AskDefine | Define jihad

Dictionary Definition



1 a holy war waged by Muslims against infidels [syn: jehad, international jihad]
2 a holy struggle or striving by a Muslim for a moral or spiritual or political goal [syn: jehad]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


Arabic (jihād), ‘struggle’ or ‘effort’.


  • jĭ-häd, /dʒɪhɑːd/, /dZIhA:d/
  • jə-häd', /dʒəˈhɑːd/, /dZ@"hA:d/


  1. a personal spiritual struggle for self-improvement and against evil
  2. A holy war undertaken by Muslims for the purpose of ending oppression.


See also

Extensive Definition

Jihad ( ), an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, Jihad means "strive" or "struggle". 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)". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid, the plural is mujahideen.
A minority among the Sunni scholars sometimes refer to this Islamic 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.
According to scholar John Esposito, Jihad requires Muslims to "struggle in the way of God" or "to struggle to improve one's self and/or society." Jihad is directed against the devil's inducements, aspects of one's own self, or against a visible enemy. The four major categories of jihad that are recognized are Jihad against one's own self (Jihad al-Nafs), Jihad of the tongue (Jihad al-lisan), Jihad of the hand (Jihad al-yad), and Jihad of the sword (Jihad as-sayf). The relative importance of these two forms of jihad is a matter of controversy.

Jihad as warfare (Jihad bis Saif)

Within Islamic jurisprudence Jihad is the only form of warfare permissible under Islamic law, and may be declared against apostates, rebels, highway robbers, violent groups, non-Islamic leaders or non-Muslim combatants, but there are other ways to perform jihad as well including civil disobedience. The primary aim of jihad is not the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam by force, but rather the expansion and defense of the Islamic state. 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.
Jihad has also been applied to offensive, aggressive warfare, as exemplified by early movements like the Kharijites and the contemporary Egyptian Islamic Jihad organization (which assassinated Anwar Al Sadat) as well as Jihad organizations in Lebanon, the Gulf states, and Indonesia. Terrorist attacks like that of September 11, 2001, which was planned and executed by radical Islamic fundamentalists, have not been sanctioned by more centrist groups of Muslims. This kind of terrorism has often been condemned by Muslims all around the world.
When Muslim populations are attacked on the basis of religion, Jihad becomes mandatory on the government of that particular state (and all Muslims) until all hostile forces are either eliminated or negotiated out of the occupied land. If the threat continues to persist, the Islamic State may have to eliminate the threat through force.
The word itself is recorded in English since 1869, in the Muslim sense, and has been used for any doctrinal crusade since c. 1880.

Non-violent jihad

Some Muslims believe that Muhammad regarded the inner struggle for faith a greater Jihad than even fighting [by force] in the way of God, and quote the famous but controversial hadith which has the prophet saying: "We have returned from the lesser jihad (battle) to the greater jihad (jihad of the soul)."
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 struggle for Indian independence is called a "jihad" in Modern Standard Arabic (as well as many other dialects of Arabic) even though it was neither an Islamic struggle nor conducted violently; the same terminology is applied to the fight for women's liberation.
In modern times, Pakistani scholar and professor Fazlur Rahman 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 Tunisia.


Controversy has arisen over whether use of the term jihad without further explanation refers to jihad of the sword, 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 [i.e., specialists in the hadith] ... understood the obligation of jihad in a military sense."
According to scholar David Cook: In reading Muslim literature -- both contemporary and classical -- one can see that the evidence for the primacy of spiritual jihad is negligible. Today it is certain that no Muslim, writing in a non-Western language (such as Arabic, Persian, Urdu), would ever make claims that jihad is primarily nonviolent or has been superseded by the spiritual jihad. Such claims are made solely by Western scholars, primarily those who study Sufism and/or work in interfaith dialogue, and by Muslim apologists who are trying to present Islam in the most innocuous manner possible.
And according to Douglas Streusand, "in hadith collections, jihad means armed action; for example, the 199 references to jihad in the most standard collection of hadith, Sahih al-Bukhari, all assume that jihad means warfare."
Some fundamentalist Muslim traditionalists see that the world is divided into two houses: the House of Islamic Peace (Dar al-Salam), in which Muslim governments rule and Muslim law prevails, and the House of War (Dar al-Harb), the rest of the world, still inhabited. The presumption is that by natural law these domains will compete and fighting is inevitable therefore the duty of jihad will continue, interrupted only by truces, until all the world either adopts the Muslim faith or submits to Muslim rule. Those who fight in the jihad qualify for rewards in both worlds—booty in this one, paradise in the next. 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.
Nevertheless, the hadith is there, and the fact remains that ideas regarding which hadith are to be considered "controversial" are more often than not based upon the preconceived ideology of certain factions rather than the consensus of the ummah, or even historical or theological exegesis. Furthermore, all of the greatest saints (wali) of Islam and the majority of the ummah have supported Muhammad's interpretation of jihad according to this hadith, as well as that of the Qur'an itself, as being critical to daily religious practice in which the believer is urged to engage in struggle (jihad) within oneself (nafs) against the incessant promptings of the evil one.

History of Jihad


The beginnings of Jihad are traced back to the words and actions of Muhammad and the Qu’ran. This word of Allah explicitly encourages the use of Jihad against the unbelievers. Sura 25, verse 52 states: “Do not yield to the unbelievers, but fight them vigorously with this.” It was, therefore, the duty of all Muslims to fight against those who did not believe in Allah and took offensive action against Muslims. The Qu’ran, 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 Qu’ran was originally intended for the nearby neighbors of the Muslims, but as time passed and more enemies arose, the Qu’ranic 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.

Early Instances of Jihad

The first forms of military Jihad occurred after the migration of the Prophet and his small group of followers to Medina from Mecca and the conversion of several inhabitants of the city to Islam. The first revelation concerning the struggle against the Meccans was surah 22, verses 39-40:
To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid;-
(They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, "our Lord is Allah". Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);- for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will).'' (Abdullah Yusuf Ali)
There were several reasons for Muhammad and his followers to fight the pagan Meccans: One reason was the fact that the Muslims had to defend themselves against the attacks of the Meccans. According to this surah 2, verse 190 was revealed:
Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors. (Abdullah Yusuf Ali)
The Muslims had - at least partially - provoked the Meccans to attack them by robbing the goods of their caravans. However, this was inevitable, for the Emigrants (the Muslims who had fled from Mecca to Yathrib/Medina) had lost all of their goods because of the pagan Meccans and needed a livelihood. The only choice they had was to rob goods from Meccan caravans which was considered as justified at that time.
Another reason for the Muslims to fight the pagan Meccans was the fact that they had been persecuted and oppressed by those pagans. There were still Muslims who couldn't flee from Mecca and were still oppressed because of their faith. Surah 4, verse 75 is referring to this fact:
''And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)?- Men, women, and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! Rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will protect; and raise for us from thee one who will help! (Abdullah Yusuf Ali)
The pagan Meccans also refused to let the Muslims enter Mecca and by that denied them access to the Ka'aba. Surah 8, verse 34:
But what plea have they that Allah should not punish them, when they keep out (men) from the sacred Mosque - and they are not its guardians? No men can be its guardians except the righteous; but most of them do not understand.'' (Abdullah Yusuf Ali)
The main focus of the later years of Muhammad’s life was increasing the number of allies as well as territory controlled by the Muslims. The Qu’ran is unclear as to whether Jihad is acceptable only in defense of the faith from wrong-doings or in all cases. Major battles in the history of Islam arose between the Meccans and the Muslims; one of the most important to the Muslims was the Battle of Badr in 624. This Muslim victory over polytheists showed “demonstration of divine guidance and intervention on behalf of Muslims, even when outnumbered.” Other early battles included battles in Uhud (625), Khandaq (627), Mecca (630) and Hunayn (630). These battles, especially Uhud and Khandaq, were unsuccessful in comparison to the Battle of Badr. It was in this battle that the Qu’ran states that Allah sent an “unseen army of angels” that helped the Muslims defeat the Meccans.

Jihad and the Crusades

The European crusaders came and conquered much of the territory held within the Islamic state, dividing it into four kingdoms, the most important being the state of Jerusalem. The Crusades originally had the goal of recapturing Jerusalem and the Holy Land (former Christian territory) from Muslim rule and were originally launched in response to a call from the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire for help against the expansion of the Muslim Seljuk Turks into Anatolia. There was little drive to retake the lands from the crusaders, save the few attacks made by the Egyptian Fatimids. This changed, however, with the coming of Zangi, ruler of what is today northern Iraq. He took Edessa, which triggered the Second Crusade, which was little more than a 47 year stalemate. The stalemate was ended with the victory of Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi (known in the west as Saladin) over the forces of Jerusalem at the Horns of Hattin in 1187. It was during the course of the stalemate that a great deal of literature regarding Jihad was written]]. While amassing his armies in Syria, Saladin had to create a doctrine which would unite his forces and make them fight until the bitter end, which would be the only way they could re-conquer the lands taken in the First Crusade. He did this through the creation of Jihad propaganda. It stated that any one who would abandon the Jihad would be committing a sin that could not be washed away by any means. It also put his amirs at the center of power, just under his rule. While this propaganda was successful in uniting his forces for a time, the fervor burned out quickly. Much of Saladin's teachings were rejected after his death. The manner of fighting that Saladin proposed, and his treatment of his enemies, is still recited in opposition to Jihad. Saladin allowed all those he conquered to retain their religion, and treated them fairly, so long as they submitted to Islamic rule. This goes in direct conflict to many of the current Jihad teachings, which say to slay the nonbelievers for being just that, although this statement is opposed by many islamic scholars..

Islamic Spain and Portugal

Medieval Spain was the scene of almost constant warfare between Muslims and Christians. Periodic raiding expeditions were sent from Al-Andalus to ravage the Christian Iberian kingdoms, bringing back booty and slaves. In raid against Lisbon in 1189, for example, the Almohad caliph Yaqub al-Mansur took 3,000 female and child captives, while his governor of Córdoba, in a subsequent attack upon Silves in 1191, took 3,000 Christian slaves.
The Almohad Dynasty (From Arabic الموحدون al-Muwahhidun, i.e. "the monotheists" or "the Unitarians"), was a Berber, Muslim dynasty that was founded in the 12th century, and conquered all Northern Africa as far as Libya, together with Al-Andalus (Moorish Spain). The Almohads, who declared an everlasting Jihad against the Christians, far surpassed the Almoravides in fundamentalist outlook, and they treated the dhimmis harshly. Faced with the choice of either death or conversion, many Jews and Christians emigrated. Some, such as the family of Maimonides, fled east to more tolerant Muslim lands,

Indian subcontinent

Sir Jadunath Sarkar contends that several Muslim invaders were waging a systematic Jihad against Hindus in India to the effect that "Every device short of massacre in cold blood was resorted to in order to convert heathen subjects." In particular the records kept by al-Utbi, Mahmud al-Ghazni's secretary, in the Tarikh-i-Yamini document several episodes of bloody military campaigns. In 1527, Babur ordered a Jihad against Rajputs at the battle of Khanwa. Publicly addressing his men, he declared the forthcoming battle a Jihad. His soldiers were facing a non-Muslim army for the first time ever. This, he said, was their chance to become either a Ghazi (soldier of Islam) or a Shaheed (Martyr of Islam). The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb waged a Jihad against those identified as heterodox within India's Islamic community, such as Shi'a Muslims.


Timur Lenk, a 14th century Turco-Mongol conqueror of much of western and central Asia, thought of himself as a ghazi, but his biggest wars were against Muslim states.

Fulani jihads

The Fula or Fulani jihads, were a series of independent but loosely connected events across West Africa between the late 17th century and European colonization, in which Muslim Fulas took control of various parts of the region. Between 1750 and 1900 from one- to two-thirds of the entire population of the Fulani jihad states consisted of slaves.


In 1784, Imam Sheikh Mansur, a Chechen warrior and Muslim mystic, led a coalition of Muslim Caucasian tribes from throughout the Caucasus in a ghazavat, or holy war, against the Russian invaders. Sheikh Mansur was captured in 1791 and died in the Schlusselburg Fortress. Avarian Islamic scholar Ghazi Muhammad preached that Jihad would not occur until the Caucasians followed Sharia completely rather than following a mixture of Islamic laws and adat (customary traditions). By 1829, Mullah began proselytizing and claiming that obeying Sharia, giving zakat, prayer, and hajj would not be accepted by Allah if the Russians were still present in the area. He even went on to claim that marriages would become void and children bastards if any Russians were still in the Caucasus. In 1829 he was proclaimed imam in Ghimry, where he formally made the call for a holy war. In 1834, Ghazi Muhammad died at the battle of Ghimri, and Imam Shamil took his place as the premier leader of the Caucasian resistance. Imam Shamil succeeded in accomplishing what Sheik Mansur had started: to unite North Caucasian highlanders in their struggle against the Russian Empire. He was a leader of anti-Russian resistance in the Caucasian War and was the third Imam of Dagestan and Chechnya (1834-1859).

Mahdists in Sudan

During the 1870s, European initiatives against the slave trade caused an economic crisis in northern Sudan, precipitating the rise of Mahdist forces. Muhammad Ahmed Al Mahdi was a religious leader, who proclaimed himself the Mahdi - the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will appear at end times - in 1881, and declared a Jihad against Ottoman rulers. He declared all "Turks" infidels and called for their execution. The Mahdi raised an army and led a successful religious war to topple the Ottoman-Egyptian occupation of Sudan. Victory created an Islamic state, one that quickly reinstituted slavery. In the West he is most famous for defeating and later killing British general Charles George Gordon, in the fall of Khartoum.


The Saudi Salafi sheiks were convinced that it was theirs religious mission to wage Jihad against all other forms of Islam. In 1801 and 1802, the Saudi Wahhabists under Abdul Aziz ibn Muhammad ibn Saud attacked and captured the holy Shia cities of Karbala and Najaf in Iraq, massacred the Shiites and destroyed the tombs of the Shiite Imam Husayn and Ali bin Abu Talib. In 1802 they occupied Taif where they massacred the population. In 1803 and 1804 the Wahhabis captured Mecca and Medina. In Mecca and Medina they destroyed monuments and various holy Muslim sites and shrines, such as the shrine built over the tomb of Fatima Zahra, the daughter of Muhammad, and even intended to destroy the grave of the Prophet Muhammad.

Ottoman Empire

Upon succeeding his father, Suleiman the Magnificent began a series of military conquests in Europe. On August 29 1526, he defeated Louis II of Hungary (1516–26) at the battle of Mohács. In its wake, Hungarian resistance collapsed and the Ottoman Empire became the preeminent power in Central and Eastern Europe. In July 1683 Sultan Mehmet IV proclaimed a Jihad and the Turkish grand vizier, Kara Mustafa Pasha, laid siege to the Vienna with an army of 138,000 men.
On November 14, 1914, in Constantinople, capital of the Ottoman Empire, the religious leader Sheikh-ul-Islam declares Jihad on behalf of the Ottoman government, urging Muslims all over the world - including in the Allied countries - to take up arms against Britain, France, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro in World War I.. On the other hand, Sheikh Hussein ibn Ali, the Emir of Mecca, refused to accommodate Ottoman requests that he endorse this jihad, a requirement that was necessary were a jihad to become popular, on the grounds that:'the Holy War was doctrinally incompatible with an aggressive war, and absurd with a Christian ally: Germany'

Views of Jihad of different Muslim groups

Sunni view of Jihad

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 hadeeth, 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 Qur'an and other writings.
On the other hand, 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.

Sufic view of Jihad

The Sufic view classifies "Jihad" into two; the "Greater Jihad" and the "Lesser Jihad". It is Muhammad who put the emphasis on the "greater Jihad" by saying that "Holy is the warrior who wrestles ("struggles") 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".

Jihad as warfare

The Qur’an asserts that if the use of force would not have been allowed in curbing the evils by nations, the disruption and disorder caused by insurgent nations could have reached the extent that the places of worship would have become deserted and forsaken. As it states: And had it not been that Allah checks one set of people with another, the monasteries and churches, the synagogues and the mosques, in which His praise is abundantly celebrated would have been utterly destroyed.Qur'an|
Javed Ahmed Ghamidi divides just warfare into two types:
  1. Against injustice and oppression
  2. Against the rejecters of truth after it has become evident to them
The first type of Jihad is generally considered eternal, but Ghamidi holds that the second is specific to people who were selected by God for delivering the truth as an obligation. They are called witnesses of the truth (Arabic:, see also Itmam al-hujjah); the implication being that they bear witness to the truth before other people in such a complete and ultimate manner that no one is left with an excuse to deny the truth. There is a dispute among Islamic jurists as to whether the act of being "witness" was only for the Companions of Muhammad or whether this responsibility is still being held by modern Muslims, which may entitle them to take actions to subdue other Non-Muslim nations. Proponents of Companions of Muhammad as being "the witness" translate the following verse only for the Companions As in Qur'an: And similarly [O Companions">SahabaCompanions of the Prophet!] We have made you an intermediate group so that you be witnesses [to this religion] before the nations, and the Messenger be such a witness before you.|Qur'an|
Similarly, proponents of Companions of Muhammad as being "the witness" present following verse to argue that Companions of Muhammad were chosen people as witnesses just as God chooses Messengers from mankind. As in Qur'an:
A policy was adopted regarding the extent of requirement that arose in wars that the Muslims had to fight. In the battles of Badr, Uhud and Tabuk, the responsibility was much more and each Muslim was required to present his services as a combatant. As in Qur'an: O you who believe! when you meet those who disbelieve marching for war, then turn not your backs to them. And whoever shall turn his back to them on that day-- unless he turn aside for the sake of fighting or withdraws to a company-- then he, indeed, becomes deserving of Allah's wrath, and his abode is hell; and an evil destination shall it be.Qur'an|

The driving force

Islamic scholars agree that Jihad should not be undertaken to gratify one’s whims nor to obtain wealth and riches. Many also consider that it must also not be undertaken to conquer territories and rule them or to acquire fame or to appease the emotions of communal support, partisanship and animosity. On the contrary, it should be undertaken only and only for the cause of Allah as is evident from the words. It is stated in Qur'an: A sacred month for a sacred month; [similarly] other sacred things too are subject to retaliation. So if any one transgresses against you, you should also pay back in equal coins. Have fear of Allah and [keep in mind that] Allah is with those who remain within the bounds [stipulated by religion].Qur'an|
Observance of treaties and pacts is stressed in Qur'an. When some Muslims were still in Mecca, and they couldn't migrate to Medina, the Qur'an stated: And to those who accepted faith but did not migrate [to Madinah], you owe no duty of protection to them until they migrate; but if they seek your help in religion, it is your duty to help them except against a people with whom you have a treaty of mutual alliance; and Allah is the All-Seer of what you do.Qur'an|
Similar reports are attributed to Muhammad:
  • Abu Sa‘id (rta) narrates from the Prophet (sws): “On the Day of Judgment, to proclaim the traitorship of a traitor and the betrayal of a person who betrayed his words, a flag shall be hoisted which would be as high as [the extent of his] traitorship”, and [the Prophet (sws) also said]: “Remember that no traitor and betrayer of promises is greater than the one who is the leader and ruler of people”. Sahih Muslim 1738

Objectives of warfare

According to verses , the Qur'an implies two objectives: Similarly, if a group of Muslims commit unwarranted aggression against some of their brothers and does not desist from it even after all attempts of reconciliation, such a group according to the Qur’an should be fought with: And if two parties or groups among the believers start fighting, then make peace between them both. But if one of them outrages against the other, then fight you against the one which outrages till it complies with the command of Allah. Then if it complies, make reconciliation between them justly, and be equitable. Verily! Allah loves those who are the equitable. The believers are brothers to one another. So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah that you may receive mercy.Qur'an|
If Muslims do not have a state, then in such a situation, Muhammad while answering a question raised by one of his followers, directed Muslims to dissociate themselves from such anarchy and disorder:
I asked: If there is no state or ruler of the Muslims? He replied: In this situation, dissociate yourself from all groups, even if you have to chew the roots of a tree at the time of your death. Sahih Bukhari 7084

Supremacy of Islam in the Arabian peninsula

It is stated in Qur'an: Indeed those who are opposing Allah and His Messenger are bound to be humiliated. The Almighty has ordained: ‘‘I and My Messengers shall always prevail’’. Indeed Allah is Mighty and Powerful.Qur'an|
After Itmam al-hujjah (clarification of religion to the addressees in its ultimate form), Jews were the ones who were subdued first. They had been granted amnesty because of various pacts. Those among them who violated these pacts were given the punishment of denying a Messenger of God. The power they wielded at Khyber was crushed by an attack at their strongholds. Prior to this, Abu al-Rafi and Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf were put to death in their houses. The tribe of Banu Qurayza was guilty of treachery and disloyalty in the battle of the Ahzab. When the clouds of war dispersed and the chances of an external attack no longer remained, Muhammad laid siege around them. When no hope remained, they asked Muhammad to appoint Sa'd ibn Mua'dh as an arbitrator to decide their fate. Their request was accepted. Since, at that time, no specific punishment had been revealed in the Qur’an about the fate of the Jews, Sa'd ibn Mua'dh announced his verdict in accordance with the Torah. As per the Torah, the punishment in such situations was that all men should be put to death; the women and children should be made slaves and the wealth of the whole nation should be distributed among the conquerors. In accordance with this verdict pronounced, all men were executed. John Esposito writes that Muhammad's use of warfare in general was alien neither to Arab custom nor to that of the Hebrew prophets, as both believed that God had sanctioned battle with the enemies of the Lord.
No other incident of note took place regarding the Jews until the revelation of At-Tawba, the final judgement, was declared against them: Consequently, the Jews of Khyber and the Christians of Najran were exiled once and for all from the Arabian peninsula by Umar. This exile actually fulfilled the following declaration of the Qur’an about them: Consequently, after consolidating their rule in the Arabian peninsula, the Companions launched attacks against these countries giving them two options if they wanted to remain alive: to accept faith or to accept a life of subjugation by paying Jizya. None of these nations were considered to be adherents to polytheism, otherwise they would have been treated in the same way as the Idolaters of Arabia.
  • "As used in this Superseding Indictment, 'violent jihad' or 'jihad' include planning, preparing for, and engaging in, acts of physical violence, including murder, maiming, kidnapping, and hostage-taking." in the indictment against several individuals including José Padilla.
Karen Armstrong in her book "Muhammed", writes:
"Fighting and warfare might sometimes be necessary, but it was only a minor part of the whole jihad or struggle."
The Orientalist, Maxime Rodinson, wrote that "Jihad is a propagandistic device which, as need be, resorts to armed struggle – two ingredients common to many ideological movements." (Maxime Rodinson. Muhammad. Random House, Inc., New York, 2002. p. 351.)
In English-speaking countries, especially the United States, the term jihadist, technically a derogatory term of mujahid, is frequently used to describe militant Islamic groups, including but not restricted to Islamic terrorism.

Related concepts

Further reading

jihad in Arabic: جهاد
jihad in Bosnian: Džihad
jihad in Catalan: Gihad
jihad in Czech: Džihád
jihad in Welsh: Jihad
jihad in Danish: Jihad
jihad in German: Dschihad
jihad in Spanish: Yihad
jihad in Esperanto: Ĝihado
jihad in Basque: Jihad
jihad in Persian: جهاد
jihad in French: Jihad
jihad in Galician: Xihad
jihad in Korean: 지하드
jihad in Hindi: जेहाद
jihad in Croatian: Džihad
jihad in Indonesian: Jihad
jihad in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Jihad
jihad in Italian: Jihad
jihad in Hebrew: ג'יהאד
jihad in Kurdish: Cîhad
jihad in Latin: Gihad
jihad in Latvian: Džihāds
jihad in Lithuanian: Džihadas
jihad in Hungarian: Dzsihád
jihad in Malayalam: ജിഹാദ്
jihad in Malay (macrolanguage): Jihad
jihad in Dutch: Jihad
jihad in Japanese: ジハード
jihad in Norwegian: Jihad
jihad in Norwegian Nynorsk: Jihad
jihad in Polish: Dżihad
jihad in Portuguese: Jihad
jihad in Romanian: Jihad
jihad in Russian: Джихад
jihad in Simple English: Jihad
jihad in Slovak: Džihád
jihad in Slovenian: Džihad
jihad in Serbian: Џихад
jihad in Finnish: Jihad
jihad in Swedish: Jihad
jihad in Tamil: ஜிகாத்
jihad in Thai: ญิฮาด
jihad in Turkish: Cihad
jihad in Urdu: جہاد
jihad in Contenese: 聖戰
jihad in Chinese: 圣战
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