Ancient Religions

What does the term 'jihad' really mean in Islam?
Answered by Planet Green
  • Planet Green

    Planet Green

  1. Most Americans think this term means "holy war," an attempt to spread the Muslim religion and punish non-believers violently. And the Qu'ran, like most sacred texts, leaves itself open to interpretation. The word comes from the Arabic word "jahada" which means "to struggle." It is a core concept of the Muslim religion and primarily refers to the internal struggle to be a better Muslim (by forsaking sin, controlling anger, and so on) and also the outer struggle to better mankind by spreading Islam. In this outer jihad, the Qu'ran says that Muslims must use combative means if necessary to spread the peace and justice of the Islamic religion. Those who do not accept Muslim rule face the penalty of death. While most Muslims do accept some form of the jihad directive as part of their beliefs, they also completely reject the association between jihad and modern terrorism. They cite verses in the Qu'ran, where Muhammad specifically says to never attack women, children, the elderly, the sick and the disabled as proof that terrorist tactics do not belong in Islam.

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