In the Name of Allaah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful. All praise and thanks be to Allaah, we praise Him, seek His aid, and ask His forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allaah from the evil in our souls and from our bad deeds. He whom Allaah guides, there is none to misguide him, and He whom he leaves astray there is none to guide him! I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah, who is alone without partners and I bear witness that Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) is his slave and Messenger.
O you who believe! Fear Allaah as He should be feared. And die not except in a state of Islaam with complete submission to Allaah." [Soorah Aali-Imraan (3):102]
"O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person, and from him He created his wife, and from them both He created many men and women and fear Allaah through Whom you demand your mutual rights and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allaah is Ever an All-Watcher over you." [Soorah An-Nisaa (4):1]
"O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth. He will direct you to do righteous deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allaah and His Messenger he has indeed achieved a great achievement." [Soorah Al-Ahzaab (33):70-71]
Verily the most truthful of speech is the Book of Allaah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam). And the worst matters are the newly invented matters, and all new matters are innovations into the religion, and all the innovations are misguidance, and all misguidance leads to the fire.
In the hadeeth recorded in Jaami at-Tirmidhi related by Mu’aadh bin Jabal (radiyallaahu anhu) who said: I said: “O Messenger of Allaah! Tell me of a deed which will take me into Paradise and will keep me away from the Hell-Fire.” He (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “You have asked me about a great matter. But it is easy for whom Allaah, may He be Exalted, makes it easy for. You must worship Allaah (alone), associating nothing with him. You must perform the prayer and pay the Zakaat. You must fast in Ramadaan and perform the Hajj to the House.’ Then he (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Shall I not show you the gates of goodness? Fasting is a shield; charity extinguishes sin as water extinguishes fire; and (so does) the praying of a man in the depths of the night.’ Then he (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) recited:
“(Those) who forsake their beds to cry to their Lord in fear and hope, and spend of what We have bestowed upon them. No soul knows what is kept hidden for them of joy, as a reward for what they used to do.” [Soorah as-Sajdah (32):16]
Then he (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Shall I not tell you of the peak of the matter, its pillar and its uppermost part?’ I said: ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allaah! He said: ‘The peak of the matter is Islaam. The pillar is Salah and its uppermost part is Jihaad…”
Since Jihaad is the apex of Islaam it is the best deed that anyone can perform after the pillars of Islaam. 'The position of those who perform Jihaad in the Cause of Allaah are the loftiest positions in paradise and likewise, they have a high status in the life of this world.' As Allaah, the Most High says:
“And say not of those who are killed in the Way of Allah, "They are dead." Nay, they are living, but you perceive (it) not.” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2):154]
Imaam Muslim reported in his Saheeh: “The souls of the martyrs are inside green birds and move about in Paradise wherever they wish. Then, they take refuge in lamps that are hanging under the Throne (of Allaah). Your Lord looked at them and asked them, ‘What do you wish for.’ They said, “What more could we wish for while you have favored us with what you have not favored any other of your creation.’ He repeated the question again. When they realize that they will be asked (until they answer), they said, ‘We wish that You send us back to the earthly life, so that we fight in Your cause until we are killed in your cause again,’ (because of what they enjoy of the rewards of martyrdom). The Lord then said, ‘I have written that they will not be returned to it (earthly life) again.”
Allaah the Most High also states, “Do you consider the providing of drinking water to the pilgrims and the maintenance of Al-Masjid-al-Haram (at Makkah) as equal to the worth of those who believe in Allaah and the Last Day, and strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allaah? They are not equal before Allaah. And Allaah guides not those people who are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers). Those who believed and emigrated and strove hard and fought in Allaah's Cause with their wealth and their lives are far higher in degree with Allaah. They are the successful.” [Soorah at-Taubah (9):19-20]
'The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) was at the highest peak of performing Jihaad, for he mastered all of its types: He made Jihaad with his heart and soul, by calling to the Deen of Islaam and proclaiming the truth, with the sword and the spear.'
The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "I have been sent before the Hour, so that Allaah Alone should be worshipped without the association of partners with Him, and my provision has been placed under the shade of my spear, and subservience and humiliation have been placed upon those who disobey my orders, and whoever imitates a people, then he is one of them." [Imaam Ahmad's Musnad]
And the Messenger(sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) also said, “I have been commanded to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah and until they perform the prayers and pay the Zakaat, and if they do so, they will have gained protection from me for their lives and property, unless (they do acts that are punishable) in accordance with Islaam, and their reckoning will be with Allaah, the Exalted.” [Agreed upon]
And verily, Jihaad on the battlefield against the kuffar was prescribed for the establishment of Tawheed and to purify the earth from the scourge of Shirk. As Allaah, the Most High says:
“And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allaah) and the Deen (worship) will all be for Allaah Alone [in the whole of the world]” [Soorah al-Anfaal (8):39]
Ibn Jareer at-Tabaree said: “Fight them until there is no shirk and until none but Allaah is worshipped without partner and so that calamity is raised off the servants of Allaah in the earth which is tribulation (Fitnah), and so that Deen is totally for Allaah.”
He also said: “And until obedience and worship is all for Allaah sincerely and not for anyone else other than him. The people of interpretation have also said as we do.”
Then he mentioned who said that and transmitted it with a chain of transmission from Ibn Abbaas, Hasaan, Qataadah, Suddee, Ibn Jurayj and others (raheemahumullaah). [Tafseer, Vol.9, p.162]
'The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) spent his hours devoted to Jihaad, which is why he was the best in all the worlds in remembering Allaah and the greatest in Allaah’s Estimation. Allaah, the Most High commanded him to perform Jihaad from the time when He sent him, for He said:
“So do not obey the disbelievers and struggle against them with it (the Qur’aan) a great Jihaad.” [Soorah al-Furqaan (25):52]
And this is a Makkan Soorah in which Allaah ordered him to make Jihaad by proclaiming the truth to the people. Likewise, Jihaad against the Munafiqeen is only by convincing argument and is more difficult than Jihaad against the Kuffar and it is the Jihaad of the special and unique people (i.e. the Prophets and the righteous) and those who help them; and even though they may be small in numbers, they are greater in Allaah’s Sight.
And because one of the best forms of Jihaad is speaking the truth in spite of the severest opposition, such as when one speaks it while he fears the power of another, the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) had an abundant share of that and he was the most perfect and complete among mankind in doing so. And since making Jihaad against the enemy is secondary to the Jihaad of oneself, as the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said:
“The Mujaahid is one who performs Jihaad of his self in obedience to Allaah.” [Narrated by Ahmad, on the authority of Fadalah Ibn Ubaid (radiyallaahu anhu), it was declared authentic by Ibn Hibban and Al-Haakim and Ath-Thaahabee confirmed this.]'
Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (raheemahullaah) said, "The Jihaad against one's self and against al-Hawaa (desires) constitutes the basis for Jihaad against the Kuffar and the Munafiqeen, because one is unable to make Jihaad against them until he makes Jihaad against himself and his Hawaa first, so that he can go out to (confront) them." [Radwatul-Muhibeen wa Nuzhatul-Mushtaaqeen]
And Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen (raheemahullaah) said, "Undoubtedly, Jihaad against the self comes before Jihaad against the kuffar, because one cannot strive against the kuffar until after one has striven against one’s own self, because fighting is something which the self dislikes. Allaah says:
“Jihaad (fighting in Allaah’s Cause) is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allaah knows but you do not know” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2):216]
The point is that Jihaad against the enemy cannot take place until one strives and forces oneself to do it, until one’s self submits and accepts that." [Fataawaa Manaar al-Islaam 2/421]
And Ibnul Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (raheemahullaah) said, “Jihaad against the self takes precedence over, and is the basis of, Jihaad against the outward enemy. So the one who does not perform Jihaad against his own soul firstly, by carrying out that which he was commanded with, and leaving off that which he was prohibited from, and striving hard in that for the Sake of Allaah, it is not possible for him to perform Jihaad against the outer enemy. Since, how can he perform Jihaad against his outer enemy, and be just with him, whilst the enemy that is within him has overpowered him and gained mastery over him; yet he does not perform Jihaad against this enemy, nor does he struggle against it for the Sake of Allaah!? Rather, it is not possible for him to go out against his outer enemy, until he has performed Jihaad against his own soul. So the servant is tested by performing Jihaad against these two enemies, but amongst them is a third enemy.
It is not possible to perform Jihaad against the first two, except by Jihaad against this one; it is the one that stands between the two previously mentioned enemies and the servant, preventing him from Jihaad against the first two, and it forsakes him, and it keeps him back from Jihaad. He does not cease to make him think that his Jihaad against the first two enemies will mean leaving off wealth, pleasures and desires. So it is not possible for him to perform Jihaad against the first two enemies, except by performing Jihaad against this one. So Jihaad against this one is the basis of the Jihaad against the other two, and it is Shaytaan. Allaah the Exalted says
“Verily Shaytaan is to you an avowed enemy, so take him as an avowed enemy.” [Soorah al-A’raaf (7):22]" [Zaadul-Ma'aad (3/6)]
'The command to treat Shaytaan as an enemy is an exhortation to strive to the utmost of one’s ability to fight against him. So the slave is commanded to fight against three enemies and they have been sent to him as a test from Allaah, and the slave has been given support and strength. And each of these two sides is tested by the other and some of them are made a trial for the others, in order to see what they will do. Allaah has given His slaves hearing, sight, reason and strength. And has sent down His Books and His Messengers to them and supported them with His angels. He commanded them to do that which is the greatest support for them in their fight against their enemy, and informed them if they fulfill what He has commanded them to do, they will continue to be supported;' for Allaah the Most High says,
“But if they done what they had been instructed to do it would have been better for them and would have strengthened (their faith).” [Soorah an-Nisaa (4):66]
'And that if they are overcome, it will be because of their having abandoned a part of what they were commanded to do.' As Allaah the Most High says,
“(What is the matter with you) when a calamity befalls you, even though you smote (your enemies) with one twice as great, you say “From where has this come to us?” Say (to them O Muhammad) “It is from your own selves.” [Soorah Aali-Imraan (3):165]
Ibn Taymiyyah said: “Whenever the kuffar become manifest that is due to the sins of the Muslims which necessitates a weakness in their eemaan. But then when they repent and perfect their faith Allaah will help them, as Allaah said,
“So do not become weak (against your enemy), nor be sad, and you will be superior (in victory) if you are indeed (true) believers.” [Soorah Aali-Imraan (3):139]
And Allaah says, “(What is the matter with you) when a calamity befalls you, even though you smote (your enemies) with one twice as great, you say “From where has this come to us?” Say (to them O Muhammad) “it is from your own selves.” [Soorah Aali-Imraan (3):165]” [Al-Jawaab as-Saheeh, vol.6, p.450]
'But He did not cause them to despair; rather, He informed them that they should treat their wounds and go back and fight their enemies with patient perseverance. And He informed them that He is with the God-fearing among them, with those among them who do righteous deeds, with those among them who patiently persevere and with the believers.' As Allaah says,
"Yes, if you hold on to patience and piety, and the enemy comes rushing at you; your Lord will help you with five thousand angels having marks (of distinction)." Allaah made it not but as a message of good news for you and as an assurance to your hearts. And there is no victory except from Allaah, the All-Mighty, the All-Wise." [Soorah Aali-Imraan (3):125-126]
'And He defends the believers from that which they are unable to defend themselves; indeed, it is by His defense that they are victorious and were it not for that, their enemy would have vanquished them.' Allaah the Most High says,
"Then when Talut (Saul) set out with the army, he said: "Verily! Allaah will try you by a river. So whoever drinks thereof, he is not of me, and whoever tastes it not, he is of me, except him who takes (thereof) in the hollow of his hand." Yet, they drank thereof, all, except a few of them. So when he had crossed it (the river), he and those who believed with him, they said: "We have no power this day against Jalut (Goliath) and his hosts." But those who knew with certainty that they were to meet their Lord, said: "How often a small group overcame a mighty host by Allaah's Leave?" And Allah is with As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.)." [Soorah al-Baqarah (2):249]
'And this defense is in accordance with their belief: If their belief is strong, the defense is strong, so whoever finds something good, he should praise and thank Allaah and whoever finds something other than that, he should not blame anyone except himself.' Allaah says,
"Whatever good reaches you, it is from Allaah, and whatever evil befalls you, it is from yourself." [Soorah an-Nisaa (4):79]
Allaah commanded the believers 'to strive in His cause in the manner in which they ought to strive (22:78), just as He commanded them to fear Him in the manner in which they ought to fear Him (3:102). So just as fearing Him in the manner in which He should be feared means to obey Him and not to disobey Him, to remember Him and not to forget Him, to thank Him and not be ungrateful to Him. So Jihaad in His cause in the manner in which it should be performed means to make Jihaad of his own self in order that his heart, his tongue, and his limbs submit to Allaah and by Allaah, not to himself and by himself. And he should struggle against his devil by disbelieving in his promises and disobeying his commands and from these two Jihaads, strength and preparedness will result for him by which he may struggle against the enemies of Allaah with his heart, his tongue, his hand and his wealth, in order that Allaah’s word be exalted.'
'The explanations of the Salaf differ regarding the meaning of striving (Jihaad) in the required manner; Ibn Abbaas (radiyallaahu ta’aala anhu) said: “It is to strive to the utmost of one’s ability in Allaah’s Cause and not to fear the blame of the blamers. But those people are incorrect who say that the two verses are abrogated due to their (erroneous) belief that they contain a command to do something which is not possible, for fearing Allaah as He should be feared and performing Jihaad as it should be performed means to the best of each individual slave’s personal ability – and that varies according to the circumstance of the Mukhallafoon [Those who are legally required to observe the precepts of the Religion]. Now observe how Allaah has followed the command to do that with His words:
“He has chosen you, and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship.” [Soorah al-Hajj (22):78]'
And the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Religion is easy, and no one overburdens himself in his religion but he will be unable to continue in that way. So do not be extremists, but try to be near to perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded. Gain strength by worshipping in the mornings and afternoons and during the last hours of the night.” [Agreed upon]
Allaah, the Most High has 'made His religion easy for the slaves to the utmost degree, and likewise His Sustenance, His Pardon and His Forgiveness and He has made repentance simple for them, as long as the soul remains in the body. And He has made an atonement for every sin and He has made a lawful substitute for everything which He has declared unlawful and He has made every hardship by which He tests them ease before it and ease after it, so how can He make something incumbent upon them which it is not possible for them to do, let alone something which they have no power to do?
When this is known, then it is clear that Jihaad is on four levels.
The First level of Jihaad is the Jihaad against oneself this is also on four levels:
First: that the believer strives upon learning the guidance and the true religion, which is such that there can be no success or bliss for the soul in this life or in the hereafter except throught it. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Seeking knowledge is obligatory upon each Muslim.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen mentions that the Sharee'ah definition of ilm (knowledge) is: "The guidance that has been sent down by Allaah upon his Prophet. The praiseworthy and admirable knowledge that facilitates knowledge in the religion, and the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said that, ‘the Prophets do not leave behind Deenaars or Dirhams, rather they bequeath knowledge." [Knowledge -A Defintion, its Virtue and the Ruling Concerning its Acquisition']
Imaam Ibnul-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (raheemahullaah) said: “So the supporting pillars of the Religion are knowledge (’ilm) and jihaad, and due to this, jihaad is of two types: the jihaad by the hand and the spear, and there is much participation in this. And secondly, there is the jihaad with the proof and the clarification. This latter jihaad is specifically the following of the Messengers, and it is the jihaad of the imaams, and it is the most excellent of the two jihaads due to its tremendous benefit and great burden, and numerous enemies. Allaah the Exalted said in Sooratul-Furqaan, and it is a Makkan Soorah:
“And if We wished, We could have sent a warner to every city. So do not obey the disbelievers and struggle against them with it (the Qur‘aan) a great jihaad.” [Soorah al-Furqaan (25):51-52]” [Miftaah Daarus-Sa'aadah]
Allaah the One free from all defects states, “Allaah will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge.” [Soorah al-Mujadilah (58):11]
And He the Most High says, “It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allaah.” [Soorah Fatir (35):28]
Imaam al-Laalikaa’ee (raheemahullaah) said in Sharh Usool ul-I’tiqaad (1/9): “That which is most obligatory upon a Muslim: Knowledge of the aspects of the creed of the Religion and what Allaah has obligated upon His servants including understanding of Tawheed and of His Attributes, and believing in His Messengers with evidence and with certainity. And arriving at [all of] that and seeking evidences from them with clear proofs. And among the mightiest statements and clearest proofs and understanding is:
 The Book of Allaah, the Manifest Truth
 Then the Sayings of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam)
 And of his Companions, the chosen, pious ones
 Then that which the Salaf us-Saalih were unanimously agreed upon
 Then holding fast to all of that and remaining firm upon it till the Day of Judgement
 Then turning away from the innovations and from listening to them – from amongst those things the astray people have invented…”
Second: That he strives to act upon what he has learned;
Allaah the Most High says, "The likeness of those who were entrusted with the (obligation of the) Taurât (Torah) (i.e. to obey its commandments and to practice its legal laws), but who subsequently failed in those (obligations), is as the likeness of a donkey who carries huge burdens of books (but understands nothing from them)." [Soorah al-Jumuah (62):5]
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen (raheemahullaah) said, "Action is, in reality, the fruit of knowledge, so whoever acts without knowledge has resembled the Christians, and whoever knows but does not act has resembled the Jews." [Sharh Thaalathatul-Usool]
The Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "The two feet of the son of Adam will not move from near his Lord on the day of Judgement until he is asked about five (matters) about his life - how he spent it; about his youth - how he took care of it; about his wealth - how he earned it; and where he spent it and about that which he acted upon from the knowledge he acquired." (At-Tirmidhi and others)
Ata reported: There was a youth who used to come to the Mother of the Believers (i.e. Aisha radiyallaahu anha) from time to time and ask her and she would narrate to him. So one day he came to her and asked her, so she said: "Oh my son, have you acted yet upon what you have heard from me?" So he said: "No by Allaah, Oh my mother ", so she said: "Oh my son, then why do you seek increase in Allaah's proof against us and against you." [Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdâdee, in Iqtidâ’ Al-’Ilm Al-’Amal no. 92.]
It is reported that 'Umar ibn Al-Khattab (radiyallaahu anhu) said: "Do not be fooled by one who recites the Qur’aan. His recitation is but speech -- but look to those who act according to it." [Al-Khateeb Al-Baghdâdee, in Iqtidâ` Al-‘Ilm Al-‘Amal no.109]
It is reported from Al-Fudayl bin Iyyad that he said:
"The Qur'aan was sent down to be acted upon but people have taken just reciting it as enough of a deed. He was asked, “How is it acted upon?” He replied, “They should treat as halâl what it makes halâl and treat as harâm what it makes harâm, they should take on its commandments and stay away from what it forbids, and they should stop to ponder its amazing knowledge and wisdom.” [Al-Khateeb, Iqtidâ` Al-‘Ilm Al-‘Amal no. 116]
Aboo Dardaa’ said: “You only fight with your actions.” [Bukhaaree appended it in Kitaab ul-Jihaad, Bab ‘Amal as-Saalih qabla Qitaal (The Book of Jihaad, chapter entitled ‘Righteous Actions Comes Before Fighting’)]
Third: That he strives to call to it, and to teach it to those who do not know it;
Allaah the Exalted in Might says, “So do not obey the disbelievers and struggle against them with it (the Qur’aan) a great Jihaad.” [Soorah al-Furqaan (25):52]
And He the Exalted says, "And who is better in speech than he who [says: "My Lord is Allaah (believes in His Oneness)," and then stands straight (acts upon His Order), and] invites (men) to Allaah's (Islaamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds, and says: "I am one of the Muslims." [Soorah al-Fussilaat (41):33]
Allaah says, "Say: "This is my way; I invite unto Allaah (i.e. to the Oneness of Allaah - Islâmic Monotheism) with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me (also must invite others to Allaah i.e. to the Oneness of Allaah - Islaamic Monotheism) with sure knowledge." [Soorah Yusoof (12):108]
And He the Most High says, “Invite (mankind, O Muhammad) to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islaam) with wisdom (i.e. with the Divine Inspiration and the Qur'aan) and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better.” [Soorah an-Nahl (16):125]
Allaah also says, “And it is not (proper) for the believers to go out to fight (Jihaad) all together. Of every troop of them, a party only should go forth, that they (who are left behind) may get instructions in (Islaamic) religion, and that they may warn their people when they return to them, so that they may beware (of evil).” [Soorah at-Taubah (9):122]
Qatadah said about this Ayaah, "It is about when the Messenger of Allaah sent an army; Allaah commanded them to go into battle, while another group remained with the Messenger of Allaah to gain instructions in the religion. Another group returns to its own people to call them (to Allaah) and warn them against Allaah's punishment of those who were before them.'' [Tafseer ibn Katheer]
Fourth: That he accustoms his soul to having patience and perseverance upon the hardships involved in calling to Allaah and the harm caused by the people, and he patiently bears this for Allaah's sake."
Allaah tells us about Luqman (alayhi salaam) when he said to his son, "O my son! AqimisSalât (perform As-Salât), enjoin (people) for Al-Ma 'rûf (Islaamic Monotheism and all that is good), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. disbelief in the Oneness of Allaah, polytheism of all kinds and all that is evil and bad), and bear with patience whatever befalls you. Verily! These are some of the important commandments ordered by Allaah with no exemption." [Soorah Luqman (31):17]
And Allaah says in Soorah al-Asr, "By Al-'Asr (the time). Verily! Man is in loss, Except those who believe (in Islaamic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth (i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds which Allaah has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allaah has forbidden), and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allaah's Cause during preaching His religion of Islâmic Monotheism or Jihaad, etc.)."
And reflect upon these Ayaat that Allaah revealed to His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam): "O you (Muhammad) enveloped (in garments)! Arise and warn! And your Lord (Allaah) magnify! And your garments purify! And keep away from Ar-Rujz (the idols)! And give not a thing in order to have more (or consider not your deeds of Allaah's obedience as a favour to Allaah). And be patient for the sake of your Lord (i.e. perform your duty to Allaah)!" [Soorah al-Muddaththir (74):1-7]
So if a person completes these four stages then he becomes one of the rightly-guided and wise scholars and teachers (ar-Rabbaaniyyoon)."
Allaah the Most-Wise says, "It is not (possible) for any human being to whom Allaah has given the Book and Al-Hukma (the knowledge and understanding of the laws of religion, etc.) and Prophethood to say to the people: "Be my worshippers rather than Allaah's." On the contrary (he would say): "Be you Rabbaaniyyoon (learned men of religion who practice what they know and also preach others), because you are teaching the Book, and you are studying it." [Soorah Aali-Imraan (3):79]
The Second Level of Jihaad is the Jihaad against the Shaytaan this is on two levels:
First: Jihaad against him (Shaytaan) and warding off the doubts and desires that he throws at a person, and the doubts that undermine Eemaan (faith).
From Abdullaah ibn Umar (radiyallaahu ta'aala anhu) who said, "My brother and I were sitting in a gathering..and then some elders from the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) came and they sat by one of his doors. We hated to divide between them so we sat to one side. They mentioned an Ayah from the Qur'aan and began arguing about it until they raised their voices. So the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) came out angry. Indeed his face was red. He flung dust at them and said,
'Slow down O my people! Nations before you were destroyed because of this, due to their differing about their Prophets and due to their claims that parts of their books contradicted other parts. Verily the Qur'aan was not sent down to contradict itself, rather it affirms itself. So whatever you know from it, then act upon it; and whatever you are ignorant of, then refer it to someone who is knowledgable about it.' (Imaam Ahmad's Musnad)
Imaam Ath-Thaahabee (raheemahullaah) said: "Whoever's heart becomes sick with doubts and false notions, then this condition will not come to an end unless he asks the people of knowledge, so that he learns from the truth that which will repel his sickness. And thus it will not affect him seriously."
Second: Jihaad against the corrupt desires that he (Shaytaan) tries to inspire in a person.
Allaah, the Most High says, "He [Shaytaan (Satan)] makes promises to them, and arouses in them false desires; and Shaytaan's (Satan) promises are nothing but deceptions." [Soorah an-Nisaa (4):120]
And He says, "And if the truth had been in accordance with their desires, verily, the heavens and the earth, and whosoever is therein would have been corrupted!" [Soorah al-Muminoon (23):71]
And Allaah says, "lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery, etc.) should be moved with desire," [Soorah al-Ahzaab (33):32]
And achieving certainity (concerning faith) comes after practicing the first level of this Jihaad, while successfully observing patience is the result of practicing the second level. Allaah, the Most High says:
"And We made from among them (Children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.)." [Soorah as-Sajdah (32):24]
In this Ayaah, Allaah stated that achieving the status of being leaders in the religion is done by practicing patience and having Yaqeen (certainty in Allaah and that Islaam is the only true guidance, etc.). Patience defeats desires and ill intentions, while certainty defeats doubts and misgivings."
Allaah says, "[Iblîs (Satan)] said: "O my Lord! Because you misled me, I shall indeed adorn the path of error for them (mankind) on the earth, and I shall mislead them all. "Except Your chosen, (guided) slaves among them." [Soorah al-Hijr (15):39-40]
And Allaah says, "And say: "My Lord! I seek refuge with You from the whisperings (suggestions) of the Shayateen (devils). "And I seek refuge with You, My Lord! lest they may attend (or come near) me." [Soorah al-Muminoon (23):97-98]
Allaah says, "Surely, Shaytaan (Satan) is an enemy to you, so take (treat) him as an enemy. He only invites his Hizb (followers) that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire." [Soorah Fatir (35):6]
Ibn Katheer said in his tafseer, "He (Shaytaan) has declared his enmity towards you, so be even more hostile towards him, oppose him and do not believe the things with which he tries to tempt you.'`he only wants to misguide you so that you will enter the blazing Fire with him.' This is a manifest enemy, and we ask Allaah, the All-Powerful and Almighty to make us enemies of Shaytaan and to make us followers of the Book of Allaah and of the way of His Messengers. For He is able to do whatever He wills and He will respond to all supplication."
Shaytaan the accursed has threatened us that he will come to us from every angle and every side: "Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (i.e. they will not be dutiful to You)." [Soorah al-A’raaf (7):17]
But as Ibn Qatadah (raheemahullaah) said, "O son of Adam! Shaytaan comes to you from every angle, except that he can never come to you from above, for he cannot come between you and the mercy of Allaah."
The third level of Jihaad is Jihaad against the disbelievers and hypocrites; and this is also on four levels:
First: with the heart: this is done by having enmity and hatred for shirk and kufr as Allaah, the Most High says, “Indeed there has been an excellent example for you in Ibraaheem and those with him, when they said to their people: "Verily, we are free from you and whatever you worship besides Allaah, we have rejected you, and there has started between us and you, hostility and hatred for ever, until you believe in Allaah Alone,…” [Soorah Al-Mumtahina (60):4]
Second: with the tongue: this is done by calling to Tawheed and all that is good by following the example of all the Messengers whom Allaah the Mighty and Majestic has sent. Allaah the Most High says "And Verily, We have sent among every Ummah a Messenger (proclaiming): “Worship Allaah (Alone) and keep away from Taghoot (all false deities).” [Soorah an-Nahl (16):36]
And He the Magnificent says, “Call (mankind) unto your Lord, and be not of those who ascribe partners (unto Him).” [Soorah al-Qasas (28):87]
Third: with one’s wealth: this is done by spending for the propagation of Islaam and printing the books which call to the Deen and so forth. 'It also occurs by making and purchasing weapons and equipment for the Mujaahideen and whatever is necessary for them such as food and clothing etc.' And the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “He who supports a Ghazi (Mujaahid) in the Cause of Allaah, will have perfomed Ghazw (fighting in Jihaad) himself. He who takes care of a Ghazi’s famiy in a way that is better, will have performed Ghazw himself.” [Saheeh Bukhaaree]
Fourth: with one’s body (i.e. by fighting): this is done by going out in the Cause of Allaah and physically fighting against the disbelievers, Allaah, the Most High says, “Fight against them so that Allaah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of a believing people. And remove the anger of their (believers') hearts. Allaah accepts the repentance of whom He wills. Allaah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” [Soorah at-Taubah (9):14-15]
And 'Jihaad against the disbelievers is more particularly by the hand, while Jihaad against the hypocrites is more particularly by the tongue'. Shaykh Ibn Baz (raheemahullaah) said, “There are different kinds of Jihaad – with one’s self, wealth, supplication, teaching, giving guidance, or helping in good in any form. The highest form of Jihaad, however, is with one’s life (i.e. by fighting); then comes Jihaad with one’s wealth and Jihaad with teaching and guidance, and in this way Da’wah is a form of Jihaad, but Jihaad with one’s life is the highest form.” [Fataawaa Islaamiyyah Vol. 8 p.24]
The Fourth level of Jihaad is Jihaad against the perpetrators of injustice, evil deeds and innovations, and that is at three levels:
First: With one’s hand, if one is able to do so; if he is unable to do so he proceeds to the second
Second: With one’s tongue (i.e. to speak against it). If he is unable to do that, he must proceed to the third.
Third: With one’s heart (i.e. to hate the deeds in one’s heart).
And these three levels are all based upon the well-known hadeeth of the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) who said, “Whosoever of you sees an evil let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart – and that is the weakest of faith.” [Saheeh Muslim] Refer to Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali’s (raheemahullaah) commentary on this hadeeth in Jami al-Ulum wal-Hikaam for further understanding.
Shaykh Abdur-Rahmaan bin Naasir as-Sa’dee, said, “Jihaad, is of two types: The Jihaad by which the correction and purity of the Muslims is intended and rectification of their beliefs, manners and all of the affairs pertaining to their lives, both the religious and the worldy life. And also (Jihaad) in cultivating them with knowledge and action. This type is the fundamental basis of Jihaad and its support. And it is from this first type that the second type finds its basis, and that is the Jihaad by which those who show transgression against Islaam and the Muslims, from amongst the Disbelievers, Hypocrites, Heretic Apostates, and all of the enemies of the religion are repelled and held at bay.” [Wujoobut-Ta’aawun baynal-Muslimeen (p. 7-8)]
And based upon this Shaykh Aboo Anas Hamad ibn Ibraaheem al-Uthmaan said: “And it is upon this that our Imaams proceeded us, so they held that the Jihaad against the innovator was the foundation, and that the Jihaad against the disbelievers was a branch from that foundation.[Zajarul-Mutahaawun (p. 105)]
That is so because the innovators are more harmful to Islaam than the disbelievers to the point that Nasr Ibn Yahyaa said: I heard Muhammad Ibn Yahyaa adh-Dhuhalee (raheemahullaah) - saying: I heard Yahyaa Ibn Yahyaa saying: “Defending the Sunnah is more virtuous than jihaad in the Path of Allaah.” Muhammad said: I said to Yahyaa: “A man gives his wealth, burdens himself, and fights, but that is more virtuous than this?” So he said: “Yes, much better!” [Siyar A’laamun-Nubalaa‘ (10/518)]
Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said, “And such as the People of Innovation among the people of the [innovated] sayings that oppose the Book and the Sunnah or the acts of worship opposing the Book and the Sunnah – for exposing their condition and warning the Ummah about them is obligatory by unanimous agreement of the Muslims – until it was said to Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal: “Is it more loved to you that a man fasts and prays and performs tawaf or that he speaks about the People of Innovation [i.e. exposes them and warns about them]?” He replied: “When he stands, prays and performs tawaf that is for himself but when he talks about the People of Innovation then that is for the Muslims and this more excellent.” So he explained that the benefit of this for the Muslims in general – for [the protection of their] religion – and it is a form or Jihaad in the path of Allaah because the purification of the Path of Allaah, His Deen, His Minhaaj (methodology) and His Sharee’ah, repelling the oppressors and having enmity towards them is obligatory with kifaayah (i.e. there must be some amongst the Muslims who do this otherwise all of them are sinful for neglecting this duty). And if it had not been for the one whom Allaah had made to undertake this duty of repelling the harms of these people the Deen would have been corrupted and destroyed. And this corruption is greater than the corruption resulting from the domination of the enemies – amongst the people – who fight against the Muslims (i.e. Disbelievers) – and this is because these people (the disbelievers) when they dominate and conquer the Muslims, do not corrupt their hearts or whatever faith is contained in them except as a consequence, after time. As for these (the People of Innovation) then they corrupt the hearts right from the very beginning (i.e. since they corrupt the Deen itself).” [Al-Fataawaa (28/231/232)]
These are thirteen levels of Jihaad and:
“And whoever died without fighting in Allaah’s Cause and without expressing any desire (or determination) for Jihaad has died upon a branch of hypocrisy.” [Narrated by Muslim, Abu Dawood, an-Nasa’ee, on the authority of Abu Hurairah (radiyallaahu anhu)]
So refraining from Jihaad whilst having the ability to do so or 'when a caller calls to Jihaad, and when the Imaam of the Muslims calls them to come out and fight – even if the Imaam was a sinner (faajir) is counted as one of the brances of Nifaaq (hyprocrisy), in fact it may be more intense than that'. 'Therefore, refraining away from Jihaad and to be very laxed towards it is one of the characteristics of the Hypocrites and one of the causes of punishment in the world and destruction in the Hereafter.' And the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “If anyone meets Allaah with no mark of Jihaad, he will meet Allaah with a flaw in him.” [Jaami at-Tirmidhi]
Allaah the One free from all defects says, “O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to march forth in the Cause of Allaah (i.e. Jihaad) you cling heavily to the earth? Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world as compared with the Hereafter.” [Soorah at-Taubah (9):38]
And know that 'Jihaad is not complete without Hijrah (migration for the sake of one’s religion), nor are Hijrah and Jihaad complete without faith and belief (Eemaan). And those who hope for Allaah’s Mercy are those who do these three (i.e. Jihaad, Hijrah, and Eemaan); Allaah, the Most High says,
“Verily, those who have believed, and those who emigrated (for Allaah’s religion) and have striven hard in the way of Allaah, all these hope for Allaah’s Mercy. And Allaah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.” [Soorah al-Baqarah 2:218]
And Just as Eemaan is incumbent upon every individual, two hijraahs are incumbent upon him at all times: (1) Fleeing to Allaah, the Almighty, the All-Powerful with sincerity and (2) Fleeing to His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) by conforming to his Sunnah.' And the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said, "... the Mujaahid is he who strives against himself for the sake of obeying Allah, and the Muhaajir (one who emigrates for the sake of his religion) is he who abandons evil deeds and sin." [Saheeh Ibn Hibban]
'And Jihaad of his own self and of his devil has been enjoined upon him, and no one can take the place of another in this.' As for Jihaad against the disbelievers and the hypocrites then this is of two types:
Fard Ayn: and this is as Imaam al-Qurtubee (raheemahullaah) mentions in his Tafseer (8/15): "When jihaad becomes inevitable because the enemy has overrun one of the (Muslim) regions, then it becomes obligatory for all the people of that region to mobilize and to go out to fight, whether they are light (being healthy, young and wealthy) or heavy (being ill, old and poor), each according to his abilities, with or without the permission of his parents. No one who is able to go out, warrior or helper, should stay behind. If the people of that country are unable to fight their enemy, then those in nearby and neighbouring countries have to go out to fight, in whatever numbers are required to show support, so that they will know that they have the strength to stand up to them and ward them off. Similarly everyone who knows of their weakness in the face of their enemies and knows that he can go and help them must also go out and fight. All of the Muslims should be united against their enemies. If the people of the area where the enemy has invaded and occupied fight off the enemy themselves, then the others are relieved of that duty. If the enemy approaches the Muslim lands but does not enter, the Muslims must still go out to confront them so that the religion of Allaah will prevail and in order to protect the Muslim homeland and humiliate the enemy. There is no scholarly dispute on this point."
Allaah, the Most High says: And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of Allah, and for those weak, illtreated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help." [Soorah an-Nisaa (4):75]
And He says, “March forth, whether you are light (being healthy, young and wealthy) or heavy (being ill, old and poor), strive hard with your wealth and your lives in the Cause of Allaah. This is better for you, if you but knew.” [Soorah (9):41]
Fard Kifaayah: 'When it is established by some of the Muslims, then the obligation is lifted from the rest. It is carrying the Islaamic da’wah by travelling through the lands until they rule by Islaam. Whoever halts this progression should be fought so that the path of da’wah becomes easy.' As the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) stated, “Whoever fights so that the word of Allaah becomes the most high then he is in the way of Allaah.” Ibnul-Qayyim said, “Due to it (i.e. Tawheed) the swords of Jihaad are unsheathed.” And Allaah, the Most High says:
“Not equal are those of the believers who sit (at home), except those who are disabled (by injury or are blind or lame, etc.), and those who strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allaah with their wealth and their lives. Allaah has preferred in grades those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and their lives above those who sit (at home). Unto each, Allaah has promised good (Paradise), but Allaah has preferred those who strive hard and fight, above those who sit (at home) by a huge reward. Degrees of (higher) grades from Him, and Forgiveness and Mercy. And Allaah is Ever OftForgiving, Most Merciful.” [Soorah an-Nisaa (4):95-96]
And Allaah knows best.
[Note: I have taken most of these words and based it off of Mukhtasar Zaad al-Ma’aad section on the Prophet’s (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) Guidance in Jihaad and Battles by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab (raheemahullaah) so you may refer to that Inshaa'Allaah.]