Defending other People
Should another person not be capable of
warding off danger to themselves or their property, or even
being capable, yet not aware of the danger, it is obligatory on
the mukallaf to come to their rescue. This should be the case,
even if, in the process, one could lose their life or sustain
any other injury.
If the other person/persons are capable of
defending themselves, yet they chose to ignore their
responsibility instead, it is not obligatory to come to their
rescue, as individuals. That said, it is permissible, but not
obligatory, to protect them against aggression, in the event of
real danger which may lead to death or less than that, such a
blindness, paralysis, and insanity.
Generally speaking, all the rules governing
self-defence are applicable to defending the others; one should,
however, take note of the following:
i. All that which is applicable to the person
is applicable to their mahaarim, i.e. father, offspring, wife,
brothers and sisters and their offspring, and paternal/maternal
uncles and aunts.
Aggression is one whether it results in a
personal injury or a breach of one's honor and integrity, such
as rape, or what is less than it.
ii. It is also obligatory to defend all other
categories of people, other than those mahaarim mentioned in the
preceding point, including the individual's relatives and
Muslims at large.
However, in getting involved in such
activity, the person should ensure that no serious harm would
befall them of the type which is greater than that of the danger
they aspire to repel, especially where there is a possibility
that they might lose their life or sustain a less serious
In case the potential injury falls short of
death, or that of its league, it is permissible rather than
obligatory to engage in the defence. Should it entail death or
the like, it is not permissible, let alone not becoming
Protecting One's Property
It is permissible to protect one's property
from theft or damage, even if it leads to killing the aggressor
of the defender; it is permissible, though, not to engage in
such activity and let the aggressor off the hook.
The rules governing the indemnity, or lack of
it, of any loss sustained by the aggressor, discussed previously
are applicable here. Likewise, one should not lose sight of
exhausting all means, i.e. from the less harmful to the most
injurious, in repelling aggression.
Just as the person is allowed to defend
themselves and property, so are they allowed to defend their
family and property. As for engaging protecting the property of
other people, they are permitted to do so, should they be
certain that they are not going to put themselves in harm's way.
According to the prevailing international
codes of conduct, every Muslim state is considered a homeland to
those living in it. This also applies to lands where Muslims
from the majority. Thus, any aggression directed against such
lands, be it through occupation or any other form, must be
regarded as aggression against the population.
Should Muslim lands be invaded by a foreign
power among the infidels, it is the duty of their own
population, by way of wajibun kifa'ie, to use (all means at
their disposal) to liberate their land and push back the
aggressor. If they fail, it becomes obligatory on those closest,
then the closer to them and so on, to come to their rescue.
However, two points have to be borne in mind,
i.e. such obligation is of the wajibun kifa'ie type and the help
should be commensurate with one's ability and means.
If the invader and aggressor is the ruler of
another Muslim country, this falls within the definition of
injustice (baghy) where reconciliation between the two parties
should be sought.
Should one party do injustice to the other,
they should be fought under a different definition, i.e. not
defence, because what we are discussing now is the mechanics of
reversing the aggression that has befallen a Muslim country,
within the framework of the term of "homeland" of a group of
Muslims taking it for their residence. And since the aggression
constituted a threat to their own being and living in stability
and peace, defending them is sanctioned.
182. Defence is not exclusive preserve of men
and youth, rather it covers all people according to their
ability and the level of defence; men and women, old and young,
the healthy and the sick are all included. However, if
sufficient numbers of defenders take it upon themselves to do
the job, the rest are absolved of the responsibility.
183. The obligation could be of the wajibun
aini type, i.e. for those with specialized expertise who are
vital for the effort. Such must take the initiative in
volunteering their services; it is not permissible for them to
be apathetic or dodge their responsibility. Indeed, it becomes
obligatory on those of them who live outside their homeland to
return to do what is required of them.
184. In case it is not feasible to obey the
just jurist-ruler (alwaliyyul faqih), and it is felt that it is
necessary to immediately start the defence operation, probity of
the person, among Muslims, leading the operation should not
become an issue, especially, where his expertise is an
established fact.. Indeed, it may become obligatory to obey the
commands of the person, who has a proven track record and whose
fidelity has been tested, even if they were non-Muslim. This
should be the case, if there were no other commanders available
However, should it be feasible to obey the
commands of the just jurist-ruler, sanctioned defence is within
his prerogative. It should, therefore, follow that no one else
should engage in any defence outside his jurisdiction and what
he sees fit.
185. It is obligatory on the population of
the occupied land to provide every possible support and
protection to the fighters who are carrying out the duty of
defending the land, whatever it takes to bring the struggle to a
successful end, be it material or moral support, taking care of
the families of the martyrs… etc.
186. It is permissible for the offspring not
to obtain their parents' permission to embark on the job of
defending the land, should the obligation be of the wajibun
kifa'i type. Indeed, it is absolutely within the offspring right
to do so, even if their parents prevented them.
187. The Zionist entity occupying Palestinian
lands and territories in south Lebanon and Syria is an aggressor
and a usurping one. It is, therefore, obligatory to wage war
against it till the liberation of all the occupied lands. Also,
it is not permissible to have a trade, make peace with that
entity, or condone its occupation of Muslim lands. Furthermore,
it is not permissible to have any sort of dealing with the
188. Should the nature of the confrontation
with the enemy necessitate that the Mujahideen engage in
operations where they might get martyred, it is wholly
justifiable. Indeed, it might become obligatory, if victory
depended, in a greater measure, on such operations. It shall,
therefore, not be treated as though one risks danger (tahlukah),
(i.e. for no good reason).
This is so as the evidence in favor of jihad
is absolute (mutalq). To start with, jihad is predicated on
sacrificing oneself. Even if, for the sake of the argument, it
means risking danger, making the embarkation on such an
enterprise harram where there is no more important Islamic
interest that can be served, i.e. its being objectionable (haraam),
can no longer be sustained. This is particularly true, where a
more important interest is served.
189. In this day and age sovereign countries
may not be subjugated by a land invasion. Subjugation could take
the form of imposing a repressive, or a client, regime; it may
be subjected to economic aggression, such as unfavorable trade
agreements, and so forth. In such a case, the obligation, of the
wajibun kifa'ie type, is to fight off these scheming with the
appropriate means, as the leadership of the just jurist sees
This principle is based on the Quranic ayahs,
"..whoever then acts aggressively against
you, inflict injury on them equivalent to the injury they have
inflicted on you,," (2/194). ".. the punishment of an evil is
the like of it..". (10/27).
These two verses state clearly the extent of
using retaliatory measures in repelling aggression, i.e. like
However, the topic we have so far been
dealing with is that of defending oneself, honor, and property,
which may entail sacrificing oneself, or sustaining any other
injury, in the process. This may seem contradictory.
In truth, defense is the action taken to nip
aggression in the bud. Just as the shari'a has ruled that one
should not give in to the aggressor, so has it ruled that one
should be prevented from initiating aggression and; it has made
standing up to aggression obligatory, hence the rules regulation
As for "reprisal", it deals with the issues
resulting from the aggression after it has taken place,
regardless of whether or not any steps to avert it were taken.
It deals with the retaliatory options open to the victim to
eliminate the consequences of aggression, should they have the
means of embarking on them.
Perhaps, this matter is more appropriately
discussed under "retribution" (qasaas) rather than defense;
therefore, it is discussed in detail in the place where it
belongs. However, we will confine the discussion here to those
aspects which are related to the subject we are addressing:
190. Retaliation should be taken up in line
with the original aggression, should it be quantified. For
example, one could trade insults, blows, wounds, fractures… etc.
If the crime is of that which cannot be
quantified, such as concussion and rupture, the principle of
reciprocity should not be applied. Instead, compensation could
be accepted. However, in all cases, forgiving is more of a pious
thing to do and is and example of standing on a higher moral
191. Certain insults could amount to
defamation (qazf), which should entail punishment. Such cannot
be traded, because slander is absolutely haraam, even by way of
retaliation. Furthermore, it may entail involving one's family
who should be spared the slinging matches of insults.
Apart from that, other types of insults can
be returned to the aggressor, provided they do not lead to
committing that which is haraam, such as the use of obscene
language (fuhsh). The one at the receiving end could, though,
return the insult using rude language, that is neither haramm
nor actually descriptive of the aggressor, i.e. false
However, it goes without saying that
elevating oneself above any mud slinging is much better for
restoring one's dignity, and is indicative of good manners.
192. In waging a war of aggression, the enemy
may resort to using internationally banned weapons, attacking
civilian targets, and so forth. It is permissible to retaliate
in kind. Indeed, it is permissible for the Mujahideen to engage,
at the start, in such warfare, if in so doing they can nip the
aggression in the bud, to avert a greater potential damage.
However, identifying its purpose and means is a very important
and highly sensitive job, which should be left to the Marji' and
his aides among the experts.