Meaning Of Jihad


Meaning Of Jihad:

The word Jihad’s literal meaning is to strive for anything good, including striving for peace and the welfare of humanity.

Jihad word is derived from Juhd means to make an effort. From Islamic point of view it means efforts for establishment and expansion of Din-e-Islam. Jihad signifies a vast meaning. It means “to make the utmost possible efforts for the uplift of Islam.” It comprises every kind of sacrifice including laying down of life in the cause of Allah. A Mujahid is a person who strives hard for the glory of Islam. Mujahid sacrifices his wealth, his time and even his own life in the cause of Allah.

Importance Of Jihad:

Jihad is obligatory on every Muslim of the world. Both the Quran and the Hadith stress its importance. Owing to its importance a space has been allotted to it along with “Five pillars of Islam.”

“And do not say to those who have laid their lives in the cause of Allah that they are dead, but in fact, they are living, although you do not understand.”
(Al-Baqara: 154)

The great sacrifice in the cause of Allah is made in Jihad, because a loss of few lives, some thousands, some lacs, or even more does not count anything as compared with the dreadful calamity that may befall mankind as a result of the victory of evil over good, and of aggressive atheism over the religion of Allah i.e. Islam for, as a result of it, it is not only the religion of Islam that will suffer but the whole world would become the abode of evil, immoralities and perversion and sin. In order to escape this greater calamity Allah has, therefore, commanded the Muslims of the world to sacrifice their lives and properties for His cause.

Kinds Of Jihad:

Following means and ways come under the heading of Jihad.

i) Jihad With Self
ii) Jihad By Wealth
iii) Jihad By Knowledge
iv) Jihad By Sword

Jihad With Self:

The Quran has explained that a man has to make efforts to control on his self-desires. It is also one of the types of Jihad. The Quran says:

“Whoever makes efforts, and surely he makes efforts for his self.”

The Prophet of Islam once said that to control on one’s own desires is great Jihad than to wage war against the enemies of Islam. Once the Prophet said to a man who returned from Jihad but now you have joined “Jihad-e-Akbar”. It means he has to keep himself away from evils and self-desires. One has to sacrifice ones comforts and luxurious life. To pray or the fast in summer or winter or at the sleeping time is also Jihad with oneself.

Jihad By Wealth:

The people who possess property is bestowed by Allah, therefore one must spend in the way of Allah. The movement for the promotion and propagation of Islam requires financial aid. For this collective cause, it is Jihad, for those who spend their wealth in the name of Allah. In the earlier days of Islam, there are a number of examples, in which people gave their property for the cause of Islam. The Quran says;

“And those believe and migrate and make effort with their property and self in the way of Allah have great reward with Allah. Such persons are successful.”

At other place, the Quran defines that Jihad is better for piousness, therefore to achieve that highest virtue; one may sacrifice one’s wealth and self.

The Book says:

“And make efforts in the way of Allah with your wealth and life that is better for you, that you may become pious.”

Jihad By Knowledge

Ignorance is the cause of all evils. Knowledge is the light, which shows the right path. So through learning and seeking knowledge, one comes to know the purpose of life. The Quran is the basic source of knowledge which shows the true perspective of life. This is the guide Book for the whole humanity. Through learning Al-Quran, one comes to know the right path.

It is compulsory for every Muslim to learn and to teach Quran to others. On the basis of the Quranic knowledge, one must make efforts to convince the infidels with argument and discussion. It is also Jihad. The Book says:

“And do not obey the infidels and make efforts with it (Quran) to them for great Jihad.”

It is a great Jihad to convert non-Muslim to Muslim through teachings of Al-Quran.

Jihad By Sword:

There are two words used in the Holy Quran. One is Jihad and the other is Qital. It has been already explained that Jihad means to make an effort in the way of Allah, and Qital means to fight with the enemies of Allah. Therefore Jihad in terms of fighting is one of the types of Jihad.

Armed Jihad is most loved by god because in it a Muslim is prepared to sacrifice his property, his time, his energies and even his life i.e. everything.

The Quran says:

“Then let those fight in Allah’s way who sell this world’s
Life for the Future;
And as to him who fights in Allah’s way.
Then should he be killed.
Or should he conquer,
We shall, then, give him a great reward.
And why should you not fight in Allah’s way?
(An-Nisa: 74-75)

“Those who believe, fight in Allah’s way.”
(An-Nisa: 76)

“Fight thou then in Allah’s way.”
(An-Nisa: 84)

A Muslim who sacrifices his life in the war (Jihad) is called Shaheed. He is not dead but alive. The Quran is testimony of it:

“And do not say of those who have laid down their lives in the cause of Allah that they are dead, but in fact they are living, although you do not know.”
(Al-Baqara: 154)

Armed Jihad is the most difficult kind of Jihad, and is only possible where there is an Islamic-state in existence. For the defence of an Islamic-State such Jihad is necessary. If fight is not waged to check trouble (Fitna) against religion. Din cannot be protected and trouble mongers would full this whole earth with Fitna and Fasad and it would be difficult to take the name of Allah. Therefore, for the protection and longevity of the faith, armed Jihad is necessary.

Conditions For Physical Jihad:

A war waged regardless of the prescribed pre-conditions will have no value. It will not be Jihad at all. Nor it would be entitled to any reward. It will be instead a cause for displeasure of Allah.

The pre-conditions for physical Jihad are as follows:

i) Those who go for Jihad must be free and independent Muslims and must have a collective system of their own and must led by a Caliph or Amir (Chief). In the absence of such a system, any act of war (Jihad) is forbidden. An act of war, even of a defensive nature can only be taken in a free atmosphere under the leadership of an authorized leader.

ii) Sufficient force to combat with the enemy is necessary because the Divine Injunction repeatedly emphasizes:

“No one should be charged beyond his capacity.”

On the basis of this principle, it has been ordained in the Quran:

“So keep your duty to Allah as best as you can.”

iii) Jihad should be exclusively for the sake of Allah and the sole aim of those engaged in Jihad should be no other than the service of the religion and the glorification of Allah. The single aim of those who participate in Jihad should be only the eradication of evil and the promotion of goodness and justice. This entire struggle should be done with one and the only objective of winning the pleasure of Allah.

The Holy Prophet (PBUH) was asked “O! Messenger of Allah: if a man wished to fight for Allah but at the same time has also some worldly gain in view, how will he be viewed by you?”

The Holy Prophet replied:

“He will not get any reward.”

Similarly, Holy Prophet also declared the principles:

“He is not one of us who fight under some prejudice and he is not one of us who dies for some prejudice.”

Necessity Of Jihad:

Islam is not a religion of mere dogmas and ceremonies. It has come to perfect the whole life of humanity. The religion Islam has been introduced to eliminate cruelties and lawlessness from the world. There are always some anti-social elements. Therefore, Jihad is necessary to give lessons to such persons.

Jihad is necessary for every Muslim because their mission is to spread Islam throughout the world. To make efforts for pleasing Allah is the purpose of Allah. Jihad is the basic source for achieving that purpose.


It is now made clear that a true believer (Mumin) is identified by his efforts to obliterate the false Din and establish a true Din in its place. If he strives in this direction and exerts his full strength in this endeavour and even stakes his life and suffers all sorts of loses, then he is true Muslims irrespective of success or failure in his efforts.


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