The Mujahid and Those who Do Not Join Join are Not the Same
Ayah 95 takes up commands related to jihad. It begins with the criticism that those who do not participate in jihad cannot be equal to those who fight in the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala staking everything they have, even their lives.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala states,
لاَّ يَسْتَوِى الْقَـعِدُونَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ
“Not equal are those among the believers who sit (at home)…”
At-Tirmdhi recorded that ibn ‘Abbas said that this refers those who did not go to the battle of Badr and those who went to Badr.
Next, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala mentions an exception here,
غَيْرُ أُوْلِى الضَّرَرِ
“… except those who are disabled…”
Now disability can be of any form. It may indicate men who are physically handicapped with blindness, a limp or an illness that prevents them from joining jihad or it could mean old age. It can also be used as an exception for women as they cannot participate in jihad due to their domestic duties and responsibility of bringing up a family. Such people are not compared to the Mujahideen who strive in Allah’s cause.
Moving ahead, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then mentions the reward of those people who fight in the way of Allah with their wealth and as well as with their lives,
فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ الْمُجَـهِدِينَ بِأَمْوَلِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ عَلَى الْقَـعِدِينَ دَرَجَةً
“And Allah has preferred in rank those who strive with their wealth and their lives to those who sit (at home).”
Allah’s generosity is such that not only has He raised the ranks of those who fight in His way over those who do not, in this ayah He is assuring “everyone” that He has promised good returns for both groups. Subhan’Allah! Stating this He says,
وَكُـلاًّ وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الْحُسْنَى وَفَضَّلَ اللَّهُ الْمُجَـهِدِينَ عَلَى الْقَـعِدِينَ أَجْراً عَظِيماً
“And to all Allah has promised the best. And Allah has preferred those who strive over those who sit (at home) with a great reward.”
Both shall be blessed with Paradise and tremendous rewards as well as Allah’s forgiveness – the only difference between them will be that of ranking.
This ayah indicates that jihad is not fard on each and every individual, but it is fard kifayah which is a collective duty.
Secondly, this ayah also tells us that the person who strives extra in the way of Deen comes closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
For example, there are five compulsory prayers in a day, but if someone performs Sunnah as well as nawafil [the voluntary prayers], he is doing extra. Similarly, while fasting the entire month of Ramadan is obligatory, if some person fasts on Mondays and Thursdays or 13th, 14th and 15th, of each Islamic month keeping the Sunnah alive, then he is doing something extra. Since he is doing extra he is sacrificing, this sacrificing is, in sha Allah, going to raise his ranks in the sight of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.
Giving zakah is fard, while sadaqah is optional. A person has a right to keep all his wealth to himself after paying off the fard zakah, but he is doing extra to get in Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala’s good books. He is giving out voluntary charity.
Similarly, to some people basic knowledge is sufficient whereas to others (the Jannah chasers) it’s not sufficient. They cut down their leisure time and set aside an hour or a few minutes to obtain authentic Islamic knowledge to perfect their own ibadaah and to help others come closer to Deen. This too is a jihad. You are fighting your nafs.
We all have a choice whether we want to do extra or are we satisfied with the bare minimum that we perform. We can sit at home without any disability and not do anything at all or we can make the most of our time and strive in the way of Deen.
Some would ask, why should we bother when basics are enough? Well, the rewards for doing extra are a lot. The more sacrifices we make the higher our ranks will be in the akhirah, in sha Allah.