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Islam and Jihad.

What the Quran says.

What the Hadith says.




Jihad is derived from the verb jahada which means "to endevour," "to take pains," or "to strive,". Lliterally, Jihad means;

"exerting one's utmost power, efforts, endeavors, or ability in contending with an object of disapprobation"

or striving toward a worthy goal. When followed by the phrase "in the path of God" (fi Sabil Allah), jihad refers to struggling or striving in the path of God, yet the form and means of such struggle are varied in the Islamic sources.











Often in the Quran, the context refers to jihad and fighting (qital) against non-Muslims. However, scholars have clarified that, in contrast to qital, jihad refers more generally to methods of

"bringing religion into practice."

Muhammad is reported to have once said, "We have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad." When asked which is the greater endeavor, Muhammad reportedly replied, "It is the struggle against one's self."

Thus, jihad is often termed in two different contexts.

  1. The internal struggle is termed "the greater jihad" (al-jihad al-akbar) and is incumbent on all individuals.

  2. The "jihad of the sword," or holy war, is the lesser (al-jihad al-asghar) and is a collective obligation (fard al-kifayah).

However, the  hadith that stated about the two different context of jihad is considered weak by most scholars. More detailed explanation here.


Learning itself is also considered a form of Jihad as the Prophet said, “Whoever goes out to seek knowledge, he is in the path of Allah until he returns.” He further said, “All of Allah’s creatures implore Allah for forgiveness on behalf of a seeker of knowledge - including fish in the water.”

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Therefore in Islam, Jihad is considered as the ways and methods for establishing the truth. Although it may lead to martyrdom, it does not necessarily lead to being killed for in the battlefield.