We’d like first to differentiate between obligatory and voluntary forms of Jihad. When Jihad is an individual obligation upon Muslims then parents permission is not required. As for non-obligatory Jihad in which one participates voluntarily, one has to seek the permission of his parents to it. Al-Bukhari reported on the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Amr: A man came to the Prophet asking his permission to take part in Jihad. The Prophet asked him, “Are your parents alive?” He replied in the affirmative. The Prophet said to him, “Then exert yourself in their service.”
Elaborating on this, we’d like to cite for you the fatwa issued by Al-Azhar House of Fatwa which reads:
“Obeying parents is an individual obligation (fard `ayn), while Jihad (fighting in the Cause of Allah) is a collective obligation (fard kifayah). So, the former takes precedence over the latter. Hence, one is not allowed to participate in Jihad without seeking the consent of one’s parents. Consequently, parents can prevent their son from fighting, if they consider it too dangerous.
Al-Qastalani states that the majority of scholars maintain that one is not allowed to set out for Jihad if his parents or even one of them do not agree. But this is only applicable if parents are Muslims and Jihad does not become an individual obligation (fard `ayn).
Therefore, kindness and obedience to one’s parents are preferable to Jihad, for as we know, the former is an individual obligation, while the latter is a collective one, so long as there is no urgency.
For example, when `Abbas ibn Mirdas wanted to participate in Jihad, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) told him – on knowing his mother to be elderly – that he was to take care of his mother, because obeying her would lead him to Paradise.
Al-Bukhari also reported in his Sahih (Authentic Collection of Hadith) that Ibn Mas`ud asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him): “O Allah’s Messenger! What are the best deeds?” The Prophet replied, “Performing prayer on time.” Ibn Mas`ud asked, “Then what?” The Prophet said: “Obeying one’s parents.” Ibn Mas`ud said, “Then what?” The Prophet said, “Jihad.”
Thus, we see that the Prophet made kindness and obedience to parents a priority over Jihad. It is also reported, on the authority of `Abdullah ibn `Amr ibn Al-`Aas that a man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to take his permission to fight in the cause of Allah. The Prophet asked him whether his parents were alive. The man said that they were. Hence, the Prophet said: “Taking care of them equals Jihad.”
Moreover, it is reported in the Authentic Books of Hadith, on the authority of Zayd ibn Khalid, that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Whoever provides a fighter in the Cause of Allah with the necessary equipment for Jihad gains the same reward equal to that of the fighter.”
‘Providing for a fighter in the Cause of Allah’ means supporting him whether financially or physically. So, the Prophet stated that such a person receives the same reward as the fighter, even though he is not actually involved in fighting. This is because without such support one can not afford Jihad.”