In literal terms Jihad means to struggle or exert oneself to achieve a particular goal. In Islamic terminology, it means to struggle in the way of Allah to achieve and establish righteousness and shun evil. There are 3 main kinds of Jihad: Spiritual, Mental and Physical Jihad.
- Jihad bin Nafs (jihad by the self) (Spiritual Jihad) is the greater jihad in which a Muslim fights against his own evil desires and struggles to obey Allah and become a better Muslim. It lasts a lifetime, and affects every aspect of life. Prophet told warriors returning to Madina after a battle that they had returned from the lesser jihad (of warfare) to the greater jihad of struggle against one’s own heart, i.e. desires that lead to wrong doings.
- Jihad bil Lisan (jihad of the tongue) (Mental Jihad) is speaking and upholding the truth, speaking out against what is wrong and immoral, and spreading the word of Allah and the teachings of Islam. Some scholars also relate it to acquiring knowledge and call it jihad by knowledge or pen. The Prophet Muhammad said: “The best jihad in the path of Allah is a word of justice to an oppressive ruler”.
- Jihad bil Yad (jihad by the hand) (Physical Jihad) refers to choosing to do what is right and to combat injustice and what is wrong with action. It is to stand up for what is right. Prophet said, “if anyone of you sees an evil action then let him change it with his hand…………
- Jihad bil Mal. (Jihad by maal) (Physical Jihad) is spending wealth in the way of Allah e.g. to improve the social conditions of people around, to help the weak and needy. Quran says, “Strive hard in Allah’s way with your person and property.” (Sura As-Saff)
- Jihad bis Saif ( jihad by the sword) (Physical Jihad) referring to qital fi sabilillah (armed conflict in the way of Allah) is the most common usage- a term that has been exploited and misused as ‘holy war’. It must be fought only as a last resort when all other options are explored and exhausted. However when there is injustice, oppression and the very existence of Islam and Muslims is threatened, and one’s faith is at stake, Jihad becomes obligatory on Muslims: “And why should you not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who being weak, are ill-treated men, women and children, whose cry is: ’Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from us from thee one who will help! (An-Nisa, 4:75)
According to the Qur’an, if the enemy ceased hostilities and sought peace, Muslims were to seek peace as well: ‘If your enemy inclines towards peace, then you should seek peace and trust in Allah’. (8:61) In Sura Baqara (2:216-217) Allah says that even though warfare is prohibited in the sacred months, yet Muslims may fight if the circumstances require them to do so. Qital is done to remove hindrances in the propagation of Islam and never impose Islam on non-believers as Qur’an says, “Let there be no compulsion in Religion”.
Prophet laid down various rules for Qital e.g. Muslims were instructed to fight in self-defence and not to be the first ones to initiate fighting. This is limited to the area which is involved e.g. Palestine. It is not an excuse for open warfare all around the globe. Therefore, Jihad must be in the name of Allah and according to His will.
The Quran as a reflection on nature and
- The Quran is the foundation of reflection upon Allah and the world. we find many verses like these:
- “With power did We construct the heaven. Verily, We are Able to extend the vastness of space thereof. And We have spread out the earth, how Excellent Spreader (thereof) are We! And of everything We have created pairs, that you may remember (the Grace of Allah).” (Al Zariat 51:47-49)
- “Have they not looked at the heaven above them, how We have made it and adorned it, and there are no rifts in it? And the earth! We have spread it out, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and have produced therein every kind of lovely growth (plants). An insight and a Reminder for every slave turning to Allah (i.e. the one who believes in Allah and performs deeds of His obedience, and always begs His pardon).” (Sura Al Qaf 50:6-8)
- “And among His Signs is that the heaven and the earth stand by His Command, then afterwards when He will call you by single call, behold, you will come out from the earth (i.e from your graves for reckoning and recompense).” (Al Rum 30:25)
- “And We have appointed the night and the day as two Ayat (signs etc.). Then, We have made dark the sign of the night while We have made the sign of day illuminating, that you may seek bounty from your Lord, and that you may know the number of the years and the reckoning. And We have explained everything (in detail) with full explanation.” (Sura Isra 17:12)
- We see how the Quran urges those who listen to it to think about the world around them.
- It repeatedly encourages people to use their minds in order to see what the true meaning of the world is.
- And it constantly urges that the Universe is made by Allah Who is a powerful Designer, it is not a place that has come into being by accident or chance.