Jihad: Its True Meaning and Purpose


Nowadays so much is happening in our country. After 11th September many people are taking the term of Jihad in a very wrong way. Jihad in Islamic tradition is that of an internal spiritual struggle, focused on individual purification and the promotion of social justice and human rights. In some extreme sectors, this concept has been twisted to justify politically motivated acts of violence. Jihad is one of the most misunderstood and abused aspects of Islam. Some extremist Muslims exploit the concept of Jihad for their own political objectives. Many non-Muslims misinterpret it to discredit Islam and Muslims. Every religion goes through tough time b/c of its extremist followers. Islam is not a violent religion some of its followers are doing violent acts.

What is Jihad?

The word Jihad does not mean “Holy War”. Jihad means effort or endeavors against man’s own self. Jihad is to work hard to do right things. Islam ask his followers to recognize their duty towards themselves, and that duty is Jihad, striving for good against evil, beginning with the conquest of a man’s own lusts. His training for Jihad is not only military training; it is the whole structure of Islamic discipline. Without the wider human aim there can be no Jihad. In the religious sense, it probably applies to the whole effort of the Muslim to assert and establish the sovereignty of God in men’s mind, by performing his religious duty as laid down in the Quran, an effort, which should last through all his life. It should govern every action of his life, or he is no true Muslim. This duty may be summarized as the fight for good against evil in every connection and in every field, beginning with a man’s own heart and mind. Our Holy prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“The greatest Jihad is that against a man’s own lust;” Which means that the best way of recommending the belief in Allah’s universal sovereignty and extending the new realm of peace and brotherhood is by the example of righteous conduct. The term Al-Jihad-ul-Akbar. “The greatest Jihad,” is also applied by the Holy prophet (peace be upon him) to the effort of the student to become learned and the effort of the learned to spread knowledge.

“The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of the martyr.”

Jihad means serious and sincere struggle on the personal as well as on the social level. It is a struggle to do well and to remove injustice, oppression and evil from the society. This struggle should be spiritual as well as social, economic and political. In the Quran this word is used in its different forms 33 times. It often comes with other Quranic concepts such as faith, repentance, righteous deeds and migration. It is therefore incorrect to limit the meaning of the term to warfare of the fanatical religious kind

Jihad is Not Terrorism:

It is to be emphasized that terrorism against the innocent civilians, whether through aggression or suicidal means, is under no circumstances permissible in Islam. Terrorism is not Jihad, it is Fasad (mischief). It is against the teaching of Islam. Allah said: “When it is said to them: Make not mischief on the earth, they say why, we only want to correct things, Indeed they are the mischief doers, but they realize (it) not.” (Al Baqarah 2:11-12)

In olden days when the Muslim universities were at the height of their power and influence, the learned in the sacred Law judged independently, distinguished clearly between Jihad warfare and wars of mere ambition or self-interest. It is unanimously and invariably condemned the latter as totally un-sanctioned by the shariah. Wars which fall under the heading of Jihad can be fought only in self-defense, for the protection of the weak who are oppressed, and the redress of the wrong. Non combatants must not be harmed, priest and religious institutions have to be respected, crops must not be curt down. “Destroy not their means of subsistence.” That was the prophet’s law against his enemies. The prophet in his warfare several times forgave his enemies, with wonderful results.

Islam is a Religion of Peace and Tolerance:

Tolerance is a quality, which one associates with a high degree of human culture. One of the frequent charges brought against Islam, historically and as a religion by western world is that it is intolerant. For the Muslims, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are three forms of one religion, which in its original purity was the religion of Abraham. The laws of Allah are universal and the intolerance of Muslims for others’ beliefs are evidence that they themselves have, at the moment, forgotten the vision of the Majesty and mercy of Allah which the Quran presents to them. But people will object that Muslims today are very intolerant people, and they will call every body who do not agree with them a Kafir, an infidel and many. Muslims seek to justify such abuse by quoting the words of Quran. The Kafir in the first place, is not the follower of any religion. They are the opponent of Allah’s benevolent will and purpose for mankind – therefore the disbelieves in the truth of all religions, the disbelieves in all scriptures as of divine revelation, the disbelieves to the point of active opposition in all the prophets whom the Muslims are bidden to regard, without distinction, as messengers of Allah.

The Quran repeatedly claims to bet the confirmation of the truth of all religions.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was never aggressive against any one or class of men; he never penalized any one, or made war on any people on the ground of belief, but only on the ground of conduct. Many centuries the Muslims ruled all over the world. Islamic societies were known for their tolerance, generosity and humanity. So if Mr., Pat Robertson is quoting verses from the Quran, he took it in a very different context. Allah says very clearly:

Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not do aggression, for Allah loves not the aggressors. (Al Baqarah 2:190)

All Muslims are Condemning the Terrorism:

There is no command to murder and massacre. There is not one word in the Holy Quran to justify murder or massacre under any circumstances whatsoever. Therefore all of the Muslim community here in United States and all the over the world are and should condemned the brutal murder of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan.

In our modern society where we are living in global village, where non-Muslims and Muslims are living together, it is our duty to better understanding among ourselves, work for peace and justice for all people. We should cooperate with each other in matters of goodness and virtue in order to stop all terrorism, aggression and violation against the innocent people. This is our Jihad today.