It is said that the best way to find out the truth about something is to go to the horse’s mouth, or the primary source. Unfortunately most people take the word of second or third sources, most of which are either emotionally invested in affirming or rejecting the topic at hand. At best in such cases, one is likely going to hear a repetition of source material in a loose manner which will not have the greatest accuracy.
On the topic of Islam, I find it best to acquire books and go to websites made by Muslims in the Islamic world for Muslims rather than from a Western writer distributed by a Western publisher or websites made for Western eyes. That’s where the real meat of the religion is, and unfortunately Islam as presented to the Western audience is like a Thai restaurant in Chicago: A watered-down version of the real thing at best, designed with the Western palate in mind which we’ll accept and willingly sink our teeth into.
Thai restaurants in Chicago don’t serve rat meat and grasshoppers like they do in Thailand, and Muslim apologist book publishers in the West don’t present the rats of Islam, either.
To that end, I have bought a number of Islamic books over the years from Muslim publishers, including one I based a previous article on the topic of the Islamic State by excerpts from a classical manual of Islamic Law. I have also begun to acquire collections of Hadiths, which are known also as the Islamic Traditions, second only in value to the Quran itself and is a large part of what makes up Islamic Law. In the Quran, the (claimed) Archangel Gabriel is speaking and commanding the followers to do as Muhammad does. How do they do this? By following the Hadiths which is are collected sayings of Muhammad handed down from his closest and most revered Companions. The Hadiths contain instructions for many things in daily life; everything from proper bathing, toileting, prayer, giving alms (zakat), business affairs, marriage laws, and yes… Jihad.
If you want to know why groups like the Taliban and ISIS act the way they do, you need to look at the Hadiths. Once you do that, everything you see will make perfect sense.
My most recent acquisitions in Islamic books are from an Islamic publisher in Pakistan called Sheikh Muhammad Ashraf Publishers. This article focuses on one of them; the 3-volume Hadith collection called Sunan Abu Dawud which comes with explanatory notes by Professor Ahmad Hasan. My copies look exactly like the ones in the picture accompanying this article, except the book covers are dark green instead of light brown.
These are select quotations which are indicative of the violent, anti-nonbeliever and fanatical tone of many Hadiths on the topic of Jihad:
VIII. KITAB AL-JIHAD (BOOK OF JIHAD)
STRUGGLE IN THE PATH OF ALLAH TO PROMOTE THE CAUSE OF ISLAM
(2474) Ibn ‘Abbas reported the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) as saying on the day of the conquest of Mecca: There is no migration (after the conquest of Mecca), but only jihad (striving in the path of Allah) and some intention. So when you are summed to go forth (for jihad), go forth.
1818 – This means that migration from Mecca to Medina was no doubt discontinued, but migration in the path of Allah for one’s home to distant lands for jihad or missionary work still continues. One should leave one’s home for jihad with the intention of getting reward from Allah. This kind of migration which still survives.
1819 – When the imam of the Muslims asks them to go forth for jihad, it is binding on them to leave their homes and go out for struggle in the path of Allah.
ON THE ETERNITY OF JIHAD
(2478) ‘Imran b. Husain reported the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) as saying: A section of my community will continue to fight for the right and overcome their opponents till the last of them fight with the Antichrist.
1825 – This does not refer to any particular section of the Muslim community. This includes all those who strive gallantly to promote the cause of Islam. They may be warriors, scholars, preachers, teachers, doctors of Islamic law and doctors of tradition.
REWARD FOR JIHAD
Abu Sa’id (al-Khudri) reported : The Prophet (may peace be upon him) was asked: Which believers are most perfect in respect of faith? He replied : A man who strives in the path of Allah with his life and property, and a man who worships Allah in a mountain valley where he protects the people from his evil.
1827 – Jihad in Allah’s path is the greatest virtue that a Muslim attains. His faith becomes most perfect by making continuous struggle for the cause of Islam.
EXCELLENCE OF FIGHTING THE ROMANS OVER AGAINST OTHER COMMUNITIES
(2482) ‘Abd al-Khabir reported on the authority of his grandfather Thabit b. Qais. A woman called Umm Khallad came to the Prophet (may peace be upon him) while she was veiled. She was searching for her son who had been killed (in the battle). Some of the Companions of the Prophet (may peace be upon him) said to her: You have come here asking for your son while veiling your face? She said: If I am afflicted with the loss of my son, I shall not suffer the loss of my modesty. The Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: You will get the reward of two martyrs for your son. She asked : Why is that so, Apostle of Allah? He replied : Because the people of the Book have killed him.
(1831) This shows that fighting with the people of the Book (i.e. Christians and Jews) carries more reward than fighting with others.
EXCELLENCE OF FIGHTING ON THE SEA
(2488) Abu Ulamat al-Bahill reported the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) as saying : There are three persons who are in the security of Allah, the Exalted: A man who goes out on an expedition to fight in the path of Allah, the Exalted, is in the security of Allah, until He takes him unto him (i.e., he dies), and brings him unto Paradise, or brings him (alive) with reward and booty he obtains; and a man who goes to the mosque is in the security of Allah, until He takes him unto Him (i.e., he dies), and he brings him into Paradise, or brings him with reward and spoils he obtains; and a man who enters his house after giving salutation is in the security of Allah, the Exalted.
1838 – This means that there are three qualities by which a man secures the protection of Allah from all calamities. They are fighting in Allah’s path, frequent visits to the mosque and saluting the people while entering the house. Allah helps those people who bear these qualities and provides security for them.
EXCELLENCE OF KILLING AN INFIDEL
(2489) Abu Hurairah reported the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) as saying : An infidel and the one who killed him will never be brought together in Hell.
1839 – This means that a person who kills an infidel while fighting in Allah’s path (i.e., jihad) will have his sins remitted and forgiven, and will, therefore, go to Paradise. The infidel will invariably go to Hell. Thus the man who killed an infidel will not be brought together in Hell with him.
ON THE TROOPS OF WARRIORS WHO RETURN WITHOUT OBTAINING BOOTY
(2491) ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Amr reported the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) as saying : No warlike party will go out to fight in Allah’s path, and gain booty without getting beforehand two-thirds of their rewards in the next world, and one-third (of their reward) will remain. And if they do not gain booty, they will get their rewards in full.
ON A MAN WHO DIES WHILE FIGHTING IN JIHAD
(2493) Abu Malik al-Ash’ari said that he heard the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) say : He who goes forth in Allah’s path and dies or is killed a martyr, or has his neck broken through being thrown by his horse or by his camel, or is stung by a poisonous creature, or dies on his bed by any kind of death Allah wishes is a martyr and will go to Paradise.
1843 – A Muslim who fights against the unbelievers in the path of Allah with his life and his property and dies there is a martyr and will go to Paradise.
EXCELLENCE OF GUARDING THE FRONTIER
(2494) Fadalah b. ‘Ubaid reported the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) as saying : Everyone who dies will have fully completed his action, except one who is on the frontier (in Allah’s path), for his deeds will be made to go on increasing until the Day of Resurrection, and he will be safe from the trial in the grave.
Footnote: 1844 – Ribat means to install a cavalry at the frontier for defence. Those who guard the frontiers of an Islamic State will get the reward more than that prescribed for other virtues.
Footnote: 1846 – This means that he will not be asked any question by the two angels, Munkar and Nakir, or answering their questions will be made easy for them.
ABOMINATION OF KEEPING AWAY FROM FIGHTING IN ALLAH’S PATH
(2496) Abu Hurairah reported the Prophet (may peace be upon him) as saying : He who dies without having fought or having felt fighting (against the infidels) to be his duty will die guilty of a kind of hypocrisy.
(2497) Abu Umamah reported the Prophet (may peace be upon him) as saying : He who does not join the warlike expedition (jihad), or equip a warrior, or looks well after a warrior’s family when he is away, will be smitten by Allah with a sudden calamity.
(2498) Anas reported the Prophet (may peace be upon him) as saying : Use your property, your persons and your tongues in striving against the polytheists.
1850 – To struggle in the path of Allah with property (amwal0 means to spend one’s property to promote the cause of Islam; to fight with one’s life and person means to participate in jihad in person; and to struggle with one’s tongue means to argue against contentious of the infidels and to establish the teachings of Islam by delivering lectures. This might also mean cursing on the enemy of Islam.
WHAT SUFFICES FOR JIHAD
(2503) Zaid b. Khalid al-Juhani reported the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) as saying : He who equips a fighter in Allah’s path has taken part in the fighting, and he who looks after a fighter’s family when he is away has taken part in the fighting.
1861 – A Muslim can obtain the reward of Jihad by providing the equipment for a warrior or by looking after his family when he is away from his homes.
ON THE EXCELLENCE OF MARTYRDOM
(2514) ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abbas reported the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) as saying : When your brethren were smitten at the battle of Uhud, Allah put their spirits in the crops of green birds which go down to the rivers of Paradise, eat its fruit and nestle in large lamps of gold in the shade of the Throne. Then when they experienced the sweetness of their food, drink and rest, they asked : Who will tell our brethren about us that we are alive in Paradise provided with provision, in order that they might not be disinterested in jihad and recoil in war? Allah Most High said : I shall tell them about you, so Allah sent down, “And do not consider those who have been killed in Allah’s path,” till the end of the verse.
1875 – This tradition indicates the excellence on martyrdom and the highest reward which a martyr achieves after his death in the next world.
1876 – Quran 3:169.
ACCEPTANCE OF THE INTERCESSION OF A MARTYR
(2516) Abu al-Darda’ reported the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) as saying : The intercession of a martyr will be accepted for seventy members of his family.
1878 – Since a martyr sacrifices his life in Allah’s path, he will be given the right of intercession on the Day of Judgment in favour of seventy persons of his family who are destined to go to Hell-fire. His intercession shall be accepted, and those persons will be saved from Hell-fire and sent to Paradise.
FIGHTING ON WAGES
(2519) Abu Ayyub al-Ansari said that he heard the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: Capitals will be conquered at your hands, and you will have to raise companies in large armies. A man will be unwilling to join a company, so he will escape from his people and go round the tribes offering himself to them, saying : Whose place may I take in such and such expedition? Whose place may I take in such and such expedition? Beware : that man is a hireling to the last drop of his blood.
1884 – Such a type of man who does not fight with infidels voluntarily, but fights for payment or some sort of compensation, will remain a mercenary even he is killed in the battle. He will not be considered a martyr or warrior. This shows that a Muslim should fight in Allah’s path without seeking any payment for it. He should fight to please Allah.
FIGHTING ALONG WITH THE TYRANT RULERS
(2526) Anas b. Malik reported the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) as saying : Three things are the roots of faith : to refrain from (killing) a person who utters, “There is no God but Allah” and not to declare him unbeliever whatever he commits, and not to excommunicate him from Islam for his any action; and jihad will be performed continuously since the day Allah sent me as a prophet until the day the last member of my community fill fight with the Dajjal (Antichrist). The tyranny of any tyrant and the justice of any just (ruler) will not invalidate it. One must have faith in Divine decree.
1891 – This probably refers to Mahdi or Jesus Christ who will descend from the heaven before the Last Hour. Thus jihad will perpetuate till the Last Hour.
1892 – No ruler, whether just or unjust, can eliminate jihad. If an unjust ruler performs jihad, the Muslims should take part in jihad with him.
1893 – This shows that the Muslims should strive in the path of Allah even in the company of tyrant rulers.
1894 – If an impious ruler leads the Muslims in prayer, they are allowed to offer prayer behind him, in order to maintain the integrity of the community and to avoid chaos.
ON A MAN WHO SELLS OUT HIS SOUL (FOR THE PLEASURE OF ALLAH)
(2530) ‘Abd Allah b. Mas’ud reported the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) as saying : Our Lord Most High is pleased with a man who fights in the path of Allah, the Exalted; then his companions fled away (i.e. retreated). But he knew that it was a sin (to flee away from the battlefield), so he returned, and his blood was shed. Thereupon Allah, the Exalted, says to His angels : Look at My servant; he returned seeking what I have for him (i.e., the reward), and fearing (the punishment) I have, until his blood was shed.
1899 – To flee away from the battlefield is a grave sin. One is not allowed to run away from the front until one dies. Allah is pleased very much with a man who comes back to the battlefield and fights with the enemy until he is killed.
ON A PERSON WHO ASKS ALLAH FOR MARTYRDOM
(2535) Mu’adh b. Jabal said that he heard the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) say : If anyone fights in Allah’s path as long as the time between two milkings of a she-camel, Paradise will be assured for him. If anyone sincerely asks Allah for being killed and then dies or is killed, there will be a reward of a martyr for him. Ibn al-Musaffa added from here : If anyone is wounded in Allah’s path, or suffers a misfortune, it will come on the Day of Resurrection as copious as possible, its color saffron, and its odour musk; and if anyone suffers from ulcers while in Allah’s path, he will have on him the stamp of the martyrs.
ON WHICH BASIS POLYTHEISTS SHOULD BE FOUGHT
(2634) Abu Hurairah reported the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) as saying : I am commanded to fight with men till they testify that there is no God but Allah; when they do that, they will keep their life and their property safe from me, except what is due to them (i.e., life and property); and their reckoning will be at Allah’s hands.
1982 – The Muslims are allowed to fight with the unbelievers until they utter the credo of Islam. If an unbeliever pronounces the credo of Islam, and declares himself a Muslim, he should not be killed in jihad, except due to the rights of Allah or of the people. For instance, if a man turns apostate, he will be killed: or he murders another man, he will then be murdered in retaliation.
SETTLEMENT IN ENEMY TERRITORY
(2781) Samurah b. Jundub said : To proceed, the Apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Anyone who associates with a polytheist and lives with him is like him.
2164 – This tradition indicates that Muslims should not have company with the polytheists. It is advisable to avoid making friends with them. Further, it also implies that Muslims should migrate to Muslim territory if possible.
Sunan Abu Dawud, like all other Hadiths and the Quran itself to a degree, contain rules of war such as formations of ranks, tactics, ransoming captives and most of all, the division of spoils and business transactions such as dealing in slaves and war captives.