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For other uses, see Jihad (disambiguation). Jihad_sentence_0

Jihad (English: /dʒɪˈhɑːd/; Arabic: جهاد‎ jihād [dʒɪˈhaːd) is an Arabic word which literally means striving or struggling, especially with a praiseworthy aim. Jihad_sentence_1

In an Islamic context, it can refer to almost any effort to make personal and social life conform with God's guidance, such as struggle against one's evil inclinations, proselytizing, or efforts toward the moral betterment of the ummah, though it is most frequently associated with war. Jihad_sentence_2

In classical Islamic law, the term refers to armed struggle against unbelievers, while modernist Islamic scholars generally equate military jihad with defensive warfare. Jihad_sentence_3

In Sufi and pious circles, spiritual and moral jihad has been traditionally emphasized under the name of greater jihad. Jihad_sentence_4

The term has gained additional attention in recent decades through its use by terrorist groups. Jihad_sentence_5

The word jihad appears frequently in the Quran with and without military connotations, often in the idiomatic expression "striving in the path of God (al-jihad fi sabil Allah)". Jihad_sentence_6

Islamic jurists and other ulama of the classical era understood the obligation of jihad predominantly in a military sense. Jihad_sentence_7

They developed an elaborate set of rules pertaining to jihad, including prohibitions on harming those who are not engaged in combat. Jihad_sentence_8

In the modern era, the notion of jihad has lost its jurisprudential relevance and instead given rise to an ideological and political discourse. Jihad_sentence_9

While modernist Islamic scholars have emphasized defensive and non-military aspects of jihad, some Islamists have advanced aggressive interpretations that go beyond the classical theory. Jihad_sentence_10

Jihad is classified into inner ("greater") jihad, which involves a struggle against one's own base impulses, and external ("lesser") jihad, which is further subdivided into jihad of the pen/tongue (debate or persuasion) and jihad of the sword. Jihad_sentence_11

Most Western writers consider external jihad to have primacy over inner jihad in the Islamic tradition, while much of contemporary Muslim opinion favors the opposite view. Jihad_sentence_12

Gallup analysis of a large survey reveals considerable nuance in the conceptions of jihad held by Muslims around the world. Jihad_sentence_13

Jihad is sometimes referred to as the sixth pillar of Islam, though this designation is not commonly recognized. Jihad_sentence_14

In Twelver Shi'a Islam jihad is one of the ten Practices of the Religion. Jihad_sentence_15

A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid (plural mujahideen). Jihad_sentence_16

The term jihad is often rendered in English as "Holy War", although this translation is controversial. Jihad_sentence_17

Today, the word jihad is often used without religious connotations, like the English crusade. Jihad_sentence_18

Origins Jihad_section_0

In Modern Standard Arabic, the term jihad is used for a struggle for causes, both religious and secular. Jihad_sentence_19

The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic defines the term as "fight, battle; jihad, holy war (against the infidels, as a religious duty)". Jihad_sentence_20

Nonetheless, it is usually used in the religious sense and its beginnings are traced back to the Qur'an and the words and actions of Muhammad. Jihad_sentence_21

The notion of Jihad has its origins in the Islamic principle that the whole humankind must embrace Islam. Jihad_sentence_22

In the Qur'an and in later Muslim usage, jihad is commonly followed by the expression fi sabil illah, "in the path of God." Jihad_sentence_23

Muhammad Abdel-Haleem states that it indicates "the way of truth and justice, including all the teachings it gives on the justifications and the conditions for the conduct of war and peace." Jihad_sentence_24

It is sometimes used without religious connotation, with a meaning similar to the English word "crusade" (as in "a crusade against drugs"). Jihad_sentence_25

Quranic use and Arabic forms Jihad_section_1

According to Ahmed al-Dawoody, seventeen derivatives of jihād occur altogether forty-one times in eleven Meccan texts and thirty Medinan ones, with the following five meanings: striving because of religious belief (21), war (12), non-Muslim parents exerting pressure, that is, jihād, to make their children abandon Islam (2), solemn oaths (5), and physical strength (1). Jihad_sentence_26

Hadith Jihad_section_2

The context of the Quran is elucidated by Hadith (the teachings, deeds and sayings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad). Jihad_sentence_27

Of the 199 references to jihad in perhaps the most standard collection of hadith—Bukhari—all assume that jihad means warfare. Jihad_sentence_28

Among reported sayings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad involving jihad are Jihad_sentence_29

and Jihad_sentence_30

Ibn Nuhaas also cited a hadith from Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, where Muhammad states that the highest kind of jihad is "The person who is killed whilst spilling the last of his blood" (Ahmed 4/144). Jihad_sentence_31

According to another hadith, supporting one's parents is also an example of jihad. Jihad_sentence_32

It has also been reported that Muhammad considered performing hajj well to be the best jihad for Muslim women. Jihad_sentence_33

History of usage and practice Jihad_section_3

See also: List of expeditions of Muhammad Jihad_sentence_34

The practice of periodic raids by Bedouins against enemy tribes and settlements to collect spoils predates the revelations of the Quran. Jihad_sentence_35

According to some scholars (such as James Turner Johnson), while Islamic leaders "instilled into the hearts of the warriors the belief" in jihad "holy war" and ghaza (raids), the "fundamental structure" of this bedouin warfare "remained, ... raiding to collect booty". Jihad_sentence_36

According to Jonathan Berkey, the Quran's statements in support of jihad may have originally been directed against Muhammad's local enemies, the pagans of Mecca or the Jews of Medina, but these same statements could be redirected once new enemies appeared. Jihad_sentence_37

According to another scholar (Majid Khadduri), it was the shift in focus to the conquest and spoils collecting of non-Bedouin unbelievers and away from traditional inter-bedouin tribal raids, that may have made it possible for Islam not only to expand but to avoid self-destruction. Jihad_sentence_38

Classical Jihad_section_4

According with Bernard Lewis, "from an early date Muslim law laid down" jihad in the military sense as "one of the principal obligations" of both "the head of the Muslim state", who declared the jihad, and the Muslim community. Jihad_sentence_39

According to legal historian Sadakat Kadri, Islamic jurists first developed classical doctrine of jihad "towards the end of the eighth century", using the doctrine of naskh (that God gradually improved His revelations over the course of Muhammed's mission) they subordinated verses in the Quran emphasizing harmony to more the more "confrontational" verses of Muhammad's later years and linked verses on exertion (jihad) to those of fighting (qital). Jihad_sentence_40

Muslims jurists of the eighth century developed a paradigm of international relations that divides the world into three conceptual divisions, dar al-Islam/dar al-‛adl/dar al-salam (house of Islam/house of justice/house of peace), dar al-harb/dar al-jawr (house of war/house of injustice, oppression), and dar al-sulh/dar al-‛ahd/dār al-muwada‛ah (house of peace/house of covenant/house of reconciliation). Jihad_sentence_41

The second/eighth century jurist Sufyan al-Thawri (d. 161/778) headed what Khadduri calls a pacifist school, which maintained that jihad was only a defensive war. Jihad_sentence_42

He also states that the jurists who held this position, among whom he refers to Hanafi jurists al-Awza‛i (d. 157/774) and Malik ibn Anas (d. 179/795), and other early jurists, "stressed that tolerance should be shown unbelievers, especially scripturaries and advised the Imam to prosecute war only when the inhabitants of the dar al-harb came into conflict with Islam." Jihad_sentence_43

The duty of Jihad was a collective one (fard al-kifaya). Jihad_sentence_44

It was to be directed only by the caliph who might delayed it when convenient, negotiating truces for up to ten years at a time. Jihad_sentence_45

Within classical Islamic jurisprudence—the development of which is to be dated into—the first few centuries after the prophet's death—jihad consisted of wars against unbelievers, apostates, and was the only form of warfare permissible. Jihad_sentence_46

(Another source—Bernard Lewis—states that fighting rebels and bandits was legitimate though not a form of jihad, and that while the classical perception and presentation of the jihad was warfare in the field against a foreign enemy, internal jihad "against an infidel renegade, or otherwise illegitimate regime was not unknown.") Jihad_sentence_47

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. Jihad_sentence_48

In theory, jihad was to continue until "all mankind either embraced Islam or submitted to the authority of the Muslim state." Jihad_sentence_49

There could be truces before this was achieved, but no permanent peace. Jihad_sentence_50

One who died "on the path of God" was a martyr (shahid), whose sins were remitted and who was secured "immediate entry to paradise". Jihad_sentence_51

However, some argue martyrdom is never automatic because it is within God's exclusive province to judge who is worthy of that designation. Jihad_sentence_52

Classical manuals of Islamic jurisprudence often contained a section called Book of Jihad, with rules governing the conduct of war covered at great length. Jihad_sentence_53

Such rules include treatment of nonbelligerents, women, children (also cultivated or residential areas), and division of spoils. Jihad_sentence_54

Such rules offered protection for civilians. Jihad_sentence_55

Spoils include Ghanimah (spoils obtained by actual fighting), and fai (obtained without fighting i.e. when the enemy surrenders or flees). Jihad_sentence_56

The first documentation of the law of jihad was written by 'Abd al-Rahman al-Awza'i and Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Shaybani. Jihad_sentence_57

(It grew out of debates that surfaced following Muhammad's death.) Jihad_sentence_58

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. Jihad_sentence_59

As important as jihad was, it was/is not considered one of the "pillars of Islam". Jihad_sentence_60

According to one scholar (Majid Khadduri, this is most likely because unlike the pillars of the faith (statement of faith, prayer, fasting, charitable giving, Hajj pilgrimage), jihad was a "collective obligation" of the whole Muslim community (meaning that "if the duty is fulfilled by a part of the community it ceases to be obligatory on others"), and was to be carried out by the Islamic state. Jihad_sentence_61

This was the belief of "all jurists, with almost no exception", but did not apply to defense of the Muslim community from a sudden attack, in which case jihad was and "individual obligation" of all believers, including women and children. Jihad_sentence_62

Early Muslim conquests Jihad_section_5

Main article: Early Muslim conquests Jihad_sentence_63

In the early era that inspired classical Islam (Rashidun Caliphate) and lasted less than a century, jihad spread the realm of Islam to include millions of subjects, and an area extending "from the borders of India and China to the Pyrenees and the Atlantic". Jihad_sentence_64

The two empires impeding the advance of Islam were the Persian Sassanian empire and the Byzantine Empire. Jihad_sentence_65

By 657 the Persian empire was conquered and by 661 the Byzantine empire was reduced to a fraction of its former size. Jihad_sentence_66

The role of religion in these early conquests is debated. Jihad_sentence_67

Medieval Arabic authors believed the conquests were commanded by God, and presented them as orderly and disciplined, under the command of the caliph. Jihad_sentence_68

Many modern historians question whether hunger and desertification, rather than jihad, was a motivating force in the conquests. Jihad_sentence_69

The famous historian William Montgomery Watt argued that "Most of the participants in the [early Islamic] expeditions probably thought of nothing more than booty ... Jihad_sentence_70

There was no thought of spreading the religion of Islam." Jihad_sentence_71

Similarly, Edward J. Jurji argues that the motivations of the Arab conquests were certainly not "for the propagation of Islam ... Military advantage, economic desires, [and] the attempt to strengthen the hand of the state and enhance its sovereignty ... are some of the determining factors." Jihad_sentence_72

Some recent explanations cite both material and religious causes in the conquests. Jihad_sentence_73

Post-Classical usage Jihad_section_6

According to some authors, the more spiritual definitions of jihad developed sometime after the 150 years of jihad wars and Muslim territorial expansion, and particularly after the Mongol invaders sacked Baghdad and overthrew the Abbasid Caliphate. Jihad_sentence_74

The historian Hamilton Gibb states that "in the historic [Muslim] Community the concept of jihad had gradually weakened and at length it had been largely reinterpreted in terms of Sufi ethics." Jihad_sentence_75

Islamic scholar Rudolph Peters also wrote that with the stagnation of Islamic expansionism, the concept of jihad became internalized as a moral or spiritual struggle. Jihad_sentence_76

Earlier classical works on fiqh emphasized jihad as war for God's religion, Peters found. Jihad_sentence_77

Later Muslims (in this case modernists such as Muhammad Abduh and Rashid Rida) emphasized the defensive aspect of jihad—which was similar to the Western concept of a "just war". Jihad_sentence_78

Today, some Muslim authors only recognize wars fought for the purpose of territorial defense as well as wars fought for the defense of religious freedom as legitimate. Jihad_sentence_79

Bernard Lewis states that while most Islamic theologians in the classical period (750–1258 CE) understood jihad to be a military endeavor, after Islamic conquest stagnated and the caliphate broke up into smaller states the "irresistible and permanent jihad came to an end". Jihad_sentence_80

As jihad became unfeasible it was "postponed from historic to messianic time." Jihad_sentence_81

Even when the Ottoman Empire carried on a new holy war of expansion in the seventeenth century, "the war was not universally pursued". Jihad_sentence_82

They made no attempt to recover Spain or Sicily. Jihad_sentence_83

When the Ottoman caliph called for a "Great Jihad" by all Muslims against Allied powers during World War I, there were hopes and fears that non-Turkish Muslims would side with Ottoman Turkey, but the appeal did not "[unite] the Muslim world", and Muslims did not turn on their non-Muslim commanders in the Allied forces. Jihad_sentence_84

(The war led to the end of the caliphate as the Ottoman Empire entered on the side of the war's losers and surrendered by agreeing to "viciously punitive" conditions. Jihad_sentence_85

These were overturned by the popular war hero Mustafa Kemal, who was also a secularist and later abolished the caliphate.) Jihad_sentence_86

Contemporary usage Jihad_section_7

With the Islamic revival, a new "fundamentalist" movement arose, with some different interpretations of Islam, which often placed an increased emphasis on jihad. Jihad_sentence_87

The Wahhabi movement which spread across the Arabian peninsula starting in the 18th century, emphasized jihad as armed struggle. Jihad_sentence_88

Wars against Western powers were often declared to be jihad: the Senussi religious order declared jihad against Italian control of Libya in 1912, and the "Mahdi" in the Sudan declared jihad against both the British and the Egyptians in 1881. Jihad_sentence_89

Other 19th and 20th century conflicts involving jihad include: Jihad_sentence_90


The so-called Fulbe jihad states and a few other jihad states in West Africa were established by a series of offensive wars in the 19th century. Jihad_sentence_91

None of these jihad movements were victorious. Jihad_sentence_92

The most powerful, the Sokoto Caliphate, lasted about a century until being incorporated into Colonial Nigeria in 1903. Jihad_sentence_93

Early Islamism Jihad_section_8

Main articles: Islamism and Criticism of Islamism Jihad_sentence_94

In the 20th century, many Islamist groups appeared, being strongly influenced by the social frustrations following the economic crises of the 1970s and 1980s. Jihad_sentence_95

One of the first Islamist groups, the Muslim Brotherhood, emphasized physical struggle and martyrdom in its creed: "God is our objective; the Quran is our constitution; the Prophet is our leader; struggle (jihad) is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations." Jihad_sentence_96

In a tract On Jihad, founder Hassan al-Banna warned readers against "the widespread belief among many Muslims" that struggles of the heart were more demanding than struggles with a sword, and called on Egyptians to prepare for jihad against the British Empire, (making him the first influential scholar since the 1857 India uprising to call for jihad of the sword). Jihad_sentence_97

The group called for jihad against the new state of Israel in the 1940s, and its Palestinian branch, Hamas, called for jihad against Israel when the First Intifada started. Jihad_sentence_98

In 2012, its General Guide (leader) in Egypt, Mohammed Badie also declared jihad "to save Jerusalem from the usurpers and to [liberate] Palestine from the claws of occupation ... a personal duty for all Muslims." Jihad_sentence_99

Muslims "must participate in jihad by [donating] money or [sacrificing] their life ..." Many other prominent figures in global jihad started with militancy in the Muslim Brotherhood—Abdullah Azzam, Osama bin Laden's mentor, started in the Muslim Brotherhood of Jordan; Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's deputy, joined the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood at the age of 14; and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who planned the September 11 attacks of 2001, claims to have joined the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood at age 16. Jihad_sentence_100

According to Rudolph F. Peters and Natana J. DeLong-Bas, the new "fundamentalist" movement brought a reinterpretation of Islam and their own writings on jihad. Jihad_sentence_101

These writings tended to be less interested and involved with legal arguments, what the different of schools of Islamic law had to say, or in solutions for all potential situations. Jihad_sentence_102

"They emphasize more the moral justifications and the underlying ethical values of the rules, than the detailed elaboration of those rules." Jihad_sentence_103

They also tended to ignore the distinction between Greater and Lesser jihad because it distracted Muslims "from the development of the combative spirit they believe is required to rid the Islamic world of Western influences". Jihad_sentence_104

Contemporary Islamic fundamentalists were often influenced by medieval Islamic jurist Ibn Taymiyyah's, and Egyptian journalist Sayyid Qutb's, ideas on jihad. Jihad_sentence_105

Ibn Taymiyyah's hallmark themes included Jihad_sentence_106


  • the permissibility of overthrowing a ruler who is classified as an unbeliever due to a failure to adhere to Islamic law,Jihad_item_1_9
  • the absolute division of the world into dar al-kufr and dar al-Islam,Jihad_item_1_10
  • the labeling of anyone not adhering to one's particular interpretation of Islam as an unbeliever, andJihad_item_1_11
  • the call for blanket warfare against Non-Muslims, particularly Jews and Christians.Jihad_item_1_12

Ibn Taymiyyah recognized "the possibility of a jihad against `heretical` and `deviant` Muslims within dar al-Islam. Jihad_sentence_107

He identified as heretical and deviant Muslims anyone who propagated innovations (bida') contrary to the Quran and Sunna ... legitimated jihad against anyone who refused to abide by Islamic law or revolted against the true Muslim authorities." Jihad_sentence_108

He used a very "broad definition" of what constituted aggression or rebellion against Muslims, which would make jihad "not only permissible but necessary." Jihad_sentence_109

Ibn Taymiyyah also paid careful and lengthy attention to the questions of martyrdom and the benefits of jihad: 'It is in jihad that one can live and die in ultimate happiness, both in this world and in the Hereafter. Jihad_sentence_110

Abandoning it means losing entirely or partially both kinds of happiness.` Jihad_sentence_111

The highly influential Muslim Brotherhood leader, Sayyid Qutb, preached in his book Milestones that jihad, `is not a temporary phase but a permanent war ... Jihad for freedom cannot cease until the Satanic forces are put to an end and the religion is purified for God in toto.` Like Ibn Taymiyya, Qutb focused on martyrdom and jihad, but he added the theme of the treachery and enmity towards Islam of Christians and especially Jews. Jihad_sentence_112

If non-Muslims were waging a "war against Islam", jihad against them was not offensive but defensive. Jihad_sentence_113

He also insisted that Christians and Jews were mushrikeen (not monotheists) because (he alleged) gave their priests or rabbis "authority to make laws, obeying laws which were made by them [and] not permitted by God" and "obedience to laws and judgments is a sort of worship". Jihad_sentence_114

Also influential was the Egyptian Islamist and theorist Muhammad abd-al-Salam Faraj, who wrote the pamphlet Al-Farida al-gha'iba ("The Neglected Duty"). Jihad_sentence_115

While Qutb felt that jihad was a proclamation of "liberation for humanity", Faraj stressed that jihad would enable Muslims to rule the world and to reestablish the caliphate. Jihad_sentence_116

He emphasized the importance of fighting the "near enemy"—Muslim rulers that he deemed to be apostates, such as the president of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, whom his group assassinated—rather than the traditional enemy, Israel. Jihad_sentence_117

Faraj believed that if Muslims followed their duty and waged jihad, ultimately supernatural divine intervention would provide the victory (a belief he based on Quran ): Jihad_sentence_118

Faraj included deceiving the enemy, lying to him, attacking by night (even if it leads to accidentally killing innocents), and felling and burning trees of the infidel, as Islamically legitimate methods of fighting. Jihad_sentence_119

Although Faraj was executed in 1982 for his part in the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, his pamphlet and ideas were highly influential, at least among Egyptian Islamist extremist groups. Jihad_sentence_120

(In 1993, for example, 1106 persons were killed or wounded in terror attacks in Egypt. Jihad_sentence_121

More police (120) than terrorists (111) were killed that year and "several senior police officials and their bodyguards were shot dead in daylight ambushes.") Jihad_sentence_122

Ayman al-Zawahiri, later the #2 person in al-Qaeda, was Faraj's friend and followed his strategy of targeting the "near enemy" for many years. Jihad_sentence_123

Abdullah Azzam Jihad_section_9

In the 1980s the Muslim Brotherhood cleric Abdullah Azzam, sometimes called "the father of the modern global jihad", opened the possibility of successfully waging jihad against unbelievers in the here and now. Jihad_sentence_124

Azzam issued a fatwa calling for jihad against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, declaring it an individual obligation for all able bodied Muslims because it was a defensive jihad to repel invaders. Jihad_sentence_125

His fatwa was endorsed by a number of clerics including leading Saudi clerics such as Sheikh Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz. Jihad_sentence_126

Azzam claimed that "anyone who looks into the state of Muslims today will find that their great misfortune is their abandonment of Jihad", and he also warned that "without Jihad, shirk (joining partners with Allah) will spread and become dominant". Jihad_sentence_127

Jihad was so important that to "repel" the unbelievers was "the most important obligation after Iman [faith]". Jihad_sentence_128

Azzam also argued for a broader interpretation of who it was permissible to kill in jihad, an interpretation that some think may have influenced some of his students, including Osama bin Laden. Jihad_sentence_129

A charismatic speaker, Azzam traveled to dozens of cities in Europe and North American to encourage support for jihad in Afghanistan. Jihad_sentence_130

He inspired young Muslims with stories of miraculous deeds during jihad—mujahideen who defeated vast columns of Soviet troops virtually single-handed, who had been run over by tanks but survived, who were shot but unscathed by bullets. Jihad_sentence_131

Angels were witnessed riding into battle on horseback, and falling bombs were intercepted by birds, which raced ahead of the jets to form a protective canopy over the warriors. Jihad_sentence_132

In Afghanistan he set up a "services office" for foreign fighters and with support from his former student Osama bin Laden and Saudi charities, foreign mujahideed or would-be mujahideen were provided for. Jihad_sentence_133

Between 1982 and 1992 an estimated 35,000 individual Muslim volunteers went to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets and their Afghan regime. Jihad_sentence_134

Thousands more attended frontier schools teeming with former and future fighters. Jihad_sentence_135

Saudi Arabia and the other conservative Gulf monarchies also provided considerable financial support to the jihad—$600 million a year by 1982. Jihad_sentence_136

CIA also funded Azzam's Maktab al-Khidamat and others via Operation Cyclone. Jihad_sentence_137

Azzam saw Afghanistan as the beginning of jihad to repel unbelievers from many countries—the southern Soviet Republics of Central Asia, Bosnia, the Philippines, Kashmir, Somalia, Eritrea, Spain, and especially his home country of Palestine. Jihad_sentence_138

The defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan is said to have "amplified the jihadist tendency from a fringe phenomenon to a major force in the Muslim world." Jihad_sentence_139

Having tasted victory in Afghanistan, many of the thousands of fighters returned to their home country such as Egypt, Algeria, Kashmir or to places like Bosnia to continue jihad. Jihad_sentence_140

Not all the former fighters agreed with Azzam's chioice of targets (Azzam was assassinated in November 1989) but former Afghan fighters led or participated in serious insurgencies in Egypt, Algeria, Kashmir, Somalia in the 1990s and later creating a "transnational jihadist stream." Jihad_sentence_141

In February 1998, Osama bin Laden put a "Declaration of the World Islamic Front for Jihad against the Jews and the Crusaders" in the Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper. Jihad_sentence_142

On 11 September 2001, four passenger planes were hijacked in the United States and crashed, destroying the World Trade Center and damaging the Pentagon. Jihad_sentence_143

Shia Jihad_section_10

In Shia Islam, Jihad is one of the ten Practices of the Religion, (though not one of the five pillars). Jihad_sentence_144

Traditionally, Twelver Shi'a doctrine has differed from that of Sunni Islam on the concept of jihad, with jihad being "seen as a lesser priority" in Shia theology and "armed activism" by Shias being "limited to a person's immediate geography". Jihad_sentence_145

Twelver Shia doctrine teaches that offensive Jihad can only be carried out under the leadership of Mahdi, whom is believed to return from occultation. Jihad_sentence_146

However, "struggles to defend Islam" are permissible before his return. Jihad_sentence_147

At least one important contemporary Twelver Shia figure, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian Revolution and the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, wrote a treatise on the "Greater Jihad" (i.e., internal/personal struggle against sin). Jihad_sentence_148

Because of their history of being oppressed, Shias also associated jihad with certain passionate features, notably in the remembrance of Ashura. Jihad_sentence_149

Mahmoud M. Ayoub says: Jihad_sentence_150

and Jihad_sentence_151

Assassins Jihad_section_11

Main article: Order of Assassins Jihad_sentence_152

20th century Jihad_section_12

Jihad has been called for by Shia Islamists in the 20th century, notably Ruhollah Khomeini declared jihad on Iraq during the Iran–Iraq War, and the Shia bombers of Western embassies and peacekeeping troops in Lebanon called themselves, "Islamic Jihad". Jihad_sentence_153

Prior to the Iranian revolution in 1922, the Shiite cleric Mehdi Al-Khalissi issued a fatwa calling upon Iraqis not to participate in the Iraqi elections, as the Iraqi government was established by foreign powers. Jihad_sentence_154

He later played a role in the Iraqi revolt of 1920. Jihad_sentence_155

Between 1918 and 1919 in the Shia holy city of Najaf the League of the Islamic Awakening was established by several religious scholars, tribal chiefs, and landlords assassinated a British officer in the hopes of sparking a similar rebellion in Karbala which is also regarded as sacred for Shias. Jihad_sentence_156

By the start of the revolt itself in 1920, Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Taqi Shirazi the father of Mohammad al-Husayni al-Shirazi and grandfather of Sadiq Hussaini Shirazi, declared through a Fatwa, that it was not permissible or acceptable for Muslims to be ruled by non-Muslims and called for Jihad against European powers in the Middle East. Jihad_sentence_157

During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, despite being a predominantly Sunni nation, Afghanistan's Shiite population took arms against the Communist government and allied Soviet forces like the nation's Sunnis and were collectively referred to as the Afghan Mujahideen. Jihad_sentence_158

Shiite Jihadists in Afghanistan were known as the Tehran Eight and received support from the Iranian government in fighting against the Communist Afghan government and allied Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Jihad_sentence_159

21st century Jihad_section_13

Iraq Jihad_section_14

After the 2003 invasion of Iraq a number of Sunni and Shiite armed group emerged, including Kataib Hezbollah, the Mehdi Army led by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and the Soldiers of Heaven led by Dia Abdul Zahra Kadim, who also claimed to be the returning Mehdi. Jihad_sentence_160

In 2007 fighting broke out between Kadim's movement and the Iraqi Army as well as supporting American soldiers, after the Iraqi government claimed to have discovered a plot to assassinate Ali al-Sistani, who is considered influential, along with other Shiite clerics to cause as much chaos as possible in line with the beliefs of the Soldiers of Heaven, that causing chaos would usher the apocalypse, during the battle 200 of Kadim's followers, and Kadim himself were killed by American and Iraqi forces. Jihad_sentence_161

Syria Jihad_section_15

According to The National, this changed with the Syrian Civil War, where, "for the first time in the history of Shia Islam, adherents are seeping into another country to fight in a holy war to defend their doctrine." Jihad_sentence_162

Thus, Shia and Sunni fighters are waging jihad against each other in Syria. Jihad_sentence_163

Yemen Jihad_section_16

In 2004 the Shiite Houthi Movement, also known as Ansar Allah, began an insurgency in northern Yemen against the Yemeni government led by Ali Abdullah Saleh. Jihad_sentence_164

The movement was founded in the 1990s as a Zaydi revivalist movement by Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi who believed his movement served to defend Islam; he had also lived in Iran for a period of time, and held Iran's supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini in high regard, and a former parliament member part of the Islamist Party of Truth, as the Believing Youth. Jihad_sentence_165

The group was taken over by Hussein's son Abdul Malik al-Houthi after Hussein's death in 2004. Jihad_sentence_166

Under Abdul Malik's leadership the group partly seized control of the country initiating a civil war in Yemen, causing the Yemeni government to request assistance from Saudi Arabia to fight the Houthis in 2015. Jihad_sentence_167

Since the start of the civil war in 2015, the Houthis have recruited 50,000 child soldiers in doing so, the group promotes Jihad as part of their ideology as well as their recruitment. Jihad_sentence_168

Turkey Jihad_section_17

Jihad is a popular term in current Turkey. Jihad_sentence_169

As of 2017 the İmam Hatip schools offer lessons about the Jihad as a religious concept. Jihad_sentence_170

The Speaker of the Turkish Parliament, Ismail Kahraman, called the Operation Olive Branch against the Kurdish YPG in Afrin a Jihad. Jihad_sentence_171

Evolution of jihad Jihad_section_18

Some observers have noted the evolution in the rules of jihad—from the original "classical" doctrine to that of 21st century Salafi jihadism. Jihad_sentence_172

According to the legal historian Sadarat Kadri, during the last couple of centuries, incremental changes in Islamic legal doctrine (developed by Islamists who otherwise condemn any bid‘ah (innovation) in religion), have "normalized" what was once "unthinkable". Jihad_sentence_173

"The very idea that Muslims might blow themselves up for God was unheard of before 1983, and it was not until the early 1990s that anyone anywhere had tried to justify killing innocent Muslims who were not on a battlefield." Jihad_sentence_174

The first or the "classical" doctrine of jihad which was developed towards the end of the 8th century, emphasized the jihad of the sword (jihad bil-saif) rather than the "jihad of the heart", but it contained many legal restrictions which were developed from interpretations of both the Quran and the Hadith, such as detailed rules involving "the initiation, the conduct, the termination" of jihad, the treatment of prisoners, the distribution of booty, etc. Jihad_sentence_175

Unless there was a sudden attack on the Muslim community, jihad was not a "personal obligation" (fard ayn); instead it was a "collective one" (fard al-kifaya), which had to be discharged "in the way of God" (fi sabil Allah), and it could only be directed by the caliph, "whose discretion over its conduct was all but absolute." Jihad_sentence_176

(This was designed in part to avoid incidents like the Kharijia's jihad against and killing of Caliph Ali, since they deemed that he was no longer a Muslim). Jihad_sentence_177

Martyrdom resulting from an attack on the enemy with no concern for your own safety was praiseworthy, but dying by your own hand (as opposed to the enemy's) merited a special place in Hell. Jihad_sentence_178

The category of jihad which is considered to be a collective obligation is sometimes simplified as "offensive jihad" in Western texts. Jihad_sentence_179

Based on the 20th century interpretations of Sayyid Qutb, Abdullah Azzam, Ruhollah Khomeini, al-Qaeda and others, many if not all of those self-proclaimed jihad fighters believe that defensive global jihad is a personal obligation, which means that no caliph or Muslim head of state needs to declare it. Jihad_sentence_180

Killing yourself in the process of killing the enemy is an act of martyrdom and it brings you a special place in Heaven, not a special place in Hell; and the killing of Muslim bystanders (never mind Non-Muslims), should not impede acts of jihad. Jihad_sentence_181

Military and intelligent analyst Sebastian Gorka described the new interpretation of jihad as the "willful targeting of civilians by a non-state actor through unconventional means." Jihad_sentence_182

Islamic theologian Abu Abdullah al-Muhajir has been identified as the key theorist and ideologue behind modern jihadist violence. Jihad_sentence_183

His theological and legal justifications influenced Abu Musab al-Zarqawi of al-Qaeda as well as several jihadi terrorist groups, including ISIS. Jihad_sentence_184

Zarqawi used a manuscript of al-Muhajir's ideas at AQI training camps that were later deployed by ISIS, referred to as The Jurisprudence of Jihad or The Jurisprudence of Blood. Jihad_sentence_185

The book has been described as rationalising "the murder of non-combatants" by The Guardian's Mark Towsend, citing Salah al-Ansari of Quilliam, who notes: "There is a startling lack of study and concern regarding this abhorrent and dangerous text [The Jurisprudence of Blood] in almost all Western and Arab scholarship". Jihad_sentence_186

Charlie Winter of The Atlantic describes it as a "theological playbook used to justify the group's abhorrent acts". Jihad_sentence_187

He states: Jihad_sentence_188

Psychologist Chris E. Stout also discusses the al Muhajir-inspired text in his book, Terrorism, Political Violence, and Extremism. Jihad_sentence_189

He assesses that jihadists regard their actions as being "for the greater good"; that they are in a "weakened in the earth" situation that renders terrorism a valid means of solution. Jihad_sentence_190

Current usage Jihad_section_19

The term 'jihad' has accrued both violent and non-violent meanings. Jihad_sentence_191

According to John Esposito, 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. Jihad_sentence_192

The relative importance of these two forms of jihad is a matter of controversy. Jihad_sentence_193

According to scholar of Islam and Islamic history Rudoph Peters, in the contemporary Muslim world, Jihad_sentence_194


  • Traditionalist Muslims look to classical works on "fiqh" in their writings on jihad, and "copy phrases" from those;Jihad_item_2_13
  • Islamic Modernists "emphasize the defensive aspect of jihad, regarding it as tantamount to bellum justum in modern international law; andJihad_item_2_14
  • Islamist/revivalists/fundamentalists (Abul Ala Maududi, Sayyid Qutb, Abdullah Azzam, etc.) view it as a struggle for the expansion of Islam and the realization of Islamic ideals."Jihad_item_2_15

Muslim public opinion Jihad_section_20

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". Jihad_sentence_195

In Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan, and Morocco, the most frequent responses included references to "duty toward God", a "divine duty", or a "worship of God", with no militaristic connotations. Jihad_sentence_196

The terminology is also applied to the fight for women's liberation. Jihad_sentence_197

Other responses referenced, in descending order of prevalence: Jihad_sentence_198


  • "A commitment to hard work" and "achieving one's goals in life"Jihad_item_3_16
  • "Struggling to achieve a noble cause"Jihad_item_3_17
  • "Promoting peace, harmony or cooperation, and assisting others"Jihad_item_3_18
  • "Living the principles of Islam"Jihad_item_3_19

Distinction between the "greater" and "lesser" jihad Jihad_section_21

In his work, The History of Baghdad, Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, an 11th-century Islamic scholar, referenced a statement by the companion of Muhammad Jabir ibn Abd-Allah. Jihad_sentence_199

The reference stated that Jabir said, "We have returned from the lesser jihad (al-jihad al-asghar) to the greater jihad (al-jihad al-akbar)." Jihad_sentence_200

When asked, "What is the greater jihad?," he replied, "It is the struggle against oneself." Jihad_sentence_201

This reference gave rise to the distinguishing of two forms of jihad: "greater" and "lesser". Jihad_sentence_202

The hadith does not appear in any of the authoritative collections, and according to the Muslim Jurist Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, the source of the quote is unreliable: Jihad_sentence_203

Contemporary jihadist scholar Abdullah Azzam attacked it as "a false, fabricated hadith which has no basis. Jihad_sentence_204

It is only a saying of Ibrahim Ibn Abi `Abalah, one of the Successors, and it contradicts textual evidence and reality." Jihad_sentence_205

The concept has had "enormous influence" in Islamic mysticism (Sufism). Jihad_sentence_206

Other observers have endorsed it, including Al-Ghazali. Jihad_sentence_207

Hanbali scholar Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya believed that "internal Jihad" is important but suggests those hadith which consider "Jihad of the heart/soul" to be more important than "Jihad by the sword", are weak. Jihad_sentence_208

Other spiritual, social, economic struggles Jihad_section_22

Shia Muslim scholar Mahmoud M. Ayoud states that "The goal of true jihad is to attain a harmony between Islam (submission), iman (faith), and ihsan (righteous living)." Jihad_sentence_209

Jihad is a process encompassing both individual and social reform, this is called jihad fi sabil allah ("struggle in the way of God"), and can be undertaken by the means of the Quran (jihad bi-al-qur'an). Jihad_sentence_210

According to Ayoud the greatest Jihad is the struggle of every Muslim against the social, moral, and political evils. Jihad_sentence_211

However, depending on social and political circumstances, Jihad may be regarded as a sixth fundamental obligation (farid) incumbent on the entire Muslim community (ummah) when their integrity is in danger, in this case jihad becomes an "absolute obligation" (fard 'ayn), or when social and religious reform is gravely hampered. Jihad_sentence_212

Otherwise it is a "limited obligation" (fard kifayah), incumbent upon those who are directly involved. Jihad_sentence_213

These rules apply to armed struggle or "jihad of the sword". Jihad_sentence_214

In modern times, Pakistani scholar and professor Fazlur Rahman Malik has used the term to describe the struggle to establish a "just moral-social order", while President Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia has used it to describe the struggle for economic development in that country. Jihad_sentence_215

According to the BBC, a third meaning of jihad is the struggle to build a good society. Jihad_sentence_216

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". Jihad_sentence_217

Majid Khadduri and Ibn Rushd lists four kinds of jihad fi sabilillah (struggle in the cause of God): Jihad_sentence_218


  • 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_item_4_20
  • Jihad by the tongue (jihad bil lisan) (also Jihad by the word, jihad al-qalam) is concerned with speaking the truth and spreading the word of Islam with one's tongue.Jihad_item_4_21
  • 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_item_4_22
  • 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.Jihad_item_4_23

Scholar Natana J. Delong-Bas lists a number of types of "jihad" that have been proposed by Muslims Jihad_sentence_219


  • educational jihad (jihad al-tarbiyyah);Jihad_item_5_24
  • missionary jihad or calling the people to Islam (jihad al-da'wah)Jihad_item_5_25

Other "types" mentioned include Jihad_sentence_220


  • "Intellectual" Jihad (very similar to missionary jihad).Jihad_item_6_26
  • "Economic" Jihad (good doing involving money such as spending within one's means, helping the "poor and the downtrodden") (President Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia, used jihad to describe the struggle for economic development in Tunisia.)Jihad_item_6_27
  • Jihad Al-Nikah, or sexual jihad, "refers to women joining the jihad by offering sex to fighters to boost their morale". The term originated from a fatwa believed to have been fabricated by the Syrian government in order to discredit its opponents, and the prevalence of this phenomenon has been disputed.Jihad_item_6_28



  • The United States Department of Justice has used its own ad hoc definitions of jihad in indictments of individuals involved in terrorist activities:Jihad_item_8_29
    • "As used in this First Superseding Indictment, 'Jihad' is the Arabic word meaning 'holy war'. In this context, jihad refers to the use of violence, including paramilitary action against persons, governments deemed to be enemies of the fundamentalist version of Islam."Jihad_item_8_30
    • "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.Jihad_item_8_31
  • "Fighting and warfare might sometimes be necessary, but it was only a minor part of the whole jihad or struggle," according to Karen Armstrong.Jihad_item_8_32
  • "Jihad is a propagandistic device which, as need be, resorts to armed struggle—two ingredients common to many ideological movements," according to Maxime Rodinson.Jihad_item_8_33
  • Academic Benjamin R. Barber used the term Jihad to point out the resistant movement by fundamentalist ethnic groups who want to protect their traditions, heritage and identity from globalization (which he refers to as 'McWorld').Jihad_item_8_34

Warfare (Jihad bil Saif) Jihad_section_23

Further information: Mujahideen, Jihadism, and Jihad fi sabil Allah Jihad_sentence_221

Fred Donner states that, whether the Quran only sanctions defensive warfare or whether it commands the waging of an all-out war against non-Muslims depends on the interpretation of the relevant passages. Jihad_sentence_222

According to Albrecht Noch, the Qur'an does not explicitly state the aims of the war which Muslims are obliged to wage; rather the passages concerning jihad aim to promote fighters for the Islamic cause and they do not discuss military ethics. Jihad_sentence_223

However, according to the majority of jurists, the Qur'anic casus belli (justifications for war) are restricted to aggression against Muslims, and fitnapersecution of Muslims because of their religious belief. Jihad_sentence_224

They hold that unbelief in itself is not a justification for war. Jihad_sentence_225

These jurists therefore maintain that only combatants are to be fought; noncombatants such as women, children, clergy, the aged, the insane, farmers, serfs, the blind, and so on are not to be killed in war. Jihad_sentence_226

Thus, the Hanafī Ibn Najīm states: "the reason for jihād in our [the Hanafīs] view is kawnuhum harbā ‛alaynā [literally, their being at war against us]." Jihad_sentence_227

The Hanafī jurists al-Shaybānī and al-Sarakhsī state that "although kufr [unbelief in God] is one of the greatest sins, it is between the individual and his God the Almighty and the punishment for this sin is to be postponed to the dār al-jazā’, (the abode of reckoning, the Hereafter)." Jihad_sentence_228

In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the names of many militant groups included the word "jihad": Jihad_sentence_229


Some conflicts fought as jihad since the 1980s include: Jihad_sentence_230


Debate Jihad_section_24

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. Jihad_sentence_231

According to a Gallup survey, which asked Muslims in several countries what jihad meant to them, responses such as "sacrificing one's life for the sake of Islam/God/a just cause" and "fighting against the opponents of Islam" were the most common type in non-Arab countries (Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and Indonesia), being given by a majority of respondents in Indonesia. Jihad_sentence_232

In the four Arabic-speaking countries included in the survey (Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan, and Morocco), the most frequent responses included references to "duty toward God", a "divine duty", or a "worship of God", with no militaristic connotations. Jihad_sentence_233

Gallup's Richard Burkholder concludes from these results that the concept of jihad among Muslims "is considerably more nuanced than the single sense in which Western commentators invariably invoke the term." Jihad_sentence_234

Middle East historian Bernard Lewis argues that in the Quran "jihad ... has usually been understood as meaning 'to wage war'", that for most of the recorded history of Islam, "from the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad onward", jihad was used in a primarily military sense, and that "the overwhelming majority of classical theologians, jurists, and traditionalists" (i.e. specialists in hadith) also "understood the obligation of jihad in a military sense." Jihad_sentence_235

Historian Douglas Streusand writes that "in hadith collections, jihad means armed action". Jihad_sentence_236

In what is probably the most standard collection of hadith, Sahih al-Bukhari, "the 199 references to jihad all assume that jihad means warfare." Jihad_sentence_237

According to David Cook, author of Understanding Jihad Jihad_sentence_238

Cook argued that "Presentations along these lines are ideological in tone and should be discounted for their bias and deliberate ignorance of the subject" and that it "is no longer acceptable for Western scholars or Muslim apologists writing in non-Muslim languages to make flat, unsupported statements concerning the prevalence—either from a historical point of view or within contemporary Islam—of the spiritual jihad." Jihad_sentence_239

Views of other groups Jihad_section_25

Ahmadiyya Jihad_section_26

Main article: Ahmadiyya view on Jihad Jihad_sentence_240

In Ahmadiyya Islam, jihad is primarily one's personal inner struggle and should not be used violently for political motives. Jihad_sentence_241

Violence is the last option only to be used to protect religion and one's own life in extreme situations of persecution. Jihad_sentence_242

Quranist Jihad_section_27

Quranists do not believe that the word jihad means holy war. Jihad_sentence_243

They believe it means to struggle, or to strive. Jihad_sentence_244

They believe it can incorporate both military and non-military aspects. Jihad_sentence_245

When it refers to the military aspect, it is understood primarily as defensive warfare. Jihad_sentence_246

Baháʼí Faith Jihad_section_28

Followers of the Baháʼí Faith believe that the law of Jihad has been "blotted out" from the scriptures by the reforms set out in the 19th century tablet Bishárát ("Glad Tidings"). Jihad_sentence_247

See also Jihad_section_29


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jihad.