Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Question: Assalamu alaykum
1. Can you tell me what is the concept of ‘Jihad by the Pen’?
2. I have a dream (in sha Allah) that- after finishing my study and getting a job, I will donate in Dawah related works. Will my current study also be considered as ‘Jihad by pen’ or sadaqah in terms of sharia’h?
Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh
I pray you are well.
Commanding the good and forbidding evil.
The concept of ‘Jihad by pen’ can be understood in one of two ways. The first could be an extension of speaking out to encourage others to do good or to deter them from wrong actions as commanded by the Messenger of Allah in the narration of Sahih Muslim: ‘Whoever of you sees something wrong let him change it with his hand. If he is able to, then with his tongue. If he is unable to [do that too], then with his heart [though duʿaʾ]; and that is the weakest of faith.’
There are, however, conditions which relate to the application of this hadith. You can learn more about them in this answer. In general, if one needs to speak out against something it can also be done in the form of writing. Imam al-Nawawi was one of many scholars of this umma who were known for their fearless critique of the rulers of their time through letters and books (may Allah shower His mercy on them all).
The Difference in Ranks
Another way this concept can be understood is the contribution scholars make towards defending and spreading Islam. There are a number of weak narrations which state that the contribution of the scholars is greater than that of martyrs, which is an indication of the respective rewards. A martyr lives only once, whereas the works of the scholars endure for generations, benefitting millions. Take the creed of Imam Abu Jaʿfar al-Taḥawi, for example; after over a millennium people still learn and benefit from it.
Imam ʿAbd al-Raʾuf al-Munawi, when commenting on the weak narration ‘The ink of the scholars was weighed against the blood of the martyrs and the former was heavier’, said,
‘This is used as a proverb to show the superiority of the scholars over the mujahids, and the vast disparity in the ranks of the two groups.
The reason being is that if we say the ink of the scholars is superior to the blood of the martyrs – when the greatest thing a martyr can offer is his blood, and the least of what a scholar can offer is his ink [through written works] – then what do you think of the greatest of what a [true] scholar has? Such as divinely gifted knowledge, reflecting on the blessings of Allah, defending the truth, explaining the Sacred Law, and guiding creation!’ (al-Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir).
Your current study could come under this category if you intend to make the word of Allah paramount by it, and can use it to support and defend Islam.
May Allah grant you every success.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.
Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.
In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.
His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.
When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.