Holy Struggle (Jihad)
Jihad, according to its literary meaning, is struggle and bearing of difficulties on the path of an aim. In terminology also, it implies extreme efforts in battle in order to spread Islam and propagation of the word of monotheism or defense of Islam and Muslims.
Jihad is one of the important Islamic duties, which is having a special rank, because spread, survival, power, greatness and independence of Islam and application of religious laws are all based on this matter only. Therefore, there is great emphasis regarding it in Quran and traditions.
The Holy Quran says:
أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَنْ تَدْخُلُواْ الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَعْلَمِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ جَهَدُواْ مِنْكُمْ وَيَعْلَمَ الْصَّبِرِينَ
“Do you think that you will enter the garden while Allah has not yet known those who strive hard from among you, and (He has not) known the patient.” (3:142)
يَأَيُّهَا النَّبِىُّ جَهِدِ الْكُفَّارَ وَالْمُنَفِقِينَ وَاغْلُظْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَمَأْوَيهُمْ جَهَنَّمُ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ
“O Prophet! Strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites and be unyielding to them; and their abode is hell, and evil is the destination.” (9:73)
كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ وَهُوَ كُرْهٌ لَكُمْ وَعَسَى أَنْ تَكْرَهُوا شَيْئاً وَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكُمْ وَعَسَى أَنْ تُحِبُّوا شَيْئاً وَهُوَ شَرٌّ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتُمْ لا تَعْلَمُونَ
“Fighting is enjoined on you, and it is an object of dislike to you; and it may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you, and it may be that you love a thing while it is evil for you, and Allah knows, while you do not know.” (2:216)
لَا يَسْتَوِى الْقَعِدُونَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ غَيْرُ أُوْلِى الضَّرَرِ وَ الْمُجَهِدُونَ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِأَمْوَلِهِمْ وَأَنْفُسِهِمْ فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ الْمُجَهِدِينَ بِأَمْوَ لِهِمْ وَأَنْفُسِهِمْ عَلَى الْقَعِدِينَ دَرَجَةً وَكُلّاً وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الْحُسْنَى وَفَضَّلَ اللَّهُ الْمُجَهِدِينَ عَلَى الْقَعِدِينَ أَجْراً عَظِيماً
“The holders back from among the believers, not having any injury, and those who strive hard in Allah’s way with their property and their persons are not equal; Allah has made the strivers with their property and their persons to excel the holders back a (high) degree, and to each (class) Allah has promised good; and Allah shall grant to the strivers above the holders back a mighty reward.” (4:95)
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَ فِى سَبِيلِهِ صَفّاً كَأَنَّهُم بُنْيَانٌ مَّرْصُوصٌ
“Surely Allah loves those who fight in His way in ranks as if they were a firm and compact wall.” (61:4)
Amirul Momineen (a) said: Jihad is a gate from the gates of Paradise, which Almighty Allah has opened for His special friends and has prepared them for Paradise, so that they may earn the nobility from Allah and the bounties that He has reserved for them. Jihad is a garment of piety, a firm armor of God and shield against the attack of enemies. One, who becomes aloof from Jihad; Almighty Allah dresses him in the dress of degradation, calamities surround him and he becomes distanced from the pleasure of God; he meets extreme humiliation and degradation and the veil of his heart is removed. By omitting Jihad, the wealth of truth is taken away from him, and he is involved in debasements and hardships and he is deprived from justice and equity.
The Messenger of Allah (s) said: There is a gate of Paradise, which named as ‘Gate of the holy fighters’. The holy fighters with sword fixed to their waists and people would be halted at the stop on Judgment Day and angels would be welcoming them. They would move to Paradise and its gates would open for them. [Then he said:] One who omits Jihad, Allah, the Mighty and Sublime humiliates him and makes him poor and his religion suffers a loss, because Allah, the Mighty and the High would make my Ummah needless of the hooves of the horses and centers of power.
Amirul Momineen (a) said: Allah, the Mighty and the High made Jihad obligatory and mentioned it with praise and mentioned it to be a means of success and rendering help to Him. By Allah, religion and the world of the people are not reformed, except through Jihad. Jihad is divided into two kinds: Offensive and defensive.
The Messenger of Allah (s) was sent from Almighty Allah in order to confront injustice and polytheism and he called people to the religion of Islam.
And that he may set free the deprived and poor from the domination of oppressors and tyrants. The Messenger of Allah (s) in the beginning called the people through a pleasing way of speaking and through logical reasonings to accept Islam and to eschew infidelity and idol worship. If hurdles had not appeared in his path, he would have continued this same style till the final victory, but leaders of polytheism and infidelity and the arrogant and oppressors perceived danger from this call and they began to devise plots and create hurdles against him. Therefore, they used all means in order to assure that Islam does not spread or become dominant.
In such circumstances and conditions, the Prophet and Muslims had no option, except to make war and perform Jihad in order to achieve their aims. They performed Jihad in order to show to the oppressors and tyrants their place, removed their obstructions and prepared the atmosphere for propagation and spread of Islam.
In this way, it can be said: Offensive Jihad is also a kind of defense. The Holy Quran says:
وَإِن نَّكَثُواْ أَيْمَنَهُم مِّن بَعْدِ عَهْدِهِمْ وَطَعَنُواْ فِى دِينِكُمْ فَقَتِلُواْ أَئِمَّةَ الْكُفْرِ إِنَّهُمْ لَآ أَيْمَنَ لَهُمْ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَنتَهُونَ * أَلَا تُقَتِلُونَ قَوْماً نَّكَثُواْ أَيْمَنَهُمْ وَهَمُّواْ بِإِخْرَاجِ الرَّسُولِ وَهُم بَدَءُوكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ أَتَخْشَوْنَهُمْ فَاللَّهُ أَحَقُّ أَن تَخْشَوْهُ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ
“And if they break their oaths after their agreement and (openly) revile your religion, then fight the leaders of unbelief - surely their oaths are nothing - so that they may desist. What! will you not fight a people who broke their oaths and aimed at the expulsion of the Apostle, and they attacked you first; do you fear them? But Allah is most deserving that you should fear Him, if you are believers.” (9:12-13)
وَقَتِلُوهُمْ حَتَّى لا تَكُونَ فِتْنَةٌ وَيَكُونَ الْدِّينُ لِلَّهِ فَإِنِ انْتَهُواْ فَلاَ عُدْوَنَ إلّاَ عَلَى الْظَّلِمِينَ
“And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors.” (2:193)
Defensive Jihad is also performed for defense of Islam and Muslim countries. This Jihad becomes obligatory in a few instances:
1. In case when enemies of Islam attack the country with an aim to overthrow the Islamic government or to enact a dangerous conspiracy.
The Holy Quran says:
وَقَتِلُواْ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَتِلُونَكُمْ وَلاَ تَعْتَدُواْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ
“And fight in the way of Allah with those who fight with you, and do not exceed the limits, surely Allah does not love those who exceed the limits.” (2:190)
2. When the enemies of Islam launch an attack on a Muslim country in order to extend their territories and to obtain hegemony over Islamic lands.
أُذِنَ لِلَّذِينَ يُقَتَلُونَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ظُلِمُواْ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَى نَصْرِهِمْ لَقَدِيرٌ * أَلَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُواْ مِن دِيَرِهِمْ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ إِلَّا أَن يَقُولُواْ رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ
“Permission (to fight) is given to those upon whom war is made, because they are oppressed, and most surely Allah is well able to assist them. Those who have been expelled from their homes without a just cause except that they say: Our Lord is Allah.” (22:39-40)
3. When one of the Muslim countries trespasses against other Islamic countries, in addition to the fact that the attacked country is having right to defense, other Muslims as well are duty bound to support the attacked country and make peace between them and if the attacker does not refrain from fighting, they should make war against it.
The Holy Quran says:
وَإِن طَآئِفَتَانِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُواْ فَأَصْلِحُواْ بَيْنَهُمَا فَإِن بَغَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الْأُخْرَى فَقَاتِلُواْ الَّتِى تَبْغِى حَتَّى تَفِىءَ إِلَى أَمْرِ اللَّهِ فَإِن فَآءَتْ فَأَصْلِحُواْ بَيْنَهُمَا بِالْعَدْلِ وَأَقْسِطُواْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ
“And if two parties of the believers quarrel, make peace between them; but if one of them acts wrongfully towards the other, fight that which acts wrongfully until it returns to Allah’s command; then if it returns, make peace between them with justice and act equitably; surely Allah loves those who act equitably.” (49:9)
4. When public property of a Muslim country is attacked by the enemy.
5. When the life and honor of Muslims is a target of attack.
6. When worship of God, Mosques and worship houses are targeted by the enemies.
أَلَّذِينَ أُخْرِجُواْ مِن دِيَرِهِمْ بِغَيْرِ حَقٍّ إِلَّا أَن يَقُولُواْ رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ اللَّهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُمْ بِبَعْضٍ لَّهُدِّمَتْ صَوَمِعُ وَبِيَعٌ وَصَلَوَتٌ وَ مَسَجِدُ يُذْكَرُ فِيهَا اسْمُ اللَّهِ كَثِيراً وَلَيَنصُرَنَّ اللَّهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَقَوِىٌّ عَزِيزٌ
“And had there not been Allah’s repelling some people by others, certainly there would have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques in which Allah’s name is much remembered; and surely Allah will help him who helps His cause; most surely Allah is Strong, Mighty.” (22:40)
7. Defense of the rights of the deprived and poor who are victims of the oppression of tyrants and have no strength to defend themselves.
وَمَا لَكُمْ لَا تُقَتِلُونَ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَالْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ الرِّجَالِ وَ النِّسَآءِ وَالْوِلْدَ نِ الَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَآ أَخْرِجْنَا مِنْ هَذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ الظَّالِمِ أَهْلُهَا وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيّاً وَاجْعَل لَّنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ نَصِيراً
“And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper.” (4:75)
8. Defense of Islamic ethics and culture and preventing the entry of un-Islamic culture into it.
In this matter, it is the natural right of Muslims that they should defend their religion, respect, honor, independence, Islamic territories, lives, women and children and wealth. Not only they have a right to it, on the contrary Islam has deemed it as their duty. If they are lacking in that, they would be involved in degradation in this world and in the hereafter also, they would be chastised.
The Holy Quran says:
قُلْ إِن كَانَ ءَابَآؤُكُمْ وَأَبْنَآؤُكُمْ وَ إِخْوَ نُكُمْ وَأَزْوَجُكُمْ وَ عَشِيرَتُكُمْ وَ أَمْوَ لٌ اقْتَرَفْتُمُوهَا وَ تِجَرَةٌ تَخْشَوْنَ كَسَادَهَا وَ مَسَكِنُ تَرْضَوْنَهَآ أَحَبَّ إِلَيْكُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَ رَسُولِهِ وَ جِهَادٍ فِى سَبِيلِهِ فَتَرَبَّصُواْ حَتَّى يَأْتِىَ اللَّهُبِأَمْرِهِ وَ اللَّهُ لَايَهْدِى الْقَوْمَ الْفَسِقِينَ
“Say: If your fathers and your sons and your brethren and your mates and your kinsfolk and property which you have acquired, and the slackness of trade, which you fear and dwellings, which you like, are dearer to you than Allah and His Apostle and striving in His way, then wait till Allah brings about His command: and Allah does not guide the transgressing people.” (9:24)
Defensive Jihad in the way of God is an absolute and valuable duty of Islam as the greatness and independence of Muslims is related to it. As long as Muslims act on this duty, they have respect and power, but when the logic of Jihad and defense in the path of truth is removed from the culture of Muslims, they gradually lose their power and glory and oppressors and enemies gain dominance on them. Regretful and shameful circumstances of Muslim countries are consequences of leaving this duty unfulfilled. In order to solve these problems, we have no other option, except revival of the culture of Jihad and martyrdom.
 Al-Kafi, Vol. 5, Pg. 4
 Al-Kafi, Vol. 5, Pg. 2
 Al-Kafi, Vol. 5, Pg. 8