Misgivings about Jihad
In the wake of currents and cross currents of world events, it seems absolutely necessary to understand that Islam teaches to live in peace and preserve peace. It condemns aggression and advocates Jihad in the way of Allah, first against our "nafs" and "devil", and against those who disturb peace and violate the security of Muslim Ummah. It is an all round struggle and makes it obligatory for all Muslims to exercise all their powers, intellectual as well as physical, to preserve solidarity and peace. Now it seems imperative to discuss the real significance or Jihad in the light of glorious Quran and Sunnah. There is a great deal of misunderstanding in the West about the concept of Jihad in Islam that they believe that it is synonymous with "war" (Qital) undertaken for spreading Islam. It is most regrettable that even a number of our `Ulema" are also under this impression and can not discern the distinction between Qital and Jihad as laid down in the Quran. A number of eminent western scholars, liked A.J. Wensink, in his book, "A Handbook of Early Muhammadan Traditions" uses the word Jihad for war". Similarly another writer Klein, in his book, "The Religion of Islam", comments in the same strain i.e. fighting against unbelievers.
The word Jihad is derived from "jahd" or "Juhd" which signifies exertion, striving and endeavor and ceaseless effort to one`s utmost capacity bestowed by Allah. Its also used in the sense of exerting one`s power and ability without implying any sense of war. In the language of Shariah this word is also used for war (Jiahad-bis Saif), with the object of bringing an end to oppression and aggression against Islam. Its object is not to "propagate Islam", but to remove those tyrannical forces which are inimical to Islam and are not prepared to give all a fair deal.
Islam is not a theoretical philosophy. The Quran and Prophet Muhammad (saw) envisaged a complete code of conduct and a way of human life and practical action, commandments and prohibitions, good action and service to mankind in all phases of human activities. The Quran emphasized Jihad for noble and hard work and not sitting idle like stagnant water but moving swiftly like the flowing currents of oceans. How vividly the Quran states;
"Those of the believers who sit idle other than those who strive in the way of Allah with their wealth and lives. Allah conferred on those who strive with their wealth and lives a rank above the sedentary. To all Allah has promised good, but He has bestowed on those who strive a great reward above the sedentary". (4:95)
The above verse has stated with clarity of diction that idleness and sitting with comfort and luxury is not tantamount to Jihad or striving. It is incumbent on us to dispel the great misconception prevalent among some of our scholars an Ulema about the word Jihad and Qital (war) as synonymous. Therefore the Quran has expressed "Jihad in way of Allah" and Qital in way of Allah" with distinctive clarification. Its practical example is clearly reflected in the life of the Prophet who with his forbearance and patience boldly faced all privations and tribulations for thirteen years in Makkah in the spirit of Jihad. The hostility, persecutions physical torture an inhuman behavior of the pagans, all he bore valiantly with the inspiration of Allah.
Moreover, for ten years during his Madinah life he had to face most difficult problems and encounter wars with the pagans, which he overcame with his unimpeachable integrity and divine message in the light of Jihad as enjoined in the Quran:
"The true believers are those only who believe in Allah and his Messenger and then doubt not, but strive with their wealth and their lives for the cause of Allah. They are the truthful and sincere" (49.15). Further it states,
"So those who have migrated and were driven forth their homes and have been persecuted in My Cause, and have fought