Is Jihad Fardh ‘Ayn (obligatory upon everyone) ? – Imam ibn Uthaymeen

Scholar: Imâm Muhammad bin Sâlih bin ´Uthaymîn
Source: Liqâ’ al-Bâb al-Maftûh (212 B)
Date: 1420-03-24/1999-07-07
Translation & video: (site is down)


What is the ruling on Jihâd today? Is it obligatory for some Muslims or for all? When is it obligatory for the entire Ummah if it only is obligatory for some Muslims?

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymîn:

 Firstly, you have to know that Jihâd is not obligatory for all Muslims. This is impossible. Allâh (ta’âlâ) said:

“And it is not for the believers to go forth [to battle] all at once. For there should separate from every division of them a group [remaining] to obtain understanding in the religion and warn their people when they return to them that they might be cautious.” (9:122)

If all were to have gone out in Jihâd, the rest of the prescriptions and rituals would have ended. However, it can become Fardh ‘Ayn (obligatory for all Muslims) in the following cases:

1 – On the frontline. If one comes here, one should accomplish the war.

Allâh (ta’âlâ) said:

“O you who have believed, when you meet those who disbelieve advancing [for battle], do not turn to them your backs [in flight]. And whoever turns his back to them on such a day, unless swerving [as a strategy] for war or joining [another] company, has certainly returned with anger [upon him] from Allah , and his refuge is Hell – and wretched is the destination.” (8:15-16)

2 – When the enemy attacks one’s country. Here it becomes obligatory to fight to defend oneself and one’s Islamic country.

3 – When the LEADER orders him to go out in Jihâd. Write the word “LEADER” with capital letters. It means that one has to have a leader who leads the Islamic army. When the LEADER orders him to go out in Jihâd, he has to go out. When he orders a country’s population to go out in Jihâd, they have to do it. For it is forbidden to be disobedient towards the rulers. When they are told to do it, they become obliged to fulfill it.

4 – When there is a need of the person. An example of that is that a person is a loner in knowing how a specific weapon is to be managed. In this case, it becomes obligatory for him to fight.

As for what is beyond these four situations, it is not obligatory for all Muslims to fight. Thereto, JIHÂD MUST BE UNDER THE LEAD OF A LEADER. OTHERWISE, A GUERRILLA WAR WOULD HAPPEN. THERE HAS TO BE A LEADER WHO IS LEADING THE ISLAMIC UMMAH. YOU THEREFORE SEE THAT IT DOES NOT GO WELL FOR THOSE WHO GO OUT IN JIHÂD WITHOUT THE LEADERSHIP OF A LEADER. There is a risk that they even attack each other. If they were to triumph, they begin to fight each other.

I ask Allâh that He helps us strive against ourselves. We have to strive against ourselves at the moment. Hearts are sick. The limbs are deficient. Hearts fight against each other. It is firstly this that is in need of Jihâd.

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