Regarding Jihad [ji+√had(taking extreme measure)], the “Tafsir of Ibn Kathir”, volume 2, pages 116, 117 on verse 2:191 states:
“As Jihad involves death and the killing of men, Allah draws our attention to the fact that the disbelief and polytheism of the disbelievers, and their avoidance of Allah’s path are far worse than killing. Thus Allah says, “And Fitnah is worse than killing.” This is to say that shirk (Polytheism) is more serious and worse than killing.”
The classic manual of Islamic sacred law, “Reliance of the Traveler“, is one of the more respected, classical works in Islamic theology. This 1200+ page voluminous book on Sharia contains fundamentals of Islamic jurisprudence compiled by “the great 13th century Hadith scholar and jurisprudent”, Iman Nawawi, and others. This work was not written with a Western audience in mind. Nawawi wanted to produce a book on Islamic law that was precise and accurate, one that taught true Islamic values. There are additional statements regarding the rules of Jihad found in “Reliance of the Traveler”, but we quote only one relevant statement that portrays Jihad’s scope and application, from page 599:
9.0 Jihad: “Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word “mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion. And it is the less Jihad. As for the great Jihad, it is spiritual warfare against the lower self, (nafs), which is why the Prophet said as he was returning from Jihad.
Scholarly consensus by all reputable Islamic experts is sourced by scriptural basis for Jihad from such Qur’anic verses as: “Fighting is prescribed for you” [2:216], “Slay them wherever you find them” [4:89], “Fight the Pagans all together” [9:36], and such Hadiths as the one related by Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet said:
Narrated Ibn ‘Umar’: Allah’s Apostle said: “I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform a that, then they save their lives an property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah.” [Volume 1, Book 2, Number 24]
A Hadith report by Muslim confirms this philosophy:
“To go forth in the morning or evening to fight in the path of Allah is better than the whole world and everything in it.”
9.1 OBLIGATORY CHARACTER OF Jihad: Jihad is communal obligation. When enough people perform it to successfully accomplish it, it is no longer obligatory upon others. and Allah Most High having said: “Not equal are those believers who sit (at home) and receive no hurt, and those who strive and fight in the cause of Allah with their goods and their persons. Allah hath granted a grade higher to those who strive and fight with their goods and persons than to those who sit (at home). Unto all (in Faith) Hath Allah promised good: But those who strive and fight Hath He distinguished above those who sit (at home) by a special reward,-” Qur’an [4:95]
9.3 Jihad is also obligatory for everyone able to perform it, male or female, old or young when the enemy has surrounded the Muslims.
9.8 The Caliph makes war upon the Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians, provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax Jizya…in accordance with the word of Allah Most High: “Fight those who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and who forbid not what Allah and His messenger have forbidden – who do not practice the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book – until they pay the poll tax out of hand and are humbled.” Qur’an [9:29] The Caliph fights all other peoples until they become Muslim….
Finally, from Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Hadis #0033, and Sahih Bukhari, [Volume 1, Book 8, Number 387], comes a telling insight on the true meaning and scope of Jihad:
Narrated Anas bin Malik: Allah’s Apostle said, “I have been ordered to fight the people till they say: ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.’ And if they say so, pray like our prayers, face our Qibla and slaughter as we slaughter, then their blood and property will be sacred to us and we will not interfere with them except legally and their reckoning will be with Allah.” Narrated Maimun ibn Siyah that he asked Anas bin Malik, “O Abu Hamza! What makes the life and property of a person sacred?” He replied, “Whoever says, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah’, faces our Qibla during the prayers, prays like us and eats our slaughtered animal, then he is a Muslim, and has got the same rights and obligations as other Muslims have.”
The Qur’an says Jihad receives the highest reward and is the surest way to paradise if the “fighter” dies: “Think not of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their Lord;” Qur’an [3:169]. “To him who fighteth in the cause of Allah,- whether he is slain or gets victory – Soon shall We give him a reward of great (value).” Qur’an [4:74].
Qur’an Sura [8:39] And fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah altogether and everywhere; but if they cease, verily Allah doth see all that they do.
Qur’an Sura [3:156] O ye who believe! Be not like the Unbelievers, who say of their brethren, when they are travelling through the Earth or engaged in fighting: “If they had stayed with us, they would not have died, or been slain.” This that Allah may make it a cause of sighs and regrets in their hearts. It is Allah that gives Life and Death, and Allah sees well all that ye do.
Qur’an Sura [9:88] But the Messenger, and those who believe with him, strive and fight with their wealth and their persons: for them are (all) good things: and it is they who will prosper.
Qur’an Sura [8:75] And those who accept Faith subsequently, and adopt exile, and fight for the Faith in your company,- they are of you. But kindred by blood have prior rights against each other in the Book of Allah. Verily Allah is well-acquainted with all things.
Qur’an Sura [4:84] Then fight in Allah’s cause – Thou art held responsible only for thyself – and rouse the believers. It may be that Allah will restrain the fury of the Unbelievers; for Allah is the strongest in might and in punishment.
Qur’an Sura [2:244] Then fight in the cause of Allah, and know that Allah Heareth and knoweth all things.
Qur’an Sura [9:111] Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur’an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah. then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.
Qur’an Sura [9:5] But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.
Qur’an Sura [49:9] If two parties among the Believers fall into a quarrel, make ye peace between them: but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other then fight ye (all) against the one that transgresses until it complies with the command of Allah; but if it complies then make peace between them with justice and be fair: for Allah loves those who are fair (and just).
Qur’an Sura [59:12] If they are expelled, never will they go out with them; and if they are attacked (in fight), they will never help them; and if they do help them, they will turn their backs; so they will receive no help.
Qur’an Sura [2:217] They ask thee concerning fighting in the Prohibited Month. Say: “Fighting therein is a grave (offence); but graver is it in the sight of Allah to prevent access to the path of Allah, to deny Him, to prevent access to the Sacred Mosque, and drive out its members.” Tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter. Nor will they cease fighting you until they turn you back from your faith if they can. And if any of you Turn back from their faith and die in unbelief, their works will bear no fruit in this life and in the Hereafter; they will be companions of the Fire and will abide therein.
Qur’an Sura [4:75] And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?- Men, women, and children, whose cry is: “Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!”
Qur’an Sura [9:14] Fight them, and Allah will punish them by your hands, cover them with shame, help you (to victory) over them, heal the breasts of Believers,
Qur’an Sura [60:8] Allah forbids you not, with regard to those who fight you not for (your) Faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them: for Allah loveth those who are just.
Qur’an Sura [73:20] Thy Lord doth know that thou standest forth (to prayer) nigh two-thirds of the night, or half the night, or a third of the night, and so doth a party of those with thee. But Allah doth appoint night and day in due measure He knoweth that ye are unable to keep count thereof. So He hath turned to you (in mercy); read ye, therefore, of the Qur’an as much as may be easy for you. He knoweth that there may be (some) among you in ill-health; others travelling through the land, seeking of Allah’s bounty; yet others fighting in Allah’s Cause, read ye, therefore, as much of the Qur’an as may be easy (for you); and establish regular Prayer and give regular Charity; and loan to Allah a Beautiful Loan. And whatever good ye send forth for your souls ye shall find it in Allah’s Presence,- yea, better and greater, in Reward and seek ye the Grace of Allah, for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Qur’an Sura [33:20] They think that the Confederates have not withdrawn; and if the Confederates should come (again), they would wish they were in the deserts (wandering) among the Bedouins, and seeking news about you (from a safe distance); and if they were in your midst, they would fight but little.
Qur’an Sura [48:22] If the Unbelievers should fight you, they would certainly turn their backs; then would they find neither protector nor helper.
Qur’an Sura [4:77] Hast thou not turned Thy vision to those who were told to hold back their hands (from fight) but establish regular prayers and spend in regular charity? When (at length) the order for fighting was issued to them, behold! a section of them feared men as – or even more than – they should have feared Allah. They said: “Our Lord! Why hast Thou ordered us to fight? Wouldst Thou not Grant us respite to our (natural) term, near (enough)?” Say: “Short is the enjoyment of this world: the Hereafter is the best for those who do right: Never will ye be dealt with unjustly in the very least!
Qur’an Sura [60:9] Allah only forbids you, with regard to those who fight you for (your) Faith, and drive you out of your homes, and support (others) in driving you out, from turning to them (for friendship and protection). It is such as turn to them (in these circumstances), that do wrong.
Qur’an Sura [9:83] If, then, Allah bring thee back to any of them, and they ask thy permission to come out (with thee), say: “Never shall ye come out with me, nor fight an enemy with me: for ye preferred to sit inactive on the first occasion: Then sit ye (now) with those who lag behind.”