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What Can Be Termed Jihad?

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalamu alaykum

1. Can fighting for the freedom of Syria and Palestine be termed as Jihad and is it in Allah’s cause? Or it is a fight for land and cannot be termed jihad?

2. Is Jihad the best of deeds as one of the Sahih Hadith regarding jihad says that one cannot do a better deed than it?

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

Shukran for writing to us.

1. The first part of your question is rather complex. Fighting, like jihad, holds many different meanings. Dr Buti emphasized that picking up arms is only one of its several meanings. These alternatives meanings should all be exhausted prior to any physical combat. I am not suggesting, as many apologists may have, that jihad or religious fighting should never exist again. As Muslims, similar to all religions and all nations, we acknowledge that there will be times where we may be required to pick up arms.

Due the complexity of the situation in the middle east; the amount of misrepresentation of Islam; extremism; unjust killing in the name of Islam; Muslims killing Muslims; we advise the questioner to be active in his home country by doing the following: 1. Seek to understand the situation in the middle east from reliable scholars, ideally from those afflicted countries, 2. Create awareness among the public, 3. Pray for them, for prayer is the weapon of a believer.

2. Regarding the second part of your question, RasuluLlah sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam when asked what are the best or actions, responded differently based on two things, the state of the questioner or the time of his question. By way of example, if the questioner showed signs of cowardice, the Prophet would advise him that jihad is the best of actions; if he showed signs of stinginess, the Prophet sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam would advise him that giving charity is the best of actions. Also, if there was a need for companions to leave home and partake in battle, the Prophet sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam would advise that jiahd, at this hour of need, is the best of actions; while at another time he sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam may have advised Salah to be the best of actions.

And Allah knows best

[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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