Usamah lifted his sword to strike him. Immediately the enemy

shouted out “La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammad Rasul-lullah,” yet, Usamah struck

and killed the man anyway. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him,

heard of this and began to greatly blame and censure Usamah saying, “Did you

kill him after he said it (the Shahadah)!?” Usamah replied, “Oh Messenger

of Allah, he only said it our of fear of the sword.” “Did you look into his

heart?! Oh Usamah,” replied the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him.


This same kafir may have killed many Muslims on that day, and he was in the

act of fighting against the Muslims, yet, as soon as he said the Shahadah,

even if it was in hypocrisy, and Usamah didn’t refrain himself and killed

him, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, became very upset. The

Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, continued to blame Usamah about

what he did for the rest of the day, until Usamah said, “I wish that I

became a Muslim after this day” (meaning that he wished that the event never

even happened and that he could have a fresh start in Islam).

This incident is not mentioned to put blame on Sayyidina Usamah, may Allah

be pleased with him. Rather, there is an important principle that we must

understand here. The mishaps of the individual companion of the Prophet,

peace be upon him, are looked at as a further perfection in the society of

the companions. This is so because the goal behind the community of the

companions is that we may emulate them, so if no mishaps occurred by

individual companions, then we would not know how to deal with a person who

falls into error in our time and the times to come. Therefore, the mishap of

one of the companions is in reality a perfection on the societal level. All

this was so that the realities of what it really means to learn may fully

manifest themselves for us.


In this incident, the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, made firm in

our hearts the understanding that even while fighting, our goal is their

guidance. So if the enemy shows the signs of being guided, then the fighting

between us and them ceases, even if it was an outward form without any true

reality. That is why the meaning of the statement, “Did you kill him after

he said it, Oh Usamah?!” is that we should not let our drive to fight blind

us from the real cause of fighting, which is their guidance.


This is why they mention about our master Al-Hussein, the son of Ali (may

Allah be pleased with them both), when his army met the army of the mistaken

and fugitive Muslims who wanted to kill him, he looked at them and began to

weep. The number of Al-Hussein’s men, including the women (non-combatants),

did not exceed 80, while the number of the opposition was greater then

3,000. Remember, Al-Hussein is the son of the daughter of the Messenger of

Allah, peace and blessing be upon him, the beautiful scent of the Messenger

(rayhanat Rasulillah, a title given to him by the Messenger himself, peace

be upon him), the master of the youth of paradise, the one whom the

Messenger made supplication to Allah for saying, “Oh Allah, love the one who

loves him (Al-Hussein).”


The army had risen against Al-Hussein after pledging allegiance to him. They

gathered 17,000 signatures from the people of their land and called

Al-Hussein out to them saying “come and lead us to goodness.” So when he

went to them they met him with an army of 3,000 men wanting to kill him,

most of them being from amongst those who signed the allegiance. These were

people who wanted to commit one of the greatest crimes on the face of the

earth: killing a member of the family of the Prophet, peace and blessing be

upon him!


As Al-Hussein stood looking at his deceptive opponents he began to weep. His

sister, Zaiynab, saw him weeping so she asked him, “What is it that makes

you weep, Oh Hussein? Are you afraid of death? For verily you are heading

for your martyred brother Al-Hasan, your martyred father Ali, your mother

Fatima, and your grandfather the Messenger of Allah!” Al-Hussein turned to

her and said “Woe to you, Oh Zaynab! Al-Hussein is not one to be afraid of

death!” “Then what is this that I see upon your face?” she asked. He

replied, “Oh Zaynab, I looked at these men who were treacherous to the

covenant of Allah that we made, and I see that they will kill me and enter

the fire if they have no right for doing so, while I wish that they will go

to paradise instead.”


This is the meaning that is incumbent upon you to understand concerning

jihad. If you understand this while removing from your hearts the delusional

power of “physical means,” and “people of means” (ahlul-asbab), while adding

to this the realities of da’wah and seeking sacred knowledge, and you take

these as means to the foundational purpose of your creation, which is your

worship of Allah, you will be from amongst those chosen and elevated by

Allah, to the levels of closeness, in this age that we live in. And this is

the mission that you came for, if you but understood. This is what you must

ask Allah for in these days that end Ramadan, and for the rest of your



Allah's Blessings & Peace on Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

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Thanks, tamina this is really very useful article and good examples for all OF us. if these men ABUBAKAR, ALI, USAMA, HUSSEIN (R.A.) are not our example who would be? their understand of Jihad is the right one. that's why understanding is always more important than the learning.

many muslims today know more AYAS and HADITHS but very less understood the real meaning.

thanks again siter Tamina.




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Jezaku'allah khair sister tamina, But i just wanted to share a little something with You Jihaad, is not only carrying your sword'to go slaughter tha enemy' tha concept of Jihaad has changed dear, if u educate Yourself so that You can make This Ummah Strong, and Clear Off all Ignornece upon our Youth, you can call that Jihaad too.... did u know that sis??


i believe in awadays Jihaad is Education!!!!

thats the True Power, wouldn't you

agree...... ???

i'm not saying'we mustn't Fight'n defend our Religion Allah Forbid' But there are ways to deal with it NOW'''' in those days people didn't have the technology that we've know.... it wasa sword against a sword'But now' nuclear weapons, Plane jets High tech weaps etc...........

please tell me you' get my point...



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Qac Qaac   

yeah u could say jihad, has altered a little, when u include the tech part in it. But my friend the concept of jihad still there and we have to fellow the tatactics that the sahabah used even though is not sword vs.sword anymore, but the point is the techniques and why the sahaba reach that way, it was not that they had more techniques then romans or persians when they destroy them, but they had more iman, that is the key. I believe those sahabas at that time could defeat this powerful country that the world call America not because they (sahabas) have more techs, or nuclears but the companions had imam, and that will always grunteed a victory for the muslims as long as they have that.

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Sensual healing, what you've said is true. Jihaad can take other forms like jihaadu' nafs. Thanks for your contribution....and yeah I got YOU sista.


To the rest, you're welcome.

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