NOTE: In addition to the alarming results of the survey, Shari’a and Violence in American Mosques– where 81% of mosques in this country contained texts that advocate violent jihad– the survey presents a standard that can give law enforcement a way to monitor or potentially to predict where violent jihad may take root. The mosques surveyed contained a variety of texts, ranging from contemporary printed pamphlets and handouts to classic texts of the Islamic canon. Of these, seven Islamic texts were selected that either ‘moderately’ or ‘severely’ advocated violent jihad. Nearly a decade after 9/11, Americans need more than ever to know what is being read in this country’s mosques. This series will provide a beginning guide to ‘the Islamist bookshelf'; readers will see that, rather than being old, dusty or obsolete religious tracts, the seven books described here are currently in use and, critically, form the basis for how modern Muslims actually understand Islam. In gathering materials and research for the Mapping Sharia website, we assessed the importance of each of the seven books, described their availability– usually, their ubiquity– in print and online. For those curious, we have attached links to PDFs of the complete works. At the end are samples of quotes advocating violent jihad found in the book.
1. Riyad-us Saliheen
Yahiya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi (1234-1278) wrote the classic, mainstream Islamic work Riyad-us Saliheen (or Gardens of the Righteous, in English translation), a collection of about 1900 Koranic verses and hadith. After the Koran, it is among the most widely-read book on Islam by Muslims. Wikipedia notes that, “his position on legal matters is considered the authoritative one in the Shafi’i Madhhab” and that this book “on ethics, manners, conduct… is very popular in the Muslim world today.”(emphasis added).
Versions of Riyad-us Saliheen in both English and Arabic are widely available today, both in mosque bookstores and online. For reference, numerous Islamic websites- like Islamhouse.com- allow users to download a PDF of the text in English translation. Other websites, like Islambasics.com and GuidedWays.com, provide the English translation in interactive form. Attesting to the popularity of Riyad-us Saliheen with its Muslim audience, Islamic-Invitation.com provides PDF downloads of the text into Arabic, English, French, Spanish, German, Romanian, Turkish, Bosnian, Russian, Albanian, Indonesian, Urdu, Telugu, Tamil and Uyghur.
Download ‘Riyad-us Saliheen’ (PDF, 552 pages, 5.5MB)
The quotes below come from Riyad-us Saliheen and, crucially, represent what is considered to be an authoritative commentary and analysis of passages from the Koran and the six major collections of hadiths. For a believing Muslim audience, they are meant to convey the plain meaning of those passages, as accepted by generations of Muslim scholars, and form the basis of law in the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence, or Shariah.
- Although Islam has permitted man, in inevitable circumstances, to rebuke his wife, it has also suggested a very wise course for it. It has suggested that first of all he should advise and preach [to] her, and if she does not mend her ways by these means, then he should stop sleeping with her, which is a great warning for the sensible wife. If she does not improve even by this method, then he may take recourse to slight beating, but in that he must avoid her head and face. He should take recourse to beating if he thinks that it would work, otherwise it is better to avoid it. But surprisingly enough some start the process of reformation with beating and that too with great ruthlessness which has not been permitted by Islam in any case. It is this aspect which the Prophet (PBUH) has highlighted in this Hadith. He has contended that when the wife is indispensable for man and it is very difficult for him to pass night without her then why should he beat her like a slave or bondmaid? He should try to understand that she, too, has feelings and her position is like one of the two wheels of the cart of life. If at all it comes to beating her then he must keep her true status in view before taking recourse to it. He should never loose sight of her importance in conjugal life. Chapter 34:274
- ‘Amr bin Al-Ahwas Al-Jushami (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that he had heard the Prophet (PBUH) saying on his Farewell Pilgrimage, after praising and glorifying Allah and admonishing people, “Treat women kindly, they are like captives in your hands; you do not owe anything else from them. In case they are guilty of open indecency, then do not share their beds and beat them lightly but if they return to obedience, do not have recourse to anything else against them. Chapter 34:276
- The Hadith points out the superiority of fighting in the way of Allah. The moment one fights for Allah’s sake, be it in the early morning or the evening, is better than the world and all that is in it. Chapter 234:1287-1288
- It [Haddith] brings into focus the excellence of fighting Jihad with one’s wealth and life for the sake of Allah. Chapter 234:1289
- This Hadith highlights the excellence of observing Ribat [guarding the Islamic frontier for the sake of Allah] and fighting in the way of Allah. It also highlights the insignificance of this world and the great reward in the Hereafter which can be attained through Jihad. Chapter 234:1290
- The example cited here [in this Haddith] means that so long a Mujahid is engaged in Jihad, he is like a person who keeps himself occupied in Salat [prayer] at night and observes Saum [fasting] in the day time. The action of such a person can be equal in reward to the conduct of a Mujahid. Thus, in special situations Jihad is the most meritorious act. A worshipper cannot attain that reward for his worship which a Mujahid achieves in Jihad. Chapter 234:1298
- This Hadith also stresses the fact that if a person is unable to take part in Jihad due to illness, for example, he should then provide such material to a Mujahid which is helpful for him in Jihad. If he does so, he will be eligible to the same reward which is due on Jihad. This would also be a source of increase and growth in his possessions. Chapter 234:1308
- Jannat-ul-Firdaus is the highest portion of Jannah [Paradise]. The allocation of this portion [of Paradise] to the martyrs is a proof that Jihad is very much liked by Allah. Chapter 234:1319
- What this Hadith really means is that when the situation calls for Jihad then the foremost priority of a Muslim should be Jihad. In such an event his passion for touring the world should yield to the spirit of Jihad against the infidels and then he must with his full force fight against the enemy. Chapter 234:1345
- This Hadith means that one who neither takes part in Jihad nor provides arms to a Mujahid nor looks after the families of the Mujahidun during their absence, is guilty of crimes for which he is punished in this world by Allah. It is, therefore, the duty of the Muslim Ummah [community] that it should in no way neglect the obligation of Jihad and all its requirements; otherwise it will suffer punishment in this world and in the next. Chapter 234:1348
- This Hadith mentions three categories of Jihad, namely Jihad with wealth, Jihad with one’s life and Jihad by speech. One should make Jihad as is warranted by the situation one is confronted with. That is, where a Muslim is required to sacrifice his life, he must sacrifice his life; where he is required to sacrifice his wealth, he should spend wealth; and where he is required to make Jihad by means of his speech, he should do it by speech. One should not hesitate to spend for the sake of Allah what is required by the situation. Chapter 234:1349
- The Ahadith mentioned in this chapter make the importance of Jihad and the reason for so much stress on it abundantly clear. These also show how great a crime it is to ignore it. It is very unfortunate indeed that present-day Muslims are guilty of renouncing Jihad in every part of the world. May Allah help us to overcome this negligence. Chapter 234:1352