Open Letter
To Al-Baghdādī

Response To Daesh (Not ”IS”)

Part 07 - True Jihad

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With over 125 leading ulemas' signatures*

Thus, standing firm is the lesser jihad and is dependent on the greater jihad which is the jihad against the ego through the remembrance of God and purification of the soul. In any case, jihad is a means to peace, safety and security, and not an end in itself. This is clear from God's words: { Fight them till there is no sedition, and the religion is for God; then if they desist, there shall be no enmity, save against evildoers.} (Al-Baqarah, 2: 193). In your speech of July 4th, 2014, you said: ‘There is no life without jihad’. Perhaps this was based on Al-Qurtubi’s exegesis of the verse: { O you who believe, respond to God and the Messenger, when He calls you to that which will give you life ...} (Al-Anfal, 8: 24).

True Jihad

True jihad enlivens the heart. However, there can be life without jihad, because Muslims may face circumstances where combat is not called for, or where jihad is not required, and Islamic history is replete with examples of this. In truth, it is clear that you and your fighters are fearless and are ready to sacrifice in your intent for jihad. No truthful person following events—friend or foe—can deny this. However, jihad without legitimate cause, legitimate goals, legitimate purpose, legitimate methodology and legitimate intention is not jihad at all, but rather, warmongering and criminality.

a. The Intention Behind Jihad: God swt  says: { and that man shall have only what he [himself] strives for} (Al-Najm, 53: 39). Prophetic Tradition relates that on the authority of Abu Musa Al- Ash’ari, a man came to the Prophet ﷺ and said: ‘A man may fight out of zeal, out of bravery or out of pride. Which of these is in the path of God? The Prophet ﷺ replied: ‘Whoever fights for the Word of God to be supreme is in the path of God18.

The Prophet ﷺ also said: ‘The first to be judged on the Day of Resurrection is the man who died as a martyr. He will be brought forth and [God] will make His favours known to him, which he will recognize. He will be asked: “What did you do with them?” to which the man will reply: “I fought for your sake until I was killed.” He [i.e. God] will say: “You have lied. You fought so that it would be said that you are bold, and so it was said.” He will then be ordered to be dragged on his face and flung into the Fire… 19.

b. The Reason behind Jihad: The reason behind jihad for Muslims is to fight those who fight them, not to fight anyone who does not fight them, nor to transgress against anyone who has not transgressed against them. God’s words in permitting jihad are: { Permission is granted to those who fight because they have been wronged. And God is truly able to help them; those who were expelled from their homes without right, only because they said: “Our Lord is God”. Were it not for God's causing some people to drive back others, destruction would have befallen the monasteries, and churches, and synagogues, and mosques in which God's Name is mentioned greatly. Assuredly God will help those who help Him. God is truly Strong, Mighty.} (Al-Hajj, 22: 39-40).

Thus, jihad is tied to safety, freedom of religion, having been wronged, and eviction from one’s land. These two verses were revealed after the Prophet ﷺ and his companions suffered torture, murder, and persecution for thirteen years at the hands of the idolaters. Hence, there is no such thing as offensive, aggressive jihad just because people have different religions or opinions. This is the position of Abu Hanifa, the Imams Malik and Ahmad and all other scholars including Ibn Taymiyyah, with the exception of some scholars of the Shafi’i school20.

c. The Goal of Jihad: Scholars are in agreement regarding the goal of jihad, because God swt  says: { Fight them till there is no sedition, and the religion is for God; then if they desist, there shall be no enmity, save against evildoers.} (Al-Baqarah, 2: 193). The Prophet ﷺ further said: ‘I have been ordered to fight people until they say: “There is no god but God”, so whoever says: “There is no god but God” is safe in himself and his wealth except as permitted by law, and his reckoning is with God21. This is the goal of jihad once war has been waged on Muslims.

18 Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Kitab al-Tawhid, no. 7458, and by Muslim in Kitab al-Imarah, no. 1904.
19 Narrated by Muslim in Kitab Al-Imarah, no. 1905.
20 Cf. Wahbi Al-Zuhayli’s Ahkam al-Harb fil-Islam.
21 Narrated by Al-Bukhari in Kitab al-Jihad, no. 2946. 


[continue with part 08]

Read the full letter here: Open-Letter-To-Al-Baghdadi [pdf] (problem with this site 20230130)

* One of its signatories is Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, from Syria.

Other Links:
CNN: Syrian Scholar, Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi, condemns ISIS [ youtube ]

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latest update: 2022-09-24 update: 2015-12-11

* living Islam – Islamic Tradition *