In parts one and two of this series, I discussed the verses of the Koran that set out the war covenant and (some of) those that support it.

In this final part of the series, I will look at some of the “highlights” from the Canonical Sunni Hadith collections (see bibliography) and Malik's Muwatta that also support it.

Where hadith are collected in several collections, the first instance only will be quoted and the hadith numbers for the other collections. Neither will I record duplicate hadith{1} from the same collection.

Note that this is a rather narrow view – we are only looking at those hadith that clearly support the covenant, not sword-jihad in general.

This is, unsurprisingly, the longest of the articles. For this reason a summary is provided before I draw my conclusions. Please also read the note above the summary.


Allah's war covenant with the Muslims

Sword-jihad is a religious obligation laid on Muslims by Allah (2:216). Allah buys the Muslims' souls as his slaves (9:111) to perform relentless (47:35) sword-jihad against non-Muslims until all non-Muslims are vanquished (3:139, 47:35). In recompense for the risks of war, Allah promises that the Mujahideen will have a great reward (4:76). This “great reward” is multi-faceted: Allah guarantees absolution from all sins (including, implicitly war-crimes) and immunity from hell (61:10-13). Furthermore, those that die during sword-jihad are guaranteed entry to paradise immediately (3:195) whereas those that survive will get war-booty (4:74) eventually equalling all the wealth of the world (48:20-21) and guaranteed entry to paradise on their deaths. Allah also promises quick victories (61:10-13).

This agreement is seen as a (holy) covenant between Allah and the Muslims (33:15,23).

It is this absolute guarantee of entry to paradise that makes sword-jihad not merely an obligation, but – in view of these benefits – the best and most 'holy' thing that a Mussalman can do to please Allah.

Sword-jihad is the only certain way a Mussalman can get to paradise. It should be added that the Mussalman must first be a “true believer” in Islam of course.


Supporting verses from the Hadith.

Sahih Muslim Bk 7, Number 3139: Ibn 'Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying on the Day of Victory over Mecca: There is no Hijra (emigration) but only Jihad ... and when you are called to battle then go forth. Also Bukhari Vol.3 No.6, B.4:42,79, Comment: sword-jihad is mandatory if called for by the Caliph who is Allah's vice-regent on earth.

Ibid Bk 19, Number 4292: Ibn 'Aun reported: I wrote to Nafi' inquiring from him whether it was necessary to extend (to the disbelievers) an invitation to accept (Islam) before meeting them in fight. He wrote (in reply) to me that it was necessary in the early days of Islam. The Messenger of Allah made a raid upon Banu Mustaliq while they were unaware and their cattle were having a drink at the water. He killed those who fought and imprisoned others. On that very day, he captured Juwairiya bint al−Harith. Nafi' said that this tradition was related to him by Abdullah b. Umar who (himself) was among the raiding troops. Comment: This is an offensive attack and result in the capture of war-booty (“ghanima”) - a promise of the war covenant - including women. Juwairiya bint al−Harith formed part of Mohammed's share of this booty, thus women are booty for Muslims.

Ibid. Bk 19, Number 4294: It has been reported from Sulaiman b. Buraid through his father that when the Messenger of Allah appointed anyone as leader of an army or detachment he ... would say: Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah. Fight against those who disbelieve in Allah. Make a holy war … When you meet your enemies who are polytheists, invite them to three courses of action... Invite them to (accept) Islam; if they respond to you, accept it from them and desist from fighting against them... If they refuse to accept Islam, demand from them the Jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay the tax, seek Allah's help and fight them. When you lay siege to a fort and the besieged appeal to you for protection in the name of Allah and His Prophet, do not accord to them the guarantee of Allah and His Prophet, but accord to them your own guarantee and the guarantee of your companions for it is a lesser sin that the security given by you or your companions be disregarded than that the security granted in the name of Allah and His Prophet be violated...{1} Comment: Here we see the “holy” nature of sword-jihad upheld and (implicitly) it's offensive nature. The hadith also sets out the three options for non-Muslims: become Muslim, become Dhimmi, become dead{2}.

Ibid. Bk 19, Number 4327: It has been narrated by Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah said: …The spoils of war were not made lawful for any people before us, This is because Allah saw our weakness and humility and made them lawful for us. Comment: Here Mohammed reinforces the 'legitimacy' of taking spoils of war (here meaning both “Fai” and “ghanima”{3}) as a “special dispensation” for Muslims alone (this is even more clear in the full hadith).

Ibid. Bk 19, Number 4330: It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar that the Prophet (may peace be upon him) sent an expedition to Najd and I was among the troops. They got a large number of camels as a booty. …Also Abu Dawood 2735, Malik's Muwatta Number 21.6.15. Comment: Again the hadith supports the “get booty” element of the covenant.

Ibid. Bk 19, Number 4337: It has been narrated on the authority of Abdullah b. 'Umar that the Messenger of Allah used to give (from the fai) to small [units of] troops sent on expeditions something more than the due share of each fighter in a large force. And Khums (one−fifth of the total spoils) was to be reserved (for Allah and His Apostle) in all cases.  Comment: Again Mohammed reinforces the “get war booty” part of the covenant – this time in a practical way by “topping up” the booty obtained by small sized raiding parties. We may presume this is if they obtained little.

Ibid. Bk 19, Number 4345: It has been narrated on the authority of Salama (b. al−Akwa') who said: We fought against the Fazara and Abu Bakr was the commander over us... Some of the enemies were killed and some were taken prisoners. I saw a group of persons that consisted of women and children. I was afraid lest they should reach the mountain before me [and escape], so I shot an arrow between them and the mountain. When they saw the arrow, they stopped. So I brought them, driving them along. Among them was a woman [and] her daughter who was one of the prettiest girls in Arabia... Abu Bakr ... bestowed that girl upon me as a prize. I had not yet dis-robed [i.e. raped] her when the Messenger of Allah met me in the street and said: Give me that girl, O Salama. I said: Messenger of Allah, she has fascinated me. When on the next day the Messenger of Allah again met me in the street, he said: O Salama, give me that girl, may God bless your father. I said: She is for you. Messenger of Allah! By Allah. I have not yet dis-robed her. The Messenger of Allah sent her to the people of Mecca and surrendered her as ransom for a number of Muslims who had been kept as prisoners at Mecca{4}. Also ibn Majah 2846. Comment: Here we have proof of the use of young girls as (potential) sex-slaves, thus “war-booty” includes not just women as sex-slaves but also young girls.

Ibid. Bk 19, Number 4347: It has been narrated on the authority of Umar, who said: The properties abandoned by Banu Nadir were the ones which Allah bestowed upon His Apostle ... These properties were particularly meant for the Holy Prophet. He would meet the annual expenditure of his family from the income thereof, and would spend what remained for purchasing horses and weapons as preparation for Jihad.  Comment: I include this hadith primarily because it equates jihad to sword-jihad. There is nothing here about Mohammed supporting the other forms of jihad with money etc. from the khums – he only uses it for sword-jihad. Thus we can see the primacy of sword-jihad.

Ibid Bk 19, Number 4364: It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn Umar that the Jews of Banu Nadir and Banu Quraizi fought against the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) who expelled Banu Nadir, and allowed Quraiza to stay on, and granted favour to them until they too fought against him Then he killed their men, and distributed their women, children and properties among the Muslims... Comment: everything that non-Muslims “own” including their families is war-booty for Muslims, just as the covenant guarantees.

Ibid Bk 19, Number 4370: It has been narrated on the authority of A'isha who said:  the Messenger of Allah  fought against them [the Jews of Banu Quraiza]. They surrendered at the command of the Messenger of Allah, but he referred the decision about them to Sa'd who said: I decide about them that those of them who can fight be killed, their women and children taken prisoners and their properties distributed (among the Muslims). Comment: See note {1}. Here non-Muslims surrender on terms given by Mohammed, but Mohammed refers their eventual “disposition” to another (Sa'd) who decides to kill all their men-folk and have all the women and children taken as (sex) slaves (according to ibid, Bk.19, No. 4368 & 4371 on hearing Sa'd's decision Mohammed says “You have judged by the command of Allah”) and who thus changes the surrender terms unilaterally once the non-Muslims could not do anything about it{5}. Further note that, according to Mohammed, to deceive non-Muslims in this way is okay with Allah. Bukhari hadith Vol.4 Bk.52 No.269 Narrated Jabir bin `Abdullah: The Prophet said, "War is deceit." Also ibn Majah 2833, al-Tirmidhi 1681 Thus this hadith seems to show the use of such deceit in action – to get lots of lovely booty including sex-slaves for the Muslims.

Ibid.Bk 19, Number 4399: It has been narrated on the authority of Abdullah b. Muti' who heard from his father and said: I heard the Holy Prophet say on the day of the Conquest of Mecca: No Quraishite will be killed bound hand and foot from this day (forth) until the Day of judgement. Comment: when Mecca was conquered the power of the “polytheists” was decisively broken, thus PoWs (those bound “hand and foot”) are no longer to be murdered as was previously the case.

Ibid Bk 19, Number 4405: It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Wa'il who said: ... Umar b. Khattab came, approached the Messenger of Allah and said: “Messenger of Allah, aren't we fighting for truth and they for falsehood?” He replied: “By all means.” He asked: “Are not those killed from our side in Paradise and those killed. from their side in the Fire?” He replied: Yes”... Comment: this hadith sets forth one part of the war-covenant: paradise for those killed in sword-jihad.{6}

Ibid Bk 19, Number 4413: It has been reported on the authority of Anas b. Malik that (when the enemy got the upper hand) on the day of the Battle of Uhud, the Messenger of Allah ...said: Whoso turns them [the enemy] away from us will attain Paradise (or will be my Companion in Paradise). A man from the Ansar came forward and fought (the enemy) until he was killed... Also Nasai 3151 Comment: again Mohammed reinforces the “paradise for the man killed in sword-jihad” part of the war-covenant. In the full hadith no less than seven men die whilst killing for Mohammed.

Ibid Bk 19, Number 4441: It has been reported on the authority of Salama b. Akwa' who said: On the day of the Battle of Khaibar my brother fought a fierce fight by the side of the Messenger of Allah. My brother's sword rebounded and killed him. The Companions of the Messenger of Allah talked about his death and doubted (whether it was martyrdom)... (Hearing this) the Messenger of Allah said: He died as Allah's devotee and warrior. Ibn Shihab has said: I asked one of the sons of Salama (b. Akwa') about (the death of 'Amir). He related [that] the Messenger of Allah said: … ('Amir) died as Allah's devotee and warrior (in the cause of Allah). For him there is a double reward, and he pointed out this by putting his two fingers together. Also Nasai 3152, abu Dawood  No.2533. Comment: reiterates the “holy” nature of sword-jihad and “martyrdom” in its' pursuit. It also states that such “martyrs” get a “double helping”{7} of paradise – here meaning a high status in paradise.

Ibid Bk 19, Number 4450:It has been narrated on on the authority of Ibn Salama... I did not move from my place until I saw the horsemen of the Messenger of Allah who came riding through the trees.The foremost among them was Akhram al−Asadi. .. I caught hold of the rein of Akhram's horse [and] I said (to Akhram): Akhram, guard yourself against them until Allah's Messenger and his Companions join you. He said: Salama ... you should not stand between me and martyrdom. so I let him go. Akhram and Abd al−Rahman (Fazari) met in combat. Akhram hamstrung Abd al−Rahman's horse and the latter struck him with his lance and killed him (Akram)... Then he (Mohammed) gave me two shares of the booty the share meant for the horseman and the share meant for the footman, and combined both of them for me...The narrator said: Whenever the Messenger of Allah asked forgiveness for a particular person he was sure to embrace martyrdom. [The hadith then continues in a parallel to 4441 above]. Comment: Again this hadith sets out the martydom and booty seeking elements of the war covenant.

Ibid Bk 20, Number 4597: It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said on the day of the Conquest of Mecca: There is no Hijra now, but (only) Jihad (fighting for the cause of Islam) and sincerity of purpose{8} (to have the great reward{9}); when you are asked to set out (on an expedition undertaken for the cause of Islam) you should do so.  Comment: this hadith alludes to almost all aspects of the war covenant.

Ibid Bk 20, Number 4626: It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah said: Allah has undertaken to look after the affairs of one who goes out to fight in His way believing in Him and affirming the truth of His Apostles. He is committed to His care that He will either admit him to Paradise or bring him back to his home from where he set out with a reward  (his share) of war-booty... By the Being in Whose Hand is Muhammed soul, I love to fight in the way of Allah [sword-jihad] and be killed, to fight and again be killed and to fight again and be killed. Also Bukhari Vol.1 No.35; Nasai 3100,3153-4,3161-2; ibn Majah 2753, al-Tirmidhi 1667, Malik's Muwatta No.21.14.27,40 Comment: a re-statement of the war covenant for “true-believer” Muslims: paradise through death in sword-jihad or war-booty plus a desire to kill and come back to life for more killing in the “way of Allah”.

Ibid Bk 20, Number 4645: It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Sa'id Khudri that the Messenger of Allah said (to him): Abu Sa'id, whoever cheerfully accepts Allah as his Lord, Islam as his religion and Muhammad as his Apostle is necessarily entitled to enter Paradise...There is another act which elevates the position of a man in Paradise to a grade one hundred (higher), and the elevation between one grade and the other is equal to the height of the heaven from the earth. He (Abu Sa'id) said: What is that act? He replied: Jihad in the way of Allah! Jihad in the way of Allah! Also al-Nasai 3133, 3135 (parallels) Comment: Again we see the primacy of “jihad in the way of Allah”- i.e. sword-jihad and that sword-jihad gives a Mujahid a high status in heaven, thus sword-jihadists (“Mujahids”) must be amongst the most respected of Mussalmen.

Ibid Bk 20, Number 4646: It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Qatada that the Messenger of Allah stood up among them (his Companions) to deliver his sermon in which he told them that Jihad in the way of Allah and belief in Allah  are the most meritorious of acts. A man stood up and said: Messenger of Allah, do you think that if I am killed in the way of Allah, my sins will be blotted out from me? The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: Yes, [the hadith then repeats the above buts adds that the 'sin' of debt is not blotted out.] Also Nasai 3157, al-Tirmidhi 1718. Malik's Muwatta No.21.14.31 Comment: this hadith repeats the “all sins forgiven” clause of the war-covenant – albeit with a caveat{10}.

Ibid Bk 20, Number 4658: It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah said: … Allah turns in mercy to the murderer who embraces Islam{11}, fights in the way of Allah, the Almighty and Exalted, and dies a martyr. Comment: again waging sword-jihad forgives all sins – even the most heinous.

Ibid Bk 20 Bk 20, Number 4678: It has been reported on the authority of Jabir that a man said: Messenger of Allah, where shall I be if I am killed? He replied: In Paradise. The man threw away the dates he had in his hand and fought until he was killed. Also Bukhari 5.377, Nasai 3156 Comment: Mohammed repeats the guarantee of paradise in the war covenant with the result that a Sahaba{12} rushes off to find death whilst killing Kaffirs.

Ibid Bk 20, Number 4696: It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Huraira that the Messenger of Allah said: One who died but did not fight in the way of Allah nor did he express any desire (or determination) for Jihad died the death of a hypocrite... Comment: no Muslim unwilling to murder non-Muslims is a “true-believer” Muslim and s/he will go to hell – the “death of a hypocrite”.

Bukhari Vol.2 No.86: Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet said, "No good deeds done on other days are superior to those done on these (first ten days of Dhul Hijja)." Then some companions of the Prophet said, "Not even Jihad?" He replied, "Not even Jihad, except that of a man who does it by putting himself and his property in danger (for Allah's sake) and does not return with any of those things." Comment: in other words “a man who dies in sword-jihad”. Nothing is “superior” in terms of “good deeds” to dying whilst murdering Kaffirs.

Ibid  4.88: Narrated Anas: The Emigrants and the Ansar started digging the trench around Medina carrying the earth on their backs and saying, "We are those who have given a pledge of allegiance to Muhammad that we will  carry on Jihad as long as we live." The Prophet kept on replying, "O Allah, there is no good except the good of the Hereafter; so confer Your Blessings on the Ansar and the Emigrants." Comment: Here Mohammed's first followers acknowledge that the war-covenant is a life-long commitment. Mohammed is urging them to become “martyrs” (i.e. kill and die) for Islam.

Ibid 4.146: Narrated Abu Sa`id Al−Khudri: The Prophet said, "A time will come when groups of people will go for Jihad and it will be asked, 'Is there anyone amongst you who has enjoyed the company of the Prophet?' The answer will be, 'Yes.' Then they will be given victory (by Allah) (because of him). Then a time will come when it will be asked. 'Is there anyone amongst you who has enjoyed the company of the companions of the Prophet?' It will be said, 'Yes,' and they will be given victory (by Allah). Then a time will come when it will be said. 'Is there anyone amongst you who has enjoyed the company of the companions of the companions of the Prophet?' It will be said, 'Yes,' and they will be given victory (by Allah). Comment: this hadith reinforces the “keeping fighting jihad and you will win” element of the war covenant since it refers to jihad as a multi-generational activity.

Ibid 4.208: Narrated Mujashi: My brother and I came to the Prophet and I requested him to take the pledge of allegiance from us for migration.... I asked, "For what will you take the pledge of allegiance from us then?" He said, "I will take (the pledge) for Islam and Jihad." Comment: here we see that jihad is an intrinsic part of Islam – you can't be a “true-believer” Muslim unless you are at least willing to kill non-Muslims.

Ibid 4.217: Narrated Yali: I participated in the Ghazwa of Tabuk along with Allah's Apostle ... in Jihad and that was, to me, one of my best deeds. Comment: another “Sahaba” confirms that killing non-Muslims is amongst the “best deeds” a Mussalman can do.

Ibid 4.352: Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "Allah guarantees him who strives in His Cause and whose motivation for going out is nothing but Jihad in His Cause and belief in His Word, that He will admit him into Paradise (if martyred) or bring him back to his dwelling place, whence he has come out, with what he gains of reward and booty." Also ibid 4:46 Al-Nasai 3124-6, Malik's Muwatta No.21.1.2. Comment: a re-statement of the two of the guarantees from Allah in the war covenant.

Ibid 5.254: Narrated Abu Burda Bin Abi Musa Al−Ash’ari: ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar said ..."My father said to your father, 'O Abu Musa, will it please you that we will be rewarded for our conversion to Islam with Allah's Apostle and ... our Jihad with him and all our [other] good deeds which we did, with him, and that all the deeds we did after his death will be disregarded whether good or bad?' Your father (i.e. Abu Musa) said, 'No, by Allah, we took part in Jihad after Allah's Apostle and ... we expect rewards from Allah for these good deeds.' Comments: Again we see that killing non-Muslims is amongst the “good deeds” for Mussalmen – in line with the war covenant.

Ibid 5.600: Narrated Mujahid: I said to Ibn `Umar, "I want to migrate to Sham." He said, "There is no migration, but Jihad (for Allah's Cause). Go and offer yourself for Jihad, and if you find an opportunity for Jihad (stay there) otherwise, come back." Comment: Although not directly relevant to this article this hadith is interesting in that it implies that the only legitimate reason for Muslims to migrate into non-Muslim lands is if they are doing so for Jihad{13}. See also ibid 602.

Sunan al-Nasai 3092: Sa'eed bin Al-Musayyab narrated that Abu Haurairah told him that the Messenger of Allah said: “I have been commanded to fight the people until they say La ilaha ill-allah (“no god but The God”). Whoever says [this] his life and property are safe from me, except by the right{14} and his reckoning will be with Allah”. Comment: Implicit is that sword-jihad is an perpetual requirement until all people become subjected by Islam{15}.

Ibid 3099: It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the prophet said: “whoever dies without having fought or having thought of fighting, he dies on one of the branches of hypocrisy”. Comment: again “true-believer” Muslim must at least want to kill non-Muslims. Also recall that (Muslim) “hypocrites” go to hell.

Ibid 3111: It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah said: “Two will never be gathered together into the fire; a Muslim who killed a disbeliever [i.e. non-Muslim] then tried his best and did not deviate [from Islam]...” Comment: a brutal restatement of the guarantee of paradise in the war covenant.

Ibid 3112:  It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet said: "There are three, all of whom have a promise of help from Allah: The Mujahid {16}who strives (i.e. wages sword-jihad) in the cause of Allah...”{17} Comment: an allusion to elements of the war covenant.

Ibid 3123: Abu Hurairah said: "The Messenger of Allah said: 'The guests of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, are three: The Mujahid,...” Comment: a reference to the guarantee of paradise in the war covenant.

Ibid 3127: 'Abdullih bin 'Amr said: I heard the Messenger of Allah say: 'There is no raiding party that goes out in the cause of Allah and acquires some spoils of war, but they have been given two-thirds of their reward in this world instead of in the Hereafter, and there remains one-third  (in the hereafter. And if they do not acquire any spoils of war, then all of their reward (will come in the Hereafter).”' Also ibn Majah 2753. Comment: This hadith restates the main guarantees of the war-covenant: booty and/or paradise.

Ibid 3168: It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah said: "Allah laughs at two men, one of whom killed the other but they both entered Paradise The first one fought in the cause of  Allah and was killed  (by the other), then Allah accepted the repentance of the one who killed him [i.e. he became a Muslim] and he fought and was martyred." Also Malik's Muwatta No.21.14.28 Comment: the point here is that the first man got to paradise through his “meritorious” deeds of sword-jihad – i.e. by fighting non-Muslims, the second got to paradise despite the “evil crime” of killing a Muslim. Thus we see the guarantees of paradise and “all sins forgiven” in the war covenant.

Sunan ibn Majah 2753: Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah said: "Allah has prepared a (reward) for those who go out (to fight) in His cause: 'And do not go out except (to fight) for Jihad in My cause, out of faith in Me and belief in My Messengers, but he has a guarantee from Me that I will admit him to Paradise, or I will return him to his dwelling from which he set out, with the reward that he attained, and the spoils that he acquired.' Then he said: ... By the One in Whose Hand is the soul of Mohammad, I wish I could fight in the cause of Allah and be killed, then fight and be killed, then fight and be killed."' [A footnote to this hadith reads:] The rank of martyrdom is so high and significant that the Prophet used to wish for this rank, though he was greater than the martyrs. Comment: whilst this parallels other hadith, we see a re-statement of the 'guarantee' of paradise or spoils. The “reward” mentioned is the future guarantee of paradise. Thus this hadith re-states Allah's guarantees in the war covenant.

Ibid 2754: It was narrated from Abu Sa'eed Al-Khudri that the Prophet g said: "The one who fights in the cause of Allah has a guarantee from Allah. Either He will raise him to His forgiveness and mercy, or He will send him back with reward and spoils of war... [footnotes] a. The reward of a fighter in the cause of Allah continues even if he is not in the state of fighting. Hence, the reward of fighting in the cause of Allah is more than other deeds. b. Booty is a blessing for a fighter in the cause of Allah, since he spends it in good deeds and gets more reward. Also At-Tirmidhi 1626 Comment: again the “paradise or booty” elements restated. Note that booty, including sex-slaves, is a “blessing from Allah” since the “good” Mujahid spends it in “good deeds” - yet more jihad!

Ibid 2762: It was narrated from Abu Umamah that the Prophet said: "Whoever does not fight, or equip a fighter, or stay behind to look after a fighter's family, Allah will strike him with a calamity before the Day of Resurrection." Also Abu Dawood Book 14, Number 2497. Comment: Again the necessity of waging, or at minimum actively supporting, sword-jihad is shown. If the Muslim does not do so, Allah will “strike him with a calamity” - for breaching the war covenant.

Ibid 2773: It was narrated from Ibn 'Abbas that the Prophet said:  "If you are called to arms then go forth." Comment: the obligation to wage sword-jihad is part of the covenant.

Ibid 2793: It was narrated that Anas bin Maik said: "I was present in a war, and 'Abdullah bin Rawahah said: 'O soul of mine! I see that you do not want to go to Paradise. I swear by Allah that you surely will enter it, willingly or unwillingly." [footnote] The soul's disliking Paradise means the fear of death that is natural, but death in Jihad is a way of entering Paradise. Therefore, one who fears death in the battlefield is as if he is delaying his entry in Paradise. Ibn Rawahah, may Allah be pleased with him, addressed his soul and said not to fear death, since Paradise will be obtained through this death. Also ibid 2797. Comment: another Sahaba who “bought in” to the “kill non-Muslims and go to paradise” line.

Ibid 2794: It was narrated that 'Amr bin 'Abasah said: "1 came to the Prophet and said: “Messenger of Allah, which Jihad is best?” He said: '(That of a man) whose blood is shed ...” Comment: 'martyrdom' in sword jihad is the best jihad.

Ibid 2799: It was narrated from Miqdam bin Ma'dikarib that the Messenger of Allah said: "The martyr has six things (in store) with Allah. (1) He is forgiven [his sins] from the first drop of his blood that is shed; (2) he is shown his place in Paradise; (3) he is spared the torment of the grave; (4) he is kept safe from the Great Fright; (5) he is adorned with a garment of faith; (6) he is married to (wives) from among the wide-eyed houris; and (additionally) he is permitted to intercede for seventy of his relatives." Also Al-Tirmidhi 1669, abu Dawood 2516. Comment: restates and expands the rewards of paradise set out in the war covenant. Note also that the “garment of faith” means that the 'martyr' has proved himself a “true-believer” Muslim.

Al-Tirmidhi 1648: Sayyidina Anas (RA) reported that Allah’s Messenger ‘- said, “Being killed in Allah’s path atones for sin.” but Jibril (AS) interposed, “except debt.” So Allah’s Messenger said, “Except debt.” Comment: restates the “sins forgiven” element of the war covenant.

Ibid 1650: Sayyidina Umar ibn Khattab (RA) reported that he heard Allah’s Messenger (SAW) say, “There are four kinds of martyrs: (1) A believing man, strong in faith, meets the enemy, hoping for reward from Allah, till he is slain,... (2) A believing man of firm faith, meets the enemy but fearing him as though he is pricked by thorns. A sudden arrow strikes him and kills him. He is in the second category. (3) A believing man who has mingled (his) good deeds with evil deeds. He meets the enemy, hoping for reward from Allah till he is killed. This one is in the third category. (4) A believing man who has wronged his self (with sin), meets the enemy, hoping for reward from Allah till he is killed. This one is in the fourth category.” Comment: the “true-believer” is the sword-jihadist, if he is 'martyred' his sins are forgiven. (Even in 'martyrs' there is a hierarchy!)

Ibid 1665: Sayyidina Abu Musa Ash’ary reported that he heard from Allah’s Messenger: “that the gates of paradise are under the shadow of swords.” So, a man of shabby, tattered appearance asked, “Did you hear this from Allah’s Messenger?” He said, “Yes’ So, he returned to his friends and offered them his salaam (greetings), broke the scabbard of his sword and struck (the enemy) with it till he was killed. Comment: Again Mohammed says that paradise is found through sword-jihad. This is one of the simplest and clearest statements Mohammed makes on the war covenant.

Sunan Abu Dawood Book 14, Number 2478: Narrated Imran ibn Husayn: The Prophet said: A section of my community will continue to fight for the right and overcome their opponents till the last of them fights with the Antichrist. Also Ibid 2526 Comment: sword-jihad is perpetual until judgement day.{18}

Ibid No.2506: Narrated AbuAyyub: AbuImran said: We went out on an expedition from Medina with the intention of (attacking) Constantinople. Allah, the Exalted revealed, "And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your hands contribute to your destruction". To “contribute to your destruction” means that we stay in our property ...and abandon fighting (i.e. jihad). AbuImran said: AbuAyyub continued to wage jihad in the cause of Allah until he (died and) was buried in Constantinople. Comment: here ceasing to wage sword-jihad is condemned as being a cause of a person's destruction at Allah's hands. The war covenant makes sword-jihad a lifelong commitment and to cease to be ready, willing and eager to wage it breaks the war covenant.

Ibid No.2515: Narrated Hasana' daughter of Mu'awiyah: She reported on the authority of her paternal uncle: I asked the Prophet: Who are in Paradise? He replied: Prophets are in Paradise, martyrs are in Paradise, infants are in Paradise and children buried alive are in Paradise. Comment: restates the' martyrdom' = paradise guarantee of the war covenant.

Ibid No.2518: Narrated Ubaydullah ibn Khalid as−Sulami: The Apostle of Allah made a brotherhood between two men, one of whom was killed (in sword-jihad). A week or thereabouts later the other died... The Apostle of Allah said:  “The distance between them is just like the distance between heaven and earth.” Comment: this hadith shows the vastly higher status a 'martytr' in sword-jihad has than one who doesn't kill Kaffirs.

Ibid No.2527: Narrated Abu Hurayrah: The Prophet said: “Striving in the path of Allah (jihad) is incumbent on you along with every ruler, whether he is pious or impious;...” Comment: restates the obligatory nature of jihad.

Ibid No.2567: Narrated Abbad ibn Abdullah ibn az−Zubayr: My foster−father said to me: “....By Allah, I saw Ja'far who jumped from his reddish horse and hamstrung it; he then fought with the people until he was killed.” Comment: here we have another 'martyrdom' seeker wanting his guaranteed houris etc.

Ibid Bk. 23, No. 3455: Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar: I heard the Apostle of Allah, say: When you ... give up conducting jihad (struggle in the way of Allah). Allah will make disgrace prevail over you, and will not withdraw it until you return to your original religion. Comment: jihad an intrinsic of Islam –as stated in the war-covenant.

Malik's Muwatta No.21.18.42: Yahya related to me from Malik from Yahya ibn Said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, stimulated people for jihad and mentioned the Garden. One of the Ansar was eating some dates in his hand, and said, "Am I so desirous of this world that I should sit until I finish them?" He threw aside what was in his hand and took his sword, and fought until he was slain. Comment: Mohammed repeats the 'martyrdom' = paradise guarantee of the war covenant and a Sahaba rushes off to kill Kaffirs until killed.

Note: I have not bothered to record the multiplicity of hadith across the collections that show that sword-jihad is the “best” or “most holy” etc. thing a Mussalman can do since the mere primacy of sword-jihad is not relevant in this article. Nor have I bothered with the multiplicity of hadith across the collections that state that 'martyrdom' in sword-jihad is the “best” fate for a Mussalman. These things, although important, are also not directly relevant.


In these hadiths – and I am not claiming that the above selection exhausts those which refer to the war covenant – we can clearly see that Mohammed restates all the various elements of the war covenant between Allah and the Muslims. He pays particular attention to the elements that define the “great reward”s of sword-jihad as stated in the Koran, in particular:

  • ·The Koran guarantees that “martyrs” (i.e. those who die whilst killing non-Muslims) get paradise with all it's benefits (houris, boys, food and wine etc.) and, as a bonus, a “high status” (in other hadith a house in the centre of paradise). In other words the 'martyred' killers of Kaffirs are the most highly revered of all within the Muslim community.
  • ·And the fact that those mujahids{16} who survive sword-jihad get booty which includes female sex-slaves. So important is this gaining of booty that some hadiths show that Mohammed “topped up” the booty of those who got little on their raids to ensure that they did not become discouraged from sword-jihad.

Mohammed also restates the “all sins forgiven” reward of the war covenant.

Hadiths also state that all “true-believer” Muslims must, at a minimum, be ready to kill non-Muslims and they state that anyone who does not at least want to kill non-Muslims is a “hypocrite” and thus they are destined for hell.

The hadiths also show that sword-jihad is perpetually mandated until all people submit to Islam, or at least it's dominion, and that sword-jihad is a “holy” duty on Muslim- just as the war covenant states.

Thus the hadith fully restate both the “rewards” of sword-jihad and the fact that all true-believer Muslims are bound for life to the “holy” cause of sword-jihad – which is their part of the war covenant.

Another element that comes out of the hadith (examples quoted above) is that Mohammed's “Sahaba”{12} fully “buy into” this idea. They are entirely happy to kill non-Muslims, not just in war, but also in raids (which are inherently offensive in nature) and clearly believe that this is done “in the way of Allah”. Indeed there are examples of members of the Sahaba actively seeking death in sword-jihad because they were so keen to get at their houris etc.



Over the three articles in this series I have considered what the Koran and the “canonical” Sunni hadith (see bibliography) plus the Muwatta have to say about the war covenant. The covenant is expressed in both the Koran and the hadith, though in both it is fragmented - due in the case of the former to its structure and in the latter due to the inevitably piecemeal way that the exhortations, assurances etc. would have been delivered.

The hadith also imply that much, if not most, of the raiding and “expeditions” undertaken by the Muslims – especially that conducted by small parties of “mujahids” – was offensive in nature{19}.

The hadith thus show that the war covenant was put into practice.

Muslims “went out” to fight, raid and kill “in the way of Allah”, happily risking death in the belief that if they died they would get the “reward” of paradise and if they survived they would get war-booty – which included sex-slaves, some of whom were girl-children – as well as the goods and chattels of those they killed and/or plundered. These same hadith also tell us that several Sahaba went on sword-jihad with the express purpose of killing until they were killed (K.9:111) – they were 'martyrdom' seekers hell-bent on dying whilst killing non-Muslims.

Thus the war covenant existed in the minds of the Sahaba, who in turn had it from Mohammed in both his recitations of the Koran and from his “sayings” as recorded in the hadith.

Furthermore, the war covenant exists to today since sword-jihad is perpetual until all the world is under Islamic domination or “doomsday” arrives - whichever arrives first{20}.

In turn this means that today those 'martyrdom' seeking Muslims who die in suicide attacks, gun-battles etc. are simply following in the footsteps of those Sahaba who also sought death whilst killing Kaffirs. Is it any wonder then that some Muslims call suicide bombings etc. “martyrdom operations”?


Notes and references

  • ·Muslim Bk.19 No.4294: Although not germane to this article I cannot pass over the part of the hadith saying “When you lay siege to a fort and the besieged appeal to you for protection in the name of Allah and His Prophet, do not accord to them the guarantee of Allah and His Prophet, but accord to them your own guarantee and the guarantee of your companions for it is a lesser sin that the security given by you or your companions be disregarded than that the security granted in the name of Allah and His Prophet be violated” without comment. The import of this is that Muslims may deceive an enemy into accepting terms of surrender then, once the enemy has surrendered, renege on those terms – with the proviso that they were not given in Allah's name. See also Sahih Muslim Bk 19, Number 4370 (above).
  • ·Muslim Bk.19 No.4294: This hadith actually contradicts the Koran in which the second option – that of becoming a Dhimmi is only extended to “people of the book” (i.e. Jews and Christians and according to some Zoroastrians and Sabians) and not to polytheists. However the word “polytheists” had, by the time of Muslim et al become an effective synonym for “non-Muslim” and it may be that the hadith should be interpreted as referring to the “people of the book” (or, of course, it may simply be wrong!).
  • ·Muslim Bk.19 No.4327: Simply: “Fai” or “spoils” are those things abandoned by an enemy. “ghanima” or (war) booty are those things captured from an enemy. Of the ghanima, one-fifth (the “khums”) is handed over to “Allah and his messenger” who also gets all the fai. The fai and khums (often collectively referred to as khums) are for Mohammed to distribute as he chooses. After Mohammed's death the distribution (or otherwise) of Khums falls to the Muslims' leader(s).
  • ·Muslim Bk.19 No.4345: Mohammed rescues this one in order to facilitate a “prisoner exchange” with the Meccans but sees nothing wrong with separating the child from her mother.
  • ·Muslim Bk.19 No.4370: Given human nature it is impossible to believe that had Mohammed said “Okay, here are my terms: we kill all the men, take your women and girls as sex-slaves, we enslave your boys and hand out your property to my noble warriors. Am I generous or what? What do you say?” (Which were the “terms” they got don't forget) that any group wouldn't prefer to stand and fight to the last and probably kill their own wives and children to prevent the mass-rape that resulted. Thus it is hard to see these hadith as pointing to anything other than a massive and cruel deception carried out by the Muslims.
  • ·Muslim Bk.19 No.4405: This hadith (not quoted here in full) also ties in with the previous hadith on the murderous attack on the  Banu Quraiza.
  • ·Muslim Bk.19 No.4441: I suppose I should add that this “double helping” does not mean they get 152 Houris!
  • ·Muslim Bk.19 No.4497: “sincerity of purpose” may also be understood to mean “true faith in Islam”.
  • ·Muslim Bk.19 No.4497: the “great reward” would be paradise, virgins etc. on being killed and/or war-booty.
  • ·Muslim Bk.19 No.4646: I wonder if the man mentioned in the hadith owed Mohammed money?
  • ·Muslim Bk.19 No.4658: Note that the “embrace” of Islam can mean either conversion to Islam and/or becoming a “sword-jihad-waging true-believer” – i.e. the hadith applies to both “moderate” (or notional, cultural etc.) Muslims - i.e. “Muslim hypocrites” - as well as non-Muslims. “True-believer” Muslims will already be either wishing to or actually fighting in sword-jihad of course.
  • ·Bukhari 4:217: A “sahaba” was one of Mohammed's companions – i.e. a first generation Muslim who personally knew Mohammed – at least in theory.
  • ·Bukhari 5:600: In this case the jihad would initially take non-violent forms i.e. tongue and hand jihad.
  • ·Sunan al-Nasai 3092. “except by the right” means (according to Nasai) any legal punishment or retribution required by [Islamic Shariah] law.
  • ·Sunan al-Nasai 3092. The requirement to only say the first part of the “Shadada” (No god but the god, Mohammed is messenger of god) is odd since just saying this does not make one a Muslim, however the next few hadith recorded in Nasai make it clear that this was a “shorthand” for the full declaration of faith since they refer the declaration to the “rida” (apostasy) wars fought by Abu Bakr when, on the death of Mohammed, some tribes wished to revert to their old religion(s).
  • ·Sunan al-Nasai 3112. A “Mujahid” is a Muslim soldier.
  • ·Sunan al-Nasai 3112. Ibid 3118. This hadith has an interesting footnote: “In this narration, the phrase 'in the way of Allah' has been used in its general sense; every good deed or work. Lexically, it is absolutely correct, but the customary meaning happens to be more reliable. And the customary meaning of the Qur'in and the Hadith of the expression 'in the way of Allah' uses it in the sense of [sword-] jihad”.
  • ·Sunan Abu Dawood No. 2478. This hadith implies that even if the whole world were Muslim, the “true-believer” Muslims would still be engaged in perpetual sword-jihad, presumably against Muslim “hypocrites” - i.e. other sects of Islam.
  • ·Whilst my selection of hadith for the war covenant does not prove this conclusively, a wider consideration of “jihad” hadith could lead to no other honest conclusion.
  • ·Read another way these hadith would mean that Muslims will always find someone to fight, even if it is other Muslims whom the “true-believers” think “aren't Muslim enough” until the day of judgement. This reading sees Islam in a state of perpetual war “to the end of time”.
  • ·The alternative understanding of this verse is given by parsing it thus: “...interpretation except Allah and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge. Say (O Mohammed): We ...”


  • ·Sahih Muslim. Pdf. version.
  • ·Sahih Bukhari. Pdf version.
  • ·Sunan al-Nasai, trans. N. al-Khattab. Darussalam (
  • ·Sunan ibn Majah, trans. N. al-Khattab. Darussalam (
  • ·Sunan Al-Tirmidhi NSA\Hadith Tirmidhi (pdf file).
  • ·Sunan Abu Dawood. Pdf version.
  • ·Malik's Muwatta. Pdf version.

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