Selections from Ibn al-Mubarak’s ‘Kitab al-Jihad’

These are selected narrations from the first book to ever be written/compiled about the topic of Jihad. It was authored by the noble imam, ‘Abdullah bin al-Mubarak around 170 years after the Hijrah.

He was of the most well-known and knowledgeable of the Tabi’in. Above that, he was of the scholars who acted upon their words, as he spent most of his life on the frontlines guarding the Muslim lands against the Romans. He would alternate between making Hajj one year and battling the enemy the next. Just to get an idea of his character, check out the following narration from ‘Abduh bin Sulayman:

“We were on an expedition with Ibn al-Mubarak in the lands of the Romans, so the enemy approached us. When the two armies met, a man from the enemy came out and called for a duel, so a man from the Muslims came out and killed him. Then, a man from the enemy came out and killed him and called for another duel. So, a man from the Muslims came out with his face covered with his shirt and duelled with him for an hour or so, finally striking him and killing him. The people came to see who he was, so I went up and pulled the cloth from his face and saw that he was ‘Abdullah bin al-Mubarak.”

[‘Tarikh Baghdad’; 1/167]

So – by the Permission of Allah – here are some selected authentic narrations from this book that he compiled, ‘Kitab al-Jihad’ – the first of its kind ever authored about the topic.

2 – Abu Salih al-Madani narrated:

“A group of the Companions said: “If only we knew which actions were the best and most beloved to Allah.” So, the verse was revealed: {“O You who believe! Shall I guide you to a commerce that will save you from a painful torment? That you believe in Allah and His Messenger, and that you strive hard and fight in the Path of Allah with your wealth and your lives. That will be better for you, if only you knew!”} [as-Saff; 10-11]

So, they became averse to this. Then, the following verse was revealed: {“O you who believe! Why do you say that which you do not do? Most hateful it is with Allah that you say that which you do not do. Verily, Allah loves those who fight in His Path in rows as if they were a solid structure.”} [as-Saff; 2-4]

6 – Abu ad-Darda’ said: “Being killed in the Path of Allah washes your filth from you. Being killed in such a way does two things: expiates your sins and raises your rank.”

7 – ‘Utbah bin ‘Abd as-Sulami narrated that the Prophet said:

“Those who are killed in the Path of Allah are of three types: a believer who who strives with his life and his wealth in the Path of Allah until he meets the enemy and fought them until he was killed, and this is the martyr who is pure, and he is in an encampment of Allah underneath His Throne, and the Prophets are not better than him except on account of their Prophethood. The second is a man who had fallen into sins and mistakes who fought with his life and his wealth in the Path of Allah until he met the enemy and fought them till he was killed. This is a martyr who has become purified, as his sins and mistakes were wiped away, and the sword wipes away one’s sins. He will be entered into any of the gates of Paradise that he pleases, and Paradise has eight gates, while Hell has seven gates, all of them placed one on top of the other. The last is a hypocrite who fought with his life and his wealth in the Path of Allah until he met the enemy and fought them till he was killed. He will be in Hell, as the sword does not wipe away hypocrisy.”

14 – al-Hasan al-Basri narrated:

“The Prophet sent out an army including ‘Abdullah bin Rawahah, so they went forth and attacked in the morning. ‘Abdullah, however, stayed to perform his prayers with the Messenger of Allah. When the prayer was over, the Messenger of Allah said to him: “O Ibn Rawahah! Are you not part of this army?” He replied: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah, but I loved that I stay and pray with you, but I know the position of this army, and I will go catch up to them now.” So, the Prophet said: “By the One in Whose Hand my soul is, if you spent all the wealth on the Earth, you would not be able to attain the virtue of their expedition.”

21 – ‘Abdullah bin ‘Ubayd bin ‘Umayr al-Laythi (a trustworthy Tabi’i) said:

“When the two armies meet, Allah sends down the Hur al-‘Ayn to our sky, so if they see a man advancing towards the enemy, they say: “O Allah! Keep him firm!” and if they see him retreat, they cover their faces from him out of shyness, and if he is killed, they descend to him and wipe the dust from his face, saying: “O Allah, pour dirt upon the one who put dirt on him, and pour dust upon the one who put dust on him.””

48 – Yahya bin Abi Kathir narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:

“The best martyrs with Allah are those who are at the foremost part of the ranks, but do not turn their faces from the enemy until they are killed. These will rejoice in the highest rooms in Paradise, and their Lord will Laugh to them. Verily, your Lord – if He Laughs to a people – then there is no accounting of deeds for them.”

51 – ‘Abdullah bin ‘Ubayd bin ‘Umayr narrated:

“It was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, which Jihad is the best?” So, the Prophet said: “The one in which one’s horse becomes injured and his blood is spilt.”

54 – Thabit al-Binani narrated:

“(On the day of Yarmuk), ‘Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl dismounted his horse so that he could fight the Romans, so Khalid bin al-Walid said to him: “Do not continue, for your feats on the battlefield are too difficult for the Muslims to keep up with!” So, ‘Ikrimah said to him: “Leave me, Khalid! You had a past with the Messenger of Allah, and my father and I were of the severest people against the Messenger of Allah!” So, he went forth and fought until he was killed.”

56 – Ibn Abi Mulaykah narrated:

“‘Ikrimah bin Abi Jahl used to press the Mushaf to his face and cry, saying: “The Book of my Lord! The Words of my Lord!””

59 – Ibn Jurayj narrated:

“Mujahid (the noble Tabi’i) recited the verse: {“Do not think of those who are killed in the Path of Allah as being dead. Rather, they are alive with their Lord, and they are provided for.”} [Al ‘Imran; 169] and said: “They are served from the fruits of Paradise and they smell its scent, even though they are not yet in it.””

71 – ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan said to his people:

“It has become clear – by Allah – that I have kept you busy from Jihad, and it is an obligation upon me and you. So, whoever would love to make it to Sham, then let him do so, and whoever would love to make it to Iraq, then let him do so, and whoever would love to make it to Egypt, then let him do so, for verily, a single day for a Mujahid in the Path of Allah is like a thousand days for the one who fasts continuously and the one praying continuously.”

81 – Yunus bin az-Zuhri narrated:

“‘Urwah bin az-Zubayr mentioned that ‘Amir bin Fuhayrah was killed on the day of the events of the Well of Ma’unah, and that when they came to look for his body to bury it, it was nowhere to be found, and they concluded that the Angels had buried his body.”

85 – Sa’id bin al-Musayyab narrated:

“On the day of Uhud, ‘Abdullah bin Jahsh said: “O Allah! I swear to you that we will meet the enemy, and if we do so, they will kill me, then, they will tear open my stomach, then, they will mutilate my body. Then, if I meet You, You will ask me: “For what purpose did this happen?” Then, I will say: “This was for Your Sake!”

So, he met the enemy and was killed, and they did to his body exactly what he said they would do to it.”

Sa’id bin al-Musayyib then said: “I hope that Allah makes the last part of his oath come true just as He did for the first part of it.”

102 – Sa’id bin al-Musayyab narrated:

“When it was the time of the khilafah of Abu Bakr, Bilal decided to prepare himself to go out and fight in Sham, so Abu Bakr said to him: “I never thought that you would leave us in such a manner, O Bilal! If only you stayed here and assisted us in our affairs here.” So, Bilal said to him: “If you had freed me from slavery for Allah, then leave me to go to Allah. If you freed me for your own self, then keep me here.” So, Abu Bakr allowed him to leave, so he went out to Sham and died there.”

113 – ‘Ali bin Rabah narrated:

“We faced the Romans on a day in which their ranks were swelled with Romans and Arab Christians including Yunaq al-Bitriq, so some of the people said: “We are indeed faced with a mighty group to fight, so if you are able to delay the fighting and move to Birin (near Homs, in Sham) or Qiddis (near al-Qadisiyyah, Iraq) and write to Abu Bakr to send you some assistance, then do so!” So, Hisham bin al-‘As said: “If you know that victory comes from the All-Mighty, the All-Wise, then fight these people. If you await victory from Abu Bakr, then I will mount my horse and ride all the way to where he is.”

So, the people said: “Hisham bin al-‘As has left no room for discussion!” Then they fought intensely, and many Muslims were killed, and Hisham bin al-‘As was killed, and Allah defeated the Romans and killed Yunaq al-Bitriq. A man then passed by the corpse of Hisham bin al-‘As and said: “May Allah have Mercy upon you. This is what you were after.””

114 – ‘Abdullah bin ‘Ubayd bin ‘Umayr narrated:

“‘Amr bin al-‘As came to the Ka’bah and began to cirumbate it, and a group of individuals from Quraysh were sitting and chatting. When they saw him approach, they said: “Who do you think was better: Hisham or ‘Amr bin al-‘As?”

So, when ‘Amr finished his tawaf, he came and stood over them and said: “I know that you said something when you saw me, so what did you say?”

They said: “We were mentioning you and Hisham, and discussing which of you is better.”

‘Amr then said: “I will inform you regarding this. We both witnessed the battle of Yarmuk, and we both spent the night in the Path of Allah and asking Him for it (martyrdom). So, when we awoke the next morning, he was granted it and I was prevented from it. This should clarify for you his virtue over me.””

116 – Abu al-Jahm bin Hudhayfah al-‘Adawi narrated:

“On the day of the battle of Yarmuk, I went out to find my uncle on the battlefield, and I had with me a container of water. I said to myself that he had some life left in him, then I would quench his thirst with the water and wash the dirt from his face. Suddenly, I came across him, and he was going in and out of conciousness. I asked him: “Do you want me to give you some water?” so, he nodded his head. Suddenly, he heard another wounded man in the distance calling out in pain. So, my uncle motioned for me to go tend to him. I went to him and saw that he was Hisham, the brother of ‘Amr bin al-‘As. I came to him and asked if he wanted me to give him some water, and suddenly, we heard the sound of another man calling out in the distance in pain. So, he motioned for me to go tend to him. I came to him to find that he had already died. So, I went back to tend to Hisham only to find that he had died as well. Then, I went back to tend to my uncle only to find that he, too, had died.”

133 – Sa’id narrated:

“I passed by Abu ‘Ubayd on the day of the Bridge [*] and his hands and feet had been cut off, and he was reciting: {“…in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace, of the Prophets, the truthful, the martyrs, and the righteous – and how excellent these companions are!”} [an-Nisa’; 69]

Some of those who passed by him asked him: “Who are you?” He answered: “I am a man from the Ansar.””

[*] The day of the Bridge of Abu ‘Ubayd bin Mas’ud ath-Thaqafi, who crossed the Euphrates River with his companions to go fight in Nahrawan, so, the enemy cut down the bridge behind them, and he and his companions were all killed.

135 – Ibn Abi ‘Utbah narrated:

“We went to see Nawf al-Bikali, and a man came to him while I was with him and said: “O Abu Yazid! I saw you in a dream.” So, he said: “Narrate it to me.” He said: “I saw you leading an army, and you had a long spear with a candle on its tip that lit the way for the people.” So, Nawf said: “If your dream is true, then I will be martyred.”

So, it was not except that he went out with the army of Muhammad bin Marwan the following summer. So, when he fastened his feet to the mount of his horse, he said: “O Allah! Make my wife a widow and my children orphans, and grant Nawf martyrdom!” So, the battle started and when they ended up at Qabaqib (a river that leads into the Euphrates), the enemy came out to them, and Nawf was the first to arm himself to fight them. As soon as he saw them, he raced towards them on his horse. He killed one man after the other, then he himself was killed. Those who were present testified: “We finally got to him to find that his blood had mixed with that of his horse – they had both been killed.””

141 – Humayd bin ‘Abd ar-Rahman narrated:

“There was a man from the Companions of the Prophet named Humamah who went out to fight in Asfahan (in present-day Iran) during the rule of ‘Umar bin al-Khattab. When Asfahan was finally conquered, Humamah said: “O Allah! Humamah claims that he loves to meet You! If Humamah is truthful in this claim, then grant him what he wishes! If he is not truthful in this claim, then grant him this even if he dislikes it! O Allah, do not send Humamah home from this trip!” So, he was overtaken by a disease in his stomach, and died iin Asfahan.

So, upon hearing about this, Abu Musa got up and said: “O people! By Allah, we have heard nothing from your Prophet, or from what we have been informed of, except that Humamah is a martyr!””

143 – ‘Abd ar-Rahman bin Yazid bin Mu’awiyah narrated:

“We were in the lands of the Romans when we passed by a garden with some grapevines. So, we said to man who was with us to take a pouch we had enter the garden and and fill it with grapes. We waited and waited, until he finally came out with nothing. So, we said to him: “What is wrong with you? Have you gone mad?” We looked at him and saw that he was in a completely different state than when he had left us, as there was light emanating from his face and he appeared to be in a very good mood. So, we asked him what had prevented him from packing the grapes, but he remained silent. Finally, we were able to get him to tell us his story, so, he narrated:

“When I entered the garden, I immediately saw a woman laying on a bed made of gold, and I realized that she was from the Hur al-‘Ayn, and I lowered my gaze from her and looked in the direction of the grapevines, only to see another woman just like her. So, I lowered my gaze from her, as well. She then said to me: “Both I and the one that you just saw are your wives from the Hur al-‘Ayn, and as of today, you will be with us.””

Afterwards, we all rode off into battle. Suddenly, he went forth ahead of the rest of us in hopes of becoming martyred, and he ended up being the first of us to be martyred on that day.”

149 – as-Sirri bin Yahya al-Binani narrated:

“A young man once went out to fight seeking to become martyred, but he was not granted martyrdom. One day, while he was with his companions, he went to take a nap in a nearby canopy. When it was time to pray Dhuhr, his companions went to wake him up. When he awoke, he began crying so intensely that his friends thought that something had happened to him. When he saw this, he said to them: “Nothing is is wrong with me.” Then, he narrated to them what had happened:

“Rather, what happened was that while I was asleep, a man came to me and said: “Let us go visit your wide-eyed wife.” So, I got up went with him to a white piece of land – so white and pure. We arrived at a garden, the likes of which I had never seen before. Sitting in this garden were ten young women with beauty the likes of which I had never seen before. I hoped that this wife he had told me about would be one of these women, so, I asked them: “Is the wide-eyed one among you?” They replied: “She is within close reach, and we are her servants.”

So, I continued with my companion to another garden that was more beautiful than the one we had just left, with twenty young women sitting in it who were more beautiful than the ten that we had just left, and I hoped that my wife would be one of them. I asked them: “Is the wide-eyed one among you?” They replied: “She is within close reach, and we are her servants.”

We continued until we arrived at a large domed building made of red rubies that was surrounded by light, so, my companion told me to enter. So, I entered to find a woman whose light outshone that surrounding the domed building. I sat and spoke with her for an hour.

Suddenly, my companion told me to get up and leave. I could not disobey him, so, I got up and began to leave. The woman grabbed at the edge of my cloak and said: “Stay and break your fast with us tonight!” At that point, you woke me up to pray, and when I realized that it was just a dream, I began to cry.”

As soon as he finished narrating his story, the call was made to mount the horses and head to the battlefield. As soon as the Sun had set – the time for the one fasting to break his fast – he was killed, and he had been fasting.”

150 – al-Qasim bin ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-Mas’udi narrated:

“We were invading the lands of the Romans with Fudalah bin ‘Ubayd from the seashore – and it was the first time for Fudalah to fight on the seashore – so, while we were travelling, Fudalah began to ride faster, and he was the leader of the group. Back then, the leaders used to listen to those whom Allah – the Mighty and Majestic – chose to advise them, so, one of them said: “O, our leader! The people have become split up, so, let us wait for a while until they catch up to us.” So, we waited in an area that was near a cliff with a castle situated atop it, surrounded by a fortress. Some of us were standing, and some were sitting.

Suddenly, a red-hued man with a long mustache approached us. We brought him to Fudalah and said: “This is a man who approached us from the direction of the fortress of the Romans. He has no agreement or covenant with us. What should be done with him?”

The man then said: “Before today, I would eat the flesh of swine and drink alcohol. Last night, when I came home to my family and fell asleep, two men approached me in my sleep, washed out my stomach, and married me to two women – none of them being jealous of the other. The two women said to me: “Accept Islam, for we are reserved only for the Muslims.””

He did not even finish his story when we were suddenly attacked with stone projectiles from the fortress. The man was struck above his neck while he was standing between us. Fudalah then said: “Allah is the Greatest! His actions were few, but his reward is great! Pray over your brother.” So, we prayed over him and buried him where we were standing, and went on our way.”

185 – The Messenger of Allah said:

“There will be from my Ummah a group that mans the frontlines; their rights will be taken from them, and they will not be given their rights. I am from these people, and they are from me! I am from them, and they are from me!”

193 – ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr said:

“There will come a time when there will not be a single believer except that he goes to Sham.”

206 – ‘Ali bin Rabah said:

“The Messenger of Allah used to pray for the one that he would see serving his companions.”

208 – Mujahid said:

“I accompanied ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar in order to be his servant, and he ended up serving me.”

211 – ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr said:

“Whoever serves his companions in the Path of Allah – the Mighty and Exalted – then he will be preferred over the rest of humanity with a mountain’s worth of reward.”

216 – ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin al-‘As said:

“A good action that I perform today is more beloved to me than a good action I performed in the past, because, we were with the Messenger of Allah and our only concern was the Hereafter, and we did not care about the worldly life, while, today, the worldly life has overtaken us.”

226 – ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud said:

“For me to donate even a whip in the Path of Allah – the Mighty and Exalted – is more beloved to me than performing one Hajj after another.”

228 – The Messenger of Allah said:

“Do you not wish that Allah Forgives you and enters you into Paradise?” It was said: “Of course.” He said: “So, fight in the Path of Allah.”

12 Responses to “Selections from Ibn al-Mubarak’s ‘Kitab al-Jihad’”

  1. Is it possible to provide us with more chapters from this book? I desperately need to have an English translation of the kitab al-jihad. I am even willing to pay…

  2. salaamwalaykum warahamtullahi wabarkatuh
    dear brother, this is a very unique book and would be excellent if used for research purposes. if possible can you send me this book in pdf or a link to it. if there isnt any then you can scan it or take pictures of the pages with a camera of each page then make a pdf of all the pages and upload it or inform me so that i can make use of it, i can get it translated and proof checked and then return to you a translated version.

    • harris varvouzanis Says:

      Dear Brother thank you for your kind interest. However this came a bit late…I have already a translation of this great work…I might need your help in the near future though for other translations…
      Peace be with you brother

      • peace be with you aswell dear brother,
        dear brother i swear i am very keen and hungry for this book, i really want this book but i am unable to get it, i have found only one shop which sells it but it is in arabic and abroad in libya. i wanted to know dear brother if there is anyway that you can send me this book by images of each page or even by scanning then printing it out on paper and sending it to me, even if it is sending it to me in text format through msn, something or the other, i have been looking for this book for a long time and i know it will help much to many muslimeen,i will do a specific dua for you insha Allah aswell, please reply back to me brother i am very eager to hear your reply.
        salaamwalaykum warahamtullahi wabarakatuh

      • salam brother please can you send me copy of the book in english pdf

  3. rajamohamed Says:

    allah give you jannathul firdous brother and i have one doubt?some ulama say jihad need islamicstate? can clear this question

  4. Assalamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu. I want this book too in both Arabic-English. Or in Arabic. Please reply to me: dyneema@hushmail.com

  5. salam brother an someone please post me the full english version this book

  6. in pdf please

  7. […] Source: Selections from ibn al-Mubarak’s ‘Kitab al-Jihad’ Read more by clicking this link: https://iskandrani.wordpress.com/2008/02/09/selections-from-kitab-al-jihad/ […]

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