About the Author(s)

Wajidi Sayadi Email symbol
Institut Agama Islam Negeri (IAIN) Pontianak, Pontianak, Indonesia

Elmansyah symbol
Institut Agama Islam Negeri (IAIN) Pontianak, Pontianak, Indonesia

Zaenuddin H. Prasojo symbol
Institut Agama Islam Negeri (IAIN) Pontianak, Pontianak, Indonesia

Ahmad Muaffaq symbol
Sekolah Tinggi Agama Islam (STAIN) Majene, Majene, Indonesia


Sayadi, W., Elmansyah., Prasojo, Z.H. & Muaffaq, A., 2020, ‘Theology of Jiḥād based on the ḥadīth: Ṣaḥīh Bukhāri’s perspective’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 76(4), a6061. https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i4.6061

Note: Special Indonesian Collection entitled Philosophy, Culture and Theology, sub-edited by Busro Busro (UINSGD).

Original Research

Theology of Jiḥād based on the ḥadīth: Ṣaḥīh Bukhāri’s perspective

Wajidi Sayadi, Elmansyah, Zaenuddin H. Prasojo, Ahmad Muaffaq

Received: 24 Apr. 2020; Accepted: 04 Sept. 2020; Published: 24 Nov. 2020

Copyright: © 2020. The Author(s). Licensee: AOSIS.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Some people think that various acts of terrorism are always related to Islam as it is a doctrine which is identical to war with all its derivative forms. It will appear to be incompatible if we trace the example of the Prophet Muhammad SAW, written in Ṣahīh Bukhāri’s ḥadīths. This research aimed to uncover the meaning of Jiḥād in Islam as stated in the ḥadīths of the Prophet Muhammad in the book Ṣahīh Bukhāri, the work of the distinguished ḥadīth scholar named Muhammad bin Ismail bin Ibrahim bin al-Mugirah al-Bukhāri (Imam Bukhāri). This interpretation is expected to be a guide for Muslims in the Jiḥād itself, and it could provide accurate information for researchers about Islam, making it possible for scientists to change the stigmatic perspective of terrorism related to Islam. The researchers used a descriptive method by discussing the philosophical meaning of Matan (content) of ḥadīth contained in the book Ṣahīh Bukhāri about Jiḥād. It was concluded in this research that the term Jiḥād does not mean war. It means the effort in the path of Allah, doing Jiḥād against lust, serving the parents, reconciling the parties in conflict, keeping of the promise, supporting old widows, supporting neglected children and the poor, doing hajj Mabrur, and so forth. Jiḥād could also be defined in the context of social welfare, such as in education and economics, which support the framework of bringing about prosperity on earth.

Contribution: The number of terrorism cases in the name of Jiḥād lately is very detrimental to Muslims. Because of a lack of understanding of Jiḥād’s meaning, it is a broad sense apart from the war against infidels. This article calls on the importance of understanding Jiḥād, both for Muslims themselves and for people other than Islam. This article provides theological reasons for Jiḥād that can contribute to making peace in the world.

Keywords: Jiḥād; Moderation; War; Ḥadīth; Shahīd.


Jiḥād is a discourse that is always interesting and actual because it is the way of life for Muslims. Unfortunately, in its development, there was distortion and deviation of meaning, orientation and purpose. Some people understand Jiḥād with extreme perspectives: when they identify the term Jiḥād as violence and warfare that has implications for killing (see Mohammad 1985:381). The actions of terrorism lead to many factors that are rooted and originated in religious radicalism, which is to commit violence and even kill others in the name of Jiḥād as a sacred command (see Abdulla 2007).

Khairul Ghazali said that the seeds of terrorism flourished and rooted in the wrong understanding of the meaning of Jiḥād. The verses (ayat) of Jiḥād that were revealed in Medina are distorted when they are interpreted as the legitimacy to attack people in non-conflict and safe areas (Ghazali 2015:105).

Some of these groups even joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the Middle East. They were familiar with using weapons and killing those considered enemies of Islam. Adon Nasrullah Jamaluddin quoted M. Alwi Shihab’s opinion that the roots of religious radicalism were the result of mistaken perceptions about the meaning and function of Jiḥād in Islam (Jamaluddin 2015:159). In line with Jamaluddin, Yuminah Rahmatullah said that Jiḥād is different from radicalism and its derivatives of terrorism. It is a form of the totality of a Muslim’s devotion to God, which is concerned not only with self-defence efforts but a battle that has a theological legitimacy in which God promises the martyrs with various virtues and advantages (Rahmatullah 2017:157).

The views and facts show that Muslims themselves cause Westerners to judge Jiḥād fi Sabilillah as a holy war waged to spread the religion of Islam. Moreover, it creates a negative view of Islam as a religion that teaches violence in its spread. We can see this in the Western media after 11/09/2001 (Abdulla 2007).

Jamal al-Banna said that Jiḥād is essentially a representation of the Islamic ethical system: the higher appreciation of the community in understanding and applying it, the higher the level of progress (Al-Banna 2009:51).

Theology is the basic teachings of Islam, which include God, humanity and nature. Therefore, Jiḥād is an integral part of theology. Moreover, Jiḥād is guarding the continuity of the teachings of Allah’s religion. The theology of Jiḥād, in this study, focused on the statement of Jiḥād in Ṣahīh Bukhāri’s ḥadīths.

Research method and design

This research aims to explain the concept of ḥadīth about the theology of Jiḥād. This research will explore the theology of Jiḥād from the perspective of the Ṣahīh Bukhāri ḥadīth. The Ṣahīh Bukhāri is used for its validity and its recognised credibility, and according to experts, it is a representative reference after the Qur’an.

This research uses a descriptive analysis method by collecting data, compiling or classifying, analysing and interpreting it. The research methodology examines and analyses the ḥadīths contained in the Ṣahīh Bukhāri with reference. This research elucidates the acts, instructions and meanings desired by the ḥadīth, and then the methodology focuses more on the method of the study of ḥadīth. Therefore, the way of the research of ḥadīth used here is the study of Matan (the meaning of the content of ḥadīth).

The steps of the research on Matan ḥadīth are as follows: (1) examining observations of the ḥadīths is looking at the quality by referring to the validity method, (2) analysing the composition of the pronunciation of Matan ḥadīth that is meaningful, (3) examining the content of Matan ḥadīth by comparing (muqaran) the content of Matan that is in line or in conflict, and (4) summarising the results of the research of ḥadīth.

In the ḥadīth research methodology, the researchers use the method of understanding the meaning to gain an essence and concept of Jiḥād from the perspective of the Prophet, especially those contained in the Ṣahīh Muslim. The procedures referred to are given below: (1) understanding the ḥadīth according to the instructions of the Qur’an; (2) collecting intertwined ḥadīths on the same theme; (3) considering the background, situation and conditions when the ḥadīth arises between the text and its purpose; (4) distinguishing between changing facilities and fixed goals; (5) distinguishing between expressions that are truly meaningful and meaningful majaz; (6) distinguishing the meaning between the supernatural and the realm; and (7) ensuring the meaning and connotation of words in the ḥadīth (Al-Qaradhâwî 1990:93–181).

This research was carried out by following the ḥadīth research instructions as expressed by the experts above. The researchers begin the research work by collecting the ḥadīths about Jiḥād contained in Ṣahīh Bukh ari and then analysing them according to the ḥadīth research concept.

Result of the research

Means of theology and Jiḥād
Theology in Islamic perspective

In a scientific discipline, theology comes from the word theos which means God, and logos means knowledge; so it is knowledge about God, talking about the Divine God of all aspects and its relationship with nature. Theology is a part of philosophy or the philosophy of divinity. It can also be characterised by religion as an intellectual expression of faith, or an explanation of religious terms. Therefore, the limitation of the field or the determination of the meaning of the word ‘Theology’ is usually affixed with specific qualifications such as Jewish Theology, Christian Theology, Catholic Theology, Lutheran Theology and Islamic Theology. It’s definition is limited even more, with affixtures such as Theology Apologetic (maintaining religion), Systematic Theology, and Historical Theology. Theology, in general, is ‘the science which treats the facts and phenomena of religion, and the relations between God and man’, or knowledge that discusses the facts and symptoms of religion and the relationship of God and humans, both by enquiry and pure thought or by revelation (Hanafi 1993:v–vi).

Theology discusses the basic teachings of a religion. Anyone who wants to delve deeply into the ins and outs of faith needs to study the theology contained in their religion. Studying theology will give a person beliefs based on a firm foundation. In Arabic terms, the basic teachings are called Usul al-Din. Besides, it is commonly called ‘Aqa’id. Theology in Islam is also called the science of monotheism. Tawhid means one in religious monotheism views an essential form of all the attributes of God. Islamic theology is also called the Ilmu kalam. Kalam means the words, meaning the word of God or the Qur’an (Nasution 1986:ix).

Jiḥād in Islamic perspective

Etymologically, the word Jiymo is derived from the root word ج-هـ-د implies doing seriously, burdening beyond the limits of ability, difficulties, hostilities and acting with caution pouring out all abilities (Munawwir t.th.:234). M. Quraish Shihab explained that the word Jiḥād is derived from the word Juhdun, which has various meanings, such as effort, seriousness, fatigue, difficulty, illness, anxiety and others. In the Qur’an, the word Jiḥād is used about 40 times in various forms. The meaning boils down to devote all abilities or to bear sacrifice. Mujahid is the one who saves all his skills and gifts with life or energy, thoughts, emotions and anything related to human beings. Jiḥād is a means to an end. The method aligns to the objectives to achieve with available capital. Jiḥād knows no despair, surrender, even lethargy, nor strings attached (Shihab 2005:134–135).

Jiḥād varies according to the objectives and the means used. Based on its goal, the purpose of Jiḥād is fighting infidels, hypocrites, demons and lusts. The facilities used are also varied. Scientists strive with their knowledge, employees with their work, teachers with their education, leaders with justice, entrepreneurs with honesty, and so on. Jiḥād, whatever form and target, must be done for the sake of Allah and in His way. That is the message contained in the word ‘haqqa jihâdih’ in QS. Al-Hajj [22]:78.

According to Prof. Nasaruddin Umar, Jiḥād is classified into two major groups, namely armed Jiḥād and peaceful Jiḥād. Armed Jiḥād is temporal and only takes the form of defense to armed aggression. When aggression or attack has ended, then instantaneous armed Jiḥād also ends. Thus, the armed Jiḥād only occurs if there is an attack, namely from an external enemy. The peaceful Jiḥād will always be valid so that it is permanent. A prominent example of this peaceful Jiḥād is a Muslim’s fighting lust, which is potential in human beings who can plunge into the path of evil. Passion is the most dangerous enemy, and it never reveals itself, so the efforts to fight it are endless. Another form of peaceful Jiḥād is all the activities of peaceful resistance carried out by Muslims facing outside sources of crime. Teaching the message of Islam in an environment that is less conducive, fighting evil, and all other peaceful and right actions are examples of Jiḥād because they all involve several forms of defence and resistance in the interest of a good cause (Umar 2014:92).

Thus, the term ‘Jiḥād Theology’ is a combination of theological understanding and the etymological understanding of Jiḥād. The purpose of Jiḥād Theology is to forge a very fundamental belief and it is a principle and way of life for the struggle to uphold God’s commands, justice, to eradicate tyranny and to spread social welfare by adjusting the media, goals and objectives. As the terminology used in the book Social Monotheism (Theology): Formula Demolves Gaps, M. Amin Rais wrote that the purpose of Jiḥād is the enforcement of social justice. Likewise, when referring to the definition and nature of faith in Islam is acknowledgement through word of mouth, justification in the heart and proof through practice. Deeds also prove conviction about Jiḥād. Then how is the theology of Jiḥād in the ḥadīth of Ṣahīh Bukhari?

Bukhāri and his Ṣahīh book

Bukhāri was born in Bukhara, Friday, 13 Shawwal 194 H (July 21, 810 AD). He died in the night of Eid al-Fitr 1 Shawwal 256 H (August 31, 870 AD) in Khartank, about 12 miles from Samarkand, which now includes the Uzbekistan region. From the age of around 10 years, he developed a great interest in the ḥadīth sciences. In his childhood, he memorised 70 000 ḥadīths, 100 000 authentic ḥadīths and 200 000 invalid ḥadīths. It is complete with a whole series of sanad (Al-Qasthallaniy 1323:31–51).

As mentioned in Atlas of ḥadīth, Bukhāri’s full name was Muhammad bin Ismail bin Ibrahim bin al-Mugirah al-Bukhāri, 62 years old. He spent most of his life in Uzbekistan. He had left his hometown and went to other countries such as Khurasan Naisabur, Baghdad Iraq, Basrah, Damascus Syria, Fustat Egypt, Mecca and Medina to find and study ḥadīth, when he was 16 years old. He was listening to and learning from about 1000 teachers. The results of his trip succeeded in gathering 600 000 ḥadīths. He selected and chose the valid ḥadīths and wrote them in the Ṣahīh Bukhari with 7562 ḥadīths, including repeated ones and 4000 ḥadīths that are not (Khalil 2007:12). Prof. Yahya Ismail mentions that Imam Bukhāri’s teacher reached 4000 as learning places. Bukhāri always moved from one place to another. When he heard that there was a muhaddits or ‘alim, he had to go there to study. He often undertook long journeys only to receive one ḥadīth (Ismail 2016:19).

Bukhāri was good at memorising the ḥadīth, either its sanad or matan and could distinguish between valid and invalid. He visited Samarkand and gathered with 400 ḥadīth scholars. They made records of ḥadīths that were not under its sanad, mixed Syam’s sanad into Iraqi’s sanad and read them to Bukhāri to test him. It turned out that Bukhāri was able to return every ḥadīth to its true sanad. Finally, Bukhāri received praise from ḥadīth scholars, both his teachers and his friends. He was the imam of the Muhaddits and the teacher of the ḥadīths (Zahw 2015:286).

Muhammad Abu Syuhbah said that when Bukhari was 16 years old, he went to Mecca for the pilgrimage, accompanied by his mother and brother, Ahmad. Then his brother returned home to Bukhara and he chose to stay in Mecca, and sometimes he went to Medina. In Mecca and Medina, he wrote part of his work and composed the basics of the Ṣahīh Bukhari (Syuhbah 1994:36).

Bukhāri left about 20 major works in the fields of ḥadīth and other Islamic sciences, and Shaheeh al-Bukhāri is one of them (Al-Qasthallaniy 1323:36). Bukhāri gave the title of the book: Al-Jâmiash-Shahîh al-Musnad al-Mukhtashar min Umûr Rasûlillâh Shallâllâhualaihi wa Sallam wa Sunanihî wa Ayyâmihî.

Al-Jami implies that this book collects ḥadīths of law, fadhail ḥadīths, news about the past and the future, manners and so on. The words of ash-Shahîh contain that the ḥadīths collected in this book are not daif [weak]; they are all Ṣahīh [valid]. He said, ‘I do not put into this al-Jami, except the authentic only’. The word ‘al-Musnad’ means that the ḥadīths gathered in this book are ḥadīths that connect their sanad through the Sahabah to Rasulullah, both his words, deeds and takrir (Al-Khatib 1989:313).

Several factors motivated Bukhāri to write the book Shahih Bukhāri, one of them is the suggestion of his teacher. Bukhāri said:

When I was in front of Ishaq bin Rahawaih, he said, it would be nice if you compiled a concise book that specifically collected the valid sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad. Then the suggestion was implanted in my heart. Then I started to collect authentic ḥadīths into al-Jamiash-Ṣahīh.

As he drives in the dream that he saw the Prophet Muhammad, his determination to collect authentic ḥadīths became more concrete. He narrates that he stood in front of Prophet Muhammad, holding the fan I was using to guard him in the dream. Then he asked it to some ta’bir experts (dream interpreter) and explained that he would destroy and erode the lies of the ḥadīth of the Prophet Muhammad. That dream encouraged him to write the book of al-Jamiash-Ṣahīh (Syuhbah 1994:46–47).

Ṣahīh Bukhāri is the first book to record authentic ḥadīths only that prepared for 16 years as a result of his journey to various cities. He was conscientious to write every ḥadīth in his book. Before he wrote ḥadīth, he bathed first, followed by wudu and istikharah prayer. Afterwards, he again offered gratitude to Allah for being able to write the ḥadīth (Al-Ainy, NY:6–7).


Theology of Jiḥād on the Ḥadīth Ṣaḥīh Bukhāri
Means of Jiḥād

In the book of Ṣahīh Bukhāri, it uses several terms, namely al-jihâd, al-qitâl, al-ghazw, al-harb and ar-ribath:

Al-Jiḥād: Based on the search for the use of the term Jiḥād, it is mentioned in variations, such as al-Jihâd, jihâd, jâhada, yujâhidu, ujâhidu, jâhid, lajâhadû, al-mujâhid and al-mujâhidîn.

The word al-jihâd is mentioned in 27 ḥadīths, namely Abu Hurairah narrates that Rasulullah SAW asked by someone (Al-‘Asqalani 1998):

أَيُّ الْعَمَلِ أَفْضَلُ فَقَالَ إِيمَانٌ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ قِيلَ ثُمَّ مَاذَا قَالَ الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ قِيلَ ثُمَّ مَاذَا قَالَ حَجٌّ مَبْرُورٌ

‘Which deed is the best?’ He replied, ‘Belief in Allah and His Messenger, and then Jiḥād, and then A1-Hajj A1-Mabrür (properly performed Hajj in accordance with the Prophet’s Sunna). (p. 99).

The word al-Jiḥād is used in this ḥadīth in the book of al-âmân, found four times, in the book of al-Hajj, al-Itq, al-Jiḥādwa as-Siyarand al-Imân. The use of the word al-Jiḥād is all about Jiḥād as the most important charity, which is to believe in Allah and His Messenger, fight in the way of Allah and hajj mabrur.

The word Jâhada is found in five ḥadīths, namely (Al-Bukhari 1997):

تَكَفَّلَ اللَّهُ لِمَنْ جَاهَدَ فِي سَبِيلِهِ لَا يُخْرِجُهُ إِلَّا الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِهِ وَتَصْدِيقُ كَلِمَاتِهِ بِأَنْ يُدْخِلَهُ الْجَنَّةَ أَوْ يَرْجِعَهُ إِلَى مَسْكَنِهِ الَّذِي خَرَجَ مِنْهُ مَعَ مَا نَالَ مِنْ أَجْرٍ أَوْ غَنِيمَةٍ

Allah guarantees him who strives in His Cause and whose motivation for going out is nothing but Jiḥād in His Cause and belief in His Word, that He will admit him into Paradise (if martyred) or bring him back to his dwelling place, whence he has come out, with what he gains of reward and booty. (p. 218)

This ḥadīth is repeated three times, all of which explain the guarantee of Allah for those who strive in the way of Allah with a sincere intention to establish the height of Allah’s religion. Assurance and certainty of God for them is to be put into heaven or even if not martyred, will return with a victory accompanied by war booty.

The word Yujâhidu is found in four ḥadīths, including Abu Hurairah, heard the Prophet SAW said (Al-Bukhari 1997):

مَثَلُ الْمُجَاهِدِ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَِّ وَاللَُّ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنْ يُجَاهِدُ فِي سَبِيلِهِ كَمَثَلِ الصَّائِمِ الْقَائِمِ وَتَوَكَّلَ اللَُّ لِلْمُجَاهِدِ فِي سَبِيلِهِ بِأَنْ يَتَوَفَّاهُ أَنْ يُدْخِلَهُ الْجَنَّةَ أَوْ يَرْجِعَهُ سَالِمًا مَعَ أَجْرٍ أَوْ غَنِيمَةٍ

The example of a Mujahid in Allah’s Cause – and Allah knows better who really strives in His Cause- is like a person who fasts and prays continuously. Allah guarantees that He will admit the Mujahid in His Cause into Paradise if he is killed, otherwise He will return him to his home safely with rewards and war booty. (p. 47)

This ḥadīth explains that those who strive in the way of Allah are likened to those who fast during the day and pray continuously at night.

The use of the words Ujâhidu and Jâhid narrated by Abdullah bin ‘Amr, he said (Al-Bukhari 1997):

رَجُلٌ لِلنَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أُجَاهِدُ قَالَ لَكَ أَبَوَانِ قَالَ نَعَمْ قَالَ فَفِيهِمَا فَجَاهِدْ

A man asked the Prophet, ‘Shall I participate in Jihãd?’ The Prophet SAW said, ‘Are your parents living?’ The man said, ‘Yes’. The Prophet said, ‘Do Jihãd for their benefit.’ (p. 153)

There are two ḥadīths like this which tell of a man coming to the Prophet (peace be upon him). He asked for permission to participate in Jiḥād on the battlefield. The Prophet SAW asked him, ‘Are your parents living?’. The man said ‘yes’. The Prophet said, ‘Do Jiḥād for their benefit’.

This ḥadīth explains that Jiḥād does not always have to be on the battlefield. Sometimes, Jiḥād is shown by caring for and doing good to both parents by not leaving them, and not ignoring or neglecting them. Jiḥād is the duty and call of struggle, but caring for and doing good to both parents is fardhuain (an individual obligation as a Muslim), whilst Jiḥād is fardhukifayah (an individual obligation as a Muslim that is canceled, if someone else is already doing it.

The word al-Mujâhid is found in five different traditions, including from Abu Hurairah, he said, the Prophet SAW said (Al-Bukhari 1997):

السَّاعِي عَلَى الْأَرْمَلَةِ وَالْمِسْكِينِ كَالْمُجَاهِدِ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَوْ الْقَائِمِ اللَّيْلَ الصَّائِمِ النَّهَارَ

The Prophet said:

The one who looks after a widow or a poor person is like a Mujahid (warrior) who fights for Allah’s Cause, or like him who performs prayers all the night and fasts all the day. (p. 34)

There are five ḥadīths like this, all of which explain that providing adequate assistance or livelihood to the poor or old widows, are the same as those who strive in the way of Allah. This ḥadīth explains about social Jiḥād, namely the welfare of the people and nation.

Understanding the ḥadīth text must be seen in the context of the ḥadīth itself. Because Rasulullah SAW often differs from the editorial of his ḥadīth, according to the person he is talking to. Therefore, understanding a ḥadīth text must see its asbab al-wurud (compare with Zunly Nadia’s research) (Nadia 2017).

It means that understanding of the word ‘Jiḥād’, of course, must be adapted to the context to be embedded. Under certain conditions, Jiḥād is not always understood as war.

Al-Qitâl: Al-Qitâl means war, derived from the word Qâtala meaning to kill, because in warfare usually killings occur. In addition, some ḥadīths use the term QâtalaYuqâtilu, which means to fight, Uqtulû means to fight it.

The use of term al-Qitâl found in 13 ḥadīths: From Abu Musa, he said a man came to the Prophet, then asked (Al-Bukhari 1997):

يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ مَاالْقِتَالُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَإِنَّ أَحَدَنَا يُقَاتِلُ غَضَبًا وَيُقَاتِلُ حَمِيَّةً فَرَفَعَ إِلَيْهِ رَأْسَهُ قَالَ وَمَا رَفَعَ إِلَيْهِ رَأْسَهُ إِلَّا أَنَّهُ كَانَ قَائِمًا فَقَالَ مَنْ قَاتَلَ لِتَكُونَ كَلِمَةُ اللَّهِ هِيَ الْعُلْيَا فَهُوَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ

O Allah’s Messenger! What kind of fighting is in Allah’s cause? (I ask this), for some of us fight because of being enraged and angry and some for the sake of his pride and haughtiness. (p. 59)

The Prophet SAW raised his head (as the questioner was standing) and said, ‘He who fights so that Allah’s Word (Islam) should be superior, then he fights in Allah’s cause’.

There are five ḥadīths like this, which explain the holy war in the way of Allah to aim sincerely solely to uphold the truth of the height of Allah’s religion. According to Al-Qaradhawi, al-Qitâl is the last form of Jiḥād, namely war using any sword or weapon (Al-Qaradhawi 2011:30). The mention of the word al-Qitâl is related to the sentence in the way of Allah.

Al-Ghazw: Al-Ghazw means going out to fight the enemy (Al-Asfahani t.th.:373). People who fight enemies are called Gâzî. Amongst the traditions that use this term is the word of Rasulullah SAW (Al-Asqalani 1998):

مَنْ جَهَّزَ غَازِيًا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ فَقَدْ غَزَا وَمَنْ خَلَفَ غَازِيًا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِخَيْرٍ فَقَدْ غَزَا

He who equips a Ghazi (fighter) in the way of Allah is as if he has taken part in the fighting himself; and he who looks after the dependants of a Ghazi in his absence, is as if he has taken part in the fighting himself. (HR. Bukhāri from Zaid bin Khalid) (p. 58)

In some ḥadīths, the Companions often say غَزَوْنَا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم meaning we went out to war with the Prophet SAW. This sentence is also accompanied by the word ‘Fi Sabilillah’.

Al-Harb: The word al-Harb is used in the ḥadīth, Rasulullah SAW said (Al-Asqalani 1998):

الْحَرْبُ خَدْعَةٌ

‘War is deception’. (HR. Bukhārifrom Jabir) (p. 177)

Al-Harb means war. The word al-Harb comes from the word haraba, which means to rob (Munawwir t.th.:268). Ar-Raghib al-Asfahani states that al-Harb is to deprive during war, and every act of deprivation is called war (Al-Asfahani, NY:110). Al-Qaradhawi explains al-Harb is the mobilisation of all forces, weapons, tools or any means by a group of people against other groups; can be between tribes, between countries or between groups of countries (Al-Qaradhawi 2011:30). The word al-Harb shows that in war it may deceive as a strategy, as also stated in other traditions that it is permissible to lie on three things, including during the war, namely al-Harb. Ibn Syihab (2007) said, I have never heard of leniency for humans, except for three things:

الْحَرْبُ وَالإِصْلاَحُ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ وَحَدِيثُ الرَّجُلِ امْرَأَتَهُ وَحَدِيثُ الْمَرْأَةِ

‘Warfare, reconciling the two disputing human parties, the words of a husband to his wife or a wife to her husband (Ṣahīh Muslim, Kitab al-Birr wa ash-ShilahbabTahrîm al-Kadzib) (p. 468)

Ar-Ribâth: Ar-Ribâth also means war, but the term is more meaningful when someone in the forefront directly confronts the enemy. This word is used by Rasulullah SAW (Al-Asqalani 1998):

رِبَاطُ يَوْمٍ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا عَلَيْهَا وَمَوْضِعُ سَوْطِ أَحَدِكُمْ مِنْ الْجَنَّةِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا عَلَيْهَا وَالرَّوْحَةُ يَرُوحُهَا الْعَبْدُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَوْ الْغَدْوَةُ خَيْرٌ مِنْ الدُّنْيَا وَمَا عَلَيْهَا

To guard Muslims from infidels in Allah’s Cause for one day is better than the world and whatever is on its surface, and a place in Paradise as small as that occupied by the whip of one of you is better than the world and whatever is on its surface; and a morning’s or an evening’s journey which a slave (person) travels in Allah’s Cause is better than the world and whatever is on its surface. (HR. Bukhāri narrated by Sahl bin Sa’ad as-Sa’idi). (p. 99)

Disclosure of the terms al-Qitâl, al-Ghazw, al-Harb, and ar-Ribâth refers to those who show a war of physical contact with weapons. These ḥadīths emerge after Madinah as well as the verses of the descending war in Medina. In fact, in the life of Rasulullah SAW when he was in Mecca until he was 53 years old, there had never been a war military aggression. The occurrence of warfare was in Medina because the political situation and social character were different from Mecca. At the same time, the use of the term Jiḥād is more general, both physical and non-physical. However, all of them remain in the frame of sabilillah. The term of this Jiḥād as Prophet Muhammad SAW in Mecca had been down the Jiḥād command line. For example:

وَجَاهِدْهُمْ بِهِ جِهَادًا كَبِيرًا

And strive hard against them with the help of this (Qur’ân), a mighty striving. (QS. al-Furqân[25]:52)

This verse came down when Prophet Muhammad was still in Mecca, in a situation where Muslims were still very weak, and did not yet have physical strength; however, he was ordered to strive, in the sense of devoting all abilities to face the polytheists with sentences that touch reason and heart, not with weapons that hurt physically or kill (Shihab 2005:497).

Thus, Jiḥād was originally an understanding of da’wah, especially preaching with the Qur’an. In its development, it turned into a meaning of war.

Jiḥād in the form of al-Qitâl, namely war, is an option or a final choice because the act of physical warfare is in order to maintain the basic principles of religion, and when conditions are demanding and urgent. Al-Qitâl is only under certain conditions when urgent. In contrast, Jiḥād will continue forever.

Based on the search of the ḥadīths that use the term Jiḥād above, the authors find that the theology of Jiḥād taught in Islam is neither extreme nor exceeding its limits. Jiḥād theology is a theology oriented to the social welfare of the people and nation.

Criteria and objectives of Jiḥād

Jiḥād in Islam clearly includes criteria and objectives:

Fi Sabillah, in the way Allah, Islamic enforcement

These noble criteria and goals are often found in the traditions and also the verses of the Qur’an using the sentence الجهاد بي سبيل الله (Jiḥād in the way of Allah). In order to achieve this goal, the Prophet SAW ordered from the beginning to fight in the name of Allah and towards the highest sentence of Allah, which is the way of Allah. مَنْ قَاتَلَ لِتَكُونَ كَلِمَةُ اللَّهِ هِيَ الْعُلْيَا فَهُوَ فِي سَبِيلِاللهَ Including letters sent by Rasulullah SAW, the kings invited them to the way of Allah. That is why Jiḥād is always accompanied by the Fi Sabilillah sentence. The Fi Sabilillah word, which is attached to every Jiḥād word or al-Qitâl word, shows that Jiḥād has noble and very clear criteria and objectives.

In the Qur’an, dozens of verses mention the word Jiḥād attached to the fi Sabîlillah sentence. Likewise, the ḥadīth in Ṣahīh B ukhāri as mentioned above. Rohimin quoted the opinion of three commentators on the meaning of Fi Sabilillah. Firstly, according to Muhammad Abduh, sabilillah is the path prescribed by Allah SWT, defending His apostles, and applying truth and justice to the interests of His servants. Secondly, according to Wahbahaz-Zuhaily, sabîlillâh is the right, good, main and free way for humankind. Jiḥād is also against enemies who hinder the implementation of Islamic da’wah. Thirdly, according to Mahmud Syaltut, in general, fîsabîlillâh is an expression to uphold the truth, eradicate crime and destruction, replace it with good and benevolence, and put justice and compassion in the place of tyranny and violence. Other things that are included in the scope of fîsabîlillâh are upholding the sentence of Allah SWT: spreading the da’wah of Islam, deterring enemies who threaten Muslims to seize territory, enforcing justice in giving legal decisions, conveying the mandate to those entitled to receive it, obeying religious provisions, working for the benefit of the people, establishing educational institutions, hospitals, creating jobs for the basic needs of life, establishing the people, maintaining property and not wasting it (Rohimin 2006:154–155).

Asma Afsaruddin quotes a ḥadīth from the book of Mushannaf the work of Abdul Razzaq. He said that The Prophet asked, ‘Is it only those who are killed (on the battlefield) who fight in the way of Allah then they are in the way of Allah?’ whoever endeavours in the world with halal work to support himself, he is in the way of Allah. Whoever seeks worldly wealth (al-takâtsur), has slipped into the path of Satan (fa huwa fî sabîl al-syaithân) (Afsaruddin 2018:171).

To create peace and benevolence

To achieve this goal, then in a special Jiḥād that occurred at the time of the Prophet SAW on the battlefield were not allowed to kill people carelessly and blindly. He sets some rules and ethics, for example, not killing women and children, and treating prisoners well. The aim of Jiḥād in any form is to bring peace and benefit; in other words, uphold justice and eradicate tyranny. On this basis, the group that betrayed the agreement and the damaged consensus was driven out of Medina.

Thus, Jiḥād, is different from war, in general. It is the aim of Jiḥād in Islam that emphasises and at the same time, it distinguishes from the war, in general, which has the objective to seize political, economic and other power. Jiḥād in the frame of fi Sabîlillâh or fî Allah shows the true theology of Jiḥād.

Means or Media Jiḥād

Jiḥād with wealth

Some of the ḥadīths above express Jiḥād with بأموالهم وأنفسهم [with their wealth and themselves]. It is also used in the Qur’an, Jiḥād using their wealth and self.

Jiḥād using property takes precedence over using oneself. Jamal al-Banna explains that the expenditure of wealth property is one of the most prominent media in Jiḥād because this action comes out of individual consciousness. Because of that, the Qur’an then prioritises it over Jiḥād with the soul (self), which is only demanded in times of emergency war which is usually also massive (Al-Banna 2009:38–39).

The Qur’an encourages Jiḥād with property and places it as the greatest sacrifice on Allah, as well as the highest priority means of Jiḥād because its influence is comprehensive on society and able to solve the problems of daily life in society. Besides, the property is able to make people happy, and at the same time, it can tell millions of people, ranging from family, neighbours, to all citizens (Al-Banna 2009:40).

Distributing wealth and assistance to those who need it is Jiḥād, as well as participating in the procurement of weapons or capital provision for fighters, or participating in contributing to the construction of social foundations to animate social and economic activities that provide jobs and raise the standard of living. It is a model of Jiḥād in daily life; even if we do not say too much, it is this aspect that is the focus of attention for all humans (Al-Banna 2009:38).

Jiḥād with the sacrifice of property is not explained concretely about the type and form to provide the most comprehensive opportunity for anyone who wants to Jiḥād with the gift of property, such as facilities and infrastructure, communication media facilities and information needed.

Jiḥād with an-nafs, with totality

Understanding the word نفسه nafsihi or plural أنفسهم anfusihim in the ḥadīths of the Prophet SAW. Self-interpreted, not only means soul or life. The word nafs or anfus contains the meaning of life, heart, type, the totality of man, soul and body. Jinta with nafsihi or anfusihim means to wage Jiḥād involving the whole of the human self, including life, emotions, knowledge, energy, mind, even the time and place associated with it (Shihab 1996:506).

Often the words nafsihi or anfushihim in the ḥadīth and verses of the Qur’an are translated as soul or life. With translations like this, it is as if the Jiḥādist media is only a treasure and a life. It is also a factor driving a strong desire to be willing to sacrifice lives for martyrdom. Until now, the famous slogan is عِشْ كَرِيْمًا أَوْ مُتْ شَهِيْدًا [noble life or martyrdom].

In fact, in Islam, war is the last option of the many ways, forms and media of Jiḥād. In Islam, life is very safeguarded, so for people who are fasting when hunger and thirst threaten life’s safety, it is obligatory to cancel fasting. The explanation above states that Jiḥād with wealth takes precedence over self. It is not too easy to make decisions to sacrifice lives. One day someone asked the Prophet SAW to join in the Jiḥād with war. The Prophet SAW asked him, ‘Are your parents still alive?’ He answered, ‘Yes, still alive’. The Prophet SAW commanded, ‘There is no need to join the Jiḥād of war, but do Jiḥād by caring for and doing well to your parents’.

The Prophet SAW deeply appreciates the safety of the life of the person and the safety of the lives of both parents if no one takes care of him. Caring for parents to maintain their survival is Jiḥād. Likewise, helping old widows and poor people is called and equated by the Prophet SAW (peace be upon him) as a Mujahid, a warrior in the path of Allah. Helping old widows and poor people means maintaining their survival. Therefore, Hasan al-Banna’s opinion on contemporary Jiḥād is very moderate and relevant today. He said:

إن الجهاد اليوم ليس أن نموت في سبيل الله ولكن أن نحيا في سبيل الله

Indeed, Jiḥād today is not how to die in the way of Allah, but rather, is how to live in the form of Allah (Al-Banna 2009:127).

It is not only living in the way of Allah but how to live and provide for life and prosperity. Thus, the theology of Jiḥād from the perspective of Bukhāri’s authentic ḥadīth is an earnest struggle in the path of Allah for upholding justice, truth, and social and community welfare.


Theology is the basic teachings of Islam. It includes God, humanity and nature. Jiḥād in Islam is an integral part of theology. Jiḥād is guarding the continuity of the teachings of Allah’s religion (Islam). Theology of Jiḥād is a system of belief in the true religion of Allah (Islam), which is manifested by the seriousness in religion to uphold truth, social justice and humanity.

The term Jiḥād cannot always be interpreted as war. Jiḥād means any form of effort in the path of Allah. Jiḥād can be applied against lust, serving the parents, reconciling the parties in conflict, keeping of the promise, supporting old widows, supporting of neglected children and the poor, or doing hajj mabrur.

Therefore, theology of Jiḥād in the perspective of Ṣahīh Bukhari ḥadīth is a struggle for fundamental beliefs based on beliefs in God. That is why the word Jiḥād is always accompanied by the sentence Fi Sabilillah. The stance of Jiḥād is to uphold justice, truth, social welfare and humanity.


Dr. Imron Muttaqin, MHI, assisted with proofreading of the article.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationships that may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this research article.

Authors’ contributions

W.S. conceived of the presented idea. Z.H.P. and E. developed the theory and performed the computations. A.M. contributed in Arabic text and the analysis of the context of ḥadīth. W.S. and E. verified the analytical methods. Z.H.P. and W.S. encouraged E. to investigate [theological aspect] and supervised the findings of this work. All authors discussed the results and contributed to the final manuscript.

Ethical considerations

This article followed all ethical standards for research without direct contact with human or animal subjects.

Funding information

This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Data availability

Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no new data were created or analysed in this study.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any affiliated agency of the authors.


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