The Slandered Jihad
by Abu Khubayb and Abu Zubayr
Among the erroneous notions aimed at stifling the spirit of Jihad in this Ummah is the idea of 'greater' and 'lesser' Jihads. According to this belief, striving against desires of the self is considered the Greater Jihad, which makes the Jihad of the battlefield the Lesser Jihad. This idea is based upon a story mentioned by Al-Khatib Al-Baghdadi in his book, The History of Baghdad, by way of Yahya ibn al 'Ala', who said,
This concept, despite the fact that it is based on a hadeeth, can be refuted from several aspects, of which we shall mention the following.
This hadeeth cannot be used to establish proof, for Al-Bayhaqi has said regarding it, "Its chain of narration is weak (da'eef)". As-Suyuti also pronounced a verdict of weakness on it in his book, Al Jami' As-Saghir.
Somebody might claim that da'eef (weak) ahadeeth can be accepted in matters of supererogatory virtuous deeds. This is unacceptable, for we do not believe that Jihad can be a supererogatory deed. Indeed, how can it be so when the Messenger of Allah (salallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) has said that the asceticism of his Ummah lies in Jihad?
Furthermore, anybody who follows up on Yahya ibn al 'Ala', the narrator of the hadeeth, will find in his biography things which will make him forsake the man's ahadeeth. Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani said about him in Al-Taqrib, "He was accused of forging Ahadeeth." Adh-Dhahabi said in Al-Mizan, "Abu Hatim said that he is not a strong narrator, Ibn Mu'in classified him as weak, Ad-Daraqutni said that he is to be neglected, and Ahmad bin Hanbal said that he is a liar and a forger of ahadeeth."
This hadeeth explicitly contradicts clear verses of the Quran. Allah the Mighty, the Majestic, says, (Translation of the Meaning),
This hadeeth contradicts mutawatir (mass-narrated) ahadeeth which have been reported from the Prophet (salallaahu 'alayhee wa sallam), and which make plain the excellence of Jihad. We will mention a few of these.
The claim of those who say that the 'struggle against the self' is the Greater Jihad because the individual is put to test by day and by night, may be refuted by the following hadeeth:
This erroneous and slanderous notion involves injustice and wrong to the status of the Mujahideen. Allah (Ta'aala) has ordered us to practice justice in our verdicts, saying, (Translation of the Meaning),
Is it any part of justice and fair treatment for us to say that our brethren in the land of attention and battle are in a lesser Jihad when the mines are exploding beneath their feet, with the result that their bodies fly into the air, and their limbs and blood are scattered all over, to the extent that their pure corpses cannot be contained in a grave?
And that is for the sake of Allah, and if He wills, He may bless the limbs of a body torn to pieces. Were these youths in a lesser Jihad, while our fasting, and breaking our fasts on the most delicious of food are then a greater Jihad? By Allah! This is an unequal measure, and if you were to put the matter before the most knowledgeable people on earth, they would never arrive at such a disparate verdict.
The Egyptian, Dr. Muhammad Amin says, in his book, The Path of Islamic Propagation,
Finally, we conclude with some verses which were sent by the Mujahid scholar Abdullah bin Al-Mubarak, from the land of Jihad to his friend Al-Fudayl bin Ayyadh, who used to preach to the rulers and make them cry, yet did not seek any payment, being a sincere worshipper.
The Pretended Jihad
Some people may be astonished when they hear a person describing Jihad in person as a lesser Jihad, or who deems fighting in the Path of Allah (Ta'aala) little in comparison to other acts of devotion. However, if we pursue the lives of these people, look at their histories and investigate the reason for their confusion regarding the matter, we will find that the explanation for their stance is simple. These are the people who's people undervalue Jihad and give priority to studying in universities, writing in magazines, and giving speeches in conferences over fighting and being martyred. By examining their lives, one will find a common denominator, which brings them together in deficiency and unites them in their viewpoint.
The common denominator among the feeble and those who hold back from Jihad (the people of theories and concepts) is that they have not participated in Jihad. The opportunity has not presented itself to these people (by the Will of Allah Ta'aala), nor have they had the good fortune to join a camp of Mujahideen. In such a camp there is a lack of luxuries and a scarcity of necessities which would make them feel the difference between a day in the camp and a similar day in the university with its food, entertainment, and air-conditioned class rooms.
How can these people recognise the true value of Jihad when they have not participated in the regiments of war nor entered into the arenas of tumult?
If a man plunges into a single battle, it will be sufficient to correct all his misconceptions. The Mujahid, in only a few hours, may see things whose horror would make children grey-haired: bombs and splinters sweeping away the souls of the most beloved of his brethren who shared with him his travelling, training, ribat (guarding the front line), and Jihad. What will be the situation of these people when the rockets and shells are exploding over their heads and beneath their feet? How will it be when they see with their very own eyes the scattering of arms, legs and intestines so that a healthy body with well-proportioned limbs will become handicapped, dismembered, or paralysed?
This then is the underlying reason for the confusion on the part of those who underrate Jihad.
In a few hours or days, the Mujahid sees, with his own eyes, such hardships, trials, and tribulations, as others do not see in decades. It will be impossible for anyone who engages in this experience of Jihad to equate physical Jihad with other pacifistic means of Dawah. Therefore, anyone who disputes with the Mujahid in the issue of Jihad or who calls people to abandon fighting should join a camp, even if only as a servant. Or he should participate in a battle even if only as a cook. Then after that, we will see if, in his opinion, the pen is equal to the Kalashnikov.