Salafi Shaikh Fawzaan on Jihad in our times and the guidelines of Jihad according to Islam

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The eminent scholar of the age, Shaikh, Dr. Saalih al-Fawzaan (may Allaah preserve him) stated:

“The people in this time as it relates to Jihaad are at two extremes of the spectrum and there are those in the middle balanced path. So there those [extremists] who obligate Jihaad in any and every situation without applying any pre-conditions, and they do so even if the Muslims are weak and powerless, and even if they do not have a Ruler over them.

So each one fights the “enemy” and engages in battle skirmishes without a legitimate rulership, and they kill the non-Muslims whom it is not permissible to kill. They kill those who have a treaty [with the Muslim regimes] or are under a covenant of protection. So this is extremism in the affair of Jihaad.

Indeed they go even further by blowing up homes, apartment buildings and built-up areas of a town or city – they kill believers and unbelievers, young and old, males and females. They put terror and fear into the Muslims and non-Muslims who live amongst them, as well as terrifying those under the protection of the Muslim governments from the non-Muslims and the people who have covenants. Then they call that Jihaad! Rather that is Fasaad (corruption) and not Jihaad.

That is because they draw the Muslims into evil, destruction and ruination.

Then there are those on the other extreme who say: There is no such thing in Islaam as fighting or Jihaad. Islaam is a just a religion of love, and clemency [regardless of the situation]. These people wish to nullify Jihaad, and they say, “Jihaad disfigures Islaam.”

Then there are those upon the middle-path, and they are the People of Truth – those who hold the obligation of Jihaad in Islaam when the necessary conditions are met and the obstacles for its establishment are removed. They hold it to be an obligation [in certain situations] and that it is the upper most part of Islaam, and that the religion is not established except with Jihaad in the cause of Allaah – and a people never left off Jihaad except that they were made lowly. However Jihaad has pre-conditions, and governing principles that are made clear in the books of Tafseer (Quranic Commentary), the books of Hadeeth (Prophetic Tradition) and in the books of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence).”

End of the words of Shaikh al-Fawzaan. [1]

Important Considerations Concerning Jihaad and Fighting:

The Scholars of Salafiyyah and Sunnah have stated that amongst the important principles and guidelines of Jihaad and engagement with the enemy are the following:

1. That the Muslims have a ruler of a state who is apparent, and in charge of the apparatus of government and one enrols into his army, and fights under his banner, under his orders and instructions, so long as his orders do not contradict Islaam – and the people fight under his banner whether he be righteous or sinful.

2. That war is declared by the rulers of states, not individual citizens or insurgents and militias, or preachers from the pulpits. These independent declarations of Jihaad and warfare carry no weight whatsoever in Islaam. Jihaad is fought behind a legitimate ruler, as a part of his recruited army in an openly declared war.

3. That the Muslim army (under a legitimate leadership) must have the ability and the necessary strength to fight, or to repel an attack if they are defending their land. If it does not have the ability, then it does not engage the enemy in battle. In such a situation, the Muslims are permitted to retreat and initiate peace treaties.

4. Non-combatants are not killed or harmed in conflicts and battles. This includes all non-combatants such as women, children, monks, emissaries, teachers, nurses, doctors, aid workers and others. The modern-day “jihadist-extremist” mantra that anyone who votes in elections is a target for attack is sheer falsehood.

5. It is permitted for the Muslim governments to make peace treaties with their enemies for the general benefit of their populations. The subjects are bound by the peace treaties of their rulers. And this is regardless of whether the rulers over the Muslims are pious or oppressive. It is not permitted to harm those under a pact of protection and those with whom the Muslim led governments have treaties. Individual Muslims and citizens cannot violate those pacts and agreements.

6. It is not permitted to fight against the ruler in the Muslim land if he apostates [and becomes an unbeliever] unless and until the situation is referred to the senior Scholars [of Salafiyyah] who will use their deep insight in Islaam to establish the following:

  • a) whether that ruler has in fact exited the fold Islaam based upon clear cut Quranic and Prophetic evidences and not mere supposition,
  • b) establish and make clear the act or statement that clearly and without doubt, exits one from Islaam,
  • c) whether that particular ruler has the excuse of ignorance that prevents the ruling of apostasy being applied upon him,
  • d) if the ruler was ignorant of his act or statements of disbelief, then he is advised and corrected by the people of knowledge,
  • e) whether there are any barriers that prevent the declaration of unbelief (takfeer) such as ignorance, compulsion, etc,
  • f) that if indeed the ruler has apostated, then can he be removed without the act of removing him leading to a greater evil?
  • g) if removing the non-Muslim ruler who rules over a Muslim land will lead to greater turmoil and bloodshed, then it is not permitted to remove him at all,

7. Jihaad is performed for Allaah alone, to raise high His word, sincerely and truthfully seeking his pleasure based upon clear textual guidelines. One does not fight for personal gains, or for tribal authority in the land, or for wealth, or for his political party, or nationalist causes, or to merely see the blood of others spilt (whether Muslim or non-Muslim), or to rape and pillage, or for repute, fame and adventure.

Based upon the above brief discussion, it should be clear what is taking place in parts of the Muslim world, in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, as well minor insurgencies, terrorist attacks and suicides bombings in the name of Islaam across the world, whether in the East or the West, is strictly forbidden in Islaam.

Islaam and Salafiyyah demands that the Muslims deal justly with the people:

Allaah stated:

“Allaah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who did not fight against you on account of Religion, and they did not drive you out of your homes. Indeed Allaah loves those who deal with equity. It is only as regards to those who fought against you on account of the Religion, and have driven you out of your homes, and have helped to drive you out, that Allaah forbids you to befriend them [due to their oppression]. And whoever befriends them, then they are the wrong-doers. Qur’aan: Al-Mumtahanah 8-9.

So the Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) taught the Companions that which was revealed to him from His Lord, the Most High, and they acted in accordance to that. The Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) would engage the enemy in battle, but he would always maintain justice. He would sometimes make treaties with the most harsh and severest of enemies hoping that some good would come out of it. Read here.

So this is Jihaad, and these are its intents as far as Islaam teaches. The Islamic religion is not, as is asserted by some, a blood-thirsty religion, nor does Islaam desire fighting for the sake of fighting. So the reader should begin to understand from this short article the complete contradiction to Islaam that is found in the actions and behaviour of those “Jihadist” factions that are fighting and killing each other in Syria, Iraq and other places. Read here the Salafi response to the fighting in Syria and Iraq.


[1] Taken from: Idaahul-‘Ibaraat fee Sharhi Akhsaril-Mukhtasaraat, vol. 2, p. 213.

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