Jihad? What does it mean?

Top comments

{{ annotation.praises_count }} Likes
{{ annotation.creator_alias }}
{{ annotation.creator_score }}

There are no comments yet. Be the first to start comment or request an explanation.


read all comments

1 Sahil Badruddin = ""As the Muslim conquerors set about developing the meaning and function of war in Islam, they had at their disposal the highly developed and imperially sanctioned ideals of religious warfare as defined and practiced by the Sasanian and Byzantine empires. In fact, the term “holy war” originates not with Islam but with the Christian Crusaders who first used it to give theological legitimacy to what was in reality a battle for land and trade routes. “Holy war” was not a term used by Muslim conquerors, and it is in no way a proper definition of the word jihad. There are a host of words in Arabic that can be definitively translated as “war”; jihad is not one of them. The word jihad literally means “a struggle,” “a striving,” or “a great effort.” In its primary religious connotation (sometimes referred to as “the greater jihad”), it means the struggle of the soul to overcome the sinful obstacles that keep a person from God. This is why the word jihad is nearly always followed in the Quran by the phrase “in the way of God.” However, because Islam considers this inward struggle for holiness and submission to be inseparable from the outward struggle for the welfare of humanity, jihad has more often been associated with its secondary connotation (“the lesser jihad”): that is, any exertion —military or otherwise—against oppression and tyranny. And while this definition of jihad has occasionally been manipulated by militants and extremists to give religious sanction to what are in actuality social and political agendas, that is not at all how Muhammad understood the term. War, according to the Quran, is either just or unjust; it is never “holy.” Consequently, jihad is best defined as a primitive “just war theory”: a theory born out of necessity and developed in the midst of a bloody and often chaotic war that erupted in 624 C.E. between Muhammad’s small but growing community and the all-powerful, ever-present Quraysh."-No god but God, Reza Aslan"