Jihad is the most propagandistic and misunderstood phenomena today, mostly linked with war and killing of the non Muslims in the Name of Allah. Mostly Jihad is being categorized in four forms; Jihad of the heart, Jihad of the tongue, Jihad by the hand and Jihad by sword. Many scholars believe that it is the sixth pillar of Islam because of the fact that so much impetus has been given in Quran on the subject. Many books have been written on Jihad and there are many Hadith being quoted to support the theory that Jihad is nothing but the war against nonbelievers.
While, the other term Jihad is being largely politicized to support respective causes. Scholar David Cook has pointed out the same dilemma. He says that, "In reading Muslim literature -- both contemporary and classical -- one can see that the evidence for the primacy of spiritual jihad is negligible. Today it is certain that no Muslim, writing in a non-Western language (such as Arabic, Persian, Urdu), would ever make claims that jihad is primarily nonviolent or has been superseded by the spiritual jihad."
Whether it is fighting in Kashmir, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and elsewhere in the world everybody claim that their war is Jihad. The existence of the word Jihad came to prominence in the late 1980's when the United States of America wanted to defeat the Russians in their war against the Afghans. They politicized the word Jihad for their own benefit and made every effort to spread it across Afghanistan. USA succeeded in building up a force of Afghans - the notoriously famous Taliban. With the help of Taliban they kicked Russia, the then super power, out of Afghanistan which resulted in the disintegration of USSR (Union of Soviet Socialists Republic).
One of the reasons behind all the prevailing misconception of the word Jihad is the translation of the Holy Quran done by the religious scholars, which makes one to believe that Jihad is about war and killing of the polytheists with sword. Most of the translations fail to differentiate between the Arabic word Qital and Jihad. The word Qital in Holy Quran is specifically used for killing which for some strange reasons is being overlapped with the term Jihad. The word Jihad is derived from the word Johad. The fundamental meaning of the word Johad is to work hard, strive and make every effort to achieve the target or destination you have set for yourself. Whatever you do to pull off the particular target comes under the umbrella of Johad.
In Arabic language this word, as far as the meaning is concerned, has no demarcation and limitation; the connotation will remain the same no matter how much you enlarge the canvas. Ideally, the human being should establish the best meaning of this word for himself. In a way, that there should be no better goal and target in sight than the one he sets for himself. And after that whatever hard work he will do and all the steps he will take to achieve that target will come under the term Johad.
In nutshell, Jihad is basically to do your utmost to achieve the
goal, target and the purpose of life you have determined for
yourself. Therefore a thief doing stealing, a murderer killing
someone, an adulterer committing adultery, a drinker getting
drunk or the effort a person put in to earn for his living all
could in literal sense, be constituted as Jihad.
Here, we should keep in mind the Will of The Owner and The Creator of The Universe, He Has sent us a message through Holy Quran as to what the real purpose of our creation is. "Look, you were not born all by yourself but by My Will and Affection. There is a universal and centralized purpose behind your creation and your existence in this fatal world, and that is to worship Almighty Allah so that you can achieve the target of understanding the Magnificence of your True Lord."
This word worship in reality is a pact of whole life; nothing else but striving towards the achievement of a goal. While offering prayers or observing fast or giving away Zakat there is a definite intention behind doing all this which is to become successful and stand tall before The Owner and The Creator. To achieve this goal, some desire that they don't get punishment and for some it is the reward but there are certain people, who neither want punishment nor have a desire for reward; in their opinion, the driving force behind the deeds they perform or intent to perform is to seek the blessings of Almighty Allah and that He be pleased with them. This class has very few people, though. However, if we look closely in to all the three classes, we will find out that the goals of all three are different. Now to achieve their own goals whatever effort, hard work and the steps they will take all will come under the definition of the word Johad.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) always taught His followers to come out of the league of Asfala Saafleen and try to become Adam, once you have grown to be Adam, commence the journey towards converting in to Human. Bring to light those abilities, within yourself, which The Creator and The Owner of the Universe Has granted you, the abilities you were created to express and highlight. It is neither the purpose nor the meaning of His Creation that you simply come in to this fatal world eat and drink, have kids, spend 50-60 years and leave the world. This is not the underlying principle of life and it should never be. Life has a distinctive purpose which every person determines it for him.
With the advent of Islam the very first desire was, that not only you enter in to peace and serenity but also pass on and preach this message of peace in its true form and spirit to others and win over them. Unfortunately, during the lifetime of Muhammad (PBUH) the nonbelievers always made the first offensive move in order to snub this thought and message presented by Him, the Apostle of Allah Muhammad (PBUH) never went after anybody holding a sword in His hand. The first acts of violence by the disbelievers each time forced Him to align His companions, particularly in Badar when the non Muslims resolved to finish them all, stop the message of peace and impede the preaching of it. At that time only three out of three hundred and thirteen Companions had a sword and that too was their personal; it was a norm in Arab civilization that those who could afford kept arms. Others were holding sticks and pieces of wood just for the purpose of self defense. Among them, there were some people who only had twigs in their hands. Muslims, in those times, had no official arms and ammunitions for war as a rule, community and government.
There is no doubt and this has to be admitted today that their march for defense in the war of Badar was in fact a giant leap towards the achievement of the goal. And the goal was that, Almighty Allah, in order to have His concurrence and to spread His message and state it publicly, if required, they will lay down their lives. Whether it is about their own self and that of others they will enlighten them with The True Message and they will not allow anyone to challenge and subjugate them in their mission. By and large there was no such intention of killing anyone behind this commitment. It is a historic fact that Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) never opted a war, be it Badar, Uhad and Khandaq, it was always imposed on Him and for the purpose of self defense only He suggested His Companions to get aligned and march towards them in order to stop the attackers from entering the city area. It happened in Badar as well as in Uhad, by the time of the third war, Khandaq, they increased in numbers and it was felt that if we stride towards them we might not be able to stop. At that time Hazrat Suleiman Farsi put forward the proposal of creating a Khandaq around the city to halt the movement of the assailants towards the city area. These tactics were for the self protection only; by any chance, there was no intention of assassinating people with sword and one fail to find any such instance throughout the sacred life span of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
As a matter of fact, yes, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did lead from the front, but it was only to motivate the people, who were with Him to safeguard their own self and the city area, with just one aim; that in whatever shape they have received this blessing, which has enabled them to recognize their best possible goals and targets, from The Creator and The Owner of The Universe; they will achieve them come what may. They will not give anyone a chance to suppress them and stop them from marching towards their goal and they will defend themselves; which nowadays is being perceived as the Jihad of sword. This happened but the motives behind it were not the one being presented today but were atypical.
In an incident, authenticated by many religious scholars, when the Prophet's Companions returned victorious from the war of Badar, they humbly informed Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that, they have accomplished the greater Jihad (Jihad-e-Akbar). Today whatever they have done to achieve that goal and to reach the destination envisaged by Him and their hearts have accepted it and, if required, they were willing to sacrifice their lives for this purpose. At that point in time Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) stopped them and said, "do not think like this, whatever you have done today it is Jihad but of lesser category. Come; I will guide you about the greater Jihad (Jihad-e-Akbar). Bewildered, all of them asked, "Is there another form of Jihad as well?" Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, "Yes. The greater Jihad is to suppress the temptations which arise within your own self and to abstain from doing what is not required and to act the way it should not have been; striving for it is the real target and goal and make your best effort to achieve it. It is not a matter of one time only but this endeavor is for every single breath you breathe and the moment you live. The achievement of this goal in reality is greater Jihad."
While explaining of what Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had said to His companions after the war of Badar, Hazrat Ali (A.S) said that, "encumber on your own self and suppress all the emerging wrongful temptations. Once they will be suppressed, you will be able to get acquainted with your own self and this acquaintance will finally form the basis of the understanding of the Magnificence of Almighty Allah." So the foundation of this greater Jihad, as explained by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), is the resolve and the struggle which a person undertakes to achieve the self-determined goal of his life. But, if a person unfortunately chooses an insignificant and wrong target, neither he will be able to succeed before his True Lord in the hereafter nor he will be able to proclaim that I have done the greater Jihad.
Today, whatever type of Jihad is doing rounds and the way this sacred word is being misused, this innovation/extemporization in the true form and spirit of Jihad is our own creation. It would not be wrong if I say that this innovation has not come from the true believers but from the Zionist forces. In their effort to not only tarnish this sacred word but also its sanctified meaning, they have instilled this new aspect of Jihad in our hearts fearing that the believers of the message of Holy Prophet (PBUH) would die after this holy word Jihad. They contrived a plan to abuse this word so much and present it in such a form, that it leave even the upright people puzzled and they too start fearing and don't come close to it. This is in fact part of a very big international conspiracy. Believe it, the Jihad of sword and all that is being currently orchestrated by the agencies in the name of Jihad, is not even slightly close what real Islam is, the same religion, that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) came in to this world to present and spread for the betterment of humankind and mankind. It is impossible to find even a hint of what is happening nowadays in the whole life span of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The proponents of this innovation should come forward to prove and show at least one incident where Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has ever said this, "Annihilate the community of disbelievers." The philosophy of Muhammad (PBUH) was that the nonbelievers should be allowed to live peacefully so that the True Message could reach them or be preached to them.
At Ta'if, the ingrates did so much harm to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), to the extent that His holy eyes were filled with blood. It is an authenticated Hadith that at that time Angel Gabriel came and said, "If You permit I can crush the town by slamming the mountain of Uhad on it." Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, "No. If, there is one such person among them who understands my message, I can forgive them all for the sake of him." Gabriel said, "I have got it confirmed from Allah, there is no one among them who understands Your message." He said, "If anyone from their offspring understands my message, I can forgive them all for the sake of him." Gabriel once again said, "There is no one in their offspring who understands your message." Holy Prophet (PBUH) said, "If there is anyone among the child of their offspring who listen to my message, I can stop this action for his sake."
Just imagine and look at this incident with a different approach, Gabriel possessed supernatural power, the kind of concept we get today in the Superman, Spiderman type movies, and the one who has decisive control over this activity is Apostle of Allah Muhammad (PBUH) and the moment He wish that the mountain befall on them, the one who will do this activity will instantaneously show up and wait for the orders. The state of pain He (PBUH) was in, drenched in blood, any other person in this situation would have easily got upset and said, "Do it", but despite of the immense pain Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) forgave them, just to achieve His objective. With this level of forgiveness and passion for the achievement of the target, how can Muhammad (PBUH) utter the directive of massacre, it looks impossible.
Today, these words, that "He preached Islam using the sword" are invectively associated towards Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Those who say that must also prove this, that from where they have got this indication, because in the true life span of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) there is no such reference available; and even a person who possess very little knowledge about the religion Islam and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) cannot even dare to say these words, then from where we are making up these stories. All of this is in fact being injected and projected by means of an international conspiracy. They force people to keep beard and make them learn the Islamic declaration of faith (Kalimah), and then ask them to carry out certain activities. It has happened in the past where some people have blown themselves after saying "Allah-o-Akbar" (All the Greatness is for Almighty Allah). It is all part of a very dubious sort of planning. In reality these people don't know anything about Allah and His Greatness. A person, who gets to know Allah, even in bits, cannot imagine doing such heinous act. The manner in which the Most Affectionate Has Created the whole Universe and the way He provide the means of livelihood to every living being, even the insects, bacteria, viruses, as well as animals, birds, fishes, human beings etc., irrespective of their actions. No matter how sinful someone is He keeps providing the means for him to live, The True Lord Has His Own Philosophy and Method. Almighty Allah could never appreciate one of His Creation holding up a sword and killing the other one in the name of Jihad; the holy word, the significance of which has been lucidly explained in the Holy Quran. In fact so much importance is given to 'Jihad' that the Almighty God Himself mentions in Quran that those who carry out Jihad gratify Allah and He likes their gratification. And God, Himself, call them benefactors. In fact it is mentioned in the Quran that those who carry out Jihad gratify (Ihsan) Almighty Allah. And the Owner and Creator of The Universe in Quran Himself say that they are benevolent.
The entire judicious minds of the world have accepted this fact that the victory of Makah was the biggest triumph in the human history. The biggest victory of the world, largest event on the face of the earth and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is standing in the middle with nothing in his hand not even a stick, let alone the sword. Although it would have been very easy to cut the heads of the nonbelievers who were genuflect at that time and no one could question this act as the Muslims were victorious. It was an easy task; as compared to the vandalism of the nonbelievers. Since, He (PBUH) had a definite purpose and being Blessing for the whole Universe, Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) spread the words of peace and tranquility for the agnostics instead of the use of sword against them.
We have so many names in the history who did what Muhammad (PBUH) didn't, as triumphant they could not control themselves and made use of sword, arms and ammunitions to kill the people; like Changhez Khan, Halaku Khan, Adolf Hitler etc. We don't count them as Jihad but when someone lifts a sword or a rifle here, it is unanimously called Jihad. This is most unfortunate but to accept this is our fault and we are all responsible for it; those who are being tarnished by this, those who are suffering because of it and those who are quiet and not doing anything.
If only we could understand the correct meaning of 'Jihad', in a manner so that we could be aware of the true form and spirit of the concept. God Willing, all the people who do study and comprehend the topic, spread that knowledge to other people around them and within the community. We need this to happen, in order to get rid of the root cause of this menace that comes from the wrong interpretation