Al-Harawee reported in Dhammul-Kalām with his chain of narration to Nasr Ibn Zakariyyah who said: I heard Muhammad Ibn Yahyā adh-Dhuhlee saying: I heard Yahyā Ibn Yahyā saying: “Defence of the Sunnah is better than Jihād in the path of Allah.” So Muhammad [Ibn Yahyā Adh-Dhuhlee] said: I said to Yahyā: ‘A man spends his own wealth, tires himself out and fights, yet [the one you mentioned] is better than him?!’ Yahyā [Ibn Yahyā] responded: “Yes, by a great deal!” Yahyā Ibn Yahyā was the shaikh of Imām al-Bukhāree (rahimahumullāh).
Al-Harawee (rahimahullāh) also reported in Dhammul-Kalām (p. 228) that Al-Humaidee, the shaikh of Al-Bukhāree, said:
“By Allah! That I wage war against those that refute and reject the hadeeth of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) is more beloved to me than fighting the same number of unbelievers (atrāk).”
‛Āsim Ibn Shumaykh said: I saw [the Companion] Abu Sa‛eed al-Khudree (radiyallāhu ‛anhu) in his old age, his hands were trembling and he was saying:
“Fighting the Khawārij is more virtuous in my view than fighting an equal number of unbelievers (atrāk).” Ibn Abee Shaybah (Musannaf 15/303), Ahmad (3/33), Abdullāh Ibn Ahmad in Kitābus-Sunnah (2/635).
Ibn Hubairah said regarding the narration of Abu Sa‛eed al-Khudree (radiyallahu ‛anhu) about fighting the Khawārij: “This hadeeth shows that fighting the Khawārij takes precedence over fighting the idolators; and the wisdom behind that is that fighting them preserves the core wealth of Islam, whilst fighting the people of idolatry yields increase. So preserving the core wealth is more important.” Fathul-Bāree 12/301.
Abu ‛Ubaid al-Qāsim Ibn Salām said: “The follower of the Sunnah is like the one who holds onto hot coals – in this age I see that it is better than fighting with swords for Allah’s sake.” Tāreekh Baghdād 12/410.
Ibnul-Qayyim said: “Jihād (i.e. striving for Allah’s sake) with evidences and speech takes precedence over Jihād with the sword, arrows and spearheads.” See Sharh an-Nooniyyah of al-Harrās 1/12; Al-Jawāb as-Saheeh of Ibn Taymiyyah 1/237.
Abdur-Rahmaan as-Sa’dee (1889-1956CE, rahimahullah) said:
“Jihaad is of two types:
Jihad by which is intended the rectification of the Muslims, rectification of their ‘Aqeedah (beliefs), their manners and conduct, and all of their religious and worldly affairs, and likewise their cultivation in terms of knowledge and action. This type of Jihād is the foundation of Jihad and its backbone – and upon this is built the second type of Jihad, and the intent by this Jihad is to repel those who transgress against Islaam and the Muslims, from amongst the unbelievers, the hypocrites, the heretics, and the rest of the enemies of Islaam and their oppositions.”
Source: Wujoob at-Ta’āwun baynal-Muslimeen, pp. 7-8)
Shaikhul-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah (died 728H, rahimahullah) said in Majmoo’ al-Fatawa (28/232):
“From the well-known narrations that have reached us is that Shaikh Abu ‘Amr b. as-Salāh (died 643H) commanded that the school of learning that was in the hands of Abul-Hasan al-Āmidee (died 631) be seized. He said: Seizing it from him is more virtuous than seizing control of ‘Akkā [from the Christian Crusaders].“
English: Acre. Arabic: عكّا, ʻAkkā, is a city in the northern coastal region of Palestine. Historically, it was a strategic coastal link to the Levant. In crusader times it was known as St. John d’Acre after the Knights Hospitaller of the St. John order who had their headquarters there. Abul-Hasan al-Āmidee was a Sufi, philosopher, misguided doubter.
Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullāh) said about the Khawārij innovators:
“They are more evil to the Muslims than others – and there is none more wicked to the Muslims than them, not the Jews nor the Christians. They strived to kill every Muslim who did not agree with them. They made permissible the spilling of Muslim blood, and the taking of their wealth and property, and the killing of their children, declaring them to be unbelievers – they (the Khawārij) took this path as their religion due to their extreme ignorance and their misguided innovation…” Minhāj as-Sunnah 5/248.