(1) Allah mentions five things, if they exist in a fighting group they would definitely win regardless of their numbers. These five attributes are mentioned in the following two verses:
“O you who have believed, when you encounter a company (from the enemy forces) stand firm and remember Allah much that you may be successful. And obey Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), and do not dispute and (thus) lose courage and (then) your strength would depart; and be patient. Indeed Allah is with the patient.” (Surah Al Anfal, 8 : 45-46)
- Being steadfast (firm),
- Remembrance of Allah,
- Obeying Allah and His Messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam),
- Avoiding disputes,
(2) The mujahidin need to be alert and they need to use deception. The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “War is deception.” (Bukhari and Muslim).
It is said that when Ali dueled with Amr bin Abdwod, Ali looked over Amr’s shoulder and said, “Amr I only came out to fight you, not the two of you .” Amr looked behind to see who Ali was talking about and Ali took advantage of that and struck him. Amr said, “You’ve deceived me!” Ali said, “War is all about deception!”
(3) It is Sunnah not to disclose where the army is heading. The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) did not disclose his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) destination in any battle except at Tabuk because it was against the Romans and was far away. He (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) did that in order to have the Muslims prepare accordingly.
(4) The envoy sent to the enemy is a reflection of the army. The envoy should be representative of the courage, wisdom, and intelligence of the army and its leadership. How many times has an army belittled the enemy because of the lack of resolve, foolishness, or weakness of the enemy’s messenger? And how many times has an army held the enemy in high esteem due to the dignity, courage, fluency or wisdom of the messenger. Therefore the commander needs to make the right choice for this important role.
The same envoy should not be sent too many times to the same enemy in order not to have a personal relationship develop which could in turn develop into friendship. That could eventually lead to a lack of effectiveness in the envoy’s mission. It could lead to treason by the envoy.
(5) The gatherings of the commander should have readings in the hadiths of jihad, books of Seerah , the history of Muslim conquests, the art of war, and stories of the brave. That is needed to strengthen the hearts, and relief them from the disease of fear.
(6) The fundamental issue of managing warfare is the right choice of commanders. The characteristics needed in the commanders are: Courage, piety, self-possession, to be strong hearted, and experienced in warfare. If the commanders were such then that would radiate to their soldiers.
A wise man said: A lion leading one thousand foxes is better than a fox leading one thousand lions.
Al Sirmani (the famous mujahid) said: The commander of the mujahidin needs to have ten qualities:
- Have a heart of a lion. He never feels fear.
- Be proud as a tiger. He never humbles himself in front of his enemy.
- Be as ruthless as a bear. He fights with all his weapons: His claws and his teeth.
- Charge like a boar. He never turns around.
- Attack like a wolf. If one direction doesn’t work he would try another.
- Carry weapons like an ant: It carries more than its weight.
- Firm like a rock
- Patient like a donkey
- Persistent like a dog: Would follow its game wherever it goes
- Always looking for an opportunity like an eagle.
(7) The commander of the army needs to send out spies before battle. These spies should infiltrate the enemy’s army and study them – Study the quantity and quality of their weaponry and equipment, survey their numbers, learn about their leaders and heroes, and study their strategies and plans.
The commander should also try to slip through to the enemy’s commanders people who would encourage them to give up, or try to divide them. The commander should also try to fabricate letters or documents supposedly written by their leaders, which would weaken their soldiers, and then try to spread these among them.
The commander should spend great amounts of money on intelligence. He should not hold back on spending in this area because if he wins than what he spend was indeed well spent, and if he loses than whatever wealth he held back would be worthless in the case of loss. Plus expending money is better than expending Muslim souls on the battleground.
(8) One of the most important arts of war is the art of preparing successful ambushes. Ambushing the enemy plays an important role in casting fear in the hearts of the enemy. The surprise of the ambush hurts the enemy and when attacked from behind the enemy feels insecure. A soldier cannot continue fighting ahead of him if he feels insecure from behind. The soldier’s mind becomes scattered between attacking the enemy in the front and protecting the rear. Thus, the morale is weakened.
(9) If the Amir wants to take a city then he must begin with the surrounding towns and villages. It is mentioned that a Roman king wanted to test his generals before sending them to invade the capital of Sicily. He placed a gold coin in the center of a large rug and told his generals whoever can get the coin without stepping on the rug would become the commander. The generals tried but failed. The king then rapped the rug and by doing so easily got the coin. He said, “If you want to take the capital you must rap all the surrounding areas first.”
(10) The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) discouraged Muslims from desiring the facing of the enemy.
He (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said: “Do not ask for and desire meeting your enemy. But if you do meet them then be steadfast.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
(11) The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) discouraged mutilating the bodies of the enemy and discouraged burning them in fire. He prohibited breaking promises and agreements.
The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “Four attributes if they exist in a person, then such a person is a pure hypocrite and if one of them is in a person then such a person has an attribute of hypocrisy – If he is entrusted he is untrustworthy; if he speaks he lies; if he gives a promise he breaks it; and he goes to extremes in animosity when he disagrees with someone.”
Therefore the commander of the army should beware of betrayal and not keeping one’s word.
The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said, “Whoever does you a favor than pay them back. If you can’t, then pray for them until you know that you’ve paid them back.”
It is the duty of every Muslim to recognize the blessing that they are in and to thank the one who caused it. The Muslims should pray for the ones who gave their lives in the cause of Allah until Islam reached us. And we need to admit that we are nowhere near them. And we should have certainty that if it wasn’t that Allah has blessed us with the Sahabah and Tabi’in and the ones who followed their path of jihad -the protectors of Islam; the heroes of the Ummah; the men of spears and bows; the openers of the East and West; the ones who mobilized the armies; who spent from their wealth; fought the tough soldiers of the world; defeated the apostates; brought down the Romans and Persians, and drank their blood with the lips of their swords, and made the living among them follow the dead, and made their significance insignificant – if it wasn’t for them, we would have not been enjoying the shade of Islam, a blessing that came to us from them.
We took what they paid for with their souls and wealth for granted. And we neglected their path of jihad. We fell down and became attached to this world and gave up our swords. Now no one talks about fighting and no one encourages it and thus, the religion became weak and its star fell from the sky. Today we are picked like a bird would pick seeds. We are snatched on land and in the sea.
Therefore, my brother, do admit that our condition is corrupt. Admit that we are deficient after we were complete. And admit that that only happened when we neglected the greatest ritual of Islam, jihad in the cause of Allah.
Whomever Allah guides no one can misguide and whomever Allah misleads no one can guide.
By: Abi Zakarya ad-Dimashki ad-Dumyati Ibn Nuhash, From the book : THE BOOK OF JIHAD