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Online Quran Academy - Islamic Mentors

Islamic Jihaad – Concept of Jihad in Islam


Islamic Jihad

The term ‘Jihad’ holds profound religious and historical importance within Islam, signifying the endeavor or struggle in Allah’s path. “The Holy War” is another name given to it. It encompasses a commitment to uphold Islamic principles and values. The scope of Jihad is broad, incorporating both individual and collective aspects. Jihad in Islam advocates for charitable deeds, social accountability, the quest for knowledge, and the judicious management of wealth. These actions foster the Islamic virtues of justice, benevolence, and mercy. Grasping the essence of Jihad in the context of Islamic doctrine is essential, as it forms a cornerstone of the faith’s moral and ethical structure. The Quran references Jihad in a variety of contexts across forty-one verses, with certain passages addressing the conditions for engaging in conflict. Understanding these verses within the context of the Quran’s broader message is key to appreciating the multifaceted nature of Jihad.

Fight in the cause of Allah (only) against those who wage war against you, but do not exceed the limits. Allah does not like transgressors.” (Surah Baqarah verse 190)

Fighting in the Way of Allah

Fighting has been made obligatory upon you (believers), though you dislike it. Perhaps you dislike something which is good for you and like something which is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know. (Surah Baqarah verse 216)

And what is it with you? You do not fight in the cause of Allah and for oppressed men, women, and children who cry out, “Our Lord! Deliver us from this land of oppressors! Appoint for us a saviour; appoint for us a helper all by Your grace. (Surah An-Nisa verse 75)

Read our other blog, Women in Islam

Prepare against them what you ˹believers˺ can of ˹military˺ power and cavalry to deter Allah’s enemies and your enemies as well as other enemies unknown to you but known to Allah. (Surah Al-Anfal verse 60)

Whatever you spend in the cause of Allah will be paid to you in full and you will not be wronged. (Surah Al-Anfal verse 60)

What is Jihad in Islam?

Islamic Jihad is considered one of the highest religious teachings, assisting the fundamental principles of the faith. It also serves as a protector of Islamic nations and Muslims. Jihad is one of the most important basic teachings of Islam because jihad is a medium to achieve greatness, glory, and power. On that basis, jihad is compulsory and enforced until the Day of Judgment. Every nation that leaves the obligation of jihad would be insulted, and attacked by the enemies. Their dignity would be humble by Allah Almighty and they would be controlled by despised and immoral people. Jihad is a rule that must be followed by Muslims.

Types of Jihad in Islam

Islamic Jihad can be classified into various types. Here are the main types of jihad:

Jihad al-Nafs (Greater Jihad)

The concept of “Greater Jihad” refers to the internal struggle for self-improvement and spiritual purification. It is a personal journey to cultivate virtue, resist negative impulses, and strive for moral excellence. It entails purifying the heart, committing to good deeds, avoiding wrongdoing, and striving for personal improvement. Allah Almighty says in this regard:

As for those who struggle in Our cause, We will surely guide them along Our Way. And Allah is certainly with the good-doers. (Surah Ankabut verse 69)

Lesser Jihad (Jihad al-SaIf)

The term “lesser jihad” refers to the concept of armed struggle in Islam. It involves the defense of the Muslim community and the engagement in combat against forces that threaten or attack Muslims. This form of jihad is seen as a duty for Muslims to undertake to protect their faith and community when faced with aggression.

The Prophet (SAW) said:
“Whoever dies without having fought or thought of fighting, he dies on one of the branches of hypocrisy.”

(Sunan an-Nasa’i 3095)

Jihad al-Lisan (Jihad of the Tongue)

Being truthful and waging a struggle through writing and speech. Jihad by the tongue (jihad al-qalam) and jihad of the pen is concerned with speaking the truth and spreading the word of Islam with one’s tongue.

Jihad al-Ilm (Jihad of Knowledge)

Considering the pursuit of knowledge, especially religious knowledge, as a form of jihad, is an active practice in Islam. Acquiring knowledge, understanding one’s faith, and conveying knowledge to others are all seen as valuable acts of struggle in the path of Allah Almighty.

Jihad al-Mal (Jihad of Wealth)

Jihad al-Mal, also known as the Jihad of Wealth, is a term that describes the struggle or effort a person makes to use their wealth or resources for the betterment of society and the upliftment of others. It is based on the Islamic principle of wealth and its proper use as a means of charity, generosity, and social responsibility.

For more Information, Visit our blog Charity: Sadqah and Zakat

Who will lend to Allah a good loan which Allah will multiply many times over? It is Allah (alone) who decreases and increases (wealth). And to Him, you will (all) be returned. (Surah AL-Baqarah: 245)

Importance of Jihad in Islam

Islamic Jihad holds great importance and significance in Islam as it encompasses the concept of striving and struggling for the sake of Allah Almighty. It encourages Muslims to actively engage in charitable works, advocate for social reforms, and foster a concerned society. Lastly, defensive jihad allows Muslims to protect themselves and their community from aggression and maintain their right to practice their religion freely. Understanding the true essence of jihad in Islam requires examining its diverse aspects, grounded in the pursuit of justice, the promotion of goodness, and the development of both self and society.

First Jihad in Islam

The Battle of Badr, which took place in the year 624 CE, is widely acknowledged as the first Islamic Jihad. This significant event occurred when a small group of Muslims, under the leadership of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), engaged in a defensive battle against a much larger army of the Quraysh crews. Who sought to crush the early Muslim community in Medina.

Check out our blog titled Battle of Badr

Ghazwa in Islam

During the time of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), the term “Ghazwa” was used to describe Islamic wars, which included both battles and non-battle situations. Some famous “Ghazwas” include the Ghazwa e Uhad that took place in 625 CE, where Muslims and the Quraysh had a significant clash, resulting in a setback for the Muslims due to a strategic error. In 627 CE, the Ghazwa Khandaq (also known as the Ghazwa of the Trench) occurred, where the Muslims, led by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him), successfully defended Medina against an alliance of crews led by the Quraysh. In 630 CE, the Ghazwa Tabuk took place in response to reports of a possible Byzantine attack on the Muslim community. These “Ghazwas” are significant events in early Islamic history, demonstrating the bravery and adaptability of Muslim warriors.

For more information, visit our blog Ghazwa in Islam

Is jihad the 6th Pillar?

It is important to clarify that jihad does not constitute one of the five central pillars of Islam. However, it is sometimes informally referred to as the “sixth pillar” by some individuals. The five pillars are the foundational acts considered mandatory for Muslims and serve as the framework for a Muslim’s faith and practice. They do not include jihad.

What can Justify Jihad?

1. Defense of oneself.
2. Empowering the principles of Islam.
3. Safeguarding the liberty of Muslims to observe their beliefs.
4. Shielding Muslims from oppression, potentially involving the removal of a tyrant.
5. Penalizing an adversary who breaches a pledge.
6. Rectifying an injustice.

What a Jihad is not?

1. Compel individuals to embrace Islam through coercion.
2. Invade and colonize foreign nations.
3. Acquire land for economic advantages.
4. Resolve conflicts and disagreements.
5. Showcase the authority of a leader.


In Islam, the term “jihad” refers to two main forms. The first one is the “Greater Jihad,” which involves a personal struggle to become a better person, resist desires, and perform good deeds. The second one is the “Lesser Jihad,” which is external and can involve self-defense or protecting the Islamic community when under attack. It’s worth noting that these forms of jihad do not involve violence. There are also non-violent forms of jihad, including the “Jihad of the Tongue,” which involves speaking the truth and giving advice for justice, the “Jihad of Knowledge,” which entails seeking education and sharing knowledge, and the “Jihad of Wealth,” which encourages the use of resources to help others. Jihad is central to Islam and emphasizes personal growth, social responsibility, and, if necessary, the defense of faith and community.






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