Meaning of Jihad

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What is the meaning of Jihad?

Literally, jihad means doing one’s utmost to realize a goal. It is not the equivalent of war, for which Arabic and the Qur’an use qital. Jihad has a wider connotation and embraces every kind of striving in God’s cause. A mujahid is devoted to his or her cause; uses all physical, intellectual, and spiritual capacities to serve it.

Jihad’s related principle, that of amr bi al-ma‘ruf wa nahy ‘an al-munkar (enjoining good and forbidding evil), seeks to convey the benefits of Islam to everyone and to convince them to abandon all of their evil practices. The Qur’an calls Muslims the model community, one required to communicate the Prophet’s message to humanity and to live Islam, just as the Prophet did: Thus, We have made you a community justly balanced, that you might be witnesses for all humanity, and the Messenger may be a witness for you (2:143).


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