The command to wage jihad for the sake of Allaah, and the warning against neglecting jihad, appear in many verses of the Qur’aan and ahaadeeth.
If the Muslims neglect jihad for the sake of Allaah, and prefer a life of ease, and focus only on this world, they will face humiliation and scorn, and all their affairs will be corrupted. They expose themselves to the wrath and anger of Allaah, and they expose Islam to loss and defeat at the hands of kufr. Hence neglecting jihad is a major sin.
Ibn Hajar said in al-Zawaajir:
The 390th, 391st and 392nd major sins are neglecting jihad when it becomes an obligation, which is when aggressors enter the Muslim land or when they seize a Muslim, and it is possible to rescue him from them and the people neglect jihad altogether and when the people in a region neglect to fortify their borders so that there is a risk of the kuffaar overrunning them because of that.” end quote.
Hence it was well known and well established among the Sahaabah that no one refrains from taking part in jihad when it becomes fard ‘ayn (an individual obligation) except one who is weak and is therefore excused or one who is a hypocrite. This is what was narrated by Ka’b ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) when he stayed behind from the campaign of Tabook: “When I came out to the people after the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had gone out, I went around among them and was distressed to see no one except a man who was known to be a hypocrite or weak men whom Allaah had excused.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4066; Muslim, 4973.
The evidence also states some of the punishments that result from that. For example:
1 – Neglecting jihad leads to doom in this world and in the Hereafter.
In this world the craven coward is humiliated and enslaved, he is a follower, not a leader. In the Hereafter, neglecting jihad will be a cause of Allaah's punishment.
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“And spend in the Cause of Allaah (i.e. Jihad of all kinds) and do not throw yourselves into destruction (by not spending your wealth in the Cause of Allaah), and do good. Truly, Allaah loves Al-Muhsinoon (the good-doers”
al-Tirmidhi (2972) narrated that Aslam Abu ‘Imraan said: We were in the city of the Byzantines (i.e., Constantinople) and a great troop of the Byzantines came out to us. One of the Muslim men attacked the Byzantine ranks until he penetrated them, and the people shouted and said “Subhaan-Allaah, he has thrown himself into destruction.” Abu Ayyoob al-Ansaari stood up and said: “O people, you misinterpret this verse in this way; rather this verse was revealed concerning us, the Ansaar. When Allaah caused Islam to prevail and its supporters increased, we said to one another in secret, without speaking to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): ‘Our wealth is neglected. Allaah has caused Islam to prevail and its supporters have increased. Why don’t we stay with our property and improve it?’ Then Allaah revealed Qur’aan to His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), refuting what we had said: “And spend in the Cause of Allaah (i.e. Jihad of all kinds) and do not throw yourselves into destruction” [al-Baqarah 2:195]. This destruction was our staying with our property to improve it, and neglecting to fight (in jihad). Abu Ayyoob never stopped fighting for the sake of Allaah until he was buried in Constantinople. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
It says in Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi:
This hadeeth indicates that what is meant by throwing oneself into destruction is taking care of one’s family and wealth at the expense of jihad.
2 – Neglecting jihad is a cause of humiliation and scorn
Abu Dawood (3462) narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “When you engage in ‘aynah transactions (a kind of transaction intended to circumvent the prohibition on riba or usury), and you take hold of the tails of oxen and you are content with agriculture (at the time when jihad is obligatory), and you give up jihad, then Allaah will send upon you humiliation that will not be dispelled until you return to your religion, Allaah will send upon you humiliation that will not be dispelled until you return to your religion, Allaah will send upon you humiliation that will not be dispelled until you return to your religion.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
Our Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) indeed spoke the truth, for the one who looks at the state of the Muslims today will see that they have become very careless about their religion. They consume riba and they are focused on this world, and they have neglected jihad for the sake of Allaah. And what is the result? Allaah has subjected them to humiliation, and they turn to the east and to the west, humiliated and lowly, asking them for support against their enemies, and they do not realize [?] that this humiliation will not be lifted from them until they go back to their religion as the truthful Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said.
Allaah has indeed spoken the truth:
“Give to the hypocrites the tidings that there is for them a painful torment.
Those who take disbelievers for Awliyaa’ (protectors or helpers or friends) instead of believers, do they seek honour, power and glory with them? Verily, then to Allaah belongs all honour, power and glory”
[al-Nisa’ 4:138-139 – interpretation of the meaning]
3 – Neglecting jihad is a cause of Allaah's punishment in this world and in the Hereafter
Abu Dawood (2503) narrated from Abu Umaamah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever does not fight or does not equip a warrior or support the family of a warrior in his absence, Allaah will strike him with calamity before the Day of Resurrection.” Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
Al-Qaari’ah (translated here as calamity) means a disaster that occurs suddenly.
And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“O you who believe! What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to march forth in the Cause of Allaah (i.e. Jihaad) you cling heavily to the earth? Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter? But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world as compared to the Hereafter.
If you march not forth, He will punish you with a painful torment and will replace you by another people; and you cannot harm Him at all, and Allaah is Able to do all things”
The punishment of which He warns them is not only punishment in the Hereafter, rather it is punishment in this world and in the Hereafter, the punishment of humiliation that befalls those who do not engage in jihad, the punishment of being deprived of the good things from which the kaafir enemy benefits. In addition to all of that, those who forsake jihad will lose more lives and more wealth than would be lost in jihad, and they offer more sacrifices than those required to retain their honour and dignity. No ummah forsook jihad but Allaah sent humility upon them, thus the cost was far greater than that that may have been required in jihad against the enemy.
Al-Sa’di (may Allaah have mercy on him) said (p. 532):
“O you who believe” do you not know the requirements of faith, which is that you should hasten to obey the command of Allaah and to seek His pleasure, and to fight His enemies in jihad for the sake of your religion? So “What is the matter with you, that when you are asked to march forth in the Cause of Allaah (i.e. Jihaad) you cling heavily to the earth?” meaning, why are you so lazy and so inclined towards this world.
“Are you pleased with the life of this world rather than the Hereafter?” Your case is that of those who are content with this world and who strive for worldly purposes, caring nothing for the Hereafter because they do not believe in it.
“But little is the enjoyment of the life of this world” towards which you are inclined and which you prefer. Hasn’t Allaah given you reason with which to weigh up matters and see which deserves to be shown preference?
Is not this world – from beginning to end – as nothing in comparison to the Hereafter?
What is a man's lifespan in comparison to the lifespan of this world, so as to make worldly gain his ultimate goal and concern and restrict all his efforts and focus to this short life that is filled with distress and risk?
How can you possibly prefer it to the Hereafter which includes every kind of delight that a person could desire, where you will abide forever? No person who prefers this world to the Hereafter has faith rooted in his heart and he cannot be regarded as a man of wisdom and understanding. Then Allaah warns them if they do not march forth, as He says:
“If you march not forth, He will punish you with a painful torment” – in this world and in the Hereafter, for not marching forth when ordered to do so is a major sin that deserves the most severe punishment, because it causes a great deal of harm, because the one who stays behind(from jihad) has disobeyed Allaah and done something that He has forbidden, and he has not helped to support the religion of Allaah or to protect the Book of Allaah and His Law. He has not helped his Muslim brothers against the enemy who wants to uproot them and eradicate their religion. Perhaps others who are weak in faith will follow his example, and he may even discourage those who are involved in fighting the enemies of Allaah. Thus he will be like those whom Allaah has warned of a severe punishment: “If you march not forth, He will punish you with a painful torment” Allaah has promised to support His religion and make His word supreme regardless of whether you obey the command of Allaah or not.
“and Allaah is Able to do all things” He is not incapable of doing anything that He wants, and none can overwhelm Him.
We ask Allaah to bring the Muslims back to their religion and to remove humiliation from them.
And Allaah knows best.