Striving for Allah
Abandoning Striving for Allah's Cause is Due to an Absence of Complete Love & It is a Sign of Hypocrisy
It is well known that striving for Allah's cause is one of the require- ments of loving Allah and His Messenger, because the objective of this is to attain what Allah loves and repel what He hates.
Whoever does not possess the commitment to strive for Allah's cause does not possess any of the obligatory love whatsoever, and he has nifaq (hypocrisy) in his heart, as He, the Most High, said:
اِنَّمَا الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا بِاللّٰهِ وَ رَسُوۡلِهٖ ثُمَّ لَمۡ یَرۡتَابُوۡا وَ جٰهَدُوۡا بِاَمۡوَالِهِمۡ وَ اَنۡفُسِهِمۡ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰهِ ؕ اُولٰٓئِکَ هُمُ الصّٰدِقُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵
Only those are the believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and afterward doubt not but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Those! They are the truthful. [Surah al-Hujurat 49:15]
And the hadith of Abu Hurayrah, as reported in Sahih Muslim, in which the Prophet
من مات ولم يغز، ولم يحدث نفسه بالغزو، مات على شعبة منالنفاق
He who dies without having fought in the cause of Allah or without having thought of doing so, will die with one characteristic of hypocrisy in him.
And likewise, He, the Most High, combined these two in His saying:
اَلَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ هَاجَرُوۡا وَ جٰهَدُوۡا فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰهِ بِاَمۡوَالِهِمۡ وَ اَنۡفُسِهِمۡ ۙ اَعۡظَمُ دَرَجَۃً عِنۡدَ اللّٰهِ ؕ وَ اُولٰٓئِکَ هُمُ الۡفَآئِزُوۡنَ ﴿۲۰
Do you consider the providing of drinking water to the pilgrims and the maintenance of al-Masjid al-Haram (in Makkah) as equal to the worth of those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and strive hard and fight in the cause of Allah? They are not equal before Allah. And Allah guides not those people who are the zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers). Those who believed and emigrated, and strove hard and fought in Allah's cause with their wealth and their lives, are far higher in degree with Allah. They are the successful. Their Lord gives them glad tidings of a mercy from Him, and that He is pleased (with them), and of Gardens (Paradise) for them wherein are everlasting delights. They will dwell therein forever. Verily, with Allah is a great reward. [Surah at-Tawbah 9:19-22]
And He, the Most High, compares the love in the two verses with His saying:
قُلۡ اِنۡ کَانَ اٰبَآؤُکُمۡ وَ اَبۡنَآؤُکُمۡ وَ اِخۡوَانُکُمۡ وَ اَزۡوَاجُکُمۡ وَ عَشِیۡرَتُکُمۡ وَ اَمۡوَالُۨ اقۡتَرَفۡتُمُوۡهَا وَ تِجَارَۃٌ تَخۡشَوۡنَ کَسَادَهَا وَ مَسٰکِنُ تَرۡضَوۡنَهَاۤ اَحَبَّ اِلَیۡکُمۡ مِّنَ اللّٰهِ وَ رَسُوۡلِهٖ وَ جِهَادٍ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِهٖ فَتَرَبَّصُوۡا حَتّٰی یَاۡتِیَ اللّٰهُ بِاَمۡرِهٖ ؕ وَ اللّٰهُ لَا یَهۡدِی الۡقَوۡمَ الۡفٰسِقِیۡنَ ﴿۲۴
Say (O Muhammad): "If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, the wealth that you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allah and His Messenger and striving in His cause, then wait until Allah executes His command. And Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people." [Surah at-Tmobah 9:24]
And His saying:
یٰۤاَیُّهَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا مَنۡ یَّرۡتَدَّ مِنۡکُمۡ عَنۡ دِیۡنِهٖ فَسَوۡفَ یَاۡتِی اللّٰهُ بِقَوۡمٍ یُّحِبُّهُمۡ وَ یُحِبُّوۡنَهٗۤ ۙ اَذِلَّۃٍ عَلَی الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ اَعِزَّۃٍ عَلَی الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ۫ یُجَاهِدُوۡنَ فِیۡ سَبِیۡلِ اللّٰهِ وَ لَا یَخَافُوۡنَ لَوۡمَۃَ لَآئِمٍ ؕ ذٰلِکَ فَضۡلُ اللّٰهِ یُؤۡتِیۡهِ مَنۡ یَّشَآءُ ؕ وَ اللّٰهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۵۴
O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion (Islam), Allah will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him; humble towards the believers, stern towards the disbelievers, fighting in the way of Allah, and never afraid of the blame of the blamers. That is the grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Knower. [Surah al-Ma'idah 5:54]
So He informs us that those who are loved by Allah and His Messenger are humble to the believers, stern towards the disbe- lievers, strive in the way of Allah, and never fear the blame of the critics. As Allah, the Most High, has stated in another verse:
مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوۡلُ اللّٰهِ ؕ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ مَعَهٗۤ اَشِدَّآءُ عَلَی الۡکُفَّارِ رُحَمَآءُ بَیۡنَهُمۡ
Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those who are with him are severe against disbelievers and merciful among themselves. [Surah al-Fath 48:29]
He describes them again as humble and merciful with their broth- ers, the allies of Allah, and stern and harsh with Allah's enemies, and they strive in the way of Allah.
Al-jihad (striving, exerting effort) is derived from the word juhd, which means ability, power, strength, etc., which is greater than jahd, which means effort, exertion, strain, etc., because ad-dam- mah (-) is stronger than al-fathah (-), so a word with a dammah will have a stronger meaning than one with a fathah. For example, al-jurh is stronger than al-jarh, because jurh means wounded, while jarh means the wound itself. Likewise, al-kurh and al-karh, as He, the Most High, said:
کُتِبَ عَلَیۡکُمُ الۡقِتَالُ وَ هُوَ کُرۡهٌ لَّکُمۡ ۚ وَ عَسٰۤی اَنۡ تَکۡرَهُوۡا شَیۡئًا وَّ هُوَ خَیۡرٌ لَّکُمۡ ۚ وَ عَسٰۤی اَنۡ تُحِبُّوۡا شَیۡئًا وَّ هُوَ شَرٌّ لَّکُمۡ ؕ وَ اللّٰهُ یَعۡلَمُ وَ اَنۡتُمۡ لَا تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ ﴿۲۱۶
Fighting (for Allah's cause) is ordained for you (Muslims) though you may 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. Allah knows but you do not know. [Surah al-Baqarah 2:216]
And He, the Most High, said:
وَ لِلّٰهِ یَسۡجُدُ مَنۡ فِی السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ طَوۡعًا وَّ کَرۡهًا وَّ ظِلٰلُهُمۡ بِالۡغُدُوِّ وَ الۡاٰصَالِ ﴿ٛ۱۵
And unto Allah (alone) falls in prostration whoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwill-ingly. [Surah ar-Ra'd 13:15]
Al-juhd denotes the utmost strength and ability, as He, the Most High, said:
اَلَّذِیۡنَ یَلۡمِزُوۡنَ الۡمُطَّوِّعِیۡنَ مِنَ الۡمُؤۡمِنِیۡنَ فِی الصَّدَقٰتِ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ لَا یَجِدُوۡنَ اِلَّا جُهۡدَهُمۡ فَیَسۡخَرُوۡنَ مِنۡهُمۡ ؕ سَخِرَ اللّٰهُ مِنۡهُمۡ ۫ وَ لَهُمۡ عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌ ﴿۷۹
Those who defame the believers who give charity (in Allah's cause) voluntarily, and those who could not find to give charity (in Allah's cause) except what is available to them, so they mock at them (believers); Allah will throw back their mockery on them and they shall have a painful torment. [Surah at-Tawbah 9:79]
And in the hadith where the Prophet was asked about the best kind of sadaqah,
The efforts (jubd) of someone who does not possess much wealth.' *1
This is why the Prophet said:
الْجِهَادُ سَنَامُ الْعَمَل
Striving for Allah's cause is the pinnacle of (good) deeds. *2
Because it is the highest of objectives and capabilities, and the highest of iman, like the hump of a camel, and it could be with difficulty or without.
Al-jahd, as mentioned, means effort or difficulty, and it may be accompanied by complete ability or without.
Therefore, al-jihad (striving) in the way of Allah is a form of juhd, which is meant to emphasize complete ability and strength, so it involves two things:
1) To exhaust every possible effort and strength.
2) To use that effort to attain what Allah loves and to repel what Allah hates.
In light of this, people can be divided into four categories:
1) People who have ability, love, and desire, so they strive and work hard and they use their strength and abilities, not for Allah but for someone or something else. This could either be something impermissible, such as fornication, oppression, shirk, speaking about Allah without knowledge of the truth, etc.; or it could also be for something that is not beneficial but is permissible, for which there is no reward. This type is often accompanied by doubts that make it either for Allah or for the Shaytan.
2) People who have righteous desire, complete love for Allah, and complete ability. These are the ones who love purely and are loved, and they strive in the way of Allah and fear not the blame of the critics, such as the first to embrace Islām: the Muhajirun and the Ansar, and those who follow them upon righteousness until the Day of Resurrection.
3) People who have righteous desire and complete love for Allah, but their capability is deficient, so they perform deeds of love and obedience in accordance with their abilities, not neglect- ing anything their strength allows. Their capability is limited and their love is complete, so they are with the previous group. There were many believers like this during the lifetime of the Prophet and many still remaining to this day. The Prophet said about this group when he and the Sahabah had left Madinah for a battle:
إِنَّ بِالْمَدِينَةِ أَقْوَامًا مَا سِرْتُمْ مَسِيرًا وَلا قَطَعْتُمْ وَادِيًا إِلَّا كَانُوا مَعَكُمْ. قَالُوا : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَهُمْ بِالْمَدِينَةِ قَالَ: وَهُمْ بِالْمَدِينَةِ، حَبَسَهُمُ الْعُذْرُ.
"There are some people in Madinah who were with you all the time; you did not travel any portion of the journey nor cross any valley except that they were with you." The people said, "O Allah's Messenger! Even though they are in Madinah?" He said, "Yes, because they were prevented by a genuine excuse." *3
And Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas said:
يا رسول الله الرجل يكون حامية القوم يسهم له مثلما يسهم لأضعافهم؟ فقال: يا سعد وهل تنصرون إلا بضعفائكم؟ بدعائهم وصلواتهم واستغفارهم
"O Messenger of Allah! Do the men who fight for the protection of their people receive the same amount as the weak?" He said, "O Sa'd, you are granted victory by way of your weak-with their du'a', their prayers, and their seeking forgiveness (for you)."*4
4) People whose ability is limited and whose desire for the truth is also limited. They possess a desire for falsehood, of which Allah is well aware. They are the weak from among the criminals, yet they still have some influence over the hearts of the people of falsehood, just as there are among the scholars, worshipers, and zähidin (ascetics) among the mushrikin (idolators), the People of the Book, and the munafiqin (hypocrites) of this ummah; those who resemble the believing scholars and worshipers, and that is because the Shaytan makes a parallel falsehood for everything that is good in the creation. Hence, the basis of all evil is shirk with Allah and the basis of all good is ikhlas (sincerity) for Allah. Allah the Exalted created the creation to worship Him alone with no partners, and He sent the messengers and revealed the holy books to establish that worship on earth, as He, the Most High, said:
وَ مَاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنَا مِنۡ قَبۡلِکَ مِنۡ رَّسُوۡلٍ اِلَّا نُوۡحِیۡۤ اِلَیۡهِ اَنَّهٗ لَاۤ اِلٰهَ اِلَّاۤ اَنَا فَاعۡبُدُوۡنِ ﴿۲۵
And We did not send any messenger before you (O Muhammad) except We inspired him (saying), "La ilaha illa Ana [none has the right to be worshiped but I (Allah)], so worship Me (alone)." [Surah al-Anbiya' 21:25]
And He, the Most High, said:
وَ لَقَدۡ بَعَثۡنَا فِیۡ کُلِّ اُمَّۃٍ رَّسُوۡلًا اَنِ اعۡبُدُوا اللّٰهَ وَ اجۡتَنِبُوا الطَّاغُوۡتَ
And verily, We have sent among every ummah (community, nation) a messenger (proclaiming): "Worship Allah (alone), and avoid (or keep away from) taghut (all false deities)." [Surah an-Nahl 16:36]
*1. Reported by Abu Dawud (2/93-94).
*2. Reported by at-Tirmidhi (3/104).
*3. Reported by al-Bukhari (4/26) and Muslim (3/1518).
*4. Reported by al-Bukhari (4/36), Muslim (4/2024), and others.
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