Misconceptions Connected to Jihad

There are a lot of misconceptions about Jihad, which are a result ignorance of Jihad’s provisions in Islam. Such misconceptions require our attention and vigilance. Some of Jihad’s violations are:

1 – Initiating Jihad without permission from the authorities. The scholar Ibn Uthaymeen, may Allah have mercy on him, said in his book “Enjoyable Explanation” (8/25): “An army shall never invade without the Imam’s permission, because in the Quran, calls of invasion and Jihad come from the rulers and not individuals, and individuals are followers of the Imams. Therefore, it is impermissible for anyone to invade without the ruler’s permission, unless an enemy initiates assault, in which case they are permitted to fight to defend themselves. Other than that, however, it is impermissible to fight, because if it was permissible for people to invade without the ruler’s permission, corruption and chaos would take place. And some sects would deceive people by saying that they would invade an enemy, when they actually intend to revolt against the ruler or a specific sect. Shaykh Salih al-Fozan, was asked about Jihad: “What is the verdict of Jihad without the Imam’s permission?” to which he replied, “Jihad without the Imam’s permission is prohibited, because Jihad without the Imam’s permission is disloyalty, and it must be initiated with his permission, otherwise how can you fight when you are not under the Imam’s command?”

2 – Participating in Jihad without parental consent. A man had asked the Prophet’s permission to go for jihad, and the Prophet, peace be upon him, asked: “Are your parents alive?” He said, “Yes.” So he said, “Then your jihad is with them.” Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim.

3 – One of Jihad’s misconceptions is to revoke conditions of capacity, possibility, and safety. Because the Quran stipulated the condition of ability before going to Jihad, such as: arms, ammunition, and the mujahedeen’s expenses, Allah said: “Not unto the weak nor unto the sick nor unto those who can find nothing to spend is there any fault” [At-Tawba: 91]. And Allah said: “Nor unto those whom, when they came to you asking that you should mount them, you said: I cannot find whereon to mount you. They turned back with eyes flowing with tears” [At-Tawba: 92]. Also, safety from harm, for Jihad is never obligatory on persons with a disability that prevents them from participating in battle. Allah said, “There is no blame for the blind, nor is there blame for the lame, nor is there blame for the sick” [al-Fath: 17]. And Allah Almighty said: “Not unto the weak nor unto the sick nor unto those who can find nothing to spend is there any fault” [At-Tawba: 92].

4 – Fighting Muslims and innocent civilians in the name of Jihad because of extremism. However, Allah has prepared a stern punishment to those who intentionally murder a believer. Allah Almighty said: “Whoso slayeth a believer intentionally, his reward is Hell forever. Allah’s wrath is against him and He has cursed him and prepared for him an awful doom” [An-Nisa’: 93]. And Allah said: “We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever kills a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all of mankind” and the word “human being” in this verse refers to Muslims and non-Muslims.

5 – Equating peaceful treaty-makers with combatants believing that they are all so called “infidels”. Yet, scholars distinguished between fighting (for the right cause) and (mindless) killing, as well as friends and foes amongst non-Muslims; moreover, it is completely impermissible to kill non-combatant civilians – whether Muslim or non-Muslim – since the reason behind battle is defense and against heresy itself. Therefore, it is impermissible to kill any infidel unless he is a combatant attacking the Muslims.