This is a post that many may not expect from me. I read something today where someone was talking about "horrible Muslims and their call for Jihad."
Jihād seems to be a very misunderstood word. It is a noun meaning "struggle."
Jihad appears frequently in the Qur'an and common usage as the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of Allah (al-jihad fi sabil Allah)"
"Fighting for the Cause of Allah (Jihaad) ".Sahih al-Bukhari 4:52:41
"O you who believe! Choose not your fathers nor your brethren for protectors if they love disbelief over belief; whoever of you takes them for protectors, such are wrong-doers. Say: if your fathers, and your children, and your brethren, and your spouses, and your tribe, and the wealth you have acquired, and business for which you fear shrinkage, and houses you are pleased with are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger and striving
in His way: then wait till Allah brings His command to pass. Allah does not guide disobedient folk"
(Quran 9:23, 24).
Mahatma Gandhi's struggle for Indian independence is called a "jihad" in Modern Standard Arabic.
Granted, Jihad can mean violence, but it does not always mean violence.
(Jadihu) for Allah with the endeavor (Jihadihi) which is His right. He has chosen you and has not laid upon you in the deen (religion) any hardship..."
(Quran, 22:78)Jihad of the heart
(jihad bil qalb/nafs) is concerned with combating the devil and in the attempt to escape his persuasion to evil. This type of Jihad is regarded as the greater jihad (al-jihad al-akbar).Jihad by the tongue
(jihad bil lisan) is concerned with speaking the truth and spreading the word of Islam with one's tongue.Jihad by the hand
(jihad bil yad) refers to choosing to do what is right and to combat injustice and what is wrong with action.Jihad by the sword
(jihad bis saif) refers to qital fi sabilillah (armed fighting in the way of God, or holy war), the most common usage by Salafi Muslims and offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood.
When faced with two competing interests, it becomes jihad to choose the right one.
"Aisha, wife of the Prophet asked, 'O Messenger of Allah, we see jihad as the best of deeds, so shouldn't we join it?' He replied, 'But the best of jihad is a perfect Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah)'" (Sahih Al-Bukhari, No. 2784).
The Qur'an permits fighting to defend the religion of Islam and the Muslims. This permission includes fighting in self-defense and for the protection of family and property.
Islam never tolerates unprovoked aggression from its own side; Muslims are commanded in the Qur'an not to begin hostilities, embark on any act of aggression, violate the rights of others, or harm the innocent. Even hurting or destroying animals or trees is forbidden. War is waged only to defend the religious community against oppression and persecution, because the Qur'an says that "persecution is worse than slaughter" and "let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression" (Qur'an 2:190-193). Therefore, if non-Muslims are peaceful or indifferent to Islam, there is no justified reason to declare war on them.
The Qur'an also says, "Let there be no compulsion in religion" (2:256). Forcing someone at the point of a sword to choose death or Islam is an idea that is foreign to Islam in spirit and in historical practice.
I really hope this helps clear up the whole thing with Islam, war and Jihad. Are there any questions? What do you know about jihad? What are some of your beliefs and misconceptions about it? How has this information helped develop your idea of jihad?