Moral Message in Jihad

What is the moral message in Jihad?

We should look at the pillars of Islam and Emaan from a moral perspective. Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) summarized the essence of the religion from its beginning to its end as a moral message, when he (ﷺ) said,

“Indeed I was sent only to perfect for you the highest of moral character traits.” [1]

And when Aisha (رضى الله عنها) his wife was asked,

"...what was the Prophet’s character like?” “How was his (ﷺ) moral character?” She (رضى الله عنها) said, “His (ﷺ) character was the Qur'an.” [2]

All of the moral attributes which he (ﷺ) displayed, they were manifestations of the message of the Qur'an, he (ﷺ) implemented those messages, the messages of revelation, in his day to day life, in the way that he (ﷺ) dealt with his existence, the way that he (ﷺ) dealt with Allah (سبحانهُ وتعالى), in the way that he (ﷺ) dealt with his family, with his children, with his neighbours, with his enemies, in the court, on the battlefield, during hajj, in his prayers and how he (ﷺ) dealt with the creatures around him in the society, how he treated the animals that he rode, the animals which he had slaughtered for food or for religious rites. All of this was a display of the moral character engendered or taught by the Qur'an itself. And this was the Sunnah. The Sunnah was the translation of the Qur'an into living practice. So the Sunnah is a living Sunnah. It represents a way of life, fundamentally a moral way of life.

So, Islam is a moral message; essentially it is a moral message. To implement that message it might require weapons, so there is jihad, jihad has a place but ultimately the goal of jihad is not the spilling of blood, the goal of jihad is not primarily to take the lands of other people, though it may come as a part of the jihad, peoples land, properties may be taken, but that isn’t the goal, that is just the consequence of military struggle, the losers have to be dealt with and they are dealt with in accordance with principles that Islam has sent down. Principles which are fundamentally moral principles, we find them written up now in the Geneva Convention, it is only in the 20th century that the rest of the world decided to put laws for war, whereas the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) in translating the Qur'an established the laws for war 1400 years ago, they established the moral principles that must be upheld even in the time of battle.


[1]  [Narrated by al-Bukhaari in al-Adab al-Mufrad (273) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (45).]

[2]  [Sahih Muslim 746(a)]

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