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Jihad is fard al kifayah (A Collective Obligation) NOT fard al ayn (Individual Obligation)

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Quran 2:216:

Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you. But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.

The following excerpt is taken from “Maariful Quran” by Mufti Muhammad Shafi vol. 1 pg. 533-535:

“The injunction declaring Jihad as obligatory appears in the first.
of the three verses under comment in the words: “Fighting is enjoined upon you …” which means that ‘Jihad has been made obligatory on you’. These words apparently seem to say that Jihad is obligatory on every Muslim in every condition. Some other verses of the Qur’an and the sayings of the Holy Prophet , however, have clarified that this obligation is not absolute, that is, every Muslim is not charged to perform it as Fard ‘Ayn, (absolute and mandatory obligation on every Muslim) instead, it is Fard ‘al al-Kifayah whereby, should a group of Muslims come forward to discharge this obligation, other Muslims would be considered absolved from it.

However, should there remain just no group ready to discharge the obligation of Jihad at any time or in any country, the result will be that all Muslims will fall into the sin of abandoning an obligation. The saying of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) in the hadith: means that it is necessary that there be, right upto the Day of Doom, a group of Muslims which keeps discharging the obligation of Jihad.

Another verse of the Holy Qur’an says:

And Allah has given precedence to mujahidin, who carry out
jihad with their properties and lives, over those who sit away,
and Allah has promised good for both. (4:95)

Here, the promise of good has been extended to those also who may
not be able to take part in Jihad because of some compulsive excuse or
because of engagement in some other religious service. It is obvious
that the promise of good would have never been made for those who
are absent from Jihad, in the event that it were an absolute obligation
on every individual Muslim.

Similarly, this is what appears in another verse:

Why could a small group from every large community of yours
not come forward so that they pursue understanding in religion? (9:122)

Here, the Holy Qur’an itself suggests a division of work whereby
some Muslims carry out Jihad and some keep serving the cause of
religious education. This can be done only when Jihad is Fard ‘ala
al-Kifayah and not Fard ‘Ayn.

In a hadith appearing in al-Bukhari and Muslim, it is said that a
person sought the permission of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) to take part in Jihiid. He asked him: ‘Are your parents alive?’ He said, ‘Yes, they are alive.’ He said: ‘Then, go. Serve your parents and earn the reward of
Jihad’. Incidentally, this also tells that Jihad is a Fard ‘al al-Kifayah.
When a group from among the Muslims is staunchly discharging the
obligation of Jihad, remaining Muslims can engage themselves in
other services and duties. But, should there come a time when the
‘Imam’ or the leader of Muslims gives a general call under the
compulsion of need and invites all Muslims to take part in Jihad, then,
Jihad becomes an absolute obligation on everybody.

In Surah al-Taubah, the Holy Qur’an says:

0 those who believe, what has happened to you that, when
you are asked to come out in the way of Allah, you become
heavy? (9:38)

This verse carries the injunction relating to the general call of
Jihad mentioned above. In the same way, should it be that disbelievers, God forbid, invade an Islamic country and the group engaged in defence is not fully capable of it, being weak or insufficient in number, then, at that time as well, this obligation becomes ‘contagious’, passing on from that first group to all Muslims close by, as an equally effective obligation. And in case, they too are weak or incapable, the obligation will pass on to Muslims close to them. This situation may reach a point when Jihad becomes an absolute
obligation on each and every individual Muslim all over the world. It is in view of these verses from the Holy Qur’an that the majority of Muslim jurists and scholars of hadith have set up the rule that Jihad is Fard ‘al al-Kifayah under normal conditions.

Therefore, as far as Jihad remains a Fard Kifayah, it is not
permissible for the off-spring to go for Jihad without the permission of
their parents.


Shafi, Muhammad (2008). Maariful Quran. (Vol .1 pg. 533-535)

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