Join the Caravan: Reasons For Jihad

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Join the Caravan
By: Imam Abdullah Azzam
Translator's Foreword
Preface To The First And The Second Edition
Reasons For Jihad
Oh Islam!
Clarifications About The Issue of Jihad Today

Praise be to Allah Whom we praise, and from Whom we seek help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil of our selves and from our bad deeds. Whomever Allah guides none can lead astray, and whomever He leaves to stray, none can guide him aright. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah alone, Who has no partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger.

Oh Allah! There is nothing easy except that which You make easy, and you make difficult things easy when You will.

Anybody who looks into the state of the Muslims today will find that their greatest misfortune is their abandonment of Jihad (due to love of this world and abhorrence of death) [Extracted by Abu Dawud, As-Saheehah 958]. Because of that, the tyrants have gained dominance over the Muslims in every aspect and in every land. The reason for this is that the Disbelievers only stand in awe of fighting.

"So fight in the Path of Allah- you will be held accountable only for yourself- and arouse the believers.Surely, Allah will subdue the might of the Disbelievers, and Allah is mightier in power and severer in exemplary punishment." [Quran 4:84]

We then are calling upon the Muslims and urging them to proceed to fight, for many reasons, at the head of which are the following:

1. In order that the Disbelievers do not dominate.

2. Due to the scarcity of men.

3. Fear of Hell-fire.

4. Fulfilling the duty of Jihad, and responding to the call of the Lord.

5. Following in the footsteps of the Pious Predecessors.

6. Establishing a solid foundation as a base for Islam.

7. Protecting those who are oppressed in the land.

8. Hoping for martyrdom.

9. A shield for the Ummah, and a means for lifting disgrace off them

10. Protecting the dignity of the Ummah, and repelling the conspiracy of its enemies

11. Preservation of the earth, and protection from corruption

12. Security of Islamic places of worship

13. Protection of the Ummah from punishment, disfiguration and displacement

14. Prosperity of the Ummah, and surplus of its resources

15. Jihad is the highest peak of Islam.

16. Jihad is the most excellent form of worship, and by means of it the Muslim can reach the highest of ranks.

1. In order that the Disbelievers do not dominate

For in the noble verse of the Qur'an, we find, (translated):

"And fight them until there is no Fitnah, and the way of life prescribed by Allah is established in its entirety. But even if they desist, Allah sees what they do." [Quran 8:39]

So, if the fighting stops, the Disbelievers dominate, and the Fitnah, which is shirk, spreads.

2. Scarcity of Men

The crisis of the Islamic world is the lack of men who are competent in bearing responsibility and meriting trust, as has been reported in Sahih Bukhari:

"People are like a hundred camels out of which you will not find a mount (rahilah)." [Sahih Bukhari]

This means that the ultimate in moderation regarding things of this world and in longing for the hereafter is as scarce as a rahilah. It has been narrated that `Umar Ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) told the cream of his companions,

and so each of them wished something, and then they said,
"Wish, oh Commander of the Believers!"
Umar then said,
"I wish that I could have this house full of people like Abu `Ubaydah."

(Abu Ubaydah was one about whom the Rasul (saws) said is the "trustworthy one" of the Ummah.)

The men who know are few, those who act are even fewer. Those who perform Jihad are rarer and scarcer, and those who remain steadfast on this path are hardly sufficient to be mentioned.

Many a time have I looked in on a gathering for Qur'anic recitation, comprising Arab youths who came to the Land of Honor and Glory (by which I mean the land of Afghanistan).

Power on the back of distinction does ride,
And distinction comes about through night journeys and vigilance.

I am saying, I have looked at the countenances of the youths, seeking one among them proficient in the rules of recitation so that I could put him in charge of the group, but I did not find a single such one. Thereupon I could well say, "How our people have served us!" which are the very words that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said when seven youths of Ansar were killed in front of him on the Day of Uhud. We are saying that our learned brethren and mature propagators have not come to us. On the contrary, some of them advise those who come forward to sit complacently in their own countries, even if they could not say a word against the injustice of the oppressors and the tyranny of the occupiers. And some of them give verdicts without knowledge, saying, "The Afghans are in need of money and not in need of men". As for me, through the course of my day-to-day life for this Jihad, I have found that the Afghans are in severe need of money. But their need for men is more severe, and the necessity of propagators is greater. I reaffirm this while living my eighth year amongst the Mujahideen.

If you have any doubt about what I am saying, then come with us. We will pass through Afghanistan so that you can see for yourself an entire regiment in which not a single person among them who is proficient in the recitation of the Qur'an. Then move on with me to another regiment so that you can be convinced that there is nobody in it who knows how to perform the funeral prayer, on account of which they are forced to carry their martyr long distances in order to find somebody to pray over his body.

As for the juristic details of Jihad, such as distribution of booty and treatment of prisoners of war, these matters have arisen in many regiments. Due to ignorance about them, however, they were forced to pass them on to an area in which there was a scholar or scholars who could give their decisions according to the Islamic law. You will become aware, on account of the profound signs left by the Arab youths of modest education (possibly even not surpassing secondary school), of the severe need for propagators, Imams, reciters of the Qur'an and religious scholars. We mention, by way of example, and by no means exhaustive at that, the brothers, Abdullah Anas, Abu Dajanah, Abu `Asim, Tahir; there are many others besides them. If I were to tell you about Abu Shu`ayb, the illiterate Arab, and the meaningful impressions he left behind in the entire province of Baghlun, you would stand speechless and astonished, dumbfounded and in unceasing wonder.

We still have hope for the brothers who have not been able to escape from the cage of communal practice, and who have not shaken off the accumulations of custom; those who have not cast off from their shoulders the traditions of defeated generations due to pressure of profound reality and before the evil, scheming onslaught of the Orientalists. I am telling these brothers that if they have not come out to us themselves, then at least those, whose souls are fluttering over the land of jihad should pray that they reach it with their bodies.

We told one of the staff of Ahmad Shah Mas`ud - the most brilliant commander in Afghanistan, without dispute - :

"Tell us about Abu `Asim, the reciter of the Qur'an, who was martyred amongst you in Andar."

He said,

"I have not seen anybody comparable to him in dignity, disposition and sedate, tranquil conduct. Because of this, none of us used to speak in his presence, nor stretch out our feet, let alone joke or laugh."

What, then, will you say, brother, if I inform you that Abu `Asim only had a secondary school education, and was not more than twenty-three years old, but that he memorised the Qur'an?

So, now has come the time of true men, and this is a place not for words but for action.

Forget about the plundered vaults,
Tell me instead about the mounts.

This verse is by Umr al-Qays, and it means: Stop talking about the vaults whose contents have been plundered, and tell me instead about the herd of strong camels on which our life depends. This is a metaphor told to somebody who talks about insignificant things while abjuring significant matters.

Surely, weighty matters and grave, painful disasters have befallen the Muslims. So stop talking about food and styles of speech, and instead, tell me about this important matter and what the Muslims have prepared for it.

Matters which, were they to be contemplated by a child,
The child's appearance would become that of one aged.

3. Fear of the Fire

Allah, the Mighty, the Majestic, says (translated):

"Unless you go forth, He will punish you with a severe punishment, and will replace you with another people, and you will not harm Him at all. And Allah has power over all things." [Quran 9:39]

Ibn al-`Arabi said,

"The severe punishment in this world is through the occupation of the enemy, and in the Hereafter by fire." [Tafseer Al-Qurtubi 8/142]

Qurtubi said,

"It has been said that what is meant by this verse is that going out (for Jihad) is compulsory in times of need, of advent of the Disbelievers, and of severe furor of fighting."

Allah, the Mighty, the Majestic, says, (translated):

"Those whose souls the angels take while they are wronging themselves - (the angels) say to them, 'What was the matter with you?' They reply, 'We were weak and oppressed in the land.' (The angels) say, 'Was not Allah's earth spacious enough that you could emigrate therein?'

Then, the abode of those people shall be Hell - how evil a destination! Except for such weak and oppressed men, women and children who were neither able to come up with a stratagem (to emigrate) nor shown any way (to do so) - those Allah will surely pardon, and Allah is Most Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving." [Quran 4:97-99]

Bukhari has narrated, through his sound chain of narration, that `Ikrimah said,

"Ibn `Abbas informed me that people from among the Muslims were with the pagans, swelling their numbers, during the time of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). Arrows which were shot would come and hit some of them, killing them, and then Allah revealed (the verses meaning), "Those whose souls the angels take while they are wronging themselves..." [Tafseer Al-Qurtubi 8/142]

Thus, the believers in Mecca who were clutching on to their religion and had not emigrated went out on the day of Badr out of shame and fear of the Disbelievers, so that the ranks of the Disbelievers were swelled. Then some of these Muslims were killed, and according to Bukhari's narration, they deserve Hell.

What then do you think about the millions of Muslims who are being humiliated with dreadful persecution, and are living the lives of cattle? They cannot repel attacks on their honor, lives and properties. Nay, such a man cannot even have his own way in growing his beard because it is an obvious sign of Islam.

Nor, in fact, is he free to have his wife wear the long garments required by Islam because it is a crime for which he may be seized anywhere and at any time. Nor can he teach the Qur'an to three Muslim youths in the mosque because it is an illegal gathering according to the law of the ignorant. Nay, in some of the countries which are called Islamic, he cannot even have his wife cover her hair, nor can he prevent the intelligence officers from taking his daughter by the hand in the deep of night, under the cover of pitch-darkness, to wherever they wish. Can he refuse a command issued by the evil authorities in which he provides a cheap sacrifice on the altar of the whims of this tyrant?

Are these millions not living lives of despicable subjugation, and do the angels not take their souls while they are wronging themselves? What then will be their reply when the angels ask them,

"What was the matter with you?"

Will they not say,

"We were weak and oppressed in the land"?

Weakness is not an excuse before the Lord of the Worlds. In fact, it is a crime making the one committing it deserving of Hell. But Allah has excused those of advanced years; the small children; and the women who neither find any scheme for liberation, nor know the path to the Land of Honor, nor are able to emigrate to the land of Islam or to arrive at the base for Jihad.

I shall turn my face away from a land which has
Made tongue ineffective and locked up my heart,
A man's clear resolution and common sense
Dictate that he turn away from the sun's glare.

Jihad and emigration to Jihad have a deep-rooted role which cannot be separated from the constitution of this religion. A religion, which does not have Jihad, cannot become established in any land, nor can it strengthen its frame. The steadfast Jihad, which is one of the innermost constituents of this religion and which has its weight in the scales of the Lord of the Worlds, is not a contingent phenomenon peculiar to the period in which the Qur'an was revealed; it is in fact a necessity accompanying the caravan which this religion guides.

Sayyid Qutb says, interpreting this verse,

"If Jihad had been a transitory phenomenon in the life of the Muslim Ummah, all these sections of the Qur'anic text would not be flooded with this type of verse! Likewise, so much of the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), would not be occupied with such matters.

If Jihad were a passing phenomenon of Islam, the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) would not have said the following words to every Muslim until the Day of Judgement,

"Whoever dies neither having fought (in Jihad), nor having made up his mind to do so, dies on a branch of hypocrisy." [Muslim, on the authority of Abu Hurayrah]

Allah, the Flawless, knows that this is a thing that kings hate! And He knows that the associates of the ruler will inevitably resist it because it is a way other than theirs. It is a manner different from their own, not only for a fixed duration, but today and tomorrow and in every land and in every era!

Allah, the Flawless, knows that Evil is a braggart and that it is not possible for it to become fair. Nor will it to allow Good to rise in whatever safe, well-established ways that the latter follows, because the very growth of Good is a risk to Evil. The very existence of truth is a danger to falsehood. And, no doubt, Evil will turn to hostility; and certainly, Falsehood will defend itself by attempting to kill the truth and suppress it by force. This is a natural disposition, not a temporal matter! It is nature, and not a transient condition.

Hence, certainly there must be Jihad…assuredly in every form...unquestionably it should begin in the realm of ideas, and then appear in and pervade the world of truth, reality and experience...Undoubtedly, armed Evil must be taken on by armed Good...Falsehood strengthened by numbers must be confronted by Truth garbed with preparation...otherwise it would be suicide, or jest not befitting Muslims." [Fi Dhilaal-il-Quran 2/742]

I blame not the invader when he uses force or prepares,
For his way is to seize, and our concern must be to prepare.

4. Responding to the Call of the Lord

Allah, Most High, says, (translated):

"Go forth, light and heavy, and strive with your wealth and selves in the Path of Allah; that is better for you, if only you knew." [Quran 9:41]

Qurtubi has quoted ten different reports for the interpretation of "light" and "heavy":

1. Narrated from Ibn `Abbas: youthful and mature.

2. Narrated from Ibn `Abbas and Qatadah: eager and uneager.

3. Light: rich, and heavy: poor. Reported by Mujahid.

4. Light: youthful, and heavy: old. Reported by Hasan Basri.

5. Busy and unoccupied. Reported by Zayd Ibn Ali and al-Hakam Ibn `Utaybah.

6. Heavy is the one with family, and light is the one with no family. Reported by Zayd Ibn Aslam.

7. Heavy is the one with some work, which he dislikes abandoning, and light is the one without any work. Reported by Ibn Zayd.

8. Light: infantry, and heavy: cavalry. Reported by al-Awza`i.

9. Light are the ones who rush to the war like the vanguard (the foremost rank of the army).

10. Light: brave, and heavy: cowardly. Reported by al-Naqqash.

The correct interpretation, in our understanding, is that people have been ordered as a whole. That is, "Go forth, whether the activity is light for you or heavy." It has been narrated that Ibn Umm Maktum [the blind man] came to the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), and asked him, "Do I have to do battle?"

The Prophet said, "Yes," until Allah Most High revealed the verse meaning, "There is no blame on the blind."

These reports are only to illustrate "light" and "heavy", and a sensible person does not doubt that the conditions in which we are living, in Afghanistan and Palestine - nay in the major part of the Islamic world - fall under the jurisdiction of this verse.

There is agreement among mufassirin, muhaddithin, jurists and scholars of usul (religious principles) that when the enemy enters an Islamic land or a land that was once part of the Islamic lands, it is obligatory on the inhabitants of that place to go forth to face the enemy.

But if they sit back, or are incapable, lazy, or insufficient in number, the individual obligation (fard `ayn) spreads to those around them. Then if they also fall short or sit back, it goes to those around them; and so on and so on, until the individually obligatory (fard `ayn) nature of jihad encompasses the whole world. At that time, nobody can abandon it, just like salah and fasting, to the extent that the son may go out without the permission of his father, the debtor without the permission of the one he owes, the woman without the permission of her husband, and the slave without the permission of his master. The individually obligatory nature of jihad remains in effect until the lands are purified from the pollution of the Disbelievers. However, a woman going out on a journey must have a mahram.

I have not found, in my modest experience, any book of fiqh, tafsir or Hadith, which does not document this condition. None of the Predecessors have said that this condition is one in which jihad is Fard kifayah, nor have they said that the permission of parents is necessary. The sin is not lifted off the necks of the Muslims as long as any area of land (which was once Muslim) remains in the hands of the Disbelievers, and none are saved from the sin except those who perform jihad.

So, everyone not performing jihad today is forsaking a duty, just like the one who eats during the days of Ramadhan without excuse, or the rich person who withholds the Zakat from his wealth. Nay, the state of the person who abandons jihad is more severe.

As Ibn Taymiyyah says,

"As for the occupying enemy who is spoiling the religion and the world, there is nothing more compulsory after faith (iman) than repelling him." [Fatawa Al-Kubra 4/520]

And the clear truth which cannot be escaped is contained in the words of Abu Talhah when he recited (the words meaning),

'"Go forth, light and heavy,"'

He said,

"Young and old, Allah has not accepted the excuse of anyone."

Then he said,

"O son! Prepare me (for jihad), prepare me!"

His son said,

"May Allah have mercy on you! You did battle along with the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) until he died, and together with Abu Bakr until he died, and the same alongside Umar until he died, so now we will do battle on your behalf."

But Abu Talhah said, "No, prepare me."

So he went out for jihad, and died at sea, and they did not find an island on which they could bury him until seven days later, at which time they buried him there. His corpse had not decomposed, may Allah be pleased with him.

Qurtubi says,

"When jihad becomes individually obligatory because of the domination of the enemy over a piece of land, or by their occupation of a part of the Islamic heartland, then at that stage, it is obligatory on all the inhabitants of that land to go forth. They must go out light and heavy, young and old, each according to his/her capability; those with fathers without their fathers' permission, and also those without fathers.

None should linger behind from going out either to fight or to increase numbers, even if the inhabitants of that area are weak, until they know that they have amongst them the capability to withstand the enemy and repel them.

In the same way, it is also compulsory for everybody who knows of their weakness against the enemy, and knows that he could join them and help, to go out, for the Muslims are all a single hand against the enemy. This is the status of jihad until the inhabitants of the area have managed to repel the enemy that descended upon the land and occupied it, at which point the obligation is waived from the others." [Tafseer Al-Qurtubi 7/151]

If the enemy comes close to the Land of Islam (darul-Islam) without actually entering it, it is also necessary that the people should go out towards them until the religion of Allah prevails, the territory is protected, its heartland is safeguarded, and the enemy is subdued. There is no disagreement regarding any of this.

How beautiful are the verses of the poetic genius al-Ja`di in addressing his wife who wishes that he would sit with his family:

She spent the night sitting, reminding me of Allah
While tears abundantly down their channels did run.
Dear woman! The Book of Allah has taken me forth,
Averse. Shall I then forbid Allah from what He has done?
If I return, then the Lord of Creation shall have returned me;
If I meet my Lord then in my place marry another man.
I was not lame nor blind that He should excuse me,
Nor weak from any illness causing incapacitation.

5. Following the Pious Predecessors

Jihad was a way of life for the Pious Predecessors, and the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was a master of the Mujahideen and a model for fortunate, inexperienced people.

When there was fierce fighting, they used to stand resolutely by the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) lest he be closest to the enemy.

The total number of military excursions which he (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) accompanied was twenty-seven. He himself fought in nine of these; namely Badr, Uhud, al-Muraysi`, The Trench, Qurayzah, Khaybar, The Triumph of Makkah, Hunayn and Ta'if. (This is according to those who consider that Makkah was conquered by force.)

He sent out a total of forty- seven attachments. It has also been said that he participated in the fight against Banu Nadir. This means that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to go out on military expeditions or send out an army at least every two months.

The virtuous Companions continued upon the path of the Noble Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), for the Glorious Qur'an had brought up this generation with an education of Jihad. They had been bathed in Jihad and cleansed of engrossment in worldly matters, just as a wound is bathed in water.

It has been narrated that Aslam Abu `Imran said,

"In Constantinople, a man of the Emigrants (muhajirin) attacked the enemy ranks until he had penetrated them. Abu Ayyub al-Ansari was with us. Some people said, 'He has contributed to his destruction with his own hands.'
Upon this, Abu Ayyub said,
"We are more knowledgeable about this verse, for it was revealed in our midst. We accompanied the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace), and we witnessed events with him and assisted him. Then, when Islam had spread and prevailed, a group of us Ansar, brought together by our mutual bonds of love, gathered one day and said, 'Allah has honored us with the companionship of His Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) until Islam has spread and its adherents have become many. We used to prefer him over our families, possessions and children, but now the war is over, so we will return to our wives and children and remain with them.' Then the verse was revealed, (translated): "And spend in the Path of Allah, and do not contribute to your destruction with your own hands." So, the destruction lay in remaining with one's family and wealth and abandoning Jihad."
[Al-Haakim in Al-Mustadrak 2/275 declared it Saheeh and Dhahabi agreed]

`Ikrimah has narrated about Dumrah Ibn `Ays, who was one of the weak and oppressed Muslims in Makkah and was sick, that when he heard what Allah revealed about hijrah he said, 'Take me out!' So a stretcher was brought for him and he was put on it and was taken out. He died on the way at Tan`im, 2 km from Makkah." [Tafseer Al-Qurtubi 5/349]

Tabari has reported that Miqdad Ibn al-Aswad was seen at a money- changer's table in Emesa. He was leaning on the table due to his corpulence, and somebody said,

"Allah has excused you!"
Whereupon he said,
"The surah of dispatchment has come to us, 'Go forth, heavy and light.'"

Al-Zuhri said,

"Sa`id Ibn al-Musayyib went out for Jihad when he was blind in one eye, and somebody told him, 'You are an invalid' but he said,
'Allah has called forth the light and the heavy. If I cannot fight, I will increase our numbers and guard possessions.'"

It has been narrated that somebody saw, in the battles of the Levant, a man whose eyelids were sagging over his eyes on account of old age, and so he told him,

"Uncle, Allah has excused you."
But the man said,
"Nephew, we have been ordered to go forth light and heavy." [Tafseer Al-Qurtubi 8/151]

Then, there is Ibrahim Ibn Adham, who when he perceived that he was dying, said, "String my bow for me." He died while it was in his hand, and he was buried on a Roman island [Tareekh Dimashq, Ibn Asakir 2/1790]. And Abdullah Ibn al-Mubaarak, who used to traverse two thousand six hundred kilometres travelling or riding his beast, in order to fight in the Path of Allah in the seaports of the Muslims. Zuhayr Ibn Qumayr al-Maruzi said, "I have been wishing for meat for forty years, and I will not eat it until I enter Rome, and then I will eat it out of the booty of Rome." [Tarteeb Al-Madarik, Al-Qadi Ayyadh 3/249] `Urwah Ibn al-Ja`d, the Judge of Kufah, used to have in his house seventy horses appointed for Jihad. [Tahzeeb-ul-Asma' wal-Lalghat 1/331]

Muhammad Ibn Wasi` was a devout worshipper and a muhaddith, and also participated in military expeditions and in guarding the front-line. Commander Qutaybah Ibn Muslim al-Bahili said of him,

"That the finger of Muhammad Ibn Wasi` points to the sky in battle is more beloved to me than one hundred thousand renowned swords and strong youths." [Al-Mashuq fil-Jihad p.66] Muhammad Ibn Ishaq al-Sulami says, "I know with certainty that I have killed one thousand Turks with this sword of mine. Were it not an innovation, I would order that it be buried with me." [Tahzeeb-ul-Tahzeeb, Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani 1/14]

Then there is Abu Abdullah Ibn Qadus. He acquired such a reputation on account of the large number of Christians he killed in Spain that when a Christian used to try to make his own horse drink, and it would not advance to the water, he used to say to it, "What's the matter with you? Did you see Ibn Qadus in the water?" [Al-Mashuq fil-Jihad p.77] Badr Ibn `Ammar killed a lion with his whip, and thus he was praised by al-Mutanabbi in the following couplet:

Does he sully the lion with his whip?
For whom then are you saving the burnished sword?

There is also `Umar al-Mukhtar, of whom Girasiyani, the Italian commander, says, "He plunged into 263 battles with our forces over twenty months. His total battles numbered one thousand."

And then there is Shaykh Muhammad Farghali. The English in al- Isma`iliyyah used to declare a state of emergency in their camps when Farghali entered the city, and they offered fifty thousand pounds to anybody for him, dead or alive.

Yusuf Tal`at used to be called "Butcher of the English" on account of the large numbers of them that he killed in the Suez Canal. Abdel-Nasser executed both of them to please his American masters.

Muhammad Bana, one of the general staff of Ahmad Shah Mas`ud, told me that he and his company have blown up 400 transport vehicles while passing by Salang. The Russians call him "The General". He captured 200 Kalakovs and 200 Kalashnikovs, and Muhammad Bana has told me that he once destroyed 150 tanks all together.

6. Establishing a solid foundation as a base for Islam

Establishment of the Muslim community on an area of land is a necessity, as vital as water and air. This homeland will not come about without an organised Islamic movement which perseveres consciously and realistically upon Jihad, and which regards fighting as a decisive factor and as a protective wrapping.

The Islamic movement will not be able to establish the Islamic community except through a common, people's Jihad which has the Islamic movement as its beating heart and deliberating mind.

It will be like the small spark which ignites a large keg of explosives, for the Islamic movement brings about an eruption of the hidden capabilities of the Ummah, and a gushing forth of the springs of Good stored up in its depth. The Companions of the Prophet were exceedingly few in number compared to the troops who toppled the throne of the Persian Kisra and overthrew the Caesar of Rome.

Nay, the tribes which reneged from Islam in the days of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq were dispatched by `Umar Ibn al-Khattab, after they had announced their repentance, to fight against the Persians. Talhah Ibn Khuwaylid al-Asadi, who had laid claim to prophethood before, became one of the most outstanding and revered heroes. Sa`d chose him for the important task of reconnoitring for information about the Persians, in which he showed outstanding courage.

There are the handful of officers, some of whom may think that it is possible for them to carry out a collective Muslim effort - this is a kind of fantasy or delusion reminiscent of the past. It will be no more than a repetition of the tragedy of Abdel Nasser with the Islamic Movement once again.

The popular Jihad movement with its long path of effort, great sacrifice and serious losses, purifies souls so that they tower above the lower material world. Important matters rise above petty disputes about money, short-term desires and inferior provisions. Malice disappears and souls are sharpened; and the caravan moves on up from the foot of the mountain to the lofty summit, far away from the stench of clay and the struggles of the low ground. Along the path of Jihad, the leadership is categorized. Abilities become manifest from the offerings and sacrifices, and men come forth with bravery and service.

Do not think glory to be a wine-skin and songstress,
For glory can come only through war and severe fighting.

When important matters are the only concern, souls are uplifted above minor issues, and important things occupy people's hearts and hopes.

When you embark on an honorable venture,
Be not content with aiming below the stars.
For the taste of death in a paltry matter
Is like the taste of death in a significant matter.
The cowards will see cowardice as reason,
And that is the treachery of the depraved disposition.

The nature of societies is precisely that of water. In stagnant water, water moss and decayed matter float on the surface, whereas flowing water will not carry scum on its surface. Similarly, the leadership of a stagnant society cannot fulfil its responsibility because leadership emerges only through movement, sacrifice, service and offering. Abu Bakr, `Umar, `Uthman and `Ali emerged as outstanding individuals through great feats and excessive sacrifices.

Thus Abu Bakr was not in need of election propaganda when the Ummah reached a consensus to elect him. No sooner did the soul of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) ascend to meet his Lord than were all eyes turned to the open position; and they found none better than Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him).

The Ummah, which performs Jihad, pays a high price, and so it harvests ripe fruits. It is not easy to lose something that was won through sweat and blood. Those who sit at the helm of leadership of people by the power of the first announcement of a military revolution accomplished behind the scenes in one of the offices of mediation can easily lose everything.

Whoever seized a land without fighting,
It is easy for him to give it up.

The Ummah of Jihad, which is led by extraordinary people who emerged through the long Jihad movement, will not easily lose command, nor serve as easy prey for collapse. It is also not easy for its enemies to make it have suspicions about its heroes' excursions. The Jihad movement familiarizes the Ummah with all its individuals, informing them that they have contributed to the price paid, and have participated in the sacrifice for the establishment of the Islamic community. Thus they will be trustworthy custodians of this newborn community which has relieved the whole Ummah from the agony of its labor-pains. Without a doubt, the Islamic community will be born, but birth cannot be accomplished without labor, and with labor there must be pain.

7. Protecting the oppressed in the land

Among the incentives for the Islamic Jihad is the protection of those who are weak and oppressed in the land, and lifting injustice off them.

"What is the matter with you, that you do not fight in the Path of Allah, and (in the path of) the weak and oppressed from among the men, women and children who are saying, 'Oh our Lord! Take us out of this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from You a supporter, and give us from You a helper!" [Quran 4:75-76]

How can there be relaxation, and how can the Muslim be calm,

When the Muslim women are with the oppressing enemy?

The Islamic jurists are in consensus that Jihad becomes fard 'ayn, an individual obligation, both physically and by material support, when a Muslim woman is abused. In al-Bazzaziyyah, it is reported,

"If a Muslim woman is abused in the West, it becomes obligatory on the people of the East to rescue her."

I wish that, even if they will not protect the religion,
At least, they would fight defending the women's honor.
Even if they are not interested in Jihad's reward,
They could, at least, come and fight to win booty.

Once I was with Hikmatyar in Logar (a province of Afghanistan), when he struck a serious blow to the communist headquarters of the province. The children of the province shouted, and the tongues of the women were full of prayers for Hikmatyar.

What! Muslim women are abused in every land?
Shall the lives of Muslims then be good?
Does Allah and Islam not have the right
That every youth and aged one for it should fight?

Islam came to affirm justice on earth,

"We surely sent Our Messengers with clear proofs, and We revealed with them the Book and the Balance, that Mankind might establish justice." [Quran 57:25]

8. Hoping for Martyrdom and the High Station in Heaven

It has been reported in the authentic hadith narrated by Imam Ahmad and Tirmidhi, on the authority of Miqdam Ibn Ma`d, that "The martyr has seven special favours from Allah:

-He is forgiven with the first spurt of his blood,
-He sees his place in Heaven,
-He is clothed with the garment of Faith,
-He is wed with seventy-two wives from the beautiful Houris of Heaven,
-He is saved from the punishment of the grave, and he is protected from the Great Terror on Qiyamah
-On his head is placed a crown of dignity, the jewel of which is better than the world and all it contains.
-He is granted intercession for seventy people of his household.
[Saheeh Al-Jaami' No. 5058]

Bukhari has reported that Abu Hurayrah said,

"In Heaven there are one hundred levels which Allah has prepared for those who strive in His Path (the Mujahideen), the difference between two levels is like the difference between heaven and earth, so when you ask Allah, ask for Firdaws" [Fath-ul-Bari, Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani 6/9; Al-Bukhari]

9. A shield for the Ummah, and a means for lifting disgrace off them

An authentic hadith reported by Imam Ahmad, on the marfu` authority of Ibn `Umar, states,

"When people are stingy with dinars and dirhams, and trade in round-about ways with usury, and follow the tails of cows, Allah will establish over them a disgrace which He will not remove until they return to their religion." [Saheeh Al-Jaami' No. 688]

10. Protecting the dignity of the Ummah, and repelling the conspiracy of its enemies

"Fight, therefore, in the Path of Allah - you will be held accountable only for yourself - and arouse the believers. Surely, Allah will subdue the might of the Disbelievers. And Allah is stronger in power, and sterner in exemplary punishment." [Quran 4:84]

In an authentic hadith narrated by Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud, on the authority of Thawban, we're told:

"A time will come when the nations (of the world) will surround you from every side, just as diners gather around the main dish.
Somebody asked,
'Oh Messenger of Allah, will it be on account of our scarcity at that time?'
He said,
'No, but you will be scum, like the scum of flood water. Feebleness will be placed in your hearts, and fear will be removed from the hearts of your enemies, on account of your love for the world, and your abhorrence of death.'"
[Saheeh al-Jaami' No. 8035]

11. Preservation of the earth, and protection from corruption

"Had it not been for Allah's countering some people by means of others, the earth would surely have become decadent." [Quran 2:251]

12. Security of Islamic places of worship

"Had it not been for Allah's countering some people by means of others, surely cloisters, churches, synagogues and mosques, in which the name of Allah is remembered much, would have been destroyed." [Quran 22:40]

13. Protection of the Ummah from punishment, disfiguration and displacement

"Unless you go forth, He will punish you with a severe retribution, and will replace you with another people" [Quran 9:39]

14. Prosperity of the Ummah, and surplus of its resources

"My sustenance has been put under the shadow of my spear." [Saheeh Al-Jaami' No. 2828]

This is an authentic hadith, reported by Imam Ahmad, on the authority of Ibn `Umar.

15. Jihad is the highest peak of Islam

"The highest peak of it is Jihad," we find in authentic hadith reported on the authority of Mu`adh.

Jihad is also the asceticism of this Ummah: "And you should perform Jihad, for it is the asceticism of this Ummah." [Saheeh Ahmad 3/82]

16. Jihad is the most excellent form of worship, and by means of it the Muslim can reach the highest of ranks

Al-Fadl Ibn Ziyad said,

"I heard Abu `Abdullah Ahmad Ibn Hanbal while he was talking about the enemy, and he began crying, saying there is no deed of righteousness better than fighting them."

It was reported about him by others, that he said,

"Nothing matches encountering the enemy, and face-to-face combat is the most excellent of deeds. Those who fight the enemy are the ones who protect Islam and its holy places, and what deed could be superior to that? People are safe while they are in fear, and they have contributed the their very lifeblood." [Al-Mughni 8/348-349]

In Bukhari appears the following hadith:

"In Heaven there are a hundred levels which Allah has prepared for those who perform Jihad in the Path of Allah; the difference between every (successive) pair of these is like the difference between heaven and earth." [Saheeh Al-Bukhari 6/9]

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