The Meaning of Jihad

I’ve found one more interesting part in the classical manual on Sharia called Reliance of the Traveller. In the chapter Justice there is a section “Jihad”. Well, it seems Muslims have quite original idea of justice. So this post starts a new series, Jihad, sharing the views of Islamic scholars on this topic.

O9.0 JIHAD

(O: Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion. And it is the lesser jihad. As for the greater jihad, it is spiritual warfare against the lower self (nafs), which is why the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said as he was returning from jihad, “We have returned from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad.”

The scriptural basis for jihad, prior to scholarly consensus (def: b7) is such Koranic verses as:

(1) “Fighting is prescribed for you” (Koran 2:216);

(2) “Slay them wherever you find them” (Koran 4:89);

(3) “Fight the idolators utterly” (Koran 9:36);

and such hadiths as the one related by Bukhari and Muslim that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

“I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform the prayer, and pay zakat. If they say it, they have saved their blood and possessions from me, except for the rights of Islam over them. And their final reckoning is with Allah”;

and the hadith reported by Muslim, “To go forth in the morning or evening to fight in the path of Allah is better than the whole world and everything in it.”

Details concerning jihad are found in the accounts of the military expeditions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), including his own martial forays and those on which he dispatched others. The former consist of the ones he personally attended, some twenty-seven (others say twenty-nine) of them. He fought in eight of them, and killed only one person with his noble hand, Ubayy ibn Khalaf, at the battle of Uhud. On the latter expeditions he sent others to fight. himself remaining at Medina, and these were forty-seven in number.)

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