Jihad: The forgotten obligation
2: Mujahid, the Most Superior
Narrated Abu Said Khudri (ra), somebody asked, "O Allah's Messenger! (saw) who is the best among the people?". Allah's Messenger (saw) replied, "A believer who performs Jihaad with his life and wealth." They asked, "Who is next?" He replied, "A believer who stays in one of the mountain paths worshipping Allah and leaving the people safe from his mischief." (Sahih Bukhari p.391, vol.1)
It is clear from this hadith that the person who does Jihaad in Allah's path is more superior than other Muslims. This has also been clearly stated in the Quran: "Allah has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and lives above those who sit (at home). Unto each, Allah has promised good (paradise), but Allah has preferred those who strive hard and fight above those who sit (at home) by a huge reward." (4:95)
It is regardng the great virtue and importance of Jihaad that the Prophet (saw) participated in Jihaad personally and urged the companions (ra) upon this deed so much so that there was no deed more beloved and virtuous in the eyes of the Sahab as much as the Jihaad.
Some examples of the love for Jihaad amongst the Sahaba -
Umar (r) said "Perform hajj as this is a good deed, Allah has ordained us to perform hajj and Jihaad is even better" (Kanzul Ummal p.258, vol.2)
Abu Huraira (r) said, "Safe guarding the Muslim borders in the path of Allah is more beloved to me, than my worshipping Allah in the night of Qadr in front of Hajr al Aswad (the black stone of the Kabah)"
When the time of Khalid (r) came to depart from the world, he said, "I reached every possible place for Shahadah, but it was written in my fate that I should die of my bed. In my opinion there is no deed more dearer than my waiting with my horse and shield in the darkness of night, the sky to be glittering due to the rain, waiting for the onset of dawn, so that I can attack the enemy." (al Jihaad, Ibn al Mubarak, p.88)
Artat bin Munzir reports that Umar (ra) asked the people in his gathering, "Which person would attain the most virtue and reward?". The people suggested zakat and salaah and agreed the highest rank is for the Ameer ul Mumineen (Umar himself) and started naming other individuals. Umar (r) then advised, "Shall I tell you the best person is terms of virtue who is even higher than the Ameer ul Mumineen (the leader of the Muslims)?. The people replied, "Please do tell us". He said, "That small person who is holding the reins of his horse in Syria safeguarding the Muslim army, he is unaware if a wild animal will rip him apart or an insect will bite him or the enemy will attack. This person is higher in rank than those people whom you have mentioned and he is higher than the Ameer ul Mumineen in virtue." (Kanzul Ummal, p.289, vol.2)
Abu Bakr (r) used to walk with the Mujahideen and accompany them to the outskirts of Madinah. (Sunan al Kubra - Bayhaqi, p.173, vol.9)
May Allah swt give us the ability to follow the footsteps of the Sahaba in their love for Jihaad. Ameen.