My question relates to another Hadith. Can you tell me how authentic this Hadith is? It was when the Holy Prophet was returning from the battle in Tabuk I think, and he states that “We have just come back from the Lesser Jihad and are going into the Greater Jihad“. Implying the Jihad with oneself. Would is your opinion on this hadith? and do you its reference and its link?
The tradition you have referred to has not been reported in the well-known books of Hadith. It is only reported by Bahaqi in his Zuhd al-Kabir and Saalbi in his commentary on the Holy Qur’an. It is not authentic enough to merit provenance to the Prophet (sws). Those who recorded it in their books themselves pointed to its weakness. Below is the text of the tradition followed by comments of the scholars of the science of the of Hadith:
أخبرنا علي بن أحمد بن عبدان أنبأ أحمد بن عبيد ثنا تمتام ثنا عيسى بن إبراهيم ثنا يحيى بن يعلى عن ليث عن عطاء عن جابر قال قدم على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قوم غزاة فقال صلى الله عليه وسلم قدمتم خير مقدم من جهاد الأصغر إلى جهاد الأكبر قيل وما قال مجاهدة العبد هواه وهذا فيه ضعف
Ali Bin Ahmad informed us that Ahmad Bin Ubaid narrated from Tamtaam who reported from ‘Isa Bin Ibrahim who reported from Yahla who reported from Lais who reported Jabir narrate: ‘Some warriors came to the Holy Prophet. He said to them, ‘welcome back, you came from minor Jihad to the greater one.’ It was asked, ‘what is that Oh Prophet of God?’ ‘One’s fight against his mundane wills,’ he replied.’ (Bahaqi Kitab ul Zuhd-al-Kabir)
After analyzing the chain of reporters involved in the narrative scholars have concluded that the tradition is baseless. While commenting on another narration of the tradition which Zamakhshari mentioned in Al-Kashaaf, Muhibbuddin Afandi writes in his annotation on the exegesis1:
The narration is falsehood. Salbi has recorded it in his exegesis without naming its narrators, as we know from Ibn-E-Hajar’s Takhreej on ul Kashaaf. Beside this he (Sa`lbi) has narrated another tradition like this on the authority of Jabir (ra), which Bahaqi has put out in his ‘Al Zohd’ in the following words:2
Hafiz Bahaqi mentions thereafter that the narrators of the tradition are Zaif. Hafiz Ibn-e-Hajar is of view in his ‘Takhreej’ that three of its narrators are unreliable and they include Isa Bin Ibrahim who narrates from Yahya Bin Yahla who narrates from Lais Bin Abi Sulaim. I believe that Yahya and Lais are only Zaif but Isa Bin Ibrahim is Matrook Ul Hadis (one whose narrations will not be accepted). Same is the observation of Abu Hatim and Nisai. Yahya said that he was worthless. Bukhari opined that he was Munkir-ul-Hadis e.g. it is not allowed to accept narration from him, as we know that Bukhari uses this term to denote the above-mentioned meaning by applying the term on the narration. Ibn-e-Hajar rightly stated that it was what Ibrahim Bin Habla, one of the Syrians Tabiin, who used to say it. Therefore to take it as ‘Marfoo` (traced back to the Holy Prophet) tradition would be a mistake and assuming it a saying of a Tabii would be right..
This is the tradition Ghazali narrated in his treatise Ihya-ul-uloom’. Araqi in his brief comments on the said narration in Ihya-ul-uloom said that its narrators are Zaeef3
Likewise other authorities of Hadith like Ibn Taymiyyah and Al-Bani4 have convincingly challenged the authenticity of this narrative. So one can safely conclude that there is no such thing as a greater Jihad or a lesser one.
We find ample evidence in other works like Jameh-al- Uloom Wal Hikam, Tedib-ul-Kamal and Siyar Ahlanm-al-Nubala` that Ibrahim Bin Habla` used to say these words5. Ibn-Hajr has provided the best solution to the problem by indicating to the fact. Therefore, it would be safe to avoid ascribing the saying to the Holy Prophet (sws).
I hope this helps
Tariq Mahmood Hashmi
February 5, 2003
- His commentary is based on Ibne Hajar’s work on Zamakhshari’s narrations in al-Kashaf [↩]
- The author refers to the tradition quoted above. [↩]
- Ibn Hajr’s Takhriju’l Kashshaf as annotation on Zamakhashri’s Kashshaf, 1st ed., vol. 3, (Daru’l-Turath al-‘Arabi, 1997), pp. 174-5 [↩]
- Ibn Taymiyyah, Fatawa, 2nd ed., vol. 11, (Riyad: 1399 AH), p. 197 / Al-Bani, Silsilah al-Ahadith al-Da’ifah wa al-Mawdufah, 1st ed., vol. 5, (Riyad: Maktabah al-Ma’arif, 1992), pp. 478-80. [↩]
- Jami`-al-Uloom wal Hikm 1/196, Siyar I`lam al-Nubala` 6/325 Tahdhib-ul-Kamal 2/144 [↩]