May Allāh reward you with good, O’ noble Shaykh, actually the questioner is a woman from the Netherlands; she says: Recently, the call has been made amongst the youth to go fight jihād in Syria. So from amongst those who have gone are young women that are fifteen, sixteen and seventeen years old. They leave discreetly without their parents’ knowledge. Then if those young girls are asked why are they going to Syria; they say it is to perform hijrah which is an obligation [upon them] and they claim that they have captured the region of Halab and are establishing the legislation of Allāh ﷻ there. So what is your advice to them regarding their claims.
Shaykh Muḥammad Bazmūl:
My advice to them regarding what they claim is that they should fear Allāh ﷻ and return to the people of knowledge in this matter because the people of knowledge have clarified that there is no jihād legislated by Islam in Syria. Surely, the Messenger of Allāh (may the peace and salutations of Allāh be upon him) has clarified that the jihād that has been legislated in Islam must fulfil several conditions:
The first condition: is that it is performed along with the Imām. The Prophet (may the peace and salutations of Allāh be upon him) said in the ḥadīth extracted by Muslim in his Ṣaḥīḥ: “The Imām is a shield behind whom people fight.” So those people who go off to Syria to fight do not do so with the permission of the Imām and thus disrupt the unity of the larger Muslim community. And this departure of theirs causes many problems that bring problems to Islam and the Muslims so the type of departure mentioned in the question is in opposition to this first description; from the descriptions or conditions for the jihād that is legislated in Islam.
The second condition: from the conditions of jihād which is legislated in Islam is that it occurs underneath a clear banner of making Lā ilāha illā Allāh uppermost. This is because he says in the authentic ḥadīth: “And whoever fights for a cause that is unclear; if he dies in this state, then his death is the death of the pre-Islamic period of ignorance.” And it is well-known that the “jihād” in Syria does not have a clear banner which involves making Lā ilāha illā Allāh uppermost. There are Christians there who fight, secularists who fight, nationalists who fight, people who claim Islam from the takfīrīs who fight just as there are also people with deviant and misguided ideas who fight. So all of those people; fighting under their banner is not considered fighting to make Lā ilāha illā Allāh uppermost; even if one of them says we are fighting to make Lā ilāha illā Allāh uppermost.
So the response to this is making Lā ilāha illā Allāh uppermost as it is described in the Islamic legislation must occur behind the Imām who is legislated in Islamic law. And you people do not have an Imām for whom it has been legislated that people may fight behind him. If it is said: We have a leader whom we appointed over the community so he is our Imām that has been legislated. Then to them it is said: You people are mistaken since it cannot be said concerning this leader you have appointed for yourselves that he is the legislated Imām under whom the greater community of Muslims rally around just because you have appointed him over yourselves.
Also from the jihād which is legislated and its description is is that proper preparations are made for jihād since Allāh ﷻ says:
۞ وَأَعِدُّوا لَهُم مَّا اسْتَطَعْتُم مِّن قُوَّةٍ وَمِن رِّبَاطِ الْخَيْلِ تُرْهِبُونَ بِهِ عَدُوَّ اللَّهِ وَعَدُوَّكُمْ
“And prepare whatever strength you are able to from steeds of war with which you might terrify the enemy of Allāh and your enemy.” (Q 8:60)
So where is the preparation legislated by Islam? And what preparation did these people make to fight in those places. They don’t know how to handle weapons properly, they don’t know military strategy, they do not know whatever is related to the affairs of jihād and invasions on land. All of this, they do not know. So where is the preparation that they will take with them to those places? There is no doubt that with their opposition of these descriptions, they have produced an action that was not legislated in Islamic law. And the Messenger said: “Whoever performs an action which is not in accordance with our affair will have it rejected.” So this action of theirs is rejected.
And it is of no benefit to them to say that our intention is to fight for the sake of Allāh and to make Lā ilāha illā Allāh uppermost because the righteous intention if it is not coupled with an action which is consistent with Islamic legislation will not benefit whoever does it. So surely the action will not be accepted until it is performed sincerely for Allāh and is likewise consistent with the legislation of Allāh which was brought by the Messenger of Allāh. And for that reason the Messenger said: “Whoever performs an action which is not in accordance with our affair will have it rejected.”
The fourth matter: The Messenger used to reject the participation of young people in the fighting alongside the men when they hadn’t yet reached puberty as he did with ʿAbdullāh ibn ʿUmar when he wanted to participate in the battle of ʿUhud. And he also turned away others from the young people of the companions when they desired to fight; and they were males. So what about these young girls from the women? There can be no doubt that the ruling as it relates to them is emphasised even more because it is not appropriate for them to go out to fight to begin with. Rather, there is no jihād upon the women rather their jihād is Ḥajj. Then as for what is mentioned in the question regarding their statement that they are going out to fight because this is from making hijrah, and hijrah is obligatory upon us. We say: Making hijrah from the land of disbelief to the land of belief takes a ruling that is somewhere between obligatory (wujūb) and encouraged (istiḥbāb). So it is obligatory upon the one able to do so and fears for his religion if he remains in the lands of disbelief upon his religion since he is unable to make his religion apparent. And it is encouraged if a person is able to make his religion apparent and does not fear exposing himself to fitnah by remaining in the lands of disbelief. So in this situation we say for you it is encouraged for you to migrate from the lands of disbelief to the lands of Islam.
In the first situation we say that it is obligatory upon you. And the scholars say that hijrah is to move from the land of disbelief to the land of Islam. So the does the current situation in Syria make it the land of Islam? What is clear and unmistakable is that the government there [in Syria] espouses the Nusayri ideology or the Jafarī ideology and thus subsequently promote schools of thought that the people of knowledge have declared are ideologies of disbelief which are at war with Islam and the Muslims. And perhaps you have heard about the many atrocities that have affected Islam and the Muslims in that land. So how is it that by going there to fight this is from the establishment of hijrah from the land of disbelief to the land of Islam? There can be no doubt that this is a strange concept that is truly baffling. And there is no power or might except with Allāh.
So what is obligatory upon those young girls and boys and other than them is that they don’t involve themselves in these matters and that they pay attention such that they do not allow themselves to waste their years in vain and such that they do not waste their lives in vain and thus fall into sinfulness and opposition to the legislation while they desire to do acts of obedience and to implement the legislation of Islam. For indeed, without a doubt, this is from the deception of Satan and the trickery of the people of misguidance. We ask Allāh to protect us and all of you from every evil and Allāh knows best.