March 4, 2024 Special Dispatch No. 11164

Member Of Fiqh Councils In Europe And North America: The Islamic Nation Must Wage Jihad To Help The Palestinians; Sykes-Picot Borders Have No Legal Status In Religious Laws Of Jihad

March 4, 2024
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 11164

Against the backdrop of the war in Gaza, Jasser Auda, a founder and board member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), funded by Qatar and Turkey, and a member of the Fiqh Council of North America and the European Council for Fatwa and Research,[1] published an article calling for Muslims to wage jihad in order to aid the Palestinians in their war against Israel. In the article, titled "The Sykes-Picot Borders Have No Legal Status In Religious Laws of Jihad," Auda stresses that the religious duty of jihad, which is explicitly set out in the Quran, is a collective duty. This means that, if it is adequately performed by a sufficient number of Muslims, other Muslims are exempt from taking part in it. However, if it is not adequately performed, it becomes a religious duty incumbent upon every individual Muslim, especially upon those who are geographically close to the arena of fighting and who are mentally and financially able to engage in it.

Auda goes on to say that, given the current events in Gaza, the Muslim nation is not fulfilling its duty of jihad in Palestine, which means that all Muslims must take part in it – and if they do not, they are all sinners.

Stressing that the duty of waging jihad rests first and foremost with the Muslim rulers, who have necessary military and economic means at their disposal, Auda adds that international borders do not nullify the duty of waging jihad. Notions like "borders between nation states" and "state sovereignty," he explains, are part of the modern political lexicon and have no legal status when comes to the shari'a laws of jihad.

Auda criticizes countries that "purport to be Islamic" but support Israel out of their own narrow interests.

It should be noted that, in another article posted on the IUMS website several months ago, Auda wrote that the current war in Gaza is "part of a war against Islam as a religion and a civilization" which "the forces of modern global arrogance [are waging] in the heart of the Islamic nation, in Palestine." He added that, for these forces, "the Zionist entity is just a tool to actualize the imperialist interest of the white man's expansion and control."[2]

Jasser Auda (Image:

The following are translated excerpts from Auda's recent article:[3]

Jihad Is The Duty Of Every Muslim, Especially Of Those Living Close To The Area Attacked And Of The Muslim Rulers

"It is well known in Islam that jihad for the sake of Allah is legitimate, for it is the duty of every member of the Muslim nation to repel aggressors and defend the oppressed. Allah said, 'And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men, women, and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help!"' [Quran 4:75]. And also, 'Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors' [Quran 2:190].

"This straightforward Quranic discourse and this clear commandment – 'fight' – is addressed to every member of the Islamic nation in every part of the world, not [just] to a particular country, regime, kingdom, people, tribe, element or area…

"But the commandment to [wage] jihad for the sake of Allah in order to respond to aggression and defend the oppressed is not a duty that is personally incumbent upon every individual member of the nation. To use the terminology of Islamic Law, it is not a fardh 'ain [personal duty that every Muslim man and woman must perform], like the commandments of prayer, alms, fasting and pilgrimage to Mecca.[4]  Rather, it is a collective duty incumbent upon the Islamic nation as a whole until the objectives of fighting are achieved… In the accepted terminology of Islamic Law, it is a fardh kafaya [collective religious duty]. If a duty of this sort is performed by enough [people] to meet the needs, all [the other] individual members of the Muslim nation are exempt. But if it is not performed by enough [people], it [becomes] the religious duty of every Muslim everywhere in the world. There is a criterion of proximity: whoever is geographically close [to the fighting arena], and whoever is most capable – mentally, financially or in other terms – must perform the duty of aiding his Muslim brothers and sisters by waging jihad for the sake of Allah with his life, his money or by other means.

"'Geographically close' means whoever lives near the area where Muslims are being attacked, and 'mentally, financially or otherwise capable' means anyone who can help with his hand, i.e., by engaging in actual fighting, or with his tongue or his money. Chief of those required [to wage jihad] are the Muslim rulers, who can mobilize fighting forces, spend considerable sums of money and lead angry peoples [to war]. The rulers are at the head the [Muslim] communities that are required to perform this duty, and they are the greatest sinners if this duty is neglected.

"That is what the Islamic shari'a decrees, and it [applies] without question to what is happening in blessed Palestine. As long as this collective religious duty is not being [sufficiently] met – which is evident from what is happening on the ground – each and every one of us Muslims is guilty of the sin [of neglecting it]… The greatest sinners of all are the rulers of the nation and its military, political and economic officials…

International Borders Do Not Nullify The Duty Of Jihad Incumbent Upon Every Muslim

"How can it be that the nation of [the Prophet] Muhammad does not defend itself when it is being murdered, and when its men, women and children are being butchered in broad daylight in front of everyone? What is holding it back? One of the factors that may be deterring Muhammad's nation from defending itself is the lie that has been spread among the Muslims today, which is one of the greatest lies and mistakes… The crux of this lie is [the notion of] 'borders between nation states and their sovereignty over their land,' to use modern political parlance. [According to this notion], the leaders, armies and people of a nation-state are required to defend the 'borders' and the 'sovereignty' of that state alone, and whatever happens outside the borders of the modern nation-state is an external affair that concerns the 'neighbors' or the 'neighboring countries.' Intervention [in these affairs] is possible only if the supreme interests or national security of [one's own] state are being harmed…

"True, the position of most religious scholars today is that there is no religious prohibition against distinguishing administrative divisions within the Islamic nation, [namely a division] into states, districts or kingdoms, each with its own governing authorities that manage its public affairs and formulate the general policy by which they govern a certain people. That is, in principle, the Muslim state is allowed to perform the role that is performed by nation-states in our modern reality. But the fact that Muslim nation-states, administrative districts, areas, or kingdoms are allowed to exist does not mean that the duties of jihad for the sake of Allah – meant to defend the nation and respond to aggression against its peoples, their land and their holy places – are not incumbent upon the collective, or are nullified by the existence of the agreed-upon international borders. On the contrary, jihad for the sake of Allah continues to be a duty of the entire nation as a whole… [both] the rulers and the ruled, regardless of borders and 'sovereignty.' Moreover, [performing this duty] is necessary and obligates every Muslim: the ones who are [geographically] close, and the ones who are mentally and financially able. Chief of those required to perform this religious duty are still the Muslim rulers and the military, political and economic officials…  

"In other words, the Sykes-Picot borders have no legal status when it comes to the Muslim law regarding jihad for the sake of Allah. It is well known that these borders were invented by the French minister Picot and the British minister Sykes when most of the countries of the Muslim world were under French of British occupation. In 1918 the two [ministers] signed what came to be known as the Sykes-Picot Agreement… and agreed on the present [borders], which created divisions and disunity. Due to this dark history of conspiratorial agreements, all forms of Islamic unity collapsed, and the enemies of the Islamic nation divided its lands into dozens of warring statelets…

"Territorial disputes between Muslims still exist on all [these] borders, with few exceptions, and this caused inter-Muslim wars throughout the previous century. The modern Muslim statelets fight over land, water, oil, gas and trade routes, and [there are also conflicts] between political ideologies, tribes, [individual] leaders and so on – to the extent that no nation in the modern world is more divided, and more diverse in terms of its modes of action on the political map, than the Muslim nation…"

Neglect Of The Duty Of Jihad Means All Muslims Are Sinners, Especially The Rulers

"We see how fateful international decisions are taken today, on all levels, including decisions regarding the Islamic nation and the soil of Jerusalem and Palestine. They are usually taken as though the Islamic nation does not exist and is worthless. The latest episode of this farce, which we are witnessing in these bitter days, is the Zionist genocidal war against Palestine, in which we see with our own eyes, openly and in broad daylight, how the Zionists' supporters in all the nation-states help the Zionists with money, weapons and lives, and give them moral support. Even some states that call themselves Islamic support the Zionists in order to serve their own interests within their own borders, or, more accurately, in the service of every ruler and his family…       

"The laws of jihad have remained as they were, and nothing has revoked their religious validity. The religious ruling regarding the obligation to help the Muslims and the oppressed people of Palestine is still valid. [It applies to] all Muslims throughout the world, and every Muslim will be held accountable for it on Judgement Day. Moreover, as long as the collective religious duty is not performed – which in practice is the case today – we are facing a sin that will be ascribed to every one of us Muslims in this world… [and] the chief of the sinners are the rulers of the nation and its military, political and economic officials…"


[1] Auda is also president of Maqasid Institute Global, a think tank registered in the U.S., U.K., Malaysia and Indonesia, and has taught at universities and colleges in Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE, Canada, the U.K., South Africa and elsewhere  (;, October 31, 2023).

[2]  Iumsonline,org, October 31, 2023.

[3], February 15, 2024.

[4] These are four of the five Pillars of Islam, which are all personal commandments. The fifth, which is not mentioned here, is the commandment to utter the shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith, proclaiming that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger. 

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