While there is no precise definition of the term, the meaning of Jihad is far more complex. In fact, the term Jihad generally refers to the struggle one must undertake as one “strive[s] in the path of God”. That struggle is defined both externally and internally. As so, they are classified in terms of an external struggle with enemies or non believers, or an internal struggle with oneself to reject greed and temptation. While popular opinion has been misconstrued to see Jihad as a malevolent, violent action; a serious investigation of the term’s historical and religious background reveals a multi-defined word.
The term “Jihad” used without any qualifiers is generally understood in the West to be referring to holy war on behalf of Islam. In broader usage and interpretation, the term has accrued both violent and non-violent meaning. It can simply mean striving to live a moral and virtuous life, spreading and defending Islam as well as fighting injustice and oppression, among other things. The relative importance of these two forms of jihad is a matter of controversy.
Author: SM Arif