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Do we go for Jihad in Syria?

Do we go for Jihad in Syria?

*Click here to donate to the Emergency Syria Relief Appeal by UWT

All praises be to Allah and may peace and blessings be upon the Prophet. 

The situation in Syria undeniably compels every human being, let alone every Muslim, to help those who currently face one of the most brutal regimes on earth. Allah says:
“The believers are nothing else than brothers (in faith).”[1]
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:
“The Muslim is the brother of his fellow-Muslim; he does not wrong him or abandon.”[2]

In another narration the wording has it, “and does not forsake him.”[3] 

al-Hafidh ibn Hajr al-Asqalani, the famous commentator on Sahih al-Bukhari wrote, ‘He does not abandon him means he does not leave him with someone who could harm him, or in a situation where he could be harmed, but instead helps him and defends him…It may be obligatory or recommended, depending on the situation.’ Ibn al-Athir in his book Jami’l-Usul fi’l-ahadith wrote, ‘Abandoning someone refers to when he leaves him to his fate and does not protect him from his enemy.’

The famous Shafi’i scholar, al-Nawawi, wrote, ‘And he does not forsake him – the scholars have said forsaking means failing to help and support. What this means is that when a person is asked for help to ward off an oppressor and the like, he is obligated to help him if it is possible and where he has no legitimate shar’ii excuse (for not doing so).’

Recently, and in many circles, discussions have begun in relation to the Islamic ruling on participating in military fighting, Jihad, in Syria. The fact that people are concerned with the affairs of the ummah is a great blessing as it shows that many still have a deep connection with Allah and a strong belief in tawheed. It also shows that they righteously seek to worship Allah by aiding the oppressed – Jihad is one of the most virtuous acts to Allah. There are numerous verses in the Quran which establish the virtue of Jihad. For example, He, the Most High states:
“How many of the prophets fought and with them (fought) large bands of godly men? But they never lost heart if they met with disaster in Allah‘s way, nor did they weaken (in will) nor give in. And Allah loves those who are firm and steadfast [in battle].”[4]
“Those who have believed, emigrated and strove hard and fought in Allah’s Cause with their wealth and their lives have the highest rank with Allah. They are the successful.”[5]

Additionally, Abu Hurairah narrates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked as to which action was greatest. He replied, “Faith in Allah.” He was asked, “then what?” He replied, “Jihad in his path.” He was asked, “then what?” He replied, “An accepted pilgrimage.”[6] According to the hadith of Abu Dharr who asked the Prophet as to which action was greatest, the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied, “Faith in Allah and Jihad in His path.”[7]

Having established the virtue of jihad and its lofty station in Islam, we must now analyse a number of issues that are repeatedly neglected by most of those who explore this topic.

Firstly, it should be established that due to the complex nature of conflicts that occur in modern times, attaining victory is not merely a matter of success on the battlefield. Wars are fought on many fronts – politics, the media and economics are all but examples. While many may argue that these mediums are merely a way to deceive the masses, we are forced to recognise this fact since the Quran establishes it. For example, Allah considered financial forms of jihad an essential aspect of combat – all Quranic verses pertaining to Jihad except one mention those who perform Jihad firstly with their wealth and then physically. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used popular mediums that would now function in the form of media, such as encouraging Hassan ibn Thabit to perform poetry to give confidence to the people. Military victory is very much dependent on gaining the upper hand in these realms as well. A strong army but with low morale or insufficient strategic planning can be defeated easily. It has been seen in our times that political and media engagement can achieve more than guns and bullets. Altering ideological or political views of people is in many cases more effective than ending their lives. Winning over hearts is far better than burying them.

Secondly, based on the above point, it may be noted that help given to Muslims should not be limited to participation in physical combat. There are many effective ways to aid the Syrians such as facilitating their cause through the media and other channels of engagement. Helping them financially is a key factor for the continuity of their struggle. Thousands of orphans, widows and the disabled are left with no support. Medical aid either by sending medical equipment or paying for doctors to provide relief is one of the greatest forms of support that the Syrians need.

Thirdly, participating in physical Jihad becomes compulsory in certain circumstances, and on certain people. A very basic example of obligatory physical Jihad is when the enemies of Islam attack Muslims or Muslim lands where there aren’t enough men to defend their lives and/or their land. However, if there are sufficient numbers but they simply lack other resources to defend themselves, other forms of jihad become compulsory. If there is a lack of finance, then financial Jihad becomes the obligatory form of Jihad upon those who can afford it. The principles which must be kept in mind when helping the needy people of Syria are that a) the necessary resources should be provided, and b) in a way that is likely to lift the calamity. Failing to observe these two conditions might add to the problem rather than solving it.

The regime in Syria is one of the most inhuman and tyrannical regimes in the world, having been engaged in a war against Islam and Muslims for decades.  The number of Muslims who have been killed by Hafiz al-Assad, the father of Bashar al-Assad, exceeds the number of Muslims killed by the Israelis.  History can never forget the women raped by the army of Hafiz in Hamah and other cities in 1982. However, the son is no better than his father. This regime, in both periods, has waged war against Sunnis carrying out religious cleansing in every possible way. Thus there is no doubt that Muslims in Syria fight to defend their religion and protect their lives, honour and dignity. According to all Muslim scholars defending the religion is a fundamental reason for Jihad. Defending life and honour also takes the ruling of Jihad. Allah says,

 

“Permission [to fight] has been given to those who are being fought, because they were wronged. And indeed, Allah is competent to give them victory. [They are] those who have been evicted from their homes without right – only because they say, “Our Lord is Allah.” And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.”[8]

With all that has been discussed, it is evident that both military and non-combative Jihad in Syria is compulsory upon the Syrian Muslims. The question that follows is: what is the ruling of jihad upon Muslims who live beyond Syria?

It is well established in Islamic jurisprudence that if the Muslims of a certain region are attacked and unable to protect their lives, honour, land, or the sovereignty of their faith, then it is incumbent upon other Muslims to provide them with whatever support is needed.

As is evident, the purpose of this obligation is to lift their afflictions. Hence the ruling is based on a legal cause (‘illah) which is to do that which leads to elevating the calamity that has befallen them. It is known (and quite logical) that in the absence of the basis of a ruling, the ruling itself becomes non-existent. For example, if the military participation of a disabled person will bring about losses for the Muslims then the disabled Muslim must desist from engaging in combat so as not to harm the efforts of the Mujahideen. Similarly, it is completely unjustifiable for a Muslim to participate in combat where he might cause harm to the Mujahideen merely because he seeks martyrdom (rather than the greater goal of victory for the believers).

It has been confirmed by scholars and military personnel living in Syria that they have no need for foreign Muslim men intending to join the cause. I have personally contacted a number of scholars, activists, and students of knowledge as well as a Syrian scholar (who is a member of a board of scholars and activists) in order to consult with him in regards to those who wish to travel to Syria to aid in repelling the oppressive regime. He informed me that they urge foreign brothers not to travel to Syria to participate in military activity. He stated firstly that that this is the opinion of the vast majority of scholars and activists in Syria (that they do not need men), and secondly, such participation will lead to many problems that are evident to those who know the situation from inside. In other words, the obligation of Jihad for Muslims outside of Syria is of a non-combative nature. This is what they inherently need, and in the situation, this is the effectual form of engagement.

I know that many Muslim men are keen to help their Syrian brethren; indeed, this noble feeling is an obligation upon us. However, we should look to help them in the way that they need and not in the way we assume. We should be careful not to misleadingly veil our own desires for martyrdom with expressions such as ‘helping our Muslims brothers and sisters’ which will ultimately cause more harm to their cause. I am also concerned about the intention of some of those who travel, who desire to fight out of a sense of frustration many Muslims feel due to the beleaguered state of the Ummah. Although some may find it difficult to digest, the reality of the situation is that, as it stands; to travel to Syria intending to participate in jihad without the express permission of the recognised Syrian revolutionary leaders is closer to sin than virtue. It is not allowed to interfere into someone’s affairs without his clear approval and furthermore, it is totally prohibited to do anything that may cause harm to others.

The possibility of incurring sin becomes greater when a person abandons his immediate family for whom he is directly responsible, or leaves his parents grieving in the wake of his departure. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (may Allah be pleased with them both) said, “A man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and asked for his permission to go for jihad. He said, ‘Are your parents alive?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘then your jihad is with them.’”[9] According to another report, a man came and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I have come to participate in jihad with you. I came and my parents were weeping.” He said, “Go back and make them smile as you have made them weep.”[10]
It was also reported from Abu Sa’eed (may Allah be pleased with him) that “a man migrated to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) from Yemen. He [the Prophet] said, ‘Do you have anyone in the Yemen?’ He said, ‘My parents.’ He said, ‘Did they give you permission?’ He said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Then go back to them and ask their permission. If they give you permission, then go for Jihad, otherwise honour them.’”[11]

As I have already stated, the leaders of the Syrian uprising have not yet called for the involvement of external personnel in any military activity and thus have declined to co-ordinate the arrival of foreigners. Those who do go, join small unorganized units under the leadership of an individual who normally coordinates with like-minded people in isolation from a centralised authority recognised by the local people. This eventually leads to many internal conflicts whilst causing more immediate strategic problems. Additionally, these small groups lack the presence of qualified scholars able to provide impartial and well formulated legal guidance, and as a result they fall into many shar’ii errors. In fact, it has been confirmed that such conflicts provide fertile grounds for developing ideas and views alien to the shari’ah. Such ideas include participating in activities that involve the killing or harming of innocent people who are protected by the covenant of the shari’ah itself. It has been also witnessed that some brothers develop a very narrow-minded mentality by which they see everything through the medium of combat rendering them unable to participate in any productive non-combative activity once they return to their home countries. They eventually become receptive to many unIslamic ideas that promote an incorrect conceptualisation of combative Jihad.

 

We must learn from the past. Whenever incidents like this take place, many nations of an imperialist design use the situation to their own benefit. For example, they might infiltrate the cause and pit some of the foreign Mujahideen who are unaware of the social and political situation in the occupied land against local Mujahideen. These powers then monitor these brothers who have left for jihad until they return to their own respective countries and then manipulate them or use them for their own political agenda. This has been the case with many brothers who participated in Jihad against the communists in Afghanistan and Chechnya. Whilst many governments have refrained from addressing the issue of ‘Jihad’ in Syria (since it is not in their favour to make it an issue at the moment), it is undoubtedly a matter of time until the entire context will be used in some bad intentioned way.

Finally, I ask Allah Almighty to make the imminent month of Ramadan a month of mercy and victory for Muslims in Syria, Myanmar (Burma), and wherever else they are oppressed.

*Click here to donate to the Emergency Syria Relief Appeal by UWT

:Notes 
Sources:www.islam21c.com
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[1] al-Hujuraat 49:10
[2] Narrated by al-Bukhari, 2442; Muslim, 2580. 
[3] Muslim 2546
[4] Aali Imran 3:146
[5] al-Tawbah 9:20
[6] Narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim
[7] ibid
[8] al-Hajj 22:39-40
[9] Narrated by al-Bukhari, 4/18
[10] Narrated by Ahmad, 2/160; Abu Dawood, 3/38
[11] Narrated by Ahmad, 3/75-76; Abu Dawood, 3/39
DISCLAIMER: All material found on Islam21c.com is for information purposes only. The views expressed on this site or on any linked sites do not necessarily represent those of MRDF & Islam21c.


 

About Shaikh (Dr) Haitham Al-Haddad

Dr. Haitham al-Haddad is a jurist and serves as a judge for the Islamic Sharia Council (UK & Eire). He has studied the Islamic sciences for over 20 years under the tutelage of renowned scholars such as the late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia as well as the retired Head of the Kingdom's Higher Judiciary Council. He specialises in many of the Islamic sciences and submitted his doctoral thesis on Islamic jurisprudence concerning Muslim minorities. Shaikh Haitham is highly respected having specialised knowledge in the field of fiqh, usul al-fiqh, maqasid al-shari'ah, ulum al-Qur’an, tafsir, aqidah, and fiqh al-hadith. He provides complex theories which address the role of Islamic jurisprudence within a western environment whilst also critically re-analysing the approach of Islamic jurists in forming legal rulings (ifta’) within a western socio-political context. He has many well known students most of whom are active in dawah and teaching in the West. The shaikh is an Islamic jurist (faqih) and as such is qualified to deliver verdicts as a judge under Islamic law, a role he undertakes at the Islamic Sharia Council as Islamic judge and treasurer. Dr Haitham al-Haddad also sits on various the boards of advisors for Islamic organisations, mainly in the United Kingdom but also around the world.

19 comments

  1. Karimah Bint Dawoud

    muslims fighting muslim
    as salam alaikum,

    before we can make taqfir on another muslim there are many things that should be considered and most of us on this page are not knowledgeable enough to make that judgement though we think we are , these are syrain shia versus syrain sunni, they are both muslim, they both go for hajj, they both call on Allah morning and evening,do you not think that shatan loves this divide and rule mentality, wake up muslims and be more loving and more united

  2. jiahad
    I am confused why no moulanas ever talk on the topic of jihad.And yet fighting in jihaad is sooooo important? If you really want to go how do you go ??

  3. welcome ramadaan continued…

    I might as well mention that for those of you who think egypt and libya etc…all these revolutions don’t have any problems…

    - egypt — apparently a bunch of the candidates were kicked out of the race, became a two party race, and apparently the old regieme guy got nearly 50 % ! I can not believe that an old regieme man could get any more votes than the number of army personal who would be probaby the only locals voting for him! meaning it would probably never go more than 20% yet they claim they got around 47%? sounds like this election is fixed…not to mention the army is still around playing politics! well then…and apparently this whole revolution thing had some arab google worker in the midst of the news…so called internet revolution give me a break…
    all these revolutions also have a shady side to them

    - Libya: Gaddafi apparently announced that he wanted to trade with an African gold dinar so that the African continent could become economically rich without depending on the foreign currencies like the dollar or euro…now what happened? all of a sudden ‘lets get gaddafi’ time…Italy (so called friends) turn their back on him as do the foreign ‘nuetral’ but in reality criminal swiss banks…

    Syria they will probably use to create a large war between china/russia and allies vs the rest…why? the US etc keeps blaming Russia and China for veto power but the US in all truth would still go in if/wehn they want too..they do NOT CARE if Russia and China vetoed they are just putting the blame on them to set up this dicothemy to create a new large scale war involving multiple countries…

    although people may genuinely be upset about tehir leaders I for one do not accept that this was necessarily a ‘peoples’ revolution…there are people behind the scenes who instigate this type of stuff to manifest especially when there are huge reasons to do so and especially when it happens in such a orderly (domino) manner…not to mention al masih ad dajaal (the head of corruption) is yet to manifest and will get world nations to follow him…the world is being prepared for him…and to gain followers…some from within the muslims will also follow! May Allah protect us.

    so I will not regard it as neither genuine nor fake…ultimately depends on every individuals intention…please also note everything I’ve written is not first hand knowledge so take it as you please…

    also all you british people DO NOT attend the olympics and its surrounding areas some time before, during and some time after the olypics…STAY away from the underground some time beofre, during and after it…for your own safety…as you guys may be familiar with the staged ‘terrorist’ attacks that happen…it looks likely that the hidden hand is going to stage an attack murdering people…no jokes. luckily I am far away so you british boys and girls STAY CLEAR SERIOUSLY, not saying this to scare you but I am telling you that if I was there I would definately stay clear from the olympic areas/london and the underground during and some time before/after the olympics… so stay safe and try to take advantage of ramadaan …

  4. welcome ramadaan
    although I didn’t read the whole article and am not knowledgable enough to know about this topic I still feel the need to reply to Muhammad, July 19, 2012 particulary about Iraq:

    actually one can argue when the US invaded Iraq they probably didn’t just go to get oil…they went probably for several plausible reasons other than
    oil…

    - Saddam apparently wanted to sell his oil in euros instead of dollars…they didn’t like that especially when they had/still have future plans to crash the dollar and cause a worldwide economic problem…part of a bigger plan to control worldwide trade/currency

    - to establish a central bank in Iraq…use money supply to control people like slaves (serfs) as in other countries

    - to kill as many innocents or descendents of the prophet (sallalhu alhaiy was salaam) as the time is near for Islam’s victory and they are likely aware of this possibilty (at least the isral is)– (like pharoh was killing off bani israiels’ children because he knew one would finish his rule)
    (FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DO NOT THINK THIS IS A PLAUSIBLE EXPLANATION – please keep in mind that they also started to attack yemen out of nowhere…we all know their ‘war on terror’/'terrorists’ excuses is an overplayed record so it doesn’t cut it as an explanation…and what natural resources does yemen have that they would want to start causing choas in there?…)

    - they like controlling areas /collecting from strange places that may strengthen their ties with bad jinns…iraq is a place with a lot of history especially when it comes to magic and is likely an area to recieve so called jinn power for them

    …the killing of innocent muslims in Iraq is enough, you do not need them to be ‘athiestic’ to fight them…

    read surah baqarah 2: 275-280…Particulary verse 278 follwed by 279…yes it is addressing those who believe in 278 but still there are so many factors in Iraq that could legitimize what you considered legitimite in Afghanistan…

    PLEASE NOTE – I am not a scholar, and I am not saying when fighting is right and when it is not but I think it is foolish to think that Iraq is so much different from Afghanistan – in one fighting for you is valid and the other is not…why?

    and it seems like there is no outwardly apparent head/leader who can declare to fight so this becomes like a grey area…thanks to the arabs who fought against the ottomans on the side of the british…turkey ends up with attuturk who had hidden allegiances! Now look at turkey they have debates over hijab! There is no leader thanks to those fools who either for worldy gains, lack of intelligence or too much tribal pride, thinking a turk can’t rule over an arab… well anyways I don’t have enough knowledge to say something on the topic of the ruler so I will not bother extending on this point…

  5. Mashallah
    Mashallah an excellent article may Allah protect the true scholars and aid the victory of the mujahideen. And Allah says ” Fight them untill there is no more fitna and the religion all of it is for Allah”
    La ghaalib Illallah and there is no victor except Allah.

  6. Not-amazing-but-true- and-then-to-a -limited-degree

    Insight or mere opinion
    Asalaam ‘alaikum
    JZK sheikhna.

    Well the Syrians are now calling for men.

    That is what I hear.
    And the ahkaam of Jihaad are well known and need little clarification. However, they should have been mentioned here in fuller detail, as to when the kifaayi becomes ‘ayni (or isn this case, ceased being ‘ayni), and who are those elusive Revolutionary leaders. To say that it is closer to sin to go without express permission,,, I think is mere opinion, and had the foundational three elements of when Jihad becomes mandatory been noted in the fatwa, would have been far harder to assert, especially as the issue of obeying imarah of the ameer (and with full respect to the mature view espoused here) yet I fear that this has slandered the mujahideen of Afghanistan and Chechnya (forgive me sheikh, I know that was not your intention) and they are better than us, and has mentioned nothing of the virtue of the jihad in THIS particular land, where the Messiah will soon descend… (not my words, but as in the hadeeth). To conclude, JZK again. It was a much needed fatwa, but should have been clearer as it closes doors that Allah has deemed to remain open until the HOUR. Physical jihad, this fatwa states, is kifayi. This is questionable. Secondly, defensive Jihad and Jihad at-Talab (offensive) were matters not even raised although the hadeeth mentioned, regarding permission seeeking and leaving parents crying etc. ONLY pertain to the LATTER. To seek permission in the FORMER is nifaq (Both ayaaat on these two opposite rulings on seeking permission are in at-Tauba). So I look forward to an update. Not to be ungrateful for this fatwa – the viewpoint I do believe is correct and mature – but lacking. wasalaam.

  7. The last compulsory Jihad was against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Because:

    1) They wanted to replace Islam with atheistic Communism, where you would not be allowed to pray and carry out Islamic obligations. This is unlike the American invasion of Iraq, where they just went in for the oil.

    2) All the groups fighting the Soviet Union wanted Islam, as opposed to nationalism etc

    3) The ‘Ulama came to a consensus in the absence of a Caliph (or the majority at least)

    4) The Afghans wanted foreign figthters to come- as opposed to now, where foreign fighters often are a liability.

  8. Is there any place..?
    salams

    May allah bless you for helping the muslims find guidance.

    I have heard many talk from many scholars from time to time, always advising where its not fard to go for jihaad but i have not ever heard a scholar mention a place where it IS fard to go.

    Obviously that may simply be because that situation has not arisen in the last 30 years of my life where it has been deemed fard to go or it could even be that scholars are afraid to make that assertion publically, and those talks are best served privately. Allah swt knows best.

  9. alawite are not muslim
    @Confused. The answer to your question is: your question is flawed. Just because someone considers themselves muslim, doesn’t make them muslim. The qa’ideanis also consider themselves muslims but they are kuffar. Similarly, the alaween are kuffar and there is ijma’ of the ‘ulema on this. Ibn taymiyyah rahimullah has stated that it is haram upon us to marry their women and to eat of their meat because they are blatantly mushrikeen. May Allah curse bashar, la’anatullah ‘alayhe, and may He curse those who support him, and may He humilate them all in this world and in the next.

    Jazakumullahu khayran, shaykh, for the awesome article.

  10. Salamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,

    Ma-sha’Allah, amazing amazing amazing article.

    Jazaka-Allahu khayr for this much-needed clarification.

    Alhamdulillah, for having read this.

  11. Barakallah feek
    Alhumdulilah wa salatu wa salaam ala Muhammed,

    Very informative article outlining extremely important points. May Allah mak it of benefit to all and allow us to understand the deen and provide us the ability to aid in any way possible. We should draw closer to those with knowledge as education is key.

    Indeed Allah’s help is near.

  12. Confused
    As the Alawites consider themselves Muslims and the Syrian regime is virtually all Alawite, how would a brother interested in jihad know which side to join?

  13. Alhumdulilah for the scholars
    JazakAllah Khair Shaykh for taking the time to clarify this issue. This article does very well to explain an emotive issue.

  14. kufr bit taghoot

    Nifaq
    Munafiqs has a long tongue

  15. Burma situation is not the same???
    jazakallah khair for clarifying this issue sheikh,

    could somebody elaborate the hadith of parents being applied to defensive jihad as i thought this only applied to offensive jihad and that no permission or return was neccessary for the first.

    also i have heard the in burma they are asking for muslim men to join them so what about that case??? should we still be refraining from physical combat?

  16. Ameen, ameen wa thumma ameen. Mashallah an excellent, well written and concise article.

  17. Balanced article
    Jazakallahu khair Shaykh. Excellent article and vet balanced advice for people who have little knowledge in these matters.
    Please write something to raise awareness about the massacres and ethnic cleansing going on in Burma.

  18. MaashaAllah
    The article educated me and I will use it to educate others for a long time to come InshaAllah

    Very written, a lot to read between the lines especially the last few paragraphs. All true.

  19. Very needed
    This article has educated me and I will use this article to educate many others. A very needed and beneficial article – most importantly I read between the lines especially the last few paragraphs. Very true and that’s how it is.

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