Jihad Explained: Taken from an article by Dr. M. Amir Ali, Ph.D.
Linguistically, the Arabic word "jihad" means struggling or striving. In this sense a student struggles and strives to pass a class; an employee strives to fulfill his job requirements; a politician strives to live up to his promises once elected to office and so on. The term strive or struggle may be used for Muslims as well non-Muslims; for example, Allah (The Lord) says in the Qur'an:
"We have enjoined on people kindness to parents; but if they strive (jahadaka) to make you ascribe partners with Me that of which you have no knowledge, then obey them not..." 29:8, also see 31:15.
In the above two verses of the Qur'an, it is non-Muslim parents who strive (jahada) to convert their Muslim child back to their religion.
In the West, "jihad" is generally translated as "holy war", a usage the media has popularized. This could be a reflection of the Christian use of the term "Holy War" to refer to the Crusades of a thousand years ago. However, the Arabic words for "war" are "harb" or "qital", which are found in the Qur'an and Hadith. For Muslims the term jihad is applied to all forms of striving and has developed some special meanings over time.
Examples of Jihad:
1. Recognizing the Creator and loving Him most
2. Resisting pressure of peers and society
3. Staying on the straight path steadfastly
4. Striving for righteous deeds
5. Having courage and steadfastness to convey the message of Islam
6. Defending Islam and the community
7. Helping allied people who may not be Muslim
8. Removing treacherous people from power
9. Gaining freedom to inform, educate and convey the message of Islam in an open and free environment
10. Freeing people from tyranny


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