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battlefield often remains ignored due to the major religious ignorance of this obligation and of how to properly apply it. Alhamdulillah, the obligatory categories of Jihaad have been clarified and expounded in the Koraan as well as in uncountable prophetic narrations. In the following hadeeth, the obligation of the often neglected Jihaad of the Tongue is clearly mentioned; Anas Ibn Malik narrated that the Prophet said: “Strive against the polytheists with your hands, tongues and wealth.”2


n the West, the importance of countering the anti-Muslim propaganda orchestrated by journalists, politicians and orientalists has been underestimated for far too long. The silence of the Muslim community in face of this fanatical campaign has only emboldened the islamophobes in their media crusade and made them even more daring. Rebuking the slander, defamation, and ambiguities of Islam’s enemies is a struggle that Muslim scholars have been waging for over 14 centuries. This long tradition of Jihaad with the tongue commenced back in the early stages of the Prophet’s exemplary struggle for the cause of Islaam. In his book ‘Zaad al-Ma'aad’, Ibn Qayyim explains:

During his time, Shaikh Abdul Azeez ibn Baaz was well aware of the wide extent and sphere of this weighty battle. To him, Jihaad by the tongue also needs to be waged within the Media in all of its forms. In doing so, Muslims can make a serious attempt in combating the The silence of the Muslims towards the anti-Islamic slander Ideological War that the campaign has only increased the audacity of the West has been waging islamophobes in their media crusade for centuries to corrupt Muslim minds and morals. The previous Mufti said in his explanation of the term “tongues” in this hadeeth: “This clarifies the importance of “The Prophet mastered all forms of Jihaad the role that the media should play in the affairs striving for Allah in the manner that Allah of the Muslims."3 deserves. One day, he would strive with his heart and soul propagating and clarifying Islaam. Shaikh Abul Hassan As-Sindee in the 18th Another day, he would use his sword and shield century explained the word “tongues” in this in this struggle. His whole life was devoted to same hadeeth: “This is done by establishing striving with his heart, tongue and hand. Due to clear proofs and using vilifying poetry as well as this he reached the highest grade of eminence prohibiting and censoring (evil).”4 that mankind can attain and the highest rank of pleasure with Allah.”1 Undoubtedly, the Jihaad of words is first and In Western countries, this struggle by the tongue has, until this very day, never really been a focus of concern nor seriously addressed. Even within Muslim Media itself, the written and verbal

foremost based on the conveying of religious knowledge and its evidence. This conveying was

Ibn Qayyim “Zaad al-Ma’aad” Vol.3, p.5

Reported by Imaam An-Nassaaee, Book of Jihaad, Chapter ‘The obligation of Jihaad’, authenticated by Imaam AlAlbaanee. 3 “Collection of Fataawa of Ibn Baaz”, Vol.14, p. 209 4 As-Sindee “Explanation of Sunnan An-Nasaaee”


an essential component in the struggle that the Prophet waged against the Arab pagans. In his explanation of the verse “do not obey the Disbelievers and seriously struggle against them using it (the Koraan)”5, Ibn Qayyim states: “This is a Meccan Surah in which the Prophet was ordered to strive against the Disbelievers with clear proof and clarification proclaiming the revelation of the Koraan.” 6 After sufficiently learning your Deen and before gathering your proofs and unsheathing your pen to denounce islamophobic militants, it is important to understand some important dimensions of this verbal Jihaad as explained by the scholars… ISLAM’S POETS
Jihaad by the tongue is religious proofs.

Amongst Arab tribes, “al-hijaa” was equivalent, though on a smaller scale, to contemporary media through which the enemy is stigmatized or belittled. The Arab polytheists used “al-hijaa” to ridicule the divine revelation and to disparage the Prophet Muhammad . In return, the Companions retorted with blood shedding verses in a devastating Jihaad of poetry. Based on this historical context, the scholars have determined that the prohibition of mocking and slandering nonMuslims is only applicable when the disbelievers hold their tongues and do not slander Islaam or the Muslims. Islaam also forbids poetry if it preoccupies the believer and leads him to neglecting his religious and studies, based on knowledge and duties supplication and the reading of the Koraan. However for obvious reasons, “al-hijaa” is an exception to this general prohibition. In the explanation of the verse “and We have not taught him (The Prophet) poetry and it is not befitting for him…”10, Ibn Kathîr states : “…while bearing in mind that some poetry is allowable like the poetry that contains the vilification of Polytheists. This is the type of poetry that the Poets of Islaam used to recite such as Hassaan ibn Thaabit, Ka’ab ibn Maalik, Abdullah Abu Rawaahaa and others like them…” Indeed, the three Companions Hassaan Ibn Thaabit, Ka'ab Ibn Maalik and Abdullah Abu Rawaaha are considered to be Islam’s principal and foremost poets. They spontaneously wrote down rhymed verses to ridicule the polytheists in an aggressive manner, hence defending the Prophet's honor in a poetic Jihaad that would rage throughout the whole of the Arabic peninsula…

The Religion of Islaam orders the believers to adopt exemplary behavior, which includes politeness to others and addressing them in the best of manners. “And Say to My slaves (i.e. the true believers of Islaamic Monotheism) that they should (only) Say those Words that are the best.”7 Likewise, insulting polytheists has been prohibited out of the fear that they will insult Allah . “And insult not those whom they (disbelievers) Worship besides Allaah, lest they insult Allaah wrongfully without knowledge”8 However, in certain cases exceptions are made allowing harshness when responding to nonMuslims. In the time of the Messenger this was done by means of “al-hijaa”, a form of satirical poetry widely-known amongst the Arabs and practiced until this very day in the Muslim world9.
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Al-Furqaan 52 Ibn Qayyim “Zaad al-Ma’aad” Vol.3, p.5 7 Al-Israa 53 8 Al-An'aam 108 9 This is an example of “al-hijaa” performed by members of a Yemeni tribe in response to the Hoothis, who are part of the

disbelieving sect of the Raafidah : 10 Yaa Sîn 69


‘MORE VEXING THAN THE ARROWS OF A BOW’ During the period of revelation, the person who was known most for his slander of the Prophet by the means of “al-hijaa” was the Jewish Arab Ka'ab ibn Al-Ashraf. He owned two slave girls and used to order them to mock the Prophet in public. Of course, the Companions weren’t people to be trifled with and some of them showed their poetic talents by scribbling down some lyrics to humiliate the polytheists of the Quraish. The incorporation of Islaamic “al-hijaa” into the Muslim Community provided the Faithful Muslims a new fearful weapon that vexed and harmed the Pagan Arabs more than an armed assault could ever do. In his explanation of the verse “strive hard with Your wealth and Your lives In the Cause of Allaah”11, Ibn Taymiyya exquisitely describes how the Prophet ordered the best of the poets to attack the disbelievers with “alhijaa”:

than arrows.” Many polytheists used to refrain from harming the believers out of fear of the ridicule of Hassaan” Indeed, when the enemies of Islaam know and are certain that they will be ridiculed or humiliated if they slander the honor of Muslims, it will cause them to be more reluctant and think twice before venturing on such a perilous avenue. Shaikh al-Islaam continues by explaining to what degree “al-hijaa” could affect the Prophet's detractors: “On one such occasion Ka’ab ibn Al-Ashraf visited Mecca and every time he was put up as a guest in a particular house Hassaan would ridicule Ka’ab with some poetry forcing his hosts to expel him (out of social pressure). This continued to happen until Ka’ab could not find anyone in Mecca to put him up as a guest!”

These words of Shaikh al-Islaam do not only show the importance of defending the Prophet's honor , but they also "Al-hijâ" was a fearsome weapon that hurt the Arab indicate that Jihaad with “Jihaad with your disbelievers more than the arrows of a bow. Jihad by words, whether it be by person includes Jihaad poetry can sometimes prove to be more effective than the tongue or the pen, armed Jihad. can not only bring about with your tongue just as the humiliation of those who disparage the it includes Jihaad with your hands. Indeed Islaamic faith but also make them social outcasts Jihaad with the tongue can be more effective and even lead to their marginalization, than Jihaad with the hands. The Prophet said, boycotting and government banning. as reported by Imaam An-Nasaaee: ‘Strive against the polytheists with your hands, tongues Moreover, this kind of rebuttal is considered an and wealth.’ act of worship as As-Sindee asserts in his The Prophet used to say to Hassaan ibn explanation of the Prophet’s statement “with Thaabit : ‘Attack and ridicule them.’ A the Ruh-al-Qudus”: minbar used to be set up for him in the masjid to recite his poetry in defense of the Prophet and “This is Jibreel and this is an indicator that to ridicule the disbelievers. The Prophet disparaging the disbelievers is the most virtuous invoked in his favor saying “Oh Allah, fortify of deeds and it is only to be done in response as him with the Ruh-al-Qudus”. He also told was the case here (to the disparaging of the Hassaan: “Jibraeel is with you as long as you’re disbelievers) otherwise it is prohibited due to the defending the Prophet ” He also said “It (i.e. statement of Allah “and do not vilify those that the poetry of Hassaan) is more vexing to them

Al-Tawba 41


invoke other than Allah thus causing their vilification of Allah out of ignorant enmity”12 Again, it needs to be reiterated that this is done only as a reply and is not the general norm. Imaam Al-Haafidh ibn Hajr said in explanation of the Prophet’s ordering of Hassaan to vilify the polytheists: “In this hadeeth lays a proof for the permissibility of vilifying the polytheists in response to their vilifying of the Muslims. This does not contradict the general prohibition of vilifying the polytheists so as to avoid their vilifying of the Believers which is in the context of instigation but rather it is in the context of responding to the disbelievers in aid of the Believers.”13 ONE OF THE BEST JIHAADS IN OUR TIME

‘Hassaan vilified them. He has healed and was healed’.” Imaam An-Nawaawee said in explanation of this statement: “Meaning he healed the believers and he was healed himself by the way in which he reached and shattered the very honor of the disbelievers (with his vilifying poetry against them) and by his defense of Islaam and the Muslims.”15 Indeed, when the enemies of Islam are put in check in response to their disparagements towards Islam and the Muslims, it provides relief within the Muslim community. The believers are comforted when they see that injustice has been fought and that the honor of their women defended. It is the same relieve, comfort and healing that the Companions felt when hearing Hassaan’s poetry.

Certain types of Jihaad shed blood and others The struggle led by the ink. Numerous prophetic poets of Islaam and its hadeeths clearly show common healing effect that Jihaad is much wider clearly indicates that than just facing the Jihaad, whether it is enemy with your sword waged by the pen or the and is indeed much wider sword, unites the hearts of and multi-faceted than is the believers and afflicted the strengthens their ranks. commonly believed. In The poetry of Hassaan Ibn Thaabit polytheists causing some of them to be treated reference to the Arab There is an important like social outcasts previously mentioned lesson to be taken from verses from Sura Yaa-Sin, the Prophet said: the life of the Salaf beautifully summarized by “The believer fights with his sword and his Ibn Taymiyya in his momentous statement: tongue.” Then, while addressing himself to one “Whenever this Ummah strives against their of the poets, he said: “I swear by the One who enemy Allah unites their hearts. And whenever holds my soul, the words that you hammer them they abandon this struggle He preoccupies them 14 with are like a rain of arrows to them” with each other.” 16 However, it was the mighty poetry of Hassaan Ibn Thaabit that proved to be the most influential and provided the decisive edge for the Muslims in their battle against the Arab polytheists. Imaam Muslim reported in the Book ‘Virtues of the Companion’ in the Chapter ‘Virtues of Hassaan ibn Thaabit’ that Aisha said “I heard the Messenger of Allah say:
12 13

This is a lesson from the past that many Muslims in our present time seem to have forgotten. In a hostile world where information circulates reaching one end of the world to the other in a matter of seconds, it is incumbent upon us to defend the Prophet's honor and the honor of Islaam and the Faithful Muslims. It must be understood that this defense is not restricted to satirical poetry. Imaam As-Sana’anee said in

“Explanation of Saheeh Al-Bukharee”, Vol.4, p.141 “Fath-al-Baaree”, Vol.10, p. 547 14 Al-Bayhaqi “Sunan Bayhaqi al Kubra” and authenticated by al-Albaanee in "Silsila al-Saheeha" no.21639

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Hadeeth # 2490 Shaikh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyya “Jaami’ al-Masaa’il” p.300


explanation hadeeth:





“Jihaad is also waged with the tongue by establishing clear proofs upon the enemies and calling them to Allah and by rebuking them and by raising voices when engaging and by any verbal means that annoys and vexes them.”17 Never before have the doors of Jihaad by the tongue been more open than now. In one of his many responses to the Arab liberals, the Muhaddith of Madeenah Shaikh 'Abd al-Muhsin al-'Abbaad states:

More than ever before, the Muslim community finds itself under the slanderous attacks of islamophobes, racists, liberals and hypocrites. Fighting these morally bankrupt fanatics, their erroneous assumptions and plots against Islaam is one the greatest Jihaad's of our time as Shaikh al-‘Abbaad reminds us: "Striving against the Hypocrites by clarifying their immorality and corruption and striving in censoring them is one of the greatest Jihaad’s (in the Path of Allah) of this time."20

Indeed, this is one of the most virtuous forms of “Striving against the sick Jihaad that has been hearts of desires and made easy in our time. doubtful affairs by the pen Nonetheless, it seems and tongue is the Jihaad in that this battle is often the Path of Allah that is forgotten and neglected easily obtainable in this in the West. Here, the era.”18 Muslims are still eagerly anticipating that healing With a wide range of relief that is so communication means and desperately needed from tools available at the tip of the unrelenting campaign our fingers, it has never waged against them day by the tongue has been made easy and been easier to reach the Jihad and night. A healing and constitutes one of the best forms of Jihad of our time. enemy and verbally However, it is often neglected in the West. soothing defense of neutralize him. These Islaam that will restore rebuttals might even force islamophobes to the pride and dignity of Faithful Muslims renounce the disparagement of Muslims and allowing them to raise their lowered heads as their Religion. Nevertheless, this convenience they did in the time of Hassaan Ibn Thaabit .21 doesn’t mean that everyone is appropriate and qualified to embrace and enter this struggle. Ibn Shaakir McGill and Qayyim, amongst many others, has declared that Jihaad by the tongue is often more arduous than Kareem El Hidjaazi standard armed Jihaad : “Jihaad of the Hypocrites is more difficult than Jihaad of the disbelievers. This is the Jihaad of a select few who are the inheritors of the Prophets (the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them). Its combatants are individuals sharing this task and cooperating upon it and though they may be few in numbers their status with Allah is immense…”19

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“Subul al-Salaam”, Vol.4, p.87 Shaikh 'Abd al-Muhsin al-'Abbaad "Laa Yaleeq Ittighaadh Ism 'Khadeeja Bint Khuwaylid' 'Unwaanan Li Infilaat alNisaa" 19 Ibn Qayyim “Zaad al-Ma’aad” Vol.3, p.5


Shaikh 'Abd al-Muhsin al-‘Abbaad “Raafidiy Jadeed Yachtim al-Siddeeq wa al-Faarooq Yasub wa al-Dawla alSaoodiyya” 21 To read the translation of this article in French, please click here.