Kinds of Jihad (Striving in the Cause of Allah) in Islam

In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Jihad is a fundamental concept in the Deen of Islam, and as you can’t pass to high school without passing through elementary school, the same is true for Jihad, as there is fundamental Jihad, which is Jihad Al Nafs (striving with the ego and its desires), and the evidence is in the following ayah:

(But strive against them (by preaching) with the utmost endeavor, with it (the Qur’an).)

[Surat Al Furkan, ayah 52]

Meaning “by preaching the Qur’an”; and in the following ayah as well:

(As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths (i.e. Allah’s Religion). And verily, Allah is with the Muhsinun (good doers).)

[Surat Al Ankabut, ayah 69]

Jihad Al Nafs (Striving in order to control the ego and its desires):

This kind of Jihad, according to Ibn Al Qayem in his book “Zad Al Ma’ad”, has four stages as follows from the surat al Asr:

First: Jihad to learn from spiritual, pious and authentic scholars:

This kind of knowledge is the Deen (of Islam), without which one will be miserable in the worldly life and in the Hereafter, his soul won’t get elevated (to a higher rank), failing, thus, to achieve happiness and well being; and it won’t be saved on the Judgment Day. Hence, it is crucial to take care about who we are taking the Deen from. Ibn Umar said: “Watch out for your religion as it is your flesh and blood; take it from pious people not from those who are deviated.”

Second: Jihad to apply the Deen (of Islam):

Knowledge without deeds is worthless; although harmless, it is of no use.

Third: Jihad to spread this Deen (of Islam) and to teach it:

The one who does not call others to this Deen places himself in the position of those who conceal the clear proofs, evidences and guidance. If this is the case, one does not benefit from one’s knowledge nor will it save one on the Day of Resurrection.

Forth: Jihad to endure learning, teaching, and spreading the Deen:

After having completed those four stages, a Muslim will become a person steeped in religious learning, and no one achieves this level, and scholars are in agreement about it, unless he knows the truth, applies it, teaches it, and is patient in seeking, applying and spreading it.

The Constructive Jihad:

The evidence of this kind of Jihad is in the following ayah:

(And make ready against them all you can of power, including steeds of war (tanks, planes, missiles, artillery, etc.) to threaten the enemy of Allah and your enemy.)

[Surat Al Anfal, ayah 60]

The bitter truth is a thousand times better than the comforting delusion, so we have to confess that the enemies far and near have been making over hundreds of years tremendous effort upon which they have built their strength and power, and by means of that power, will, culture and free-thinking, they overpowered other nations, and as a result, corrupted them and humiliated their honorable people.
Hence, we, as Muslims, should be ready to face them with everything in our power in its broad sense.

Power in its broad sense:

Fathers should know that fatherhood is a mission and a responsibility, and rearing offspring carries the greatest merit.
Mothers should be such full time, taking care of their children in order to build up a coherent household, and to raise their children to be the cornerstone of the social structure.
Our teachers should be bearers of an eminent message and strive to put it into practice; on the other hand, students should excel in their studies.
Our workers should carry out their duties to perfection.
Our farmers should stick to their lands in order to cultivate them.
Our civil servants should be granted their rights, and in return they should be at the disposal of all citizens.
Our judges should be just.
Our university teachers should transmit the concept of the service to the society in order to ensure the happiness for all.
Our callers to Islam should give advice not praise.
Our troops should be aware that our battle with the enemy can’t be avoided, and that peace talks, as far as the enemy’s side is concerned, are all about tricking, lying, and buying time.
Our resources should be mined, and our factories should be modernized.
Our lands should be reclaimed, and our waters should be conserved.

How to achieve the constructive Jihad?

There are numerous requirements with respect to this issue:
1- Faith in Allah that leads one to obedience to Him.
2- Faith in the Hereafter that prevents us from tyrannizing each other.
3- Not to expect the recompense for our Jihad in this worldly life, but in the Hereafter.
4- We should be active not passive. Consider the example of a student who keeps listening to advice such as: “keep studying, do your best, plan for your future, and strive to be somebody outstanding in the future of the nation.” This student will prefer to listen to the news instead because this kind of advice will turn into unbearable burden. Insistence might double the problems instead of solving them. We do need young people who sacrifice their lives in the Cause of Allah, and we need even more badly the young who are dedicated to the Cause of Allah, and who will do everything they can for the sake of this nation.
5- Negligence with respect to future will keep us busy putting out fires here and there, and will distract us from serious work that is most needed to relieve the suffering of the future generations. Though healing an open wound is important, we shouldn’t forget that future generations may wonder one day: Have our ancestors left us anything besides wounds?
6- One should think of the best post for putting into practice one’s potential, for fulfilling one’s role and completing the message. One should, therefore, set up one’s goal, head for it in steady steps, and strive in this way. This will make one achieve one’s objective. Having more and more people who are rightly fulfilling their missions is better than having the same number of people who only are wondering about what to do? In this way they do nothing.
7- It is enough if a true Muslim does his best in the right place, without holding back any of it. He may not see the results; they may be obtained by someone else. However, he was the one to have laid the foundation and to have started the process of building up.
8- Relieving the nation’s suffering requires all the strength of the believers who are sufficiently knowledgeable, sincere and prepared for sacrifice in all fields. This should be our purpose, and success in the preparation of a group of citizens faith wise, science wise, mentality wise, manners wise, psychology wise, society wise and body wise, is better than throwing oneself into Hellfire that is longing for more people to burn. Success lies in using the brain before hand, exactly as what our enemy is doing. Imam Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “People are of three kinds: those knowledgeable about the Deen, those in the process of learning, and noisy riff-raff, unenlightened by knowledge, who do not seek refuge with the powerful support (of Allah). Thus, watch out my son of whom you are.”
9- Watching out for traps that are set up for our Arabic and Islamic nation. What we need in our daily affairs is balance and stable basis when we take off, making sure that we don’t lose our clear vision when we are affected by actions and reactions. It doesn’t take much to realize that most of our shortcomings and faults have been the result of a deviation in our vision which has led to imbalance and has deprived us of the much needed moderation.
10- It is fine for us to get passionate, yet, our actions should correspond with the Method of Divine Guidance, the objectives of the Deen, and regulation of interests, and this only occurs when we go back to our religious, learned, pious scholars, who won’t compromise with the interests of minorities, nor will they fawn on the emotions of the majority, as scholars, throughout ages, have been the safety valve when opinions are heedless and matters are in chaos. Allah Most High says:

(If only they had referred it to the Messenger or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would have understood it from them (directly))

[Surat Al Nisaa, ayah 83]

Hence, the most recommendable course in such circumstances is to restrain reactions in order to prevent private opinion-giving that may destroy Muslims and their interests, as well as to deal with the issues with insight undiminished by emotions that can lead one to self-destruction or heedlessness. We should bear in mind that enthusiasm is a positive and effective power if put on the right track, and it isn’t about giving vent to one’s feelings, but about granting interests and averting corruption.

The fighting Jihad:

If we manage to succeed in both kinds of Jihad: Jihad Al Nafs and the constructive Jihad, we would be able to triumph in the Jihad of fighting in the Cause of Allah.

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds

Translation : Noora Al Sharabi
Auditing : Najat Rozko




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