Refuting Those Who say You Need A Khaleef (imaam) For Offensive Jihad

Al-Jihad legally in Shar’iah:

The four Fuqaha’ have agreed that al-Jihaad is al-Qitaal (fighting) and to help there in (i.e. in Qitaal).

To you is the definition of the four jurists:

1. Al-Hanafiyah:

It says in Fath al-Qadeer by Ibn Humaam 5/187: “al-Jihaad: calling the Kuffar to the religion of truth and to fight them if they do not accept”. al-Kaasaani said in al-Badaa’i', 9/4299 “To sacrifice ones strength and energy in Fighting in the way of Allah ‘Azza wa-Jal with ones life, property and the tongue and whatever besides”.

2. Al-Maalikiyah:

For a Muslim to fight against a Kaafir who is not under oath, to raise the word of Allah, or if he (Kaafir) is in his (Muslim’s) presence (in order to attack him), or upon his (Kaafir) entering his (Muslim’s) land. (Haashiya al-’Adawi/as-Sa’eedi 2/2 and ash-Sharh as-Sagheer/Aqrab al-Masaalik by ad-Dardeer 2/267)

3. Ash-Shaafi’iyah:

Al-Baajawari said, “al-Jihaad means: al-Qitaal (fighting) in the way of Allah”, al-Baajawari / Ibnul-Qaasim 2/261. Ibn Hajr said in al-Fath 6/2, “…and legally (it means) sacrificial striving in fighting the Kuffar”

4. Al-Hanbaliyah:

“To Fight the Kuffar” see Mataalibu Ulin-Nahi 2/497. “al-Jihaad is al-Qitaal (fighting) and to sacrifice all strength in it to raise the Word of Allah”, see ‘Umdatul-Fiqh p.166, and Muntahal-Iraadaat 1/302.

Allah SWT forbids His prophet peace be upon him to follow the liars-disbelievers of Mecca- in that is against Truth (al haq).

Al-Qurtubi said in his interpretation of Quran 18/230 ‘He forbids him from leaning to disbelievers and they used to call him to stop fighting so that they stop as well. Allah clarified that leaning to them is a Kufr(disbelief). “And had We not given thee strength, thou wouldst nearly have inclined to them a little. » Israa 74. And Idhan means: docility and mannerism. Allah explained here that disbelievers of Mecca wished that Mohamed peace be upon him would soften and effectuate with them, things which Allah forbid His prophet to do.’

And also, on the day of Al-Fath (when the Prophet sallallahu alayhe wa sallam conquered Makkah), the Prophet (sallallahu alayhe wa salam) said: “There is no Hijrah (migration from Makkah to Al-Madinah) after the victory, but only Jihad and good intention. If you were required to march forth, then march forth.” {Fath Al-Bari 4:56}

Allah Subhana wa Ta’ala also said:

“O Prophet! Make Jihad against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be firm against them. Hell shall be their home; and it is the worst of all homes.” {Surah At-Tawba 9:73}

Ibn Abbas (radhi Allahu anhu) said: “Allah commanded the Prophet (sallallahu alayhe wa salam) to fight the disbelievers with the sword, to strive against the hypocrites with the tongue and annulled lenient treatment of them.” {Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 4, p. 475 and Tafsir At-Tabari 14:359}

Furthermore, Allah commanded the Prophet (sallallahu alayhe wa salam) to fight even if others didn’t join, when He (subhana wa Ta’ala) said:

“Therefore, O Muhammad, fight; in the path of Allah, you are accountable for no one except for yourself. Urge the believers to fight, it may be that Allah will overthrow the might of the unbelievers, for Allah is the strongest in might and severe in punishment.” {Surah An-Nisaa 4:84}

Commenting on this verse, Ibn Kathir said: “Allah commands His servant and Messenger, Muhammad (sallallahu alayhe wa salam), to himself fight in Jihad and not be concerned about those who do not join Jihad.” {Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol. 2, p. 529}

Offensive Jihad

This is where the enemy is not fighting Muslims or gathering to fight the Muslims. This type of jihad is Fard Kifayah, which means that if some Muslims perform this duty, the obligation falls from the rest. If none of them responds to this obligation, then they are all in sin.

Allah says:

“O believers, fight them until there is no more fitnah and the Deen of Allah (way of life prescribed by Allah) is established completely” {Surah Al-Anfal 8:39}

It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have been commanded to fight the people until they bear witness that there is no god but Allaah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, and establish regular prayer, and pay zakaah, If they do that then their blood and wealth is safe from me, except by the laws of Islam, and their reckoning will be with Allaah.” {Narrated by al-Bukhaari, Vol. 1, No. 24; Muslim, Vol. 1, No. 29}

Ibn Qudaamah said: “Jihad is an obligation upon the community; if some people undertake it, the rest are relieved of the obligation.” What fard kifaayah means is that if it is not undertaken by enough people, then all the people are guilty of sin, but if enough people undertakes it, the rest will be relieved of blame. Initially the command is addressed to all of them, as in the case of an individual obligation (fard ‘ayn), but then in the case of fard kifaayah the obligation is dropped if enough of the people undertake to do it, unlike the case with fard ‘ayn where the obligation is not dropped if someone else does it. Jihad is a fard kifaayah, according to the majority of scholars.” {al-Mughni, 9/163}

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said: “Everyone who hears the call of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to the religion of Allah with which he was sent and does not respond to it must be fought so that there will be no fitnah and so that submission will all be for Allah.” {Majmu’ al-Fatawa 28/249}

In regard to offensive jihad and whether or not having an imam or ruler that is followed is a condition for this type of jihad; then we have the statement of Imam Ash-Shawkanee to this affect. His full name is Imam Ali bin Muhammad bin Abdullah Ash-Shawkanee. He lived 1173-1250AH (1777-1834CE), he was a great scholar who studied under a number of great scholars, his famous book being “Nayl Al-Autar”. Imam Ash-Shawkanee said in his book Irshaad as-Saa’il Ilaa Dalaa’il al-Masaa’il:

“The Muslims differed over attacking the Kuffaar in their lands [offensive Jihaad], as to whether or not the great Imaam is a condition for such? The true truth that is acceptable is that [Jihaad] is obligatory upon every Muslim individual, and the Qur’aanic verses and Prophetic narrations are unrestricted [meaning, they do not mention a condition of an Imaam].” {Page 80 of ar-Rasaa’il as-Salafeeyah}

Neither Ibn Qudamah nor Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah have mercy on them) placed the condition of having a ruler or imam for jihad to be Fard ‘Ayn.

Not only is the claim that jihad cannot be Fard Ayn without a ruler or Imam that is followed baseless in the light of Quran and Sunnah, but we shall see that this even contradicts the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) and the way of the righteous companions and their understanding.

In Saheeh Bukhari it is reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) made a peace treaty with the Quraysh, which allowed the Muslims to perform Umrah the year after the treaty was conducted. However, in this treaty there was a quite distressing condition, which said that if a Makkan embraced Islam and went to Allah’s Messenger to seek shelter, he would be handed back to the Makkans… After making this treaty, Allah’s Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) returned to Madeenah. Now, a man named Abu Basir bin Asid Ath-Thaqafi from the Quraysh happened to have embraced Islam during this truce. When the Prophet returned to Medina, Abu Basir, the new Muslim convert from Quraish came to him. The infidels sent in his pursuit two men who said (to the Prophet), “Abide by the promise you gave us.” So, the Prophet handed him over to them. They took him out (of the City) till they reached Dhul-Hulaifa where they dismounted to eat some dates they had with them. Abu Basir said to one of them, “By Allah, O so-and-so, I see you have a fine sword.” The other drew it out (of the scabbard) and said, “By Allah, it is very fine and I have tried it many times.” Abu Basir said, “Let me have a look at it.”

When the other gave it to him, he hit him with it till he died, and his companion ran away till he came to Medina and entered the mosque running. When Allah’s Apostle saw him he said, “This man appears to have been frightened.” When he reached the Prophet he said, “My companion has been murdered and I would have been murdered too.” Abu Basir came and said, “O Allah’s Apostle, by Allah, Allah has made you fulfill your obligations by your returning me to them (i.e. the infidels), but Allah has saved me from them.” The Prophet said, “Woe to his mother! What excellent war kindler he would be (i.e. he would start a war), should he only have supporters.”

When Abu Basir heard that, he understood that the Prophet would return him to them again, so he set off till he reached the seashore. Abu Jandal bin Suhail (another Muslim convert) got himself released from them (i.e. infidels) and joined Abu Basir. So, whenever a man from Quraysh embraced Islam he would follow Abu Basir till they formed a strong group. By Allah, whenever they heard about a caravan of Quraysh heading towards Sham, they stopped it and attacked and killed them (i.e. infidels) and took their properties. The people of Quraysh sent a message to the Prophet requesting him for the sake of Allah and kith and kin to send for (i.e. Abu Basir and his companions) promising that whoever (amongst them) came to the Prophet would be secure. So the Prophet sent for them (i.e. Abu Basir’s companions). {Saheeh Bukhari, Volume 3, Number 891}

We can deduce the following points from this hadeeth:

1. Abu Basir started fighting alone without waiting for any companion to join him. Afterwards, he had some companions to stand by him, and was engaged in jihad according to the command of Allah:

“Therefore, O Muhammad, fight; in the path of Allah, you are accountable for no one except for yourself. Urge the believers to fight, it may be that Allah will overthrow the might of the unbelievers, for Allah is the strongest in might and severe in punishment.” {Surah An-Nisaa 4:84}

Ibn Kathir (May Allah have mercy on him) said regarding this verse:

“Allah commands His servant and Messenger, Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa salam, to himself fight in Jihad and not be concerned about those who do not join Jihad. Hence Allah’s statement, “You are accountable for no one except for yourself.” {Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Volume 2, Page 529-530}

2. Abu Basir (may Allah be pleased with him) did not fight under any ruler or imam, rather he was his own commander, when he put one of his enemies to death and later other companions joined him and fought alongside him.

3. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) did not say that Abu Basir was wrong or that he was mistaken because he had no imam over him, rather the Prophet (sallallahu alayhe wa sallam) kept silent about it, showing approval of such action. Thus, we can say that this action of Abu Basir was indeed Sunnah, rather the prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said “Woe to his mother! What excellent war kindler he would be (i.e. he would start a war), should he only have supporters.” so he ment by this that fighting by yourself offensively is good but if you was to have a group it would be better.

We say this narration is sufficient for us to prove that having an imam or ruler that is followed is not a condition for Jihad. This is agreed upon by great scholars of the past that it is not a condition for jihad, and Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab’s grandson talked specifically against this innovated condition and also used the hadeeth of Abu Basir to prove his view.

Shaykh ‘Abdir-Rahmaan bin Hasan bin al-Imaam Muhammad bin ‘Abdil-Wahhaab an-Najdee said in response to some objections of Ibn Nabhaan:

“It is to be stated: By what book and by what ayah does there contain an evidence that Jihad is not obligatory except with an Imam that is followed?! This is from the inventions in the Din and a straying from the path of the believers. The evidences that invalidate this opinion are too well known to mention.

From them, there is the general order to wage Jihad and encouragement towards it and the threat of punishment for abandoning it. The Most High said: {And if Allah did not check one set of people by means of another, the earth would indeed be full of mischief. But Allah is full of Bounty to all that exists.} [Surah al-Baqarah 2: 251] And He said in Surah al-Hajj: {For had it not been that Allah checks one set of people by means of another, the places of worship much would surely have been pulled down.} [Surah al-Hajj 22:40]

Everyone who establishes Jihad in the path of Allah has obeyed Allah and fulfilled what Allah has obligated and the Imam would not become the Imam except through Jihad not that there is no Jihad without an Imam. The truth is the exact opposite of what you have said oh man…”

Until he (’Abdir-Rahmaan bin Hasan) said:

“The points of reflection and the evidences concerning the falsehood of what you have authored is abundant in the Book and the Sunnah, in the biographies, narrations and statements of the People of Knowledge with proofs and narrations – they are almost not even hidden from an idiotic person because even he would know of the story of Abu Basir when he came as a Muhajir and the Quraysh sought from the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to return him to them according to the condition that was between them in the treaty of al-Hudaybiyyah so he departed from them, killed the two Mushriks that came in search of him. He headed to the seashore after he heard the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) say: “Woe to his mother! What excellent war kindler he would be, should he only have supporters.”

Thereafter he attacked the caravans of the Quraysh when they came from Sham. He would seize (their wealth) and kill thereby he was independently waging war against them without the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) because they (the Quraysh) were in a treaty him in the truce. So, did the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) say: “You were mistaken in killing the Quraysh because you all were without an Imam?” Far removed is Allah from all imperfections and impurities! How harmful ignorance is upon its people! Refuge is sought with Allah from opposing the truth with ignorance and falsehood!” {Ad-Durrar as-Sanniyah 8/199-200}

We also have a statement from the great scholar and jurist Ibn Qudamah Al-Maqdisi (died 720AH/1302CE) who said:

“The absence of an Imam does not postpone the Jihad, because much is lost in its postponement.” {Al-Mughni 8/253}