Jihad ( Arabic: جهاد ), is an Arabic word derived from ‘Jahada’, which means to strive(effort) or to struggle. For example. if a student strives to pass in the examination he is doing jihad. Jihad appears frequently in the Qur’an and common usage as the idiomatic expression “striving in the way of Allah (al-jihad fi sabil Allah)”. In the Islamic context, ‘Jihad’ means to strive against one’s own evil inclination. It also means to strive to make the society better. It also includes the right to fight in self-defence or to fight in the battlefield against oppression and against aggression.
In western societies the term jihad is often translated as “holy war”. One of the greatest misconceptions about Islam, not only amongst the non-Muslims but even amongst the Muslims, is that concerning the concept of Jihad. Non-Muslims as well as Muslims think that any war fought by any Muslim for whatever purpose, be it good or bad, is Jihad.
Usage of the term
In Modern Standard Arabic, jihad is one of the correct terms for a struggle for any cause, violent or not, religious or secular. For instance, Mahatma Gandhi’s satyagraha struggle for Indian independence is called a “jihad” in Modern is also applied to the fight for women’s liberation.
- “A commitment to hard work” and “achieving one’s goals in life”
- “Struggling to achieve a noble cause”
- “Promoting peace, harmony or cooperation, and assisting others”
- Jihad against his or her wrong soul.
Jihad is not holy war
Not only non-Muslim scholars, but even some Muslim scholars mistranslate the word ‘Jihad’ as holy war. The Arabic word for ‘holy war’ is ‘harabum muqaddasah’ and this word is not to be found anywhere in the Qur’an nor in any hadith. The word ‘holy war’ was first used to describe the crusades of the Christians who killed thousands of people in the name of Christianity. Today, this term ‘holy war’ is used to falsely describe Jihad, which merely means ‘to strive’. In an Islamic context, Jihad means ‘to strive in the way of Allah for a righteous cause’. i.e. Jihad fi Sabilillah.
Jihad in Christianity
Christianity a word jihad ( striving) is tied to the faith 100%. There is no mention in the New Testament of this “striving” (jihad) being tied to anything except the spiritual life, for the term jihad in Christianity means striving against sin.
Jesus taught about jihad.
- He told his disciples “Strive to enter in at the narrow gate…”
- In Luke 13:24. He wanted them to put their sight towards the faith in him and in his life as an example.
- The Christian gate is narrow because it requires faith in Jesus and what he did to save us.
Jesus’ actions speak as well.
- When the Roman soldiers arrested Jesus and led him to the Roman governor, he asked Jesus, “Am I a Jew? It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” Jesus said “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place” John 18:35-36.
- Never did Jesus ask his followers to fight for him or for their beliefs; instead he commanded them to love their enemies. Jihad in Jesus teaching is a spiritual jihad only.
Jesus’ disciples taught about jihad as well.
- Paul in 1 Timothy 6:12 said, “Fight the good fight of the faith”; and in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Paul never raised a sword against anyone!
- 2 Peter 3:14—“ So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.”
- 2 Peter 1:5-7—“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.”
Jihad in Hinduism ( Bhagavad Gita)
All the major religions encourage their followers to strive in good works. It is mentioned in Bhagavad Gita.
Fighting prescribed in the Bhagavad Gita too
|All the major religions of the world have prescribed fighting, at sometime or the other, especially in self-defence or for fighting against oppression.Mahabharata is an epic and sacred Scripture of the Hindus, which mainly deals with a fight between the cousins, the Pandavas and the Kauravas. In the battlefield Arjun prefers not to fight and be killed rather than having his conscience burdened with the killing of his relatives. At this moment, Krishna advises Arjun in the battlefield and this advice is contained in the Bhagvad Gita. There are several verses in the Bhagvad Gita where Krishna advises Arjun to fight and kill the enemies even though they are his relatives.|
|It is mentioned in The Bhagvad Gita Chapter 1 verse 43-46(43) O Krishna, maintainer of the people, I have heard by disciplic succession that those who destroy family traditions dwell always in hell”
(44) “Alas, how strange it is that we are preparing ourselves to commit great sinful acts, driven by the desire to enjoy royal happiness.”
(45) I would consider better for the sons of Dhritarashtra to kill me unarmed and unresisting rather than fight with them.
(46) “Arjuna, having thus spoken, cast aside his bow and arrow, and sat down on the chariot, his mind, overwhelmed with grief”.
|Krishna further replies in Bhagvad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 2, 3“My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the progressive values of life. They lead not to higher planets but to infamy.
“O son of Partha, do not yield to this degrading impotence. It does not become you. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O chastiser of the enemy!”
When Arjuna prefers to be killed unarmed and unresisting rather than fight and kill his cousins Kauravas, Krishna replies to Arjun by saying how this impure thought has come to you which prevents you from entering heaven. Give up this degrading Impotence and weakness of heart and arise, O defeater of enemy.
|Krishna further says in Bhagvad Gita Chapter 2 verse 31-3331. “Considering your specific duty as a Kshatriya, you should know that there is no better engagement for you than fighting on religious principles, so there is no need for hesitation.”
32. “O Partha, happy are the Kshatriya to whom such fighting opportunities come unsought, opening for them the door of the heavenly planets”.
33. “If however, you do not fight this religious war, then you will certainly incur sin, for neglecting your duties, and thus loose your reputation as a fighter”.
|There are hundreds of verses in the Bhagvad Gita alone, which encourages fighting and killing, many times more as compared to such verses in the Qur’an.Imagine if someone were to say that the Bhagvad Gita encourages the killing of the family members to attain paradise, without quoting the context – such a deliberate attempt will be devilish. But within the context if I say that for truth and justice fighting against the evil is compulsory, even if it be against your relatives, it makes sense.
I wonder how come the critics of Islam, especially critics amongst the Hindus, point a finger at the Qur’an when it speaks about fighting and killing unjust enemies. The only possibility I can think of is that they themselves have not read their sacred scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharata and the Vedas.
|Critics of Islam including Hindu critics speak against the Qur’an and the Prophet when they say that if you are killed while doing Jihad i.e. fighting for the truth, you are promised paradise.Besides quoting Qur’anic verses they quote Sahih Bukhari Vol. 4, Book of Jihad Chapter no. 2 Hadith No. 46
“Allah guarantees that He will admit the Mujaahid in His cause to Paradise if he is killed, otherwise he will return him to his home safely with rewards and war booty”.
There are various similar verses in Bhagavad Gita guaranteeing a person paradise if he is killed while fighting. Take the example of Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 verse 37:
“O son of Kunti, either you will be killed in the battlefield and attain the heavenly planets (paradise), or you will conquer and enjoy the earthly kingdom, therefore get up and fight with determination”.
|Similarly Rigved Book No. 1 Hymn 132 Verse 2-6 as well as many other verses of Hindu Scriptures speak about fighting and killing.|
Examples – 1, Lincoln jihad for Republic
Lincoln – a selfless leader, honest to a fault, the president who saved the union, the man who freed the slaves. The victory of Lincoln and the Republicans in 1860, against a divided pro-slavery opposition, did open the way for the struggle (jihad) to come.
Examples – 2, Mahatma Gandhiji jihad for Independence
One of the greatest men in the history of India is unarguably Mahatma Gandhi. The way he gave shape and character to India’s freedom struggle is worthy of a standing ovation. He sacrificed his own life for the sake of his country. After long period of freedom struggle(jihad) got even more intense and passionate. Entire India was united together in the movement for freedom. Everyone contributed what they could in the freedom struggle. The cry of Purna Swaraj or complete independence was raised. After much sacrifices and efforts, India gained its independence on the 15th August, 1947.
Jihad(Arabic) means struggle(English)
: to make strenuous or violent efforts in the face of difficulties or opposition.
: to proceed with difficulty or with great effort.
Examples of JIHAD
- They done jihad for the right to vote.
- She does jihad for up the hill through the snow.
- She done jihad to lift the package by herself, but it was too heavy.
- He done jihad to get free of the wreckage.
- He done jihad in math class for most of the year.
- The team has continued to jihad in recent weeks.
- He was living as a jihad artist in the city.
Jihad is a will power of human being without jihad (struggle), you cannot achieve your goal.” – Mohamed asik.