What is the meaning of Jihad in Islam?
Most of the people consider Jihad as a physical war to defend and safeguard the Islamic religion and people. However, Jihaad is much more than a war. The internal efforts and struggles made by the Muslims to follow the righteous path and Islamic laws are often known as Jihad. Apart from the internal Jihad, Muslim can invoke Allah by practising greater Jihaad that includes:
- Quran recitation and learning the entire Quran by heart to seek merciful blessings of Lord
- Eliminating anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, malice, and greed towards others from your mind and soul
- Cleaning the mosque as mentioned in the Quran, but it is not equal to fighting in the way of Allah
- Giving up smoking, alcohol, tobacco, and other such ‘Haram’ products
- Forgiving the person who did injustice to you and hurt you
- Participating in Islamic activities
There still exists a controversy regarding the Great War. According to the beliefs and statements of prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), the inner fight with oneself is considered to be a greater Jihad as compared to the one that involves a physical fight. However, the perception of other Muslim scholars differs as they consider the sword Jihad more than that of the debates and persuasion. As per the holy book Quran, in order to defend one’s faith, strengthen Islam, safeguarding Muslims against exploitation and injustice, safeguarding the freedom of a person to follow the Islamic faith, and much more, a Muslim is permitted to conduct a war.
Islam never allows someone to compel people to convert their faith to the religion of Islam unless they wholeheartedly accept Islam by reciting Shahadah. A Muslim cannot defeat other territories to make the people slaves. Although Jihaad is not considered to be the part of five essential Islamic pillars, it is necessary to conduct the same if the Muslim’s faith and territory are exploited or attacked.