Learning Self Defense is from the Objectives of the Shariah

Learning Self Defense is from the Objectives of the Shariah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: The strong believer is more beloved to Allah than the weak believer and in both of them there is some good.[1] These words inform us about the status of strength in Islam and how it’s something pleasing to Allah. This includes a strong physique with solid faith. When a Muslim fixes his internal faith to match his external appearance with actions, he can then protect the objectives of the Shariah and invite others to follow suit through his accomplishments. The Shariah came to protect the religion, wealth, honor, intellect, and human life. The protection of these things make-up a perfect life in any society. They are the five necessities for safety and peace.  

Today there are many people transgressing the rights of peace and safety found within the objectives of the shariah. The legislation for certain penalties when these necessities are violated help maintain order in life and safeguard human’s rights. For instance, one who is an innovator is boycotted, by doing so we protect Islam. The thief who steals has his hand cut off; and by doing so we protect the wealth of the people. In fact, the threat of it alone is enough for a smart individual to not steal. What’s more, is the one who slanders a person is whipped publicly and this protects people’s honor. Moreover, the one drinks intoxicants is flogged, and this protects his intellect and the safety of others. Furthermore, the one who kills another unjustly is executed and this protects mankind from murder after murder from the killer; and the who commits adultery is stoned to death.

The laws for these penalties can only be enforced in a Muslim country by the government there following the Sharia; as its regulation in their judicial system. Protecting the religion is the primary aim of the Shari’ah followed by the human-life. When it comes to a person’s life then there are times when he must defend and protect himself and if he is harmed in the way of doing so, then he will be rewarded. Above all he has the right to defend his faith, life and his wealth. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “He who dies while defending his property is a martyr; he who dies in defense of his own life is a martyr; and he who dies on defense of his faith is a martyr, he who dies in defense of his family is a martyr.” [2]

This hadith establishes the proof that learning self-defense plays a role in protecting the 5 necessities of life from the objectives of the Shariah. Imam Al-Khattabi said: “The person fighting to protect his wealth, defend his family, and religion desiring Allah’s reward, and thus is killed in the process earns the status of being a martyr. Included in this hadith is fighting a thief, a renegade, those who spread corruption on the earth, and a highway robber. i.e car jacker and purse snatcher.[3]

Ibn Battal said that the above hadith is evidence for self-defense and if the attacker is the one killed in the incident, then there is no penalty for person defending himself, nor has committed a crime.[4]  Imam Ash-Shafa’I and Imam Ahmed both held the view that when a person is attacked by someone trying to rob him, or kill him then he must defend himself in the best way possible. Other scholars were on the opinion that if a person felt the danger of being assaulted then he is within his right to attack first. Once a burglar entered Umar’s home and he stood with sword ready to strike a blow; however, there was something between him and the thief that blocked him. Hasan Al-Basri was asked about an intruder entering one’s house carrying a weapon. Hasan replied, “Kill him with anything you can get your hands on.”[5]

 The era we live in today plagued with violence and chaos makes it essential for the person to be prepared for any unexpected encounter regardless of where they are. Allah said: and do not throw yourselves into destruction and do good. Truly, Allah loves Al-Muhsinun (the good-doers).[6]  Imam Abu Hanifah and Imam Malik held that this verse is proof of self -defense in general according to Islamic law. This includes an attacker, or an intruder regardless of; age, religion, sanity, human or animal. A person must protect himself. A person surrendering helplessly to his attacker falls under them meaning of the verse, “Throw yourselves into destruction…”

Imam Ash-Shafa’I held the opinion that self-defense against the non-Muslim attacker was a must; since giving in to him is dishonoring the religion. Conversely, if the one transgressing against you was a Muslim, then it’s permissible for you to surrender to him. This makes no difference of his age or sanity. It’s said that it is sunnah to surrender to someone in this situation. Similarly, it is obligatory to defend yourself against an attacker.[7]

These three Imams agree that self defense has a place in Islam. Imam Ibn Quddamah from Hanabala Jurists said in Al-Mugna’, that a person must defend himself in the best way possible that he knows against any attacker trying to kill him, or a burglar attempting to rob him. If he kills the attacker then be it, and if he is killed, thus he is a martyr.[8]

Islam allows the right to self-defense depending on the threat. This includes verbal threats when you feel an imminent danger to harm. At the same time a Muslim isn’t allowed to provoke a person to attack him. Rather, the approach to avoiding all types of conflict is better if possible; however, in the event this is not possible and your life, your family’s life, your property and your wealth are the target then you have to survive. Surviving a street confrontation, a home invasion, or any other attack might not require deadly force all the time. Islam’s allowance of self-defense does not mean deadly force in all instances as mentioned by the hadith, the four Imams and the Salaf. Plainly put when you are in a confrontation does your self-defense match the threat, so the aggressor(s) ends up dead when you didn’t have to kill him!

There are many arts to study, Kali and Silat are effective for street fighting and weapons defense. When mentioning street fighting it is important to understand that 3 things must be calculated before the fight begins; its going to quick and severe, assume he has weapons and multiple attackers will be involved. Hence, I mentioned Kali and Silat first. Second, Brazilian Ju Jit Su, Aki Ju jitsu, JuJutsu and from these arts you have many descendant arts such as; Krav Maga, and Sambo, both great arts as well. Lastly, there is Boxing and MMA. Be sure when you are searching for a school that the teacher is properly qualified, and has truly earned the rank, he wears around his waist. There are a lot of scams out there so be smart, careful and stay safe.

Prepared by;

Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Battle

Doha, Qatar 1443©


[1] Sahih Muslim 2664

[2] Abu Dawud (4772) graded as being Sahih by Imam Al-Albani

[3] معالم السنن by Imam Al-Khattabi , vol 4pg 336

[4] Explanation of Sahih Al-Bukhari by Ibn Battal, vol 6,pg 607

[5] Jami’ Uloom Wa Hikam, vol 1, pg 124, by Ibn Rajab.

[6] 2:195

[7] دفع الصائل وأحكامه في الشريعة اإلسالمية  by Dr.Hatem Ismail Musa pg 4-5

[8] المقتع vol 3/ pg 505-507, by Ibn Quddamah