To understand the religion of Islam one has to understand their concept of death and the hereafter, as well as man’s role in the plans of their god, Allah. Maqasid (the ultimate goal of Islam) is to spread itself around the world until all worship Allah and every trace of any other religion is destroyed. The worship of Allah through Islam is known as deen, and is followed by other goals such as nafs (life), nasl (progeny), aql (intellect), and mawl (wealth). All of these secondary goals are most important in that they are used to meet the primary goal of creating universal deen through jihad. Making the worship of Allah universal is so absolutely important in Islam that almost any means are justified as long as they work towards that end goal. Surah 2 ayat 193 of the Koran states:
And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and (all and every kind of) worship is for Allah (Alone). But if they cease [i.e., become Muslims], let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists and wrong-doers.) Quran 2:192, M.Khan, trans.
All major Islamic legal schools agree that jihad is very much an external struggle against infidels in order to spread deen. For instance, the Shafi’I legal school has a fiqh manual (a manual on how to live one’s life as a Muslim) that is used at Zaytuna College, the first Islamic University in the United States. The manual, known in English as Reliance of the Traveller, defines jihads as:
Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion… Details concerning jihad are found in the accounts of the military expeditions of the Prophet… including his own martial forays and those on which he dispatched others. The former consists on the ones he personally attended, some twenty-seven (others say twenty-nine) of them. He fought in eight of them…. One the later expeditions he sent others to fight, himself remaining at Media, and these were forty-seven in number.
Because the spread of Islam through jihad is so absolute in this phase of the Earth, the only sure way to receive eternal rewards in Islam is to kill and die in jihad. Surah 9:111 states:
For sure, Allah has bought from the believers their lives and their property in exchange for Paradise. They kill in the way of Allah, so they kill and are killed. This is a true promise in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. And who fulfills his promise for than Allah? So take the good news about the bargain you have concluded with him. That is the magnificent eternal happiness.
Even the prophet Muhammad, who is seen as the perfect example of a human being, was not guaranteed a place in Paradise as he did not practice jihad with the intention of dying, nor was he killed fighting in jihad. According to one of the biographies of the prophet, Muhammad stated:
though I am the Apostle of Allah, yet do I not know what Allah will do to me. – Bukhari Bk.63 No.155
Muhammad did go on to say that if it had been possible, he:
would have loved to be martyred in Allah’s cause and then made alive, and then martyred and then made alive, and then again martyred in his cause. – Bukhari Bk.2 No.29
All Muslims that do not fight and die (or intend to die but live) in the act of jihad must be judged by Allah on Judgment Day. This concept is known as “facing the scales” because one’s good deeds as a Muslim are weighed against one’s sins. Ultimately, even one like Muhammad who lived a perfect life under Islam is not guaranteed admittance to Paradise, the decision is completely an arbitrary one by Allah. If one is not a Jihadi, no number of good deeds guarantees them entrance to Paradise. Alternately, if one has lived an extraordinarily sinful life yet becomes a Jihadi, that one act wipes away everything else they have done.
Because the spread of Islam through jihad is so absolute in this phase of the Earth, the only sure way to receive eternal rewards in Islam is to kill and die in jihad.
Primary information compiled from:
Akbari, Daniel, and Paul Tetreault. Honor Killing: A Professional’s Guide to
Sexual Relations and Ghayra Violence from the Islamic Sources.
Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2014. Print.