What is Jihad? – Ask A Muslim

What is Jihad?

When people think of jihad, they think of violent fighting, wars, killing, etc. What jihad really means is to struggle. In the context of Islam, it is to struggle for the sake of Allah. If I strive to stay away from fornication and adultery, this is jihad. If I struggle to pray my prayers on time, but yet I still do it for the sake of Allah, this is jihad. If I spend in the way of Allah, even at times of difficulty, this is jihad. But there is no doubt, that if there are enemies trying to attack Islam and kill Muslims, Muslims fighting back to defend and establish their religion is also a type of honorable jihad. However, we can’t force our religion on anyone else, as Allah clearly says in the Quran, “Let there be no compulsion in religion, for the truth stands out clearly from falsehood” (Quran 2:256). Allah also mentions in the Quran, “Allah does not forbid you from dealing kindly and fairly with those who have neither fought nor driven you out of your homes. Surely Allah loves those who are fair. Allah only forbids you from befriending those who have fought you for ˹your˺ faith, driven you out of your homes, or supported ˹others˺ in doing so. And whoever takes them as friends, then it is they who are the ˹true˺ wrongdoers” (Quran 60:8-9). But having said that, if someone tries to fight us or attack our rights, then of course we have the right to defend ourselves.

And Allah knows best.