Allah Commands His Messenger to Perform Jihad
The ayah begins with the command to the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam to fight in jihad and not to be concerned about those who do not join him.
فَقَاتِلْ فِى سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ
“So fight in the way of Allah.”
Following immediately, it was also said that he should not shelve or surrender the mission of inducing other Muslims to join in the Jihad. However, if they remain unresponsive even after the effort of persuasion, the mission of the Prophet has been accomplished who, from that point onwards, will not be responsible for what they do.
لاَ تُكَلَّفُ إِلاَّ نَفْسَكَ
“…. you are not responsible except for yourself….”
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said,
“….and encourage the believers…”
to fight, by encouraging them and strengthening their resolve in this regard. For instance, the Prophet said to the believers at the battle of Badr, while organizing their lines, “Stand up and march forth to a Paradise, as wide as the heavens and earth.”
There are many ahadeeth that encourage jihad. Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said, “Whoever believes in Allah and His Messenger, offers prayer, pays the Zakah and fasts the month of Ramadan, will rightfully be granted Paradise by Allah, no matter whether he migrates in Allah’s cause or remains in the land where he is born.” The people said, `O Allah’s Messenger! Shall we acquaint the people with this good news?’ He said, “Paradise has one hundred grades which Allah has reserved for the Mujahideen who fight in His cause, the distance between each two grades is like the distance between the heaven and the earth. So, when you ask Allah, ask for Al-Firdaus, which is the best and highest part of Paradise, above it is the Throne of the Most Beneficent (Allah) and from it originate the rivers of Paradise.” There are various narrations for this hadeeth from Ubadah, Mu`adh, and Abu Ad-Darda.
Abu Saeed Al-Khudri narrated that the Messenger of Allah said, “O Abu Saeed! Whoever accepts Allah as his Lord, Islam as his religion and Muhammad as the Prophet, then he would rightfully acquire Paradise.” Abu Saeed liked these words and said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Repeat them for me.” The Prophet repeated his words, then said, “And (there is) another deed for which Allah raises the servant a hundred grades in Paradise, between each two grades is the distance between heaven and earth.” Abu Sa`id said, “What is it, O Allah’s Messenger?” He said, “Jihad in Allah’s cause.” This hadeeth was collected by Muslim.
In addition to this, the possible danger in having to fight alone has been removed by saying,
عَسَى اللَّهُ أَن يَكُفَّ بَأْسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ
“…perhaps Allah will restrain the might of those who disbelieve …..”
May be He puts awe in their hearts and they stand subdued and he succeeds all alone. How could such success become possible? The proof follows immediately when it is declared that he is being helped and supported by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala whose strength and might at war far exceeds those of such disbelievers, therefore, it is certain that success has got to be his. After that, coupled with this statement about the Divine strength in war, the text relates how Allah is the mightiest in punishing. This punishment may be on the Day of Judgment as obvious, or may come right here in this mortal world as stated by some commentators, whichever the case,
وَاللَّهُ أَشَدُّ بَأْساً وَأَشَدُّ تَنكِيلاً
“…And Allah is Greater in Might and Stronger in punishment .”