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.
- It is jihad, Mr. Morgan, a particularly virulent, fundamentalist form of hatred.
- The word "jihad" has nowhere been used in the Qur'an to mean war in the sense of launching an offensive. It is used rather to mean "struggle". the action most consistently called for in the Qur'an is the exercise of patience.
- Wahiddudin Khan The True Jihad: The Concept of Peace, Tolerance and Non Violence in Islam, p. 4.
- The goal of true jihad is to attain a harmony between islam (submission), iman (faith), and ihsan (righteous living).
- Mahmoud M. Ayoub, Islam: Faith and History, pp. 68–69
- There is no lack of evidence concerning the Muslim practice of jihad. The classical and modern works on the subject are voluminous, and they are documented by an examination of Muslim actions as recorded by historians. There can be no reasonable doubt that jihad is a major theme running through the entirety of Muslim civilization and is at least one of the major factors in the astounding success of the faith of Islam.
- http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1ppjtw%7Ctitle= Understanding Jihad|publisher= University of California Press|author= David Cook|date= 2005|isbn=978-0-520-93187-9|page=163
- In reading Muslim literature -- both contemporary and classical -- one can see that the evidence for the primacy of spiritual jihad is negligible. Today it is certain that no Muslim, writing in a non-Western language (such as Arabic, Persian, Urdu), would ever make claims that jihad is primarily nonviolent or has been superseded by the spiritual jihad. Such claims are made solely by Western scholars, primarily those who study Sufism and/or work in interfaith dialogue, and by Muslim apologists who are trying to present Islam in the most innocuous manner possible.
- http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1ppjtw%7Ctitle= Understanding Jihad|publisher= University of California Press|author= David Cook|date= 2005|isbn=978-0-520-93187-9|pages=165-6
- ...after surveying the evidence from classical until contemporary times, one must conclude that today's jihad movements are as legitimate as any that have ever existed in classical Islam... In short, although the actions of many of these groups may disgust many Muslims, as far as their conduct of jihad, they fall within the limits set by classical and contemporary Muslim law.
- http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1ppjtw%7Ctitle= Understanding Jihad|publisher= University of California Press|author= David Cook|date= 2005|isbn=978-0-520-93187-9|page=16
- The first step... is to understand the difference between total strategy, that is Jehad, and military strategy. The term, Jehad, so often confused with military strategy, is, in fact, the near-equivalent of total or grand strategy or policy in execution. Jehad entails the comprehensive direction and application of ‘power’ while military strategy deals only with the preparation for and application of force. Jehad is a continuous and never-ending struggle waged on all fronts including political, economic, social, psychological, domestic, moral and spiritual to attain the object of policy. It aims at attaining the overall mission assigned to the Islamic State, and military strategy is one of the means available to it to do so. It is waged at the individual as well as collective level; and at internal as well as external front. Waged in its true spirit, and with multiple means available to it, the Islamic concept of total strategy has the capacity to produce direct results. Alternately, however, it creates conditions conducive to the military strategy to attain its objectives speedily and economically. Military strategy thus draws heavily on the total strategy (Jehad) for its successful application. Any weakness or strength in the formulation, direction or application of the total strategy would affect military strategy in like manner. In the absence of Jehad, the preparation for and application of ‘force’ to its best advantage would be a matter of exception, not rule. Conversely, optimum preparation and application of military instrument forms an integral part of Jehad.
- Malik, Brigadier S.K., The Quranic Concept of War, Lahore, 1979, New Delhi reprint, 1986. , quoted from S.R. Goel, The Calcutta Quran Petition Section 1, Chapter 3. (1999)
Quotes in the Quran
- Those of the believers who sit still, other than those who have a (disabling) hurt, are not on an equality with those who strive in the way of Allah with their wealth and lives. Allah hath conferred on those who strive with their wealth and lives a rank above the sedentary. Unto each Allah hath promised good, but He hath bestowed on those who strive a great reward above the sedentary.
- Quran, 4:95
- وَمَن جَٰهَدَ فَإِنَّمَا يُجَٰهِدُ لِنَفْسِهِۦٓ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَغَنِىٌّ عَنِ ٱلْعَٰلَمِينَ
- وَٱلَّذِينَ جَٰهَدُوا۟ فِينَا لَنَهْدِيَنَّهُمْ سُبُلَنَا ۚ وَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَمَعَ ٱلْمُحْسِنِينَ
- إِنَّمَا ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ بِٱللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِۦ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَرْتَابُوا۟ وَجَٰهَدُوا۟ بِأَمْوَٰلِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ۚ أُو۟لَٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلصَّٰدِقُونَ
- 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
- “I came to the Prophet and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, which Jihad is best?’ He said: ‘(That of a man) whose blood is shed and his horse is wounded.’”
- Sunan Ibn Majah, Book 24, Hadith 2900
- Allah's Messenger was asked, "What is the best deed?" He replied, "To believe in Allah and His Apostle (Muhammad). The questioner then asked, "What is the next (in goodness)? He replied, "To participate in Jihad (religious fighting) in Allah's Cause."
- Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 2, Hadith 19
- 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