Home | Fatwa | The term في سبيل الله in the Quran – Does it refer to Jihad or Tabligh?

The term في سبيل الله in the Quran – Does it refer to Jihad or Tabligh?


Please clarify whether a saathi applied this Hadith correctly:


Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is reported to have said:

‘Going in the path of Allah is better than making ‘Ibadah on Laylatul Qadr, in front of the Hajar Aswad (black stone)’


(Sahih Ibn Hibban; Al Ihsan, Hadith: 4603)


Based on this Hadith a saathi one said to me that if he goes on Jamat, and merely “sleeps” in the path of Allah then he’ll get more reward than someone who has spent a longer time traveling, spent money on hotels/tickets/food etc to get to Makkah, and performing all sort of ibadat in the front of Hajar Asward on the very night of Laylatul Qadr.

Any salah on that night is equivalent to a reward of 80 years plus, and then you have 100,000 multiplier to add to that simply because you’re in Masjid Al-Haram. No doubt going out in the path of Allah for self-reformation is virtuous, but are the two scenarios comparable in terms of virtue.

Also, according to HadithAnswers then Hadith is under the chapter of Jihad.



Please explain, and answer the question accordingly.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

At the outset, we wish to point out that the following clarity is aimed at merely removing a misconception. Some people engaged in dawah and tabligh believe that the term في سبيل الله refer to jihad and they regard their efforts to be equivalent to the actual jihad as understood in the Quran and Hadith. This leads to trivialising the actual jihad which is a defect in ones Imaan.1


Whilst we encourage the noble work of dawah and tabligh and also condemn any irresponsible and radicalised attitude of jihad, the following fatwa should be read in the context of correct usage of the word jihad and to avoid equating dawah andtabligh with jihad. Hence, this clarity is from an academic and technical point of view.


You state the jamat saathi believes sleeping in jamat is more virtuous than going out in jihad based on the following hadith,

“مَوْقِفُ سَاعَةٍ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ قِيَامِ لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ عِنْدَ الْحَجَرِ الْأَسْوَدِ

Going in the path of Allah is better than making ‘Ibadah on Laylatul Qadr, in front of the Hajar Aswad (black stone) صحيح ابن حبان – محققا (10/ 463)

The understanding of the saathi is incorrect. In fact there are many people in tabligh jamat, some of whom are even old workers who have a similar misconception.

In this hadith في سبيل الله specifically refers to jihad in the true sense of Quran and Hadith.2

Hadhrat Sheikh Zakariyyah  رحمه الله states:

قَالَ ابْنُ بَطَّالٍ “وَالْمُرَادُ فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللهِ جَمِيْعُ طَاعَاتِهِ” قَالَ الْحَافِظ “وَهُوَ كَمَا قَالَ إِلَّا أَنَّ الْمُتَبَادِرَ عِنْدَ الْإِطْلَاقِ مِنْ لَفْظِ سَبِيْلِ اللهِ الْجِهَاد”

“Allamah Ibn Battal Rahimahullah has stated: “The meaning of فِيْ سَبِيْلِ الله (‘In the path of Allah’) is all acts of good”. Hafidh Ibn Hajar Rahimahullah has stated: It is as Ibn Battal has said, except that the most apparent meaning from the phrase فِيْ سَبِيْلِ الله(‘In the path of Allah’) when used in general is (the specific) Jihad.3

Mufti Shafi رحمه الله  states:

مذکورہ   تصریحات   سے  معلوم   ہوا   کہ   لفظ   جہاد   اصطلاح  شرع   میں  اللہ  کي  راہ  میں  پیش  آنے  والي  ہر  رکاوٹ  کے  مقابلہ  اور  مدافعت   کے  ليے  عام  معنی  میں  استعمال  ہوتا  ہے  مگر  عرف  عام  میں  جب  لفظ  جہاد  بولا  جاتا  ہے تو  عموما  اس  کے  معنی دشمنان  دین   کے   مقابلہ   میں   جنگ ہی  سمجھے  جاتے  ہیں

“We have understood that the word ‘Jihad’ is used in Shari’ah for all actions that involve the overcoming of obstacles in the path of Allah, however the most common meaning referred to with the word ‘Jihad’ is the action of fighting against the enemy (the specific Jihad)”


Mufti Taqi Usmani Sahib (Madda Zilluhu) states:


احادیث   میں جہاں کہیں  لفظ  “في  سبیل  اللہ  ” آیا  ہے اس  کا  براہ  راست  “جہاد” پر  ہی اطلاق  ہوتا  ہے   لیکن   یہ  اور  بات  ہے  کہ  دین  کے  جو  اور  اعمال   کے جارہے ہیں  یا  جو  شخص  دین  کي  کسی اور  خدمت  میں  مشغول  ہے  تو  امید  ہے  کہ  ان  شاء  اللہ  وہ  بھی  اللہ  کي  رحمت  سے  “في  سبیل  اللہ” کے  حکم  میں  داخل  ہوگا –  لیکن  بحیثیت  مجموعی  زیادہ  تر  “في  سبیل  اللہ” سے  مراد  جہاد ہی ہوتا  ہے-

“Wherever the words فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللهِ (‘In the path of Allah’) has come in the Ahadith, it directly refers to the specific Jihad. Yes, it is hoped that through the Mercy and Will of Allah, a person who does other actions for Deen and provides other services for Deen will also fall under the meaning of فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللهِ (‘In the path of Allah’). Nonetheless, the phrase فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللهِ (‘In the path of Allah’) is most commonly used as a reference to the specific Jihad.4

Whilst going out in Tableegh is a noble act and also encouraged, it is not jihad in the context of war.5

Jihad in the context of war can never be compared to merely going out in tabligh. Hereunder are some differences between jihad and tabligh for your consideration.


A mujahid offers his life and risks losing his life. A tablighi simply goes for some time and does not risk losing his life.
A mujahid risks his wife becoming a widow and his minor children becoming orphans. A tablighi would return home after sometime to be with his wife and children
A mujahid is constantly on alert against the enemy. There is no guarantee of his food and sleep and other comforts of life. Alhumdulliah, in tabligh, there are always brothers making nusrat and providing food and sleeping place. In the case of high profile jamaats, there is better food and special sleeping arrangements.
The specific rules and disciplines for jihad are deduced from the Quran and Hadith. There are no specific rules and regulations for tabligh jamat in the Quran and Hadith. The six points of tabligh are formulated by our pious elders of jamat and are proven to be effective.
In jihad there is real war. In tabligh we are advised to avoid all types of confrontations and controversies.


The above are few points to illustrate the glaring differences between jihad and tabligh jamat. The tabligh jamat can never be equivalent to jihad in the strict terminology of the Quran and Hadith. Hence the term  في سبيل الله in the Quran and Hadith cannot be generalised with certainty to include the noble efforts of the tabligh jamat. Generally such irresponsible emotions are expressed by some non-Ulama who assume prominent positions in tabligh. It is their irresponsible conduct that taints the noble work of dawah and tabligh.6

People going out in jamat should do so with the correct belief and intention. The intention should be self-reformation and possibly dawah. Never over inflate dawah and tabligh and equate it to jihad as that would be incorrect. If one has the incorrect belief and intention in going out in tabligh, he could risk losing the reward of his efforts. When doing good deeds, ensure to preserve the rewards of ones deeds.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Huzaifah Deedat

Student Darul Iftaa
Lusaka, Zambia

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

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