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Prophet Muhammed Points about JIHAD

The internal Jihad

An open Qur'anLearning the Qur’an by heart is considered engaging in Greater Jihad

The phrase internal Jihad orgreater Jihad refers to the efforts of a believer to live their Muslim faith as well as possible.

All religious people want to live their lives in the way that will please their God.

So Muslims make a great effort to live as Allah has instructed them; following the rules of the faith, being devoted to Allah, doing everything they can to help other people.

For most people, living God’s way is quite a struggle. God sets high standards, and believers have to fight with their own selfish desires to live up to them, no matter how much they love God.

The five Pillars of Islam as Jihad

The five Pillars of Islam form an exercise of Jihad in this sense, since a Muslim gets closer to Allah by performing them.

Other ways in which a Muslim engages in the ‘greater Jihad’ could include:

  • Learning the Qur’an by heart, or engage in other religious study.
  • Overcoming things such as anger, greed, hatred, pride, or malice.
  • Giving up smoking.
  • Cleaning the floor of the mosque.
  • Taking part in Muslim community activities.
  • Working for social justice.
  • Forgiving someone who has hurt them.

The Greater Jihad controversy

The Prophet is said to have called the internal Jihad the “greater Jihad”.

On his return from a battle, the Prophet said: “We are finished with the lesser jihad; now we are starting the greater jihad.” He explained to his followers that fighting against an outer enemy is the lesser jihad and fighting against one’s self is the greater jihad (holy war).

This quotation is regarded as unreliable by some scholars. They regard the use of jihad as meaning ‘holy war’ as the more important.

However the quotation has been very influential among some Muslims, particularly Sufis.

Holy war

Holy war

When Muslims, or their faith or territory are under attack, Islam permits (some say directs) the believer to wage military war to protect them.

However Islamic (shariah) law sets very strict rules for the conduct of such a war.

In recent years the most common meaning of Jihad has been Holy War.

And there is a long tradition of Jihad being used to mean a military struggle to benefit Islam.

What can justify Jihad?

There are a number of reasons, but the Qur’an is clear that self-defence is always the underlying cause.

Permissable reasons for military Jihad:

  • Self-defence
  • Strengthening Islam
  • Protecting the freedom of Muslims to practise their faith
  • Protecting Muslims against oppression, which could include overthrowing a tyrannical ruler
  • Punishing an enemy who breaks an oath
  • Putting right a wrong

What a Jihad is not

A war is not a Jihad if the intention is to:

  • Force people to convert to Islam
  • Conquer other nations to colonise them
  • Take territory for economic gain
  • Settle disputes
  • Demonstrate a leader’s power

Although the Prophet engaged in military action on a number of occasions, these were battles to survive, rather than conquest, and took place at a time when fighting between tribes was common.

Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors.

Qur’an 2:190

To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid.

Qur’an 22:39

Therefore if they withdraw from you but fight you not, and (instead) send you (Guarantees of) peace, then Allah Hath opened no way for you (to war against them).

Qur’an 4:90

But if the enemy incline towards peace, do thou (also) incline towards peace, and trust in Allah: for He is One that heareth and knoweth (all things).

Qur’an 8:61

 

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