Transcribed from a talk.
The great Imām ʿAbd al-Rahman as-Sa’di (رحمه الله تعالى) stated that Jihad is of two categories: the first category is a jihad by which the intention is the rectification of the Muslims. And the rectification of the Muslims is in their creed, their beliefs, in their conduct, manners and in all of their affairs. And then he mentions, that this first type of Jihad is cultivation. The cultivation of Muslims with regards to knowledge and with regards to action. (And then the shaykh says a tremendous sentence:) This first category is the foundation of Jihad.
So this first category of Jihad, upon it is built the second type of Jihad and that is to protect Islam. The second category of Jihad is to protect Islam from the endeavors of those who go beyond bounds against Islam and against the Muslims, whether it be from the disbelievers or the hypocrites, or whether it be from the deviants.
So having said that, you see, that the foundation of Jihad is the first category which is: the rectification of the Muslims in their beliefs, manners, in all of their affairs that are connected to their religion and their worldly affairs and to cultivate them upon their religion and upon action, and this is the Foundation of Jihad.
And the second category of Jihad is built upon that and this is why, Ibn Qayyim (رحمه الله تعالى) mentioned which type of Jihad is the greater type of Jihad. The Jihad of defending the religion itself from the attacks of the enemy, from innovators and their people or the Jihad upon the battlefield. He mentions, rather the Jihad against the innovators in terms of refutation with the tongue and with the pen, is a greater type of Jihad than the Jihad upon the battlefield.
He said, do you not know that Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى ) said in the Qur’an:
وَجَاهِدْهُم بِهِ جِهَادًا كَبِيرًا
“And make Jihad against them (by preaching) with the utmost endeavour, with it (i.e. with the Quran).”
(Surah Furqan 25: 52) Meaning: And make Jihad against them with it, the great Jihad.
Allāh addressed the Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) with this verse and it was revealed to him in Makkah.
وَجَاهِدْهُم بِهِ جِهَادًا كَبِيرًا
(Surah Furqan 25: 52)
And make Jihad against them with it, meaning the Jihad of the Qur’an and the Jihad of the Qur’an at that time was the establishment of Tawḥīd (Islamic Monotheism) and īmān (faith) and the eradication of shirk (the worship of others besides Allāh [سبحانه و تعالى]).
Why? Because when that verse was revealed there was no hadd punishment upon the thieves, there was no stoning of the adulteress, there was no obligation of the Hijab. So which Jihad was he commanded to make? It was the Jihad of al-tawḥīd, to abolish shirk and to call the people to the worship of Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) alone and then when that īmān (faith) and tawḥīd was established in their hearts, Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) established for the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) the Islamic state in Al-Medina, after which period all the other regulations of Al-Islam came.
This included fasting in the month of Ramadan, Zakat, the performance of Hajj, the wearing of the Hijab, the prescribed punishments against the criminals, and Jihad upon the battlefields. So which Jihad was the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) commanded with in Makkah? The Jihad that Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) calls: “the great Jihad”. That was the Jihad of the Qur’an, the Jihad of Tawḥīd. This is why the scholars say, that the Jihad against ahlul al-bid’ah (the people of innovation) is more virtuous than Jihad against the open enemy.
Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah mentions: That Shaykh Abu ‘Amar Ibn Salah (rahimahullah) said: To take the school out of the hands of Abul-Hasan al-Aamadee is better than re-capturing ‘Akka (Acre) from the hands of the Crusading Christians. It is more important that we get this school (academy of learning) out of the hands of Abul-Hasan al-‘Aamidee (who was an innovator, a Jahmee and Ashari). It is more important that we get this school out of his hands, where he can mislead the Muslims and teach the children innovation than that we get the seaport of ‘Akka, which was in Shaam at that time (in the time of Ibn Taymiyyah) and before that time and was a seaport which was taken by the Christians who invaded Shaam.
So this shows us, my brothers and sisters, the importance of how the religion is to be protected and what is the core issue that needs to be protected? That is tawḥīd, the ‘aqīdah (creed) and the rectification of the Muslims in their beliefs, manners, etiquettes, knowledge, actions, to rectify them and to cultivate them. This is the foundation of Jihad, however if you were to utter these words in these times, what would they say about you? They would say that you are a denier of Jihad!
That you are an individual who doesn’t believe in Jihad, look how they run away from the fact that the foundation of Jihad is striving to attain the knowledge of tawḥīd and ‘aqīdah (creed) – the foundation of Islam and the purpose of the sending of the Prophets.
Shaykh al-Fawzan said: A person may say, what is wrong with you people (i.e. the Salafis) that the issue you focus upon or the most important thing for you is tawḥīd and you’re always talking about tawḥīd and ‘aqīdah as if you do not take any consideration to the affairs of the Muslims in our times who are being killed and being driven out of their lands and being pursued by the non-Muslim nations in every place.
This is what they say about the Salafis. That you people talk about tawḥīd but you don’t care about how the Muslims are being killed. Look at the answer of Shaykh al-Fawzan, he said: So we say, and success lies with Allāh, that tawḥīd is the foundation upon which this religion is built upon.
This monotheistic religion is built upon tawḥīd. So when we ponder over the Qur’an, we find that it explains the affair of tawḥīd completely to the extent that there is not a verse from the verses of the Qur’an except that it deals with the subject of tawḥīd. Clarifying it and forbidding that which opposes it and for this reason, Shaykhul-Islam Ibnul Qayyim ( رحمه الله) this great Imām affirmed that the whole of the Qur’an, from its beginning to its end is about the Oneness of Allāh:
It contains information related to Allāh’s names and attributes and this is as he mentions is the singling out of Allāh with regard to the affair of being acquainted with the knowledge of His names and Attributes, and affirmation of them. And there is Tawḥīd al-Ruboobiyyah: that Allāh is the creator, the sustainer, the giver of life, the giver of death – singling Him out with His actions. In the whole of the Qur’an, you’ll find that either its related to that knowledge of Allah or it commands to worship Allah alone without any partners and it forbids Shirk – and this the tawḥīd of speech and action of the servant being directed to Allah alone, and it is also referred to as tawḥīd al-Uloohiyyah, the Tawheed of singling out Allāh alone as the sole Deity (Ilaah) that is worthy of your worship.
The Qur’an commands with the obedience to Allāh and obedience to Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم). It forbids from disobeying Allāh and disobeying Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and this is from the extented rights of tawḥīd and the perfection of tawḥīd. The Qur’an contains news concerning what has been promised to the people of tawḥīd of the abode in Jannah, success, salvation, and support in this life and the hereafter.
The Qur’an contains news regarding how the Mushrikeen (those who commit polytheism) are exempt from punishment in this life and what Allāh has prepared for them in the hereafter of eternal and everlasting punishment in the hellfire. So the recompense for the one who actualizes tawḥīd is that Allāh gives him paradise and rewards him in this life and in the hereafter and likewise the Qur’an contains knowledge of the recompense of the one who is wantonly ignorant of tawḥīd and neglects tawḥīd and worships other than Allāh.
So throughout the whole of the Qur’an, you will not find a verse from the verses of the Qur’an, except that it deals with the affair of tawḥīd. Therefore, the whole of Qur’an revolves around tawḥīd, so if you were to scrutinize the chapters of the Qur’an revealed in Makkah, you will find that they predominantly deal with the affair of tawḥīd and forbiddance of polytheism.
This is due to the fact that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) lived in Makkah for 13 years calling to tawḥīd and forbidding from Shirk. The obligations such as Zakat, fasting, hajj and other than them, the halal and haraam, the interactions and the dealings were not revealed in Makkah, they were revealed in Medina after the migration. The exception to this is the prayer which was obligated on the night of Mi’raaj whilst the Messenger of Allāh was in Makkah and this was shortly before the Hijrah (migration).
So the overwhelming Qur’anic chapters that were revealed to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) in Makkah before the migration were related to the topic of tawḥīd. Again showing its great importance – and as for the various obligations connected to the outward acts of worship, they were not revealed except after tawḥīd was established and firmly rooted in the hearts and souls and the correct ‘aqīdah was made manifest.
That was due to the fact that the outward acts of worship are not sound unless tawḥīd is sound and they are not built except upon tawḥīd. So the Qur’an makes clear that the first affair that the Messengers called to before anything else was tawḥīd and this is why Allāh mentions (سبحانه و تعالى):
وَلَقَدْ بَعَثْنَا فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ رَّسُولًا أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَاجْتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوتَ
“And verily, We have sent among every community a Messenger proclaiming: “Worship Allāh alone and keep away from all false deities.” (Surah Nahl 16: 36)
And Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى) says,
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِي إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدُونِ
“And We did not send any Messenger before you O Muhammad but We inspired him to say: None has the right to be worshipped but I (Allāh), so worship Me alone.” (Surah Al Anbiya 21: 25)
And likewise, every Prophet was commanded to say to his people:
يَا قَوْمِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَٰهٍ غَيْرُهُ
“O my people! Worship Allah, you have no other Ilaah (God) worthy of worship but Him.” (Surah Hud 11: 84)
And so likewise with the followers of the Messengers amongst those who call to rectification, if they want their affairs to be fixed, the first matter that they must focus upon and give attention to is tawḥīd. That is because every call that is not established upon tawḥīd is a call that is fruitless and futile, not able to achieve its goals.
Any call that marginalises tawḥīd, puts tawḥīd to one side and does not give attention to it then it is a call that will fail in achieving the fruits that it wants. This is something witnessed to and well-known, indeed every call that focuses upon tawḥīd then by Allāh’s permission it will be successful.
Every call that is based upon the ‘aqīdah, will succeed and benefit the society. This is something well-known and something that is established if you were to look at history. We do not ignore the plight of the Muslims – rather we are concerned about their affair. We aid them, we support them, we utilize every means to prevent harm and injury coming to them, it is not easy upon us to witness the killing of Muslims and seeing them driven out of their lands. However it is not sufficient that we just cry or even that we pretend to cry over the plight of the Muslims.
That we fill the world with emotional speech and writings and with screams and wailings. This will not bring about any progress. The correct cure for the plight of the Muslims is first and foremost to investigate the reasons that lead to necessitating this torment that has been unleashed upon the Muslims and has caused their enemies to humiliate them.
Look at the cause of it and then Shaykh Fawzaan mentions, over and over again, chapter after chapter, mentioning why tawḥīd as been given so much importance in Islam and every Prophet was sent with this goal; to establish the tawḥīd of Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى ).
When the people stop worshipping Allāh, when the people worship other than Allāh, when the people drown themselves in sin, when the people break their covenant with Allāh and His Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم then Allāh sends down this humiliation – and that humiliation does not just impact a portion of us, rather all of the Muslims feel something of it because we feel the suffering of those who suffer from amongst our brothers and sisters, but as the Shaykh said that it is not rectified by screaming, wailing and with emotional speech.
Rather to rectify the affair we need to know what the disease is in the first place and how to cure that disease! And we stated that Imām as-Sa’di mentions that Jihad is of two types, know what the foundation of Jihad is, and rectify that first. Rectify the ‘aqīdah, rectify the manners, rectify the conduct, rectify the affairs of your religion and your worldly affairs and cultivate yourselves upon knowledge and righteous deeds. That is the foundation of Jihad.
From that comes the second category of Jihad. So if the first category isn’t fixed and it is not rectified, how does a person jump to the second category without rectifying the first category? It is not to be done like that my brothers and sisters, this is why it is important to know the Minhaaj (methodology), the Manhaj of the Salafi, to recognise it, to know it, to understand it and not to be shaken by the people who come and throw doubts in your hearts. They try to make you feel guilty, that you are not waving a flag for their cause – they try to make you feel lowly, why? Because you have chosen a Manhaj (methodology) of tasfīyah (purification) and tarbīyah (education). This doesn’t mean that we neglect or that we don’t put our hands in our pockets and donate, or that we don’t aid, and we don’t feed, or that we don’t support them and we don’t make du’aa for them – no, indeed we do all of that. But we will never support the Khawārij, the terrorists, the Ikhwaanis and their offshoots!
We hold for certainty that rectification is by returning back to the Book (Qur’an) and Sunnah and Minhaaj (Methodology) of the Salaf.
Transcribed by Wafa Bint Houssam, may Allah reward her.