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Types of Jihad


The scholars have described the following types of jihad:

  1. Jihad against the polytheists: The polytheists keep on fighting Allah’s religion; therefore it is necessary to fight them so that the message of Islam and its teachings reach all the people. Allah Almighty says:

« فَاقْتُلُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَيْثُ وَجَدْتُمُوهُمْ » [التوبة: 5]

Translation of Meaning: “Slay the idolaters wherever ye find them.” [At-Taubah:5]

  1. Jihad against the murtad (apostate): When the Messenger of Allah () died, many tribes renounced Islam. Hadrat Abu Bakr (Radhi Allahu Anhu) sent a troop of Muslims in the leadership of Hadrat Khalid bin Waleed (Radhi Allahu Anhu) to fight the tribes. In the Battle of Yamama these tribes got defeated. So, whoever reverts to infidelity after embracing Islam would be necessarily fought and killed by Muslims. Allah Almighty says:

« وَمَنْ يَرْتَدِدْ مِنْكُمْ عَنْ دِينِهِ فَيَمُتْ وَهُوَ كَافِرٌ فَأُوْلَئِكَ حَبِطَتْ أَعْمَالُهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ وَأُوْلَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ هُمْ فِيهَا خَالِدُونَ (217)» [البقرة: 217]

Translation of Meaning: “And whoso becometh a renegade and dieth in his disbelief: such are they whose works have fallen both in the world and the Hereafter. Such are rightful owners of the Fire: they will abide therein.” [Al-Baqarah:217]

The Prophet () said:

«مَنْ بَدَّلَ دِينَهُ فَاقْتُلُوهُ » [بخاري]

Translation: “He who changes his religion (i.e. apostates) kill him.” [Bukhari]

  1. Jihad against the rebels: The rebel is the group of Muslims who have revolted against the peaceful and just Muslim king; or one of the two groups of Muslims that has oppressed the other. In such a circumstance, it is necessary to fight the rebel group so that they can be stopped from spreading mischief. Allah Almighty says:

« وَإِنْ طَائِفَتَانِ مِنْ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُوا فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا فَإِنْ بَغَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الأُخْرَى فَقَاتِلُوا الَّتِي تَبْغِي حَتَّى تَفِيءَ إِلَى أَمْرِ اللَّهِ فَإِنْ فَاءَتْ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا بِالْعَدْلِ وَأَقْسِطُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ (9)» [الحجرات:9]

Translation of Meaning: “And if two parties of believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them. And if one party of them doeth wrong to the other, fight ye that which doeth wrong till it return unto the ordinance of Allah; then, if it return, make peace between them justly, and act equitably. Lo! Allah loveth the equitable.” [Al-Hujrat:9]

  1. Jihad against the people of the book: The Messenger of Allah () sent a letter to the Hercules of Rome which, as described in Bukhari, has in it:

«بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ، مِنْ مُحَمَّدٍ عَبْدِاللہِ  ورَسُولہِ، إِلَى هِرَقْلَ عَظِيمِ الرُّومِ، سَلاَمٌ عَلَى مَنِ اتَّبَعَ الْهُدَى، أَمَّا بَعْدُ، فَإِنِّي أَدْعُوكَ بِدِعَايَةِ الإِسْلاَمِ، أَسْلِمْ تَسْلَمْ، يُؤْتِكَ اللَّهُ أَجْرَكَ مَرَّتَيْنِ، فَإِنْ تَوَلَّيْتَ فَإِنَّ عَلَيْكَ إِثْمَ الأَرِيسِيِّينَ۔’’ قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ تَعَالَوْا إِلَى كَلِمَةٍ سَوَاءٍ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ أَلاَّ نَعْبُدَ إِلاَّ اللَّهَ وَلا نُشْرِكَ بِهِ شَيْئاً وَلا يَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُنَا بَعْضاً أَرْبَاباً مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَقُولُوا اشْهَدُوا بِأَنَّا مُسْلِمُونَ (64)» [آل عمران:64]

Translation of Meaning:   “In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. This letter is) from Muhammad, Apostle of Allah, to Heraclius, the sovereign of Byzantine…Peace be upon him who follows the Right Path. Now then, I call you to embrace Islam. Embrace Islam and you will be saved (from Allah’s Punishment); (embrace Islam) and Allah will give you a double reward, but if you reject this, you will be responsible for the sins of all the people of your kingdom. (Allah’s Statement): “Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to an agreement between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah. And if they turn away, then say:  Bear witness that we are they who have surrendered (unto Him). [Aal–Imran :64]

The king of Rome and his people deviated from the call of Allah’s Messenger (); the kingdom of Rome was put to an end by Muslims. And its end was very beneficial for the message of Islam and its spreading. Because the people of Rome hindered the way of Islamic call to reach people. So, it was necessary to fight them to remove this hindrance. If the message of Islam has reached people, they have an option to either embrace Islam or remain with their religion. There is no compulsion at all in Islam. Allah says:

« قَاتِلُوا الَّذِينَ لا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَلا بِالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَلا يُحَرِّمُونَ مَا حَرَّمَ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَلا يَدِينُونَ دِينَ الْحَقِّ مِنْ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ حَتَّى يُعْطُوا الْجِزْيَةَ عَنْ يَدٍ وَهُمْ صَاغِرُونَ (29)» [التوبة:29]

Translation of Meaning: “Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.” [At-Taubah:29]

Muslims come to war only after preaching and warning. If the people of the book enter Islam or they accept to pay jizyah, there will be no fight with them, and if they deny, war will be fought against them.

  1. Jihad against the hypocrites: Those who hide infidelity in their hearts and show off that they are believers, are called hypocrites. Such people have existed throughout the ages. A group of hypocrites lived with the Messenger of Allah () in Madinah. Allah Almighty revealed a complete chapter about them named ‘Al-Munafiqun’. He ordered Muslims to fight them.

« يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ جَاهِدْ الْكُفَّارَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ وَاغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَمَأْوَاهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ (73)» [التوبة:73]

Translation of Meaning: “O Prophet! Strive against the disbelievers and the hypocrites! Be harsh with them. Their ultimate abode is hell, a hapless journey’s end.” [At-Taubah:73]

But jihad against the hypocrites is different from jihad against other people. The jihad against them is through tongue. Jihad is fought against them by denying their actions and implementing prescribed punishments of Allah upon them.