Jihad (جهاد') is an Arabic word which literally means striving or struggling, especially with a praiseworthy aim. It can have many shades of meaning in an Islamic context, such as struggle against one's evil inclinations, an exertion to convert unbelievers, or efforts toward the moral betterment of society, though it is most frequently associated with war. In classical Islamic law, the term refers to armed struggle against unbelievers, while modernist Islamic scholars generally equate military jihad with defensive warfare. In Sufi and pious circles, spiritual and moral jihad has been traditionally emphasized under the name of greater jihad. The term has gained additional attention in recent decades through its use by terrorist groups. The word jihad appears frequently in the Quran with and without military connotations, often in the idiomatic expression "striving in the path of God (al-jihad fi sabil Allah)". Islamic jurists and other ulema of the classical era understood the obligation of jihad predominantly in a military sense. They developed an elaborate set of rules pertaining to jihad, including prohibitions on harming those who are not engaged in combat. In the modern era, the notion of jihad has lost its jurisprudential relevance and instead given rise to an ideological and political discourse. While modernist Islamic scholars have emphasized defensive and non-military aspects of jihad, some Islamists have advanced aggressive interpretations that go beyond the classical theory. Jihad is classified into inner ("greater") jihad, which involves a struggle against one's own base impulses, and external ("lesser") jihad, which is further subdivided into jihad of the pen/tongue (debate or persuasion) and jihad of the sword.
- The Sheikh has departed, may God have mercy on him, to his God as a martyr and we must continue on his path of ¬ Jihad to expel the invaders from the land of Muslims and to purify it from injustice. Today, and thanks to God, America is not facing an individual or a group, but a rebelling nation, which has awoken from its sleep in a jihadist renaissance.
- Ayman al-Zawahiri, . Al-Qaeda posts fresh warning from al-Zawahiri to US. BBC News (June 8, 2011). Retrieved on June 20, 2011.
Quotes in the Quran
- إنما المؤمنون الذين آمنوا بالله ورسوله ثم لم يرتابوا وجاهدوا بأموالهم وأنفسهم في سبيل الله أولئك هم الصادقون
- The (true) believers are those only who believe in Allah and His messenger and afterward doubt not, but strive (jihad) their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. Such are the sincere.
- Quran 49:15, Al-Hujurat, as translated by Marmaduke Pickthall in The Meaning of the Glorious Koran (1930)
- Only those are Believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and have never since doubted, but have striven (jihad) with their belongings and their persons in the Cause of Allah: Such are the sincere ones.
- Quran 49:15, Al-Hujurat, as translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali in The Holy Qur'an: Text, Translation and Commentary (1934)
Quotes in Hadiths
- أَفْضَلُ الْجِهَادِ كَلِمَةُ عَدْلٍ عِنْدَ سُلْطَانٍ جَائِرٍ
- The best Jihad is to say a word of truth before a tyrant ruler.
- Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith No. 4344