Jihad, Qital, Harb, War and Violence in the Hadith
He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed God (Q. 4:80)It is believed that by following Muhammad's example as expressed in the authentic Hadith literature they have the same guidance as the early umma had while the prophet was alive. Being faithful to that example means being a true Muslim, obeying Allah and earning Paradise. The ahadith, therefore, though not having the same importance as the words of God (the Qur'an), are nonetheless foundational, indispensable and are to be followed by all true Muslims. The Hadith literature interprets and explains the Qur'an and shows the believer how to implement the guidance of the Qur'an in daily living.
You have an excellent model in the Messenger of Allah, for all who put their hope in Allah and the Last Day and remember Allah much. (Q. 33:21)
The following extracts regarding jihad of the sword are taken from canonical, authenticated Hadith collections, the most authentic collection of all, Al-Bukhari.
Allah's Apostle said, "I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.' And if they say so, pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us and we will not interfere with them except legally and their reckoning will be with Allah.2This text quite clearly expresses the prophet's thoughts on the relation between fighting and conversion. It is interesting to note that Muhammad fights unbelievers in obedience to an order received. That order and that authority, it is maintained, comes from God. Fighting therefore becomes a divine commandment, part of the guidance that Allah provides for the ummah, part of that straight path that leads to salvation, according to the first sura of the Qur'an: "Guide us to the straight path" (Q. 1:6). According to this hadith fighting or armed jihad has to continue until people accept the Islamic faith, worship Allah, pray as Muslims pray in the direction of the Kab'a in Mecca ("our Qibla"), and kill as Muslims kill. Only then will the conversion of believers be accepted and peace prevail. It is interesting to note that when Islam (not necessarily individual Muslims) speaks of peace this is what is meant, after true conversion has taken place. 3 This hadith runs counter to the qur'anic verse of the Meccan phase frequently heard "let there be no compulsion in religion" (Q. 2:256). 4 These words of Muhammad, reported in the Al Bukhari Hadith collection, testify to the regressive process of the doctrine and practice of jihad already mentioned, that is from the apparently 5 tolerant Qur'anic verses, considered by many to advocate religious tolerance, to those that clearly advocate the use of violence in what amounts to the compulsion of religion, the Islamic religion. 6 It must also be noted that the Hadith are binding on all Sunni Muslims and are part of the deposit of faith and all believers should model their lives on this order from God and example of Muhammad to fight.
The following hadith also testifies to the centrality of jihad of the sword in Muslim life:
Narrated Abu Huraira.These two ahadith confirm that armed jihad, physical fighting, has as an all important objective, the propagation of the Islamic faith and that this form of jihad is the most important as it comes after the fundamental declaration of faith in Allah and in Muhammad. It is also interesting to note the sacrality of this fighting as it is "jihad" of the sword, it is also "religious fighting" and it is in "Allah's Cause" and therefore it is, from an Islamic perspective a "holy war".
Allah's Apostle was asked, "What is the best deed?" He replied, "To believe in Allah and His Apostle (Muhammad). The questioner then asked, "What is the next (in goodness)? He replied, "To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah's Cause." 7
Narrated 'Abdullah bin Abi Aufa: Allah's Apostle said, "Know that Paradise is under the shades of swords." 8
Those who wage jihad of the sword (Mujahidin) are guaranteed a special place in Paradise:
War becomes a religious responsibility incumbent on all and only later will jurists establish certain conditions and directives for the implementation of this duty.
Narrated Abu Huraira He said, "Paradise has one-hundred grades which Allah has reserved for the Mujahidin who fight in His Cause, and the distance between each of two grades is like the distance between the Heaven and the Earth. 9
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 1 Introduction
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 2 Jihad, Meaning and Forms
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 3 The Qur'an
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 4 The Hadith
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 5 From Mecca to Medina
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 6 Muhammad and the Jews of Medina
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 7 Muhammad and the Jews Banu Qaynuqa
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 8 Muhammad and the Jews Banu Al-Nadir
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 9 Muhammad and the Jews Banu Qurayza
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 10 Jesus Christ and Muhammad: Opposition, Mockery and rejection
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 11 Jihad of the Sword, the Lesser or Greater Jihad
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 12 The importance of Jihad available soon
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