Jihad Al Akbar

from Shaykh Hisham Kabbani's

"Islamic Beliefs and Doctrine According to Ahl al-Sunna: A Repudiation of "Salafi" Innovations"

The references to the above Hadith are several paragraphs into the excerpt. Apparently its attributability to the Prophet, Salla Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam, is weak, but the meaning may be infered from other Hadith and Quran. Notably Imam Nawawi has said, as quoted from a previous post: [The scholars from the muhaddiths, the fuqahaa and others said: it is permissible and recommended to act upon the weak hadeeth, which is not fabricated, with regard to excellent and virtuous actions, encouragements and warnings. but as for ruling like halaal and haraam, buying and selling, marriage and divorce, and other than that, then nothing unless it is with regard to taking the safest course in any of that]

Allah said: "Those who have striven for Our sake, We guide them to Our ways" (29:96).

He has thereby made guidance dependent on jihad. Therefore, the most perfect of people are those of them who struggle the most for His sake, and the most obligatory of jihads (afrad al-jihad) are the jihad against the ego, the jihad against desires, the jihad against the devil, and the jihad against the lower world (jihad al-nafs wa jihad al-hawa wa jihad al-shaytan wa jihad al-dunya). Whoever struggles against these four, Allah will guide them to the ways of His good pleasure which lead to His Paradise, and whoever leaves jihad, then he leaves guidance in proportion to his leaving jihad.

Al-Junayd said: "Those who have striven against their desires and repented for our sake, we shall guide them to the ways of sincerity, and one cannot struggle against his enemy outwardly (i.e. with the sword) except he who struggles against these enemies inwardly. Then whoever is given victory over them will be victorious over his enemy. and whoever is defeated by them, his enemy defeats him."Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, al-Fawa'id, ed. Muhammad `Ali Qutb (Alexandria: dar al-da`wa, 1412/1992) p. 50.

Competition and rivalry are allowed towards excellence in worship. In that respect, Allah established levels between the believers in His book and this is clear from countless hadiths also. The reward of jihad is immense as proved by the hadith of the Prophet that, if he could, he would ask Allah to bring him back to life so that he would go back and die as a shahid or martyr many times over. And yet, with respect to the present issue, rememberers of Allah -- including perfect scholars who are true knowers of Allah -- are superior to the mujahidin. For example, although Zayd ibn Haritha and Khalid ibn Walid were great generals, their demise was less heavy, in terms of loss for Muslims, compared with that of Abu Musa al-Ash`ari or Ibn `Abbas. For this reason the Prophet explicitly declared the superiority of the rememberers of Allah in the following two authentic hadiths:

The Prophet said: "Shall I tell you something that is the best of all deeds, constitutes the best act of piety in the eyes of your Lord, elevates your rank in the hereafter, and carries more virtue than the spending of gold and silver in the service of Allah, or taking part in jihad and slaying or being slain in the path of Allah?" They said: "Yes!" He said: "Remembrance of Allah." Related on the authority of Abu al-Darda' by Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ibn Abi al-Dunya, al-Hakim who declared it sound, and Dhahabi confirmed him, Bayhaqi, Suyuti in al-Jami` al-saghir, and Ahmad also related it from Mu`adh ibn Jabal. He also said: "Even if one strikes unbelievers and idolaters with his sword until it breaks, and he is completely dyed with their blood, the Rememberers of Allah are above him one degree."Related on the authority of Abu Sa`id al-Khudri by Ahmad (3:75), Tirmidhi (#3376), Baghawi in Sharh al-Sunna (5:195), Ibn Kathir in his Tafsir (6:416), and others.

Hadiths On The Jihad Against The Ego

The hadith master Mulla `Ali al-Qari relates in his book al-Mawdu`at al-kubra, also known as al-Asrar al-marfu`a :

Suyuti said: al-Khatib al-Baghdadi relates in his "History" on the authority of Jabir: The Prophet came back from one of his campaigns saying: "You have come forth in the best way of coming forth: you have come from the smaller jihad to the geater jihad." They said: "And what is the greater jihad?" He replied: "The striving (mujahadat) of Allah's servants against their idle desires."

Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani said in Tasdid al-qaws : "This saying is widespread and it is a saying by Ibrahim ibn Ablah according to Nisa'i in al-Kuna. Ghazali mentions it in the Ihya' and al-`Iraqi said that Bayhaqi related it on the authority of Jabir and said: There is weakness in its chain of transmission."

`Ali al-Qari, al-Asrar al-marfu`a (Beirut 1985 ed.) p. 127.

The hafiz Ibn Abu Jamra al-Azdi al-Andalusi (d. 695) says in his commentary on Bukhari entitled Bahjat al-nufus :

`Umar narrated that a man came to the Prophet asking for permission to go to jihad. The Prophet asked: "Are your parents alive?" He said that they were. The Prophet replied: "Then struggle to keep their rights" (fihima fa jahid) ... There is in this hadith evidence that the Sunna for entering the path and undertaking self-discipline is to act under the expert guidance, so that he may be shown the way that is best for him to follow, and the soundest for the particular wayfarer. For when that Companion wished to go out to jihad, he did not content himself with his own opinion in the matter but sought advice from one more knowledgeable than him and more expert. If this is the case in the Lesser Jihad, then what about the Greater Jihad?

Ibn Abu Jamra, Bahjat al-nufus sharh mukhtasar sahih al-bukhari 3:146. Ibn Hibban relates in his Sahih from Fadala ibn Ubayd:

The Prophet said in the Farewell Pilgrimage: "... The mujahid is he who makes jihad against himself (jahada nafsah) for the sake of obeying Allah." Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Tabarani, Ibn Majah, al-Hakim, and Quda`i also relate it. The contemporary hadith scholar Shu`ayb al-Arna'ut confirmed that its chain of transmission is sound in his edition of Ibn Hibban, Sahih 11:203 (#4862). Al-Haythami related the following version in the chapter on Jihad al-nafs in his Majma` al-zawa'id and declared it sound:

The strong one is not the one who overcomes people, the strong one is he who overcomes his ego (ghalaba nafsah)

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

Return to Index