Today, there is a lot of misunderstanding in the West concerning the meaning of the term Jihad with many Westerners attaining false justification of the term. Therefore, the paper is written to clarify the confusion and put forward arguments to illuminate the correct understanding of the term Jihad and its notion.
Islam originated in the seventh century in Arabia. From that point on Islam has developed rapidly in founding early Islamic States and empire, extending from Spain across North Africa, and from the Middle East to the borders of China. It was a state greater in size than the Roman Empire at its peak.
Although with all the achievements, the historical significance assigned to Islam has been controversially evaluated. Some have denied that it is a major world force; others have resentfully acknowledged its importance while others have seen it as a crucial event in world history.
Also, the term Jihad has also received false interpretations from many people of the world.
In Islam, the Quran is regarded as the supreme authority and the principal source of Islamic Law. The hadith (the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad's acts and deeds) is the second source of Islamic Law. It is used to elaborate, explain and confirm the Quran. The hadiths do not disagree with the Quran since they obtain their authority from the Quran itself. They make up the basis of the other sources of Islamic Law such as
· ijma' (consensus of Muslim scholars on an opinion regarding any given subject)
· qiyas (reasoning by analogy).
These and other sources of Islamic Law serve only as method to accomplish decisions based on the texts or the spirit of the Qur'an and hadith. The only binding sources of Islamic law are the Qur'an and hadith are. Nothing is acceptable if it disagree with the text or the spirit of these two major sources. In the Quran an and hadith, the fundamental sources of Islamic teachings on war and jihad are to be found.
Therefore in this paper, using the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon Him), the term Jihad will be interpreted and justified.