Definition/Scope: Jihad, in Islam, is seen as the struggle to please God. Jihad is the religious duty of all Muslims. There are four ways they may fulfill a jihad: by the heart, by the tongue, by the hand, and by the sword. The first refers to the inner, spiritual battle of the heart against vice, passion, and ignorance. The second way means speaking the truth and spreading the word of Islam with one’s tongue. The third way involves choosing to do what is right and to combat injustice and what is wrong with action, or one’s hand. The fourth way refers to defending Islam and waging war against its enemies with the sword. In broader usage and interpretation, the term has accrued both violent and non-violent meanings. 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. The relative importance of these two forms of jihad is a matter of controversy. Jihad is not used to convert others to Islam but to expand and defend the Islamic state. Several organizations define jihad as an Islamic campaign against nonbelievers: a campaign waged by Muslims in defense of the Islamic faith against people, organizations or other countries regarded as hostile to Islam; a holy war waged on behalf of Islam or as a personal struggle in religious duty to Islam involving spiritual discipline.
Used For:Islamic Holy War
Broader Terms:Global War on Terrorism
Narrower Terms:domestic radicalization