Jihad  an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God (al-jihad fi sabil Allah)". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is mujahideen. Jihad is an important religious duty for Muslims. A minority among the Sunni scholars sometimes refer to this duty as the sixth pillar of Islam, though it occupies no such official status.In Twelver Shi'a Islam, however, Jihad is one of the 10 Practices of the Religion.
Jihad in Islam, a term meaning "struggle"; used without any qualifiers it is generally understood in the West to refer to a "holy war" on behalf of Islam.
Muslims use the word in a religious context to refer to three types of struggles: an internal struggle to maintain faith, the struggle to improve the Muslim society, or the struggle to defend Islam.The prominent British-American orientalist Bernard Lewis argues that in the Quran and the ahadith jihad implies warfare in the large majority of cases.In a commentary of the hadith Sahih Muslim, entitled al-Minhaj, the medieval Islamic scholar Yahya ibn Sharaf al-Nawawi stated that "one of the collective duties of the community as a whole (fard kifaya) is to lodge a valid protest, to solve problems of religion, to have knowledge of Divine Law, to command what is right and forbid wrong conduct".
In western societies the term jihad is often translated as "holy war". Scholars of Islamic studies often stress that these words are not synonymous.Muslim authors, in particular, tend to reject such an approach, stressing non-militant connotations of the word.


The beginnings of Jihad are traced back to the words and actions of Muhammad and the Quran.This encourages the use of Jihad against non-Muslims. The Quran, however, never uses the term Jihad for fighting and combat in the name of Allah; qital is used to mean “fighting.” The struggle for Jihad in the Quran was originally intended for the nearby neighbors of the Muslims, but as time passed and more enemies arose, the Quranic statements supporting Jihad were updated for the new adversaries.The first documentation of the law of Jihad was written by ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Awza’i and Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani. The document grew out of debates that had surfaced ever since Muhammad's death.

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 (though كفاح kifāḥ is also used).For instance, Mahatma Gandhi's satyagraha struggle for Indian independence is called a "jihad" in Modern Standard Arabic (as well as many other dialects of Arabic); the terminology is also applied to the fight for women's liberation.
The term 'jihad' has accrued both violent and non-violent meanings. 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. A poll by Gallup showed that a "significant majority" of Muslim Indonesians define the term to mean "sacrificing one's life for the sake of Islam/God/a just cause" or "fighting against the opponents of Islam". In Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan, and Morocco, the majority used the term to mean "duty toward God", a "divine duty", or a "worship of God", with no militaristic connotations. Other responses referenced, in descending order of prevalence:
  • "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"
  • "Living the principles of Islam"

Best Jihad

During the Arab spring, many peaceful demonstrations in Arab countries faced violence and gunfire by their government's regime. The gunfires encouraged the protests and fed them to revolutions, based on their strong faith of what is called "the best Jihad". The best Jihad was encouraged by their prophet, Muhammad, saying:
"The best Jihad is the word of Justice in front of the oppressive Sultan [ruler]."
In a battlefield context, when jihad is used to denote warfare, Ibn Nuhaas cited the following hadith to explain the meaning of the "best Jihad":
Ibn Habbaan narrates: The Messenger of Allah was asked about the best jihad. He said: “The best jihad is the one in which your horse is slain and your blood is spilled.” [Al Baqarah 15]
In a similarly worded Hadith to the one above, Ibn Nuhaas cited a hadith from Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, where it states the the highest kind of Jihad, is "“The person who is killed whilst spilling the last of his blood.”[Ahmed 4/144]
It has also been reported that Muhammad considered performing hajj to be the best jihad for Muslim women.

Spiritual struggle

Muslim scholar Mahmoud Ayoub states that "The goal of true jihad is to attain a harmony between islam (submission), iman (faith), and ihsan (righteous living)."
In modern times, Pakistani scholar and professor Fazlur Rahman Malik has used the term to describe the struggle to establish "just moral-social order",while President Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia has used it to describe the struggle for economic development in that country.

Warfare (Jihad bil Saif)

Within classical Islamic jurisprudence—the development of which is to be dated into the first few centuries after the prophets death—jihad is the only form of warfare permissible under Islamic law, and may consist in wars against unbelievers, apostates, rebels, highway robbers and dissenters renouncing the authority of Islam. The primary aim of jihad as warfare is not the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam by force, but rather the expansion and defense of the Islamic state.In later centuries, especially in the course of the colonization of large parts of the Muslim world, emphasis has been put on non-militant aspects of the jihad. Today, Muslim authors only recognize wars with the aim of territorial defense as well as the defense of religious freedom as legitimate.

Whether the Quran sanctions defensive warfare only or commands an all out war against non-Muslims depends on the interpretation of the relevant passages.This is because it does not explicitly state the aims of the war Muslims are obliged to wage; the passages concerning jihad rather aim at promoting fighters for the Islamic cause and do not discuss military ethics.
In the classical manuals of Islamic jurisprudence, the rules associated with armed warfare are covered at great length. Such rules include not killing women, children and non-combatants, as well as not damaging cultivated or residential areas. More recently, modern Muslims have tried to re-interpret the Islamic sources, stressing that Jihad is essentially defensive warfare aimed at protecting Muslims and Islam. Although some Islamic scholars have differed on the implementation of Jihad, there is consensus amongst them that the concept of jihad will always include armed struggle against persecution and oppression.
According to the BBC, when it comes to warfare, Muslims have to obey very strict rules in order to be legitimate:
  • The opponent must always have started the fighting.
  • It must not be fought to gain territory.
  • It must be launched by a religious leader.
  • It must be fought to bring about good - something that Allah will approve of.
  • Every other way of solving the problem must be tried before resorting to war.
  • Innocent people should not be killed.
  • Women, children, or old people should not be killed or hurt.
  • Women must not be raped.
  • Enemies must be treated with justice.
  • Wounded enemy soldiers must be treated in exactly the same way as one's own soldiers.
  • The war must stop as soon as the enemy asks for peace.
  • Property must not be damaged.
  • Poisoning wells is forbidden. The modern analogy would be chemical or biological warfare.


Controversy has arisen over whether the usage of the term jihad without further explanation refers to military combat, and whether some have used confusion over the definition of the term to their advantage.
Middle East historian Bernard Lewis argues that "the overwhelming majority of classical theologians, jurists, and traditionalists (specialists in the hadith) understood the obligation of jihad in a military sense."Furthermore, Lewis maintains that for most of the recorded history of Islam, from the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad onward, the word jihad was used in a primarily military sense.
Bernard Lewis' interpretation on Jihad is partially correct according to Fiqh Made Easy: A Basic Textbook of Islamic Law which describes Jihad as being "divided into four types:
  1. Jihad against the soul: Struggling against the soul to yearn for the Religion, act upon those teachings, and call others to them. (Paraphrased)
  2. Jihad against Shaytan: Struggling against Satan without doubts or desires.
  3. Jihad against the disbelievers and hypocrites: this is done with the tongue, hand, heart and wealth.
  4. Jihad against heretics, liars, and evilfolk: This is best done with the hand, if not the hand then the tongue, if that's not possible then the heart.

Views of different Muslim groups


Jihad has been classified either as al-jihād al-akbar (the greater jihad), the struggle against one's soul (nafs), or al-jihād al-asghar (the lesser jihad), the external, physical effort, often implying fighting (this is similar to the shiite view of jihad as well).
Gibril Haddad has analyzed the basis for the belief that internal jihad is the "greater jihad", Jihad al-akbar. Haddad identifies the primary historical basis for this belief in a pair of similarly worded hadith, in which Mohammed is reported to have told warriors returning home that they had returned from the lesser jihad of struggle against non-Muslims to a greater jihad of struggle against lust. Although Haddad notes that the authenticity of both hadeeth is questionable, he nevertheless concludes that the underlying principle of superiority internal jihad does have a reliable basis in the Quran and other writings.
In contrast, the Hanbali scholar Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya did believe that "internal Jihad" is important but he suggests those hadith as weak which consider "Jihad of the heart/soul" to be more important than "Jihad by the sword". Contemporary Islamic scholar Abdullah Yusuf Azzam has argued the hadith is not just weak but "is in fact a false, fabricated hadith which has no basis. It is only a saying of Ibrahim Ibn Abi `Abalah, one of the Successors, and it contradicts textual evidence and reality."
Muslim jurists explained there are four kinds of jihad fi sabilillah (struggle in the cause of God):
  • Jihad of the heart (jihad bil qalb/nafs) is concerned with combatting the devil and in the attempt to escape his persuasion to evil. This type of Jihad was regarded as the greater jihad (al-jihad al-akbar).
  • Jihad by the tongue (jihad bil lisan) is concerned with speaking the truth and spreading the word of Islam with one's tongue.
  • Jihad by the hand (jihad bil yad) refers to choosing to do what is right and to combat injustice and what is wrong with action.
  • Jihad by the sword (jihad bis saif) refers to qital fi sabilillah (armed fighting in the way of God, or holy war), the most common usage by Salafi Muslims and offshoots of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Some contemporary Islamists have succeeded in replacing the greater jihad, the fight against desires, with the lesser jihad, the holy war to establish, defend and extend the Islamic state.


The Sufic view classifies "Jihad" into two; the "Greater Jihad" and the "Lesser Jihad". Muhammad put the emphasis on the "greater Jihad" by saying that "Holy is the warrior who is at war with himself".In this sense external wars and strife are seen but a satanic counterfeit of the true "jihad" which can only be fought and won within; no other Salvation existing can save man without the efforts of the man himself being added to the work involved of self-refinement. In this sense it is the western view of the Holy Grail which comes closest to the Sufic ideal; for to the Sufis Perfection is the Grail; and the Holy Grail is for those who after they become perfect by giving all they have to the poor then go on to become "Abdal" or "changed ones" like Enoch who was "taken" by God because he "walked with God". (Genesis:5:24) here the "Holy Ones" gain the surname "Hadrat" or "The Presence".

Islamic Jihadi groups

The Assassins - 1124

The fedayeen were the ardent followers of Hasan-i Sabbah (d. 1124), a leader of Ismail Shia in Iran, Iraq, and in Syria. Known to the west as the Assassins.The Assassins are regarded as "the first group to make systematic use of murder as a political weapon." Established in Iran and Syria in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, they used assassination and terrorism with the aim of overthrowing Sunni Islam's order and establishing their own.

Fedayeen-i Islam

The most open and clear religious fedayeen in the modern period were the Fedayeen-i Islam. Through assassinations of secular officials they aimed at changing the regime in Iran towards Islamization and introduce Sharia law.
In the 1890s the Shiite leadership in Iran became very involved in violence, terrorism via Fedayeen-i Islam. Meaning the "self-sacrificers of Islam" they followed Shia theology, targeting British and Russian officials for assassination.
Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of the Shiites in Iran was from the same area as the earlier "assassins". The Hur Brotherhood was another group of Assassins that emerged from a combination of religion and politics in the 1890s, modern fedayeen, like the Assassins, find strength in the promise of a reward in "paradise."
The Ayatollah was very involved with the Fedayeen-i Islam who had a "network of holy killers engaged in repeated attempts at political assassinations." In 1944 he published: Kashf al-Asrar ("the Revealing of Secrets"), served as a guidance for the violent Fedayeen.Indeed, the militant group covered for the Ayatollah Khomeini until he became in power.

Muslim brotherhood

In 1928, Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood, a rigidly conservative and highly secretive Egyptian-based organization dedicated to resurrecting a Muslim empire (Caliphate). According to al-Banna, "It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet."The Muslim Brotherhood, also called Muslim Brethren (jamiat al-Ikhwan al-muslimun, literally Society of Muslim Brothers), it opposes secular tendencies of Islamic nations and wants return to the precepts of the Quran, and rejection of Western influences. Al Bana was Born out of the extreme Muslim right wing's desire to counter the ideology of modernization, the Brotherhood's platform included a strict interpretation of the Quran (Quran) that glorified suicidal violence. Along with Al Banna, the grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj-al Amin Al-Husseini was also an enormously influential Muslim leader of the time. Together, the two created a powerful and popular Islamist party by classically appealing to fundamentalist Islamic principals while blaming the world's problems on the Jews.Al-Banna also gave the group the motto it still uses today: "Allah is our purpose, the Prophet our leader, the Quran our constitution, jihad our way and dying for God our supreme objective." The 9/11 Commission Report states the Brotherhood's influence on Osama bin Laden and on Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman responsible for the 1993 attack on the WTC.  An important aspect of the Muslim Brotherhood ideology is the sanctioning of Jihad such as the 2004 fatwa issued by Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi making it a religious obligation of Muslims to abduct and kill U.S. citizens in Iraq.
It advocated a war of Arabism and Islamic Jihad against the British and the Jews.
The Muslim brotherhood waged a "Holy war" against Syria after the Hama massacre.
The BBC explains how the roots of Jihad and the origins of Bin Laden's concept of jihad can be traced back to two early 20th century figures, who started powerful Islamic revivalist movements in response to colonialism and its aftermath. al-Banna blamed the western idea of separation between religion and politics for Muslims' decline. In the 1950s Sayed Qutb, Muslim Brotherhood's prominent member, took the arguments of al-Banna even further. For Qutb, "all non-Muslims were infidels - even the so-called people of the book, the Christians and Jews," he also predicted an eventual clash of civilisations between Islam and the west. "Qutb inspired a whole generation of Islamists, including Ayatollah Khomeini." The Muslim world widely accepted his ideology post Arabs' defeat in the 1967 war.
The Muslim Brotherhood has been involved in violent attacks. From its Islamic theme in its symbolism: on its flag there's a brown square frames a green circle with a white perimeter. Two swords cross inside the circle beneath a red Quran. The cover of the Quran says: "Truly, it is the Generous Quran." The Arabic beneath the sword handles translates as "Be prepared." A reference to a Quranic verse that talks of preparing to fight the enemies of God.It is among 17 groups categorized as "terrorist organizations" by the Russian government,as well as in Egypt, where they started to perform terrorist attacks, now banned by that government.
Scholar states that in "The Muslim Brotherhood's Conquest of Europe," its real goal is to extend Islamic law Sharia throughout Europe and the United States
Contemporary Islamism holds that Islam is now under attack, and therefore -experts explain-
Jihad is now a war of defense, and as such has become not only a collective duty but an individual duty without restrictions or limitations. That is, to the Islamists, Jihad is a total, all-encompassing duty to be carried out by all Muslims – men and women, young and old. All infidels, without exception, are to be fought and annihilated, and no weapons or types of warfare are barred. Furthermore, according to them, current Muslim rulers allied with the West are considered apostates and infidels. One major ideological influence in Islamist thought was Sayyid Qutb. Qutb, an Egyptian, was the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood movement. He was convicted of treason for plotting to assassinate Egyptian president Gamal Abd Al-Nasser and was executed in 1966. He wrote extensively on a wide range of Islamic issues. According to Qutb, "There are two parties in all the world: the Party of Allah and the Party of Satan – the Party of Allah which stands under the banner of Allah and bears his insignia, and the Party of Satan, which includes every community, group, race, and individual that does not stand under the banner of Allah." 
In the "Holy land foundation" case of the Palestinian Arab al-Arian's involvement in funding terror organization, the Muslim Brotherhood's papers detailed plan to seize U.S. The Group's takeover plot emerged when revealed a handful of classified evidence detailing Islamist extremists' ambitious plans for a U.S. takeover. Terrorism researchers said "the memos and audiotapes, many translated from Arabic and containing detailed strategies by the international Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood, are proof that extremists have long sought to replace the Constitution with Shariah, or Islamic law," paving its way via a plot to form "a complex network of seemingly benign Muslim organizations whose real job, according to the (US) government, was to spread militant propaganda and raise money." The Muslim Brotherhood created some American Muslim groups and sought influence in others, many of which are listed as unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land case, such as CAIR.
On a website devoted to Ramadhan, the Muslim Brotherhood posted a series of articles by Dr. Ahmad 'Abd Al-Khaleq about Al-Walaa Wa'l-Baraa, an Islamic doctrine which, in its fundamentalist interpretation, stipulates absolute allegiance to the community of Muslims and total rejection of non-Muslims and of Muslims who have strayed from the path of Islam. In his articles, the writer argues that according to this principle, a Muslim can come closer to Allah by hating all non-Muslims -Christians, Jews, atheists, or polytheists - and by waging jihad against them in every possible manner. 
Indeed, the Muslim Brotherhood has a long-standing war on the West. From 1948 until the 1970s it engaged in assassinations and terrorism in Egypt, and has indoctrinated many who went on to commit acts of terror.     Muslim Brotherhood's supreme guide issued the statement that Al Qaeda's "Bin Laden is a Jihad Fighter."
The accused mastermind of the 9/11 terror massacre, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was raised in Kuwait and joined the Muslim Brotherhood at age 16.

Jihad In Kashmir

Today Pakistan is faced more with adamant Hindu chauvinism riding on the election campaign of Bharatiya Janta Party to retain power at all cost even if it comes to ruling the graves and 'shamshans'. India at the moment is a state without a statesman who can lead the people by the hand to serve the country and the nation.
Ground realities do not demand a war or a war-like situation for the third time of the fifty years of the existence of the country, the powers that are in India would sadly be mistaken if they think that war is always a solution to the problem. Bullying tactics and that too on the advice of a so-called friend whose track record is that he has never been a friend in need to his professed ally will be the greatest mistake of India - 'DUSHMAN RA NA TAMA HAQEER BECHARA SHAMURD' meaning thereby that the enemy should not be taken to be weakling. Pakistan may be a smaller country in size but not in brain, brawn and manpower, the history of Islam for the last fourteen hundred years is full of the deeds of heroes on the battlefields, every able bodied Musalman in Pakistan is a veritable soldier and fighter and takes inspiration from Jang-e-Badar when more than a thousand years ago 313 Musalmans were pitted against 1,000 non-Muslims who were defeated leaving behind a large booty in men and material.
India at the moment is faced with a lost diplomatic battle in the United Nations in the face which the Indian rulers are trying to consolidate their hold on the Muslim population of Kashmir in the face of a solemn promise given by the first Indian Prime Minister to hold a plebiscite in Kashmir. The Indian Prime Minister could not rise to the level of a statesman to stand by his words and hold the plebiscite. According to the biographers of Pundit Nehru, Kashmir has become an article of faith with him simply because he himself hailed from Kashmir. Kashmir is not the problem of India as such, it is only a problem of the rulers, the legacy of which has been handed down by Pundit Nehru the first Prime Minister who ruled for sixteen years and his daughter ruled for another ten years with his grandson for another couple of years. People in Shillong in Assam and Trevendrum in South are least interested to suffer the devastation and death of wars to retain Kashmir against the will of the Kashmiris. India would be better advised if nothing else to hold a plebiscite on Indian soil on this issue. Surely no Indian would like to face the devastation and death in order to keep a particular set of rulers in power.
The Nawab of Junagarh signed the accession of its state to Pakistan but the people being Hindu in majority, the state was forcibly taken over by India, should not Kashmir go the same way inspite of the instrument of accession signed by the Hindu Maharaja under Indian coercion and against the will of the people. India has no moral, legal or international right to hold Kashmir simply because United Nations is a weak international body which cannot give effect to its own resolutions.
The present fight in Kargil, Drass and Batalek sector will prove a waterloo for Hindu chauvinism and military adventurism, the people over there have been dubbed as intruders temporarily though with the successful diplomatic efforts of India, diplomacy is no answer to the spirit of Jihad, where people like Shaheed Major Mohammed Kazim lose their lives but retain the objective. It is a slur to call such persons as intruders, he is the man from Kharmang Baltistan who graduated from Gordon College Rawalpindi and could not be recruited in Pakistan Army and he joined the Azad Kashmir Regular Forces (AKRF) as a commissioned officer, he gallantly fought on different fronts of Kashmir for 11 years and in recognition of his gallantry in 1963-64 Captain Mohammed Kazim was decorated with Sitara-e-Jurat award by President Mohammed Ayub Khan and was also given special commission in Pakistan Army. Major Kazim fought gallantly in 1965 war with India, his devotion to duty and act of bravery and gallantry led him to Behrab Bazaar in East Pakistan in 1971 where he gave his life for the cause of Pakistan, it is not possible to kill the undaunted spirit of man and it will not be possible for India to do so in Kargil and rule over graveyards and 'shamshans' in their own country. Let India not forget that diplomats are always diplomats where spirit of truth and bravery are only bywords and their meaning may be different on different occasions. This is what happened in 1971 and this can happen in 1999. This is how American diplomacy runs, the only interest of USA is to back up India to an extent where it can prove an effective adversary to China and when the American task is done and India will be treated like a used shell as they did with the then policeman of the East, Raza Shah Pahalvi who could not even get an inch of land in USA for his graveyard which President Anwar Saadat condescended to offer for the royal matrimonial alliance between the rulers of Egypt and the fallen ruler of Iran.
Hindu all over India are advised to understand the spirit of Jihad which has been an article of faith for the Musalmans right from the day the Holy Prophet (SAW) led the battle of Badar in 623 AD. When a Musalman goes for Jihad he carries his coffin with him as a part of his military outfit with the hope of becoming a Shaheed who never dies and goes to heaven and if per chance he returns, he is a Ghazi - the Victorious. It was this spirit with the 313 Mujahideens in the Ghazawa-e-Badar in 623 AD which routed 1,000 non-Muslims, there were the Mujahideens fighting in Afghanistan who defeated another Super Power to ashes and there are the Mujahideens fighting in Kargil, Drass and Batalek and not the Pakistan Army, but when it comes to a war India will have to face 13 crore Mujahideens who are inspired by the spirit of Kalma-e-Tayyaba - LA ILLAHA ILLALAH MOHAMMEDUR RASOOL ALLAH with implicit faith in God and ready to lay down their lives as Shaheed. The Indian rulers must realize that their own caste system is going to pay back in their own coins and fifteen crores of Harijans would take it as an opportunity to get rid of their scheduled place in Indian society with political upheavals in East, West and South. In India, on top of it this is the last chance for Kashmiris and Pakistanis to stand up and rise to the occasion against the military adventurism of India backed by G-8 and led by the sole super power. The great super power is a great champion of human rights, but their conscience is dead when it comes to Kashmir where 60,000 people have been killed by the Indian Army. Were they intruders? World conscience must move to protest against murder, loot and arsons in Kashmir by the armed forces of India. Where the only interest of America is to prop up India as an effective adversary to China and obtain India's signatures on CTBT and NPT and add another feather to its cap before the Presidential Elections in America. This is the time now for Pakistan full of martial races and spirit to fight the followers of Ghandhian philosophy of 'Ahimsa' in India who are being misled by a handful of upper class Hindus and oppose India's main supportter.