My son is travelling for Jihad with...

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

My son is travelling for Jihad without my permission


Salam Alikom,

Sir my youngest son aged 23 left his university and whole life and went to Syria to help believing this is a Fard Ain Jihad that does not need parents permission. He left knowing myself and his mother needs him to look after us as I suffer from cancer and his mother very sick unable to work to help with our financial needs his argument that he obeys Allah to implement Fard Ain and parents needs comes after. My other son is unable to work to help me therefore I have to carry on working despite my poor health. My youngest son knows all that but believes what is doing is Fard Ain and Jihad he doesn\'t want to come back. Is what he is doing and believe correct and within Jihad obligation. I hope to get your answer so I could pass it to him Gazk Allah Khir


Jihad in lexical term means exerting one’s utmost effort and it has more than one level. The first and the major one is jihad against oneself through purifying the heart from maladies, whims and caprices. The second level is the one that you inquire about indicates a combative sense which is jihad fi sabeel God or exerting one’s effort for the sake of God. Scholars name that jihad against one’s self as the major Jihad because it continues with the person thorough out his life and not only limited with the time period of the actual war in which he performs jihad.

As a matter of fact Muslim scholars believe that a Muslim won’t be able to perform jihad for the sake of God without starting with the bigger jihad which is jihad against one’s lower self. ‘Abdullah ibn Amr was once asked about his opinion on Jihad and he said start fighting your lower self first.

As for your question about jihad in the combative sense, Jihad in principle is a collective obligation [fard kifaya]: It is one of the collective duties of the community as a whole. The organization of jihad is the responsibility of the rulers and politicians, who from their appointed positions are best able to calculate the consequences of such a crucial decision. Rulers examine the extent of the necessity that calls for defensive jihad.

All the aspects of the decision for combative jihad and their ramifications are examined and are subject to a scientific and factual study which carefully balances the benefits with the disadvantages. The enterprise must be free from cowardice, negligence, weakness, superficiality, or heedless emotions. No single group or person may initiate jihad on their own as this is considered transgressing against the ruler and may constitute more harm than good and such transgressors are held liable for the evils they have caused.

In certain cases Jihad becomes an individual obligation [fard 'ayn]: Jihad becomes an individual obligation in countries where Muslim sanctuaries are attacked and their security threatened and is a duty upon the citizens to defend their country. Defensive jihad is not obligatory upon all Muslims; it is a communal obligation for those residing outside the territories under attack. If they are unable to repel the enemy, jihad becomes an individual obligation upon Muslims in neighboring countries.

Implementing the legal ruling concerning in this manner requires:
-Following the valid means which is the responsibility of those in authority, are aware of the political and military aspects, able to assess the need of jihad and calculate the ramifications, interests and disadvantages associated with the regional considerations and international treaties and are aware of the balance of international power. All of this requires:

- Special considerations and meticulous military and political studies which have exhausted the possibility of a peaceful resolution which God Almighty commanded. He said:

But if they incline towards peace, you [Prophet] must also incline towards it, and put your trust in God: He is the All Hearing, the All Knowing [Al-Anfal, 61];

- preserving the security of Muslim countries, their citizens and interests.

- the ability to face and endure the choice of war.

- Jihad must be formally declared and clearly defined to prevent Muslims from falling prey to notorious organizations that may exploit their emotions and take advantage of their zeal to serve foreign goals in the name of jihad.

So based upon the above clarification, the father has the right to prevent his son from travelling under the name of performing Jihad and the son is obliged to obey his father in this matter. Imam al Bukhari reported that sons are not allowed to perform jihad without the prior permission of their parents and this was authenticated by numerous prophetic traditions and in one of them a man came to Prophet Muhammad seeking his permission to perform Jihad so the Prophet asked him “are your parents alive?” so the man replied “yes” in response the Prophet said “through them perform jihad”. In other words one should exert his utmost efforts (jihad) to take care of his/her parents.

The majority of Muslim scholars prohibited performing jihad for sons without the prior permission of their Muslim parents because taking care of one’s parents is an individual obligation whereas performing jihad is a collective one.

God knows best.

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